Abed, a resident of Gaza City, tells Ynet that taxi and bus drivers had been forced to raise prices by half a shekel, but no one had the half-shekel coin to give change to their passengers. So, he says, the drivers improvised. They began to carry small items to make up the change – chewing gum, candles, pens, cookies and candies. The passengers pay the driver in full shekels, and get half a shekel’s worth of products in change.
Spare change - Gaza style (Photo: Khaled Ashker, Gisha)
Spare change – Gaza style (Photo: Khaled Ashker, Gisha)

Half-shekel replacements (Photo: Khaled Ashker, Gisha)
Half-shekel replacements (Photo: Khaled Ashker, Gisha)

Short of currency, Gazans turn to bartering 

Import-ban on copper leads Palestinians in Gaza to smelt Israeli currency into electrical wiring, causing half-shekel coin shortage.


Gazans have been running low on Israeli coin currency for a while, partly due to an Israeli-imposed ban on copper imports. The creative solution engineered by Gazans was to melt down change to create copper wire. But no one could have expected the result – half-shekel and 10 agorot coins have become a rare commodity.

The coins’ absence did not impact the day-to-day life of the average Gazan, as most prices were in full shekels. However, gas prices rose last month, after the tunnels used to bring fuel in from Egypt were sealed off, and as a result the price of public transport also went up.

Abed, a resident of Gaza City, tells Ynet that taxi and bus drivers had been forced to raise prices by half a shekel, but no one had the half-shekel coin to give change to their passengers. So, he says, the drivers improvised. They began to carry small items to make up the change – chewing gum, candles, pens, cookies and candies. The passengers pay the driver in full shekels, and get half a shekel’s worth of products in change.

Abed noted that the locals have become accustomed to the unusual arrangement. Nowadays, nearly every taxi in the Strip is equipped with an assortment of low-cost items to make up for the missing change.

Another creative solution pioneered by the change-less cabbies – changing the fare price depending on the direction. Abed explained the new system: “The ride from Gaza City to Deir al-Balah costs, for example, four and a half shekels, but the drivers only charge four for this direction. The return ride cost rises to five shekels, and that way the passengers four and a half shekels each way.”

According to Abed, the passengers in the Strip have become used to frequent improvisations and are treating the latest change nonchalantly. “Gaza residents have much bigger problems than a shortage of half-shekel coins, and so they don’t really care that cabs have become a sort of kiosk.”


Written FOR



Up-and-coming Pittsburgh Emcee Jasiri X releases “Checkpoint,” a chilling music video documenting his experience visiting Palestine in 2014. The video features footage Jasiri himself captured of Israeli soldiers, as well as newsreel clips of IDF brutality against Palestinians and internationals. Watch closely, Ferrari Sheppard of Stop Being Famous has cameo in this powerful video.

Share and Enjoy.



And here are the lyrics:

Journal of the hard times tales from the dark side
Evidence of the settlements on my hard drive
Man I swear my heart died at the end of that car ride
When I saw that checkpoint welcome to apartheid
Soldiers wear military green at the checkpoint
Automatic guns that’s machine at the checkpoint
Tavors not m16s at the checkpoint
Fingers on the trigger you’ll get leaned at the checkpoint
Little children grown adults or teens at the checkpoint
All ya papers better be clean at the checkpoint
You gotta but your finger on the screen at the checkpoint
And pray that red light turns green at the check point

If Martin Luther King had a dream of the checkpoint
He wake with loud screams from the scenes at the checkpoint
It’s Malcolm X by any means at the check point
Imagine if you daily routine was the checkpoint

Separation walls that’s surrounding the checkpoint
On top is barbwire like a crown on the checkpoint
Better have ya permits if your found at the checkpoint
Gunmen on the tower aiming down at the checkpoint
The idea is to keep you in fear of the checkpoint
You enter through the cage in the rear of the checkpoint
It feels like prison on a tier at the check point
I’d rather be anywhere but here at this checkpoint
Nelson Mandela wasn’t blind to the check point
He stood for free Palestine not a check point
Support BDS don’t give a dime to the checkpoint
This is international crime at the checkpoint
Arabs get treated like dogs at the checkpoint
Cause discrimination is the law at the checkpoint
Criminalized without a cause at the checkpoint
I’m just telling you what I saw at the checkpoint
Soldiers got bad attitudes at the checkpoint
Condescending and real rude at the checkpoint
Don’t look em in they eyes when they move at the checkpoint
They might strip a man or woman nude at the checkpoint
Soldiers might blow you out of ya shoes at the checkpoint
Gas you up and then light the fuse at the checkpoint
Everyday you stand to be accused at the checkpoint
Each time your life you could lose at the checkpoint

If Martin Luther King had a dream of the checkpoint
He wake with loud screams from the scenes at the checkpoint
It’s Malcolm X by any means at the check point
Imagine if you daily routine was the checkpoint

At the airport in Tel Aviv is a checkpoint
They pulled over our taxi at the checkpoint
Passport visa ID at the checkpoint
Soldiers going all through my things at the checkpoint
Said I was high risk security at the checkpoint
Because of the oppression I see at the checkpoint
Occupation in the 3rd degree at the checkpoint
All a nigga wanna do is leave fuck a checkpoint

Sheppard and Jasiri X were traveling together in Israel/Palestine on a delegation organized by the Carter Center of prominent African-American journalists and artists. You can read more about the trip on Sheppard’s site here, here’s an excerpt:

In Jerusalem, I witnessed great religious and ethnic diversity. I saw Arabs, Asians, Europeans, Africans, Orthodox Jews, Muslims, Christians, all scrambling in Old City Jerusalem towards their various destinations. It was postcard worthy.

The variety of cultures in Jerusalem is outstanding. Similar to many societies however, Palestine-Israel presents a polished version of itself to tourists, where 5-star hotels in Tel Aviv and tourist attractions in Jerusalem cloak its brutal realities. The fact remains that our delegation was subject to a type of racism I’ve only experienced in the southern states of the United States of America. Of course, to a Jew or a middle class Palestinian living in Jerusalem or Nazareth, my observations may sound like exaggerations, but for the African migrant sleeping on the ground in South Tel Aviv, or for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, my evaluations are dead on.

The blatant, systemic subjugation and profiling of Arabs was most pronounced when our tour guide, a middle class Palestinian woman, was forced by IDF soldiers to exit our tour van and pass through a checkpoint on foot. As all Palestinians must do, she was told to place her thumb on a scanner to pass through a turn-style at a checkpoint. The members of our delegation were no exception to IDF scrutiny. The light skinned blacks in our delegation were interrogated and asked bluntly if they were Arab, and if not, what the last names of their fathers’ were.

Palestinians and progressive Israelis told our delegation story after story of the abuses and degradation they’ve suffered at the hands of Israeli settlers or soldiers, and we witnessed some of this treatment first hand. Along with the rampant home and land confiscation in the West Bank (in which settlers receive state subsidies), agricultural violence is on the rise, as settlers uproot and destroy the olive trees Palestinians rely on for income and nourishment. More sinisterly, public beatings, arrests and shootings are common, particularly in the West Bank. Without charges, a Palestinian can be imprisoned and held for months or years under administrative detention. The same law does not apply to Jewish Israelis. In fact, Israeli citizens can commit a range of crimes against Palestinians with near impunity.


Originally posted AT


‘They’ want a Jewish Country …. ‘They’ want to transfer the Arabs out of it ….
When an Arab refuses to serve in the IDF, the following happens ….


   - Please distribute widely -

Conscientious objector Omar Saad sentenced to prison for the third time for his refusal to join the Israeli Army.

Omar Saad, 18 years old from Mghar, a village in the Galil, arrived, Monday 13.1.2014, to the Induction Base in Tal Hashomer where he declared his refusal to serve in the Israeli Army. Omar was sentenced to 20 days of imprisonment for his refusal, in the military prison No. 6 near Atlit.
Omar is a young guy belonging to the Palestinian Arab Druze community. This community, in contrast to Arab society in large, was the target of a decision by Prime Minister Ben Gurion in 1956 that forced them to serve in the Israeli army. following this decision, mobilization orders were sent to all Druze citizens in deployment age. That decision was faced with serious resistance from the Druze community for many reasons. The main reasons were: refusing to fight against their own people and demanding to be treated just like the rest of the Palestinian Arab society in Israel. (* To read more on this issue follow the reference below).
In his refusal declaration Omar wrote:

I refuse that because I am pacifist, and I hate any kind of violence, and I believe that the army institute is the top of physical and psychological violence, and since I received your order for making the checking procedures my life changed completely. I became very nervous and my thoughts were dispersed. I remembered thousands of hard images, and I could not imagine myself wearing the military uniform and participating in suppressing my Palestinian people, and fighting my Arab brothers. I reject enlisting to the Israeli army or to any other army, because of national and moral reasons. I hate oppression, and I reject occupation.

