The anti BDS campaign continues in today’s Israeli press …. never before has Israel seemed as desperate as it is now to justify their policies of Apartheid and Occupation.

Click on the links below to see the reports

From the greatest BS'er of the all

From the greatest BS’er of them all


Israeli left must battle BDS


Israel to allocate NIS 100 million for BDS


Netanyahu tells Jpost Conference: Iran, BDS emerging as threats to Israel on world stage


This is their latest video


Gideon Levy has a positive take on the Boycott in today’s HaAretz

For the sins of occupation, boycotts are a light punishment

Orange or SodaStream, academic or artistic boycott, the penalties will grow worse the longer Israel persists in settling, exploiting and stealing Palestinian land.

What are you defending? What are you fighting for? Over what are Israelis entrenching themselves now, with the assaults of the nationalist politicians and the populist media fulminating against the world. Why are they patriotically covering up the orange flags of Orange with the blue-and-white national flag? Has anybody asked why? Why is the boycott starting to gnaw at Israel now, and is this all worth it?

As usual, there are questions that are not even asked. Soul-searching, after all, is a clear sign of weakness. And so an explanation has been invented that absolves us of responsibility: The boycott fell out of the sky, an unavoidable force majeure of Israel hatred, and the only way to fight it is to fight right back at them. Israel always has an abundance of fitting (and sometimes violent) Zionist responses, but it’s always about the outcome, never about the reasons. That’s how was with terror, that’s how it was with the position of the world that Zionist Union chairman MK Isaac Herzog, of all Israeli ultranationalists, rushed to label with the ridiculous name “terror of a new kind” (referring to thestatements by Orange SA CEO Stephane Richard). Never give in. That’s fine, but why? We are fighting the boycott, but why did it break out?

Israel is now defending the preservation of the status quo. It is fighting against the whole world to preserve its advanced school of brutality and cruelty, in which it is educating generations of young people to act brutishly toward human beings, old people and children, to tyrannize them, to bark at them, to crush and humiliate them, only because they are Palestinians.

Israel is defending the continuation of apartheid in the occupied territories, in which two peoples live, one of them without any rights. It is defending its entire system of justification for this — a combination of Bible stories, messianism and victimhood, accompanied by lies. It is defending “united Jerusalem,” which is nothing but a territorial monster where separation also exists. It is fighting for its right to destroy the Gaza Strip for as long as it cares to do so, to maintain it as a ghetto and to be the warden of the biggest prison in the world.

The Israelis are fighting for their right to persist in settling, exploiting and stealing land; to continue breaking international law that prohibits settlement, to continue to thumb its nose at the whole world, which does not recognize any settlements. They are now defending their right to shoot children who throw stones and helpless fishermen pursuing the crumbs of a livelihood in the sea off the coast of Gaza, their right to continue snatching people from their beds in the middle of the night in the West Bank; they are fighting for the right to detain hundreds of people without trial, to hold political prisoners, to abuse them.

That is what they are protecting, that is what they are fighting for — for an area that most of them have not been to for years, and don’t care what happens there, for conduct that is shameful even to some of them. These are the sins and this is the punishment. Does anyone think that Israel can go on without being punished? Without being ostracized? And to tell the truth, doesn’t Israel deserve to be punished? Hasn’t the world been unbelievably tolerant so far?

Orange or SodaStream, academic boycott or artistic boycott, these are light punishments. The penalties will grow worse the longer Israel avoids drawing the necessary conclusions. As opposed to attempts by Israel and the Jewish establishment to divert the discussion, at its heart is not anti-Semitism. At its heart is the occupation. That is the source of the delegitimization.

The nation can fight against the position of the whole world. It can stand up for its rights (which are not its rights) and think that it is fighting for its survival. But do the Israelis know what they are defending now? What they are not willing to surrender? Is all this worth it to them? That discussion has not even begun here.



We call for a final end to the crimes and oppression against us. We call for:

  • Arms embargos on Israel, sanctions that would cut off the supply of weapons and military aid from Europe and the United States on which Israel depends to commit such war crimes;
  • Suspension of all free trade and bilateral agreements with Israel such as the EU-Israel Association agreement;
  • Boycott, divestment and sanctions, as called for by the overwhelming majority of Palestinian civil society in 2005


Palestinians mourn victims of Israeli air strikes in Gaza City, 12 July.  (Mohammed Asad / APA images)


We Palestinians trapped inside the bloodied and besieged Gaza Strip call on conscientious people all over the world to act, protest and intensify the boycotts, divestments and sanctions against Israel until it ends this murderous attack on our people and is held to account.

With the world turning their backs on us once again, for the last four days we in Gaza have been left to face massacre after massacre. As you read these words, over 120 Palestinians are dead now, including 25 children. Over 1,000 have been injured including countless horrifying injuries that will limit lives forever –- more than two thirds of the injured are women and children.

We know for a fact that many more will not make it through the next day. Which of us will be next, as we lie awake from the sound of the carnage in our beds tonight? Will we be the next photo left in an unrecognizable state from Israel’s state-of-the-art flesh-tearing, limb-stripping machinery of destruction?

We call for a final end to the crimes and oppression against us. We call for:

  • Arms embargos on Israel, sanctions that would cut off the supply of weapons and military aid from Europe and the United States on which Israel depends to commit such war crimes;
  • Suspension of all free trade and bilateral agreements with Israel such as the EU-Israel Association agreement;
  • Boycott, divestment and sanctions, as called for by the overwhelming majority of Palestinian civil society in 2005

Without pressure and isolation, the Israeli regime has proven time and time again that it will continue such massacres as we see around us now, and continue the decades of systematic ethnic cleansing, military occupation and apartheid policies.

We are writing this on Saturday night, again paralyzed in our homes as the bombs fall on us in Gaza. Who knows when the current attacks will end? For anyone over seven years old, permanently etched on our minds are the rivers of blood that ran through the Gaza streets when for over three weeks in 2009 over 1,400 Palestinians were killed, including over 330 children.

White phosphorous and other chemical weapons were used in civilian areas and contaminating our land with a rise in cancers as a result. More recently 180 more were killed in the week-long attacks in late November 2012.

This time what? 200, 500, 5,000? We ask: how many of our lives are dispensable enough until the world takes action? How much of our blood is sufficient? Before the Israeli bombings, a member of the Israeli Knesset Ayelet Shaked of the far-right Jewish Home party called for genocide of the Palestinian people.

“They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes,” she said. “Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.” Right now nothing is beyond the murderous nature of the Israeli State, for we, a population that is mostly children, are all mere snakes to them.

As said Omar Ghraib in Gaza, “It was heart shattering to see the pictures of little boys and girls viciously killed. Also how an elderly woman was killed while she was having her iftar at Maghreb prayer by bombing her house. She died holding the spoon in her hand, an image that will need a lot of time to leave my head.”

Entire houses are being targeted and entire families are being murdered. Early Thursday morning the entire al-Haj family was wiped out — the father Mahmoud, mother Bassema and five children. No warning, a family targeted and removed from life. Thursday night, the same again, no warning, five more dead including four from the Ghannam family, a woman and a seven year old child amongst them.

On Tuesday morning the Kaware family did get a phone call telling them their three-story house would be bombed. The family began to leave when a water tank was struck, but then returned with members of the community, who all came to the house to stand with them, people from all over the neighborhood.

The Israeli jets bombed the building with a roof full of people, knowing full well it was full of civilians. Seven people died immediately, including five children under 13 years old. Twenty-five more were injured, and eight-year-old Seraj Abd al-Aal succumbed to his injuries later that evening.

