RUSHING TO JUDGEMENT IN BOSTON

Two related reports ….
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Obama’s rush to judgment: Was the Boston bombing really a “terrorist” act?

 Ali Abunimah
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President Obama has repeatedly claimed that the Boston Marathon bombing was an “act of terror” and that its alleged perpetrators are “terrorists.”

It may seem pointless to quibble with this description: after all what could be more “terroristic” than setting off bombs at a peaceful sporting event killing three persons, one a child, and injuring or horrifically maiming dozens more?

But in fact how the act is described is very important in determining government, media and wider societal responses, including ramping up racism and bigotry against Muslims, Arabs or people of color.

There can be no doubt that the Boston Marathon bombing was a murderous act, but does it –– based on what is known –– fit the US government’s own definitions of “terrorism”?

It is important to recall that other, far more lethal recent events, including the mass shootings in Aurora, Colorado and the school massacre at Sandy Hook, Connecticut havenot been termed “terrorism,” nor their perpetrators labeled “terrorist” by the government. Why?

Obama’s changing descriptions

In his first statement shortly after news emerged of the bombing in Boston on 15 April 2013, Obama pointedly did not describe the attack as “terrorism.” The term is totally absent from his statement. He does say, “We still do not know who did this or why. And people shouldn’t jump to conclusions before we have all the facts.”

It was only the next day on Tuesday, 16 April, that Obama first called the bombing an “act of terrorism” after media had pressed the White House on the issue.

Last night, after 19-year-old suspect Dzhokar Tsarnaev was captured by police, Obama made a statement declaring: “We will investigate any associations that these terroristsmay have had. And we’ll continue to do whatever we have to do to keep our people safe.”

In his weekly video address today, Obama reaffirmed, “on Monday an act of terrorwounded dozens and killed three people at the Boston Marathon.”

Official definitions of “terrorism”

The US government has no single definition of “terrorism” but the National Institute of Justice at the US Department of Justice points to two influential standards that are in use, one enshrined in law and the other provided by the FBI:

Title 22 of the U.S. Code, Section 2656f(d) defines terrorism as “premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) defines terrorism as “the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.

Both definitions of terrorism share a common theme: the use of force intended to influence or instigate a course of action that furthers a political or social goal. In most cases, NIJ researchers adopt the FBI definition, which stresses methods over motivations and is generally accepted by law enforcement communities.

What was the “political” or “social” goal of the Boston bombing?

Based on these definitions, what distinguishes a “mass shooting” such as Aurora or Sandy Hook on the one hand, from an act of “terrorism” on the other, is that the mass shooters have no political goals. Their act is nihilistic and is not carried out in furtherance of any particular cause.

So far, however, absolutely no evidence has emerged that the Boston bombing suspects acted “in furtherance of political or social objectives” or that their alleged act was “intended to influence or instigate a course of action that furthers a political or social goal.”

Nor is there any evidence that they are part of a group.

Neither of the suspects is known to have made any statement of a political or other goal for their alleged action and there has been no claim of responsibility. Obama, in his statement last night, admitted as much:

Obviously, tonight there are still many unanswered questions. Among them, why did young men who grew up and studied here, as part of our communities and our country, resort to such violence? How did they plan and carry out these attacks, and did they receive any help?

So why is Obama calling them “terrorists?

Since Obama has no idea why the alleged suspects may have resorted to violence and no one else has offered an evidence-based explanation, why is Obama already labeling them “terrorists” when he himself warned against a “rush to judgment?”

The only explanation I can think of is the suspects’ identification as ethnic Chechens and Muslims, even though there is no evidence that they acted either in relation to events in their ancestral homeland or were motivated by any Islamist ideology.

Obama seems to be going on the careless, prejudiced assumption so common on cable television: they’re Muslims, so they must be “terrorists.”

This may be the easy and populist way of looking at it, pandering to prejudice as Obama so often does, but it is irresponsible and violates official US policy that Obama seemed, at least on the first day, willing to observe.

How acts are labeled is highly political: recall the controversy over whether Obama was quick enough to label the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya, last September as “terrorism,” and the continuing demands that the government designate the November 2009 mass shooting at Fort Hood, allegedly perpetrated by Major Nidal Hasan, as “terrorism.”

All of these cases reinforce the widely noted observation that acts of violence, especially mass shootings, carried out typically by white males are immediately labeled as the acts of “disturbed individuals” while the acts of a person identified as “Muslim” are to be labeled “terrorism” regardless of the facts.

These are unsafe assumptions and foreclose the possibility of full understanding. Moreover, by reinforcing popular stereotypes, they give new force to the anti-Muslim backlash that seems only to be growing stronger and more poisonous as the 11 September 2001 attacks recede into the past.

It is also important to note the contrast between Obama’s eagerness to label the Boston attack as “terror” and its alleged perpetrators as “terrorists” – without evidence – and hisreluctance to label last August’s mass murder at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin as “terrorism” despite the identification of the shooter as having a history of white nationalist and supremacist activism.

