BDS MUSICAL WALKING TOUR AGAINST APARTHEID

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On a sunny day, 100 New Yorkers marched through crowds of shoppers on Broadway in lower Manhattan today, chanting, singing and carrying signs calling for a boycott of Israel. The protesters stopped to sing boycott songs at Ricky’s, Best Buy, Crate and Barrel and Staples, stores that sell the Israeli settlement products Ahava and SodaStream, and at Israeli-owned businesses Aroma Espresso Bar and Max Brenner, both of which have ties to Israel’s military occupation.

The protest, organized by Adalah-NY and endorsed by a number of Palestine solidarity groups in New York, was one of many events held in New York City this year as part of the 10th Annual Israeli Apartheid Week. It came during a period when the growing power of the international boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement targeting Israel has broken through to the mainstream public in the US, with substantial media attention, the US Secretary of State warning of its growth, and Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu focusing his AIPAC speech on demonizing the movement for human rights, and mobilizing opposition to it.

Noting that the protest fell on International Women’s Day, Riham Barghouti of Adalah-NY told the marchers, “Today we remember and honor all of the women, including Palestinian women, who are struggling for justice, for peace, for equality, for the right to live in dignity and for self-determination. And we call on people of conscience from around the world to carry out boycott and divestment initiatives against Israel until it respects the rights of Palestinians currently living under Israeli military occupation, as second-class citizens in Israel and as refugees, denied their right of return to their homes.”

The Rude Mechanical Orchestra, a New York-based radical marching band, provided musical accompaniment as the protesters sang popular songs with rewritten lyrics about products and businesses profiting from Israel’s apartheid regime. To the tune of We’re Not Gonna Take It, the marchers sang, “We’re not gonna buy, no we ain’t gonna buy it, we won’t buy apartheid any more.” Outside Ricky’s they sang, “Oh Ricky’s what a pity, you don’t understand, you’re selling dirty goods, cause Ahava’s stealing land.” As the protesters marched up Broadway amidst throngs out enjoying a sunny, warm respite from a long, cold winter, they chanted, “Shoppers take a stand, no excuse for stealing land;” and “They whitewash, we protest.  Boycott, sanction and divest.”

Outside Crate and Barrel, Sherry Wolf of Adalah-NY told the protesters, “By operating in a settlement, SodaStream directly sustains Israel’s illegal and discriminatory settlement policy. Also, far from being environmentally friendly, SodaStream contributes to pollution, as the settlement of Ma’ale Adumim dumps more than 1100 tons of waste daily into a landfill in occupied Palestinian territory.”

The protest was organized in support of the Palestinian-led, international BDS movement, a non-violent initiative to pressure Israel to respect Palestinian human rights that is modeled on the international movement that helped to bring an end to apartheid in South Africa. Adalah-NY organized a similar musical walking tour in 2010.

For photos of the protest CLICK HERE

For the songbook and chants from the protest CLICK HERE

ANTI SEMITISM IS THE FORCE BEHIND BDS

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Life could be so simple if you are stupid!

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“There’s a lot of anti-Semitism out there,” Johansson told Vanity Fair, in an interview for the cover of their May edition.

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Johansson: Anti-Semitism behind criticism of SodaStream endorsement

American Jewish actress came under fire for promotion of Israeli company with factory in West Bank settlement.

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American Jewish actress Scarlett Johansson believes anti-Semitism is to blame for much of the fire she drew earlier this year over her endorsement of Israeli company SodaStream, which operates a factory in the West Bank.

“There’s a lot of anti-Semitism out there,” Johansson told Vanity Fair, in an interview for the cover of their May edition.

Johansson resigned from her position as ambassador for Oxfam in January, after the organization contested the actress’ promotion of SodaStream due to the company’s West Bank factory. She said at the time that she was stepping down from the role because of a “fundamental difference of opinion.”

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Her decision to disconnect from Oxfam won her praise from Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who wrote in a Facebook post: “I would like to express my support for actress Scarlett Johansson, who took a brave stand against immoral hypocrites.” She also received support from the World Jewish Congress.

SodaStream employs Palestinian and Israeli workers at its plant in the Ma’aleh Adumim insdutrial zone. It says the factory offers a model of peaceful cooperation, but Israel’s settlements are deemed illegal under international law and are condemned by Oxfam, which has a large operation in the region.

Source

DON’T WAIT FOR NEXT YEAR IN JERUSALEM …. DIVEST FROM HEWLETT-PACKARD NOW!

In this video, members of the Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) Rabbinical Council call for divestment from occupation profiteer Hewlett-Packard.

It is part of JVP’s “Hewlett-Packard: Harming Peace” campaign.

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In Passover message, rabbis call for divestment from Hewlett-Packard

SODASTREAM GOES FLAT DUE TO BOYCOTT

Screen-shot-2014-02-03-at-2.33.53-PM

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Good news from Omar Barghouti

SodaStream share price drops 14% in first quarter 2014

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So much for the Scarlett “charm,” SodaStream’s millions spent on propaganda and PR, and its lies about BDS not affecting its performance…. This may go down as one of the worst corporate PR campaign of all times!

 

As the article below mentions, “SodaStream surely didn’t want customers debating the Israeli-Palestinian conflict while brewing up carbonated canisters of cherry cola. Although the West Bank factory has existed for years, the Johansson deal pushed it further into the spotlight.”

 

Corporations operating in Israel’s illegal colonies or otherwise profiting from Israel’s occupation and violations of international law are starting to pay a much heavier price for their complicity in human rights violations. This is now an indisputable fact.

 

Are G4S, CAT, Volvo, Hyundai, Ahava, Mekorot, Mehadrim, Israeli banks and the rest of complicit companies getting the message?

 

Omar

 

 

http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2014/04/02/3-consumer-stocks-investors-returned-in-the-first.aspx

 

SodaStream’s (NASDAQ: SODA  ) 14% share price drop came from a new competitor and a public relations disaster.

