The Gaza killings have had a huge effect on world opinion. Tonight they became even bigger. In an astonishing move, the Israeli-American film star Natalie Portman, 36, informed an Israeli foundation she would not show up at the awards ceremony of Israel’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize because recent events have been “extremely distressing” to her, an obvious reference to Israel’s killings of nearly 40 unarmed Palestinian protesters.
Category Archives: Activism
The young Jewish group IfNotNow has seen 37 members arrested protesting Jewish leaders silence on Israeli killings of unarmed Palestinian protesters. The statement it helped elicit from Sen. Dianne Feinstein, urging both sides to end violence, was sadly reminiscent of Donald Trump blaming both sides for the alt-right killing at Charlottesville protests.
Barnard and Columbia University administrations have often targeted Palestinian solidarity and censored Palestinian voices on campus, but yesterday Barnard students voted overwhelmingly in favor of a resolution calling on the university to divest from companies complicit in Palestinian human rights violations. With 1,153 total votes cast, yesterday’s turnout was the largest in Barnard’s history according to the Student Government Association. The final vote 64.3% in favor and just 35.7% opposed.
On the eve of a divestment vote by George Washington University’s student senate, multiple students witnessed two men who they say clearly did not attend the university, posting flyers around campus attacking the student group responsible for the resolution, as well as Students for Justice in Palestine, Jewish Voice for Peace, and Student Association Senators. The vote was cancelled due to safety concerns and rescheduled for April 23.
In April of 2015, an anonymous website called Canary Mission appeared with profiles of mostly young Arab, Black, and Jewish student activists with the mission of intimidating supporters of Palestinian human rights into silence. Now, at long last, organized opposition to Canary Mission has arrived. Today the project Against Canary Mission is launching, featuring a website dedicated to representing in truthful detail the lives of activists in support of Palestinian liberation, and to narrating accurately the conditions of Israel’s Occupation.
Haidar Eid writes from Gaza: “We have reached the conclusion that our fight on the ground through a series of marches culminating on May 15, the 70th anniversary of the Nakba, can pose a serious challenge to Israel’s system of occupation, colonization and apartheid if it is accompanied by a global campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions.”
The Great March of Return began on Land Day and ends on Nakba Day. In the process it is demonstrating that each period of Palestinian dispossession is connected — it is an ongoing saga where the Nakba never ended. The protest is also showing that when Palestinians seek to make the world remember them, they are killed with impunity. Still, Jonathan Ofir says the Israeli response has exposed Israel “as the monster that it was destined to be.”
Fifty student organizations at New York University have issued a statement endorsing BDS: “We support the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement for Palestinian human rights as it is a non-violent method of resisting Israeli apartheid from abroad. We call on NYU to divest its holdings from companies and funds that are complicit in the Israeli occupation of Palestine.”
On March 30th, thousands of Palestinians from across the besieged Gaza Strip launched “The Great March of Return,” to demand their right to return to their pre-1948 homelands in historic Palestine. Since then, at least 29 Palestinian protesters have been killed, including a journalist and at least two minors. In this video, Palestinians who are putting their lives on the line to join the protests in Gaza explain why they are taking such a risk.
“The legacy of our people is on the side of justice,” Emily Mayer of the Jewish anti-occupation group If Not Now, said during a demonstration outside the Reform denomination offices in New York against Israel’s March 30 massacre of Palestinians. Counter-demonstrators from the Jewish Defense League chanted in favor of more massacres.
Over 100 musicians, artists, scholars, union members and activists, as well as 33 social justice organizations, have called on the Philadelphia Orchestra to cancel its planned June tour in Israel. In a March 21 letter, they explained that the orchestra’s trip is part of “the Israeli government’s Brand Israel propaganda strategy,” and called on the orchestra “not to lend your good name to covering up Israel’s oppression of Palestinians.”
The Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem began a media campaign today urging Israel Defense Forces soldiers posted on the Gaza border to disobey “patently illegal” shoot-to-kill orders against unarmed protesters. B’Tselem has taken an irrevocable, and breathtakingly brave, step.
