Nov 14, 2010

#BDS: British politician: ‘Israel is the root cause of terrorism'

Liberal Democratic peer asks why world allows Israel’s treatment of Palestinians to continue – "Is it Holocaust guilt?"

LONDON – In the second attack on Israel by Liberal Democrat politicians in the same week that the party’s leader said the party got it wrong on Israel, Jenny Tonge claimed on Friday that Israel’s treatment of Palestinians is the root cause of terrorism worldwide.

Possibly “Holocaust guilt” allows this treatment to go unchecked, Tonge said, adding that it might also be the “power of the pro-Israel lobby” in the UK and US.

The Liberal Democrat peer was speaking in the House of Lords at the Strategic Defense and Security Review, which sets out how the British government will deliver the priorities identified in its national security strategy.

#BDS: Now in US: Shufersal for haredi market

Israeli food retailer heads for NY ultra-orthodox Jewish stronghold; first Yesh branch to open in first quarter of 2011

The Shufersal chain is heading for the American retail market:Calcalist has learned that the chain owned by Nochi Dankner is set to open a branch of the chain's subsidiary, Yesh, in the town of Monsey in Rockland County, New York.

The kosher branch will replace a Pathmark supermarket. The first Yesh branch is set to open in the first quarter of 2011, ahead of the Passover holiday, and will cover and area of over 10,000 square meters.

Monsey is a significant aim for the Yesh chain as it is populated by a large Jewish population, most of which are young members of the Hassidic community. Yesh's entry into the local retail market will create competition for local kosher retailer Rockland, whose store is just minutes away from the community, and has been addressing the consumer needs of the religious Jews in the area.

#BDS: Madonna's health club chain may open Tel Aviv branch

Pop icon to launch 'Hard Candy Fitness' in Mexico City next month; executives say Israel considered as part of expansion plans

The "Hard Candy Fitness" chain is considering opening a branch in Tel Aviv in 2012, the Yedioth Ahtonoth daily reported last week.

The first "Hard Candy" club - named after the last album by the pop singer -- will open in a 30,000 square foot space in the Mexican capital.

Madonna is to attend its unveiling on November 29, according to a press release.

A source close to the famous singer told Yedioth Ahronoth that "Hard Candy" executives have added Tel Aviv to the list of cities they are interested in as part of the chain's expansion plans.

#BDS: Israeli Queers: Tel Aviv Nomination in MTV Gay Tourist Contests “Shameful Tribute to Apartheid”

MTV’s LGBT Network, Logo, has just published the results of two Internet award-bearing polls it conducted, nominating, among other cities, the Israeli city Tel-Aviv for gay ‘sexiest city’ and ‘year breakthrough’. The mere nomination was denounced by a Tel-Aviv-based queer group, Israeli Queers for Palestine, arguing MTV’s choice of Tel-Aviv sends a normalizing message to the Israeli occupation and oppression of the Palestinians, particularly in light of a Palestinian queer and general calls for a boycott of Israel. The full statement reads:

Just a few months after Palestinian Queers for BDS have issued their June 28 Call ‘upon all queer groups, organizations and individuals around the world to boycott the apartheid State of Israel‘, Logo, MTV’s LGBT Network, nominated Tel-Aviv, among other cities, within a gay ‘sexiest city’ and ‘year breakthrough’ award-bearing tourism promotion contests. We, Tel-Aviv-based queers, denounce the mere nomination of Tel-Aviv within this context of gay tourism promotion. These polls were conducted by Logo while a global human rights based movement for boycotting Israel is gaining strength in a pace that surpasses that of similar efforts to overthrow the apartheid regime of South Africa. Granting a shameful tribute to apartheid, Logo encourages LGBT communities to ignore such important efforts, and in particular the specific call made by Palestinian queers to boycott Israel.

#BDS: Gary Moore supports the boycott: Is summer on the way?

As winter falls, some glimmers of hope. The news earlier this month from the Irish section of the cultural boycott is that Gary Moore, a name beloved - or at least vaguely familiar to aficionados of ‘70s and ‘80s hard rock/blues, is joining the boycott of Israel. On tour in Russia, he declared that he wouldn’t visit the ‘criminal state’ of Israel ‘because of its racist policies against the Palestinian people’ . This is one of the straightest statements of support for boycott from an artist. Nice in itself, nice also to add another name to the roster. But I think someone like Gary Moore joining the boycott has wider resonance. Here’s why:

1. Gary wasn’t contacted by boycott campaigners in advance. In fact he’s not even a signatory of the Irish Cultural Boycott Pledge. This might mean nothing – he might have a friend involved in Palestine solidarity or Palestinian friends. But he probably does live in a place far beyond the ‘normal’ parameters of Palestinian solidarity activism. Put simply, hard rock isn’t the cultural milieu in which one would normally expect to find expressions of solidarity. I’m not being snobbish here: it’s no coincidence that so many of those who signed the Irish pledge were traditional musicians because a. trad musicians have a long history of political engagement b. trad musicians are specifically involved in Palestine solidarity. Hard rock has (as of yet) none of those links. It shows that the boycott campaign is out in the ether and that people who aren’t in any way connected to the milieu it originated from are now responding to the call.

2. This is AFAIK the first ever political statement made by Gary Moore. I could be wrong here, but he’s not the type of guy to mouth off about global warming, the budget etc. That someone previously not involved in politics and coming from a not particularly political background makes this stance significant. Again it shows the broadening of the campaign. It’s when musicians like Gary Moore matter-of-factly support boycott, rather than when already-political ones do that we can begin to hug ourselves with glee.

3. The statement was made in Russia, which along with Eastern Europe seems to be Gary’s main stomping and moshing ground these days. This raises the question as to what Eastern Europeans think of the boycott. Do they see it as an import, as a new trend from Western Europe and the US? And will it affect them, will they think that supporting Israel is yesterday’s fashion? Or am I assuming a Western cultural dominance that no longer exists. Even if they see it as a Western trend, are East Europeans and Russians less affected by this trend than, well, I’d hope?