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Organizations across Canada oppose government effort to criminalize criticism of Israel

Sid Shniad on
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) meets with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper March 2, 2012 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO via Getty Images)

In the face of growing intimidation from the Harper government, Independent Jewish Voices – Canada (IJV) issued a statement identifying the tangible threat to criminalize criticism of the state of Israel in Canada. The positive response to this IJV initiative has been inspiring. At last count, 81 organizations from across English-speaking Canada and Québec – including major trade unions, labour councils, civil liberties, anti-war, faith-based, student and other groups — have endorsed the statement.

If Not Now, When?: Jewish anti-occupation activism and accountability to Palestinians

Julia Carmel on
If Not Now members hold up a banner at a New York City protest. (Photo: BUD KOROTZER/DESERTPEACE)

Last summer the group “If Not Now” rapidly gained support among left-leaning Jewish activists for protesting Jewish communal organizations’ complicity in the Israeli attack on Gaza. Julia Carmel was an early supporter of the group and writes: “If Not Now has marked what many of us believe to be a substantial and tragically overdue shift in public opinion on Israel. However, there are reasons to be deeply concerned that the movement is wasting a critical opportunity – and, in doing so, inadvertently maintaining Israel’s oppression of Palestinians.”

Washington gets a glimpse of Gaza

Philip Weiss on
DC bus ad, April 15, 2015

“Israel’s War Crimes. Your Tax Dollars at Work,” say bus ads in D.C. featuring photo of a woman in rubble in Gaza

In growing ‘student backlash’ against Hillel Int’l, Oberlin Hillel leaders host civil rights veterans

Philip Weiss on
Dorothy Zellner

Our site has been closely following the Open Hillel movement’s encounter with Hillel International: a nationwide campus tour by four Jewish civil rights movement veterans who have been banned from speaking at Hillel’s because they violate the organization’s rules against addressing Palestinian human rights. Open Hillel’s track record of desegregating the Hillel lunchcounter goes like […]

From AIPAC to JVP: The political evolution of Seth Morrison

Alex Kane on
Seth Morrison delivers a petition against the Gaza war to the Religious Action Center in Washington, D.C. (Photo courtesy of Seth Morrison)

Seth Morrison used to travel to Israel to work on a kibbutz and go to AIPAC’s policy conferences. Today, the 63-year-old attends Jewish Voice for Peace meetings. Morrison’s long political evolution is an increasingly common story among liberal Jews. The deepening of the Israeli occupation is pushing people like Morrison to the left–and to the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement. Mondoweiss caught up with Morrison at the Jewish Voice for Peace membership meeting in March, and produced an audio report on Morrison’s political evolution.

There is no better way than boycott

Robert Cohen on
Image from cover of "A better way than boycotts" from the British Board of Deputies

Letter to the leading British Jewish organization protesting its denuncation of BDS: “Our relationship to the Palestinian people is the greatest issue the Jewish people and Judaism itself faces in this century. And we are currently making a spectacular mess of it. Your document is just one more example of that.”

My personal journey of transformation

Tzvia Thier on
Tzvia Thier, on radio in Tampa FL

Tzvia Thier, a teacher and school principal, has gone from being a fervent believer in the Zionist dream to wanting equal rights in Israel and Palestine. She tells her life story.

SJP activists call on California community colleges to divest from human rights abuses in Palestine

Mondoweiss Editors on
BDS Movement Logo

Students for Justice in Palestine at Los Angeles Valley College: “We urge that the Student Senate for California Community Colleges, that has the privilege of representing all 112 of California’s community colleges, to stand on the right side of history by urging divestment from companies that profit from human rights abuses in Palestine—in which our tuition dollars is invested, and to send a message that human rights abuses is unacceptable no matter where they may be.”

NYU faculty call for divestment from companies supplying the Israeli army

Alex Kane on
A New York University building. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

About 120 New York University (NYU) professors are calling on the school to divest from companies linked to the Israeli occupation. Students and faculty suspect that the university, like other institutions in the U.S., has investments in U.S. companies that supply the Israeli army with weapons.

Faithwashing: the Muslim Leadership Institute and the academic boycott

Sa'ed Atshan on
Hartman Institute

The BDS call represents as close to a consensus as possible within Palestinian civil society. It targets academic institutions, including the Muslim Leadership Institute of the Shalom Hartman Institute, which has now sent two small cohorts of Muslim-American leaders to Israel/Palestine. MLI’s stated purpose is to shape the understanding of these cohorts with regards to Judaism and Zionism.

Italian BDS activists call on Unicef to pull out of cartoon festival honoring Israel

Stephanie Westbrook on
Israeli bombs are real, Not cartoons! (Graphic: Stephanie Westbrook)

On April 16, the international Cartoons on the Bay animation festival will kick off in Venice, Italy. The festival and will be awarding Israel the Pulcinella Award 2015 as a tribute to the country’s ability to produce “interesting, original and innovative” animated cartoons despite its “delicate geopolitical context.” In an open letter to festival organizers, BDS Italy asked what criteria was used to select Israel as “guest country” to a festival of animation for children “when it has shown that it has absolutely no regard or respect for Palestinian youth and children?”

‘We stand united in our commitment to see the liberation of all oppressed peoples’ — Statement from African Heritage Delegation to Palestine/Israel

Kamilah Moore on
Delegate Jennifer Copeland at the Separation Wall. (Photo: IFPB)

“We stand united in our commitment to see the liberation of all oppressed peoples around the world.” These words highlight the statement, released last week, of the 2014 African Heritage Delegation to Palestine/Israel. Kamilah Moore writes: “As a member of the delegation, this commitment carries me forward in my work in solidarity with the Palestinian people.”

BDS Victory: Veolia sells Israel businesses targeted by Palestinian-led boycott campaign

Palestinian BDS National Committee on

Palestinian civil society activists have heralded the decision by French corporate giant Veolia to sell off nearly all of its business activity in Israel as a huge victory for the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. The sale follows a worldwide campaign against the company’s role in illegal Israeli settlements that cost the firm billions of dollars of lost contracts.

Finkelstein on God and Dershowitz

Phil Weiss and Annie Robbins on
Finkelstein, in photo submitted to Reddit to prove his identity

Asked about Alan Dershowitz’s recent troubles, Norman Finkelstein cracked, It’s caused me to doubt my atheism.

Mainstreaming BDS in Italy

Ester Garau and Stephanie Westbrook on
A mural by students in Cagliari, Italy

A series of events in Italy during the month of March show that, despite the government’s strong ties with Israel and recent efforts to shut down the debate on Palestine, the boycott divestment and sanctions movement is becoming more and more mainstream.