Action alert

AMP mobilizes against Ehud Olmert speech

Asks supporters to thank media for fair coverage

(PALOS HILLS, IL 10/16/2009) – When the American Muslims for Palestine learned the University of Chicago invited Ehud Olmert, the former Israeli prime minister responsible for the siege on Gaza, Operation Cast Lead that killed more than 1,400 people in Gaza last winter, and the 2006 war on Lebanon, its staff and volunteers jumped into action.

We called the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy to confirm the event. We ascertained the person responsible for organizing the lecture was the director of external affairs, Colleen Peterson.

Here are some immediate actions AMP took:

  • Emailed official letters to University of Chicago President Robert Zimmer asking the event be cancelled.
  • Sent an action alert asking supporters to call and email Ms. Peterson
  • Formed a coalition of several other Muslim, Jewish and human rights organizations, which sent out AMP’s action alert.
  • Organized a protest with the coalition that took place on Oct. 15 during Mr. Olmert’s speech. The protest took place both inside Mandel Hall, where Mr. Olmert was speaking, and outside on the street.

AMP learned that supporters flooded the email and phone systems of the appropriate people at the University of Chicago. The action alert travelled around the world; AMP received blind copied emails from locales in the Canada, the United Arab Emirates and India.

The coalition included Al-Awda; American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)-Chicago; ANSWER; Arab Student Union at Moraine Valley; CAIR; International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN); International Solidarity Movement (ISM); Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP)-Chicago; MAS Freedom Foundation; Palestine Solidarity Group (PSG); Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at DePaul. University of Illinois Chicago, University of Chicago, and Northwestern University; and United States Palestine Community Network (USPCN).

Several hundred people protested. Between 30 and 50 students protested inside Mandel Hall by interrupting Mr. Olmert during his speech every few minutes. Chicago police removed protesters from the hall. And hundreds of people protested loudly outside the hall.

Here are links to protest video and audio:
http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article10834.shtml
VN00001-20091015-1628.amr

Media coverage
Al Jazeerah Arabic, ABC 7Chicago and the Chicago Tribune all covered the protest fairly and accurately.

Here are the links to the media coverage:
Al Jazeerah
ABC
Chicago Tribune

Take action:

To encourage the media to continue to take the issue of Palestine seriously and to cover it objectively and fairly, we must thank reporters, editors and producers when they do a good job. Below are contact emails for the various media personnel, who covered and/or assigned the Olmert protest. Please send an email of thanks to them.

Talking points:

  • Thank them for making the effort to cover the protest
  • Thank them for fair and balanced coverage
  • Tell them you appreciate the fact they allowed the Palestinian narrative to be told.

Contacts:

Al Jazeera Arabic
Reporter Wajd Waqfi – [email protected]
Producer Mohammad Dalbah – [email protected]

ABC 7
Reporter Stacey Baca –
Planning producer Len Prazak –

Chicago Tribune
Reporter Daarel Burnette II –
[email protected]
Editor Hugh Dellios – [email protected]

The American Muslims for Palestine is a national grassroots organization whose mission is to educate the American public and media about issues relating to Palestine and its rich cultural heritage. For more information or to make a donation, call 888.404.4AMP.

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