Mar 22, 2011

#BDS: Action Alert: Tell Wikimedia Not to Hold 2011 Annual Conference in Israel!

"Wikimania, the annual conference of the Wikimedia community, is set to be held in Haifa in August. Tell Wikimedia that its mission of cultivating collaboration and a shared culture cannot be furthered in a gathering held in an apartheid state that occupies and oppresses Palestinians!

Wikimania, the annual international conference of the Wikimedia community, which include Wikipedia, is set to be held in Haifa, Israel from 4-7August 2011.

Israel seems a strange choice for the annual conference, which promotes neutrality and subjectivity, collaboration, and a shared culture for participants of the online encyclopedia Wikipedia and its sister projects.

The country’s military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip are certainly not in line with Wikimedia’s mission to promote neutral information. The annual gathering has in recent years been held in Germany (2005), USA (2006), Taiwan (2007), Egypt(2008), Argentina (2009) and Poland (2010), and a number of groups are calling on the media community to change this year’s location."

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#BDS: Add this to your boycott list: British musician and producer Mark Ronson returning to Israel

"British musician and producer, who gave one of 'best concerts Israel has seen' two years ago, to perform in Holy Land once again in April

About two years after his previous visit to Israel, British musician Mark Ronson will return to the Holy Land with his band in April for one concert, Ynet has learned.

Ronson will arrive in Israel as part of a world tour after performing in Europe, Asia and Australia. The PLUG Productions company said negotiations were being held with the musician but failed to provide additional details."

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#BDS: New Addition to the Boycott List: Isabelle Huppert and Mathieu Amalric to visit Israel

"Renowned French actress Isabelle Huppert and actor and film director Mathieu Amalric will be the guests of the eighth annual French Film Festival, scheduled to take place in the Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Sderot and Rosh Pina cinematheques in April.

Huppert, who has visited Israel once before, will arrive with the film "Copacabana". Amalric, who is well-known for his role in Julian Schnabel's "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly," will present his film "On Tour", which won him the Best Director Award at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival."

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#BDS: New H&M Stores to open in Israel

"New stores to be inaugurated this month, joining Swedish fashion chain's four other Israel branches

Swedish fashion chain H&M will open two new stores in Israel in the next two weeks. The first store will be inaugurated at Petah Tikva's Avnat Mall on March 24, and the second will open at Netanya's Sharon Mall on March 31.

The two new stores will join the four branches which were opened in 2010 in Tel Aviv's Azreili Mall, Jerusalem's Malcha Mall, Haifa's Grand Canyon shopping center, and Kfar Saba's G Center."

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#BDS: Add this to the boycott list: Blackfield band to begin tour in Tel Aviv

"Despite unfavorable reviews, Aviv Geffen and Steven Wilson celebrate first decade as musical duo with their third album and international concert tour, which will begin in Tel Aviv

Ten years have passed since Aviv Geffen and Steven Wilson received unfavorable reviews when they sang "Cloudy Now" together. The future did look cloudy at the time, and yet the Blackfield band managed to launch its career."

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#BDS: Qatari President of the Asian Football Federation and Normalization with Israel

"Bin Hammam suggested that the popular revolts against authoritarian rule sweeping the Middle East and North Africa could contribute to improving relations, at least as it regards soccer, between Israel and the Arabs. He said Qatar’s successful bid to host the 2022 World Cup would help to break down barriers in the region.
“The vision of Qatar 2022 is peace in the Middle East, and Palestine and the Israelis is the best example of where we’d like to see that—this World Cup changing the lives of youth for the two nations,” Bin Hammam said.
Bin Hammam stopped short however of putting his money where his mouth is: pushing the AFC to readmit Israel. That would create an environment in which Israeli and Arab perceptions of one another could be broken down and in which Bin Hammam’s ambition to build bridges through soccer could flourish."
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#BDS: النصريحات المشينة للرئيس القطري للإتحاد الآسيوي لكرة القدم

في هذه المقابلة والمقال يشير بن همام إلى أهمية الفصل بين الرياضة والسياسة، ولكن يشدد بعد ذلك الدور المهم الذي ستلعبه قطر، من خلال استضافتها لكأس العالم، في نشر السلام بين العرب وإسرائيل.