Perhaps the first serious consequence of labeling Boston a “terrorist” attack was the Obama administration’s decision to deprive the suspect who was captured of his constitutional right to receive a Miranda warning on arrest, a further thinning of the already threadbare pretense of “rule of law” in post 11 September 2001 America.

Could this be another “Columbine?”

Let’s consider another possibility. Exactly 14 years ago today, 20 April 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold executed a carefully-planned attack on Columbine High School in Colorado, using guns and bombs.

The two seniors murdered 12 fellow students and one teacher before shooting themselves.

Like the Boston Marathon bombing allegedly was, the Columbine attack was carried out by two persons, and it involved some of the same methods: homemade explosives.

But the Columbine attack is remembered as a “school shooting” or a “mass shooting” – perhaps the most iconic of a sad litany of such events – but not a “terrorist” attack.

In his essential 2009 book Columbine, Dave Cullen tells the story of the attack in meticulous detail, debunking many of the popular stereotypes that persist to this day that the attack was meant to avenge bullying by “jocks.”

The evidence that emerged is that Harris was a clinically sadistic sociopath who had no ability to empathize with other human beings. Klebold was a depressive whom Harris was able to manipulate. These facts lay at the heart of what happened.

It is definitely not any more desirable in the wake of such atrocities to have a media frenzy stigmatizing all people with mental illness as potential killers any more than we want them to stigmatize all Muslims as potential terrorists – in fact people with mental illness are no more likely to be violent than anyone else, and are indeed more likely to be victims of violence. And contrary to popular stereotypes fed by the media it is exceptionally rare for Muslims to become “terrorists.”

What we do need is patient, serious and informed analysis: could the relationship between the Boston suspects be similar to those of the Columbine killers? What other factors are at at play? I don’t know, but I cannot rule anything out.

Just like President Obama, I do not know what drove the alleged Boston bombers. What I do know is that when the media and the government, egging each other on, rush to judgment, the possibility of alternative scenarios is ruled out and getting to the truth is harder.

If Boston was “terrorism” based on the little that is known, then we must be able to answer these questions: can only white or Christian males be sociopaths, or suffer from other mental illnesses that under certain conditions lead to violence?

Can only two white Colorado high school students act as a pair without “terrorist” motives? Can “Muslims” or ethnic Chechens, or Arabs never be subject to the same kind of conditions or analysis?

Surely the survivors and families of the Boston bombing deserve no less of an accounting of what happened than the victims of Columbine?

We cannot and should not rule out that evidence will emerge that the alleged Boston bombers had a political motive. But it hasn’t so far.

What we have seen is the usual rush to judgment that has left Muslims and many people of color once again fearing collective blame and the governmental and societal retribution that comes with it.

 

Written FOR

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And of course, the anti-Muslim backlash …

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So here we are, nearly 12 years after September 11 unleashed a new wave of anti-Muslim hate. 44 percent of Americans say they have an “unfavorable” view of Muslims, according to a recent poll–and that was before the Boston bombings. How little has changed.

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Boston Marathon bombings unleash a new wave of Islamophobia

by Alex Kane
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Sharia
An anti-Park 51 protester in New York City in September 2010
(Photo: David Shankbone/Wikimedia Commons)
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It’s happening again: another collective freakout steeped in Islamophobia. The Boston Marathon bombings have unleashed the anti-Muslim sentiment that bubbles under the surface and always shines bright in times of national hysteria. The current wave of Islamophobia the country is perpetuating and experiencing–and it’s only the beginning–is the first since the Park 51 fracas in 2010.

The news that the main suspects in the bombing are Chechen Muslims will fuel the ugly hate that has intensified since September 11. But the hate was unleashed immediately after the attack, even before the public knew that Muslims were involved. How little is needed for the brash and bigoted side of this country to come out swinging against the “Muslim enemy” we have been been so trained to fear.

It’s very easy to see the most blatant manifestations of the ugly phenomenon of Islamophobia, which casts collective blame on all Muslims. The right-wing is always the place to start. But it’s also emanating from our mainstream institutions and figures, where it’s a little more difficult to identify the Islamophobia. It’s there, though. Powerful institutions and figures are focusing on Muslims and trying to justify even more animus and surveillance targeting the Muslim community in the United States.

Let’s begin with the easiest of places: the Islamophobic media. The New York Postled the charge on this front. In the immediate hours after the Boston attack, the Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid fingered a “Saudi national” who was injured in the blast as a suspect. It turns out he had nothing to do with the attack.

The other easy place to see anti-Muslim hate is, of course, the Islamophobic blogosphere. Pamela Geller went from freaking out about the Saudi to freaking out about two innocent people featured on the Post’s front page to freaking out about a missing university student to finally arriving at where everybody else is: freaking out about the Chechen suspects. What tied them all together was they all looked “Muslimy,” the term Wajahat Ali aptly used in Salon, and denotes how Muslims have become racialized in this country. There was also Steve Emerson, the faux terror “expert” welcomed by AIPAC with open arms, who opined about the “Saudi national” on television, as Ali Gharib documented.

