IF BDS IS FAILING, WHY THE FUSS OVER IT?

Maybe because it’s not failing at all!

Despite what the zios have to say about it

See a list of BDS Victories HERE

See a list of BDS Victories HERE

Josh Ruebner of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation sees the alarm shown by Israel lobby groups and their legislative supporters as “recognition of just how much of an impact this movement is having.”

“I take it as a sign that the BDS movement is on the right track and is gaining traction — and is being taken seriously by policy elites in this country,” Ruebner added. “Clearly the authors of these resolutions are fearful of the boycott movement because they understand the writing on the wall.”

New York bill would create official blacklist of Israel boycott supporters

A law being proposed in New York would create an official blacklist of supporters of the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.

Legal experts and activists say the measure is reminiscent of the McCarthy era and could have drastic consequences for individuals, organizations or firms who engage with the campaign to pressure Israel to respect Palestinian rights.

Anti-BDS legislation was also introduced this week in California.

Two New York bills — one introduced in the state senate and another in the assembly — would require the state government to “develop, using credible information available to the public, a list of persons it determines boycotts [sic] Israel.”

Individuals or entities included on the state’s blacklist would be barred from partnering with state agencies unless they can demonstrate in a written statement that they are “not engaged in boycotting Israel.”

State pension funds would also be prohibited from investing in institutions that have divested from Israel.

Activists with the Palestine Solidarity Collective in New York are collecting signatures for a petition to lawmakers against the bill.

Nearly two dozen North America-based activist organizations are opposing the legislation.

Drastic ramifications

The New York bills are “the most egregious, most McCarthyite, most obvious violations of people’s First Amendment rights,” Josh Ruebner, policy director for the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, told The Electronic Intifada.

If passed into law, the measure could hit local organizations that provide essential community services. Church groups, for example, that may belong to denominations which have passed boycott or divestment resolutions, often receive state funds to provide social programs such as homeless shelters and soup kitchens.

“Does that mean that all these churches will become ineligible to feed the hungry?” Ruebner asked.

A separate resolution pending in New York, HR-567, would condemn the European Union’s decision to accurately label goods produced in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and Golan Heights.

Last year, Illinois adopted a first in the nation an anti-boycott law that established a screening mechanism to compel the state’s pension board to exclude foreign corporations that have adopted BDS guidelines.

Ruebner said that the Illinois law is now a nationwide model for anti-BDS legislation.

Boycotting the boycotters

In California, financial planner turned ultra-conservative Republican legislator Travis Allen introduced legislation on Monday that seeks to punish businesses that engage with the boycott of Israel.

One bill, AB-1551, explicitly targets the BDS movement and would in effect impose a state boycott of businesses or financial institutions in retaliation for any boycott of Israel.

State pension funds would also be required to pull investments from companies that divest because of human rights concerns.

The second bill, AB-1552, does not mention Israel by name but would prohibit any public entity from entering into a contract unless the contractor agrees not to boycott a member state of the World Trade Organization.

Allen’s anti-BDS bill labels boycotts as “discriminatory business practices,” echoing claims used by the Israeli government that the BDS movement singles out Israel.

In fact, boycott has been used as a tactic against many countries as well as within the United States. The US Supreme Court found in a landmark 1982 ruling on a case dating from the Civil Rights era that the right to use economic boycotts to pursue political ends is free speech protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

In a press release announcing the introduction of his bills, Allen praises the “unique bond” between the US and Israel.

He also notes that “California is home to an estimated 2,000,000 Jewish residents,” in effect conflating Jews with Israel.

Allen made Israel advocacy a major part of his campaign for a California state assembly seat in 2012.

He traveled to present-day Israel and the occupied West Bank where he affirmed his Christian Zionist belief that Israel has “a divine right to the whole land, which includes Judea and Samaria” — the term Israel uses for the West Bank.

On a return visit in April 2015, Allen drank wine with leaders in the Israeli settlement of Har Bracha near Nablus.

Allen also boasts of his support for a number of Israel lobby groups including AIPAC, StandWithUs and organizations that fundraise for the Israeli army.

As one of his first acts as a state lawmaker, Allen co-authored HR-35, a resolution conflating criticism of Israeli policies with anti-Semitism, especially on college campuses.

Claims of anti-Semitism

In addition to Illinois, several states have passed anti-BDS laws or condemnatory resolutions in the last year, including South Carolina and Tennessee.

An anti-BDS resolution that passed in Florida last month — which was backed by a major Christian Zionist organizationclaims that the BDS movement “is one of the main vehicles for spreading anti-Semitic perspectives and advocating the elimination of the Jewish State.”

A similar resolution passed in Indiana last year claimed that BDS promotes a climate of “hatred, intimidation, intolerance and violence against Jews.”

As of September 2015, more than two dozen anti-BDS bills and resolutions had been introduced at the local, state and federal level, according to Palestine Legal.

“Stigmatizing and suppressing”

Israel has made it no secret that it views BDS as a major strategic threat, and the scale of the pushback by its allies in the US is one indicator of panic about the growing momentum of this grassroots movement.

But activists from California to New York are already organizing to oppose this kind of legislation.

“Essentially, these bills are more in a series of measures of all sorts — by legislatures, on campuses, elsewhere — to try to undermine meaningful opposition to Israeli policies and US support for them by stigmatizing and suppressing speech and nonviolent action in support of Palestinians’ rights,” David Mandel, a member of the National Lawyers Guild and activist with Jewish Voice for Peace, told The Electronic Intifada.

