Even within Palestine there is no such thing as free passage for Palestinians. The land contains a complex network of walls and checkpoints that Israel uses to control Palestinian’s movement. Palestinians must use ID cards and biometric systems and are often flagged in Israeli databases and denied entry for arbitrary reasons.
Friends of SABEEL North American (FOSNA) has launched a campaign urging churches (including Quaker Meetings and other religious communities) to divest from Hewlett Packard. HP of course is a major contractor with the Israeli military. HP has built much of the IT infrastructure of the occupation that includes biometric systems at checkpoints that control Palestinian’s ability to travel though Palestine. In the spirit of apartheid era boycotts against Polaroid, who contracted with the white, South African government to make racialized ID card systems, FOSNA is urging people of faith to take a moral stand in places closest to our spiritual center–in our faith communities.
Many large Christian organizations have joined the call to divest from HP, as has Friends Fiduciary, and they are asking members of faith communities to take the next step in their communities. One church, Peace United Church of Christ in Santa Cruz, California has already agreed to divest from HP.
The campaign’s website contains a contact form to help connect those interested in starting a campaign in their religious communities with resources and add the names of faith communities pledging to become an HP Free Church. The FOSNA website also contains this useful presentation:
Action Alert! Global BDS Week begins November 25th.
The International Boycott HP Network and the Palestinian BDS National Committee are calling for an international week of action against HP over its role in Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land. The week of action will take place November 25-December 3, which includes the UN Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People on November 29.
Find out more on the BDS Movement website, and sign the pledge.
Some suggestions from BDS Movement include:
Launch a campaign to get HP de-shelved from a local store.
If the store refuses, hold signs and flyer outside to escalate pressure and educate shoppers about HP and Palestine. Or flyer on a busy street during shopping season. Gather local signatures for the soon-to-be-released Boycott HP petition.
Organize a mock checkpoint or boycott HP flash mob!
Go holiday carolling — with boycott HP lyrics.
Hold an informational teach-in about what makes HP an important target.
Ask a local community institution or church to pledge to be HP-free.
Get creative putting Boycott HP stickers in smart places.
Host a social media house party; culture-jam HP with your friends on Twitter. Or sign up here to join a social media team to tweet/post throughout the week!
Organize an action outside of one of HP’s offices or tech industry gatherings.
Start building a municipal, campus, and faith-based campaign targeting HP.
Find out more about why HP is a good target for BDS, here.
Mohammed Omer, 32, is among the younger generation of Palestinian writers who work to narrate their own reality, despite the isolation and global indifference to their lives under military occupation. He began translating and writing at age 17 from Rafah (Gaza), and has since become an award-winning author and journalist covering life for Palestinians in Gaza for numerous publications, including The New York Times, Democracy Now!, Al Jazeera, The Nation, Pacific Radio, Electronic Intifada, Middle East Eye, and numerous European news outlets. Omer is currently a visiting Research Scholar at Harvard University.
His latest book, “Shell Shocked: On the Ground Under Israeli Assault,” is now available and has garnered support from scholars and activists.
“Mohammed Omer could easily have escaped the horror of Israel’s impending assault on the trapped and helpless people of Gaza,” says Noam Chomsky. “Instead, he chose to stay, to record, in searing and vivid detail, the savagery of Israel’s latest escapade of ‘mowing the lawn’ and steadfastness of the victims of a hideous tragedy.”
- Nov. 10-12: San Diego, California
- Nov. 13-15: Tucson, Arizona
- Nov. 16: Santa Fe, New Mexico
- Nov. 17: Albuquerque, New Mexico
- Dec. 8-9: Indianapolis, Indiana
- Dec. 10-11: St. Louis, Missouri
- Dec. 12-13: Chicago, Illinois
For more information, contact Jennifer Bing by email or call 312-427-2533 x19
A controversy erupted earlier this year when Jewish Voice for Peace disassociated itself from the organization If Americans Knew and its director Alison Weir. Not long afterwards, the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation removed If Americans Knew from its coalition for violating the Campaign’s anti-racism principles which include rejection of anti-Semitism. In both cases, If Americans Knew and Ms. Weir were asked to stop associating with avowedly racist and anti-Semitic figures and organizations. Ms. Weir and her supporters contend that they are not racist but that in the interest of promoting Palestinian claims for justice, there is no harm—and, in fact, advantage—to being heard by those who are sympathetic to our position on Palestine even if they don’t share our values on other social justice struggles.
There is a Quaker dimension to this controversy. The Ann Arbor Friends Meeting Palestine Israel Action Group (PIAG) defends If Americans Knew and takes the AFSC to task for being “dogmatic”. The PIAG statement implies that Quakers need not agree on the primacy of anti-racism in their work.
The QPIN Steering Committee appreciates the pioneering work of PIAG among US Quaker meetings on Palestine. However, we take issue with their support of Ms. Weir and If Americans Knew. QPIN stands in unity with the position of the American Friends Service Committee, a US Campaign coalition member organization. The position of the AFSC is clear and in line with the Quaker testimonies of peace, community, equality, and, most importantly in this case, integrity.
