ISRAELI APARTHEID CAUGHT ON VIDEO

For those who still might have doubts ……

Israeli soldier assaults child playing on Jews-only road

In September 2012, Israeli security forces put up a chain-link fence along al-Ibrahimi Street in Hebron, separating the paved road from a narrow, rough walkway. Since then, B’Tselem has twice documented security forces denying Palestinians access to the paved road, despite official claims that there is no such prohibition. On 25 July 2016, B’Tselem volunteer Raed Abu Ramileh filmed a Border Police officer seizing the bicycle of 8-year-old Anwar Burqan and throwing it in the bushes for riding it down the paved road, which is reserved for settlers.

 

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The separation and discrimination between Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank does not involve public transport only. This video features footage of Border Police officers stating that one side of a newly erected fence is for Jews, the other for Arabs.

The separation principle is an official policy of the Israeli military separating Jews and Moslems in the city of Hebron. The policy is implemented primarily through severe restrictions on Palestinian travel and movement in downtown Hebron, where most Israeli settlement outposts are located. Some of the main roads in the area are completely off limits to Palestinians, and many roads bar any and all Palestinian vehicles. Israel’s strict restrictions have made the lives of Palestinians in downtown Hebron intolerable, forcing many to leave their homes and jobs.

On 23 September 2012 Israeli security forces laid out a chain-link fence, dividing the road lengthwise. On one side of the fence is a paved road and on the other, a narrow pedestrian passageway. Since the fence was erected, Israeli security forces have not allowed Palestinians to walk on the road. Instead they direct Palestinians to the narrow passageway, which is unpaved, rough and ends in a small staircase. The passage is completely impassible by wheelchair and is very difficult to navigate with a baby carriage, pushcart or bicycle.

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The military resumed its segregation on the main street of a-Salaimeh neighborhood, in force from Sep. 2012 to Mar. 2013 when it was abandoned following to the airing of footage by B’Tselem. The military again bans Palestinians from the main part of the street, directing them to a narrow side road. This is part of the military’s overall policy of severe restrictions on Palestinian movement in downtown Hebron, implemented ever since the 1994 massacre of Muslim worshippers at the Tomb of the Patriarchs perpetrated by settler Baruch Goldstein.

 

 

Full report by Ali Abunimah HERE

HYDRO-APARTHEID

Water shortages are not new for Palestinians. Whether in the occupied Gaza Strip or the West Bank including East Jerusalem, the supply of water flowing into Palestinian homes is strictly capped or obstructed by Israel.

Palestinians collect water from a spring, in the West Bank village of Salfit on 27 June. Villagers had been without water for days as chronic supply shortages induced by Israeli occupation authorities continue to hit many parts of the territory. Nedal Eshtayah APA images

Palestinians collect water from a spring, in the West Bank village of Salfit on 27 June. Villagers had been without water for days as chronic supply shortages induced by Israeli occupation authorities continue to hit many parts of the territory. Nedal Eshtayah APA images

Israel’s hydro-apartheid keeps West Bank thirsty

Water shortages are not new for Palestinians. Whether in the occupied Gaza Strip or the West Bank including East Jerusalem, the supply of water flowing into Palestinian homes is strictly capped or obstructed by Israel.

As temperatures climb during the summer, taps run dry. Clemens Messerschmid, a German hydrologist who has worked with Palestinians on their water supply for two decades, calls the situation “hydro-apartheid.”

This year, Israeli journalist Amira Hass published data proving that the Israeli Water Authority had reduced the amount of water delivered to West Bank villages.

In some places, the supply was slashed by half. Her records contradict official denials that water supplies to Palestinian cities and villages are cut during the summer, even though that too is not new.

Cities and small villages have gone as long as 40 days without running water this summer, forcing those who can afford it to haul in water tanks.

When Israel occupied the West Bank in 1967 it also seized control over the West Bank Mountain Aquifer, the territory’s principal natural water reserve.

The Oslo accords of the early 1990s gave Israel 80 percent of the aquifer’s reserves. Palestinians were supposed to get the remaining 20 percent, but in recent years they have been able to access only 14 percent as a result of Israeli restrictions on their drilling.

To fulfill the population’s minimum needs, the Palestinian Authority is forced to buy the rest of the water from Israel. But even then, it’s not enough.

Israel is only willing to sell a limited amount of water to Palestinians. As a consequence, Palestinians use far less water than Israelis, and a full third less than the World Health Organization’s recommendation of 100 liters per person per day for domestic use, hospitals, schools and other institutions.

The Electronic Intifada spoke with Clemens Messerschmid, who has been working in the water sector throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip since 1997, about the engineered water scarcity for Palestinians in the West Bank.

Charlotte Silver: Is scarcity of water in the area driving the water crisis in the West Bank? Or is the scarcity engineered?

Clemens Messerschmid: Of course there is no water scarcity in the West Bank. What we suffer from is induced scarcity – it’s called the occupation. This is the regime imposed on Palestinians immediately after the war in June 1967.

Israel rules through military orders, which have the direct and intended result of keeping Palestinians short on water. It is not an ongoing gradual dispossession as with land and settlements, but was done in one sweep by Military Order No. 92, in August 1967.

The West Bank possesses ample groundwater. There is high rainfall in Salfit, in the northern West Bank, now known for especially hard water cuts.

The West Bank is blessed with a treasure of groundwater. But this is also its curse, because Israel targeted this immediately after taking control.

What we need is simple: groundwater wells to access this treasure. But Israel’s Military Order No. 158 strictly forbids drilling or any other water works, including springs, pipes, networks, pumping stations, irrigation pools, water reservoirs, simple rainwater harvesting cisterns, which collect the rain falling on one’s roof.

Everything is forbidden or rather not “permitted” by the Civil Administration, Israel’s occupation regime. Even repair and maintenance of wells requires military permits. And we simply don’t get them.

It is a simple case of hydro-apartheid – far beyond any regime in history that I am aware of.

CS: Israel has increased the amount of water it sells Palestinians, but it is still not enough to prevent villages from running dry. Putting aside the fact that Israel’s control over the aquifer’s resources is very problematic, why won’t Israel sell the Palestinians enough water?

CM: Israel first of all has drastically reduced the amount of water available to Palestinians. It has prevented all access to the Jordan River, which is now literally pumped dry at Lake Tiberias.

Then, Israel imposes a quota on the number of wells and routinely denies permits for much-needed repair of old wells from the Jordanian days – Jordan administered the West Bank from 1948 until the Israeli occupation – especially agricultural wells. That means the number of wells is constantly shrinking. We have fewer than in 1967.

Now, the only thing that has increased is the dependency on buying water from the expropriators, Israel andMekorot, Israel’s national water company.

This is reported over and over in the western press, because it is the point Israel stresses: ‘See how benevolent we are?’

So, yes, since Oslo, purchases from Mekorot have grown steadily. Ramallah now receives 100 percent of its water from Mekorot. Not a drop comes from a single well field we have.

The supply of villages by Israel was not done as a favor. It was initiated in 1980 by Ariel Sharon, then agriculture minister, when rapid settlement growth was starting. The water supply was “integrated,” in order to make the occupation irreversible.

What is important here is the structural apartheid, cemented and cast in iron in these pipes. A small settlement is supplied via large transmission pipes from which smaller pipes split off to go towards Palestinian areas.

Israel is very happy with Oslo, because now Palestinians are “responsible” for supply. Responsible but without a shred of sovereignty over resources.

