EU TO WAGE DIPLOMATIC WAR AGAINST ISRAEL

Sweden recognized “Palestine” on the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, and on Monday the UK followed suit in a non-binding vote – now “frustrated” European officials reveal that they are ready to take their diplomatic war on Israel to the next stage.

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Hopefully this is the first stop on the road to the Hague

Hopefully this is the first stop on the road to the Hague

 

EU mulls ‘blacklisting’ settlers convicted of crimes

European diplomats consider new measures in response to ‘high level of frustration’ over West Bank settlement enterprise.

Reuters VIA

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European officials are looking at new ways to press Israel to halt its building of settlements on land the Palestinians want for a state, as frustration over West Bank construction reaches a new high, European diplomats say.

The discussions are at an early stage, but officials say the European Union may look at “blacklisting” Jewish settlers convicted of crimes from the EU and could examine the fine print of a free-trade agreement, although there is no talk of sanctions.

The measure being considered by the European Commission is to draw up a list of Israeli settlers who have been convicted of crimes and ban them from entering the EU, one official said.

“The paperwork has been done but it is frozen for now,” said the official. “It is basically a blacklist of violent settlers who have been accused of or convicted of crimes. It would prevent them from travelling to Europe.”

Such a step would probably only affect 100 to 200 people, and it might prove complicated to impose since some of those likely to be blacklisted also have European passports, but it would send a strong message that the EU means business, he said.

A series of steps by Israel in recent weeks, including the seizure of 1,000 acres of land near the Palestinian town of Bethlehem and plans to build 2,600 settler homes near Jerusalem, has angered the European Union, the United States and the United Nations, fuelling calls for a response.

Israel has regularly said its settlements are legal and an Israeli government official told Reuters on Tuesday Europe would be better off putting pressure on the Palestinians to live up to their obligations and recognize the legitimacy of Israel.

The EU has already imposed restrictions on loans to Israeli scientific institutions that operate in the West Bank and is moving ahead with plans to label products made in Jewish settlements.

“No one is talking about imposing trade sanctions on Israel,” said one EU country’s ambassador to Israel. “But there is a very high level of frustration and there are many instruments at our disposal to make that frustration clear.”

Another senior diplomat described Europe’s patience as “wearing thin”, with political sentiment shifting.

That shift was partly reflected in Sweden’s decision to recognize Palestine as an independent state this month and a non-binding vote in the British parliament on the same issue on Monday.

EU foreign ministers meet in Luxembourg on October 20, though it was not yet clear whether Israel will be discussed.

While many of the EU’s 28 member states have expressed concerns about Israel’s settlement policies, the country also has many staunch EU defenders. It is far from certain that there would be unanimous support for action against Israel.

An Israeli official said Europe was misguided. “By focusing only on one issue and only on Israel, they are not doing the Palestinians a favor and they are definitely not playing as productive a role as they could do in peace talks,” he said.

“Europe could be much more productive in its engagement if its messages to the Palestinians were that it’s time for them to fundamentally accept the legitimacy of the Jewish state,” said the official, who asked not to be named.

European diplomats and other officials mentioned several areas where the bloc could bring pressure to bear, including by strictly applying regulations contained in the Association Agreement signed between the EU and Israel in 1995.

That agreement sets out a very specific framework for free trade in goods, services and capital, presaging everything on “respect for human rights and democratic principles”.

Article 83 of the agreement makes clear that it only applies to the territory of the state of Israel, which one official said raised questions about how you deal, for example, with Israeli banks which operate on occupied land that the EU does not consider to be part of the state of Israel.

“I’m not saying we should stop dealing with Israeli banks, but it’s an issue that has been raised and some would say we need to look at it in more detail,” said the ambassador.

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RELATED …. from my ziocrap file

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EU Officials Weighing ‘Settler Travel Ban’ to Press Israel

European diplomats looking at ways to subvert trade agreement and bank cooperation as ‘diplomatic war’ on Israel ratchets up a level.
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EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton and PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah

EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton and PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah Reuters

SELF INFLICTED ANTI SEMITISM

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

The zionist Thought Police have mastered the art of "linguistic warfare" and have buried many with their Orwellian weaponry.

The zionist Thought Police
have mastered the art of
“linguistic warfare” and have
buried many with their
Orwellian weaponry.

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The event reported in yesterday’s post seems to have rocked the foundations of zion. The last thing Israel wants is to be publicly criticized, especially by American Jews. Even worse is when those very same Jews endorse the BDS Movement.

As always, Israel’s only defense is to lie about the situation and to use their latest tactic of artificial anti Semitism as is reported below …

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The following made headline news in the Israeli press ….

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Pro-Palestinian protesters chanted anti-Semitic statements in the arena when there was a call for donations to the IDF before the game. Other protesters also tried to disrupt the game by unfurling Palestinian flags on the court – they were removed by security.

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NY Jew assaulted outside Maccabi TA game in Brooklyn

Local community leader beaten by pro-Palestinian protesters after Israeli basketball champions lose to Brooklyn Nets.
Ynetnews
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Leonard Petlakh, a local Jewish leader in New York City, was assaulted by pro-Palestinian protesters at the Barclays Center on Wednesday.

Petlakh, a 42-year-old who runs one of the largest sports centers in the community, was rushed to the hospital with a broken nose and required eight stitches.

He was beaten by the demonstrators in front of his children, 10 and 14, who were accompanying him to cheer on Maccabi Tel Aviv in their loss to the Brooklyn Nets.

Pro-Palestinian protesters in Brooklyn (Photo: AP)

Pro-Palestinian protesters in Brooklyn (Photo: AP)

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According to the Jewish Daily Forward, Petlakh was upset that his sons witnessed the violence, but said that he hoped “it sends a strong message to them to stand up for their values as proud Americans and as those who will eventually volunteer to serve in the Israel Defense Forces.”

Pro-Palestinian protesters chanted anti-Semitic statements in the arena when there was a call for donations to the IDF before the game. Other protesters also tried to disrupt the game by unfurling Palestinian flags on the court – they were removed by security.

The incidents continued after the game, when Petlakh was assaulted. The Jewish leader filed a complaint with the police, which has launched a hate-crime investigation, and called for increased police presence at sporting events connected to Israel.

According to American media outlets, the incident was captured on closed-circuit cameras and the police is reviewing the footage.

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The American zionist Jewish Daily Forward had a slightly different report …. a wee bit more believable

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Pro-Palestinian Group Condemns Beating of Jewish Leader at Brooklyn Nets Game Protest

Jewish Voice for Peace Says ‘Horrified’ by Attack

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DIRECT ACTION FRONT FOR PALESTINE

By Gabe Friedman

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A pro-Palestinian organization expressed ‘horror’ at the attack on Jewish leader Leonard Petlakh during a demonstration after a Nets basketball game at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn Tuesday night — and called for an investigation into the incident.

Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), which supports Palestinian causes and often criticizes Israel, was one of the primary organizers of the protest, which slammed the Nets for holding a fundraiser with a group that supports the Israeli miltary.

It said the protest ended after the start of the exhibition game between the Brooklyn Nets and Maccabi Tel Aviv. Petlakh, director of the KIngs Bay Y, a Jewish community group, was punched in the face after the game while leaving the arena and suffered a cut that required eight stitches.

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Leonard Petlakh

Leonard Petlakh
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“If something happened after the game, which would have been several hours after the protest ended, it had nothing to do with us or the demonstration,” said JVP New York member Pam Sporn.

“(We) express our horror at the injuries that Mr. Petlakh suffered,” the group added in a press release. “We hope to know soon the full details of what happened.”

About 100 protestors, JVP and several other organizations, such as Adalah New York and Direct Action Front for Palestine, demonstrated outside the Barclays Center because the Nets were holding a fundraiser for Friends of the IDF.

As the JVP press release explains, these organizations expressed the view that “honoring the IDF only a few weeks after Israel’s attack on Gaza has ended contradicts our values as Jewish New Yorkers.”

Petlakh, 42, says he was attacked by demonstrators holding Palestinian flags as he walked out of the arena with his sons, ages 14 and 10, and a group of friends.

Police are investigating the attack. A police spokesman said Thursday that no arrests have been made.

IN PHOTOS ~~ APARTHEID AND WAR ARE NOT GAMES! BOYCOTT ISRAEL ON THE COURTS!!

When activists arrived at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn to protest a Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces fundraiser that was coupled with an exhibition game between the Nets and Israel’s Maccabi Tel Aviv, the police were waiting with a message of their own. As the night unfolded, this message spoke volumes. Protesters would not be allowed on the expansive plaza that unfolds from the front of the Barclays Center all the way to the Atlantic Yards subway entrance. Instead, they would have to be in a fenced-off pen on the narrow strip of sidewalk to the side of the arena. Yes, an outdoor space built with public funds was deemed a privatized, no-free-speech zone, enforced by armed public employees, otherwise known as the police.

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‘Israel’s War On Gaza Is Not A Game’: Scenes From the NBA Preseason Protest

IT STARTED AT WOOLWORTH’S IN 1960 …. AND NOW IT CONTINUES

That's me under the third 'O'

That’s me under the third ‘O’

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For many of us who were involved in the Civil Rights Movement’s early days, Woolworth’s was our first ‘battle ground’ Every week for over a year picket lines were set up in front of every Woolworth Store north of the Mason Dixon Line. We called for a boycott of the chain because of their discriminatory policies in the South.

We eventually won that ‘battle’ and the video below became history.

My own involvement …

I was considered a ‘normal’ kid while growing up in New York …. BUT one day in 1960 everything changed….
I was walking on the main street in my neighbourhood when I spotted a picket line in front of the local Woolworths. They were handing out leaflets calling for a boycott of the chain. Reason being that Blacks in the Southern states were denied service at their lunch counters.
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Picketers protesting the F.W. Woolworth store’s policy on lunch counter segregation NY,NY 1960
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I joined the protesters and continued on with them for the next year or so …. we finally won as Woolworths reversed their policy. But, one thing led to another and it certainly was not the end of the struggle.
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Unlike the title of James Dean’ movie, we were rebels WITH a cause …

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And today the ‘battle’ continues in South Africa …. they too will be victorious!

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South African Woolworth’s Chain Battles BDS Protests

Anti-Israel Activists Vow To Step Up Campaign

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WIKIPEDIA
 By JTA
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Woolworths of South Africa said it may take the BDS lobby to court for threatening its staff and customers.

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement has held more than 40 protests at Woolworths stores throughout the country in recent weeks.

“Our employees, of all faiths and cultures, are telling us that they are feeling increasingly threatened by the protests,” spokesman Babs Dlamini told the South African daily The Times on Sunday. “What’s more, the families of our employees have reported being abused and sworn at by BDS. “If this continues we will consider taking further precautions, including legal action against the individuals involved.”

It is not known if the protests have hurt Woolworths sales.

BDS reportedly plans to continue to pressure the company, Woolworths Holdings Limited, until its annual general meeting on Nov. 26.

Dlamini told the Times that Woolworths was not sure why it was being targeted because “more than 95 percent of our food is sourced locally [and] the government continues to authorize trade with Israel.”

BDS activist Mohammed Desai told the Times that the movement knows there are other companies in South Africa with ties to Israel, but said: “For now, Woolworths is our target. They are making a grave mistake by ignoring us and if we go to all those retailers our campaign will be diluted.”

