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The growing ties between #BlackLivesMatter and Palestine

Alex Kane on
Delegates on the Dream Defenders delegation pose in front of Israel's West Bank wall, near Qalandia checkpoint (Photo: Christopher Hazou, IMEU)

Founded after Black teen Trayvon Martin’s 2012 death, the Dream Defenders are focused on challenging racism in America. They have helped lead the burgeoning #BlackLivesMatter demonstrations that have swept the nation and recently have joined U.S. Palestinian rights groups in calling for an end to Israeli human rights abuses. At the start of 2015, members of Dream Defenders went on a delegation to Palestine along with members of other U.S.-based racial justice groups to expose the activists to the Israeli occupation. After returning, the participants have drawn parallels between the Black and Latino experience in the U.S. and the Palestinian experience.

BDS in Urbana-Champaign: A Response to Cary Nelson

David Green on
Cary Nelson (photo: Don LaVange)

David Green responds to Cary Nelson’s talk in Israel which attacked the BDS movement at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus. In short, “The picture Nelson paints regarding pro-Palestinian activism on the UIUC campus is false.”

Jim Crow’s polite sons

Ned Rosch on
Martin Luther King in Memphis supporting striking sanitation workers, 1968. AFSCME president Jerry Wurf at right.

Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.’s life in the era of police shootings means recognizing the racism in American society. And it also inspires Ned Rosch to work as a Jewish American for Palestinian freedom.

80+ Cartoonists And Comics Workers Tell Comics Industry: ‘No Business As Usual With Israel’

Mondoweiss Editors on
(Image: Ethan Heitner)

More than 80 cartoonists and other workers in the comics industry from over 20 countries signed an open letter to the head of the prestigious International Festival of Comics at Angoulême demanding it sever ties with Sodastream, an Israeli manufacturing company complicit in the occupation of Palestinian land. The authors of the letter include 10 prize winners at Angoulême itself, two winners of the MacArthur “Genius Grant,” many Eisner and Ignatz awardees, and a Palestinian cartoonist previously imprisoned for his work by the Israeli military.

In MLA straw vote, the winds shift– for Palestine

David Lloyd on
Steven Salaita

On Saturday, the Modern Language Association’s Delegate Assembly affirmed in a straw poll by 48 votes to 26 that boycotts help to protect academic freedom. The vote represents progress toward a goal of boycotting Israeli academic institutions.

Coalition of more than 40 NYC community groups calls on City Council to cancel delegation to Israel

Eamon Murphy on
David Galarza, member of the Justice Committee of the National Congress for Puerto Rican Rights, speaks at rally calling on New York City Council members to cancel a delegation to Israel as Conor Tomás Reed of CUNY for Palestine holds the pictures of the Baker boys killed in Gaza. (Photo: Eamon Murphy)

A coalition of more than 40 New York City community groups held a press conference outside City Hall on Monday calling for the City Council to cancel a planned delegation to Israel. A diverse group of speakers addressed the city’s progressive politicians, asking how they could reconcile their opposition to racism and state violence at home with support for Israel’s policies against the Palestinians.

Book Review: In Our Power – U.S. Students Organize for Justice in Palestine

Samantha Brotman on
In Our Power: U.S. Students Organize for Justice in Palestine~
Cover Art

Nora Barrows-Friedman’s In Our Power: U.S. Students Organize for Justice in Palestine , published by Just World Books, is a timely and powerful read, detailing the scope and substance of the Palestine solidarity movement in the United States. Samantha Brotman reviews it and says, “In Our Power should therefore be required reading for anyone in the world of Palestine activism.” Read the review and an excerpt from the book here.

Anti-Semitism at Fordham?

Bruce Robbins on
Doron Ben-Atar

To call someone an anti-Semite is a very serious charge. It is an accusation that can produce a great deal of personal unhappiness, destroying friendships and careers, reminiscent of the McCarthy period. But a professor at Fordham University made the charge irresponsibly last year.

The year ahead in academic boycotts of Israel

Alex Kane on

2014 was a big year for academic boycotts of Israel. And 2015 is shaping up to be one as well. Anger over Israel’s continuing occupation, and its assault on Gaza last summer, is driving the discussion. Two more prominent academic associations, the American Anthropological Association (AAA) and the Middle East Studies Association (MESA), could consider the academic boycott. Both associations are already embroiled in debate over boycotting Israel.