SodaStream’s competition brews as controversy bubbles 


SodaStream hired Avengers star Scarlett Johansson as the company’s first celebrity spokesperson and the actress starred in a cheeky “banned from airing” Superbowl commercial. However, the partnership took a complicated turn in the press after Johansson’s role as an ambassador for Oxfam — a global poverty and human rights charity — led to questions about SodaStream’s large factory in the controversial West Bank. Johansson stepped down from Oxfam and stayed with SodaStream.

Personal political beliefs aside, SodaStream surely didn’t want customers debating the Israeli-Palestinian conflict while brewing up carbonated canisters of cherry cola. Although the West Bank factory has existed for years, the Johansson deal pushed it further into the spotlight.

THE BOYCOTT CAN BECOME ISRAEL’S ‘WAKE UP CALL’

Many Israelis are shielded from the occupation. To those soaking up the sun on a Tel Aviv beach or working in a hi-tech hub in Haifa, Gaza and the West Bank feel like another planet. The daily grind experienced by more than 4 million Palestinians living under military occupation just a few dozen miles away barely registers. A boycott – whether it’s the ending of academic links; the refusal of artists to perform; the divestment of international companies for reputational reasons; or a consumer rejecting Israeli produce in the supermarket – has the potential to jolt Israelis from this somnolence.

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A boycott can jolt Israelis from their somnolence on Palestine

In Tel Aviv or Haifa, the occupied territories are another planet. But if Israelis feel economic pain, they will demand change from within
By Harriet Sherwood IN
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TEL AVIV DAILY LIFE

‘To those soaking up the sun on a Tel Aviv beach or working in a hi-tech hub in Haifa, the daily grind experienced by more than 4 million Palestinians barely registers.’ Photograph: Eitan Hess-Ashkenazi/AP
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The Rolling Stones have confirmed they will play a gig in Tel Aviv in June as part of their 14 On Fire tour. Inevitably, they are already under pressure to cancel their appearance in “apartheid Israel” by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement,a campaign that has had mixed success. The academic rock star Stephen Hawking and Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters are firmly in the boycott camp, while the author Ian McEwan and the musician Alicia Keys have resisted pressure to pull appearances.

But there’s little doubt that the drive for a boycott of Israel in protest at its 47-year occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza is gathering steam. The latest body to back a boycott is Riba, Britain’s leading architectural association, which last month called on the International Union of Architects to suspend Israeli membership on the grounds of “complicity in the construction of illegal settlements and other violations of international law”. The boycott movement was boosted earlier this year by publicity surrounding Scarlett Johansson’s endorsement of SodaStream. How many people before then even knew that SodaStream was based in Israel, let alone that its main manufacturing plant was in a West Bank settlement?

The US secretary of state, John Kerry, performed a similar service when he warned Israeli leaders of the consequences of a failure of current peace talks. “The risks are very high for Israel,” he said. “People are talking about boycott. That will intensify in the case of failure.”

Kerry is right: more people are now talking about boycotting Israel than ever before. The issue is gaining traction even among US academic bodies, previously thought impervious due to the oft cited “unbreakable bond” between the two countries.

Israel is angered by the boycott calls, and alarmed at the movement’s momentum. The prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, recently launched an attack on Europe and its dark history. “I think the most eerie thing, the most disgraceful thing, is to have people on the soil of Europe talking about the boycott of Jews. In the past, antisemites boycotted Jewish businesses and today they call for the boycott of the Jewish state … the boycotters must be exposed for what they are. They’re classical antisemites in modern garb.”

This is a serious charge, and one that causes deep discomfort to many who want to bring pressure to bear on the Israeli government over its policies towards the Palestinians, but who also vigorously oppose antisemitism in any form. Opposing the occupation does not equate to antisemitism or a rejection of Jews’ right to, and need for, a homeland. The repeated accusation of antisemitism does not make it true, however frequently it is levelled by those who defend Israel unconditionally.

But this is not to say that there is unity within the boycott movement. Many draw a distinction between a settlement boycott – rejecting goods originating in Jewish colonies in the West Bank; cutting ties with settlement-based institutions; or demanding international companies divest from enterprises with links across the “green line” – and a boycott of Israel itself.

Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, has made his position clear. “We do not support the boycott of Israel. But we ask everyone to boycott the products of the settlements,” he said in December.

Critics of Israeli policies who oppose a boycott of Israel itself argue that ordinary citizens should not be penalised for the government’s actions; that dialogue with academic, business and cultural bodies is more productive than shunning them; and that the shameful history of boycotting Jews makes this option impossible to contemplate. But others – increasingly frustrated by Israel’s intransigence, the dismal prospects for the peace process, and the failure of the international community to back up critical words with meaningful actions – say that only when Israeli citizens and institutions feel the consequences of their government’s policies will they force change from within.

Many Israelis are shielded from the occupation. To those soaking up the sun on a Tel Aviv beach or working in a hi-tech hub in Haifa, Gaza and the West Bank feel like another planet. The daily grind experienced by more than 4 million Palestinians living under military occupation just a few dozen miles away barely registers. A boycott – whether it’s the ending of academic links; the refusal of artists to perform; the divestment of international companies for reputational reasons; or a consumer rejecting Israeli produce in the supermarket – has the potential to jolt Israelis from this somnolence.

Of course, there’s a risk of such pressure entrenching Israel’s stance. But Israel frequently proclaims itself to be the only true democracy in the Middle East. Should its citizens demand an end to policies that have brought them economic pain, isolation and global opprobrium, their government will surely be forced to take notice.

LATUFF’S LATEST BDS SPOOF

 

Related Report

TWO OF THE LATEST BDS VICTORIES

King’s College students union backs boycott of Israel

Students’ union votes to support BDS campaign against ‘Israeli products, companies or institution’ that ‘profit for the violation of Palestinian rights.’

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King's College, London.

The entrance gate of King’s College in London. Photo by Dreamstime
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The King’s College London Student Union (KCLSU) passed amotion on Tuesday night to back the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israeli products, companies and institutions “that profit from or are implicated in, the violation of Palestinian rights.”

The motion, which passed by 348-252, says that a call for sanctions “is to ask the global community to recognise Israel’s violations of international law and to act accordingly as they do to other member states of the United Nations.”

