Stevie Wonder takes both knees ‘for America’ 

Stevie Wonder Performs National Anthem On Knees

“Feel me, feel me, Mr. President.”

Music icon Stevie Wonder showed solidarity with the NFL players protesting the American flag by taking a knee while singing The Star-Spangled Banner over the weekend.

Appearing at the 2017 Formula 1 Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, on Sunday (October 22), Wonder performed the national anthem on his harmonica as he lowered to his knees. During the song, Wonder called out President Trump when he said: “Feel me, feel me, Mr. President.”

Wonder has been an ardent supporter of the NFL protests since the beginning. Later on in the show, Wonder called for the nation to unify.

“I’ve never seen the color of my skin, nor the color of your skin,” said Wonder in reference to his blindness. “Not to get political, because I don’t like to do that. It is time for the leader of this nation, the leaders in the varied political positions that they hold, the people, we as artists — all of us come together as a united people of these United States of America.”

Wonder may say he does not like to get political, but past actions show that he indeed does like to get political, especially in forums that do not call for it.

In August, while serving on the telethon to raise relief money for Hurricane Harvey, Wonder used his platform on television to blast “climate change deniers” and President Trump.

“Anyone who believes that there’s no such thing as global warming must be blind or unintelligent,” said Wonder, adding, “Lord save us all.”




Kaepernick stands in a proud history of African-American athletes who have used their prominence to protest racism at home and unjust wars abroad. They have chosen to speak out at the height of their powers and in their prime money-making years. Often they have paid a high price personally, in their careers, their finances, their stature. And yet in the end, their sacrifice helped make this country better.

Muhammad Ali opposed the Vietnam War and was prosecuted for refusing to be inducted into the armed forces, stripped of his title and barred from fighting. He lost some of the best years of his boxing life, but his protest helped build the antiwar movement that eventually brought that tragic and misbegotten war to an end.

Colin Kaepernick’s Protest is Part of a Patriotic Tradition

Colin Kaepernick, the former quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers, is being blackballed — itself a revealing phrase — from the National Football League with the collusion of the all-white owners. He is ostracized because a year ago he exercised his First Amendment right to free speech by taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem.

Kaepernick isn’t hooked on drugs. He isn’t a felon. He hasn’t brutalized women. He is treated as a pariah because he protested the continued oppression “of black people and people of color.” He wanted, he said, to make people “realize what’s going on in this country. … There are a lot of things going on that are unjust, people aren’t being held accountable for, and that’s something that needs to change.” Born in Milwaukee, Wis., one of the most racially segregated cities in America, Kaepernick is particularly concerned about police brutality and the shocking police shootings of unarmed African Americans.

Surely his cause is just. Tens of thousands have joined peaceful demonstrations against police brutality in cities across the country. That movement, led by Black Lives Matter, put the issue of our institutionalized criminal injustice system back on the national agenda. Under President Barack Obama, the Justice Department reached agreements with dozens of police departments to change police training and tactics. There was bipartisan agreement to change racially discriminatory sentencing practices.

Kaepernick’s protest was nonviolent and dignified. The San Francisco 49ers, the NFL and President Obama all agreed that it was a protected act of free speech.

Yet the owners of the NFL and their front offices have ostracized Kaepernick. No follower of the sport would question his skill level. There are 64 quarterbacks on NFL teams, many of whom can’t hold a candle to Kaepernick. He’s ranked as the 17th best quarterback in the league. When he came back from injury last year, he started the last 11 games, racking up a 90.7 QB rating, with 16 touchdowns running and passing and only four interceptions, while playing on a team sorely lacking in talent. That rating was better than stars like Cam Newton, Philip Rivers and Eli Manning, among others.

Sports writers report that Kaepernick is loathed by the white owners and front offices, some of whom denounce him as unpatriotic. But what Kaepernick did — a dignified, nonviolent protest to raise awareness of a true and just cause — is the height of patriotism. It is the essence of democratic citizenship.

Others claim Kaepernick is excluded because he would be divisive, and teams have to be run with military discipline. But, our military has learned to succeed with people of all races, genders, sexual preferences and political perspectives. Almost 70 percent of the players on NFL teams are African American. For most of them, Kaepernick’s protests are not as divisive as Tom Brady’s open support of Donald Trump. Last year, Kaepernick’s teammates voted to give him the annual award for “inspirational and courageous play.”

No, Kaepernick is being treated as a pariah by the private club of white owners who are terrified of controversy. They clean up big time from public subsidies — tax breaks, public contributions to stadiums, television contracts — and they tremble at anything that might disrupt the gravy train. They want to make an example of Kaepernick as a way of teaching the rest of the players a lesson, hoping to keep plantation-like control of their players.

Kaepernick stands in a proud history of African-American athletes who have used their prominence to protest racism at home and unjust wars abroad. They have chosen to speak out at the height of their powers and in their prime money-making years. Often they have paid a high price personally, in their careers, their finances, their stature. And yet in the end, their sacrifice helped make this country better.

Muhammad Ali opposed the Vietnam War and was prosecuted for refusing to be inducted into the armed forces, stripped of his title and barred from fighting. He lost some of the best years of his boxing life, but his protest helped build the antiwar movement that eventually brought that tragic and misbegotten war to an end.

Curt Flood, an all-star centerfielder for the St. Louis Cardinals, refused to be bought and sold “like a slave.” His protest and litigation cost him much of his career, but it broke open the owners’ control of players, opened the way to free agency and transformed baseball.

Jackie Robinson broke open the racial barrier in baseball. He endured seasons of racial insult, on and off the field. His remarkable skill and character transformed baseball, and helped spur the civil rights movement. He joined Dr. King in the demonstrations for civil rights. In his autobiography, “I Never Had It Made,” published just before his death, he related his own feelings about the national anthem, as it played at the beginning of his first World Series game:

“There I was, the black grandson of a slave, the son of a black sharecropper … a symbolic hero to my people. … The band struck up the National Anthem. The flag billowed in the wind. It should have been a glorious moment for me as the stirring words of the National Anthem poured from the stands. Perhaps, it was, but then again….

“As I write this 20 years later, I cannot stand and sing the anthem. I cannot salute the flag; I know that I am a black man in a white world. In 1972, in 1947, at my birth in 1919, I know that I never had it made.”

Colin Kaepernick stands in a proud tradition. For choosing to speak out, he has been shut out. The collusion of the owners not only violates antitrust laws; it tramples basic constitutional protections. The NFL owners should be called to account, not Kaepernick.


The refusal of 43 men and women to continue their reserve duty in Israel’s elite 8200 intelligence-gathering unit has taken Israel by storm.



Meet the ‘Good Kids’ Who Refuse To Spy for Israel

By Elisheva Goldberg FOR



The refusal of 43 men and women to continue their reserve duty in Israel’s elite 8200 intelligence-gathering unit has taken Israel by storm. The group published a letter on Friday, and it made its way quickly into the Israeli, American, and international headlines. The letter stated that these soldiers and officers are no longer willing to serve in their capacities as occupiers. In their words: “We refuse to take part in actions against Palestinians and refuse to serve as tools in deepening the military control over the Occupied Territories… We cannot continue to serve this system in good conscience, denying the rights of millions of people.”

The response in Israel has been deafening. Members of Knesset who are also former members of the 8200 unit have spoken out. Likud MK and Coalition Leader Yariv Levin announced that “those who refuse to help defend our country cross the line between supporting the Israeli democracy and the freedom it represents to supporting Palestinian terror…” Labor MK and Opposition Leader Isaac Herzog rebuked the letter-writers and emphasized that there were other ways to generate discussion. Not long after it was published, 150 members of Unit 8200 wrote a response letter, calling the move a “cynical use of politics in their legal and moral duty to serve in the reserve unit.”

The question everyone is asking now is — is it? Is this explosive letter a mere political stunt designed to aim more antagonism at a 47-year occupation? Or is it, as the signatories claim, something deeper — an attempt to take responsibility for the unnecessary invasion of privacy of a people who have no civil or legal recourse. It’s hard to tell, and, as with most sticky moral issues, likely a bit of both.

When I sat down with three of the original 43 signatories — a philosophy student, a technology and communications employee, and a computer science doctoral candidate — my first impression was one of earnestness: these were the “good kids.” As an Israeli 18-year-old, you don’t get into Unit 8200 by being a slacker. You get in by doing well in school and by showing flexible thinking, confidence and the ability to work well with others. The hope is that these qualities, plus training, will give these young people enough dexterity and thoughtfulness that they can be trusted with the secrets of Israel’s deep state. Unit 8200 graduates go on to found and power Israel’s innovative start-ups, and these three were likely to be no exception.

The first thing R, G and Y told me was that there were rules that I would need to abide by: first, that the army required I not use their full first names, second, that they wouldn’t be able to tell me much beyond the Information Security-approved testimonies they had already sent me, and that they’d have to check on whether or not I was allowed publish these rules (they did, and it was fine). Then, after explaining the rules, they stuck to them.

I asked questions — “what were some of the extortionist tactics you used against Palestinians?” and “You mention in one of the testimonies that there was a particular instance that ‘shocked’ you, can you expand?” and “What does intelligence gathering look like around Palestinian citizens of Israel?” — but their answer was often a shy and sheepish “we can’t answer that.”

What was clear is that they were not there to expose 8200, the IDF, or the State of Israel as the bad guy — they were there to expose the occupation as the bad guy. R made this point to me: “We’re not deluding ourselves — intelligence is a dirty business, we know that. The point is that in this specific instance, we’re holding millions of people under military rule that isn’t necessary. It’s a [policy of] choice… We, on a moral level, are refusing to take part in that.”

Here, some context is necessary: Unit 8200 is the army’s signal intelligence gatherer and interpreter. It’s a spying operation. Unit 8200, in its original manifestation, was responsible for gathering only external intelligence. This was helpful defense information about enemy countries, and it was clearly distinct from the internal intelligence agency, the Shin Bet. This division of powers existed to protect Israeli citizens who were, by law, entitled to privacy. However, when the Oslo process began in the 1990s, 8200 began gathering intelligence on Palestinians — after all, they were about to become a sovereign entity, a potentially enemy state.

