American Muslims for Palestine

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American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) "calls for an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands, the right of return for Palestinian refugees, an end to Israeli settlement construction and an end to Israel’s siege on Gaza. AMP supports the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions as a peaceful tool to force Israel to comply with international law."

American Muslims for Palestine "is headquartered in Palos Hills, Illinois and has an office in Washington, D.C., where staff conduct educational outreach on Capitol Hill, national coalition building and engage with members of the national media. AMP has chapters in Illinois, New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and California."[1]

Who is AMP?

From their website (verbatim):

"The American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) is a national education and grassroots-based organization, dedicated to educating the American public about Palestine and its rich cultural, historical and religious heritage. The organization was founded in 2006 and opened its national offices in Palos Hills, IL in 2009.
"AMP’s mission is accomplished through the creation and dissemination of credible, high-quality educational materials, through community-based programing and engaging with regional and national media. AMP works alone and in broad-based coalitions consisting of faith-based organizations, communities of color and other civil society organizations. Because justice is a tenet running strongly through many faith traditions, AMP works in interfaith coalitions consisting of Jews and Christians as well as other similarly aligned organizations. AMP rejects all forms of racism, bigotry, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism. (Read AMP’s anti-racism statement).
"AMP works to educate the American public about justice in Palestine from within American policy context and under human rights and international and American law, primarily the Fourth Geneva Conventions, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Declaration on the Rights of the Child, the US Arms Export Control Act and the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961. AMP calls for an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands, the right of return for Palestinian refugees, an end to Israeli settlement construction and an end to Israel’s siege on Gaza. AMP supports the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions as a peaceful tool to force Israel to comply with international law.
"As an American organization, AMP does not take a stance on the final outcome and supports the right of Palestinians who live in the region to decide their own future and the way forward to achieve freedom and dignity. AMP represents the highest American ideals of freedom, dignity and pursuit of happiness for all, and calls for American policy that represents these ideals. AMP’s work is based on the belief that any solution must be based on the hopes and aspirations of Palestinians living under occupation and diaspora with the unequivocal support for the right of return for those expelled in 1948.
"AMP is an independent, non-partisan and unaffiliated organization, governed by a national board of directors and which has chapters across the nation. It is funded solely by private donations in the U.S. resulting from community support through key annual campaigns, such as the annual Palestine Policy Day on Capitol Hill, annual Nakba commemoration events, public lectures, workshops and seminars at Islamic and other organizational conferences; supporting campus activism as well as working in broad-based coalitions focused on BDS and key legislation. Additionally, each year AMP’s annual educational conference is the largest gathering for Palestine in the United States.
"AMP is headquartered in Palos Hills, IL and has an office in Washington DC, where staff conduct educational outreach on Capitol Hill, national coalition building and engage with members of the national media. AMP has chapters in Illinois, New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and California.
"AMP’s position on any given set of issues are present in official communiqués coming from the national office in the forms of press releases, action alerts, statements and educational emails, as well as from our designated speakers, which include our national leadership and authorized staff, when they are speaking in the capacity of AMP. AMP is a nonprofit organization. Its fiscal sponsor is AJP Educational Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization.

Our Mission

"The mission of the American Muslims for Palestine is to educate the public about the just cause of Palestine and the rights of self-determination, liberty and justice. Through providing information, training and networking with like-minded individuals and organizations that support peace, AMP will raise awareness of the issues pertaining to Palestine and its rich cultural heritage."

AMP Staff

From their website:[2]

