Feb 25, 2011

#BDS: Apartheid: From South Africa to Israel

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#BDS: BDS Day of Action – March 30, 2011

"Commemorate Land Day 2011 by Joining the Global BDS Day of Action

30 March 2011
The BDS National Committee (BNC) is calling on you to unite in your different capacities and struggles to join the Global BDS Day of Action on Land Day, 30 March 2011, in solidarity with the Palestinian people’s right to self determination on their ancestral land.
Inspired and buoyed by the popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia and their unique manifestation of courage, dignity, civility and determination, we stand resolutely with worldwide struggles for self determination, freedom, democracy, social justice and equality, and we call for intensifying BDS actions globally as the main form of solidarity with Palestinian rights.

The Palestinian Land Day commemorates the day in 1976 when Israeli military forces shot and killed six young Palestinian citizens of Israel. These brave youth were among thousands protesting the Israeli government’s expropriation of Palestinian land to build new Jewish-only colonies and expand existing ones. Today, Land Day symbolizes Palestinian resistance to Israel’s ongoing land expropriation, colonization, occupation and apartheid. We salute and stand with the similarly popular and determined Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings, confirming that struggles for freedom, justice and equal rights everywhere are one. To the people of Tunisia and Egypt we say: “Your struggle is ours, as ours is yours. Your freedom is ours, as ours is yours.”

At this time, we are also reminded of the 20th anniversary of the failed attempts that started in Madrid in 1991 to make peacewithout justice and human rights. The recently revealed “Palestine Papers” have confirmed beyond any doubt what has already been known to many: Israel refuses to comply with international law and rejects all forms of just peace, regardless of any steep concessions offered by unelected and unrepresentative Palestinian officials. As in the heroic struggle for freedom and against apartheid in South Africa, it is evident today that only sustained, effective and morally consistent international pressure — especially in the form of creative, context-sensitive BDS campaigns — can compel Israel to abide by its obligations under international law and respect Palestinian rights, foremost among which is our right to self determination and freedom.

Inspired by a century of Palestinian civil resistance, the South African anti-apartheid movement, and the intifada of the Egyptian and Tunisian peoples, the BNC calls on people of conscience all over the world to join the global BDS Day of Action through engaging in effective, creative and visible actions. We specifically call on you to:
1. Launch and support divestment initiatives to encourage and pressure individuals, pension funds, institutions and corporations to shed their investments in Israel in order to feed and profit from Israel’s war, occupation and apartheid economy;
2.      Take initiatives to boycott products and services of Israeli and international corporations that sustain Israel’s apartheid, colonialism and occupation;
3.      Pursue legal action towards ending Israel’s impunity, including by investigating and prosecuting  in national courts and international tribunals Israeli war criminals and corporations that are complicit in Israeli violations of international law.
4.      Urge artists to join the spectacularly growing cultural boycott of Israel by refusing to provide a cultural fig leaf for Israeli apartheid. Artists and cultural figures in South Africa, Ireland, the UK, Canada, France, Italy, Spain, India, Australia, the U.S., Brazil, Norway, Sweden, among others, have heeded the PACBI-led and internationally endorsed call for a cultural boycott, thus sending a clear message to Israel that its occupation and discrimination against Palestinians are unacceptable. Far from being “above politics,” many in the cultural world now recognize, Israeli cultural institutions play a key role in the “Brand Israel” campaign of the Israeli foreign ministry, aimed at diverting attention from and whitewashing Israel’s colonial policies and war crimes;
5.      Initiate and promote incremental academic boycott initiatives leading to termination of all institutional links with Israeli universities: including petitions, statements and awareness raising campaigns to highlight the role played by these academic institutions in planning, justifying and perpetuating the state’s colonial and apartheid policies."
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#BDS: Madrid protests Israeli visit, urge ban

"Hundreds of demonstrators in Spain have protested a visit by Israeli President Shimon Peres, calling for the immediate lifing of the siege on Gaza by the Tel Aviv regime.

Human rights associations and Palestinian living in Madrid were among the protesters gathered in front of the ministry of foreign affairs on Thursday, calling on the EU to impose sanctions on the regime and to boycott Israeli companies.

Protesters also demanded that Peres testify in court and be held accountable for last May's deadly Israeli attack on the Gaza-bound freedom Flotilla and its massive violations of human rights against the Palestinian people, a Press TV correspondent reported.