بالطبع هذا النوع من السلام الذي يتمناه بن همام مستحيل في ظل انتهاكات إسرائيل لحقوق الفلسطينين وممارستها للفصل العنصري. ولن يحصل طالما تستمر إسرائيل بسياستها العدوانية ضد العرب وتجاهلها للقوانين الدولية والإنسانية. و ينعكس ذلك في استطلاعات الرأي حيث ترى الشعوب العربية إسرائيل عدوتها الأولى (استطلاع الرأي).

وان كان يرغب بن همام في رؤية السلام، فليستخدم طاقته للضغط على الفيفا لمنع إسرائيل من اللعب في المباريات العالمية، بدلاً من ان يطالب إسرائيل ببعض الرحمة والسماح للرياضيين الفلسطينين حقهم الطبيعي وهو حق حرية التنقل.

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#BDS: 'Buy Gaza' Movement Gains Momentum

"GAZA CITY, Mar 18, 2011 (IPS) - Palestinians are calling for boycotts against Israeli products and companies. But in the Gaza Strip -- at the heart of the Israeli occupation -- it is often impossible for residents to follow their own call to action.

The Israeli currency (the shekel) is the only monetary system in use, and Israeli products dominate key markets, particularly household items such as dairy products and detergents. Although Israel is finally allowing import of the supplies needed to produce most items locally, the four-year-long siege has taken its toll and industries must build up their businesses virtually from scratch.

"It's been a long time under siege, and we have been a captive market," said Sameh Nasr, executive manager of Arjan, a Gaza beverage company that participated in this month's industrial exhibition at Islamic University in Gaza City. "We have to educate the people that they can 'buy Gaza' again."

The exhibition was the fourth such event sponsored by the Palestinian Federation of Industries (PFI), which represents about 2,000 factories in Gaza that are working to get back on their feet. In addition to the production of food both through agriculture and manufacture, Gaza has long been known for the fine craftsmanship of its furniture. "

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#BDS: Montreal: Photos: Artists Against Apartheid XV


"Montreal’s ongoing Artists Against Apartheid concert series in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for liberation continued for Israeli Apartheid Week 2011 on Sunday, March 13th at O Patro Vys in the Plateau district of Montreal.
Celebrated poets, musicians & hip-hop artists performed to a capacity crowd in Montreal gathering for an concert series taking place as part of the global boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign targeting the Israeli state due to the systematic human rights abuses against the Palestinian people."

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#BDS: Action Alert: Statement in Support & Defense of BDS!


A Jewish response to the February 2011 Statement of Jewish Zionist Organizations on Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS)

Because academic, cultural and commercial boycotts, divestments and sanctions of Israel:
  • are being called for by Palestinian civil society in response to the occupation and colonization of their land,
  • are a moral tool of non-violent, peaceful response to more than sixty years of Israeli colonialism, and,
  • rightfully place accountability on Israeli institutions (and their allies and partners) that use business, cultural, and academic ties to white-wash Israel’s responsibility for continuing crimes against humanity,
The undersigned organizations and individuals stand firm in our support of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) initiatives against Israel until it meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with the precepts of international law."
Read more and sign the petition.

#BDS: Bad romance: Poland and Israel's "love story"

""There is no more reliable and loyal adherent of your stance and aspiration for a better and a fairer world order in the European Union than Poland."

- Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, 9 April 2008

"We cannot pretend that Iran's behavior is normal and that a terrorist is a freedom fighter. You have a real friend in Europe and it is important that both countries will strengthen each other's image."

- Prime Minister Tusk at a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, 23 February 2011

"The Jewish people are an indelible part of Polish history, and Poland is an indelible part of Jewish history ... Our deep bilateral cooperation is based on common values and a shared history, as well as on the aspiration to a common future in which we want to achieve the same goals."

- Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a joint press conference with Prime Minister Tusk, 23 February 2011

Last month witnessed the launch of the first Polish-Israeli governmental forum held in occupied Jerusalem. The biannual dialogue accelerates an existing partnership between the two countries which includes trade agreements, joint military training exercises and arms deals under an ongoing "Polonization of Israeli Technology" drive."

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#BDS: Boycott roundup


A student-led divestment initiative at Carleton University in Ottowa is gaining ground after a massive show of support during a student council meeting last month. Meanwhile, students at York University and the University of Toronto officially launched their divestment campaigns during Israeli Apartheid Week events last week.

Canadian civil society news website Rabble reported on 7 March that activists with Students Against Israeli Apartheid at Carleton University had collected more than 2,000 letters from students on campus in support of a comprehensive initiative to divest the university's pension fund from Israeli ties.

"The support for divestment culminated in an extraordinary show of student solidarity at the [Carleton University Student Association] council meeting on 17 February," Rabble reported ("Carleton students push student union to support divestment from illegal occupation," 7 March 2011)."

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#BDS: طلبة جامعة إدنبرة الاسكتلندية يقاطعون المنتجات الإسرائيلية

لندن 18-3-2011 وفا- حققت حركة مقاطعة إسرائيل انتصارا إضافيا مع تصويت طلبة جامعة ادنبره في اسكتلندا على قرار بمقاطعة إسرائيل.
وذكر موقع التضامن مع الشعب الفلسطيني، اليوم الجمعة، أن اتحاد الطلبة في جامعة أدنبرة العريقة  باسكتلندا صوتوا بأغلبية 270 لصالح مقاطعة البضائع الإسرائيلية، مقابل 20 ضد.
ونص قرار المقاطعة على عدم بيع أية منتجات إسرائيلية في المحال التجارية داخل مباني اتحاد الطلبة بجامعة إدنبرة، كما سيحث اتحاد الطلبة على تشجيع الموردين على التوقف عن شراء وتوزيع المنتجات الإسرائيلية، وتضمن القرار نصا يؤكد أن إسرائيل 'دولة تمييز عنصري'.
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#BDS: Vous invitez Israël, alors BDS-France s’invite

"Lorsqu’un salon, un évènement culturel ou sportif méprise l’appel au Boycott, Sanctions et Retraits des Investissements contre Israël lancé par la Société Civile Palestinienne le 10 juillet 2005 en invitant l’occupant sioniste, alors soyez sûrs qu’il recevra la visite des militants pro-palestiniens, comme cela s’est passé aujourd’hui au Salon du Tourisme à Paris.

Une cinquantaine de militants de BDS-France et d’ISM s’étaient donnés rendez-vous en ce dimanche 20 mars 2011 au Salon du Tourisme de Paris où Israël et El Al, la compagnie aérienne nationale israélienne tenaient un stand."

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#BDS: Australia: Council defeats attempt to overturn Israel boycott

"It was ironic, but only supporters of Palestine were clapping after a majority of Marrickville councillors decided on March 15 in favour of hiring a venue to a newly-formed local Jewish group that is hosting an Australian Rules Peace Team with connections to Israel.
Independent councillor Victor Macri, who had put the motion, did not look at all happy.
The council meeting chambers was packed with supporters of the council’s stand on the global Boycott, Divestment Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel. A smaller number of anti-BDS campaigners were also present, including some sporting pro-Israel paraphernalia.
Members of the Inner West Jewish Community and Friends Peace Alliance (a group formed to campaign against the council’s BDS decision) tried to argue that if the council allowed the booking, it would be contravening its own BDS decision. But this did not wash with the councillors or on the director of community services Gary Moore who was explicitly asked."
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#BDS: Palestinian anti-wall activist tortured, threatened with rape and execution by Shin Bet because of BDS activities