Two decades later, the Palestinians remain stateless non-citizens, and Unit 8200 is still gathering (sometimes very personal) information about them. One motivator behind the letter was that “there is no procedure in place to determine whether the violation of the individual’s rights is necessarily justifiable.” And there can’t be. To paraphrase Dr. Hillel Ben Sasson, a Research Fellow and Program Manager at Molad: The Center for the Renewal of Israel Democracy (full disclosure: Hillel was a colleague at Molad and is a friend):

This is a gray area, and this gray area is not only dangerous but it also puts IDF soldiers in situations that they are not meant to be in. The Letter of Refusal that was published this weekend is another symptom of Israel’s stale political status quo. The country’s leadership needs to decide: Annex the territories and transfer the intelligence authority to the Shin Bet, or generate a two-state solution and have the intelligence authority rest with the Army. Until then, the soldiers of 8200 who deal with the Palestinians are no different from soldiers who stand at a checkpoint — both have been sent by a feeble leadership to engage in activities they were never meant to engage in. As long as these young people remain trapped like this, it is only a matter of time until the next refusal [to serve]…

Refusal — “insubordination” — and particularly this elite refusal, is not something Israelis take lightly, nor should they. Barak Ravid, Haaretz’s diplomatic correspondent and a Unit 8200 alum, went on Army Radio yesterday morning to explain his strong opposition to the letter. One of the reasons he gave for why this letter troubled him was because “none of them [the signatories] had the guts to be the Snowden of Israel.” In other words, instead of going after a very specific problem like Snowden — say, Unit 8200’s raw data sharing program with the United States — they went after the far more general “occupation,” which, Ravid said, is “a part” of Israel. “If the problem is really the occupation,” he said, “then your taxes are also a problem — they fund the soldier at the checkpoint, the education system… and 8200 is a great spin.”

Both Ben Sasson and Ravid are right. Both point out that the occupation has put Israel in an incredibly tight spot, both morally and technically.

Even if refusal is unconscionable to the vast majority of Israelis — for reasons of security, social configurations, or integrity — this refusal will not be forgotten quickly. These Unit 8200 reservists have generated a tremor that is being felt under our feet, if not heard above ground. Americans who refused to serve in Vietnam were few at first, but their numbers quickly swelled, and a fringe movement morphed into a force that could not be ignored. Israel is nowhere near that yet, but if some of the “good kids” are already saying no, Israel’s fissures are only likely to deepen further in the days and wars ahead.


Related From The New York Times


The Letter …


Prime Minister, Mr Benjamin Netanyahu

Chief of General Staff, Benny Gantz

Military Intelligence Director, Major General Aviv Kochavi

Commander of Unit 8200

We, veterans of Unit 8200, reserve soldiers both past and present, declare that we refuse to take part in actions against Palestinians and refuse to continue serving as tools in deepening the military control over the Occupied Territories.

It is commonly thought that the service in military intelligence is free of moral dilemmas and solely contributes to the reduction of violence and harm to innocent people. However, our military service has taught us that intelligence is an integral part of Israel‘s military occupation over the territories. The Palestinian population under military rule is completely exposed to espionage and surveillance by Israeli intelligence. While there are severe limitations on the surveillance of Israeli citizens, the Palestinians are not afforded this protection. There’s no distinction between Palestinians who are, and are not, involved in violence. Information that is collected and stored harms innocent people. It is used for political persecution and to create divisions within Palestinian society by recruiting collaborators and driving parts of Palestinian society against itself. In many cases, intelligence prevents defendants from receiving a fair trial in military courts, as the evidence against them is not revealed. Intelligence allows for the continued control over millions of people through thorough and intrusive supervision and invasion of most areas of life. This does not allow for people to lead normal lives, and fuels more violence further distancing us from the end of the conflict.

Millions of Palestinians have been living under Israeli military rule for over 47 years. This regime denies the basic rights and expropriates extensive tracts of land for Jewish settlements subject to separate and different legal systems, jurisdiction and law enforcement. This reality is not an inevitable result of the state’s efforts to protect itself but rather the result of choice. Settlement expansion has nothing to do with national security. The same goes for restrictions on construction and development, economic exploitation of the West Bank, collective punishment of inhabitants of the Gaza Strip, and the actual route of the separation barrier.

In light of all this, we have concluded that as individuals who served in Unit 8200, we must take responsibility for our part in this situation and it is our moral duty to act. We cannot continue to serve this system in good conscience, denying the rights of millions of people. Therefore, those among us who are reservists, refuse to take part in the state’s actions against Palestinians. We call for all soldiers serving in the Intelligence Corps, present and future, along with all the citizens of Israel, to speak out against these injustices and to take action to bring them to an end. We believe that Israel’s future depends on it.

Senior Academic Officer Or

First Sergeant Ori

Sergeant Ella

Sergeant ***

Sergeant First Class Amitai

Captain Assaf

Lieutenant Assaf

First Sergeant Ariel

First Sergeant Guy

Sergeant First Class Galia

Lieutenant Gilad

First Sergeant Doron

Captain D

Professional Academic Officer H

First Sergeant T

First Sergeant Tal

Sergeant First Class Yair

First Sergeant Yoav

First Sergeant Yuval

Lieutenant Yonatan

Sergeant First Class Lior

Sergeant Liron

Sergeant Maya

Sergeant Michal

First Sergeant Menahem

First Sergeant Nadav

Sergeant Noa

First Sergeant Sa’ar

First Sergeant Eden

Sergeant Idan

Professional Academic Officer Amir

First Sergeant Amit

Sergeant K

Sergeant Keren

Sergeant First Class Regev

First Sergeant Roi

Sergeant R

First Sergeant Rotem

First Sergeant Shira

Major Shmulik

First Sergeant Schraga

Sergeant Sheri

Senior Academic Officer Tomer


Demonstration in Jerusalem yesterday

Jerusalem completely cut off as half a million ultra-Orthodox rally against draft | Haaretz


‘Army service for Yeshiva students or illegal settlements ….. The choice is yours!’


It’s not motivated by the fact that settlements are illegal under international law, but rather by the simple fact that the strongly pro-settlement religious-Zionist camp is supporting legislation to force Haredi men to serve in the army, which would prevent them from studying in religious academies instead.


Revenge May Drive Haredi Settlement Boycott

By Nathan Jeffay

Ultra-Orthodox lawmaker Meir Porush at a Jerusalem polling station in 2008. / Getty Images

A boycott of West Bank settlements is a favorite subject for discussion among Palestinian activists and Western liberals alike. Surprisingly, it’s getting some ultra-Orthodox Israelis talking too.

In fact, a Haredi lawmaker has revealed that he’s coming under “tremendous pressure” to initiate a boycott of settlement enterprises. Meir Porush of United Torah Judaism is “preventing it” for the moment but said that he doesn’t know if he can keep a lid on it. “I do not know if this matter will remain under control,” he said.

Porush made the comments on the religious Kol Berama radio station and they were reported by the pro-settler news service Arutz Sheva.

So what’s the rationale behind this Haredi boycott mindset?

It’s not motivated by the fact that settlements are illegal under international law, but rather by the simple fact that the strongly pro-settlement religious-Zionist camp is supporting legislation to force Haredi men to serve in the army, which would prevent them from studying in religious academies instead.

Porush explained the thought process, according to Arutz Sheva, saying: “If that is how you treat us and the Torah study that is the foundation of our existence, let’s boycott some of the settlers’ factories in Judea and Samaria.”

In short, a revenge boycott.

Now, Porush may be wildly exaggerating the pressure for a boycott in order to make a political point, but it’s still notable that the boycott discourse has become such a looming threat in the Israeli mindset that Israelis are prepared to use it as a stick to beat each other with — even if they’re not ideologically behind it.
Written FOR


Shulamit Aloni died on Friday at the age of 86. She was a rebel within zion, a former lawmaker, always a friend of Palestine and one of Israel’s greatest advocates of Peace. She will be missed and her memory will forever be cherished by those who shared her values.


cry aloud


Former political allies and opponents alike lauded her on Friday as a boundary-breaking pioneer for peace, “a moral compass,” “a special breed,” “an inspiration for all women” and a “pillar of fire.”


From a Democracy Now interview …


Her obituary from today’s New York Times ….


Shulamit Aloni, Outspoken Israeli Lawmaker, Dies at 86



Shulamit Aloni, a longtime left-wing Israeli minister and Parliament member who was an early champion of civil liberties, challenger of religious hegemony and outspoken opponent of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories, died Friday at her home in Kfar Shmaryahu, a Tel Aviv suburb. She was 86.

One of her sons, Nimrod, said she had not been seriously ill, “just very old.”

Mrs. Aloni, an elected lawmaker for 28 years, was the author of six books, including one of Israel’s earliest texts on civics. She was awarded the prestigious Israel Prize in 2000 “for her struggle to right injustices and for raising the standard of equality.”

In 2008, at age 80, she published  “Israel: Democracy or Ethnocracy?” a harsh assessment of her homeland. She wrote on the cover, “The state is returning to the ghetto, to Orthodox Judaism, and the rule of the fundamentalist rabbinate is becoming more profound.”

Reuven Rivlin, a Parliament member from the conservative Likud Party, described Mrs. Aloni on Friday as “the last politician in her generation who said what she thought.” But her outspokenness also made for problems.

In 1992, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin rebuked her for questioning the biblical version of Creation and speaking in the same breath of the Hebrew matriarch Rachel and the prostitute Rahav. The next year, after Mrs. Aloni’s challenging of religious political leaders provoked a coalition crisis, Rabin demoted her from education minister to minister of communications and science and technology.

After Baruch Goldstein massacred 29 Muslims at the Tomb of the Patriarchs in 1994, she was among the first to call for the expulsion of hundreds of Jewish settlers from the West Bank city of Hebron. She also said that high school trips to Holocaust sites were turning Israeli youths into xenophobes, and she incited outrage by holding official meetings abroad in nonkosher restaurants.

Former political allies and opponents alike lauded her on Friday as a boundary-breaking pioneer for peace, “a moral compass,” “a special breed,” “an inspiration for all women” and a “pillar of fire.”

“It was impossible not to admire such a combative woman who fought for what she believed in and was prepared to pay the price,” said Geula Cohen, who founded a right-wing faction and frequently faced off with her in Parliament.

Yossi Sarid, who in 1996 successfully challenged Mrs. Aloni for leadership of the far-left Meretz Party, called her “a phenomenon” who feared “absolutely nothing.”

“How did we first become acquainted with civil rights? How did we first discover the occupation?” Mr. Sarid, now a political analyst, asked rhetorically Friday morning on Israel Radio. “She wanted to change the national and social agenda, and she did so, on her own, by virtue of her own capabilities, and attained great and unparalleled achievements.”

Although some sources say she was 85, her son Nimrod said she was 86 and was born in December 1927. Born Shulamit Adler in Tel Aviv to Polish immigrant parents, she fought in Israel’s War of Independence in 1948.