US officials have defended Israel’s massacre of civilians in Gaza as a ‘response’ to terrorism – even before it happened. And afterward, the US “sheriff”, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, again kicked her high heels, blocking a draft UN Security Council statement which called for an “independent and transparent investigation” of the violence. The only answer to official support is grassroots pressure.
Evoking memories of the South African apartheid regime’s massacre of peaceful protesters in Sharpeville in 1960, Israel’s military committed a new massacre against Palestinian civilians as they were peacefully calling for an end to Israel’s brutal blockade of Gaza and asserting the UN-stipulated right of return for Palestinian refugees. The Palestinian BDS National Committee, the largest coalition in Palestinian society and the leadership of the global BDS movement, calls for effective accountability measures against Israel, particularly a two-way military embargo, as was imposed against apartheid South Africa.
Studying abroad in Israel? Campaigners for Palestinian human rights launch a boycott of study abroad programs that send college students to Israeli institutions: “To enroll in a study abroad program at an Israeli institution means ignoring if not perpetuating the ongoing violation of the academic–and, indeed, human–freedoms of Palestinians.”
Conservative British Jewish organisations are trawling Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn through the mud of ‘anti-Semitism’ for a Facebook response in 2012 to a London street mural portraying oppressive bankers. The campaign is about one thing: preventing criticism of Israel inside a major British political party.
Student members of the Palestine Solidarity Alliance at Hunter College recently made public their proposed ‘Resolution Demanding CUNY to Adopt a Socially Responsible Investment Policy,’ a landmark first step towards pressuring the City University of New York to end its ties with US companies complicit in Israel’s ongoing violations of Palestinian human rights.
Recent criticism of Women’s March activists Linda Sarsour and Tamika Mallory over accusations of antisemitism have caused a new round of moral manic about left-wing antisemitism. Eric Morgenson recounts a similar episode from the 1980s when Jesse Jackson faced criticism over Israel and his association with Louis Farrakhan: “If the Jewish community’s experiences with Jesse Jackson in the 1980s teaches progressives anything, it should be that accusations of antisemitism can be weaponized to de-legitimize those on the left, especially people of color.”
Two activists from the International Solidarity Movement, Rana Nazzal and Joe Catron, describe their work in Palestine on a North American tour that continues to many other venues in Canada and the States. Anyone who wishes to understand the depth of the conflict, and the trauma visited on Palestinian children, should catch one of these appearances.
Gaza resident Ahmed Alanouq responds to an Israeli who writes to him: “You say that your ‘dream is to advance the cause of Palestinian human rights and to expose the ‘human face’ of the Israeli occupation.’ But the Israeli occupation is humane. It is much more humane than your own regime and your people, the Arabs. The occupation supplies you with everything you need.”
Today, over 130 Palestinian football clubs and sports associations called on German sportswear giant Adidas to end its sponsorship of the Israel Football Association (IFA) over its inclusion of football clubs based in illegal Israeli settlements built on stolen Palestinian land.
Anna Baltzer of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights was raised to regard neutrality in a conflict as a virtue– till she went to Palestine, and saw the grotesque imbalance of power and brutal occupation. She describes her path to activism at TEDxOcala.
Yesterday, students, campus workers, and allies from across the University of California system were in Los Angeles to call on the UC Regents to listen to student voices and divest university funds from corporations that profit from human rights abuses against the Palestinian people.
Cyclists and supporters of Palestinian human rights took to the streets in 20 cities across the world on Saturday, March 10, 2018 for the #RelocateTheRace International Day of Action. Bike rallies and actions called on Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the governing body of cycling to relocate the start of the famed Giro d’Italia cycling event, set for May 4 in Jerusalem.
Why hold an international mental health conference which many of the psychoanalysts and psychotherapists will not be able to get into the country? Dr. Samah Jabr, a Palestinian clinician, and Jewish Voice for Peace have created a petition asking the IARPP to change the location of its 2019 conference from Tel Aviv. Maybe Jordan or Cyprus?