Oct 28, 2010

#BDS: The Palestinian Civil Society Campaign for Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Marks 5 Years

The Palestinian Civil Society Campaign for Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Marks 5 Years

In meeting rooms and conference halls, on high streets and university campuses, the Palestine solidarity movement is changing. In the dozen years following the signing of the Oslo Accords, few doubted the determination and resolve of solidarity campaigns, but there were fears that they were beginning to lose direction. Today, as we mark the fifth anniversary of the 2005 Palestinian Civil Society Call for a campaign of boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law, a truly global movement is rapidly emerging whose concrete forms of solidarity is not only changing the discourse surrounding the Palestinian struggle, but are also achieving concrete results towards the isolation of the Israeli regime.
The BDS movement is deeply rooted in the rich history of Palestinian civil resistance against Zionist colonization – especially anti-normalization campaigns that rejected acceptance of apartheid Israel as a normal state – and begun to take form with the outbreak of the Second Intifada in 2000. But it was the rights-based approach of the Palestinian Civil Society Call on 9 July 2005, a year after the historic advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice that ruled Israel’s wall – as well as colonies -- in Occupied Palestinian Territory to be illegal, which set into motion a new form of Palestinian resistance and international solidarity. Based on international law and established principles of human rights, the BDS call identifies the inalienable rights of each of the three parts of the Palestinian people, namely those living inside land occupied in 1967, Palestinian citizens of Israel and the approximately seven million Palestinian refugees. The Call urges for various forms of boycott until Israel complies with international law by:
Ending its occupation of lands occupied in June 1967 and dismantling the Wall;
Recognizing the fundamental rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality
Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return in accordance with UN Resolution 194.

Oct 27, 2010

#BDS: Presbyterian Mission Network Joins BDS Movement

Presbyterian Mission Network Joins BDS Movement, Calls for Boycotts on goods from Illegal Israeli Settlements

CHICAGO, October 25—In response to a call to action from the Christians of the Holy Land, The Israel/Palestine Mission Network (IPMN) of the Presbyterian Church (USA) [PC(USA)] voted at its annual meeting to join the international boycott of goods produced in illegal Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT).
The first targeted products for the boycott are Ahava Cosmetics, King Solomon Dates, and Jordan River Dates, imported into the United States from illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
The network also voted to identify companies profiting from the illegal military occupation, initiate dialogue with them and expand the boycott list if needed, at a later date. This action would include companies doing business in the OPT or contributing to the building of infrastructure of illegal settlements.
Carol Hylkema, Moderator of IPMN from Detroit Presbytery said, “Our grassroots network has reached a tipping point and we find we must respond to the call of Christians in the Middle East who through The Amman Call asked for ‘No more words without deeds.’” In addition to calling for boycott, as a mission network of the PC(USA), the IPMN will sponsor an initiative that will seek to make its position that of the entire denomination when their General Assembly meets in 2012.
In June 2008, the General Assembly of the PC(USA) voted to endorse The Amman Call and its “commitment to imperatives of ecumenical solidarity in action for Just Peace.”
Similarly, at its General Assembly in 2010, the denomination voted to receive for study, a confession from the Christians of the Holy Land known as Kairos Palestine: A Moment of Truth.
As this bold confession of faith, hope, and love approaches its first anniversary in December 2010, the IPMN joins in solidarity with the confession’s call to action, which asks the Churches and Christians of the world "to engage in divestment and in an economic and commercial boycott of everything produced by the [Israeli military] occupation." The object of this form of peaceful resistance, Kairos declares, "is not revenge but rather to put an end to the existing evil...bringing both [Palestinians and Israelis] to justice and reconciliation."
Co-chair of the IPMN Education Committee, David Jones of Redwoods Presbytery stated, “Our network reads the Kairos confession as a Palestinian ‘letter from a Birmingham Jail.’ Recognizing the hour is late and the call is urgent; we are joining the international BDS movement (boycott, divestment, sanctions) because it is time for action.”
The Israel/Palestine Mission Network (IPMN) of the Presbyterian Church (USA) is a grassroots organization established in 2004 with a mandate from the denomination’s General Assembly. This mandate is to advocate by “demonstrating solidarity and changing the conditions that erode the humanity of Palestinians.” As part of its mandate, the IPMN speaks TO the church not FOR the church.

Contact: The Rev. Dr. Jeff DeYoe, IPMN Advocacy Chair - deyoejeffrey@yahoo.com

#BDS: The Palestine Buy-cott

Olives are one of Palestine's primary crops

The first official boycott of Israel was spearheaded by the Arab League immediately after Israel was established in 1948. In 2005 Palestinian Civil Society issued a call for boycott, divestment and sanctions until Israel complies with International Law, and universal principles of human rights. Since then that call has been endorsed by hundreds of organizations which aim to challenge Israel's treatment of the Palestinian people.