And then there are the anti-Muslim hate crimes. ColorLines has chronicled some of them. They include: a white man punching a Palestinian woman who wears a hijab in Massachusetts; and Latino men beating up a Bangladeshi in the Bronx because he looked “Arab.”

But how easy anti-Muslim sentiment migrates over into the mainstream. Sure, this form of Islamophobia is not as blatant as Pam Geller’s. But it’s just as dangerous–if not more so, since more people imbibe what the mainstream tells them.

The mainstream media is busy speculating about whether Islam played a role in the decision to blow up the bombs at the Boston marathon. I heard one reporter ask the uncle of the suspects whether they were “radicalized” in a local mosque, apparently not knowing that the vast majority of mosques in the nation are nowhere near “radical.” This is the soft bigotry the mainstream is engaging in.

Another culprit that has bought into Islamophobia, and therefore legitimizing it, is law enforcement. Return back to the Saudi national story. As The New Yorker’s Amy Davidson writes, “he was the only one who, while in the hospital being treated for his wounds, had his apartment searched in ‘a startling show of force,’ as his fellow-tenants described it to the Boston Herald, with a ‘phalanx’ of officers and agents and two K9 units.” Davidson goes on to ask: “Why the search, the interrogation, the dogs, the bomb squad, and the injured man’s name tweeted out, attached to the word ‘suspect’?” The question answers itself. He was Saudi. He was Arab. That’s enough for a lot of people, including law enforcement. It speaks volumes that the only injured person to have his home searched by law enforcement was the Saudi national.

Finally, let’s look at the man who runs the city that suffered the nation’s most catastrophic terrorist attack. Mayor Michael Bloomberg sought to reassure New York City in the aftermath of the Boston attacks. But he ended up exploiting the attacks for his own political purposes. At a press conference on Tuesday, he crassly said: “The moment that we let our guard down, the moment we get complacent, the moment we allow special interests to shape our security strategies, is the moment that the terrorists are waiting for. As a country, we may not be able to thwart every attack. We saw that yesterday. But we must do everything we possibly can to try.”

“Security strategies.” It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that Bloomberg is referring to the New York Police Department’s tactic of spying on Muslim communities with no regard as to whether people are innocent or guilty of any crime. Don’t get complacent: stop criticizing the NYPD, the mayor says. They’re doing their job, and their job is to map Muslim communities, eavesdrop on conversations and catalog innocent people in police documents related to terrorism. And those “special interests”? That’s a clear as day reference to the Muslims who are fighting back against the spy program and to the allies who have joined them in that fight.

What Bloomberg doesn’t acknowledge is that the police department itself has admitted in court that their surveillance program has not stopped a single act of terrorism. Not one. Which begs the question: how can the “security strategies” Bloomberg is defending help prevent the next Boston? They can’t. But Bloomberg wants to justify a program that is Islamophobic at its core.

So here we are, nearly 12 years after September 11 unleashed a new wave of anti-Muslim hate. 44 percent of Americans say they have an “unfavorable” view of Muslims, according to a recent poll–and that was before the Boston bombings. How little has changed. 

 

 

Written FOR

 

OPEN LETTER TO ISRAELIS FROM A HUNGER STRIKER’S DEATH BED

Hunger Speech by Samer Issawi
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Israelis:
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I am Samer Issawi on hunger strike for eight consecutive months, laying in one of your hospitals called Kaplan. On my body is a medical devise connected to a surveillance room operating 24 hours a day. My heartbeats are slow and quiet and may stop at any minute, and everybody, doctors, officials and intelligence officers are waiting for my setback and my loss of life.
I chose to write to you: intellectuals, writers, lawyers and journalists, associations, and civil society activists. I invite you to visit me, to see a skeleton tied to his hospital bed, and around him three exhausted jailers. Sometimes they have their appetizing food and drinks around me.
The jailers watch my suffering, my loss of weight and my gradual melting. They often look at their watches, asking themselves in surprise: how does this damaged body have an excess of time to live after its time?
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 Israelis:
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 I’m looking for an intellectual who is through    shadowboxing, or talking to his face in mirrors. I want him to stare into my face and observe my coma, to wipe the gunpowder off his pen, and from his mind the sound of bullets, he will then see my features carved deep in his eyes, I’ll see him and he’ll sees me, I’ll see him nervous about the questions of the future, and he’ll see me, a ghost that stays with him and doesn’t leave.
You may receive instructions to write a romantic story about me, and you could do that easily after removing my humanity from me, you will watch a creature with nothing but a ribcage, breathing and choking with hunger, loosing consciousness once in a while.
And, after your cold silence, Mine will be a literary or media story that you add to your curricula, and when your students grow up they will believe that the Palestinian dies of hunger in front of Gilad’s Israeli sword, and you would then rejoice in this funerary ritual and in your cultural and moral superiority.  
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Israelis:
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I am Samer Issawi the young “Arboush” man according to your military terms, the Jerusalemite, whom you arrested without charge, except for leaving Jerusalem to the suburbs of Jerusalem. I, whom will be tried twice for a charge without charge, because it is the military that rules in your country, and the intelligence apparatus that decides, and all other components of Israeli society ever have to do is sit in a trench and hide in the fort that keeps what is called a purity of identity – to avoid the explosion of my suspicious bones.
I have not heard one of you interfere to stop the loud wail of death, it’s as if everyone of you has turned into gravediggers, and everyone wears his military suit: the judge, the writer, the intellectual, the journalist, the merchant, the academic, and the poet. And I cannot believe that a whole society was turned into guards over my death and my life, or guardians over settlers who chase after my dreams and my trees. 
Israelis:
I will die satisfied and having satisfied. I do not accept to be deported out of my homeland. I do not accept your courts and your arbitrary rule. If you had Passed over in Easter to my country and destroyed it in the name of a God of an ancient time, you will not Passover to my elegant soul which has declared disobedience. It has healed and flew and celebrated all the time that you lack. Maybe then you will understand that awareness of freedom is stronger than awareness of death.
Do not listen to those generals and those dusty myths, for the defeated will not remain defeated, and the victor will not remain a victor. History isn’t only measured by battles, massacres and prisons, but by peace with the Other and the self. 
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Israelis:
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Listen to my voice, the voice of our time and yours! Liberate yourselves of the excess of greedy power! Do not remain prisoners of military camps and the iron doors that have shut your minds! I am not waiting for a jailer to release me, I’m waiting for you to be released from my memory.
Originally posted AT

