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Meeting Minutes:

Mid-East Peace Committee – 11.8.2018


Mid-East Peace Committee Minutes
11.8.18 7:15 pm

La Madeleine on Mockingbird Ln. Dallas near S.M.U.

PRESENT: Don Dillard, Aftab, Siddiqui, Mavis Belisle, Hisham Syed, Bill Maxwell, Roger Arnold, Hadi Jawad, Youssef Hassan, Shahrukh Kureishy, Leslie Harris, Saad Shaqaih, Paul Dille

GAZA: We considered how the Mid-East Peace Committee could collaborate with non-profits to assist those in Gaza and at the same time promote concerns and keep the issues in the front.  Don suggested we engage Baitulmaal AHED, 2300 Valley View Lane, Irving, TX 75062 with the executive director of Suileman Alghanem.  Saad suggested that we go with the tried and true Kinder USA which he has some personal contacts.  Kinder USA currently has a Chickens for Gaza project. Bill Maxwell said that he would do some research and report back.

Saad informed that the Texas Board of Education had proposed educational criteria that were not fair for students including requiring verbal report explaining how the Wholesale rejection of recognition of the state of Israel by all Arabs made peace difficult to achieve.   He suggested that we may formally register our objections.  Several agreed to contact the Texas Board of Education personally.

IRAN: We noted that the newly re-imposed sanctions are quite tough and are hurting the Iranian economy as a whole.  The price of oil may consequently rise, the people of Iran will be the ones who suffer most.  Our “ask” is for the U.S. congress to recertify that Iran is in compliance with the CPOA.

YEMEN: We reported the current state organization of our Mid-East Peace Subcommittee headed by Hadi: 1. We’ve agreed to raise money for the effort, 2. The Dallas Peace and Justice Center has committed $1500 toward the effort. 3.  Both Natasha Rappazzo and Nichole Daniels have agreed to assist with communication and organizational support.  4. Bill will call a first meeting of the “Yemen Committee.”

Submitted by:

Don Dillard, Co-Chair
Mid-East Peace Committee


Meeting Minutes:

Mid-East Peace Committee – 06.14.2018


Minutes of Mid-East Peace Committee


7:00 pm  La Madeleine on Mockingbird Lan near SMU

Present: Mavis Belisle, Bill Maxwell Co-Chair, Patricia Murphy, Joyce Hall, Aftab Siddiqui, and Don Dillard Co-Chair


DISCUSSION: Bernie Sanders’ letter denouncing the Blockade of Gaza, J-street’s philosophy that a Democratic and Jewish state is impossible unless there is a viable two state “solution” to allow a lasting Jewish majority in Israel, Recent vote of the U.N. General Assembly critical of the violence by the IDF in Gaza, the non-profit in support of clean water in Gaza:


  1. Don will contact George Mason at the U.N.T. Castleberry Peace Institute about the possibility of a student led advocacy of divestment and boycott of the U.S. companies actively profiting from the wall and illegal settlements in the Palestinian territories.
  2. Joyce will contact Dallel Mohamed of Kinder U.S.A. asking her to present at the next MEPCommittee on July 12 about ways Americans may support non-profits helping children and medical infrastructure in Gaza without running afoul of the “anti-support of terrorist organizations.”


DISCUSSION: Bombing of Doctors Without Borders Clinic, U.A.E. plan to send ground troups into Huddaydah port, U.S. active assisting U.A.E. and Saudi war crimes by refueling and replacing equipment,  U.N. statement that Yemen is the greatest humanitarian disaster to date, the recent political justification that Iran is supporting the Houthis, Iran is bad, and stoping Iran is justifies the violence in Yemen.


  1. Bill will draft a statement for Dallas Peace and Justice Center’s website
  2. Members will contact the state Department and Saudi, and U.A.E. Embassies/consulates.


DISCUSSION: Turkey is set to purchase jet fighters from the U.S. and the Fort Worth area is key in this effort.  We should be alert to opportunities to make known our concerns in a public way.

Submitted by Don Dillard, Co-Chair

Mid-East Peace Committee of the Dallas Peace and Justice Center




Meeting Minutes:

Mid-East Peace Committee – 02.08.2018


FEBRUARY 8, 2018

Call to order 7:15 P.M.