The current so-called water crisis is not a crisis at all. A crisis is a sudden change, a new turn or a turning point in development. The undersupply of Palestinians is desired, planned and carefully executed. The “summer water crisis” is the most reliable feature of the Palestinian water calendar. And the amount of annual rain, or drought, has no bearing whatsoever on the occurrence and scale of that “crisis.”

I should stress that however routinely this occurs, in each and every single case, it is a conscious decision by some bureaucrat or office in Israel or the Civil Administration. Someone has to go to the field and turn down the valve at the split off to the Palestinian village. This, like every summer, was done in early June. Hence – water crisis in the West Bank.

CS: What factors may be contributing to the worsening water cuts this year?

CM: It seems settler demand rose drastically since last year. The Israeli Water Authority found 20 to 40 percent higher demand, which is quite remarkable.

Alexander Kushnir, the Water Authority’s director general, attributes this to expansion of settler irrigation in the mountains of the northern West Bank settlements, around Salfit and Nablus.

CS: How is it that people in present-day Israel are reportedly enjoying a surplus of water since the country has started using desalination, while the people under occupation in the West Bank are left with so little? Even Israeli settlers have reportedly experienced water cuts.

CM: It’s true that Israel declared for the first time a few years ago that it had a surplus water economy and iskeen to sell more water to its neighbors, from whom it expropriated water in the first place.

Palestinians are already buying water Israel stole, but as noted, not reliably or at sufficient rates.

Frankly, I don’t know. Why this special, elevated and aggravated desire of Israel not even to sell enough water to the West Bank?

In some areas, water is actively used as a weapon for ethnic cleansing, like in the Jordan Valley. Agriculture was always targeted from day one of the occupation.

But this logic does not apply to the densely populated Palestinian towns and cities in so-called Area A of the West Bank, that are still struggling. After 20 years, this still leaves me puzzled.

Another element is important to understand: Israel needs to constantly teach Palestinians a lesson. Any water procurement, any drop delivered should be understood as a generous favor, as an act of mercy, not as a right.

Israel has augmented water sales to the West Bank from 25 million cubic meters per year in 1995 to around 60 mcm/year now. Why does it not sell much more? It certainly could afford it waterwise – it has a gigantic surplus.

One of the material issues I can detect is the issue of price, and therefore meaning of water.

Israel wants to eventually get the highest price for desalinated water it sells to Palestinians. While we are only speaking about a few hundred million shekels a year [a few tens of millions of dollars] – which is not a lot for Israel – Israel wants to end the debate once and for all over Palestinian water rights.

Israel demands nothing short of a full surrender: Palestinians should agree that the water under their feet does not belong to them, but forever to the occupier.

By demanding full prices for desalinated water, Palestinians would admit and agree to a new formula.

A word on the Gaza Strip – unlike the West Bank, Gaza has no physical possibility of access to water. The confined and densely populated Strip can never supply itself. Yet, Gaza does not get such water deliveries from Israel. Only recently did Israel start selling to Gaza the five million cubic meters per year agreed in Oslo. A tiny cosmetic increase has been enacted.

In a way you could interpret this differential treatment between Gaza and the West Bank as an Israeli admission of a certain degree of hydrological dependence.

Israel receives the bulk of its water from the territories conquered in 1967, including Syria’s Golan Heights, but not a drop from Gaza.

Waterwise, Gaza has no resource to offer Israel. This is the same as with the main resource: land. Hence a very different approach to Gaza right from the start in 1967. Israel does not depend on Gaza in any material form. Ever since Oslo, Israel has demanded Gaza supply itself by its own means, such as through seawater desalination.

CS: How have donor countries acted in all this? Have they defended global minimal water standards or have they affirmed and bolstered Israel’s control over the water resources in the occupied West Bank?

CM: Unfortunately the latter. When Oslo started, we all were under the illusion that a phase of development would start. Wells that were forbidden to be drilled for 28 years would finally be put in place.

Soon, we learned that Israel in fact was never willing to give “permits … for expanding agriculture or industry, which may compete with the State of Israel,” as then-defense minister Yitzhak Rabin said in 1986.

What was needed then and now – and everybody knew it – was political pressure to extract the minimum well-drilling permits guaranteed under Palestinian-Israeli accords. This pressure never came. Never did the EU or my German government issue even a public statement in which it “deplores” or “regrets” the obstructions in the water sector. This is a true scandal.

But even worse, what was our Western answer to this? All donor-funded projects actually abandoned the vital branch of well drilling. The last German funded well was drilled in 1999.

As for the current so-called water crisis, we as donors are now busy generously funding anachronistic water tankering in the cut-off Palestinian towns and cities – adapting to and stabilizing the status quo of occupation and water apartheid.

ISRAEL’S REAL MESSAGE TO PALESTINIANS

Surely NOT THIS ….

THIS is more like it ….

A Palestinian family stands amid the remains of their home after it was demolished by Israeli forces in Masafer Jenbah in an undated photo. (AFP/Hazem Bader, File)

A Palestinian family stands amid the remains of their home after it was demolished by Israeli forces in Masafer Jenbah in an undated photo. (AFP/Hazem Bader, File)

Israel demolished more Palestinian homes in past 6 months than in all of 2015

Israeli authorities have demolished more Palestinian homes in the West Bank in the first six months of 2016 as they did in all of 2015, Israeli human rights group B’Tselem revealed in a report released on Wednesday, in a worrying confirmation of Israel’s ongoing crackdown on Palestinian communities in Area C of the West Bank.

The report, which was also presented by the Arab Joint List during a Knesset conference on Israel’s home demolition policy the same day, said that 168 homes were destroyed during the first half of 2016 for lacking hard to obtain Israeli-issued building permits, leaving 740 Palestinians homeless.

B’Tselem’s report did not include punitive demolitions enacted on the home of suspected Palestinian attackers and their families.

The B’Tselem tally marked a higher count than the total number of houses destroyed by Israeli each year in the past decade, with the exception of 2013, when 175 homes were demolished.

The 2016 statistics marked a drastic increase from 2015, when 125 homes were demolished, leaving 496 Palestinians without a home.

B’Tselem further estimated that Israel had demolished some 1,113 Palestinian homes in the West Bank alone from 2006 to June 2016, primarily targeting Palestinian communities east of Jerusalem, in the South Hebron Hills and in the Jordan Valley — where a large number of illegal Israeli settlements are located.

The group added that during that decade, at least 769 Palestinians in the West Bank, including 340 minors, saw their homes demolished more than once.

During the Knesset conference on the report, Ayman Odeh, the head of the Joint List which brings together political factions representing Palestinian citizens of Israel, said the demolitions showed that in spite of calls by Israeli right-wing groups to annex all of the West Bank, “actually and practically, we know that Israel prefers to perpetuate its control in a gray area… while paying lip service to the international community.”

Beyond homes, B’Tselem highlighted the fact that Israeli authorities also demolished structures Palestinians depended on for their livelihoods, such as livestock pens, sheds, and bathroom facilities, and confiscated solar panels and water tanks.

“In doing so, the Civil Administration not only leaves these residents homeless but also severely lacking basic services and the ability to earn a living,” the report read.Joint List MK Dov Khenin denounced the demolitions during the Knesset conference as a deliberate move by the Israeli government to annex parts of Area C — the 60 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli military control.“

Demolishing houses, water tanks and solar panels does not happen by coincidence or by mistake,” he told the Knesset. “It is an organized policy that aims to change the current political condition, force Palestinians to leave the area and annex parts of Area C to prevent the two-state solution. Therefore, it is no longer a human rights case but a first-degree political case.”Natalie Grove, a representative of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights also present at the Knesset, said that “Israel does not fulfill the minimum of its basic commitments as an occupying power.”