In South Africa, BDS has received support from the African National Congress’ Youth League, and the Times reported that the movement has lobbied influential ANC supporters to put pressure on one of Woolworths’ largest shareholders, the Government Employees Pension Fund, which holds 17.2 percent of the shares.

Woolworths, one of the largest companies in South Africa, is not related to the U.S. chain F. W. Woolworth Company.

HOLLYWOOD BEGGING TO BE BOYCOTTED

STAND WITH PALESTINE AT
THE BOX OFFICE!
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download (1)

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“This is an unprecedented show of support by Hollywood for Israel. Not only does the list of signatories to our statement keep growing, their voice is being picked up by national, as well as international, press.”

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Hollywood support of Israel continues to grow

Among star signatories joining Schwarzenegger and Stallone are TV host Bill Maher, Academy Award nominee Minnie Driver, as well as major studio execs.

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WASHINGTON – After first expressing their support for Israel during Operation Protective Edge, members of the film industry posted an additional ad Saturday in the New York Times which included 300 of Hollywood’s most prominent figures expressing their “commitment to peace and justice.”

The stars have already planned their next target, setting their sights on Europe, particularly Germany and the city of London, where many they feel cultural figures operate against Israel.

“This is an unprecedented show of support by Hollywood for Israel. Not only does the list of signatories to our statement keep growing, their voice is being picked up by national, as well as international, press,” said CCFP (Creative Community for Peace) director Lana Melman.

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Arnold Schwarzenegger and Silvester Stallone (Photo: MCT)

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CCFP, an organization that brings together prominent members of the entertainment industry to counter the cultural boycott of Israel, applauded the hundreds of artists and executives who signed the statement.

Scores of celebrities and power-brokers from the Hollywood establishment have come out in support of Israel and a peaceful resolution to its conflict with Hamas.

Stars such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sarah Silverman and Seth Rogen expressed support for Israel and said Hamas “cannot be allowed to rain rockets on Israeli cities, nor … hold its own people hostage.”

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P1060644_wa
Comedian Sarah Silverman (Photo: Ayelet Yagil)

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The statement comes after weeks in which a number of celebrities, including Penelope Cruz and husband Javier Bardem, condemned Israel for its handling of conflict, with Cruz and Bardem even accusing Israel of genocide. But with the notable exceptions of comedian Joan Rivers and actors Roseanne Barr and Mayim Bialik, few have expressed support for Israel.

Aaron Sorkin, Academy- and Emmy-award winning screenwriter, producer, and playwright, commented on his own endorsement, stating, “The CCFP statement fully supports the right of the Palestinians in Gaza to live in peace and prosperity. We unambiguously condemn the values and actions of Hamas, a barbaric and brutal terrorist organization that is the enemy of basic human rights, equality, freedom, and peace.”

The statement has already run in major industry publications, including Billboard, Variety, the Hollywood Reporter, and Deadline Hollywood, as well as in mainstream national publications such as the Los Angeles Times. The ad was also sent to international publications from India to Romania, including the Times of India, the Latin Post, Italy’s Il Mattino, and Romania Libera.

“It is gratifying to see that recent events in Israel and Gaza have caused an outpouring of support for Israel in its fight against Hamas, whose founding charter calls for the death of all Jews and the obliteration of an entire nation,” said CCFP co-founder David Renzer.

“This support comes from all facets of the entertainment industry, including top musicians, actors, and executives. The unifying statement also comes at a time of growing concerns regarding the rise of global anti-Semitism, usually cloaked in anti-Israel sentiment,” added Renzer.

Among the signatories are veteran action stars Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, Jewish comedian Sarah Silverman, television host Bill Maher, Academy Award nominee Minnie Driver and owners of large Hollywood studios such as co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment Amy Pascal, Chairman and CEO of MGM Gerry Barber.

 

From

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The ad itself …

COMMITMENT TO MURDER

COMMITMENT TO MURDER

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See the full list of signatories HERE

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And the faces …. REMEMBER THEM WELL

ISRAEL’S POST WAR WINE LIST

download

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Listed below are Israel’s favourite new wines WHINES

(Click on links to see reports)

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Israel’s security problems require unique solutions – and a lot of money

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Israel August Tourism Numbers Take a Sharp Downturn From Last Year

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Human Rights Watch: Israeli attacks on Gaza UN schools are war crime

Like we didn’t know?

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After Gaza offensive, West Bank boycott of Israel gains strength

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Meanwhile, the people in Gaza are still faced with REAL problems …

They don’t whine about them because they know no one is listening

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Only the living dead ignore the cries of the living

Only the living dead
ignore the cries
of the living

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Israeli navy forces open fire at Gaza fishermen

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Israeli bulldozers enter Gaza border area

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Over 200,000 Palestinian laborers unemployed in Gaza

UPDATED GUIDELINES FOR THE ACADEMIC BOYCOTT

Hawking Guardian 1

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PACBI urges academics, academic associations/unions, and academic — as well as other — institutions around the world, where possible and as relevant, to boycott and/or work towards the cancellation or annulment of events, activities, agreements, or projects involving Israeli academic institutions or that otherwise promote the normalization of Israel in the global academy, whitewash Israel’s violations of international law and Palestinian rights, or violate the BDS guidelines.

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How to boycott Israel: updated guidelines for academics

A Palestinian man inspects a classroom damaged by an Israeli air strike at a school in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, 24 August. (Abed Rahim Khatib / APA images)
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The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) recently updated its guidelines on how to apply the international academic boycott of Israel.

This comes at a crucial moment – in the wake of Israel’s latest spasm of horrifying destruction and mass killing in Gaza, and after a period of unprecedented growth in support for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS).

Calls for academic boycott will resonate more than ever particularly in light of Israel’s recent bomb attacks on university facilities in Gaza, its violent raids on universities in the West Bank and the financial and political support Israeli universities have themselves given to the carnage.

Right now, hundreds of thousands of Palestinian children in Gaza are not going back to school on time as a direct consequence of the Israeli devastation, while in the West Bank young children face such violence as tear gas fired at them on their way to class.

The school year in Gaza was scheduled to begin on 23 August but has been postponed; Israeli attacks since 7 July killed more than 500 children and injured thousands. In total220 schools were damaged, 22 of which were completely destroyed.

Children will not be able to go back to class until “war-damaged schools” are repaired and “unexploded ordnance” removed, the UN says.

When children do go back to class, learning will certainly be an even bigger challenge due to the fact that virtually the entire child population in Gaza is in need of psychosocial support due to the trauma of Israel’s 51-day bombardment.

Practical guidance

The updated PACBI guidelines are important for two reasons: they provide a practical reference that can be used to decide if a specific activity is boycottable and they can be used to debunk false claims made by opponents of the boycott, for example that the boycott stifles “academic freedom.”

A common false claim is that PACBI has called for a blanket boycott of Israeli individuals or even of Jewish individuals.

But, PACBI states: “Anchored in precepts of international law and universal human rights, the BDS movement, including PACBI, rejects on principle boycotts of individuals based on their identity (such as citizenship, race, gender, or religion) or opinion.”

A person’s activities are boycottable, however, when “an individual is representing the state of Israel or a complicit Israeli institution (such as a dean, rector, or president), or is commissioned/recruited to participate in Israel’s efforts to ‘rebrand’ itself.”

There are other circumstances as well, as the guidelines detail.

The PACBI guidelines “are mainly intended to assist conscientious academics and academic bodies around the world to be in harmony with the Palestinian call for boycott, as a contribution towards upholding international law and furthering the struggle for freedom, justice and equality.”

PACBI urges:

academics, academic associations/unions, and academic – as well as other – institutions around the world, where possible and as relevant, to boycott and/or work towards the cancellation or annulment of events, activities, agreements, or projects involving Israeli academic institutions or that otherwise promote the normalization of Israel in the global academy, whitewash Israel’s violations of international law and Palestinian rights, or violate the BDS guidelines.

Normalization and “fig-leafing”

Many Palestinians reject initiatives that they say constitute “normalization.” But what does this mean? Here is the definition provided by PACBI:

Academic activities and projects involving Palestinians and/or other Arabs on one side and Israelis on the other (whether bi- or multilateral) that are based on the false premise of symmetry/parity between the oppressors and the oppressed or that claim that both colonizers and colonized are equally responsible for the “conflict” are intellectually dishonest and morally reprehensible forms of normalization that ought to be boycotted.

Far from challenging the unjust status quo, such projects contribute to its endurance. Examples include events, projects, or publications that are designed explicitly to bring together Palestinians/Arabs and Israelis so they can present their respective narratives or perspectives, or to work toward reconciliation without addressing the root causes of injustice and the requirements of justice.

The guidelines gives examples of forms of joint activity that are and are notnormalization and also warn against “fig-leafing”:

International academics who insist on crossing the BDS “picket line” by pursuing activities with boycottable Israeli institutions and then visiting Palestinian institutions or groups for “balance,” violate the boycott guidelines and contribute to the false perception of symmetry between the colonial oppressor and the colonized. The BNC (including PACBI) rejects this attempt at “fig-leafing” and does not welcome such visits to Palestinian institutions.

PACBI also publishes guidelines for cultural boycott, which were updated in 2009.

The full academic boycott guidelines are here.

 

BDS GAINING MOMENTUM IN EUROPE

Despite Israel’s denials (and fears) the BDS Movement is gaining momentum in Europe

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LONDON — A branch of Sainsbury’s grocery store removed kosher products from its shelves, it said, to prevent anti-Israel demonstrations. The Tricycle Theater in north London, after hosting a Jewish film festival for eight years, demanded to vet the content of any film made with arts funding from the Israeli government. George Galloway, a member of Parliament known for his vehement criticism of Israel, declared Bradford, England, an “Israel-free zone.”

Mr. Galloway, in comments being investigated by the police, said, “We don’t want any Israeli goods; we don’t want any Israeli services; we don’t want any Israeli academics coming to the university or college; we don’t even want any Israeli tourists to come to Bradford.”

The war in Gaza and its aftermath have inflamed opinion in Europe and, experts and analysts say, are likely to increase support for the movement to boycott, disinvest from and sanction Israel, known as BDS.

“We entered this war in Gaza with the perception that the Israeli government is not interested in reaching peace with the Palestinians,” said Meir Javedanfar, an Israeli analyst at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, a private university. “Now, after the casualties and the destruction, I’m very worried about the impact this could have on Israel. It could make it very easy for the BDS campaign to isolate Israel and call for more boycotts.”

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Demonstrators in London this month protesting Israel’s operations in the Gaza Strip. Emotions are running high.CreditJustin Tallis/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

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Gilead Sher and Einav Yogev, in a paper for the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, warn that Gaza means Israel pays “a much heavier price in public opinion and in erosion of support for its positions in negotiations with the Palestinians.”

Along with reports of “familiar anti-Semitic attacks on Jews,” they said, “the movement to boycott Israel is expanding politically and among the public.”

Daniel Levy of the European Council on Foreign Relations points to the debate over halting arms exports to Israel, which has been given new momentum in Britain and Spain by the asymmetry of the Gaza war.

“You’re beginning to see the translation of public sympathy into something politically meaningful,” he said. He noted two tracks — the governmental one, which distinguishes between Israel and the occupied territories, and the social one of academic, commercial and artistic boycotts.

