Feb 24, 2011

#BDS: Call for an international campaign to Stop the Jewish National Fund

[العربية -- Español -- Français]

"The Jewish National Fund (JNF)[1] was instrumental in the ethnic cleansing[2] of Palestine in the 1948 Nakba, and continues to play a central role in maintaining Israel's regime of apartheid.[3] The JNF provided political, financial and intelligence[4] support for the Zionist forces in their conquest, massacres and ethnic cleansing operations that characterized the 1948-49 war and the Palestinian Nakba. Today, the JNF controls vast properties belonging to millions of Palestinians, developing them exclusively for persons of “Jewish nationality,” a concept established and promoted in the JNF’s charter to exclude all others.
The JNF was created in 1901 to acquire land and property rights in Palestine and beyond for exclusive Jewish settlement. While indigenous Palestinians are barred from leasing[5], building on, managing or working their own land, the JNF holds the land in trust for “those of Jewish race or descendency” living anywhere in the world to “promote the interests of Jews in the prescribed region.”[6]
To ensure such racist control over the majority of confiscated Palestinian lands, Israel adopted the JNF model of discriminatory land management as official state policy. In 1953, the Israeli Knesset legislated special status for JNF, enabling it to carry out governmental functions as a Zionist institution (“for Jews only”). The JNF continues to operate as a state-chartered organization[7] under Israeli law with direct control over some thirteen percent of the land in pre-1967 Israel. Further, the JNF appoints six out of thirteen members of the governing board of the Israel Lands Authority (ILA), which manages the JNF’s thirteen percent, in addition to another eighty percent of all land in Israel. It is through this relationship with the JNF that Israel, while portraying itself as the only democracy in the Middle East, in fact, outsources the land-management functions of the state to this discriminatory state-chartered organization.
After the 1948 Nakba and the expulsion of approximately two-thirds of the Palestinian population from their homeland, the JNF was repackaged as an environmentalist organization carrying out forestation activities. The JNF's forests, parks and recreational facilities, planted and built on the ruins of hundreds of destroyed and depopulated Palestinian villages, have critically served to veil from public view the continuing official Israeli attempts to erase the traces of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. The JNF is thus fundamentally complicit in the denial of displaced Palestinians' rights to return, restitution and compensation, and in green-washing Israel's regime of apartheid, colonization and occupation."
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#BDS: Chilean miners: Don't allow Israel to exploit your suffering

"Representatives of Israel’s Ministry of Tourism, the official host of the eight day visit by the Chilean miners who survived a record 69 days underground following an August 2010 cave-in at the San Jose copper-gold mine, refused entry to to Connie Hackbarth, Executive Director of the Alternative Information Center (AIC). Officials told her that only journalists formally recognized by the Israeli Government Press Office (GPO) were permitted to attend the press conference, and then only if they had received invitations via the GPO and confirmed their attendance. Hackbarth’s comments about the crucial importance of independent journalists, as clearly seen recently in Tunisia, Egypt and now Libya, were ignored and she was told not to be “ideological” and “to stop wasting (our) time”.

Despite Israeli government assurances that the visit by the Chilean miners would not be a “circus”, the massive presence of “official” journalists at the press conference and the planned conduct of a private party for Castellano-language journalists on 24 February clearly demonstrate Israeli intentions: to derive the maximum public relations benefit from the visit.

Chile is home to the largest Palestinian community outside of the Middle East, numbered at some 300,000.

Numerous Palestinian civil society organizations requested the miners not to accept Israel’s invitation to visit, or to combine it with a visit to the occupied Palestinian Territory with Palestinian guides."

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#BDS: Israel organizes a speaking tour in the US to counter Apartheid Week

I wonder how much these 'volunteers' are paid:

"Group of young Israelis, chosen by Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs to go on a speaking tour of the US.

As Israeli Apartheid Week nears, the government on Monday unveiled its latest initiative aimed at debunking the 'analogy' made by Palestinian supporters between the Jewish state and minority rule in South Africa.

At a reception at the Knesset, the Public Diplomacy Ministry presented a diverse group of about 20 volunteer speakers consisting of Arabs, gay rights activists, Ethiopian Jews and a former MTV presenter who will tour campuses in North America later this month highlighting Israeli society’s pluralism.

Yuli Edelstein (Likud), the minister of public diplomacy and Diaspora affairs, said the aim was not to defend the government’s policies per se, but rather to demonstrate the country’s democratic and egalitarian values."

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#BDS: BART Riders say no to racist doublespeak in our subway stations

Culture jammers target ads, like the one above, blaming Palestinians for violence in the Palestine-Israel region.

More photos here

#BDS: Protesters picket Portland event launching an Oregon-Israel business alliance


"About 20 protesters demanding rights for Palestinians picketed Tuesday outside the Portland launch of an organization formed to boost business between Oregon and Israel.
Former Gov. Ted Kulongoski spoke to more than twice that number at theOregon-Israel Business Alliancekickoff inside the University of Oregon White Stag Building in Old Town. Kulongoski, who led a trade mission to Israel last year near the end of his term, favors increased dealings with Israel.
Outside, protester Steve Kerpen held a sign that said "Stop funding Israeli apartheid." Kerpen, of Portland, said he saw Israelis mistreating Palestinians during a visit to the West Bank in May. "I'm Jewish, but I've seen what's happening," Kerpen said. "It just seems a horrible thing to support a country that does this to its citizens."
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#BDS: An open letter to Queer academics, artists, and activists