“Israel is creating humanitarian crises, and when the international community intervenes to solve these crises, Israel increases obstacles in front of these interventions,” Grove added. “This policy has led to the worsening of the humanitarian crisis and created the danger of population transfer which leads to a confrontation between Israel and the international community and raises fears that Israel is not serious regarding the two-state solution.”

The publication of the report came two days after some 30 Palestinian families lost their homes during demolition raids of unprecedentedly large scale in the East Jerusalem neighborhoods of Issawiya and Ras al-Amoud, and in the village of Qalandiya in the West Bank district of Jerusalem.According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Israel only granted 33 building permits out of 2,020 applications submitted by Palestinians between 2010 and 2014.

The dismal number of permits granted by Israeli authorities has forced many Palestinians to build without permission, at the risk of seeing their homes demolished.

B’Tselem said Israel’s pretexts in demolishing so many Palestinian homes constituted “a spurious claim given the absence of any real possibility for Palestinians to build legally in the area.”

“The Israeli authorities impose an impossible daily reality on Palestinian communities in Area C,” B’Tselem concluded in its report. “Israel acts to establish facts on the ground and to create a reality that it will be difficult to change in any future agreement.”

 

Source

A HOT AND DRY RAMADAN IN PALESTINE

Ramadan 2016: Israel ‘cuts off water supply to West Bank’ during Muslim holy month

 Israel Cuts Water to West Bank During Ramadan Image by Carlos Latuff


Israel Cuts Water to West Bank During Ramadan
Image by Carlos Latuff

Israel has cut off the water supply to large areas of the West Bank, Palestinian authorities have claimed.

Tens of thousands of Palestinians have reportedly been left without access to safe drinking water during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, a period of fasting, at a time when temperatures can exceed 35C.

The northern city of Jenin, which has a population of more than 40,000, said its water supplies had been cut in half by Mekorot, Israel’s national water company. Jenin is home to a refugee camp, established in 1953, which contains 16,000 registered refugees.

Ayman Rabi, the executive director of the Palestinian Hydrology Group, told Al Jazeerathat in some areas people had not received water for more than 40 days.

He said: “People are relying on purchasing water from water trucks or finding it from alternative sources such as springs and other filling points in their vicinity.

“Families are having to live on two, three or 10 litres per capita per day.”

A spokesperson for the Israeli government told The Indepedent there is “no truth” in the claims, and said the shortages were down to faulty water lines.

They said: “Several hours ago, COGAT’s Civil Administration team have repaired a burst pipe line, which disrupted the water supply to the villages of Marda, Biddya, Jamma’in, Salfit and Tapuach. The water flow has been regulated and is currently up and running.

“Any effort to connect the disruptions with terror is mistaken and misleading.

“Given the failure to develop infrastructures as a result of the unwillingness on behalf of the Palestinians to convene  the Joint Water Committee (JWC), there are problems in the water supply.”

Saleh Hijazi, Amnesty International’s Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories researcher, said the reports were “alarming”.

He told The Independent: “Israel already allows Palestinians access to only a fraction of the shared water resources in the occupied West Bank, with unlawful Israeli settlements getting almost unlimited water supplies which enable settlers to maintain lush gardens and even fill up numerous private swimming pools.

“Water is a basic need and a right. Mekorot should restore any water supplies to Palestinians it has cut off and the Israel authorities should end their discriminatory water policies, lifting all arbitrary restrictions it currently imposes on Palestinians’ access to this vital resource.”

According to UN guidelines, 7.5 litres per person per day is the minimum requirement under nornal conditions but in some areas of the Palestinian territories the minimum requirement is much higher.

The municipality of Jenin, several villages in Nablus and the city of Salfit and its surrounding villages claimed to have suffered cuts to their water supply.

Almost 200,000 Palestinians in the West Bank do not have access to running water, and require permission before collecting it themselves, according to a report by Amnesty International.

Since 1967, Israel has limited the water available to Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip since its forces occupied the territories.

Mekorot could not be reached for comment.

Source and photos HERE

#InIsrael ~~ UPGRADING APARTHEID

Israel’s finance and defense ministers announced a two-year plan to improve conditions at security checkpoints in the West Bank.

WHY NOT TODAY ???

The 3 Palestinian men waited too long in order to pass the checkpoint, the female soldiers were busy taking selfies

The 3 Palestinian men waited too long in order to pass the checkpoint, the female soldiers were busy taking selfies

Israel Announces $77M Plan to Improve Palestinian Checkpoint Conditions

Israel’s finance and defense ministers announced a two-year plan to improve conditions at security checkpoints in the West Bank.

Moshe Kahlon and Moshe Yaalon, who is expected to be replaced as defense chief by Avigdor Liberman as part of a shakeup in the governing coalition, said the plan would make checkpoints, which tens of thousands of Palestinians go through in order to reach jobs in Israel, more efficient and secure, the Times of Israel reported Thursday.

The program is expected to cost $77 million.

Yaalon said in a statement that the program will decrease the wait times for Palestinians at crossings between “30 to 50 percent” and increase the amount of goods that can be transferred by “approximately 30 percent.”

Last month Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel, a member of the Jewish Home party who in 2012 was named by a settler group as the second-most right-wing member of the Knesset, surprised many when he criticized the “shameful” conditions at the checkpoints.

Ariel, a former leader of the Yesha Council settlers advocacy group and longtime supporter of settlement construction, noted that West Bank Palestinians are often forced to wait at checkpoints for hours without shade, water or other shelter from harsh weather conditions.

Ariel also called for a new port in Gaza, which has been subject to an Israeli naval blockade since 2006, when Hamas won control of Gaza.

According to the Times of Israel, Yaalon is said to be under current consideration for the post of foreign minister.

SILENCING THE LAMBS …. YET AGAIN

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

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

Image by Carlos Latuff

Israel imposes travel ban on BDS co-founder

Israel imposes travel ban on BDS co-founder

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mahmoud Nawajaa added:

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

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

Source Palestinian BDS National Committee  VIA

ADL Vs. JEWS OF CONSCIENCE

Police arrested seventeen activists denouncing the “Jewish establishment’s support of the occupation of Palestine” on April 20 in the lobby of the Anti-Defamation League during one of a series of Passover protests organized by anti-occupation group If Not Now.

Gili Getz

Gili Getz

17 Jewish Activists Protesting Israeli Occupation Arrested at ADL Headquarters

Police arrested seventeen activists denouncing the “Jewish establishment’s support of the occupation of Palestine” on April 20 in the lobby of the Anti-Defamation League during one of a series of Passover protests organized by anti-occupation group If Not Now.

Before they were cuffed and shuffled into New York Police Department vans, the young activists had sat cross-legged on the lobby floor, leading a larger crowd in their version of a Passover Seder.

They banged on the floor, danced in circles and sang familiar Hebrew songs. The Seder’s ten plagues included “subjecting Palestinians to daily humiliation” and “destroying the Palestinian economy.” A hand-drawn cardboard Seder plate rested next to a sculpted tinfoil goblet, reserved for Elijah.

“We act now to build a Jewish community that recognizes that we cannot be free absent the freedom for Palestinians,” the text of one handout read.

Passersby paused, snapping photos on their cameras, to take in the unusual scene — around 100 Jewish activists singing and dancing in the glass-walled lobby of a midtown office. One young woman turned to the assembled crowd as she was led away by police, so that her shirt was in full view. “No liberation with occupation,” it read.

