70 AMERICAN INTELLECTUALS THAT ARE ACTUALLY INTELLECTUAL

More than 70 American intellectuals called for a targeted boycott of all goods and services from Israeli West Bank settlements.

This picture taken on June 5, 2015 shows people walking past a sign painted on a wall in the town of Bethlehem in the south of the Tel Aviv-occupied West Bank on June 5, 2015, calling for a boycott of Israeli products coming from illegal settlements. (Photo by AFP)

This picture taken on June 5, 2015 shows people walking past a sign painted on a wall in the town of Bethlehem in the south of the Tel Aviv-occupied West Bank on June 5, 2015, calling for a boycott of Israeli products coming from illegal settlements. (Photo by AFP)

70 American Intellectuals Call for Boycott of Israeli Settlements

More than 70 American intellectuals called for a targeted boycott of all goods and services from Israeli West Bank settlements.

The boycott call, an open letter, was published in the most recent issue of the New York Review of Books, which is dated Oct. 13.

Among the signers are Bernard Avishai, Peter Brooks, Peter Beinhart, Todd Gitlin and Martin Sherwin.

The letter said the signatories “oppose an economic, political, or cultural boycott of Israel itself as defined by its June 4, 1967, borders,” which they refer to as the “so-called Green Line.” This boundary, according to the letter writers, “should be the starting point for negotiations between the Israeli and Palestinian parties on future boundaries between two states. To promote such negotiations, we call for a targeted boycott of all goods and services from all Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories, and any investments that promote the Occupation, until such time as a peace settlement is negotiated between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority.”

The letter also calls on the U.S. government to remove Internal Revenue Service tax exemptions from West Bank entities and to exclude the settlements from Israeli trade benefits.

TRANSFORMATION OF A SELF HATING JEW TO A TERRORIST

According to the ‘logic’ of the present day elders of zion I have always been a ‘self hating Jew’. This was merely because I refuse to hate anyone else … does that make any sense to you?

It seems that times have changed and new definitions have been added to the zio-dictionary … Now I am a terrorist. The reason being that I am a part of and supporter of the BDS Movement. Have you ever heard of a terrorist that refuses to kill? Have you heard of one that refuses to support those who do?? Now you have!

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home) participated on Sunday in a conference held by the Jewish National Fund (JNF) in New York.

Speaking during the event, Shaked slammed the BDS movement, calling it “a new extension of terrorism.”

One of Bendib's finest

One of Bendib’s finest

 

Justice Minister: BDS movement is a terror organization

‘BDS is the new face of terrorism,’ Ayelet Shaked says during JNF conference in New York.

Full zioreport HERE

And here you can see why we boycott terrorism!

JEWISH STUDENTS REJECT THE LIES ABOUT BDS

Kudos to The Forward for publishing the following …

We believe that our involvement in social justice activism on campus is an important way of connecting to a proud history of Jewish struggles against oppression.

We're Jewish Student Activists and We Don't Need To Be Protected From BDS

We’re Jewish Student Activists and We Don’t Need To Be Protected From BDS

We’re Jewish Student Activists and We Don’t Need To Be Protected From BDS

Writing in the Forward, Seffi Kogen suggests that BDS pushes Jewish students out of social justice work on campuses across the country — because, when faced with the choice between supporting activism and supporting Israel, Jews have to choose Israel. But the problem facing Jewish student activists isn’t BDS or intersectionality: it’s the occupation, and the Jewish establishment’s support for an unjust status quo.

An assistant director for campus affairs at the American Jewish Committee, Kogen describes Jewish students as victims in need of protection from the rising tide of BDS, not as capable people with agency to make their own decisions about which groups to support. He states, “BDS has not led to a change in Israeli policy. It won’t. But it has slowly but surely begun to freeze American Jews out of the crucial social justice conversations of our time.”

But we are Jewish student activists, and we don’t feel frozen. Nor do the countless Jews on college campuses involved in the fights for racial, economic, immigration, gender and climate justice. Some of them are affiliated with Jewish groups on campus, and some are more distant from institutional Jewish life. Some of them may support BDS, and some of them may not. There is no one trajectory for Jewish students, just as Jews for centuries have encouraged a rich tradition of disagreement and discussion.

We reject Kogen’s framing on several grounds. To name a few: he assumes that all Jews are Zionists; he assumes that all Jews put unilateral support for Israel before support for Black Lives Matter; he describes Jews as in a state of perpetual victimhood, and he erases the experiences of Palestinians living under the occupation. By describing BDS as a threat to Jewish students, he obscures the realities of segregation and dehumanization that make the occupation a daily nightmare for the Palestinians who live under it, and a moral disaster for the Jewish Americans and Israelis who support and administer it.

When Jewish communal organizations claim to speak on behalf of all Jews, they force student activists to answer for policies they reject. We are tired of the argument that to be Jewish is to stand with Israel unconditionally. We have friends and family in Israel, and have both spent significant time there. But our personal ties to Israel are not what make us Jewish and do not require that we support Israel’s policies toward Palestinians.

Kogen also makes the argument that Jews should put support for Israel before support for groups that are critical of Israel, most notably Black Lives Matter. But we cannot shirk our obligation to fight for racial justice because of objections to the words “genocide” and “apartheid.” Though we should have a conversation about those words, we must demonstrate our commitment to black and brown lives, Jewish or not. Arguing that Jews should inherently choose Israel over other issues, such as racial justice, erases the lived experience of black Jews for whom supporting and participating in Black Lives Matter is a matter of survival.

 What’s more, we will not be able to participate in social justice work with our full selves until we address the injustice that our own community perpetuates. If we are silent, or perceived as silent, about the time and money our community spends justifying the destruction of Palestinian lives, why should anyone take us seriously when we say black lives matter?

We believe that our involvement in social justice activism on campus is an important way of connecting to a proud history of Jewish struggles against oppression, from the Bundists of the Pale of Settlement to Jewish labor organizers on the Lower East Side to JFREJ and IfNotNow today. And that activism must include a commitment to fight against the oppressive Israeli policies our own community funds and supports.

Crucially, Kogen’s article lacks any discussion of the Palestinian people or their struggle against a racist and oppressive Israeli government that confiscates their land and demolishes their homes. The dominant narrative in Jewish communities around BDS is that it is a threat to our safety. This makes it easier for us, American Jews, to forget that Israel’s occupation of the West Bank is about to turn fifty. Fifty years of subjugation and disenfranchisement, of midnight raids and checkpoints, of demolished homes and settlement building.

Groups that support BDS do not make us afraid for our safety; we do not need, or want, the protection of an out-of-touch Jewish establishment. What we truly fear is the way Jewish identity and the history of anti-Jewish oppression have been weaponized to justify the oppression of another people.

We worry that just as Jews were dehumanized by the oppression we faced in the past, we are dehumanized in the present by the oppression we inflict — whether on the ground or through communal institutions here in the U.S. To regain our humanity, we must assert the fundamental equality of all human beings — to affirm, as Cornel West challenged us to do, that the life of a Palestinian child has the same value as the life of a Jewish child — and fight for a future in which both Palestinians and Israelis live with freedom and dignity. We invite the Jewish community and institutions to join us.

IN PHOTOS ~~ ANTI BDS BILL MEETS RESISTANCE FROM NEW YORKERS

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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First read this related article from Mondoweiss (Click on link)

NYC city council anti-BDS bill meets resistance from protesters

Additional notes by Chippy Dee

When about 100 supporters of Palestinian human rights gathered in a hearing room at City Hall to voice their objections to an anti-1st amendment free speech resolution which opposes BDS, they didn’t expect a free inquiry into what BDS was or why this form of non-violent protest was a historically time honored form of protesting injustice going back, in American history, to the Boston Tea Party.  But neither did they expect abject rudeness, a total lack of professionalism, and blatant hostility from a body of lawmakers purporting to represent all  New Yorkers, not just Zionist supporters of current Israeli policy.