Perhaps the family was trying to appeal to the Israeli regime’s humanity, surely they wouldn’t bomb the roof full of people. But as we watch families being torn apart around us, it’s clear that Israel’s actions have nothing to do with humanity.

Other places hit include a clearly-marked media vehicle, killing the independent journalist Hamed Shehab, injuring eight others, a hit on a Red Crescent rescue vehicle and attacks on hospitals which caused evacuations and more injuries.

This latest session of Israeli barbarity is placed firmly in the context of Israel’s inhuman seven-year blockade that has cut off the main life-line of goods and people coming in and out of Gaza, resulting in the severe medical and food shortages being reported by all our hospitals and clinics right now.

Cement to rebuild the thousands of homes destroyed by Israeli attacks had been banned and many injured and ill people are still not being allowed to travel abroad to receive urgent medical treatment which has caused the deaths of over 600 sick patients.

As more news comes in, as Israeli leaders give promises of moving onto a next stage in brutality, we know there are more horrors yet to come. For this we call on you to not turn your backs on us. We call on you to stand up for justice and humanity and demonstrate and support the courageous men, women and children rooted in the Gaza Strip facing the darkest of times ahead. We insist on international action:

  • Severance of diplomatic ties with Israel
  • Trials for war crimes
  • Immediate international protection of the civilians of Gaza

We call on you to join the growing international boycott, divestment and sanction campaign to hold this rogue state to account that is proving once again to be so violent and yet so unchallenged.

Join the growing critical mass around the world with a commitment to the day when Palestinians do not have to grow up amidst this relentless murder and destruction by the Israeli regime.

When we can move freely, when the siege is lifted, the occupation is over and the world’s Palestinian refugees are finally granted justice.

ACT NOW, before it is too late!

Signed by:

Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions
University Teachers’ Association in Palestine
Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations Network (Umbrella for 133 orgs)
General Union of Palestinian Women
Medical Democratic Assembly
General Union of Palestine Workers
General Union for Health Services Workers
General Union for Public Services Workers
General Union for Petrochemical and Gas Workers
General Union for Agricultural Workers
Union of Women’s Work Committees
Pal-Cinema (Palestine Cinema Forum)
Youth Herak Movement
Union of Women’s Struggle Committees
Union of Synergies—Women Unit
Union of Palestinian Women Committees
Women’s Studies Society
Working Woman’s Society
Press House
Palestinian Students’ Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel
Gaza BDS Working Group
One Democratic State Group




Presbyterian divest

By Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

In the past 10 days, Israeli occupation soldiers murdered 7 Palestinians (including a 13 year old child), injured dozens, kidnapped nearly 400, demolished many houses, destroyed contents and broken doors on hundreds of homes invaded in the middle of the night, blocked travel to hundreds of thousands, and continues to imprison thousands many on hunger strike for being held without charge for months. One of the people they kidnapped is also Samer Aleisawi who is famous for having the longest hunger strike in history as a political prisoner. He was released only after human rights activists and human rights organizations exerted significant pressure on Israel He was now kidnapped using the excuse of three missing colonial settlers (which maybe a false flag operation to detract from the suffering of thousands of Palestinian political prisoners). In those 10 days, Apartheid Israel received nearly 100 million dollars from US taxpayers unaware of what their congress is doing with their money. And to add insult to injury the colonial apartheid state was given a vice president position in a UN agency that is supposed to fight colonialism. To say all of this is Orwellian would be the understatement of the year.

In those ten days other US supported regimes cracked down. Egyptian kangaroo courts passed death sentences and long prison terms on hundreds of their political opponents (including even journalists just doing their job). US supported “Saudi” regime puppets executed hundreds in Iraq.

But there are signs of resistance every where. Israeli parliament member Haneen Zoabi (a decent Palestinian leader in 1948 occupied areas) was brave to say the truth others did not dare say: resistance to occupation is legitimate, collaboration with occupiers against native people is treacherous. Demonstrations were held in Ramallah against the Palestinian authority (even throwing stones at a PA police station). This after  the PA police blocked several demonstrations some of them by family members of the Palestinian youth imprisoned by Israel.  There was resistance to the invading Israeli army in dozens of villages. Al-Aqsa martyrs brigade issues a statement from Balata refugee camp finally openly accusing Mahmoud Abbas of treason. But Abbas sent his wife to an Israeli hospital to give the Israelis a good media opportunities to vilify the Palestinians and beautify the occupiers.  But the most significant news of all: The Presbyterian church general assembly voted to divest from three American companies that aid the Israeli occupation: Motorola, Hewlett Packard, and Caterpillar. I wrote on my facebook page after the vote:

“Despite all the Zionist racist tactics that tried to intimidate, pressure, bully and trick commissioners, there was still enough of them principled enough to stand that and vote for what is right. Thank you to the Presbyterian church.. Presbyterians light the way for the rest of humanity.. kudos to all including our activists at Al-Rowwad who sent the message on the wall, the thousands of peace activists who wrote and acted and spoke out. Special mention to Jewish Voice for Peace. You all rock. We love you from Bethlehem”

Now our job is to resist to end this charade. We ,must approach other churches and we must engage in massive rebellion against the repression. Freedom is not freely given and it takes effort. Time to act is now.

Note: thousands of activists worked very hard

Message from Jewish Voice for Peace

Presbyterian Church Israel/Palestine mission network

Presbyterian Church resolution as passed

The number of registered Palestinian refugees 5.4 million (plus many unregistered) 
It is time to imagine a future without the “Palestinian authority”


In this video, members of the Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) Rabbinical Council call for divestment from occupation profiteer Hewlett-Packard.

It is part of JVP’s “Hewlett-Packard: Harming Peace” campaign.



In Passover message, rabbis call for divestment from Hewlett-Packard


On May 15, students at Middlebury College in Vermont staged a checkpoint outside their dining hall during the busiest meal of the year to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, which led to the establishment of the state of Israel.


Middlebury students stage Israeli checkpoint to push divestment

Jay Saper*

On May 15, students at Middlebury College in Vermont staged a checkpoint outside their dining hall during the busiest meal of the year to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, which led to the establishment of the state of Israel.

As the Middlebury divestment campaign from arms and fossil fuels gains nationalattention, a coalition that included Palestinian, Israeli and American Jewish students staged the act of political theater in solidarity with Nakba Day demonstrations aroundthe globe as a call to add apartheid to the students’ divestment demands.

Israel receives over $3 billion a year in military aid from the United States with stipulations on how that money is to be spent. As a consequence, nearly all weapons used by the Israeli military to support the occupation are produced by U.S. arms manufacturers, in which Middlebury has $6 million invested.

The objective of the checkpoint was to urge the college to honor the call by Palestinian civil society for those who are invested in corporations that profit from the occupation to stop their complicity in the oppression of the Palestinian people and fulfill their “moral responsibility to fight injustice” by divesting from Israeli apartheid.

At a midnight breakfast event during finals week, students were greeted in the dark with barricades blocking the entrance to the dining hall and flashlights from full uniformed soldiers asking for identification cards.

Alex Jackman, a junior from New York City, described the checkpoint as “one of the coolest pieces of theater I have seen on Middlebury’s campus. Performed during the time when all students are wrapped up in stress about exams and schoolwork, the piece served as a reminder that there are greater battles to fight beyond our campus.”

A gate was lifted for students who had received Israeli documentation. They could pass freely to prepare themselves a plate of pancakes. Those with Palestinian IDs were not greeted with a welcoming tone. As their “Israeli” friends were able to pass through, “Palestinians” were ordered by soldiers to stop.

While they were held, three actors whose wrists were zip-tied and eyes blindfolded — alluding to the hundreds of Palestinians held under administrative detention without being charged or tried — pleaded for water and demanded to be released. Those with Palestinian papers were only able to eventually pass into the dining hall after being directed to walk all the way around the checkpoint.

