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21 Sep, 2014

US Campaign to End Israeli Occupation Holds Annual Conference in San Diego

SAN DIEGO, September 17, 2014 – (WAFA) – Seventy five pro-Palestinian US organizations churches among other member groups of the US Campaign to End Israeli Occupation will hold their annual conference in San Diego, California.

The conference, which will start on Friday, September 19 and end on Sunday, September 21, is titled the Mainstreaming of BDS & Continuing Struggle for Palestinian Rights, will celebrate the increasing success of BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) campaigns, deal with challenges to Palestine activism, and reflect on the need to connect struggles for freedom, justice, and equality, according to the conference official website.

The Palestinian Liberation Organization’s Expatriates Affairs Department stated in press release the conference will be held in the context of the United Nations’ observance of the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People and concurrently with the speech that President Mahmoud Abbas will deliver to the UN General Assembly; a speech that will highlight’s the Palestinian leadership’s request that the UN Security Council set a three-year deadline to end the Israeli occupation.

According to the campaign website, more than 200 people from 28 states and representing 60 member groups of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation coalition will come together to strengthen efforts to end U.S. support for Israel occupation and apartheid policies toward Palestinians.

The PLO Expatriates Affairs Department added that the conference would provide a great opportunity to discuss challenges to the efforts seeking to end the Israeli occupation and the legal attack against pro-Palestinian activists.

The opening panel of the conference will be dedicated to discuss challenges to Palestinian activism. According to the campaign website, it will highlight the challenges facing advocates for Palestinian rights, including legal challenges to BDS campaigns and attempts at silencing critique of Israel.

The opening session on Saturday will be dedicated to mainstreaming BDS and connecting struggles and will highlight the opportunities of joint US Palestinian struggle and the importance of connecting with other movements of justice. The evening session will feature performances from Syrian-American artist Omar Offendum and Palestinian poet Dina Omar as well as a keynote address to be delivered by Ali Abunimah, co-founder of The Electronic Intifada.

Coordinator of the US Coalition to Boycott Israel Sinan Shaqdih noted that the conference will discuss mechanisms to end the Israeli occupation and stop US financial and military aid to Israel through expanding the global action to boycott Israel and continuing the struggle for Palestinian rights.

Membership and Outreach Coordinator Ramah Kudaimi pointed out that the attendees represent non-governmental-funded grassroots organizations whose presentations are very much in line with Abbas’ plan to end the occupation.

“The conference will provide the opportunity for groups and activists advocating Palestinian rights to draw up a strategy to communicate about efforts to end all forms of US support to the Israeli occupation as a form of apartheid,” said Kudaimi.

Among the speakers and performers are Ali Abunimah, co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of The Battle for Justice in Palestine, Marjorie Cohn, former president of the National Lawyers Guild and a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, where she teaches international human rights law, Robin D. Kelley, Gary B. Nash Professor of American History at UCLA and serves on the Advisory Board of the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, and Dina Omar, Palestinian poet and founding member of Students for Justice in Palestine-National.