When they entered the chamber they saw that the 2 front rows were set aside for people testifying for the motion. None for those against it.  The committee chair, Helen Rosenthal, announced that 2 hours had been set aside for the hearing (that was later extended), that there would be a rotation of the speakers representing each side, and that nobody should make a sound, no applause, no laughter, no booing – only hand motions were acceptable.  The 1st speaker was Rep. Charles Barron, a member of the NYS legislature who had been  on the NYC Council in the past.  He was to make a statement of his own and also read a statement on behalf of his wife who currently serves on the NYC Council.  Barron is a long time supporter of Palestinian human rights having led one of the earliest attempts to break the Gaza blockade.  Before long he was interrupted by Rosenthal addressing him as “brother” and telling him to make his remarks more brief.  He responded asking her not to call him brother and that he would take the time he needed.  He also said that no person of color should support the motion. As he spoke 2 council members on the panel appeared to be paying no attention while doing something with their phones (texting?).

The next speaker supported the motion.  He essentially said the same thing all the other proponents said at great length – mostly an often repeated pack of lies.  That BDS supporters want to destroy the Jewish state because they are antisemites,  it is all just an effort to delegitimize Israel, and that BDS supporters intimidate students on campuses all over the country.  They gave no example of any student being threatened either verbally or physically by any BDS supporter.  This writer thinks that if Zionist students are feeling threatened it is because they are not comfortable with hearing about the outrages that Israelis are visiting upon Palestinians and prefer to bury their heads in the sand.

People against the measure tried to explain what BDS stood for, its’ place in history (the Montgomery bus boycott, Indian independence, the anti-apartheid struggle in So. Africa), its’ international support,  it’s  support among Jews and the constitutional free-speech issues.  Each time after a supporter of the motion spoke the panel questioned them, giving them more time to speak on their position.  This was not done when opponents spoke.  If anything, they were challenged and asked if they supported a one state or 2 state solution in Palestine/Israel.  They answered that BDS did not take a position on this issue.  Some council members pressed, insisting on hearing the speakers personal opinion on the issue.  In general the questioning was rude, insulting (calling people anti-semites) and saying that what they were saying was untrue (i.e., calling them liars)

Meanwhile, it was abundantly clear that this was a charade.  Members of the audience, all supporters of Palestinian human rights, began, one by one, to object to the hearing, to shout “Free Palestine”, some waved Palestinian flags.  One person stormed out saying that she felt like she was sitting at a council meeting in Israel. Rosenthal had them ejected by the security  guards and then demanded that the entire balcony be ejected although most of them were sitting quietly.  Many of those ejected were scheduled to speak against the motion but she would not allow them to return.  A member of the city council who was not involved in the hearing saw what was happening and he arranged for security to let the speakers back into the hearing room.  Among the last few opponents to speak were 2 citizens of Israel.  One spoke of his time in the IDF, where soldiers had contests on how many ‘Arabs’ they could kill (Israel never speaks of Palestinians, they refuse to recognize their existence) and the other described, in detail, the many acts of racism she witnessed in her years there.  When she concluded Rosenthal said that she knows she should thank her for her testimony “but I won’t”.

When it was over many discussed whether anything was accomplished.  Most thought it was important to be there because the group made it clear that opposition exists, that it will continue to fight for Palestinian human rights using BDS, and that the opposition will come from many communities, including Black, Muslim, and Jewish.

RICKY MARTIN PLANNING TO SHAKE HIS BOOTY FOR APARTHEID

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He WAS one of my favourites till he decided to play in Tel Aviv next week.

Martin, himself a victim of occupation should know better …. but obviously doesn’t.

SHAME ON YOU RICKY MARTIN!

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‘Get ready to sweat’: Ricky Martin to shebang in Israel
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Ricky Martin is coming to Israel for what will likely be an energized performance; this will be the first Israeli show for the Latino superstar, who began in a Puerto Rican boy band and achieved international success with his infectious beats during the 90s; ‘Israelis and Latinos are very similar, we’re very warm,’ says Martin, who advises you come to his show ready to move; watch the interview below.
Click HERE

ISRAEL DECLARES FULL SCALE WAR AGAINST BDS MOVEMENT

Gearing up to face BDS as if it were a military challenge
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This report from Israel’s state broadcaster, subtitled in English by activist Ronnie Barkan, shows Vaknin-Gil vowing to defeat the BDS movement in her testimony to the Knesset committee. It also shows the committee’s chair, Stav Shaffir, complaining that the government is revealing almost nothing about how it is spending the huge sums allocated to the anti-BDS effort.

 

Full report by Ali Abunimah HERE

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WHY WE BOYCOTT …

#InIsrael ~~ THE BAN IS ON

Image by Carlos Latuff

The Israeli government has called on citizens to ‘turn in’ boycott activists for deportation.

The Israeli government has called on citizens to ‘turn in’ boycott activists for deportation.

Israel bans entry for two more US activists

Wilson Dizard

Israel has banned an American activist who has worked for years helping Palestinians in Gaza, after denying her entry into the country, detaining her for hours and deporting her against her will.  The woman’s ban comes after Israel banned five U.S. citizens at the border in July, all of them the U.S. Campaign to End the Occupation, and another American woman last week crossing from Jordan.

Washington D.C.-based activist, Pam Bailey, 59, who has been to Gaza many times before, arrived at Ben Gurion International Airport on Sunday and told passport control the truth; that she said was there helping a Swedish women’s aid group, Women to Women (Kvinde til Kvinde), that works alongside the Switzerland-based human rights organization Euro-Mediterranean Rights Human Rights Network (EuroMed). Bailey is the head of her own EuroMed-affiliated project, We Are Not Numbers, which tries to help Palestinians under occupation tell their stories.

Although she had a permit arranged by Kvinde til Kvinde to enter Gaza, Bailey faces a decade-long ban from entering the area, after Israel decided she was working with an activist group that they told her was “illegal” in the state.

After waiting for an hour in a small room, a border official “just informed me I was going to be deported and I would not be allowed to go to Gaza for ten years,” she said. The official did not offer an avenue for appeal. She says she feels devastated by the ban because the young people she helps out in Gaza are like her extended family. Her interest in the region began years ago.

“Basically, my first trip to the West Bank in 2007 was driven by a fascination with the Middle East, a sympathy for Palestinians and a desire to return to my reporting roots by experiencing this area of conflict for myself. The people I met there, and the injustice I witnessed, turned that curiosity into a passion,” she said.

Bailey’s ban comes as Israel cracks down on international attempts at intervention into its military occupation of Palestinian areas, encouraging Israelis to inform on outside agitation by visitors who support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign. Bailey believes that in her case Israel wants to undermine Palestinian civil society groups and make them dependent on outsiders, easier for the state can control.

“They don’t want an independent Palestine working, but they’re totally fine with internationals cleaning up dirty work,” Bailey said.

The U.S. Campaign, whose five members found themselves turned back from Ben Gurion in July, found no help from U.S. consular officials. The U.S. State Department acknowledges the reality of this discrimination, the U.S. Campaign writes.

“Four of the five delegates who were questioned, held, and denied entry were people of color and Muslim, and the fifth had a long beard. Israel has ethnically and religiously profiled visitors so often that the State Department’s travel advisory for Israel reads: “Some US citizens of Arab or Muslim heritage not on the Palestinian Population Registry or otherwise prohibited from entering Israel have experienced significant difficulties and unequal and hostile treatment at Israel’s borders and checkpoints,’” the U.S. Campaign said.

Bailey’s story reflects that of another American activist, Charlotte Kates, whom Israel turned away from a land border crossing on August 15. Kates said she received a five-year ban.

She was there as the international coordinator for the Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, on a trip to support Bilal Kayed, a hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner of Israel. Kates was the subject of lengthy interrogation about her association with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, as well as her advocacy for Kayed.

Both Kates and Bailey were told verbally by officials of the length of their ban.

Bailey said that after she was summarily informed of her ban, authorities shuffled her through the Kafakesque process of being forcibly deported from the state of Israel. After one small room, officials lead her to a larger one, where other travellers waited to see if they were going to be kicked out of the country.

