Oct 23, 2010

#BDS:Learn, boycott, divest, sanction

You too can help fight Israeli apartheid

With the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority close to failure because Israel has refused to stop expanding its colonization of the West Bank, those of us committed to the human rights of the Palestinian people must look toward the future. I am a member of Tadamon!, a Montreal-based Middle East solidarity collective. Tadamon! aims to take the most effective action possible to support Palestine in its struggle for freedom and self-determination. That is why we are active participants in the movement for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israeli apartheid and are helping to organize a conference to support and expand the BDS movement this weekend, October 22 to 24 in Montreal.

So, what is BDS and why does Tadamon! support it? Boycotts, divestment, and sanctions are three tactics used to achieve the goal of forcing Israel to respect international law and grant the Palestinians their right to independence, self-determination, and return to their ancestral land. The movement began in 2005 when a coalition of Palestinian civil society groups sent out the call for BDS. The movement models itself on the international non-violent movement that helped end the apartheid regime in South Africa.

The three tactics are largely self-explanatory. The sanctions component aims to pressure governments to sanction Israel, as they would any other country that repeatedly committed war crimes and ignored UN resolutions. The divestment section aims to encourage corporations, unions, universities, and other organizations to cut their ties with Israeli, primarily by selling stock in Israeli companies and cutting off economic relationships with the Israeli government. Tadamon! is most active in the boycott part of the movement. The boycott is multifaceted, and includes everything from supporting a boycott of Israel-made goods, such as Ahava beauty products (which are made in an illegal Israeli settlement near the Dead Sea), to encouraging artists and academics not to perform concerts or attend conferences in Israel.

#BDS: ترحيب بمقاطعة إسرائيل أكاديميا

رحب الاتحاد العام للكتاب والأدباء الفلسطينيين، بقرار مجلس جامعة جوهانسبرغ بجنوب أفريقيا، الداعي إلى عدم الاستمرار في علاقة طويلة مع جامعة بن غوريون الإسرائيلية.
وجاء في بيان الاتحاد -الذي تلقت الجزيرة نت نسخة منه- أن قرار جامعة جوهانسبرغ بإعطاء الجامعة الإسرائيلية مهلة ستة أشهر "لإنهاء تواطئها مع جيش الاحتلال (الإسرائيلي) ووضع حد لسياسات التمييز العنصري ضد الفلسطينيين يشكل خروجاً ملموساً عن موقف العلاقة المعتادة الذي حكم الاتفاقات بين هاتين المؤسستين حتى وقت قريب".
وأهاب الاتحاد بجامعة جوهانسبرغ أن "تكمل تحررها من الإرث العنصري بحسم قرارها دون مهل زمنية، أو اشتراطات تلطفية، لمقاطعة كافة الجامعات الإسرائيلية" مؤكدا أن "مؤسسات الأكاديميا الإسرائيلية هي جزء من التكوين الاستعماري الصهيوني".
وتابع أن هذه المؤسسات "متورطة، كمؤسسات وأفراد في توجيه سياسات التمييز العنصري لدولة الاحتلال، وتبريرها، وشرعنتها على الساحة الدولية، وممارسة العنصرية بشكل سافر على الطلبة العرب فيها".
في نفس السياق أثنى الاتحاد على "التحرك المسؤول الذي قام به مجلس اتحاد نقابات الجامعات الفلسطينية، على كافة المستويات في الأكاديميا الفلسطينية" باتجاه مقاطعة إسرائيل أكاديميا وثقافيا.
وأكد أنه "لا يعبر فقط عن موقف مجاميع الأكاديميا الفلسطينية، بل تتبناه مجاميع الوسط الثقافي الفلسطيني وتدعمه، وتؤكد على فحواه الداعية إلى الالتزام الكامل بالقرارات الثابتة لمجلس الاتحاد ومجلس التعليم العالي بعدم التعاون أو الانخراط في أي مشاريع مشتركة مع الجامعات الإسرائيلية بشكل مباشر أو غير مباشر، بشكل فردي أو مؤسساتي".

#BDS: Strauss to sell water filters to China

Israeli water filter producer signs partnership agreement with Chinese electronic giant; companies to invest $10 million each during first stage of project

Penetrating the Chinese market: Strauss Water Group has signed a partnership agreement with the Chinese Haier Electronics Group to produce and market home water filters.

According to the agreement, Haier will start to produce the appliances and market them in China as of next year.

The new water filters will be produced based on the Maze water purifying technology, developed in Israel by scientists from Hebrew University and the Weizmann Institute.

#BDS: Rabbi defends Israel at Doha conference

WJC's Schneier responds to Palestinian sheikh's claim that Israel 'illegally occupying' and 'Judaizing' Jerusalem

During the 8th Doha Conference of Inter-Faith Dialogue, World Jewish Congress Vice-President Rabbi Marc Schneier defendedIsrael against a diatribe by Sheikh Taysir al-Tamimi, the chief Islamic judge of the Palestinian Authority, who said Israel was "illegally occupying" and "Judaizing" Jerusalem.