She started her political career with the Labor-Alignment faction, then helped create the Citizens’ Rights Movement and, later, Meretz. She was married for 36 years to Reuven Aloni, who died in 1988. She is survived by their three sons, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Her death was a reminder of the decline of the left among Jews in Israel. Labor’s last prime minister was Ehud Barak in 2001, and Labor and Meretz combined hold 21 of Parliament’s 120 seats today. When Mrs. Aloni left elected office, they had 56.

“The pillar of fire has been extinguished,” the advocacy group Peace Now lamented in a statement.


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Supporting Palestinian state-bid – in Tel Aviv Nov.29 – Uri Avnery spoke as veteran of the two states idea
If everyone agreed on everything there would be results rather than continued discussions. For 0ver 65 years pro Palestinian activists have been discussing the various issues facing the ultimate solution of statehood. These discussions take place on both sides of the wall. To date, the solution has not been found.
This week, one of the most prolific writers and activists, Uri Avnery, penned an essay regarding apartheid …. Israeli Apartheid …. is it or isn’t it an apartheid state?
Jonathan Cook, a Nazareth based journalist responds …. both pieces are worth reading.
But before I continue, I must wish Brother Avnery a Happy 90th Birthday which he celebrated this week. We all wish him many more years of good health and activism despite whatever disagreements we might have with him.
Mazal Tov! Ad Mea v’Esrim!!
Is Israel an apartheid state? Well, first one must settle the question: which Israel? Israel proper, within the Green Line, or the Israeli occupation regime in the occupied Palestinian territories, or both together?
Taking Apartheid Apart 
By Uri Avnery
IS ISRAEL an apartheid state? This question is not going away. It raises its head every few months.

The term “apartheid” is often used purely for propaganda purposes. Apartheid, like racism and fascism, is a rhetorical term one uses to denigrate one’s opponent.

But apartheid is also a term with a precise content. It applies to a specific regime. Equating another regime to it may be accurate, partly correct or just wrong. So, necessarily, will be the conclusions drawn from the comparison.

RECENTLY I had the opportunity to discuss this subject with an expert, who had lived in South Africa throughout the apartheid era. I learned a lot from this.

Is Israel an apartheid state? Well, first one must settle the question: which Israel? Israel proper, within the Green Line, or the Israeli occupation regime in the occupied Palestinian territories, or both together?

Let’s come back to that later.

THE DIFFERENCES between the two cases are obvious.

First, the SA regime was based, as with their Nazi mentors, on the theory of racial superiority. Racism was its official creed. The Zionist ideology of Israel is not racist, in this sense, but rather based on a mixture of nationalism and religion, though the early Zionists were mostly atheists.

The founders of Zionism always rejected accusations of racism as absurd. It’s the anti-Semites who are racist. Zionists were liberal, socialist, progressive. (As far as I know, only one Zionist leader had openly endorsed racism: Arthur Ruppin, the German Jew who was the father of the Zionist settlements in the early 20th century.)

Then there are the numbers. In SA there was a huge black majority. Whites were about a fifth of the population.

In Israel proper, the Arab citizens constitute a minority of about 20%. In the total territory under Israeli rule between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, the numbers of Jews and Arabs are roughly equal. The Arabs may by now constitute a small majority – precise numbers are hard to come by. This Arab majority is bound to grow slowly larger as time passes.

Furthermore, the white economy in SA was totally dependent on black labor. At the beginning of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza strip in 1967, the Zionist insistence on “Jewish Labor” came to an end and cheap Arab labor from the “territories” flooded Israel. However, with the beginning of the first intifada this development was stopped with surprising speed. Large numbers of foreign workers were imported: Eastern Europeans and Chinese for the building trade, Thais for agriculture, Philippinos for personal care, etc.

It is now one of the main jobs of the Israeli army to prevent Palestinians from illegally crossing the de facto border” into Israel to seek work.

This is a fundamental difference between the two cases, one that has a profound impact on the possible solutions.

Sadly, in the West Bank, the Palestinians are widely employed in the building of the settlements and work in the enterprises there, which my friends and I have called to boycott. The economic misery of the population drives them to this perverse situation.

In Israel proper, Arab citizens complain about discrimination, which limits their employment in Jewish enterprises and government offices. The authorities regularly promise to do something about this kind of discrimination.

On the whole, the situation of the Arab minority inside Israel proper is much like that of many national minorities in Europe and elsewhere. They enjoy equality under the law, vote for parliament, are represented by very lively parties of their own, but in practice suffer discrimination in many areas. To call this apartheid would be grossly misleading.

I ALWAYS thought that one of the major differences was that the Israeli regime in the occupied territories expropriates Palestinian lands for Jewish settlements. This includes private property and so-called “government lands”.

In Ottoman times, the land reserves of the towns and villages were registered in the name of the Sultan. Under the British, these lands became government property, and they remained so under the Jordanian regime. When Israel occupied the West Bank in 1967, these lands were taken over by the occupation regime and turned over to the settlers, depriving the Palestinian towns and villages of the land reserves they need for natural increase.

By the way, after the 1948 war, huge stretches of Arab land in Israel were expropriated and a wide array of laws enacted for this purpose – not only the “absentee” property of the refugees, but also lands of Arabs who were declared “present absentees”’ – an absurd term meaning people who had not left Israel during the war but had left their villages. And the “government lands” in the part of Palestine that had become Israel also served to settle the masses of new Jewish immigrants who streamed into the country.

I always thought that in this respect we were worse than SA. Not so, said my friend, the apartheid government did exactly the same, deporting Blacks to certain areas and grabbing their land for Whites Only.

I ALWAYS thought that in SA all the Whites were engaged in the fight against all the Blacks. However, it appears that both sides were profoundly divided.

On the white side, there were the Afrikaners, the descendents of Dutch settlers, speaking a Dutch dialect called Afrikaans, and the British who spoke English. These were two communities of roughly equal size who disliked each other intensely. The British despised the unsophisticated Afrikaners, the Afrikaners hated the effete British. Indeed, the apartheid party called itself “nationalist” mainly because it considered itself a nation born in the country, while the British were attached to their homeland. (I am told that the Afrikaners called the British “salty penis”, because they stood with one foot in SA and with the other in Britain, so that their sexual organ dipped into the ocean.)

The black population was also divided into many communities and tribes who did not like each other, making it difficult for them to unite for the liberation struggle.

THE SITUATION in the West Bank is in many ways similar to the apartheid regime.

Since Oslo, the West Bank is divided into areas A, B and C, in which Israeli rule is exercised in different ways. In SA, there were many different Bantustans (“homelands”) with different regimes. Some were officially fully autonomous, others were partly so. All were enclaves surrounded by white territories.

In certain respects, the situation in SA was at least officially better than in the West Bank. Under SA law, the Blacks were at least officially “separate but equal”. The general law applied to all. This is not the case in our occupied territories, where the local population is subject to military law, which is quite arbitrary, while their settler neighbors are subject to Israeli civil law.

ONE CONTENTIOUS question: how far – if at all – did the international boycott contribute to the downfall of the apartheid regime?

When I asked Archbishop Desmond Tutu, he answered that the effect was mainly moral. It raised the morale of the black community. My new friend said the same – but applied it to the Whites. Their morale was undermined.

How much did this contribute to the victory? My friend estimated: about 30%.

The economic effect was minor. The psychological effect was far more important. The Whites considered themselves the vanguard of the West in the fight against communism. The ungratefulness of the West stunned them. (They would have wholeheartedly subscribed to the promise of Theodor Herzl, the founder of the Zionist movement, that the future Jewish state would be the vanguard of Europe and a wall against Asiatic – viz. Arab – barbarism.)

It was no accident that apartheid broke down a few years after the collapse of the Soviet empire. The US lost interest. Can this happen in our relations with the US, too?

(By the way, young South African blacks who were sent by the African National Congress to the Soviet Union to study were shocked by the racism they met there. “They are worse than our Whites,” they commented.)

THE AREA where the boycott hit the apartheid people the most was sports. Cricket is a national obsession in SA. When they could no longer take part in international competitions, they felt the blow. Their self-confidence was broken.

Their international isolation forced them to think more deeply about the morality of apartheid. There was more and more self-questioning. In the final elections after the agreement, many Whites, including many Afrikaners, voted for the end of apartheid.

Will a boycott of Israel have the same effect? I doubt it. Jews are used to being isolated. “The whole world against us” is, for them, a natural situation. Indeed, I sometimes have the feeling that many Jews feel uncomfortable when the situation is different.

One huge difference between the two cases is that all South Africans – black, white, “coloured” or Indian – wanted one state. There were no takers for partition. (David Ben-Gurion, a great advocate of Palestine-style partition, once proposed concentrating all the Whites in SA in the Cape region and establishing there an Israel-style white state. No one was interested. A similar proposal by Ben-Gurion for Algeria met the same fate.)

In our case, a large majority on each side wants to live in a state of their own. The idea of a unified country, in which Hebrew-speaking Jewish Israelis and Arabic-speaking Palestinians will live side-by-side as equals, serving in the same army and paying the same taxes does not appeal to them at all.

APARTHEID WAS brought down by the Blacks themselves. No crypto-colonialist condescension can obscure this fact.

The mass strikes of African workers, on whom the white economy depended, made the position of the ruling Whites impossible. The mass uprising of the Blacks, who displayed immense physical courage, was decisive. In the end, the Blacks liberated themselves.

And another difference: in SA there was a Nelson Mandela and a Frederik de Klerk.


Written FOR


And the response ….


Does Uri Avnery know so little about Israel?

By Jonathan Cook

One of my concerns about Uri Avnery is that, whatever the good work he has done as a journalist and peace activist, especially in regard to the occupied territories, he still has an ability to write utter nonsense when it comes to what is happening inside Israel. It is difficult to know whether this is simple ignorance or a bad case of ideological blinkers. But it is also hard to believe a man who has studied his own society for so long can really know so little about what is going on there.

There is a lot to challenge in his latest piece, on the comparison between Israel and apartheid South Africa, but the following paragraph really assaults the intellect:

On the whole, the situation of the Arab minority inside Israel proper is much like that of many national minorities in Europe and elsewhere. They enjoy equality under the law, vote for parliament, are represented by very lively parties of their own, but in practice suffer discrimination in many areas. To call this apartheid would be grossly misleading.

