Sep 30, 2010

#BDS: AOL and Google Gobbling Israeli Startups

The past few months have been fruitful for Israeli startups. Several U.S. and European tech giants have made high-profile acquisitions. Foreign VCs are making massive capital injections. Now local publications such as Calcalist and The Marker are filled with rumors of upcoming purchases.
5Min Media, an Israeli-American video startup, is the most recent acquisition. AOL bought the company for an estimated $65 million, with chairman Tim Armstrong praising 5Min for helping to complete “our end-to-end video offering from content creation through syndication and distribution.”
In other words, AOL is going to raid the hell out of 5Min's video library of 200,000-odd shorts and make use of both their (considerable) API development and existing syndication partners. 5Min comes to AOL with a robust library of content. The firm inked previous content-sharing agreements with CBS, Hearst and Scripps to convert existing programming into bite-size “how-to” videos. Additional video content comes from other media providers, which is then augmented with crowdsourced footage.

#BDS: Platini threatens to annul Israel's membership of UEFA

The president of the European Union of Football Associations (UAFA), Michel Platini, has threatened to annul Israel's membership to the union because of the restrictions it imposes on Palestinian football players. 

In a meeting with Jibril al-Rajoub, head of the Palestinian football union, Platini confirmed that Israel's non-adherence to international sporting regulations will lead to the cancellation of its UEFA membership.

He added; "We accepted them in Europe and furnished them the conditions for membership and they must respect the letter of the laws and international regulations otherwise there is no justification for them to remain in Europe. He continued; "Israel must choose between allowing Palestinian sport to continue and prosper or be forced to face the consequences for their behaviour." 

#BDS: BDS Goes South

In a landmark event held in New Delhi on 22-23 September 2010, the conference “A Just Peace for Palestine” ended with a clear call for BDS as a strategy for realizing justice for Palestinians. The conference was co-organized by the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), the Committee for Solidarity with Palestine, the All India Peace and Solidarity Organization, and the recently established Indian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel. The conference ended with a resolution that called upon “the Indian government to end its military ties with Israel and return to its earlier commitment to the cause of the Palestinian people.” The conference also affirmed that “the world must declare that Israel is an apartheid state. It must call for global boycott and sanctions on Israel as long as it continues its illegal occupation of Palestine and its apartheid policies.” The resolution appealed to “people in India to join the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign as a show of solidarity with the Palestine people and their just struggle.” A plan of action was announced, in which several steps to show solidarity with Palestinians were outlined, particularly the launching of BDS campaigns and other measures by people’s action groups in the Asian region.

The BDS National Committee (BNC) was represented by BNC Secretariat member and Stop the Wall director Jamal Juma’, and PACBI founding and steering committee member Lisa Taraki. The Palestinian delegation also included Mustafa Barghouti, Palestinian Legislative Council member and head of the Palestinian National Initiative; and Kenesset member Jamal Zahalqa, leader of the National Democratic Assembly parliamentary bloc. Notable speakers included Richard Falk, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory; former UN General Assembly President Father Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann; Israeli dissident academic Ilan Pappe; Walden Bello, Member of the Philippines House of Representatives; notable Indian academics and writers Aijaz Ahmed, Achin Vanaik, Githa Hariharan and Upendra Baxi; veteran trade union leader from Bangladesh Rashed Menon; the chairman of the Communist Party of Bangladesh Manzurul Khan; Prakash Karat, general secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist); Mordecai Briemberg of the Canada-Palestine Support Network; noted Indian journalist Seema Mustafa; member of parliament of Bangladesh, Moinuddin Khan; A.B. Bardhan, general secretary of the Communist Party of India; D.P.Tripathi, general secretary of the Nationalist Congress Party; and several other public personalities from India.

