Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The #RightToBoycott is an integral part of American history

My opinion piece about the California's anti-BDS bill AB 2844 was published in the Voice of OC today. The bill introduced by Asm. Richard Bloom of Santa Monica has been watered down after hearings in the Committee on Accountability, Judiciary Committee, and Appropriations Committee and references to Israel has been removed from the final amended version that passed.

Click here to read the Voice of OC article.


Thursday, June 09, 2016

AAI's Jim Zogby to receive Nagi Daifullah Social Justice Award

Orange County Dems Honor James Zogby, Arab American Institute President, with Nagi Daifallah Social Justice Award, June 11

On Saturday, June 11, the California Democratic Party of Orange County’s 72nd Assembly Democratic Alliance will honor Arab American Institute (AAI) President Dr. James Zogby for his work to advance civil liberties and empower Arab Americans at the 16th Annual Orange County Flag Day celebration. The award is named after Nagi Daifallah, a 24 year-old immigrant from Yemen and Arab American who was killed during the UFW grape strike of 1973.

WHAT:          Orange County Democrats honor James Zogby with Nagi Daifallah Social Justice Award

WHEN:         Saturday, June 11 201612 -3PM

WHERE:      Teamsters 952 Hall, 140 S. Marks, City of Orange, CA


Dr. James Zogby
For more than 30 years, Zogby has been at the forefront of the struggle for civil liberties and Arab American political activism. Playing a key role in the bedrock organizations of the Arab American community, Zogby co-founded and chaired the Palestine Human Rights Campaign in the late 1970s, and later co-founded and served as the Executive Director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. In 1982, he co-founded Save Lebanon, Inc., a private non-profit, humanitarian and non-sectarian relief organization which funded health care for Palestinian and Lebanese victims of war, and other social welfare projects in Lebanon. In 1985, Zogby founded AAI, a Washington, D.C.-based organization which serves as the political and policy research arm of the Arab American community. Zogby and AAI have led Arab American efforts to secure political empowerment in the U.S. through voter registration, education and mobilization.

In 2010, Zogby published the highly-acclaimed book, Arab Voices. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the Democratic National Committee and was appointed by President Obama to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom in 2013. USCIRF is an independent, bipartisan U.S. federal government commission, the first of its kind in the world, dedicated to defending the universal right to freedom of religion or belief abroad. Dr. Zogby was reappointed to a second term in 2015.

Nagi Daiffulah:
Twenty-four-year-old United Farm Workers activist Nagi Daifallah was killed by a sheriff’s deputy during the grape strike of 1973. Nagi came to the U.S. from his native Yemen looking for a better life and was seen as a leader among farm workers, including fellow Arab Americans, for his activism.

Of Nagi, Cesar Chavez said, “Like so many thousands of Farm Workers, [Nagi] came to this country seeking opportunity and fell into the trap of poverty and powerlessness that has enslaved so many migrant Farm Workers in our country. He joined the United Farm Workers Union and gave himself fully to the grape strike and the struggle for justice…. We are faced with discrimination, exploitation, and even slaughter…. In the struggle to change these evils, Nagi gave his life.” 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

One More City Proclaims Arab American Heritage Month!

On Tuesday, May 16, 2016, the Anaheim City Council under the leadership of Mayor Tom Tait, proclaimed April as Arab American Heritage Month. The council recognized key Arab American leaders for decades of community development in Anaheim, as well as the work of the Arab American Civic Council in taking the lead on celebrating the month.

The proposal to recognize Arab American Heritage Month was submitted in late April following the AACC's inaugural Arab American Heritage Gala, which took place on April 24th, however, due to Anaheim's strict rules on agendizing items in advance, the proposal was added to the council May 10th meeting, which passed to be presented on the 17th.

In late April, the City of Garden Grove was the first city in Orange County to pass a proclamation for the same purpose.

Friday, April 15, 2016

STOP ANTI-BDS BILL (Vote on 4/19) #RightToBoycott

Tell the Assembly Judiciary Committee to Vote NO on anti-BDS bill AB 2844
(Time Sensitive - Vote is on 4/19)

We need constituents in the following districts to contact their reps below so please share with anyone you know in Orange County, Santa Cruz, Pasadena, Sacramento, San Diego, Monterrey Park, San Francisco, Salinas. -- though all contact from our side is encouraged today and Monday so do email or call.

Tell the following Assemblymembers to vote NO on AB2844 ("Anti-BDS Act of 2016") when it goes to the Assembly Judiciary Committee on Tues., April 19th at the State Capitol in Sacramento.

Link to the Bill
http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201520160AB2844

The bill would bar state and local contracts with private companies that boycott the Israeli occupation by refusing to bulldoze homes or build more settlements in the illegally occupied West Bank. This could impact thousands of workers at Veolia, which runs transit.

In pushing this bill, the Legislative Jewish Caucus is attempting to silence debate on Israel/Palestine, while supporting violations of international law. Below is a list of the Judiciary Committee members . Thank you and warm regards, Marcy Winograd

Chair, Mark Stone (D- Santa Cruz, 29th AD)
http://ajud.assembly.ca.gov/membersstaff
(916) 319-2029

Donald Wagner (R-Anaheim, Irvine 68th Ad)
Vice-Chair
https://lcmspubcontact.lc.ca.gov/PublicLCMS/ContactPopup.php?district=AD68
(916) 319-2068

Luis Alejo (D-Salinas)
https://lcmspubcontact.lc.ca.gov/PublicLCMS/ContactPopup.php?district=AD30
(916) 319-2030

Ed Chau (D-Monterey Park, 49th AD)
https://lcmspubcontact.lc.ca.gov/PublicLCMS/ContactPopup.php?district=AD49
(916) 319-2049

