GA Minutes 1/16/15

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GA Minutes 1/16/15

Postby david.a » Sun Jan 25, 2015 4:06 pm

GA Minutes Friday, January 16, 2015

Facilitator: Jan

Minute Taker: Christina

Committee Reports
Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Proposal
Cascadia Forest Defenders (CFD) Proposal
Soul Force

Committee Reports

Library (Art) – Charges were dropped for the committee's book reading in front of Sizzle Pie. Art was hoping the issue would to go to court. The committee is planning a book sale and reading.

Nightingale (Vickie) – The city granted space for a double rest stop. People are already using the camp, and kitchen tents are set up. The group will hold an open house on Saturday, January 24 at noon at the site, located at 2411 Martin Luther King Blvd.

Newsletter (Vickie) – Newsletter has full copy for the next issue and editing to do.

Communications (Lee and David) – The committee is sending out announcements and posting to the Website. Lee invites Occupy members to send events for promotion. David reported that the back end of the Website is operating smoothly with its new host.

Legal (Helen) – The group is moving forward with a lawsuit to decriminalize homelessness in Lane County and is looking for plaintiffs, such as people who have been excluded from the Mission for use of medical marijuana.

Medical (Sue) – OM needs more prescribing professionals and social workers at clinic. The group continues to work for Health Care for All. Sue requests community participation in Egan Warming Center and that people have bottles of water on hand to give to unhoused people in the community.

Jennefer Jane wanted to add a review of Communications Committee to next month's GA agenda.


BDS Proposal:

(The full proposal text is included after the full meeting notes

This entire discussion took place over one and a half hours.

Jack discussed his work as a child and family therapist and how children recover from trauma and abuse through art work and play. Mariah asked that Occupy Eugene endorse the Palestinian call for nonviolent resistance through BDS and talked about Holocaust survivor, Stephan Hessel, co-author of the UDHR, who endorses BDS.

Clarifications -

Vickie quoted the proposal/resolution on Palestine endorsed at last month's GA and asked why additional endorsement is needed.

Mariah responded that a few items were not included in that proposal, including promoting and protecting Palestinian right of return, BDS, dismantling the wall, and full equality for Palestinians. She said that Zionists in Israel view the Palestinian right of return as a demographic threat. Helen added that the endorsed proposal at the last GA was a general condemnation of human rights violations, while tonight's proposal is intended to take action and to be an act of solidarity with Palestinians. Jennefer commented that Occupy Eugene has a mission to help people who are oppressed, including the person down the street who is oppressed by economic systems and oppressed people internationally.

Ralph said that Occupy Eugene needs to be concerned about local issues of disadvantaged and homeless people and added that this issue is “too divisive.”

Lonnie said that the BDS project adds financial sting to what was consented to at the last meeting.

Sue expressed apprehension for supporting this proposal because of her work in Occupy Medical, including HCFA and direct support to individuals in the community, which focuses on local issues. She added that the proposal seemed too random, “too broad a stroke.”

John indicated support for the proposal and said that Occupy Eugene should avoid being too parochial and be concerned about the rest of the world too.

Helen said that supporting the proposal is easy and that we are talking about it because people care about it, that endorsement would be significant to Palestinians by having formal recognition of their plight, and that the Palestinian issue is a local one because of local financial support of Israel. She urged boycott of Israeli products.

Jack asked if participants had read the Aljazeera story he posted on Facebook titled “Orphans of Gaza” following Operation Protective Edge. None had. He then displayed three poster boards to define the problem and the rationale for BDS. The first was art work by Palestinian children in 2009 following Operation Cast Lead showing the profoundly traumatizing world they inhabit (attached). The children had asked visiting US college students why the US “does this to us.” Jack said this must stop and then displayed a second board showing why it hasn’t been stopped: 43 US vetoes of UN Security Council resolutions to bring Israel into compliance with international law since 1972, with the US alone each time among 15 UNSC members (5 permanent and 10 rotating) in its vote to provide Israel with legal impunity (attached). He explained that BDS is a non-violent strategy by civil society to bypass this US roadblock. He then displayed a third board (attached) describing $3 million/year paid by Lane County federal income taxpayers to Israel despite the ineligibility of Israel for foreign aid under two US laws, the Foreign Assistance Act and Arms Export Control Act that prohibit aid to nations misusing US weapons against civilians and regularly committing human rights abuses. Foreign aid should be withheld under these laws but is prevented by the powerful Israel lobby. BDS provides a method to circumvent this obstacle as well. Israel has violated international law; foreign aid should be prohibited for nations like Israel that violate laws. As Americans, we must demand compliance with international law.

