Sep 3, 2010

International Day of Al-Quds - #BDS

Churches standing up to 'pro-Israel' politicians - #BDS

The Australian Jewish News (AJN) was outraged. Its editorial in late July condemned the National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA) for a resolution calling on Australians to boycott Israeli goods made in the occupied Palestinian territories.
The AJN wrote that the move contributed to a global campaign to 'delegitimise' Israel and lent 'credence to the perception of an apartheid state.'
Executive Council of Australian Jewry president Robert Goot, in a letter to the National Council of Churches’ general secretary, alluded to the Churches' alleged complicity in the Holocaust. The motion 'revived painful memories for Jews in Australia of earlier times in Europe when churches allowed themselves to be swept up in the tide of popular prejudices against the Jewish people.' Any moves to end West Bank settlements, illegal under international law, were framed as unbalanced and biased against Israel and Jews.
Relations between the Jewish and Christian establishment remain strained despite meetings with representatives to calm the atmosphere.

TUC likely to push for full Israel boycott - #BDS

The Trades Union Congress is expected to call on its members at its annual conference to strengthen opposition to Israel by extending boycotts and encouraging disinvestment.
A motion on Israel and the Palestinians, backed by the GMB, the Fire Brigades' Union, the Public and Commercial Services Union and the Transport Salaried Staffs' Association, is expected to propose a full boycott of Israeli goods.
The four-day conference begins in Manchester on September 13.
Eric Lee of TULIP (Trade Unions Linking Israel and Palestine) warned that Israel supporters should "not expect good news" from the congress.
Trade Union Friends of Israel (TUFI) will host a fringe meeting discussing the role unions can play in the peace process. TUC general secretary Brendan Barber has been invited to speak at the event.

Massive Attack back #BDS

Robert del Naja of Massive Attack tells William Parry why he is boycotting Israel

The movement for a cultural boycott of Israel in response to its treatment of the Palestinians, modelled on the boycott of Apartheid South Africa, could eclipse decades of disingenuous political charades by engaging Western intellectuals, academics and artists. Internationally renowned figures such as Naomi Klein and Ken Loach have supported the call, and now one of Britain's most successful bands, Massive Attack, is publicly backing the boycott.
"I've always felt that it's the only way forward," Robert del Naja, the band's lead singer tells me when we meet at the Lazarides gallery in Soho, London. Del Naja is an artist as well as musician and his face and fingers are speckled with paint. Dozens of copies of his pictures are strewn all over the wooden floorboards, drying. "It's a system that's been applied to many countries. It's a good thing to aim for because it applies the continual pressure that's needed."
Musicians have a long history of rallying the public to supporting political causes. The global anti-apartheid movement got the fillip it desperately needed when musicians began supporting it. The single "Sun City" by Artists United against Apartheid in 1985 and the 70th birthday tribute concert for Nelson Mandela at Wembley in 1988 catapulted the cause into  millions of ordinary homes.
"I definitely think musicians have a major role to play," says del Naja. "I find the more I get involved, the more the movement becomes something tangible. I remember going to 'Artists against Apartheid' punk gigs, and 'Rock against Racism' gigs around the same sort of time. Bands like the Clash and the Specials had a lot to say and a lot to do with influencing the minds of the youth in those days." Those formative experiences are still evident in Massive Attack's outlook today. A typical gig by the band is a blistering fusion of music with political messages and statistics flashed up on video screens, while the band regularly lend support to humanitarian causes.
Calls for a boycott were first issued five years ago by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), but a series of developments beginning with the Gaza war in January 2009 have led to a rise in support for the campaign. After Israel's deadly raid on the Free Gaza aid flotilla in May this year, a number of leading bands including the Pixies, Elvis Costello and Gorillaz cancelled concerts in Israel. In August, 150 Irish visual artists also pledged not to exhibit in Israel, but it is musicians who have been the most prominent international supporters of the boycott.
Their views are not unanimous, however. Other musicians, from Elton John to Diana Krall (Costello's wife), Placebo and John Lydon's Public Image Ltd have refused to cancel concert dates in Israel. Some have insisted that engagement with Israel is more productive, a stance that del Naja rejects. "We were asked to play Israel and we refused," he says. "The question was asked: 'If you don't play there, how can you go there and change things?' I said: 'Listen, I can't play in Israel when the Palestinians have no access to the same fundamental benefits that the Israelis do.' I think the best approach is to boycott a government which seems hell-bent on very destructive policies. And it's sad because we've met some great people in Israel and, you know, it's a difficult decision to have to make."
Beyond the arts world, an increasing number of trade unions, student unions and churches are signing up to the BDS movement. Even an Israel-based group, Boycott from Within, backs the campaign, stating that its government's "political agenda will change only when the price of continuing the status quo becomes too high . . . because the current levels of apathy in our society render this move necessary".
"We are not going to achieve a quick liberation," del Naja admits, but says the point is to apply "pressure, the continual pressure that's needed." And the threat of international isolation and economic repercussions is clearly starting to bite: Israel's parliament, the Knesset, recently passed the first reading of a bill that would impose heavy fines on Israeli citizens who initiate or support boycotts against Israel, and a bill to bar foreigners  - like del Naja - who do the same from entering Israel for 10 years.
"[The boycott] is not an action of aggression towards the Israeli people," del Naja says. It's towards the government and their policies. Everyone needs to be reminded of this because it's very easy to be accused of being anti-Semitic, and that's not what this is about."