Some students voiced their frustration with being held up, “This is not cool, I am trying to get to midnight breakfast.” One shouted, “I have to study for finals.”

Jackman contended it was important for students to confront the checkpoint. “Middlebury College students tend to abstract issues of social injustice, a method that allows us to remove ourselves from these issues,” she explained. “But by being confronted, quite literally, with this piece of theater, we were not able to remove ourselves from our privileges — even if only for a moment.”

The performance, developed by students as part of a course on Theater and Social Change and members of the organization Justice for Palestine, was broken up by campus public safety.

“This is not theater; we can tell it is political,” one officer voiced. “Everything that is political has to be approved by the college.”

For Palestinians, checkpoints are not a momentary interruption, but one persistent piece of a dehumanizing system of apartheid. Between 2000 and 2005 there were 67 Palestinian mothers who were forced to give birth at Israeli military checkpoints and 36 of those babies died.

Apartheid is not enabled through merely subjecting a people to oppressive conditions, but rather through creating separate realities whereby a group of people is not forced to confront their implication in the domination of another group.

Middlebury College itself is a settlement on stolen Abenaki land. With its pristine limestone buildings and perfectly manicured grass, Middlebury manufactures an environment seemingly separate from the oppressions it perpetuates, which is itself a political act.

Students at Middlebury are stepping up and refusing to allow a separation of conscience that tolerates inaction in the face of a school profiting from Israeli apartheid. Justice for Palestine has one message for administrators, particularly fitting of a midnight action, “We will not rest, until you divest.”


*Jay Saper is a student organizer with Justice for Palestine at Middlebury College.



Written FOR


 Church advocates say that, despite the organizing by Israel lobby groups, divestment has a good chance to pass in 2014.

Israel lobby group gears up early to counter church divestment initiatives in 2014
 Alex Kane


Jewish & Christian advocates for peace and divestment from the Israeli occupation at the Methodist General Conference, April 24, 2012 (Photo: Jewish Voice for Peace)

The next church general assemblies won’t take place until 2014. But a key Israel lobby group has already begun to organize against any potential divestment resolutions related to Israel that may come up at church assemblies like the Presbyterians’ and the Methodists’.

From February 26-27, the Jewish Community Relations Council held an invitation-only anti-divestment conference in Burlingame, California. The first day of the conference was a rabbis-only event on countering divestment and boycotts in the church. The second day included anti-divestment Christians and Jews.

Titled “In Pursuit of Peace: A Jewish-Christian Summit on the Middle East,” the conference featured speakers from the Jewish Community Relations Council, the San Francisco Interfaith Council, the anti-divestment Auburn Theological Seminary and more. The Auburn Theological Seminary has been a leading force in the Presbyterian Church against divestment from companies profiting from the Israeli occupation, and has instead pushed for so-called “positive investment.”

Topics at the conference included “the impact of divestment on peace in the Middle East and interfaith relations,” and featured speakers inveighing against the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, the Palestinian civil society initiated non-violent movement that seeks to target Israeli human rights violations. A number of different religious groups–both Jewish and Christian–sponsored the event put on by the JCRC, including well-known institutions like the Episcopal Grace Cathedral Church and the Presbyterian San Francisco Theological Seminary.

While the conference was not publicly advertised, Mondoweiss has obtained e-mails detailing the summit that were sent from the Israel lobby group to church leaders. The e-mails obtained also include some of the responses the invitations to the summit garnered.

The conference comes seven months after both the Presbyterian and Methodist general assemblies failed to pass resolutions to divest from companies profiting from the Israeli occupation, though the Presbyterian vote was extremely close. But both assemblies votedoverwhelmingly to boycott settlement products. The JCRC and the Jewish Council on Public Affairs (JCPA) the parent organization of all local JCRCs, were key players in lobbying against the divestment and boycott resolutions. Specifically, Ethan Felson, the vice president and general counsel of the JCPA, has been the main lobbyist working against church divestment, and he spoke at the conference in California. The JCRC event, coming so early compared to when the actual general assemblies will be, is an indication of how important countering the BDS movement is to Israel lobby groups.

The most forceful resolutions on Palestine in the past have originated at the local level in the Bay Area, and now the JCRC and JCPA have begun to focus some of their own local efforts in that area. The JCRC has worked with the Israeli-government linked think tank the Reut Institute which has been a leading strategizer on how to combat the BDS movement. The Reut Institute labeled San Francisco a “delegmitization hub” and it has become a focus in combatting BDS. 

“We are reaching out to you with an exciting opportunity to strengthen interfaith relations in the Bay Area and spread our shared hope for peace in the Middle East,” wrote Rabbi Doug Kahn, the executive director of the JCRC, in an e-mail to a local reverend inviting him to the conference. “In this one-day regional conference, Bay Area faith leaders will deliberate on the role of the faith community in promoting peace and coexistence in the Middle East.”

But some members of the Presbyterian Church approached by the JCRC disagreed strongly with how the conference was planned and what it set out to do. Some church members were concerned about what they said was the “closed” nature of the conference. “The Presbyterian way is to discuss issues in the open, allowing a diversity of perspectives to be heard,” one e-mail from a concerned church member reads. “Closed meetings bring up images of smoke-filled back rooms where secret deals are made and there are things to hide.” Another e-mail responding to the JCRC invitation adds: “This ‘by invitation only’ event appears to be a new strategy to mobilize grass roots opposition to positions our denomination has taken over a 65-year period.”

Multiple e-mail requests for comment on this story to the JCRC went unanswered.

In an interview, Jewish Voice for Peace’s Sydney Levy said that the organizing against divestment resolutions set to be introduced in 2014 shows that the Jewish establishment is “scared…The ground is shifting dramatically. The churches are much less shy at this moment than they were a year ago.” Levy noted that 15 church leaders had sent an unprecedented letter to Congress last year requesting an investigation into whether U.S. aid to Israel violated the law, and that the leaders hadn’t retracted the letter in the face of strong pressure and threats.

John Anderson, a pastor at St. John’s Presbyterian Church in California and who was a key player in supporting the boycott of settlements proposal that passed at the last Presbyterian general assembly, attended the conference. He said he went under the assumption that it was going to be a dialogue. Instead, he said in an interview, it turned into a “diatribe” against the BDS movement. “What I had hoped to be an encouragement of dialogue…a safe space for conversation, became an unsafe space because of the labeling, the paternalism, the delegitimizing of other opinions,” said Anderson. He added that the conference was very “JCRC dominated” and that some of the attitudes he heard were very “condescending.”

Anderson explained that speakers gave a variety of reasons to oppose the BDS movement. One reason given was that the movement invoked the Nazi-era boycotts of Jewish businesses and that the movement smacks of anti-Semitism. The BDS movement wants “the elimination of the State of Israel,” one JCRC publication handed out at the conference reads.

The conference in Burlingame, at one of the most prominent Presbyterian churches in the Bay Area, is part of a larger strategy employed by the JCPA. The JCPA helped start the Israel Action Network (IAN), a $6 million anti-BDS initiative formed at the urging of the Israeli government, and reaching out to local community leaders is a key part of IAN’s strategy, as Phan Nguyen recently noted in Mondoweiss. A recent IAN publication authored by Hindy Poupko and Noam Gilboord of the JCRC reads: “Like all community relations activities, the heart of the campaign was grassroots community organizing,” referring to the successful effort to defeat the Park Slope Food Co-op BDS resolution. But that strategy has been employed time and again by the IAN in a variety of contexts.