I’d love Avnery to point out the European state where, like Israel, 93 per cent of the land has been nationalised for one ethnic group (Jews) to the exclusion of another ethnic group (Palestinian Arabs). Or where vetting committees operate by law in hundreds of communities precisely to prevent one ethnic group (Palestinian Arabs) from living in these communities.

Or the European state, like Israel, where two separate citizenship laws exist – the Law of Return (1950) and the Citizenship Law (1952) – which are designed to confer rights on members of an ethnic group (Jews) who are not actually yet citizens or present in the state, privileging them over a group (Palestinian Arabs) who do have citizenship and are present in the state.

Or a European state that has 55 laws that explicitly discriminate based on which ethnic group you belong to.

Or a European state that, like Israel, defers some of what should be its sovereign powers to extra-territorial bodies such as the Jewish Agency and the Jewish National Fund whose charters obligate them to discriminate based on ethnic belonging.

Or the European state that denies its citizens access to any civil institutions on personal status matters such as marriage, divorce and burial, requiring all citizens to submit to the whims and prejudices of religious leaders.

Or a European state which does not recognise its own nationality, and where the only way to join the dominant national group (Jews) or to immigrate is through conversion.

I’d be surprised if he could find one European state that has a single one of these characteristics. Even if he could, it would not have more than one of those characteristics. Israel has them all and many more.

Now tell me Israel discriminates against Palestinian Arab citizens the way European states do against their minorities.



For if we do not rebel, if we do not actively defy corporate power, we will steadily be herded like captive animals into pens where we will be watched, controlled, abused, exploited and finally cast aside when our bodies and our minds are deemed superfluous by the corporate state. It is not enough to interpret the world. We must change it.

The Eternal Rebel: Ronnie Kasrils

By Chris Hedges (about the author) 

Ronnie Kasrils. Screenshot via “Democracy Now!”
What is it that makes a rebel? Why does one willingly step outside society to destroy a system of power, break the law and risk persecution and even death for an ideal? As the state calcifies into corporate totalitarianism, as prominent rebels such as Julian Assange, Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden are defamed by a bankrupt media and political class and hunted down as criminals, as change through the established mechanisms of reform becomes impossible, as systems of power invert morality to silence and imprison the just, we are going to have to ask hard questions about what we are willing to endure to make a better world. 
For if we do not rebel, if we do not actively defy corporate power, we will steadily be herded like captive animals into pens where we will be watched, controlled, abused, exploited and finally cast aside when our bodies and our minds are deemed superfluous by the corporate state. It is not enough to interpret the world. We must change it.

Rebels at the inception of struggle are vilified. They are few in number. They are ostracized by the wider society. They are left to brood in shadows where the organs of state security track and hunt them like prey. These rebels of history must become our tutors. To discuss the nature of rebellion, I recently met with Ronnie Kasrils, who was a leader of the armed wing of the African National Congress when the group was fighting South Africa’s government and who, from 2004 to 2008, was minister for intelligence services in the ANC government.

Kasrils, white, middle class and Jewish, turned his back on his race and his class to join the African National Congress as a 22-year-old in 1960. A year later he became a member of the South African Communist Party. He was a founding member, along with Nelson Mandela, of Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), or Spear of the Nation, the armed wing of the ANC. He served as the commander of the Natal Regional Command and underwent military training in 1964 in Odessa, in the Soviet Union. 

As a leader in the MK, Kasrils carried out sabotage and bombings of state infrastructure and industrial sites. Although a 1983 MK guerrilla attack left 19 civilians dead and a 1986 raid killed three civilians and injured 73 others, Kasrils points out that overall, only a small number of whites died in the struggle while tens of thousands of blacks were slaughtered by the apartheid state.

Kasrils, along with his late wife, Eleanor, lived the shadowy life of an armed revolutionary. In his long liberation campaign he encountered resistance figures ranging from Ernesto “Che” Guevara to Malcolm X. His autobiography, “Armed and Dangerous: My Undercover Struggle Against Apartheid,” is a meditation on the cost and demands of revolutionary discipleship.

Kasrils said the rebel and the revolutionary are driven by an instinctive compassion, concern for others and “standing up for the underdog.” These impulses are often present in children, he said, but they are muted or crushed by the institutions of social control including the family and school. Kasrils, although an atheist, sees the rebel in Jesus Christ, as well as in the thunderous denunciations of evil and oppression by the Hebrew prophets of the Bible. He said that those who endure oppression such as Mandela and rise up to resist are better described as revolutionaries. The rebel, he said, is one who often enjoys certain “liberties” but who is “prepared to give up his class or her class, or tribe.” Rebels turn their backs on their own.

Kasrils in his autobiography writes about a discussion on the nature of the rebel with Jack Simons, a retired university professor who was teaching ANC recruits in Angola and who had been a leader in the South African Communist Party before it was outlawed in 1950. The conversation, Kasrils said, “stunned me.” 


“Unconventional thought is a force for development,” Simons told Kasrils. “It is wrong to suppress it. The likes of you and I were thrown to the lions in Roman times and burnt at the stake in the Middle Ages as heretics.”

“The person who could [have escaped all that and had] a privileged or comfortable life — isn’t that the rebel, the John Browns?” Kasrils asked…

“Why does John Brown raise the flag of rebellion? So, for a rebel, the officer in an army who certainly stands up and says this army is standing for the wrong thing, we want to stand for the freeing of the slaves, I find this the more fascinating area in terms of rebellion, not that I find it more satisfying or important than understanding why the worker stands up against the boss. I mean, that’s the motive force of revolutionary change, not the rebel’s role. Not my role. And I think this is what Jack Simons was saying to me. We would have been burnt at the stake. That’s the dissident factor. I find this on the question of having been Jewish-born but standing for Palestinian rights. There you need such courage to stand up against your tribe. In South Africa I see so many people now who were oppressed before, and now have a chance to advance in life and become ministers or government officials of various kinds and mayors or — through black empowerment — heads of companies, forgetting what their backgrounds were and feeling, ‘Well, now I can give my children a decent home and education, I’m not worried about those without.’ That’s not a rebel.”

It was in post-apartheid South Africa that Kasrils fully realized Simons’ wisdom. Kasril’s relentless quest for not just political but economic justice has turned him into a fierce critic of the two organizations to which he has dedicated himself for 50 years — the African National Congress and the Communist Party. The failure of these two organizations to ameliorate the suffering of the poor, the rampant corruption he says exists within the leadership of the ANC, and the Marikana Massacre last August in which 44 striking miners were gunned down by the South African Police  Service — the most lethal assault on unarmed civilians since the 1960 Sharpeville massacre, the event that prompted Kasrils to join the ANC — have left him alienated, once again, from the centers of power.

“I have to speak up,” he said. “It’s deep within me.”

Kasrils said the ANC’s fatal mistake, which he concedes was partly his fault, was its decision in the transition to power in 1994 to mothball its socialist economic agenda, known as the Freedom Charter. The charter, which had wide popular appeal, demanded the end of the exploitation by the white oligarchic elite that treated black laborers as serfs on farms, in mines and on factory floors. It called for the right to work, freedom of expression, access to decent housing and land for all South Africans and a sharing of South African wealth, especially its mineral resources. Banks, industries and mines were to be nationalized. He and other leaders in the ANC believed they could deal with economic injustice later. They were fearful of defying Western imperialism and, as Kasrils put it, “neoliberal global economy market fundamentals.” But the ANC’s caving in to global pressure to adopt a free market economy has proved to be a disaster. South Africa continues to be one of the most unequal societies on the planet. Whites, although they are less than 10 percent of the nation’s population, earn 7.7 times more on average than their black counterparts. Only a few thousand of the country’s 41 million blacks earn more than $5,000 a year. It is apartheid by another name.

A “true rebel would not have accepted that,” Kasrils said, citing Che Guevara and Simons.

Kasrils became deputy minister of defense in the ANC government in 1994 when Mandela was elected president of South Africa.

“I felt, perhaps as a rebel, that this was something that I could focus on and make a big difference,” he said of his appointment. Kasrils wanted to reform “a white supremacist army into a military that would serve democracy” but in the process, he said, “I took my eye off the ball in terms of the economic factors.”

The forces of global corporate capitalism that have deformed South Africa are harder to define and fight than the palpable evil of white supremacy under apartheid, Kasrils said. The current battle requires “more courage and inner depth” because the enemy is faceless. Kasrils said, however, that we have reached a moment in history that is like 1848 or 1917 or some other seismic turning point. Marx, Engels and Lenin, he said, illuminated the maze the rebels faced in 19th century industrialized society; now, a new maze has to be deciphered. 

“We need something of that nature now,” he said of the light provided by these thinkers. Answers “existed and then petrified.” The onslaught of globalization has “torn apart” the world and created conditions that Kasrils believes replicate those Engels correctly predicted would convulse the early 20th century.

“It’s very similar,” Kasrils said. “The ruthless struggles for ascendancy, the rivalries, the aggressive wars. That huge confusion and tumult of capital, and now finance corporate capitalism.”

He views the rise of the revolutionary force in the Arab Spring, the recent Turkish street protests and the Occupy movement as signals of a new age.

“We see the anger, the rebellious spirit of people not wanting to live in the way we’re being forced to live at present,” he said…

“But the question of how to come together, and the way ahead, and clarifying the enemy, is at present something we’re striving for. There are obviously groups of revolutionaries, rebels and anti-war groups around the world. But what’s lacking is the ability to define what it is that needs to be replaced. [We need] to define that for the vast multitudes, not just for those who are convening movements and protests.”“Rebels are detonators in terms of getting other people to understand what we’re up against and how we should be organized. That’s where the Communist International of Marx, and then later with the 1917 revolution, emerged as a major tool in opposition to imperialism and developed as an anti-imperialist movement.”

What we face through the rise of corporate capitalism is, in essence, the “re-colonization of Africa and the rest of the world,” Kasrils said.

Marx predicted that eventually unfettered, global capitalism would evolve into a revolutionary force, but it would also have within it the seeds of its own destruction. National boundaries helped check capitalist exploitation with government regulation, an adversarial press and labor organizing, but once corporations created global markets, once they could play one country off another, once workers around the globe were in effect disempowered, the barriers to unfettered capitalism were lifted. I asked Kasrils if we had now reached the last stage that Marx wrote about.

“I think it is that,” he said…

“You know we call it today globalism and give it the name of the neoliberal agenda, but that’s exactly what Marx is talking about. Globalism isn’t something that’s just emerged. There’s been the force toward globalism on the basis of the replacement of feudalism into first industrial capital, which was the building up of separate empires. And obviously state powers, and empires, and interfinance capital, and the imperialism that we have today.“The rise under capitalism of Western Europe is directly, as a result of the ability, time and place, to colonize what we call the developing world today: Africa, Asia, Latin America. It’s on that basis that the empires of Europe, and then of America–North America–grow.”