If Not Now, which formed two years ago to protest the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict and Israel’s military occupation of the West Bank, staged several other Passover-themed events this week.

Six were arrested in Boston, where they rallied outside the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. In Washington D.C., activists gathered outside Hillel.

But the New York protest took on another layer of significance as one prominent New York activist has been at the center of national controversy.

Simone Zimmerman, an If Not Now co-founder, made headlines last week when she was named Jewish outreach coordinator for Bernie Sanders’ campaign. Her peers celebrated. But, just days later, she was suspended from that position after an old Facebook post resurfaced, in which Zimmerman had used profanity and insulted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Abe Foxman, former head of the Anti-Defamation League, denounced Zimmerman and the Zionist Organization of America followed suit.

“She is entitled to say what she wants, but there is something bizarre about making her the liaison for the Jewish community,” Foxman said in a Wednesday interview with the Forward. “Either she wasn’t vetted — or worse, she was.”

Foxman said he took issue with Zimmerman’s criticism of Israel during the 2014 Gaza conflict. Her comments “go to the essence of questioning and challenging Israel’s credibility.”

Foxman declined to comment about the 17 activists’ arrest, deferring to the ADL, which did not respond to requests for comment.

Zimmerman stood in the background at Wednesday’s protest. She declined to speak with the Forward, but her friends rallied around her, posing for photos and intoning her name during the rally.

“Simone speaks for my kind of Judaism,” said Gabrielle Egan, an If Not Now activist from Canada.

If Not Now first took shape online in 2014, as a rallying hash tag on social media during the latest Israel-Gaza conflict. Many participants had been involved in J Street, but had become dissatisfied with that organization’s position on the conflict. Several activists describe their involvement with If Not Now as a sort of Jewish homecoming.

“These are people who grew up in a post-peace process environment,” said Peter Beinart, a mentor to Zimmerman and a leading voice in liberal Zionism. “If you look at If Not Now, there is a deep alienation, a dissatisfaction with the Jewish community’s lack of discussion.”

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL: IN DEFENSE OF BDS

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

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

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

Amnesty condemns Israel’s threats against BDS activists

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Slightly safer”

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

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

Barghouti has welcomed Amnesty’s public intervention.

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

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

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

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

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

Legislating silence

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

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

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

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

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

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

The right to BDS

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

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

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

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

HOUNDING THE MESSENGERS OF PALESTINE

Israeli soldiers and paramilitary settlers have been hounding and intimidating a Palestinian journalist who filmed the gruesome murder of an unarmed and badly wounded Palestinian at the hands of an Israeli police officer in Hebron a few days ago.

Israeli soldiers and paramilitary settlers have been hounding and intimidating a Palestinian journalist who filmed the gruesome murder of an unarmed and badly wounded Palestinian at the hands of an Israeli police officer in Hebron a few days ago.

Israel hounds Witness who  filmed gruesome murder

 By Khalid Amayreh in Hebron

 

Israeli soldiers and paramilitary settlers have been hounding and intimidating a Palestinian journalist who filmed the gruesome murder of an unarmed and badly wounded Palestinian at the hands of an Israeli police officer  in Hebron a few days ago. 

The film showed the trigger-happy Israeli officer fire several bullets on the head of the bleeding Palestinian, who then succumbed to his fatal wounds. 

Israeli army sources alleged that the wounded Palestinian had sought to stab Israeli soldiers. Palestinian eyewitnesses disputed the Israeli narrative. 

The hair-raising images of the crime generated angry reactions throughout the world. 

The Israeli foreign ministry reportedly privately complained that the brief sketch might further tarnish Israel’s image. 

Israel is already trying to fight a deepening international campaign aimed at boycotting Jewish settlements, viewed as illegal and illegitimate under international law.

The campaign, known as  (Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanctions (BDS) has already prompted many foreign firms to terminate their operations in the settlements. 

Earlier this week, the Israeli army briefly reprimanded the murderer for a few hours. 

However, the Hebrew media has pointed out that the symbolic detention and interrogation of the murderer was a purely public relations measure, which would mitigate angry reactions and  help Israel portray herself as law-abiding country unlike other countries in the Middle East. 

According to Palestinian and Israeli human rights workers, when Israeli soldiers are caught “red handed,” e.g. brutally murdering a totally  innocent Palestinian  and without the slightest provocation, the murderer or Murderers are rebuked, not for carrying out the murderous act itself, but for having failed to ensure that no one would    film the crime. 

On Monday, the Israeli occupation authorities briefly detained Imad Abu Shamsiyya for filming the event using his cellular mobile phone. 

However, it was apparently too late for the Israeli army to retrieve the film which had already found its way through  the world-wide web. 

Earlier, dozens of settlers surrounded Abu Shansiyya’s home in downtown Hebron, threatening to kill him if he “ ever did it again.” 

Abu Shamsiyya on Monday appealed to Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmould Abbas to protect him and his family from settler attacks. 

“These people are barbarians and savages who could embark on the unthinkable.” 

Abu Shamsiyya added that the “Israeli army and government stand virtually powerless to rein in these  hateful criminals. The reason for this is that the government itself and the army, to a large extent,  are more or less controlled by the settler camp.”

In the past few years, settler terrorists crossed several red lines, including burning alive a Palestinian boy near Jerusalem, burning the home of a Palestinian family, the Dawabsheh family,  resulting in the death of both parents and their child, and vandalizing several Muslim and Christian places of worship. 

Last week, settler terrorists burned the home of a Palestinian witness who saw the deadly incident of burning the Dawabsheh family home. 

Many settlers apparently harbor a decidedly  genocidal mindset vis-à-vis Palestinians and non-Jews in general. They believe that the partial or complete physical extermination of the Palestinians, following the Biblical style,  would expedite the appearance of the Redeemer or Jewish Messiah> 

The Redeemer, according to Some Talmudic sages and Jewish mystics,  would then bring about lasting salvation to Jews and the world and create a worldwide empire ruled from Jerusalem. 

ISRAEL FOLLOWS TURKEY’S LEAD ON MEDIA CRACKDOWN

Israel’s military and domestic intelligence agency wasted no time implementing a decision by the cabinet last Thursday to sharply intensify the crackdown on Palestinian media.

Before dawn on Friday, agents from the Shin Bet, accompanied by Israeli soldiers, raided the Ramallah offices of Palestine Today, confiscating the TV station’s equipment before ordering it closed until further notice.

An employee at Palestine Today inspects damage at the offices of the TV channel, in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, after Israeli forces raided them on 11 March, seizing equipment and ordering their closure. (Shadi Hatem APA images)

An employee at Palestine Today inspects damage at the offices of the TV channel, in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, after Israeli forces raided them on 11 March, seizing equipment and ordering their closure. (Shadi Hatem APA images)

Israel intensifies crackdown on media

Israel’s military and domestic intelligence agency wasted no time implementing a decision by the cabinet last Thursday to sharply intensify the crackdown on Palestinian media.

Before dawn on Friday, agents from the Shin Bet, accompanied by Israeli soldiers, raided the Ramallah offices of Palestine Today, confiscating the TV station’s equipment before ordering it closed until futher notice.

During the raid, the soldiers briefly detained two of the station’s journalists, Muhammad Amro and Shbeib Shbeib.

A few miles away, soldiers arrested the director of the news station, Farouq Alayat, from his home in Birzeit. Elayyat is still in Israeli custody.

Correspondent Ibrahim Jaradat was arrested on Sunday at an Israeli military checkpoint.

Israeli occupation forces declared the channel to be an illegal organization that the army was closing on the basis of emergency laws introduced by Palestine’s British colonial rulers in 1945.