"Dear queers, academics, artists and activists,
Some of you might be planning a visit to Israel to participate, and maybe even support, queer, cultural or academic events. Some of you might be visiting for religious or personal reasons, or perhaps simply out of curiosity. While an invitation to Israel might seem flattering and exciting, we hope that – before taking a stand and booking that flight – you read the following open letter, written by Palestinian queers, activists, academics and artists, to queers, activists, academics and artists around the world.
We are determined to inform every person wishing to travel to Israel on the political and social realities of life in Israel/Palestine. “Occupation,” “Palestinians,” “Gaza,” “apartheid,” “ethnic cleansing,” “boycott,” and “refugees” are not terms you would come across in flyers, itineraries, and travel brochures promoting Israel; yet, these words define the daily lives of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation. As Palestinians and as queers, these words have shaped our history and continue to determine our future.
Some of you might feel that boycotting Israel would be too one-sided for such a complex conflict. You might think that it is too controversial. Some of you are probably wondering whether this boycott movement is actually effective. To start the conversation, we put together background information on BDS and Israel/Palestine; and we also encourage you to get in touch and explore with us any questions or issues you might have with BDS. Our aim is for every person to have a historically-informed understanding of Israel/Palestine, and for every queer, academic, artist, and activist to support the Palestinian civil society’s call for BDS."
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#BDS: Famous Greek composer asks his government to arrest Netanyahu

"ATHENS, (PIC)-- Greek composer and orchestra conductor Mikis Theodorakis has asked his government to arrest Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu and put him on trial for his crimes in Gaza and Lebanon.
Theodorakis, in a TV interview on Monday evening, attacked Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou for meeting with his Israeli counterpart, Benjamin Netanyahu, who the composer says was persona non grata in Greece due to his "war crimes in Lebanon and Gaza."
He said that Athens should have rather arrested Netanyahu and put him on trial."

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#BDS: New Yorkers protest Israel Philharmonic, more protests planned in other cities

640_ipo_protest_in_nyc_feb_22_2011.jpg original image ( 1600x1071)

"February 22 – Seventy New Yorkers protested the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra’s (IPO) performance at Carnegie Hall Tuesday evening, using chants, songs and street theater to highlight the IPO’s role in whitewashing Israel’s apartheid policies against the Palestinian people. The orchestra’s performances are being met with protests in six of the seven cities on its US tour, including a protest last Sunday evening in West Palm Beach, an upcoming Wednesday protest in Newark, and further protests in Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles, as reported by the Israeli news website YNet.

Noelle Ghoussaini from Adalah-NY explained, “Tonight we sent a clear message to the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and the Israeli government’s “Brand Israel” campaign that their music cannot drown out Palestinians’ calls for justice.” The US protests respond to the call from the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) to boycott cultural institutions like the IPO that work to normalize Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories and whitewash the oppression of Palestinians in Israel, the occupied territories, and in exile.

Hundreds of well-dressed concert-goers paused on the edge of the sidewalk in front of Carnegie Hall, and looked across the street at the protesters’ signs, and listened to their chants and songs. Many were handed a mock IPO program that featured a cover photo of a past IPO performance in front of Israeli tanks for the Israeli army, and, on the inside, the PACBI’s call for an international boycott of the IPO.

Protesters held signs saying, “Israel Fiddles while Palestine Burns,” “Justice Presto not Lento,” “Without Justice There’s No Harmony,” and “Boycott the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra;” and they carried a banner with the words “Don’t Harmonize with Israeli Apartheid,” surrounded on each side by a violin with a rifle barrel as its neck. Protesters chanted, “We love Gustav, we love Mahler, but occupation makes us holler;” “For liberation take a stand, don’t let Is-ra-el rebrand;” and “Muslims, Jews, Atheists and Christians, stand for justice like Egyptians.”

In a street theater skit, a protester­­-turned-IPO conductor asked the crowd, “How can apartheid continue without us promoting the new, positive, aesthetically vibrant and civilized Israel? Don’t forget, there is “art” in “apartheid.” The conductor instructed three violinists to play progressively louder in an ultimately unsuccessful effort to drown out and cover up Israeli crimes against Palestinians that kept welling up behind the orchestra."

640_ipo_protest_in_nyc_street_theater_feb_22_2011.jpg original image ( 1600x1063)

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#BDS: Action against Ahava

Courtesy of PSC:

"Ahava will be exhibiting at the Professional Beauty 2011 show. Join the protest this Sunday at ExCeL to tell visitors that AHAVA IS BAD FOR BUSINESS.

This picket will a highlight the continuing campaign against Ahava, which sells its products in upscale shops, spas and salons.
Date: Sunday, 27 February 2011
Time: 10:00am - 12noon
Place: West Podium, West Entrance, ExCeL Exhibition Centre
Nearest DLR Station: Custom House for ExCeL (Zone 3). Further travel details are provided by the venue here.
The Stolen Beauty campaign is part of the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement against institutions and corporations that give tacit or material support to the Israel's occupation of the Palestinian Territory, designed to pressure the Israeli government to end the occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. Meanwhile, Israel's demolition of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem, land appropriations and violent repression in the West Bank continues.http://freepalestinefortnightlydemo.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/ahava-pink.jpg
Ahava's products, produced in the occupied West Bank are labelled of ‘Israeli origin' even though, according to international law, the West Bank cannot be considered to be part of the State of Israel.
Ahava exploits occupied natural resources for profit, which is a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Ahava fraudulently benefits from customs duty exemptions under the EU-Israel Trade Agreement by labelling its settlement produce as from Israel. Companies like Ahava profit from the illegal settlements which are a major obstacle to a just and peaceful solution to the conflict. "