DON’T PLAY APARTHEID ‘TOP 48 LIST’

Don’t Play Apartheid Israel logo. Image from facebook.com
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don't play apartheid
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Following is OUR ‘Hate List’. A list of artists and musicians who refused to support apartheid in Israel in 2012. A list of people who HATE APARTHEID!
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2012 Summary of the Cultural Boycott of Israel

 

The year 2012 was an amazing year full of many successes in the campaign for the cultural boycott of Israel.  This summary focuses on the cultural boycott with an emphasis on musical artists and groups.The fall of South African apartheid was preceded by the movement by artists of conscience to boycott “Sun City.”  A similar anti-apartheid movement is rapidly growing; and musicians increasingly do not want to perform in Israel.

The Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra, Habima, Batsheva, and the Cameri Theater continued to be sent to perform abroad as “cultural ambassadors” for Israel.  This year people who oppose apartheid gathered in many cities to raise awareness of the complicity of these artists.  Almost all Batsheva performances were protested.  Demonstrations took place in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Italy, throughout the UK and in Edinburgh, Scotland.

January, 2012:  The Tuneyards cancel their gig in Israel.  The lead singer Merrill Garbus is a signatory of the Artists Against Israeli Apartheid pledge.[1]

Jacques Ranciére, acclaimed French intellectual and Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, University of Paris (St. Denis) writes that he will not violate the boycott, and cancels plans to give public readings at Tel Aviv University. [2]

February, 2012: Award winning singer-songwriter Cat Power (Chan Marshall) cancels her gig in Tel Aviv, tweeting, “MUSIC IS HEALING AND IT IS NOT HUMANE IF ALL CANNOT HAVE THE CHOICE, THE RIGHT, TO ATTEND. H E L P, A W A R E N E S S”[3]

New York Indie band The Pains of Being Pure at Heart announce they will not play Israel.  Israel’s “Walla” press reports the cancellation was political. [4]

Grammy-winning jazz singer Cassandra Wilson was scheduled to be the featured performer at the Holon International Women’s Festival.  Just days before her sold out performances, she politely bowed out, saying “As a human rights activist I identify with the cultural boycott of Israel.” [5]  Wilson received letters of thanks signed by solidarity groups from around the world.

Israeli TV uses the term “refuseniks” to refer to Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton, U2 and Coldplay.  The term implies that these artists have a political reason to refuse to perform in Israel. [6]

March, 2012:  The cultural boycott moves to New York City as Batsheva attempts to present Israel’s pretty face through dance; Adalah-NY volunteers are ready with their own performance outside the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Palestinian dancer Hana Awwad writes, “Exhibits and performances by Palestinian artists are systematically banned, sabotaged, and closed down by the Israeli occupation. Artists themselves are targets of violence, arbitrary arrests, and deportations.” [7]


Actors and artists sign onto a letter asking Shakespeare’s Globe in London to withdraw its invitation to Habima, and refuse to be complicit with human rights violations and the illegal colonisation of occupied land.  Thirty seven artists sign, including the highly acclaimed Academy Award, Emmy and and Golden Globe winning Emma Thompson. [8]

Staying true to punk rock, Zdob si Zdub from Moldavia keep Israel off their tour plans.  Punks Against Apartheid wrote a letter to the band in January, asking them to respect the boycott.[9]