The army said it had heard the station airing “inciting broadcasts” and the Shin Bet said that “incitement to terrorism serves the interests of terrorist organizations.”

The army furthermore claimed the outlet was part of Islamic Jihad, a Palestinian political party that Israel has outlawed.

On Friday, the army also shut down the TransMedia Production Company, which provides technical services for the channel.

The move came after Israel’s cabinet convened on Thursday to approve a series of measures against Palestinians, including shutting down media outlets.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) sharply condemned the closures.

“We cannot tolerate these continuous attacks from Israeli authorities to muzzle Palestinian press,” the group’s president Jim Boumelha said. He added that accusations of incitement and the closure of media offices must not occur without due process.

“We call on the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression to investigate violations of press freedom in Palestine without delay,” Boumelha said.

The IFJ’s Palestine branch, the Palestinian Journalist Union, said that since 2016 Israel has committed more than 40 violations against journalists and media organizations.

In response to the IFJ statement, a body representing Israeli journalists attacked the world’s largest journalism trade union.

Haim Shibi, a member of the foreign relations committee of the National Federation of Israeli Journalists,accused Boumelha of “turning the IFJ into a clear anti-Israel propaganda tool, continually portraying the IDF [Israeli army] as an army that hunts journalists, targets them and kills them.”

Chilling trend

In early February, Foreign Press Association secretary Gila Sugarman said that there has been an increase in physical violence against journalists and their equipment by Israeli forces in the last two years.

Reporters Without Borders listed Israel as the second most lethal country in the world for journalists after Syria at the end of 2014.

In November, Israel shut down three Palestinian radio stations in Hebron for six-month periods, also claiming they were engaged in “incitement.”

A growing number of Palestinian journalists are being jailed or charged with incitement.

Prisoners rights group Addameer has documented that seven Palestinian journalists have been arrested since the beginning of 2016.

Five of those remain in custody: Samer Abu Aisha, Mujahid al-Saadi, Sami Al-Saai, Farouq Alayat and Ibrahim Jaradat. In total, 22 Palestinian journalists are being held in Israeli prisons, according to Addameer.

On Friday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who also runs Israel’s communications ministry, reportedly called French President François Hollande to request that he halt the French satellite company Eutelsat from broadcasting al-Aqsa TV, a Hamas-affiliated channel.

The next day, Eutelsat announced it would no longer air the station.

And while Palestinians have felt the brunt of Israel’s crackdown on the media, Israeli and foreign press are not immune.

And journalists at Israel’s largest online news platform, Walla, have reported that stories are designed and changed to keep the prime minister happy due to the company’s business interests.

Last month, members of the Foreign Press Association were twice summoned before Israel’s parliament to be questioned about alleged bias.

In early February, several Israeli politicians suggested that members of the press who showed alleged bias against Israel should enjoy fewer rights.

Yisrael Eichler, a member of the Knesset and a former journalist, said that “objective reporters should be given freedom of action, but reporters who “take a side in the conflict” should be given less access.

Lawmaker Michael Oren, the former Israeli ambassador to Washington, said, “We cannot ignore the fact that the press takes an active, one-sided and tendentious stance in covering the conflict, and therefore, it is part of the game.”

ISRAEL RESPONDS WITH ITS OWN VERSION OF BDS

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

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

Image by Latuff

giftfrompalestine-campaign-opboycottisrael

Palestinian companies protest Israeli decision to ban their products

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

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

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

BRITAIN AND THE BDS MOVEMENT ~~ CONTRADICTIONS IN POLICY

Britain MUST make up its mind!

Britain MUST make up its mind!

If this is the case …..

British PM slams Israel: ‘Situation in East Jerusalem is genuinely shocking

David Cameron criticizes Israeli construction beyond the Green Line and the ‘effective encirclement of East Jerusalem, occupied East Jerusalem.’

British Prime Minister David Cameron slammed Israeli construction in East Jerusalem on Wednesday evening, saying the situation in the capital was “genuinely shocking.”

More HERE

Then WHY DID THEY GO FOR THIS?

Israel “quietly” pushed for anti-BDS legislation in US, UK

The Israeli government played a direct role in recent policy and legislative moves in the US, UK and other countries to suppress the free speech rights of citizens calling for the boycott of Israel over its human rights abuses.

Israel is now planning to significantly step up its efforts to thwart the Palestine solidarity movement, through its embassies in key capitals.

A 23 February article in Israel’s Ynet takes to task Israeli politicians for making too much public noise about the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

It cites as an example the fuss Israeli politicians made about the “subvertisements” Palestine solidarity activists placed on the London Underground this week.

Ynet claims that Israeli politicians helped the activists achieve their goal by giving them free publicity.

“The government, which prefers to deal with BDS activists quietly and under the radar, is now forced to deal with local politicians who threaten to ‘hijack’ this work to serve their local political interests,” the article states.

“Successes”

While it is no surprise that Israel and its lobby groups are backing the heavy-handed censorship of the Palestine solidarity movement around the world, Ynet provides confirmation of the Israeli foreign ministry’s direct lobbying and political interference in domestic legislation in several countries.

“In cooperation with Jewish and pro-Israeli organizations, the ministry convinced several American states to pass legislation against the boycott of Israel,” Ynet states.

This is a reference to a raft of federal and state-level legislation that aims to penalize companies or blacklist individuals who support boycott or divestment from Israeli or other companies or institutions complicit in Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights.

Human rights defenders say the initiatives violate a landmark US Supreme Court ruling that boycotts and related activities to bring about political, social and economic change are political speech, occupying “the highest rung of the hierarchy of First Amendment values.”

The Israeli government is also claiming credit for new UK regulations aimed at stopping public bodies, including democratically elected local municipalities and public universities, from boycotting Israel.

“The Israeli embassy in London succeeded through quiet and effective work in convincing the British government to pass a directive prohibiting municipalities and public bodies from taking decisions to boycott Israel,” Ynet reports.

The policy is not an outright ban, but threatens public bodies with civil court cases which could result in “severe penalties” if they take ethical investment or purchasing decisions to exclude companies from World Trade Organization member states that violate human rights.

Israel is a member of the World Trade Organization.

Riya Hassan of the Palestinian BDS National Committee said that the government of Prime Minister David Cameron “is going further than Margaret Thatcher ever went to defend South African apartheid.”

Ynet cites other “successes” for Israel’s anti-human-rights strategy, in Luxembourg, Sweden and France, including a vote by the Paris city council to condemn the BDS movement.

“An additional specialization of Israeli embassies is the use of existing legislation against boycott: in several countries there exists legislation against boycott and discrimination,” Ynet observes. “The embassies were requested to check how it is possible to use local law to curtail boycott initiatives.”

Ramping up

Israel’s efforts to sabotage and attack the BDS movement are not new.

It is already known, for instance, that Israeli military intelligence spies on “overseas organizations” that advocate BDS as a strategy to support Palestinian rights.

And in 2013, Israel beefed up its London embassy with staff dedicated to fighting BDS.

According to Ynet, these kinds of efforts are about to be dramatically ramped up.

Last year, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appointed Gilad Erdan as minister with the responsibility to combat the movement for Palestinian rights, and armed him with a budget of $30 million.

Following the London Underground posters incident, Erdan announced that he intends to allocate $1 million “to create ten BDS coordinator positions in important Israeli embassies throughout the world,” Ynet states.

“The coordinators will collect and coordinate information from the ground concerning boycott movement threats” and “will further assist in promoting projects for positive Israel branding.”