IAN’s “strategy has been to label anyone who criticizes Israeli policies and practices as anti-Semitic and to threaten to cut off interfaith relationships,” said Walt Davis, a leading member of the Presbyterian Church’s Israel/Palestine Mission Network. “In spite of the $6 million budget, the program has backfired. Each day more and more international attention is focused on how Israel is delegitimizing itself by solidifying it’s apartheid-like system of control over Palestinian lives and livelihood.”

Church advocates say that, despite the organizing by Israel lobby groups, divestment has a good chance to pass in 2014.

Written FOR


B’nai Brith Canada also came forth to condemn the recommendations passed by the Church, claiming that whilst “thousands of Syrians [are being] murdered, the United Church is still obsessed with Israeli cucumbers.”
They know damn well it’s more than cucumbers, it’s a question of life or  death!
Canada’s United Church affirms settlements boycott
A giant cross seen at evangelical christian event



Members of the United Church of Canada, the country’s largest Protestant denomination, voted on Wednesday to affirm a controversial motion supporting a boycott of goods produced in Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The boycott has has outraged many Jewish groups, including the Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs, which expressed it’s anger by “the decision to single out Israeli communities for boycott.”

“In choosing this morally reckless path, the United Church has equally dismissed the concerns of the overwhelming majority of the Canadian Jewish community.” said David Koschitzky, Chair of the Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs.

“No mainstream Jewish organization, including Canadian Friends of Peace Now, endorses Boycott. Even the leadership of the American left-wing group J-Street has publicly condemned boycotts as counterproductive,” he continued.

A survey conducted by the Center found the proposals are in conflict with the views of the United Church members, of which more than three-quarters (78%) of Church members surveyed believe the Church should remain neutral on the issue of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

According to the survey, only 5% of Church members believe Israeli settlements are the greatest obstacle to peace. Moreover, the majority of those surveyed believe that a Middle East policy favoring one side over the other would weaken the Church’s credibility as a voice for peace.

B’nai Brith Canada also came forth to condemn the recommendations passed by the Church, claiming that whilst “thousands of Syrians [are being] murdered, the United Church is still obsessed with Israeli cucumbers.”

In May, the United Church’s Working Group on Israel and Palestine Policy released a report with recommendations hoping they would help to ease the violence in the region.

The report’s 13 recommendations, which will be voted on Friday, also call for the Canadian government to start identifying products coming from Israel’s occupied areas.





Another report from Ynet can be accessed HERE


Canadian church to boycott settlements’ products



United Church of Canada votes in favor of consumers’ boycott on goods produced in West Bank, east Jerusalem. Canadian Jewish community fuming


Nearly two decades ago, I had a dream. I thought the historic tragedy that befell the Palestinian people was about to end. As such, I refused to be an observer to the historic events that were unfolding; instead, I chose to employ my U.S. education and work experience to contribute to building a new reality on the ground — to build an economy that could serve the new and emerging state of Palestine.

My dream has become a nightmare, one that is being sustained, and financially underwritten, by many people around the world who should know better.

Palestine’s Investments Require Divestment

By Sam Bahour

Nearly two decades ago, I had a dream. I thought the historic tragedy that befell the Palestinian people was about to end. As such, I refused to be an observer to the historic events that were unfolding; instead, I chose to employ my U.S. education and work experience to contribute to building a new reality on the ground — to build an economy that could serve the new and emerging state of Palestine.

My dream has become a nightmare, one that is being sustained, and financially underwritten, by many people around the world who should know better.

Soon after the Palestinians and Israelis signed their first-ever agreement, the Oslo Accords, in 1993, I relocated with my family from the comfort zone of Youngstown, Ohio, my hometown, to the birthplace of my father in Al-Bireh, a Palestinian city 10 miles north of Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank.

Before departing to the Holy Land, I read the Oslo Accords carefully, very carefully. I walked into the Middle East’s powder keg knowing very well that the five-year “interim” agreement that the parties had signed on the White House lawn did not end Israel’s prolonged military occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip. However, the agreement did open new opportunities, economic and otherwise. Yet even those still required Israeli unilateral decision making to make them real.

Over the years, not only has Israel prohibited the emergence of a new Palestinian economy — it structurally and systematically has made certain that even the buds of such a productive economy would never see the light of day. Anyone who scratches the surface of all the political spin can see for themselves what the World Bank reported and now continues to repeat: that Israel’s “apparatus of control” has “become more sophisticated and effective in its ability to interfere in and affect every aspect of Palestinian life, including job opportunities, work, and earnings…[turning] the West Bank into a fragmented set of social and economic islands or enclaves cut off from one another.” The International Monetary Fund and the European Union are speaking in the same vein. And embargoed Gaza is in far worse shape than the West Bank.

Given that so many respected international organizations and analysts see reality for what it is, the question is what is being done about it.

Earlier this month, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) held its 220th General Assembly in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The gathering received international news coverage due to one of the topics on the agenda: the recommendation that the church divest from three U.S. firms (Caterpillar, Inc., Motorola Solutions, and Hewlett-Packard). These firms were singled out because of their direct involvement and profiteering from Israel’s illegal military occupation of Palestinians.

Although the Presbyterian commissioners narrowly decided not to divest, 333 to 331, with two abstentions, the church’s General Assembly did vote to encourage “positive investment” in the occupied Palestinian territory. Many who understand the dire state of affairs in Palestine may be disappointed that the divestment recommendation did not pass. I view the debate differently. The educational value of having this significant church engage on the issue was invaluable. I have no doubt that in the near future, a vote to divest from these three firms, and maybe others benefiting from this prolonged occupation, will be forthcoming.

What troubles me is that during the debate, the Israel lobby’s tactic of “positive investment” was heavily pushed. Through extreme pressure on the church’s General Assembly commissioners, a case was successfully made to “invest in Palestine” rather than to divest from American companies profiting from the violent Israeli military occupation of Palestinians. Those pushing “positive investment” and those voting for it seem unaware that for six years the Presbyterians have backed investment. The reality is that they have not been able to find safe investments since they’re jeopardized by heavy-handed Israeli enforcement of the occupation which severely threatens profit-making.

As a Palestinian-American businessman, I can confidently proclaim that any serious investment in Palestine will need a parallel effort to hold Israel accountable if “positive investment” is to have any chance of success.

I do not belittle “positive investment.” On the contrary, my staff and I work unstintingly to create and support businesses in Palestine. However, I’ve been here long enough to understand that Israel will not let us build a real economy, so every job we create is really a means to nonviolently resist this occupation and give hope to a Palestinian family in order for that family to remain in Palestine and not emigrate. A Palestinian with no other options will try to build something here, but an outside businessperson with other options is going to look at the risks and give very serious consideration to investing elsewhere.

Investment is threatened as the Israeli military, directed by the Israeli government, micro-manages every aspect of the Palestinian economy. That micro-management applies to the telecommunications sector as much as it applies to newly-created private equity funds. The extremely polished bluff of establishing “economic peace” is simply unrealistic for people living under military occupation. It’s also impossible.

Some argue that well-intentioned Presbyterians — and others — should invest in Palestine instead of divesting from Israel. Divestment, they claim, is too negative. Nothing could be further from the truth. Divestment is a highly mature, time-tested, non-violent method to resist injustice. There is no reason it cannot be paired with investment. That noted, the Israeli occupation is making sustainable investment in Palestine nearly impossible.

Last year the World Bank acknowledged that Palestinian economic “growth has been unsustainable, driven primarily by donor aid rather than a rebounding private sector, which remains stifled by Israeli restrictions on access to natural resources and markets.”

