Sunday, June 17, 2007

Trip to DC, June 10-11, 2007

A group of MECR members made the trip to DC for the Sunday rally and the lobbying on Monday. The trip was judged to be a great success, and the lobbying very interesting. Here is a press release about the event from UFPJ, as well as pictures of the event (thanks, David).

June 10-11 Mobilization a Huge Success

(Washington DC, June 11, 2007) The largest ever national demonstration against the Israeli occupation took place yesterday in Washington DC. More than 5,000 demonstrators from all over the country declared that “40 years of Israel’s occupation are enough.”

Today, hundreds of activists are meeting with their Congressional Representatives and Senators to call for a change in US foreign policy in the Middle East.

“An overwhelming number of Americans believe in peace, justice and human rights. We’re calling on our government to do the right thing and end its support for the Israeli occupation,” said Huwaida Arraf of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.

“This day has global importance,” stated Phyllis Bennis, also of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. “While we say no to US support for Israeli occupation, our counterparts from all around the world are saying the same message to their own governments. From South Africa to Brazil, from Australia to Canada, from Britain to Malaysia, Ramallah to Tel-Aviv.”

A broad diversity of speakers and participants came from almost every state, faith, and ethnic group.

“Our vision is one of a comprehensive just and lasting peace for everyone: Palestinians, Israelis, Christians, Muslims, and Jews, and all people,” said Judith LeBlanc of United for Peace and Justice.

The event marks the 40th Anniversary of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. The occupation has created a desperate situation of collective punishment and suffering for almost 4 million Palestinians. Land seizures, curfews, checkpoints, and extra-judicial executions are part of everyday life and have been documented by human right organizations.

The rally took place in front of the Capitol and continued with a march to the White House – the two centers of US foreign policy. This demonstration was sponsored by the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation and United for Peace and Justice, two major national coalitions. More than 300 organizations nationwide participated.