Nov 13, 2010

#BDS: Arab Ambassadors Look into Palestinian Solidarity Activism in Brazil

Brasilia – PNN - On Friday, the Council of Arab Ambassadors arrived in Brazil to look into coordinating Palestinian solidarity activism with their South American counterparts.

The council, which includes 17 ambassadors, began their program with a short commemoration of Yasser Arafat on the sixth anniversary of his death.

Ibrahim al-Zebin, Palestinian ambassador to Brazil, then presented information about the situation of various Palestinian cities and towns, the Israeli settlement policies, and the effects of the blockade on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. He discussed reports of the Damascus meeting between Hamas and Fatah officials and stressed the importance of national unity.

Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio da Silva visited Palestine in March of this year and said he dreamt of “an independent and free Palestine.” Links have historically been strong between the two.

#BDS:Letter from California Scholars for Academic Freedom to the Chancellor of UC-Berkeley

Dear Chancellor Birgeneau:
We write as members of the California Scholars for Academic Freedom (cs4af)**-- an organization with an ever-expanding membership of over 150-- to express our concerns about efforts to prevent an event, “What Can American Academia Do to Realize Justice for the Palestinians,” that was held on the Berkeley campus on October 26. The event had six co-sponsors, including the campus organization Muslim Identities and Cultures Working Group of the Townsend Center for the Humanities, featured presentations by Lisa Taraki, Associate Professor of Sociology at Bir Zeit Univerity and Hatem Bazian, a lecturer at UC Berkeley. The objections were directed at both the theme of the event in support of the Palestinian struggle for justice, and its supposed lack of scholarly quality. From all accounts, the event was well attended, informative, with broad audience participation, and proceeded without difficulties in the best university traditions of academic freedom, including engagement with the critical social and political issues of the day. In our judgment, the speakers had impressive scholarly credentials to address this subject-matter, and from the reports we have received, developed their arguments through reasoned and informed analysis and left ample time for audience questions and commentary.

We feel, nevertheless, that it is important to register our concerns due to the inflammatory letter of October 21 from UCLA Professor Emeritus Leila Beckwith, UCSC Lecturer Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, and UCI Lecturer Roberta Seid asking you to take steps to cancel the event because of the substance of the event and the involvement of the Townsend Center. We are pleased that you endorsed the statement of Professor Anthony Cascardi, Director of the Townsend Center. Nonetheless, we feel that in some respects more needs to be said at this time in support of academic freedom regarding substantive issues of such great political sensitivity in order to discourage future difficulties and to affirm the discretion of campus organizations to host and organize appropriate activities without undue harassment and accompanying anxieties.

In particular, we are concerned about implications that discussions about the propriety and importance of boycotts and divestment initiatives relating to Israel are to be discredited by being labeled as 'anti-semitic,’ or somehow incompatible with the presence and comfort level and even the safety of Jewish students on UC campuses. We emphatically contend that the cause of justice for the Palestinian people is a proper subject of current inquiry for any academic or community. Issues of this sort stimulate informed debate, as well as provide ways of peacefully participating in matters of great public and ethical concern. It should be recalled that an earlier generation of students and faculty greatly benefited educationally from academic events organized to discuss similar movements of boycott and divestment seeking the transformation of apartheid South Africa. Of course, in the present context there is no ethnic or religious animus directed against Jews or Israel, and it is a matter of fact that there are many Jewish advocates of and activists on behalf of boycott and divestment, including in Israel itself. This event at Berkeley, incidentally, was co-sponsored by diverse organizations with members from all major faiths. It is notable that ongoing efforts along the same lines with respect to such current situations as exist in Tibet, Sudan, and Myanmar have encountered no comparable objections, and if interference were to be attempted, would presumably be brushed aside by a strong administrative response in defense of academic freedom.