In a perfected Orwellian move, pro-Israeli lobbyists publicly promote investment in Palestine, but simultaneously turn a blind eye to the systematic Israeli polices strangling the Palestinian economy. Investment in Palestine — without divestment from the Israeli occupation — only continues to underwrite the status quo of military occupation. For investment to be successful, occupation must be dismantled and control passed to Palestinians.

Palestinian civil society and Palestinians — Christians and Muslims alike — have urged everyone interested in seeing peace with justice to divest from the occupation. We struggle to remain hopeful while a cement wall as high as 24 feet snakes through our homeland. After all, we don’t want a more beautiful prison to live in. We want the prison walls dividing Palestinians from Palestinians to come down, and that won’t happen unless economic pressure is placed on Israel to end the occupation.



Written FOR


 Although TIAA-CREF claims to be socially responsible, they are still investing funds in West Bank illegal settlements…
Here are photos from a demo held in New York yesterday demanding an end to these investments.
Photos © by Bud Korotzer


A caterpillar spins a cocoon and emerges as a beautiful butterfly or an ugly moth …. none are as ugly as those that supported Apartheid Israel …
“We applaud this decision,” said Rabbi Alissa Wise, Director of Campaigns at Jewish Voice for Peace and National Coordinator of the We Divest Campaign ( “It’s long past time that TIAA-CREF began living up to its motto of ‘Financial Services for the Greater Good’ when it comes to the people of Israel and Palestine.”

Caterpillar Removed from TIAA-CREF’s Social Choice Funds

Victory for Pro-divestment Advocates

Pension fund giant TIAA-CREF has removed Caterpillar, Inc. from its Social Choice Funds portfolio. As of May 1, 2012, financial data posted on TIAA-CREF’s website valued Social Choice Funds shares in Caterpillar at $72,943,861. Today it is zero.

“We applaud this decision,” said Rabbi Alissa Wise, Director of Campaigns at Jewish Voice for Peace and National Coordinator of the We Divest Campaign ( “It’s long past time that TIAA-CREF began living up to its motto of ‘Financial Services for the Greater Good’ when it comes to the people of Israel and Palestine.”

Since 2010, We Divest has been urging TIAA-CREF to drop Caterpillar and other companies profiting from and facilitating Israel’s 45-year-old military occupation and colonization of the Palestinian West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip.

“By selling weaponized bulldozers to Israel, Caterpillar is complicit in Israel’s systematic violations of Palestinian human rights,” said Rabbi Wise. “We’re glad to see that the socially responsible investment community appears to be recognizing this and is starting to take appropriate action.”

Caterpillar has come under increasing criticism from human rights organizations in recent years for continuing to supply bulldozers to Israel, which uses them to demolish Palestinian civilian homes and destroy crops and agricultural land in the occupied territories, and to build illegal, Jewish-only settlements on Palestinian land.

In the coming weeks, many will be watching the Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly taking place in Pittsburgh, where church commissioners will vote on a motion to divest from Caterpillar and two other companies, Motorola Solutions and Hewlett-Packard, that remain in TIAA-CREF’s Social Choice Funds.

Last month, Friends Fiduciary, a Quaker institution, divested $900,000 worth of shares in Caterpillar stating: “We are uncomfortable defending our position on this stock.”

What Others are  Saying

Omar Barghouti, Palestinian human rights activist and founding member of the BDS movement said, “CAT is out of the bag of TIAA-CREF’s socially responsible companies thanks to the inspiring campaign waged by JVP and its partners, with vision, persistence and tactical skillfulness. Palestinian civil society, represented by the BDS National Committee (BNC), deeply appreciates these efforts and believes that more pressure will ultimately convince TIAA-CREF to fulfill its basic moral obligation to finally divest from CAT and all other corporations that are complicit in Israel’s grave and escalating violations of international law and human rights.”

Cindy and Craig Corrie, Rachel Corrie’s parents said, “For nearly a decade, we have witnessed human rights abuses committed with Caterpillar equipment in the West Bank and Gaza and have joined thousands who have asked the company to stop supporting these actions.  We are hugely gratified that TIAA-CREF has taken this step.  When governments and corporations avoid responsibility, we must refuse to profit from their abuses. Our family salutes and thanks TIAA-CREF for this decision that moves all of us closer to accountability.”

Jennifer Bing, Middle East Program Director of the Chicago office of the American Friends Service Committee, a member organization of the We Divest Campaign Coordinating Committee, said, “As a TIAA-CREF client institution which has divested from Caterpillar ourselves, we are encouraged to see this first, great step toward creating a complete occupation-free portfolio that my colleagues and I are eager to have as an investment option.”

Samia Shafi of Adalah-NY, a member organization of the We Divest Campaign Coordinating Committee, said,  “This small, positive first step shows that TIAA-CREF is not immune to pressure for human rights for Palestinians. Our We Divest Campaign will continue pressuring TIAA-CREF until we win full divestment from all companies in TIAA-CREF’s portfolio that profit from violations of Palestinian human rights.”


·      The Presbyterian Church (USA)’s Mission Responsibility Through Investment Committee (MRTI) attempted unsuccessfully to negotiate with Caterpillar before calling for selective divestment. MRTI’s report on engagement with companies on Israel/Palestine-related issues noted that:

Caterpillar’s complicity in non-peaceful pursuits led the 2010 General Assembly to denounce the company’s profiting from involvement in human rights violations. Sadly, despite significant support for the shareholder resolution calling for a review of its human rights policy, Caterpillar has become even more intransigent. It has cut off all communication with the religious shareholders. Caterpillar continues to accept no responsibility for the end use of their products.

·      In 2004, Amnesty International urged Caterpillar to take action in response to the documented use of its bulldozers to violate international law in the occupied territories, noting that “thousands of families have had their homes and possessions destroyed under the blades of the Israeli army’s US-made Caterpillar bulldozers.”

·      Human Rights Watch, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and thePresbyterian Church USA have all made similar recommendations to Caterpillar, to no avail.

·      In 2003, a Caterpillar bulldozer driven by an Israeli soldier killed American activist Rachel Corrie while she nonviolently protested the demolition of Palestinian homes in the town of Rafah, in Gaza.

From WeDivest


One in particular is the Boycott of settlement products
Recent events in Denmark and South Africa regarding the Israeli Boycott have renewed discussions in Israel itself… Below is the latest from Gideon Levy as well as a short video as to what the Boycott means and why. There is another video at the end of the post.
Yes, the new South Africa can teach Israel a lesson in the war against racism; and yes, Israel can teach the world a lesson in racism. It has once again been proven that Israel’s chutzpah knows no bounds: Israel, of all countries, accuses South Africa, of all countries, of being racist. Is there anything more ridiculous?

Boycotting the settlements is justified

Labeling products from the settlements should have been an obvious move a long time ago, as a guide to the intelligent and involved consumer.

By Gideon Levy
Ahava products.
Ahava products.

I don’t buy merchandise that comes from the settlements and I never will. To my way of thinking, those are stolen goods and, like any other goods that have been stolen, I try not to buy them. Now perhaps the South Africans and the Danes also will not buy them; meanwhile their governments have merely requested that products from the settlements be marked so as not to deceive their customers. Just as there was no need in the past to label merchandise from the British colonies as British products, so there is no need to mark products from Israel’s colonies as Israeli. Anyone who wants to support the Israeli colonial enterprise can buy them; those who are opposed can boycott them. As simple as that, and as necessary.

Israel, which boycotts Turkey’s beaches and Hamas, should have been the first to understand that. Instead we have heard heart-rending cries and angry rebukes. Not yet to the Danes, who are nice, but to the South Africans, who are less nice in our eyes. The decision was labeled “a step with racist characteristics” by the Foreign Ministry spokesman, referring to the country that waged the most courageous war against racism in the history of mankind.