Since their beginnings, Quaker social activists have striven to hold tight to principles (and the ultimate guide of the Spirit) over and above what is socially acceptable. That is why so many, beginning with George Fox, prefer discomfort, imprisonment and even death over political expediency.
The events in the United States over the last year have reminded us how important it is to understand the structural nature of violence and racism as well as recognizing the structural foundations of Zionist racism and their colonial manifestations in Palestine and the Palestinian diaspora. We cannot be concerned only with Palestinian rights within Israel and the Israeli-occupied territories if those conditions are made possible by the deep-seated and structural nature of racism, including anti-Semitism, in the US itself.
The Black Lives Matter movement has shined the light on how mass incarceration, the militarization of police, and the intrusiveness of the national security apparatus are global phenomena in which the American and Israeli states are intimately tied. Thus, intersectional resistance among People of Color and their white allies are rightly at the forefront of Palestinian-led progressive organizations like the US Campaign.
Ten years ago Palestinian civil society organizations launched the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement. Three years ago Palestinians committed to anti-racist principles had to dissociate themselves from “fellow travelers” who truck with racism. Once again, a Palestinian-led organization has the courage to assert the primacy of these principles. Earlier this fall, the US Campaign’s annual convention was devoted to anti-racism and intersectional activism under the banner “Advancing a Mass Movement for Palestine”.
It behooves those of us engaged in the struggle for justice in Palestinians—especially predominantly white American Quaker communities—to check our privilege, stay true to our principles, and not attempt to second-guess principled stands taken by Palestinians.
We are back! The Quaker Palestine Israel Network website is back up and running after a period of inactivity. The members of the new Steering Committee, Lauren Brownlee (Bethesda Monthly Meeting), Lauren Ballester (Plymouth Monthly Meeting), Ted Klyce (Madison, WI Meeting), Jennifer Bing (American Friends Service Committee, Middle East program liaison), Lucy Duncan (Green Street Meeting), and Steve Tamari, clerk (St. Louis Meeting), want to acknowledge the efforts of our former members Maia Hallward, Lucia Kalinosky, Carol Nickle, and Tory Smith.
We—like so many in Quaker and social justice circles more broadly—were deeply saddened by the passing of a founding member and Steering Committee clerk Tony Bing on March 20, 2015. Tony was a life-long and tireless advocate for justice for Palestinians and a mentor and friend to so many of us. He is dearly missed.
This website will continue to serve as a clearinghouse for information and links related to Quakers and the struggle for justice in Israel-Palestine.
We at QPIN have started to focus on Hewlett Packard’s role in facilitating the Israeli occupation through the information systems it sells to Israel. Among the actions Quaker meetings can take– at the monthly, quarterly, and yearly levels– is to craft a minute in support of boycotting and divesting from HP. Here’s a sample minute:
“Look upon our treasure, the furniture of our houses, and our garments, and try whether the seeds of war have nourishment in these our possessions.” – John Woolman
This summer’s Operation Protective Edge, the 51 day bombardment of the Israel Defense Forces on Gaza which killed over 2,000 Gazans, the expansion of Israeli settlements into east Jerusalem in September, and the ongoing human rights abuses of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory all reveal the excessive violence and repression enacted by the Israeli government on Palestinians. The US government and US citizens are complicit in the occupation through the $3 billion in military aid we supply through defense contract vouchers to Israel each year. Several US companies are also complicit and profit from the continued occupation of Palestinian territory including Hewlett Packard which manufactures and supplies the biometric identification technologies that limit Palestinian movement and identifies them as targets for other forms of discrimination. Hewlett Packard is the largest IT supplier to the Israeli military and is profiting from the oppression of the Palestinian people.
As Quakers opposed to all wars and who affirm the essential equality and dignity of all people, we take a moral stand against the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory and companies which profit from the suffering of others. We have carefully deliberated and educated ourselves on the situation in Israel and Palestine and take a public stand to boycott all HP products and divest from any holdings in our investments that would support the continued oppression and subjugation of Palestinians including of HP investments as long as HP continues their practice of supplying tools of oppression to the Israeli government. We will participate in public boycott actions and encourage all Quakers to join us in renouncing complicity in the occupation and taking a moral stand against the occupation especially through boycott and divestment actions of all companies which profit from the occupation, but especially Hewlett Packard as a United States company.
Several US companies are complicit and profit from the continued occupation of Palestinian territory including Hewlett Packard which manufactures and supplies the biometric identification technologies that limit Palestinian movement and identifies them as targets for other forms of discrimination. Hewlett Packard is the largest IT supplier to the Israeli military and is profiting from the oppression of the Palestinian people. Here are five things you and your Meeting can do to put pressure on Hewlett Packard to stop profiting from human rights abuses.
1. Educate your community about HP’s connection to the Israeli military occupation. (Link to the resources listed here under “Focus on HP”)
2. Sign the petition to HP.
3. Introduce a Minute in your Monthly Meeting. A sample minute will be posted here shortly.
4. Look at your investment portfolio and divest from your HP shares.
5. Join in Holiday actions to bring attention to the HP boycott. (Stay tuned for suggestions for alternative carols and actions)