#BDS: Israeli Occupation to Evergreen Divestment

When: Oct 7, 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Where: The Evergreen State College - Seminar II, E 1105,

Join a discussion and talk on the history and aims of Israel’s occupation over Palestinian land and people, with a focus on the injustices produced by Israeli settlements, land theft and violations of international law.The Conflict Over Palestine and the Imperative of Justice – a talk by Steve Niva, TESC Faculty Middle East Studies
Join a long history of Palestinian resistance to occupation and the recent turn to global civil society and non-violent strategies of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS), which have appeared on the Evergreen campus during the past year.
Sponsored by TESC Divest.

#BDS: 6,000 Irish shoppers demand supermarket stops stocking Israeli goods

Today, Thursday 29th July 2010, at 1pm, the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) delivered a petition to Dunnes Stores signed by 6,000 shoppers across Ireland. The petition demands that Dunnes Stores stop stocking Israeli products, until Israel respects Palestinian rights and international law. Present at the handing-in were Brendan Archbold, the trade union official at the centre of the 1980s Dunnes strike when workers refused to handle South African goods, Freda Hughes IPSC National Chairperson, Aengus O'Snodaigh of Sinn Fein along with supporters of the campaign and members of both the Palestinian and South African communities in Ireland.
The petition has been signed by over 6,000 shoppers in a two-week blitz that has seen Palestine solidarity activists enlist the support of Dunnes’ customers across the country. Signatures have flooded in from Dublin, Belfast, Cork, Derry, Limerick, Galway, Kilkenny, Newry, Wexford, Waterford, Bantry, Gorey, Enniscorthy, and Sligo. In many locations around the country, solidarity activists presented their local Dunnes' managers with copies of the petitions they have collected.
This campaign comes a quarter-century after Dunnes was at the centre of a bitter two-year campaign of boycott and pickets, when it sacked a group of workers who refused to handle South African goods.
"Dunnes was on the wrong side of history, siding with the South African apartheid regime against its own workers," Freda Hughes, IPSC Chairperson, said. "This is a chance for it to put itself on the right side of history. Israel's treatment of Palestinians amounts to nothing short of Apartheid. We must not ignore the lessons of South Africa and how apartheid was ended there – essentially it jumped before it was pushed. The boycott campaign can, and should, be used to isolate Israel both figuratively and literally until such a time as it complies fully with international law and ends its Apartheid regime in Palestine. We are not asking consumers to boycott Dunnes Stores. We are asking Dunnes Stores, and consumers islandwide, to boycott Israeli goods and services. This campaign is not designed to negatively affect Irish jobs."

#BDS: South Africa Champions the Academic Boycott of Israel

PACBI welcomes the decision [1] yesterday by the Senate of the University of Johannesburg (UJ) "not to continue a long-standing relationship with Ben Gurion University (BGU) in Israel in its present form" and to set conditions "for the relationship to continue." The fact that the UJ Senate set an ultimatum [2] of six months for BGU to end its complicity with the occupation army and to end policies of racial discrimination against Palestinians is a truly significant departure from the business-as-usual attitude that had governed agreements between the two institutions until recently. 

If the Senate decision was a commendable first step in the right direction towards ending relations with Israeli institutions implicated in apartheid policies and support for the occupation, the real victory lies in the intensive mobilization and awareness raising processes by key activists and academics in South Africa that indicated beyond doubt the groundswell of support for Palestinian rights in the country and that played a key role in influencing the UJ Senate vote. A petition urging UJ to sever links with BGU remarkably gathered more than 250 signatures of academics from all academic institutions in South Africa, including some of the most prominent figures. The mainstream media attention, in South Africa and the West, to the facts about BGU’s complicity and the heavy moral burden placed on the shoulders of South African institutions, in particular, to end all forms of cooperation with any Israeli institution practicing apartheid has been unprecedented, with views favorable to justice and upholding international law gaining wide coverage.