Yes, the new South Africa can teach Israel a lesson in the war against racism; and yes, Israel can teach the world a lesson in racism. It has once again been proven that Israel’s chutzpah knows no bounds: Israel, of all countries, accuses South Africa, of all countries, of being racist. Is there anything more ridiculous?

It was not by chance that the South African ambassador to Israel, Ismail Coovadia, seemed both amused and embarrassed at a reception for Cameroon’s independence day, when the foreign ministry launched a ridiculous search for him, according to reports, after he failed to respond to its summons for what was described in advance as a rebuke. It is not difficult to imagine how many such reprimands Israeli ambassadors in different parts of the world deserve to be summoned to, if labeling produce from the settlements is a reason for rebuke and accusations of racism on the part of the Israeli government, which is so purely non-racist.

Labeling products from the settlements should have been an obvious move a long time ago, as a guide to the intelligent and involved consumer. A boycott of settlement products should also have taken place a long time ago, as a compass for law-abiding citizens. We are not referring only to a political or moral position; this is a question of upholding international law. A product produced in the settlements is an illegal product, just like the settlements themselves. Just as there is a growing public of consumers in the world who will not buy products made in sweatshops in southeast Asia nor “blood diamonds” from Africa because of their source and the conditions under which they are produced, so it can be anticipated that there are consumers who will boycott products produced in occupied territory through the exploitation of cheap Palestinian manpower whose opportunities to work are in the settlements.

The self-righteous, sanctimonious protests of Israeli factory-owners and farmers in the occupied territories who say they care so much about their Palestinian workers, who claim a boycott could endanger their employees’ sources of income, are a cynical attempt to mislead people. Had the settlements and the occupying forces been removed, and the lands on which these enterprises arose been returned to their owners, they would have had much more dignified sources of income.

A boycott of goods from the settlements is a justified boycott, and there is no other way to define it. Labeling these products is the minimum demand that every government in the world should make, as a service to its citizens.

Moreover, it is actually a lack of such labeling that can lead to a wholesale boycott of all blue-and-white products. After all, how can a Danish or South African consumer know whether the avocado he is buying did not grow on Palestinian soil?

Those who want to buy illegal products should buy Bagel & Bagel items, toilets made by Lipsky, cosmetics manufactured by Ahava, mushrooms from Tekoa, or wine from the Psagot or Golan Heights wineries. Those who want to bolster the settlement enterprise and reinforce it can buy these products and enjoy them.

But those who want to make a minimal act of protest against this sinful enterprise are invited to boycott it and refrain from buying from it. For my part, I shall continue to read the fine print on every product. The citizens of the world also have this right.

This right? This duty.




I thought I needed new glasses when I read the following headine this morning;

ADL: Boycott law impinges upon Israelis’ democratic rights

Is the ADL finally changing its policies and opposing what is actually wrong? Let’s hope…
The article in question follows….

ADL president visiting in Israel says while the league opposes boycott of Israel, law allows government to ‘legally stifle calls to action’, is disservice to Israel’s democratic nature.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) expressed serious concern over the recently passed boycott law on Tuesday, calling it an unnecessary impingement of Israelis’ basic democratic right to freedom of speech.

The league’s President, Abraham H. Foxman, who is currently in Israel, issued a statement Tuesday saying that while the ADL “has a long history of vigorous opposition to any and all boycotts of Israel”, the recently passed law runs counter to the league’s belief in the importance of democratic ideals.

Foxman went on to commend Israel for its “vibrant democracy”, adding that the six-hour-long debate in Knesset Monday before the bill was passed was testimony to this. However, he said, the boycott law is a disservice to Israel’s democratic nature, allowing the government to “legally stifle calls to action – however abhorrent and detrimental they might be”.

He then called on the Supreme Court to take up a review of the law “and resolve the concerns it raises”.

According to the recently passed law, a person or an organization calling for the boycott of Israel, including the settlements, can be sued by the boycott’s targets without having to prove that they sustained damage.

The court will then decide how much compensation is to be paid. The second part of the law says a person or a company that declare a boycott of Israel or the settlements will not be able to bid in government tenders.



There are a few other reports dealing with the new Boycott Law that are worth reading… click on the links:


Israel’s boycott law: The quiet sound of going fascist

U.S. on Israeli boycott law: Freedom to protest is a basic democratic right


Democracy might even come to ‘the only Democracy in the Middle East’ one day.



 Photos © by Bud Korotzer …. No Commentary Necessary…. The following says it all


Just weeks after Israel massacred a score of unarmed Palestinian refugees for exercising their right to return home, Denis Hughes, president of the New York State AFL-CIO, is accepting a “Peace Medal” from the “State of Israel Bonds” gang.


 Picket Israel Bonds “Celebration” in New York City

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

Just weeks after Israel massacred a score of unarmed Palestinian refugees for exercising their right to return home, Denis Hughes, president of the New York State AFL-CIO, is accepting a “Peace Medal” from the “State of Israel Bonds” gang.

Chairing the event is Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, and Israel’s leading trade union mouthpiece in the United States.

Such collaboration violates repeated Palestinian trade union calls for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against apartheid Israel, and is an ongoing stain on the labor movement in this country.

Please support Palestinian workers by picketing labor officialdom’s support for Israeli ethnic cleansing, racism and apartheid.

Endorsers (list in formation): New York City Labor Against the War; Labor for PalestineDump Israel BondsAl-Awda NY: The Palestine Right to Return Coalition; International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network; International Action Center


The last thing the BDS Movement needs is fence sitters, or in the case of Israel/Palestine, Wall sitters.

Where there is a Movement, either you support its aims and purposes or you don’t. Two cases in point of those who don’t are discussed here….

Pete Seeger…. Lifelong humanitarian and friend of Palestine…. BUT a few months ago he was invited and took part in a virtual concert organised by various zionist groups. He was asked not to participate by close friends of his, fellow activists for the most part, but his response in the end was “dialogue and non-violent actions are the only way to solve conflicts”.

As is stated in the linked post about Seeger, my personal feelings for the man prohibit me from condemning him, but I do condemn this particular decision of his. When there is a Movement that one claims to support, one respects the decisions of that Movement, one does not go off on a tangent and act independently on the issues. Either you’re with us or you’re not! In this particular case, Seeger was not!

Second case is British novelist Ian McEwan. He is presently in Israel to receive the main prize at the Jerusalem International Book Fair. McEwan, as well, was urged by Israeli activists to turn down the prize and refuse to come to Israel at this time. The logic he used to attend is summed up in this sentence… “If you didn’t go to countries whose foreign policy or domestic policy is screwed up, you’d never get out of bed.” That was taken from a Reuter’s report found HERE.

On Friday, in a ‘show of solidarity’ with the Palestinian Cause, McEwan took part in the weekly demonstration in Sheikh Jarrah. Fellow Blogger Noam Sheizaf  posted the following on his Blog Promised Land….

Novelist Ian McEwan plays for both teams in East Jerusalem

The British author visited the Sheikh Jarrah protest – but also intends to receive the Jerusalem Prize for Literature from the patron of the city’s settlers, mayor Nir Barkat

Authors Ian McEwan and David Grossman at the Sheikh Jarrah protest (photo: Solidarity Sheikh Jarrah)Authors Ian McEwan and David Grossman at the Sheikh Jarrah protest (photo: Solidarity Sheikh Jarrah) 

The celebrated British author Ian McEwan joined today the weekly protest in the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, where Palestinian families have been evacuated from their homes to make room for Jewish settlers.

