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Lessons from Veolia: Supporting the occupation is bad for business

Barbara Harvey on
JVP Boston activists protest outside Harvard Kennedy School where Veolia CEO, Mark Joseph, gave a lecture about "Issues in Transportation". In Cambridge, MA on November 14, 2012. (Photo: Tess Scheflan/

Veolia has sold the last of its remaining businesses in the occupied Palestinian territories, becoming the first major BDS target company to fully withdraw from all of its various Occupation enterprises. Barbara Harvey says the successful BDS campaign against Veolia makes a persuasive case that profiteering from legal and human rights violations can be bad for business when the opposition is organized.

BDS call for boycott should not ignore states’ responsibility to uphold international law

Shawan Jabarin on
Protesters call for a boycott of SodaSteam,  whose main production site is in the illegal West Bank settlement of Ma'aleh Adumim and the industrial zone of Mishor Edomin.

Al Haq Director Shawan Jabarin argues that “Ban” should be added to the BDS lexicon: “Products originating from Israeli agricultural and industrial settlements are essential to reinforcing the illegal settlement enterprise, and provide vital revenues that help ensure their viability and growth. Accordingly, states fail to comply with their international legal obligations by allowing settlement products to enter domestic markets. By not implementing a ban on settlement products, states themselves are politicizing a legal issue and shifting the burden to consumers.”

Omar Barghouti on Matisyahu: ‘Perfectly reasonable to oppose performance by any bigot’

Ben Norton on
Matisyahu performing at the 2015 AIPAC Policy Conference

Jewish American rapper Matisyahu (the stage name of Matthew Paul Miller) was disinvited from a music festival in Spain because of his support for Israel. Organizers of the Rototom Sunsplash European Reggae Festival say they were pressured to cancel the performance by supporters of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. After Spain’s foreign ministry condemned the cancellation of the performance, the festival apologized and re-invited Matisyahu. Denying accusations that the decision to cancel Matisyahu’s performance was motivated in any way by anti-Semitism, Spanish BDS activists maintain that they objected to Matisyahu’s “incitement to racial hatred and his defense of Israeli war crimes, including in his lyrics,” and “his hateful and racist views that dehumanize Palestinians and justify their oppression.”

Over 1,000 Black activists, scholars and artists sign statement supporting freedom and equality for Palestinian people

Mondoweiss Editors on
A stack of signs from the Palestine Contingent to Ferguson October. Photos of a Palestine2Ferguson sign at the main march during Ferguson October. (Photo by Christopher Hazou)

Over 1,000 Black activists, artists, scholars, students, and organizations have released a statement reaffirming their “solidarity with the Palestinian struggle and commitment to the liberation of Palestine’s land and people.” The list of signatories includes scholar-activists Angela Davis and Cornel West, political prisoners Mumia Abu-Jamal and Sundiata Acoli, rappers Talib Kweli, Boots Riley and Jasiri X, and Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors. 40 organizations signed, including the Florida-based Dream Defenders and St. Louis-based Hands Up United and Tribe X, which were founded after the killings of Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown, respectively, as well as the 35-year-old Organization for Black Struggle in St. Louis. The statement debuted Tuesday afternoon on the website of Ebony, the largest Black publication in the US.

Roundtable on the Palestinian solidarity movement and Alison Weir

Adam Horowitz and Philip Weiss on
Alison Weir

Three submissions reflecting the debate in the Palestinian solidarity community over Alison Weir of If Americans Knew following Jewish Voice for Peace’s decision to not work with her and the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation’s decision to ask her organization to leave its coalition due to violation of its anti-racism principles.

In victory for activists, drone manufacturers linked to Gaza war cross-examined in Scottish courts

Glasgow Palestine Action on
Protest at Thales UK factory on 23rd September, 2014 in response to the war in Gaza.