Consumers boycott Israeli products, such as Ahava skin-care products made from Dead Sea mud, or Israeli dateswhich are the most profitable crop of many Israeli settlements. Musicians such as Elvis Costello and Carlos Santana cancelled concerts in Israel. Organizations like US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation (USCEIO) and US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI) compile and circulate lists of brand names and corporations that aid Israel. These include Caterpillar Inc.that produces the armored bulldozers used to demolish Palestinian homes, or Motorola which manufactures missile guidance systems in aerial drones, and surveillance systems used in checkpoints and along the apartheid wall.

Boycotts have been instrumental in effecting political change, such as its successful use as a tool to end South African apartheid. But many find it virtually impossible to avoid all the companies on the list. For those who can't give up that morning Starbucks, or that Coca-Cola with dinner there is another tool in the economic arsenal. In addition to boycotting Israel, you can buy Palestine. Despite the Palestinian economy being stifled by Israeli policies, Palestinians continue to farm, and produce a wide variety of products which can be purchased on a number of websites.

#BDS: An Open letter From Besieged Gaza to Cape Town Opera: Remember South African Liberation and Boycott Apartheid Israel

We are writing to you from the Bantustan of the Gaza Strip, from under a ‘medieval’ siege, our land, air and sea borders controlled and blockaded by the fourth most powerful military in the world – that of the Israeli State. We are shocked for your decision to perform the Cape Town Opera in the Sun City of the Middle East. We are Palestinian artists, students and teachers in Gaza who experienced first-hand Israel’s genocidal onslaught of Gaza for 3 weeks during the winter of 2009 that killed over 1400 people, including over 430 of our children, war crimes outlined in the United Nations Goldstone Report. We are asking you to cancel the Cape Town Opera performance in the Israeli state-sponsored Tel Aviv Opera House this November 12, joining the 2005 call by 171 Palestinian Civil Society organizations calling for “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law and universal principles of human rights”.

Five months before the Israeli slaughter of July 2008 which left a further 5300 injured, a South African delegation, including ANC members, visited Israel and Occupied Palestine. They unanimously concluded that the Israel 60 year long treatment of Palestinians was far worse than South African apartheid. Politician and former Deputy Minister of Health Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge said, “What I see here is worse than what we experienced – the absolute control of people’s lives, the lack of freedom of movement, the army presence everywhere, the total separation and the extensive destruction we saw….racist ideology is also reinforced by religion, which was not the case in South Africa.” Sunday Times editor, Mondli Makhanya added: “It is worse, worse, worse than everything we endured. The level of apartheid, the racism and the brutality are worse than the worst period of apartheid.”

Your appearance there would not only be turning your backs on us the Palestinians who have endured over 60 years of Israel’s horrific apartheid and ethnic-cleansing policies. It would also be a tragic example of the short memories of people wronged in the past by racial oppression.

We remind you of the British Musicians Union who joined the BDS campaign in 1961 and the British Screenwriters Guild that banned the distribution of British films in South Africa in 1965. In 1981 the Associated Actors and Artists of America unions banned any performance in South Africa and the Black Caucus successfully pressured the US administration to divest from and impose sanctions on the South African apartheid government. We will also never forget the impact of Artists United Against Apartheid and the song, “Sun City”.

What has happened to this spirit of resistance now? What could be a more peaceful way to fight injustice than to boycott a settler colonial state, described by United Nations Special Rapporteur John Dugard as the only remaining case after South Africa, “of a Western-affiliated regime that denies self-determination and human rights to a developing people and that has done so for so long.” As Angelo Gobbato recounted, we have come a long way in South Africa since 1971 when the Nico Malan performing arts complex and opera house was opened as a ‘whites only’ building. This time if you perform in Tel Aviv Opera House it will be us who have no right to come and see you with the Israeli Army surrounding us, occupying us and controlling our every move.

And why?

Because we are Palestinians, the undesired ‘ethnic group’ for apartheid Israel, victims of what the Israeli Academic and Historian Ilan Pappe describes as Israel’s, “slow-motion genocide”. Those remaining in the tiny Bantustans of land from where Israel has not yet expelled us face military occupation and attacks, continuous settler harassment and racial discrimination that echoes the worst traits of apartheid. Most of the 8 million Palestinian refugees worldwide remain in squalid refugee camp ghettos, reminiscent of Black and Colored townships, deprived of the right to return to their land in complete violation of United Nations Resolution 194.