Rabbi Schneier declared that "Jerusalem represents Jewish hopes and dreams. For millennia, we have prayed toward Jerusalem. We pray at the Western Wall, we mourn the destruction of our Temple 2,000 years ago, and we tell each other 'Next year in Jerusalem'. Jerusalem has always been the capital of the Jewish state, ancient or modern. It is therefore an insult to all of us to accuse us of illegally occupying the city.

"At the same time, we respect that Jerusalem is a holy place for Christians and Muslims as well. We know that the status of Jerusalem is at the forefront of peace talks, but denying the other side's right to bethere is wrong and counter-productive," the rabbi added.

#BDS: BBC’s ‘Top Gear’ car show races through Israel

British car show Top Gear is filming an episode in Israel this week, and hosts Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May are sure to learn a little about driving in a country where commuting is a blood-sport and road signs confound at breakneck speedBritish car show Top Gear is filming an episode in Israel this week, and hosts Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May are sure to learn a little about driving in a country where commuting is a blood-sport and road signs confound at breakneck speed..

#BDS: AHAVA boycott campaign brings out protesters and counter-protesters in Brooklyn Heights highlighting the controversy around Israeli settlement products

NEW YORK CITY – On October 26th, Brooklyn For Peace, CODEPINK NYC, Adalah-NY, Jews Say No!, Jewish Voice for Peace, and other local groups will bring the Stolen Beauty Ahava boycott campaign to Brooklyn for a third time. Local activists, some dressed in spa attire, and others wearing monster masks to convey the message that Occupation is an Ugly business, will gather on Montague Street to tell Ricky’s NYC: No More Ahava Cosmetics. At last month’s demonstration, counter-protesters also gathered outside Ricky’s, some of them opposing the boycott with a “buycott” of Ahava goods, highlighting the controversy around Israeli settlement products.
Since August 2009, local activists have been trying to pressure Ricky’s NYC, a family-owned chain that sells cosmetics and sundries, to stop carrying products made by the Israeli cosmetics manufacturer Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories because of the Ahava’s illegal practices. In July 2010, Brooklyn for Peace organized the first Ahava protest in that borough outside Ricky’s on Montague Street. The July 9th and September 28th protests sparked great interest and controversy in the community, and there is expectation that the third demonstration will be even more of an event.

#BDS: Preview: NS interview with Mike Leigh

The director explains his refusal to visit Israel and says he received "exhortations not to go" from within the country.
Earlier this week, I interviewed the director Mike Leigh, whose new film Another Year is one of the main attractions at the current London Film Festival. The full interview will appear in a forthcoming issue of the NS, but here's an excerpt where Leigh explains his recently-publicised decision not to attend a film teaching event in Israel, in protest at the country's loyalty oath bill.ays that his decision was not taken lightly:
I was going to go and give workshops at the film school [the Sam Spiegel Film & Television School in Jerusalem]. I agreed to go with great misgivings, for all the obvious reasons, but there is a very committed guy who runs the school. He persuaded me, I allowed myself to be persuaded [to go] in solidarity with what undoubtedly are very committed film-makers. But the truth is that just after I agreed to do that, there was the flotilla, then [settlement] building began again on the West Bank and then we have the loyalty oath.
I have become increasingly uncomfortable, I really felt that I simply had to join [the cultural boycott]. I have been a signatory to Jews for Justice in Palestine and various other things for a number of years. In the end you can go and indulge in comfortable cultural activity but just less distance from that activity then we are from the centre of Guilford, probably nearer [the interview took place in central London], it's hell on earth in Gaza and it's not acceptable. And that's the bottom line.

#BDS: Dutch Company Face Criminal Charges For Building Separation Wall

Human rights group Al-Haq have initiated criminal proceedings against a Dutch construction company for supplying equipment used to build the Separation wall and settlements. A complaint has been lodged with the state prosecutor, who pending the results of a police raid on Riwal’s headquarters in Holland, may pursue criminal convictions.

Al-Haq hold video and photographic evidence of Riwal machinery being used to construct sections of Israel’s Separation Wall and a building inside the settlement of Ariel. They claim to have sworn witness statements for these sightings.

Such construction would violate the International Criminal Court of Justice statute of 2004, ruling that the Wall is illegal. All settlements in the West Bank, of which is Ariel is the largest, are also illegal under international law. The Dutch Ministry of Justice have forbidden companies from involvement, making Riwal liable to punitive measures. Riwal have been under investigation since 2006.

#BDS: Tell Georgia State University to end its relationship with the Israeli police force

US Campaign member group Movement to End Israeli Apartheid-Georgia (MEIAG)needs your help to demand Georgia State University shut down its Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange (GILEE) program.

The GILEE program facilitates training exchanges between Georgia police departments and others around the world, their strongest relationship with the Israeli police force. High ranking police officials (and other public employees) from across Georgia partake in annual delegations to Israel to learn "counter-terrorism" techniques from the
International Institute for Counter Terrorism in Herzliya, Israel. Likewise, Israeli police travel to Georgia to learn drug enforcement tactics.

See below for MEIAG's call to action, and to learn how you can tell Georgia State University to end its implicit relationship with Israel.