April, 2012: The six member Irish band Dervish agrees to respect the cultural boycott, cancelling a series of planned shows in Israel, stating:  “At the time we agreed to these performances we were unaware there was a cultural boycott in place. We now feel that we do not wish to break this boycott,” and adding, “Our decision to withdraw from the concerts reflects our wish to neither endorse nor criticise anyone’s political views in this situation.”[10]  Fullset, also from Ireland, announce that they had not been aware of the cultural boycott, and cancel their concert in Israel on the back of the Dervish cancellation. [11]

The Mediterranean Delight International Bellydance Festival was slated to take place in Marrakech, Morocco.  When it was uncovered that the festival was sponsored by an Israeli belly dancer, a campaign against normalization successfully shut down the show.   Belly dancer Noor refuses to participate in the Israeli backed festival, and it was relocated to Greece. [12]

Qatar cancelled the Music and Dialogue Festival which featured Israeli musicians, scheduled for April 30 – May 4, marking another milestone for the growing anti-apartheid movement.[13]

Singer Macy Gray responds to a letter written to the Red Hot Chili Peppers asking them to boycott apartheid Israel.  Gray reaffirms her commitment to justice when she tweets to activist Tali Shapiro (Boycott From Within)  “Nvr give up the good fight Tali.  Yer a great human. “ [14]

May, 2012:  Huzama Habayeb, a Palestinian novelist, led an overwhelmingly successful academic boycott effort involving the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Texas at Austin.  The Center’s planned book project titled Memory of a Promise: Short Stories by Middle Eastern Women was cancelled because nearly half of the authors (13 out of 29) withdrew their literary contributions in protest of the inclusion of two Israeli authors celebrated amongst ‘institutionalised’ Israeli literary circles.  Habayeb wrote “My overly conscious heart was heavy. I cannot accept, ethically and morally, that my voice be shared equally with writers who reflect the voice of an obnoxious occupier” [15]  Regarding the large number of authors who refused to participate, the center’s Director Kamran Scot Aghaie writes, “On balance, the net result is that the book project is no longer viable. Therefore, we are discontinuing publication of this volume.” [16]

Slumdog Millionaire author Vikas Swarup cancels his appearance at the International Writers Festival in Israel. [17]  The Indian Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel (INCACBI) had written to him in February. [18]

Shakespeare’s Globe in London hosted Israel’s National Theatre Habima.  A twitter campaign using #loveculture developed by Israel’s UK embassy was  transformed into #loveculture hate apartheid, and made global trends.  As Habima performed The Merchant of Venice, streets were filled with people, signs, and Palestinian flags outside the Globe.  Inside, numerous people peacefully held banners, and mentioned Palestine throughout the performance.  British actor and audience member, John Graham Davies arose, delivering  Shylock’s famous line during the trial scene, saying  “Hath not a Palestinian eyes?” – for a moment the production almost lost its balance.  Davies was then promptly removed by hired security personnel. [19]

June, 2012:  Israeli advisor to the Red Sea International Classical Music Festival, tells Haaretz “I can testify that more than once projects have been cancelled or postponed based on their ‘Israeliness.’ And again – these things are not said crassly, no one will say: we are conducting a boycott. The word boycott doesn’t exist, but the political situation of Israel also impacts this field.” [20]

Grammy-Award winning tabla player Zakir Hussain of India cancels his gig in Israel.  Hussain was contacted by the INCACBI. [21]

Pulitzer Prize winner and highly acclaimed author Alice Walker declines the publishing of the Color Purple by an Israeli publisher, stating:  “It is my hope that the non-violent BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement, of which I am part, will have enough of an impact on Israeli civilian society to change the situation.”[22]

July, 2012:  When a celebration promoting Israeli culture in Switzerland attempts to include the Palestinian dance troupe Juthor, they withdraw.  Organizers of the International Folklore Encounters Festival, Fribourg had intended to bring Juthor onto the stage together with the Israeli group Shalom Israel. [23]

Rocker Serj Tankian releases Occupied Tears, raising awareness about Palestinian life under occupation. [24]

Ottawa musical group Three Little Birds sing Apartheid on CTV Morning Live, and are subsequently attacked by pro-Israel media watchdog HonestReporting Canada.[25]

Nino Katamadze’s five concert tour was quietly cancelled, Katamadze was contacted by Boycott From Within, and plans for a five concert tour in November were scrapped. [26]

Anti-apartheid fans of Hollywood actors Bruce Willis and Jean Claude Van Damme were relieved they cancelled their planned visit to Tel Aviv, where they were scheduled to attend a local premiere screening of their latest film Expendables 2. [27]

Controversial reggae artist Sizzla Kalonji cancels his gig in Israel after tweeting his disappointment that Obama had awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Israeli President Shimon Peres. [28]

August, 2012:  The importance of the cultural boycott was emphasized when reports reassured disappointed and, at times, angry Israeli fans that the cancellations of concerts in Tel Aviv by the Swedish Cardigans [29] and by Lenny Kravitz were for reasons not related to the cultural boycott of Israel. [30]

Highly successful protests of Batsheva take place in Edinburgh, Scotland. [31]

An Israeli website announced that English electronica big beat group Prodigy would perform in Tel Aviv.  Emails from Prodigy’s manager showed claims the band would perform in Israel were completely false.  The same site also made false claims that Jennifer Lopez and Bruce Springsteen would perform in Israel in 2012.

