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Smear campaign following Palestinian activist`s US tour
Edith Garwood edith.garwood@gmail.com


Greetings,

Just sending FYI. The press release below was just issued in response to a
smear campaign and some bad publicity surrounding an event during Bassem
Tamimi’s US speaking tour. Amnesty International USA is one of a coalition
of groups sponsoring the tour.

I wouldn’t be surprised if there are future attacks or challenges during the
remaining stops of his tour as his village of Nabi Saleh is starting to get
the attention of international media and there are some who don’t like it.
Tour itinerary can be found here -
http://bassemtamimi2015speakingtour.weebly.com/locations-and-dates.html.

** Amnesty International USA is supporting this tour because Bassem Tamimi
is a former AI prisoner of conscience and we have adopted his village of
Nabi Saleh as a community-at-risk. AI groups globally work on behalf of the
village long term including here in the U.S.

Regards,
Edie

Edith Garwood
Amnesty International USA
Country Specialist - Israel/OPT/State of Palestine
704.604.7279 (m)
@IOTPA (Twitter)
Edith.Garwood (Skype)

Begin forwarded message:

From: Ithaca
Subject: Undeserved Backlash After Palestinian Human Rights Activist speaks
to Ithaca third grade class
Date: September 28, 2015 at 8:48:08 AM EDT
To: edith.garwood@gmail.com
Reply-To: ithaca@jewishvoiceforpeace.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Ariel Gold, US Speaking Tour, 510-599-5330, arielgold19@gmail.com
Alana Krivo-Kaufman, Jewish Voice for Peace, 614-425-7469, alana@jvp.org
Kali Rubali, FOSNA, 831-430-8074, kali@fosna.org
Jacob Pace, Interfaith Peace Builders, 415-240-4607, media@ifpb.org
Edith Garwood, Amnesty International USA, 704-604-7279,
edith.garwood@gmail.com



Beverly J. Martin Elementary School receives undeserved backlash

(September 27, 2015)–On Friday, September 18, 2015, internationally renowned
Palestinian nonviolent human rights activist, Bassem Tamimi, was an honored
guest speaker as part of the human rights curriculum in the third grade
classroom of Beverly J. Martin (BJM) Elementary school. Unfortunately, the
school has received undeserved backlash from community members who objected
to Mr. Tamimi’s human rights activism.

Mr. Tamimi is from the West Bank farming village of Nabi Saleh, which
organizes weekly nonviolent demonstrations to protest Israel’s military
occupation, illegal Israeli settlement construction and land confiscation.

Grounded in an explicit commitment to understanding all cultures, BJM
Elementary has brought human rights defenders with international and local
perspectives into the classroom. Last year students read the autobiography
of Malala Yousafzai, who defended girls’ right to an education in Pakistan,
and met with activists in the We Are Seneca Lake organization, who are
defending the human right to clean water in New York State.

In a statement in response to the backlash to Mr. Tamimi’s presentation, BJM
Elementary said, “In keeping with the 3rd grade curriculum standard to study
human rights, as well as the ICSD ongoing efforts to bring authenticity and
local relevance to our studies, human rights activists were brought into the
classroom.” The statement continued “The children took away from this
experience several messages”, including “I can be an ambassador for peace.”
and “ You can make friends across borders and that is a good thing.”

Mr. Tamimi, who has been recognized as a human rights defender by the
European Union in 2011, and declared a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty
International in 2012, was in Ithaca for scheduled talks at the Unitarian
Church and Tompkins Cortland Community College as part of a national
speaking tour. His talk at BJM Elementary took place as part of the school’s
ongoing human rights curriculum.

Mr. Tamimi, who has four children, ages 12-18 years, spoke to the third
grade students about his family. He relayed that despite everything he has
endured - prison, paralysis, deaths of family members, and continuing brutal
occupation - he believes and teaches his children that all people must love
each other in order to bring about a world where there is peace and safety
for all people. He said to the BJM students,`I hope you always live in
peace, have love in your hearts, study, and are active in your communities.`

Despite the success of this educational event, unfortunately some community
members have stirred up controversy over Mr. Tamimi’s visit. BJM Elementary
and the Ithaca City School District have received intense backlash. In
response, the Ithaca School District superintendent released a statement
September 25, that: listed as “egregious” several facts addressed by Mr.
Tamimi, including that Israel has broken international human rights law,
that in many instances Israelis have killed Palestinians in the West Bank
and that Israel controls the resources in the occupied territory.

The bullying and intimidation that took place in Ithaca following Mr.
Tamimi’s visit to BJM Elementary is not an isolated incident. Rather, it is
part of a deliberate strategy by defenders of Israel’s policies of
discrimination that is intended to silence nonviolent human rights
activists. This past week in Rochester, NY, Reverend Graylan Hagler, a
longtime activist for social and economic justice, was disinvited from a
speaking engagement on the connections between African American and
Palestinian struggles for justice at a Rochester seminary. After receiving
death threats, Rev. Hagler’s talk was moved to alternate venues, where he
spoke to a packed audience of over 200 people. These incidents are just two
of hundreds of occasions where efforts have been made to cancel or discredit
speaking engagements by advocates of Palestinian human rights.

Mr. Tamimi’s talks at the Ithaca Unitarian Universalist Church and Tompkins
Cortland Community College were sponsored locally by the Ithaca Committee
for Justice in Palestine, Amnesty International local group #73, Jewish
Voice for Peace-Ithaca, Episcopal Peace Fellowship, Unitarian Universalist
Social Justice Committee, Dorothy Cotton Institute, Catholic Workers,
Veterans for Peace, Fellowship of Reconciliation, Vegans Against the
Occupation, and the Tompkins Cortland Community College Sustainability
Council, Office of Multicultural Services, Global Office, Social Science
Program and Intercultural Club.

Mr. Tamimi’s ongoing 6-week speaking tour will cover 20 US cities, and is
sponsored nationally by Jewish Voice for Peace, Amnesty International USA,
Friends of Sabeel – North America, and Interfaith Peace Builders.

###

Jewish Voice for Peace is a “national membership organization inspired by
Jewish tradition to work for the freedom, equality, and dignity of all the
people of Israel and Palestine.” jewishvoiceforpeace.org

Amnesty International USA has avision “of a world in which every person –
regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender
identity – enjoys all of the human rights enshrined in the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and other internationally recognized
human rights standards.” http://www.amnestyusa.org

Friends of Sabeel -- North America (FOSNA) is a “Christian ecumenical
organization seeking justice and peace in the Holy Land through nonviolence
and education.” Fosna.org

Interfaith Peace-Builders’ mission is to “give US citizens the opportunity
to see and understand the Israeli-Palestinian conflict firsthand and to
empower these citizens to educate their local communities and advocate for
better US foreign policy when they return to the US.” www.ifpb.org.

For more information about Bassem Tamimi and his month long US speaking
tour, go to www.Bassemtamimi2015USspeakingtour.weebly.com qsa. Soldiers
everywhere firing sound bombs and tear gas at worshippers inside the Masjid,
snipers take place on the roof, Muslims beaten by terrorist army and
prevented from enter while dirty squatters desecrate the holy site.
Palestinian heroes are fighting alone to defend Al-Aqsa which is burning
while the Muslim Ummah is still asleep!
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