NEW DRESS CODE IN FRANCE ~~ IF YOUR T-SHIRT CRITICIZES ISRAEL, IT’S ILLEGAL

European ‘Democracy in action …

The activist was taking part in a march for International Women’s Day in Paris last Sunday when undercover police swooped in and detained her for wearing a piece of clothing with the words “Boycott Apartheid Israel” printed on it.

Undeterred by arrest of an activist days earlier, members of BDS France wear “illegal” t-shirts calling for the boycott of Israel, during a protest outside Airbnb’s office in Paris on 10 March. (Courtesy of BDS France)

Undeterred by arrest of an activist days earlier, members of BDS France wear “illegal” t-shirts calling for the boycott of Israel, during a protest outside Airbnb’s office in Paris on 10 March. (Courtesy of BDS France)

Woman arrested in France for T-shirt critical of Israel

France has ratcheted up its draconian repression of free speech about Palestine with the arrest of a woman for wearing a T-shirt supporting the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

The activist was taking part in a march for International Women’s Day in Paris last Sunday when undercover police swooped in and detained her for wearing a piece of clothing with the words “Boycott Apartheid Israel” printed on it.

According to the newspaper L’Humanité, officers from the Renseignements Généraux, the intelligence service of the French police, were involved in monitoring the demonstration in which numerous social justice and leftist groups took part.

France remains under the state of emergency severely limiting public freedoms that was declared after last November’s atrocities by suspected Islamic State extremists who killed 130 people in Paris.

The young woman was taken to Paris’ 3rd district police station for questioning.

Hundreds of marchers halted their procession and demonstrated loudly outside the police station for an hour until she was released, as a video posted on Facebook.

Political repression

The woman has been summoned back to the police station for questioning at 2pm on Monday on suspicion of “inciting hatred by reason of [national] origin, through writing,” according to L’Humanité.

Supporters are planning to demonstrate outside the police station at that time.

The feminist collective 8 Mars Pour TouTEs denounced the arrest and pledged support for the activist and for the BDS movement.

The arrest was evidence of the “criminalization of political struggles,” the group said, vowing to mount strong solidarity in response to “the police state and political and racist repression.”

The left-wing grouping Ensemble has condemned the arrest, describing it as a consequence of the “security climate” in France.

The Palestine solidarity group BDS France noted that the day after the arrest, Prime Minister Manuel Valls tolda dinner hosted by the Israel lobby group CRIF that “anti-Zionism is nothing more than a synonym for anti-Semitism and the hatred of Israel.”

“Today, politicians who support the Israeli apartheid regime are out of arguments,” BDS France said in a statement.

“They conflate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism and terrorism, and take all the Jews of the world hostage, stubbornly insisting that they become accomplices of the war crimes and apartheid of a state which is foreign to them,” BDS France added.

The campaign group said that with the growing global success of BDS, “a nonviolent, anti-racist citizen movement for the fundamental rights of the Palestinian people,” Israel and its allies in the French government had no recourse but to try to smear it as anti-Semitic.

Court rulings and government decrees have outlawed calls to boycott Israeli goods, prompting defiance from French civil society.

Undeterred

BDS France is also vowing not to fold under government repression.

On Thursday, dozens of activists handed in an international petition at the Paris offices of Airbnb to protest the company’s profiting from the renting out of vacation homes in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.

As the photos published by BDS France show, the activists were proudly wearing their “Boycott Israeli Apartheid” T-shirts.

On Saturday, activists will hold rallies all over France against the state of emergency. An action alert from BDS France urges supporters to wear their T-shirts at those marches too.

#AntiApartheidWeek ~~ RAPPING WITH REMI

Wonderful party last night at Columbia U.  Totally packed. Lots of young people dancing the night away to Palestinian music, many of the women in embroidered Palestinian dresses.  These young diaspora Palestinians all knew their folk dances very well, as well as their food and art.  And they seem to fully recognize the importance of keeping these memories.

This was performed by Remi Kanazi …

Nor·mal·i·za·tion: a “colonization of the mind” whereby the oppressed subject comes to believe that the oppressor’s reality is the only “normal” reality…and that the oppression is a fact of life that must be coped with.

Those who engage in normalization either ignore this oppression, or accept it as the status quo that can be lived with.

In an attempt to whitewash its violations of international law and human rights, Israel attempts to re-brand itself or present itself as “normal” — even “enlightened” — through an intricate array of relations and activities encompassing hi-tech, cultural, legal, LGBT and other realms.