Do the Cape Town Opera members completely ignore the fact that instead of showing solidarity with us the voiceless and imprisoned, they will instead be performing to war-makers and Israeli soldiers and reservists? Those who have humiliated our Palestinian mothers in West Bank checkpoints, dropped bombs and white phosphorous on our civilian populations, bulldozed our villages, olive groves and farmland? Since its founding on the ruins of Palestinian refugees in 1948 Israel has violated more United Nations Resolutions than any other member state. As was successfully directed at the South African regime, the cultural boycott is a vital mechanism to hold Israel to account for crimes that have for so long been granted immunity by the International Community.

We call on the Cape Town Opera to join the global BDS initiative and build on the South African initiatives with COSATU and the historic first step from the University of Johannesburg to reduce ties with Ben Gurion University. We ask you to unite with the Irish, Scottish and British trade unions, Hampshire College, Sussex University, UC, Berkeley, University of Michigan, and Dearborn. To follow the example of courageous writers such as Arundhati Roy, John Berger and Henning Mankell as well as musicians Elvis Costello, Gil Scot-Heron, Carlos Santana, the Klaxons, Gorillaz Sound System, the Pixies, David Banhart, Massive Attack and Brian Eno who all refuse to perform in Israel.

As BDS advocate Archbishop Desmond Tutu said earlier this year, “I never tire of speaking about the very deep distress in my visits to the Holy Land; they remind me so much of what happened to us black people in South Africa. I have seen the humiliation of the Palestinians at checkpoints and roadblocks, suffering like we did when young white police officers prevented us from moving about. My heart aches. I say, "Why are our memories so short?"

We the besieged Palestinians of the Gaza Strip urge the Cape Town Opera to stand on the right side of history and remember how many did for South Africa when it was not fashionable to do so. Please reconsider your decision to perform in Israel, and oppose Apartheid once again.

Besieged Gaza,

Palestinian Students’ Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel (PSCABI)
University Teachers’ Association in Palestine
Association of Al-Quds Bank for Culture and Information
Arab Cultural Forum

#BDS: Tutu urges South African opera not to tour Israel

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Retired Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who earned a Nobel for his peaceful opposition to apartheid, is urging the Cape Town Opera troupe not to tour Israel until discrimination there ends.
In a statement Tuesday Tutu compared the troupe's visit next month to international artists performing in apartheid South Africa.
He says it would be "unconscionable" to perform "Porgy and Bess," which he says has a "universal message of nondiscrimination."
Tutu charges that by bringing international artists to perform, the Tel Aviv Opera House "advances Israel's fallacious claim to being a 'civilized democracy.'"
Tutu has emerged as a sharp critic of Israel. Last month, he backed calls for a South African academic boycott of Israel.

Oct 26, 2010

#BDS: Dear Chilean miners, please do not accept Israel's invitation

Dear Survivors of the Chilean Mine Trap,
You do not know me. I am just an American blogger/peace actvist who has followed your heroic efforts to survive your 69 day ordeal and the heroic efforts to save you. With wonder I watched as you were brought up one by one to freedom from your underground hell, where for so long you did not know if you would live or die. Indeed the whole world watched as you were rescued in thunderous joy that you would be reunited with your loved ones who had sat vigil for you for so long, insisting you were alive, insisting the rescue effort keep on, praying together for your safety. The entire world rejoices in your safe return above ground to your loved ones.

Now it is your time to recover from your ordeal, to readjust to above ground living with all the physical aspects that entails as well as the emotional ones. Yet people who wish to somehow attach themselves to your rescue and what they see as your celebrity status are now issuing public invitations for you to visit them.

Beware the Trojan horse bearing gifts. For their all-expense paid trip invitations are being issued with their own interest and image at heart.

Today I read that you have received an invitation from the Israeli Tourist Ministry to visit the Holy Land where Christianity began, where the holiest of Christian sites are located. They have offered to pay for your entire trip there, for you to visit "Israel". They are offering you this trip at Christmas time as a "gift to you"

I am asking you please to not accept this invitation. You are not just being invited to visit "Israel", you are being asked to visit holy sites which have been under the Israeli occupation of Palestine for 42 years, sites that Palestinian Christians are routinely denied access to by their occupier.

In June the Vatican issued a paper deploring the denial of access to Christians to the holy sites under occupation, calling the occupation "unjust".

You would be taken to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in occupied East Jerusalem which Israel routinely denies access to for Christian Palestinians. You would also be taken to Bethlehem, the birth place of Christ, which has been under Israeli occupation for 42 years. Nearby is the home of Daoud Nassar's Tent of Nations which is continually under threat of demolition by Israel.

Christian Palestinians suffer just as horrifically under the occupation as do their fellow Muslim Palestinians.

For this reason the Kairos Declaration was issued which calls for an end to the 42 year long occupation of Palestine which is in direct violation of international law.

#BDS: Police repress convergence on UK weapons factory

As Israeli warplanes flew over Gaza on 13 October, activists converged on Brighton, United Kingdom for the annual mass action against the local EDO/ITT factory that produces components used in weapons by the Israeli Air Force, amongst others, to devastating effect.