The University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg-South Africa, Student Representative Council passed a resolution that calls for the full cultural and academic boycott of Israeli institutions, stating they “will not participate in any form of cultural or academic collaboration or joint projects with Israeli institutions and will not provide any support to Israeli cultural or academic institutions.”[32]

September, 2012:  Noted British theater director Peter Brook and the Bouffes du Nord theatre troop of France honored the call to boycott Israel, cancelling planned performances for December at the Cameri Theater in Tel Aviv.  Brook wrote: “The fact that the Cameri Theatre has accepted to support the brutal action of colonisation by playing in Ariel [in the West Bank] has made us aware that in coming to your theatre we would appear as a support for that brutal action. This forces us to decline your invitation to perform in your theatre. The decision is entirely ours, and not to come to you, it is our free choice.  We know that there are many amongst you and in your country who share our attitude and it is them we wish to support as well as the people of Palestine.” [33]

The Red Hot Chili Peppers are asked to accept the anti-apartheid call, in a campaign that unites thousands in support for the cultural boycott of Israel.  When the RHCP refuse to cancel their gig in Tel Aviv, internationally acclaimed Lebanese group Mashrou’ Leila, tweets “we will not be opening for the red hot chili peppers on september 6 in beirut.”[34]

Palestinian film directors refuse to participate in the filming of 24h Jerusalem, and production is halted.  Twenty directors, including Israelis, pulled out of the film project in support of the cultural boycott.  Though it appeared to be a benign film about culture, it was actually funded in part by the Jerusalem Development Authority, an organization implicated in numerous violations of human rights and illegal activities against Palestinians.  Enas aL-Muthaffar, filmmaker, wrote: “I refuse to be part of a peace propaganda machine that continues to ignore Israel’s cruel colonization of Palestine.” [35]

A survey done in Britain finds that one in four support a full cultural boycott of Israel by musicians. [36]

October, 2012:   Pulitzer Prize–winning author Alice Walker, Palestinian spoken word artist Remi Kenazi and Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters join dozens of other cultural workers to call for Carnegie Hall to cancel the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra’s performance.[37]

Hip hop duo Rebel Diaz, artist Narcenio Hall and Cairo-based art collective Mosireen boycott the two-day 2012 Creative Time Summit in Manhattan because of the summit’s partnership with an Israeli organization that is funded by the Israeli government.[38]

Ramallah-based Palestinian MC Boikutt, Syrian singer Lena Chamamyan, Lebanese MC Malikah (Lynn Fattouh), and Palestinian DJ Sotusura all pull out of the Salam.Orient cultural festival in Austria, because it is sponsored in part by the Israeli embassy. [39]

Turkish band Baba Zula’s concert in Israel was cancelled, while obviously not all cancelling performers have the courage to publicly state their reasons, it isn’t a surprise when they don’t rebook.

Remi Kanazi releases Normalize This! on youtube in support of the cultural boycott of Israel, explaining why normalization cannot lead to positive change.

November, 2012:  The legendary Stevie Wonder (winner of 22 Grammy Awards and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award) makes international news when he cancels a scheduled December performance at a Los Angeles fundraiser for Friends of the IDF(FIDF), an organization that raises money for the Israeli army. [40]  His statement is posted on the website of his radio station, Radio FREE KJLH 102.3FM.

The Cape Town World Music Festival had to do without one of its star acts when Pops Mohamed boycotted the event because of co-sponsorship by the Israeli embassy.

Ten talented young harpists bow out of the International Harp Contest in Israel, leaving only 22 non-Israelis to complete in the increasingly unpopular state sponsored event. In addition, acclaimed harpists Naoko Yoshino and Park Stickney also quietly cancelled their performances for the Harp Contest. [41]

At least 10 international actors withdrew from the IsraDrama festival, following last minute appeals asking them not to collaborate with the Cameri Theater in Tel Aviv which performs in settlements. [42]

Zebda, a popular band from France, releases One life less-(une vie de moins), which draws attention to Israeli occupation, Gaza, and how children are affected by apartheid.[43]

Electronica musician and DJ Carl Craig of Detroit quietly cancels his gig in Tel Aviv.