“It’s not saying that you can’t speak freely, or that you can’t boycott — it’s saying that if you do, then you’re going to be penalized by not getting the benefits of economic relationships with the state or its pension funds or other affiliated institutions,” Mandel said.

This legislation is an attempt to “burden free speech,” Mandel added, which is something that activists and constitutional rights attorneys will challenge.

The laws being passed or proposed cannot directly prevent people from taking action or exercising speech on Palestinian rights issues, Mandel stressed.

“The First Amendment is fortunately still pretty strong, and none of this can or should deter individuals from speaking out and organizing or being active on a policy level or promoting boycotts or divestment,” he said.

Josh Ruebner of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation sees the alarm shown by Israel lobby groups and their legislative supporters as “recognition of just how much of an impact this movement is having.”

“I take it as a sign that the BDS movement is on the right track and is gaining traction — and is being taken seriously by policy elites in this country,” Ruebner added. “Clearly the authors of these resolutions are fearful of the boycott movement because they understand the writing on the wall.”

THE TIMES ACTUALLY FOUND THIS ‘FIT TO PRINT’

The justification for an academic boycott — which targets institutions, not individual scholars — stems from the peculiar relationship between Israel’s educational system and its broader structures of racism.

Daily life in Jerusalem

Palestinian students play with a ball in front of the landmark Damascus Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem on Dec. 9, 2015. (Atef Safadi / EPA)

Why Israel’s schools merit a U.S. boycott

By Saree Makdisi*

At its annual convention this week, the Modern Language Assn., which represents 26,000 language and literature scholars, will become the latest academic body to consider the merits of adopting a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. This follows endorsements of such a boycott by the Assn. for Asian American Studies, the American Studies Assn. and, most recently, the American Anthropological Assn., which voted 1,040 to 136 to endorse a resolution to boycott Israeli academic institutions at its November annual meeting in Denver; the AAA’s entire membership will soon vote on the resolution, which is expected to pass.

The justification for an academic boycott — which targets institutions, not individual scholars — stems from the peculiar relationship between Israel’s educational system and its broader structures of racism.

The United Nations’ Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination points out with alarm that Israel maintains two separate educational systems for its citizens — one for Jewish children and another for the children of the Palestinian minority — a structure that reinforces the profound segregation of Israeli society in everything from matters of citizenship and marriage to housing rights.

According to official Israeli data cited by the human rights organization Adalah, by the turn of the 21st century Israel was investing three times as much on a per capita basis in the education of a Jewish as opposed to that of a Palestinian citizen.

The consequences are obvious: Schools for Palestinians in Israel are overcrowded and poorly equipped, lacking in libraries, labs, arts facilities and recreational space in comparison with schools for Jewish students. Palestinian children often have to travel greater distances than their Jewish peers to get to school, thanks to a state ban on the construction of schools in certain Palestinian towns (for example, according to Adalah, there is not a single high school in the Palestinian communities of the Negev desert in southern Israel).

These naked forms of discrimination extend into the university system as well. “The hurdles Palestinian Arab students face from kindergarten to university function like a series of sieves with sequentially finer holes,” Human Rights Watch points out. “At each stage, the education system filters out a higher proportion of Palestinian Arab students than Jewish students.”

In other words, children denied access to adequate kindergartens do less well in elementary school; students in dilapidated and resource-starved high schools find themselves funneled into work as carpenters or mechanics rather than doctors, lawyers or professors. Indeed, the university admissions process is the point at which the country’s two separate and unequal schooling systems converge, with calamitous results for Palestinian students, who fall short on matriculation or psychometric exams that are weighted toward the Jewish school curriculum, according to Human Rights Watch.

About a quarter of Israeli schoolchildren are Palestinian. But as a recent study by the Assn. for the Advancement of Civic Equity points out, the higher you go in the system, the lower the number of Palestinian students. As of 2012, according to data published by the Israeli Council for Higher Education, Palestinians constituted only 11% of bachelor’s degree students, 7% of master’s students, and barely 3% of PhD students. A mere 2.7% of the faculty in Israeli universities are Palestinian, and the percentage of Palestinians in administration is even lower.

According to sociologist Majid al-Haj of the University of Haifa, Israeli universities systematically fail their Palestinian students. These students end up feeling alienated in an academic environment that stubbornly resists integration and seems designed to consolidate rather than challenge discrimination.

All of this is damning, but there is more: Israel’s long-standing assault on the right to education of Palestinian residents of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Israel has bombed schools and besieged university campuses; it detains and harasses students and teachers at army checkpoints; it has restricted the flow of school materials to Gaza; it has prevented Palestinian students from studying overseas.

One must conclude that Israel’s educational system is intended to consolidate the nation’s putative Jewish identity and further dispossess the Palestinians. This is a process that the Israeli sociologist Baruch Kimmerling once identified as “politicide.” Surely one of its components could be called educide, which international educators ought to reject by endorsing the academic boycott of institutions that engage in it.

Such a boycott wouldn’t affect individual Israeli scholars, whose freedom to participate in international conferences, publish in journals or collaborate with other scholars would not be threatened. Rather, it calls for a break in institutional cooperation and affiliation. For example, the MLA would not co-sponsor an event with Tel Aviv University.

Boycotts have been among the most effective means of nonviolent protest against institutional injustice in the modern era. They played a key role in bringing about the transformation of the Jim Crow South and the downfall of apartheid in South Africa, both of which bear an unmistakable resemblance to the situation in Israel. It is as unthinkable to turn a blind eye to the racism of the Israeli educational system as it would have been to disregard those earlier forms of injustice.