Faces clad, dozens of protesters attempted to break through police lines. Outnumbered by police three to one, the activists were chased down, detained and arrested. The surreal background symphony continued: photographers' flashes, stubborn traffic attempting to worm its way through police lines, the chants of "Free Palestine!" and the unmistakable sound of a police chopper circling overhead.

The campaign against EDO/ITT is now in its sixth year and this was the fifth convergence of its kind. The British police's heavy-handed crackdown on the action should perhaps be no surprise given the success of past Smash EDO convergences and the ongoing weekly protests against the factory. The repression began in the early hours of the morning as dozens of activists sleeping in an accommodation center in Stanmer Park, located twenty minutes from the planned protest site, awoke to find the building surrounded by 27 riot police vans. Those trapped inside were only permitted to leave inside a police cordon -- a mobile means of detention. Protesters who were able to reach the planned convergence space, a park close to the EDO/ITT factory, quickly met with an overwhelming force of riot police on foot and horseback.

Undeterred, protesters, numbering around 300, splintered off into smaller groups as the day quickly developed into an elaborate, and wholly unequal game of pursuit between activists and police. Sights such as a group of protesters, pursued by police, taking off into the woods carrying a largepapier-mache airplane and inflatable hammers underlined the tragicomic nature of the demonstration. Two Israeli activists taking part in the action held an impromptu talk about the realities of day-to-day life for Palestinians under Israeli occupation to those held captive alongside them in a police cordon.

#BDS: California Attorney General Issues Title and Summary for Divest from Israel Initiative

The Israel Divestment Campaign (IDC) is the first citizens’ effort in the country to appeal directly to voters to hold Israel accountable for violations of international law and human rights.
With the official assignment of a title* and summary to our Initiative by the Attorney General on September 1st, the IDC has begun the process of collecting the signatures of at least 434,000 registered California voters by January 31, 2011.

There are only 97 days left until the end of Signature Gathering!

If successful, the measure will appear on the next statewide ballot after March 2011.Then, if approved by a majority of voters, it will become California law. This means that the two public retirement systems, the Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) and the State Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS), would be required to engage in a divestment process with corporations providing equipment and services to Israel that are used in the violation of human rights and international law, including but not limited to the building of the “Separation Wall” and settlements.
If you share our concern for a just peace, we hope that you will join the campaign and help us gather signatures in your community. Please click on Petition Resources to find out how you can participate.

#BDS: New Scandal Rocks Zionist Federation

The latest scandal to hit a self-confessed pro-Israeli organization in South Africa, the SA Zionist Federation, [SAZF] is likely to invigorate the 'Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions' [BDS] campaign against Israel and its affiliates.
This remarkable turn of events involves a Johannesburg-based bag manufacturing company, Saley’s Travel Goods, who refused to supply the SAZF with goods on the grounds that it did not want to “aid and abet” organizations responsible for “crimes against humanity”.
The SAZF, known for its links to apartheid Israel, has in the recent past been embroiled in a number of headline grabbing controversies surrounding its defense of Israeli war crimes.
Most notable has been its failed attempt to prevent a leading South African jurist, Judge Richard Goldstone from attending his grandson’s barmitzvah. This move was interpreted by many Jewish critics of Israel as a form of punishing Goldstone for his report on Operation Cast Lead that established Israel’s guilt in Gaza.
More recently a Cape Town NGO known as Open Shuhada Street, whose members comprise of prominent human rights activists accused the SAZF of supporting occupation, settlement and oppression.
According to Open Shuhada Street, in response to its call to boycott the settlement-made products of Ahava, the SAZF launched a “vicious personal attack on us”.
Ahava is manufactured in an Israeli settlement in the Occupied West Bank and thus a call for a boycott of its products is necessary to make the occupation unprofitable. Instead of recognising this undisputed fact, the SAZF has called for people to increase their purchases of Ahava.
Open Shuhada Street has therefore accused the SAZF of being devoted to increasing the profitability of the occupation and of defending the use of Occupied Territory “in violation of international law and to entrenching and sustaining Israeli settlements which stand in the way of peace”. This exposes the SAZF as an obstacle to peace!

#BDS: Caterpillar to delay supply of D9 bulldozers to IDF

Caterpillar, the company which supplies the IDF with bulldozers, has announced that it is delaying the supply of D9 bulldozers during the time that the trial of Rachel Corrie proceeds, Channel 2 reported on Monday.

The company does not usually manufacture a military version of the D9 but it has many features that make desirable for military applications and the IDF has used them extensively for operations.

Rachel Corrie was a US activist who was killed in Gaza seven years ago by a bulldozer driver who struck and killed her. Her family charged that the IDF and its officers had acted recklessly, using an armored Caterpillar D9R bulldozer without regard to the presence in the area of unarmed and nonviolent civilians.

