Aug 24, 2010

Waging Peace From Afar: Divestment And Israeli Occupation

Gaza wall break, photo by samdaq (AT) hotmail

When Israeli commandos launched their assault on the unarmed flotilla of ships carrying hundreds of humanitarian aid workers and 10,000 tons of supplies for the besieged Gaza Strip, killing at least nine activists and injuring scores more, part of the operation was “Made in the USA.”
Decades of uncritical U.S. financial, military, and diplomatic support has ensured that Israel’s military power—nuclear and conventional—remains unchallengeable. A U.S. pattern of using UN Security Council vetoes to protect Israel from accountability has ensured that Israel can essentially do whatever it likes with those U.S.-provided weapons, regardless of what U.S. or international laws may be broken.
Israel has long relied on the numerous U.S.-made and U.S.-financed Apache and Blackhawk war helicopters in its arsenal—it’s a good bet those were in use in the May 31st assault in international waters. Use of U.S.-provided weapons is severely limited by our own laws: The Arms Export Control Act (AECA) prohibits any recipient from using U.S. weapons except for security within its own borders, or for direct self-defense. And no amount of Israeli spin can make us believe that an attack by heavily-armed commandos jumping onto the decks of an unarmed civilian ship in international waters has anything to do with self-defense.
So yes—our tax dollars and our politicians’ decisions play a huge part in enabling not only the flotilla attack but Israel’s violations of human rights overall. But increasingly, across the country, people and organizations are standing up to say no to U.S. support for those policies of occupation and apartheid.
The main strategy is known as “BDS”—boycott, divestment, and sanctions. Based on the lessons of theSouth African anti-apartheid movement of the 1980s, BDS brings non-violent economic pressure to bear in order to end Israeli violations of international law. In 2005, a coalition of Palestinian civil society organizations issued a call for a global campaign of BDS. The call was based on the understanding that the Palestinian struggle for human rights, equality, and the enforcement of international law needed international support—and civil society organizations would have to step in, given that the traditional Palestinian leadership hadn’t created a strategy for mobilizing such support.

الصندوق السيادي النرويجي يستبعد مجموعتين اسرائيليتين بسبب الاستيطان

اوسلو ـ ا ف ب: اعلنت الحكومة النرويجية الاثنين ان الصندوق العام النرويجي للمعاشات الذي يعد من اكبر الصناديق السيادية في العالم، استبعد لاسباباخلاقية مجموعتين اسرائيليتين متهمتين بالمساهمة في استيطان الاراضي الفلسطينية.وقالت وزارة المالية ان الصندوق الذي تودع فيه الدولة كامل عائداتها النفطية تقريبا، باع كل اسهمه في شركة 'افريكا اسرائيل انفستمنتس' التي تملك غالبية اسهم 'دانيا سيبوس' وهي مجموعة للبناء والاشغال العامة ناشطة في 'الاراضي الفلسطينية المحتلة'. وقال الوزير سيغبورن جونسن 'ان قرارات عدة لمجلس الامن الدولي ورأي محكمة العدل الدولية خلصت الى ان بناء المستوطنات الاسرائيلية في الاراضي الفلسطينية المحتلة محظور بموجب اتفاقية' جنيف.

واضاف في بيان 'لذلك استبعدت افريكا اسرائيل انفستمنتس ودانيا سيبوس من محفظة استثمارات الصندوق'. وباع الصندوق النرويجي جميع اسهمه في افريكا اسرائيل انفستمنتس التي تقدر بـ 7.2 مليون كورون (حوالي مليون يورو) في اواخر العام 2009، كما رفض الاستثمار في فرعها. واستبعد الصندوق ايضا الشركة الماليزية ساملينغ غلوبال ردا على 'انتهاكات واسعة ومتكررة' للقانون في نشاطاتها المؤذية للغابات في ولاية سرواك في ماليزيا وغويانا.

واوضح جونسن 'ان مجلس الاخلاق (الذي يعطي توصيات لوزارة المالية) تفحص (نشاطات) ساملينغ غلوبال واستنتج ان نشاطات الشركة في الغابات المدارية في سرواك وغويانا اسهمت في القضاء على الغابات بشكل غير مشروع والتسبب باضرار بيئية خطيرة'. وفي اواخر 2009 كان الصندوق النرويجي يملك اسهما تقدر بـ 8.1 مليون كورون في ساملينغ غلوبال وقد بيعت امس. وكان الصندوق النفطي النرويجي - كما هو معروف عموما - الذي يعتبر اول مستثمر في البورصات الاوروبية، يملك اسهما وسندات دولية بـ 2792 مليار كورون (353.2 مليار يورو) في اواخر حزيران (يونيو).

وتخضع ادارته لمعايير اخلاقية صارمة جدا بحيث تستبعد شركات صناعة الاسلحة 'اللانسانية بشكل خاص'، وصناعة التبغ والمجموعات المدانة بانتهاكات حقوق الانسان والفساد او بالحاق اضرار خطيرة بالبيئة. وباتت نحو خمسين شركة عالمية مدرجة على لائحتها السوداء بينها بوينغ ووال مارت والمجموعة الاوروبية للصناعات الجوية والدفاعية (اي ايه دي اس) ومجموعة سافران وبي ايه اي سيستمز.

Heineken Music Conference, Tel Aviv

By Carlos Lattuf

Israel tells schools not to teach nakba

NAZARETH // Government officials warned Israeli teachers last week not to cooperate with a civic group that seeks to educate Israelis about how the Palestinians view the loss of their homeland and the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948.
Israel’s education ministry issued the advisory after Zochrot – a Jewish group that seeks to raise awareness among Israeli Jews of the events of 1948, referred to as the “nakba” by Palestinians – organised a workshop for primary school teachers.
The ministry said the course had not been approved and told teachers not to participate in Zochrot-sponsored activities during the coming school year.
In a letter to the education ministry protesting against Zochrot’s activities, the Legal Forum for the Land of Israel, an advocacy group for Jewish settlers, had called the group’s educational materials “part of a criminal vision to wipe Israel off the face of the earth”.
It was unclear whether participants in the workshop for primary school teachers would be punished, but a teacher identified as a trainer for the seminar might be investigated by the education ministry, the Jerusalem Post reported.
The warning is the latest move by the education ministry, headed by Gideon Saar, a member of the prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party, to use school curricula to advance a more strident Zionist agenda.
In March, for instance, the ministry banned Israeli schools from distributing a booklet for children about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Critics had objected to parts of the declaration that refer to freedom of religion and protection of asylum-seekers.
The ministry’s latest move involves the controversies that still swirl over the events that led to the creation of the Jewish state in 1948 - what Israelis describe as their “War of Independence” and what Palestinians call the nakba, Arabic for “catastrophe”.
Eitan Bronstein, Zochrot’s director, said the ministry was trying to “frighten off” teachers from learning about a period in Israel’s history that until now, he said, had been presented in schools only from a “triumphalist perspective”.
The group, which was founded eight years ago and whose Hebrew name means “remembering”, has provoked controversy by organising visits to some of the hundreds of Palestinian villages destroyed by the Israeli army during and after the 1948 war.
Zochrot members place signposts at the former villages using their original Arabic names, and bring Palestinian refugees back on visits, upsetting Jewish residents who live in communities built on those lands.