"Dr. Osama Abuirshaid is the National Policy Director and a board member of American Muslims for Palestine (AMP). He is a board member of the U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), an umbrella organization of eight major national American Muslim organizations. He lectures frequently on Middle East and American politics. He is a regular commentator on Palestinian and Middle Eastern affairs as well as on the American domestic and foreign policy on various Arabic satellite T.V. channels such as Aljazeera. He authored or coauthored several books in Arabic and he published dozens of studies and articles in Arabic and English, on issues relevant to the Middle East and its political climate. He is the co-author of the controversial study: "Hamas: Ideological Rigidity and Political Flexibility," which was published by the United States Institute of Peace in 2009. He is a community activist and speaker. Abuirshaid completed his PhD in Political Science at Loughborough University in the United Kingdom.
"Taher Herzallah is the Associate Director of Outreach & Community Organizing for American Muslims for Palestine. In this capacity, Mr. Herzallah acts as a liaison between campus activism groups on campuses across the country. He helps these groups procure grants, materials and speakers and is also instrumental in helping students set up programs and activities. Mr. Herzallah also coordinates AMP's grassroots organizing and helps facilitate national coalition building . He is also working to develop AMP chapters across the country.
"Mr. Herzallah is one of the 'Irvine 11,' a group of students who were arrested and prosecuted for expressing their constitutionally protected rights of free speech and political dissent when they walked out of a speech given by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren at UC Irvine in 2010. Mr. Herzallah was also one of six people arrested for protesting the appointment of David Friedman as US ambassador to Israel at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing in February 2017. Mr. Herzallah has had articles published in various media outlets including the Orange County Register and Al Jazeera English. He has been featured on several media and radio interviews throughout the country and internationally. Mr. Herzallah studied Political Science and International Affairs at UC Riverside.

AMP National Board

In support of Rep. Ilhan Omar

American Muslims for Palestine teamed with other leftist organizations to defend Rep. Ilhan Omar in the wake of her statements against Israel. Excerpt of Statement[3] in support of Rep. Ilhan Omar in March 2019:

"Together, Muslims, Christians, Jews, human rights activists, concerned citizens, and people of conscience who proudly stated that they #StandWithIlhan, sent a loud and clear message to lawmakers that they will not allow her to be muzzled and smeared for opening a critical discussion on the political influence of AIPAC and other Zionist lobby groups.
"This morning, AMP participated in a press conference in front of the Supreme Court as part of a coalition of several human rights and social justice groups to express support for Rep. Omar, who has come under vicious attack by Zionist politicans [sic] and groups for her courageous criticism of the Israel lobby.
"After the delegation hand delivered a joint statement in support of Rep. Omar to Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office and visited Rep. Omar in a show of solidarity, this afternoon Sen. Bernie Sanders publicly condemned efforts by Democratic leadership to rebuke her for her criticism of the Israel lobby."

Letter to Nancy Pelosi

Here is the letter and list of signatories, including Osama Abuirshaid and Nida Sahouri Ali of American Muslims for Palestine:[4]

"March 5, 2019
"The Honorable Speaker Nancy Pelosi
"U.S. House of Representatives
"Washington, DC 20515
"Dear Speaker Pelosi,
"It has come to our attention that the House Democratic leadership plans to introduce a resolution originally intended to reprimand Congresswoman Omar for critical comments she made about Israel. We urge the Democratic senior leadership to instead pass a resolution that equally condemns antisemitism and Islamophobia, as well as religious bigotry of all kinds, condemns anti-Black racism and xenophobia, and condemns physical threats against any members of Congress especially those who are persons of color or otherwise minorities.
"We, the undersigned organizations and individuals, stand with Representatives Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib and their vision of a world without racism and oppression, and we reject the vicious and racially-motivated bad-faith smears against them, including false charges of antisemitism, accusations of links to terrorism, and death threats.
"We believe that it is critical for the resolution to condemn all forms of bigotry. In today’s political climate, antisemitism and Islamophobia are frighteningly prevalent, their flames being fanned at the highest levels, including by the current presidential administration. We must work hand-in-hand to combat them together. A congressional resolution cannot afford to glance over the alarming spike of actual antisemitism, Islamophobia, and religious bigotry in the U.S. today, particularly from the far-right that is by far the greatest purveyor of hate crimes, as statistics show. To single out Congresswoman Omar with unfounded accusations of antisemitism in itself perpetuates an Islamophobic stereotype that Muslims are inherently antisemitic. Americans, including Muslims, can and should be, able to criticize Israeli policies or American policies toward Israel without being falsely accused of antisemitism.
"Furthermore, no nation-state should be above criticism. No lobby, whether representing foreign or domestic interests, should be above criticism. Criticizing Saudi Arabia or the Saudi lobby is not inherently Islamophobic; similarly, criticizing Israeli policies or the Israeli lobby is not inherently anti-semitic. Representative Ilhan was consistent in her critique of both. Censoring and silencing political commentary, even on sensitive issues deemed unpopular by some, weakens our democracy and is counter to the interests of our country and our core values of free political expression. The Democratic leadership should also not gloss over or erase the many prominent Jewish voices who penned op-eds, ran interviews, or took to social media to echo the above points.
"It is crucial for the resolution to also condemn anti-Black racism and xenophobia. As a Black Muslim woman, Representative Omar is uniquely and personally threatened by the exceptional atmosphere of unfair scrutiny of her right to engage in legitimate political debate. With the current rise of white nationalism and xenophobia, bigotry certainly includes but also certainly extends well beyond antisemitism, and the Democratic leadership would be dangerously tone-deaf not to mention the horrific significant rise in violence, hate crimes, and death threats against all communities of color.
"We also call on you to condemn any threat of violence against members of Congress who are people of color. While we are opposed to violence, or threats of violence, to any member of Congress whatsoever, we recognize that the most vulnerable people among our elected officials are those who come from communities of color. Representative Omar has been at the receiving end of death threats and accusations of links to terrorism, as publicly displayed in the West Virginia statehouse. These attacks on her are rooted in both racism and Islamophobia, and we have no doubt that the politically motivated accusations of antisemitism are actually fueling these threats.
"Since she has taken office, Representative Omar has consistently been one of the most progressive voices in Congress. We are grateful to her for her consistent and principled stance in support of economic justice, racial justice, immigration justice, environmental justice, justice for the oppressed including Palestinians, and an end to war. The Democratic leadership should celebrate and support her instead of abandoning and condemning her.
"We urge you to pass a resolution that condemns all bigotry and racism. We call on you to pursue this opportunity to demonstrate moral leadership and unity, particularly as the 2020 elections loom large.
Linda Sarsour, CAIR, Communists support Rep. Ilhan Omar

