In light of the revelations made by the Al Jazeera investigative documentary The Lobby, Palestinian students in the UK have published a letter calling for an apology and the resignation of the National Union of Students VP Richard Brooks. In the footage Brooks implicates himself in helping to organise a group that is trying to oust National Union of Students President Malia Bouattia for her strong stance on Palestine.
Category Archives: Activism
On Sunday, January 15, members of the international community will convene in Paris for the ‘Middle East Peace’ conference, which seeks to “fully [end] the Israeli occupation that began in 1967.” Al Haq’s Shawan Jabarin writes, “Tried and tired approaches will not yield new results. With the occupation entering its 50th year, it is time for the international community to learn from the failures of previous peace and negotiation processes that have facilitated Israel’s continued violations of international law and denied Palestinians their fundamental right of self-determination. It is time to take concrete actions that will stop Israel in its tracks.”
After the Israeli army broke into Palestinian human rights activist Badee Dwaik’s home in Hebron and trashed the contents, a California group of activists gave him four cameras to document atrocities. One of these was used to capture the killing of Abdulfattah al-Shareef by an Israeli soldier, a case that has drawn global attention to the occupation.
Progressive Except Palestine–PEP. A term many of us know and have used to describe someone who has a commitment to progressive causes—civil rights, human rights, movements for justice–except when it comes to Palestine and Israel. But Donna Nevel believes one can’t be progressive except Palestine: “Being Progressive except Palestine not only means supporting Israeli brutality—it really does mean that—but it also means supporting US imperialism. If you support Israel, then you also support US financial and military support for Israel. It goes together. That is anything but progressive.”
David Lloyd, a founding member of the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, reflects on the failure of the Modern Language Association to endorse a boycott of Israeli academic institutions: “What was all too clear was that the right to academic freedom does not really extend beyond the boundaries of a quite narrowly defined Western academy, of which Israel’s academy is an honorary member.”
Nada Elia reports: At the Modern Language Association’s annual meeting in Philadelphia, on January 7, 2017, the Delegate Assembly voted against a resolution calling for the boycott of Israeli universities complicit in the denial of academic freedom for the Palestinian people. A resolution that would add racist insult to injury, by blaming the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, but not Israel, for the plight of Palestinian scholars, was tabled.
Last summer the first Palestinian Advanced Physics School took place at the Arab American University in Jenin and was a huge success. The organization Scientists for Palestine now intends to make the school a recurring event and are currently organizing a 2017 school to be held at Al-Quds University in Jerusalem but they need your help.
The 2017 International Open Shuhada Street Campaign will take place February 19-26. In Hebron there will be film showings, children’s activities, art projects, teach-in’s, and community gatherings. Internationally the campaign will be targeting the Hebron Fund, an American organization with 501c3 charity tax status that raises money to support the illegal settlements in Hebron, and Goldman Sachs for donating to the Hebron Fund. Activists in Hebron ask solidarity partners to hold protests outside the Hebron Fund in Brooklyn and at Goldman Sachs offices across the world.
Language matters because it impacts how we think of reality. Nada Elia’s New Year’s Resolution, which she hopes millions of others will also make, is to stop substituting “the occupation” for “Zionism.” She writes, “The era of discussing the occupation as the presumed greater Israeli evil is over, and should be tossed into the trash heap of history. As we celebrate the discursive change around Palestine, we must be cautious no longer to speak or write about “the occupation” except as one of the many varied facets of Zionism. Palestinians cannot afford any more erasures, as these are extremely detrimental to our cause, to justice. And just as we realize that the two-state “solution” was never a viable option, we must also inscribe into our new discourse that the occupation was never the problem. Zionism is.”
On Wednesday evening, Dec. 21st, in 25 cities across the United States, Jews, Muslims, and other communities joined together to say with clarity and strength: No to Islamophobia; No to Racism: Yes to Justice; Yes to Dignity for All Communities. Organized to coincide with the holiday of Chanukah, which begins Saturday evening, Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) and its Network Against Islamophobia (NAI), together with JVP chapters and partners, initiated the actions to reignite their commitment to challenging all forms of Islamophobia and racism.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Lebanon has ended its contract with the world’s largest security company, G4S, following a boycott campaign by activists in the country and across the world over the company’s role in Israel’s violations of Palestinian human rights.
Every year, Palestinians in Gaza march to protest the Israeli shooting of Mohammed al-Dura which marked the beginning of the second intifada in the Gaza Strip on September 29, 2000. At the end of September photographer Mohammed Asad documented young protesters as they entered the buffer zone with Israel near al-Bureij refugee camp to challenge the Israeli military. “We came here to prove to the Israeli occupying forces that the memory of the uprising is unforgettable,” said demonstrator Abu Falasteen.
The Brandeis Center has sent a letter to the Modern Language Association threatening a lawsuit if the Association passes the resolution to endorse the Palestinian call for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. The threatened lawsuit would be frivolous and unlikely to pass muster, but the threat itself is hardly a surprise. On the contrary, it is an index of the growing success of the boycott movement in changing public understanding of Israel’s ongoing violations of international law and human rights.
Abba Solomon’s two nights in the U.S. with emissaries from Modi’in, Israel, urging Jews to immigrate there, and nearby Bil’in in occupied Palestine, describing beatings and land confiscation, convince him that the Nakba for Palestinians has never ended.
The world’s largest Palestinian diaspora outside the Arab world is found in Chile. Siri Schwabe talks about her new PhD thesis on the Palestinian-Chilean community and how a particular diasporic form of being Palestinian has been created in the South American country.
The contrast between the behind-the-scenes maneuvering of the Zionists, and the rambunctious visibility of dissent and creative protest of Palestine activism, reveals the gradual weakening of the Zionist grip on the mainstream narrative, which once held Israel to be the victim—a discursive change due in large part to BDS. It is this change that is worrying the Zionist lobby so much that they are resorting more than ever to aggressive censorship and blacklisting.
Occupation-Free Portland, a coalition of faith, social justice and peace organizations, in collaboration with Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign, have launched an ad campaign on TriMet buses serving the Portland, Oregon, metropolitan area that read, “Portland: Divest from Caterpillar. Caterpillar Violates Human Rights from Standing Rock to Palestine.” The ad shows a photograph of a Caterpillar bulldozer that was used to desecrate a sacred burial site on land promised to the Standing Rock Sioux nation by an 1851 treaty. It also shows a photograph of a Palestinian child left in the ruins of her home demolished by a Caterpillar bulldozer.
Last night the Peace United Church of Christ in Santa Cruz, CA voted to refrain from buying Hewlett-Packard (HP) products until HP companies cease to profit from Israel’s violation of Palestinian human rights. The congregation made the move as part of the HP-Free Churches campaign initiated by the Friends of Sabeel North America.
The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in Jordan has dropped its contracts with the world’s largest security firm, occupation profiteer G4S, following an ongoing BDS campaign over the firm’s role in Israel’s violations of human rights.
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.
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.”