#BDS: The joint is jumping! CodePink update on the boycott Ahava campaign

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Since last we wrote on the one-year anniversary of the Stolen Beauty campaign, the proverbial joint has been jumping. The boycott is gaining steam all around with world, with new partners in South Africa and our stalwart friends in London, and our successes have Ahava so flustered that they are circulating a letter to retailers decrying the campaign. Will you keep the momentum building by taking action this season?
You’re invited to gather with friends to sing our new Ahava boycott holiday carols, parodies of old favorites such “Jingle Bells”, outside a store near you that carries Ahava! Don’t worry if you’re off-key; the important thing is to get Ahava off the shelves! And that’s exactly what activists have been working hard to do these past few months.

#BDS: BT: Take Action

BT must cut its partnership with Bezeq International in order to end its complicity in serious breaches of international and human rights abuses.
We are asking people to write letters or emails to BT, asking them to do the right thing and ensure that the company’s commitment to human rights and corporate social responsibility is not just talk.
Take action here
Use the e-action prepared by War on Want.
As part of a BDS Week of Action, Palestine Solidarity Campaign have an e-tool.
Send your own emails to Ian Livingston, BT’s Chief Executive: ian.livingston@bt.com
Or write to: Mr Ian Livingston, Chief Executive, BT Group plc, BT Centre, 81 Newgate Street, London EC1A 7AJ

#BDS: Campaigners tell BT to 'disconnect now' from Israel's Occupation

BT’S Human Rights Commitments Undermined by Link with Bezeq International

‘A Just Peace For Palestine’ Launches New Initiative in Partnership with War on Want, Jews for Justice for Palestinians, and Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Human rights campaigners are today calling on BT to end its complicity in serious breaches of international law and human rights abuses, through its partnership with Israeli telecommunications company Bezeq International.

In January 2010, BT welcomed Israeli company Bezeq International into its Global Alliance. Bezeq International is a wholly owned subsidiary of Bezeq, which provides telecommunication services to illegal Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The settlements are not just illegal under international law – they violate the human rights of Palestinians living under military occupation. Settlements are also an obstacle to a just peace.

BT claims to conduct its business according to high ethical standards, placing a commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility – as well as respect for human rights – at the heart of what it does. A Just Peace for Palestine, an initiative of Amos Trust, is launching the ‘Disconnect Now’ campaign to tell BT to do the right thing and ensure that the company’s high standards are not just talk.

‘Disconnect Now’ is supported by War on Want, Jews for Justice for Palestinians, and Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC). The launch of the campaign coincides with the publication of War on Want’s report ‘Boycott Divestment Sanctions: Winning Justice for the Palestinian People’, as well as PSC’s week of BDS (Boycott Divestment Sanctions) action.

A Just Peace for Palestine is a multi-agency campaign that seeks to educate, resource, and mobilise faith communities and groups across Britain who support a just peace. Amplifying the voices of partners on the ground in Palestine/Israel, we take our lead from grassroots peacemakers. We work within a framework of inter-religious action, with a focus on Christian groups.

Rev Canon Garth Hewitt, Director of Amos Trust said: “BT has the chance to prove that its commitment to human rights is not just talk. The message is simple – BT must ‘disconnect’ from its relationship with Bezeq International and end its complicity in the illegal settlements.”

Disconnect Now online – http://disconnectnow.org
Facebook page – http://www.facebook.com/pages/Disconnect-Now/129338493790585


#BDS: Prominent film, television artists join boycott of West Bank arts center

Media personalities sign on to internet petition protesting the threat to revoke funding for artists that refuse to perform in the newly opened cultural center in Ariel.

A group of leading Israeli film and television artists have signed onto an online petition supporting the right of theater actors to refuse to perform in the newly opened arts center in the West Bank settlement of Ariel.
"A number of Knesset members and ministers from Yisrael Beitenu and Likud and other right-wing figures are calling for cutting off funding to artists that this week called for a boycott of the cultural center in Ariel," the online petition said.
"Threats of this type by these Knesset Members do not scare us," the petition continued. "As Israeli citizens, the refusal of these theater actors to perform in Ariel, which is not within the borders of Israeli sovereignty, is a democratic right."

