Sep 20, 2010

#BDS: Unease over Jordan-Israel trade

Israel’s announcement last week that it planned to export 50,000 used cars to Jordan and Iraq created unease among Jordanian second-hand car dealers while advocates against normalising relations with Israel stepped up calls to boycott Israel-made goods and business dealings. 

Since 2006, Jordan has imported nearly US$10 million (Dh36.7m) worth of earth-moving equipment, road-construction equipment, new lorries and cars from Israel, Nabil Romman, president of Jordan Free Zones Investors Commission, said. Each year the Zarqa Free Zone (ZFZ), the largest of five public duty-free zones in the country, imports an average of 120,000 used cars, 40,000 of which are sold to the local market.

But Badi Rafayaa, the head of the Professional Associations’ anti-normalisation committee, said Israel wants to dump old cars, which pollute the environment and cause traffic accidents.

“The move is a clear sign of the Zionist entity’s devious intentions towards Jordan and Iraq … We will cooperate with civil-society institutions and will prevent those plans,” he said.

#BDS: Open Letter to Filmmaker Stephen Frears

Dear Stephen Frears:
As fellow artists who have been critical of the state of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinian people, we were surprised to learn that your film “Tamara Drew” is scheduled to open the Haifa International Film Festival of 2010 (HIFF).  While unable to directly affect the oppressive situation on the ground, as conscious artists we can act to resist the normalization of Israel’s colonial and apartheid policies, as outlined in the Artists Against Apartheid Declaration.  We are asking you to join us in the Palestinian led campaign for a cultural boycott of Israel, and withdraw your film from this Israeli state-sponsored event.
During your visit to Palestine in 2007 you were quoted saying, “Until I saw it with my own eyes, I did not fully understand what occupation meant. Going to Palestine changed my life. I was so shocked by what I saw and so impressed by the children I met in Balata camp, who somehow, against all adversity, remained positive and hopeful about the future”.


The Confédération Paysanne, UJFP (Union of French Jews for Peace), The Cimade, ISM France (International Solidarity Movement), CCIPPP (International Civil Campaign for the Protection of the Palestinian People) and AURDIP (Association Faculty members for the Respect of International Law in Palestine), members of the Coalition Against Agrexco (France), are bringing a civil lawsuit against Carmel-Agrexco before the Court of Marseilles. It is in Marseilles that the products – particularly flowers, fruits and vegetables – are unloaded.
The Israeli policy is based on a long-term violation of International law.
Israel appropriates lands that do not belong to it and then drives out Palestinians in order to install its own population. This systematic colonisation policy is dependant upon the economic exploitation of these territories, the latter being the condition for its viability. Thus, colonisation and economic exploitation of the territories constitute an indivisible system.
Carmel-Agrexco is the main instrument of agricultural colonisation.
First, because this company is directly linked to the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture, which owns 50% of the company and determines its policy, but also because it is the main exporter of products originating in the settlements, notably those of the Jordan Valley, where 7.000 settlers have taken control of 95% of the land and control 98% of it’s water resources.

#BDS: يستعدّ الـ«سوبر ستار» لطرح ألبومه الجديد... في مقاهي ستاربكس

إلى جانب الدويتو مع شاكيرا، صوّر علامة أخيراً أغنية «قريب منك» على طريقة الفيديو كليب في أوكرانيا، وهي من ألحانه وكلمات محمد ماضي، وتوزيع وليد عبد المسيح. ويُتوقّع أن تكون الأغنية جزءاً من ألبومه الجديد الذي يضمّ 10 أغنيات. ويبدو علامة متفائلاً بإصداره الجديد: «سيكون أجمل ما قدّمت خلال مسيرتي، لأنني صنعته بطريقة مختلفة، حتى أنّني سجّلت بعض الأغاني في الاستديو أثناء متابعتي مباريات كأس العالم 2010 في كرة القدم».

لكن الألبوم الجديد لم يسلم من الانتقادات، وخصوصاً أن علامة يخطّط للتسويق له، وتوزيعه داخل مقاهي «ستاربكس». يشرح صاحب «لو شبّاكِك عَشبّاكي»: «بهذه الطريقة نضمن نسبة مبيعات موثّقة للأسطوانة الأصلية التي طلبت تحديد سعرها بفارق بسيط عن ثمن النسخة المزورة في محاولة لتقليص الخسائر نتيجة القرصنة». كما يؤكّد أنه لن يتخذ موقفاً فردياً من «ستاربكس» الداعمة للاحتلال 
الإسرائيلي «لم أصوّر إعلاناً لمصلحة «ستاربكس» كما أشيع، لكنني لن أتخذ موقفاً من شركة تتوزع فروعها على الأراضي اللبنانية والدول العربية التي تراعي مبدأ مقاطعة إسرائيل».

