The best of AFOPA in 2018

The best of AFOPA in 2018

The Australian Friends of Palestine Association (AFOPA) shares some highlights from the events, campaigns, meetings and work achieved in 2018.

We take this opportunity to thank the hundreds of members and donors whose support makes all this work possible - Thank you for being a friend of Palestine.

Become a friend of Palestine - join AFOPA here >>

International guests

ShiberHur Theatre Company

The Palestinian theatre company, ShiberHur, performed two plays during the Adelaide Festival in March 2018. The actors generously gave some hours of their time to visit with AFOPA members and friends at the Palestine Centre in Adelaide, providing a wonderfully intimate opportunity to learn more about their work. See theatre review >>

Ramzy Baroud, author and journalist

Both Australia and New Zealand hosted Palestinian author and journalist, Ramzy Baroud, during the worldwide launch tour of his new book, The Last Earth: A Palestinian Story. As part of South Australia’s History Festival, AFOPA hosted the Adelaide book launch during his Australian visit, which was attended by over 60 people. See photos and more >>

Noura Erakat, attorney and human rights advocate

Palestinian-American attorney, Noura Erakat, delivered the 14th annual Edward Said Memorial Lecture in July 2018. AFOPA co-hosted the event with the Adelaide Festival of Ideas, which saw over 600 people attend the event in Adelaide Town Hall. AFOPA then arranged Noura’s Australian speaking tour which saw her visit Melbourne and Sydney, and also do interviews with Australian television and radio. See photos and more >>

Gerard Horton & Salwa Duaibis, Military Court Watch

AFOPA has provided funding over many years to the Palestinian legal organisation, Military Court Watch, so it was a privilege to host their first Australian speaking tour in August 2018. Gerard Horton and Salwa Duaibis are the formidable team behind Military Court Watch, which addresses the issue of Palestinian children in Israel military detention and prisons. Gerard and Salwa addressed AFOPA’s Annual Dinner. See photos and more >>

Dr Olfat Mahmoud, Palestine refugee and humanitarian

Olfat Mahmoud, founder and director of the Palestinian Women’s Humanitarian Organisation (PHWO) based in the Bourj al-Bourajneh refugee camp in Lebanon, visited Adelaide in August 2018 for the launch of her biography, Tears for Tarshiha. In her book Olfat tells the story of her career as a registered nurse, peace activist and director of PWHO. It highlights Olfat’s life mission – to fulfil the dream of her parents and grandparents to return to their hometown, Tarshiha in Palestine. See photos and more >>

AFOPA Campaigns in 2018

Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign

The super-dedicated AFOPA BDS activist group achieved a massive milestone in August 2018 - 400 weeks of regular weekly actions on the streets of Adelaide campaigning and educating the Australian public about the situation of the Palestinian people. Read Margaret’s “congratulations” blogpost honouring that milestone. And in October 2018 the AFOPA BDS group celebrated 8 years of activism in support of the Palestinian boycott call - watch their video here.

During 2018 AFOPA continued to support the campaign against Israel’s blood diamonds as European activists took up the fight during Brussels’ chairmanship of the Kimberley Process. This followed on from our 2017 campaign against the sham of the Kimberley Process during Australia’s chairmanship.

In March 2018, AFOPA activists were outside Roger Waters’ concert at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre supporting Roger’s principled stance in support of the Palestinian boycott call.

During 2018 AFOPA also supported the national petition campaigns - Drop G4S and Boycott Eurovision 2019.

Learn more about AFOPA’s BDS campaign here >>

End Israel’s military detention of Palestinian children

Following the international outrage against Israel’s arrest and imprisonment of 16-year-old Palestinian girl, Ahed Tamimi, in early 2018, AFOPA launched a petition campaign to the Australian Foreign Minister calling on the Australian Government to condemn Israel’s action and release Ahed and all Palestinian child prisoners. The campaign saw over 300 emails sent directly to the Foreign Minister. However, we still await an adequate response from the Australian Government and this campaign continues - be sure to send your email today >>

Historical & Cultural Perspectives

AFOPA’s resident historian, Dr David Faber, published numerous articles and reviews for both AFOPA and international media sites. See all David’s published work here >>

Humanitarian Campaign

The untiring efforts of Dr Francis Nathan and his wife, Merlin Nathan, and their regular medical missions continued with their two visits to Palestine in May 2018 and December 2018. And in June 2018 a flash fundraising appeal raised over A$35,000 to purchase medical equipment for the Rafidiah Hospital in Nablus, Palestine, where Francis regularly works. Early in 2018 AFOPA was also able to send funds to assist with sanitation infrastructure support for a pediatric hospital in the Gaza Strip.

AFOPA’s current fundraising appeal is working to support Palestinian children in the refugee camps of Lebanon - please make a tax-deductible donation today >>

Recognise Palestine

In late 2018 AFOPA supported our national peak body, the Australia Palestine Advocacy Network (APAN), in their campaign calling on the Australian Labor Party to Recognise Palestine. A long campaign of lobbying and meetings and talks was rewarded with the ALP resolution to “call on the next Labor Government to recognise Palestine as a state” - see APAN Media Release, APAN Fringe event.

This campaign also saw the indefatigable John Salisbury lace up his walking shoes for his third Walk For Palestine - an epic walk of over 730km from Melbourne to Adelaide with the specific purpose to hand his letter to the ALP asking them to Recognise Palestine as a state. AFOPA supported John throughout his walk, welcomed him to Adelaide at the Palestine Centre, and joined his last kilometre to the Adelaide Convention Centre to meet the ALP. See the photos and read John’s article about his journey here >>

Events highlights from 2018

Along with the various events listed above - the annual Edward Said Memorial Lecture and AFOPA Annual Dinner - here’s some other highlights from 2018.

Run For Palestine

A perfect, sunny November Sunday in Adelaide saw some 200 supporters gathered at Bonython Park ready to run or walk the River Torrens Linear Park for Adelaide’s third annual Run For Palestine. This year also saw the addition of one more Australian city to the event - Canberra. The annual Run For Palestine is now run in 5 Australian cities: Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney, Perth and Canberra. See all the photos and fun of Adelaide’s Run here >>

Showcasing Palestine

The early half of 2018 saw AFOPA complete its schedule of Showcasing Palestine events. Well-known Adelaide thespian Paul Blackwell was joined by interstate guest Samah Sabawi and young local Palestinians to enjoy an evening of Poetry of Palestine. In February we had the wonderful fun of a Palestinian Cooking Course with two lovely local Palestinian Ladies, Enaam and Omaya. And in May we joined with new South Australian Palestinian community group, Glimmer of Hope, to hold a Palestine Cultural Day at the Migration Museum as part of the South Australian History Festival.

AFOPA Quiz Night

The famous AFOPA Quiz Night on 14 April 2018 saw over 160 people enjoy a spot of trivia with their evening picnics at Goodwood Community Hall. This annual AFOPA tradition dates back many years now and continues to be an important night of fun and fundraising for AFOPA. Hope to see you all ready to quiz again in 2019!

“Palestine Talks” - AFOPA Members’ Forum

In September 2018 we launched a members-only forum, Palestine Talks - topical talks on all things Palestine. This is a regular monthly forum for AFOPA members to learn, inquire and talk about all things Palestine, and to meet others of similar minds to discuss the issues. The forums have a guest speaker and are designed as a Q&A-discussion event in which all can participate to learn and engage more closely with the issues facing Palestine and the Palestinian people.  We had a great response to this new initiative and look forward to continuing with “Palestine Talks” into 2019.