I have an announcement and a request.
First, the announcement: I will be co-leading a delegation to Palestine next month with Interfaith Peace-Builders! My co-leaders will be the fabulous Adam Horowitz (co-editor of Mondoweiss) and our Palestinian host on the ground, Said. The dates are May 21st – June 3rd, and there are still a few spots open! I've pasted the details below and encourage people to apply.
One of the delegates will be a dear friend of mine named Colleen. Colleen is one of the co-founders of our local group, the St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee (STL-PSC). She works tirelessly for the group and the cause, dozens of hours a week, but she has never been to Palestine because she cannot afford to go.
Colleen is committed to trying to live a life of intentional poverty, in solidarity with those unable to live the lives of privilege that most of us do (and that Colleen could if she so chose). She also chooses poverty so that she is not in a position of having to pay taxes that support US-sponsored wars and the occupation of Palestine. She divides the majority of her time between working for the St Louis Palestine Solidarity committee, the local antiwar coalition "Instead of War," and Karenhouse where she lives, which is a volunteer-run Catholic Worker house that provides hospitality to homeless women and children.
Colleen is conflicted between her deep desire to visit Palestine and living a modest life. I and others at STL-PSC have encouraged her to go to Palestine because it is a dream of hers, and I know it will ground and strengthen her continuous local work here at home for justice in Palestine.
STL-PSC would like to send Colleen to Palestine but to do so we need to raise money. I don't know that I have ever sent a request for donations in the 5 years that I have had this list, but I would be grateful if people would consider contributing to STL-PSC to help us send Colleen to Palestine. If you are moved to do so, here is how you can:
* Tax-deductible: Send checks made out to "Instead of War" with "PSC – Travel" in the memo field to: Anna Baltzer; P.O. Box 2687; St Louis, MO 63116.
* Donate by PayPal or credit card by clicking the "Donate" button on my donations page. (Note: This is not tax-deductible but I will forward all donations this month to STL-PSC.)
* To make a tax-deductible donation online, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for directions and I'll send you the steps.
The total needed for all her expenses is around $4,000 (airfare, delegation, food, and a week after the delegation traveling/working on the ground with me).
If the funds are raised, I will put an announcement on my donations page and return any checks received, unless you indicate that you would still like it to go to support STL-PSC's work—which is always very, very appreciated!
Thank you in advance for those of you who can contribute (and I understand that it's not an option for everyone).
Here's the delegation announcement…
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May Delegation ~ only a few spots left!
Voices of the Peacemakers
May 21 – June 3, 2011
This delegation will explore Palestinian and Israeli efforts to achieve peace and a resolution to their conflict based on justice. The delegation will feature meetings with Palestinian and Israeli peacemakers – leaders of civil society groups, grassroots organizers, religious leaders and more. IFPB's May-June delegation also traditionally focuses on the annual commemoration of the Palestinian Nakba (Catastrophe) and the founding of the State of Israel.
Leaders: Anna Baltzer & Adam Horowitz will be leading this delegation. Anna has just returned from a European tour and continues her important work as National Organizer at the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. Adam continues his work through Mondoweiss and has also been on the road, presenting his co-edited book, The Goldstone Report: The Legacy of Landmark Investigation of the Gaza Conflict.
Deadline to Apply: Applications will be accepted until the week of April 18th, when applicants will be notified of availability. Spaces are already filling up, so contact IFPB if you would like to travel with us. Apply soon to reserve your space!
CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE MAY DELEGATION
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Other opportunities to travel to Palestine…
In case you want to go on a delegation but those dates don't work for you, here are some other great options:
June 24 – July 10: Health & Human Rights Project
July 10 – 17: Birthright Unplugged
July 16 – 29: Interfaith Peace-Builders
Oct 29 – Nov 11: Interfaith Peace-Builders
There is also a Palestinian call for people of conscience worldwide to visit Palestine July 8 - 19 for actions. According to the call [which you can read here], visitors "will be accommodated locally and enjoy Palestinian hospitality and a full program of peace work in seven Palestinian towns and villages, networking, and fellowship." I believe this opportunity is for solidarity work on the ground rather than touring as a delegation.
Finally, July 10 – July 25, ICAHD will also be hosting internationals and Israeli to join together with Palestinians in Anata, East Jerusalem to resist the Occupation and rebuild demolished homes of Palestinian families. "We invite you to participate in the incredible opportunity to learn first-hand about life under Occupation [in] `Creating Alternative Facts on the Ground,' ICAHD's 2011 Summer Rebuilding Experience… In addition to construction, there is a full program including field trips, cultural events, films, and much more. Click here for more information.
As you can see, there are many great opportunities to visit or work in Palestine. If you've never been, I promise, it will change your life.
Opportunities to connect with people in Gaza…
A couple months ago, students in Gaza sent out the following letter to connect with students in the US. Contact info is below the letter.
We are students in Gaza from the Palestinian Students Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel (PSCABI), and would like to work with solidarity activists at American universities. We partake in many activities here in Gaza and would like to do whatever we can to support the international student solidarity movements, especially with the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaigns. We frequently write letters out of Gaza… encouraging people to participate in the boycott and thanking people who have supported us.
We would like to share ideas, perhaps have a video conference, hear what activities you're doing, distribute information or narratives from us, as Palestinian university students, or more broadly anyone suffering in besieged Gaza.
Palestinian Students Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel
Reply by email to Adie Nistelrooy: email@example.com
Also, along with boats from many other countries, the US Boat To Gaza (ustogaza.org - but the website is on the fritz), named "The Audacity of Hope," will be sailing to Gaza in late May on the one-year anniversary of the Flotilla massacre. They will carry with them letters from people around the US to the people of Gaza.
You can send letters to the people in Gaza to: Letters to Gaza; 119 West 72nd St, #158; New York, NY 10023
Thanks again to those able to contribute to the cause through supporting Colleen's trip, solidarity work on the ground in Palestine, and/or activism here in the US. It makes a difference.
PS. I know that this is long overdue, but since I haven't sent an email out since the one announcing the Palestine Papers, I wanted to make a correction that they were released by Al Jazeera and The Guardian, not Wikileaks. Sorry about that.
PPS. To get much more frequent (and shorter!) updates from me on Facebook, please click "Like" at the top of my Facebook page.
Thursday, April 07, 2011