PRESENT: Aftab Siddiqui, Joyce Hall, Saif Islam, Leslie Harris, Mehry Cornett, Hadi Jawad, Sumbel Zeb, Bill Maxwell Co-Chair, Caleb Bay, Rais Bhuiyan, Muhammed Kamel, Shahrukh Kureishy, Don Dillard Co-Chair, Mavis Belisle, Hisham Sayed, Patricia Murphy, Marvin Wiser.

  1. We want to collaborate with CAIR-North Texas, Council on American Islamic Relations. Some from the CAIR board have invited collaboration. We hope to arrange to meet in the near future.

  2. We considered the Texas Anti-Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions Law previously known as HB 89 with provisions to: 1. Instruct the Texas Comptroller to make a list of “all companies that boycott Israel.” 2. Barred state agencies from contracting with companies on the list. 3. Prohibited state pension funds from being invested in firms involved in BDS. The law specifically includes those territories occupied or controlled by the state of Israel, but does not criminalize the promotion of BDS.

  3. Hadi led in discussion of Saudi Arabia’s led war, bombing, and blockade of Yemen with the full cooperation and assistance of the U.S. resulting in Cholera, Famine, and civilian deaths which the U.N. has called a humanitarian disaster. Hadi will organize efforts to lobby the regional director of Senator Cornyn’s office.

Promotion and announcements of future events: 1. on not diverting moneys to prepare for war rather than undergird social safety net programs; 2. Meet Russian citizens visiting Dallas, 3. Send young future activists/lobbyist to D.C. to be educated, trained, and encouraged by Friends Committee on National Legislation.

Next Meeting: Thursday March 8, 2018 @ 7P.M.

Adjourned: 8:15 P.M.

Don Dillard, Co-Chair



Meeting Minutes:

Mid-East Peace Committee – 01.11.2018


JANUARY 11, 2018


PRESENT: Bill Maxwell, Co-Chair, Atique Rehman, Shahrukh Kureishy, Joyce Hall, Damon Jamil Tyler, Patricia Murphy, Aftab Siddiqui, Carolyn Bentley, Saif Islam Hisham Syed, Don Dillard, Co-Chair.

Called to order: 7:10 P.M.

  1. “Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions” as a strategy that was attributed to effectively pressuring and contributing to the end of Apartheid in South Africa. Currently Europe is pressuring Israel along with several American religious institutions by BDS against international companies which actively support the wall and other concrete assistances of Israel in building settlements. It seems obvious that those in favor of current Governmental policies in Israel are quite concerned and recognize BDS as a serious threat to the moral legitimacy of the current system. In future meetings we are anticipating hearing from legal experts describing the current law in Texas.
  1. We discussed the humanitarian crisis in Yemen and the resultant suffering due to Saudi led carpet bombing and blockade with U.S. military collaboration, tactical support, and political cover. We noted that due to pressure from congress the White House moderated its position to the better which suggests that contacts with our representatives may actually have positive results. HB81 was specifically mentioned as something to be supported.
  1. We considered the protests in Iran having been initiated by those sympathetic with hard line ideological positions. We considered the prospects for the “Nuclear Deal” if/when the U.S. withdraws its support. Bill, Joyce, Aftab, and Don reported on the teleconference last Friday with Kate, Lobbyist for Friends Committee on National Legislation, FCNL Legislative Director for the Middle East. P.M.

Adjourned 8:10 P.M.

Don Dillard, Co-Chair

Meeting Minutes:

Mid-East Peace Committee – 08.10.2017



Present: Don Dillard, Co-Chair; Juha Jussila; Shirley Hsia; Vanna Ngo; Aftab Siddiqui; Joyce Hall; Mavis Belisle; Carolyn Bentley; Saif Islam; Diane Baker; and Hadi Jawad

Call to order: 7:25 P.M. by Co-Chair: Don Dillard

1. After briefly discussing the “crisis of the day” of U.S./Korea relations we tended to agree that it may be important for the Dallas Peace and Justice Center to address issues but that the best venue to take a recommendation is the Nuclear Free World Committee of which Mavis is Co-Chair and they meet tomorrow.