Spain's Prime Minister Luis Rodriguez Zapatero told Peres that his country was ready to expand strategic ties with Israel beyond issues regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Demonstrators were chanting slogans such as “Peres the murderer,” “free Palestine” and “Zapatero accomplice of a criminal.” 

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#BDS: Action Alert: NY LGBT Center Cancels Israel Apartheid Week Event

Courtesy of Pinkwatching Israel:

"The New York LGBT Center caved to pressure mounted by “genocide pornographer” Michael Lucas to cancel an event by Israel Apartheid Week organizers originally scheduled for March 5th. Lucas vowed to target the center’s donors to force them to cancel. This tactic, unfortunately, worked.

What Michael Lucas and the NY LGBT Center don’t know is that there is a growing movement of progressive queers who understand how and why queerness is directly implicated in Israel’s PR strategy to shift attention away from its brutal occupation of Palestine and its continuing annexation of Palestinian land. The Center should take note of what happened during Toronto Pride 2009, when organizers also attempted to silence Queer anti-apartheid activists and prevent them from participating in the march. They lost – because people refuse to be silenced, because people refuse to buy Israel’s insulting lies any longer.

It is time to fight back again and let the NY LGBT Center know that their decision is ill-informed and discriminatory. Sign the petition here."

#BDS: McEwan's criticism appears hypocritical

"After rejecting the Palestinian call to boycott the state-sponsored Jerusalem PrizeIan McEwan has massaged his conscience by demonstrating against home demolitions in East Jerusalem, criticisingIsrael in his acceptance speech, and donating his prize money to an Israeli-Palestinian peace group (Report, February 20). Should his detractors, as your correspondent David Halpin (Letters, February 22) suggests, now "eat their words"? We think not. Had McEwan refused the prize, protested in Jerusalem at his own expense, and attacked not Israel's "nihilism" but its colonialist zeal, his own words of condemnation would have had integrity and bite.
As it is, McEwan has given Mayor Nir Barkat a golden platform for his outrageous views. Jerusalem is not a city where all may "express themselves in a free way". Activists are arrested and deported, while racist internal laws allow the municipality to flout the Geneva convention by creating illegal settlements – a policy designed to prevent East Jerusalem from becoming the capital of a Palestinian state. To criticise these settlements while accepting the laurels of those who build them appears rank hypocrisy. Likewise, McEwan declares it is "urgent to keep talking" (Report, February 18), yet after his one official defence of his position (Letters, January 26), he has ignored all public and private requests to continue this debate. So much for courtesy, dialogue and engagement."
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#BDS: McEwan's lousy acceptance speech, and reasons to be be cautiously optimistic

"Ian McEwan went to Jerusalem, shook the hands of apartheid officers, hobnobbed with war criminals, and gave a lousyacceptance speech, though I must admit not as lousy as the petulant and self-indulgent comic relief delivered last year by Margaret Atwood and Amitav Gosh after they collected their tainted million dollar. As you'll remember, Atwood and Gosh dedicated their acceptance speech to criticizing those who dared interfere with their sacred right to be given money, and compared their predicament to that of writers tortured and imprisoned for their writings. McEwan, while clearly unhappy about being so inconvenienced, calibrated his speech to appease the criticism and at least tried to prove he was not, as he was in fact, mollycoddling apartheid.

McEwan is an imperial liberal who believes passionately in the supremacy of European culture. Of course, perish the thought that he would define it that way. He would rather call it "secularism", or "rationalism", or whatever. But it is what it is. He is not therefore the first person one would turn to for supporting an anti-colonial struggle. Just listen to how he describes, in Jerusalem, the uprising in Egypt:
When Egyptians decide en masse to reform their society and think constructively, and take responsibility for their nation into their own hands, they will be less inclined to blame outsiders for all their misfortunes.
Because of course, Egyptian misfortunes have nothing to do with outsiders. Nobody poured billions of dollars into Egypt each year for forty years to maintain a brutal and tyrannical regime. Nobody feted and embraced Mubarak for the way he starved his people for the benefit of global neoliberal accumulation. It was all the fault of Egyptians who failed the test of maturity administered by the white man. They did not "take responsibility" for their fate. They were not "constructive." Maybe, of course that is exactly what McEwan implies in this formulation, they deserved tyranny."

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#BDS: What if we all cared enough to free Palestine?