Normalization applies to relationships that convey a misleading or deceptive image of normalcy, symmetry, or parity despite a patently abnormal and asymmetric relationship of colonial oppression and apartheid.

THE BELL TOLLS FOR THE 1st AMENDMENT IN CHICAGO

R.I.P.

R.I.P.

ZIONISTS LITERALLY KILL THE 1st AMENDMENT

Despite the Lamar Advertising Company’s policy of defending the 1st Amendment ….

Lamar had written earlier that over its more than 100 years in business, the firm has “developed a strong commitment to supporting the First Amendment right of advertisers who wish to use our medium to promote legal products and services or to convey noncommercial messages such as the one in Chicago.”

*
…. A billboard in Chicago calling for a boycott of Israel will be removed following a public outcry.

The billboard in question ....

The billboard in question ….

Company to Remove Chicago Billboard Calling for Israel Boycott

Bella Ciao :(

Bella Ciao😦

A billboard in Chicago calling for a boycott of Israel will be removed following a public outcry.

Lamar Advertising, which leases billboards throughout the country, announced in a Facebook post on Friday that it would remove the billboard “as soon as possible.” Earlier in the day, also in a statement on Facebook, the company said it had received a “large number” of social media comments and hundreds of telephone calls protesting the billboard located on a major highway about five miles from O’Hare Airport.

The billboard sponsored by the Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign, or SEAMAC, is part of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel. It reads: “Boycott Israel until Palestinians have equal rights.”

Lamar had written earlier that over its more than 100 years in business, the firm has “developed a strong commitment to supporting the First Amendment right of advertisers who wish to use our medium to promote legal products and services or to convey noncommercial messages such as the one in Chicago.”

“We do not accept or reject copy based upon agreement or disagreement with the views presented. We think SEAMAC has a right to present their views and would also support the right of those who disagree with SEAMAC.”

After saying it would take down the billboard, Lamar said it “tried to contact SEAMAC to discuss these issues but have not received a reply to our telephone and email messages.”

In a post Saturday night on Facebook, SEAMAC said it received one phone call from Lamar Advertising, early in the morning due to the time difference between Seattle and Chicago, and that there were no emails or other attempts by the company to contact the organization.

The group is raising money to put the ad on public buses in several U.S. cities.

Only YOU can get a stay of execution by ….

A TASTE OF PALESTINE AT MY DOORSTEP

Supporting the BDS Movement , boycotting Israeli products, specifically those from the illegal settlements in the Occupied Territories is a great way to help the growing economy of Palestine and showing your solidarity with its people.

But now, thanks to the initiatives of the Northern California branch of the International Solidarity Movement, you can purchase products made in Palestine itself. They created a ‘shopping site’ called PALBOX

Ordering from them is one of the greatest ways of showing solidarity with the people of Palestine, especially its farmers and those involved in cultural activities.

Palestine is literally across the road from where I live, but the infamous wall and checkpoints make it impossible for me to go on a shopping spree there, so I ordered from PALBOX and my treasures arrived today ….

The box you will find at your doorstep ...

The box you will find at your doorstep …

The treasures inside included …..

Palestinian Olive Oil

oil-2

The olive tree is the virtual lifeline of Palestine, hence it is one of the major targets for destruction by zionism itself. Some of the trees are over a thousand years old and have provided a livelihood for hundreds of Palestinian families. Every drop of oil in the bottle is precious and represents all that Palestine stands for.

Also included were 2 bars of Olive Oil Soap ….

100% pure olive oil soap from Palestinian olive trees. No perfumes, no sulfates, no harsh chemicals, nothing to dry out your skin, just the gentile and moisturizing properties of olive oil.

 No perfumes, no sulfates, no harsh chemicals, nothing to dry out your skin.

That’s not all …..

Za’atar

Za'atar (thyme)

Za’atar (thyme)

No better way to enhance the taste of your salads and enjoy the taste of Palestine itself.

HERE are some easy recipes that I found online using Za’atar.

And from the Artistic Community ….

A beautiful handcrafted necklace made by Katie Miranda, resident cartoonist at Mondoweiss. Many of her works appeared on the pages of this Blog.

Gorgeous Arabic calligraphy on sterling silver.

Gorgeous Arabic calligraphy on sterling silver.