The College’s Israel Society, comprising of “Jewish students and/or proud members of the wonderfully diverse King’s College London student community,” had earlier said it was “greatly disturbed by the thought that our university – let alone any university – dedicated to the pursuit of truth and knowledge, could be called on to ban cooperation with the universities and cultural groups of any other country.”

“We appreciate and admire the motion’s proposers desire to see a peaceful outcome to conflict in the Middle East,” they said, “but peace is not achieved by making Israel a pariah state – or destroying the Jewish state altogether.”

The King’s College London administration released a statement after the vote in which it distanced itself from the decision. “King’s College London does not support or engage in boycotts of academic institutions,” it said, adding the KCLSU is “constitutionally separate from, and independent of, King’s College London.”

Meanwhile, an Israel divestment resolution was narrowly passed a second time by the student government of Chicago’s Loyola University on Tuesday, while a similar resolution was defeated at the University of Michigan.

Source

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And the second victory ….

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Divestment wins again at Loyola, goes down fighting in Michigan

ZIONISTS CONTINUE TO USE THE WORD NAZI

Israel recently passed a law outlawing the use of the word nazi …. BUT it’s OK for zionists abroad use it …

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Ohio State Hillel member calls Desmond Tutu a ‘neo Nazi’ for criticizing Israel

HOW MUCH WOULD YOU PAY TO HEAR THE ROLLING STONES SING FOR APARTHEID?

Tickets for the concert are to go on sale on Sunday, March 30, at 9am. The tickets cost 695 shekels ($200) for the cheapest spaces, 1,790 shekels ($515) for the “golden ring”, and 2,850 shekels ($820) for VIP seats.

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Rolling Stones to play Tel Aviv concert in June

 

Legendary band finally gets date after months of speculation; tickets for Yarkon Park show start at 695 shekels.

It’s official: The Rolling Stones will play a concert at Yarkon Park in Tel Aviv on June 4, Israeli producer Shuki Weiss confirmed Tuesday.

Tickets for the concert are to go on sale on Sunday, March 30, at 9am. The tickets cost 695 shekels ($200) for the cheapest spaces, 1,790 shekels ($515) for the “golden ring”, and 2,850 shekels ($820) for VIP seats.

“For the first time in my 35 years in the business I have no words to express the size of an event of this kind in Israel,” Weiss told reporters as he announced the concert.

Regarding the ticket prices, Weiss said that they were cheaper than the sums the band charged in other places around the world, and that the concert would boost tourism to Israel. “We are expecting thousands of tourists to come to the show,” he said.

He pointed out that Rolling Stones tickets for other venues that went on sale yesterday had already been sold out.

Ynet reported two weeks ago that Yarkon Park had been reserved on June 4 as the venue for the legendary British rock group’s performance, and that the date had been approved by the band’s representatives.

The previous date requested by the band members, in late May, created a problem for the Tel Aviv and Ramat Gan municipalities, as Justin Timberlake’s concert had already been set for May 28 and, in favor of the area’s residents, major events cannot be held at the park on dates so close to one another.

Other than Weiss, several leading producers, including Marcel Avraham and Gadi Oron, had been fighting for the privilege to bring the Stones to Israel. The lucky winner gets to produce the prestigious show for an estimated $5 million.

The Rolling Stones had postponed concerts in Australia and New Zealand earlier this month, following the death of Mick Jageer’s long-term girlfriend, L’Wren Scott. The group had been due to start the seven-concert leg of their world tour in Perth, Australia. Fans were told to keep their tickets until further information was released. Days later, however, the band began to add dates for the European leg of the tour.

 

 

Source

ANOTHER SODASTREAM SPOOF AD

Artists in Finland have produced this clever and funny one-minute spoof ad for SodaStream.

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“SodaScream – Bubble trouble,” as the ad is called, takes aim (pun intended!) at the company that manufactures fizzy-drink machines in the illegal Israeli colony of Maaleh Adumim in the occupied West Bank.

Earlier this year, Hollywood star Scarlett Johansson was at the center of a media storm over her endorsement deal with the company.

She later resigned from her position as global ambassador for the charity Oxfam, which declared that her deal with the occupation profiteer SodaStream was “incompatible” with her humanitarian role.

The video’s makers have set up a website – SodaScream.com that provides brief, clear explanations of why SodaStream’s activities are problematic and urges people to contact the company.

 

FROM

INTERNATIONAL BDS UPDATES

‘DON’T CRY FOR ME ARGENTINA’ …

… Be proud that BDS has reached your shores

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“Boycott is becoming an increasingly powerful and empowering way for ordinary people to support Palestinians in their struggle to end the occupation and Israel’s apartheid policies and for the right of Palestinian refugees to  return to their homes.” 

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$170m Argentina loss for Israeli water firm Mekorot as BDS spreads southward

 Written by Palestinian BDS National Committe

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In the latest success for the growing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, authorities in Buenos Aires have suspended a proposed $170m water treatment plant deal with Israeli state water firm Mekorot. The decision came after a campaign by local trade unions and human rights groups which connected Mekorot’s role in Israel’s theft of Palestinian water resources with evidence that the project did not meet Argentine standards and necessities.

Campaigners argued that Mekorot was attempting to export the discriminatory water policies it has developed against the Palestinian people to Argentina.

This victory largely contradicts Israeli claims, last expressed during Netanyahu’s speech at the AIPAC, that the global south, eager for Israeli technology, are uncontested growing markets.

Mekorot illegally appropriates Palestinian water, diverting it to illegal Israeli settlements and towns inside Israel, and imposes severe obstacles to Palestinians accessing their own water. Amnesty International has accused Israel of depriving Palestinians of their access to water “as a means of expulsion”. A French parliamentary report accused Israel of imposing a system of “water apartheid” in the occupied Palestinian territory.

The Buenos Aires provincial government approved a drinking water plant project deal with a consortium led by Mekorot following a visit to Israel by state governor Daniel Scioli in 2011, but protests and lobbying have persuaded local authorities to suspend the project.

The large Dutch water utility Vitens suspended a cooperation agreement with Mekorot on the grounds that the relationship violated its “commitment to international law” in a high profile announcement in December.