You can read the full declaration here.
His prison address is:
Omar Saad
Military ID 08143090
Military Prison No. 6
Military Postal Code 01860, IDF
Since the prison authorities often block mail from reaching imprisoned objectors, we also recommend you to send them your letters of support and encouragement via e-mail to: (hitting “reply all” to this message will send the message to the same address), and they will be printed out and delivered during visits.
Recommended Action
First of all, please circulate this message and the information contained in it as widely as possible, not only through e-mail, but also on websites, social networks, conventional media, by word of mouth, etc.
Other recommendations for action:
1. Sending Letters of Support
Please send Omar letters of support to the prison address above and via e-mail to:
2. Letters to Authorities
It is recommended to send letters of protest on the objectors’ behalf, preferably by fax, to:
Mr. Moshe Ya’alon,
Minister of Defence,
Ministry of Defence,
Tel-Aviv 61909,
s… or
Tel.: ++972-3-6975220
Fax: ++972-3-6962757
Copies of your letters can also be sent to the commander of the military prison at:
Commander of Military Prison No. 6,
Military Prison No. 6
Military Postal Code 01860, IDF
Another useful address for sending copies would be the Military Attorney General:
Denny Efroni,
Chief Military Attorney
Military postal code 9605, IDF
It would be especially useful to send your appeals to the Commander of the Induction Base in Tel-HaShomer. It is this officer that ultimately decides whether an objector is to be exempted from military service or sent to another round in prison, and it is the same officer who is ultimately in charge of the military Conscience Committee:
Gil Ben Shaul,
Commander of Induction Base,
Meitav, Tel-HaShomer
Military Postal Code 02718, IDF
For those of you who live outside Israel, it would be very effective to send protests to your local Israeli embassy. You can find the address of your local embassy on the web.
Here is a generic sample letter, which you can use in sending appeals to authorities on the prisoners’ behalf. Feel free to modify this letter or write your own:
Dear Sir/Madam,
It has come to my attention that Omar Saad (military ID 08143090), a conscientious objector to military service, has been imprisoned for the third time for his refusal to become part of the Israeli army, and is held in Military Prison no. 6 near Atlit.
The imprisonment of conscientious objectors such as Saad is a violation of international law, of basic human rights and of plain morals. The repeater imprisonment of conscientious objectors is an especially grave offence, as it means sentencing a person more than once for the same offence, and has been judged by the UN working Group on Arbitrary Detention to constitute a clear case arbitrary detention.
I therefore call for the immediate and unconditional release from prison of Omar Saad, without threat of further imprisonment in the future, and urge you and the system you are heading to respect the dignity and person of conscientious objectors, indeed of all persons, in the future.
3. Letters to media in Israel and in other countries
Writing op-ed pieces and letters to editors of media in Israel and other countries could also be quite useful in indirectly but powerfully pressuring the military authorities to let go of the objectors and in bringing their plight and their cause to public attention. 


Carlos Latuff honours those on the List for 2013 ….


Marvin Hier’s delirant anti-Semites list



Special Honour Reserved for Roger Waters



 Several days ago, a Palestinian boy named Amir, was playing soccer with his friends in Kafr Sur, near Tulkarem, when one of his free kicks went astray and caused the ball to land in Israeli territory.
The children playing with a replacement ball (Photo: Ma'an) The children playing with a replacement ball (Photo: Ma’an)
Palestinian kids’ bid to UN: Get us our ball back

Children in village near West Bank city of Tulkarem miskick ball to Israeli side of security fence, write letter to UN secretary general asking for its return

* A group of Palestinian children sent a simple letter to UN Secretary General Ban-Ki moon, asking for a ball that had been kicked over their side of the West Bank security fence be returned to them, Palestinian news agency Ma’an reported Sunday. Several days ago, a Palestinian boy named Amir, was playing soccer with his friends in Kafr Sur, near Tulkarem, when one of his free kicks went astray and caused the ball to land in Israeli territory.*

The children said the Israelis were infringing on their rights by not giving them their ball back, or letting them retrieve it by themselves.
The youths also wrote to UN chief Ban Ki-moon that they have the legal right to play on their territory without restrictions. They said they feared they would never get the ball back.

The Palestinian regional leader said the Israelis are saying the wall is necessary for security reasons, but the reality is Israel is trying to confiscate lands in order to expand the areas available to Jewish settlements.



The Family of Naim Shawamreh, a 45-year-old Palestinian prisoner released by Israel on Tuesday has accused the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) of having deliberately injected him with a chemical substance that caused him an incurable illness.
Family of released prisoner accuses Israel of causing him incurable illness
By Khalid Amayreh in the West Bank

The Family of Naim Shawamreh, a 45-year-old Palestinian prisoner released by Israel on Tuesday has accused the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) of having deliberately injected him with a chemical substance that caused him an incurable illness.

The illness is known medically as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or (ALS).  It is also known as Lou Gerig’s Disease.

According to medical dictionaries, ALS is a rapidly progressive, invariably fatal neurological disease that attacks the nerve cells (neurons) responsible for controlling voluntary muscles (muscle action we are able to control, such as those in the arms, legs, and face).

Early symptoms include fasciculation, cramps, tight and stiff muscles (spasticity), muscle weakness affecting an arm or a leg, slurred and nasal speech, or difficulty chewing or swallowing. These general complaints then develop into more obvious muscle weakness and atrophy, spreading to other parts of the body as the disease progresses.

It is obvious that many of these symptoms appeared rather conspicuously on Naim who arrived at his home in an ambulance. He could hardly verbally communicate with well-wishers or the media.

Journalists were politely asked by Naim’s family to refrain from “asking too many questions” in light of his health condition.

A strongly slurred speech and an inability to hold a microphone with his hands were noticed.

They wanted to kill him

Nabil, Naim’s younger brother, says Naim told him the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) deliberately injected him with a chemical substance that caused the ALS disease to afflict his body.

“He told me they (the Prison’s doctors) gave him a pill seven months ago which caused several symptoms to appear on him including a severe swelling of the face, severe headache and slurred speech.

“They simply wanted to kill him.”

Nabil said the Israeli Prison Service admitted that that the “pill” was given to him by mistake.

Nabil, who didn’t seem fully aware of his brother’s medical condition, said he hoped Naim would be able to receive proper medical care abroad and be cured.

The Governor of Hebron who came to wish him well promised his family that every effort would be made to give him the best possible medical treatment.

Nabil was reminded of the gravity and seriousness of the charges he was voicing. He argued that his brother was in nearly perfect physical condition and that he only began to experience the illness soon after he was given “the pill.”

The Israeli response

This correspondent contacted Sivan Wayzman, a spokeswoman for the IPS who categorically denied the accusations.

Wayzman, who expressed her astonishment at the charges, emailed the following response.

“The Israel Prison Service declines all allegations of any intended actions which allegedly caused the prisoner’s disease.  It is a well-known fact that there is little understanding of the causes of ALS disease.  Nonetheless, 10 percent of the cases have to do with genetic disorders.

Since the prisoner has been diagnosed as suffering from it, he has been examined and treated by specialists who have laid out the ways in which he must be treated – the IPS has followed accordingly.

The court, who has discussed the prisoner’s petition, concluded that the treatment he is receiving is professional and adjusted to his needs.”

Ahmed Ibrahim is a medical doctor from the Hebron region specialized in muscular flaccidity. He says that it is not medically known that a given chemical or biological agent can cause the sudden occurrence of ALS.

However, he noticed that Israel was highly advanced in the production of chemical and biological agents that can kill people either immediately or slowly.

He cited the Khalid Mishaal case in 1997, when two Mossad agents carrying fake Canadian passports tried to assassinate the Islamist Palestinian leader by smacking a device to Mishaal’s left ear that transmitted a fast-acting poison.

The two Mossad agents were captured and Israel was forced to hand over to the Jordanians the antidote that saved Mishaal’s life.