2. Hadi thanked those who attended his lecture of U.S./Saudi Relations and offered to repeat it at other appropriate venues.

3. Hadi gave current information about the Trump Administration’s recent pronouncements of concerns that Iran has not been in full compliance with the nuclear agreement. He suggested that at the next available opportunity (6 months) that the U.S. may “de-certify Iran’s compliance.” We noted that the other four signers have roles in the certification process and have generally/mostly been OK with Iran’s behavior related to the treaty. ACTION: Hadi agreed to draft a position paper to be considered by Dallas Peace and Justice Center for approval.

4. We received a report from the Dallas Palestine Coalition which is led by Alia Salam about the current efforts in the North Texas area in support of the B.D.S. (Boycott/Divest/Sanction of corporations involved in the Occupied Territories) movement. We were given a brief history of the movement and of the vitality in England, France, and Switzerland. Current concerns include HB 169 and SB 720 which attempt to make support of BDS illegal in the U.S. A training event is scheduled for August 19 at Muslim American Center in Carrollton. Requested to “Like Dallas/Palestinian on Facebook.”

5. Aftab announced that Josh Huebner of Campaign for Palestinian Rights will be in town August 19 with an opportunity to meet at 6 PM August 19. Details to follow

6. Mavis announced an event of the Nuclear Free World scheduled for August 26.

Don Dillard, Co-Chair

Meeting Minutes:

Mid-East Peace Committee – 07.13.2017



Present: Hadi Jawad, Bill Maxwell, Co-Chair, Mavis Belisle, Shahrukh Kureishy, Hisham Sybd, John Derewith, Joyce Hall, Lon Burnam, Richard Miller, Don Dillard, Co-Chair

Call to order: 7:05 P.M.
1.    Hadi reported on the upcoming lecture:

Has the U.S - Saudi Relationship Outlived its Utility?
For five decades, Saudi Arabia has spread its narrow, puritanical and intolerant version
of Islam across much of the Muslim world threatening regional and international stability.
Hadi Jawad of the Dallas Peace and Justice Center argues that this decades old 'special
relationship' no longer serves the U.S national interest and should be ended.

When:  6 PM Saturday, July 22
Where: Roma's Italian Restaurant & Pizza
             7033 Greenville Ave Dallas, TX

(2 blocks north of Park Lane, on the West side of Greenville and across the street from  O'Reilly Auto parts).

$3 Contribution to the Complex of Colleges (buy your own dinner

2.    Report on Yemen and the water/food/public health disaster
3.    Moment of Silence for Mosul Iraq
4.    Amnesty International has two officers imprisoned in Turkey for efforts supporting a free press. National Public Radio just aired a long interview of Gulan. Check out the podcast.  Consider writing the Turkish embassy for addresses see Amnesty International.
5.    Wissal reported of her recent trip to Palestine.  She said, “I don’t call it Israel.” She relayed stories of hunger strikes by prisoners, economic hardship for Arab owned businesses in East Jerusalem and of her trip to Hebron.  She noted that Israel has recognized the benefit of natural gas in Gaza and has approached Hamas about an “in kind” swap.
6.    Hadi closed the meeting with an inspirational reading.

Adjourned: 7:55 P.M.
Next regularly scheduled meeting: August 10, 2017 7 P.M. at La Madeleine on Mockingbird Ln. Dallas near S.M.U.
Don Dillard, Co-Chair

Meeting Minutes:

Mid-East Peace Committee 12.08.16

DATE: 12.8.16
TIME: 7:30 PM
PLACE: La Madeleine on Mockingbird Near SMU
PRESENT: Aftab Siddiqui, Joyce Hall, Bill Maxwell, Co-chair, Wissal Abusaad, Mavis Belisle, Hadi Jawad, and Don Dillard, Co-Chair

  • 1. Dr. Shahrukkh Kureishy spoke with passion and knowledge about the mistreatment of the Rohyngya peoples.  He was welcomed, thanked given suggestions, offered assistance in publicizing his concerns and connected to Wissal for further support especially to organize a Cultural event.

  • 2. Wissal presented her  efforts in support of Palestine  She highlighted efforts to assist widows and others in selling indigenous crafts and in building alliances especially with Native American Peoples.   These were well received and offers of assistance and support were given.

