Sep 14, 2010

#BDS: Rethinking the actors boycott

As we know, some 60 Israeli theater people came out a few weeks back with a declaration that they will refuse to appear at the Ariel “Culture” Hall located in the occupied territories. 

It is important to stress that actors-artists are employees subordinate to the administrative and financial owners of the theater who are their employers in every sense. So, we are not speaking only of taking a courageous stand, but an act which puts the actor on a collision course with his boss. And we are not speaking of any kind of profession. An actor, without the theater, cannot work, create or make a living. Therefore, most honest people tend naturally to honor and applaud the brave tens of theater people for their act of protest.

It is also natural that the Israeli theater people received support from abroad. Indeed 150 central cultural figures, mainly from the US and the UK expressed their admiration for the courageous stand of the Israeli theater people

This chain of events is yet another component in a broad movement in Israel and abroad serving to delegitimize the occupation regime and overall Israeli policies. It is important to note that this movement is itself composed of a variety of various, independent, groups and organizations, each of which has a record of long and difficult struggle against the occupation and its evils.

#BDS: TUC vote to extend Israel boycott

The Trades Union Congress has voted to continue its boycott of Israeli goods from West Bank settlements and strengthen its links with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.
A motion passed at the TUC congress in Manchester this afternoon stopped short of agreeing to a full boycott of Israel.
The TUC had been expected to extend its boycotts policy and encourage further disinvestment.
The move follows the agreement at last year’s conference to support a boycott of goods from Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
The motion voted through today stated: “Congress instructs the General Council to work closely with the PSC to actively encourage affiliates, employers and pension funds to disinvest from, and boycott the goods of, companies who profit from illegal settlements, the Occupation and the construction of the Wall.”

#BDS: The Thin Green Line: It's Not Just the Settlements (or the Occupation), Stupid!

The public debate over the Israeli Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions(BDS) campaign was reignited recently with the news that the illegal West Bank colony of Ariel would soon be opening its newly-constructed, multi-million dollar cultural center and would host performances by several of Israel's leading theater companies in its auditorium, built – tragically – by the very Palestinian construction workers that Israel has occupied and dispossessed. The announcement marked the first time these notable Israeli drama groups would be performing outside of the1949 Armistice Line in Israeli-occupied Palestine.
Within days of the report, over 50 Israeli actors, directors, playwrights, and producers had signed onto a letter addressed to the boards of Israel's repertory theaters declaring their refusal to perform in Ariel, which is the fourth largest settlement in the West Bank. The letter stated:
"We wish to express our disgust with the theater's board's plans to perform in the new auditorium in Ariel. The actors among us hereby declare that we will refuse to perform in Ariel, as well as in any other settlement. We urge the boards to hold their activity within the sovereign borders of the State of Israel within the Green Line."

#BDS: Works In Progress on the Only Food Co-op Boycott of Israeli Goods

Olympia's progressive community newspaper, Works In Progress, has several interesting articles and letters about the Olympia Food Co-op's boycott of Israeli goods in its September edition. Phan Nguyen's article, "Who owns the Palestine-Israel conflict?" is a real gem (see text below) and don't miss the "BDS Fun Page".

Who owns the Palestine-Israel conflict?

Reflections on BDS and the absurdity of "engaging with Jews"

by Phan Nguyen

Recently, two non-Jewish Co-op members wrote and circulated a letter entitled "Anti-Jewish Oppression, The Olympia Food Co-op and Israel." The letter echoed a common sentiment heard around town: Olympia needs to tend to its Jewish population, as they have been triggered and traumatized by the Olympia Food Co-op's boycott of Israeli goods.
According to the letter, "the conversation [within the Olympia community] should switch to one about anti-Jewish oppression, and away from this point Israel and the Co-op's Board of Directors are a distraction. The conversation Olympia needs to have right now is about eliminating anti-Jewish oppression in Olympia.
"Invite local Jews to share stories of instances they've experienced anti-Jewish oppression. Let us all learn."

#BDS: Boycott threatens Pete Seeger's coexistence appearance

Seeger is slated to be featured guest of November 14 event sponsored by the Friends of the Arava Institute to raise support for desert institute.

Legendary 91-year-old American folk singer and civil rights pioneer Pete Seeger is still trying to “hammer out love between my brothers and my sisters,” but when it comes to the Middle East conflict, anti-Israeli activists are preferring that he keep his hammer at home.