As part of this work, Ynet reports, Israel will “hire local citizens – Jews and non-Jews – who will work in the framework of the Israeli embassies.”

Pushing back

While there is no doubt that Israel’s bullying and harassment of those calling for full rights for Palestinians is going to increase, it is doubtful that it will do much to gain Israel any public sympathy.

Israel’s problem is not the marketing, but the product: brutally enforced occupation, settler-colonialism, war crimes and state-sanctioned racism.

As long as Israel is unwilling to end these practices, it will only generate more opposition both to its policies and its smear and censorship tactics.

In the latest example, 22 Jewish academics, artists and activists published a letter in The Guardian objecting to bogus claims of anti-Semitism made by anti-Palestinian activists after the Oxford University Labour Club decided to support Israeli Apartheid Week.

“Those who deliberately confuse anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism give comfort and aid to the real anti-Semites in our society,” the letter states. “Like the boy who cried wolf, they ensure that if anti-Semitism does rear its ugly head, people will assume that this is just another false accusation.”

Connie Hackbarth contributed translation.

THE BELL TOLLS FOR THE 1st AMENDMENT IN CHICAGO

R.I.P.

R.I.P.

ZIONISTS LITERALLY KILL THE 1st AMENDMENT

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

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

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

The billboard in question ....

The billboard in question ….

Company to Remove Chicago Billboard Calling for Israel Boycott

Bella Ciao :(

Bella Ciao😦

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Only YOU can get a stay of execution by ….

DAILY SPOOF ~~ BRITAIN CRIMINALIZES THE BDS MOVEMENT

Image by Carlos Latuff

UK government criminalizing BDS from the classroom to the courtroom

UK government criminalizing BDS from the classroom to the courtroom

Related FROM

British schoolboy questioned for pro-Palestine badge and pro-BDS pamphlet

By Annie Robbins

The UK government’s assault on public support for Palestinians has invaded the classrooms. According to a recent report from the Independent, Anti-terror police question schoolboy for wearing pro-Palestine badge. Note that BDS, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign, was apparently a factor in the case:

Rahmaan Mohammadi’s teachers at Challney High School for Boys in Luton referred him to police under Prevent – the controversial government anti-radicalisation programme, which critics have claimed is heavy-handed, discriminatory and ineffective.

As well as wearing pro-Palestine badges and wristbands, Mohammadi was in possession of a leaflet advocating Palestinian rights by pressure group Friends of al-Aqsa. He had also asked for permission to fundraise for children affected by the Israeli occupation.

The child had a pamphlet in his belongings from the well-known UK based non-profit, Friends of Al-Aqsa, (FOA) a BDS supporting NGO with an international support base that’s been around for almost 20 years. With 12 UK locations FOA describes itself as   “concerned with defending the human rights of Palestinians and protecting the sacred al-Aqsa Sanctuary in Jerusalem.”

Mohammadi described his experiences at a meeting of campaign group Students Not Suspects at Goldsmiths University in London. He alleged that police warned him not to talk about Palestine in school, and further claimed that staff members had approached his 14-year-old brother and pressured him to to tell Rahmaan to “stop being radical”.

The anti-terrorism police force, after visiting the child’s home determined that Mohammadi– whose age was not given– was not-at-risk! While this case was pursued on alleged radicalization grounds, boycott is coming under greater and greater pressure from the British government and they are now set to criminalize support for BDS.

Read more at  SOURCE

TRYING TO CROSS THE ‘FLYING CHECKPOINT’ IN PALESTINE

There are hundreds of fixed checkpoints inside the illegally occupied West Bank, most are between one Palestinian area and another and not on the “Green line” but we also have to face the “flying checkpoints” which literally can be anywhere and anytime.

Hizma flying checkpoint

Hizma flying checkpoint

Biodiversity and terrorism

By Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

I was with two of my students and an International visitor heading to Birzeit for our first class in biodiversity this semester on Saturday when we got selected for search at an Israeli “flying checkpoint”.  There are hundreds of fixed checkpoints inside the illegally occupied West Bank, most are between one Palestinian area and another and not on the “Green line” but we also have to face the “flying checkpoints” which literally can be anywhere and anytime.  In this case a long line of cars were held at Hizma.  When it was our turn, a young Israeli younger than my son told me to stop.  I said can I pull to the side to let other cars pass.  He said no.  There were several of them young recruits dressed in police uniforms and in army uniforms.   In the occupied territories the two services are indistinguishable and operate as one fascist occupation force.  Another Israeli was nearby so I said why can’t I pull to the side.  He turned over to his commanding officer who nodded his agreement.  Then the officer asked me to pull onto the circle in the middle of the road.  They asked for all our ID cards and handed them to another person who went to check them via his computer.  Then they demanded each of us get out of the car in turns.  My students in the back first, then the international visitor, then me.  Some of the uniformed occupiers pointed their guns at us while others demanded we empty all our pockets and frisked us.

They searched the car and they flipped through the camera memory to see all our pictures. They were saying things in Hebrew and I was telling them repeatedly we do not speak Hebrew and that we can speak in English or Arabic to them.  I think they all understood English and at least two showed they understood Arabic after persistence from us.  I repeatedly asked in Arabic and in English why we were picked on.  One occupier said it is because he liked the shape of my car!  When I turned to a female soldier and asked her the same question and adding “are we living in a fascist state,” she merely shrugged her shoulders and said “he liked your car”.  They did not smile but I did, which seemed to irritate them.  Ryan was asked if he smokes anything and why is he here.  Then they asked him “do you like Palestinians,” to which he answered “I like all people!”  After delaying us for half an hour, they handed our ID cards to the international visitor and let us go.  For me, I was used to this.  One of my students (also a museum employee) is from an isolated village of Nahhalin which is frequently closed off has also been frisked and checked many times in the past.  His village was closed in the last three days and he sleeps in Bethlehem instead.  My other student (also a museum employee) and the international visitor had never experienced such harassment.  We joked later that this was a “good taste” of colonial occupation for them.

We discussed how these are really mild experiences compared to others.  For example, for the first five weeks of 2016, Israel demolished an average of 30 Palestinian structures weekly, displacing an average of 66 persons a week (this is three times the weekly average than that in 2015).  Palestinian young people as young as 12 continue to be murdered by Israeli occupation forces almost every other day.  Israeli soldiers carry knives in their backpacks to plant as “evidence” against many Palestinians they murder.  But there is growing Palestinian desperation.  Israeli occupation forces currently hold hundreds of Palestinian political prisoners without charge (“administrative detentions”.)  At least one of those who has been held for nearly three months is on hunger strike (taking only water and salt.)  He will likely die in the next couple of days if Israel does not release him (Mohammad Al-Qeeq).  The Israeli Knesset continues to add racist laws to an already long list of racist laws (over 50) that discriminate against non-Jewish “nominal citizens”. This is not counting hundreds of military orders that discriminate against us who are not considered “nominal citizens” in our own country occupied by individuals with a superiority-inferiority complex gathered from around he world under the banner of Zionism.

Gaza’s situation is far worse than the West Bank and Gaza prisoners get no family visits and the Strip is besieged and starved of basic supplies.  Most of the tunnels that “smuggled” humanitarian supplies have been destroyed.  A slip of the tongue by Israeli Infrastructure Minister Yuval Steinitz revealed that Egypt’s new policy of flooding the tunnels between the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula with seawater had come at Israel’s request.  The promise of rebuilding after Israel’s last genocidal attack on Gaza never materialized.  We shudder to think that it is again time for Israel to test new weapons on the Gaza “laboratory”. Israel’s largest “export” is weapons-related technology, and Israeli leaders have to “test” their weapons on the nearly two million captives in the open air prison called Gaza Strip.

