Bill passed by the Senate to expand Dept of Education’s anti-discrimination rules to include the 3 D’s of Israel speech — demonization, delegitimization and double standard — “will have a definitive chilling effect on campus organizing for Palestinian human rights around the country,” says Gabi Kirk of UC Davis.
Category Archives: Activism
The steady growth of the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian freedom has been met by a wave legislation aimed at punishing or suppressing our 1st amendment rights to free speech and silencing student activism. The latest of these bills is the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act, introduced yesterday by U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Tim Scott (R-SC), which redefines anti-Semitism to include criticism of Israel.
Ashton Kutcher and Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky were just getting settled into their chairs on the stage of LA’s Orpheum theatre when Ariel Gold unfurled her Airbnb out of Settlements banner. “From Los Angeles to Palestine it is time for Airbnb to end their role in displacement,” she shouted. The common theme between Airbnb’s refusal to remove settlements listings and attempts to evade city regulations on short-term housing rentals is the company preferencing profits over people.
Months after the British gov’t produced an inquiry on the Iraq war revealing Tony Blair’s assurance to George Bush that it would “free up the region,” an American organization is at last holding an Iraq War tribunal. Not the government, not the media, but the antiwar group Code Pink, this Thursday and Friday in D.C.
In October of 2015, a Florida State Senator from Miami, Dwight Bullard, voted against a measure to blacklist companies that endorse BDS. DNC chairwoman and member of Congress, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, told Senator Bullard that his political future was over and top donors to the Florida Democratic Party called Bullard personally and threatened their support for him and the Democratic Party because of his position on the BDS blacklist measure. Senator Bullard eventually lost his reelection campaign earlier this month, after being labeled a “terrorist sympathizer” by media outlets, pro-Israel groups, and by both his Democratic primary opponent and then his Republican general election opponent.
We have long been told that boycotts against the state of Israel are divisive and illegal. But there’s been a boom of boycott activity in the wake of Donald Trump’s victory. Nada Elia writes, “Boycotts are legal, they are protected by our First Amendment right to free speech and freedom of expression, and they can be targeted at department stores with liberal policies, as well as at companies that profit from the violation of human rights and the desecration of indigenous lands, from Standing Rock to Palestine. We cannot allow Zionists, be they Democrats or Republicans, to abrogate our constitutional rights, so as to further shield Israel from accountability.”
Israeli-American author Miko Peled says Americans blind themselves to horrific conditions in Palestine, including endless prison sentences and killings of 13-year-olds, by focusing on such distractions as whether his purposely-provocative tweet about Israeli Jews celebrating the US financial aid package was anti-Semitic.
This week an international alliance of Palestine solidarity and social justice activists begins a coordinated week of actions across the globe that targets occupation profiteer Hewlett-Packard (HP). The Global BDS Week of Action against HP companies- taking place from November 25th through December 3rd, with more than 90 actions planned on six continents- is believed to be the largest coordinated set of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) activities since the call for BDS was issued by Palestinian civil society in 2005.
Since the U.S. election discussions of the possibility of a Muslim registry and how it can be resisted have exploded, including pledges by several public figures to register as Muslim. Max Geller says public declarations of solidarity can be inspiring, but symbolism will never be a substitute for direct action: “We must collectively resist and collectively risk perhaps everything we have to protect everyone whose lives were made much more perilous on November 8th. How such collective action will look is unclear, but centering American Muslim leadership so that we can effectively strategize and plan is more important right now than trafficking in sentimental symbolic pledges.”
The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) gives a platform to Steve Bannon and Stephen Adelson at its annual gala this Sunday night, November 20th in New York City. The International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network says that for anyone familiar with Zionist history and current alliances, this should not come as a surprise but a confirmation. Zionism remains a reactionary and racist ideology and movement — embracing Trump and Bannon is no exception.
Israa Suliman writes from Gaza to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe: “Although we are of different color, religion, culture and place, I have learned, as I read about the protests at Standing Rock, that we have much more in common than differences. When I read your history, I can see myself and my people reflected in yours. I feel in my core that your fight is my fight, and that I am not alone in the battle against injustice.”