Katie studied the art of Arabic calligraphy with a master calligrapher while on a three year Solidarity Mission to Palestine with the International Solidarity Movement.

The necklace would be a perfect gift for the special woman in your life.

Her beautiful creations can be ordered separately from THIS site

And finally …. a treasure to enjoy over and over again ….

From Palestinian Artists …. a Gift of Music

Included is an album of music sung but Dr. Haidar Eid, BDS activist, and professor of Postcolonial and Postmodern Literature at Gaza’s al-Aqsa University.

Thanks to the electronic media, the cultural treasures of Palestine cannot be blocked by any wall or blockade. Become a part of this.

Here’s how to get your virtual treasure box ….

Click HERE to get to PALBOX’s order page.

Keep the following in mind when you order ….

Palbox helps Palestinian farmers, artists and artisans, as well as entire communities that benefit from Fair Trade community development. Second, downloadable music and visual art bypasses the Israeli blockade of Gaza, and provides a living for Palestinians under siege. 100% of your purchase goes to the Northern California chapter of the International Solidarity Movement, which has been participating in Palestinian nonviolent resistance to Israeli repression since 2001.

The songs are dedicated to the courage and resistance of the Palestinian people on the journey to justice and freedom. All proceeds from sales of the songs will be donated to the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. 

The ISM is a Palestinian led movement dedicated to resisting the Israeli occupation through non-violent means. In addition, Norcal ISM pays bail money for Palestinians arrested for political reasons, and gives travel grants to volunteers going to Palestine. 

Is there a better way to support the Palestinian Cause? I think not!

This page with it’s links will remain on the SideBar for future reference

DESERTPEACE STANDS IN SILENCE TODAY FOR THE PASSING OF A TRUE WOMAN OF VALOR

 

Anne Yellin / Photo by Matt Weinstein

Anne Yellin / Photo by Matt Weinstein

This morning I received an email from Sue, the daughter of the woman pictured above, informing me of the passing of her mother Anne Yellin yesterday, just a month short of her 99th birthday. She lived a full life and changed the lives of many who knew and loved her, including my own.

Anne played a special role in my life and I credit her more than anyone else for making me what I am today. It was she that handed me the leaflet in front of Woolworth’s in 1960 …. the leaflet that changed my life as can be seen in THIS post from the archives.

Anne was a pillar of the community I grew up in, known to all and loved by all. She was predeceased by her loving husband Jack, a veteran of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, in his own right, a true hero. She is survived by two loving daughters and Sue and Nancy and their children. May they all be comforted in the knowledge that the memory of their mother and grandmother will live on for years to come.

Bella Ciao dear Comrade and Friend!

My dear friend Matt Weinstein adds the following …

A good friend and one of the great “old-timer” activists and champions of peace and justice passed away today: Ann Yellin. She was a friend of my parents and a doting mom to her two daughters, Sue and Nancy as well as a very loving grandma. Ann, an RN by trade who worked for many years at Coney Island Hospital, was married to Jack Yellin, a veteran of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade—those courageous premature anti-fascists who fought in Spain before WW II, standing up to Franco and his backer, Hitler. And she was very proud of him. He died a long time ago but Ann carried his memory with her as the years passed and that memory helped bolster her to carry on. Ann was active throughout her life—she was a member of the Brighton Beach and Manhattan Beach chapter of Women Strike For Peace, fighting for a world free of the nuclear threat and then later in the Shorefront Peace Committee—its successor. Strongly opinionated but never wavering in her commitment, Ann Yellin was a strong partisan of socialism and with that as her goal she was one of those rare women who translate their beliefs and world outlook into concrete action on behalf of humanity. She was a beautiful woman—inside and out. We won’t soon forget her and the larger than life contributions she made for a better world.Ann died a month before her 99th birthday.

In honour of Anne’s 90th birthday, Matt wrote the following … (Click on link)

THE GREATEST GENERATION~~ A GUEST POST

Matt and Anne in happier times ...

Matt and Anne in happier times …

And finally, a Biblical tribute to our wonderful Woman of Valor …

Eshet Chayil אשת חיל (Psalm 31 Hebrew and English text translation)

#FreeGaza ~~ THE WINNING LOGO

Freedom Flotilla

We are pleased to announce the final logo choice by S. African activist Atiyyah Mohamed

We are pleased to announce the final logo choice by S. African activist Atiyyah Mohamed

The Women’s Boat to Gaza (WBG) is a Freedom Flotilla Coalition (FFC*) initiative that seeks not only to challenge the Israeli blockade but to also show solidarity and bring a message of hope to the Palestinian people.