Meanwhile Fatah and later Hamas have taken the bait/infection of “Oslo process” believing it is possible to have an authority under occupation.  Here in teh West Bank many good Fatah leaders admit to us privately that they do not support the president whose erm expired years ago and who firest anyone who criticizes him. Yet he takes unilateral decisions to join the despots in “Saudi Arabia” and his speeches are frequently dotted with statements like “we have our hands stretched for peace.. we stop any armed resistance..we arrest activists… we believe only in peaceful demonstrations…ask [beg] the US and International community to exercise its responsibilities .. etc”.  Contrast this with what Ho Chi Minh once said: “Viet Nam has the right to enjoy freedom and independence and in fact has become a free and independent country. The entire Vietnamese people are determined to mobilize all their physical and mental strength, to sacrifice their lives and property in order to safeguard their freedom and independence.”  Or what Martin Luther King Jr said from Birmingham jail: “I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate…who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: ‘I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action’; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a ‘more convenient season.'” Or even what Yasser Arafat said during the siege in Beirut or when Israel was pounding his last two rooms in his Ramallah headquarters “we will have freedom or die as martyrs”.

It is hard to cope with political leaders who do not seem to push strong enough but it is harder to deal state terrorism (which is far more devastating than individual terrorism). I (almost) retain sanity by staying busy (teaching plus other volunteer jobs including directing the Palestine Museum of Natural History, clinical laboratory work, writing, lecturing on Palestine, visitor guiding, research, and more.)  Birzeit University where I teach (more coach) a Biodiversity course is a beautiful campus with great students and faculty.  Before class, and having been delayed at the flying checkpoint, my two students had to rush to finish their work on “fruit flies/Drosophila”.  Spring is here and he gardens are blooming. The smell of freshly dug air mixes with the smell of almond blossoms. Good people and good food ameliorate life under occupation.  It helps to have a larger cause than one self.  Like MLK Jr and Steven Biko and Malcolm X, we are some times bewildered by the people around (including internationals and Palestinians) who show signs of “mental occupation” or are simply apathetic. But I would like to focus on those who have freed their minds and are helping others do the same.  There are literally millions of points of light out there.  We do not “win” over the darkness but it is those lights that make life meaningful. My own students (at Bethlehem Bible College, Birziet, and Bethlehem University) are also lights. For all those points of light we say thank you.

Here are a few lights expressing via writing “We are not just numbers”

And here is a timeline of positive actions using boycotts, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) done in 2015 as examples of points of light

Having humility to recognize all these lights can help us amplify our own small light.

If you want to help in lighting our small candle locally, please see this

Photoassay of colonialism

 

ACTION: The UK and US government are introducing new rules that would prevent local councils from supporting BDS.

If you live in the UK, please take action to stop the government doing this.
In the US, please write your representative

IDF CLAMPING DOWN ON BLOGGERS

In yet another attempt to silence the truth, Bloggers are now targeted …

i-blog-therefore-i-am

IDF clamps down on web journalists

About 30 bloggers and webmasters receive order to submit articles to the military censor for approval before publication.

Yossi Gurvitz thought he was being pranked. The blogger behind the Facebook page “Friends of George” recently received a message from the military censor demanding that he forward all material before it is published in order to get approval.

The skeptical blogger called the censor and discovered the message was accurate. In the past few days, chief military censor Col. Ariella Ben-Avraham has sent missives to about 30 bloggers and webmasters demanding that they seek approval for articles dealing with “subjects that obligate examination”, such as those dealing with the IDF, in accordance with emergency regulations.

Gurvitz was furious. “I have no intention of meeting this demand,” he wrote. “The meaning of this demand is the eradication of new media in Israel, whose core is the speed of the response. I am examining legal proceedings available to me.”

Sources in the military censor’s office said that its legally-defined authorities “apply to every type of publication relating to national security”. Ben-Avraham told Yedioth Ahronoth: “the censor’s office works to monitor public online pages. It began back under the previous censor. We do not intent to apply the instructions on private profiles, but only public pages that defined themselves as dealing with news.”

It should be noted that the IDF can demand that bloggers submit their posts to the censor, but if they refuse, its ability to delete them is severely limited by the fact that Facebook controls the information. That said, governments around the world occasionally contact Facebook with a request to remove illegal content.

The company considers the requests and does make illegal content unavailable – but only in that country, which in this case means it is of limited use. On the other hand, violating the censor’s rules could lead to legal proceedings.

Source

*

In depth report HERE

Israeli dissident ordered to submit Facebook posts to military censor

#WitchHunt ~~ McCARTHY COMES TO ISRAEL

Delegitimizing a political opponent is a sickness; informing is poison. No one is a plant, not a leftist organization that receives money from the European union, and not a right-wing organization that receives money from evangelicals or other suspect sources.

Joseph McCarthy. A danger to democracy, then and now. (Photo: Getty Images)

Joseph McCarthy. A danger to democracy, then and now. (Photo: Getty Images)

Israel’s McCarthys 

Op-ed: As Im Tirtzu’s supporters saw last week, the fervent quest to implicate others as traitors can quickly go too far. Israel’s witch hunters need to stop now, before it’s too late.

“Let there be no hope for informers”, says the Shemoneh Esrei prayer. That harsh saying has many different and interesting religious interpretations, but when I was young, me and the other kids at a secular school in Tel Aviv took it literally: Bad things are in order for people who inform on their buddies. We wrote the words on a large piece of cardboard paper, and hung it on the wall next to the principal’s office.

Since his office was near the restrooms, one child made a slight change to the sign, switching the Hebrew words to mean “Let there be no hope for those who pee.” It created a small controversy, one of many. The school itself closed down years ago. Its restrooms now service the coffee shop that has since opened nearby. Whenever I schedule a meeting there, I make sure to give that wall a respectful visit. Not because of the restroom: Because of the informers.

Today’s Israel perhaps shows no hope for informers, but it provides plenty of work for them. Right-wing organizations are tracking left-wing organizations, digging into their garbage cans, sending undercover members to infiltrate them, grabbing quotes from Facebook and Twitter. The funding for all this usually comes from outside, from foreigners, or from the state treasury, through a chain of intermediary channels. The stated intention is to display these leftist organizations’ activists as foreign agents, and their activities as treasonous. That’s just the official story. The real point is to eliminate any internal criticism of the status quo in the Palestinian territories. Anyone who raises their head shall see it lopped off.

Im Tirtzu is but one of the organizations that make a living off of informing on leftist organizations, perhaps the one with the most nerve. There are others, some of whom put on a respectable front – half academic, half journalistic. In fact, they all strive for the same exact goal. The all swim in the same filth; they all inform on all the rest.

Last week, Im Tirtzu went a step further in its witch hunt: It published the names of authors, creators, and artists whom its people believe to have sinned by showing support for human rights organizations. These people are referred to as “plants,” meaning traitors, foreign agents. The list featured the cream of the Israeli cultural crop, the nation’s most precious assets in that area, multiple recipients of the Israel Prize.

This time they went too far. The publication was heavily criticized by other right-wingers, and the Im Tirtzu director general was forced to take a half step back. Next time he’ll be more careful. He wasn’t the only one who was frightened: Ben-Dror Yemini – who is conducting an impressive anti-leftist-organization campaign on many platforms (including this website) – saw that there was a problem as well. “I must repent,” he wrote in Yedioth Ahronoth last Friday, “I could have been wrong.” The mistake he’s willing to admit is that he did not understand that the shaming he used against Amos Oz, David Grossman, and others might lead to censorship and the cutting of funds by the state.