But for all the new attention around the BDS movement, the economic impact has been small, experts say. The European Union, which has been looked to for leadership on the issue, does not support the idea.

Instead, the Europeans are drawing a legal distinction between Israel within its 1967 boundaries and Israeli towns and settlements that are beyond them in occupied land. Brussels regards all Israelis living beyond the 1967 lines, including those in East Jerusalem, as settlers living in illegal communities whose status can be regulated only through a negotiated peace agreement with the Palestinians.

In matters such as scientific cooperation, funding for research, import duties and labeling requirements, Brussels has sought a strong relationship with pre-1967 Israel, while demanding a different status for institutions and products from beyond the Green Line, the armistice lines that ended the 1967 fighting but did not fix borders or create a Palestinian state.

Martin Schulz, the president of the European Parliament, said before the Gaza conflict that “there is no boycott” of Israel by the European Union, citing trade and scientific cooperation. “The European Union defends the right of existence of Israel with all its means,” he said. “The view that the Europeans are against Israel, I repeat it, is wrong.”

Some members of the 28-nation European Union are closer to Israel than others, but the bloc is united on Israel within its 1967 boundaries.

“Our relationship with Israel is close and one of the best we have in the region, but only with Israel in its 1967 lines unless there is a peace agreement,” said a senior European Union official who spoke on the condition of anonymity in keeping with diplomatic protocol. “We are clear, however, that what came under Israeli control in 1967 is not a part of Israel, so the settlements are illegal under international law and not helpful in the peace process.”

To that end, the European Union has demanded that all products produced by Israelis beyond the 1967 lines be labeled differently, and they are excluded from the duty-free trade agreement the bloc has with Israel proper. Goods from settlements are imported, but under different labels and tariffs. “There is no question of a boycott,” the European official said.

In an agreement last December on scientific exchanges and funding, known as Horizon 2020, Brussels insisted, despite fierce opposition from the Israeli government, on keeping Israeli institutions in the West Bank, like Ariel University, out of the deal. Since European funding is so important to Israeli academic institutions, the Israeli government gave in, attaching a legally meaningless appendix opposing the distinctions.

While some Israeli companies label goods produced in the West Bank as Israeli, the Europeans have tried to crack down, insisting that permits have a physical address attached and not simply an Israeli post office box. Goods can be labeled “West Bank” or as coming from a particular place, but cannot say “Made in Israel.”

The European Union has gone considerably further than the United States, declaring that Israeli settlements over the Green Line are “illegal” under international law; the United States simply calls them “illegitimate” and “obstacles to peace.”

Israel says its settlement activity is consistent with international law, although it accepts that some settlements are built illegally on privately owned Palestinian land and says that all will be resolved as part of a final deal with the Palestinians.

The United States also has no regulations requiring separate labeling of products from Israeli-occupied land.

The recent fuss over SodaStream and one of its spokeswomen, the actress Scarlett Johansson, was indicative of the passions raised. Oxfam insisted she quit SodaStream, which has a factory in the large West Bank settlement of Maale Adumim, or quit her work with Oxfam; Ms. Johansson chose to quit Oxfam. SodaStream defended itself by citing the number of jobs it was providing for Palestinians, who were being paid the same wages as Israeli workers.

The debate was indicative of shifting attitudes. During the period around the Oslo Accords, in the early 1990s, when peace seemed close and economic cooperation between Israel and the new, interim Palestinian Authority was considered an important part of a future relationship built on mutual dependency and confidence, factories in occupied territory were praised.

With the failure of Oslo to produce a Palestinian state, the tone has changed, and companies once seen by many as in the forefront of economic cooperation are now being seen by some as colonial occupiers undermining a future Palestinian state.

But the interconnection of Israel with the settlements is difficult to untie — every major Israeli bank has a branch in the settlements.

Some countries, like Britain, have gone further. Britain issued voluntary labeling guidelines in December 2009 “to enable consumers to make a more fully informed decision concerning the products they buy,” according to the UK Trade and Investment agency, because “we understand the concerns of people who do not wish to purchase goods exported from Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.”

More troubling to Israel, in December the agency warned companies and citizens to be “aware of the potential reputational implications” of investments in settlement areas. “We do not encourage or offer support to such activities,” it said.

But even these concerns should be distinguished from the organized BDS campaign against the state of Israel itself. Begun in 2005, the campaign is supposed to last, the Palestinian BDS National Committee says, until Israel “complies with international law and Palestinian rights.”

Its three goals are “the end of Israeli occupation and colonization of Arab land and dismantling the Wall,” “full equality” for “Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel,” and respect for the right of return of Palestinian refugees. Israelis see the first two as compatible with two states, but the third as the end of the Jewish state.

Then there is the associated effort at an academic and cultural boycott of Israel, which has attracted well-known figures like Stephen Hawking and Sinead O’Connor. Others defend artistic freedom or the unifying nature of culture, or believe, as the writer Ian McEwan said, “If I only went to countries I approve of, I probably would never get out of bed.”

WHO’S AFRAID OF THE BIG, BAD BOYCOTT?

Obviously, Israel is!

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bds-z

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With the Gaza ‘conflict’ seemingly on hold for the time being, Israel can now once again concentrate on their ‘other’ enemy …. HUMANITY.

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Staying away from McDonald’s, IBM, Estee Lauder, Soda Stream, Johnson & Johnson, Motorola, Siemens, Danone, Kimberly-Clark, Intel, Timberland, Caterpillar, Victoria’s Secret, Revlon and many other companies blacklisted by the organizers of boycott is not really possible for the ordinary consumer.

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OH YES IT IS!

AND IT’S OBVIOUSLY WORKING!

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Who’s afraid of the big, bad boycott?

Anyone seriously seeking to boycott Israeli products would have a hard time finding a real target on supermarket and drugstore shelves.
Adam Reuter IN
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Let’s start with the conclusion: Israeli exports are not affected by the present economic boycott, nor will they be affected in the future. This is not because certain European consumer groups and the like are not trying – it is because the unique nature of Israel’s exports simply does not allow for it. It’s a logical concept on paper, but simply does not hold water in reality.

The most obvious example of how the boycott concept is unsustainable is Israel’s trade relations with Turkey. In 2010, after Cast Lead, and the Mavi Marmara incident in particular, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (who is now trying to change the laws in his country in order to become something akin to a sultan) demanded a boycott of Israel at every opportunity.

And lo and behold – just the opposite has happened. Trade relations with Turkey, both exports and imports, have jumped dramatically and are now at the highest level – and almost 100% rise since 2009, long before the Mavi Marmara.
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Anti-Israel protest in Madrid, August 2014 (Photo: AFP)

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No interest in Gaza
Israel’s exports are driven by thousands of companies of all kinds, with the most diverse ownership and in a wide variety of markets, albeit with a low international profile. There is no Israeli company that is considered a global brand, and hence could be used as a clear indicator.

Many Israeli companies operate in niche areas, as an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) or as subsidiaries of foreign multinationals.

In addition, Israeli exports are almost never sold to the end consumer. In fact, this is the case for about 95 percent of Israel’s exports, almost all of which are involved in business-to-business (B2B) trade with the large international corporations who are only interested in the best product or service at the most competitive price.

With all due respect to what is happening there, the attacks in Gaza are not a consideration in the cold world of business, nor is really of any interest.

Tough task
Staying away from McDonald’s, IBM, Estee Lauder, Soda Stream, Johnson & Johnson, Motorola, Siemens, Danone, Kimberly-Clark, Intel, Timberland, Caterpillar, Victoria’s Secret, Revlon and many other companies blacklisted by the organizers of boycott is not really possible for the ordinary consumer.

An exploration of the websites of these companies reveals the names of very few Israeli exporters, and a multitude of huge multinationals. Israel boycotters will struggle to find products in the supermarket or drugstore, given the sheer number of massive international companies that do business with Israel.

Some of Israel’s farmers who export to Europe are in the boycotters’ crosshairs, yet agricultural produce only constitutes about 2 percent of Israeli exports. They are now experiencing some difficulties, but know from experience that life will return to normal once the conflict is over.

It may be possible to reduce the existing damage somewhat by diverting goods to Russia, which is currently boycotting the entry of agricultural products from Europe.

Most of the impact is felt in the factories of Ariel and Ma’aleh Adumim, both viewed as problematic by in the EU due to their location beyond the Green Line.

It is extremely unfortunate that these companies are forced to endure such censure, but the scope of their activity, in relation to Israel’s overall exports, is minute, and does not constitute even one thousandth of Israel’s total GDP. Looking at it on the macroeconomic level, the damage of boycotting these factories is negligible to the overall Israeli economy.

It’s time to calm down and free ourselves of this blind hysteria that is being promulgated, most likely for some political end or other.

BLOCK THE BOAT AND BOYCOTT ISRAEL!

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First a video update on BDS

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A new app called Buycott lets hundreds of thousands of users boycott products deemed to support Israel, something that is gaining popularity in light of the attack on Gaza.

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Why Activists Are Blocking an Israeli Ship From Docking on the West Coast

A coordinated “Block the Boat” solidarity action will leave Israel looking elsewhere to unload its goods.

Amidst the terror Israel has unleashed on Gaza, activists on the West Coast have organized a Palestinian solidarity action that is not only politically symbolic, but economically hits Israel where it hurts.

Starting Saturday, activists in Oakland, Los Angeles and Seattle plan to block an Israeli ship from unloading goods at their city’s ports as part of a larger boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. These “Block the Boat” actions come as a response to the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions’ call for supporters to “educate and build awareness among the labor movements of the U.S., and urge them to condemn the Israeli aggression and to boycott Israel.”

On Saturday, organizers in Oakland will march to the port and form a picket line in front of its gates early in the morning before the port workers, who are members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, are scheduled to begin their shift. Organizers are hoping to stop workers from unloading a ship owned by Zim Integrated Shipping Services, which is the biggest cargo shipping company in Israel and has ties to the Israeli government and military via stock ownership.

More than 1,000 protesters are expected at the Oakland action, said Reem Assil of the Arab Resource and Organizing Center, which is one of more than 70 groups endorsing the event.

“Symbolically for Oakland we can say, not in our name,” Assil said. “We’re not going to be complicit and an accomplice to the ongoing genocide and massacres going on.”

Oakland organizers have coordinated with supporters in Long Beach, CA, and the ports of Tacoma and Seattle in Washington in hopes that Zim won’t reroute to another port on the West Coast like it did four years ago. In 2010, in response to Israel’s attack on a flotilla bringing humanitarian aid to Gaza, Oakland activists and port workers made history by being the first to ever block an Israeli ship in the United States. That ship redocked in Los Angeles a day after, and unloaded there.

“This time, we want to make sure there’s a disruption to Israel commerce all over the West Coast,” Assil said, adding that this would cause a sustained economic burden on the company.

The Oakland organizers’ biggest coordination efforts, however, have been with the labor movement. In fact, the event, which was originally scheduled for August 2, was postponed in order to do more outreach to the ILWU workers.

“We don’t want workers to be alienated, we want workers to be part of the fight,” Assil said. “And so we have spent the last few weeks really honoring that commitment and building with the workers themselves.”

Assil said Block the Boat organizers and active members of the ILWU have been flyering and talking to members about the Saturday action in terms of “worker power”—especially because they are under negotiation for a new contract.