Soon, Israeli border control officials came for her, and put her on a small van with metal bars on the windows, and drove her out of Ben Gurion into Israel to a warehouse-like detention facility. The van held one other passenger, a crying Russian woman who spoke no English.

Once at the detention center, authorities took Bailey’s possessions from her and left her under guard with another international traveler, a British woman who was on her way to work in Ramallah. That woman had also been told by Israeli border officials that she couldn’t enter the country for ten years.

“They had asked her for all the names and numbers of her coworkers and she refused to do that,” she said. Demanding to look through cell phones and social media posts has become a common practice when facing scrutiny entering Israel.

Bailey languished in the detention facility, still deprived of her passport by border control, where the only pieces of furniture were bunk beds and a table, upon which “mystery meat subway sandwiches and water” sat.

While she was there, she tried to engage one of the guards in conversation.

“‘What threat do you think I am,’ I asked. He said ‘Don’t you think we have a right to say who can come into our country?’ so I said ‘I don’t want to come into your country. I don’t want to stay here,’” she recalled. Then the guard stopped talking.

After more waiting, Bailey encountered another bizarre twist: a medical exam. She refused.

“Then they wanted me to see one of their doctors,” she told Mondoweiss. They took her to a room “where there was a blood pressure monitor and a hypodermic needle. So I said ‘no, I am not doing this,’” she recalls.

The security officials detaining her refused to speak English, she said.

“I ended up calling them fascists, so as a result I ended up being put in a room by myself,” after refusing medical treatment she never asked for.

After several more hours of waiting, officials drove her to the tarmac at Ben Gurion and up to a United Airlines flight back to the United States. Still without all her bags or her passport, which was in the hands of a flight attendant, Bailey protested by sitting down in the aisle until a sympathetic  attendant managed to get her bag of personal items. Another piece of luggage full of GRE study books for Gazans was still in the hands of Israeli officials. Bailey never got that back.

Bailey plans to appeal her ban with the help of the group Right to Enter, which advocates on behalf of people denied entry into Israel. Sudden and unexpected denials of entry into Israel have happened to Americans of Palestinian descent as well.

Kates, the other American activist denied entry in recent days, this time at the King Hussein Bridge, said that people who appear to be Arab or Muslim, and especially Palestinian, are treated far worse than European-looking international visitors by border officials.

“Furthermore, my experience of prolonged interrogation and being held for hours at the bridge pales next to the experience of Palestinians being denied their basic right to return to enter their own homeland – part and parcel of the denial of the fundamental right of return – and subject to harsh interrogation, being deported for carrying international passports, and being subjected to cruel and degrading treatment at the border,” Kates said.

“During just my own time at the bridge, I encountered numerous Palestinians facing enormous delays and aggressive interrogation, Palestinians denied entry to their own homeland, and Palestinians presented with ‘limited-access’ entry permits prohibiting them from visiting Jerusalem. I encountered a family from Gaza who had one of the rare permits to exit via Erez/Beit Hanoun and then the bridge to Jordan to see family members. As they had studied in the US and UK, they were questioned by border guards as to why they wished to return to Gaza at all, rather than staying in another country. Border control and interrogation is part and parcel of the system of Israeli colonization and dispossession separating Palestinians from their land and seeking to force even more Palestinians outside their homeland. It is part of the same system that denies millions of Palestinians their right to return and attempts to continue the Nakba on an ongoing basis,” Kates wrote in a statement following her ordeal.

“At the same time, I also witnessed numerous holders of international passports singled out for their names, visibly Muslim or Arab appearance, or travels to Arab countries, and subject to degrading and offensive interrogations regarding their religion and personal relationships,” Kates continued.

Right to Enter, the entry advocacy group, has advice for people held up at Ben Gurion or a land-crossing. Even if Israel denies you entry, it’s not the end of the story.

“Remain calm but firm.  Remember you are not alone in being denied entry and many before you have been successful in entering even after being denied entry, some by making an appeal case on the spot and others by returning a few days/weeks afterwards,”  their website reads on what to do if denied entry  “DO NOT throw a tantrum or insult the officials.  This will only antagonize the situation.”

OLYMPIC IMAGES ~~ ISRAEL’S PRIVATE GAMES

While is  celebrating closing ceremony Israel continues the murdering games of airstrikes

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A new milestone: BDS at the Olympics

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Islam El Shehaby refuses to shake Or Sasson's hand. (Photo: Getty images)

Islam El Shehaby refuses to shake Or Sasson’s hand. (Photo: Getty images)

“I have no problem with Jewish people or any other religion or different beliefs. But for personal reasons, you can’t ask me to shake the hand of anyone from this state, especially in front of the whole world.” These words, spoken by an individual who has just engaged in a gesture of support for the Palestinian people, are a standard response to the accusation of anti-Semitism which is routinely hurled at pro-justice activists.

The necessary distinction made between the “Jewish people” and the Israeli state is one Israel itself seeks to erase, as it strives to deflect all criticism of its policies, blaming it on anti-Jewish hatred instead. As such, these words do not in themselves establish new grounds, but a new approach to solidarity. Yet as Egyptian judoka Islam El-Shehaby uttered them last week in Brazil, they signified a new milestone: the sports boycott had arrived at the 2016 Olympic Games.

“Shaking the hand of your opponent is not an obligation written in the judo rules. It happens between friends and he’s not my friend,” El Shehaby explained, in the fallout from his action, which resulted in his dismissal from the games, for “poor sportsmanship.”

One day before El-Shehaby’s refusal to shake the hand of the Israeli Olympian he had just competed with, another judoka, Saudi Joud Fahmy, had withdrawn from the competition, in order not to have to compete against an Israeli athlete, should she win and advance to the next round.

And yet two days earlier, the Lebanese team had refused to let Israeli athletes ride on the same bus that had picked them up first, on its way to the opening ceremony. The Lebanese athletes persistently blocked the door, preventing the Israelis from getting onto the bus. As a result, the International Olympic Committee had to send in a separate bus for the Israelis.

While the Olympics are without a doubt an athletic competition, they are also, and to an equal degree, about the countries that send these athletes to the games. At the end of the day, and at the end of the games, we have a countdown of medals by country. And even as the Games are said to be about nations coming together, they are really yet another venue for pitting nations against each other. When any athlete competes, their country and their country’s flag is displayed as prominently as their own name. The winner’s national anthem is played during the medal ceremony, and all are expected to show their respect to that country. It is no surprise that the formidable gold medalist Gabby Douglas has been pilloried by her compatriots for her refusal to place her hand on her heart during the US national anthem, (even though she was otherwise very respectful), and one of the most iconic political images in Olympics history remains the raised Black Power fists of Tommie Smith and John Carlos, at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City.

Of course then, the snubbing by Lebanese, Egyptian, and Saudi athletes of members of the Israeli delegation is a political act. And of course, Israel has complained that these athletes “are bringing their respective countries’ ongoing conflict with Israel to the Rio games.”

The actions of these athletes are in keeping with the Palestinian call for global solidarity in the form of BDS, including the sports boycott of Israel. A sports boycott is an individual gesture with the greater immediate negative consequences suffered by the person engaging in it, as they will likely be disqualified from further competition. Yet the Arab athletes who refused to normalize with the Israelis have been criticized as violating “etiquette” and “the Olympic spirit.” Which drives one to wonder, is this yet another venue where Israeli exceptionalism wins, as the violent, racist state is left off the hook, not held accountable for its assault on Palestinian athletes?

Over the recent years, Israel has prevented Olympics-bound Palestinian team chiefs from leaving the country. It had restricted their freedom of movement, making it basically impossible for them to practice in adequate facilities, and it has shot at the ankles of Palestinian soccer players. Where was the criticism when these crimes were committed? Two years ago, an international campaign to ban Israel from FIFA, because of its human rights violations, had failed to pressure the international organization into censoring that country.

