Nov 22, 2010

#BDS: New MNBBC Video calling on Minnesota to Divest from Israel Bonds!

Sign the MN BBC Petition.

#BDS: Hot-button issue: Performing in Israel

When the Cape Town Opera's revival of "Porgy and Bess" toured Europe, its novel resetting of the American classic to apartheid-era Soweto won raves. When the touring production moved to Israel this month, attention turned sour.

No less than Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu called it "unconscionable" for a South African opera company to perform in Israel, the target of an increasingly aggressive international cultural boycott organized by pro-Palestinian activists hoping to turn Tel Aviv into the new Sun City.

After an ugly public tussle, "Porgy and Bess" — a piece about racism, written by a Jewish composer — opened on schedule Nov. 15, albeit with some hastily added events with Palestinian artists. But protestors outside the Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center still accused the black South African performers of betraying the same kind of boycott that once helped bring down South Africa's apartheid regime.

The showdown capped one of the most combative years yet in Israel's long struggle for international recognition and legitimacy in the cultural world. Buoyed by relative security, an improving economy and a fan base hungry for international acts, Israeli promoters booked an impressive list of big names this year, including Elton John, Rihanna, Metallica, Rod Stewart, Ozzy Osbourne and dance company Alvin Ailey.

But there were plenty of high-profile cancellations too, including Elvis Costello, the Pixies, Carlos Santana, Gil Scott-Heron, Devendra Banhart and a speaking engagement by British film director Mike Leigh.

#BDS: New Yorkers Protest Fundraising Cruise for Illegal Hebron Settlements


120 New Yorkers silently picketed at the entrance to Manhattan’s Chelsea Piers this evening (16 November) to protest against the Brooklyn-based Hebron Fund’s fundraising event to expand Jewish settlements in the Israeli-occupied West Bank city of Hebron.

The protesters held signs saying “End the Siege of Hebron,” “Remove the Settlers,” “Return the Land,” “Hebron is in Palestine,” “US Dollars Feed Israeli War Crimes,” and other signs with large photos depicting violence by Israeli settlers and soldiers against Palestinian residents of Hebron. The protest was endorsed by sixteen US human rights and peace groups, three of which are Jewish.

#BDS: Israeli Citizens to Leiden University: Please Do not Hold the 2010 Cleveringa Lecture at the Hebrew University!

Dear Officials of Leiden University,

We are a group of Israeli citizens. It has recently been brought to our attention that Leiden University had decided to host a special lecture at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University on Thursday 25/11,

commemorating a speech by Professor Rudolph Pabus Cleveringa during the Second World War, in which he protested the removal of Jewish faculty members.

The statement issued by Leiden University reads as follows:

"Cleveringa raised his voice right at the onset of the war, notably in regard of the freedom of expression. This is highly appreciated in Israel, all the more as there are still universities abroad trying to boycott Israeli professors and students."

We would like to pay our highest respect to Prof. Cleveringa, for his bold action, taken in the defense of universal principles of human rights.

However, as Israeli citizens who care for these principles’ the choice to hold the Cleveringa lecture at the Hebrew University seems completely erroneous to us.

The Hebrew University is not a politically neutral institution. In addition to the incidents mentioned above, the Hebrew University is a constant and willing collaborator with the Israeli Defense Force - a military force over which hover well founded allegations of war crimes, including the bombing and destruction of Palestinian Universities and severe disruption of their academic life, or the bombing of media centers and radio stations. The Hebrew University has been involved in the development of weaponry for use by the Israeli military and in the training of the top military weapons’ researchers. The university even hosts a military base within its Givat Ram campus. All of this does not bode well with the principles of human rights.

#BDS: Linkin Park doesn’t boycott Israel

On Nov. 15, popular American rock bank Linkin Park performed in Israel, despite the fact that other bands and artists refuse to play there on account of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

One of the founding members of the band, Brad Delson (lead guitarist), identifies as Jewish, according to theDelson’s Wikipedia page (his Jew-fro seems to confirm that; check out the photo on the Wiki page), and the site also says that he went to L.A.-area high school Agoura High with Mike Shinoda, the rapper in the group.

The six-piece band performed at HaYarkon Park in Tel Aviv (other band members include Chester Bennington, Rob Bourdon, David Farrell and Joseph Hahn).