#BDS: As Israel fires on activists, BDS movement claims victories

At least fifteen Palestinians were injured in the occupied West Bank village of Nabi Saleh on Friday, 22 October, when Israeli forces opened fire at a demonstration against the wall and ongoing land confiscation.

Villagers "marched alongside Israeli and international supporters towards the village lands, where Israel is building the wall," the Palestinian News Network (PNN) reported. "Soldiers fired rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas at them, injuring 15 civilians, one critically. Troops also fired tear gas into homes, burning three houses. Soldiers took a fourth house and told the owner they would use it as a military post for 45 days" ("Fifteen injured, Three Homes Burned In Nabi Saleh Village," 22 October 2010).

That same day, in the village of al-Masara near Bethlehem, one international activist was wounded and two others were arrested by Israeli soldiers during a similar weekly protest against the planned construction of the wall. "Israeli soldiers stopped the protesters near the local school and used tear gas and sound bombs to force them back. A French activist sustained head injuries from a tear gas bomb and soldiers arrested two other internationals," according to PNN. ("One Injured, Two Arrested, During Wall Protest Near Bethlehem," 22 October 2010).

Elsewhere in the occupied West Bank, PNN reported that three Palestinian youths were injured that same day by Israeli-fired tear gas canisters during a protest in the village of Bilin. Villagers have waged regular, nonviolent demonstrations for several years against the encroaching Israeli wall and the nearby settlement colonies. Eight-year-old Lamma Abu Rahma, 17-year-old Muhammad al-Khatib and 17-year-old Ahmad Burnat were hit in the legs and feet by the tear gas grenades. ("Three Civilians Injured During Weekly Bil'in Anti Wall Protest," 22 October 2010).

In related news, EU representatives and consuls general in Jerusalem released a statement on 20 October condemning the imprisonment of Abdallah Abu Rahme, a leader of the nonviolent resistance movement in Bilinwho was recently sentenced by a military court to one year in Israeli prison. "The EU considers Abdallah Abu Rahme a human rights defender who has protested in a peaceful manner against the route of the Israeli separation barrier through his village of Bilin," said the statement. "The EU considers the route of the barrier where it is built on Palestinian land to be illegal. The EU supports the key role of human rights defenders in promoting and furthering of human rights" ("EU Representatives Regret Israeli Military Court Sentence," 20 October 2010).

Meanwhile, around the globe, solidarity activists accelerated efforts to hold Israel accountable for its repressive policies, as well as corporations that profit from Israel's human rights abuses.

#BDS: رسالة إلى عمال المنجم التشيلي: ارفضوا دعوة إسرائيل لزيارة القدس

نشر موقع «غلوبال ريسرتش» مؤخراً رسالة موجهة الى العمال الناجين من منجم تشيلي تدعوهم إلى رفض «دعوة» وزارة السياحة الإسرائيلية لزيارة المواقع الدينية المسيحية في القدس المحتلة خلال عيد الميلاد.
وأكدت الرسالة أن إسرائيل تهدف من وراء دعوة العمال الناجين من المنجم الى زيارة القدس المحتلة، استغلال شهرتهم. وطلبت منهم بوضوح رفض الدعوة، قائلة «أرجوكم لا تقبلوا هذه الدعوة، فأنتم غير مدعوين لزيارة «إسرائيل» فحسب بل زيارة الأماكن المقدسة التي تقبع تحت الاحتلال الإسرائيلي منذ 42 سنة، حظر الاحتلال خلالها على الفلسطينيين المسيحيين الدخول إليها بشكل دائم، وعيد الميلاد هو يوم نحتفل فيه بولادة السيد المسيح لكن ليس على حساب من يعيش تحت الاحتلال في مكان ولادته من خلال قبول هدية من المحتل».
وأضافت «جاءت وثيقة كايروس الفلسطينية (التي أعدها بعض رجال الدين المسيحي والشخصيات الوطنية المسيحية) نتيجة لذلك، حيث طالب الفلسطينيون بإنهاء الاحتلال الذي لم تتوقف فيه إسرائيل عن انتهاك القانون الدولي، وفيه صرخة من أعماق البلد الذي يتألم، حيث دعا المسيحيون زعماء الدين والسياسة والمجتمع الفلسطيني والإسرائيلي وإخوانهم المسيحيين والمسلمين وكنائس العالم الى مساندتهم».
وتابعت «ساهمت عقيدة التحرر في أميركا اللاتينية في تقديم العزاء للمضطهدين، ويوجد لدى الفلسطينيين عقيدة مماثلة، وهي تدعو إلى تحرير المضطهدين من نير الاحتلال الإسرائيلي. هؤلاء إخوتكم وأخواتكم في المسيحية والإنسانية».