When no official organization is willing to hold Israel accountable, individuals can do so. The snubbing by some athletes of the Israeli delegation is a noble gesture in a political arena, and it is incumbent on us to appreciate it for what it is: a refusal to normalize with a country that bombs young boys playing on the beach, prevents young swimmers from reaching a pool, and prohibits Olympic hopefuls in Gaza from training with their compatriots in the West Bank. We then can surely appreciate the exquisite irony of the separate buses at the Olympic village for the delegation from a country that builds separate roads for its Jewish citizens, transporting them to their Jewish settlements in illegally occupied territories.

While the Olympics athletes were competing in Rio, another game was being played halfway around the world with an overt political message as well: we will not be cowered into “civility” towards an apartheid state. In Glasgow, Scotland, fans of Scotland’s Celtic FC had organized an event to “Fly the Flag for Palestine, for Celtic, for Justice,” during a game against the Israeli team Hapoel Beer Sheva.  The Facebook page of the event is clear about its understanding of the political reality of Israel, as the organizers explain that the display of flags would be to “invoke our democratic rights to display our opposition to Israeli apartheid, settler-colonialism and countless massacres of the Palestinian people.”

The fans had been warned by UEFA that they could face fines or the closing down of part of their stadium if they flew the Palestinian flag. But, as John Wight writes, “Celtic supporters are typically among the most politically aware and conscious of any demographic in society. For them Celtic is more than just another football club it is a political and social institution, one that has always stood and must continue to stand for justice in the face of injustice, racism, oppression, and against apartheid wherever and whenever it arises.”

Around the world, the Palestinian flag—almost like the kuffiyeh—has taken on a dimension beyond nationalism to signify progressive politics, a collective stand against systemic violence, and anti-colonialism everywhere. And as the game began, Palestinian flags appeared everywhere in the stands. A sea of Palestinian flags greeted the Israeli team in defiance of UEFA rules, and at the risk of the Celtic FC being penalized. Yes, flying the flag was without a doubt an expression of solidarity with the Palestinian people. But it was also a rejection of the system behind the oppression of the Palestinian people; a rejection of apartheid, colonialism and racism. The display of hundreds of Palestinian flags at the Celtic FC game showed an understanding of shared experiences of discrimination, disenfranchisement, dispossession, and a rejection of the Zionist narrative. Every flag that flew in that stadium ripped at Israel’s projection of normalcy and its paper-thin veneer of “democracy.” And the media carried the news around the globe, amplifying the gesture.

Beyond the boycott of consumer products in grocery stores, BDS has so far dealt a major blow to Israel’s image. Artists continue to cancel scheduled concerts in Tel Aviv, academic associations are voting to boycott complicit Israeli institutions, churches are screening their portfolios to divest from companies that profit from Israel’s illegal practices, and the recent events in Scotland and at the 2016 Olympics are the principled athletes’ way of saying: we do not normalize with the representatives of a pariah state. Before these gestures get spun into anti-Semitic incidents by Zionist hasbara, it is incumbent upon BDS activists and organizers to explain the context of the snubbing, the defiance, and the refusal to engage in “good sportsmanship” with a country that violates the most basic human rights of an entire people.

DIRECT LINE TO JOE McCARTHY IN ISRAEL

Jerusalem-based BDS watchdog call center takes the fight to anti-Israel activities by providing activists’ information reported by civilians to Interior Ministry; group seeks deportation of activsts or barring their entry into Israel.

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Israel’s watchdog center fighting BDS

In a small office situated in the heart of Jerusalem a telephone center has been established which allows people in Israel to call and report Boycotts, Divestments and Sanctions movement (BDS) activities inside the country designed to harm its international standing.

In recent years, the influential watchdog center against the BDS movement, ‘Lev B’Olam’ (Heart of the World), has taken on itself the struggle against the pernicious phenomenon by relying on civilians to bring it to their attention.

When a caller alerts the organization, a representative completes a complaint form and asks a series of questions to gather as much information as possible such as how many BDS activists are involved in a given incident, what they are doing, whether they are using cameras etc. As much pedigree information is compiled about the individuals in question including their names, their places of residence and whether the activists belong to any specific organization.

The accumulated information is then added to a special file and transferred to the Ministry of Interior and Internal Security.

The initiative, which has already been around for some three years, was intensified following the Israeli deportation of Rita Faye, a BDS activists known to the IDF for her activities at checkpoints and harassment of Israeli soldiers.

Faye, from Switzerland, had visited Israel several times in pursuit of her efforts to document alleged Israeli wrongdoing. However, she was deported in accordance with a deportation order from Interior Minister Aryeh Deri (Shas) at the end of July after being taken in for questioning upon arrival in Ben Gurion Airport.

In addition to Faye’s deportation, Deri and Minister of Internal Security Gilad Erdan established a team dedicated to deporting, or preventing the entry of, activists bent on promoting boycotts against the State of Israel.

According to Nati Rom, the general manager of ‘Lev B’Olam’, “The watchdog is the answer to the calls by Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan. This is a civilian initiative whose aim is to locate the activists arriving in Israel under the guise of a tourist and trying to sabotage the Zionist enterprise in Israel. We are here in order to receive as much information about them as possible.”

‘Lev B’Olam’ has already been operating for three years and has been undertaking efforts to combat BDS activities designed to delegitimize Israel. As part of its efforts, the organization engages in PR activities by sending its representatives to European capitals and to BDS hotspots.

The center operates from Sunday to Thursday between the hours of 9am and 4pm and has both Hebrew and English speakers. Callers are also able to send relevant footage, photographs and documents via email.

Source and photos @

HEY SANTANA ~~ DON’T PALESTINIAN CHILDREN MATTER TO YOU?

Santana, Cancel Your Gig in Israel!

Watch and share this video urging musician Carlos Santana to respect the call for boycott and stand on the right side of history by cancelling his gig in Israel!

 

Santana isn’t just a rock legend – he’s a respected, devoted advocate for children around the world.

Israeli soldiers and police have killed more than 1,800 Palestinian children since 2000. Every year the Israeli military arrests and prosecutes around 700 Palestinian children.

But when members of the Middle East Children’s Alliance and JVP- Bay Area attempted to deliver our petition signed by 25,000 urging him to cancel his upcoming concert in Tel Aviv, staff at the office literally locked the door, closed the blinds, and refused to receive it.

Santana himself knows there’s a crisis here – in 2010 he canceled a show in Tel Aviv because of Israeli human rights violations. And Palestinian children are facing the same, and ever worsening, oppression by the Israeli government.

Let’s insist Santana get’s the message: share this video today!

IN THE BIG APPLE, THE APPLE FALLS FAR FROM THE TREE

Cuomo’s sliding scale

       Cuomo's shifting standards on boycott, a cartoon by Katie Miranda Cuomo’s shifting standards on boycott, a cartoon by Katie Miranda


Cuomo’s shifting standards on boycott, a cartoon by Katie Miranda

 

Andrew Cuomo’s executive order targeting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel reveals his double standard for boycott, as he was eager to boycott other states for LGBTQ rights violations, and his father, to whom he was a close adviser, urged divestment from South Africa. 

 

Originally AT

IN PHOTOS ~~ NEW YORKERS SAY NO TO CUOMO

Scores of New Yorkers demonstrated for Justice in America and Palestine yesterday

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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STANDING WITH ISRAEL IS STANDING ON THE WRONG SIDE OF HISTORY

We regret that Governor Cuomo is among those standing on the wrong side of history, and we express our appreciation to the growing number of courageous policymakers and citizens who stand with the Palestinian people today.

June 5, 2016-New York City --.Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signs a first-in-the-nation Executive Order directing the divestment of public funds supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel during a breakfast meeting at the Harvard Club. Afterwards, Governor Cuomo marched in the Salute to Israel Parade. (Photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)

June 5, 2016-New York City –.Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signs a first-in-the-nation Executive Order directing the divestment of public funds supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel during a breakfast meeting at the Harvard Club. Afterwards, Governor Cuomo marched in the Salute to Israel Parade. (Photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)

BDS movement: ‘Governor Cuomo is among those standing on the wrong side of history’

Palestinian BDS National Committee VIA

This week, as Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, enter their 50th year living under Israel’s regime of military occupation and settlements, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has chosen to issue an anti-democratic executive order creating a blacklist of companies and organizations that abide by BDS campaigns for Palestinian freedom, justice and equality. The order is a prelude to McCarthyism 2.0, where loyalty to Israel’s far-right apartheid government, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, trumps respect for human rights, free speech, and common decency.

