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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Rise to the BDS Challenge

Found this announcement in my inbox yesterday.
“Teach-in” on the
Israel/Palestine Conflict and the global, nonviolent Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions (BDS) response to it

GUEST SPEAKER: Phyllis Bennis
Fellow, Institute for Policy Studies, Washington D.C.; director of the IPS New Internationalism Project; fellow, Transnational Institute, Amsterdam, Netherlands; writer, analyst, and activist on Middle East and UN issues; board of directors, U.S. Campaign to End the Occupation, Washington D.C.

The Palestinian BDS movement — inspired by the boycott and divestment activism of both the civil rights movement in the United States and the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa — offers a real path to a just peace.

Event #1:
Thursday afternoon
February 23, 2012, 12:15 - 1:15 pm
Law School’s Partrich Auditorium
471 W. Palmer, Detroit, MI 48202

Light refreshments will be served.

WSU Student Organization Co-Sponsors:
Arab Student Union
Arab-American Law Student Association
Muslim Law Student Association
Muslim Student Association
National Lawyers Guild – Student Chapter
Students for Justice in Palestine – WSU Chapter

Event #2:
Thursday evening
February 23, 2012, 6-7:30 pm
HOST: Detroit Renaissance District Peace Center of the United Methodist Church
Hope United Methodist Church
26275 Northwestern Highway, Southfield, MI 48076

Rep. John Conyers will introduce Phyllis Bennis

Please join the Michigan Coalition for Human Rights; Jewish Voice for Peace-Detroit; Friends of Sabeel-North America, Detroit and Ann Arbor Chapters; the Palestine Cultural Office, and the National Lawyers Guild-Michigan & Detroit chapter for a Teach-in on the Israel/Palestine conflict and the global, nonviolent, and grassroots Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement in response to it.

A pivotal moment approaches for the U.S. religious communities’ engagement in the BDS movement, with the United Methodist Church, at its April 2012 General Conference, and Presbyterian Church USA, at its July 2012 General Assembly, both to decide whether to divest from the Israeli Occupation. We invite you to seize this wonderful opportunity to learn about the issues and active U.S. campaigns.

There will be ample time for questions and group discussion of the challenges and opportunities for local BDS organizing.
Light refreshments will be served.

Community supporting organizations:
Sponsors: Michigan Coalition for Human Rights • Jewish Voice for Peace-Detroit chapter
Co-Sponsors: Friends of Sabeel-North America – Ann Arbor and Detroit chapters • Palestine Cultural Office
What to do?

Well, if you're like me, and you don't have the money to sponsor a billboard, you can attend these two events. We know, those of us who have attended these kinds of events in the past, that we don't interrupt or put on obnoxious displays during the presentation, no matter how odious we find its hatred and mendacity. We ask questions in order to expose the lies.

Most of those in attendance are true believers (some to the point of lunacy) in the Nazi-inspired, Jew-hating BDS cause, but as I've discovered from past events, some attendees really don't know the facts and are there trying to get information. Sometimes you can reach these people. Plus we need to let the BDSers know that we are there as the light to pierce their dark hatred.

I've been to the Hope United Methodist Church for one of their "peace in the Middle East" conferences. They are very polite and seemingly open to opposing ideas. Last summer they even allowed Alan Gale to set up a table amidst all of the Israel-haters, that was blatantly and unapologetically pro-Israel. I was there with other Israel supporters. We spoke up. We challenged the hatred and misinformation. Alan Gale (as far as I know) wasn't invited to this occasion and will most likely not be invited back at all. He obviously attracts the wrong crowd.

I don't think these people like their cherished anti-Zionist (but never anti-Jewish, oh no, they love the Jews, see? they invited Jewish Voice for Peace) views challenged by facts.

The important thing is that we be there.


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