Lee showed support for the proposal passed at the previous GA and expressed disappointment that more organization have not signed the BDS proposal. Jewish Voices for Peace has signed onto aspects of BDS to put pressure on Israel, a tactic she feels comfortable with. The new proposal goes further than what makes sense to Lee.

Mariah explained that the list of supporters for the current proposal handed out at the GA are all Palestinian. However, the list does not include all the supporters, just all of the original Palestinian civil society organizations who endorsed it in the beginning. She displayed a photo of Palestinians crowded into a checkpoint cage (attached) and asked what would be our community response if these were Jews. She feels that if Jews were treated the same way as Palestinians, we'd want to talk about endorsing a proposal. The issue is a local one, because the Al Nakba Awareness Project (ANAP) has tremendous attendance at its events, because of harassment by community members towards the project at Free Speech Plaza, including two physical attacks and a display thrown on the sidewalk, because the UO Hillel director publicly slandered pro-Palestinian activists by saying that the activists support the destruction of Israel, because a Palestinian refugee was threatened and another bullied by this same Hillel director at a UO event, because of sustained, hostile local attempts to stop the dissemination of literature and films on the issue, and because a UO professor was threatened with firing for his support. She mentioned that “Birthright Israel” is promoted here, claiming that all Jews have the right to move to Israel while displaced Palestinians do not, and that few here commemorate the1948 Nakba. The issue does not distract from local issues like homelessness. The Al Nakba Awareness Project has shown solidarity with homeless people protesting in Eugene in the placement of their Saturday Market display when there were space issues at Free Speech Plaza.

Vickie said that Israel is a bully, but that there is something wrong with the condemnation of just one nation for human rights violations, and mentioned the conflict in Darfur and kidnapping of girls by Boko Haram. Israel is opposed by the nations that surround it. She suggested that ANAP can do what it wants on the Palestinian issue.

David A. agreed with previous speakers that the statement passed at the last GA are enough. OE supports movements for economic and social justice and should focus on these issues in our own nation.

Sterling commented that Israel is the only nation committing these crimes. Fergus added that he understands that singling out one country feels strange, with so much happening in the world, but that this issue is different.

Stephanie spoke of her passion for human rights issues in Latin America, as well as issues of social justice, climate justice, and solidarity. OE should play a role of solidarity with other people's struggles and open ourselves to supporting others. The US' role in the world is changing dramatically, there are no borders anymore, and we are all members of the world economy.

Art told the group that Occupy is an international movement and that international issues are not outside of our purview but stated that the impact of an OE endorsement would be minimal. Art believes that Israel is held to a different standard than other nations are. He added that some of the language used in the issue, like calling people “Zionists,” is off-putting.

Marion said that the Palestinian problem is one of personhood and spoke of Rwandan and Burundian refugees. Refugees don't belong to a nation and they are not given personhood. She said that right of return is a touchy subject. She is a Native American rights supporter, and right of return is a difficult issue here too. The UN says individuals have the right to travel within their country and to leave it. Endorsing right of return might not be the best step.

Christina suggested that there have been problems with the discussion, including with accusations that if OE did not endorse this proposal, the group is not in favor of human rights and social justice. She said that these comments are not appropriate.

Frances said we should oppose Israel's bullying and that “might makes right” is wrong.

Jennefer spoke of an International Committee meeting Sunday at noon. She said that “lots of other things happening” is not an excuse, urged everyone to listen to all arguments before making a decision on the proposal, and said that coming to the meeting with one's mind made up is not conducive and unacceptable. She talked about local opportunities to oppose Israel's activities, including boycotting ReMax, which sells land stolen by Israel, and SodaStream.

Mariah said that Israel is different from other countries because AIPAC and other Israeli and Jewish organizations have US lobbies. Zionism is a nationalist political movement. Non-Jewish Zionists exist, including Christian Zionists; not all Jews are Zionist. Making statements of solidarity is important. Right of return is not a threat to anyone.

Lonnie appreciated Vickie's concern that endorsing this type of proposal was not something that OE has done before. People say that some issues are too big and outside of the US, such as Fukushima, but they are not. The proposal is against the military-industrial complex, not Israel.

Helen wondered how to gain Vickie's support for the proposal. She said that Israel is the greatest recipient of foreign aid from the US and that much of out tax money supports this aid. She stated that OE supported the revolution in Egypt. Helen talked about UN Resolution 194, Declaration of Human Rights, which includes right to return after conflict and the right to have property returned.

Jack gave reasons to focus on Israel, including that the US blocks international justice and the US protects Israel. We want to bring justice to people. Israel is not surrounded by enemies; Egypt supports Israel.