#BDS: Rothchild advocates divestment from Israel

A small group of people met on Tuesday night for an intimate discussion with Alice Rothchild on the possibility of utilizing a BDS-boycott, divestment, sanctions-strategy in order to counter the Israeli occupation of the West Bank.
Alice Rothchild is a gynecologist and obstetrician who has been politically active throughout her life, and particularly so in attempting to promote social justice for the Palestinians. She has gone on many trips to Israel to learn about the conditions in the West Bank. Rothchild is also particularly notable for the recent publication of the second edition of her book, “Broken Promises, Broken Dreams: The Stories of Jewish and Palestinian Trauma and Resilience.”
The event was sponsored by Brandeis Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace, and was entitled “Difficult Conversations: Alice Rothchild on BDS.” The event started off with Alice speaking about her views on the occupation as well as Israel in general, and then she made her way into speaking about BDS as a method to solve what she sees as a crucial problem. She took a chance at the beginning of her speech to acknowledge the controversy of her ideas.

#BDS: If this is not Apartheid, Then what is?

tadamonapartheidwallabove

In the opening lines of an open letter to Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, Rabbi Warren Goldstein, leader of the South Africa’s Orthodox Jews, makes a plea that: “Without truth there can be no justice, and without justice there can be no peace.” If ever there was a case of a single swallow not heralding summer, alas, this is it. The rest of his article bears little relationship to the truth:

