Feb 18, 2011

#BDS: A pebble in the mainstream

"David R Randall
On the band’s last tour to Israel, Faithless frontman Maxi Jazz and lead guitarist Dave Randall became acutely aware of the Israeli occupation and late last year – amid much public attention – Faithless cancelled its scheduled Israeli gig.
Israel is the regional centre for all things cool, sexy and western – or so its government PR machine would like the world to think.

Tel Aviv is promoted as a hedonistic, libertarian party city, frequented by many of the world’s best known bands and DJs. This manufactured image matters to Israel.

The implicit message is that the country is liberal and progressive. Music fans can dance, drink and pop pills long into the night, blissfully distracted from the immeasurable suffering endured by Palestinians living just 40km down the road in Gaza.

In effect, music helps to drown out the cries of the oppressed in a society wilfully in denial of its role as oppressor. International DJs and musicians should no longer be complicit in this crime.

Faithless last performed in Israel in June 2005. I invited my friend, Palestinian producer and rapper Jad Abbas (aka Boikutt), to be my guest at the gig. He declined, explaining that Israeli checkpoints meant the short journey to the venue from his home in Ramallah would be almost impossible.

He added that, as a supporter of the cultural boycott of Israel, he would prefer it if our gig wasn’t happening at all. At the time, I knew of no western bands who had joined the boycott.

Since then, awareness of the true face of Israel and the suffering and humiliation to which Palestinians are subjected has become far more widespread, particularly in the wake of the siege of Gaza.

Significantly, people are coming to the realisation that Israel is an apartheid state. "

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#BDS: John Greyson: Sex, Song and Segregation


"Monday February 28 2011
    Screening begins 19h00 Concordia University Room H-110 1455 de Maisonneuve West Montreal Quebec

On February 28th, award-winning Canadian filmmaker John Greyson will be present in Montreal for Cinema Politica Concordia’s special screening event Sex, Song and Segregation. Bringing together penguins, protest, megaphone choirs and Elton John in a politically explosive combination, the event aims to celebrate Greyson’s contributions to art and activism, charting 25 years of films exploring South Africa, Palestine, race, sex, politics, and music.
John Greyson is a filmmaker, video artist, writer and activist whose features, shorts and installations include Fig Trees (2009), Proteus (2003), Zero Patience (2003) and Lilies (1996). An associate professor in film at York University, Greyson also serves on the advisory boards of Vtape, Inside/Out and the Toronto Palestinian Film Festival. Greyson has participated in numerous anti-censorship, AIDS and queer activist media projects such as The Olive Project, Deep Dish TV, Blah Blah Blah and AIDS Action Now.
A member of Queers Against Israeli Apartheid, Greyson is active in the global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for self-determination. He has produced several BDS-related short videos including Hey EltonVuvuzela, and most recently, BDS Bieber."

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#BDS: Hello Kitty Store opens in Israel

"Japanese fictional character, whose image has been used on 280,000 products in Europe, to officially land in Israel as part of new chain of stores

While listening to what Hello Kitty officials have to say about the reasons for their decision to expand the brand's activity in Israel in the coming year, one might want to consider appointing them as economic attachés in one of Israel's embassies. The company managers insist that Israel is an overwhelming financial success story.

"You are one of the only countries which have survived the global financial crisis so well," says Roberto Lanzi, an Italian, president of Global Consumer Products for the EMEA market (Europe, Middle East, Africa) at Sanrio, the Japanese company which owns the Hello Kitty brand.

He made the remark during a visit to Israel with Kunihiko Tsuji, one of the company's owners. "Although you have the limitations of a small country, the Israeli market has great potential," the two agreed.

Hello Kitty, which has such a Western name, is in fact a Japanese cat. The products bearing its image have a sales turnover estimated at more than $6 billion a year."

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#BDS: Israeli tennis player feeling 'comfy' in Dubai security zone

"Israeli tennis player hopes her presence in Middle East states often hostile to Israel can build mutual respect between two sides

When most players at the Dubai Championships finish their matches, they mingle in the clubhouse eating and chatting. For Shahar Peer, it's back to a guarded compound where she watches movies with her father Dov.

But it could be worse for Peer. She was denied a visa by the United Arab Emirates to play in Dubai two years ago because of anger over an Israeli military offensive in Gaza. The UAE doesn't have diplomatic relations with Israel and tournament organizers were penalized by the WTA and forced to meet conditions to stay on the world tour."