Oct 25, 2010

#BDS: Pete Seeger: Unless we communicate, mankind will disappear

American folk singer who mentored Bob Dylan and Joan Baez, set to participate in virtual rally for Negev's Arava Institute, but is supportive of commercial ban on Israel. 'The entire world should show Israel it should work non-violently,' he says

"My memory is going," says Pete Seeger during a phone interview conducted from his home in the Hudson River Valley. But the 91-year-old singer's sharpness does not cease to amaze, as he spells out a surname he thinks is important to the conversation or recalls his first visit to Israel in the 1960s. During the conversation it is hard to believe that the speaker is a World War II veteran who performed for Eleanor Roosevelt and marched alongside Martin Luther King, Jr.

Then, as now, Seeger whole-heartedly believed that songs can bring change. Seeger, America's most important folk-music singer, says time and again that dialogue and non-violent actions are the only way to solve conflicts. This is why he's participating in a virtual rally in support of the Negev's Arava Institute, whose students include Israelis, Palestinians, Jordanians and others.

#BDS: Kempinski hotels coming to Israel

Luxury chain to open first hotel in 2013 near US Embassy building in Tel Aviv

Businessman Henry Taic – owner of the David Intercontinental Hotel in Tel Aviv, Le Meridien Dead Sea, and Grand Court Jerusalem – has signed an agreement to bring the Kempinski luxury hotel chain in Israel.

The agreement was signed through Taic's company, Nahal Group.

The chain's first hotel in Israel will be built on half of a plot located next to the US Embassy in Tel Aviv, which currently serves as a parking lot. The hotel is slated to have 23 floors and 220 room and suites. Some NIS 200 million will be invested in the hotel, which is scheduled to open in 2013.

The hotel will be part of a project which will also include the Glass Cube luxury apartments that will connect to the hotel through a glass structure.

The housing project will include a 25-floor building with 60 to 70 apartments measuring 100 to 1,000 square meters (1,076 to 10,764 square feet) in size. The apartment owners will be able to enjoy the hotel services.

Oct 24, 2010

#BDS: Israeli artist: IDF an army of evil

Israeli artists join MachsomWatch tour of West Bank villages; slam IDF policies in crossings, say soldiers 'have no idea how bestial their behavior is'

Several Israeli artists and creators joined by dozens of other Israelis took part in a MachsomWatch tour of the West Bank Friday, in order to "get first hand knowledge of the evils of the occupation."

MachsomWatch, founded in 2001, is an organization of peace activists which regularly protests Israeli presence in the West Bank.

Among the artists taking part in Friday's tour were actors Oded Kotler and Amnon Meskin and directors Ati Zitron and Ram Levy.

The group toured several Palestinian villages near the West Bank cities of Qalqilya and Nablus, the Elkana Local Council and the city of Ariel, which has been in the center of a cultural debatein the past months, after artists refused to perform in it newly inducted cultural hall.