However, despite his progressive disability and deteriorating health (it is unclear if he knows his condition is incurable), Naim maintained a broad smile as he thanked everyone who came to congratulate him.

His mother, although relieved that her son is finally free, is worried that he may not live long due to his incurable illness.

“I am really having a lot of mixed feelings. On the one hand, I am happy that he is out of jail. On the other hand, I am extremely worried about his illness and the possibility that he won’t recover.  I implore God to cure him.”


Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos LatuffIsrael cages Palestinian children in outdoor holding pens during freezing storm


Related Report

Israel cages Palestinian children in outdoor holding pens during freezing storm



This past week the Western Media ran story after story about rock throwing incidents throughout Israel allegedly involving Palestinians. The victim card has been used to its fullest extent.


What that press seems to overlook is the constant struggle of the Palestinians to stay alive while at the same time living in constant fear. Below, caught on video is what the West never gets to see or hear about.


Children too frightened to sleep or woken by the sounds of rampaging settlers. Molotov cocktails through living room windows. Settlers firing guns, protected by soldiers. Hateful slogans daubed on walls. Settler children throwing rocks.


New video highlights settler terror against Palestinian families


Children too frightened to sleep or woken by the sounds of rampaging settlers. Molotov cocktails through living room windows. Settlers firing guns, protected by soldiers. Hateful slogans daubed on walls. Settler children throwing rocks.

These are some of the daily experiences Palestinian children and parents describe in this new short documentary Living in Fear: In the shadow of Israeli settlements, from Defence for Children International – Palestine Section (DCI-PS).

The video focuses on attacks by settlers from Yitzhar, a colony established in 1983 on lands stolen from surrounding villages in the northern occupied West Bank.

The attacks are frequent and ongoing as the settlers seize more land.

In 2011 alone, UN OCHA recorded 70 attacks by Yizhar settlers, “the largest figure recorded from a single settlement” that year.

Why is this happening? “They want us to leave our homes. That’s what they want,” says one mother.

Here’s DCI-PS’s description with more information:

The Jewish settlement of Yitzhar is described by The New York Times as “an extremist bastion on the hilltops commanding the Palestinian city of Nablus in the northern West Bank.” Its roughly 1,000 radical Jewish settlers terrorize 20,000 Palestinians from the surrounding villages of Burin, Madama, Asira al-Qibliya, Urif, Einabus and Huwara.

“Multiple times they would reach as far as our doorstep,” says Um Majdi from Asira al-Qibliya. “Some of them throw rocks at us, others set fires, and some write hate slogans on the walls. We’re in a stressed psychological state.”

Yitzhar settlers are responsible for hate crimes, termed “price tag” attacks, targeting Palestinians in retaliation for actions, including those initiated by the Israeli government, against Jewish settlements in the West Bank. They have also repeatedly attacked the US-funded water project in Asira al-Qibliya.

Settlements like Yitzhar continue to expand in the West Bank with Israeli government support. There are approximately 650,000 settlers living in over 200 settlements on Palestinian land in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

“The idea behind the Israeli settlement policy in the West Bank is very clear,” says Dror Etkes, the director of Israeli organization Kerem Navot, which studies land use in the West Bank. “To marginalize the Palestinian community, which is about 90 percent of the population, still today, to certain enclaves … in order to leave as much as possible vacant land for the development of the Israeli settlements.”

Settlements have a profound impact on the lives of Palestinians throughout the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Apart from the loss of land taken for the settlements and their related infrastructure, settler violence, such as beatings, shootings and destruction of property are a common occurrence in the lives of Palestinians, including children.

“Sometimes I dream that they shoot at us,” says 12-year-old Roa’a Abu Majdi. “They take us, along with the neighbors’ kids, and throw us in a hole.”

The Israeli authorities have consistently failed to prevent settler attacks against Palestinians and to take adequate law enforcement measures against settlers who commit these crimes. Israeli soldiers often turn a blind eye and fail to intervene in confrontations. DCI-Palestine has also documented cases where soldiers actively participate in civilian attacks by settlers.

Produced by DCI-Palestine – Edited and Directed by Dima Abu Ghoush – Production Management by Collage Production.


Written FOR



First read THIS ….
Former US official: Demand to free Pollard is Israeli ‘chutzpah’

Israel is hypocritical asking to stop US spying on country but to release its own spy, says former US Homeland Security officer Stewart Baker*

Officials: Pollard release to be part of peace negotiations

PM Netanyahu will include release of Israeli spy from American prison as part of talks with Palestinians, according to Israeli officials. Ministers push for spy’s release after disclosure of US tapping on Israel

Following the exposure of US surveillance on top Israeli leaders, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu  is expected to demand the release of Jonathan Pollard, who has been jailed in US prison for nearly three decades, from American prison as part of negotiation efforts with the Palestinians, Israeli officials estimated.

“With regard to things published in the past few days, I have asked for an examination of the matter,” Netanyahu said in broadcast remarks, in a clear reference to the alleged espionage.

According to undisclosed Israeli officials, Netanyahu’s demand for the release of the Israeli spy through the platform of peace talks with the Palestinians could be executed in one of two ways: A release of the Israeli spy as part of an Israeli-Palestinian agreement pushed by the Americans for next month, or through a deal aimed at releasing Arab-Israeli prisoners.

PM Netanyahu meets with Israeli spy’s wife Esther Pollard (Video: PMO)

Documents leaked on Friday by former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden showed the NSA and its British counterpart GCHQ had in 2009 targeted an email address listed as belonging to then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and monitored emails of senior defense officials.

“In the close ties between Israel  and the United States, there are things that must not be done and that are not acceptable to us,” Netanyahu said, speaking during a Likud party faction meeting.

On Sunday, several Israeli cabinet members and lawmakers said disclosure of US spying on Israel was an opportunity to press Washington to free jailed Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard. Netanyahu informed Likud party members on Monday that he had met with Pollard’s wife Ester “and updated her on our unceasing efforts to free Jonathan.”

Pollard was sentenced to a life term in 1987 in the United States for spying for Israel. A succession of US presidents have spurned Israeli calls for his pardon.



See my post from yesterday dealing with this HERE

Earlier this month, members of the ASA voted overwhelmingly in a referendum to endorse the Palestinian call for the boycott of Israeli academic institutions which are complicit in Israel’s occupation and other violations of Palestinian rights.

Individuals supporting the boycott have also been targets of intense vilification and hate campaigns.


Israel lobby launches fierce counterattack against American Studies Association

UN officials in Gaza announced last month that school construction projects were suspended due to the effects of the ongoing Israeli blockade.


Israel lobby groups are marshaling their formidable forces for a fierce counterattack against the American Studies Association (ASA), including calls for repressive legislation, boycotts and other measures to punish and silence solidarity with Palestinians.

Earlier this month, members of the ASA voted overwhelmingly in a referendum to endorse the Palestinian call for the boycott of Israeli academic institutions which are complicit in Israel’s occupation and other violations of Palestinian rights.

Individuals supporting the boycott have also been targets of intense vilification and hate campaigns.

Pressure on universities

Last week anti-Palestinian group StandWithUs, which works closely with the Israeli government, sent out an email blast calling on its followers to “Urge university presidents, donors and government to denounce the ASA and sever ties with the organization.”

The ASA has five thousand individual members along with 2,200 library and other institutional subscribers.

Under such pressure two universities, Brandeis University and Penn State Harrisburg, have canceled their institutional memberships of the ASA.

Targeting NYU

Now, New York University (NYU) is under intense pressure to follow in their footsteps. A 21 December New York Post editorial called on NYU’s American studies program to “sever its ties” with the ASA, pointing out that “almost a quarter of the American Studies Association’s 17 non-student councilors are from NYU, including the group’s president-elect, Lisa Duggan.”

It was the ASA’s governing body, its National Council, that first endorsed the boycott and called for a full membership referendum to back its decision.

In a bizarre anti-Semitic twist, the Post editorial emphasizes that NYU “is supported by many Jewish donors and attended by many Jewish students. It features buildings and programs with names like Steinhardt and Tisch. It makes its home in the US city that has the highest number of Jews.”

It is unclear why any of that should be relevant unless one takes the bigoted position – as the Post appears to do – that all Jews are either implicated in or supportive of Israel’s occupation and other human rights abuses that motivated the ASA boycott.

Northwestern president’s preemptive strike

Northwestern University president Morton Schapiro was among a dozen or so leaders of academic institutions who pro-Israel activists say have issued denunciations of the ASA’s boycott call.