  • 3. Don briefly mentioned news of Syria and passed out a current press article highlighting Assad’s intention to “win” with military intervention rather than negotiation.

Announcing: Dallas Peace and Justice Stakeholder’s Meeting: Saturday January 28, 2017 at Mix Co-Working Space at the basement level of the fellowship hall of White Rock United Methodist Church located at 9125 Diceman Dr. Dallas, Texas 75218

Next Meeting: January 12, 2017 at 7 P.M. at La Madeleine on Mockingbird
Don Dillard, Co-Chair



Meeting Minutes:

Mid-East Peace Committee 10.13.16


10.13.16: Mid-East Peace Committee
7 P.M. La Madeleine on Mockingbird Ln near SMU
Present:   Don Dillard, Jennifer Hancock, Jameela OOmerjee, Mehry Cornett, Joyce Hall, Mavis Belisle, Dawn Rivera, Hadi Jawad, Aftab Siddiqui

Catherine Bently in writing suggested that DFW International Community Alliance though in a leadership transition would be a good website to visit.  Noted the recent press given to refugees by the Presbyterians, Dr. Mary ?Kahill? on local NPR with the co-sponsorning of the IRC and Refugee Services of Texas.  Jameela and Don updated the committee on Texas Governmental declining to administer the federal funds for refugee resettlement as an temporary inconvenience with unlikely negative consequences for the non-profit resettlement agencies in the North Texas area.  The U.S. Congress will soon be allocating funds for resettlement and the lobbying/encouraging effort is being organized locally with some of this committee on the “hot alert e-mail list.”

Hadi updated the committee on his letter in the Dallas News about the U.S. selling $115 Billion in arms to the Saudis used to wage war on Yemen.  He gave information about the U.S. entry into direct use of U.S. missiles deployed in the last couple of days.

Brief conversation about Turkey’s involvement in Syria, and the ongoing political issues with Gulan and the Dialogue Institute Oct 21st sponsoring Fr. Buddy Nonel of New Orleans in a local lecture at the Turquoise Center of Richardson .

We heard from several about the worsening situation in Syria including involvement of new international players including China sending ground soldiers to Syria.  Hadi expressed concern that there is an active disinformation campaign in the media characterizing the “White Helments” led by Raed Saleh as neutral when in fact they are Al Quida. Aftab agreed to do further research.  


    Try to set up a conference with the Dallas News to consider Yemen
    Engage Senator Cornin

Respectfully submitted,
Don Dillard, Co-Chair Mid-East Peace Committee



Meeting Minutes:

Mid-East Peace Committee – 03.10.2016


PRESENT: Bill Maxwell, Don Dillard, Carolyn Bentley, Wissal Abussad, Joyce Hall, Mavis Belisle, Leslie Harris, Walid Ajaj, Aftab Siddiqui, Jameela Oomejee, Betty Jane Ferguson
1.       Senator and Congressional visits: We want to focus on one or two “asks” each visit.  This time lets focus on A. formal diplomatic recognition of Palestine, and B. the lessening of the blockade of Gaza. Jameela will draft a summary and Bill,Wissal and others will review prior to our visits.
2.       Bill will draft a letter in support of and praise of the efforts to use diplomacy in the peace process in Syria.  This may be an op-ed piece, letter to the editor, or peace center press release.
3.       Announcing the panel discussion on Syrian refugees in Texas and the law at SMU on Wednesday March 23.
4.       Jamilla will invite representatives from the Islamic Speakers Bureau to our next committee meeting
5.       Leslie went to a Human Rights Initiative, HRI, at the Holocaust Museum. Syrian Immigrants already in the US and the high bar for refugee and asylum status was discussed.
6.       Joyce and Aftab reported on the emotional impact of the three pastors having returned from Greece and their efforts to support those fleeing violence.
7.       Walid updated on Saudia Arabia’s use of violence in the region focused on Yemen including the quagmire and secret negotiations.  
8.       Leslie reported on the Code Pink award in Germany and the Israel government’s  effort to discredit all in support of BDS as anti-semantic.
Thursday April 14, 2016 at 7 P.M. at La Madeleine on Mockingbird
Submitted by:
Don Dillard, Co-Chair

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