*Saree Makdisi is a professor of English and comparative literature at UCLA and a member of the Modern Language Assn. He presented a longer version of this piece at the MLA convention in Austin on Thursday.

 

OpEd AT

AN OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA FROM ‘THE ISRAELI GENERAL’S SON’

Miko Peled is an Israeli writer and activist living in the US. He was born and raised in Jerusalem. His father was the late Israeli General Matti Peled. Driven by a personal family tragedy to explore Palestine, its people and their narrative. He has written a book about his journey from the sphere of the privileged Israeli to that of the oppressed Palestinians. His book is titled “The General’s Son, Journey of an Israeli in Palestine.” Peled speaks nationally and internationally on the issue of Palestine. Peled supports the creation of a single democratic state in all of Palestine, he is also a firm supporter of BDS.

An open letter to president Obama

By Miko Peled

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When America voted for you the first time, many people were very optimistic. A man with an African Muslim father, an African Muslim name and what seemed like a caring heart and a brilliant mind. That was both refreshing and promising. You came into office with big promises, your first inaugural address was heard around the world with ears anticipating change, but as it turns out it was merely a crescendo of rhetoric. You promised hope to the poor and disenfranchised in this country, reconciliation with the Arab and Muslim world and even peace and justice in Palestine.

But, unfortunately you have been a failure and a disappointment. As a black man, you had an unprecedented opportunity to address the issues of Blacks, but you didn’t. You showed no care for Black lives or for the lives of Blacks in America. You said little and did even less to stop the killing of Black men and the mass incarceration of Blacks. You said nothing and did nothing regarding the over due payment of reparations to the descendants of slaves, men and women upon whose backs the US economy was built. And, if any proof was needed, the outcry of the Black Lives Matter movement shows that your priorities were elsewhere.

As things stand today, even with a President whose middle name is Hussein, there has never been a worse time to be an Arab and a Muslim in America. As Commander in Chief you brought death and destruction on Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya, and now Syria. You did little to promote peace or justice in Palestine.

In your inaugural address you said: “To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.” Yet you warmly held hands with Saudi dictators who silence dissent by death. Then in Egypt you allowed a military coup to depose the democratically elected President Mohammad Morsi, who now awaits execution while reinforcing the clenched fist of the dictator Abdel Fatah El-Sisi by allowing the flow of billions of dollars of foreign aid money into his pockets.

In your inaugural address you promised us: “America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity.” But even as you were preparing this address, going through these very words, Israel was bombing Gaza senselessly, causing the death of over one thousand innocent civilians and the injury of countless more, and you said nothing. In Palestine, the prime example of a place where people seek a future of peace and dignity, you allowed Israel to continue to bomb and kill with the full financial, military and political backing of the United States.

As President, for the last seven years you have given Israel your full support to kill, maim, arrest and torture men, women and children. The number of Palestinians made homeless, the number of Palestinian children arrested and abused and the number of Palestinian refugees waiting to return to their homes is getting higher by the minute, yet you supported Israel.

Mr. President, in the summer of 2014, when Israel murdered thousands of Palestinian civilians, and young Palestinians in Gaza fought bravely to defend their homes and their families, futile though it may have been, instead of supporting those who seek peace and dignity, you chose to provide Israel with more arms and more money.

Though you claimed, “for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken.” Then you allowed Netanyahu to disgrace you, to walk, like Cesar marching into Rome, his hands stained with Palestinian blood into Congress. He was a victor, while you cowered away in some corner and let him spew his hateful lies. Where, Mr. President was your spirit then?

But though you were a disappointment, though you have failed us, there is one window of opportunity available to you, if you wish to redeem yourself. For the past seven years, five innocent men sit in federal prison falsely charged and wrongly convicted on charges of material support for a terrorist organization. These five men are referred to as the HLF-5, or the Holy Land Foundation Five. If you take the time to review this case, you will see what I and many others have seen and said, that in this case, the entire judicial system had been taken hostage, the constitution, the laws that govern the land, the regulations by which government agencies are supposed to function have all been placed on hold in order to convict five innocent men.

In reviewing this case you, Mr. President will see what many have us have seen and continue to see, that pressure by Israel, post 9/11 hysteria, prosecutorial over reach and a cowardice of the members of the judiciary have led five good innocent men into a living hell. Five family men, men who came to this country and contributed to their community, men who wanted nothing but to help others, must now live caged like criminals.

President George W Bush using executive order 13224 shut down the Holy land Foundation, once the largest Muslim charity in this country, in December of 2001 and now you must reverse this order, reinstate the Foundation, exonerate the five men in federal prison and order that an apology be given to them, their families and the entire Arab and Muslim community in America. Then you must order that they be compensated and the money taken from them be returned with the appropriate interest.

The closure of HLF brought misery not only to the five men and their family. It brought fear and anxiety to America’s finest communities, the Muslim and Arab communities. Furthermore, this closure ended crucial help to the poor, the fatherless, the homeless and the needy in Palestine. In the words of Mohammad Abumoharam, a local social worker in Gaza, “I cannot possibly find words to convey the level of poverty and suffering that exists in Palestine in general and in Gaza in particular. HLF has been able to significantly alleviate the suffering of thousands in Palestine, giving them some hope for a better life.” The closure of the HLF and the freezing of their assets by the government stopped all that.

