On the first weekend in February, academics, activists, students and community leaders from across the US will converge on the University of Pennsylvania for the 2012 National Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Conference.
Picking up where the 2009 Hampshire conference left off, we will continue growing the movement with two days of panel discussions, debates, activist workshops, and keynotes by Ali Abunimah and novelist Susan Abulhawa touching on every aspect of the multifarious global effort to heed the BDS Call and bring an end to Israel’s system of oppression, segregation and dispossession.
Our speakers include journalists, professors, artists, writers, lawyers, and human and civil rights activists from various ethnic, religious, cultural and social communities. Special attention will be devoted to building alliances and uniting in struggle with other constituencies engaged in resistance to bigotry in all its forms, from African Americans to those fighting for LGBT rights.
Saturday’s sessions will focus on comparative historical, sociological and philosophical analysis of BDS, both in its Israeli-Palestinian context and as a general tactic. Voices critical of certain aspects of BDS will be represented, and “tough questions” for the movement will be dealt with in a progressive, universalist framework. Sunday’s sessions will foreground movement-building and provide participants with the practical tools they need to launch or enhance BDS campaigns in their communities.
We believe the conference will be an invaluable resource for new activists and a momentum-building opportunity for those already engaged with the fight for Palestinian freedom and equality.
PENNBDS 2012 Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions ConferenceFebruary 4‐5, Preliminary Agenda
All panels subject to revision and speakers to final confirmation
Friday, February 3, 2012
7:00pm – 10:00pm: Reception and Film Screening
Saturday, February 4, 2012
9:00am – 11:00am: Opening Session
“Back to the Basics in Palestine: Time for Unity, Synergy and Mobilization”
Susan Abulhawa (Novelist)
“BDS Successes, Challenges, and Options for 2012”
11:15 – 12:45pm: Breakout Session I
“BDS and the LGBT Community: Pinkwashing Apartheid”
Sa’ed Adel Atshan (Harvard University), Sherry Wolf (ISO), moderated by Prof. Heather Love (Penn)
“What is ‘Delegitimization’?”
Prof. Ania Loomba (Penn), Noura Erakat, et al.
Anna Baltzer (U.S. Campaign to End the Occupation), Andrew Kadi
1:00pm – 2:00pm Lunch Plenary
“Lessons from the South African Struggle”
Bill Fletcher, Jr. (Activist), Prof. Eve Troutt‐Powell (Penn), HelenaCobban (Journalist)
2:15pm – 3:45pm Breakout Session II
“Palestine in International Law”
Noura Erekat (Attorney and Prof., Georgetown)
“The Economics of Israeli Occupation”
Dalit Baum (Who Profits?), Ahmed Moor (Journalist)
[Session under construction]
4:00pm – 5:00pm Plenary
“A Debate on Academic Boycott”
Prof. Anne Norton (Penn), Prof. Hamid Dabashi (Columbia), et al.
5:15pm – 6:45pm Breakout Session III
“BDS, Hillel, and the Question of Anti‐Semitism”
Rebecca Vilkommerson (Executive Director, Jewish Voice for Peace), LizaBehrendt (Young, Jewish and Proud)
“Packaging the Movement: ‘Apartheid’ or ‘Jim Crow’?”
Bill Fletcher, Jr.
“BDS and the Black Community”
Rev. Grayland Hagler, Gerald Lenoir (Interfaith Peace Builders), Rev. Carolyn Boyd
7:00pm – 8:00pm
Ali Abunimah (Founder, Electronic Intifada)Sunday, February 5, 2012
9:30am – 11:00am: Plenary
“The Zionist Response to BDS: Legislating Repression, Branding Israel”
Max Blumenthal (Journalist, The Nation), Prof. Sarah Schulman (CUNY)
11:15 – 12:45pm: Breakout Session IV
“BDS on Campus I: Divestment Workshop”
Glen Pine (NYU), Dina Omar (Columbia, UC Berkeley), Ilana Rossoff (Hampshire)
“Launching a Successful Consumer Boycott”
Nancy Kricorian (Code Pink), Hannah Schwatzchild (Philly BDS)
Talking to Beginners About BDS, Israel and Zionism
Pamela Olson (memoirist), Kristin Szremski (American Muslims for Palestine)
1:00pm – 2:00pm Lunch Plenary
“JVP Presentation: The TIAA‐CREF and Go and Learn Campaigns”
Rebecca Vilkommerson (Jewish Voice for Peace),
Glen Pine (NYU)
2:15pm – 3:45pm Breakout Session V
“BDS on Campus II: Academic Freedom”
Bina Ahmed (Attorney)
“Journalism and the Palestinian Struggle”
Max Blumenthal, Helena Cobban, Phil Weiss (Mondoweiss)
“BDS 2.0: New Media Technologies for the Movement”
Abe Greenhaus (Palestine Freedom Project)
4:00pm – 5:00pm Plenary
“A Faith‐Based Approach to BDS”
Rev. Grayland Hagler, Rabbi Brian Walt, Cyrus McGoldrick (CAIR)
5:15pm – 6:45pm Breakout Session VI
“Community Coalition Building”
Nancy Kricorian, Abe Greenhaus
“BDS and Literary Expression”
Remi Kanazi (poet), Susan Abulhawa (novelist), Dina Omar (poet)
“Direct Action and Spectacle”
Alli McCracken (Code Pink), Lubna Hammad (Adalah‐NY)
7:00pm – 8:00pm
Closing Remarks (PennBDS Staff)
Ali Abunimah is a Palestinian American journalist and co-founder of Electronic Intifada. A graduate of Princeton University and University of Chicago, Abunimah has contributed to many publications, including The Chicago Tribune and The Los Angeles Times. He has also served as Vice President on the Board of Directors of the Arab American Action Network, and is a fellow at the Palestine Center.