“After investigating, we concluded that Mekorot came to Argentina with the intention to repeat what they are doing in Palestine. Water is a right for all and no company should be able to provide water in a discriminatory way,” said Adolfo, an engineer and a representative of the CTA/ ATE Hidráulica trade union in Buenos Aires that campaigned against the Mekorot plant.

“We fought in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for justice, liberation and return and we won a battle not only against Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people but as well for the right to water here in Argentina,” said Tilda Rabi, president of the Federation of Palestinian-Argentinian Organisations.

Campaigners understand that the decision was made in December 2013 but were only able to verify the news on March 7.

Friends of the Earth Palestine and a range of BDS partners are calling for a week of action against Mekorot during the last week of March.

Campaigners are viewing the Buenos Aires decision as the latest sign that the international BDS movement is increasingly isolating Israel and having serious economic impacts on its regime of occupation, colonialism and apartheid.

On Thursday, students at the National University of Galway in Ireland voted to endorse BDS in a campus-wide ballot, following on from a similar referendum success for BDS activists at the University of Windsor in Canada. National and local student unions across Europe and North America have now voted to support BDS-related measures.

Israeli media reports attributed the recent withdrawal of two leading European construction firms from the bid to build seaports in Israel to boycott fears, and a third firm only agreed to go ahead with similar plans after being allowed to submit a bid under a different name.

It emerged last month that Luxembourg’s state pension fund has excluded nine Israeli banks and firms over their role in illegal Israeli settlements, following on from similar decisions in recent months by public pension funds in Norway and the Netherlands and Danske Bank, Denmark’s largest bank.

A recent solidarity conference organized by South African members of parliament and civil society groups issued the Cape Town Declaration endorsing BDS and accusing Israel of the crime of apartheid.

The Norwegian branch of the YMCA-YWCA movement recently announced its support for an economic boycott of Israel.

“Israel’s attempts to smear the BDS movement are failing; Israel is increasingly being isolated as people of conscience around the world take action to support Palestinian rights and as investors realize that there are serious economic and reputational risks associated with doing business with Israel,” said Zaid Shuaibi, a spokesperson for the Palestinian BDS National Committee, the largest Palestinian civil society coalition that leads the global BDS movement.

“Boycott is becoming an increasingly powerful and empowering way for ordinary people to support Palestinians in their struggle to end the occupation and Israel’s apartheid policies and for the right of Palestinian refugees to  return to their homes,” he added.

FROM ‘THE WALL’ …. WE DON’T NEED NO OCCUPATION

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Collaborative project urging pension giant TIAA-CREF to divest from companies profiting from colonialism and ethnic cleansing by Israel in Palestine. Video by Jihane al Quds. Lyric:

We don’t need no occupation (Divest! Divest!)
We don’t need no swat patrol (Divest! Divest!)
Cat’s bulldozing West Bank classrooms (Divest! Divest!)
That’s not for the greater good
Elbit Systems, Caterpillar, G4S, Hewlett Packard, SodaStream
Hey, T-Cref, leave them kids alone!
All in all we’re gonna tear those bricks from the wall
All in all we’re gonna tear those bricks from the wall

We don’t need no Northrop Grumman (Divest! Divest!)
Death and mayhem from above (Divest! Divest!)
Motorola’s no Solution (Divest! Divest!)
For Palestine let’s show some love
Northrop Grumman, Veolia, Sodastream, Elbit Systems, Caterpillar
Hey, T-Cref, your dollars flatten homes!
All in all we’re gonna tear those bricks from the wall
All in all we’re gonna tear those bricks from the wall

We don’t need Veolia Light Rail (Divest! Divest!)
Seizing East Jerusalem (Divest! Divest!)
Divest from Elbit’s ammunition (Divest! Divest!)
And yes they helped to built the wall
Hewlett Packard, Northrop Grumman, Elbit Systems, Caterpillar, G4S
Hey, T-Cref, look how apartheid’s grown!
All in all we’re gonna tear those bricks from the wall
All in all we’re gonna tear those bricks from the wall

BDS AND THE AMERICAN JEWISH COMMUNITY

The use of name-calling like “anti-Semites” and “delegtimizers” is problematic for a number of reasons, not only because its claims are untrue, but also because it takes the focus off the real issue at hand – whether and how Israel is, in fact, violating international law and basic human rights principles – and, instead, recklessly impugns the characters of those advocating for Israel to be held accountable.

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Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) and the American Jewish Community

 Donna Nevel*

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Photo credit: Jewish Voice For Peace

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Many American Jewish organizations claim to be staunch supporters of civil and human rights as well as academic freedom. But when it comes to Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel, they make an exception. In their relentless opposition to BDS, they leave even core principles behind.

The Palestinian-led call for BDS, which began in 2005 in response to ongoing Israeli government violations of basic principles of international law and human rights of the Palestinian people, is a call of conscience. It has strengthened markedly over the last few years among artists, students, unions, church groups, dockworkers, and others. Media coverage of endorsers of the boycott has gone mainstream and viral. Recent examples include Stephen Hawking’s refusal to go to Jerusalem for the Presidential Conference, the successful campaign surrounding Scarlett Johansson’s support for Soda Stream and its settlement operation, and the American Studies Association (ASA) resolution that endorsed boycott of Israeli academic institutions.

Alongside BDS’s increasing strength have come increasingly virulent attacks on, and campaigns against it. These attacks tend to employ similar language and tactics – as if the groups are all cribbing from the same talking points – including tarring BDS supporters as “anti-Semitic” and “delegitimizers.”

These attacks simply don’t address or grapple with the core aspirations or realities of BDS. As described by Hanan Ashrawi, executive committee member of the PLO, in a recent letter in the New York Times, BDS “does not target Jews, individually or collectively, and rejects all forms of bigotry and discrimination, including anti-Semitism.” She goes on to explain that “B.D.S. is, in fact, a legal, moral and inclusive movement struggling against the discriminatory policies of a country that defines itself in religiously exclusive terms, and that seeks to deny Palestinians the most basic rights simply because we are not Jewish.”

