Sep 13, 2010

#BDS: Israel Divestment Petitions, Press Conference–You can help!

The campaign to divest from Israel has begun! Please join us in changing California’s law by helping us circulate a petition measure that would require the state’s two largest pension funds, PERS and STRS, to divest from companies that contribute to the construction of Israeli settlements or provide military equipment to Israel.
If you can help gather signatures in your area, please email your closest regional/county contact at one of the email addresses below or email us back at this address. We will get you copies of the petition and the petition circulating instructions. If you know someone else who may be interested in gathering signatures, please forward this email to that person. You can also find this and other information about the campaign at our website at:

#BDS: Folk Music Legend Pete Seeger Urged to Abandon Israeli Event

NEW YORK, September 11, 2010 (WAFA)- Folk music icon Pete Seeger has been urged by over 40 organizations, along with musicians close to him, to cancel his participation in a November internet event organized by the Israeli groups the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, the Jewish National Fund (JNF) and others.
The organizations called on Seeger to support the Palestinian-led movement for a cultural boycott of Israel, modeled on the artists’ boycott that helped end Apartheid in South Africa.
The event, “With Earth and Each Other: A Virtual Rally for a Better Middle East,” is presented as a support effort for Arava, which claims to carry out environmental projects in the Negev desert in Israel. Arava has said and done nothing about the destruction – four times – of the Bedouin village Al-Araqib in the Negev by Israeli forces this summer to make way for a forest to be planted by the Jewish National Fund. The destruction of Al-Araqib is part of a larger Israeli government strategy of dislocating Palestinian Bedouin citizens of Israel, to facilitate the expansion of communities for Israeli Jews.
The Jewish National Fund (JNF), a major partner in the event, promotes Jewish land ownership and settlement on land from which Palestinians have been displaced, according to reports by human rights groups like Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel and Human Rights Watch.

#BDS: Activists to Disrupt Leftist Lecturers

After last week's disruption of a play at the Camari theater, rightwing activists have named their next target for disruption: Lectures given by professors and academics who have advocated boycotting Israel. In a recent meeting, activists drew up lists of academics and said they would attend lectures and point out the anti-Israel positions held by them. Disruption of theatrical performances, especially those featuring those who declared they would not perform at the Ariel Arts Center, would continue.

The activists say they have received a great deal of positive feedback on the protest at the Camari, led by MK Michael Ben-Ari, over the declaration by artists that they would boycott the new Ariel Arts Center.

#BDS: Israel must support human rights

I attended Ali Abunimah’s lecture for peace in Israel/Palestine, and I laud him for his erudite, articulate, impassioned voice of reason.

Olympians have clouded reason with emotion and lost sight of the fact that the boycott of Israel is part of a struggle for universal human rights, not an anti-Israeli or anti-Semitic effort.
Abunimah reminded me that Israel practices its own form of apartheid against non-Jews, just as white South Africans did against non-whites.

Why was it wrong in South Africa and yet right now in the Middle East? We who support peace, justice and universal human rights also support the growing movement for BDS — boycotting, divesting, and sanctioning Israel until Israel actively supports universal human rights. There is nothing controversial about either this movement or supporting human dignity and human rights.

#BDS: Activists Target Hewlett Packard: “Shoppers, don’t support Israeli Apartheid!”

On Labor Day, September 6, 2010, about 40 local activists took part in the growing consumer boycott of Israeli goods with lively “back to school” actions at Best Buy and Office Depot in Emeryville. The actions focused on Hewlett Packard (HP), a multinational corporation based in Palo Alto, whose Enterprise Services “Basel System” technology is utilized by the Israeli state at military checkpoints in the West Bank and Gaza. The checkpoints restrict Palestinian freedom of movement; they keep students from getting to school, prevent workers from reaching their places of employment, restrict farmers’ access to their land, enforce separations between families, and often make it impossible for Palestinians to access necessary medical care.
Activists performed a choreographed dance to Aretha Franklin’s song “Think” – with a rewritten set of lyrics and distributed flyers with the theme “Think Before You Ink”. They interacted with back-to-school shoppers about HP’s “Basel System”, letting HP’s customers know that HP profits from Israeli apartheid with the sale of this technology to Israel. They also said that HP’s ‘socially responsible’ rhetoric will not hide the blood that is on their hands.

#BDS: Los Angeles Launches Nation’s First Israel Divestment Campaign

On April 1, 2010, in a no-holds-barred interview with the Christian Science Monitor, Israeli peacemaker Jonathan Ben Artzi, a PhD candidate at Brown University and nephew to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, made clear his belief that equality and social justice will prevail in Israel when the government and people of the United States adopt a no-tolerance stance toward Israel’s abuse of Palestinians. Ben Artzi, whose family has lived in the region for nine generations, and who’s seen a lifetime of Israel’s abuse of Palestinians, declared:
“Sometimes it takes a good friend to tell you when enough is enough. As they did with South Africa two decades ago, concerned citizens across the US can make a difference by encouraging Washington to get the message to Israel that this cannot continue.”

#BDS: DC Statehood Greens Endorse Israel Boycott

At a monthly membership meeting of the DC Statehood Green Party on Sept 2 the membership unanimously endorsed a BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions for Israel) campaign by human rights activists in Washington, DC.
The Green Party of the United States endorsed a BDS resolution several years ago in protest of the Israeli government’s denial of human rights to Palestinians and the US government’s support (whether Democrats or Republicans control the White House & Congress) for Israel’s illegal occupation, brutal treatment, & displacement of Palestinians, including the settlements and last year’s invasion of Gaza.
Below is some information that was sent to us about the boycott, divestment, sanctions campaign written by Mai Abdul Rahman:

#BDS: Palestinian federation launches campaign against settlement products

RAMALLAH: The Palestinian federation of Laborers on Saturday launched an international campaign to boycott the products of Jewish settlements in Palestinian territories.
Shaher Sa'ad, Secretary-General of the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU), told Arab News that his federation lunched the international campaign to boycott the products of Jewish settlements in Palestinian territories.
Sa'ad added that the federation launched the campaign in coordination with the international unions and federations to "end the marketing of settlements products in international markets."
He added that the federation also contacted international peace activists and members of solidarity movements with Palestinian people to "gather as much as support for the initiative."
The official added the initiative came in "response to the crimes Jewish occupiers commit against the Palestinian people."