The initiative was launched with a call to all artists/designers globally for submissions of a criterion based logo for the WBG that represented the undeniable contributions and indomitable spirit of Palestinian women who have been central within the Palestinian struggle.

The deadline of logo submissions was extended to the 25th of January 2016. We received and compiled approximately 40 logo submissions from different artists and organisations, after which a shortlist was created and collectively voted on by the media and steering committee of the WBG on the 31st January 2016.

We would firstly like to thank all the artists/designers and applicants who gave their time and effort  toward the logo submissions which were carefully reviewed and considered individually.  Your creativity and drive is noted and much appreciated.

We are pleased to announce the final logo choice by South African graphic designer and activist Atiyyah Mohamed. Atiyyah’s involvement in the project was initiated through her enthusiasm for human rights and peace around the world and which centres directly around the struggle of Palestinian women in particular. Atiyyah is a member of the Palestine Solidarity Alliance youth league and is involved in digital activism as well. Her logo was selected on the base of clarity and *-representation of the core message of the WBG.

The logo may be used in all WBG related campaigns and organisations and by individuals in support of the project. Should you require the logo in a specific format, or for any other information, enquiries or to engage in the campaign please do not hesitate to contact us via email at mediawbg@gmail.com.

We encourage all participation in the Women’s Boat to Gaza – together we will break the blockade!

In solidarity!

FFC is composed of civil society organizations and initiatives from many countries. We have been challenging the illegal and inhuman Israeli blockade of Gaza for years and are committed to continue the struggle until the blockade is unconditionally lifted and the Palestinian people everywhere regain their full rights.

MR. APARTHEID LOCKS HIS DOORS RATHER THAN FACE THE MUSIC

More photos can be seen HERE

More photos can be seen HERE

On the spot observation by Chippy Dee

Our Leviev Valentine’s event was yesterday – we shut him down again – they were supposedly closed for inventory (on a Saturday?). Again there were some crazies carrying on, screaming, grabbing someones phone and throwing it.  The NYPD was there and refused to arrest him because the phone was still working.  All of us ‘law & order types’ were chanting, “Arrest him!” but they didn’t.  Of course if that was a Black kid he’d be at Sing-Sing by now or on a coroner’s gurney. 

See the ugly face of zionism here …

Some background on why we demonstrate FROM

Love Under Apartheid at Leviev in New York City, Valentine’s 2016

A week before Valentine’s Day, as couples in many countries prepare to celebrate their love for one another, at our protest at Leviev diamonds in New York City we remembered that Palestinians do not have the freedom to love whomever they choose due to Israel’s apartheid policies. We celebrated through the stories below the many Palestinians who dare to defy apartheid with love. Leviev, by building Israel settlements, contributes to Israel’s apartheid program. For more information see

Palestinians — whether living in Israel as Israeli citizens or in Jerusalem, the West Bank or Gaza, live under Israeli rule. Israel assigns separate ID cards to the Palestinians living in each area, and each ID card carries a different status and different rights. While this impacts Palestinians in many ways, one of the most intrusive and harmful results is the separation of loved ones.

Palestinians do not have the freedom to love whomever they choose because multiple Israeli policies prevent them from doing so. For instance, if someone from the West Bank fell in love with someone from Gaza, they could not be together, because one carries an Israeli government-issued “West Bank only” ID and the other a “Gaza only” ID. This is despite the fact that both the West Bank and Gaza Strip are designated as Palestinian territories.

The Israeli Citizenship Law, which was enacted in 2003, prevents Palestinian citizens of Israel from marrying the spouse of their choice. This law affects thousands of Palestinian citizens of Israel, and many couples have been forced to leave the country as a result, leaving behind their homes and their families.

Here are a couple of stories from the Love Under Apartheid campaign:

Taiseer and Lana, affected by Israeli Citizenship Law

Taiseer is a Palestinian citizen of Israel from the city of Akka and his wife Lana is a Palestinian from the city of Jenin. Taiseer is an anthropologist and Lana is a librarian. Though they were already married, once the Citizenship Law was put in place, Lana was placed in a new legal category. She lives constantly in fear that she could be separated from her husband and their three young children.

Taiseer says: “We have the right to love and live just like any other people in the world. We are not any less than any people who choose whom, how or where they love.”  