The use of name-calling like “anti-Semites” and “delegtimizers” is problematic for a number of reasons, not only because its claims are untrue, but also because it takes the focus off the real issue at hand – whether and how Israel is, in fact, violating international law and basic human rights principles – and, instead, recklessly impugns the characters of those advocating for Israel to be held accountable.

Criticisms, even extremely harsh ones, of the Israeli state or calls to make a state democratic and adhere to equal rights for all its citizens are not anti-Semitic. Rather, anti-Semitism is about hatred of, and discrimination against the Jewish people, which is not anywhere to be found in the call for BDS, and these kinds of accusations also serve to trivialize the long and ugly history of anti-Semitism.

Most recently, the anti-BDS effort has moved to the legislative front. A bill, introduced in the New York State Assembly last month, would have trampled academic freedom and the right to support BDS in its quest to punish the ASA and deter any who might dare to emulate its endorsement of the academic boycott. Those supporting the bill were opposed by a broad coalition of education, civil rights, legal, academic, and Palestine solidarity organizations, as well as Jewish social justice groups. The bill was withdrawn, but a revised version has been introduced that is designed, like the original, to punish colleges that use public funds for activities related to groups that support boycotts of Israel, including mere attendance at their meetings.

The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) worked closely with the sponsors of the New York bill.

Like the JCRC, rather than engaging in substantive debate about the issues raised in relation to BDS, the Israeli government and many Jewish communal organizations choose, instead, to try to discredit and derail the efforts of those supporting BDS.

For example, as recently reported by Ha’aretz, the Israeli Knesset is debating how to continue to counter BDS efforts across the globe, that is, “whether to launch an aggressive public campaign or operate through quieter, diplomatic channels.” It is also considering what the role of AIPAC might be in introducing anti-boycott legislation and how to best bolster military surveillance–which has significant funding behind it–against supporters of BDS.

American Jewish communal organizations have also expended massive resources and energy in their campaigns to demonize endorsers of BDS. The Israel Action Network (IAN)–which describes itself as “a strategic initiative of TheJewish Federations of North America, in partnership with the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA), created to counter assaults made on Israel’s legitimacy”–has funded the anti-BDS effort to the tune of at least six million dollars over a three-year period.

The IAN website characterizes supporters of BDS as “delegitimizers”and says that, in order to gain support from “vulnerable targets,” which include “college campuses, churches, labor unions, and human rights organizations,” delegitimizers utilize Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) tactics, “the same tools used to isolate and vilify apartheid South Africa, Iran, or Nazi Germany. BDS activists, IAN continues, “present distortions, fabrications and misrepresentations of international law in an attempt to paint Israel with the same brush.”

In another example of name-calling without any substance, the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL’s) July 2013 report attacked Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), featuring ad hominem accusations (JVP “intentionally exploits Jewish culture”), rather than discussing JVP’s actual positions. (A JVP report on the ADL points out that the ADL not only targets JVP but is well-known for its long history of spying on Arabs and supporters of the Palestinian movement.)

On the charge of anti-Semitism, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, in its call to fight the BDS movement, urges it supporters to “learn the facts behind this hypocritical and anti-Semitic campaign,” and the ADL’s Abe Foxman echoed those same sentiments: “The BDS movement at its very core is anti-Semitic.” And most recently, in his speech to AIPAC, Prime Minister Netanyahu, after shamelessly drawing upon classic anti-Semitic imagery of Jews to speak of supporters of BDS, says: “So you see, attempts to boycott, divest and sanction Israel, the most threatened democracy on earth, are simply the latest chapter in the long and dark history of anti- Semitism.”

The demonization of BDS is not only the domain of the Israeli government and the mainstream Jewish community. The self-declared liberal J-Street, in its seemingly relentless quest to stay under the Jewish “tent,” has also jumped on the anti-BDS bandwagon, sometimes in partnership with the IAN, which (precisely because J Street is positioned as a peace group) proudly documents its relationship with J Street in fighting BDS. Discussing how J Street is gaining acceptance in the mainstream Jewish community, JCPA’s CEO Rabbi Steve Gutow points to “its role in pushing back against the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement…”

Further, the refusal of both liberal land mainstream Jewish groups to discuss substantive issues around Israel’s actions or BDS also reveals itself in language that admonishes BDS as being “beyond the pale.” Recently, for example, asreported by the director of JVP in an op-ed in the Forward, the director of the JCRC of Greater Boston, who has a history of involvement in liberal organizations, explained that “any organization that supports BDS…doesn’t belong at the communal table. In fact, he was referring specifically to Jewish Voice for Peace. He evenarguedthat opening the public conversation to BDS is roughly akin to welcoming the Ku Klux Klan.”

This attempted silencing of those simply discussing BDS plays out even in seemingly minor local skirmishes. For example, last year, the liberal rabbi of a large New York City synagogue cancelled the synagogue’s facilities-usage contract with a group of Jews who, he feared, might, on his premises, discuss BDS. That, he said, would be “beyond the pale.”

These attacks against BDS appear to be an almost desperate reaction to the increasing successes of BDS, not only in the world at large, but also within the broader Jewish community itself. Respected members of the liberal Jewish community as well as a few liberal Zionist groups that were vehemently anti-BDS are now calling for boycotts against products made in the settlements and are engaging with the issue publicly. Further, the mission and vision of groups like Jews Say No and Jewish Voice for Peace – “a diverse and democratic community of activists inspired by Jewish tradition to work together for peace, social justice, and human rights” – are resonating with increasing numbers of Jews who support BDS as a natural outgrowth of their commitments. And that movement is growing in partnership with the broader Palestinian-led movement for justice.

How should the rest of the Jewish community respond? Ad hominem attacks on BDS just will not do. It is time for BDS opponents to take a deep breath. Consider this: BDS is a principled response to Israel’s actions and behavior as an occupier. It is a profound call by Palestinians – and supporters world-wide–for justice. It is not BDS that should be opposed, but, rather, the very policies and practices that have made BDS necessary.