Launched in 2005 by the absolute majority in Palestinian civil society — including labor unions, students groups, and women’s grassroots movements — the inclusive, nonviolent, global BDS movement seeks to hold Israel’s regime of military occupation, colonization and apartheid accountable to international law, as was done to the apartheid regime in South Africa. The overarching goal of the movement is contributing to the realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people by asking institutions and individuals to cut their complicity in maintaining Israel’s regime of oppression, which has only grown worse over time. 

As the New York Civil Liberties Union has said, attempts to create blacklists to financially penalize groups, businesses, and others that engage in politically motivated speech and association “reach far beyond what is constitutionally permissible.” The U.S. Supreme Court has “clearly established that First Amendment protections apply to politically-motivated economic boycotts aimed at influencing public policy and advancing social change.”

The governments of SwedenNetherlands and Ireland have upheld the right to campaign for Palestinian rights under international law through BDS tactics against Israel, and so have Amnesty InternationalHuman Rights Watch and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH).

Having failed to stop the growth in grassroots support for BDS as an effective strategy to realize Palestinian rights, Israel has adopted since 2014 a new top-down strategy that employs legal warfare, espionage and intensified propaganda to block citizens and civil society groups from exercising their right to boycott. 

Israel is seeking support from governments in Europe and North America to shield its regime of oppression from accountability and sanctions similar to those applied against apartheid South Africa.

The Palestinian BDS National Committee, the largest coalition in Palestinian society that is leading the global BDS movement, will continue working with our partners around the world, who recognize that individuals must step in where governments have failed us. We are determined to continue our contribution to our people’s struggle for our UN-stipulated human rights.

We regret that Governor Cuomo is among those standing on the wrong side of history, and we express our appreciation to the growing number of courageous policymakers and citizens who stand with the Palestinian people today.

Here’s YOUR chance to STAND WITH HUMANITY today

(Click on link)

SAY NO TO CUOMO! ~~ KEEP McCARTHY OUT OF NEW YORK!!

Image by Carlos Latuff

Image by Carlos Latuff

SAY NO TO CUOMO! ~~ KEEP McCARTHY OUT OF NEW YORK!!

Gov. Cuomo just signed a McCarthyite executive order requiring state agencies to divest from organizations that support the Palestinian call to boycott companies profiting from, or cultural institutions complicit in, Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people. 

This is also, of course, an attack on our rights.

On June 5 New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law an executive order aimed at the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement. BDS is a non-violent economic and political protest against the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories.

On June 5 New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law an executive order aimed at the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement. BDS is a non-violent economic and political protest against the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories.

Image by Carlos Latuff

*** PLEASE CIRCULATE WIDELY***

Thursday, June 9th, 5:30 PM
Outside Gov. Cuomo’s office, 633 3rd Avenue between 40th and 41st
Organized by Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel; Jewish Voice for Peace-NY; and Jews Say No!

Tell Gov. Cuomo: We will proudly continue to stand for justice and boycott Israel until it complies with international law and respects Palestinian human rights!

State-sanctioned backlash against the movement for Palestinian human rights has reached a new low: Gov. Cuomo just signed a McCarthyite executive order requiring state agencies to divest from organizations that support the Palestinian call to boycott companies profiting from, or cultural institutions complicit in, Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people. Furthermore, the order requires the creation of a publicly available blacklist of all companies and institutions that support the movement. 

Boycott is a time-honored tool of communities across the globe. Cuomo’s move is blatantly unconstitutional and is shamelessly designed to attack the movement for Palestinian human rights.

Please join us! Tell Gov. Cuomo: We will continue to stand for justice and boycott Israel until the Palestinian people achieve freedom, justice, and equality. We will continue to boycott Israel because it is the right thing to do. 

Please RSVP to the Facebook event here and share with friends

Related article from Mondoweiss HERE

 

BDS ~~ ‘THE WINNING FAILURE’

The winning 'failure'

The winning ‘failure’

The Israeli government has claimed that the BDS Movement has had no effect on their economy ….. See THIS post from HaAretz …..

If that is the case, why are they and their supporters doing everything in their power to discredit and destroy the Movement? The latest attack coming from Governor Cuomo of New York State ….

Cuomo’s fierce advocacy for Israel is unsurprising. He has an eye on the White House and, as a well known Democrat with a host of conservative views, a fierce anti-BDS position works well to get the support of establishment Democrats who fear the leftward shift in the party marked by Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign. Indeed Israel was Cuomo’s first choice of foreign destination as governor, signaling that the interests of Israel were deeply tied his state.

Be sure to sign the Petition at the end of this post

Why Andrew Cuomo Is Worst Possible Face of the Anti-BDS Movement
 By Ari Paul

Pro-Israel activists who are battling the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) against the Israeli military occupation of Palestinian territory emphasize the freedom and democracy of Israeli society and juxtapose it to the intolerance of the BDS movement. With his new anti-BDS bill, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has made it that much harder for activists to take the moral high ground.

The measure couldn’t find its way through the state legislature, so Cuomo took to Twitter and announced that he would issue an executive order banning the state from doing business with groups that boycott Israel.

Cuomo’s fierce advocacy for Israel is unsurprising. He has an eye on the White House and, as a well known Democrat with a host of conservative views, a fierce anti-BDS position works well to get the support of establishment Democrats who fear the leftward shift in the party marked by Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign. Indeed Israel was Cuomo’s first choice of foreign destination as governor, signaling that the interests of Israel were deeply tied his state.

But if Cuomo’s maverick stance on BDS has any effect, it would be to move the anti-BDS movement into illiberal territory. This is not new territory for Cuomo, whose tenure has included advocacy for fracking (although he did finally give in due to environmentalist pressure), privatizing public education, demanding punishing monetary concessions from state worker unions, using New York City’s public university funding as a political football against New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and fighting New York City’s universal pre-K program.

Perhaps worse for the pro-Israel activists than having their bill imposed on a state legislature that didn’t want it, is being associated with Cuomo himself. In a scandal-plagued state, his team is the focus of a federal investigation, which may not put him behind bars but could leave his legacy and ambitions in tatters. His abrupt shuttering of the anti-corruption task force he had set up whipped up such discontent from liberals that it forced a strong primary challenge from law professor Zephyr Teachout and helped the candidacy of Green Party candidate and left-wing Teamster member Howie Hawkins.

Throw into the mix his oft-displayed contempt for de Blasio and the cost of this anti-BDS bill gets ever higher. Regardless of one’s feelings about the Big Apple mayor, Cuomo’s behavior is testament to a personal immaturity that would rather short change nine million of his own citizens in one of the world’s most important cities than let go of a petty feud.

Whether StandWithUs or ZOA like it or not, this petty tyranny has become the political face of anti-BDS. It seems that this how far this movement has to go, how defensive it has to get to oppose people who are so angry at Israel’s right-wing militarism that they’d take their frustration out by forgoing a Sodastream. And that’s particularly sad, because even as a non-Zionist, I’m open to hearing criticisms of BDS as a tactic. Pro-Palestine academic Norman Finkelstein has caused a stir being critical of the movement, and Noam Chomsky has come out against cultural boycotts.

We should definitely be having debates about the substance of a desired outcome for the territories and the strategies to best arrive at them. But if one’s course of action is to get an unlikable political hack to bypass the legislature to outlaw a thought crime, it makes the anti-BDS movement seem desperate and contradicts its claims to be a defender of democracy and openness.