“While we support the right of academicians to voice their viewpoints, Northwestern University disagrees strongly with the boycott vote of the ASA. Northwestern also rejects the actions suggested in the resolution,” Schapiro wrote in a 20 December email sent to the university community.

A copy of Schapiro’s email, co-signed by provost Dan Linzer, was sent to The Electronic Intifada by Uri Horesh a lecturer in Arabic at Northwestern.

“I myself happen to be a citizen of Israel, yet I fully support the call emanating from Palestinian civil society to boycott Israeli institutions until Israel ends its apartheid rule and recognizes the Palestinian people’s right to self determination” by meeting all the demands in the BDS call including the right of return, Horesh wrote back to Schapiro.

Horesh added that Schapiro’s statement is “odd” given that “there has not been a public debate or discussion of these matters in any University forum.”

Princeton resists

Princeton University president Christopher L. Eisgruber expressed his “dismay” at the ASA’s boycott decision and affirmed that “My personal support for scholarly engagement with Israel is enthusiastic and unequivocal,” in a statement sent to William Jacobson, a Cornell University law professor and pro-Israel blogger at the publication Legal Insurrection.

But, Eisgruber adds, “I do not intend to denounce the ASA, make it unwelcome on campus, or inhibit the ability of faculty members to affiliate with it. … engagement may be better than a boycott.”

Bullying and intimidation

In a 20 December press release emailed to The Electronic Intifada, the ASA Caucus on Academic and Community Activism states that “members of the American Studies Association are getting hate mail or threatening mail following the ASA membership vote in favor of a resolution calling for boycott of Israeli universities.”

The ASA Facebook page has been “subject to an avalanche of abusive postings” and “senior faculty have explicitly and implicitly intimidated junior faculty who support the boycott,” the release states.

“More generally within the academy, some are threatening to cut funds for faculty who want to attend the ASA in the future. We are also learning that individuals and groups outside the academy are threatening legal action against the ASA,” the press released adds.

Former Harvard University president Larry Summers has, for instance, called the ASA boycott “anti-Semitic in effect” and urged universities to deprive faculty of funds to participate in ASA meetings and activities.

Claire Potter, a professor at the New School University and long-time prominent critic of the ASA boycott, decided to vote for the boycott resolution in the end after careful deliberation.

Since then, “I have been receiving nasty and threatening electronic messages from those supposedly defending Israel: swastikas and pictures of concentration camps arrive daily, as well as accusations that I am promoting another Holocaust,” Potter writes at her widely read Tenured Radical blog.

“Expressions of hate and intimidation, even if they come from isolated individuals, constitute part of a larger pattern of attack on anyone who criticizes Israel or Zionism. These disturbing messages can take the form of threats. As such, they should not be dismissed or discarded,” the Caucus on Academic and Community Activism says in its press release.

It urges ASA members to report threats and intimidation both to the caucus and to the appropriate officials at their institutions.

Call for government repression

Unsatisfied by the campaigns already underway, Michael Oren, former Israeli ambassador in Washington, called for more than mere denunciations of the ASA’s action.

“What’s needed is a way to fight back, and Congress can do it,” the American-born Oren, who renounced his US citizenship in 2009, writes in Politico.

Oren cited as a desirable precedent a 1977 US law “making it illegal for US companies to cooperate with any boycott of Israel and imposing stiff penalties on those that did.”

It is unclear whether Oren is unaware that such laws, in an academic context, would grossly violate First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and association – the very values that opponents of the boycott claim they want to protect.

Still, Oren may find a receptive audience in Congress where the leaders of the bipartisan Israel Allies Caucus have strongly denounced the ASA.

Backlash likely to backfire

Anti-Palestinian groups likely believe that with a strong counterattack they can raise the price to any other group that might want to follow in the ASA’s footsteps and thus deter anyone else from taking action in solidarity with Palestinians.

Israel lobbying groups’ outrage and bullying tactics may claim a few more victories, just as Brandeis and Penn State Harrisburg moved to boycott the ASA.

Yet the repressive backlash also exposes the lie that many boycott opponents are concerned about “academic freedom.”

In the long run, the only thing such tactics are likely to achieve is to spread the debate about Israel’s abuses and the merits of boycott as an ethical solidarity strategy to campuses across the United States.

There is evidence that is already happening. In a Los Angeles Times opinion piece denouncing the boycott as “a repugnant attack on academic freedom,” Michael S. Roth, president of Wesleyan University, nonetheless had to concede that many of the Israeli policies that motivate boycott supporters are indeed “abhorrent.”

There’s something, at least, that we can all agree on.

Written FOR


See THIS related report from the zioPost


Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff



The bill proposes a 45% tax charged on nonprofit foundations and organizations that receive foreign donations and that take part in the following activities:

  • Advocating the boycott, divestment, or sanctioning of Israel or its citizens.
  • Calling for the trial of IDF soldiers in international courts.
  • Denying Israel’s existence as a Jewish and democratic state.
  • Inciting to racism.
  • Supporting armed struggle against the State of Israel by an enemy state or terror organization.
NGO bill approved by ministers despite controversy

Habayit Hayehudi proposal to heavily tax foreign donations to NGOs that are critical of government passes ministerial committee. Opposition response: Dangerous, dictatorial decree

Ministers approved the controversial NGO bill proposed by Knesset members Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi) and Robert Ilatov (Yisrael Beiteinu) on Sunday. The bill passed a vote of the Ministerial Committee on Legislative Affairs, with the support of ministers from Shaked’s party and from Likud-Beiteinu.

Representatives of the left slammed the proposal, calling it “dangerous and dictatorial,” noting the bill was intended to silence any one who dares to criticize the administration and think differently. Justice Minister Tzipi Livni said she intended to appeal the proposed legislation.

The bill proposes a 45% tax charged on nonprofit foundations and organizations that receive foreign donations and that take part in the following activities:

  • Advocating the boycott, divestment, or sanctioning ofIsrael or its citizens.
  • Calling for the trial of IDF soldiers in international courts.
  • Denying Israel’s existence as a Jewish and democratic state.
  • Inciting to racism.
  • Supporting armed struggle against the State of Israel by an enemy state or terror organization.

Habayit Hayehudi welcomed the approval of the bill, saying: “The bill will help defend IDF soldiers from perverse lawsuits funded by foreign actors. Justice Minister Tzipi Livni’s appeal against the bill is an irresponsible move.”

The statement added: “Every day in which the bill does not become law, IDF soldiers are in danger and their operational ability is damaged. Minister Livni would do well do put aside political considerations and stop delaying this bill.”

‘Narrow-minded, anti-democratic decision’

Minister Livni said during the discussion that being patriotic means not passing anti-democratic legislation: “The State of Israel wants to protect IDF soldiers in international tribunals and the rule of law in Israel affects the decisions of these tribunals.”

She added that “Habayit Hayehudi’s proposal will harm IDF soldiers, not protect them. This is a populist proposal under the guise of patriotism, which will hurts Israel’s ability to defend IDF soldiers.”

Yesh Atid ministers joined Livni in opposing the bill.

Chairman of the opposition, Isaac Herzog said: “The decision of the ministerial committee in the name of the Israeli government is narrow-minded, anti-democratic and shuts down any one who dares not emulate her thinking. The next stage of this bill’s implementation is forming a thought police that will determine who pays fines for an opinions and who doesn’t, who is blacklisted politically and who isn’t.”

According to Herzog, “Israel is becoming less and less democratic. Everyone who loves the country and holds it dear must oppose this law with all their might. It is up to the prime minister and the Knesset plenum to cancel the decision of the ministerial committee.”

The left said the proposal is a witch hunt of those who dare oppose the government. Before the committee’s discussion,Meretz chairwoman, Zahava Gal-On said: “Woe to the administration that supports it.”

On Friday, the Justice Ministry announced that Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein opposed the proposal. In the opinion presented to the committee it was noted that Weinstein thinks the bill is unconstitutional and is meant as a means of punishment to foundations, which will thwart donations to them and hurt the public dialogue in Israel.