*Donna Nevel, a community psychologist and educator, is a long-time organizer for peace and justice in Israel/Palestine. She was a co-coordinator of the 1989 landmark Road to Peace Conference that brought PLO officials and Knesset members together to the US for the first time. More recently, she was a founding member of Jews Say No!, is a member of the board of Jewish Voice for Peace, and is on the coordinating committee of the Nakba Education Project, U.S.

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TARGETING BDS AT AIPAC

In an attempt to gain favour among American zionists, Netnyahu lauched his most brutal attack against the BDS Movement at AIPAC’s annual meeting … declaring that BDS is the greatest threat facing Israel today. Could this mean that Iran is no longer on his agenda?

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In recent months, top ministers in Netanyahu’s government have repeatedly declared that BDS is the “greatest threat” Israel faces.

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At AIPAC, Netanyahu launches “desperate” attack on BDS movement

 Ali Abunimah

BDS movement “will fail,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told cheering AIPAC delegates. (Screenshot)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today launched a frontal assault on the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

“One movement that’s definitely on the wrong side of the moral divide is the movement to boycott Israel, the so-called BDS,” Netanyahu told the cheering delegates, in his keynote speech to the annual gathering of the powerful Israel lobby group AIPAC in Washington, DC.

“That movement will fail,” Netanyahu predicted.

While claiming that people were “flocking to Israel” for its technology from all over the world, Netanyahu warned, “I don’t want you to get complacent – because the fact that they’re going to fail doesn’t mean that the BDS movement shouldn’t be vigorously opposed.”

“Anti-Semites”

Netanyahu proceeded to defame supporters of Palestinian human rights in the crudest terms: “Throughout history, people believed the most outrageously absurd things about the Jews, that we were using the blood of children to bake matzos, that we were spreading the plague throughout Europe.”

Those who support BDS today are just as bad, Netanyahu asserted: “Those who wear the BDS label should be treated exactly as we treat any anti-Semite or bigot. They should be exposed and condemned. The boycotters should be boycotted.”

This speech is Netanyahu’s highest profile attack on BDS, although last summer, he put responsibility for fighting against the movement for Palestinian rights into the hands of the “Ministry of Strategic Affairs.”

Israel is also placing dedicated anti-BDS operatives in its foreign embassies.

In recent months, top ministers in Netanyahu’s government have repeatedly declared that BDS is the “greatest threat” Israel faces.

Desperate

Responding to his remarks, Rafeef Ziadah, a spokesperson for the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee, the Palestinian civil society coalition that leads the BDS movement, said in an emailed statement:

“Netanyahu’s desperate attack on the BDS movement comes as European pension funds are blacklisting Israeli companies and banks, as Israeli concert organizers find it increasingly difficult to persuade artists to perform in Israel and as governments begin to take action to hold Israel accountable for its violations of international law.”

“At its core, the BDS movement is a movement against Israel’s systematic discrimination and apartheid policies. The BDS movement is opposed, as a matter of principle, to all forms of discrimination, including anti-semitism and Islamophobia. The world is growing increasingly weary of Israel’s attempts to conflate criticism of its violations of international law with anti-semitism.”

Ziadah is right. It’s hard to see how people who are not already on board with Netanyahu will be swayed by his invective.

If Israel’s only answer to people all over the world who are horrified by its oppression of Palestinians and ongoing theft of their land, is to call them “bigots,” then Netanyahu should fully expect the BDS movement to grow.

 

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ISRAELI BLACKHAT BLACKMAIL

Demonstration in Jerusalem yesterday

Jerusalem completely cut off as half a million ultra-Orthodox rally against draft | Haaretz

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‘Army service for Yeshiva students or illegal settlements ….. The choice is yours!’

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It’s not motivated by the fact that settlements are illegal under international law, but rather by the simple fact that the strongly pro-settlement religious-Zionist camp is supporting legislation to force Haredi men to serve in the army, which would prevent them from studying in religious academies instead.

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Revenge May Drive Haredi Settlement Boycott

By Nathan Jeffay

Ultra-Orthodox lawmaker Meir Porush at a Jerusalem polling station in 2008. / Getty Images

A boycott of West Bank settlements is a favorite subject for discussion among Palestinian activists and Western liberals alike. Surprisingly, it’s getting some ultra-Orthodox Israelis talking too.

In fact, a Haredi lawmaker has revealed that he’s coming under “tremendous pressure” to initiate a boycott of settlement enterprises. Meir Porush of United Torah Judaism is “preventing it” for the moment but said that he doesn’t know if he can keep a lid on it. “I do not know if this matter will remain under control,” he said.

Porush made the comments on the religious Kol Berama radio station and they were reported by the pro-settler news service Arutz Sheva.

So what’s the rationale behind this Haredi boycott mindset?

It’s not motivated by the fact that settlements are illegal under international law, but rather by the simple fact that the strongly pro-settlement religious-Zionist camp is supporting legislation to force Haredi men to serve in the army, which would prevent them from studying in religious academies instead.

Porush explained the thought process, according to Arutz Sheva, saying: “If that is how you treat us and the Torah study that is the foundation of our existence, let’s boycott some of the settlers’ factories in Judea and Samaria.”

In short, a revenge boycott.

Now, Porush may be wildly exaggerating the pressure for a boycott in order to make a political point, but it’s still notable that the boycott discourse has become such a looming threat in the Israeli mindset that Israelis are prepared to use it as a stick to beat each other with — even if they’re not ideologically behind it.
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‘PROGRESSIVE’ ZIONISM SAYS “YES TO A BOYCOTT”

Here’s a good one from today’s HaAretz

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Yes to a boycott

When Yuval Steinitz demands NIS 100 million to confront an international boycott, he ought to take into account a local boycott, too, that will be even more costly and will cause internal bleeding.

By Yossi Sarid

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Palestinian boycott - Jan. 2009

Palestinians in the West Bank city of Nablus burn boxes of Israeli produce during a protest calling for a boycott of Israeli products . Photo by AP

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Did somebody say “boycott” and the only one to hear was Benjamin Netanyahu? It’s not Israel, but rather its stepchild state that’s being threatened with a boycott. For 47 years, the rebellious irredenta has worked to erase the line, and that’s what happens when you’re in a frenzy to erase – the line is smeared, you get a messy blotch, and no trick of law, language or diplomacy can fix it.

