Sep 21, 2010

#BDS: What is in a name? ‘Solidarity’ and the joint struggle in Israel/Palestine

From the standpoint of joint Palestinian-Israeli struggle, this Friday’s ‘solidarity Shiekh Jarrah’ gathering in Tel Aviv raises important questions about the direction of the Shiekh Jarrah movement and especially the use of the term ‘solidarity’. The movement is moving to the center of Israeli political protest and away from the joint character of the struggle which has typified it for the past year. In what way is “solidarity” achieved by moving what is labeled as a ‘joint Palestinian-Israeli struggle’ to Tel Aviv, the most ethnically pure Jewish places in the country? Why is the protest not moved to Nablus, Beit Umar, Iraq Burin, Nil’in or even Jaffa? In West Bank villages, Israelis can come and show ‘solidarity’ while in Tel Aviv, travel for Palestinians is something of a problem to say the least. Having a protest in Tel Aviv is not in itself a bad development. The problematic here is the term ‘solidarity’ when the protest is not moved Palestinian villages and only to Israeli cities. In our conflict, solidarity must be expressed in the places of occupation by invitation of those which are occupied.

The Shiekh Jarrah movement has become an Israeli demonstration which is using the term ‘solidarity’ for its own purposes of rallying new Israeli recruits. Again, this is not a bad development per se despite the obvious perversion of having an Israeli protest in the heart of occupied Palestinian land. Because of this perverse location, I think that Israelis are willing to show up in larger numbers complete with their own notions of cultural relativity. The psychological barriers that exist regarding entrance to the West Bank as a civilian are deep in the Israeli mind despite their relatively short period of gestation (even in the 1990’s Israelis were traveling in great numbers to the West Bank to hike and buy food, etc.). Thus, the effect of having a protest in Palestinian territory and even having some Palestinians involved provided a necessary spark to ignite something which could have been truly revolutionary in Israeli-Palestinian joint struggle. However, the desire to attract more Israelis has ultimately destroyed the joint Palestinian-Israeli element of movement. Protesting in Tel Aviv is the most profound manifestions of this sad development because of its isolation from Palestine and Palestinians.

#BDS: Over 500 academics endorse boycott of Israel

NEW YORK: When originally founded in 2009, only a handful of academics called for the academic and cultural boycott of Israel.
The call was dismissed as having little to no significance and was reflected in the statement from Gerald Steinberg. For Steinberg and others, the power of an academic and cultural boycott would be achieved with a critical mass of 500 endorsers.
The US Campaign for Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI) has reached that critical number. Endorsements by US academics and scholars recently crossed 500, and there are now 150 cultural workers who have also endorsed USACBI!
This is a major victory for the growing academic and cultural boycott of Israel, and for the movement for justice and equality in Israel, as defenders of the status quo in Israel have repeatedly observed that the legitimacy of the state of Israel in the global court of public opinion is threatened by the boycott movement.
There is a growing shift in the tide of public opinion in the US which has only swelled in the wake of Israel’s massacre of international activists and relief workers on humanitarian aid flotilla’s off the coast of Gaza in international waters on May 31.

#BDS: Frank Gehry joins supporters of Israeli settlement boycott

The international campaign to support the Israeli actors' refusal to play in the illegal settlement of Ariel picked up a pair of huge names when architect Frank Gehry and pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim signed on this week. Settlements are Jewish-only communities built on Palestinian land and are considered by many to be the main obstacle to peace.
Known for iconic buildings like the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, Gehry is considered the “world's most influential architect” according to Vanity Fair Magazine. Daniel Barenboim is a legendary pianist and conductor who, along with the late Palestinian intellectual Edward Said, created the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, which brings together young Jewish Israeli and Arab musicians.
Both Gehry and Barenboim, who are Jewish, signed a US/UK artist's statement in support of leading Israeli actors and writers who refused to normalize their own government's illegal settlements and who risked their livelihoods for their stance. The statement, organized by US peace group Jewish Voice for Peace, has already been signed by over 200 theater and film professionals representing some of the most respected and renowned artists in theater and film – including Oscar, Tony, Grammy and Pulitzer prize-winner Stephen Sondheim, Julianne Moore, film director Mira Nair, Sex and the City's Cynthia Nixon, Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Tony Kushner, 21-time Tony winner Harold Prince , star of the film "Yentl," Mandy Patinkin, Fiddler on the Roof star and Cameri co-founder Theodore Bikel, Jennifer Tilly, Harry Potter's Miriam Margolyes, Ed Asner, Wallace Shawn, and Focus Films’ James Schamus among many others.
Earlier this year, Frank Gehry stepped down as an architect for the controversial Museum of Tolerance project in Jerusalem: many have criticized the Simon Wiesenthal Center for building the museum on top of a Muslim cemetery.
Meanwhile, silence from groups in the United States that are quick to attack critics of Israeli policies shows how indefensible the settlement policy has become.

