A CONTEST AND A POEM ~~ NAME THE BOAT TO GAZA

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My submission is ~~ THE FLOATILLAMOMS

Name the Women’s Boat(s):
Announcing a Competition

and Running Orders

by Lena Khalaf Tuffaha

On International Women’s Day the Women’s Boat to Gaza, a project of the Freedom Flotilla Coalition, announced that it will sail in mid-September 2016!

The Women’s Boat to Gaza project is seeking submissions TO NAME THE BOAT OR BOATS! This competition is open to all.  
We are looking for names that reflect our core principles: 
  • A boat with only women crew and delegates
  • Highlighting the role of women in daily life, the struggle, and resistance
  • A nonviolent, direct action that is not affiliated with any government
  • Ultimate goal is to break the illegal blockade of Gaza
  • Solidarity with the women, children, and men of Gaza and Palestine
Closing date for entries is April 25. The winner(s) will be announced May 1.
The name chosen will be painted on the boat and and the person honored on our website.
Please send your submissions with a brief rationale for your suggestion to
Thank you for your support!
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Running Orders
They call us now.
Before they drop the bombs.
The phone rings
and someone who knows my first name
calls and says in perfect Arabic
“This is David”.
And in my stupor of sonic booms and glass shattering symphonies
still smashing around in my head
I think “Do I know any Davids in Gaza?”
They call us now to say
Run.
You have 58 seconds from the end of this message.
Your house is next.
They think of it as some kind of
war time courtesy.
It doesn’t matter that
there is nowhere to run to.
It means nothing that the borders are closed
and your papers are worthless
and mark you only for a life sentence
in this prison by the sea
and the alleyways are narrow
and there are more human lives
packed one against the other
more than any other place on earth
Just run.
We aren’t trying to kill you.
It doesn’t matter that
you can’t call us back to tell us
the people we claim to want aren’t in your house
that there’s no one here
except you and your children
who were cheering for Argentina
sharing the last loaf of bread for this week
counting candles left in case the power goes out.
It doesn’t matter that you have children.
You live in the wrong place
and now is your chance to run
to nowhere.
It doesn’t matter
that 58 seconds isn’t long enough
to find your wedding album
or your son’s favorite blanket
or your daughter’s almost completed college application
or your shoes
or to gather everyone in the house.
It doesn’t matter what you had planned.
It doesn’t matter who you are
Prove you’re human.
Prove you stand on two legs.
Run.
Lena Khalaf Tuffaha
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Please join the campaign. It is 5,900 miles between Washington, DC, and Gaza. Every $5 brings us one mile closer to reaching the families in Gaza. Be a part of the journey. Contribute today!

IN PHOTOS ~~WOMEN’S BOAT TO SAIL TO GAZA IN SEPTEMBER 2016

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Getting ready for the sendoff in New York …

Photos © Bud Korotzer

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THE GAZA 5K ~~~ STILL TIME TO REGISTER

SIGN UP NOW FOR THE GAZA 5K

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

5k

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

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

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

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

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

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

In solidarity,

Abby, Laila, Sarah, Nada & Lena

Team UNRWA USA

NYC RACE
MARCH 26
REGISTER NOW
DC RACE
MAY 21
REGISTER NOW
PS—Chicago and San Francisco, we’re coming for you! Stay tuned.

 

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

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

European ‘Democracy in action …

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

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

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

Woman arrested in France for T-shirt critical of Israel

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

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

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

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

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

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

Political repression

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Undeterred

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

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

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

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

INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY ON THE WEB

When a Brazilian’s cartoon is used at a gathering in New York and photographed by our roaming photographer …. it lead Carlos Latuff to state the following;

When I see my toons about Palestine being used, I feel that I kept my word with the Palestinians. Photo Bud Korotzer

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Other photos from the event … © Bud Korotzer

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FOLLOWING CHICAGO’S EXAMPLE, CITY OF LONDON ERODES THE RIGHT TO CRITICISE ISRAEL

While in Chicago the 1st Amendment was literally slaughtered by zionist pressure, the people of London still have the right to condemn Israeli apartheid via posters, or at least they thought they did😦

Transport for London, the body that oversees the London Underground, said in a statement that it had not approved the ads. “These are not authorized adverts,” read the statement. “It is fly posting and therefore an act of vandalism which we take extremely seriously. Our staff and contractors are working to immediately remove any found on our network.”

