Interfaith group protests Israel’s ongoing ‘reign of terror’ in the West Bank and Gaza and the murder of Palestinian civilians.
Place: Texas State Capitol
Address: 11th St. and Congress Ave.
When: Wednesday, July 9, 2014
Hours: 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
AUSTIN — The Austin Interfaith Community for Palestinian Rights (ICPR) has called for a demonstration to demand an end to “Israel’s ongoing reign of terror in Gaza and the West Bank” and the murder of Palestinian civilians.
The demonstration, which will take place Wednesday, July 9, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., is part of a worldwide protest marking the 10-year anniversary of the International Court of Justice ruling that Israel’s Separation Wall, located within the West Bank and in and around Jerusalem, violates international law.
Bernice Hecker, ICPR Coordinator, has been involved with the group for a decade. ICPR began as an adult discussion class led by Rev. Ed Hartwell at St. James’ Episcopal Church; the group has grown as the violence in Palestine and Israel has escalated. ICPR now includes Christians of many denominations, including Palestinian Christians, and Muslims as well as members of the Jewish community. It is part of a national umbrella alliance called the U.S. Campaign Against the Occupation that is allied with the Jewish Voice for Peace.
Bernice, who lived on an Israeli kibbutz in the early sixties, sees escalating racism and brutality in Israeli government actions. “The United States sends $8.1 million in military aid a day to Israel, and vetoes all criticism of Israel at the United Nations Security Council. Israel could not continue its policies of occupation and brutal discrimination if it were not the largest recipient of U.S. military aid and the recipient of automatic backing by the U.S. in the UN Security Council.”
Bernice is also concerned about Israeli contracts that militarize the U.S. “The same company [Elbit Systems] that built a wall to protect illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian land has a contract with Homeland Security to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.”
Attention on Israeli abuses in occupied Palestinian land have grown as advocates for Palestinian rights press for boycotts, divestment, and sanctions against companies that benefit from occupation and discrimination. The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement continues to gain ground in universities and churches. Just last week, the Presbyterian Church, in a narrow vote, became the largest U.S. church to take a divestment stand against corporations that promote violence in occupied Palestinian territory (Motorola Solutions, Caterpillar, and Hewlett Packard).
[Alice Embree, a contributing editor to The Rag Blog, co-chair of the Friends of New Journalism, and a veteran of the original Rag, is a long-time Austin activist, organizer, and member of the Texas State Employees Union. Read more articles by Alice Embree on The Rag Blog.]