In a major victory for Palestine activists against the arms industry, a member of Thales senior management was summoned by the Scottish courts to answer questions as to the nature of their business. Under cross examiniation Senior Manager of Thales UK, Ian Lindsay, admitted that components manufactured on the Clyde in Glasgow are used in military drones. This is significant because it is rare that arms companies are called to face the courts as to the nature and legality of their business.

Gulf Labor Artist Coalition stages BDS intervention at 2015 Venice Biennale

Annie Robbins on
G.U.L.F. intervention outside Israel's National Pavilion at 2015 Venice Biennale Aug.2, 2015 Photo: G.U.L.F.

Gulf Labor Coalition’s creatively interjected Palestinian resistance and BDS into the 2015 Venice Biennale on Sunday. GLC’s exhibition artists staged an intervention performance adding a stencil of Handala to their exhibition banner hung prominently in the Pavilion Arsenale exhibition hall, read a ‘Statement on Palestine’ and occupied the 2nd floor of the Israeli Pavilion.

Israel vs the Violin

Tom Suarez on
Cartoon by Sainatee Suarez

This past semester Tom Suarez was the violin and viola teacher at the Gaza branch of Palestine’s National Conservatory of Music—”though I never met my students, because Israel blocked me from entering the coastal strip. So I taught by Skype from the West Bank as best I could”

AFSC commemorates one year since attacks on Gaza with beach remembrance

Ruby Mascai-Goren and Sanah Yassin on

On July 19th, the American Friends Service Committee held a symbolic morning commemoration on Montrose Beach in Chicago to remember the children killed by the Israeli military in the summer of 2014. AFSC’s morning remembrance on Montrose Beach consisted of placing black pinwheels in the sand. Each pinwheel symbolizes a child killed, and is labeled with their name and age. AFSC chose the location of a beach to symbolize the loss of the four Baker boys who were killed by the Israeli military while they were playing soccer on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea on July 16, 2014.

What about Palestinian academic freedom?

Howard Davidson on
Gaza school attacked by Israel, 2014.

Howard Davidson writes: “If Palestinians’ academic freedom is to be valued as it is for Israelis, then a boycott of Israel state sponsored research and teaching is justified until the forces that deny academic freedom for Palestinians no longer exist. It is admirable to treasure academic freedom and to bristle at any suggestion of boycotts. It is hypocrisy to admonish the BDS call for academic boycott of Israeli institutions with no protest against a colonial regime that is denying Palestinian the same freedom.”

Once we were embattled, now we are insurgent

Ahmed Moor on
Denver protest, July 2014: Young women march in Palestinian protest, one wears hijab other wearing keffiyeh on head and carries sign about racism, other marchers in background with American flag and Palestinian flags. Photo by Chris Goodwin

Young people studying the Middle East are almost all sympathetic to the Palestinian point of view. Many are conversant on the history of the region and root causes. They understand BDS as a moral imperative. Once we were embattled; today we are insurgent.

The great Highway 17 billboard contest

Philip Weiss on
Hwy 17 billboard contest in British Columbia, Canada

Israel supporters in Canada have countered an ad calling for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel (BDS) because of apartheid practices with an “I Love Israel” billboard. Is that really an answer?

How long will I have to convince liberals that Palestinians matter?

Amira Sakalla on

Amira Sakalla writes: “As much as building coalitions is imperative to liberation, so too is the preservation of distinct stories, histories, identities. As a Palestinian, I must take ownership of my lost – claim each of them, wholly, as important – and give this same ownership to my allies over theirs. Mohammed Abu Khdeir was my brother. Eric Garner was my best friend. I say Black Lives Matter not because Eric is like Mohammed, but because Eric is important. Period. And I ask that the same singular relevance apply to us, too. We Palestinians matter in our own right.”

St. Louis Jews call on ADL to cancel honor to police

Annie Robbins on
St. Louis Jewish Voice for Peace calls on all who oppose white supremacy to cut ties with the Anti-Defamation League

Why is the Anti-Defamation League invoking the Holocaust and honoring the St. Louis police department, which is under scrutiny for another shooting of an unarmed black youth, Jewish Voice for Peace asks