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#BDS: Fascists and Zionists find common ground

"Today in Britain if you decided to attend a fascist rally you might see something slightly unexpected in the crowd: the Israeli flag. Israeli flags are becoming more and more common as Zionists join forces with the fascists to mobilise against anti-fascist groups and pro-Palestine supporters throughout Europe.  
In England the English Defence League (EDL), known for its vitriolic and violent anti-Muslim racism, has gone so far as to set up a “Jewish Division” and now it is not an uncommon sight to see Zionists and fascists together yelling “We hate Muslims” and “Muslim bombers off our streets” at pro-Palestinians forces.
But is it not just small groups of Israel supporters around the world who agree with the revolting anti-Muslim racism of Europe’s far right and fascist groups: the state of Israel welcomes fascists with open arms – as long as they hate the Muslims as much as Israel does.
This is why people like the Dutch politician Geert Wilders from the far-right Freedom Party – who argues that the Quran should be banned and calls for an immediate end to Muslim immigration to Holland – was invited by the Israeli government to speak at a conference in Israel. He argued that “The jihad against Israel is the jihad against the West.” Perhaps what he really meant to say is the genocide of the Palestinians that Israel is carrying out is one that fascist parties around the world would like to emulate."
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#BDS: Boycott Israel Movement in Australia

#BDS: Al-Tariq: A Dialogue with Occupation, Colonization and Apartheid!

"As Palestinian Students based in Gaza we are alarmed to see yet another group 'Al Tariq’[1] presenting solutions for us Palestinians, as if two equal parties were locked in a stalemate. According to the group website “both sides” need to “learn from each other through reconciliation, forgiveness, and dialogue”. For us young people among the 1.5 million languishing in Gaza open-air prison, (800,000 children) the 4 year-long medieval blockade of land, air and sea and 2 years on from the most devastating of massacres that killed over 1400 of us and over 350 of our children, this is quite an insult.
We ask: can we forget the ongoing ethnic cleansing? How can we forget the brutal killing of 350 of our children and 1400 citizens, while more shootings of farmers and rock collectors continue along the border? How can we forget the ongoing medieval siege of the whole of the Gaza Strip which still deprives sick patients from treatment abroad and allows no concrete in for reconstruction?
The dialogue promoted is a diversion from addressing the wrongs and route to justice for a clearly racist and colonial subjugation of an entire people such as that imposed by Israel on us Palestinians languishing in besieged Gaza or in the Bantustans of the West Bank. Israeli oppression has traditionally followed the sequence of, 'murder, steal and colonize first, then dialogue on our terms later’.
This applied to South African Apartheid, and the white Afrikaner regime and its allies and supporters steadily felt their hold was threatened only when civil resistance grew among South African blacks and the global Anti-Apartheid Movement. The right to resist illegal military occupation and racist domination is enshrined in international law, yet like us they branded the African National Congress as one of the more 'notorious terrorist organisations’ - Nelson Mandela was on the US terror watch list until 2008.
Anti-Apartheid heroes Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Ronnie Kasrils have said that the situation here is worse than apartheid. So we ask again, would we have asked for White South African youth to discuss with Black youth under Apartheid telling them that, “the path that both parties walk only after they learn from each other through reconciliation, forgiveness, and dialogue?”
For South Africa, there was no discussion, there was no debate, the racist oppression had only one answer: BOYCOTT."
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#BDS: Chile pushes for boycott of products of Israeli colonies

"Chilean parliamentary delegation vows to prevent government to sign a free trade treaty with Israel

Ramallah: Cyprus has recognised the Palestinian state within the 1967 borders with the Palestinian National Authority highlighting the importance of such a recognition, but the move has angered Israel.
Only a day before Cyprus, Paraguay recognised the Palestinian state within 1967 borders along with five other countries from South America namely Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Uruguay. Chile and Peru have also recognised the Palestinian state but without specifying the borders.
A 12-member delegation of the Chilean Parliament, visiting the Palestinian Territories, vowed to do what is necessary and fight for preventing their government to sign a free trade exchange treaty with Israel.
Addressing a press conference at the Palestinian Legislative Council, the Chilean delegation said that the 1967 border lines should be the basis for the Chilean recognition of the Palestinian state."
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#BDS: Knesset committee approves bill allowing Israel boycotters to be fined

"Bill calls for heavy fines to be imposed on Israeli citizens who initiate or incite boycotts against Israeli individuals, companies, factories, and organizations.

The Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee approved a bill on Tuesday that calls for heavy fines to be imposed on Israeli citizens who initiate or incite boycotts against Israel, despite the Foreign Ministry's objections.
The Knesset approved an initial reading of the bill over six months ago. The bill will now move on to a first reading in the Knesset for approval. If it becomes a law, the fines would apply to anyone boycotting Israeli individuals, companies, factories, and organizations."
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#BDS: بيان صادر عن اللجنة الوطنية لمقاطعة إسرائيل حول الثورات العربية

للجنة الوطنية لمقاطعة إسرائيل تبارك للشعب المصري والأمة العربية بداية نهاية عهد الاستبداد وتحيي استمرار ثورة الشعب في تونس ومصر من أجل الديمقراطية والكرامة والعدالة الاجتماعية مناشدة بقطع العلاقات مع إسرائيل وتصعيد مقاطعتها في البلدين الشقيقين

رام الله المحتلة،17  شباط (فبراير) 2011

إذ يحتفل الشعب الفلسطيني مع الشعب المصري والشعب التونسي بخلع رؤوس أنظمة الاستبداد التي جثمت على صدور الشعبين منذ عقود، تعلن اللجنة الوطنية لمقاطعة إسرائيل وسحب الاستثمارات منها وفرض العقوبات عليها، وهي أكبر تحالف في المجتمع المدني الفلسطيني، تأييدها الكامل لمطالب الثورة الشعبية في كل من مصر وتونس بحياة حرة، كريمة في إطار نظام ديمقراطي يحقق العدالة الاجتماعية والتنمية المستدامة ويكفل الحريات والتداول السلمي للسلطة. كما نقف بقوة مع مطلب الشعبين بالانفكاك من التبعية للدول المهيمنة والإصرار على السيادة الوطنية غير المنقوصة، مما يعيد للشعبين دورهما المنشود عالمياً وعربياً، وبالذات فيما يتعلق بدعم نضال الشعب الفلسطيني من أجل الحرية والعودة وتقرير المصير.

في الوقت الذي نقف فيه بدون تردد وبمنتهى الفخر والاعتزاز مع شعوبنا في تونس ومصر وغيرهما من الدول العربية في نضالها المشرّف والحضاريّ لتفكيك أنظمة الاستبداد كلياً ومن أجل سيادة القانون والديمقراطية وحقوق الإنسان والكرامة الوطنية ووقف نهب ثروات الشعوب، نعبر عن امتناننا العميق وعرفاننا بالدور العظيم الذي لعبته، ولا تزال، الشعوب العربية في دعم واحتضان كفاحنا الفلسطيني لاستعادة حقوقنا الوطنية بالكامل، وأهمها إنهاء الاحتلال العسكري والاستعمار الاستيطاني، وإنهاء نظام الأبارتهايد الإسرائيلي، واحترام وتمكين لاجئينا جميعاً من ممارسة حقهم غير القابل للتفاوض في العودة إلى الديار التي شردوا منها منذ نكبة عام 1948.

إن ثورتي تونس ومصر أعادتا الروح للنضال التحرري العربي عموماً وللتلاحم الشعبي من أجل نهضة الأمة العربية ورفعتها واستكمال تحررها السياسيّ والاقتصادي بعد عقود من التخلف والتبعية والفساد والقمع والتنكيل وحرمان الشعوب من أبسط الحريات والحقوق وانسداد أفق التنمية. وهما قد ينبئان بدخولنا حقبة جديدة، تستعيد فيها الشعوب العربية زمام المبادرة، فيعود وهج دعمها الفعال والخلاق للقضية الفلسطينية، التي كانت ولا تزال في صميم الوجدان العربي من المحيط إلى الخليج. إن دعم إسرائيل بأحدث التكنولوجيا والعتاد لأنظمة القمع والاستبداد في دول عربية عديدة لهو محفز آخر، إن كانت هناك حاجة لمحفزات، لتوطيد أواصر الوحدة بين الشعوب العربية لمحاصرة إسرائيل ومن يدعمها ومقاطعتها ولدعم الشعب الفلسطيني في نضاله المشروع لتقرير مصيره.

إقرأ/ي المزيد

#BDS: The "Palestine Papers": Grave Palestinian concessions met with utter Israeli rejectionism