Until the seizure of its assets on December 4, 2001, the Holy Land Foundation provided charitable and humanitarian aid to refugees, orphans, victims of human and natural disasters, and other poor and needy persons and entities throughout the world, without regard to faith or political affiliation. Among its other charitable and humanitarian work, Holy Land has organized aid to victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks; it has provided assistance to victims and relief workers at the Oklahoma City bombing site; to victims of flooding in Oklahoma and Iowa; to victims of riots in Los Angeles; to tornado victims in Fort Worth; to the needy in Paterson, New Jersey; to earthquake victims in Turkey and India; to victims of the Bosnian and Kosovo conflicts; to victims of the conflict in Chechnya; to victims of flooding in Mozambique; and to refugees, orphans, and other persons and entities in need in the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, and Jordan.

Mr. President, this case is an embarrassment to the United States government, the US Department of Justice, and the entire US judicial system. In one year you will be out of office. At fifty-five you will have been a two term president, the first half African half American President, and you are undoubtedly going to be one of the richest men on earth. What will be your legacy? You sir, have the opportunity, indeed the responsibility to release without delay, Ghassan Elashi, Shukri Abu-Baker, Mufid Abdulqader, Abdulrahman Odeh and Mohammad El-Mezzaine, also known as the HLF-5. Please do not disappoint us again.

Sincerely,
Miko Peled

 

Source

2015 ~~ A YEAR OF VICTORIES FOR BDS

Amid so much difficult news from Palestine and the region, that’s a bright ray of hope for 2016.

How the Israel boycott movement struck major blows in 2015

By Ali Abunimah

Despite Israel’s counteroffensive, boycott movement won some key victories in 2015.   Mark Esper Polaris

Despite Israel’s counteroffensive, boycott movement won some key victories in 2015. Mark Esper Polaris

In September 2014, on the eve of the Jewish new year, Israel’s leading financial daily named Omar Barghoutiamong the 100 people most likely to influence the country’s economy in the following year.

Calcalist, the business supplement of the mass circulation newspaper Yediot Ahronot, said that the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, which Barghouti helped found, was “already worrying the government.”

It cited government studies warning that Israel would lose billions of dollars a year in exports and GDP and thousands of jobs if current boycott trends continued.

“The credit and honor go to the entire BDS movement, of which I am a modest part, to each and every BDS activist in Palestine and around the world who has contributed to making BDS one the most effective forms of resisting Israel’s regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid,” Barghouti told The Electronic Intifada this week.

And 2015 has proven Calcalist right.

As the year closes, Palestine’s Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC), the broad coalition that backs the BDS movement, is pointing out some of the successes of the last 12 months:

  • The authors of a United Nations report revealed in June that BDS was a key factor behind the nearly 50 percent plunge in foreign direct investment in Israel in 2014.
  • The World Bank cited consumer boycotts as a key factor behind a 24 percent drop in Palestinian imports from Israel in the first quarter of 2015.
  • The international credit ratings agency Moody’s warned in October that “the Israeli economy could suffer should BDS gain greater traction.” Moody’s reports are used by corporations to assess the risk of doing business in a country.

A major European investor confirmed that BDS was already deterring companies from entering the Israeli market.

“During general meetings of the leading companies, even if they did examine investing in Israeli companies, it will be off the agenda immediately because of the impact of BDS,” Edouard Cukierman, founder of Catalyst Funds and chair of Cukierman & Co Investment House, told Israeli media.

Running for the exit

In 2015, activists celebrated a major victory as the French multinational Veolia sold off all its investments in Israel.

This followed a seven-year global campaign which cost Veolia billions of dollars in lost municipal and government contracts. By the end, Veolia reportedly could not find any international buyers for its Israeli businesses.

Perhaps alarmed by Veolia’s fate, the French multinational telecom company Orange announced in June that it intended to end its relationship with its Israeli affiliate.

Despite the Israeli government’s outraged reaction, Orange amended its contract with Israel’s Partner Communications so it could get out of the country as soon as 2017, instead of 2025.

The campaign to end Orange’s complicity with Israeli human rights abuses – it operates extensively in Israel’s West Bank settlements – started in France several years ago and gathered pace in May when activists in Egypt called for a boycott of its subsidiary Mobinil.

The Electronic Intifada’s April report revealing the extent of Orange’s direct complicity in Israel’s summer 2014 attack on Gaza galvanized the campaign.

In November, the European Union finally took the step of requiring labels clearly marking goods that come from Israeli settlements built on occupied Palestinian and Syrian land in violation of international law.

This was a minimalist step taken only after years of dithering and delay, and has to be seen in the context of massive ongoing EU complicity with Israel’s war crimes and its deepening apartheid.

But at the time, Mahmoud Nawajaa, general coordinator for the BNC, said the move was a “sign that European governments are reacting to public opinion, civil society campaigning and Israeli intransigence and are becoming more willing to take some basic action against Israeli violations of international law.”

Israel’s furious reaction – many politicians compared EU officials to Nazis – belies its real fear: that this is only the first step of more action to come.

A sure sign of the mainstreaming of Palestinian rights came in September with Jeremy Corbyn’s landslide victory in the election for leader of the UK’s main opposition Labour Party.

Despite intense Israel lobby smears, Corbyn trounced the establishment candidates.

A month earlier, Corbyn, a lifelong champion of Palestinian rights, had told The Electronic Intifada he backed the boycott of Israeli universities involved in weapons research.

Faith and labor

In 2014, after a decade-long campaign, the Presbyterian Church USA voted by a narrow margin to divest from companies that profit from Israel’s military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

This prompted Israel and its lobby groups to step up their efforts to co-opt or intimidate church activists.