But these negotiations have made the action this year more complicated than in the past. For one, ILWU is unable to take an official stand on the action. Also, during negotiations there is no arbitrator who can evaluate the port during the Block the Boat action and deem working conditions unsafe; this happened in 2010, leaving workers with no option of crossing the picket line.

This, along with a loss of double-time pay for workers, presents difficulties for a successful action. An ILWU port worker named Anthony, who is spreading the word about Block the Boat, said he responds to co-workers’ financial concerns by talking about the bigger picture.

Anthony said, “I ask them, ‘Are you okay with innocent people being killed?’’’

 

Source

REMEMBER THIS THE NEXT TIME YOU CHEER FOR THE YANKEES

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Having been born and bred in Brooklyn, I was an avid Dodger fan in my youth ….

NOW I KNOW WHY

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New York Yankees Host Future Israel Soldiers

40 Making Aliyah To Serve in IDF

By JTA

The president of the New York Yankees hosted some 40 young men and women who are making aliyah and plan to serve in the Israel Defense Forces.

Randy Levine and his wife, Mindy, hosted the future soldiers at Yankee Stadium on Sunday prior to the game against the Cleveland Indians.

Many of the young guests were scheduled to arrive in Israel on Tuesday as part of an aliyah charter flight. Of the 338 people arriving on the flight, 108 will be joining the IDF.

The flight was organized by Nefesh B’Nefesh, Israel’s Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption and Keren Kayemeth Le’Israel in cooperation with The Jewish Agency for Israel, JNF-USA and Tzofim Garin Tzabar.

The new soldiers will be taken care of, in part, by the Nefesh B’Nefesh Lone Soldiers Program.

URGENT APPEAL FOR ACTION FROM THE PEOPLE OF GAZA

We call for a final end to the crimes and oppression against us. We call for:

  • Arms embargos on Israel, sanctions that would cut off the supply of weapons and military aid from Europe and the United States on which Israel depends to commit such war crimes;
  • Suspension of all free trade and bilateral agreements with Israel such as the EU-Israel Association agreement;
  • Boycott, divestment and sanctions, as called for by the overwhelming majority of Palestinian civil society in 2005

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Palestinians mourn victims of Israeli air strikes in Gaza City, 12 July.  (Mohammed Asad / APA images)

 

We Palestinians trapped inside the bloodied and besieged Gaza Strip call on conscientious people all over the world to act, protest and intensify the boycotts, divestments and sanctions against Israel until it ends this murderous attack on our people and is held to account.

With the world turning their backs on us once again, for the last four days we in Gaza have been left to face massacre after massacre. As you read these words, over 120 Palestinians are dead now, including 25 children. Over 1,000 have been injured including countless horrifying injuries that will limit lives forever –- more than two thirds of the injured are women and children.

We know for a fact that many more will not make it through the next day. Which of us will be next, as we lie awake from the sound of the carnage in our beds tonight? Will we be the next photo left in an unrecognizable state from Israel’s state-of-the-art flesh-tearing, limb-stripping machinery of destruction?

We call for a final end to the crimes and oppression against us. We call for:

  • Arms embargos on Israel, sanctions that would cut off the supply of weapons and military aid from Europe and the United States on which Israel depends to commit such war crimes;
  • Suspension of all free trade and bilateral agreements with Israel such as the EU-Israel Association agreement;
  • Boycott, divestment and sanctions, as called for by the overwhelming majority of Palestinian civil society in 2005

Without pressure and isolation, the Israeli regime has proven time and time again that it will continue such massacres as we see around us now, and continue the decades of systematic ethnic cleansing, military occupation and apartheid policies.

We are writing this on Saturday night, again paralyzed in our homes as the bombs fall on us in Gaza. Who knows when the current attacks will end? For anyone over seven years old, permanently etched on our minds are the rivers of blood that ran through the Gaza streets when for over three weeks in 2009 over 1,400 Palestinians were killed, including over 330 children.

White phosphorous and other chemical weapons were used in civilian areas and contaminating our land with a rise in cancers as a result. More recently 180 more were killed in the week-long attacks in late November 2012.

This time what? 200, 500, 5,000? We ask: how many of our lives are dispensable enough until the world takes action? How much of our blood is sufficient? Before the Israeli bombings, a member of the Israeli Knesset Ayelet Shaked of the far-right Jewish Home party called for genocide of the Palestinian people.

“They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes,” she said. “Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.” Right now nothing is beyond the murderous nature of the Israeli State, for we, a population that is mostly children, are all mere snakes to them.

As said Omar Ghraib in Gaza, “It was heart shattering to see the pictures of little boys and girls viciously killed. Also how an elderly woman was killed while she was having her iftar at Maghreb prayer by bombing her house. She died holding the spoon in her hand, an image that will need a lot of time to leave my head.”

Entire houses are being targeted and entire families are being murdered. Early Thursday morning the entire al-Haj family was wiped out — the father Mahmoud, mother Bassema and five children. No warning, a family targeted and removed from life. Thursday night, the same again, no warning, five more dead including four from the Ghannam family, a woman and a seven year old child amongst them.

On Tuesday morning the Kaware family did get a phone call telling them their three-story house would be bombed. The family began to leave when a water tank was struck, but then returned with members of the community, who all came to the house to stand with them, people from all over the neighborhood.

The Israeli jets bombed the building with a roof full of people, knowing full well it was full of civilians. Seven people died immediately, including five children under 13 years old. Twenty-five more were injured, and eight-year-old Seraj Abd al-Aal succumbed to his injuries later that evening.

Perhaps the family was trying to appeal to the Israeli regime’s humanity, surely they wouldn’t bomb the roof full of people. But as we watch families being torn apart around us, it’s clear that Israel’s actions have nothing to do with humanity.

Other places hit include a clearly-marked media vehicle, killing the independent journalist Hamed Shehab, injuring eight others, a hit on a Red Crescent rescue vehicle and attacks on hospitals which caused evacuations and more injuries.

This latest session of Israeli barbarity is placed firmly in the context of Israel’s inhuman seven-year blockade that has cut off the main life-line of goods and people coming in and out of Gaza, resulting in the severe medical and food shortages being reported by all our hospitals and clinics right now.

Cement to rebuild the thousands of homes destroyed by Israeli attacks had been banned and many injured and ill people are still not being allowed to travel abroad to receive urgent medical treatment which has caused the deaths of over 600 sick patients.

As more news comes in, as Israeli leaders give promises of moving onto a next stage in brutality, we know there are more horrors yet to come. For this we call on you to not turn your backs on us. We call on you to stand up for justice and humanity and demonstrate and support the courageous men, women and children rooted in the Gaza Strip facing the darkest of times ahead. We insist on international action:

  • Severance of diplomatic ties with Israel
  • Trials for war crimes
  • Immediate international protection of the civilians of Gaza

We call on you to join the growing international boycott, divestment and sanction campaign to hold this rogue state to account that is proving once again to be so violent and yet so unchallenged.

Join the growing critical mass around the world with a commitment to the day when Palestinians do not have to grow up amidst this relentless murder and destruction by the Israeli regime.

When we can move freely, when the siege is lifted, the occupation is over and the world’s Palestinian refugees are finally granted justice.

ACT NOW, before it is too late!

Signed by:

Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions
University Teachers’ Association in Palestine
Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations Network (Umbrella for 133 orgs)
General Union of Palestinian Women
Medical Democratic Assembly
General Union of Palestine Workers
General Union for Health Services Workers
General Union for Public Services Workers
General Union for Petrochemical and Gas Workers
General Union for Agricultural Workers
Union of Women’s Work Committees
Pal-Cinema (Palestine Cinema Forum)
Youth Herak Movement
Union of Women’s Struggle Committees
Union of Synergies—Women Unit
Union of Palestinian Women Committees
Women’s Studies Society
Working Woman’s Society
Press House
Palestinian Students’ Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel
Gaza BDS Working Group
One Democratic State Group

VIDEO ~~ HACKING AWAY AND DESTROYING THE OCCUPATION

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Philly BDS offers, “Recycle, Hack, Destroy”- a light video at a dark time

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Our thoughts are with the people of Gaza at this time, who are currently under military assault. Though this film is lighthearted, our hearts are heavy as we watch in horror the violence perpetrated by the Israeli government and the untold suffering of the Palestinian people.

In 2005, Palestinian civil society issued a call to the world to apply boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it meets its obligations under international law. Now, in the midst of Israel’s ongoing terror campaign, BDS remains the best way the international movement can show Palestine our solidarity.

SodaStream’s main production site is in Mishor Edomim, the industrial park of Ma’aleh Adumim, an illegal Israeli settlement in occupied Palestine. This facility is on land that was illegally confiscated from Palestinian owners.

Support Palestinian human rights.
Boycott SodaStream.
Boycott Israel.

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Also see THIS from Mondoweiss

CHOMSKY ONCE AGAIN LOST IN THE WILDERNESS

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Noam Chomsky, the leading American philosopher and political activist, has said efforts to force a change in Israeli policies towards the Palestinians through boycotts risk backfiring because of insufficient support.

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In reality the BDS Movement has shown growing support daily both Internationally and in Israel itself.

The Spreading BDS Movement

The BDS movement is spreading throughout the world. European pension funds are divesting from banks and companies that operate in settlements, and European markets are labeling Israeli goods made in the West Bank. [FROM]

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The above is from a report called ‘Israel’s War Against ‘BDS’ Movement‘. Chomsky once again apparently takes Israel’s side.

My personal views on Chomsky’s confusion can be seen in the following posts from the archives ….

Here

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and HERE

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And now his latest blunder FROM

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Israel boycott campaign risks backfiring, says Noam Chomsky

US philosopher argues that parallels between BDS campaign and action against apartheid-era South Africa are misleading
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Noam Chomsky
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Noam Chomsky. Photograph: Jean-Yves Ahern/Demotix/Corbis

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Ian Black, Middle East editor

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Noam Chomsky, the leading American philosopher and political activist, has said efforts to force a change in Israeli policies towards the Palestinians through boycotts risk backfiring because of insufficient support.

In an article for the Nation, Chomsky courts controversy by arguing that parallels drawn between campaigns against Israel and apartheid-era South Africa are misleading and that a misguided strategy could damage rather than help Israel’s victims.

Chomsky’s target is the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement, which has made significant strides in recent years. It calls for an end to Israel’s occupation of Arab lands conquered in 1967 and the dismantling of its West Bank wall; recognising the rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and respecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes.

Chomsky says that while there is wide international support for the first two goals, there is only negligible backing beyond the BDS movement itself for the return of the 1948 refugees – a key Palestinian demand. Insistence on that, he says, “is a virtual guarantee of failure”.

Against a background of bitter arguments over BDS activity on US university campuses, Chomsky invokes the “glass house” principle, writing that if Tel Aviv University is boycotted because Israel violates human rights at home, “then why not boycott Harvard because of far greater violations by the US?”

He also questions the “very dubious” analogy made by BDS between sanctions against Israel and sanctions against apartheid South Africa. By 1960, global investors had already abandoned South Africa, says Chomsky, though some historians dispute the claim. Today, by contrast, US investment is flowing into Israel.

“While there is … a growing domestic opposition in the US to Israeli crimes, it does not remotely compare with the South African case,” he writes. “The necessary educational work has not been done. Spokespeople for the BDS movement may believe they have attained their ‘South African moment’, but that is far from accurate. And if tactics are to be effective, they must be based on a realistic assessment of actual circumstances.”