"With revolutionary change across the Arab World eroding Israel's power in the region, BDS has become a key strategy of the Palestinian people for a global struggle to hold Israel accountable and assert our inalienable rights under international law
Occupied Palestine, 17 February 2011 – The recent public exposure of a large number of documents related to the U.S.-sponsored "peace process" between Israel and Palestinian officials provides hard evidence, if any was needed, not only of readiness on the part of unrepresentative Palestinian "negotiators" to concede basic Palestinian rights, but also of Israel's rejectionism and unwillingness to negotiate even an unjust and unsustainable peace. The leaked documents also reveal the arm-twisting employed by international "peace brokers" to compel – unelected -- Palestinian officials to serve Israel's expansionist and colonial agenda through the surrender of UN-sanctioned rights of the Palestinian people. It is now clearer than ever that the so-called negotiations were never based on principles of international law and human rights and never promoted just peace.
With popular revolutions scoring immense successes in the region, particularly in Egypt, against despotic regimes that were deeply implicated in protecting Israel and complicit in its war crimes and crimes against humanity, Israel's impunity, intimidation and "deterrence" power, and its ability to maintain occupation, colonialism and apartheid over the Palestinian people have been substantially weakened. The lightening speed at which democratization and freedom are taking hold in Tunisia, Egypt and other Arab states ruled by authoritarian regimes will undoubtedly boost Palestinian popular resistance, including the boycott movement, in an unprecedented way."
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#BDS: How does Google translate "Israel will finish"?

Google translates "Israel will finish" to "Israel will not be defeated" in Arabic, and "Israel will die" to "Israel will not die". Talk about professionalism.

#BDS: اسرائيل تسن قانونا يعاقب الدول التي تؤيد مقاطعتها

في محاولة إجرائية لمواجهة مقاطعة إسرائيل بسبب سياستها القمعية الاحتلالية ضد الشعب الفلسطيني، صادقت لجنة القانون والدستور في الكنيست، بالقراءة الأولى، على مشروع قانون يمنع قيام مواطنين إسرائيليين بحملات مقاطعة ضد دولتهم سواء كانت الحملة داخل إسرائيل أو خارجها. وينص القانون على أن أية جهة تقوم بالحملة أو تروج لها عن طريق المساهمة بها أو توفير معلومات لها تكون عرضة للمقاضاة واحتمال دفع تعويضات باهظة لمن تضرر من الحملة، حتى لو لم يثبت أن الضرر قد حدث فعلا.

ووفقا لمشروع القانون: "لا يجب مقاطعة اسرائيل او تشجيع المشاركة بالمقاطعة او توفير مساعدة او معلومات بهدف دعم المقاطعة". ويوضح المشروع بصورة جلية بان يتناول ايضا مقاطعة المستوطنات في الضفة الغربية. ووفقا للمشروع تستطيع المحكمة فرض غرامة مالية حتى 30 الف شيكل على مواطن اسرائيلي يدعو للمقاطعة او يشارك فيها، اما المواطن الاجنبي فبالامكان منع دخوله الى اسرائيل لفترة تزيد عن عقد.

اما الدول الاجنبية التي تسن قوانينا تفرض مقاطعة على اسرائيل او منتوجاتها فبالامكان منعها من القيام بنشاطات بنكية في البنوك الاسرائيلية وبالتجارة بعقارات واراضي في اسرائيل، كما تستطيع الدولة اعاقة نقل اموال اليها تستحقها. اما المتضررين من المقاطعة فبامكانهم المطالبة بتعويضات بقيمة خسائره.

إقرأ/ي المزيد

#BDS: Hampshire, first American University to divest from companies tied to the Israeli military

#BDS: Hampshire SJP protest IDF soldier's talk on campus

"Dear Community Members,
We are issuing this statement as concerned members of Hampshire’s Students for Justice in Palestine to inform the community about the event that took place on Thursday, February 3, 2011. We feel that the letter that President Fried sent out the following day omitted crucial information about what took place that night and that it is necessary to clarify the nature of this specific event.
Sergeant Benjamin Anthony of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) came to give a presentation on behalf of his organization, Our Soldiers Speak. The sole purpose of this organization is to present the lives of Israeli soldiers and the wars they are a part of in a sympathetic light, with no mention of the Palestinian civilians who suffer as a result of these wars. As such, they implicitly and explicitly defend the internationally recognized war crimes soldiers like Sgt. Benjamin Anthony have participated in.
Appalled that an soldier from an occupying army was coming to speak openly on our campus, a multi-generational group of students and community members participated in a collective protest during the event. Our protest had multiple goals: to call attention to the fact that there was no space for the voices of Palestinians to speak to the injustices committed against them by such soldiers like Sgt. Anthony, to challenge his purported “a-political” participation in the occupation of Palestine, and to offer a safe space for support and remembrance of those thousands silenced, killed, and displaced by the Israeli regime. In the interest of transparency, we would like to outline the steps we took to carry out each of these goals."
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#BDS: Mass march against Agrexco, the largest exporter of illegal settlement products

"On February 12, 24 hours after activists locked locked Agrexco storage areas, more than a hundred activists marched on Liege airport in Belgium. Activists from Belgium were joined by French activists, who collectively marched to the airport where they gathered to protest the unloading and shipping of Agrexco flowers. 