At Seattle’s Temple de Hirsch Sinai, Sunday night there was a mournful gathering to respond to the election of Donald J. Trump. Speakers promised the organized Jewish institutions will be in solidarity with Seattle minorities and new immigrants, amid fears for us all.
Nada Elia on the challenge ahead for activists: “This is not the ‘apocalypse,’ as some are describing Trump’s ascent to power. Even with escalating attacks on our human and civil rights, this is not the seismic change that will knock us off our feet. It’s the same evil we have been fighting against, racism, environmental devastation, profit before people, except that this time, the mask is off.”
Robert Gardner, a UCLA senior active in Palestinian solidarity, described David Horowitz’s Freedom Center as a “hate organization” because of posters it has put up smearing Students for Justice in Palestine as anti-Semitic. Horowitz has now threatened to sue the student. Palestine Legal has defended Gardner’s statement.
Open Hillel is calling on Hillel International to reject $22 million in funding from Mosaic United, a new project led by Naftali Bennett, Israel’s Minister of Education and Diaspora Affairs. Mosaic plans to disburse $66 million over two years to Hillel International, Chabad, and Olami Worldwide in order to combat “the weakening of the Jewish foundations of the family unit” and “critical discourse” around Israel.
Web series Activist, based in part on struggles of Open Hillel movement, shows how young progressive Jews are defining their political community as broader than just the Jewish community. Palestinian students play an active, leadership role in the award-winning drama.
A call for boycott of the Israeli settlements by liberal Zionists including Michael Walzer, Peter Beinart, and Kai Bird in the New York Review of Books shatters a traditional taboo on such measures; and we should do everything to foster this debate and point out the limitations of actions that don’t target the state that promotes these settlements.
Community-based media does not just provide a different perspective from the “mainstream” or “corporate” media — it can also be a means to link grassroots voices with grassroots action. Amahl Bishara explains how a video about water shortages in Aida refugee camp spurred activism in Boston to fight the Israel-Massachusetts Water Partnership.
Palestinian rights activists on American college campuses have become the target of posters that attempt to smear them as supporters of violence, with a new round of posters calling out students and teachers by name. The posters are the work of the David Horowitz Freedom Center, a pro-Israel group that has a history of attempting to intimidate Palestinian activists, especially those in academia.
Renen Raz, a prominent Israeli activist known as a defender and advocate for the rights of Palestinians and promoter of the BDS movement, died at the age of 28 over the weekend.
His friends said he suffered from brain cancer.
Nadya Raja Tannous drove from the Bay Area to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation near Bismarck, North Dakota to join hundreds of representatives of Indigenous Nations around the world who have come to support resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline: “I had spent most of the hours on the road to North Dakota contemplating the connections between the obstacles and oppressions facing those in Standing Rock and the obstacles and oppressions facing we Palestinians under occupation and apartheid. However, upon arriving at Standing Rock, I no longer just thought about the similarities, I felt them in my bones.”
Kenneth Marcus, an Israel supporter, refused to share a stage at a Bard College conference on free speech with Dima Khalidi, president of Palestine Legal, and likened the organization’s positions to Holocaust denial and the stereotype of Jews that their breath stinks. He was apparently referring to the group’s protection of speech in favor of BDS.
On October 10, 2016, the Jerusalem Post published an article by anti-Palestinian propagandist Benjamin Weinthal under the screaming headline, “‘Antisemitic’ German teacher posed as a Jew to push anti-Israel agenda.” The designated target is Christoph Glanz, German activist, teacher, lifelong anti-fascist, and self-described former liberal Zionist. This is at least the seventh time in 2016 that Weinthal has falsely accused Glanz of anti-Semitism, and reflects a pattern of such smears by Weinthal against numerous other Palestinian rights advocates.
A new open letter calls on the Palestine solidarity movement to “unite for Palestine” and put an end to divisive attacks on one another.
Palestinians are beasts and snakes and Israelis need to cut off their heads — some of the racist rhetoric from Israeli leaders featured in ads in American university newspapers sponsored by the Palestine Advocacy Project.