Anti-Israel ads cover London Underground trains

Millions of passengers encounter BDS ads slamming “Israeli apartheid”, accusing it of massacres and torture, and claiming the BBC is biased towards Israel.

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Millions of Monday morning passengers on the London Underground were greeted with a number of ads taken out by the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement accusing Israel of torturing and massacring Palestinians and slamming UK companies with links to the Jewish state.

The posters were made for what anti-Israel activists dub “Israel Apartheid Week”. One claims that British-made arms were used by Israel to “massacre Palestinians” in Operation Protective Edge, while another says the BBC’s reporting is biased towards Israel, and a third criticizing security company G4S for working in Israel.

More HERE

A TASTE OF PALESTINE AT MY DOORSTEP

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

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

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

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

The box you will find at your doorstep ...

The box you will find at your doorstep …

The treasures inside included …..

Palestinian Olive Oil

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

Also included were 2 bars of Olive Oil Soap ….

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

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

That’s not all …..

Za’atar

Za'atar (thyme)

Za’atar (thyme)

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

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

And from the Artistic Community ….

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

Gorgeous Arabic calligraphy on sterling silver.

Gorgeous Arabic calligraphy on sterling silver.

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

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

Her beautiful creations can be ordered separately from THIS site

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

From Palestinian Artists …. a Gift of Music

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

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

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

Click HERE to get to PALBOX’s order page.

Keep the following in mind when you order ….

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

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

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

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

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

#FreeGaza ~~ THE WINNING LOGO

Freedom Flotilla

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In solidarity!

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

TIME TO RUN FOR GAZA AGAIN

IT’S TIME TO REGISTER FOR THE GAZA 5K

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

5k

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

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

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

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

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

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

In solidarity,

Abby, Laila, Sarah, Nada & Lena

Team UNRWA USA

NYC RACE
MARCH 26
REGISTER NOW

 

DC RACE
MAY 21
REGISTER NOW

 

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

 

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

 

NEW GRAPHIC ~~ COUNTRIES THAT RECOGNISE PALESTINE AS A STATE

GRAPHIC: Countries that currently recognise 'Palestine' as a state. FROM

GRAPHIC: Countries that currently recognise ‘Palestine’ as a state.
FROM

IF BDS IS FAILING, WHY THE FUSS OVER IT?

Maybe because it’s not failing at all!

Despite what the zios have to say about it

See a list of BDS Victories HERE

See a list of BDS Victories HERE

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

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

New York bill would create official blacklist of Israel boycott supporters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Drastic ramifications

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

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

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

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

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

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

Boycotting the boycotters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Claims of anti-Semitism

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

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

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

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

“Stigmatizing and suppressing”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE TIMES ACTUALLY FOUND THIS ‘FIT TO PRINT’

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

Daily life in Jerusalem

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

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

By Saree Makdisi*

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

OpEd AT

IN PHOTOS ~~ AN EARLY CHRISTMAS FOR APARTHEID

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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And The Queen of Apartheid herself …

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THE REAL WAR AGAINST TERROR ~~ NEW VIDEO

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click HERE to sign appeal

HOW CAN AMERICANS HELP MAKE A VIBRANT ECONOMY IN PALESTINE

​ACT NOW – Support Palestinians’ economic steadfastness

Prepared by Sam Bahour

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While President Obama is meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu at the White House today, there is no need to hold your breath for results, rather, there is a need to act. One way to make your actions heard is to support Palestinians’ economic steadfastness by helping us link Palestinian businesses to American businesses by making a U.S. tax-deductible donation and sending this request to your friends. We all have a role to play to end this occupation.

