Tamara Nassar writes: “The hunger strike is then the reclamation of the body which has been stolen by Israel and confined to a cell-block; the re-assumption of a subjectivity temporarily abducted by military might; a revival of humanity. The hunger strike may be a peaceful reclamation, but it is not non-violent. The violence is simply subdued, transformed into a perpetual struggle between the prisoner and the prisoner’s body. It is a battle: a form of torture that the prisoner inflicts on themselves in a symbolic, but also literal, redemption of agency. It is indeed the body where the Palestinian prisoner finds freedom within the confines of the cell in the larger context of occupation, retrieving the one thing the occupier may never access: Palestinian dignity.”
Category Archives: Activism
There has been much talk about 2017 as the 50th anniversary since Israel occupied the Palestinian Gaza Strip and West Bank, including East Jerusalem. But the 50th anniversary can only be understood within a broader context of other key anniversaries this year. 2017 marks: 100 years since the Nov. 2, 1917 Balfour Declaration; 70 years since the UN’s Nov. 29, 1947 partition allotting 54% of historic Palestine for a Jewish state; 50 years since Israel occupied all remaining Palestinian lands June 5-10, 1967; and 10 years since Israel made permanent a crippling blockade of the Gaza Strip on June 15, 2007, creating an open-air prison subject to monstrous bombing to further Israel’s containment and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people.
“The solidarity between Black and Palestinian people internationally is rooted in a profound historical framework, one of shared struggles and collective identities that push us to challenge notions of international solidarity,” writes activist and writer Devyn Springer.
Shimrit Baer writes that Zionism should be resisted by non-Zionists: “The non-Zionist class/caste can and should be an agent for change. In this the non-Zionist class/caste must draw lessons from discourses elsewhere, for example from pan-African movements in South Africa and elsewhere, where spatial reform is seen as a prerequisite to equal rights, power, and self-determination.”
The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee commemorates the 69th Anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba: “No iron wall of theirs can suppress or overshadow the rising sun of our emancipation.”
Today, the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions, representing close to one million workers, endorsed a full boycott of Israel to achieve Palestinian rights under international law. The federation is the largest and most influential umbrella organization of labor unions in Norway.
The TREYF podcast is a must listen bi-weekly podcast bringing anti-racist & anti-colonial leftist perspectives to the political discussions happening in North American Jewish communities. Help support so-hosts David Zinman and Sam Bick raise money to expand the show.
On Sunday evening, dozens of Seattle residents gathered outside Town Hall where Mayor Ed Murray received an award for his Israel advocacy from Stand With Us, a group that does public relations for a conservative agenda supporting the Occupation of Palestine. Queers Against Israeli Apartheid and Voices for Palestine gathered outside, holding signs such as “No More Fake Progressive Mayors” and “Stop the IDF.” Inside, four Jewish Queer people disrupted Mayor Murray’s acceptance speech, drawing attention to Mayor Murray’s deep connection with a conservative agenda in Israel and his support for militarism and systemic racism both in Seattle and in Israel.
As the mass hunger strike by Palestinians in Israeli prisons is in its critical fourth week the BDS movement calls for intensifying boycott campaigns to hold Israel accountable for its crimes against the Palestinian people.
Jewish students from Williams College are condemning Hillel for ousting an LGBTQ student group that signed up to co-sponsor an event on LGBTQ refugees, along with Jewish Voice for Peace in March. Open Hillel, a campaign that seeks to reform Hillel’s policy against working with organization’s that mention Israel’s occupation, posted in an action alert, “When OSU Hillel expelled B’nai Keshet, they pulled staff advising, funding, and access to the Hillel building and student list-serve from the group. They also pulled a paid Hillel internship from one of their student leaders.”
Throughout the month of May, members of the Modern Language Association will be voting on a resolution which seeks to ban the association from endorsing of the Palestinian call for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. During the 1980s, to its undying disgrace, the MLA rejected a resolution that would have supported the divestment and boycott movement against South African apartheid. In this essay, formerly South African scholar and MLA member Derek Attridge affirms the value of academic boycott in that struggle and points to the connections between the South African divestment campaign and the current BDS campaign.