And as nations are re-colonized, the forms of control become more sophisticated. Kasrils said…

“Every single dictatorship builds up the surveillance mechanisms and the control system of its society, of its people. Right throughout history — from ancient times — it becomes absolutely necessary the moment the state based on classes emerges. So the slaves are kept under control. Fear is put into their hearts on a minute-to-minute basis. The sword, the ax, is always over your head, and that applies in modern times where it’s not just the club over your head but it’s also the other threats of losing job, losing profession, of being ruined or being thrown onto the streets.“People fear what they see emerging. It has happened before under McCarthyism, communist witch hunting in Europe, Britain. So, to keep people in line, whether it’s schoolboys under disciple or sailors on the deck of a ship, or the unemployed, or the factory worker, there’s always been that element of fear to control, to reinforce the control through socialization, education and the hegemony of ruling-class thought, prayer, religion and so on. But in history, as Spartacus or any rebel movement shows, and as we’ve seen in the Arab Spring — Tunisia and Egypt are the particular models — the point comes when people lose fear. That emerged very starkly in the police state of [Hosni] Mubarak

“Fear was everywhere. People didn’t dare to speak or to step out of line. The few rebels were always crushed on the torturer’s wheel, their tongues cut out, metaphorically, sometimes actually in reality. So the contradictions of the few ruling the many in terms of injustice brings to my mind the great lines of Shelley, the poet, at the time of the Peterloo Massacre, ‘Rise from your slumbers like lions, we are many they are few.’ [Paraphrase.] And, you know, when I read that I was amazed at the similarity in South Africa when in 1976 young people, 12-year-olds, teenagers in the schools, rose against the apartheid police state, with all of the fear factor, including that of the myth of white supremacy, and were prepared to take it on in the streets and were prepared to die, and those who weren’t shot down were prepared to look for the organizational form to fight back and instead of stones to seek guns and bullets. 

“The ANC was the organization that they turned to because it had always been the rebel organization. It had never died, it was always there and always strove to resist. So, fear, as we’ve seen, can keep people in check for many, many years. Decades. And there comes a time when the system breaks, when the weakest link snaps, and people suddenly lose fear and find courage and stand up. And that’s what we’re seeing.”

“I recall in the long, dark years of our struggle against apartheid where we were being hammered, or imprisoned, or we were in exile, and we would always speculate what would start the fire again,” he said…

“And it’s like what’s happened actually as we speak in the square in Istanbul. Quite a small, insignificant square, which was the only parkland with trees in a huge district. And young people and old people wanted to defend this park as one of their lungs. We’re reading about it as we speak and seeing it on our TV screens this very day. “That’s a kind of poetic beauty about rebellion and revolution. It’s the straw that breaks the camel’s back. It’s that dialectic — the drip of water that wears away a stone. What is it? This is where you use the term ‘mystery.’ It’s happening over many, many years. It’s wearing away a chain that’s imprisoning people. It’s melting somehow. It’s breaking the fetters. And that happens suddenly from a trigger like the demand, the protection of the park, and the Turkish despot, [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan, saying, ‘No matter what you do or say, the development of the shopping area on your blessed park is going ahead.’ And that’s just one bridge too far.”

“You’ve got to be organized,” he said. “You’ve got to have a program of action. You’ve got to have a strategy about your tactics and who is the enemy, and what are you going to replace the system with.”

Although Kasrils embraced violence against the apartheid state, he is very hesitant about employing violence against the corporate state. But he sees oppression, if finally left unchecked, as justifying the use of force by the rebel. He quoted John F. Kennedy’s dictum: “Those who make peaceful change impossible make violent change inevitable.”

“When you get to a point where it’s impossible to make change in any other way, then violent means comes on the agenda, revolutionary struggles,” Kasrils said…

“I wouldn’t speak for [the] American people. Certainly in a democracy where everybody has the right to vote at every level from national to local, isn’t it then a question of the extent to which you ” use your space and the opportunities of organizing people against particular obstructions, against injustice of whatever form, and electing the people who can do the job?”

“The corporate [state], as you say, they are the unseen force, but behind what?” he asked…

“It’s behind the media, so to propagandize, and subject us to their world through the visual and the printed forms, and the way we’re educated, through the running of governments and getting their hands on the Appalachian minerals, but isn’t there potential? Doesn’t the Occupy movement show that there is energy there that can be tapped, that can be mobilized? That’s the challenge. It’s very, very difficult. I know.”“The fact that we have a bourgeois democracy with the right to vote means that there must be the space to organize. So we’ve got a situation in South Africa where things, I believe, are going wrong, where our ruling party is serving corporate elements and is being bribed and corrupted. It’s not so easy to mobilize people who see their only hope with the ANC and will use their vote for that, but in fact aren’t getting proper service from the ANC. Until there’s a force on the scene in South Africa to do better, people won’t vote otherwise. … I wouldn’t [want to] see a repeat of what the Weathermen did in the late ’60s with the Black Panthers. Look how isolated they were as a result. If you’re going to take up arms as we did, it’s on the basis that in the end you will win, that you will isolate your adversary, and that you will win to your side the vast multitudes of people, not be isolated as so many armed struggles become, not only in Germany with the Baader Meinhof group or the Red Brigades of Italy.”

“This wave of jihadism is absolutely reactionary. … They see certain problems with their culture, with Western domination,” he said. “It goes [to] more than just the culture…

“…it’s all about the domination of the wealth of those countries. They’re using the wrong means here and bringing such incalculable suffering on their people. And I’m not blaming them for drone war, etc., but you’ve got to take this into account. They’re going about it in the absolutely wrong way. So to consider the use of violence in terms of resistance, it’s, in a sense, the highest form of struggle to use weapons when you can’t use any other forms of change. But you have to be so scientific, so clear in your goals and in your strategy and tactics if you want to use this. Otherwise, you’ll be absolutely smashed, and you’ll bring untold harm and devastation onto the heads of people, and a price that you can never pay.”

Kasrils in his autobiography tells of an incident involving a South African death squad led by the notorious killer and former police colonel Eugene de Kock. De Kock was the commanding officer of C1, a counterinsurgency unit of the South African police that in the 1980s and 1990s kidnapped, tortured and murdered hundreds of anti-apartheid activists and ANC leaders. He and his hit squad had recently assassinated three of Kasril’s ANC comrades. Kasrils tracked de Kock, nicknamed “Prime Evil” and now serving a life sentence in South Africa, along with de Kock’s squad of killers, to a hotel. Kasrils organized a group of ANC insurgents to gun down the members of the hit squad there. De Kock and his men had left, however, before Kasrils and his party burst into the room where they had been. I asked Kasrils if he would, should the situation be repeated today, organize an armed group to kill de Kock and his hit men.

“I see this as similar to the French Resistance and the resistance in Europe against the Nazis,” he said. “So, you know there were the battles in the open, but most of the battles were by stealth. I don’t think there’s anything morally wrong in the battle of stealth against power when you are engaged in a war. They had killed, murdered in cold blood, three of our people in Swaziland. You’ve got to take harsh decisions at times, and this is in the context of an ongoing war there. ” I put it within the context of a revolutionary war.” He said, nevertheless, that “when I look back and I meet some of these people who we fought before and I hear from them how they knew someone who died, I wish that that person didn’t have to die.”

“To go up in a war, a revolutionary war, to attack a barracks and blow it up with soldiers inside, you know they’re doing that to you — that’s warfare. Terrorism is the indiscriminate action against the civil population, unarmed people. And there were times there, probably 20, 30, 50, maybe, acts that took place in so many years where you could say that was an act of terror, where a bomb was put in a bar or a restaurant, but we stopped it as soon as that was taking place in the mid-’80s. Some of our elements, our units, did that in a very small-scale way. We came down upon it very quickly.”“To have taken lives that way, I think, is coming down to the unspeakable level of your adversary, which you must not do,” he said. “And you lose the moral high ground in the process.”

He said that the ANC learned to differentiate between the apartheid regime and all other whites, even those whites who voted the apartheid leaders into power and backed their racist ideology.

“When people vote they often aren’t even really clear about why, and they do it out of fear,” he said. “So we were very careful in relation to that. But it was another thing if you were on the track of hit squads, of very vicious people who were taking our lives. You were actually saving lives if you could stop them.”



Written FOR



 Israeli teens enter jail rather than take part in army crimes against Palestinians
Submitted by Ali Abunimah
On Monday, Israeli teenager, Noam Gur, began an initial ten-day prison sentence because she publicly refused to serve in the Israeli army. A second teen, Alon Gurman, presented himself at the military base in order to refuse service, along with Gur, but according to a tweet from Gur was sent home without being jailed.

Noam They are afraid! Alon just got a 21 profile so he free and going home. Even thought he told the mental office his refusal is political.
Apr 16 via Twitter for Android Favorite Retweet Reply

In a short video produced by Jillian Kestler d’Amours for the Alternative Information Center, Gur explained – at the gate of the military camp where she is serving her sentence – why she has chosen to resist conscription:

I’m in prison because Israel is committing crimes. Israel has been committing crimes since Israel was established… It committed crimes since 1948, when the Nakba occurred. People were banned away from coming here, which is a crime that Israel is still committing, not allowing them to come back… Israel is committing crimes when its occupying and killing people, not allowing them to have any kind of human rights, it takes land and water resources. It’s committing crimes in the siege of Gaza. Concluding all of that, it makes sense that I would not want to serve this country.

“I don’t want to be silent”

In an interview with The Electronic Intifada last month when she first announced her intention to refuse, Gur explained the importance of doing so publicly, rather than just seeking to avoid conscription quietly as many other Israelis do:

Noam Gur: Ten years ago, there was a huge movement of refuseniks and in the last two or three years, it’s kind of disappeared. I’m the only refusenik this year, so for me it was trying to let people know that it still exists, first of all.

Second of all, I don’t want to be silent. I feel like [since] high school, we’ve always been silent. We always let our criticism be known only in small circles. The world doesn’t know, Palestinians don’t know. I don’t know if it will change anything, but I can only try. I feel better with myself knowing that I tried to make even the smallest change.

Noam Gur “in solitary confinement”

Noam Gur tweeted all the way into the military base where she’d begin her imprisonment.