But in June this year a resounding answer came from the United Church of Christ. The one million-strong US denomination’s assembly voted by a huge margin to divest as well.

Where churches are going, labor is following. Several major labor federations in North America joined the dozens of unions, especially in Europe, that already support the movement.

In August, the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America – known as UE – voted to back BDS, becoming the second US national union to do so.

“We reached a breaking point when Israel launched the war on Gaza in 2014, killing over 2,000 people, including 500 children,” Carl Rosen, a member of UE’s national executive board, explained.

In November, the Connecticut branch of the AFL-CIO, representing 200,000 workers, voted to back key elements of the Palestinian call for BDS.

And Quebec’s confederation of trade unions, representing 325,000 workers in the Canadian province, also backed BDS, including the cultural boycott and a boycott of all Israeli goods.

It pledged to work with civil society groups to organize campaigns to turn this support into action in coming months.

This year Israel also suffered from a sustained and deepening decline in tourism, especially from Europe.

There is no direct evidence that the sharp decline, which began during the 2014 attack on Gaza, is due to boycotts.

But the fact that the BDS movement – especially the cultural boycott – has been so strong in Europe undoubtedly makes it harder for Israel to market itself as a carefree destination for sunseekers.

Going mainstream

This was the year when “Lauryn Hill and Thurston Moore from Sonic Youth said they won’t perform in Israel, and more than 1,000 artists across Ireland, the UK, the US and Belgium have said they support the cultural boycott of Israel,” the BNC notes, highlighting that the campaign is gaining ground everywhere.

“Israeli universities play a key role in planning and whitewashing Israel’s crimes but now academics across the world are taking effective action,” the BNC states.

Examples from 2015 include landslide votes to back the academic boycott of these complicit institutions by theAmerican Anthropological Association and the National Women’s Studies Association.

Counterattack

In 2015, Israel and its lobby groups intensified their counterattack against the growing global movement for Palestinian rights.

This included crackdowns and intimidation on campuses and efforts to legislate and litigate against BDS in North America and Europe.

They had plenty of help from complicit governments and lawmakers, including in France, Italy, the United Kingdom, Canada and the US.

But the BNC even sees this backlash as a sign of success, as an increasingly desperate Israel resorts to “exporting its mentality of repression and getting its allies in the west to run McCarthyite attacks on free speech.”

“Israel knows it is losing the argument and is throwing everything it has at sabotaging our movement, dedicating money, government staff and apparently even its security services to undermining BDS,” the BNC says.

There’s no doubt Israel’s efforts to obstruct and sabotage campaigns for justice will continue and, flush with new cash, intensify.

With dozens of student bodies on US campuses having voted to back divestment in recent years, we can expect campaigns to shift toward pressuring administrations to implement those demands. They will face determined opposition, but that will only help keep Palestine front and center.

There’s also every sign that BDS could become a big issue in the 2016 US presidential campaign – already Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton and Republican hopeful Jeb Bush have launched attacks on the movement.

But that might only serve to educate more people that BDS exists and is an option for them too.

The passing year, which also marked the 10th anniversary of the Palestinian civil society call for BDS, shows clearly that this diverse and decentralized movement founded and led by Palestinians is a growing match for Israel.

Amid so much difficult news from Palestine and the region, that’s a bright ray of hope for 2016.

IN PHOTOS ~~ NO TO RACISM, NO TO TRUMP!

200+ people gathered at Trump Towers, Manhattan,  under the slogan “Stop Trump” and his Fascist, Racist, anti-immigrant calls in his presidential campaign

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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Video of the demo ….

IN PHOTOS ~~ AN EARLY CHRISTMAS FOR APARTHEID

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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And The Queen of Apartheid herself …

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#WarOnTerror ~~ FINALLY THEY CAME FOR ME!

Zionist organization releases video portraying human rights activists as aiding terrorists; activist says he fears being targeted for violence.

Is history repeating itself?

Is history repeating itself?

Right-wing group: leftist activists are ‘implants’

A new video released Tuesday by the right-wing Im Tirtzu organization portrayed four Israeli leftist human rights activists as aiding terrorists, leading one of them to submit a formal complaint to police. The video brands these individuals “implants,” claiming that while Israel fights against terrorism, these individuals fight against their own country.

One of the “implants” in the video is Yishai Menuhin, director general of the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI), who is presented as someone who will protect terrorists from being interrogated by the Shin Bet. Menuhin complained to police following release of the video, arguing that it “crossed the line of freedom of speech into incitement.”

“They aren’t attacking the organization, they spoke of me personally and used a warped picture, accusing me of someone who protects or permits terrorists to attack us without fear,” said Dr. Menuhin.

“I’m afraid that I’ll be physically attacked following the video,” he added.

Another leftist activist in the video is Avner Gvaryahu from the Breaking the Silence organization, whom the video describes as responsible for calling soldiers who foil terror attack war criminals.

The other two activists are lawyers Sigi Ben Ari of the Center for the Defence of the Individual (“Hamoked”), and Hagai El-Ad, director general of B’Tselem.

Israel’s Channel 10 news reported that media consultant Moshe Klughaft, a close adviser to Education Minister Naftali Bennett, was behind the video.

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked recently published a memo aiming to deal with incitement on social networks. She argued that the incitement translates to murder in the streets. The memo was targeting internet incitement by Palestinians against Jews, but is supposed to be enforced on everyone.