Here is a short (less than 4 min) video that was made last week when the AVPE Board met in Ramallah, despite the current volatile situation on the ground:

Here is my part of the campaign, help me reach my goal

Also see THIS related post by Nur Arafeh, Wassim F. Abdullah, Sam Bahour

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

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Photos  © by Bud Korotzer

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TO BOYCOTT OR NOT ~~ BRITISH ACADEMICS AT ODDS

British academics call for Israel boycott in Guardian ad

343 British scholars call for all-encompassing academic boycott of Israel in response to an ad published in the same paper on Friday opposing a cultural boycott.

The ad was in response to THIS letter that appeared in the Friday edition

The ad was in response to THIS letter that appeared in the Friday edition

 

343 British academics pledged to uphold an academic boycott of Israeli Universities due to their “support for Israeli violations of international law and support for the occupation,” in a full page advertisement published in Tuesday’s edition of the Guardian.

Full report HERE

IN PHOTOS ~~ STANDING WITH PALESTINE IN NEW YORK CITY

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

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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YOUR CHANCE TO STAND WITH PALESTINE

SOLIDARITY WITH THE PALESTINIAN UPRISING: Counter Rally to a Zionist Protest Sunday October 18 at 4 PM

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In the past few weeks over 30 Palestinians have been killed and more than 2,000 wounded in acts of IDF/settler agression in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza.

BRING A PALESTINIAN FLAG AND A KEFFIYEH WITH YOU. We will make Times Square a SEA of Palestinian flags to show the zionists how many stand with our cause.

In response to the justified uprising of the Palestinian people, Zionist activists have chosen to organize a ‘Jewish Lives Matter’ rally in Times Square this Sunday, October 18th at 5:00pm. They will be wearing blue and white to represent Israel, as well as IDF t-shirts. Besides the fact that they are appropriating the black liberation movement by hijacking the slogan Black Lives Matter, they are holding a moment of silence for murdered israelis without regard for the disproportionate violence and death experienced by the Palestinians every day.

They are glorifying the terrorist organization of the IDF, who are responsible for the torture and murder of Palestinian civilians. In the past week, over 20 Palestinian youth have been murdered by settlers, many of which have graphic video evidence being taunted by and mutilated by israeli settlers during and after death. Where is their moment of silence? This Sunday, we stand against outrageous number Palestinian children and civilians that have been murdered by those belonging to the same Zionist group as those gathering in Times Square on this day. We stand against ‘Israels right to defend’ itself against innocent children and civilians who clearly pose no threat. We stand in solidarity with the movement for Palestinian liberation from 60+ years of Zionist occupation, violence, and settler-colonialism. We stand in retaliation to the appropriation of the black liberation movement. We stand against Zionist repression, and racist Zionist ideology that weighs israeli deaths as warranting more outrage than that of Palestinians, when Palestinian deaths are greater in number and weaker in justification. Bring keffiyehs, flags, signs and join us on this day.

Join us loudly in proclaiming that Resistance is not Terrorism, Occupation and Colonialism are Terrorism!

Organized by NY4Palestine
Follow hashtag: #NY4Palestine for updates and news

Endorsed by:
American Muslims for Palestine – NY
American Muslims for Palestine (NJ Chapter)
Al-Awda NY: The Palestine Right to Return Coalition
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network
International Action Center
Existence Is Resistance
Labor for Palestine
NYC Solidarity with Palestine
Muslim American Society – MAS NY
Jews for Palestinian Right of Return
Revolutionary Student Coordinating Committee
International Socialist Organization
CUNY Students without borders
Palestinian youth movement – New York

Click Here for Facebook Event Page

IN PHOTOS ~~ FINANCIAL FREEDOM FOR PUERTO RICO

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

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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