1. “Jew and Arab – are equal before the law.”
Goldstein conflates life inside Israel and life in the occupied territories. Jews and Palestinian citizens in Israel are certainly not equal before the law: one set of laws does provide for equal rights, but another equally formidable set provides for separate and superior rights for Jews. Presently Israel has several Basic Laws that confirm this inequality, so the system is codified and formal: discrimination within Israel is official. A state founded for any ethnic or religious community cannot but be one that must necessarily discriminate against others. In the occupied Palestinian territories, Jews enjoy special protections and rights to settle and conduct business, and Palestinian civilians as non-Jews are denied those rights.
In both areas, there is certainly a “Population Registration Act”: everyone in Israel and the occupied territories is identified by ethnicity – Jewish, Arab, Druze or whatever — and this is listed on their ID cards. All rights and privileges in Israel follow from these distinctions. Hence there is a Group Areas Act, too – people who are Jewish can live in certain areas (actually, 93 percent of Israel is reserved exclusively for Jews) and people who are not Jewish are banned from living in those areas. If there is no “Mixed Marriages Act” per se, there are still laws that prohibit Palestinian spouses from the occupied territories from living with Israeli spouses, a prohibition of civil marriage (it is impossible to marry in Israel except in religious courts,) and a host of laws, rules and codes that keep the populations strictly apart. Petty apartheid is hardly required where segregation is absolute.
Israel indeed has no “Separate Representation of Voters Act” but for two unpleasant reasons. First, half of the entire population under Israel’s control (the 5 million Palestinians living under Israeli military rule in the West Bank and Gaza Strip) are not allowed to vote at all. Every one of the five million people living here can attest plenty to Israel’s draconian pass laws, which constrict and destroy their life chances every single day. Second, twenty percent of Israeli citizens are Palestinians and can vote, but are not allowed to vote for any party or law that alters Jewish national supremacy and special privileges. That is like giving the vote to slaves but preventing them from voting against slavery.
2. “Israel accords full political, religious and other human rights to all its people, including its … Arab citizens.”
Goldstein need only ring up any Palestinian mayor, public figure or Knesset representative to be corrected on this. The poverty and isolation of Palestinian Arab communities in Israel is notorious. Of course, there are Arab parties that do provide some Palestinian representation in Israeli politics. But this representation is akin to Apartheid’s Tricameral Parliament of the 1980s: they operate in highly constrained conditions and have been unable in those roles to relieve the endemic poverty and isolation of their communities, or to alter the edifice of racism that suffocates their communities. And again, some five million Palestinians under Israeli rule remain entirely excluded from the political system solely because they are not Jews and have no rights whatsoever except what Israeli military law provides them.
3. “The other untruth is the accusation of illegal occupation of Arab land.”
According to Goldstein, Israel is not “occupying” the West Bank and Gaza Strip but reclaiming these areas for ancient Jewish sentiment dating to antiquity. Only religious fundamentalists insist on their own religious texts as the only arbiter between them and others. God is reduced to a dishonest estate agent who parcels out land to His Favorites, land with borders clearly demarcated as if these were registered in a 20th century title deeds office – all at a time thousands of years ago when national boundaries were rather unknown. This sort of thinking is simply outdated – it belongs to a time of colonial conquest and racial domination.
Remember Uitgegee op gesag van die Hoogste se Hand! (”Given to us on the authority of God” While this is a phrase of Apartheid South Africa’s, Song of the Flag, it may just as well have been an excerpt from Goldstein’s article!)
Considering Goldstein’s misleading analysis for a moment. How then are the indigenous people to express their own ancient claims to the land and their present political, social and cultural rights? This is the heart of Israel’s apartheid doctrine: that, in the same territory, one group – Jews – has superior rights to another. And if the native people protest, or resist this disenfranchisement, this is seen as outrageous, backward, racism against Jews, an irrational blow against the unquestionable right of a hardworking settler society to fulfill its God-given Covenant and right to self-determination. All rather familiar stuff.
4. “… until the National Party was prepared to accept that black South Africans had a place in their own country, there could be no peace. And so too, until the Arab/Muslim world accepts that Jews have a right to a state of their own on their ancestral land, there will be no peace.”
Goldstein had best draw the lesson from his own example: until the Israeli and Zionist movement is prepared to accept that Palestinians have a place in their (own!) country as equal citizens, there can be no peace – there should be no peace! The solution in South Africa was precisely NOT to accept separate black states, but to reject that “solution” for the lie that it was. Israel must give up the premise of separation – apartheid. Only then will the country be able to join the rest of the world (not just the Arab world) as a “normal” country.
The South African story is simple: states founded on ethnicity are unworkable and evil – it is reprehensible to synonimize your God, religion and your ethnicity and culture with an ideological state. The separation of people from people on the basis of religious or ethnic identity – apartheid – and the privileging of that identity over that of others is simply incompatible with the ideas of universal human rights.
It is in this context that we salute our dear friend and comrade, the Archbishop, for consistently carrying through the prophetic vision. This time, in actively responding to the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions of Israel until, in the least, Israel abides by international law and the universal principles of human rights.
Allan Boesa is Professor Extraordinaire at the University of Stellenbosch and Farid Esack is a Professor at the University of Johannesburg.

#BDS: Don't Play Tel Aviv, Johnny Lee Hooker Jr!

