Jun 1, 2011

#BDS: Vision: How Flash Mobs and Lady Gaga are Energizing Protests for Palestine

"Not long before Christmas, in a Best Buy in a St. Louis mall, 86-year-old Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein performed a synchronized song-and-dance number to the tune of “Telephone,” rocking black pants and a turtleneck in lieu of Lady Gaga's metal-studded bra and crotch cover. Epstein, along with a cohort of mostly young women, urged the bewildered holiday shoppers to “hang up on Motorola,” a company that sells Israel surveillance equipment used in the Occupation. "Aiding in apartheid and being sneaky/tell us what you're doing with your technology," they sang.
On YouTube, the Lady Gaga parody became something of an instant classic in a small but burgeoning activist video genre. “I had always wanted to be a part of a flash mob,” explained coordinator and co-lyricist/choreographer Banan Ead, a 32-year-old Palestinian-American, remembering the fad’s heyday a good half-decade ago."
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#BDS: DJ Ewan Pearson expresses full support of BDS!

"A funny old day on Twitter. A quick message applauding Beatport’s donation of a day’s profits towards Japan’s relief effort is re-tweeted a hundred times. Simultaneously, I am arguing with friends about the ethics of DJing in Israel. When the earth buckles and the seas surge victims quickly have our sympathy. But with political disasters it’s much trickier to find a consensus. Some kinds of solidarity are easier than others.
I have always quietly turned gigs in Israel down, appalled by the accounts I’ve read of the Occupation, the mistreatment of its Palestinian population and recently the blockade on Gaza. The systematic manner in which one set of citizens is being de-humanised parallels the South African Apartheid era when I first heard music and political protest linked and became aware of musicians refusing to travel in order to draw attention to a political situation.
But music transcends politics doesn’t it? Not at all. If music is of and about the world it has to engage it. Musicians are not ambassadors with carte blanche to go where we like as we’re spreading an implicit  message of love. Too damn easy. Sometimes we have to say tougher and less palatable stuff, in this case that the actions of a purportedly democratic government in the name of a decent people are doing them massive harm, and the rest of us too as we sit idly by.
Art and politics at their best are about imagining yourself in someone else’s place, trying to feel what someone in quite different circumstances is experiencing. This is where solidarity comes from. I have more in common with a left-leaning cosmopolitan raver in Tel Aviv than a Palestinian in the occupied territories, but to go there and DJ is to say the status quo is fine, that it’s OK to forget about what’s happening for a moment. To paraphrase Israeli journalist Gideon Levy, it’s buying an alcoholic friend a bottle of scotch when you should be phoning AA."
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#BDS: Frameline Film Festival Pinkwashing Israeli Apartheid

"For the second year in a row, and after a short break, the San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival, the largest queer cultural event in the world, shamefully continues taking funding from the Israeli Consulate, violating the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) guidelines[1].

Frameline, the presenter of the festival, has ignored the calls issued by Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism (QUIT) in 2007, which has been joined by many other queer groups and well-known filmmakers.

By continuing to accept money from the Israeli consulate, Frameline is participating in the re-brand Israel campaign, and is helping it pinkwash its negative image, its grave violations of international law, human rights, and crimes against the Palestinian people. By accepting the Consulate’s money, Frameline is actively helping to create a false positive image of Israel as a queer-friendly “democracy,” turning people’s attention from occupation and apartheid."

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#BDS: Palestine’s Gandhi: Omar Barghouti, BDS and int’l humanitarian law

"On 14 December 2010, the Marrickville Council in inner-west Sydney, led by its Greens mayor Fiona Byrne, expressed its support for, in her words, ‘the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign, to exert peaceful pressure on the government of Israel to honour its human rights obligations to the Palestinians’ (Fiona Byrne, ‘Rates, roads – and justice in Gaza’, Sydney Morning Herald, 18 April 2011). As is well known, the council’s now failed proposal (Sydney Morning Herald, 20 April 2011) to support BDS was controversial and widely ridiculed, and not only in the feral newspaper The Australian. In conversation, friends and acquaintances who live in the Marrickville municipal area made it clear to us that while they are sympathetic to the Palestinians, they feel such an action is rather absurd and silly for a local council so far from the Middle East. They also thought the Council hadn’t provided its constituents with necessary information. They have a point in terms of the council’s failure to communicate the rationale of a BDS. But was the Marrickville Council support for BDS really so ridiculous? In this essay we try to provide information about BDS that can help stimulate discussion and debate. We contend that supporting BDS is not only necessary in order to help save the Palestinian people from an ongoing catastrophe, but vitally important for the self-respect of the international community."

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