Noam We made it. Can hear the prisoners inside. Shit.
Apr 17 via Twitter for Android Favorite Retweet Reply

Noam Guess what we are doing? Right, waiting!
Apr 17 via Twitter for Android Favorite Retweet Reply

Noam Last twit. Im inside the base. Love and peace and comfy beds to all.
Apr 17 via Twitter for Android Favorite Retweet Reply

However, a supporter continues to tweet updates using Gur’s account. They latest update was that Gur had refused to wear a uniform and thus had been placed in solitary confinement:

Noam Refuser @GNoam in prison, refusing military uniforms & so in solitary confinement. #refusing2occupy.4 support letters
Apr 17 via TweetCaster for BlackBerry Favorite Retweet Reply


Written FOR


“I refuse to join an army that has, since it was established, been engaged in dominating another nation, in  plundering and terrorizing a civilian population that is under its control.”



– Please repost on all Blogs and Websites –
Conscientious objector Noam Gur sentenced to prison for her refusal to join the Israeli Army.
Noam Gur, 18 year old from, Kiryat Motzkin near Haifa, arrived yesterday morning, Monday, 16 April, to the Induction Base in Tel Hashomer, where she declared her refusal to serve in the Israeli Army as it is an occupying force. She was sentenced to 10 days of imprisonment for her refusal.
In her refusal declaration Noam wrote:
“I refuse to join an army that has, since it was established, been engaged in dominating another nation, in  plundering and terrorizing a civilian population that is under its control.”
Inline image 1
Since the prison authorities often block mail from reaching imprisoned objectors, we also recommend you to send them your letters of support and encouragement via e-mail to: (hitting “reply all” to this message will send the message to the same address), and they will be printed out and delivered during visits.
Recommended Action
First of all, please circulate this message and the information contained in it as widely as possible, not only through e-mail, but also on websites, social networks, conventional media, by word of mouth, etc.
Other recommendations for action:
1. Sending Letters of Support
Please send Noam letters of support to the prison address above and to
2. Letters to Authorities
It is recommended to send letters of protest on the objectors’ behalf, preferably by fax, to:
Copies of your letters can also be sent to the commander of the military prison at:
Another useful address for sending copies would be the Military Attorney General:
It would be especially useful to send your appeals to the Commander of the Induction Base in Tel-HaShomer. It is this officer that ultimately decides whether an objector is to be exempted from military service or sent to another round in prison, and it is the same officer who is ultimately in charge of the military Conscience Committee:
For those of you who live outside Israel, it would be very effective to send protests to your local Israeli embassy. You can find the address of your local embassy on the web.

הסרבנית נועם גור נשלחה לתקופת כליאה ראשונה

– אנא הפיצו בתפוצה רחבה –
סרבנית המצפון נועם גור הצהירה על סירובה להתגייס לצה”ל.
נועם גור, בת 18 מקרית מוצקין, הגיעה ביום שני ה-16.4 ללשכת הגיוס בתל השומר שם הצהירה על סירובה לשרת בצה”ל כגוף כובש. היא נשפטה לתקופת מאסר של 10 ימים וצפויה להישפט בהמשך לתקופות נוספות.
חברים ותומכים ליוו אותה ללשכת הגיוס בהבעת תמיכה על סירובה.
בהצהרת הסירוב שלה נועם כתבה:
 “אני מסרבת לקחת חלק בצה”ל, כי אני מסרבת להצטרף לצבא שמאז הקמתו עסוק בשליטה בעם אחר, גזל, והטלת טרור על אוכלוסייה אזרחית הנמצאת תחת שליטתו. “
Inline image 2
מוזמנים לקרוא עוד על נועם כאן
כיוון ששלטונות הכלא מעבירים דואר אל סרבנים באופן לא סדיר, אנו ממליצים לשלוח עותקים מהמכתבים גם באימייל לכתובת: (תשובות להודעה זו באמצעות כפתור “השב לכולם” יגיעו גם הן לאותה הכתובת), והמכתבים יועברו במהלך ביקורים.
מה אפשר לעשות?
ראשית, אנא הפיצו הודעה זו ואת המידע הכלול בה בתפוצה רחבה ככל האפשר, לא רק באמצעות דואר אלקטרוני, אלא גם דרך אתרי אינטרנט, רשתות חברתיות, בתקשורת הקונבנציונלית, מפה לאוזן וכיו”ב. להלן עוד כמה סוגים של פעולות מומלצות.
1. אנא שלחו מכתבי תמיכה לנועם לכתובתה בכלא, וכן לכתובת
2. מכתבים לרשויות
מומלץ מאוד לשלוח מכתבי מחאה, רצוי בפקס, אל הגורמים הבאים:
רצוי לשלוח העתקים למפקד הכלא, לכתובת:
עוד כתובת שימושית למשלוח פניות היא הפרקליט הצבאי הראשי:
חשוב במיוחד לשלוח מכתבי מחאה למפקד מיט”ב, כיוון שבידיו תימצא בסופו של דבר ההחלטה כמה פעמים נוספות ישבו הסרבנים\ות בכלא לפני שישוחררו סופית. אותו קצין אחראי גם להפעלתה של “וועדת המצפון”:
להלן מכתב לדוגמה, שניתן להשתמש בו, או בטקסט שונה, במשלוח המכתבים. מומלץ בהחלט להכניס בנוסח שינויים לפי ראות עיניכם:
נמשיך לעדכן על התפתחויות נוספות.
תודה על תמיכתם,
יותם שלמה
פרופיל חדש


 Democracy Now! interviews someone who became one the faces of the global Occupy movement this year. Scott Olsen, a 24-year-old former U.S. Marine who served two tours in the Iraq war, was critically wounded after being shot in the head by a police projectile at Occupy Oakland. In a rare interview, Olsen joins us to discuss his life-threatening ordeal, his involvement in this year’s historic Wisconsin and Occupy protests.  “They aren’t respecting our right to assemble, protest and redress our government for grievances,” Olsen says of police repression of the Occupy protests. “They are terrorizing us from going out [to demonstrations]. That is a sad statement for our country.” Olsen also says he expects to rejoin the Occupy and antiwar protests as his recovery progresses. “I look forward to being a part of the 99 percent and Iraq Veterans Against the War in 2012,” he says.


I saw a young man who I knew was one of the people who had participated in the Freedom Flotilla to break the blockade imposed by Israel on Gaza and asked him what he thought would happen next.  He replied that it would be like the flotillas, we will try again and again until we succeed.
Chippy Dee was there and sent the following …

One of the groups of evicted Zuccotti folks were at Canal St. & 6th Ave. this morning.  There were about 300-400 people there, a few still wearing pajamas, occupiers and allies, trying to get into a fenced area while many police looked on and arrested anyone that managed to climb into it  including a woman in a wheelchair.  By then the streets were passable, the Brooklyn Bridge was open again, the subways were stopping in the Zuccotti area, Broadway had reopened, and the helicopters were no longer circling the skies.  Everyone decided to go back to Zuccotti Park.   

The crowd marched  along Canal St.  Cars and trucks beeped their horns in approval and gave them thumbs up.  Once they reached Broadway they spread out into the street.  They chanted, “Whose streets, our streets”, “This is a peaceful demonstration” and “We are the 99% and so are you” as they pointed to on-lookers.

The police didn’t object and held up traffic for them.  However, as they reached City Hall there was a line of police on motorcycles which forced them onto the sidewalk.  Some police went to vans to take out their riot gear and put it on.  There was no visible reason for this.  The occupiers were walking on the sidewalk .  Many were carrying copies of the judge’s order that was issued early this morning banning the police from doing exactly what they had done.  As we walked one person sadly told me how their beautiful library containing 10,000 books, all arranged by subject and donated by friends of the occupation, had been trashed and dumped into garbage compactors. Needless destruction. One person compared it to “Crystalnacht” in Germany just before WWII.  Another commented that the police acted with military precision and she asked if they were now the subject of the War on Terror. 

When we got to Zuccotti the park was empty.  What hours before was teeming with vitality and hope was now devoid of any sign of humanity.  A sad sight. Occupiers, friends, and allies were not allowed in and, in fact, could barely get near it.  It was ringed by layer after layer of police.  The area was very crowded and many found themselves eyeball-to-eyeball with the police.  Some told the police they should be ashamed of themselves. The city had gone to court to appeal the injunction – a decision would be reached by 4 o’clock. Lively discussions were going on.  Everyone said their work would go on but this may have been the ‘end of the beginning’ of the process.  I saw a young man who I knew was one of the people who had participated in the Freedom Flotilla to break the blockade imposed by Israel on Gaza and asked him what he thought would happen next.  He replied that it would be like the flotillas, we will try again and again until we succeed.


Photos © by Bud Korotzer




















Enjoy the sounds of the past …. and the present!



Updates follow lead report …..

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has struggled with how to respond. He repeatedly made clear that he does not support the demonstrators’ arguments or their tactics, but he has also defended their right to protest and in recent days and weeks has sounded increasingly exasperated, especially in the wake of growing complaints from neighbors about how the protest has disrupted the neighborhood and hurt local businesses.

The mayor met daily with several deputies and commissioners, as more business owners complaining and editorials lampooning him as gutless, the mayor’s patience wore thin.


I can predict, without doubt, that he (the mayor) hasn’t seen anything yet 😉


Police Begin Clearing Zuccotti Park of Protesters

Hundreds of New York City police officers began clearing Zuccotti Park of the Occupy Wall Street protesters early Tuesday, telling the people there that the nearly two-month-old camp would be “cleared and restored” before the morning and that any demonstrator who did not leave would be arrested.

The protesters, about 200 of whom have been staying in the park overnight, resisted with chants of “Whose park? Our park!” as officers began moving in and tearing down tents. The protesters rallied around an area known as “the kitchen” near the middle of the park and began building barricades with tables and pieces of scrap wood.

The officers, who had gathered between the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges and then rode in vans along Broadway, moved into the one-square-block park shortly after 1 a.m.

As they did, dozens of protesters linked arms and shouted “No retreat, no surrender,” “This is our home” and “Barricade!” There were no immediate reports of arrests.

The police move came as organizers put out word on their Web site that they planned to “shut down Wall Street” with a demonstration on Thursday to commemorate the completion of two months of the beginning of the encampment, which has spurred similar demonstrations across the country.

The move also came hours after a small demonstration at City Hall on Monday by opponents of the protest, including local residents and merchants, some of whom urged the mayor to clear out the park.

Police and mayoral officials did not immediately return calls requesting comments. The mayor’s office sent out a message on Twitter at 1:34 a.m. saying: “Occupants of Zuccotti should temporarily leave and remove tents and tarps. Protestors can return after the park is cleared.”