Related Report


Israel tightened its land blockade on Gaza after the Hamas seized control of the enclave in 2007, a blockade which is also being enforced by Egypt on its side of the Gaza border.
Siezed control??? Is that what we are calling free and democratic elections these days????
En route to Israel (Photo: EPA)
En route to Israel (Photo: EPA)

Hundreds of Gazans launch flotilla over naval blockade

Hundreds of Palestinians launched protest flotilla in protests of Israel-Egyptian blockade of Gaza but fail to make it to Israel

Hundreds of Palestinian youth activists sailed from the shores of the Gaza Strip on Monday to protest at Israel’s restrictions on fishing in the seas off the Islamist-ruled enclave.Around 20 Gaza fishing boats carrying several dozen activists claimed to have broken the naval blockade on the territory in a move denied by the Israeli military. The “resistance flotilla” was at sea for several hours before returning with the claim it had “broken” the blockade which bars fishing vessels from sailing six nautical miles from the shoreline.

Israel eased the blockade somewhat in 2010 after an Israeli commando raid on a ship in an activist flotilla bent on reaching Gaza left nine Turks dead and raised an international uproar, but Palestinians say the gestures were not enough.

On Monday, Gaza’s Coalition Intifada group said about 200 youths boarded fishing boats heading out of Gaza City toward the fishing zone boundary, before returning to shore. Organizers said some boats crossed the six-mile maritime limit.

Palestinian fishermen say they cannot meet demand in Gaza due to Israeli-Egyptian naval blockade on the territory and limit of six nautical miles (11 km) in which they can take out their boats off shore.


Photo: EPA

Photo: EPA

“We have sent a message of solidarity with the fishermen and a message to the world that they must act to end the Gaza blockade,” said Shorouq Mahmoud, the group’s spokeswoman.


Palestinian activist (Photo: Facebook)
Palestinian activist (Photo: Facebook)


An Israeli military spokeswoman said none of the boats breached the fishing zone limit.

Israeli forces have regularly shot at Gaza boats seen as trying to breach the blockade.

Israel tightened its land blockade on Gaza after the Hamas seized control of the enclave in 2007, a blockade which is also being enforced by Egypt on its side of the Gaza border.



The UN has declared the year 2014 as the Year of Solidarity with Palestine. Israel has declared it as the Year to Erase What Is Left of Palestine …

The full, translated text of Israel’s Prawer Plan (Click)





Fetid muck, which bubbles up from manholes and overflows from the idle plant when waste goes untreated, could soon spill into the homes of tens of thousands more residents in downtown Gaza City, officials and residents said.


Video: As siege stops pumps, Gaza children wade to school in sewage

 Ali Abunimah
This video shows children in the al-Sabra neighborhood in eastern Gaza City wading through streets flooded with sewage.Some make their way carefully across stones to avoid the fetid water, while others wade right in or are carried on the shoulders of older children.With their book bags on their backs, they are determined to get to school. The video was shot by Jehad Saftawi for the Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU) (

Siege stops pumps

Why is this happening? As Reuters reported on 14 November:

Children waded through sewage submerging the streets of a central Gaza neighborhood on Thursday, a day after one of the blockaded Palestinian enclave’s largest waste water treatment plants stopped for lack of fuel.

Fetid muck, which bubbles up from manholes and overflows from the idle plant when waste goes untreated, could soon spill into the homes of tens of thousands more residents in downtown Gaza City, officials and residents said.

Egypt’s months-long crackdown on cross-border smuggling tunnels that used to bring fuel in cheaply has already forced Gaza’s only power plant to stop, meaning two weeks of daily 12-hour blackouts for the territory’s 1.8 million residents.

“This is the start of a catastrophe and unless the world listens to our cries, a real disaster may hit Gaza and its people,” Gaza municipality’s Sa’ad El-Deen Al-Tbash said.

“This is a humanitarian, not a political issue. Gaza’s children did nothing to deserve being stuck in sewage,” he told Reuters.

As a consequence of the blackouts Gaza children must also study in the dark.

“Health catastrophe”

While media are reporting that electricity blackouts are now 12 hours per day, the new situation is that for many people, power is out for 18 hours daily.

On 7 November the UK charity Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) warned of the dire impact on Gaza’s already strained healthcare system.

With grid power so compromised, most hospitals rely on generators but, MAP warned:

The majority of generators in Gaza’s hospitals were not designed to work for up to 18 hours per day and the Ministry of Health expects to encounter difficulties in maintaining them, especially those requiring spare parts, due to the restrictions of Israel’s blockade.

The fuel crisis is making it difficult for ambulances to continue operating and hindering the ability of medical workers to get to health facilities. Its impact on other essential services such as sewage and water pumping stations also poses a public health risk. 

The video above shows that for the children confronted with sewage in the streets, “risk” has turned into a grim reality.

This is no “natural” disaster. It is the result of the sewer-like politics of the region, where Israel, Egypt’s coup regime and the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority collude, with US and EU complicity, to tighten the siege and with it the deliberate collective punishment of the Palestinian people in Gaza.

Written FOR


‘Play the game of ‘WAR’, not PEACE!
A CRISIS is brewing in America’s relations with Israel. The American public—though strongly pro-Israel—seems either not to have noticed or not to care much.
From The Economist


Once again zion is literally grasping at straws to gain sympathy and support for their apartheid regime … this time by condemning the color yellow.
By now it should be crystal clear – if it wasn’t already – the sheer stupidity of the Israeli foreign ministry’s reported suggestion that anything racist could be read into the color of the boycott Israel sticker.

Is the color yellow anti-Semitic? (Israel says yes)

Ali Abunimah 

The sticker that reminds Israel’s foreign ministry of Nazism. (Ynet)

Is the use of the color yellow a sign of racial and genocidal hatred targeting Jews?

Israel’s foreign ministry is suggesting it is, after a “pro-Israel activist” discovered a sticker in a Dublin supermarket that states “For Justice in Palestine – Boycott Israel.”

The sticker, as can be seen in the photograph published by Israel’s Ynet, was attached to a package of dates that were produced in an illegal Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank.

Ynet reported that the activist was “shocked” and quoted “sources” in the Israeli foreign ministry stating “it is not by chance that the BDS organization chose to express its protest with a yellow sticker – which is reminiscent of dark days of racism and incitement.”

“BDS” stands for boycott, divestment and sanctions.

The foreign ministry’s statement about the color yellow can only be meant to evoke the yellow stars, often emblazoned with the word “Jude,” that the Nazi regime in Germany notoriously forced Jewish citizens to wear.

But there is absolutely no resemblance between the insignia Nazis forced Jews to wear and the sticker. Except, of course the color yellow.

IPSC stickers

The stickers were distributed by the Irish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC). A spokesperson for the group explained to me in an email: “We give them away to people, we have no control over how they are used. Some people wear them, some stick them on copy books or laptops or bikes, and some apparently even put them on Israeli products.”

In response to the allegation from the Israeli foreign ministry, IPSC said: “We reject out of hand any accusation of anti-Semitic intent regarding these stickers. The stickers are yellow and red, with black and green writing; yellow and red being internationally recognized colors associated with hazards and danger.”

Well that makes sense. But it got me wondering, what if the Israeli foreign ministry is right? What if the use of the color yellow really does indicate a malevolant intent?

So I decided to look for examples of the color yellow being used by Israelis. Here is what I found.

The color yellow

Israel, like many countries, has a Yellow Pages phone book. Although they call them the “Golden Pages,” the website is brightly emblazoned with yellow everywhere.

Israel even has a chain of gas station convenience stores called “Yellow” with a shopper’s club called “Yellow Club.” Here’s a screenshot from the company’s website showing unrestrained use of the color yellow.

Shoppers at Israel’s “Yellow” chain of convenience stores can get discounts if they join the “Yellow Club.”

But is doesn’t stop there. The logo of the Beitar Jerusalem football club, whose fans are notorious for their racist anti-Arab rampages, is a menorah – a Judaic candlestick – set against a yellow shield.

During matches, the players and supporters form a sea of yellow flags and shirts.

Then there is the Israeli army’s Golani brigade, notorious for its war crimes and human rights abuses against Palestinians. The colors of its official flag and logo? Green and yellow.

Two Israeli soldiers look relaxed wearing the Golani Brigade’s yellow insignia. (Instagram)

The flag of Kach, the violent racist Jewish nationalist movement, is a black Star of David and a fist set against a yellow field.

The flag of Kach.

Finally, the picture below is an artifact that I have in my possession. It is a sign once placed by the “Israel Lands Administration” on a fence closing off a piece of confiscated Palestinian land in eastern occupied Jerusalem. It warns of the danger of entering the land without permission from those who have seized it.