Ironically, McEwan arrived to Israel to receive the Jerusalem Prize for Literature from the hands of the city’s mayor, Nir Barkat. Mayor Barkat is one of the driving forces behind recent attempts to expand Jewish settlements and housing projects into Palestinian East Jerusalem. Currently, he even refuses to carry out an Israeli court order demanding the immediate evacuation of a house in the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan, illegally built by rightwing settlers. Many grassroots activists blame Barkat for the rising tension between Jews and Arabs in the city.

Before flying to Israel, McEwan rejected calls from a group called British Writers in Support of Palestine to turn down the Jerusalem Prize. In his replay he wrote:

“There are ways in which art can have a longer reach than politics […] Your ‘line’ is not the only one. Courtesy obliges you to respect my decision, as I would yours to stay away.”

The protest in Sheikh Jarrah started a year and a half ago, following the evacuation of two Palestinian families from their homes. Since then, more eviction orders have been issued, and construction began for a new housing project for Jews at the site of the old Shepherds Hotel, also in Sheikh Jarrah. Solidarity Sheikh Jarrah, which leads the protest in the neighborhood, has recently organized demonstrations in other parts of the city where Palestinians are threatened by eviction orders and by new municipal plans, among them in Silwan.

As is stated in the title of this post, either you’re with us or you’re not! YOU CAN’T PLAY FOR BOTH TEAMS!

Now more than ever before, with the United States coming out officially against the settlement freeze, your support for the BDS Movement is needed 100%…. not 50%!


Barghouti tour sponsors are calling on supporters to contact the US Consulate in Jerusalem and the Department of State to ask them to fulfill the promise from the Obama Administration of “promoting the global marketplace of ideas” and grant Barghouti’s visa immediately.

Action Alert: US delays visa for BDS leader Barghouti on eve of tour

Sponsors of a US speaking tour featuring boycott, divestment and sanctions movement leader Omar Barghouti call on supporters to contact the US Consulate in Jerusalem and the Department of State to fulfill US promise of “Promoting the Global Marketplace of Ideas” and grant Barghouti’s visa: 

Effectively canceling a planned speaking tour, the US consulate in Jerusalem has inexplicably delayed the granting of a visa for

Omar Barghouti, founding member of the Palestinian Civil Society Boycott, Divestment, Sanction (BDS) campaign, due to tour the United States this April for the release of his new book, Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions: The Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights

Nobel Peace Laureate, Archbishop Desmond Tutu called the book “lucid and morally compelling … perfectly timed to make a major contribution to this urgently needed global campaign for justice, freedom and peace.

Former President of the UN General Assembly, Father Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann called it “timely and responsibly written by a man who understands that creative nonviolence is the only way out of the dire situation in Palestine.”

In recent years, numerous foreign scholars and experts have been subject to visa delays and denials that have prohibited them from speaking and teaching in the US — a process the American Civil Liberties Union describes as “ideological Exclusion,” which they say violates Americans’ First Amendment right to hear constitutionally protected speech by denying foreign scholars, artists, politicians and others entry to the United States (”

Obama Administration Will Take Steps To Facilitate The Free Exchange Of Ideas Across Borders, State Department Says,” 13 January 2011). 

Foreign nationals who have recently been denied visas include Fulbright scholar Marixa Lasso; Iraqi doctor Riyadh Lafta, who disputed the official Iraqi civilian death numbers in the respected British medical journal The Lancet; respected South African scholar and vocal Iraq War critic Dr. Adam Habib, and Oxford’s Tariq Ramadan, who have both recently received visas to speak in the United States after many years of delays and denials.

For the release of Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions, Barghouti has standing invitations for events in New York City, at Harvard, Yale, Brown, Brandeis University, and in Washington DC, and Philadelphia. Barghouti studied, lived and worked in the United States for 11 years before permanently relocating to Jerusalem. He attended Columbia University, receiving both Bachelors and Masters degrees from the school. His US-born child, whom he needs a visa to visit, currently attends college in Indiana. Between 2005-2010, Barghouti visited the US extensively without incident, on a five-year visa, which only recently expired.

Barghouti’s publisher, Anthony Arnove of Haymarket Books, stated that “It’s essential authors be able to travel to promote their books and ideas, and as publishers we believe the free exchange of ideas is vital to a democratic culture. We find it frustrating that Omar’s visa is being delayed and potentially denied for political reasons.”

Barghouti tour sponsors are calling on supporters to contact the US Consulate in Jerusalem and the Department of State to ask them to fulfill the

promise from the Obama Administration of “promoting the global marketplace of ideas” and grant Barghouti’s visa immediately. 

US Consulate:
Consul General Daniel Rubinstein
US Consulate General, Jerusalem
18 Agron Road, Jerusalem 94190
Tel.: +972 2 622 7230, Fax: +972 2 625 9270

Email: and 

Department of State:
Visa Services
Public Inquiries Division

On Facebook: Join the group “Let Omar Barghouti Be Heard” and invite your friends.

The above is from a Press Release issued by Haymarket Books




Also see THIS post from Mondoweiss.


We have always supported the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction Movement (BDS), especially the right of Israelis to be a part of that movement. As of yesterday, that aspect was rendered illegal by the Knesset.

We will continue to support the Boycott despite the new legislation, rendering us illegal as well. Some laws are just made to be boycotted…. this is definitely one of them 😉

The following video explains what the ‘Boycott From Within’ is and why it MUST be supported.

Illegal for Israelis to support BDS?

Posted by Joseph Dana

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) movement endorsed by Palestinian civil society organizations in 2005 has become one of the most controversial issues surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In the spirit of the boycott movement against Apartheid South Africa, BDS activists have racked up a number of successful cultural, academic and economic boycotts of Israel over the country’s treatment of Palestinians under occupation in the West Bank and Gaza. This afternoon, the state of Israel took steps towards criminalizing support of BDS by Israeli citizens.

A Knesset bill (Hebrew) that would criminalize support of BDS by Israeli citizens passed its first reading this afternoon. According to the Alternative Information Center the bill was,

First submitted on 9 June 2010 by 25 Knesset members and endorsed by members of various factions. Its hazy wording would make a number of actions, now considered free speech, illegal. It is prohibited to initiate a boycott against the State of Israel, to encourage participation in it, or to provide assistance or information with the purpose of advancing it,” section 2 of the proposed bill states.Sections 3 and 4 of the proposed legislation state that, “An act of a citizen or resident of Israel in violation of Section 2 constitutes a civil wrong, and it will be subject to the provisions of the Torts Ordinance,” and “The court will award compensation for the civil wrong according to this law in the following manner: a. Punitive damages of up to 30,000 NIS to an injured party subject to the proof of any damage.”

If proven they participated in a boycott, individuals who are not citizens or residents of Israel can also be punished by having their right to enter the country denied for at least 10 years, according to the proposed legislation.The bill’s initiators say it aims “to protect the State of Israel and particularly its citizens from academic, economic, and other boycotts.

The BDS bill reveals a number of important details about how Israel understands the movement. Israel is in a panic about the boycott and BDS has been successful in challenging the status quo of continued occupation, control and ‘peace talks’ which have been the reality on the ground for the past five years.  The bill also reflects the dangerously poor health of Israeli democracy. Various left wing Israeli organizations labeled the bill as an anti-free speech measure by right wing parties such as Yisrael Beityanu. Organizations such as the Coalition of Women for Peace argued that the bill was directed at silencing free speech and the right to protest the occupation. Indeed, if the right to protest nonviolently against Israel’s Occupation is criminalized, the democratic character of the county is in serious question.

The state of Israel is about to show, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that occupation and control of the Palestinians are more important than a healthy democracy for its own citizens. The bill is a slippery slope towards total control of dissent in Israel. Before you know it, even reading this piece about BDS will be illegal in the ‘only democracy’ in the Middle East.

