** NEWS BULLETIN **

Anti-BDS amendment submitted to Defense Authorization Act of 2017 

On May 25, 2016, Sen. Mark Kirk, (R-IL) and 16 co-sponsors submitted an anti-BDS amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 (S. 2943), allowing state and local governments to withhold business from entities engaged in the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel and “Israeli-controlled territories.”

 The “Combatting BDS Act of 2016” is identical to the bill S2531 introduced by Sen. Kirk and 28 cosponsors last February. The amendment (found in SEC. 1281) authorizes a state or local government to divest its assets from, or prohibit investment of its assets in: (1) an entity that engages in a commerce or investment-related boycott, divestment, or sanctions activity targeting Israel; or (2) an entity that owns or controls, is owned or controlled by, or is under common ownership or control with, such an entity.

 This amendment conflates Israel with “Israeli-controlled territories” as one entity – Israel. As such, it contravenes U.S. policy, which recognizes the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem as occupied territories. Furthermore, the U.S. considers Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem illegitimate and obstacles to peace. Boycott is also a constitutionally protected right and this amendment seeks to curb our First Amendment rights. 

So far, no action has been taken on the amendment nor has it been called or proposed on the floor of the Senate. If it is eventually included in SB 2943 and the bill passes, it is unlikely President Obama would veto the entire defense spending bill because of its inclusion. However, there would be the opportunity for the President to mark his objections by issuing a ‘signing statement’ as he did last year when he signed the Customs Bill HR 644 into law despite it containing a similar anti-BDS measure.

 The American Muslims for Palestine is sending you this news bulletin to keep you abreast of the situation should action be required in the near future.

Religious Studies Scholars Statement of Solidarity with the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement

As scholars of religion, ethics, theology, and/or scriptures, we embrace diversity, democratic accountability, inclusivity, human equality, justice, non-violent social change, critical reflection, and equal educational and occupational opportunities for all.

 

Because of these values, we stand in solidarity with Palestinians who cry out for justice in Israel and Palestine. We condemn the illegal occupation of their landsviolations of their human rights, and discriminatory laws that deny them equal educational and economic opportunities in Israel and Palestine.

 

We take ethical responsibility for our own ethnographic, archaeological, and archival research in Israel and Palestine, and we do not condone the use of such research to justify or normalize the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands. 

Tell Congress to urge President Obama to appoint a Special Envoy for Palestinian Children

The situation on the ground for Palestinian children is rapidly deteriorating and we need you to take action today. Tell your lawmaker to urge President Obama to appoint a Special Envoy for Palestinian Children.

The American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) is a member of the No Way to Treat a Child campaign, which has had great success in educating Congress about how Israel imprisons Palestinian children. Now, we are asking you to help us get a Special Envoy, who will work to ensure the rights of Palestinian children will be respected and observed.

Tell your Representative to take action for Palestinian children.

We need to take action now. At the end of December there were 422 Palestinian children in Israeli prisons. By the end of February there were 440. This is the highest number since data became available in 2008. For the first time in nearly four years, Israel has reintroduced the use of administrative detention against children, a procedure whereby a child can be detained without charge or trial, renewable indefinitely.

68 years of dispossession Honor the victims today by working for Palestine

 

This year on May 15, we mark 68 years of Palestinian dispossession, called the Nakba, or Catastrophe. Between the United Nations' partition of Palestine in 1947 until Jan. 1, 1949, Zionist militant forces destroyed or depopulated 531 Palestinian villages, driving two-thirds of the indigenous population into exile.

Though May 15, 1948 is the official recognition of this tragic episode, the American Muslims for Palestine recognizes the Nakba is still ongoing. Israeli occupation policies are choking Palestinians. Today, more than 400 Palestinian children sit in Israeli prisons. The Apartheid Wall continues to snake its way through Palestinian territory, annexing ever more land and prohibiting Palestinians’ freedom of movement. The siege on Gaza will soon render that area uninhabitable and more than 50 discriminatory laws in Israel deprive Palestinian citizens of Israel of their rights.

In the past 20 years, biased negotiations have resulted in the de-development of Palestinian society on all levels. Yes, things are bad. But, yet, we still have reason to hope.

The global movement for Palestinian justice and self-determination is robust and almost every country has condemned Israeli policies that violate international law and Palestinian human rights. In the United States, the movement is growing like never before. A new Pew Research poll show that since 2006 support for Palestinians has tripled among those born after 1980, and even the general American population’s support has increased 5 percent – a modest increase to be sure but one that represents millions of people.

Tell House subcommittee members to say NO to Islamophobic attacks on AMP and BDS!

The neoconservative think tank, Foundations for Defense of Democracies, attacked the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement during testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Joint Subcommittee recently. Using Islamophobic and politically motivated smear tactics, the FDD attacked AMP for our criticism of Israeli policies and our support for BDS by leveling false and unsubstantiated charges against us.

Email  House members and tell them Islamophobia has no place in the Halls of Congress!

The hearing before the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade and the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa titled, “Israeli imperiled: Threats to the Jewish State,” took place on April 19, the same day as Palestine solidarity activists were on Capitol Hill for AMP’s annual Palestine Policy Day.

Though Schanzer testified he had no evidence that AMP engaged in any illicit activity or that substantiated his charges, he nonetheless laid out an “analysis” based upon falsehood, rumor and anti-Muslim and anti-Arab bias.

"Mr. Schanzer is not content that U.S. taxes are subsidizing his beloved little apartheid state, Israel, but he also wants Congress to muzzle anyone who has a serious critique of this settler colonial state," AMP Chairman Dr. Hatem Bazian wrote in an article first published in the Daily Sabah. "The FDD’s testimony and the congressional committee leadership are giving McCarthyism a new lease on life with the focus being Islamic organizations and Muslim individuals."

Empowerment Through Education and Action

The American Muslims for Palestine firmly believes that educating the American public is key to bringing about change in the Middle East. Because once Americans know what is truly happening on the ground in Palestine, they will no longer allow their tax dollars to be used to support Israel's military occupation of Palestine, the world's last and longest-lasting occupation. We are all empowered to act for justice when we know the truth.

The official positions of AMP are present in official communiqués coming from the national office in the forms of press releases, action alerts, statements and educational emails, as well as from our designated speakers, which include our national leadership and authorized staff, when they are speaking in the capacity of AMP.

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