Israeli activists protest Palestinian home demolitions at Jerusalem mayor’s Chanukah candle lighting event

Sarah Levy on
Israeli activists came out last week to protest Mayor Nir Barkat's ritual Chanukah candle lighting in Jerusalem. (From left to right): "No building allowed. Yours, the City"; "House demolitions = Or Lagoyim" [Jewish phrase for lighting the way to Gentiles]; "Stop the 'quiet transfer policy'" (Photo: Sarah Levy)

Israeli activists came out last week to protest Mayor Nir Barkat’s ritual Chanukah candle lighting in Jerusalem and to bring a message that holiday cheer should not mask the fact that Palestinians in East Jerusalem are suffering due to his policies. While Barkat spoke to a crowd of about 80 Israelis across from the Yehuda Market in Jerusalem, protesters stood on the side holding signs that read “There’s no sanctity in an occupied city”, “Stop the ‘quiet transfer policy'” and two people stood behind Barkat’s platform and unfurled a large banner that said “STOP EAST JERUSALEM HOUSE DEMOLITIONS.”

Shmuley Boteach taunts Palestinian solidarity demonstrators in NY

Philip Weiss on
Boteach outside Leviev's old store, from Andrew Kadi's twitter feed @imAK48

The very-well-connected Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, simultaneously a friend of rightwinger Sheldon Adelson and of Obama’s ambassador to the UN Samantha Power, taunts anti-occupation demonstrators in New York over the weekend. He breaks off shouting, “Down with Palestinian–” when he sees he’s being video’d.

Ads Against Apartheid hits LA with Mandela campaign

Annie Robbins on
Ads Against Apartheid's Mandela campaign in Los Angeles (photo: Jeff Warner)

Ads Against Apartheid’s (AAA) National ad campaign for Palestinian human rights launched earlier this month in Los Angeles with more than 30 billboards across the city showcasing Nelson Mandela’s famous quote: “Our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”

The Milsteinian candidate

Philip Weiss on
Pro-Israel philanthropist Adam Milstein (far right) with Sheldon and Miriam Adelson and Milstein's wife, Gila. (Photo: Facebook/Adam Milstein)

Adam Milstein, LA real estate mogul, convicted tax felon, and Israeli-American, says American Jews are “naive” about the threat to Israel. So is that why he wants to buy elections on California campuses?

In sensitivity to Palestinian students, Harvard is moving away from SodaStream

Harvard Palestine Solidarity Committee on
The entrance of the Israeli SodaStream factory in the Mishor Adumim industrial park in the West Bank is pictured January 30, 2014 (AFP Photo/Menahem Kahana )

On behalf of Palestinian rights activists here at Harvard, including members of the Progressive Jewish Alliance who helped us tremendously in this effort, the Harvard Palestine Solidarity Committee would like to thank Harvard University Dining Services and the Harvard administration for their decision to stand on the side of international justice as well as sensitivity to their own students by refusing to make future purchases of SodaStream machines. The discussion surrounding this move was enlightening, and we hope these events will only spur further discussion on the issues of Palestinian human rights and a lasting peace for Israelis and Palestinians.

SodaStream rejected, at Harvard (and in Brooklyn)

Philip Weiss on
Finally divested, photo by Rob Buchanan

Harvard University’s dining services has ended purchases of SodaStream seltzer makers after students in solidarity with Palestinians say they were offended by the company, which has an operation in the occupied West Bank.

United Auto Workers local becomes first major U.S. labor union to endorse BDS

Mondoweiss Editors on

UAW 2865, a labor union representing over 13,000 teaching assistants, tutors, and other student-workers at the University of California, has become the first major U.S. labor union to hold a membership vote responding to the Palestinian civil society call for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israeli occupation and in solidarity with Palestinian self-determination. The vote passed, with 65% (almost 2/3) of voting members in support. The measure calls on: 1) the University of California to divest from companies involved in Israeli occupation and apartheid; 2) the UAW International to divest from these same entities; 3) the US government to end military aid to Israel. 4) 53 % of voting members also pledged not to “take part in any research, conferences, events, exchange programs, or other activities that are sponsored by Israeli universities complicit in the occupation of Palestine and the settler-colonial policies of the state of Israel” until such time as these universities take steps to end complicity with dispossession, occupation, and apartheid.