Lina, affected by Military Order 1650 

Lina’s parents met while they were college students in the West Bank in the 1980’s. They fell in love, got married and had children. Lina’s mother has a West Bank ID and her father is a British citizen and originally from Gaza. In the 1980’s, Palestinians were more free to live and travel between the Palestinian territories, but in 2009, Israeli Military Order 1650 changed everything. One day while traveling for his work as a journalist, Lina’s father was stopped at checkpoint, arrested by soldiers and deported to Gaza, without a chance to say goodbye to his family.

Lina says: “One day we found our family split right in the middle…for my parents not to see each other…it was really emotional watching the effects on them…My dad would send me text messages at the most random hours of the day. I knew he was unable to sleep, thinking ‘I had my family with me, I had a job, I had a house, and overnight that completely changed.'”

These stories offer just a glimpse into life under Israeli policies. Palestinians are forced to adjust their lives every time a new policy is in place, every time a border shifts around them. These couples and families don’t break the law, the law breaks them. Still, despite these obstacles, Palestinians choose to love, and choose to fight for their rights every day.

NEWS AND ACTIONS THIS COMING WEEK IN HYPOCRISY LAND

palestine-360x200

Hypocrisy land news and Actions this coming week:
Compiled by Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

The Israeli Knesset rejected a bill that calls for equality (after all
all this must remain a state by and for Jews). And a video emerged of
Israeli prime minister Netanyahu praising Israeli Fascist Group Im
Tirtzu which believes in "Jewishness" of Palestine and acts and
supports to effect ethnic cleansing of native Palestinians in favor of
European and other Jewish colonization. The Zionist leaders attacked
Ban Ki Moon for mildly speaking about the need to end the occupation
and let Palestinians live free. The heads of the EU misssions in
Jerusalem issued a report saying that Israel must respect human
rights. They explained that 660 Palestinians are being held without
charge or trial. They also mention Mohammad AlQeeq, a Palestinian
Journalist on hunger strike for 70 days since his illegal detention.
The tragedies around us continue and we sympathize with suffering
people seeking freedom from tyranny and from terrorism (much of it
emanating from the USA through its its "protectorates" like Israel and
Saudi Arabia).

My students struggle to come to class through tear gas and other
challenges of Israeli repression. This past week I gave courses on
research, critical reading, and writing for master students in tourism
and also for diploma students in drug education and prevention at BU.
In good news, more and more people acting on their convictions to
challenge oppression and/or build a better future. For example the
boycott campaign continues to grow around the world (for examples of successes ). 
Do act to promote BDS. in the media work and other actions. We were impressed
with the action of distribution of over 10,000 "spoof" New York Times
(major US newspaper). This biased newspaper not reporting on Israeli
colonialism but parroting Israeli propaganda about terrorism was
taught a good lesson by this action and thousands of New Yorkers
appreciated the gesture (electronic version of spoof here

PHOTO ESSAY OF REBELLIOUS PALESTINIAN YOUTH

Portraits of Palestine’s youth rebellion

“Nobody organizes us. We do not want to depend on anyone or have money involved. It’s better to be independent.” East of al-Bureij refugee camp, Gaza Strip

“Nobody organizes us. We do not want to depend on anyone or have money involved. It’s better to be independent.” East of al-Bureij refugee camp, Gaza Strip

“We are here to prove to the occupier that we will not accept them. We won’t live in peace with the occupier and we will keep resisting until they leave.” Bethlehem

“We are here to prove to the occupier that we will not accept them. We won’t live in peace with the occupier and we will keep resisting until they leave.” Bethlehem

“Whoever comes here knows they will be either be arrested, or martyred or injured. But in the end, I don’t think anyone is afraid.” North of Ramallah, near the Beit El settlement

“Whoever comes here knows they will be either be arrested, or martyred or injured. But in the end, I don’t think anyone is afraid.” North of Ramallah, near the Beit El settlement

“Any rational person understands that stone throwing will not damage a military jeep or kill a soldier. However, we use stones to show they are the enemy.” North of Ramallah, near the Beit El settlement

“Any rational person understands that stone throwing will not damage a military jeep or kill a soldier. However, we use stones to show they are the enemy.” North of Ramallah, near the Beit El settlement

Bethlehem

Bethlehem

“They fire a lot of tear gas into the [Al Azzeh refugee] camp.They want families there to stop us. But the families understand that; they support us and take care of us.” Bethlehem