Even the “boycott law” debated this week by the High Court of Justice would never have come into being without the magic phrase “area under its control.”

In other words, the wily legislature was referring not to Israel itself but to those areas that were never annexed to it but tagged along with it.

What haven’t we tried, over the decades – we asked nicely, we asked not nicely, we asked just one thing: Don’t go for the two birds in the bush, we don’t even have the one in hand yet and it needs help to survive. But they didn’t listen to us. We called out in the wilderness, and now the wilderness is stirring.

Once I flew El Al to Tunis via Rome. I was environment minister (now called environmental protection) at the time, and I’d been invited to meet with colleagues from around the Mediterranean Basin. Along the way, I was offered a glass of wine. I happened to look at the bottle and what did I see: Made in Hebron. I didn’t drink, because wine is really a matter of taste: I’m no Ahab; wine from Naboth’s vineyard stings my palate. After returning to Israel, I wrote to the head of the airline, which in those days was a “national” one: You may not cause a passenger to sin with yayin nesekh, “libational wine,” even if it is made by Jews. I have my own kashrut rules.

Much wine has been spilled since then, and last year, as my birthday approached, I began dropping hints: Grandpa Yossi, who really likes to drink homemade bubbles, would love to receive a SodaStream machine, with all the flavoring syrups. Until I suddenly learned that the SodaStream factory is in Ma’ale Adumim. I canceled my order, and even Scarlett Johansson couldn’t make me change my mind.

You be the judge of me, before they come to put me on trial: If I oppose, with all my heart and soul, the settlements that jeopardize our peace and well-being, then why should I support their businesses of my own free will? Isn’t it bad enough that my legally paid taxes are now going to help 35 isolated settlements – outside the “blocs” – thanks to the “new politics” of Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett? So what if I say I’ve had it with their wine and their carbonated water?

Recently I was interviewed on a radio station whose main listenership is in the territories. They wanted to talk about John Kerry’s statements which are perceived here as a threat. I let them down: I didn’t get all filled with patriotic spirit, and I didn’t express solidarity with that view. How could I object to his warning when we’ve been saying the same thing ourselves for so long?

When Yuval Steinitz demands NIS 100 million to confront an international boycott, he ought to take into account a local boycott, too, that will be even more costly and will cause internal bleeding.

No longer will there be false shows of reconciliation. Rather, we shall take up positions and prepare to fight for our home; no longer shall we be one head anointed with pure olive oil, when olive trees are being burned and uprooted.

A boycott is better than fine oil; no more will “brothers sit together,” for my definition of brotherhood derives from values, not blood. The government has noticed the change that is afoot. That’s why it is scrambling for rearguard legislation.

Delegitimization, my foot. Netanyahu tried to prop up that scarecrow yet again this week. Israel is legitimate. About that there is no debate. Only its occupation is illegitimate. So yes to a boycott, in order to remove the gangrene and save the healthy tissue.

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The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website.

ZIONISTS UNSETTLED BY UNSETTLED ZIONISM

(Jeff Haynes / Agence France Presse

 

While demanding that Zionist political ideology not be questioned, J Street has long opposed key Palestinian rights and promotes anti-Palestinian views among its youth wing, including the view that refugees are a “demographic threat” and must be excluded from their native land on the sole grounds that they are not Jews.

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J Street attacks Presbyterians over study guide questioning Zionism

 Ali Abunimah

The Israel lobby group J Street has launched a blistering attack on the Presbyterian Church USA over its new study guideZionism Unsettled, claiming that the publication promotes “polarization” and “intolerance.”

Zionism Unsettledpublished last month by the church’s Israel/Palestine Mission Network (IPMN), is a 74-page study guide examining the role Zionism and Christian Zionism have played in shaping attitudes and events in Palestine and its region.

It is intended to help church congregations and others to learn and talk about Zionism and the devastating impact the practice of the ideology has had on Palestinians, as The Electronic Intifada previously reported.

J Street “deeply offended”

In a statement yesterday, J Street said it was “deeply offended” by Zionism Unsettled, asserting that “one has to question the IPMN’s motives in publishing this ‘resource.’”

J Street claimed the guide’s authors “had no intention of encouraging thoughtful reflection on Zionism, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, or Jewish perspectives on Israel. Instead, reductive and divisive thinking of this kind exacerbates polarization and intolerance, both of which are not in short supply in this conflict.”

J Street protested that the guide “offensively intimates that Zionism is racist, pathological and the very root of the conflict in the region.”

“An approach that belittles or demeans Jews, Israelis or Palestinians makes no contribution to ending this conflict,” J Street concludes.

While demanding that Zionist political ideology not be questioned, J Street has long opposed key Palestinian rights and promotes anti-Palestinian views among its youth wing, including the view that refugees are a “demographic threat” and must be excluded from their native land on the sole grounds that they are not Jews.

“Anti-Semitic”

While J Street does not outright accuse Zionism Unsettled’s authors of anti-Semitism, its angry attack is scarcely more temperate than the Anti-Defamation League, which claimedthat the study guide “may be the most anti-Semitic document to come out of a mainline American church in recent memory.”

Both of these approaches reflect an extreme intolerance for any diversity of opinion about Zionism, especially among Jews.

Rabbi Brant Rosen, author of Wrestling in the Daylight: A Rabbi’s Path to Palestinian Solidarity, has voiced strong support of Zionism Unsettled.

“As a Jew, I’m especially appreciative that while [Zionism Unsettled] is strongly critical of Zionism, it doesn’t flinch from extensive Christian self-criticism,” Rosen writes at his blog.

Rosen is a contributor to a longer, forthcoming book – Zionism and the Quest for Justice in the Holy Land – on which Zionism Unsettled is based.

Rosen, co-chair of the Rabbinical Council of Jewish Voice for Peace, continues: “The guide is particularly candid in its examination of the oppressive legacy of the post-Constantinan Church, replacement theology – and Christian anti-Semitism in general.”

Critique of “extremist elements”

Donald Wagner, National Program Director of Friends of Sabeel–North America, responded to J Street’s attack with an invitation for renewed dialogue.