#BDS: عندما تقاطع جنوب أفريقيا إسرائيل العنصرية

د. فايز رشيد

من أشد من عانوا من العنصرية في التاريخ المعاصر ومن ذاقوا ويلاتها، الجنوب افريقيون، وممن ما زالوا يعانونها: شعبنا الفلسطيني، ولذلك يكون التضامن مع شعبنا ذا طعم آخر عندما يأتي من أولئك الذين عاشوا ظروفاً مشابهة في بلدهم، وانتصروا في معركتهم الوطنية، وقذفوا بالنظام العنصري الى مزابل التاريخ. ذلك الانتصار هو قدوة لشعبنا الفلسطيني الذي يكافح منذ قرن زمني تقريباً ضد العنصريين الإسرائيليين، ووفقاً لحتمية التاريخ سيقذف أيضاً أعداءه الصهاينة إلى نفس مزابل التاريخ.
من بين أشد المناضلين لنظام الفصل العنصري في جنوب أفريقيا، ومن أشد المدافعين عن القضية الفلسطينية وحقوق شعبنا الوطنية: المناضل الجنوب أفريقي روني كاسريلز، وهو بالمناسبة من أصل أوروبي ويهودي الديانة، اعتقل إبّان حكم الأبارتهايد هو وزوجته، واضطرا للتخفي بعد إطلاق سراحهما، ومغادرة جنوب أفريقيا تهريباً، بـــقرار من الحزب الشيوعي الذي كانا ينتميان إليه.
كاسريلز شغل منصب وزير في حكومة جنوب أفريقيا السابقة إبّان حكم الرئيس تامبو مبيكي، وهو كاتب معروف ليس على صعيد بلده، وإنما على صعيد أشمل وأعّم أيضا. زار قطاع غزة عندما كان وزيرا تضامنا مع أهله، ورفض دعوة رسمية لزيارة اسرائيل علنا في تصريح صحافي له من غزة، أصدر العديد من الكتب التي تؤرخ لويلات نظام الفصل العنصري وآخرها عن نضالات زوجته والعذابات التي عانتها في المعتقل، والتي توفيت منذ عام بمرض السرطان.
وهو مدعو رسميا لزيارة سورية قريبا لالقاء بعض المحاضرات في عدد من جامعاتها. كاسريلز هو ممن يكتبون المقالات السياسية في جريدة 'الغارديان' البريطانية، وآخرها في التاسع والعشرين من ايلول/سبتمبر الماضي، وكان بعنوان: جنوب أفريقيا تقاطع إسرائيل بسبب عنصريتها. قُدّر لي في زيارتي مؤخراً إلى جنوب أفريقيا ومن خلال مساندين آخرين لقضيتنا عقد بعض اللقاءات معه، ومما قاله ومما لمسته شخصيا، ومما كتبه في مقالته المذكورة، أورد بعض المقاطع والأرقام عن حجم التأييد للقضية الفلسطينية، الذي يتولى مسؤوليته هو وعدد من زملائه من خلال هيئات ومؤسسات عديدة، جعلت همها وشغلها الشاغل تأييد القضية الوطنية للشعب الفلسطيني. المقال ترجمه إلى العربية عبد الرحمن الحسيني ونشرته صحيفة 'الغد' الأردنية (أوائل تشرين الاول/أكتوبر الحالي).
لقد تعهد مؤخراً أكثر من 155 أكاديميا في عموم جنوب أفريقيا من أكثر من 13 جامعة في بيان أصدروه ووقعوا عليه، بتقديم دعمهم لمبادرة جامعة جوهانسبرغ، الداعية إلى وضع حد للتعاون مع إسرائيل. ومنذئذ امتدت الحملة لتشمل 200 جهة داعمة لهذا الاقتراح، وفي هذه الغضون استقطبت المناشدة الأكاديمية التي عمّت البلاد والداعية إلى إلغاء اتفاقية تعاون بين جامعة جوهانسبرغ وجامعة بن غوريون الإسرائيلية لإجراء أبحاث في صحراء النقب، اهتماماً واسع النطاق وبمصادقة أصوات لشخصيات جنوب أفريقية معروفة، مما اضطر الناشطين إلى إصدار بيان جديد قالوا فيه: 'نحن ـ الأكاديمين ـ نقر بأن تجري كافة نشاطاتنا الفكرية في سياقات اجتماعية أضخم، وعلى نحو خاص في مؤسسات ملتزمة بالتحول الاجتماعي، وندعو كافة المؤسسات الجنوب أفريقية إلى إعادة النظر في العلاقات التي كانت قد تشكلت في ظل حقبة الأبارتهايد مع المؤسسات الأخرى، التي غضت الطرف عن القمع العـــنصري في اســــرائيل، باعتبار هذا النشاط - ثقافياً صرفاً- أو عملاً علمياً، وأوضــــح الناشــــطون أن الجامعات الإسرائيلية ليست مستهدفة بالمقاطعــــة بســبب هويتها الإثنية أو الدينية، وإنما لتواطئها مع النظام الإسرائيلي القائم على الفصل العنصري. ولقد أيدت جامعة بن غوريون كافة النشاطات الاسرائيلية ضد الفلسطينيين، ونحن نمتلك الادلة على ذلك.
لقد وقفت أوساط شعبية جنوب أفريقية عديدة مع شعبنا الفلسطيني في صموده أمام العدوان الصهيوني الأخير على غزة 2008- 2009 وأصدروا بيانات عديدة وساروا بمظاهرة أمام السفارة الإسرائيلية في جنوب أفريقيا.
وقد أشاد الأكاديميون بالتقرير الذي أصدره القاضي الجنوب أفريقي غولدستون، ورفعه إلى الأمم المتحدة، والذي تطرّق فيه إلى جرائم الحرب التي ارتكبتها إسرائيل في ذلك العدوان، وما زالت ترتكبها بالحصار الظالم الذي تفرضه على القطاع للعام الرابع على التوالي.
وقال الأكاديميون في بيانهم 'ان الموقف المبدئي للأكاديميين في جنوب أفريقيا والقاضي بالنأي بأنفسهم عن المؤسسات التي تدعم الاحتلال، هو انعكاس لحالات التقدم التي أنجزت على صعيد تعرية النظام الإسرائيلي، من حيث إدانته بالتورط في المشروع الكولونيالي غير القانوني واللاأخلاقي'.
من الجدير ذكره، أن مجلس أبحاث العلوم الإنسانية في جنوب أفريقيا، أصدر استجابة لتحقيق كلفته به حكومة جنوب أفريقيا في العام 2009، تقريراً يؤكد فيه (أن العنصرية البنيوية اليومية، كما القمع الذي تفرضه إسرائيل انما يؤسس لنظام فصل عنصري وكولونيالية مشابهة لتلك التي أطرّت حياة الناس في جنوب أفريقيا سابقاً).
رد الفعل الحكومي الجنوب أفريقي على مجزرة السفينة مرمرة، وبضغط من القوى والهيئات المساندة للشعب الفلسطيني، تمثّل في استدعاء السفير الإسرائيلي، وإصدار واحد من أقوى أشكال الإدانة الدبلوماسية وتقديمه للسفير الإسرائيلي في بريتوريا، وكان ذلك بمثابة تصريح قوي باعتراف حكومة جنوب أفريقيا بأن ممارسات إسرائيل تستحق مطلق الازدراء.
لقد دشنت الحملة الداعية إلى مقاطعة إسرائيل وسحب الاستثمارات منها، وفرض العقوبات عليها، في جنوب أفريقيا. وقد ألزمت النقابات العمالية نفسها بدعم هذه الحملة، وعلى نحو خاص الإجراء الذي اتخذه اتحاد النقل والعمال المتحدون معه وعمال أحواض السفن في وقت سابق من العام الماضي، برفض تنزيل السلع الإسرائيلية في ميناء ديربان، وهو التزام تم تجديده في تموز (يوليو) من هذا العام.
أيضاً تقوم هذه القوى والهيئات بحملات كثيرة تحث المستهلك الجنوب أفريقي على مقاطعة البضائع الإسرائيلية، ودشنت مؤخراً حملة جديدة لمقاطعة أدوات التجميل التي تنتجها شركة (هافا) الإسرائيلية من البحر الميت، اضافة إلى الانضمام للحملة الدولية، الداعية إلى مقاطعة المنتجات الإسرائيلية.
الحصيلة، إن قوى كثيرة على صعيد العالم تؤيد قضية شعبنا العادلة، يبقى علينا مساندتها وتعميق العلاقات معها لتصبح قوة تضاف إلى نضالنا العادل، وأن نخرج من دائرة (أسوأ المحامين عن أعدل القضايا).
' كاتب فلسطين

