The Oakland-based Americans For Justice in Palestine (AFJP) is an anti-Israel group that lobbies for the so-called “right of return” for Palestinian refugees. The refugees on whose behalf AFJP works are the approximately 725,000 who left their homes during the early phases of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. Seeking out a temporary safe haven during what they anticipated would be a brief conflict that the Arab invaders would undoubtedly win, those refugees fully expected to return to their homes once the fighting had stopped and the Jews had been exterminated. Instead, the Arab armies were defeated. Today AFJP calls for the re-admittance not only of the relatively few remaining survivors who were among the 725,000, but also for the admittance of more than 5 million of their descendants — which would render Jews a permanent minority in their own country.
In an effort to end Israel’s status as a predominantly Jewish state, AFJP exhorts the American government to cut off all economic funding to Israel, and to help force the latter into a “one-state solution” whereby Israel would become a secular country called “Palestine-Israel,” or simply “Palestine.” AFJP also lends its name to petitions calling for similar or related actions.
Americans For Justice in Palestine was founded by filmmaker Wendy Campbell, a veteran of the 1960s anti-war movement who contends that suicide bombers’ actions “are taken out of context” by their critics, and that “one of the reasons that 9/11 happened was because of the injustices happening in the Middle East, most specifically the Israeli Occupation.” Characterizing Israel as a “racist country” ruled by an “apartheid regime,” Campbell calls hopes of achieving a two-state solution “obsolete.”
Starting in June of 2003, Americans For Justice in Palestine organized a monthly anti-Zionist rally titled the Rachel Corrie Banner Project, named in honor of the late International Solidarity Movement activist Rachel Corrie, who was accidentally crushed by a bulldozer while she was protesting the Israeli Defense Force’s demolition of a Palestinian suicide bomber’s home in March 2003. The AFJP demonstrations were strategically planned to take place at political events and outside the offices of elected officials.
On March 16, 2004, AFJP participated in a large-scale National Day of Action for Rachel Corrie, urging supporters to organize vigils in Miss Corrie’s remembrance, and to ask their Congressional representatives to co-sponsor a resolution calling upon the U.S. government “to undertake a full, fair, and expeditious investigation into the death of Rachel Corrie.” Other participants in this event included: Al-Awda, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, the American Friends Service Committee, Council for the National Interest, Jews Against the Occupation, Jews for a Just Peace, Jews for a Free Palestine, Not in My Name, the Palestine Children’s Welfare Fund, Palestine Media Watch, the Palestine Solidarity Movement, Partners for Peace, Pax Christi, Students for Justice in Palestine, SUSTAIN, US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, Veterans for Peace, Women in Black, and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.
AFJP co-sponsored a Palestine Solidarity Movement national conference at Ohio State University in November 2003. Other co-sponsors included Action LA, Al-Awda, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Amnesty International, Code Pink, Duke Divest, Friends of Sabeel, Jews Against the Occupation, Jews for a Free Palestine, Left Turn, MADRE, Malia – Collective of Italian American Women, the Middle East Children’s Alliance, the Muslim Students’ Association of the U.S. and Canada, SUSTAIN, US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, the Union of Arab Student Associations, and Women Against War.