After Hagai Amir, brother of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s assassin Yigal Amir, was recently arrested for an apparently incendiary Facebook post, Shaked announced an increase in enforcement of legal action on those who publish inciting materials.

Over three months of frequent terror attacks, Shaked has proposed that the law be amended so that those accused of incitement will be subject to the maximum sentence of five years in prison – even without proof that their expressions create a real possibility for violence or terrorism.

Alon Shwartzer, head of Im Tirtzu’s policy department, told Ynet that the video is not incitement. “You need to take the video beyond the personal level, and it’s all detailed in our report,” he said. “These are the heads of organizations who work against the soldiers of the IDF and against Israel’s citizens, and work to delegitimize the state of Israel and weaken it abroad. Everything we said is based on facts and research and we don’t see it as a problem or incitement. The public needs to see and judge who makes the blood of Israel’s soldiers and civilians fair game.”

 

Source

 

More reports here …. (Click on links)

Right-wing NGO ‘Outs’ Four Left-wing Activists for ‘Protecting Terrorists’ in Video Clip 

A Witch Hunt Against Israeli Rights Advocates

IN PHOTOS ~~ NEW YORK’S GLOBAL CLIMATE MARCH

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1,200 (plus) participants

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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THE REAL WAR AGAINST TERROR ~~ NEW VIDEO

‘I endorse the cultural boycott of Israel’: Prominent artists support New York-based campaign for cultural boycott of Israel

 

 

A new video released by Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel features eight leading artists stating, “I endorse the cultural boycott of Israel.” The artists include Tony-nominated stage and television actress Kathleen Chalfant; musician Roger Waters, a founding member of Pink Floyd; musicians Kyp Malone and Tunde Adebimpe of TV on the Radio; musicians Kool A.D and Tamar-kali; artist and author of Drawing Blood, Molly Crabapple; and visual artist Swoon.

The movement for a global boycott of Israel — launched by a coalition of over 170 Palestinian trade unions, political parties and human rights groups in order to advance their movement for freedom, justice and equality — has steadily gained support worldwide over the last decade. The video was released by Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel and is accompanied by an appeal for more cultural workers to pledge their support for the boycott of Israel.

When asked why she participated in the video, Kathleen Chalfant said: “The Israeli government and army restrict the freedom of Palestinian cultural workers almost daily. A growing movement for the cultural boycott of Israel helps to amplify the voices of Palestinian artists who are struggling under occupation, and will help to pressure Israel to respect the rights of Palestinian artists, and of all Palestinians.”

The Israeli government launched a Brand Israel public relations campaign in 2006, which attempts to use art and music to distract attention from Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights. Nonetheless, a growing number of artists have declined to perform or participate in cultural events in Israel or with institutions complicit with Israeli rights abuses, including Ms. Lauryn HillRoger WatersElvis CostelloSantanaTalib Kweli, the late Gil Scott HeronCassandra WilsonCat Power,Stevie WonderMira NairKen LoachAlice WalkerMike Leigh,Arundhati Roy, and Jean Luc Godard.

Tunde Adebimpe of TV on the Radio commented, “With Israel heightening its repression of the Palestinian people in the last weeks, we hope that our speaking out will help encourage others to support the boycott by refusing to perform in Israel, and refusing to participate in activities funded by the Israeli government or supported by institutions complicit in Israeli human rights abuses.”

The video begins with Kyp Malone, Roger Waters and Kathleen Chalfant citing three of many recent examples of Israel’s repression of Palestinian cultural workers.

The eight artists then speak in turn about the expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians from their homes by Zionist forces in 1948, and Israel’s ongoing demolition of Palestinian homes, theft of farmland, arrest of Palestinian children, and siege and blockade of Gaza, activities subsidized by $120 billion in US aid since 1967.

Kyp Malone calls for action, “where governments have failed,” and Tunde Adebimpe follows up, noting that, “In 2004, Palestinian civil society called for a cultural boycott of Israel.” Swoon then explains, “Cultural boycott is an ethical rights-based tactic with historical precedent.” The video concludes with all eight artists stating their support for the boycott, after Roger Waters implores viewers to “join the cultural boycott of Israel.”

Riham Barghouti, a member of Adalah-NY and a former dancer with the Palestinian dabke troupe El-Funoun, added, “With this video, which features prominent artists with connections to New York City, Adalah-NY is also launching a call for more cultural workers in New York, the US and around the world to publicly pledge to support the Palestinian boycott call. This is the most significant, proactive initiative for the cultural boycott of Israel ever undertaken in New York City.”

Ninety New York City cultural workers and groups have already signed a New York City-focused pledge to support the cultural boycott, including the musician Sonny Singh, the illustratorSeymour Chwast, and the band the Shondes. On the national level, over 400 US cultural workers have endorsed a statement supporting the cultural boycott that is hosted by the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI).

Click HERE to sign appeal

IN PHOTOS ~~ TELL OBAMA THAT SUPPORTING ISRAELI TERROR STANDS IN THE WAY OF PEACE

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Photos  © by Bud Korotzer

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IN PHOTOS ~~ DEMO AGAINST NYC MAYOR de BLASIO

DEMONSTRATING AGAINST NYC MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO’S DOMESTIC (NYC) AND FOREIGN POLICY (ISRAEL)

A coalition of  NYC political groups protested NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio as he attended an event at Manhattan’s Sheraton Hotel. The protesters included supporters of the Palestinian struggle against Zionism: Mayor Bill de Blasio has on several occasions announced his support of the Zionist state.