Please note that speakers do not necessarily support the BDS movement.
Andrew Kadi is a human rights activist and steering committee member of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation who has written for the Guardian’s Comment is Free, Mondoweiss, Electronic Intifada, and other publications.
Ahmed Moor is a Palestinian-American journalist whose works appear regularly in Al Jazeera English, the LA Times, the Huffington Post, and Mondoweiss, among other publications. He is currently a graduate student of Public Policy at Harvard
Nancy Kricorian is a graduate of Dartmouth and Columbia and acclaimed poet and author of two novels. She is coordinator of CODEPINK NYC, a grassroots peace and social justice movement founded in 2002.
Bill Fletcher, Jr is a Senior Scholar for the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, DC and editor of BlackCommentator.com. He is a labor, racial justice and international activist and was a key player in both the anti-Apartheid and US Civil Rights movements.
Max Blumenthal is an American journalist and author of the New York Times bestselling book, “Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement That Shattered the Party.” Blumenthal is a writing fellow at the Nation Institute and Senior Writer for Al Akhbar English.
Anna Baltzer is a Jewish American author and activist Palestinian human rights activist. She serves on many committees, including the Middle East committee of the Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom and the Board of Directors of The Research Journalism Initiative.
Susan Abulhawa is a Palestinian American and an award-winning author. Her debut novel, Mornings in Jenin, is an international bestseller soon to be adapted as a film. Susan is also the founder of Playgrounds for Palestine, an NGO dedicated to upholding the Right to Play for Palestinian children.
Dr. J. Kehaulani Kauanui is associate professor of American studies and anthropology at Wesleyan University. Kauanui serves on the advisory board of the USACBI (US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel). She is the author of Hawaiian Blood: Colonialism and the Politics of Sovereignty and Indigeneity (Duke University Press, 2008). Kauanui is a co-founder of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association, as well as the producer and host of a public affairs radio program, “Indigenous Politics: From Native New England and Beyond” that is syndicated across ten U.S. states through the Pacifica Radio network. Her research areas include: settler colonialism; comparative indigeneity; anarchism and the state; and decolonization & nation-building.
Dr. Hamid Dabashi is Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. He is the founder of Dreams of a Nation, a Palestinian Film Project, dedicated to preserving and safeguarding Palestinian Cinema.
Remi Kanazi is an American born Palestinian poet and author of two books, “Poetic Injustice: Writings on Resistance and Palestine,” and “Poets for Palestine.” He is co-founder of Poeticinjustice.net, an online resource of writing on Palestinian life and politics.
Philip Weiss, a Harvard graduate, and self-described “anti-Zionist” Jewish writer, is the co-editor of the acclaimed online news site, “Mondoweiss.” This site, dedicated to the “war of ideas in the Middle East,” is a widely read source of alternative coverage and debate on the region. Weiss is also the author of several books.
Rebecca Vilkomerson is the Executive Director of Jewish Voice for Peace, a national grassroots movement which seeks to promote peace, human rights, and “full equality for all people of Palestine and Israel.” She lived in Israel for several years, and has contributed to a number of publications.
Rev. Graylan Hagler is the Senior Minister of Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ in Washington, D.C. Hagler has been a long time advocate for racial, economic, and social justice, and lead the Free South Africa Movement to call for divestiture from the former apartheid regime.
Dr. Eve Troutt Powell teaches history of the modern Middle East at the University of Pennsylvania. She received her B.A., M.A, and Ph.D from Harvard University, and has published extensively on topics related to Africa and the Middle East, including her book, “A Different Shade of Colonialism: Egypt, Great Britain, and the Mastery of Sudan.”
Sherry Wolf is a prominent activist, journalist, and author who focuses on LGBT equality, human rights, and economic justice. In addition to her books, she has contributed to multiple publications, including the Nation, New Politics, and Dissident Voice, and has served as co-editor of the International Socialist Review.
Dr. Heather Love is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania and author of “Feeling Backward: Loss and the Politics of Queer History.” She has contributed to multiple publications related to sexuality, politics, and women’s studies.
Dr. Dalit Baum is a co-founder of “Who Profits from the Occupation”, an activist research initiative of the Coalition of Women for Peace in Israel. She also teaches at Haifa University and the Beit Berl College in Israel, focusing on militarism and the global economy from a feminist perspective.
Dr. Anne Norton is a professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania and a faculty member in the Middle East Center. Her research interests include colonialism and post-colonialism, identity and history, and tradition and revolution.
Dr. Sarah Schulman is a novelist, playwright, journalist, and professor of English at City University of New York (College of Staten Island). Her awards include the 2009 Kessler Award for her ”Sustained Contribution to LGBT Studies” from the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and two American Library Association Book Awards. Professor Schulman is on the Advisory Board of Jewish Voice for Peace and is a Fellow at the New York Institute for the Humanities at New York University. She is the author of countless books and articles, including a groundbreaking New York Times op-ed on the “pinkwashing” of Israeli human rights abuses.