Before the police moved in, they set up a battery of klieg lights and aimed them into the park. A police captain, wearing a helmet, walked down Liberty Street and announced: “The city has determined that the continued occupation Zuccotti Park poses an increasing health and fire safety hazard.”

The captain ordered the protesters to “to immediately remove all private property” and said that if they interfered with the police operation, they would be arrested. Property that was not removed would be sent to a dump, the police said.

Some of the protesters grabbed their possessions. “They’re not getting our tents down,” one man shouted. People milled around, and some headed to the edges of the park.

The action came as other cities’ police forces have begun evacuating similar protest camps.

A handful of protestors first unrolled sleeping bags and blankets in Zuccotti Park on the night of Sept. 17, but in the weeks that followed, the park became densely packed with tents and small tarp villages.

The protest spawned others and attracted celebrities and well-known performers. It became a tourist attraction, inspired more than $500,000 in donations and gained the support of labor unions and elected officials while creating division within City Hall and the Police Department

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has struggled with how to respond. He repeatedly made clear that he does not support the demonstrators’ arguments or their tactics, but he has also defended their right to protest and in recent days and weeks has sounded increasingly exasperated, especially in the wake of growing complaints from neighbors about how the protest has disrupted the neighborhood and hurt local businesses.

The mayor met daily with several deputies and commissioners, as more business owners complaining and editorials lampooning him as gutless, the mayor’s patience wore thin.



UPDATES (click on links)

Meanwhile, in preparation for the long winter ahead, free flu shots were given to the participants of the encampment by volunteer doctors and health care workers….


Photos © by Bud Korotzer
And Jewish Groups stand up for Free Speech at Wall Street… (Bloomberg does not speak for them!)
click on images to enlarge


New legislation is on the table which would limit donations to Human Rights organisations as part of an ongoing struggle to put an end to dissent in the ‘only Democracy in the Middle East’. If the truth ever sets Israel free, Palestine will surely reap the benefits as would much of the Western world.
“Operating in Israel are organizations which have the goal of denouncing the state of Israel to the world at large, and transforming IDF soldiers and officers into pariah figures, while defaming their reputations. Such organizations receive financing from foreign sources and states, and the goal of these funds is to harm and alter public discourse in Israel,” claims the preamble to this proposed bill.

Netanyahu backs laws to limit donations to Israeli human rights organizations

Bills seek to harm to human rights groups which relayed information to the Goldstone committee that followed IDF’s Operation Cast Lead on Gaza.

Two bills restricting human rights organizations in Israel that were put on hold are now back on the legislative table. The proposed laws which would significantly curtail the ability of organizations to seek donations overseas will be brought to a vote next Sunday by the ministerial legislative committee.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced this week that he supports legislation of these bills, and will back their handling and approval by the ministerial committee. These are legislative initiatives that were discussed by the ministerial committee last June. Their handling was frozen at the request of Minister Benny Begin (Likud ), so as to avoid international criticism of Israel ahead of the Palestinian attempt to gain statehood recognition at the United Nations in September.

The proposed bills seek to cause economic harm to human rights groups which relayed information to the special UN committee headed by Judge Goldstone following the IDF’s Operation Cast Lead on the Gaza Strip. According to a proposal forwarded by MK Ofir Akunis (Likud ), and backed by Netanyahu, political NPOs in Israel would not be allowed to receive donations exceeding NIS 20,000 provided by foreign governments and international organizations such as the UN and the European Union. According to the bill, “inciting activity undertaken by many organizations, under the cover of human rights work, has the goal of influencing political debates, and the character and the policies of the state of Israel.”

Sources close to the Knesset relay that this is a problematic proposal, and is unlikely to be endorsed by the High Court as it is now formulated. The main problem is the difficulty of fixing a legal definition of an NPO’s “political” activity. Nonetheless, Netanyahu’s backing of Akunis’ proposal is expected to be a decisive factor impinging on the ministerial committee’s deliberations. The coalition is likely to mobilize in favor of the bill, prior to its being brought to a vote in the Knesset.

Akunis told Haaretz on Monday that “this is a just, logical law that eliminates an anomalous situation in which foreign states intervene in Israel’s political discourse via the conferral of money given in the form of donations to NPOs that pursue political goals. Incidentally, this pertains entirely to NPOs sponsored by the left.” The MK added that “the fact that a state such as England can donate money to a movement such as Peace Now is blatantly unfair. This is a law which will bring justice.”

The ministerial committee will also decide whether to support another proposal, sponsored by MK Fania Kirshenbaum (Yisrael Beiteinu ), stipulating that an NPO not supported by the state of Israel will have to pay taxes at a rate of 45% on all revenue provided by a foreign government.

“Operating in Israel are organizations which have the goal of denouncing the state of Israel to the world at large, and transforming IDF soldiers and officers into pariah figures, while defaming their reputations. Such organizations receive financing from foreign sources and states, and the goal of these funds is to harm and alter public discourse in Israel,” claims the preamble to this proposed bill.

Kirshenbaum decided in the past to put legislation of this proposal on hold, as she moved to establish in the Knesset a parliamentary committee to investigate human rights organizations. She explained that her rationale was to allow such a special committee to examine the activities of certain human rights groups and draw conclusions. Working simultaneously on a bill to restrict the activities of these groups would have been an encumbrance, the MK says. The Knesset, however, blocked the establishment of this special parliamentary investigative committee, and so Kirshenbaum has decided to renew legislative work on behalf of the proposal to slap a high tax burden on certain human rights groups. She wants the ministerial committee to discuss her proposal as soon as possible. Sources in the Knesset estimate that her bill is formulated in a way that circumvents legal obstacles, and possibly preempts suspicion that the bill is prejudicial toward human rights organizations associated with the left.

The renewed attempts to legislate the two proposed laws stirred consternation among human rights groups Monday. “We will continue to do what we do even without money,” vowed Sarit Michaeli, spokesperson for the B’Tselem group. “We will continue even if they continue to legislate bills whose goal is to silence us. We might have less financing, but they’ll have to find other ways to stifle the criticism – they’ll have to put us in prison.”



There are plans to build a sukkah at New York’s Occupy Wall Street and to continue holding Shabbat services until the protest is over. I’ll be there.


Yom Kippur at Occupy Wall Street

As sundown approached on Friday, a crowd of approximately 700 people gathered on the New York plaza for Kol Nidre prayers; similar services were held at Occupy Wall Street camps in Washington, Philadelphia, Boston.

A large, open plaza across from Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park, where Occupy Wall Street has made its encampment for three weeks, proved to be the perfect setting for Kol Nidre on Friday night.

Earlier in the week, Daniel Sieradski, Occupy Wall Street protester and self-styled “new media activist,” wondered on Facebook and Twitter whether he could get a minyan to show up for the service. As sundown approached on Friday, a crowd that some estimated to be as many as 700 people gathered on the plaza for the prayers that begin Yom Kippur. Similar services were held at Occupy Wall Street camps in Washington, Philadelphia and Boston.


Kol Nidre @ Occupy Wall St. from Jewish Forward on Vimeo.


In keeping with the style of the occupation in the park across the street, which does not have a sound system permit, announcements were shouted by a single speaker in short phrases, and each phrase was repeated back through the crowd so everyone could hear it. The entire service was led this way, including the sermon, written and shouted by my friend, Getzel Davis, a fourth-year rabbinical student at Hebrew College in Boston.

I think all sermons should be delivered this way for all eternity. There’s no better way to capture a crowd’s attention with a Yom Kippur sermon than to hear the message ripple back through the congregation in short bursts. The energy of the crowd was enhanced by the recurring call and response, and by being physically close to one another; once you were in the crowd, it was packed tight and there was no getting out.

While the organizers and many present were regular service-goers, this Kol Nidre also attracted a healthy number of people who probably haven’t been to a synagogue in years. I am a very regular synagogue attendee, but a service has never felt more relevant. The high point came during one part of the sermon, as Getzel’s voice rose louder and louder:

“Yom Kippur is the day that we are forgiven for worshipping the golden calf!

“What is the golden calf?

“It is the essence of idol worship!

“It is the fallacy that gold is God!”

Afterward, I felt like I was walking on air, and judging from the spontaneous song session that sprung up later, I suspect I wasn’t the only one.

There are plans to build a sukkah at New York’s Occupy Wall Street and to continue holding Shabbat services until the protest is over. I’ll be there.





No, it’s not a soccer match …. it’s the game of life! Not all Israelis blindly follow or swallow the idea presented in the image. The following videos show Israelis against the occupation against those who aren’t …. a ‘game’ that you won’t be watching on your TVs as Israel tries to hide the fact that there is dissent here…. lots of it! There are Israelis against the occupation, against illegal settlements, against apartheid and racism… You can see them here …. Israeli patriots in action!
Israel vs Israel Part 1
Part 2

Some background on the above videos can be seen HERE

Here’s yet another video that the zionists won’t let you see on your TV… about an American that took a side in the conflict and paid with her life.
And another that Israel hopes you will never see ….
The Israeli army has expressed a note of contrition after a television station aired a videotape showing an army assault on a Palestinian home in which a mother of five children died.
When CBC News spoke with Ismail Hawarjeh at Bethlehem’s hospital earlier this month, there was no way to verify the story he told about how his wife had died, until Israel’s Channel 2 broacast the tape last weekend.

The Palestinian school administrator said his wife Huda had been killed in their home by an Israeli tank shell during the army’s March 8 assault on the Aida refugee camp. The army wouldn’t comment and foreign journalists weren’t allowed inside the camp.

But Israeli media were allowed to ride along with the soldiers, and they went right into the Hawarjeh home. An Israeli camera recorded the army blowing off the door, and found Huda Hawarjeh bleeding on the floor.

The pictures conformed to Ismail Hawarjeh’s story about his wife being hit by shrapnel in the front hallway of the house, and about the Israeli soldiers doing little to help her for an hour while she bled to death in front of her five children.

Finally, the soldiers allowed an ambulance to come to a nearby street, and soldiers helped Hawarjeh carry his wife to it. Doctors tried to revive her at the hospital but couldn’t.

Huda Hawarjeh was one of seven people to die in the Bethlehem area that day.

The Israeli army allows the media such close access on the understanding it can embargo anything it doesn’t want broadcast.

The tapes of the assault on the Hawarjeh home fell into that category. But Channel 2 broke the embargo anyway.

The army, government and many Israeli citizens didn’t like what they saw.