Similar arguments are deployed against the invocation of apartheid. “Within Israel, discrimination against non-Jews is severe; the land laws are just the most extreme example. But it is not South African-style apartheid. In the occupied territories, the situation is far worse than it was in South Africa, where the white nationalists needed the black population: it was the country’s workforce, and as grotesque as the bantustans were, the nationalist government devoted resources to sustaining and seeking international recognition for them.

“In sharp contrast, Israel wants to rid itself of the Palestinian burden. The road ahead is not toward South Africa, as commonly alleged, but toward something much worse.”

Chomsky expresses support for the boycott of products from Israeli settlements in the occupied territories – a strategy enhanced by an EU policy shift last year that was welcomed by pro-Palestinian activists.

South Africa’s freedom struggle, Chomsky recalls, was helped by Cuban military and soft power, as Nelson Mandela gratefully acknowledged. But as the Palestinians have no such saviour, he concludes, “those who are sincerely dedicated to the Palestinian cause should avoid illusion and myth, and think carefully about the tactics they choose and the course they follow.”

• This article was amended on 3 July 2014 to clarify that a remark about global investors abandoning South Africa was part of a paraphrasing of Noam Chomsky’s argument.

AMERICAN JEWS HAVE BECOME THE GREATEST THREAT TO ISRAEL

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zionism is today confronted with its greatest challenge since 1948. It’s not coming from the Arab states or the Palestinians, but rather their problem is the American Jewish community itself.

Once the greatest support group for Israel, that support is dwindling daily as more and more Jews openly support the Movement to Boycott and Divest from Israel.

As the government of Israel continues its reign of terror against the people of Palestine, as more lands are stolen to build and expand the illegal settlements, a growing sector of Jewry is finally waking up to the fact that this is all wrong …. and are doing something about it.

This trend is growing globally at the moment as can be seen in the following report from Mondoweiss

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The growing support from Jews internationally for the BDS call and the boycott of Israel shows that the landscape of the debate around BDS and broader peace process in Israel-Palestine is shifting. Increasingly the question is no longer whether or not to boycott, but rather to what extent do we boycott? The emerging local and international constituency of Israeli Jews and the Jewish Diaspora, and their adoption and promotion of a range of methods that fall within the scope of the BDS campaign is significant. On the surface, this wide-ranging support of course reminds us of how non-sensical and futile it is to deploy classic anti-Semitic imagery in an attempt to delegitimize what is a growing international movement for human rights and legal equality. At a deeper level, however, this growing Jewish support is an indication that the spirit of the boycott call reflects a truly democratic vision that is shared by Jews internationally, a call that wants to see the preservation, not the demise, of a democratic Israel, an Israel that fairly represents all of its citizens, regardless of race or religion. Ignoring these efforts by Jewish organizations and individuals to promote democracy, human rights and a just peace in the Middle East is a dangerous mistake. Clearly in conflicts such as Israel-Palestine, governments don’t always have all the answers: free speech and open criticism of government policy is critical. Given the lack of success of official diplomacy in the region we should be encouraging, not dismissing, these growing local and international efforts.

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Growing Jewish support for boycott and the changing landscape of the BDS debate

A couple of weeks ago Jerusalem-based think-tank, the Jewish People Policy Institute, released the findings from its study “Jewish & Democratic: Perspectives from World Jewry”. The key findings demonstrate a growing trend towards a concern for the current Zionist policies of the Jewish state from the core of its international supporters—Jews themselves. This reveals a more critical portrayal of Israel’s “implementation of Jewishness” than ever before, including a growing tension associated with the idea of a state that is both a “Jewish” and “democratic”. Participants of the study said that Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and “the continued building of Jewish settlements”, as well as its treatment of minorities falls seriously short of behavior expected from a democracy. The Jewish-only settlements are of course not only frowned upon by a growing number in the Jewish community, but also considered illegal by a large majority of states (as most recently demonstrated in UN General Assembly Resolution 68/82). Although Israel and its chief ally the United States continue to contest this, even U.S. officials blame Israeli settlements for the collapse of the latest round of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. There also appears to be an emerging consensus among government officials in Israel, Palestine, and the U.S., as well as among legal experts, that Israel and especially the Palestinian territories are in—or are rapidly heading towards—a situation of apartheid.

Unfortunately the extent of this new reality of Jewish criticism of Israel’s policies towards Palestinians that is taking hold appears largely unreported by mainstream media. One place where opposition to Israel’s policies finds concrete expression amongst Jews both within Israel and internationally is in a wide range of boycotts and divestments activities aimed at promoting legal equality and human rights in Israel-Palestine. Though not necessarily always explicitly linked to the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement, these activities do fall within the scope of the movement and help to advance its goals. The call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions came in 2005 from an unprecedented coalition of over 170 Palestinian civil society organizations including NGOs, unions, professional associations, religious groups, human rights organizations, refugee networks, youth, and cultural organizations. The BDS campaign has three goals: an end to the occupation of Arab lands occupied by Israel since 1967, full equality for Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel, and the right of Palestinian refugees displaced or expelled during conflict in the region to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194. The BDS movement was launched on the one year anniversary of the landmark 2004 International Court of Justice case that found that Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory is illegal under international law. In addition to the large majority of the world’s countries, a wide range of legal experts and Israeli and international NGOs concur on the illegality of the occupation.

In this article we explore the growing Jewish support for both the BDS movement and other civil society boycott activities which advance the human rights goals of the movement. While not all of the individuals and organizations we mention actively support every aspect of the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign, they represent a multi-faceted approach to applying international pressure on Israel to abide by international law and human rights treaties.

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In the United States where debate over the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement is heavy and heated, Jewish Voice for Peace, a coalition of Zionists, anti-Zionists, and non-Zionists, states clearly that it aligns itself with the methods as well as “the aims of the Palestinian Boycott National Committee– ending the occupation, achieving equality for Palestinians now living in Israel, and recognizing Palestinian refugees’ right of return.” Others in the U.S. who support the full goals and strategy of the BDS campaign include, both Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb and Rabbi Brian Walt, from the Jewish Voice for Peace’s Rabbinical Council. New York-based groupJews Say No!founded by Jewish boycott, divestment and sanctions advocate Donna Nevel,also takes a stance in full support of the BDS call. Other organizations include American Jews for a Just PeaceBreaking the Law of Return and the Committee for Open Discussion of Zionism, which “unequivocally” supports the movement.Jewish-American scholar and LGBT activist, Sarah Schulman has publicly declared her support for the BDS cause by advocating for the implementation of the boycott in its entirety. Udi Aloni, Israeli-American filmmaker also promotes BDS and the full goals of campaign. Similarly Jeremiah Haber (thenom de plume of Charles H. Manekin), an orthodox Jewish studies and philosophy professor dividing his time between Israel and the United States, backs BDS.

Elsewhere in North America, Canadian group Independent Jewish Voices (Canada)  has resolved to support the BDS call and urges the Canadian government to disengage from “its one-sided and uncritical support for Israel”. Naomi Klein, Jewish-Canadian journalist and author has likewise added her full backing to the BDS movement.

The UK group, Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods claims solidarity with any individuals or organizations who share our anti-racist agenda in pursuing the non-violent goals of BDS”. European Jews for a Just Peace also shares this support for the methods and goals of the campaign.

Australia-based Jews Against the Occupation also actively promote the BDS movement. Sydney-based Jewish academic Peter Slezak supports the BDS call, as does Jewish-Australian journalist and author Antony Loewenstein, who is highly critical of attempts to label the nonviolent movement anti-Semitic. The International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network echoes these sentiments, declaring that BDS is neither anti-Semitic nor anti-democratic and that the international body “stands firm” in support of the full BDS call.

Even within Israel, prominent individuals and organizations have pledged their support to the BDS movement and its vision of equality for Arab citizens of Israel, recognition of the Palestinian right of return, and ending the illegal occupation of Palestinian territory. The prominent group of Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel, BOYCOTT!, offers support for the Palestinian BDS call from within the Jewish state. The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions  and the Alternative Information Center likewise fully support the movement. Israeli Journalist, writer, and founder of the Alternative Information Center, Michel Warschawski, actively promotes BDS and has reiterated the call to Israelis to “boycott from within”. Rachel Giora, Israeli feminist and professor of linguistics at Tel Aviv University has also responded to the BDS call in a letter addressed to her colleagues at the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine, expressing full support for the movement. Other Jewish-Israeli academics in support of the campaign include historian and activist Ilan Pappé, anthropologist Uri Davis, political scientist Marcelo Svirsky, and anthropologist Jeff Halper.

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The most widely adopted mode of targeted support for BDS from within Israel and by Jewish individuals and organizations worldwide is a boycott of the Jewish-only settlements in the occupied West Bank (including East Jerusalem). This can include a boycott of products manufactured or grown within the settlements, or businesses and academic institutions located in settlements or actively supporting their perpetuation.

Reasons for why a narrow settlement boycott is preferred over a broader BDS include that international law is less ambiguous regarding the illegality of settlements (as compared to the BDS goals of the right of return, or legal equality in Israel) and that it is easier to consistently boycott settlements (rather than boycott broader Israeli or international organizations involved in abuses of Palestinian human rights). However even among Zionists who still support legally mandated disadvantage for Israel’s non-Jewish ethno-religious groups (required for Israel to be fixed as a “Jewish state”), the settlement boycott is gaining ground. As noted above, a recent survey by the Jewish People Policy Institute appears to show a growing tension within the international Jewish community regarding the idea that Israel can be both fundamentally Jewish and a democracy.  Zionist boycott supporters typically differ from other boycott supporters in that they contend that even with the legally entrenched dominance of one etho-religious group (ie Jews) the state of Israel is still able to function as a “democracy”. These groups typically argue that the  realization of the third goal of the BDS movement, the Palestinian right of return, would spell an end to the demographic and political dominance of Jews in Israel. For similar reasons they are also less supportive of the BDS movement’s goal of equality for Israel’s Arab citizens. These Zionist groups call for a more narrow boycott, of Israel’s Illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank (including East Jerusalem), in line with the first goal of the BDS movement. The rationale generally advanced by Zionists is that it is only with the end of the occupation of Palestinian territory that Israel can preserve both its Jewish and ostensibly “democratic” character.

Notably, in 2006 the Israeli peace activism group headed by Uri Avnery, Gush Shalom, published “a list of several hundred products made in areas beyond the Green Line. The list, comprised of many food products, also included businesses operating in the Golan Heights.” In the face of the 2011 Law for Prevention of Damage to the State of Israel through Boycott passed by the Knesset, the group stated that it could no longer afford to continue publishing the list, for fear of the threat of lawsuits. The law would allow for lawsuits to be filed -without any proof of damages- against those who promote boycott tactics against people associated with the state of Israel or any “area under its control”. Gush Shalom appealed to Israel’s Supreme Court to rule the law as unconstitutional, and was joined by several other notable minority rights groups, including The Civil Rights Association, Yesh Din, Adalah, the Women’s Coalition for Peace, The Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism, Knesset member Ahmed Tibi and The Arab Monitoring Committee. Israeli peace group Peace Now has published a similar list of settlement products and likewise calls for a boycott of the settlements. Israeli politician, Zahava Gal-On, head of the Meretz opposition party, has also publically declared that she boycotts the settlements in her own purchases and hopes that a boycott campaign on settlement goods would encourage Israelis to think critically about the “economic cost of the Occupation.”  There are signs that the boycott of settlements among Israelis, has begun to cause manufacturers and producers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem to “encounter obstacles” marketing goods “not just overseas, also in Tel Aviv”.

