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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.

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.

Boycott RE/MAX protests flood the US during Week of Action

Ben Norton on

RE/MAX is one of the largest real estate corporations in the world. RE/MAX International, based in the US, with headquarters in Denver, Colorado, oversees 7,000 offices in almost 100 countries and several of RE/MAX’s Israeli franchises sell property in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. During the first week of December Palestinian solidarity activists across the US flooded RE/MAX offices demanding that the real estate giant cease its activities in illegal, Jewish-only settlements.

A point by point response to Alan Dershowitz’s ‘Ten Reasons Why The BDS Movement Is Immoral’

Samantha Brotman on
Alan Dershowitz

Since Samantha Brotman began publicly expressing her outrage at last summer’s Israeli assault on Gaza, and especially since she helped to found a local chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace, several of her Jewish friends and colleagues have sent her links to Alan Dershowitz’s “Ten Reasons Why The BDS Movement Is Immoral,” hoping to bring her back into their Zionist fold. Here Brotman responds to Dershowitz’s reasons and notes “I’m glad Dershowitz is scared enough of BDS to take time out of his very busy schedule to write a list like this. This means something is working.”

Elbit Systems loses key Brazil deal over Palestine protests

Palestinian BDS National Committee on
BDS Movement Logo

The Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul has cancelled a major collaboration deal with Israeli military company Elbit Systems in the wake of protests over the firm’s role in oppression of Palestinians.

Civil rights organizations warn universities: there is no ‘civility’ exception to First Amendment

Palestine Solidarity Legal Support on
Northeastern chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine. (Photo courtesy of Northeastern SJP)

A group of civil rights organizations – including Palestine Solidarity Legal Support, the Center for Constitutional Rights, the National Lawyers Guild, Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus, and others – submitted a letter to over 200 universities cautioning administrators against heeding calls to censor or stifle expression criticizing the state of Israel or advocating for Palestinian human rights.

UN commemorates Palestine’s long journey

Claire Paddock on
Photo of Palestinian refugees at UN solidarity exhibit, photographer unknown

The International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People was celebrated at the UN last week. Sec’y General Ban Ki-moon was there, peering at haunting images of Palestinian dispossession.

North Carolina county takes step towards dropping contract with occupation-linked company G4S

Alex Kane on
Activists in Durham hand out anti-G4S flyers. (Photo: Erin Bree/Facebook)

Durham County, North Carolina has taken towards dropping private company G4S’ contract to provide security for libraries, parking lots and other municipal buildings. The move by Durham County commissioners followed a months-long campaign by a coalition of activists who criticized G4S, a British-Danish company, for its ties to the Israeli occupation.

Middle East Studies Association affirms members’ right to boycott Israeli academic institutions (Updated)

Annie Robbins on
BDS Movement Logo

A huge win for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement at the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) annual conference in Washington. Participating members voted overwhelmingly, by a majority of 265 against 79, to adopt a resolution defending their right to boycott Israeli academic institutions, part of the Palestinian campaign for the academic and cultural boycott of Israel. The resolution will now go to a vote of the full membership.

A handful of Wellesley students are trying to shut down discussion of Israel/Palestine

Eliza Marks, Nour Azzouz, and Mallika Govindan on
Wellesley College poster, photograph by Jordan Hannink

A Wellesley College chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine formed this fall and tried to start a conversation about Palestinian human rights. A few pro-Israel students are trying to shut down that conversation, saying it is “menacing.” The campaign represents a bigoted backlash against Palestinian solidarity and in the process Wellesley SJP has been falsely accused of contributing to a growing hostile and anti-Jewish environment on our campus. Three SJP members respond and address the repeated attempts to slander their work for Palestinian and Israeli human rights.

Some reflections on the 5th anniversary of Kairos Palestine

Marc H. Ellis on
Elias Chacour, a former archbishop for the Melkite Greek Catholic church

During the five years of the existence of the landmark Kairos document on Palestinian conditions, solidarity with Palestinians has increased. But the reckoning that Kairos Palestine calls for hasn’t happened. It won’t happen in the near future either. The powers that be in the world are uninterested in Palestinian freedom

South African activists reflect on parallels between life under apartheid and Israel/Palestine today

Sarah Lazare on
South Africans march in solidarity with Gaza, in Cape Town, South Africa, on August 9, 2014.  (Photo: Che Erasmus Nche/Eras Media Productions)

In the midst of Israel’s latest seven-week military assault on Gaza, up to 200,000 people took to the streets of Cape Town, South Africa to march in solidarity with the Palestinian people–in what many say was the largest single protest that country has seen since the mass movements that overthrew apartheid. The people who filled this crowd—including prominent as well as lesser-known anti-apartheid heroes—made direct links between South African history and present-day reality for Palestinians. Sarah Lazare talks with three South African activists on the parallels between South Africa under apartheid and Israel/Palestine today, as well as the state of the Palestine solidarity movement in South Africa.

In landslide, UCLA student govt votes to divest from Israeli occupation

Adam Horowitz on
(Image: UCLA Divest Facebook page)

The University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) undergraduate student government voted 8-2-2 to pass a resolution calling on the university to divest from companies profiting from Israeli human rights abuses and occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. According to a UCLA Students for Justice in Palestine press release, UCLA’s vote marks the sixth undergraduate University of California campus to support divestment from the Israeli occupation.