The company Agrexco is the largest exporter of illegal settlement products, profiting from settlement and land theft primarily in the Jordan Valley. Each year, on Valentine's Day, the company earns large profits selling flowers that arrive Bierset and are sold under different labels, concealing their true origin.

Protestors gathered in front of CAL-LACHS Cargo Air Lines Air Cargo-Liege Handling Services, which is responsible for shipping Agrexco projects."

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#BDS: Who said BDS doesn't work? Knesset member says boycott has already cost Israel tens of millions of dollars

Courtesy of Mondoweiss:

"A new Knesset lobby has been started by Miri Regev, a member of the Knesset, to oppose the "threat of the delegitimization of Israel." Here is a Hebrew report in partial translation:

"Increased delegitimization of the State of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people, and the actions taken against the state are gradually turning into a strategic threat. This is a new threat and a new danger..." Regev said.
She states that the lobby's goals, among others, will be countering [refugee?] return claims [sic], apartheid [allegations], persecution of IDF officers in Israel and abroad, evasion of military service, calls for refusal, the Goldstone report, the calls for an economic, academic, cultural and political boycott against the State of Israel.
According to Regev, "In the realm of the boycott alone, one can point to real damage to the State of Israel, assessed at tens of millions of $US. Numerous Israeli companies are working under a regime of intimidation by various organizations seeking to establish conditions which restrict the free market."

#BDS: Adidas: Apartheid is not fair play, drop sponsorship of Jerusalem marathon

"Occupied Palestine, 17 February 2011 – The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC), the largest coalition of Palestinian civil society organizations and unions, calls on Adidas to withdraw its sponsorship of the first Jerusalem marathon to take place on March 25, 2011 to avoid becoming complicit in covering up Israel's war crimes and grave human rights abuses. Israel has been consistently, systematically, and quite blatantly working to “Judaize” Jerusalem through policies of ethnic cleansing directed at the indigenous Palestinian population to change the demographic reality of the occupied city, in contravention of the Fourth Geneva Convention and international human rights law.
A recent report by European Union Heads of Mission in Jerusalem stated that “the continued expansion of [colonial] settlements, restrictive zoning and planning, ongoing demolitions and evictions, an inequitable education policy, difficult access to health care, the inadequate provision of resources and investment and the precarious residency issue have not only serious humanitarian consequences, they undermine the Palestinian presence in East Jerusalem .” Adidas’s sponsorship of the marathon organized by the Jerusalem Municipality, the party responsible for the implementation of these policies, will be perceived as a stamp of approval of Israel’s violations of international law in Jerusalem and elsewhere.
The Jerusalem Municipality, a key node in the official Israeli structure of colonialism and apartheid, is a leading violator of Palestinian human rights. Since its inception, it has been a major instrument in the colonization of Israeli-occupied Jerusalem. It is particularly notable for its role in promoting and deepening one of the starkest cases of urban apartheid in the world. The municipality continues to be actively involved in the illegal gradual ethnic cleansing of Palestinians out of Jerusalem, the demolition of Palestinian homes and destruction of property, and the sustained suppression of development in the Palestinian neighborhoods as a matter of policy."
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#BDS: Action Alert: Protest pinkwashing at the San Fran LGBT Film Fest

"Queer organizations around the globe are mobilizing to let filmmakers and other cultural workers know that the Israeli government is trying to "pinkwash" its war crimes by giving money to queer cultural events, including the upcoming San Francisco LGBT Film Festival. Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism (QUIT!) wrote this action alert intended for filmmakers who are submitting their work to the Festival.

QUIT! encourages the general public to sign the following letter and send it to queer filmmakers around the world.

Dear Filmmaker:

As queers for human rights and justice, we are writing to make you aware of an issue regarding the San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival's relationship with the state of Israel. Last year, for the first time since 2006, the film festival's parent organization Frameline accepted monetary support for its festival from the Israeli Consulate. At the very same time, attacks on Palestinian civilians and international human rights activists in Gaza were intensifying and the building of settlements, against international law, was continuing.

We are asking you to join hundreds of internationally-organized artists, academics, filmmakers and writers by supporting the Palestinian struggle for self-determination and human rights. LGBT Palestinians have asked international queers to respect the cultural and academic boycott of Israel called by Palestinian civil society in 2005. Please read their statement. The call of Palestinian civil society makes it clear that any institution which is sponsored by or partnering with any agency of the Israeli government is a target of boycott by people who support a just peace in the region."

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