Signed,

Statement on Bassem Masri

American Muslims for Palestine issued a statement[5] in the wake of Bassem Masri's death in November 2018 titled "AMP Mourns the Passing of Fearless Activist Bassem Masri":

"(St. Louis, MO 11/29/2018)—On behalf of the American Muslims for Palestine Board of Directors, chapter leaders, and staff, we convey our deepest condolences to the family and community of fearless Palestinian-American grassroots activist and member of the AMP-Missouri Chapter, Bassem Masri. We belong to Allah and to Him we shall return إِنَّا لِلّهِ وَإِنَّـا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ‎.
"Bassem passed away on Tuesday at the young age of 31 after suffering a heart attack. For years, he was most known for his passionate activism for justice in Palestine and for racial justice here in the U.S. An active protester in Ferguson, he live-streamed the demonstrations against police brutality and the murder of Michael Brown. Since yesterday, tributes and condolences from prominent journalists and activists across the justice movement have poured in on social media, with many highlighting Bassem’s unapologetic beliefs and immense kindness toward others.
"“Masri was the Palestinian voice on the black table and the black voice on the Palestinian table. He connected the two struggles,” said AMP-Missouri Chapter leader, Muath Salameh. On Facebook, a family member described him as, “A gentleman who was fierce when he faced injustice. In his short life he did as much if not more to unit the fight for black liberation and Palestinian liberation. We ask everyone to pray and make duaa for Bassem and his family. May Allah accept his sacrifices for justice and overlook his flaws and mistakes.”
"A longtime Palestine activist in St. Louis, Bassem was active in the creation of the AMP-Missouri Chapter earlier this year and was a strong voice on behalf of Palestinians at the recent Presbyterian General Assembly, where members voted on resolutions in support of Palestinian human rights. “Every time we had a meeting, Bassem would find a way to be there. Since he didn’t have a car, he would sometimes ride on a bus for up to two hours just to make sure he was present,” Salameh added.
"One of AMP-Missouri’s flagship projects is to support AMP’s Annual Palestine Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C. AMP-Missouri was officially formed following its leaders' attendance of this legislative advocacy program, and the chapter was eager to continue its civic engagement work. In fact, Bassem had already announced his candidacy in the 2020 election for state representative at the Missouri House of Representatives and was hoping to “inspire a generation of Palestinians to get involved in government.”
"AMP-Missouri is heartbroken that Bassem will not be able to fulfill his goal of attending Palestine Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill or run for office. To honor his legacy, Bassem’s family, along with the AMP-Missouri chapter, is establishing The Bassem Masri Memorial Fund for Justice . The goal is to raise $20,000 in the coming days to sponsor 31 Palestine advocates—one for each year of Bassem’s life—to attend AMP’s 5th Annual Palestine Advocacy Day & Training on April 5-8, 2019. And, because Bassem was equally passionate about black liberation, the fund will contribute to Hands Up United, an organization that Bassem personally worked with whose vital work is to combat state-sanctioned violence against people of color.
"“Bassem was a social justice warrior committed to Black liberation and freedom for Palestinians,” said Sandra Tamari with the Adalah Justice Project and The St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee. “His work in Ferguson was an inspiration to me and so many Palestinians. Supporting the movement for Palestinian rights and the work of Hands Up United is a fitting tribute to Bassem's life and legacy.”
"Rev. Darryl Gray, a veteran of the civil rights movement, remembered Bassem for his social justice activism. “Without hesitation, it was an honor being in the presence of this young warrior. I was inspired by his courage and commitment to human justice. It is my prayer that his work will continue to resonate through those of us who benefited by his light," he said.
"AMP-Missouri Chapter member Neveen Ayesh also paid tribute to Bassem and believes that investing in civic engagement and justice work will best honor his memory. “He and I spoke often of our political interests and how we both wanted to pursue positions in office in the near future. I am confident when I say that, had he been given the life and opportunity, he would’ve contributed so many great things to St. Louis society and outside of it. May he rest in peace and power.”
"From Ferguson to Palestine, Bassem’s work and legacy embodied the struggle for justice and equality for all.