Photos and commentary © by Bud Korotzer

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IN PHOTOS ~~ STANDING WITH PALESTINE IN NEW YORK CITY

Over 1500 people braved the streets of New York as they marched for Palestinian Rights

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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IN PHOTOS ~~ FINANCIAL FREEDOM FOR PUERTO RICO

DEMO AGAINST VULTURE HEDGE FUND CORPORATIONS FORCING AUSTERITY ON PUERTO RICO TO PAY ITS INTERNATIONAL DEBT

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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IN PHOTOS ~~ BRAVE PALESTINIAN FATHER TELLS OF HIS FAMILY’S HORRORS IN NEW YORK

The meeting was sponsored by Students for Justice in Palestine and the NY Chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace

The meeting was sponsored by Students for Justice in Palestine and the NY Chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace

On the evening of September 15th Bassem Tamimi spoke to a packed room at the New School University in NYC.  The meeting was sponsored by Students for Justice in Palestine and the NY Chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace.  Every seat was filled, people stood leaning on walls and sitting on every inch of floor space for 2 hours listening attentively to the story of resistance to Israeli occupation by the people of Nabi Saleh, a village of about 600 people living in occupied Palestinian territory on the West Bank.

Bassem Tamimi has been arrested 9 times and tortured while in Israeli prisons.  His wife was shot in the leg and has to use crutches to walk and his sister and brother-in-law were murdered.  The land belonging to the village has been stolen and their ancient olive trees, which many Palestinians are very attached to, have been stolen or destroyed.  Each week Israel gives them the equivalent of 24 hours worth of water which they must make last a week so it is stored in tanks on their roof.  When Israel sprays their land and inside their homes with ‘skunk water’, an extremely foul smelling liquid that is projected at high intensity from tanks on trucks, they also spray the water tanks which makes the water unusable.  This is done regularly and the odor remains 2-3 weeks.

The residents of Nabi Saleh have studied the non-violence taught by Gandhi and Martin Luther King as well as the South African model.  They do not want to maim or kill anybody but they do want to put an end to the occupation and the colonial project in Palestine.  They are focusing on the big picture.  They strongly support the freedom of women and consider the participation of women in the resistance to be very important.  Their only weapons are cameras.

After giving the audience an opportunity to answer questions Tamimi concluded by saying that their goal was having a country where there would be one-person, one-vote.  He doesn’t see the possibility of  a 2 state solution because of the theft of their land to build colonies.  Answering the question, what can we do to help, he said that the support of the international community was very important.  The US supports Israel to the tune of $10 million a day and an unlimited supply of weapons.  Americans should pressure their government and support BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions).  However, they should do so not with an attitude that they are helping the Palestinians but with the understand that they are doing this for themselves because they understand the importance of having a just world.

This was the first stop on a speaking tour for Mr. Tamimi.  He is a powerful speaker and has a lot to teach all of us.

Photos © by Bud Korotzer, Commentary by Chippy Dee

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Meet the Tamimi family in THIS post

IN PHOTOS ~~ REFUGEE CRISIS COMES TO NYC

AT UNION SQ. A DEMONSTRATION DEMANDING ACCEPTANCE OF MID-EAST REFUGEES TO NYC

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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The German ‘solution’ ….

Refugees housed in German concentration camp

A small German town has begun housing the refugees at the Buchenwald camp, where 56,000 Jews were killed in World War two.

 

Full report HERE

BRITAIN AWAITS NETANYAHU’S VISIT

Image by Carlos Latuff

Image by Carlos Latuff

UK petition calling for Netanyahu to be arrested for war crimes reaches 100,000 signatures

Click HERE to sign petition

On August 7, UK citizen Damian Moran posted a petition on the UK Government and Parliament E-petition website calling for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to “be arrested for war crimes upon arrival in the U.K for the massacre of over 2000 civilians in 2014”. The petition spread swiftly on social media and as of September 4th it has garnered over 99,000 signatures. The UK government has promised to respond to all petitions over 100,000 signatures including considering them for debate in Parliament.

RECENT VIDEOS ~~ A GLIMPSE AT WHAT IS HAPPENING IN PALESTINE TODAY

Nabi Saleh on Friday saw a remarkable confrontation when an Israeli
occupation soldier tried to kidnap a child (with arm in cast after an
earlier attack on him ended up with a broken arm) but his family came to
his aid and freed him. Watch these remarkable videos:





This is not the first time family members stick together. Ahed and her
younger brother challenged Israeli soldiers who kidnapped their older
brother earlier (the other older girl is cousin Marah Tamimi)





The Tamimi children of course are like any other children interested in
living their lives on their land and having access to their water spring
things denied to them by a brutal colonial racist occupation.  HERE ARE THE
CHILDREN helping us in studying nature and biodiversity in their beautiful
village:




Commentary and videos sent by Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh,PhD

STAY HUMAN

IN PHOTOS ~~ #RiseUpOctober

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There was a meeting in a church in Harlem organized by people who are opposing police murders and the whole system of mass incarceration (a/k/a the New Jim Crow) which has Black men and women spending decades in prison for non-violent drug offenses (brought about by the Rockefeller drug laws and mandatory sentencing).  And with the prisons privately run and them making contracts with many industries where prison labor is a source of slave labor, they find ways of keeping people in prison.  A very sick outrageous situation.  Of course a disproportionate people in the prisons are black because the police are concentrated in their communities and because they don’t have $ for big name lawyers. 