“They fire a lot of tear gas into the [Al Azzeh refugee] camp.They want families there to stop us. But the families understand that; they support us and take care of us.” Bethlehem

Gaza Strip, east of al-Bureij refugee camp

Gaza Strip, east of al-Bureij refugee camp

“We cover our faces because the occupying authority might [otherwise] arrest us. We also fear our own [Palestinian] authority would arrest us in the same way.” Bethlehem

“We cover our faces because the occupying authority might [otherwise] arrest us. We also fear our own [Palestinian] authority would arrest us in the same way.” Bethlehem

“The [peace] agreements didn’t work. The older generations should have changed them. Our role, you can say, is to refuse these agreements. We are against them, because they do no good to us and our land.” North of Ramallah, near the Beit El settlement

“The [peace] agreements didn’t work. The older generations should have changed them. Our role, you can say, is to refuse these agreements. We are against them, because they do no good to us and our land.” North of Ramallah, near the Beit El settlement

North of Ramallah, near Beit El settlement

North of Ramallah, near Beit El settlement

Bethlehem

Bethlehem

“There is a lot of pressure now. We look at the videos of the women in al-Aqsa who cannot enter. The occupation wants al-Aqsa. Why can Jews enter and I cannot? It’s only 10 kilometers from here, and I have not been able to go to Jerusalem since 2008.” Bethlehem

“There is a lot of pressure now. We look at the videos of the women in al-Aqsa who cannot enter. The occupation wants al-Aqsa. Why can Jews enter and I cannot? It’s only 10 kilometers from here, and I have not been able to go to Jerusalem since 2008.” Bethlehem

“In the night, at around 1am, the Israeli army comes and arrests men. They also threaten families that their homes will be demolished if their sons will continue to go to throw stones.” Bethlehem

“In the night, at around 1am, the Israeli army comes and arrests men. They also threaten families that their homes will be demolished if their sons will continue to go to throw stones.” Bethlehem

“The [PA’s] Presidential Guard stood in our way. We had an altercation with them. They were kind of embarrassed. Then they told us their work there was only for an hour and a half and then they would allow us in. We refused and kept going.” Bethlehem

“The [PA’s] Presidential Guard stood in our way. We had an altercation with them. They were kind of embarrassed. Then they told us their work there was only for an hour and a half and then they would allow us in. We refused and kept going.” Bethlehem

Gaza Strip, east of al-Bureij refugee camp

Gaza Strip, east of al-Bureij refugee camp

“This land is for everyone, not just the men. Of course the women can participate in the clashes.” Bethlehem

“This land is for everyone, not just the men. Of course the women can participate in the clashes.” Bethlehem

Bethlehem

Bethlehem

“The Palestinian Authority exists by agreement with Israel. The Palestinian Authority only exists to make Israelis feel safe. They work hand-in-hand with the Israeli military. In the West Bank, nobody loves them.” Bethlehem

“The Palestinian Authority exists by agreement with Israel. The Palestinian Authority only exists to make Israelis feel safe. They work hand-in-hand with the Israeli military. In the West Bank, nobody loves them.” Bethlehem

“Sometimes, our families try to talk to us and make us stay home. But every home has someone who has been arrested or killed. So you are also ashamed if you prevent your son from going to the clashes. My mother asked me to come back after one hour, just so she can see I am alright.” Bethlehem

“Sometimes, our families try to talk to us and make us stay home. But every home has someone who has been arrested or killed. So you are also ashamed if you prevent your son from going to the clashes. My mother asked me to come back after one hour, just so she can see I am alright.” Bethlehem

A Palestinian youth in Bethlehem wearing a t-shirt with the hashtag “Bahamish” written on it. “Some shout ‘Bahamish’ to the soldiers. It means ‘it’s ok’ or ‘nevermind.’ But if they kill us, this is not ‘bahamish;’ it’s important.”

A Palestinian youth in Bethlehem wearing a t-shirt with the hashtag “Bahamish” written on it. “Some shout ‘Bahamish’ to the soldiers. It means ‘it’s ok’ or ‘nevermind.’ But if they kill us, this is not ‘bahamish;’ it’s important.”

“The resistance started 100 years ago. I hope we will get our freedom and return to our villages. There is a future for Palestine. But there is no future with occupation.” Bethlehem

“The resistance started 100 years ago. I hope we will get our freedom and return to our villages. There is a future for Palestine. But there is no future with occupation.” Bethlehem

For nearly four months, popular protests, violence and general unrest have buffeted the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, leading some commentators to suggest a third intifada or uprising.