#BDS: إسرائيل تخشى مقاطعة أوروبية

في ظل تكاثر الحديث الإسرائيلي عن تحدّي نزع الشرعية الذي تواجهه الدولة العبرية على المستوى الدولي، باتت إجراءات المقاطعة التي تتخذها جهاتٌ أهلية غربية تثير حساسية من نوع خاص في تل أبيب خشية أن تكون مندرجة ضمن سياق أوسع يشير إلى سياسة رسمية غير معلنة يتّبعها الاتحاد الأوروبي على وجه الخصوص.

وتأتي الخشية الإسرائيلية بعد قرار مركز الحكم المحلي الهولندي إلغاء زيارة وفد رؤساء السلطات المحلية الإسرائيلي بسبب مشاركة رؤساء سلطات محلية من المستوطنات فيه ليرفع منسوب القلق الإسرائيلي حيال احتمال أن تكون الخطوة الهولندية مقدمة لخطوات مماثلة من جانب مؤسسات الاتحاد الأوروبي.

#BDS: P&G to buy Israeli medical device co ConTIPI

ConTIPI has been acquired by Procter & Gamble for $100 million. The start-up, which develops disposable vaginal devices that reduce or prevent urinary incontinence, has signed an agreement to be sold which will be implemented in stages. ConTIPI will receive $15 million in cash immediately, and, depending on milestone payments, could receive up to $100 million from Procter & Gamble. To receive the maximum payment, ConTIPI's products must reach annual revenue of over $180 million.
ConTIPI and Procter & Gamble have had a distribution agreement since 2007 based on royalties, which has so far been worth tens of millions of dollars. The current agreement will replace the distribution agreement, although many of the clauses in the agreement are similar. ConTIPI declined to comment on the report.
The joint business activities between ConTIPI and Procter & Gamble are in their formative stages with pilot projects in a number of countries. ConTIPI's product has approval from the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) but is not yet being marketed in the US. The product will be launched in 2011.
ConTIPI is exceptional in Israel's biomed landscape, because its device will be sold as a consumer product in pharmacies without the need of a prescription, although with a doctor's recommendation. Entering this market independently would be very difficult and require enormous marketing resources.
ConTIPI was founded in 2002 and is based in Caesarea. It has raised $3 million to date.

#BDS: France's "justice" persecutes BDS

On 29th October, representatives of CAPJPO Europpalestine, a French BDS group, are to appear in a French court in Paris, to answer charges that publishing the above video of a BDS action that took place in July 2009 at a Carrefour supermarket in Avry, constituted an "offense of incitement to discrimination, hatred or violence against a group of people on account of their belonging to the Israeli nation."

The plaintiff, the "National Bureau of vigilance against antisemitism (because, naturally, according to antisemites and fake "vigilantes against antisemitism" alike, to speak against Israel is to attack Jews for being Jewish), is looking for opportunities to promote repression of Palestine solidarity activism, and the French state is more than happy to oblige. Europalestine was chosen out either randomly or out of convenience. As a matter of fact, the action was sponsored by a long list of organizations, including a Jewish group (IJAN) and a national political party (the New Anti-Capitalist Party), both of which it would probably be counter-productive for the Zionists to attack in court.

CAPJPO is asking everybody to host this video in solidarity with their struggle against this spurious accusation of racism, which targets political expression, uses laws against racism to defend war crimes, and is a scandal given the magnitude of the real racism that is spearheaded by the state of Israel and defended by this judicial action.

#BDS: The Importance Of The International Solidarity

By Iyad Burant - As the Nonviolence Resistance in Palestine is growing, I believe the international solidarity is one of the most important components of our struggle against the occupation.

The presence of the international supporters in Palestine is very importance especially in the nonviolent protests like those in Bil’in, Nil’in, Al Ma’ssara, and Al Nabi Saleh villages; those supporters help in deescalating the violence used by the Israeli military during those weekly actions. They are also our ambassadors to the world, they transmit the full picture of what is happening here to their home countries though there presence and cameras.

We know that the Israeli occupation depend on three venues that makes it strong in facing international law and escape all the crimes it does against the unarmed Palestinian people;

First venue is the Military power.This is the venue that we fight against by organizing nonviolent protests which thought out those activities, that involves participants from deferent countries, manage to disarm the Israeli military from its tools simply because its difficult to use military force to suppress nonviolent actions but it needs a great number of soldiers to counter those protests and that cost a lot.

