Friday, December 30, 2016

[ePalestine] Huffington Post: A speech on Palestine-Israel awaiting President Obama (By Sam Bahour)

Huffington Post

A speech on Palestine-Israel awaiting President Obama

SECRETARY KERRY: "There are other countries in the UN who believe it is our job to dictate the terms of a solution in the Security Council. Others want us to simply recognize a Palestinian state, absent an agreement. But I want to make clear today, these are not the choices that we will make."

QUESTION: Will the U.S. allow others to make these choices?

​By Sam Bahour

I hesitated before weighing in on the flurry of activity taking place around Israel and Palestine after the U.S. seems to have finally decided to act. I felt that all that needs to be said has been written and rewritten ad infinitum, including by me. That now at the eleventh hour the U.S. seems to be waking up to the reality Israel has created on the ground with unfettered U.S. support over seven decades, struck me at first as anticlimactic. But on deeper reflection and seeing the continuous flow of commentary, I notice that no one has yet mentioned one important and potentially game-changing way of framing this latest development.



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Thursday, December 08, 2016

Sam Bahour’s 2016 End-of-Year Fundraising Letter

Sam Bahour’s 2016 End-of-Year Fundraising Letter
It’s that time of the year again when we all get flooded with fundraising requests. I used to dread fundraising for efforts that I feel have impact, but not anymore. Although all the moral support is deeply appreciated and needed, ultimately, impact requires financial resources. When one sees, as we have over the past two decades in Palestine, how foreign funds are used to advance foreign agendas that sustain military occupation and deepen our dependency on Israel, there is nothing to be shy about regarding fundraising for efforts that counter this dependency and are doing the work that needs to be done to advance Palestinian freedom and independence.

Personally, I have structured my life so I can spend 30% of my time in civil society (speaking, writing, engaging with organizations, campaigns, artists, etc.) In addition to the time spent, I annually donate 10-15% of my income to humanitarian needs and civil society activities. This is just the way I was raised. Thus, in hopes that I can lead by example, I present below this year’s list of ten recommended efforts that are worthy of support. Having some form of a relation with all of those listed, I can attest to their validity. For those that provide U.S. citizens with tax-deductible status, I have made a note.

Thank you in advance for considering. Just CLICK ON THE LOGOS BELOW to go to the donate pages.
For starters, you may choose to support my own efforts, which range from supporting individual artists, donating to organizations listed below and others, donating to needy cases, as well as providing for the time and travel costs to publicly speak and engage visiting delegations.
This year, I can add that funds may also go toward a major educational project that my firm,, embarked on in Oct. 2015 and which has a global context for Palestinians everywhere. More on this in due time, but for now, we are engaged in a full, 12-month feasibility study (due to end in December 2017) and are in need of funding. I can explain more, in confidence, about this educational project, just contact me at (The educational project has an IRS 501(c)(3) entity as a partner.)

If media interests you, Just Vision is just the place to support. Just Vision produces documentaries, independent media and strategic public engagement campaigns which aim to “increase the power and reach of Palestinians and Israelis working to end the occupation and build a future of freedom, dignity and equality for all.”
I have just joined their Board of Directors and can tell you that this outfit is professional, strategic, and has on board an absolutely amazing group of people, both board and staff. Just Vision’s forthcoming documentary, Women Leaders of the First Intifada (Untitled Film), is yet another promising production that will join their past documentaries which have all had a tremendous impact on educating viewers on occupation. You can also purchase past productions here. An IRS 501(c)(3) entity.


Americans for a Vibrant Palestinian Economy (AVPE) is the Illinois-based not-for-profit that I co-founded (and Chair) with my US partner, Edward Thompson (President). We are focused on “Creating Business Relationships Between Americans & Palestinians,” understanding that without livelihoods Palestinians cannot be steadfast and counter all of the Israeli occupation actions that are pushing people to “voluntarily” leave or turn to violence. For us, it’s not about “Economic Peace,” but rather “Economic Survival.” 
An IRS 501(c)(3) entity.
Full disclosure needed for this one. My daughter, Nadine, is the secretariat of the PalMUN board at the Friends School. She and her board's executive team are currently fundraising for their largest PalMUN Conference in Palestine yet, 600 students in January 2017! This platform is an ideal venue for high school students to learn about world issues and negotiations. I was basically threatened that if this funding opportunity was not listed on my list I would pay a heavy price. 😊
Al-Shabaka Logo
 As an Al-Shabaka board member and  policy advisor, I can attest to the strategic impact that Al-Shabaka is having in policy circles. Al-Shabaka, The Palestinian Policy Network, is an independent, non-partisan, and non-profit organization whose mission is to educate and foster public debate on Palestinian human rights and self-determination within the framework of international law. Al-Shabaka, Arabic for "The Network," is a think tank without borders or walls. To support Palestinian voices from all walks of life to be heard, please support our work. An IRS 501(c)(3) entity.
 A properly functioning mental health system in Palestine is a silent victim of 50 years of military occupation. I’m proud to be a board member of the Palestinian Medical Education Initiative (PMED), which supports the people of Palestine through international partnerships in medical education and health service program development. The PMED staff in both Palestine and the U.S. are simply second to none in their fields. An IRS 501(c)(3) entity.
Palestinian Neuroscience Initiative
In the same vein of the work at PMED, I was thrilled to learn that some hard-core science research is happening in in Palestine, focusing on mental disorders of our suffering people. The Palestinian Neuroscience Initiative (PNI) was established in 2009 at Al-Quds University as a nucleus for a future Palestinian Neuroscience Institute. It encompasses research and educational programs in cognitive neuroscience, molecular neuroscience, neurogenetics, neuropharmacology and neuropsychiatry. An IRS 501(c)(3) entity.

The Palestine Children's Relief Fund (PCRF) will always make my list. The humanitarian work done here to bring medical services to children is no less than God’s work. This holiday season PCRF asks for support for their BEATING HEARTS FOR HEALING HEARTS PCRF HOLIDAY CAMPAIGN. This campaign supports the building of pediatric cardiac surgery services in the West Bank and Gaza Strip so every child born with heart disease in Palestine gets the care that they need in their own hospitals. An IRS 501(c)(3) entity.
Encounter is “an educa­tional orga­ni­za­tion that culti­vates informed Jewish lead­er­ship on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” Their vision is “one of genuine peace: an envi­ron­ment of safety and equity that embraces the full dignity of all.”
I’ve volunteered with Encounter as one of their many Palestinian speakers for nearly a decade. Their work to educate Jewish American leaders and students, mainly rabbinical students, about the occupation is of utmost importance. Additionally, this team is professional, compassionate, and understands the supreme value of education and listening. They deserve our support, especially if you are from the Jewish community. An IRS 501(c)(3) entity.

Website Logo

Last but definitely not least, this opportunity is not about fundraising, but rather subscribing.
This Week in Palestine (published monthly, welcome to Palestine 😊) is the absolute leading English publication on Palestine, and I don’t say that because I’m frequently published there. If you desire to counter mainstream media’s negative take on Palestine with a dose of the real Palestine, this is a publication you do not want to pass up. The publisher sent this:
This Week in Palestine’s (TWiP) website is now available by subscription; however, the entire content will be accessible as a free trial to everyone until end of December 2016. We hope that our friends and loyal readers will subscribe now, and at the same time we want to give an opportunity to others who are less familiar with TWiP to go through the current December 2016 issue to make up their minds (or see what they will be missing should they decide not to subscribe!)

Thank you for your generous support and Happy Holidays to all.