"Committed to Return" Conference

Linda Sarsour and Osama Abuirshaid at "Committed to Return" conference flyer September 2018.

CAIR - Missouri and American Muslims for Palestine hosted a conference titled "Committed to Return: Midwest Palestine Conference" in St. Louis on September 30, 2018.[6],

SCHEDULE

Our Duty to Palestine: Opening Ceremony

  • Muath Salameh, American Muslims for Palestine - Missouri Chapter
  • Imam Djilali Kacem, Dar Al-Jalal
  • Dr. Osama Abuirshaid, National Policy Director of American Muslims for Palestine

12:30 Jerusalem, Trump, and the “Deal of the Century”

  • Dr. Osama Abuirshaid, National Policy Director of American Muslims for Palestine

Winning Hearts & Minds: How to Clearly Talk About Palestine

1:30

DUZHR SALATH

ON YOUR OWN LUNCH

2:30 No, “They” Don’t Control Everything: Clearing Misconceptions & Promoting Civic Engagement

3:30 Take the Leap & Run for Office

The Fight for BDS: How we Defeated Missouri's Anti-BDS Bill

5:00 ASR Salath

Transition into Evening Banquet

Guests Take Elevators to top Floor

6:00-9:30 Evening Banquet Dinner, Fundraising & Live Entertainment

Keynote:

YOUTH SESSIONS 10:30 DOORS OPEN

11:30 Our Duty to Palestine: Opening Ceremony

12:00 Winning Hearts & Minds: How to Clearly Talk About Palestine

Learn to Dabke

Our Spiritual Connection to Palestine

1:30 Duzhr Salath

On Your Own for Lunch

2:00 Ferguson to Palestine Bridging Divides Building Power

Winning with Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions BDS

3:30 Youth Organizing at School, Palestinian Art & Fashion

5:00 ASR Salath

Transition into Evening Banquet

Guests Take Elevators to top Floor

6:00- 9:30 Evening Banquet Dinner, Fundraising & Live Entertainment

Keynote:

Attendees

From the Facebook Invitation:[7]

"Join us to educate, mobilize, and celebrate to free Palestine and Jerusalem from brutal illegal occupation. Listen to inspiring and heart shaking stories from keynote speakers. Attend effective mobilizing workshops to create real, dramatic and grassroots change. Inspire the next generation of young activists with youth specific programs & activities. Enjoy & socialize during the evening banquet with authentic Palestinian cuisine, live entertainment & inspiring talks."

The following individuals attended the conference according to Facebook:

References