#BDS: Gaza Academics and Students: U. of Johannesburg’s Decision to Condition Ties with Ben Gurion University, a Step in the Right Direction

Besieged Gaza,

University Teachers’ Association
Palestinian Students’ Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel


Gaza Academics and Students: U. of Johannesburg’s Decision to Condition Ties with Ben Gurion University, a Step in the Right Direction

University Teachers’ Association in Palestine and Palestinian Students’ Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel welcome the decision taken by the Senate of the University of Johannesburg (UJ) to distance itself from the crimes of Apartheid Israel. The decision made by UJ’s highest academic body to set conditions for the relationship with Ben Burion University comes in response to a nationwide academic petition supported by more than 250 South African academics and Vice Chancellors.

But for us Gazans faced with atrocity after atrocity, bearing the brunt of Apartheid Israel’s continuous violation of international law and impunity ever since over two thirds of us were ethnically cleansed from where Israel and Ben Gurion University were founded over the ruins of our 531 Palestinian towns and villages destroyed by Zionist militias and, later, by the nascent Israeli army, the decision is evidently not enough, albeit an important step in the right direction, 

The petition, backed by South African luminaries and anti-apartheid activists such as Breyten Breytenbach, John Dugard, Antjie Krog, Barney Pityana, Kader Asmal and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, demanded that the University of Johannesburg should apply the boycott unconditionally to Ben Gurion University until it ceases its complicity in Israel’s extensive violations of international law and until it terminates all privileges extended to the Israeli Occupation Forces.

We members of academia in Gaza encourage more action given the extent to which we have lost our brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers in the continuous Israeli attacks on the 1.5 million Palestinians under siege here, and given the extent to which the international community has rewarded Israel in the past with academic, cultural, trade and military links. Military support has included the 3 billion dollars a year from the US and notoriously included Israel’s own provision of weapons to the South African Apartheid regime when the world’s citizenry had joined the boycott movement of this other abominable major oppression based on racism.

During the bombing of Gaza, in what came to be known as the Sharpeville of Palestine, over New Year of 2009 more than 430 of our children were killed,more than 37 primary and secondary schools including 18 schools serving as shelters for the internally displaced were hit, the American International school was reduced to rubble, and Islamic University of Gaza (IUG) partially demolished. The fact-finding investigation conducted by the University of Johannesburg confirmed BGU’s links with the Israeli Occupation Force (IOF.

In light of these ongoing, yet unaccounted for crimes, as part of the 2005 Palestinian Civil Society Call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS), and inspired by the boycott that put an end to South African Apartheid, we demand the complete academic boycott of Ben Gurion University as outlined by the petition itself and guidelines set by the Palestinian Campaign for  the Academic and Cultural  Boycott of Israel (PACBI), fully supported by anti apartheid-hero Archbishop Desmond Tutu who has said:  

 “Palestinians have chosen, like we did, the nonviolent tools of boycott, divestment and sanctions.”

South African universities with their own long and complex histories of both support for apartheid and resistance know more than anyone, perhaps, the value of this nonviolent resistance. “Israeli Universities, including BGU, are an intimate part of the Israeli regime, by active choice,” as Archbishop Tutu said. And, as the unprecedented South African petition by academics says, “While Palestinians are not able to access universities and schools, Israeli universities produce the research, technology, arguments and leaders for maintaining the occupation.”

We expect all post-Apartheid Academic institutions, including UJ, to join the momentum around the world, particularly among academics, who are heeding the call of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. As our students continue to have their education restricted in all forms by the Israeli siege and occupation, discrimination based entirely on race and ethnicity, we hope the University of Johannesburg takes note and joins 
unconditionally the boycott movement of Israeli academia - the oppressed majority of South Africans in the Apartheid era would have expected nothing less.

Besieged Gaza,

University Teachers’ Association in Palestine
Palestinian Students’ Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel

#BDS: Some lives more valued

Some letters opposing the Olympia Co-op’s boycott of Israeli products denounce the polarization of our community. They don’t acknowledge Olympia has been divided for many years. As an ex-member of Temple Beth Hatfiloh, it was never easy to criticize Israel or voice support for Palestinian rights. Attempts to address the question of Palestine have been met with chilly silence or overt opposition. So while boycott opponents find the boycott polarizing, they ignore local history and their role in it.