In a way, this will still be a win for the pro-Israel side, since, at least in New York, it is so political risky to advocate for Palestinian rights that finding a way to undo this order seems futile. But it is in its own way a defeat. It’s a sighing resignation that rather than confront the issues within Israel that have human rights activists concerned, anti-BDS allies threw all aspects of liberal democracy to the wind to just silence their voices. It may work. It may silence those voices, and may allow the Israeli right to keep its hold not just on official power but over what can and can’t be said about the country. But even in New York State it’s another hole in the already leaky vessel of liberal democracy being steered by moderate Zionists and defenders of Israel.

Sign the Petition HERE

GOVERNOR CUOMO: REPEAL YOUR UNCONSTITUTIONAL EXECUTIVE ORDER!

SILENCING THE LAMBS …. YET AGAIN

 First there was THIS …..
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Famous entertainer and civil rights activist Paul Robeson loses his court appeal to try to force the Department of State to grant him a passport. The continued government persecution of Robeson illustrated several interesting points about Cold War America.
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Robeson was seen as a danger because he often interspersed his performances with comments about race relations in the United States. Before and after his performances, he gave numerous interviews condemning segregation and discrimination in America. For some U.S. policymakers, who viewed America’s poor record of race relations as the nation’s “Achilles’ heel” in terms of the propaganda war with the Soviet Union, having a well known African-American denounce segregation and praise the Russians was unacceptable.
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Full report HERE
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Now THIS …..

Israel has officially refused to renew the travel document of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement co-founder Omar Barghouti in a move that amounts to a travel ban and is an escalation of its attacks on Palestinian human rights defenders who nonviolently advocate for Palestinian rights under international law.

Image by Carlos Latuff

Israel imposes travel ban on BDS co-founder

Israel imposes travel ban on BDS co-founder

 

Israel imposes travel ban on BDS movement co-founder Omar Barghouti 

Israel has officially refused to renew the travel document of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement co-founder Omar Barghouti in a move that amounts to a travel ban and is an escalation of its attacks on Palestinian human rights defenders who nonviolently advocate for Palestinian rights under international law.

Barghouti, who lives with his family in Acre, has Israeli permanent residency and requires an Israeli travel document to be able to travel in and out of Palestine/Israel. His immediate reaction was: “I am unnerved but certainly undeterred by these threats. Nothing will stop me from struggling for my people’s freedom, justice and peace”.

Israel’s decision not to grant a renewal of the travel document on baseless bureaucratic pretenses is being viewed by human rights experts as the first step towards revoking Barghouti’s permanent residency.

Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri had threatened as much at a recent anti-BDS conference held in Jerusalem when he disclosed that he was “inclined to fulfill” a request he had received from a far-right Israeli member of parliament to revoke Barghouti’s permanent residency.

The travel ban follows thinly-veiled incitement to physical violence against Barghouti and BDS activists by Israeli Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz and Minister of Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan. Katz called on Israel to engage in “targeted civil eliminations” of BDS leaders, while Erdan described BDS activists and leaders as threats and called for them to “pay the price” for their work, following this with a clarification that he does not mean “physical harm”. Defending “campaigns to hold Israel accountable for human rights and other international law violations”, Amnesty International has expressed its concern for “the safety and liberty of Palestinian human rights defender Omar Barghouti” following these threats, “including of physical harm and deprivation of basic rights”.

As a leading volunteer with the BDS movement, Barghouti regularly travels internationally to raise awareness about Israel’s violations of Palestinian human rights and to advocate for BDS as an effective strategy to end Israel’s regime of occupation and apartheid. Rooted in a long heritage of Palestinian popular resistance, BDS is also inspired by the global boycott movement that helped to end South Africa’s apartheid regime and by the U.S. Civil Rights Movement.

The Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council has recently affirmed “the right of all individuals to participate in and advocate for boycott, divestment, and sanction actions”, calling on states and businesses to “uphold their related legal responsibilities”.

Mahmoud Nawajaa, the general coordinator of the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), the broadest coalition in Palestinian civil society that leads the global BDS movement, said:

“Having failed to stop the growth of BDS in the mainstream, Israel is now launching a desperate and dangerous global war of repression on the movement. After losing many battles for the hearts and minds at the grassroots level, Israel and its well-oiled lobby groups are pressuring western states to implement patently anti-democratic measures that threaten civil liberties at large”.

“By banning our colleague Omar Barghouti from travelling and threatening him with physical violence, Israel is showing the lengths it will go to in order to stop the spread of the non-violent BDS movement for Palestinian freedom, justice and equality”.

The international BDS movement aims to pressure Israel, as South African apartheid was pressured, to comply with international law. It has attracted the support of mainstream unions, churches and political parties across the world and compelled large corporations, including Veolia and Orange, to end their involvement in Israel’s human rights violations.

Prominent artists including Ms. Lauryn Hill and Roger Waters have refused to perform in Tel Aviv; several academic associations in the U.S. and thousands of academics in Europe, South Africa, North America and Latin America have endorsed a comprehensive boycott of Israeli universities. The authors of a recent UN report said that a 46% drop in foreign direct investment in Israel in 2014 was partly due to the impact of BDS.

At Israel’s request, governments in the UK, France, Canada and state legislatures in the U.S. are introducing anti-BDS legislation and taking other anti-democratic measures to repress BDS activism. In France, one activist was arrested simply for wearing a BDS t-shirt.

Israel is also using its security services to spy on BDS activists across the world, as repeatedly reported in the Israeli media and by the Associated Press. This espionage is likely to involve monitoring of citizens’ communications in violation of domestic laws.

Journalist and constitutional lawyer Glenn Greenwald, known for breaking the NSA surveillance story, has described this well-orchestrated series of draconian measures against the BDS movement as the “greatest threat to free speech in the West”.

Mahmoud Nawajaa added:

“The western governments that are repressing BDS activism at home are giving Israel a green light to continue its violations of international law with impunity. We urge governments, parliaments and human rights organisations to follow Amnesty International’s lead and uphold his rights as a human rights defender under threat”.

Find out more about Israel’s attacks on the BDS movement here.

Source Palestinian BDS National Committee  VIA

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL: IN DEFENSE OF BDS

Amnesty International is urging the Israeli government to end its threats and attacks against Palestinian and Israeli human rights defenders, including leaders of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.

A European coalition is campaigning to protect the right to speak out in support of Palestinian rights. (Ryan Rodrick Beiler) / ActiveStills

A European coalition is campaigning to protect the right to speak out in support of Palestinian rights. (Ryan Rodrick Beiler) / ActiveStills

Amnesty condemns Israel’s threats against BDS activists

Amnesty International is urging the Israeli government to end its threats and attacks against Palestinian and Israeli human rights defenders, including leaders of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.

Meanwhile, European civil society groups are launching a new campaign to defend freedom of speech from efforts to curtail it by Israel and European leaders allied with it.

“An escalation of acts of intimidation by the government and attacks and threats by settlers and other non-state actors have created an increasingly dangerous environment” for human rights defenders in Israel and the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, Amnesty said on Tuesday.

The group expressed particular concern for the “safety and liberty of Palestinian human rights defender Omar Barghouti, and other boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) activists, following calls alluding to threats, including of physical harm and deprivation of basic rights, made by Israeli ministers.”

The threats were made at the “Stop the Boycott” conference held in Jerusalem on 28 March and attended by Israeli leaders as well as by EU and US diplomats.

“An especially alarming statement came from Israeli Minister of Transport, Intelligence and Atomic Energy Yisrael Katz who called on Israel to engage in ‘targeted civil eliminations’ of BDS leaders with the help of Israeli intelligence,” Amnesty stated.

It noted that the term Katz employed “alludes to ‘targeted assassinations’ which is used to describe Israel’s policy of targeting members of Palestinian armed groups.”

Amnesty also condemned statements by Israel’s public security minister Gilad Erdan that activists including Barghouti should “pay the price” for their work, although Erdan denied he was calling for physical harm.

Similarly, interior minister Aryeh Deri threatened to revoke Barghouti’s residency permit.

“Slightly safer”

Amnesty described these statements as the most serious examples of “threats and intimidation” to date, and called on Israeli ministers to uphold human rights and avoid “inflammatory public remarks” against Barghouti and other human rights defenders.

