Oct 3, 2010

#BDS: Conference to strengthen Boycott Israel campaign

Over October 29-31, Palestinian solidarity activists from around Australia and the world will meet for the first national boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) conference.
The call for a global boycott campaign against Israel was first launched in July 2005. It has become a big part of the movement against the occupation of Palestine.
Globally, the BDS movement has gained steam since Israel’s attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla on May 31, which resulted in the death of nine solidarity activists. Several high-profile bands and artists have cancelled gigs in Israel this year as part of the cultural boycott.
The conference will open with a public meeting at the Victorian state library. Speakers will include unionists, an Israeli BDS activist and Palestinian activists.
Trade unions play an important role in the BDS movement. The New South Wales and ACT branches of the Australian Services Union, the Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union and the South Coast Labor Council have all endorsed the BDS campaign.
The conference agenda includes several educational sessions and workshops on topics such as “History of civil disobedience movements for boycott, divestment sanctions”, “Countering Israel’s propaganda war and attempts to delegitimise BDS”, and “Solidarity in action” workshops, run by a variety of groups including Students for Palestine and the Gaza Defence Committee.

#BDS: Methodist Preacher to Sue Church Over Anti-Israel Boycott

A Methodist preacher is planning to sue his own British-based church over its anti-Israel policies.

Pastor David Hallam, 62, said he has asked attorney Paul Diamond to fight a resolution passed this summer by the Methodist Church -- the fourth-largest Christian denomination in Britain -- promoting a boycott against Israeli goods produced in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

The resolution was heartily supported by Palestinian Authority Christians.

The British Board of Deputies, which represents the country's Jews, broke off all contact with the leadership of the Methodist Church over the issue.  

#BDS: Dutch watchdog criticizes Israeli tourism website

Advertising Code Committee says material distributed by Dutch branch of Israeli National Tourism Board blurs borders between Israel, 'occupied' Arab territories.

The Dutch advertising watchdog has criticized Israel for publishing "misleading" information on its tourism website that blurs the borders between Israel and "occupied" Arab territories.

The Advertising Code Committee says in a nonbinding ruling that material distributed by the Dutch branch of the Israeli National Tourism Board does not "clearly show where the border lies between what is internationally recognized as Israeli territory and 'disputed' areas."

Pro-Palestinian activists complained that the maps gave the impression that parts of the Palestinian West Bank and east Jerusalem are in Israel, as well as the Golan Heights captured from Syria.

The ruling, which can be appealed, has no immediate practical effect, and the committee cannot compel the Israeli tourism board to withdraw the ads. But it contributes to the international criticism of Israel's "occupation" at a time when it is in peace negotiations with the Palestinians over the future status of the territories.

Earlier this month, a group of mayors from Israel canceled a trip to the Netherlands after objections were raised that the delegation included mayors of Jewish settlements in the West Bank.