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Fighting to End Israel’s 50 Year Occupation of Palestine is Part of Fighting to Defend Human Rights Everywhere
Fifty years ago today the State of Israel began its occupation of Palestine. Earlier this year a UN report found that over the course of these 50 years, “Israel has established an apartheid regime that dominates the Palestinian people as a whole,” and urged support for “boycott, divestment, and sanctions activities.” As noted in CCR’s The Genocide of the Palestinian People: An International Law and Human Rights Perspective, Israel’s prolonged belligerent occupation signals an “incremental genocide” of Palestinians and the ultimate destruction of Palestinians as a national group.
For many years CCR has actively supported the struggle to realize the human rights and self-determination of the Palestinian people. Most recently, we sent an open letter to UN Secretary General António Guterres urging him to call on Israel to adhere to the demands of over 1,500 Palestinians on hunger strike in Israeli prisons. CCR also last week called for accountability for the death of American teen Furkan Doğan, who was slain during a humanitarian aid mission in Gaza seven years ago.
In this time of reflection about the impact of Israel’s 50-year occupation, it is important to recognize that the strategies of perpetuating the occupation are now taking other forms far beyond Palestine. We now see many lawmakers, U.S. governors, and other allies of the Israeli government pushing for the adoption of legislation in many states that aims to stifle public debate, peaceful dissent, and participation in boycotts by people and businesses in efforts to express their opposition to Israel’s policies and practices. Laws restricting participation in boycotts are an attack on a constitutionally protected form of peaceful resistance that has played a central role in the struggle for human rights throughout American history. In the face of this, CCR has moved to defend the rights of activists in the U.S. who take action in solidarity with the Palestinian people. For example, alongside Palestine Legal, we have recently sued Fordham University on behalf of Fordham students who were prohibited from establishing a campus Students for Justice in Palestine group.
On this day of remembrance, and on every day, we show our commitment to supporting the long struggle for Palestinian self-determination by defending the rights of Palestinians and those who are in solidarity with them everywhere, and by seeking accountability of those in power who continue to violate the human rights of people who peacefully strive for their freedom and dignity.
A very special Freedom Flicks this month
CCR is proud to be a presenting partner at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival screening of The Resistance Saga, a cinematic project designed to galvanize audiences to fight back when society is faced with authoritarianism and demagogues, and celebrate the role that the arts can play in creating, strengthening, and communicating narratives of nonviolent resistance. This is a unique opportunity, so if you’re in the NYC area on Sunday, June 11, please come!
In so many ways, indigenous peoples throughout the Americas have set the example of long-term courageous and strategic resistance against daunting odds, with a powerful example being the saga of the Mayan people as depicted in director Pamela Yates’ films When the Mountains Tremble, Granito: How to Nail a Dictator and the latest installment, 500 Years: Life in Resistance. The event is a daylong immersive gathering that includes the screening of all three films, followed by a discussion on long-term movement building with the Mayan women protagonists, and a reception and concert by Mayan singer/songwriter Sara Curruchich.
The Resistance Saga will take place at the Walter Reade Theater, Film Society of Lincoln Center on Sunday, June 11, beginning at 1:30 p.m. Purchase tickets here.