In 2007, Olympians brought a proposal to the City Council to create a sister city relationship with Rafah, in Palestine.
Opponents called the proposal divisive. In a public hearing, opponents claimed Palestinians were incapable of democracy and didn’t “share our values.” They characterized all residents of Rafah as terrorists. They argued the proposal lacked balance because it didn’t include an Israeli city. Forty-three U.S. cities have relationships with Israeli cities, including Seattle and Tacoma.

Three Palestinian cities have U.S. relationships.Years of work were derailed as the council voted the proposal down.
Jewish philosopher Richard Bernstein wrote, “Evil consists in making people superfluous.” At the hearing, Palestinians were found superfluous, unworthy of a sister city connection and relationship.
Jewish philosopher Judith Butler wrote, “Certain lives will be protected ... other lives ... will not even qualify as grievable.”
Silencing the boycott movement will not restore unity to Olympia, because the argument is not about us, but about Palestinian and Israeli lives, and the fact that some of those lives are valued more than others.

#BDS: SAfrica school rethinks Israel ties

The South African University of Johannesburg (UJ) senate has threatened to end its relationship with the Israeli university, Ben-Gurion (BGU), unless certain conditions are met.
In a statement released on Wednesday, the South African university's highest academic body said Ben-Gurion University would have to work with Palestinian universities on research projects and stop its "direct and indirect support for the Israeli military and the occupation".
"The conditions are that the memorandum of understanding governing the relationship between the two institutions be amended to include Palestinian universities chosen with the direct involvement of UJ," the university said in a statement.

"Additionally, UJ will not engage in any activities with BGU that have direct or indirect military implications, this to be monitored by UJ's senate academic freedom committee.

"Should these conditions not be met within six months, the memorandum of understanding will automatically lapse on April 1 2011," UJ said.
Describing the afternoon senate meeting on Wednesday as mostly "tense", the UJ senate also called on BGU to "respect UJ's duty (and) to take seriously, allegations of behaviour on the part of BGU's stakeholders that is incompatible with UJ's values". 

#BDS: 12 int'l dance troupes to perform in TA

Fourth annual Tel Aviv Dance Festival showcases dance companies from around the world in 34 performances at Suzanne Dellal Center

The fourth annual Tel Aviv Dance Festival, a joint initiative of the Suzanne Dellal Center, Israeli Opera and Tel Aviv Municipality, will highlight 12 dance companies from around the world in 34 performances at the Suzanne Dellal Center for Dance and the Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center, on October 4-30.

The festival performances include:

  • Accrorap Company (France) presenting "", an eclectic piece combining Arabic-Andalusian music with French-Algerian hip-hop dance stylings created by Algerian choreographer Kader Attou. 

  • Korean choreographer Shin Chang Ho showcasing a new internationally inspired hip-hop piece, "No Comment." 

  • South African choreographer and dancer Dada Masilo performing "Carmen" alongside a troupe of 12 dancers.

  • A production by Eastman (Belgium), the dance company of Flemish-Moroccan choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. 

  • Dance classics presented by the New York City Ballet and American Dance Theater. 

  • Maria King Dancers Company (Israel) presenting the festival premiere of "Miss Brazil".

  • Barak Marshall's internationally acclaimed "Rooster".

  • Rami Be'er's new work "Transform" by the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company. 

  • Batsheva Dance Company's Sharon Eyal presenting a new piece titled "Bill".

  • Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui's dance company Sutra, alongside 17 monks and accompanied by live music. 

  • Spanish dancer-choreographer Miguel Angel Berna returning with a new work, "Goya". 

  • "Multiplicity, Forms of Silence and Emptiness" by the National Dance Company of Spain. 

  • The Royal Winnipeg Ballet (Canada) interpreting "Carmina Burana". 

  • Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performing "Revelations", as well as three new, untitled works.