Israel should also “withdraw [the] threat to arbitrarily restrict his freedom of movement and cancel his permanent residency in Israel,” Amnesty added.

Barghouti has welcomed Amnesty’s public intervention.

“I already feel slightly safer, having received this clear position by Amnesty International,” Barghouti told The Electronic Intifada.

“It not only criticizes the Israeli government’s intimidation and violent threats against me and my BDS colleagues, it defends our right to engage in the nonviolent BDS movement to defend the rights of the Palestinian people under international law,” Barghouti added.

Barghouti, a co-founder of the BDS movement, also renewed his call for Israel to be isolated.

“The UN and all states must strongly reject Israel’s well-oiled attempts to delegitimize the BDS movement and support our right to BDS,” he said. “The most effective way for them to hold Israel’s regime of oppression accountable for its grave crimes against the Palestinian people is through imposing sweeping sanctions on it similar to those adopted against apartheid South Africa.”

In contrast to Amnesty’s stance, Ambassador Lars Faaborg-Andersen, the top EU envoy in Tel Aviv who participated in the Stop the Boycott conference, has refused to condemn the Israeli threats.

Legislating silence

Amnesty noted that the threats against BDS activists come in the context of a broad assault on Palestinian and Israeli human rights defenders by government and non-state actors aimed at suppressing freedom of expression and assembly.

Incidents mentioned by Amnesty include the death threats against Imad Abu Shamsiyeh, the Palestinian whofilmed the point-blank execution of a Hebron youth by an Israeli soldier on 24 March; the series of death threatsagainst the staff of the Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq; the arrests of Hebron anti-settlement activistsIssa Amro and Farid al-Atrash; the imprisonment of Palestinian parliamentarian Khalida Jarrar and “vicious” invective and threats directed at Breaking the Silence, an Israeli group that collects and publishes anonymized confessions of abuses by Israeli soldiers.

Amnesty also pointed out that in recent years, “the Israeli authorities have passed a number of laws that restrict the space for opposition to Israeli government policies and actions.”

Currently making their way through parliament are additional laws “that appear to be aimed at curtailing freedom of expression and freedom of association,” Amnesty stated.

These include the so-called transparency bill, a measure seen as an attack on groups critical of Israel’s human rights record.

Another is the “Loyalty in Culture” bill which would give the government the power to retroactively withdraw funding from cultural activities that “contravene the principles of the state.”

The right to BDS

This week a coalition of European civil society groups launched a new campaign to support freedom of speech and political action for Palestinian rights.

The European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine (ECCP) is calling on human rights organizations, civil liberties groups, social movements, trade unions and political parties to sign a petition to the European Union “opposing government-led attacks on free speech and civil liberties that are being implemented in order to undermine civil society’s human rights initiatives in support of the Palestinian people’s struggle for freedom, justice and equality.”

“As Israel is increasingly unable to defend its regime of apartheid and settler colonialism over the Palestinian people and its regular massacres of Palestinians in Gaza, it is seeking supportive governments in Europe and the US to undermine free speech as a way of shielding it from criticism and measures aimed at holding it to account for its gross violations of international law,” ECCP states, citing recent repressive acts by authorities in the UKand France, as well as the threats by Israeli ministers.

“Regardless of their position on BDS, human rights organizations and citizens of the world who care about civil rights and human rights have to take a clear stand to defend the right to advocate for BDS as a matter of conscience and free speech and a nonviolent means of civil society to advocate the fundamental rights of the Palestinians,” ECCP adds.

SAVE OUR CHILDREN BY SUPPORTING BDS

Don’t buy Israeli products.

Don’t allow Israeli firms to operate in your respective country.

Don’t invest in Israel. 

This is the very least you could do to save the Palestinian people from the clutches of diabolical Zionism.

save_palestine_by_syahrulrizalnf-d5xt4mg

To the Peoples of the world: Please don’t kill our children 

By Khalid Amayreh in Occupied Palestine

In the past few months, especially since the beginning of the current wave of Palestinian resistance against Israel’s enduring brutal military occupation, about six months ago, the Israeli army and other security forces adopted a decidedly murderous policy against Palestinians, especially children. 

A shoot-to-kill policy was adopted by the Israeli political and military leadership, apparently for the purpose of terrorizing and “deterring” the Palestinian populace.   Consequently, dozens of young Palestinians were needlessly murdered on the streets of the West Bank on the pretext that some of the victims may have put the life of Israeli soldiers at risk. 

In some incidents, soldiers fired additional bullets at the heads of the already completely “neutralized” Victims. 

In the Israeli army lexicon, this is done for the purpose of verifying their death. 

The gruesome killings leave no doubt as to the nefarious behavior of the murderous soldiers. 

Israel has no credible justice system when it comes to dealing with the Palestinians. 

Jewish religious laws don’t ascribe real humanity to non-Jews in general. This disgusting mindset is applied to the fullest when dealing with the Palestinians. 

Occasionally, Israel does some PR work to mitigate anger wit regard to a specific crime that had its way to the world media, especial the social media. 

Israeli Hasbara would cite alleged extenuating circumstances such as claiming the murdering soldiers were under mental pressure, thought they were about to get killed or didn’t really intend to murder the Palestinian victim!! 

However, when protests get quieter and the specific crime fades away from memory, the specific murderer is shamelessly exonerated of any wrong-doing, celebrated as a hero, and given citations for valor. 

This shows that that Israel effectively encourages its soldiers to murder innocent Palestinians on the spot if there is the slightest suspicion that they might be planning to hurl a stone toward the soldiers or stab them with a small and virtually innocuous kitchen knife. 

In many verified instances, the murderous soldiers hastened to place a knife they carry with them, near the already murdered Palestinian lying on the ground. 

The purpose of this criminal behavior is to give the impression that the victim had sought to stab and kill Israelis. 

More to the point, Soldiers patrolling the streets of the West Bank receive hair-raising instructions, illustrating the evilness and brutal ugliness of the Israeli mentality. 

They are commanded to shoot first and ask questions later. . Of course we can all imagine how a young soldier would behave vis-à-vis the Palestinians, having been indoctrinated in school and synagogue that the life of a non-Jew in general and a Palestinian in particular has no sanctity because, according to the Talmud, he is not a bona fide human being.” 

Such soldiers are raised to be “Born to kill murderers.” That is why they murder children and innocent civilians without the slightest compunctions. They even would celebrate the murder with their comrades and superiors! 

As to the victim, he or she is treated as another number rather than a human being. 

Not only that, his home is often demolished in the quiet hours before dawn, relatives arrested and harassed. Israel has even threatened to deport families of Palestinians involved in the current mini-intifada to the Gaza Strip or elsewhere. The timeless principle of “innocent until proven guilty” has no existence in Israel, especially as far as Palestinians are concerned. 

Today, Israel is having a free season on helpless and unprotected Palestinians. Israel is ganging up on the Palestinians in what seems to be slow-motion annihilation. 

I am not saying that Israel is carrying a holocaust similar to the German holocaust 70 years ago. 

But even the German holocaust lasted for 3 years whereas the Palestinian plight has been going on for nearly 70 years. 

By the end of the Second World War, the West rose up to help the Jews by establishing a state for them at the expense of the native Palestinians. 

However, the international community is effectively abandoning the Palestinian people, granting evil Zionism a carte blanch to further torment the Palestinians and uproot them from their own ancestral homeland. 

This is why the peoples of the world must intensify their boycott and sanctions against the apartheid entity. 

So, we say to the peoples of the world, in all solemnity and seriousness: 

Don’t buy Israeli products.

Don’t allow Israeli firms to operate in your respective country.

Don’t invest in Israel. 

This is the very least you could do to save the Palestinian people from the clutches of diabolical Zionism. 

We are not making this outcry because we are anti-Jewish, God forbid. 

We are making these modest demands because buying Israeli products and doing business with Israel enable the apartheid entity to have more bullets to kill our children. 

Please, don’t kill our children.