Support for a settlement boycott is also building among U.S. Jews. Distinguished Jewish-American jurist Richard Falk, as UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, has recently formally recommended that UN member states  and businesses and civil society impose sanctions and boycotts against Israeli settlements and international corporations supporting the occupation of Palestinian territory. Back in 2011, the American Liberal Zionist  organization Partners for Progressive Israel (then Meretz U.S.A) issued a call to American Jews to boycott West Bank settlement goods through their campaign: “Buy Israel – Don’t buy Settlements”.   Americans for Peace Now, describing themselves as a pro-Israel, pro-peace, American Jewish organization,echo this support.  Similarly, even other Zionists, who ostensibly oppose the broader BDS campaign, do support a boycott of the settlements. Well-known American Liberal Zionist Peter Beinart for instance has repeatedly written in support of a settlements boycott in order to “save Israel”. Beinart advocates a targeted approach to boycotting West Bank settlements. Addressing American Jews, Beinart declared: “We should lobby to exclude settler-produced goods from America’s free-trade deal with Israel. We should push to end Internal Revenue Service policies that allow Americans to make tax-deductible gifts to settler charities. Every time an American newspaper calls Israel a democracy, we should urge it to include the caveat: only within the green line”. Jeremy Ben-Ami, President of the influential liberal pro-Israel lobby group, J-Street also recently announced that if the BDS campaign were restricted to a boycott of the settlements J-Street would support it. Similarly, National President of Ameinu Kenneth Bob has declared that while he does not support the BDS movement he is “extremely sympathetic to the settlement boycott approach”. The New Israel Fund, through a statement their Vice President of Public Affairs from Naomi Paiss, has also shown support for the same type of targeted approach, stressing that “boycotting settlements is not anti-Israel”. After a visit to the West Bank, Rabbi Ellen Lippmann issued a statement reversing her initial opposition to the settlement boycott and claiming solidarity with Israeli rabbis who also support a boycott of settlement goods. Jewish-American political scientist and activist Norman Finkelstein supports an economic boycott of Israel in order to compel Israel to end its illegal occupation of Palestinian territory (also see the start of an interview with Finkelstein posted here). Prominent linguist, philosopher and activist Noam Chomsky has also publicly spoken out in support of BDS as a tactic, saying: “There is an interesting mythology that I have opposed the BDS movement. In reality, as explained over and over, I not only support it but was actively involved long before the ‘movement’ took shape…” Chomsky specifically supports boycott and divestment from companies that operate in the occupied Palestinian territories and also promotes forms of academic and military boycott.

Among the Jewish Diaspora in Australia, Ben Saul, Professor of International Law at Sydney University has written in favor of a targeted boycott approach focused on the Jewish-only settlements. What’s more, The Australian Jewish Democratic Society “has become the first Australian community-affiliated Jewish organization to adopt the view that some boycotts of Israel may indeed be justified.” The group supports “selected BDS actions designed to bring about an end to the Israeli occupation, blockade and settlement on Palestinian lands lying outside of the June 1967 Israeli borders.” The organization resolves to boycott settlement products as well as “specific academics openly supportive of the Occupation”.

Support for BDS methods also takes the form of refusal to perform in the Jewish-only settlements on occupied Palestinian territory. In 2010, over 50 Israeli actors, directors, and playwrights released a statement declaring that they would not perform at the new theatre in Ariel, Israel’s fourth largest settlement, or in any other settlement. In a show of support for that petition over 150 Israeli academics and university faculty from across Israel released their own open letter, vowing to likewise engage in a cultural and academic boycott of the settlements. The Israeli academics declared: “We will not take part in any kind of cultural activity beyond the Green Line, take part in discussions and seminars, or lecture in any kind of academic setting in these settlements.” Signatories include Zeev Sternhell, Anat Biletzki, Shlomo Sand, Neve Gordon, Oren Yiftachel, among others. The declaration was also supported by several prominent Israeli authors, A. B. Yehoshua, Amos Oz, David Grossman, and Sami Michael. A letter drafted by the authors, as well as by well-known Israeli memorial sculptor and Israel Prize laureate, Dani Karavan, expresses further solidarity with the actor’s boycott.  Theodore Bikel, a Jewish American actor, has also been vocal in the settlement boycott also joined a separate petition for the boycott of the settlements, signed by over 150 Israeli entertainment professionals.

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Another aspect of the BDS movement is the boycott of Israeli academic institutions: specifically, the withdrawal of support from Israeli academic institutions complicit in the illegal occupation of Palestinian territory and the violation of Palestinian human rights. This movement draws on a growing body of evidence detailing academic institutions support for the occupation of Palestinian territory and violation of human rights (including education rights) through a variety of military and public relations oriented research and training activities. One such in-depth report was released by the Israeli Alternative Information Center in 2009. The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) was launched in 2004 to challenge the unethical policies of these institutions. However boycotts of Israeli academic institutions to promote Palestinian human rights also predate the PACBI call. In April 2002 a call “for a European Boycott of Research and Cultural Links with Israel” was signed by around 700 Europe-based academics, ten of which are Israeli academics from various universities. More recently, in 2013 in response to the PACBI call a group of Israeli, Palestinian and other oral historians and academics from Europe, South Africa, Oceania, Asia, and the Americas issued an international call for the boycott of the “International Oral History Conference” organized by The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In February this year, an international Jewish group, Jews for Palestinian Right of Return, published a list of signatories endorsing and supporting the American Studies Association academic boycott. Israeli and international Jews have likewise joined the boycott of the 2014 Cinema and TV Studies Conference held at Tel Aviv University. Jewish-American academic, Colin Dayan has also written in support of a boycott of Israeli academic institutions as has Malcolm Levitt, professor at Southampton University and a fellow of the Royal Society in the UK. Levitt as well as Noam Chomsky joined a group of academics who successfully lobbied physicist Stephen Hawking to boycott the IsraeliPresidential Conference held in Jerusalem last year.

A number of Jewish and Israeli academics and organizations support BDS activities in forms other than the academic boycott (such as through a settlement boycott, support on the grounds of free speech, or in support of the full BDS Call), signifying that there  other forms of boycott activity at play within the academic world. Two instances of this  last year were Kings College and the University of Southampton  in the UK dropping their contracts with security firm G4S, in response to the British security firm’s role in supporting the Israeli occupation and abuse of human rights.

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Earlier this year human rights group Amnesty International published a report that recommended an international military boycott of Israel, citing the country’s “use of excessive force in the West Bank”. The conclusions of this report (and similar research efforts) lay out the rationale for the military boycott of Israel. One example of this is the  movement within Israel in opposition to the military draft. In March of 2014, The Israeli youth group, Conscientious Objectors of the Occupation, released an open letter addressed to Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu “declaring their refusal of compulsory service in the Israeli military” because of their opposition to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory. Another boycott movement within the military sphere is the call for the disinvestment of international companies and organizations that are part of the Israeli military-industrial-complex (such as the efforts by Kings College and the University of Southampton noted above). This military boycott is often included within broader BDS policies. The Australian Jewish Democratic Society statement of support for targeted boycotts for example also advocates for “divestment from military Research and Development (R&D) and boycott of industrial/military activities unrelated to Israel’s defense and security.” Noam Chomsky has also called for an end to U.S. and other international military aid to Israel.

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The status of the anti-boycott law opposed by Gush Shalom and other human rights groups in Israel is, as alluded to above, currently in legal in limbo through a challenge in the Israeli Supreme Court. Israeli human rights groups argue that the Law for Prevention of Damage to the State of Israel through Boycott aims to limit Israeli and Palestinian freedom of expression by threatening monetary sanctions on anyone who expressed support for the boycott of any Israeli organization or individual. Similar attempts to combat boycotts through legislation are also being made in the U.S.. In 2014 in a wave of right-wing reaction against the BDS movement several bills were proposed within state legislatures aimed at prohibiting academic institutions and individuals from engaging in boycotts of Israel. Following this a new flood of support has emerged both from within Israel as well as from Jewish supporters outside of Israel, advocating for the right of free speech in the face of these anti-BDS bills. The New Israel Fund, a U.S.-based group calling for social justice and equality for all Israelis, shows explicit support for the freedom of speech regarding BDS: “The New Israel Fund is committed to strengthening democracy in Israel, supports freedom of speech and promotes non-violent means of expression of belief and conscience. We oppose any attempt to criminalize the legitimate expression of support for any non-violent strategy or tactic, including those we do not ourselves support.” As noted above the New Israel Fund supports of boycott of the settlements, and they oppose the settlements outright, and as a matter of policy. Naomi Paiss, Vice President of Public Affairs for the New Israel Fund has also stated that her organization “will not disqualify organizations for funding if they support the boycott of settlement goods because we see it as entirely consistent with our opposition to the occupation, our defense of Israeli democracy and our support for a two-state solution.”

Elsewhere, in a letter opposing political censorship, over 150 U.S.-based academics, spearheaded by Jewish academic Judith Butler, and Rashid Khalidi, signed a statement condemning the “accelerating efforts to curtail speech, to exercise censorship, and to carry out retaliatory action against individuals on the basis of their political views or associations, notably support for BDS.” Calling on support from cultural and educational institutions to uphold and support “the principles of free expression”, the authors point out that “as non-violent instruments to effect political change, boycotts cannot be outlawed without trampling on a constitutionally protected right to political speech.” Even Israeli Foreign Ministry officials, “pro-Israel” lobby organizations such as Israel-based NGO Monitor, and most of the mainstream press in Israel have stated they oppose efforts to stamp out BDS through the courts. The Executive Council of Australian Jewry, and other senior Jewish leaders in Australia have made clear they oppose attempts to suppress BDS through litigation, which they view as counter-productive. Elsewhere in Australia other pro-Israel organizations the Zionist Federation of Australia and the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council have also refused to support anti-BDS efforts through the courts..

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The growing support from Jews internationally for the BDS call and the boycott of Israel shows that the landscape of the debate around BDS and broader peace process in Israel-Palestine is shifting. Increasingly the question is no longer whether or not to boycott, but rather to what extent do we boycott? The emerging local and international constituency of Israeli Jews and the Jewish Diaspora, and their adoption and promotion of a range of methods that fall within the scope of the BDS campaign is significant. On the surface, this wide-ranging support of course reminds us of how non-sensical and futile it is to deploy classic anti-Semitic imagery in an attempt to delegitimize what is a growing international movement for human rights and legal equality. At a deeper level, however, this growing Jewish support is an indication that the spirit of the boycott call reflects a truly democratic vision that is shared by Jews internationally, a call that wants to see the preservation, not the demise, of a democratic Israel, an Israel that fairly represents all of its citizens, regardless of race or religion. Ignoring these efforts by Jewish organizations and individuals to promote democracy, human rights and a just peace in the Middle East is a dangerous mistake. Clearly in conflicts such as Israel-Palestine, governments don’t always have all the answers: free speech and open criticism of government policy is critical. Given the lack of success of official diplomacy in the region we should be encouraging, not dismissing, these growing local and international efforts.