David Chiu (D-San Francisco, 17th AD)
https://lcmspubcontact.lc.ca.gov/PublicLCMS/ContactPopup.php?district=AD17
(916) 319-2017

James Gallagher (R-Sacramento Valley, 3rd AD)
https://lcmspubcontact.lc.ca.gov/PublicLCMS/ContactPopup.php?district=AD03
(916) 319-2003

Chris Holden (D-Pasadena, South Pasadena, 41st AD)
https://lcmspubcontact.lc.ca.gov/PublicLCMS/ContactPopup.php?district=AD41
(916) 319-2041

Brian Maianschein (R-San Diego, 77th AD)
https://lcmspubcontact.lc.ca.gov/PublicLCMS/ContactPopup.php?district=AD77
(916) 319-2077

Phil Ting (D-San Francisco, 19th AD)
https://lcmspubcontact.lc.ca.gov/PublicLCMS/ContactPopup.php?district=AD19
(916) 319-2019

## ##

Sample message:

Dear Members of the Assembly Judiciary Committee:

I call on you and your committee to oppose AB 2844, an unconstitutional attack on free speech with provisions that would be impossible to implement in any rational manner.

Whether or not one agrees with any particular boycott or divestment campaign aimed at pressing Israel to end its occupation, obey international law and respect Palestinian human rights, participation in such activities, in response to a call from Palestinians using nonviolent methods to secure their freedom, is a legitimate form of expression, protected by the U.S. and state constitutions. The state must not deny financial relationships to people or organizations on account of their political views.

California can lead the way in stopping a wave of such illegal legislation around the country. I look forward to hearing your commitment to oppose AB 2844 or anything like it.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, April 10, 2016

TAKE ACTION: Stop AB 2844 anti-BDS bill in California!!

Please forward to your lists!

Please take action to stop 
AB 2844This state bill attacks efforts to end Israel’s occupation and violations of human rights by penalizing companies that are identified as observing a boycott of Israel -- a violation of the First Amendment of the Constitution.
1) This Wednesday, April 13attend the Accountability and Administrative Review Committee hearing on the bill, starting at 9 a.m., room 437 of the Capitol. (AB 2844 could come up first, or it could be later.) We will have two or three main speakers. All others who want will be able to state briefly their name, affiliation and opposition; the more the better -- to show legislators how many of us care.
2) If AB 2844 passes at this first hearing, it will be considered by the Judiciary Committee April 19. Save the date.
3)  Please send an email now to the members of the first committee telling them to vote against AB 2844 and to enter your opposition as part of the public record. Here are their emails; you can copy and paste them individually (best if you have the time) or all at once into one message; followed by their cc's to their legislative directors (in the same order).
Accountability and Administrative Review:

Legislative directors:

Sample message:
     
Dear Members of the Assembly Committee on Accountability and Administrative Review:
     I call on you and your committee to oppose AB 2844, an unconstitutional attack on free speech with provisions that would be impossible to implement in any rational manner.
     Whether or not one agrees with any particular boycott or divestment campaign aimed at pressing Israel to end its occupation, obey international law and respect Palestinian human rights, participation in such activities, in response to a call from Palestinians using nonviolent methods to secure their freedom, is a legitimate form of expression, protected by the U.S. and state constitutions. The state must not deny financial relationships to people or organizations on account of their political views.
     California can lead the way in stopping a wave of such illegal legislation around the country. I look forward to hearing your commitment to oppose AB 2844 or anything like it.
     Please register my opposition to this bill as part of the public record.
Sincerely,

4) Email your own Assembly member and tell her or him to speak out now against AB 2844. Here are emails for some LA/OC area Assembly members; if yours isn’t on the list or you aren’t sure who it is, click here.

Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon 
assemblymember.rendon@assembly.ca.gov
Assemblymember Richard Bloom assemblymember.bloom@assembly.ca.gov 
Assemblymember Matt Dababneh assemblymember.dababneh@assembly.ca.gov
Assemblymember Tom Daly assemblymember.daly@assembly.ca.gov
Assemblymember Young Kim  assemblymember.kim@assembly.ca.gov 
Assemblymember Travis Allen assemblymember.allen@assembly.ca.gov
Assemblymember Ling Ling Chang Assemblymember.Chang@assembly.ca.gov
Assemblymember Don Wagner assemblymember.wagner@assembly.ca.gov 
5) Share the above information!
MORE INFORMATION
Remember California Assembly Bills 1551 and 1552? Introduced in January, they would have barred state pension fund investment in and state/local government contracting with companies, churches, unions, etc. that were thought to be engaged in boycott of Israel, in some form.

Many of you helped kill these bills by telling legislators that they were an unconstitutional infringement on political speech, were impossibly vague and had a hidden agenda of legitimizing illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.
The bills languished in limbo until last week, but after a complex set of parliamentary maneuvers, they have reemerged with a new name and number: AB 2844. It was hastily assigned to two committees: Accountability and Administrative Review will hear it Wed., April 13. If it passes there, Judiciary will consider it April 19.
AB 2844 is narrower in scope and some ways less extreme (e.g. it applies only to for-profit corporations), but it is still unconstitutionally violates free speech and remains loaded with vagueness and arbitrariness.
Either of these committees can kill AB 2844, and with your encouragement, they will.
Thanks! Together we’ll stop AB 2844.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Comedian featured on 'Conan' to perform at Arab American Heritage Gala


Arab American comedian Sammy Obeid has been confirmed to perform at the Arab American Civic Council’s first annual Arab American Heritage Gala, which will be held on Sunday, April 24 at the Pacific Hills Banquet Hall in Laguna Hills.