#BDS ~~ WHY THE CULTURAL BOYCOTT IS GROWING

Israeli government is no “Champion” of freedom of expression

Over 100 Writers, Including Pulitzer Winners Junot Díaz, Richard Ford, and Alice Walker, and Award-Winning Author Louise Erdrich, Call on PEN American Center to Reject Israeli Government Sponsorship

PEN Refusing to Drop Sponsorship, According to a
Letter to its Members

New York, NY, April 5, 2016 – In a letter made public today over 100 writers, including Pulitzer Prize winners Junot Díaz, Richard Ford, and Alice Walker, and award-winning author Louise Erdrich, have called on the PEN American Center “to reject support from the Embassy of Israel” for PEN’s annual World Voices Festival. The seven-day Festival takes place from April 25 to May 1 in New York City. In promotional materials, PEN lists the Israeli Embassy as among the “Champions” of the Festival, and as a sponsor of one of the Festival’s panels.

The letter asserts, “It is deeply regrettable that the Festival has chosen to accept sponsorship from the Israeli government, even as it intensifies its decades-long denial of basic rights to the Palestinian people, including the frequent targeting of Palestinian writers and journalists.” The letter was sent to PEN privately on March 29 by Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel, with 62 individual and 11 organizational signatories. The list of signers has since grown to more than 100 individuals.

In addition to Díaz, Erdrich, Ford and Walker, other prominent writers who have signed the letter include Palestinian writer Dr. Ahmad Qatamesh, whose imprisonment without charge by the Israeli government was criticized by PEN International; writer and activistAngela Davis; American writers Russell Banks, Deborah Eisenberg and poet Eileen Myles; Palestinian-American novelists Susan Abulhawa and Randa Jarrar; former President and Vice President of English PEN Gillian Slovo and Kamila Shamsie; Egyptian British author Ahdaf Soueif; and South African writers Dr. Don Materra,Ronnie Kasrils and Breyten Breytenbach. Thirteen participants at the World Voices Festival have signed the letter, including Laura Flanders, Saleem Haddad, Laila Lalami, Solmaz Sharif, Yuri Herrera, Jordan Camp, Christina Heatherton, Arun Kundnani, Maaza Mengiste, Burhan Sönmez, Francisco Goldman, Jennif(f)er Tamayo, andLinh Dinh. Two other participants signed the letter and withdrew from the Festival.

Author Alice Walker commented, ”I signed the letter because, as a PEN member, I want this organization that is supposed to be a champion of writers’ rights to stand up for Palestinian writers, academics, and students who are suffering under a repressive Israeli regime that denies their right to freedom of expression. The last thing PEN should be doing is partnering with and promoting a government that denies Palestinians basic human rights.”

The letter is the latest effort to expose Brand Israel, a government public relations initiative launched in 2005 that uses cultural productions to distract from Israel’s systematic violations of Palestinian rights. Following a major Israeli attack on Gaza in 2009, the deputy director general for cultural affairs at Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairsexplained to The New York Times, “We will send well-known novelists and writers overseas, theater companies, exhibits… This way you show Israel’s prettier face, so we are not thought of purely in the context of war.”

A few hours after the letter was sent to PEN American Center, the organization emailedsome of its members, justifying its decision to maintain Israeli government funding by citing a policy against subscribing “to cultural boycotts of any kind” and the need to “promote dialogue.”

“Even if PEN opposes all forms of boycotts, PEN should have policies and ethical standards in place forbidding partnerships with significant human rights abusers,” saidMarilyn Hacker, Recipient of PEN Voelcker Award for Poetry and PEN Award for Poetry in Translation. “On that basis alone, PEN should rule out a partnership with the Israeli government.”

Omar Barghouti, a founder of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian freedom, justice and equality, added, “We are disappointed and concerned that PEN is choosing to stand with Israel’s repressive government rather than with a civil society initiative for freedom and human rights. PEN’s response avoided the issues we raised. We focused on PEN’s partnership with the Israeli government and explicitly said we are not calling to boycott or deny the freedom of expression of individual Israeli writers. For years, Palestinians have been told to engage in ‘dialogue,’ but the stronger party, Israel, has used ‘dialogue’ as a smoke screen behind which it ramps up repression and denies Palestinians’ their fundamental rights.”

Novelist Ru Freeman, editor of an anthology on Palestine, Extraordinary Rendition: (American) Writers on Palestine, commented, “PEN American Center’s leadership has repeatedly tarnished the World Voices Festival by accepting the sponsorship of an occupying force that oppresses our Palestinian peers, and refused to speak out against that oppression. The board of PEN should recognize that this violates the foundational principles of the organization. PEN has the resources to fund the participation of Israeli writers—which we support—without compromising its principles by associating with an apartheid government.”

PEN American Center, the Festival organizer, is a US branch of the writers’ freedom of expression organization PEN International. In 2015, over 200 writers wrote to PEN American Center criticizing the organization’s decision to give a freedom of expression award to the magazine Charlie Hebdodue to its racist content. Controversy has also arisen in past years over Israeli government sponsorship of PEN’s World Voices Festival.

ISRAEL RESPONDS WITH ITS OWN VERSION OF BDS

Israel informed the companies on Wednesday that their products were banned from entering Jerusalem through the Beitunia commercial crossing.

You can beat this ban by buying Palestinian products …. Click HERE and HERE

Image by Latuff

giftfrompalestine-campaign-opboycottisrael

Palestinian companies protest Israeli decision to ban their products

Israeli troops used tear gas to suppress a march held by five Palestinian food production companies on Sunday near the Israeli Ofer prison in the occupied West Bank.The companies protested by parking their trucks near the prison, after Israeli authorities banned their products from entering Jerusalem and Israel.

An Israeli army spokesman did not immediately respond for request for information about the protest.Israel informed the companies on Wednesday that their products were banned from entering Jerusalem through the Beitunia commercial crossing.The director of marketing for the Hamoda company, Fadi Abu Hilweh, told Ma’an on Saturday evening that Israeli troops at the crossing have been turning back trucks of the five companies since Wednesday.

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Hamoda head Ameer Haddad told Ma’an that Hamoda — along with the companies al-Juneidi Dairy and Food products, al-Rayyan Dairies, Salwa Foods, and Siniora Food Industries — all parked their trucks near the prison to protest the ban and “the horrible consequences of this decision.”Haddad added that the companies export their products to Jerusalem under agreements with Israel and that there was no grounds for the ban.
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He said the companies would continue protesting until Israeli authorities canceled the decision.Abu Hilweh said the companies were not officially notified of any decisions to ban their products in Israel and were “surprised” when Israeli soldiers at Beitunia commercial crossing denied their products entry to Israel on Wednesday.
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He added that about 50 percent of the five companies’ production goes to Palestinian consumers in occupied East Jerusalem and Palestinian communities in Israel.
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If this ban continues, he said, the companies could lose some 1.2 billion shekels ($309.5 million) a year.Hamoda has already notified its milk providers to halt supplies until the ban is resolved. Abu Hilweh said the five companies would have to discharge large numbers of workers if the ban continued.
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He added that he was surprised when Israeli authorities informed the companies that the decision to ban products was a “political” decision and “the Palestinian Authority was notified of the decision six months ago.”
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An official in the Palestinian Ministry of Economy, who requested anonymity, told Ma’an that the ministry was not notified of any such decision.“
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The ministry is looking into the case, which is a flagrant breach of Paris Protocols,” the official said, referring to an agreement signed in 1995 between the PLO and Israel, that set procedures and regulations governing economic relations between the occupied West Bank and Israel.
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Palestinian lawmaker and Secretary-General of the Palestinian National Initiative Mustafa Barghouthi said the Palestinian Authority should respond to the Israeli decision by banning Israeli products from entering the Palestinian market.
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According to the protocols, bilateral trade agreements between Israel and other parties are considered valid in the occupied West Bank, however Israel prevents the import of many Palestinian products to the Israeli market.
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A poll by the the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research conducted in June 2015 reported that the overwhelming majority of those interviewed in the West Bank and Gaza Strip — 86 percent — said they supported the campaign to boycott Israeli products.
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SOURCE

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