About Paul Duffill and Gabriella Skoff

Paul Duffill is a part-time lecturer and researcher at the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Sydney. He is also project manager for an inter-university human rights curriculum project lead by the University of Sydney. Gabriella Skoff is a graduate of NYU where she majored in religion, politics and war. She is currently an intern at the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Sydney.

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The following report from The Forward is worth reading as well….

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“I used to believe that BDS is an idealistic and not a realistic approach,” said Holly Bicerano, a Boston University student activist. Bicerano, who helped found a pro-Israel campus group called BU Students for Israel, recently switched over to Jewish Voices for Peace, a pro-BDS Jewish organization. “When the peace talks collapsed I reached the conclusion that BDS is the practical way forward,” she said.

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After Presbyterian Win, BDS Advocates Trumpet Divestment as Path to Two States

With Peace Talks Dead, Boycott Pressure Gains Allure

Presbyterian Protest: Demonstrators calling for action against Israel confront Rabbi Rick Jacobs at the Presbyterian Church’s recent convention.

LIZEVETA9/TWITTER
Presbyterian Protest: Demonstrators calling for action against Israel confront Rabbi Rick Jacobs at the Presbyterian Church’s recent convention

Read the report HERE

BAD NEWS FIRST ~~ THEN GOOD NEWS ABOUT PALESTINE

Presbyterians

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Presbyterian divest

By Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

In the past 10 days, Israeli occupation soldiers murdered 7 Palestinians (including a 13 year old child), injured dozens, kidnapped nearly 400, demolished many houses, destroyed contents and broken doors on hundreds of homes invaded in the middle of the night, blocked travel to hundreds of thousands, and continues to imprison thousands many on hunger strike for being held without charge for months. One of the people they kidnapped is also Samer Aleisawi who is famous for having the longest hunger strike in history as a political prisoner. He was released only after human rights activists and human rights organizations exerted significant pressure on Israel He was now kidnapped using the excuse of three missing colonial settlers (which maybe a false flag operation to detract from the suffering of thousands of Palestinian political prisoners). In those 10 days, Apartheid Israel received nearly 100 million dollars from US taxpayers unaware of what their congress is doing with their money. And to add insult to injury the colonial apartheid state was given a vice president position in a UN agency that is supposed to fight colonialism. To say all of this is Orwellian would be the understatement of the year.

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In those ten days other US supported regimes cracked down. Egyptian kangaroo courts passed death sentences and long prison terms on hundreds of their political opponents (including even journalists just doing their job). US supported “Saudi” regime puppets executed hundreds in Iraq.

But there are signs of resistance every where. Israeli parliament member Haneen Zoabi (a decent Palestinian leader in 1948 occupied areas) was brave to say the truth others did not dare say: resistance to occupation is legitimate, collaboration with occupiers against native people is treacherous. Demonstrations were held in Ramallah against the Palestinian authority (even throwing stones at a PA police station). This after  the PA police blocked several demonstrations some of them by family members of the Palestinian youth imprisoned by Israel.  There was resistance to the invading Israeli army in dozens of villages. Al-Aqsa martyrs brigade issues a statement from Balata refugee camp finally openly accusing Mahmoud Abbas of treason. But Abbas sent his wife to an Israeli hospital to give the Israelis a good media opportunities to vilify the Palestinians and beautify the occupiers.  But the most significant news of all: The Presbyterian church general assembly voted to divest from three American companies that aid the Israeli occupation: Motorola, Hewlett Packard, and Caterpillar. I wrote on my facebook page after the vote:

“Despite all the Zionist racist tactics that tried to intimidate, pressure, bully and trick commissioners, there was still enough of them principled enough to stand that and vote for what is right. Thank you to the Presbyterian church.. Presbyterians light the way for the rest of humanity.. kudos to all including our activists at Al-Rowwad who sent the message on the wall, the thousands of peace activists who wrote and acted and spoke out. Special mention to Jewish Voice for Peace. You all rock. We love you from Bethlehem”

Now our job is to resist to end this charade. We ,must approach other churches and we must engage in massive rebellion against the repression. Freedom is not freely given and it takes effort. Time to act is now.

Note: thousands of activists worked very hard

Message from Jewish Voice for Peace

Presbyterian Church Israel/Palestine mission network

Presbyterian Church resolution as passed

The number of registered Palestinian refugees 5.4 million (plus many unregistered) 
It is time to imagine a future without the “Palestinian authority”

BIBI URGES PRESBYTERIANS TO VISIT ISRAEL AND SEE THE TRUTH

As if they were allowed to ….

One side of the wall is open for inspection …. the other is not!

Be sure to read THIS post before you continue ..

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Screen shot 2011-01-04 at 12.03.48

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“The only place where you have freedom, tolerance, protection of minorities, protection of gays, of Christians and all other faiths is Israel”

HA!

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Benjamin Netanyahu Slams Presbyterians for Israel Divestment

Premier Says Christians Should ‘Get on Plane’ and See Truth

By JTA VIA

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticized the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) vote to divest from three companies that do business with Israeli West Bank security forces.

Netanyahu, speaking Sunday to Jewish journalists from around the world at the inaugural Jewish Media Summit in Jerusalem, said the vote late Friday to divest from Caterpillar, Motorola Solutions and Hewlett-Packard was misguided because Israel protects civil rights in a region with rising tides of Islamist extremism.

“The only place where you have freedom, tolerance, protection of minorities, protection of gays, of Christians and all other faiths is Israel,” he said.

Netanyahu suggested that American Presbyterian leaders “take a plane, come here and let’s arrange a bus tour in the region. Let them go to Libya, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq.”

The prime minister told the more than 100 Jewish journalists gathered for the five-day summit that he sees three threats facing the Jewish people worldwide — heightened anti-Semitism in Europe, weakened Jewish identity in the United States and the rise of radical Islamist forces in the Middle East.

He lamented the June 12 kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank, as well as the death of a 13-year-old Israeli killed by an explosive Sunday in the Golan Heights.

“We as a people, our heart is broken about the kidnapping of every youth and the murder of every youth,” he said. Netanyahu also repeated his call for the world to prevent Iran from attaining nuclear weapons capability. He connected Iran’s Islamic government to conflicts between Sunni and Shiite groups in Iraq and Syria.

“It is the height of folly to allow one of the Islamist camps to have nuclear weapons,” he said. “It will change history.” Netanyahu reiterated many of the same points during a Sunday morning interview from Jerusalem on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Speaking before Netanyahu at the summit, outgoing President Shimon Peres praised Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ condemnation of the teens’ kidnapping and said Abbas is a good peace partner for Israel.

Peres encouraged Israel to restart peace talks, which Israel suspended in April after Abbas signed a reconciliation pact with Hamas, the terrorist group that governs Gaza.

“I think he is the best partner Israel ever had, and has now,” Peres said of Abbas. “I know him for 20 years. I think he’s a man of his word. I think he’s a man of courage.”

Netanyahu said earlier Sunday that Israel has clear evidence that Hamas participated in the kidnapping.

The Jewish Media Summit, which was organized by Israel’s Government Press Office, is set to occur every two years. More than 25 countries are represented at the event, according to Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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The Presbyterians DID see the truth before they voted as can be seen in the following …

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 Church members recognized the bankruptcy of the opposition, but that they also understood the facts on the ground and knew that these facts compelled Church divestment from the Occupation.

Fear of anti-semitism accusation did not stop Presbyterians from witnessing occupation

WHILE THE POPE PRAYS AND TALKS ~~ PRESBYTERIANS VOTE TO DIVEST FROM THE OCCUPATION!

In an image likely to become one of the most emblematic of his trip to the holy land, Francis rested his forehead against the concrete structure that separates Bethlehem from Jerusalem, and prayed silently as a child holding a Palestinian flag looked on.
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Hello Palestine: Pope Francis prays at Israeli separation wall in Bethlehem.

GETTY IMAGES Hello Palestine: Pope Francis prays at Israeli separation wall in Bethlehem.

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ACTIONS ARE  NEEDED TO FREE PALESTINE ~~ NOT WORDS!
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Needless to say, the ADL condemned the following actions …
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The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), one of a handful of historic mainline Protestant denominations and the church of many American presidents, is the largest yet to endorse divestment at a churchwide convention, and the vote follows a decade of debate — and a close call at the assembly two years ago, when divestment failed by only two votes.

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The vote, by a count of 310 to 303, was watched closely in Washington and Jerusalem and by Palestinians as a sign of momentum for a movement to pressure Israel to stop building settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and to end the occupation, with a campaign known as B.D.S., for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions.

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), one of a handful of historic mainline Protestant denominations and the church of many American presidents, is the largest yet to endorse divestment at a churchwide convention, and the vote follows a decade of debate — and a close call at the assembly two years ago, when divestment failed by only two votes.

The measure that was passed not only called for divestment but also reaffirmed Israel’s right to exist, endorsed a two-state solution, encouraged interfaith dialogue and travel to the Holy Land, and instructed the church to undertake “positive investment” in endeavors that advance peace and improve the lives of Israelis and Palestinians. It also said the motion was “not to be construed” as “alignment with or endorsement of the global B.D.S.” movement by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The language was written by the church’s 65-member Middle East committee.

Heath Rada, the church’s moderator, who was leading the proceedings, said immediately after the electronic vote count was posted, “In no way is this a reflection of our lack of love for our Jewish sisters and brothers.”

The B.D.S. campaign has gained support in Europe, but has not fared as well in the United States, where two relatively small academic groups voted this year to support an academic boycott of Israel, but larger groups as well as many universities have opposed it.

The companies the church has targeted for divestment are Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard and Motorola Solutions. The church has about $21 million invested in them, a spokeswoman said. The church says it has tried for many years to convey its concerns that the companies are profiting from Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories by selling it bulldozers, surveillance technology and other equipment.

Large American Jewish organizations lobbied the Presbyterians furiously to defeat a divestment vote, their most determined campaign yet in the 10 years the Presbyterians have considered such a step. More than 1,700 rabbis from all 50 states signed an open letter to the Presbyterian voters, saying that “placing all the blame on one party, when both bear responsibility, increases conflict and division instead of promoting peace.”

In a last-ditch tactic on Thursday, Rabbi Rick Jacobs, leader of the Reform movement (the largest branch in American Judaism), addressed the assembly and offered to broker a meeting between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and the church’s two top leaders so they could convey their church’s concerns about the occupation — on the condition that the divestment measure was defeated.

That offer appears to have backfired, with some saying afterward that it felt both manipulative and ineffectual, given what they perceive as Mr. Netanyahu’s approval of more settlements in disputed areas and lack of enthusiasm for peace negotiations.

“I’m not sure it was the strategy I would have chosen,” the Rev. Gradye Parsons, the church’s stated clerk and one of the two leaders invited to meet Mr. Netanyahu, said in an interview. “I’m sure it was a sincere and generous invitation. I’m not sure it was helpful in our debate.”

He said that Presbyterians valued their relationships with Jews in their communities and in Washington, where their lobbyists are often on the same side of many issues. He acknowledged that the church has been accused of anti-Semitism, which he said was not true and “delegitimizes our concerns” about human rights.

“We’re still committed to Israel and its right to exist, but we’re concerned about the occupation and think Israel can do better,” Mr. Parsons said.