Imaging Apartheid - Poster Project for Palestine - #BDS

As the global movement in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for liberation continues to grow, we are calling on graphic designers and artists to submit their work to IMAGING APARTHEID: the Poster Project for Palestine.

Twenty-one posters will be selected from submissions collected from around the world to be either silk-screen or offset printed for exhibition in Montreal, and distribution internationally. Works will be selected by a jury of artists, graphic designers and social justice activists.

Street level art work and design has consistently played a critical role within international solidarity movements throughout the world: from the powerful poster art published by the Black Panthers in the late 1960s; to the striking design work created by artists inspired by the Africa National Congress (ANC) and the global movement against apartheid in South Africa; to poster art created to support the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO).

These works help to maintain collective and social memory of past anti-colonial struggles while providing inspiration for current movements fighting for social justice worldwide. Political posters act as the public face for voices that are too often marginalized and have the ability to visualize injustice, bridge gaps and imagine alternatives. IMAGING APARTHEID seeks to engage artists to continue this tradition, and assist in building broad artistic support for the growing political movement in support of Palestinian liberation.

IMAGING APARTHEID takes place within the context of the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israeli Apartheid called for by over 170 grassroots Palestinian organizations from Palestine and the Diaspora in July 2005.

Submission deadline:
November 1st, 2010

Submissions should be sent in jpeg format and not exceed 2 MBs.
If your work is selected, you will be asked to provide a high resolution (minimum 300 dpi), print-ready digital file to a maximum size of 38” x25”.

Please send submissions to:

Should People Boycott Israel? #BDS

PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I’m Paul Jay. I’m in Ramallah, Palestine. And now joining us from ["la-ROOJ"] Café in Ramallah is Omar Barghouti. He’s a founding member of the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel. Thanks for joining us.
JAY: So what is this boycott about?
BARGHOUTI: The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel actually is one part of a general Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, or BDS for short. We started Academic and Cultural Boycott in 2004, and the general Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions campaign was in 2005. The BDS campaign, from the very first moment, was endorsed by more than 170 of the main groups in Palestinian civil society, including the major trade unions, women’s unions, political forces, NGOs, and so on and so forth. So this is a movement that has as close to a consensus as you can get, and it’s not just among Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, Gaza, including East Jerusalem, but also Palestinians inside Israel, and the largest component of the Palestinian people, those in exile in the Diaspora.

Protest at Ireland v Israel match as pro-Palestinian Activists Love Football and Hate Apartheid - #BDS

The protest begins outside the pre-match function in the Royal Hotel

In Bray on Wednesday 25th August over 60 members and supporters of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) took part in a demonstration as the Irish Women's soccer team played Israel in a FIFA World Cup Qualifier at the Carlisle Grounds (home of Bray Wanderers FC).

Before the match a pre-match dinner and reception was hosted by the Israeli Embassy at the Royal Hotel in Bray where the protest commenced. Two local Sinn Féin councillors, John Brady and Rossa Murray, who had received invites to this dinner attempted to enter the reception. Upon arrival the two councillors, who were wearing Palestinian football jerseys, were refused entry and were escorted out of the reception by Israeli security officials.

Contrary to the often expressed view that politics and sport do not mix, at this function the Israeli embassy staff handed out ridiculous pro-Israeli state propaganda directed against Palestinians.

Following the dinner, the protest then moved to outside the gates of the Carlisle grounds where the game was actually taking place.