#BDS: Le Moyne students hear Finkelstein despite calls to cancel lecture

A small group of faculty members convinced Le Moyne College officials to permit Norman Finkelstein to lecture at their school, despite an organized campaign to persuade Le Moyne to cancel the event. The week before Finkelstein was scheduled to appear, a number of local Rabbis, a high ranking member of the New York State Catholic hierarchy, and other prominent community members contacted the school to request that the event be called off.
In a carefully written statement composed by a faculty committee and issued by the Provost, Linda LeMura, the school said, “[Finkelstein’s] appearance is not an endorsement of his work or views, but rather a recognition that a variety of perspectives, some difficult and controversial, need to be considered. Le Moyne is committed to freedom of speech, including points of view that are intellectually serious even if not generally accepted by all segments of the community.”
An overflow audience of over 250 people attended the Finkelstein lecture, which began at 5 PM on September 16. Finkelstein gave a talk which focused on the 2008 Gaza War and the assault on the Mavi Marmara flotilla. The crowd appeared to be overwhelmingly sympathetic to Finkelstein’s point of view. He got two standing ovations during his talk and only one expression of disagreement during the Q and A segment.

#BDS: Israeli representative attempts to influence local co-op board decision

A proposed boycott of products at a food co-op in Port Townsend prompted a visit from the Israeli Deputy Consul General for the Pacific Northwest.

Five member/owners of the Port Townsend Food Co-op presented a proposal to co-op board of directors asking the store to pull seven products from its shelves until Israel complies with U.N. decisions regarding occupied territories and lifts both the siege on Gaza and apartheid on Palestinians. Proponents of the boycott have gathered hundreds of signatures in support of the proposal.

Gideon Lustig, Israeli deputy consul general, flew from San Francisco to travel to Port Townsend, Washington, a rural town with a population of 8,000, located near the Canadian border. Lustig spoke at a public presentation arranged by “Stand With Us”, a Seattle lobbying group. Lustig also attempted to hold a secret meeting with the Food Co-op board of directors.
Sam Gibboney, the co-op board president, had agreed to a secret meeting with the consul general. The meeting was reported in a local newspaper, and prompted criticism for operating behind closed doors and violating co-op by-laws and governing policies. The board is required to hold open and transparent board meetings, unless there is a compelling reason for privacy. Gibboney has since revoked the invitation to other board members after public outcry. Gibboney will meet with the consul general in a private meeting before the consul general returns to San Francisco. That meeting is closed to the public and co-op member-owners.

#BDS: نقاش إسرائيل في خطوة المقاطعة الهولندية: هل هي الأولى في مسيرة الألف ميل؟

في ظل تكاثر الحديث الإسرائيلي عن تحدّي نزع الشرعية الذي تواجهه الدولة العبرية على المستوى الدولي، باتت إجراءات المقاطعة التي تتخذها جهاتٌ أهلية غربية تثير حساسية من نوع خاص في تل أبيب خشية أن تكون مندرجة ضمن سياق أوسع يشير إلى سياسة رسمية غير معلنة يتّبعها الاتحاد الأوروبي على وجه الخصوص. في هذا الإطار يأتي قرار مركز الحكم المحلي الهولندي إلغاء زيارة وفد رؤساء السلطات المحلية الإسرائيلي بسبب مشاركة رؤساء سلطات محلية من المستوطنات فيه ليرفع منسوب القلق الإسرائيلي حيال احتمال أن تكون الخطوة الهولندية مقدمة لخطوات مماثلة من جانب مؤسسات الاتحاد الأوروبي.
ورأى الخبير الإسرائيلي في شؤون الاتحاد الأوروبي، الدكتور في جامعة بن غوريون، شارون بردو، أن إلغاء زيارة الوفد تدل على مسار أوسع. وقال بردو في تصريح إلى صحيفة «يديعوت أحرونوت» إنه «يجب أن ننظر إلى إطار العلاقات بين أوروبا وإسرائيل. ففي العام الأخير اتخذ قرار في محكمة العدل الأوروبية في لوكسمبورغ بشأن قضية اقتصادية للوهلة الأولى، إلا أنها ذات دلالة سياسية وقضائية بعيدة المدى». وقصد بردو بكلامه الحكم المتعلق بتصدير المنتجات الإسرائيلية المصنّعة داخل المستوطنات في الضفة الغربية والتي لا تتناسب مع معايير اتفاقية التجارة بين إسرائيل والاتحاد الأوروبي التي تنصّ على إعفاء المنتجات الأوروبية من الجمارك. وبحسب حكم المحكمة الأوروبية، فإن المنتجات المصنّعة في المستوطنات لا يمكن أن تدخل الاتحاد من دون جمارك، لأنّ منشأها ليس ضمن الحدود الإسرائيلية، وتالياً فإن الاتفاقية لا تسري عليها.