Most of this is driven by restive and young people tired of endless and evidently pointless negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel that have brought no end to Israel’s military occupation and only seen its illegal settlements expand.

“This is our land. We must do anything to free it from occupation,” says Mahmoud, 26, from al-Azzeh refugee camp in the West Bank city of Bethlehem.

Mahmoud (not his real name, since Israel frequently arrests protesters) has been a regular participant in demonstrations against the military occupation, in which youth confront Israeli forces with stones and, less frequently, Molotov cocktails. The army tries to suppress these protests with tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets and live ammunition.

Since the beginning of last October, which witnessed increased confrontation with the occupation, more than 160 Palestinians and approximately two dozen Israelis have been killed. A United Nations monitoring group recorded a weekly average of 1,000 Palestinian injuries at the hands of the Israeli army during the last quarter of 2015.

Approximately one-third of those Palestinians killed, and many of those injured, were hit by live ammunition while taking part in demonstrations or while they were in the vicinity of protests.

Risks

The youths confronting the Israeli army know all too well the risks involved.

“I have mixed feelings during clashes. Sometimes you are afraid of dying,” Mahmoud explained. “But it’s also good to get the anger out. I have two children. I am married. In the night, I start to think about them, what they will do if I do not come back. But during the clashes, I try not think about it.”

The protests are led by youth and not any particular political party.

Khaled (also a pseudonym), a 21-year-old student from the Ramallah area, said the Palestinian Authority’s only role has been to try to stop them.

“Their role is to bring down the spirit of the people. It does not support us,” he said.

Palpable frustration

Their frustration is palpable and has sparked a debate among analysts and journalists whether this could be termed a third intifada. But the youths themselves seem not to care much about designation.

“First intifada, second intifada, it doesn’t matter. The intifada is connected to the occupation,” said Mahmoud, “and so it will continue. It is an ongoing process.”

The above series of photographs were taken at protests in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the past four months. The quotations included are from the two Palestinian youths interviewed, neither of whom are featured in the photos.

Images by Activestills photographers Anne Paq in Bethlehem, Ezz Al-Zanoon in the Gaza Strip, Mohannad Darabee in the Ramallah area, Oren Ziv in Bethlehem and the Ramallah area. Photo editing by Shiraz Grinbaum.

Activestills is an independent collective based in Israel/Palestine which uses photography as a tool for social and political change.

TIME TO RUN FOR GAZA AGAIN

IT’S TIME TO REGISTER FOR THE GAZA 5K

Last year we raised about $150,000 in Brooklyn for the Gaza kids.  Hope we can do at least that again.

5k

NYC, DC, are you ready?! The rumors are true, and we’re thrilled to announce that registration for the 2016 Gaza 5K is officially OPEN! 

Sign up now and join us at Prospect Park in Brooklyn, on Saturday, March 26 and Rock Creek Park in Washington DC on Saturday, May 21 for a morning of movement and solidarity.

Why wait when you can start now? This year, we need you to register EARLY! It’s the only way to guarantee a race shirt. Rates will increase by $15 in the weeks leading up to the race, and we guarantee both races will sell out! 

Fundraising is the key to our efforts and impact. So once you’re registered, start your fundraising immediately. We have more than just trophies this year! If you raise $500 or more, you will receive a beautiful classic keffiyeh from the Herbrawi Textile Factory, the last remaining keffiyeh factory in Palestine. Complete with a “made in Palestine” tag, these traditional scarves are the living memory of Palestine. Let that inspire you to push your fundraising to the next level!

Remember the reason why we run. Beyond showing solidarity, proceeds from the Gaza 5K support UNRWA’s Community Mental Health Program and provides critical counseling sessions to help vulnerable refugee children cope with the extreme challenges they face on a daily basis in Gaza. A program that, without your help, may not be possible. 

We hope you’ll come out to show these children how much Americans care! 

In solidarity,

Abby, Laila, Sarah, Nada & Lena

Team UNRWA USA

NYC RACE
MARCH 26
REGISTER NOW

 

DC RACE
MAY 21
REGISTER NOW

 

PS—Chicago and San Francisco, we’re coming for you! Stay tuned.

 

Official race hashtag: #Gaza5K (See more videos from last year’s run)

 

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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