#BDS: URGENT ACTION: Edinburgh City Council: No complicity in war crimes!

Edinburgh City Council has shortlisted Veolia in the so-called ‘Alternative Business Model’ programme. Veolia is in the running for a range of Environmental Services contracts.
But Veolia is a criminal company deeply complicit in Israel's breeches of international law (see factsheet).
On Aug 10, SPSC received this response from the Council dismissing our report calling for the exlcusion of Veolia. After lobbying the Aug 19th FUll Council meeting, and with the help of the Greens and Labour groups, the Lib Dem/SNP-controlled administrationagreed to investigate the issue further. A report is due by December.
Join the campaign to make sure Edinburgh council does not involve us in violations of international law and in human rights abuses!
Email your councillors today to urge them to exclude Veolia and its subsidiaries from all Council contracts:
If you live outside Edinburgh/Scotland you can express your concerns to:
Councillor Dawe, Leader of the Council:
Councillor Cardownie, Deputy Leader of the Council:
Send in your response from your councillor to

#BDS: 'Color Red' in New York

Explosions, rocket alert, frightened kids. This time it's not in Sderot, but at exhibition initiated by Artists 4 Israel group in New York, meant to illustrate life under constant rocket attacks in southern Israel

The Statue of Liberty, Times Square, Empire State Building and Madison Square Garden are all popular tourist destinations in New York, and very far away from the southern Israeli town of Sderot, which received extensive global exposure in recent years, after being the target of Qassam rocket attacks from Gaza.

However, the American public remained mostly indifferent and inactive. A special exhibition recently displayed in New York was created to change that.

The "Hamas in The Hamptons" exhibition was initiated by a group of New York-based street artists dubbed Artists 4 Israel, who previously appeared on Ynetnews.

During last Independence Day, the Israel fans traveled all the way from the Big Apple, despite a negative global impression and the risks involved, in order to show their support and sympathy with the residents of Sderot.

#BDS: St. Petersburg honors Gesher Theater

Russia's prestigious Alexandrinsky Theater to feature Israeli playhouse in coming annual festival in honor of its 20th anniversary

Saint Petersburg's International Alexandrinsky Theater Festival will host Gesher Theater this year, in honor of the Israeli theater's 20th anniversary.

Gesher will mount its production of Nobel laureate Isaac Bashevis Singer's “Enemies, a Love Story.”

The prestigious Alexandrinsky Theater Festival traditionally hosts theaters with unique cultural repertoires. Past feature theaters included Rome's Piccolo Teatro and St.Petersburg's own Maly Theatre; as well as celebrated theater figures such as German director Thomas Ostermeier and Polish director Khrystian Lupa.

The festival will feature special events dedicated to the Gesher Theater, including panels with director Yevgeny Arye and lead actor Israel 'Sasha' Damidov; as well as an exhibition of its posters along the years.

#BDS: Netherlands cancels tour by Israeli mayors over settlers' presence

Dutch Foreign Ministry cancels tour because participant list includes settlement representatives.

The Netherlands on Sunday cancelled a tour of the country by a forum of Israeli mayors because their group included representatives of West Bank settlements.
The professional delegation, funded by the Joint Distribution Committee, a Jewish-American charity, was supposed to fly to the Netherlands next month to study public policy and local governance.
But when the Dutch Foreign Ministry found out that regional council heads from the Judea and Samaria regions – including from the West bank settlements Efrat and Kiryat Arba - were due to participate, they decided to cancel the tour.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry responded in a statement: "This is undoubtedly useless and harmless politics, and we hope that this is not the final word on the topic."

#BDS: The Silence of the Israeli Intelligentsia

The ongoing buzz in the Israeli media around statements issued by artists and academics against lecturing or performing in the colony of Ariel – built on occupied Palestinian land – betrays a stark contradiction in the positions of the Israeli intelligentsia. While they are now calling for a boycott of settlements, they have remained apathetic or even content regarding the far more significant heavy hand of the military-security-political establishment in society, including in academia and cultural institutions.
Another recent controversy has raged around academic freedom and the autonomy of the university. It was occasioned by attacks by two right-wing organizations, the Institute for Zionist Strategies and Im Tirtzu, on the alleged post-and anti-Zionist bias in social science departments at some Israeli universities.

The connection between the two controversies may not be apparent at first. However, they both demonstrate that the liberal-to-left Israeli intelligentsia’s mindset is fully in line with the reigning orthodoxy that accepts the military as a benign fact of life.

In response to the attacks on the universities, statements defending academic freedom and the autonomy of the university were quickly issued by the heads of Israel’s major universities, the association of academic faculty, and individual academics. Even the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities gave an opinion: “we cannot accept attempts by external and foreign bodies to intervene in appointing faculty members, determining curricula, and the manner in which material is taught."

Does the Academy consider the military and the defense establishment “foreign bodies?” Apparently not.