The sign may be traumatizing for Palestinians whose land is routinely stolen and then rendered off limits to them in this criminal manner, but not because of the color scheme.

Presumably the “Israel Lands Administration” chose yellow, black and red for precisely the same reasons as IPSC: these are internationally recognized colors associated with hazards and danger.

“Israel Lands Administration” sign claiming ownership over confiscated Palestinian land.

 (Ali Abunimah)

“Crass and cynical”

By now it should be crystal clear – if it wasn’t already – the sheer stupidity of the Israeli foreign ministry’s reported suggestion that anything racist could be read into the color of the boycott Israel sticker.

IPSC affirms that it is “categorically opposed to all forms of racism including anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and any ideology that seeks the domination by one ethnic/racial group over another. In other words, we are opposed to apartheid.”

Accusations that its choice of color had some ulterior motive are “simply crass and cynical attempts to exploit the memory of Nazi crimes against the Jewish people and which show contempt for those victims,” IPSC said.

“Such attempts also show contempt for the Palestinian victims of Israeli injustices today, for whom the BDS movement is a non-violent method of securing their rights.”

I could not agree more.



Written FOR


are you or have you ever been


“Where was your father born?”

“Where was your grandfather born?”

“What is your father’s name?

“What is your grandfather’s name?”

“What is your great grandfather’s name?”

“Which part of Israel are you from?”


Palestinian Brit trying to volunteer in Bethlehem interrogated for five hours at Ben Gurion airport


Anonymous, 18, is a Greek-Palestinian British student who lives in London. The author usually goes to Jordan every 2 years, but never had the chance to go to Palestine and hoped to this year as part of a volunteering program. Knowing there would be difficulties at the airport, but never expected what happened. Anonymous says, “What shocked me that even though I had a British passport they still gave me a hard time, I felt like I was a criminal.”

I’m an 18 year old student, born and raised in London. Throughout my whole life my parents have brought me up to be proud of my Palestinian roots, I was brought up listening to stories from my father and grandparents about Ain Karem, my village.  It has always been a dream of mine to be able to visit my homeland, Palestine, and this year in October I had the opportunity to finally go, I was going to go to the Palestinian territories to volunteer in a school in Bethlehem. I was told to not tell the Israeli authority the real purpose of my visit to Palestine, activists and volunteers are usually not allowed to enter Israel. I knew that I was going to face many problems at Ben Gurion airport, due to my Palestinian background.

I arrived at Ben Gurion airport, I showed my passport to the lady at border control, she looked at my name on my British passport and immediately she called border security. I was escorted by two security men to a waiting room. After 30 minutes a man called me to his office, the questions he asked were:

“Where was your father born?”

“Where was your grandfather born?”

“What is your father’s name?

“What is your grandfather’s name?”

“What is your great grandfather’s name?”

“Which part of Israel are you from?”

Then they asked me what the purpose of my trip to Israel was, I told them that I was visiting Israel for tourism. The first part of the interrogation had finished. My legs and arms were shaking, but I made sure that I didn’t show them that I was frightened.

Two hours had gone by and I was still waiting, a second man called me in to another room for questioning, this time I could sense that they were going to be really tough. I walked into the room and there was also another man sitting in the background. Again the man asked me the same questions. However this time they wanted all the details of my stay. I was prepared for these questions, at this point the Israeli authority still thought that I was in Israel for tourism. They asked me: “where are you going to stay?” I told them that I was planning to stay at a hotel in Jerusalem. They also asked me why me parents didn’t come with me, how much money I had on me. They also wanted contact details of my family in Jordan. I refused to give them such details.

The man then told me, write my e-mail address on a piece of paper. “Can you write your email address and password for us?” I simply replied, “No mate, I don’t think so, that’s illegal.” He just laughed and took my email address only (they still managed to hack into my personal email either way).

The interrogation stopped for 45 minutes and a different man came into the room to ask me further questions. He sat down, looked at me in the eyes and said “You’re a liar.” At this point I knew that they had hacked into my email account and seen my emails to the Palestinian volunteering organisation. The man then said to me:

“I know you lied, see the man at the back, he’s a psychologist and he was examining your body language throughout the whole process… why did you lie about your volunteering placement?”

My reply: “It’s not really my fault to be honest, you people give the impression that you want to kill any Palestinian activist or volunteer, this is why all people lie to you. I’m not stupid I know that you detained me because of my Arabic name.” His eyes turned red from anger. He banged his hand on the table and told me to be careful or I will be on the blacklist.

He quickly left the room and after an hour two women came in and asked me the same questions but in different ways. At this point I wasn’t scared, it just turned into a joke for me. They asked me:

“Why did your mum marry your dad? She’s non-Arab.”

I replied, “erm because she fancied him.” I could tell that they were getting agitated.

Then they asked me “Why did your dad move to London?”

I replied “because he wanted to be closer to the London eye,” and they looked at each other and said something in Hebrew.

They then asked me specific questions about my family in Jordan. “Which exact area was your dad born in?” My reply was, “Look guys I don’t know, I know you know the answer to that because you have my whole family history in your computer system so why waste my time in asking me these questions, just check in your computer, so I can find out myself.” They looked at me and just laughed, they then left.

I was in that room for at least 3 hours, I was not allowed to contact anyone, I was more worried with the fact that the taxi driver waiting for me might have left. After an hour another two men took me in for questioning, again, same questions were asked, we were just going around in circles, the Israeli authorities aim to make you nervous, but I didn’t care. At that point it was all a joke for me.

After five hours I finally got my Israeli Visa. As I walked out of the departures area, I started to panic because I could not see the taxi driver, I went to customer services and I told them that if I don’t find the taxi driver they will have to book me a hotel in Jerusalem so I could stay the night and then travel to Bethlehem the next day. As I was talking to them I saw my name, the taxi driver was there, a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. The taxi driver waited for 5 hours, he was a Palestinian man named Mohammad. Every 20 minutes he would call border control to tell them to release me, he told them to tell me that he would be waiting for me until I got out, but they did not tell me, they knew that the only thing that was making me panic was the thought of the taxi driver not being there.

On my way back to London I was held for 4 hours, I was strip searched, all my bags were searched, every single item was taken out, even all my underwear were put through the x-ray scanner.

The Israelis use these intense interrogation methods to try and put off Palestinians from visiting the West Bank. However this makes people even more determined to go back to Palestine. I resisted because I was in the right.

All Palestinians should try to visit Palestinian territories, to see for themselves the daily struggle that the people have to face such as checkpoints everywhere, the IDF dehumanizing people every day, how people live in constant fear. Even though I was only there for 1 week I felt that I as surrounded by a military machine. We all need to remember that “To exist is to resist”.



The author at the Herodium, where you can see Jericho, Hebron, Bethlehem and the Dead Sea.

Written FOR


Brooklyn College is once again on the defensive from local pro-Israel forces.
The first salvo in the campaign against White and Brooklyn College came on November 4, when New York Daily News reporter Reuven Blau published a piece calling White “a controversial author who has likened Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians to the Nazi Holocaust is bringing his act to Brooklyn College.”

Brooklyn College under attack from Dershowitz and Hikind over author talk on Israeli ‘apartheid’
 Alex Kane



Author Ben White speaking at the Russell Tribunal on Palestine in New York City. (Image via


Brooklyn College is once again on the defensive from local pro-Israel forces.

Brooklyn Democrats have harshly criticized the school and academic departments over an event featuring Ben White, an author and activist who is critical of Israel. He is set to speak at the school November 14.

The fracas comes nearly a year after Brooklyn College found itself at the center of a storm over the school’s hosting of an event featuring proponents of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

Like last year’s controversy, this year’s features ardent supporters of the state of Israel accusing the speaker of anti-Semitism and the school’s departments of supporting the event, which will feature White arguing that Israel is an apartheid state.

“It is predictable and unfortunate that defenders of Israeli apartheid seek to smear me as an individual in order to distract from the ongoing violations of international law and Palestinian human rights,” White told me in an e-mail. “I oppose anti-Semitism as a form of racism, and in fact, it is precisely because of opposition to racism that I am in solidarity with the Palestinians’ struggle for their basic rights in the face of Israeli policies of systematic discrimination.”

Members of the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapter at the school are the ones organizing the event.  The Political Science Department and the Sociology Department have agreed to co-sponsor the event, though the school says that does not connote endorsement of the speaker and the event.