Seeger is slated to be the featured guest of With Earth and Each Other – A Virtual Rally for a Better Middle East, to be broadcast online on November 14. The event is sponsored by the Friends of the Arava Institute, a US-based non-profit organization with the primary goal of raising support and visibility for the Arava Institute for Environment Studies based at Kibbutz Ketura, about 40 kilometers north of Eilat.

#BDS: Neil Sedaka in Tel Aviv

Neil Sedaka

Today, the date and place was announced of the concert of  pop legend Neil Sedaka (Oh Carol; Calender Girl; One More Ticket; Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen…) in Tel Aviv. It will take place on October 16th in the Nokia Hall (21:00).

#BDS: Israel's man in Hollywood

After working with Steven Spielberg and Robert De Niro, Mark Ivanir to star in two new films alongside Rowan Atkinson and Drew Barrymore

Mark Ivanir continues to justify his reputation as "the busiest Israeli actor in Hollywood." After working with Steven Spielberg ("Schindler's List," "The Terminal"), Robert De Niro ("The Good Shepherd") and Steve Carell ("Get Smart"), Ivanir is about to star in new films alongside Rowan Atkinson ("Mr. Bean") and Drew Barrymore.

Last week, Ivanir began rehearsals in London for the comedy "Johnny English Reborn." The film is a sequel of a 2003 British comic film, which stars Atkinson as an incompetent spy.

Ivanir has received one of the supporting roles, as a Russian businessman who worked as a KGB spy and who Johnny English is trying to obtain information from.

#BDS: 17 Sept, MELBOURNE: 5.30pm Rally “Break ties with Apartheid Israel”

#BDS: No change in Iran over sports-boycott with Isreal

 Tehran - An initiative for revising Iran's sports competition boycott with Israeli athletes has failed, apparently due to political pressure, Tehran press reported Monday.

Although the news on was reported on state-television, the office of sports chief Ali Saeidlou categorically denied to have sent a letter on the issue to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
The denial by the sports organization, which acts under the supervision of the presidential office, is believed to be made due to political pressure and following harsh reactions to the initiative of Saeidlou who is close to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Iran's sports organization sought new guidelines how to proceed in competing with Israeli athletes at international events, the ISNA news agency reported earlier Monday.

Since the 1979 Islamic revolution, Iran does not acknowledgeIsrael as a sovereign state and even refrains to call it its name. The official term for Israel in Iran is "Zionist regime."

Due to the official stance in Tehran, Iranian athletes have thereafter not competed against Israelis at international competitions as a sign of solidarity with the Palestinians.

#BDS: Linkin Park to Play Tel Aviv, Israel November 15

Linkin Park has added a show in Tel Aviv, Israel at HaYarkon Park on November 15.

#BDS: Setting the Record Straight

In a letter from Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories President and CEO Yaakov Ellis that is being circulated to cosmetics retailers, Elllis deploys specious information about his own company's business practices, contradictory claims about Israel's occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, and unfounded innuendo about boycott campaign supporters.

Below are the Stolen Beauty Campaign's responses to some of these claims:
1. On the legality of our boycott campaign in the United States.
"These organizations are orchestrating a political boycott of the Ahava® products, and through it cause damage to the State of Israel. As you know, such boycotts are not only abhorrent, but illegal in the United States."
Ahava is telling its retail customers that our boycott campaign is illegal under U.S. law. This is not true. The National Lawyers Guild has advised us that activists are completely within the law to engage in a political campaign using the time-honored tactic of economic boycott to press Israel to comply with international human rights laws and end its abusive occupation of the West Bank and its blockade of Gaza. Our boycott campaign targets Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories because of the company's violations of international law. This campaign is protected by the First Amendment, as free speech and association. Boycotts were integral to the success of the anti-apartheid movement against South Africa, the civil rights movement in the southern United States in the 1960s and 1970s, the movement to force California grape growers to recognize their workers' union, and many other similarly honorable nonviolent struggles for human rights that Ahava would not dare to condemn now, in hindsight.

#BDS: IKEA, Don't Buy Into Occupation!

Statement from IKEA on 23 August 2010

IKEA® is for the many, respecting individuals with different views and opinions. IKEA® stands neutral on political, religious or ethnical views. It is unthinkable for us to exclude any individual or group of individuals from being an IKEA® customer. We welcome all people to the IKEA® stores, independent of religion, ethnic background or where they live.