Ross Daly, Giorgos Xylouris, Giorgos Manolakis, and Kelly Thoma cancel plans to play at the Israeli state sponsored Jerusalem Oud Festival, stating  “After all, we’re musicians with feelings and sensibilities, not music machines which can operate under all and any circumstances.” [44]

Roger Waters, musician and founder of Pink Floyd, explains the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement in his address to the United Nations on behalf of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine: “It aims, as many of you know, to bring non-violent economic pressure to bear on Israel to force an end to its violations, an end to occupation and apartheid, an end to the denial of Palestinians’ right of return, and an end to Palestinian citizens of Israel being required to live as second class citizens, discriminated against on racial grounds, and subject to different laws than their Jewish compatriots. The BDS movement is gaining ground hand over fist. Just last week I was happy to write a letter of support to the Student Government of the University of California, Irvine, congratulating them on demanding that their University divest from companies that profit from the Israeli occupation.”[45]

December, 2012: The London-based Jazz group Portico Quartet, cancelled their planned concert for the Red Sea Jazz Festival in Israel.  The band courageously voiced their support for the cultural boycott, linking fans on their Facebook page to the Palestinian BDS National Committee’s website. [46]

Swedish virtuoso guitarist Andreas Öberg was congratulated for cancelling his planned gigs in Israel, honoring the call for a cultural boycott of the apartheid state.  Öberg let fans know about his cancellation on Facebook. [47]

A campaign launched July to persuade Woody Allen to shoot his next film in Israel failed.  The goals of the movie were to “enable Israel to enter the world’s imagination in a way a billion dollars of hasbara (public relations/propaganda) couldn’t possibly buy.”  In an open letter to Allen, he was asked “Would it not be more ingenious to develop a movie satirising Israel’s desperate attempts to obscure its crimes against humanity?” [48]

Looking ahead to 2013:
Bruce Springsteen’s choice to refrain from playing Israel in 2012 is a welcome one to anti-apartheid campaigners.  Multiple claims in the Israeli press, as well as several campaigns to pressure Springsteen to play Israel, confirm that there are still major efforts underway to convince The Boss to ignore the boycott in 2013.

Israel tends to ask bands who previously played in the apartheid state to return.  Bands whose members are Kabbalists are also often invited to play in Israel.  All artists are invited to respect the boycott, regardless of their spiritual commitments and if they have previously played in Israel.  Campaigns are already underway to educate artists involved with Lollapalooza Israel about the boycott.  The catchy “lollapartheid” has already been used to describe the festival.