"The Israeli government’s repression of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement is growing ever more harsh. Domestically, earlier this month, “the Knesset plenum…approved in its first reading a ‘boycott law,’ which would levy harsh punitive fines on Israelis who call for academic or economic boycotts against Israeli institutions,” according to Ha’aretz.
While the anti-boycott bill is aimed at shutting up internal Israeli calls for BDS, much more punitive measures continue to be inflicted on Palestinian activists.
Jesse Rosenfeld, reporting for Alternet, has an exclusive report on the alleged torture of Mohammad Othman, a key organizer in the non-violent resistance campaign against the West Bank separation barrier. After returning from Norway in 2009, where he met with “Norwegian socialist movements and BDS activists, as well as members of the national Parliament, including the Norwegian finance minister,” Othman was arrested at the West Bank-Jordan border. The interview with Rosenfeld marks the first time Othman has spoken out about his conditions in prison."
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#BDS: Group calls for boycott of MEC products

"Jackie Barkley is asking Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) shoppers not to buy water bottles made in Israel for their next camping trip.  
Barkley, a member of Canadians, Arabs and Jews for a Just Peace, was handing out pamphlets outside the outdoor equipment store in Halifax on Friday, encouraging MEC members to join the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, and not buy products made in Israel.
"BDS is designed to try to find a non-violent route to oppose Israeli government policy," says Barkley, "not unlike the important boycotts against South African products, which was a really important part of bringing down Apartheid in South Africa."
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"Cambridge, MA, March 20, 2011 – Peace and justice activists came together at Harvard University’s Sanders Theatre today to ask the South African musical performance group Ladysmith Black Mambazo to cancel their June 24th tour date in Tel Aviv, Israel. 

Heeding the international call from Palestine for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel because of its continued violations of Palestinian human rights, the activists urged Ladysmith to uphold BDS and boycott apartheid wherever it exists.  Demonstrators held signs documenting the historical and political connections between apartheid South Africa and apartheid Israel.  They also distributed flyers to concertgoers educating about these connections and urging fans to take action by asking Ladysmith to cancel their Israeli tour date.

Ladysmith has already encountered U.S. pressure to cancel its Israel performance in North Carolina, when members of North Carolina BDS demonstrated at the group’s Durham concert and engaged in a long conversation with the group’s manager.  This U.S.-based activism echoes international calls to Ladysmith to cancel its Israel appearance from the Palestinian Campaign for Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) as well as South African organizations like the Coalition of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and the African National Congress (ANC). 

The campaign appears to be having some impact, as there is increasing uncertainty as to whether or not the concert will take place.  Mitch Goldstein, the group’s manager, has stated openly that the show in Tel Aviv is not happening.  He conveyed this via email with North Carolina BDS and also allowed himself to be videotaped by them declaring as much.  Goldstein agreed to a similar such video interview with the Boston activists, stating explicitly that on June 24th, Ladysmith will be on a plane headed from London back to South Africa (video forthcoming soon).  However, as of March 19th, tickets were still available for sale online through the Tel Aviv Opera House website and it appears as though a good number of them have been sold.

Many artists, performers, and cultural workers have withdrawn from Israeli venues or refused to perform in Israel because of its human rights abuses, including Pete Seeger,  Elvis Costello, Jean-Luc Godard, Carlos Santana, Gil Scott-Heron, Roger Waters, and Massive Attack. 

The Boston activists were pleased to be part of the larger, international movement calling for BDS against Israel until Israel ends its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantles the wall, recognizes the equal rights of Palestinian citizens, and respects the right of return of Palestinian refugees. "

#BDS: Musician-activist Bob Geldof to Receive Award from Israeli University

"Musician and human rights activist Bob Geldof will accept an honorary degree from Israel’s Ben Gurion University later this year, thus ignoring the Palestinian call to boycott Israeli institutions. Ben Gurion University itself is particularly active in supporting the Israeli army and arms industry.

The award is meant to honor Geldof's anti-poverty activism, including organizing the Live Aid and Live 8 concerts, and his work with a range of charitable causes.

During his visit, Mr Geldof, who has been twice nominated for the Nobel Peace, will also attend a conference on humanitarian aid while in Israel, entitled “Israel in Africa – Past, Present and Future”, being organised by The Israel Forum for International Humanitarian Aid (IsraAID).

