Aug 13, 2010

AJJP Endorses U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel

Responding to the call of Palestinian civil society to join the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction movement against Israel, American Jews for a Just Peace (AJJP) joins a U.S. campaign focused specifically on a boycott of Israeli academic and cultural institutions, as delineated by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI).

PACBI states:

"In light of Israel’s persistent violations of international law, and Given that, since 1948, hundreds of UN resolutions have condemned Israel's colonial and discriminatory policies as illegal and called for immediate, adequate and effective remedies, and Given that all forms of international intervention and peace-making have until now failed to convince or force Israel to comply with humanitarian law, to respect fundamental human rights and to end its occupation and oppression of the people of Palestine, and In view of the fact that people of conscience in the international community have historically shouldered the moral responsibility to fight injustice, as exemplified in the struggle to abolish apartheid in South Africa through diverse forms of boycott, divestment and sanctions;

"Inspired by the struggle of South Africans against apartheid and in the spirit of international solidarity, moral consistency and resistance to injustice and oppression, We, representatives of Palestinian civil society, call upon international civil society organizations and people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era."

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Consumer group rejects Israel boycott call

The Swedish Cooperative Union (Kooperativa förbundet - KF) has ruled out calls from a regional member group to stop selling goods from Israel in Coop stores.

"KF's and Coop's criteria in selecting suppliers pays no heed to nationality. According to KF policy a boycott of trade with individual countries is determined by Sweden's government and parliament or the EU and/or the UN," KF wrote in a statement on Sunday.

Three resolutions urging a ban on Israeli products were approved by a majority of the 425 members in attendance at Saturday's annual meeting in Gothenburg of the consumer cooperative society for western Sweden, Konsumentföreningen Väst (KF Väst). The resolutions cited Israel's role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as grounds for a boycott.

"The board will now push the issue of a boycott to the other Swedish consumer cooperatives," said chairperson Carina Malmer in a statement.

KF Väst is one of the largest of the 47 consumer cooperative societies that make up the Swedish Cooperative Union, which has more than 3 million members.

The Swedish Cooperative Union owns the Coop chain of supermarkets. According to the union's own figures, the retail consumer cooperative societies and Coop together account for 21.4 percent of the grocery retail sector in Sweden.

Dempsey calls for Israel boycott

Singer-songwriter Damien Dempsey has called on artists around the world to stand in solidarity with the people of Palestine.

The Dubliner backed about 150 Irish creative and performing artists who have already signed a pledge to boycott Israel until it ends its blockade of Gaza.

Dempsey said he believed the recent commando attack on the aid flotilla brought home the lawlessness of Israeli forces, saying: "What's going on in Palestine is very wrong. We have a long history of oppression so I think anybody else who's being oppressed, we should have a duty. And as artists we yield a bit more power than ordinary people."

He continued: "We have a duty to speak out and do something about it. I just want to make a stand for the Palestinians and show them some solidarity and show them they're not alone."

Olympia Food Co-op: Israeli product boycott debate cordial, passionate mideast

OLYMPIA – About 300 people filled Olympia Center on Thursday night for a passionate debate on a recent controversial decision by the Olympia Food Co-op board to boycott Israeli-made products.

Nine of the 10 board members were at the meeting, and co-op members and nonmembers lined up early for the 6 p.m. start. By 5:30 p.m., more than 100 people stood in line; some had arrived as early as 3 p.m., said Dr. Muhammad Ayub, who spoke in support of the boycott. Ayub said he arrived at that time and was the fourth person in line.

Public testimony didn’t get under way until 7 p.m., and it wasn’t clear whether the meeting would extend beyond its scheduled completion time of 8:30 p.m.

Maralise Quan, executive director of the Pierce County Dispute Resolution Center, spelled out the ground rules and set the tone for the meeting. She asked for tolerance and that no speaker be disrespected. Rather than applaud, she asked that people show their support for a speaker by waving their hands in the air.

One by one, board members introduced themselves to the audience, but only board member Ron Lavigne spoke at length, saying the board understood its decision would be controversial but was there “to address the hurt and anger and to try and heal the community.”

Pro-Israel shoppers defy Ahava products boycott call

PA to continue settlement goods boycott

Israeli, PA economic ministers meet for first time in 5 years.

Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer met with his Palestinian counterpart, National Economy Minister Hassan Abu Libda, in Tel Aviv on Thursday.

The ministers spoke about economic and trade issues between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. This was the first meeting between an Israeli industry, trade and labor minister and his Palestinian counterpart in five years.

Sources who attended the meeting reported that Ben- Eliezer had expressed frustration over the PA’s intention to pass a law making it illegal for Palestinians to work in Israeli-owned businesses in the
West Bank. Ben-Eliezer told Abu Libda that he had instructed his ministry’s director-general, Sharon Kadmi, to prepare special aid to assist the Israeli factories in replacing the Palestinian workers with Israelis.

Ben-Eliezer also spoke to Abu Libda about the Palestinian consumer boycott of settlement- made products, which Abu Libda said his government was adamant about keeping in place despite Israeli threats.

According to the ministry spokesman, Abu Libda asked for Israel’s assistance in gaining observer status at the World Trade Organization.

Global conference passes RMT anti-Israel motion

The RMT transport union has passed a motion condemning Israel at an international conference representing more than 4,600,000 union members.

The resolution, voted for by delegates at the annual International Transport Federation (ITF) conference, calls for action on “illegal Israeli settlements”.

The RMT, which is led by Bob Crow, seconded the motion proposed by the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU) at the Mexico event.

It calls for transport workers to halt the movement of people and goods into the Palestinian Territories.

The ITF is the umbrella organisation for more than 750 transport unions in 155 countries around the world.

In June, the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) rejected calls to boycott Israel and pledged its “universal recognition” of the country’s right to exist.

But trade unions around the world have been vocal in calling for divestment and sanctionson Israel.

Earlier in 2010 Britain’s largest union, Unite, unanimously passed a motion calling for a boycott of Israeli companies, while the University and College Union supported several anti-Israel resolutions at its national conference.

150 Irish artists pledge to boycott Israel

A CULTURAL boycott of Israel was launched yesterday, with more than 150 Irish artists announcing that they intend not to perform or exhibit in Israel, or to accept any funding from institutions linked to the Israeli government.

The Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) said it was in protest at Israel’s “treatment of the Palestinian people”.

Raymond Deane of the IPSC cited a statement from the Israeli Foreign Ministry in 2005 saying they considered culture a propaganda tool.

He said: “Artists who perform there are backing it [the Israeli government] whether they like it or not.”

The pledge signed by the artists states the boycott would continue, “until such time as Israel complies with international law and universal principles of human rights”. Mr Deane said: “You can’t really pin this down”, but it means, “at least an end of the occupation of Palestine; dismantling or at least stopping the settlements; and Israel negotiating in good faith with the Palestinians”.

An Israeli embassy spokesman said the boycott “was regrettable and ill-advised” and that “vilifying and ostracising Israel and promoting a lose-lose programme of boycotts is not the way to secure legitimate Palestinian rights”.

Singer and songwriter Damien Dempsey hoped the boycott would encourage young people in Israel who disagreed with the government to “speak out”.

He said that the military were running the show in Israel and that they needed the world to stand up against them.

Musician Donal Lunny said he was taking part to “express solidarity with the Palestinian people”.

When asked about the boycott’s chances for success, Eoin Dillon, a performer with Irish and world music band Kila, said: “It worked in South Africa.”