An open letter to the U.S. Campaign and other Activists for Justice in Palestine.
As active participants in the struggle for justice for Palestinians, coming from a variety of ethnic, religious, and political backgrounds, we call for an end to internal attacks on fellow activists and organizations. These only impede the work for justice.
We appreciate the important contributions to that cause made over many years by If Americans Knew, Jewish Voice for Peace, and the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.
In that light, we are dismayed by the recent unfounded attacks on one of the top organizations working on this issue, If Americans Knew, and its dedicated leader, Alison Weir, by the leadership of Jewish Voice for Peace and the U.S. Campaign. Many of us are members of these groups and are unhappy at these significant actions made in our name but without consulting us.
We recognize that important differences among these organizations exist – each has its own constituencies, approach, and style, as is the case with the scores of other organizations that together make up the solidarity movement. Some may disapprove of taking the Palestinian case to people who don’t define themselves as “liberals” or “progressives.” Others may disapprove of working with Zionist groups and failure to state that Zionism is racism, etc. We have no problem with any group articulating such differences and even making principled criticisms of another’s work – that is part of the life of any healthy democratic movement.
But we believe strongly that secret dossiers, ideological inquisitions, double standards, misrepresentations, spreading innuendo, and attempting to excommunicate groups or individuals one disagrees with from the ranks of the movement sow unnecessary divisions and distract from what must remain our primary focus: building the broad united front that’s necessary to change United States policy in the Middle East and to help Palestinians obtain justice in their homeland.
We also believe that the vitriolic, ADL-like accusations that Alison Weir is “anti-Semitic” and/or racist are scurrilous and without foundation. They are based on guilt-by-association arguments through which numerous committed activists – including the leadership of the US Campaign and JVP – could equally, and also incorrectly, be called “anti-Semitic” and/or racist.
We are painfully aware that there are well funded opponents who spare no effort to undermine and divide this movement for justice and human rights in Palestine. We therefore expect those who sincerely share our goals to be mindful of the potential to fracture the movement and be judicious and principled in their critique of groups and individuals who make significant contributions to the movement.
We call for these attacks to cease and for those initiating them to return to their main task, working for justice in Palestine.
Accusations against If Americans Knew:
Messages of support for If Americans Knew:
Analysis of Attacks on If Americans Knew:
Affiliations for identification purposes.
* = US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation Member Organization
** = Chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace
Richard Falk, Professor of International Law Emeritus, Princeton University, and former Special Rapporteur on Occupied Palestine, UN Human Rights Council.
Samia Khoury, founding member of the board of Trustees of Birzeit University and Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Centre, author, “Reflections from Palestine: A Journey of Hope” (descendant of Birzeit University founders).
Ann Wright, retired US Army Colonel and former US diplomat turned peace activist; passenger on 2010 Gaza Freedom Flotilla; co-organizer and passenger on Gaza Freedom Flotillas 2011 & 2015; co-organizer of 2009 Gaza Freedom March.
Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh, Professor, Bethlehem and Birzeit Universities, Co-Founder Al-Awda-Palestine Right to Return Coalition.
Ray McGovern, Retired CIA officer turned peace activist. Co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.
Edward Peck, Americans for Middle East Understanding, Former US Ambassador to Iraq & Mauritania, Participant in the 2010 Gaza Freedom Flotilla
Abbas Hamideh, National Board Vice Chair, Al-Awda Palestine Right to Return Coalition, son of one of the few survivors of the massacre at Deir Yassin Palestine on April 9th 1948
Philip Giraldi, Former CIA Officer turned anti-war activist & journalist; Executive Director, Council for the National Interest*
Joe Meadors, USS Liberty Survivor, Past President, USS Liberty Veterans Association, Participant in three Gaza Freedom Flotillas, Free Palestine Movement*.
The Rev. David W. Good, Minister Emeritus for The First Congregational Church of Old Lyme, President: Tree of Life Educational Fund
The Rev. Canon Richard K. Toll, Friends of Sabeel* – Former Director, Retired Episcopal Church
John Erickson, NorCal Friends of Sabeel* — Co-Chair
Ernest Gallo, President, USS Liberty Veterans Association
Ronald Kukal, USS Liberty Survivor
Adeeb Alzanoun, Palestinian American Congress – Member, American Muslims for Palestine*
Amith Gupta, NYU Law Student and Institute of International Law and Justice Scholar, National Students for Justice in Palestine – Steering Committee 2012-2014, ISM – Northern California*, Free Palestine Movement*
Biagio Cacciatore, 14 Friends of Palestine – Marin*
Darlene Wallach, Justice for Palestinians – San Jose*, Participant in 2008 Gaza Freedom Flotilla
Elizabeth Molchany, attorney-at-law and member of Jewish Voice for Peace**
Gene St. Onge, Free Palestine Movement*, Participant in the 2010 Gaza Freedom Flotilla.
Greta Berlin, Co-Founder of Free Gaza Movement
Hassan Fouda, Norcal Friends of Sabeel*, Tree of Life Foundation, Council for the National Interest*.
Henry Norr, International Solidarity Movement, Jewish Voice for Peace – Bay Area**, participant 2011 Gaza Freedom Flotilla.
Dr. Ibrahim Soudy
Jane Jewell, 14 Friends of Palestine – Marin*, US Boat to Gaza west coast coordinator, Gaza’s Ark
Jeffrey Blankfort, Nov. 29th Coalition for Palestine, Palestine Solidarity Com. (SF Bay Area), Labor Com. on the Middle East, former editor, Middle East Labor Bulletin.
John Gidusko, USS Liberty Veterans Association
Kamal Obeid, South Alameda County Justice Coalition
Maggie Coulter, Sacramento BDS*
Michael Gillespie, journalist and regular contributor to the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, Ames Interfaith Council – Former Chair
Michael Poulin, former member of Jewish Voice for Peace**
Paul Larudee, International Solidarity Movement, Free Palestine Movement*, Participant in three Gaza Freedom Flotillas, Stop Zim Action Committee, ISM – Northern California*, Global March to Jerusalem – North America*