Channel 2 showed Hawarjeh begging soldiers to allow an ambulance through. The camera captured the terror of the woman’s daughter, and her brother’s attempt to stop her from showing the soldiers her fear.

After the woman was finally taken out, one of the soldiers looked into the camera and said: “I don’t know what we’re doing here. Purification, maybe. It’s dirty here. I don’t know why a good Hebrew boy should be here, so far from his home.”

The soldiers tore the home apart, evidently looking for weapons.

Another daughter begged them not to demolish the home’s wall. Soldiers commonly smash walls to move into adjacent houses.

Israeli spokesman Ranaan Gissin said the government was disappointed by the decision to air the tapes. “I would have expected a little bit more self-censorship on the part of the Israeli media,” he said.

Ma’ariv, Israel’s second-biggest newspaper, ran the story on its front page on Monday, under a banner headline that read “Gaffe!”

The army, after trying to suppress distribution of the pictures, admitted the soldiers’ actions pushed the boundaries of public acceptance.

“Our action is so difficult to be done that it is to the extremities of acceptance,” said Olivier Rafowicz, an Israeli Defence Force spokesman.

He called what happened in the Hawarjeh home “a mistake.”


Help us spread all of the above, it’s the only way people will be able to take sides, hopefully the side of Justice!


The Law in question has been passed by the Knesset;

Israel passes law banning calls for boycott


What is the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanction movement?

Posted by Joseph Dana 

The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) movement is in the news today. Israel is posed to pass a bill that will criminalize support for the nonviolent movement among Israeli citizens. Risking a criminal sentence, I am publishing some basic information about the BDS movement below as a means of dispelling rumors about BDS and its aims. The information below is taken from the official website of the BDS movement.

From the BDS site:

The campaign for boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) is shaped by a rights-based approach and highlights the three broad sections of the Palestinian people: the refugees, those under military occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and Palestinians in Israel. The call urges various forms of boycott against Israel until it meets its obligations under international law by:

  1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied in June 1967 and dismantling the Wall;
  2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
  3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.

The BDS call was endorsed by over 170 Palestinian political parties, organizations, trade unions and movements. The signatories represent the refugees, Palestinians in the OPT, and Palestinian citizens of Israel.

Boycotts target products and companies (Israeli and international) that profit from the violation of Palestinian rights, as well as Israeli sporting, cultural and academic institutions. Anyone can boycott Israeli goods, simply by making sure that they don’t buy produce made in Israel or by Israeli companies. Campaigners and groups call on consumers not to buy Israeli goods and on businesses not to buy or sell them.

Israeli cultural and academic institutions directly contribute to maintaining, defending or whitewashing the oppression of Palestinians, as Israel deliberately tries to boost its image internationally through academic and cultural collaborations. As part of the boycott, academics, artists and consumers are campaigning against such collaboration and ‘rebranding’. A growing number of artists have refused to exhibit or play in Israel.

Divestment means targeting corporations complicit in the violation of Palestinian rights and ensuring that the likes of university investment portfolios and pension funds are not used to finance such companies. These efforts raise awareness about the reality of Israel’s policies and encourage companies to use their economic influence to pressure Israel to end its systematic denial of Palestinian rights.

Sanctions are an essential part of demonstrating disapproval for a country’s actions. Israel’s membership of various diplomatic and economic forums provides both an unmerited veneer of respectability and material support for its crimes. By calling for sanctions against Israel, campaigners educate society about violations of international law and seek to end the complicity of other nations in these violations.

Posted AT


What exactly does the anti-Boycott bill say?

Posted by Joseph Dana

This afternoon, the Israeli Knesset is expected to pass a controversial ’anti-boycott’ law. This law will criminaize Israeli support for the Palestinian led Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) movement. Some in Israel are saying that the law is anti-free speech and will limit freedom of expression by Israeli citizens that want to protest Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. One reason that I am writing about the bill on my personal site and not +972 is because of fears that +972 could be targeted as being in violation of the bill.

So much has been discussed about the bill in recent days, yet many have not read it. Below is a translated version of the bill. No matter where one stands on Israeli politics, today is a historic day for the future of Israeli democracy. Translation below is from ACRI

Proposed Bill to Prevent Harm to the State of Israel by Means of Boycott, 27 June 2011


1. In this bill, “a boycott against the State of Israel” – deliberately avoiding economic, cultural or academic ties with another person or another factor only because of his ties with the State of Israel, one of its institutions or an area under its control, in such a way that may cause economic, cultural or academic damage.

Boycott – a civil wrong:

A.     Knowingly publishing a public call for a boycott against the State of Israel will be considered a civil wrong to which the civil tort law [new version] applies, if according to the content and circumstances of the publication there is reasonable probability that the call will bring about a boycott and he who published the call was aware of this possibility.

B.     In regards to clause 62 [A] of the civil tort law [new version], he who causes a binding legal agreement to be breached by calling for a boycott against the State of Israel will not be viewed as someone who operated with sufficient justification. 

C.     If the court will find that an wrong according to this law was deliberately carried out, it will be authorized to compel the person who did the wrongdoing to pay damages that are not dependent on the damage (in this clause – damages, for example); in calculating the sum of the damages for example, the court will take into consideration, among other things, the circumstances under which the wrong was carried out, its severity and its extent.

Regulations pertaining to limitation on participation in tenders

3. The Finance Minister is authorized, with the agreement of the Justice Minister and the approval of the Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, to set the regulations of this matter [special cases where it will be limited] and to limit the participation of he who knowingly published a public call for a boycott against the State of Israel, or who committed to take part in a boycott, in a tender that must to be carried out according to legislation.

Regulations pertaining to the suspension of benefits

A.     The Finance Minister, with the approval of the Justice Minister, may decide in the case of someone who knowingly published a public call for a boycott against the State of Israel or committed to take part in a boycott [in special cases] that –

1.      He will not be considered a public institution as to clause 9 (2) of the income tax ordinance;

2.      He will not be eligible for receiving money from the council of sports gambling according to clause 9 of the law regulating sports gambling, 1967;

3.      He will not be considered a public institution as far as receiving support according to clause 3(A) of the budget foundations law, 1985;

4.      He will not be subject to the orders of the guaranteeing law on behalf of the state, 1958

5.      He will not be eligible to enjoy benefits given according to the law to encourage capital investment, 1959, and according to the law to encourage research and development in industry, 1984.

B. Putting into practice the authority of the Finance Minister according to small clause (A)(2) will be carried out with the approval of the Sports Minister. Putting into practice the authority of the Finance Minister according to small clause (A)(3) will be carried out with the approval of the minister that the government had decided is responsible for the budget as is stated in paragraph (2) of the definition of who is “responsible for the budget clause” within the budget foundations law, 1985. Putting into practice the authority of the Finance Minister according to small clause (5) will be carried out with the approval of the Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor.


5. The Minister of Justice is appointed to implement this law. 

Posted AT

International support for the Boycott continues to grow…..

Roger Waters endorses BDS and speaks against Israeli anti-boycott law



Israel’s dissidents are saving the country

The dissidents do not need to apologize for anything. Their country owes them a great deal.

By Gideon Levy

Imagine a different Israel in the eyes of the world. There is no B’Tselem, no Breaking the Silence, no Anarchists Against the Fence, no Gush Shalom. There is no New Israel Fund and no small band of radical and dissenting intellectuals and journalists. Imagine a different Israel, which silences and crushes every such voice. Imagine how it would look to the world.

The little sympathy Israel still receives it owes to these groups. The campaign of delegitimization against it, the real one and the one we invent, we owe to Avigdor Lieberman and Israel Beiteinu, to Benjamin Netanyahu and the flood of anti-democratic laws of his people and of Kadima, to the unbridled Israel Defense Forces and to the settlers who know no boundaries. One day of Operation Cast Lead did Israel more damage than all the critical articles taken together; the fatal attack on the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara dragged down Israel’s image more than all the anti-Israeli lectures taken together; the “Nakba Law” stank more than all the petitions.

The ever-growing initiative to boycott, excoriate and ostracize Israel was born out of the pictures of Gaza and the scenes from the Marmara. The fact that there are Israelis who have joined the criticism can only be chalked up to Israel’s dwindling credit in universities in the United States, in the academic world of Europe and in newspapers in both places. Just imagine how Israel would look without them: North Korea.

The government’s ambassadors and its propagandists can barely persuade anyone in the world, except themselves. The destroyers of Israeli democracy can only stoke the fire higher and higher against it. The critical voices still being heard, in commendable freedom, arouse the world’s esteem. The dissidents are now the best explainers of Israel, whose regime is still to its credit.

About two weeks ago, I was invited to the Jewish Book Week in London, following the publication in English of my book “The Punishment of Gaza.” The Jewish establishment in Britain threatened to boycott the event, the organizers considered hiring security guards, and roughly 500 people, mainly middle-of-the-road Jews, filled the hall, asked questions and mainly, in their modest way, expressed great sympathy. I spoke, as I always do, against the occupation, the injustices and the damage it does to Israel and to the Palestinians, against the attacks on Israeli democracy as I have written in the hundreds of articles that have been published in Haaretz in Hebrew and in English, and as I did at the London School of Economics and Trinity University in Dublin.

As on previous occasions, a “spy” from the Israeli Embassy was sent to Trinity – this one, an Israeli student who was asked to write down what I said and convey it to the embassy. The embassy quickly dispatched a report to the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem, and the Foreign Ministry quickly leaked it to a well-known newspaper, which published only my harshest statements, without context – and there you have it: the indictment of a dissident.

One can ignore the way the embassy spies on journalists, evoking dark regimes. I would be glad to see a government representative at my lectures who was not under cover, if they have any interest. But one cannot ignore the message conveyed by such conduct – that of a witch hunt against a journalist whose opinions diverge from the party line.

In the new high-tech world, there is no longer a difference between what is written and what is said from here or from there. In the new world, which is mainly hostile to Israel, there is significance to alternative voices coming out of Israel, voices other than the official, threatening and harmful. These voices belong to Israel’s true patriots, who fear for its fate and are concerned over its image much more than the people who are threatening to silence them. The dissidents do not need to apologize to their country for anything. Their country owes them a great deal: They are the force that is saving its image in the world. “Thy destroyers and they that made thee waste shall go forth from thee”? (Isaiah 49:17 ) Indeed, indeed. Netanyahu and Lieberman, the lawmakers on the right and the instigators of nationalism and racism, the hilltop youth and the indifferent of Tel Aviv. Ask (almost ) any European or American intellectual.