#BDS: Harvard student government condemns Peretz fund and calls for an investigation on the decision to honor him

Harvard’s Undergraduate Council voted overwhelmingly yesterday in favor of a bill calling on President Drew Faust “to establish a commission of concerned faculty, students and administrators to investigate” the decision to honor Martin Peretz. The Undergraduate Council is the representative body of Harvard’s more than 6,700 undergraduate students.
The “Student Response to Peretz Fund Act,” passed by a vote of 26-7-4, was presented to the student government by the Harvard Islamic Society, the Black Students Association, Latinas Unidas, the Society of Arab Students and the Progressive Jewish Alliance.
Leaders of these groups met with Harvard President Drew Faust earlier this month, and requested that the administration investigate the decision to honor Peretz. When Faust made clear that she was not willing to investigate the decision, student leaders decided to bring the matter to the Undergraduate Council.

#BDS: 8 countries absent from OECD tourism conference

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) Norway, Canada, Ireland, the UK, Sweden, Iceland, Turkey and South Africa will not be present at the OECD tourism conference to be held in Jerusalem this month despite objections from the Palestinian Authority, Palestinian civil society groups said Thursday.

The controversy comes amid attempts by Israel to use the conference to further its territorial claims on Jerusalem and in response to concerns raised by Palestinian and international civil society, as well as Palestinian officials, that the conference would serve to whitewash Israel's violations of international law.

Some of the eight countries have explained their withdrawals were political in nature.

Norway and Turkey condemned comments made by Israeli politicians in the run-up to the conference. The Swedish delegation to the OECD referred campaigners to EU policy on the status of Jerusalem and hinted their stance was an attempt to assert the policy.

In a blow to the credibility of the conference at which officials were to discuss tourism policy, a majority of invited countries did not send tourism ministers but sent low-ranking officials instead.

The Greek delegation to the OECD told campaigners during telephone calls that no officials from Athens would make the trip and that Greece would merely be represented by a staff member from the Greek tourist information center in Tel Aviv. The Czech Republic is the only EU country to send political representation.

#BDS: Settlement-produced paper seized in Hebron

HEBRON (Ma'an) -- Printing paper produced in a settlement were seized from Hebron on Thursday.

Sources said the paper was produced in the illegal Atarot settlement in occupied East Jerusalem, and was held in a warehouse in Ar-Ram in Jerusalem, before being transferred to Hebron to be sold. The sources added that the owner would be prosecuted.

The Palestinian Authority announced a settlement boycott in early 2010, which includes a ban on working in settlements and trading in settlement-made goods. Shortly after President Mahmoud Abbas approved a new law that would punish traders with up to five years in prison and hefty fines for selling settlement products.

#BDS: Boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel promoted at Montreal conference

Palestine solidarity organizations from communities and movements across Quebec and elsewhere in Canada will be meeting in Montreal for a historic conference this weekend, Friday October 22 to Sunday October 24.
Carrying Forward the Moment Against Isreali Apartheid will map the future of the growing anti-Israeli apartheid movement by bringing together activists from across the country, as well as from the U.K., France, the U.S., and, most significantly, South Africa and Palestine. The intention is to assess and advance the global campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions of the Israeli State until there is full justice, equality, and dignity for all Palestinians.
This international campaign is based on the July 2005 call put forth by over 170 Palestinian civil society organizations, which demands that Israel respect the right of return for all Palestinian refugees, that Israel dismantle the wall and put an end to its colonization of East Jerusalem, Gaza and the West Bank, and that Israel grant full equality to Palestinian citizens of Israel. The aim is to assess and advance a comprehensive global campaign for Boycott Divestment and Sanctions until there is full justice, equality and dignity for all Palestinians.

The conference opens on Friday evening with a panel titled "From Sharpeville to Gaza: five years since the Palestinian call for BDS," in which the Steve Faulkner, Omar Barghouti, and Areej Ja'afari will compare the experiences of the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement in South Africa and Palestine.

#BDS: Univ. of Michigan students protest IDF speakers

This video was just posted from a silent protest yesterday during a presentation from two IDF soldiers at the University of Michigan. They certainly know how to clear out a room. The students are wearing the names of Palestinians killed by the IDF:

#BDS: Ardent Zionist turns boycott advocate

Occupied East Jerusalem (IPS) - A former captain in the Israeli Air Force, previously an ardent Zionist who lost many members of his family in the Holocaust, has been labeled a psychopath and denounced by many Israelis for the moral stand he has taken against the Israeli occupation.

Yonatan Shapira, 38, was fired from his job, has been verbally abused in public, subjected to death threats in newspaper talk-back comments, called a traitor by many Israelis, falsely charged with assaulting Israeli security forces, and interrogated by Israel's domestic intelligence agency, the Shin Bet.

While Israel often gets a lot of negative publicity for its brutal treatment of Palestinians and the inherent racism within its society, there is a growing core of Israeli human rights activists who are challenging government policy -- and paying a high price for their courage.

Shapira made international headlines recently while on board the Irene, a boat sent by Jews for Justice in an effort to break the siege of Gaza but which was intercepted by Israeli commandos. On board the small boat were a number of Israelis and several Holocaust survivors.