Palestinian rights are human rights.
As people in the US concerned with human rights, and as part of a global movement in solidarity with the Palestinian people, we have a duty.
That duty is to actively work for freedom, justice, and equality in order to counter the harm US policies, including the use of our tax dollars, cause to Palestinians.
Through municipal campaigns, people supportive of Palestinian rights can make Palestine part of the local progressive agenda.
The invest-divest framework that we build on for Cities for Palestine is learned from the Movement for Black Lives.
In 2016, the Movement for Black Lives issued the Vision For Black Lives Policy Platform, which laid out policy demands for Black power, freedom, and justice such as ending the war on Black people, enacting reparations, and creating economic justice.
The Invest-Divest section of the platform focuses on investments in the education, health, and safety of Black people, and divestment from exploitative forces including prisons, fossil fuels, police, surveillance, and corporations.
Invest-Divest also calls for a cut in US military expenditures, including weapons to Israel, and a reallocation of those funds to invest in domestic infrastructure and community well-being.
The Freedom Cities platform, borne out of the relationships built between workers and immigrants organizing across sectors in New York City, is another example of policy visions that bring together the demands of movements working for racial and economic justice.
The Freedom Cities organizing principles are an important reference for all of our campaigns.
From the South African anti-apartheid movement to environmental justice campaigns that focus on divestment from fossil fuels to prison abolition, municipal campaigns are a tried-and-true strategy that prove the efficacy of organizing locally to impact national and global causes.
Municipal campaigns focus on engaging directly with policy makers, building capacity and activating the power of everyday people to impact decision-makers locally.
In turn, this work reverberates to help move decision-makers at local, state, and federal levels and ultimately, we move closer and closer to changing the US policies that enable Israel’s denial of Palestinian rights.
Focusing on local opportunities to discuss Palestine helps us continue to shift public opinion so that US support for Israel eventually becomes unsustainable.
Municipal campaigns also provide a chance to expand your local base to continue organizing for Palestine and to build political power alongside others pushing for social justice in our communities.
For instance, many of our cities and towns are already actively resisting, demanding that local governments provide protection to immigrants and refugees, divest from incarceration and criminalization, and invest in education and healthcare.
Our efforts remain in response to the Palestinian civil society call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) to pressure Israel to comply with international law.
Inspired and guided by the Movement for Black Lives and Freedom Cities Platforms, we can strive to create the world we want to see now, and push the struggle for freedom, justice, and equality in rural areas, suburbs, towns, and cities.