Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Bustan - Devorah Brous/Ra'ed Mickawi U.S. Speaking Tour

If you have been reading the articles on this Blog, you know much about the extraordinary Devorah Brous who, nine years ago, founded Bustan (if not, look at the five part series beginning here). Attached below is a her letter of resignation as Director and the schedule of her U.S. tour speaking engagements with the new Director, Ra'ed Al Mickawi. I encourage you to attend one of these so that you can hear them speak about their not only symbolic but critically needed projects.



Shalom, Marhaba

It is with both excitement and a touch of sadness that I write to let you know that my last day as director of BUSTAN will be September 30th, 2007. I'm leaving Israel, likely to pursue a PhD while helping establish Friends of BUSTAN, U.S.

For years, I've dreamed of transitioning BUSTAN to new leadership that reflects the diversity of our community. Our staff, board, interns, and consultants now include Israelis, both Jewish and Bedouin, as well as internationals - leaving us well positioned both locally and internationally. We also recently opened our Green Center in Beersheva, so we have a home in the Negev. With these accomplishments, I leave BUSTAN with full confidence - knowing that our innovative work will continue to grow and flourish in the competent hands of Ra'ed Al-Mickawi and our experienced staff. Ra’ed was born and raised in Tel Sheva, a government-planned Bedouin township, and worked previously in filmmaking and public relations. He joined BUSTAN after covering our project to build the Tel Sheva Learning Site for Medicinal Herbs. He was so inspired that he made a complete career change - this is indicative of the passion and commitment that Ra'ed brings to the job and I am sure that under his leadership BUSTAN will thrive.

We have continued the struggle with integrity. We have gained many supporters that challenge forced relocation policies, the unsustainable industrialization of land and culture and its accompanying bankrollers and supporters - the greenwashers. We have gained members and friends that promote the fair and sustainable allocation of public resources. I planted seeds 9 years ago that have now sprouted into an orchard with a 4 person staff and a humble Green Center in Beer Sheva, with some of Israel's most renowned and visionary green designers as BUSTAN consultants. There is much work to be done to go beyond slogans and symbols as we strive to affect change in the Negev's “Last Frontier.”

Thank you, each and every one of you. I recognize the time and energy you've given, the abundance of creativity you've offered, the teachings and lessons we've shared, the pains we've worked through over the years have impacted my life. BUSTAN has been an incredible journey for me, much more than just a job. Working with our community in the fight for social and environmental justice in the Negev has really opened my eyes to see what is unseen in the world. It has been both a challenge and a gift to work alongside you in this struggle.

Shalom, Masalaama, Devorah


Shalom, Marhaba
What: Rooting and Uprooting: Cultural and Political Landscapes
When: October 10th-30th, 2007
Who: Outgoing BUSTAN Director, Devorah Brous and New BUSTAN Director, Ra'ed Al-Mickawi
Devorah and Ra'ed will discuss the political ecology of the Negev, and help us recognize what is 'unrecognized' this marginalized part of Israel - an area populated by Jews and Bedouin. How are "environmentally-conscious" development projects to remap the blueprint of the Israel's "Last Frontier" irreversibly impacting landscape and ancient desert cultures? What can we do to catalyze and steward a healthy and sustainable connection with the Land, and all of its people? Come and learn about BUSTAN, engaged in small-scale, local efforts to root social justice.

BUSTAN is a partnership of Jewish and Arab eco-builders, architects, academics, and farmers promoting social and environmental justice in Israel/Palestine. BUSTAN cultivates models of sustainable resource use and combines in-depth political analysis with strategic action. BUSTAN utilizes the principles of permaculture and non-violent direct action across ethnic divides.

Devorah Brous — Founder, BUSTAN An American-Israeli, Brous graduated from the University of Vermont, and moved to Israel in 1993. She has spent the past 14 years catalyzing projects and designing, and running campaigns in Israel and the Occupied Territories to promote social and environmental justice. Devorah holds 2 masters degrees in Israel Studies and Peace/Conflict Studies, with a concentration in conflict transformation. In 1999, she founded BUSTAN. Brous is a writer, and an internationally-renowned speaker on the conflict between Israel and the Bedouin; Greenwashing; and the political and strategic aspects of environmental policies in the region.