Notes:
[1] 500 Artists Against Israeli Apartheid   
http://www.tadamon.ca/post/5824
[2] Jacques Ranciére cancelled his visit to Israel http://thesip.org/2012/01/ranciere-cancellatio/
[3] BDS Victory: Cat Power cancels show in Tel Aviv http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/nora/bds-victory-cat-power-cancels-show-tel-aviv
[4] The Pains of Being Pure At Heart dismissed for political reasons
http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?hl=en&ie=UTF8&langpair=auto%7Cen&rurl=translate.google.com&tbb=1&u=http://e.walla.co.il/%3Fw%3D%252F6%252F2509963&usg=ALkJrhg9BlEd4I6ePpoln6_co901s_K56Q
[5] Cassandra Wilson cancels Israel show: “I identify with the cultural boycott of Israel”
http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/nora/singer-cassandra-wilson-cancels-israel-show-i-identify-cultural-boycott-israel
[6] From Israeli TV see 1.50 min [Hebrew] at:
http://www.mako.co.il/news-channel2/Channel-2-Newscast/Article-066c02822978531018.htm
[7] NY Activists protest Batsheva Dance Company performance in Brooklyn http://mondoweiss.net/2012/03/ny-activists-protest-batsheva-dance-company-performance-in-brooklyn.html
[8] Dismay at Globe Invitation to Israeli Theater http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/mar/29/dismay-globe-invitation-israeli-theatre?newsfeed=true
[9] Zdob si Zdub: Stand in Solidarity with Palestinians! http://punksagainstapartheid.com/2012/01/zsz-open-letter/
[10] Heeding boycott call, Irish band Dervish pulls out of Israel concerts
http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/heeding-boycott-call-irish-band-dervish-pulls-out-israel-concerts
[11] http://www.facebook.com/FullSetBand/posts/432263436801746
[12] Israeli Orientalist Festival in Morocco Bellyflops http://www.kadaitcha.com/2012/04/21/israeli-orientalist-festival-in-morocco-bellyflops/
[13] Israeli-Arab Normalization Hits a Snag http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/israeli-arab-normalization-hits-snag
[14] The Blessings of 2012, an album http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=426830113999740&set=a.383361181679967.117866.100000182654841&type=1&permPage=1
[15] My ‘No’ says more, and matters more http://www.pacbi.org/etemplate.php?id=1894&key=texas
[16] Statement on the Cancellation of “Memory of a Promise: Short Stories by Middle Eastern Women”
http://www.utexas.edu/cola/depts/mes/news/5111
[17] http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4223273,00.html
[18]  INCACBI Appeal to Vikas Swarup: Boycott the International Writers Festival 2012 in Jerusalem! http://www.pacbi.org/etemplate.php?id=1827
[19]  ‘Hath not a Palestinian eyes?’: Protesters disrupt Habima performance at Globe
http://mondoweiss.net/2012/05/hath-not-a-palestinian-eyes-protesters-disrupt-habima-performance-at-globe.html
[20] Cultural boycott biting, but quietly, Israel Festival’s classical music advisor admits
http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/cultural-boycott-biting-quietly-israel-festivals-classical-music-advisor-admits
[21] Zakir Hussain Cancels Performance in Tel Aviv  http://www.pacbi.org/etemplate.php?id=1913)
[22]
http://www.pacbi.org/etemplate.php?id=1917
[23] Palestinian group Juthour withdraws from International Folklore Encounters Festival in Fribourg  http://bit.ly/Yl9nvj
[24] Occupied Tears
http://youtu.be/9Qtyw84F5DM
[25]http://mondoweiss.net/2012/07/canadian-band-attacked-by-israel-lobby-group-after-playing-song-titled-apartheid.html
[26] Nino Katamadze Will Not Play Apartheid Israel http://www.usacbi.org/2012/07/nino-katamadze-will-not-play-apartheid-israel/
[27] Expendables 2:  Stallone, Willis and Van Damme will not come to Israel
http://news.walla.co.il/?w=%2F6%2F2553554
[28] Sizzla Tweets about Israel  https://www.facebook.com/notes/dont-play-apartheid-israel/sizzla-tweets-about-israel/446169305432463
[29] Tel Aviv Cancelled!  MAYDAY! MAYDAY! http://www.cardigans.com/?sid=default&bfs=1
[30] Apartheid Israel: Lenny Kravitz is not Boycotting Israel, Be Reassured
http://refrainplayingisrael.blogspot.com/2012/08/apartheid-israel-lenny-kravitz-is-not.html
[31] Hora, EIF 2012, Review http://www.edinburghguide.com/festival/2012/edinburghinternationalfestival/horaeif2012review-11441
http://refrainplayingisrael.blogspot.com/2012/09/peter-brooks-courageous-support-for.html
[32] South Africa’s Wits University student council unanimously passes boycott of Israel resolution  http://www.bdssouthafrica.com/2011/08/university-of-witwatersrand-student.html
[33]  Peter Brook’s Letter to the Cameri: “It is our free choice”
[34]  Lebanon’s Mashrou’ Leila cancels on Chili Peppers after latter refuses Israel boycott call
http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/lebanons-mashrou-leila-cancels-chili-peppers-after-latter-refuses-israel-boycott
[35]  Jerusalem Development Authority Implicated in Boycotted Film Funding.
http://www.kadaitcha.com/2012/09/04/jerusalem-development-authority-implicated-in-boycotted-film-funding/
[36] YouGov Survey Results http://cdn.yougov.com/cumulus_uploads/document/0kh4fq1eb8/Jewish%20Chronicle%20Results%20120924.pdf
[37] Open Letter from Artists to Carnegie Hall
http://adalahny.org/web-action/1002/open-letter-artists-carnegie-hall-cancel-israel-philharmonic-orchestras-performance
[38] Artists Cancel Creative Time Summit Appearances Over Israeli “Partnership” [UPDATE 7]
http://hyperallergic.com/58499/artists-cancel-their-creative-time-summit-appearances-over-controversial-israeli-partnership/
[39] Three more Arab performers pull out of Austrian music festival due to Israel embassy sponsorship
http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/three-more-arab-performers-pull-out-austrian-music-festival-due-israel-embassy
[40]  http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/rights-groups-launch-petition-thank-stevie-wonder-canceling-israel-army-benefit
[41] Ten Harpists Bow out of Apartheid Israel Harp Contest!
http://harpsofconscience.wordpress.com/2012/11/24/ten-harpists-bow-out-of-apartheid-israel-harp-contest-thank-you-for-having-a-conscience/
[42]  http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-4313061,00.html
[43]  One life less-(une vie de moins)  http://youtu.be/Cq2MpG4gQgk
[44] http://www.rossdaly.gr/en/news/102-oudfestivall
[45] http://www.russelltribunalonpalestine.com/en/3140/roger-waters-specch-at-the-un
[46] http://refrainplayingisrael.blogspot.com/2012/12/portico-quartet-respects-boycott-of.html
[47] http://refrainplayingisrael.blogspot.com/2012/12/andreas-oberg-respects-cultural-boycott.html
[48] http://www.kadaitcha.com/2012/07/10/woody-allen-please-refuse-israels-hasbara-bribes/
Issued BY

THE ARAB-JEWISH SPRING IS HERE!

*
DWP seeks peace based on an end to the Occupation and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with the 1967 lines as its border. The Oslo Accords, in our view, created an unhealthy situation. The Palestinian Authority (PA) arose as a subcontractor of Israeli occupation, while Israel’s governments continued to build settlements. Given the political, economic and social situation that today prevails in the Occupied Territories, the PA has lost credibility in the eyes of its people. DWP believes that a “Palestinian Spring” is in the offing. It will overthrow the PA and face Israel with two choices. One alternative is direct occupation (i.e., de facto annexation of the Territories) with all that this entails: perpetuation of apartheid, one people deprived of its rights by another; surrender of all pretence of Israeli democracy; ever sharper confrontation with a world that has lost its patience; and finally, war. The other alternative is complete withdrawal from the Territories and dismantlement of the settlements. Until now no Israeli government has been willing to choose the second of these. Nothing less than social and political revolution can put an end to the Occupation.
*

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