#BDS: PACBI Salutes Mike Leigh's Moral Courage

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) salutes the British writer and director, Mike Leigh, for his recent decision not to visit Israel to teach at the Sam Spiegel Film & Television School’s "Great Masters" program. In his letter, Leigh cited the “Loyalty Oath” as the last straw, in addition to “the ongoing criminal blockade of Gaza, not to mention the endless shooting of innocent people there.”[1]
Leigh’s position highlights the fact that collaborating with institutions of a state that practices occupation, colonization and apartheid, as Israel does, cannot be regarded as a neutral act in the name of academic freedom or cultural exchange. Regardless of intentions, such acts are a conscious form of complicity that is manipulated by Israel in its efforts to whitewash its persistent violations of international law and Palestinian rights. Collaborating with Israeli institutions that have not once spoken out against – let alone acted to end -- the occupation and apartheid policies of Israel sends a message to Palestinians that the world is not interested in human rights, equality and freedom. Leigh’s decision, thus, reverberates positively among oppressed Palestinians and among conscience people around the world who are calling for peace based on justice and respect for international law.
We also wish to acknowledge Leigh’s sentiment when he concluded that, “If you and I should live long enough to see peace, a just solution for Palestinians, and Gaza restored to humanity, I will be first in line to visit the school” [2]. This statement captures part of the spirit of the academic and cultural boycott of Israel, which calls for boycott against Israel until Israel restores justice to oppressed, dispossessed and ethnically cleansed Palestinians, and to do so by meeting three key demands: 1) an end to the occupation of all Palestinian lands; 2) a recognition and promotion of the UN-sanctioned Palestinian right of return; 3) an end to the system of racial discrimination, or apartheid, against Palestinian citizens of Israel. Until that time in which these conditions are met, Palestinian civil society calls for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against all complicit Israeli institutions.
Finally, in saluting Leigh’s decision we extend our thanks to him and others who have answered our call, and we ask that they do not let themselves be swayed by those who say “the public will interpret your decision as indicating an irrevocable rift between us, a boycott of Israel, and a rebuke of its current and future artists” [3]. Rather, Leigh, and others, should know that a world of opportunity and alternative dialogue, based on the BDS principles, now opens up to them, and that their actions will certainly not be “a rift” with people in Israel and Palestine who seek true justice, equality and freedom. Moreover, this is a rebuke of Israeli institutions that are part of the machinery of oppression orchestrated by the Israeli government over many decades. It is a clear, positive message for change, justice and freedom heard by Palestinians, as well as by all conscientious individuals around the world, including in Israel.