Relations between Jews and Presbyterians soured after the Israel/Palestine Mission Network, a Presbyterian advocacy group, issued a study guide this year called “Zionism Unsettled,” which challenged the history and theological underpinnings of the Zionist movement. Jewish leaders denounced it as hateful, racist and willfully ignorant of the role of the Holocaust and violence toward Israel by the Palestinians and Arab countries in explaining the region’s history.

The assembly passed a measure here in Detroit saying that the study guide does not represent official church policy, but it is available for sale on the church’s website. Jewish organizations have called for the church to stop selling it. Many Presbyterians at the general assembly said that they had not read it, and that it had no bearing on their votes.

Of more influence was the presence at the church’s convention all week of Jewish activists, many of them young, in black T-shirts with the slogan “Another Jew Supporting Divestment.” Many of them were with Jewish Voice for Peace, a small but growing organization that promotes divestment and works with Palestinian and Christian groups on the left.

Right before the vote, some Presbyterian commissioners sought out Rabbi Alissa Wise, director of Jewish Voice for Peace, who spent a week inside the convention center and spoke at a prayer service in a Presbyterian church. She told them that divestment can serve a constructive purpose. “To me, this helps Palestinians build their power,” she said, “so that Israel is convinced, not by force, but by global consensus that something has to change.”

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), with nearly 1.8 million members, has been losing members and influence in recent decades, in part from wrenching debates over whether to ordain gay clergy members and permit same-sex marriages, a step the assembly approved here on Thursday.

It is not the first American church to use divestment to protest Israeli policies: The Mennonite Central Committee and the Quakers have sold stock in some companies that do business with Israel. Last week the pension board of the United Methodist Church announced that it had sold its stock in a company over concerns about its contracts with Israeli prisons.

Rifaat Odeh Kassis, a Palestinian Christian who traveled from Bethlehem to urge the Presbyterians to vote for divestment, said in an interview that the vote would send a loud message to Palestinians that says, “You are not alone.”

Major Jewish organizations were quick to issue statements expressing distress and outrage. Rabbi Steve Gutow, president of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, called the divestment action “outrageous” and said it would have a “devastating impact” on relations between the national church and mainstream Jewish groups.

Mr. Rada, the church’s moderator, said at a news conference after the vote, “I don’t believe you could talk to a single commissioner and have any of them say they were doing this as an anti-Jewish issue.

“I think there is a lot of emotion about the unjust treatment on the part of the Israeli government toward the Palestinians, but there is equal upset,” he said, about “terrorist activity that has been undertaken by the Palestinians.”

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Take a moment to say THANK YOU by clicking HERE

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Also read these related reports …

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From The Guardian

From Mondoweiss

From Ali Abunimah

From Middle East Monitor

 

BOYCOTTING THE BOYCOTTERS

 Jewish groups are now asking artists: “On behalf of the Jewish people, are you now or have you ever been a signatory to a boycott of Israel?”

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Blacklisted by the `Jewish Community’ over Israel, the Shondes Take their Stand

On March 28 Brooklyn rock band The Shondes were disinvited from the Washington Jewish Music Festival, at which they were scheduled to perform on June 2, due to band members’ views on Israel and Palestine. Jewish groups are now asking artists: “On behalf of the Jewish people, are you now or have you ever been a signatory to a boycott of Israel?” Shondes members, singer Louisa Rachel Solomon and violinist Elijah Oberman, wrote this open letter in response.
Elijah Oberman and Louisa Rachel Solomon
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Shondes, fronted by Louisa Solomon. Elijah Oberman is on Solomon’s right
Mondoweiss

The idea of “the Jewish Community” gets thrown around a lot, even though we have never been a singular or remotely unified group. Jews have wildly different traditions, experiences, and opinions about what Jewish-ness even is. Are The Shondes part of this often-invoked, elusive community? In many ways the answer is clearly yes. But when its institutional guardians draw borders around it to keep out people and ideas they deem unsavory, out-of-line, or “off-brand,” it is an incredibly fraught belonging, to say the least. That kind of policing is the antithesis of the Judaism we love.

One of our favorite jokes is the one about the four rabbis, three of whom always band against the other in arguments. When the fourth gets G-d to intercede for him, the three respond: “Nu? So now it’s three against two.” We were always, perhaps naively, very comfortable with the idea that in Judaism debate is inevitable and invaluable. (How else would the Talmud exist?) Coming to support Palestinian rights, then, even in the face of hardline institutional Zionism, didn’t make us feel any less Jewish or less entitled to community. After all, what could be more Jewish than asking tough questions and fighting injustice?

Of course we’ve learned a lot since then. When the DC Jewish Community Center (DC JCC) asked us to play the Washington Jewish Music Festival this year, we had no illusions about their politics. We accepted the offer in a spirit of optimism, believing that despite the political chasm between us, we are part of the community they supposedly serve, and ought to be able to get on stage and play our songs – most of which are about love, survival, and hope – for anyone who wants to hear them. Then they abruptly uninvited us last week, citing our past comments on Israel. Apparently the mere presence of those who don’t share their views is intolerable.

In light of this blacklisting debacle, it seemed we should offer a bit about where we are coming from. We are best friends who have shared 14 intensely transformative years in New York. We have an unmistakable camaraderie, a great platonic love born of shared hardship and joy, struggle, and occasional victory. We built our friendship in the streets protesting, in our apartments lighting Shabbes candles, and on stage performing. Music, Judaism, and activism have proven to be inseparable, essential parts of our lives.

In college at the New School we occupied pro-war President Bob Kerrey’s office, demanded divestment from arms manufacturers, and even formed an anti-Occupation “Hillel” (we had the audacity to declare it “Hillel” without anyone’s permission, before there was the inspirational Open Hillel). We watched the Twin Towers fall, in our pajamas in the street, and then watched a disturbing, reactionary patriotism unfold. We saw Arab, Muslim, and South Asian friends demonized and attacked in the shameful racist backlash that overtook our city. We protested, organized, and tried to figure out what solidarity was.

One particularly depressing day, Louisa convinced Eli to try playing punkrock violin with her, and we stumbled upon the musical collaboration that would become our life. Songwriting is rigorous work that helps us feel more whole; it engages us spiritually, politically, intellectually, and emotionally. When we perform, we give audiences everything we have, all our vulnerability and strength, and the connection between us is palpable. It feels sacred and radical, and in moments, like a glimpse of a better world.

Jewish ritual – on holidays, shabbes, and whenever else we needed it – also became a source of comfort, connection, and strength, and ritual events became sites for organizing. We joined Jews Against the Occupation, where we had the honor of working on the After Exodus seder. It took place on the last day of Passover as the sun set and the holiday ended, and focused on asking “after 8 days of reflecting on Jewish persecution and liberation, how do we respond to the oppression of Palestinians in our names?” There has never been much separation for us between doing Judaism and doing activism.

Though opposing occupation and Jewish nationalism made good sense to both of us, Louisa’s experiences with the International Solidarity Movement in the West Bank deepened how those political positions felt. They became much more visceral, particularly when Louisa described seeing Israeli soldiers terrorize Palestinian families and then spray paint stars of David on their homes, using the Jewish symbol as a mark of conquest. The Israeli occupation of Palestine is brutal and unjust, and its claims on Judaism are disgraceful distortions of anything we have ever found meaning in.

When we formed The Shondes we had no expectation of support from mainstream Jewish institutions. We were, after all, self-identified disgraces with a devoted, but small following. From their perspective we were ignorable, irrelevant. But that changed when we started receiving serious critical praise, and in their endless quest to appeal to young, hip Jews, we finally registered on their radar. How revealing that they invited us and then canceled, betraying their priorities so clearly. Evidently it’s more important to maintain an old guard party line on Israel than to “broaden the tent.” Rest assured, young and alienated Jews will get that message loud and clear: keeping critics of Israel out is more important than inviting you in.

We stand in solidarity with Palestine because Judaism calls us to the work of ethical existence, to grapple with power and privilege, to notice and resist what is unjust. We support the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions Movement (BDS) because it pressures Israel to comply with international law: to end the illegal occupation, ensure refugees their right to return home, and guarantee full rights to Palestinian citizens of Israel. Its tactics have been used throughout history to draw attention to and demand accountability for injustice, yet the DC JCC has treated our position like treason, grounds for excommunication. Their reaction is not only comically punitive, but embarrassingly retrograde! Sooner or later they will realize that increasing numbers of Jews oppose Israel’s actions in our names, and many of those who don’t endorse BDS unequivocally support open conversation of it. No one wants to be told what to think, threatened for asking questions, or punished for taking a stand. What an irony that institutions whose missions focus on protecting Judaism’s future are writing themselves out of it.

Through some Jewish numerology we won’t subject you to (ask if you want to know!), the tzitzit (fringes) on a tallis (prayer shawl), are said to represent both the heart (lev) and our commandments (mitzvot). Sometimes called G-d’s heartstrings, the fringes are an enduring reminder of our core beliefs and principles, our capacity for love and empathy, our responsibilities in the world. Some will try to coerce us into silence on Israel, but they will fail – the conversation is happening whether they like it or not. Judaism is not owned by these self-appointed arbiters of Jewish propriety; it belongs to all of us. We are a part of the Jewish community as much as such a thing exists, and we are happy to remain on its fringes. We will make our Jewish future here.

[Elijah Oberman and Louisa Rachel Solomon are the violinist and lead singer of Brooklyn rock band The Shondes.]

Source

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE WAILS AT THE WALL

Unlike Pope Francis, Justin Timberlake took time out to visit just one of the many walls in the Holy Land.

What seems to be a mini competition with the Pope, he posted This photo on his Instagram Page ….

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JUSTINTIMBERLAKE VIA INSTAGRAM ‘The Holy Land… What an experience. I will never forget this day. #Israel’ Justin Timberlake posts on his Instagram page.

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This angered many Palestinians and pro Palestinian activists. 

Timberlake’s visit to the Western Wall comes at an especially heated time as Wednesday is Jerusalem Day, the 47th anniversary of the Israel’s unification of the city that’s considered a holy site for Jews, Muslims and Christians.

Pope Francis also prayed at The Western Wall, the most sacred site in Judaism, a day earlier.

Timberlake is in the country on his “20/20 Experience” World Tour, but unlike most of his other destination, his Tel Aviv stop comes with plenty of baggage.

Palestinian activists – including Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters – have demanded that musicians boycott the Middle Eastern nation over its policies towards Palestinians. (FROM)

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Waters explained his calls for a cultural boycott of Israel as a reasonable method of fighting for Palestinian independence. “[T]he occupation, the ethnic cleansing and the systematic racist apartheid Israeli regime is unacceptable… I would not have played for the Vichy government in occupied France in WWII, would not have played in Berlin either during this time. Many people did, back in the day. There were many people that pretended that the oppression of the Jews was not going on. From 1933 until 1946. So this is not a new scenario. Except that this time it’s the Palestinians being murdered.”

When asked why many anti-war musicians “do not touch the issue of Palestine,” Waters responded by describing the effects of Israel’s ”propaganda machine” on the American public opinion. “Netanyahu’s bluster is poured all over the United States, not just Fox but also CNN and in fact in all the mainstream media. It’s like a huge bucket of crap that they are pouring into the mouth of a gullible public in my view, when they say “we are afraid of Iran, it is going to get nuclear weapons…” It’s a diversionary tactic.” (FROM)

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Bottom line is …. we must add Justin Timberlake to our list of artists to boycott. If he chose not to boycott Israel, then we have no choice but to boycott him.

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