In an email to The Electronic Intifada, Wagner, an ordained Presbyterian minister, says that J Street’s response “is what we might expect from CAMERA, AIPAC, and other extremist groups, but not from an organization that strives to position itself as an alternative to these purveyors of the tired old anachronistic diatribes.”

Wagner adds that Zionism Unsettled is “a critique of the extremist elements of political Zionism, including those of [Christians United for Israel founder] Rev. John Hagee that have crept into our Evangelical communities or their liberal models that we find in our mainline Protestant and Roman Catholic denominations.”

“As a Presbyterian who contributed to this new study guide, I’d like to challenge J Street to a more thoughtful, honest, and open public conversation of the difficult and complex issues it raises – but only after J Street’s leaders have actually read the document.”

Wagner’s suggestion that J Street leaders had not even read the document they are condemning is understandable given the fact that Zionism Unsettled addresses in detail all the points J Street raises in its statement.

Ecumenical deal

Wagner urged that “It is time for us all to face up to the dangerous tendencies within political Zionism and the Christian Zionists who prefer to excuse the human rights abuses perpetrated on Palestinians daily and in doing so actually negate the spiritual and moral claims of justice that we share as faith communities.”

A “dialogue of justice” will be difficult, Wagner says, but would be preferable to “the so-called ‘ecumenical deal,’ where large dinners and polite discussions abound but where equal justice for Palestinians and Jews is off the table.”

“We look forward to hearing from J Street and will welcome a new dialogue with you,” Wagner urges.

It will be interesting to see whether J Street is capable of rising to that challenge, especially as the Presbyterian Church USA heads into another debate and vote on divestment from Israel occupation profiteers at its general assembly this summer.

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BDS // WINNING, DESPITE ISRAEL’S ATTEMPTS TO DELEGITIMIZE IT

Just yesterday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu once more drew attention to the power of BDS by tweeting an attack on activists and falsely claiming that BDS targets Jews rather than targeting Israel’s abuses against Palestinian rights

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Israel is losing the fight against BDS

 Ali Abunimah
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From 24 February this year, through the month of March, campuses and organizations all over the world, including in Brazil, Europe and across North America will be marking thetenth annual Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW).

IAW, an international series of events, has become a major focal point to rally support and build up organizing for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) on Israel.

The tenth IAW comes at a time when the BDS movement has seen unprecedented growth and attention from world media as well as from Israel and the governments and institutions complicit with its ongoing crimes against Palestinians.

Yet Israel is losing its fight against BDS.

Israel worried

Just yesterday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu once more drew attention to the power of BDS by tweeting an attack on activists and falsely claiming that BDS targets Jews rather than targeting Israel’s abuses against Palestinian rights:

BDS is an emphatically anti-racist movement, based on universal principles.

It targets structures of systematic injustice and exploitation, not people because of their religion or identity.

Yet speaking to a group of visiting leaders of American Jewish pro-Israel organizations this week, Netanyahu claimed that supporters of BDS were “classical anti-Semites in modern garb.”

He once more called for the Israeli state to fight back and “delegitimize the delegitimizers.”

Israel out of options

Netanyahu’s renewed call was absolutely nothing new. He is simply repeating the Reut Institute’s 2010 strategy – launched four years ago this week – to fight back against so-called “delegitimizers” – people who support Palestinian rights – with a strategy of “sabotage and attack.”

Indeed, last summer, Netanyahu put responsibility for fighting against the movement for Palestinian rights into the hands of the “Ministry of Strategic Affairs.”

Israel is also placing dedicated anti-BDS operatives in its foreign embassies.

Yet four years and millions of dollars later, the Reut Institute strategy, adopted by the Israeli government and Israeli lobby organizations all over the world, has utterly failed to stem the growth of support for Palestinian rights and the nonviolent movement designed to see them implemented: boycott, divestment and sanctions.

In recent months, top ministers in Netanyahu’s government have repeatedly declared that BDS is the “greatest threat” Israel faces.

No mere PR problem

Netanyahu’s lashing out indicates that Israel has no strategy and no message that can cover up this evident truth: Israel does not have an image problem that can be fixed with better PR or by defaming those who criticize it.

Israel has a reality problem, with occupation, apartheid, colonization, racism and the systematic denial of the rights of indigenous Palestinians solely on the grounds that they are not Jewish.

This year’s IAW will be another opportunity to see how the movement to end these abuses is growing.

Watch the trailer above and visit apartheidweek.org for more information, including a listing of events.

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The Divestment Bill Hurts My Feelings …. Remi Kanazi

FLAMES OF HATRED AGAINST THE BDS MOVEMENT

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BDS was the ‘talk of the town’ on Israeli TV last night. The guest was the author of zion’s latest attempt to discredit the movement and link it to terrorist activities within Israel. The man was Edwin Black, the book he wrote is called Financing The Flames.

It was a direct hit against all NGOs involved in supporting the Movement with the outright accusation that Tax-Exempt and Public Money Fuel a Culture of Confrontation and Terrorism in Israel, pulls the cover off the robust use of tax-exempt, tax-subsidized, and public monies to foment agitation, systematically destabilize the Israel Defense Forces, and finance terrorists in Israel. In a far-flung investigation in the United States, Israel and the West Bank.

He singles out a few of the NGOs in question;  such as the Ford Foundation, George Soros’s Open Society Foundations, the New Israel Fund.

The host of the program he appeared on was a bit confused by the statements issued by Black and literally made him look like a fool. It was definitely a case of the smoke from those flames blowing right back into his face.*

According to Black’s ‘logic’ it’s OK for the US government to send Israel 30 Billion (plus) Dollar$ a year to finance the illegal settlements and terrorist activities, but funds collected to combat this (PEACEABLY) is terrorism?*

Just look at the reviews for the book, they say it all…. It is truly comforting to watch the defenders of zion literally grasp at straws to support the insupportable. If this is the best they got, then victory will truly be ours very soon!

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VENCEREMOS!

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If you think you can stomach it, here’s a video of Black ‘fanning the flames’ …

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