Vickie spoke about right of return, saying that a lot of Jews lost property in the Holocaust and that towns don't even exist anymore to return to. We are not looking at evil in our own nation, including right of return for Native Americans. Israel offered refuge to Jews who had nowhere to go, because no one wanted them. Jews have experienced major trauma and want to hold onto what they have. Children in South America are dying; evil is all over the world. Black people are being killed in the US.

Test for Consensus:

2 blocks
4 stand-asides
16 consents
1 abstention

Proposal does not make consensus.

CFD Proposal:

Cooper explained that the group Cascadian Forest Defenders wants to pay OE $35 per month to use our front office at Growers Market to hold meetings and do internet research. He pointed out that the office is currently not being used every month and said the the group is willing to share.

Jan said that OE currently shares the front office with two other groups, Bank Busters and KPEW, a local radio group, and felt that we would need to get the other groups' input. David A., who is part of Bank Busters, asked for clarification on Bank Busters and the radio program's share of the rent. Jan said that the rent for the space is $205 per month. Lee suggested splitting the rent four ways for the four groups. David A. agreed to a four-way split of $51.25 per group per month.

Michael asked what is or what should be the procedure for using the office. General discussion suggested there is currently no management for use of the space. Growers Market rules include no storage and no sleeping in the office. Jennefer recommended updating the list of keyholders for the office and asked who has card keys for the building. Jan suggested reviewing office procedures at the next GA.

The amended proposal that CFD would pay $51.25 per month for use of the office was consented upon unanimously.

Soul Force:

Antonio (aka Gange) spoke to the group via Skype. He works with Don't Shoot Portland. The group is part of the planning for a large meditation to take part across the US. He welcomes contact from anyone interested in training in meditation and working against racial injustice. Vickie Nelson requested an article from the group for newsletter, and Jan suggested putting contact information in the article. Mariah suggested a Facebook post. Lee said that communications could put out a blog post on our Website.


Jennefer announced a display of Arab art at the Schitzer Museum to happen the next day.

Vickie discussed the difficulty OE has of maintaining quorum at the GA and asked why the GA is so poorly attended. She suggested that the group should do more together. She talked about OE applying for grants from the city and state and creative projects, such as poetry and art, that the group could work on.

John requested help with his peace stickers project. He is looking for someone who can use Photoshop or a similar program to crop photos. The project can be found online at

Art suggested that OE consider and discuss a new meeting time for General Assemblies.

End of notes.

Palestinian BDS Call
Palestinian Civil Society Calls for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel Until it Complies with International Law and Universal Principles of Human Rights
9 July 2005
One year after the historic Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) which found Israel’s Wall built on occupied Palestinian territory to be illegal; Israel continues its construction of the colonial Wall with total disregard to the Court’s decision. Thirty eight years into Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian West Bank (including East Jerusalem), Gaza Strip and the Syrian Golan Heights, Israel continues to expand Jewish colonies. It has unilaterally annexed occupied East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights and is now de facto annexing large parts of the West Bank by means of the Wall. Israel is also preparing – in the shadow of its lanned redeployment from the Gaza Strip – to build and expand colonies in the West Bank. Fifty seven years after the state of Israel was built mainly on land ethnically cleansed of its Palestinian owners, a majority of Palestinians are refugees, most of whom are stateless. Moreover, Israel’s entrenched system of racial discrimination against its own Arab-Palestinian citizens remains intact.

In light of Israel’s persistent violations of international law; and

Given that, since 1948, hundreds of UN resolutions have condemned Israel’s colonial and discriminatory policies as illegal and called for immediate, adequate and effective remedies; and

Given that all forms of international intervention and peace-making have until now failed to convince or force Israel to comply with humanitarian law, to respect fundamental human rights and to end its occupation and oppression of the people of Palestine; and

In view of the fact that people of conscience in the international community have historically shouldered the moral responsibility to fight injustice, as exemplified in the struggle to abolish apartheid in South Africa through diverse forms of boycott, divestment and sanctions; and

Inspired by the struggle of South Africans against apartheid and in the spirit of international solidarity, moral consistency and resistance to injustice and oppression;

We, representatives of Palestinian civil society, call upon international civil society organizations and people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era. We appeal to you to pressure your respective states to impose embargoes and sanctions against Israel. We also invite conscientious Israelis to support this Call, for the sake of justice and genuine peace.

These non-violent punitive measures should be maintained until Israel meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with the precepts of international law by:

1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall
2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.

Endorsed by:

The Palestinian political parties, unions, associations, coalitions and organizations below represent the three integral parts of the people of Palestine: Palestinian refugees, Palestinians under occupation and Palestinian citizens of Israel.
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