This bill targets the most privileged Ashkenazi intellectuals, professors and thinkers in the country supporting a nonviolent measure against Israel’s occupation. If the state is trying to silence and criminalize dissent from the upper echelon of Israeli society,just imagine how they treat Palestinians.

Posted AT

Also see THIS report from HaAretz…..

Knesset committee approves bill allowing Israel boycotters to be fined

Bill calls for heavy fines to be imposed on Israeli citizens who initiate or incite boycotts against Israeli individuals, companies, factories, and organizations.


Photos © by Bud Korotzer









click on above to enlarge


Chicago’s very own DePaul University just announced that their dining services will be discontinuing the sale of hummus manufactured by Sabra, an Israeli brand known for its vocal and material support of Israeli Defense Forces.

DePaul divests from Israeli hummus product

By Sami Kishawi

Today marks another win for the global boycott, divestment, sanctions (BDS) movement against corporations that profit from severe human rights violations. Chicago’s very own DePaul University just announced that their dining services will be discontinuing the sale of hummus manufactured by Sabra, an Israeli brand known for its vocal and material support of Israeli Defense Forces. The administration has temporarily suspended the sale of Sabra products and will likely move towards permanently banning the brand from campus.

A little over two weeks ago, members of DePaul’s Students for Justice in Palestine expressed concern over the sale of Sabra products after discovering that Chartwells, which provides dining services to the university, had introduced the Israeli-brand hummus to food and dining facilities throughout campus.  Acting on their concern, the students compiled research and revealed that the Strauss Group, co-owner of Sabra, has direct monetary ties with elite Israeli military forces currently and historically involved in the illegal occupation of Palestinian land. One week after bringing the issue to the attention of campus administrators, the university informed campaign organizers that Sabra products are set to be removed from shelves for the remainder of the school quarter and will most likely not be sold on campus in the future. (Read the email sent to administrators at the end of the post.)

The ultimate success of this modest divestment campaign isn’t that it resulted in the removal of a product from campus cafeteria shelves but, rather, that it has undoubtedly set the framework for future campaigns in college campuses throughout the United States. With exactly 156 colleges and universities using Chartwells for their campus dining needs, the BDS movement against IDF-sponsoring companies like Strauss Group and Sabra can potentially reach national heights. By discontinuing the sale of Sabra products, DePaul University has made its stance clear: Any product or company involved with flagrant human rights violations against Palestinians or any other people does not mirror the principles on which the university is founded and is therefore not welcome on campus. The administration’s quick response indicates the importance of preserving and respecting Palestinian rights by divesting from companies that do the exact opposite.

DePaul’s divestment from Strauss Group-owned Sabra products comes less than a month after a similar attempt at divestment hit the streets of Philadelphia. Over two dozen activists gathered at a supermarket near the University of Pennsylvania to protest the sale of Sabra hummus. A video of the action was released to the public via YouTube where it quickly grew in popularity and eventually prompted Strauss Group to remove all references supporting the Israeli military from its English-translated website. However, the Hebrew version of the website still maintains the corporation’s public support of IDF activity.

Major BDS campaigns generally take years of concentrated grassroots efforts before any significant progress is made but that did not deter the small group of DePaul students from voicing their concern and offering alternative solutions that fell in line with the university’s code of ethics. The efforts put into this divestment campaign, both at DePaul and in Philadelphia, serve as a model for future college BDS movements. Any institution of higher learning that promotes morality, justice, and respect must make sure to abide by its principles. If it doesn’t, it is up to the students to make sure things change for the better.





I would have preferred to see a total pullout of their investments in the Occupied Territories….. BUT the following is a good start…..

Photo © by Bud Korotzer

Modeled on the worldwide campaign against apartheid-era South Africa, the movement for Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel, which was called for in response to Israel’s many violations of Palestinian rights, has grown and achieved significant successes, particularly following Israel’s assault on the Gaza Strip in 2009, which killed over 1400 Palestinians.


Africa Israel, the flagship company of Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev, announced this week that it is no longer involved in Israeli settlement projects and that it has no plans for future settlement activities. Africa Israel subsequently denied that this was a political decision. However, in the last few years numerous organizations, firms, governments and celebrities have exerted pressure and severed their relationships with Leviev and his companies over their involvement in settlement construction and other human rights abuses, in response to a boycott campaign initiated by Adalah-NY.Israel’s Coalition of Women for Peace disclosed on Monday that in an official letter to the Coalition, Africa Israel stated, “Neither the company nor any of its subsidiaries and/or other companies controlled by the company are presently involved in or has any plans for future involvement in development, construction or building of real estate in settlements in the West Bank.” In follow-up articles in the Israeli media on Monday, Africa Israel said that the statement was “a description of the business today” and that “Africa Israel builds for all the public in Israel, and does not deal in politics or any other policy.”

Ethan Heitner from Adalah-NY explained, “Following years of settlement construction, and pro-settlement statements and activities by Lev Leviev, the public announcement by Africa Israel that it has no plans to build Israeli settlements is clearly a result of pressure from the growing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. This provides concrete evidence of the way in which the BDS movement can change companies’ behavior. But Africa Israel can’t speak out of both sides of its mouth and expect a clean bill of health. Africa Israel must unambiguously renounce settlement activity, and all other involvement in violations of Palestinian rights. And Lev Leviev needs to end his involvement in settlement construction through other companies like Leader Management and Development, as well as his support for human rights abuses in the diamond industry in countries like Angola and Namibia.” Adalah-NY began a campaign to boycott the companies of Lev Leviev in November, 2007, which has since gained support from allies around the world. As a result, the Norwegian, Swedish and Dutch governments have divested from Africa Israel, as have a number of major international investment firms. The British government, UNICEF, Oxfam and CARE have all severed ties with Leviev, and major celebrities have quietly disassociated themselves from him.

From 2000-2008, Danya Cebus, the construction subsidiary of Africa Israel, built homes in the settlements of Har Homa, Maale Adumim (two different projects), Adam, and Mattityahu East on the land of the West Bank village of Bil’in. In late December, 2009, Africa Israel sold Anglo-Saxon Real Estate, a company that sold settlement homes. Another Leviev-owned company, Leader Management and Development, still owns and operates the expanding settlement of Zufim, built on the land of the West Bank village of Jayyous. In what is now Tel Aviv, Danya Cebus has supported Israeli efforts to erase Palestinian claims and heritage, by building projects on top of the remains of Palestinian villages like Sheikh Muwanis and Sumail that were ethnically cleansed by Israel in 1948. Leviev has also been a donor to two Israeli groups – the Land Redemption Fund and the Bukhara Community Trust, both of which have been involved in expanding Israeli settlements. Leviev has also been rumored to donate to Elad which is taking over the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan.

As recently as 2008 Leviev expressed strong support for Israel’s continued takeover of Palestinian land. In a March 2008 interview in Ha’aretz Daily, reporter Anshel Pfeffer asked Leviev, “Do you have a problem with building in the territories?” Leviev responded, “Not if the State of Israel grants permits legally.” According to an English translation of the same Ha’aretz interview published in the Jewish Chronicle, Leviev explained, “For me, Israel, Jerusalem and Haifa are all the same.” “So are the Golan Heights. As far as I’m concerned, all of Eretz Israel is holy. To decide the future of Jerusalem? It belongs to the Jewish people. What is there to decide? Jerusalem is not a topic for discussion.”

Modeled on the worldwide campaign against apartheid-era South Africa, the movement for Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel, which was called for in response to Israel’s many violations of Palestinian rights, has grown and achieved significant successes, particularly following Israel’s assault on the Gaza Strip in 2009, which killed over 1400 Palestinians.



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