Letter to Oxfam America: Stand with justice and drop Soda Stream endorser Scarlett Johansson

January 29, 2014

Raymond Offenheiser
President
Oxfam America

Dear Mr. Offenheiser:

After weeks of intense pressure and scrutiny regarding Oxfam’s Goodwill Ambassador Scarlett Johansson’s endorsement of Israeli settlement product Soda Stream, we are writing to express our extreme disappointment in Oxfam’s inaction regarding severing your ties with Ms. Johansson.
The American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), a national, grassroots education and advocacy organization, lends its voice to the growing chorus of individuals and organizations demanding Ms. Johansson either end her contract with Soda Stream or that Oxfam drop her as a Goodwill Ambassador.

UNRWA issues urgent appeal: Help pressure Geneva II leaders to end siege on Yarmouk

Yarmouk

UNRWA food distribution, Damascus, Syria. Dec 14, 2013 - © Carole al Farah/UNRWA Archive

(CHICAGO 01/20/2014) – The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the organization created to deal with Palestinian refugees, and several other UN agencies, has issued an urgent appeal for worldwide participation in a social media campaign in attempts to end the siege on Yarmouk camp as well as other civilian areas in Syria. Together with organizations such as Human Rights Watch UNRWA’s goal is to use social media to reach 23 million people (the pre-conflict population of Syria) and for them to back a call to the leaders at the Geneva Two Conference to lift the restrictions on Yarmouk and other civilian areas in Syria.

UNRWA hopes “to trend and reach that figure on the eve of the conference and send a loud signal that enough is enough.”

In a heart-wrenching letter sent to the American Muslims for Palestine, journalists and other social justice supporters, UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness said “Just occasionally in a journalist’s career, they are confronted with a situation of such overwhelming pitilessness that they have no choice but to cross over the divide between objective observer to engaged participant. I believe we have reached that moment in Yarmouk and other civilian areas of Syria.”

UPDATE: UNRWA Yarmouk social media campaign reaches millions worldwide

TWITTER CAMPAIGN(CHICAGO 01/22/2014) – The American Muslims for Palestine, a national education and advocacy organization, thanks its supporters and all who participated in the three-day worldwide social media campaign, demanding an end to the siege on Yarmouk refugee camp near Damascus.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which was established to deal with the Palestinian refugee crisis caused by the partition of Palestine in 1947 and the subsequent Zionist war in 1948, called for the campaign, which was backed by celebrities such as Mia Farrow, Hugh Grant and Arab Idol winner Mohamad Assaf, as well as other UN agencies such as Unicef, UNHCR, UNWFP, OCHA and UNRWA. Several international NGOs such as Human Rights Watch as well as domestic grassroots organizations such as AMP supported the effort.

The three-day worldwide social media campaigned generated nearly 32 million impressions and nearly 12 million people participated in the Twitter campaign that applied pressure on those at the Geneva Two Syria Talks. At issue is the Syrian regime’s siege on Yarmouk refugee camp near Damascus and the inability to deliver humanitarian aid there and to other civilian areas within Syria.

Action Alert: Support American Studies Association against Zionist attacks

The American Studies Association (ASA), which voted on Dec. 16, 2013, to endorse the Association’s participation in a boycott of Israeli academic institution, has been coming under harsh attack. The American Muslims for Palestine is calling upon our supporters to take action and stand in solidarity with the ASA by signing a petition of support.

The ASA, which is comprised of academic scholars, attracted 1252 voters, the largest number of participants in such a referendum in the history of the organization. Sixty-six percent of voters endorsed the resolution. By doing so, the ASA’s members sent a message that it stands in full solidarity with the world-wide BDS movement initiated and led by Palestinian civil society, according to the Palestinian Campaign for the Cultural and Academic Boycott of Israel (PACBI).

We must not stand by idly. We must stand in solidarity with these courageous individuals who chose to stand for academic freedom and justice for Palestinians in the face of harsh criticism and at a time when college campuses are coming under increased attack for lectures, activities and student groups, which are critical of Israeli policies that contravene international law and deprive Palestinians of their basic human rights.

Read the letter of support.

Sign the petition.

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.

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