Dear Johnny Lee Hooker Jr,
The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) is writing to you with regards to your upcoming performance in Tel Aviv on November 22. You may know that in 2004, PACBI issued a call for the academic and cultural boycott of Israel that was supported by a groundswell of Palestinian unions and cultural groups. [1] Subsequently, in 2005, Palestinian civil society called for an all-encompassing Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign based on the principles of human rights, justice, freedom and equality. [2] The BDS movement is asking artists to heed our call until “Israel withdraws from all the lands occupied in 1967, including East Jerusalem; removes all its colonies in those lands; agrees to United Nations resolutions relevant to the restitution of Palestinian refugees rights; and dismantles its system of apartheid" [3]. In light of our call, your upcoming performance would violate the appeal of the Palestinian BDS movement which urges people of conscience throughout the world to isolate Israel until it ends its colonial and apartheid oppression of the Palestinian people, as was done to the apartheid regime in South Africa.
We know that you have been asked to cancel this performance and we would like to further urge you to reconsider your performance in Tel Aviv that would do nothing more than entertain Apartheid and whitewash Israel’s long list of criminal acts. [4]
Israel is a state defined by its brutal practices towards the indigenous Palestinian population of the land. In all places where it wields its power, Israel’s practices have historically worked to nullify the mere existence of Palestinians. Israel, through its unlawful military occupation of the West Bank, restricts Palestinians’ freedom of movement and speech, denies basic human rights like access to education, and continues a policy of stealing land and sustenance from the occupied Palestinian population. People are arrested without charge and imprisoned without trial as an entire population is terrorized with violence and humiliation on a daily basis. This occupation, with its more than 600 checkpoints placed throughout the West Bank to prevent any kind of normalcy is what keeps Palestinians from traveling to see performances such as yours in cities, towns and lands that they were in fact dispossessed from. Meanwhile, Israel continues to build its Apartheid illegal wall on Palestinian land and to support the ever-expanding network of illegal, Jewish-only settlements that divide the West Bank into Bantustans, also forbidding them to attend your show, or any other cultural performance.
Moreover, in its horrible system of Apartheid towards Palestinian citizens of Israel, segregationary, if not outright fascist, laws and policies afford rights and protections on an exclusivist and ethnically defined basis. While these sorts of racist laws have been condemned throughout the world, they remain standard Israeli practice. You may have also heard of Israel’s illegal and criminal siege of Gaza, where Israeli policy has tragically condemned 1.5 million Palestinians to life under incarceration in the world’s largest open-air prison. From this prison of Gaza, across Palestine and throughout the vast lands of our diaspora, Palestinians have been denied the internationally recognized right of return as refugees who were ethnically cleansed in 1948. Today, more than seven million Palestinian refugees continue to struggle for their right to return to their homes.
After Israel’s war of aggression against Gaza in December 2008 and January 2009, which left 1,400 Palestinians dead [5], predominantly civilians, and led the UN Goldstone Report to declare that Israel had committed war crimes [6], and after the flotilla massacre, many international artists have refused to conduct business as usual with a country that places itself above international standards. Elvis Costello [7], Gil Scott Heron, Carlos Santana, Devendra Banhart, and the Pixies are but a few of the artists who have refused to perform in Israel in the past year. We urge you to join your peers in canceling your trip and respect our call and our struggle. After the flotilla massacre, Devendra Banhart had this to say upon cancelling his show, which we hope will resonate with you:
Unfortunately, we tried to make it clear that we were coming to share a human and not a political message but it seems that we are being used to support views that are not our own. [8]
Your artistry has been defined by your life and your legacy. Through your music, you have embraced and continued the incredible art that your father once brought to our world. We can hear this legacy in your music. In your career defining performance in Istanbul, you shared this gift with us and allowed us to celebrate your remarkable talent. In Live in Istanbul, you have given us the timeless gift of your music and passion by forever capturing this timeless performance. We are all in Istanbul when we listen, and the love your audience gave you is the gift of this shared passion. After the tragedy of the flotilla massacre and the vicious murder of those who traveled from Istanbul to bravely defy brutal power in an effort to break the siege on Gaza, can you in good conscience break the ties that bind your art to Istanbul and perform in Tel Aviv?
Sincerely,
PACBI
www.pacbi.org
pacbi@pacbi.org

#BDS: Tell Amazon shoppers it's not OK to buy apartheid products

Save (the) amazon logo

Would you buy products tested on animals, or that you know to be environmentally destructive, or exploit child labor? If you know that a product harms others or violates international law, shouldn't you boycott it?
Below, please sign up to help us "save (the) amazon!" It's not good for the world's biggest online retailer to sell products that support inhumane policies.
By signing up, you agree to:
1. Search Amazon.com,
2. Identify a product that aids the Israeli occupation, or generates profit from it (examples are: Ahava skin cream, CAT boots, or Motorola walkie-talkies),
3. Use your own words to add a critical review of that product to Amazon.com,
4. Email us a link where we can see your review on Amazon. We'll collect and share the best ones in our upcoming media campaign to highlight the growing movement for boycotting Israeli occupation.
Please confirm that you can help. Enter your email address below. You'll receive a convenient reminder email. To send us a link to your Amazon product review, simply reply to this email.