Ra'ed Almickawi - Director, BUSTAN Ra'ed was born and raised in the government planned township of Tel Sheva in the Negev. Ra'ed's background is in filmmaking and journalism, which he studied in the Television Journalism department of Sapir Academic College in the Negev. He worked for six years in television production, advertising, and corporate branding and image development. In 2006, Ra'ed returned to Sapir Academic College to study cinema, and in 2007 he established the revolutionary internet-based television station He ran as a part of Sendyan Public Relations, a company he founded with his brother. It was through developing news stories about BUSTAN that Ra'ed encountered BUSTAN. He is excited about this opportunity to merge his expertise in filmmaking and journalism with community building and social justice activism through BUSTAN. Ra'ed lives in Tel Sheva with his family.

Arcata, CA Wednesday, October 10th, 2007, 7PMTemple Beth El, P.O. Box 442,

Eureka, CA 95502(707) 444-2846 bethel@reninet.comWebsite: Naomi Steinberg,

Bay Area, CA Saturday, October 13, 6:00 PM The International House - 10 College Park Road, DavisLive Music and Light RefreshmentsPresented by Friends of Bustan, U.S. and Israel Peace Alternatives

Sunday, October 14, 7:00 pmFellowship Hall, First Baptist Church - 305 N. California Ave (at Bryant), Palo Alto$5 - $15 Suggested donation // Wheelchair accessibleSponsored by Peninsula Peace and Justice Center, South Bay Jewish Voice for Peace, Multifaith Voices for Peace and Justice For information, please call (650) 326-8837

Monday, October 15th, 7:30 pm Chochmat HaLev Center for Jewish Spirituality - 2215 Prince St. South Berkeley $5-20 donationPlus special guest Moh Alileche will perform traditional Amazigh music from his native Algeria.

Tuscon, AZ Wednesday, October 17th - TBA

Thursday, October 18th, 6:00 PMTemple Emanu-El, 225 Country Club Rd. (Tentative)Contact info: Racheli Gai (520) 407-1432

Phoenix, AZ Thursday, October 19th - Friday, October 20thTBA

Bloomington, Indiana Sunday, October 21st, 4-6pmWylie Hall Room #015 at Indiana University campusAllison Marie Strang:

Detroit, Michigan TBAAlan Habar -

Illinois, Chicago Tuesday, October 23rd, 7pmAFSC Headquarters, Grace Place, 637 S. Dearborn, 7 PMContact info: Lynn Pollack,, 312- 427-2533, Cell-312-847-902-4455;Miryam Rashid,, 312-427-2533x18.
Wednesday, October 24, 6PM Orland Park LibraryContact info: Ray Hanania,, Cell- 312-933-9855; Fax- 708-575-9078..

Ohio, Yellow Springs, Thursday, October 25th, 7PM Antioch CollegePatricia Mische, geapatmische@aol. com, 937-769-1083, 212-870-3290.
Friday, October 26th - Sunday evening, October 28 Community Solution Conference Pat Murphy,, 937-767-2161; alternative (more likely); 937-767-2161Jay Rothman, jrothman, Cell-937- 580-5102 will provide 10/26 & 10/27 lodging (1050 President St., Yellow Springs).
Overall Back-up: Howard Cort, Chicago & Yellow Springs howard@empireone. net, 773-472-7828

Northampton, MA Monday, October 29, 7PMRabbi Riqi Kosovske,, 413-587-3770BUSTAN event held at Florence Congregational Church with Beit Ahavah - The Reform Synagogue of Greater Northampton130 Pine Street, Florence, MA 01062

Albany, NY October 30th - TBAMeet with Leaders of Mohawk Nation, Stuart, and Stone of CanadaR Stone

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