FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Palestine Solidarity Movement
Phone: (484) 431 – 7432
Palestine Solidarity Movement to Hold its Fifth Annual Divestment Conference at Georgetown University, February 17-19, 2006
Washington, DC, December 23rd, 2005 – The Palestine Solidarity Movement (PSM) announced today that its fifth annual conference will be held February 17th through 19th at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. The annual conference comes to Georgetown’s campus, which possesses a Catholic and Jesuit identity, on the heels of a series of bold initiatives taken by the decision-making bodies of various Christian denominations to consider the use of divestment as a tactic to non-violently influence a just resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The event will be hosted by Georgetown University’s Students for Justice in Palestine (GU-SJP) on behalf of PSM, a coalition of North American organizations dedicated to implementing divestment and boycott strategies as a component of human rights activism in order to realize both equality and justice for all people residing within Israel/Palestine.
“Bringing the annual conference to our nation’s capitol is a natural step for our movement, and one that expresses the fact that divestment from Israel has become an issue of national prominence”, said Nadeem Muaddi, a spokesperson for PSM. “Because Palestinians, like all people, are an equal component of international civil society, they deserve to live free of subjugation to a state sanctioned and institutionalized system of apartheid. Our aim is to realize this goal by calling attention to both Israel’s discriminate policies and the non-violent channels through which they may be overcome.”
“I can think of no more fitting place for this conference than the city in which the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. led his historic 1963 march in support of the idea that all human beings deserve to be treated as equals”, said Bayann Hamid, speaking on behalf of GU-SJP. “Whether manifested in the form of a brutal military occupation or in the existence of more than twenty laws in Israel that discriminate against persons of non-Jewish descent, racism is and always has been at the heart of this conflict. Divestment, which helped bring about the end of the Apartheid regime in South Africa, represents our best hope for ending the cycle of violence and hatred and ushering in a new era of freedom and reconciliation between peoples.”
The Washington, DC location is expected to facilitate the largest conference yet held by PSM, at which hundreds of activists, whether based in churches, universities, NGOs, or community groups, will come together to shape strategies and develop grassroots organizing skills. “This conference will serve as a forum for discussing the ways in which our movement can continue to build upon the tremendous momentum it has acquired as a result of the courageous steps recently taken by a number of prominent religious and civil organizations to consider divestment”, said Muaddi. “We believe strongly that justice and peace are attainable, and this conference is intended to lead us one small step closer to realizing that goal.