#BDS: An open letter to participants in the Arava Institute’s online event “With Earth and Each Other”

Dear Participants in “With Earth and Each Other,”
We are writing because we’ve uncovered very troubling new information to add to the information that we have already publicized[1] about Israel’s Arava Institute for Environmental Studies[2] and the online event “With Earth and Each Other: A Rally for a Better Middle East.”[3] We fully understand that many of you are participating in the event from a sincere desire to build “a better Middle East.” Unfortunately, it has become increasingly clear to us that supporting the Arava Institute and this event will actually damage the causes of justice and peace in the Middle East because Arava is a close and seemingly uncritical partner with right-wing institutions that continue to dispossess Palestinians from their homes and communities. Any efforts by Arava and the November 14th event to foster dialogue and improve the environment are just minor sideshows to the larger projects of Palestinian dispossession implemented by Jewish National Fund[4] and the Israeli government that Arava is serving to legitimize. Therefore, the best action that you can take to help create a better Middle East is to withdraw from this event.
Recap of reasons to boycott the event: We’ve previously explained that, modeled on the movement against apartheid South Africa, Palestinian civil society has overwhelmingly called for a boycott of businesses and academic and cultural institutions[5] that are complicit in denying Palestinian rights. The Jewish National Fund is one of the primary institutions involved in taking over Palestinian land, erasing Palestinian communities by planting trees over Palestinian villages that were destroyed by Israel, and thereby privileging the rights of Jews and discriminating against Palestinians. Arava and the JNF are close partners, and the JNF helps to fund Arava. According to the Arava Institute, Arava and “the Jewish National Fund (JNF) share a common mission to protect and preserve the land of Israel. This common mission has resulted in a formal partnership.”[6] Arava does not speak out against the JNF’s projects to secure Palestinian land for Israeli Jews, including this summer’s demolition of the Palestinian Bedouin village of Al Araqib in the Negev,[7] the home of Arava. Arava claims that it is “nonpolitical,” and that the purpose of November 14th event is “not to take a side.” However, self-described “neutral” efforts to foster “dialogue” that fail to confront oppression merely serve to further an unjust status quo.
Arava Leaders featured at JNF Conference: Arava Institute Director David Lehrer notes on his blog that the Arava Institute has worked to keep folksinger and social justice activist Pete Seeger in the November 14th event, despite a number of public letters to Seeger calling on him to withdraw. In addition to Seeger, other participating entertainers include Ian Anderson, Dan Bern, Mandy Patinkin, Tuck and Patti, David Broza and Shuly Nathan. Lehrer explains on his blog that he met with Pete Seeger and Seeger’s daughter Tinya on October 8th at Seeger’s Beacon, New York home where “I also discussed the concerns raised about the Jewish National Fund's sponsorship of "With the Earth and With Each Other."[8]
Lehrer’s blog includes many of his daily activities. However, what he omitted from his blog, and what has just come to our attention, is that just two days after his visit with Seeger, Lehrer was a “Featured Speaker” at the Jewish National Fund’s National Conference in Atlanta, along with Friends of the Arava Institute Executive Director, David Weisberg, according to JNF’s program for the event.[9]Lehrer was rubbing shoulders with other featured speakers like JNF Board Chair Ronald Lauder, Likud stalwart and Israeli Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau, and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, a leader in implementing the Judaization of Jerusalem, and described by JNF in the conference program as "a rising political star." Barkat unequivocally promotes a “united Jerusalem” under Israeli rule. On “60 Minutes” in October,[10] Barkat angrily defended the blatant takeover by Jewish settlers of the Palestinian East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan.
Arava silent on demolitions while others protest: Jewish activists protested both outside[11] and inside the JNF Conference,[12] and Jewish groups delivered a letter from 28 Israeli organizations and eight American Jewish organizations criticizing the JNF's policies in the Negev and the JNF’s destruction of Bedouin villages like Al Araqib.[13] The JNF responded to the letter with an angry rebuke, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.[14] David Weisberg has claimed in emails to Adalah-NY that Arava supports the Bedouin residents of the Negev, but Arava did not sign the letter to the JNF, and made no public comments supporting the protests. Instead, as mentioned above, Arava’s leadership spoke alongside leading right-wing Israelis.