Inter IKEA Systems B.V. is the worldwide franchisor of the IKEA Concept and the owner of the IKEA brand. IKEA operations are today carried out in 314 IKEA Stores in 38 countries including Israel and a number of Arabic countries. All IKEA operations are carried out under franchise from Inter IKEA Systems B.V. and focus on serving the customers irrespective of religion and ethnicity. This is also valid for our local franchisee in Israel – Northern Birch Ltd – which is an independent company operating the two IKEA Stores in Israel.

The IKEA Concept is the same all over the world. It is a retail concept for selling furniture and home furnishings from an IKEA store, i.e. it is not a mail order or e-commerce concept. One of the fundamentals of the IKEA Concept is immediate take away and cash and carry. An essential part is that the customers themselves bring home the products they bought in the store. IKEA customers who have purchased IKEA products and cannot bring them home themselves can turn to a local Israeli transport company to have their purchased products delivered to their home.

#BDS: Professors support Israeli artists’ boycott

Five professors from the Yale School of Drama joined 150 American theater and film professionals last week in signing a statement in support of the Israeli artists who are boycotting the controversial new theaters in a Jewish settlement in the West Bank.
In late August, more than 50 prominent Israeli actors, directors and playwrights issued a petition declaring their refusal to perform in the state-financed theaters in Ariel because they say the settlement violates international law and hinders the Israel-Palestine peace process.
While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Parliament members responded with swift condemnation, the protesters gained endorsement from American artists, including celebrities such as Julianne Moore, Theodore Bikel, Vanessa Redgrave and Tony Kushner. Five members of Yale School of Drama — Dean James Bundy DRA ’95 and professors Elizabeth Diamond, Elinor Fuchs, Gordon Rogoff ’52 and Paula Vogel — as well as Divinity School visiting professor David Michalek also registered their support.
“In signing the letter, I was voicing my support for artists whose moral choice is not to provide their services in the settlements,” Bundy said in an e-mail. “It seems to me that their stance is based on reasonable and honorable perspectives they have expressed both about international law and about their contractual obligations.”

#BDS: Unions launch international anti-settlement campaign

SALFIT (Ma’an) - The General Federation of Trade Unions in Palestine announced Thursday the launch of an international campaign to support the decision to boycott the goods of Israeli settlements in global markets.
The campaign is in coordination and cooperation with various trade unions and international trade union organizations in solidarity with the Palestinians, as well as a number of socialist parties in European countries.
Secretary-General Shaher Saed said that the federation was raising funds to collect signatures in support of the union's position and its efforts to stop dealing with the goods and products of settlements.

#BDS: Victorian Trades Hall Council (VTHC) endorses BDS campaign 10Sep10

“Having received reports from the officers, the VTHC Executive Council notes with concern and disappointment the lack of meaningful progress between Israeli and Palestinian representatives in establishing a lasting peace.  It is further noted that the situation seems to be worsening with detrimental consequences for working people and their families.
Council welcomes recent reports that negotiations will resume under the auspices of the United States.
In response to this crisis there has been a request from Palestinian unions and other progressive organisations for an international “Boycott Divestment and Sanctions Campaign” (BDS).  The campaign was launched in 2005 and has had increasing international support.
The campaign demands are that the Israeli Government recognise the rights of the Palestinian people to self determination and that it comply with international law and United Nations resolutions.
In considering the situation the VTHC Executive Council believes that the “Global Boycott Divestment and Sanctions” campaign is one way the international community can contribute toward a peaceful resolution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.
Therefore, the VTHC Executive Council determines to support this campaign, and as a first step, it will endorse and send representatives to the BDS Conference to be held in Melbourne on 29-31 October 2010.
Further, the VTHC Executive Council determines that the VTHC will:
  • promote this campaign within the community, work with unions and other organisations that support the campaign to maximise its effectiveness; and
  • provide reports to Executive Council at 6 monthly intervals and will include information on the effectiveness of the campaign (Sis Halfpenny and Bro Cragg will be the responsible officers).
In addition, the VTHC Executive Council affirms the important role that should be played in the peace process by Israeli and Palestinian unions and pledges whatever support we can to encourage meaningful dialogue between workers’ organisations.
The VTHC Executive Council further determines that this resolution will be conveyed to the Federal and State Parliamentary Labor Party, the Israeli Consulate and the Palestinian diplomatic mission, with an invitation for further discussions.