Sadly, he still doesn’t understand. Yemini attacked Oz with the Im Tirtzu method: Oz’s great sin is that he’s registered as a member of the B’Tselem public council. According to Yemini, the same council has in it an Arab member who supports Israel’s destruction.

That technique is called shaming – targeting by way of association. If someone who sits with you in the same room, was in the same discussion as you, is a suspect – then so are you. That’s the method Joe McCarthy used to tarnish American democracy in the 1950s. McCarthy also thought he was clensing the state of traitors, that he was fighting for its existence against its foes worldwide. He made the American society paranoid. McCarthy was tossed out of politics shamefully, but the virus he spread wreaked havoc on US society for years after he was gone.

The lesson from the Im Tirtzu affair is simple: Delegitimizing a political opponent is a sickness; informing is poison. No one is a plant, not a leftist organization that receives money from the European union, and not a right-wing organization that receives money from evangelicals or other suspect sources.

The reliance on foreign money is angering; it weakens the moral strength of right- and left-wing organizations, perhaps also corrupts them from time to time. But it does not make them into traitors. It’s better to stop with the McCarthyist campaigns in advance – someone might start taking them seriously.

 

The above was an OpEd AT

Also see this ….. (Click on link)

The New McCarthyism

By Michael Rivero

WHAT’S WRONG WITH THESE VIDEOS?

Israel is losing the ‘Propaganda War’ if this is the best they can do …

Following is the video which attempts to defame the entire left because of the actions of one individual …

The true face of Israel’s radical “human rights” activists – the full report

“Uvda” investigating TV program exposed human rights activists working together with the Palestinian intelligence in order to murder Arab land dealers who are trying to sell land to the Jews.

This is the full report is based on “Ad Kan” investigations – an NGO that is dedicated to expose the true face of Israel’s radical “human rights” organizations and the BDS movement.

Read my posts regarding the above HERE and HERE

Even the infamous war criminal of an ex President claimed today that;

Peres says Arab terror is ‘a protest’

Israel has not done enough to understand the reasons behind Arab terror, former president told German magazine.

Israel has not done enough to “understand” the reasons behind Palestinian terror, according to former President Shimon Peres. In an interview he gave German magazine Der Spiegel before his recent heart attack, Peres sounded an apologetic note for the Arab terror against Israel.

“This terror is a revolt,” he told the magazine. “Many young people are attracted today by the totalitarianism of terror. What we have in Israel is part of this development – but at the same time it is different. There needs to be two states, but there is only one. This contributes to the fact that young Palestinians are against us. Israel often does not see the real reasons. Israel does not see this as a protest. It sees the killing.”

Israelis needed to put the Palestinian violence “into context,” Peres said, according to the magazine.

Peres also undermined Israel’s accusations that Palestinian Authority (PA) chief Mahmoud Abbas bears responsibility for the terror as the person at the head of the PA’s incitement machine. “Abbas is a very courageous man,” said Peres. “I met him often and negotiated with him directly. He wants peace and he fights terror.”

The only solution, Peres said, was a true two-state solution. “I believe that Israel is in a transitional phase,” said Peres. “I do not think that we will be able to eternally avoid a diplomatic solution, which will be the two-state solution. Nothing else will do.” Netanyahu’s government has been based on trying to have it both ways, said Peres. “Netanyahu has recently proposed a kind of 1.5-state solution during his visit to the United States: a demilitarized Palestinian state, which is further controlled by the Israeli military. That is not acceptable. The whole world wants a two-state solution.”

Eventually – when Netanyahu leaves office – that is what will take place, said Peres. “Governments are not elected for eternity. They are temporary. The only eternal person is the Messiah and has not yet come.”

In defense of Israel, Peres said that Jewish extremism is a limited phenomenon. “How many people are we talking about? Very few,” he argued. “The perpetrators of the arson attack on a Palestinian family in Duma have now been apprehended and brought to justice. We combat this phenomenon.”

FROM

FACEBOOK JOINS THE CENSORSHIP WAR AGAINST LATUFF

“We were also suspended and got a couple of videos removed over a month ago. The new thing we have noticed is that pictures/videos can now be removed by Facebook even if they follow the so called community standards. This is scary because soon we will not be able to post anything, it seems. So yes we do believe Facebook’s pro-Israel policy is tightening the noose around our freedom of speech.”

Facebook censors cartoon critical of Israel

The Palestine Information Center (PIC), an independent Palestinian news website and network had their Facebook page temporarily suspended for publishing a 2009 cartoon by Brazilian political cartoonist Carlos Latuff. The graphic shows a woman walking and carrying a wounded child in front of an Israeli flag with one of the blue banners of the flag covering her mouth. Latuff’s text issued a warning:  “SHHHHHHHHHH!!! Denouncing Israeli War Crimes Is Anti-Semitism“.

This is not a far flung radical concept since criticism of Israel and/or issues relating to the U.S. relationship to Israel, including criticism or mention of the Israel lobby are continually lambasted as anti-Semitic. The examples are endless, even President Obama was accused of anti Semitism.

Recalling the war crimes committed during those gruesome 22 days in the winter of 2008-2009, when Israel pummeled the Gaza Strip, killing more than 1,300 people, including over 300 children — articulated in the Goldstone Report (pdf) released in September 2009 — I asked Latuff if there was a specific incident that prompted him to draw the cartoon in 2009. “Nope, not a specific incident, just to highlight the censorship often found on Internet related to everything critical to Israel”.

Accusations of anti Semitism are, arguably, the very first line of defense by Israel’s ardent defenders. But draw or publish a cartoon about it? Censored on Facebook:

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Rami Salaam, an administrator of PIC’s English Facebook page told Mondoweiss “Cartoons are usually targeted by Facebook more than anything else. Maybe because they appeal to people everywhere. Latuff’s cartoons are widely shared on our page and maybe that is why it was removed.”

PIC was not warned or notified prior to the removal of the cartoon. “It just disappeared” according to Salaam. He continued, “When we tried to login we got a message saying that that cartoon was removed because it violates Facebook polices and that our account that posted the cartoon is suspended for 3 days. – The reason for the deletion and suspension is fickle and meaningless because the cartoon is not graphic nor does it incite any kind of violence. The reason given is “We removed the post below because it doesn’t follow the Facebook Community Standards.” They also threatened to delete the whole page.”

I asked Salaam if this was an isolated incident and he mentioned PIC was suspended for a day two weeks ago for posting this photograph of “an Orthodox Jew and his daughter both carrying guns.” He sent me this screenshot:

AOUTV0uN

“We were also suspended and got a couple of videos removed over a month ago. The new thing we have noticed is that pictures/videos can now be removed by Facebook even if they follow the so called community standards. This is scary because soon we will not be able to post anything, it seems. So yes we do believe Facebook’s pro-Israel policy is tightening the noose around our freedom of speech.”

Facebook Community Standards can be viewed here.

During her trip to the U.S. in November 2015, Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely met with representatives of YouTube and Google to discuss ways her ministry could “cooperate” against “inflammatory material” she claimed was inciting violence and terror attacks. Curiously, recently I searched for current videos of Israeli violence against Palestinians on both Google and Youtube and the only videos readily available dated back to last October, nothing current. Strange.

The only vulgarity about this cartoon is the truth it helps expose. Responding to the news Facebook had removed his cartoon Latuff tweeted “This censorship proves EXACTLY the point of cartoon“. How ironic.

 

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.”

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