The Palestinian Academic and Cultural Boycott Initiative (PACBI) was launched in Ramallah in 2004 and called on the international community to comprehensively and consistently boycott all Israeli academic and cultural institutions until Israel withdraws from all lands occupied in 1967, removes all colonies on these lands, abides by UN resolutions concerning Palestinian refugees’ rights and dismantles its apartheid system. This call later fed into the 2005 united Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel until it complies with international law and universal principles of Human Rights."

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Click here to ask Bob Geldof to respect the Palestinain call for boycott.

#BDS: Another BDS Success: Edinburgh University Votes To Boycott Israel

"The student association of Edinburgh University in Scotland voted overwhelmingly Thursday night to support a boycott of Israeli goods and services. This comes after the student association, which represents all students at the University, voted last year to divest from Israeli companies.

In the lead-up to the vote, students from Edinburgh University Students for Justice in Palestine, which introduced the resolution, held a large-scale education campaign on campus about Israel’s colonial origins and practices toward the indigenous population of Palestine. Many students related the experience of the Palestinian people to their own experience, having been colonized by England for several hundred years."

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#BDS: Since BDS is not working, Israeli military intelligence to monitor foreign left-wing organizations supporting BDS

"IDF officers say special department has been created to monitor left-wing groups that the army sees as aiming to delegitimize Israel; department will work closely with government ministries.

Military Intelligence is collecting information about left-wing organizations abroad that the army sees as aiming to delegitimize Israel, according to senior Israeli officials and Israel Defense Forces officers.
The sources said MI's research division created a department several months ago that is dedicated to monitoring left-wing groups and will work closely with government ministries. In recent weeks, the head of the new unit has been taking part in discussions in the Prime Minister's Office about how to prepare for the possible arrival of a Gaza-bound flotilla in May."
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#BDS: الاستخبارات الإسرائيلية تجمع معلومات حول منظمات عالمية «تنزع شرعيتها»

في خطوة ذات دلالة، أعلن في إسرائيل أن شعبة الاستخبارات العسكرية «أمان» بدأت في الأشهر الأخيرة جمع المعلومات عن منظمات اليسار العالمية والمنظمات الغربية التي تعمل على خلق حالة من نزع الشرعية عن الدولة. 
ويشير هذا الإعلان من ناحية إلى أن إسرائيل باتت ترى في هذه المنظمات عدواً، وتعتبر مساعي نزع الشرعية الدولية عنها خطراً بالغ الأهمية. 
وأوضحت صحيفة «هآرتس» أن هناك في وزارة الخارجية الإسرائيلية من اعترض على الخطوة، بدعوى أنه لا يفترض بمن يرتدي البزات العسكرية أن يتابعوا موضوعاً له وجه سياسي. ولكن ليس من المستبعد أن ينبع اعتراض الخارجية الإسرائيلية من تنافس على الصلاحيات، وبالتالي على الميزانيات، خصوصا أن في الوزارة جهاز استخبارات خاصة. 
ونقلت «هآرتس» عن مسؤولين سياسيين وعسكريين رفيعي المستوى قولهم إنه تشكلت مؤخراً دائرة خاصة في وحدة الأبحاث في شعبة الاستخبارات، ويرأسها ضابط استخبارات برتبة رائد، للاهتمام بمنظمات اليسار الدولية الداعية لمقاطعة إسرائيل. وقالت إن الدائرة ستكون على اتصال وثيق مع وزارة الخارجية وغيرها من الوزارات الحكومية، وإن رئيس الدائرة بدأ يتواجد في مقر قيادة الإعلام الوطني في ديوان رئيس الوزراء لحضور المداولات التي تعنى بالاستعدادات لمواجهة أسطول كبير آخر آتٍ إلى غزة في أيار المقبل. وأشارت إلى أن مجالات المسؤولية ستتضمن البحث في شؤون منظمات معادية لإسرائيل خارج الدولة، وكذا ربط الأنباء الحيوية الاستخباراتية تحدّد لوحدات جمع المعلومات المختلفة سلم الأولويات. 

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