“Ben White is not just anti-Israel, he is also an anti-Semite,” state Assemblyman Dov Hikind, an influential Orthodox Jewish politician who got into hot water for wearing blackface as part of a Purim costume, told the website “Brooklyn College’s continued co-sponsorship of anti-Israel hatefests is abhorrent.”

Fueling the outrage at Brooklyn College is the claim that the departments are “supporting” the event, though the claim rests on a misunderstanding of new Brooklyn College policies on student events.

The first salvo in the campaign against White and Brooklyn College came on November 4, when New York Daily News reporter Reuven Blau published a piece calling White “a controversial author who has likened Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians to the Nazi Holocaust is bringing his act to Brooklyn College.”

“It’s unfortunate that Brooklyn College seems to be consistent in sending a message to their Jewish students that they are not respected on campus,” Brooklyn City Councilman David Greenfield told the Daily News.

The reporter, Blau, charged that White defended “Iranian hatemonger” Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and that White has “defended anti-Semitic comments made by the former German politician Jurgen Mullemann, who likened the Israel’s policies to those of the Nazis.” The proof offered up is White’s 2007 statement that “Palestinians…in the name of a social-democratic experiment, had to endure massacres, death marches and ethnic cleansing.”

In 2009, White explained that his 2006 piece on Ahmadinejad was “critiquing the mainstream analysis of some recent remarks by Ahmadinejad, and the politicised context in which they were being framed.” He went on to say, “I make no bones about it – Ahmadinejad is either a Holocaust denier himself, or cowardly encourages those who are (and probably both).”

Joining the campaign against White is state Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz, who sent a letter to the interim chancellor of the City University of New York, a system Brooklyn College is a part of. “Publicly funded institutions do not have the right to spew hatred without permitting an equal response,” he wrote, according to the website

But it’s the claim that the college is “supporting” the event that is driving the story. Alan Dershowitz, the pro-Israel attorney, told the Daily News that “If these departments deny they are taking sides, I challenge them to ‘support’ a speech by me on the Mideast.” Dershowitz’s criticism that academic departments are “supporting” the speech is rooted in new guidelines disseminated by the college on student events, likely drawn up in response to last year’s torrent of criticism over an event on BDS.

Under the new draft guidelines–whether it is the official policy of the college is unclear–the word “supporter” takes the place of what used to be known as “co-sponsor.” A “supporter,” the new guidelines explain in a footnote, is the “preferred term that is used at Brooklyn College to describe the type of assistance provided in a manner that was previously described as a ‘co-sponsor,’ meaning the group lends its name only for the purpose of encouraging attendance at the event.” To a lay person, though, “supporter” means something much different.

The Brooklyn College Political Science Department released a statement clarifying that they “decided explicitly to co-sponsor these events; it is not a ‘supporter,’ advocate, champion, or endorser of these events and the views that will be expressed there.”

The college released a similar statement from Director of News and Information Keisha-Gaye Anderson, who also said, “Brooklyn College will continue to support the right of student clubs to host programs of interest to them, including those that may be controversial.” The statement also emphasized that “there are a number of scheduled and proposed events this semester hosted by the Israel Club.”

Those explanations, though, are unlikely to tamp down the furor over White’s talk.

Both Hikind and Dershowitz are no stranger to campaigns targeting those critical of Israel–especially at Brooklyn College. Last year, they led the charge against Omar Barghouti and Judith Butler, who spoke at the college on BDS. The event went on as planned despite calls to cancel it and threats from a City Councilman to cut funding for the college.

But it was marred by controversy over the fact that four Jewish students were tossed out of the event. A report by a law firm and CUNY concluded that there was no anti-Semitism in the decision to toss them out–despite the claims from Israel advocates–though there was no justification for the tossing either.

Written FOR


zionist dragon bones



Here’s one for ‘The Museum of Tolerance’ …
A Jewish member of Students for Justice in Palestine at Northeastern University in Boston has received death threats ostensibly because of his involvement in Palestine solidarity activism and outspoken criticism of Zionism.

Jewish student receives death threats over Palestine solidarity work

Ryan Branagan* 

Northeastern students walked out of an event featuring Israeli soldiers in April.

 (Tess Scheflan /ActiveStills)


A Jewish member of Students for Justice in Palestine at Northeastern University in Boston has received death threats ostensibly because of his involvement in Palestine solidarity activism and outspoken criticism of Zionism.

The threats come as Zionist groups warn of legal complaints against the university, alleging campus “anti-Semitism” — despite an ever-growing record of failure to support these kinds of accusations.

First reported on 18 September by CBS Boston, an anonymous group of Jewish students publicly accused Northeastern University of “an atmosphere of intimidation of those who are supportive of Israel, or an official indulgence of anti-Semitism” (“Jewish students claim discrimination by Northeastern professors,” WBZ-TV, 18 September 2013).

When the story reached the student daily newspaper eight days later, the alleged perpetrators were, predictably, Northeastern Students for Justice in Palestine and a handful of faculty members who dared to criticize the ongoing Israeli colonization of Palestine.

In a letter written in July, the Zionist Organization of America states that if Northeastern University does not address the “hostile environment” faced by Jewish students, then it would risk losing its federal funding — citing guidelines mandated under Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act (“ZOA letter to President Aoun,” 5 July 2013 [PDF]).

Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act protects students from racial and ethnic discrimination at federally-funded educational institutions. Israel-aligned groups and individuals have claimed that Jewish students face anti-Semitism, harassment and intimidation because of activism by Students for Justice in Palestine and Muslim student groups, and have filed claims with the Department of Education alleging violations of Title VI.

Even though legal campaigns to coerce censorship of Palestine solidarity activism on campus — through Title VI complaints — have been dismissed from the University of California system to Columbia University so far, well-funded Zionist organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) continue to pose real threats to free speech and academic freedom.

This latest manifestation of “lawfare” by Israel advocacy groups appears to differ from some previous attempts to stifle debate.

Specifically, the campaign’s focus on disbanding Students for Justice in Palestine while the student organization’s status on campus remains in peril could potentially deliver these powerful pro-Israel forces a victory without necessarily succeeding in challenging Northeastern’s funding under Title VI.

As the ADL and ZOA continue to pressure Northeastern president Joseph Aoun and other administrators, the university’s ignominious record of silencing advocates of Palestinian and Muslim rights on campus calls into question its ability to fairly evaluate these slanderous accusations.

Inflammatory campaigns

As The Electronic Intifada reported last August, Northeastern administrators officially sanctioned Students for Justice in Palestine last semester for silently walking out of an event featuring Israeli soldiers. The event was hosted by Huskies for Israel, the on-campus Israel advocacy group.

Despite widespread condemnation by the National Lawyers Guild, the Center for Constitutional Rights and local union and civil rights groups, Students for Justice in Palestine at Northeastern remains under administrative probation with all funding derived from the student activities’ fee indefinitely suspended.

The provisions of the administration’s sanctions against SJP included a grotesque, enforced normalization charade disguised as a “leadership council” with campus Zionists. Though the university describes these monthly councils as chances for collaboration with other like-minded student organizations, the inclusion of dialogue sessions with Huskies for Israel seems to be an underhanded attempt to tame and limit discourse around Israel-Palestine.

Furthermore, the administration has demanded from SJP the production of a “civility statement” through these problematic leadership councils that is to govern all future political advocacy. Neither Huskies for Israel nor any other student group on campus has ever been forced to comply with such anti-democratic measures.

In addition, the Boston-based (and Orwellian-named) Americans for Peace and Tolerance is supporting the ADL/ZOA effort, which has for years launched inflammatory campaigns against supposed “Islamic extremism, anti-Semitism, and anti-Zionism” at Northeastern University. Americans for Peace and Tolerance has conflated these three divergent phenomena as indistinguishable.

Among Americans for Peace and Tolerance’s many targets was Imam Abdullah Faaruuq, who was removed from his post as Muslim chaplain of the Spiritual Life Center last September despite more than 15 years of service to Northeastern University.

Faaruuq’s advocacy on behalf of Muslim political prisoners Aafia Siddiqui and Tarek Mehenna and consistent opposition to unjust “War on Terror” policies drew a vitriolic response from Americans for Peace and Tolerance’s president Charles Jacobs.

Emboldened by the administration’s unprincipled appeasement, Americans for Peace and Tolerance has since intensified its efforts against Northeastern faculty and students who fail to meet its pro-Israel requirements.