Anyway, many ministers spoke and people from the communities that are fighting against all this.  And then the families of young people who were murdered by the police came on stage – a lot of them – and one by one told their stories.  An act of heroism which reminded me of the stories we heard from Palestinian parents.  They told their stories in grief and in rage.  One grandmother tried but just couldn’t speak, she couldn’t stop crying.  Her 7 year old grandaughter was lying on the couch next to her when the police busted in looking for someone, threw in a stun grenade into the apartment hitting the child in the head and  blowing her brains all over her grandmother.  It was a mistake, they were in the wrong place, but never issued an apology.  And this keeps happening even though these murders are getting more attention.  These murderers don’t even feel like they better lay low for awhile because they are now in the public eye.  They don’t care and maybe they think that the public doesn’t care.  Perhaps they are right.  So far this year 700 people, mostly unarmed, have been killed by the police.  What makes them think they have been hired to be executioners?  The comparison to what is happening to Palestinian families is inescapeable – the same killings with impunity, the same non-caring attitude from the populace, the same torment for the families. 

The last speaker, Cornel West, noted the tie between what is happening in Palestine and in this country.  He delivered a monologue while walking quickly around the stage and as he noted all the problems, the racism, the militarism, the failure of capitalism, the U.S. being a dying empire, he spoke as if he was reciting a brilliant poem full of rhyme and rhythm.  It was a dazzling, magnificent jazz piece that left us both informed and mesmerized.

Photos © by Bud Korotzer, Commentary by Chippy Dee

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IN PHOTOS ~~ ONE YEAR ON // REMEMBERING THE DEAD IN GAZA

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August 26th 2015, one year after the brutal Israeli massacre in Gaza, Jewish Voice For Peace  organized a memorial march through New York City from  West 77th St. to Columbus Circle. 200+ people participated in the memorial. As the they marched with signs and banners they  boldly called out  “Free Gaza”, “End the occupation” and “Not another nickel, not another dime, no more money for Israel’s crimes”. The group entered Columbus Circle in silence to honor the thousands murdered and injured in the attack which included children.

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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IN PHOTOS ~~ DEMO AT UN IN SUPPORT OF PALESTINIAN HUNGER STRIKER

First an update …..

Hunger striker Allan re-enters coma, in critical condition

(click HERE to see report)

Muhammed Allan's situation has sparked protests in support of his cause and demands for his release. (AFP/Said Khatib)

Muhammed Allan’s situation has sparked protests in support of his cause and demands for his release. (AFP/Said Khatib)

On August 18th, several dozen people, mainly youth of the NYC Students For Justice In Palestine, gathered at the U.N. to protest the  Israeli  threatened intent to force feed Muhammad Allan who is now on a hunger strike to gain his freedom. There were Palestinian, Black & White youth in attendance.

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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Here is how solidarity demos are treated in Israel …

This video shows Israeli police and right-wing extremists violently attacking and assaulting Palestinians who had gathered outside the hospital where a Palestinian hunger striker is gravely ill.

Flag-waving Israeli extremists sing songs celebrating and calling for the slaughter of Palestinians, especially children.

The events occurred on Sunday, when hundreds of Palestinians and supporters protested in Askalan (Ashkelon) in the south of present-day Israel in solidarity with Muhammad Allan, the Palestinian who has been on hunger strike for two months against his “administrative detention” – without charge or trial – by Israel.

As Allan struggled for his life, his supporters arrived aboard buses from Jerusalem, Jaffa and the north to hold a vigil outside Barzilai Medical Center where he is being treated and detained.

“Allan come and see, your people are supporting you openly,” the supporters call out in the video before they are attacked.

An Israeli police officer shouts through a megaphone: “This is an illegal gathering.”

Police assault protestors, dragging them away and confiscating Palestinian flags, and use a water cannon and pepper spray.

Genocidal songs

Haneen Zoabi, a Palestinian member of the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, who tries to intervene to prevent the police violence, says: “The police are beating people, young women and men.”

At the same time, extreme right-wing Israeli Jews can be seen assaulting protestors without police intervention and indeed with police protection.

“Zoabi, you are whore! You are a terrorist,” one of the right-wing demonstrators shouts at her. The mob then starts to chant “Zoabi is a terrorist! Death to terrorists!”

Many openly declare support for Meir Kahane, the founder of the violent anti-Palestinian organization Kach.

They chant anti-Arab slogans including a song celebrating the mass killing of children in Gaza: “Why is there no studying in Gaza? Because there are no children left there.”

“Gaza is a cemetery,” they sing, and “Death to reporters!”

These same genocidal songs were heard on Israel’s streets during last summer’s 51-day assault on Gaza that killed more than 2,200 Palestinians, including 551 children.

Assaults and arrests

The extremists have been present at the hospital for a week, assaulting visitors and supporters of Allan.

“They don’t even let us gather in one place to demonstrate, to send a political message that we support Muhammad Allan,” Zoabi observes of the police ban. “A conqueror acts like a conquerer, so the oppressed need to act like the oppressed.”

Eight activists were arrested, at least four of whom required hospital treatment due to injuries from police violence, according to the photography collective ActiveStills, which produced the above video.

Allan, a 33-year-old lawyer from the occupied West Bank village of Einabus, recently fell into a coma for four days. On Tuesday he regained consciousness and, still gravely ill, vowed to continue his hunger strike until Israel frees him.

Video by Keren Manor, Faiz Abu Rmeleh and Oren Ziv of the ActiveStills collective.

Text by The Electronic Intifada.

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