Arava partners with the Israeli government: David Lehrer never mentioned on his blog or elsewhere, the repeated demolitions of Al Araqib by Israeli forces between July and October, though these events occurred in Arava's "backyard.” Instead, in his blog, Lehrer highlighted Arava's negotiation "with the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs's Development Aid Department (MASHAV) on an expanded program for 2011." Lehrer wrote that members "were thrilled to hear about these global developments taking place in their own backyard.”[15] In another blog post during the same period, Lehrer wrote that on "August 24th, Dr. Shmuel Brenner, straight back from Brazil, Dr. Clive Lipchin and I met in Jerusalem at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs,"[16] to discuss once more strengthening Arava’s partnership with the Israeli government. Lehrer’s actions and words clearly demonstrate that Arava has prioritized strong partnerships with the JNF and the Israeli government, the main actors in dispossessing the Bedouins in the Negev, over actions in support of the Bedouins. It appears clear that Arava has taken a political stand with the oppressors.
Recap of Israeli government and JNF Role: The Israeli government’s denial of rights and dispossession of its Palestinian citizens, including the Bedouin in the Negev, and the JNF’s role in that process, have been carefully documented by human rights organizations like Adalah: The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel and Human Rights Watch.[17] The JNF has been engaged in the “Judaization” of Palestine[18] for more than 100 years. After the 1948 expulsion of two-thirds of the Palestinian people from their lands, the JNF planted[19] fast-growing non-native trees on the ruins of Palestinian villages in a deliberate attempt to prevent refugees from returning to their land. Today, the JNF directly controls 13% of the land in Israel and effectively controls more than 93% of the land, renting and leasing only to Jewish citizens of the state in violation of the rights of the Palestinian minority.[20]
The growing boycott movement: In comments that are directly applicable to “With Earth and Each Other,” the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel has emphasized that “Under conditions of colonial oppression… joint projects claiming to be ‘apolitical’ or aimed at promoting music, science, environmental protection, etc. as domains that are ‘above politics’ are misleading and injurious to the struggle against injustice. By overlooking the oppressive reality of Israel's atrocities and gradual ethnic cleansing, these projects in effect legitimize and contribute to perpetuating and normalizing oppression.... More than twenty years of such projects in Palestine... have led to nothing but further entrenching Israel's colonization and progressive denial of Palestinian rights.”[21]
Palestinian civil society has issued a boycott call because close examination showed that so many businesses and academic and cultural institutions, including many that claim neutrality or appear well-intentioned, are actually complicit in Israel’s denial of Palestinian rights. Many organizations and artists are now refusing to conduct business as usual with a country that places itself above international standards. Elvis Costello,[22] Gil Scott Heron, Carlos Santana, Roger Waters,[23] Devendra Banhart,[24] and the Pixies are but a few of the artists who have refused to perform in Israel in the past year.
Our research has demonstrated that the Arava Institute is yet another Israeli institution that is deeply complicit in Israeli oppression, and therefore deserves to be boycotted. If you participate in the November 14th event, you will share in Arava’s complicity.
Thank you,
Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel (New York) www.adalahny.org
American Jews for a Just Peace (US) www.ajjp.org
Artists Against Apartheid (International) www.artistsagainstapartheid.org
Boycott! supporting the Palestinian call for boycott divestment and sanctions (BDS) from within (Israel) boycottisrael.info
Educators for Peace and Justice (Toronto)
International Solidarity Movement – Palestine (Palestine) www.palsolidarity.org
Jews Say No! (New York) jewssayno.wordpress.com

#BDS: Arizona State University students protest IDF speaker

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