Shortly after the administration fired Faaruuq, Americans for Peace and Tolerance released a fear-mongering video titled “Anti-Semitic Education @ Northeastern University” targeting NU professors Denis Sullivan and M. Shahid Alam.

Sullivan, a professor of international affairs and the director of the university’s Middle East Center for Peace, Culture and Development, is perhaps Americans for Peace and Tolerance’s most consistently attacked individual due to his support of a one-state solutionin Israel-Palestine, and his criticism of Israel’s apartheid policies.

Alam, an economics professor, has has also been subjected to a series of publicationsand videos by Americans for Peace and Tolerance. He has been vilified for his participation in Students for Justice in Palestine’s 2012 Israeli Apartheid Week — a series of Palestine awareness-raising activities and events held each year in universities around the world — and other declarations of support for Palestinian liberation.

The ZOA’s recent letter to Aoun singles out both Sullivan and Alam and demands their immediate dismissal.

Litany of violent threats

While the campaign has succeeded in compelling the administration to sanction Students for Justice in Palestine, the Islamic Society of Northeastern University’s funding and “Islamic extremism” has been targeted by not only Americans for Peace and Tolerance, but also right-wing Islamophobic blogger Pamela Geller.

More gravely, due to witch-hunting on the Americans for Peace and Tolerance-controlled Facebook page “Exposing Islamic Extremism at Northeastern University,” Jewish Students for Justice in Palestine member Max Geller (no relation to Pamela) has received a litany of violent threats in the last few days, along with accusations of being a “self-hating Jew” and a “terrorist sympathizer.”

One commenter on the page who identified himself as a former marine, for instance, wrote of Geller, “I would seriously introduce that kid to the inside of an ambulance.” Geller told The Electronic Intifada that private messages were even more explicit and included death threats.

According to Max Geller, this is simply another manifestation of Charles Jacobs’ pattern of targeting, defaming, and intimidating members of the Northeastern University community and others in Boston in an effort to compel silence on Israeli human rights abuses — which the young activist defiantly refuses to accept.

Even still, over the phone Geller expressed concern after recent messages he received extended these threats to his family, and displayed knowledge of his home address. As the vicious threats continue to be directed at him and his loved ones, it is increasingly probable that Americans for Peace and Tolerance has put the SJP activist in real jeopardy.

This recent, ironic twist to the assertions by the Anti-Defamation League, the Zionist Organization of America and Americans for Peace and Tolerance of a “hostile campus climate” for Northeastern University’s Jewish students is sure to be lost on those now threatening legal action.

While recent victories against Zionist legal intimidation are cause for hope, the particularly strong and well-funded campaign in Boston against Students for Justice in Palestine, the Islamic Society of Northeastern University, and members of the Northeastern faculty will require a combined, determined effort to thwart.

Lacking an administration with the courage and integrity to defend students’ rights and academic freedom, it will be up to Northeastern University student activists and their supporters to keep closed a pandora’s box of repression on US campuses.

The precedent threatened by the Anti-Defamation League and Zionist Organization of America’s legal complaint to the Department of Education make this active, developing situation potentially disastrous not only for Palestinian solidarity activism and free speech at Northeastern University, but throughout the country.

Conversely, a resounding defeat for Zionist lawfare in Boston could finally sound the death knell for this cynical and perverse manipulation of American civil rights law.

As Northeastern Students for Justice in Palestine remains steadfast in its commitment to advocate for Palestinian liberation on campus and braces for a long fight against censorship and repression, it is incumbent upon all those who believe in justice and civil liberties to join the chorus of resistance to Zionist bullying tactics in the US, and to Israeli apartheid in Palestine.

*Ryan Branagan is a Northeastern MA student in Middle Eastern history and serves on the executive board of NU Students for Justice in Palestine

Written FOR


“You leave your family shortly before dawn, but you never know for sure if you will return home at the end of the day. Nothing is certain and we live in a constant state of anxiety.”

Palestinians risking their lives for a job

West Bankers trying to find work in Israel face prison, injury, and even death.

Khalid Amayreh
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As many as 70,000 Palestinians commute each day between the West Bank and Israel [Khalid Amayreh/Al Jazeera]

Every week, Muhammad Ibrahim Hantash puts his life at risk in order to find a day’s work. The 23-year-old from Khursa, a village in the West Bank about 15 kilometres south of Hebron, often crosses illegally into Israel in search of a job to sustain his family.

Because Hantash is unmarried, he is not eligible to obtain a work permit from the Israeli Civil Administration, the government department responsible for entry into Israel. Israeli security agencies believe that married Palestinian workers, especially those with children, are less likely to be involved in “acts of terror” inside Israel.

Unlawful border crossings into Israel are rife with peril, and often end in injury or even death. “Ours is a piece of bread soaked in blood,” said Hantash. “You leave your family shortly before dawn, but you never know for sure if you will return home at the end of the day. Nothing is certain and we live in a constant state of anxiety.”

He is just one of thousands of young Palestinians who endanger their lives in order to find work, helping them and their families withstand the bleak economic situation in the occupied Palestinian territories. As many as 70,000 Palestinians are thought to commute each day between the West Bank and Israel. According to the Palestinian Labour Ministry, between 35-40 percent of them are unlicensed workers.

Israeli authorities insist that the Palestinian Authority, not Israel, is responsible for providing jobs for Palestinians in the West Bank. But the PA has no sovereignty of its own, and no control over border crossings with Israel or the outside world. 

The PA’s Labour Ministry does not have exact figures on how many unlicensed Palestinian workers have been shot by the Israeli army and border police as they attempt to enter Israel.

According to the Palestinian Labour Ministry’s Manpower Department, between five to ten workers lose their lives this way every year. Dozens of others are injured, some seriously, when the vehicles they travel in crash while trying to elude Israeli army jeeps.

This January, Uday Kamel Darawish, from the town of Dura, was shot dead by Israeli soldiers as he tried to enter through a small gap in the border barrier near the town of Dahirriya. Relatives said Darawish was shot in the chest with “dum-dum bullets” – ammunition designed to expand on impact in order to produce a wound of larger diameter. Fellow workers reportedly tried to save his life, but as they approached his body, Israeli soliders fired at them.

On October 21, eight Palestinian workers – also from Dura – were injured when an Israeli army vehicle rammed their car. Two days earlier, two other workers were seriously injured near Jerusalem after they fell into a pit during a chase.

Yousef Suleiman, 38, is an unlicensed Palestinian worker who says he has “been through it all”.

“Israel treats Palestinian workers as pieces of trash,” he said. “When they catch us, they beat us severely. Beating unlicensed workers is against the Israeli law. However, for the Israeli justice system, entering Israel illegally nullifies any complaints of mistreatment at the hands of the police or soldiers.”

“They often tell us: ‘Go to Abbas to feed you and cater for your families,’” he continued, referring to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. “We retort that Abbas himself and his authority are under the Israeli occupation. But, of course, the logic of power – not the power of logic – is what prevails at the end.”

According to Suleiman, caught workers are taken to an Israeli police station where they are forced to sign documents that allow the Israeli authorities to indict them if they enter Israel again without a valid entry permit. The document is reportedly only written in Hebrew, and very few workers understand what their signatures entail. Before the workers are released, they are given a suspended prison sentence from six months to three years if they are caught again in Israel.

Despite the security risk, Palestinian workers are often preferred over foreign workers, said Suleiman. He said they are more skilled, work harder and don’t cost the Israeli employer additional expenses such as airline tickets, housing arrangements and medical insurance. “Besides,” he said, “the Palestinian workers get their work done and return to their homes in the West Bank at the end of the day.”

The Israeli Civil Administration in Hebron did not respond to multiple requests for comment about the issue of unlicensed Palestinian workers in Israel.

However, Egal Palmor, a spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry, said Palestinian workers trying to enter Israel illegally were “infiltrators very much like foreign workers from Africa reaching Israel via the Egyptian borders”.

Palmor said Palestinians were able to enter Israel to work because Israel’s separation wall with the West Bank is not yet complete. “The barrier was not built to prevent Palestinian workers from entering Israel for work,” he emphasised. “It was built to prevent terrorist infiltration.” He also denied that Israeli soldiers were given instructions to shoot workers.

When asked whether a long-term solution to the problem exists, Palmor said only creating more jobs in the West Bank would significantly decrease the number of Palestinians seeking work in Israel. 

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