Since I last updated you on the ACJ's work, the situation in Palestine has grown much grimmer, at the same time as our efforts to convey the realities of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict to American policy-makers and the American public have met with some success.I would like to take this opportunity to update you on this progress, outline the immediate challenges we face, and ask you once again for your support.
But first, I would like to once again thank all those who so generously responded to my last letter.Without your generosity, much of what we have recently accomplished would not have been possible.I am truly heartened by the way you have supported ACJ and hope that during Ramadan and with Christmas coming up, you will continue your support.
Last week, we held another of our regular ACJ Capitol Hill briefings.Speaking were Bethlehem Mayor Hanna Nasser and Bethlehem University President Dr. Vincent Malham.In addition, we were able to secure a private audience with Senate staff where the speakers were able to convey personally their experiences living under Israeli curfew and siege.The public briefing was well attended by Congressional staff, members of the diplomatic corps, religious organizations and the media.
This briefing follows three other Hill briefings we have held since May 2002, when we embarked on our current ambitious campaign of providing the American public and policy makers with the Palestinian perspective.As I mentioned in my last letter to you, we are now engaged alongside a coalition of organizations in an information battle to define the issues to the American public, Congress, and the Bush Administration.
This campaign would not have been possible without your support.
These briefings are part of our new ACJ "Washington Briefings" program.ACJ identifies pertinent "hot button" issues of the day and works with speakers to structure briefings around them.This new program includes four components; public Capitol Hill briefings keyed to Congressional members and staff; private off-the-record Hill meetings with a limited number of key Congressmen or Congressional staff; media briefings for small groups of invited journalists; and larger, public National Press Club briefings.
Given the paucity of authoritative voices that can provide an objective perspective in the cacophony of misinformation - and outright lies - that bombards Washington, a program which provides speakers capable of communicating well with a policy-oriented American audience, is vital.
With your continued support, we plan on putting this program to full use by increasing the number of briefings we hold.
I am sure you are aware of the importance of injecting a Palestinian perspective into American public discourse, especially since the last two years have witnessed a new and insidious campaign to silence the few voices that can provide such a perspective.As a result, the American public has remained largely ignorant of realities in Palestine, at a time when an unprecedented assault on Palestinian society and institutions is underway.
I have not been exempt from this insidious campaign.A website (www.campus-watch.org), has been set up listing academics they accuse of being anti-American, anti-Israeli, and "apologists for suicide-bombing and militant Islam."In addition to myself, this list includes John Esposito of Georgetown University, Juan Cole of Michigan, and others.As a result we have received threatening, racist and obscene phone calls and emails.This attempt at intimidation is nothing short of online McCarthyism, and reflects how low those attempting to hide the truth from the American public will stoop.
With your support however, we are determined to combat such attempts and continue to help educate the American public about the existing realities in Palestine.
We have doubled the number of those receiving our daily news email list, thanks to the dedicated efforts of several Arab and Arab-American interns working in our office this summer.The articles we compile from US, European and Middle Eastern sources offer the American public a perspective not available in the mainstream media.ACJ receives over 15 emails a day from individuals requesting to be added to that list.
We continue to coordinate efforts with a number of US Christian and Jewish groups.Most recently this has included the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation (HCEF), which addresses Palestinian Christian emigration from the Holy Land and informs the American public of the Israeli policies causing this emigraion; and Jews for Peace in Palestine and Israel (JPPI), a national group that calls for an end to Israeli occupation and the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza along the 1967 lines, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
These collaborative efforts demonstrate to Americans that the real issue is not anti-Semitism, but ending the longest ongoing illegal military occupation of the 20th Century.
I need your help now more than ever for ACJ to continue its campaign to inform and educate the American public.Your donation can make a real difference in sustaining and expanding our new "Washington Briefings" campaign and in reinforcing the message reaching the American public.
Please make your contribution today.
PS: Please remember that your donations are tax deductible as ACJ is registered with the Internal Revenue Services as a non-profit organization with 501c(3) status.To qualify for a 2002 deduction, please mail your checks by December 31, 2002.