Sedq: A Global Jewish Network for Justice stands in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in their struggle for freedom and an end to political imprisonment: “There are clear links between the ways that Israel treats Palestinian prisoners, and the ways that other racialised peoples around the world have their lives and freedoms controlled and curtailed. As a global network, we affirm that just as the practices of criminalization, incarceration, detention and deportation are global, so too must be our resistance. All of us must work in solidarity with others in ways that cross borders, recognising the interconnectedness of our global, regional, and local, struggles.”
May 11, 2017 is World Keffiyeh Day, where supporters of Palestinian rights wear the traditional scarf as a visual means to raise awareness about the Palestinian cause and their right to justice and dignity.
Last week, more than 200 people crowded the offices of Verso Books to hear Omar Barghouti, a leader of the boycott movement, in discussion with Nyle Fort, an activist and religion scholar. Among the noteworthy statements Barghouti made were a personal story about his daughter and a critique of identity politics.
Why I chose to avoid Gilad Atzmon’s questions about a Jewish global conspiracy. Like this one: “Can you imagine a peace loving Jewish political existence?”
Zeena Ismail says the call to support hunger striking Palestinian prisoners is a call to support humanity: “I could write a brief history recap on the conflict, but in all honesty, there is plenty out there for one to educate themselves about the topic without bias and with reason. This is why I will refrain from making a case for these prisoners simply because they already have the strongest case, the case of being human and wanting to be treated as one.”
Artists for Palestine UK send an open letter to the rock band Radiohead about their upcoming concert in Tel Aviv: “Please do what artists did in South Africa’s era of oppression: stay away, until apartheid is over.”
Students at Fordham University filed a lawsuit against the school over its refusal to grant club status to Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). The students argue that the denial is “viewpoint discrimination” in violation of Fordham’s policies regarding free expression. “As a Palestinian on campus, I was denied the opportunity to advocate for freedom for my people,” said Ahmad Awad, a graduating Fordham student. “Instead of encouraging our human rights advocacy, the university sided with those trying to silence our voices.”
Aarab Marwan Barghouti, the son of jailed Palestinian official Marwan Barghouti who is leading a hunger strike of more than 1,500 Palestinians detained in Israeli prisons, gave a boost to prisoner solidarity campaigns by releasing a video of him drinking a bitter mixture of salt and water. The clip closes by asking others to participate in his “salt water challenge” in solidarity with the Palestinian hunger strikers.
American Muslims for Palestine writes, “The federal government has dropped the charges against AMP [American Muslims for Palestine] staffers Taher Herzallah and Kareem El-Hosseiny. Stephen Rickard, Deputy Chief of the misdemeanors section in the U.S. Attorney’s office notified the men’s attorney Ann Wilcox on Friday evening.” Herzallah and El-Hosseiny faced charged for protesting during the Senate confirmation hearing of Ambassador to Israel David Friedman. The two were arrested along with four others who were not charged.
Nearly 100 Israelis sign onto an open letter endorsing Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike, “We, a group of conscientious Israeli-Jews, would like to express our deep respect and solidarity with you – the 1,500 or more Palestinians who embarked on a collective open ended hunger strike to demand your basic rights.”
Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb interviews advocates for nonviolent peacemaking between Jews and Palestinians in the Holy Land, Israeli Dr. Yoav Litvin and Palestinian Sami Awad. Gottlieb says, “People who resist the systemic violence of Israeli Occupation in Palestine and Israel have a lot to teach us about building nonviolent movements for justice and social change under extremely challenging conditions.”
My poor white friends turned to Trump (“it’s about time we were seen”), my white liberal friends turned to something else (“the world is ending”), my black friends turned to protest (“we have been here before”), and my undocumented students turned to sleeping in my office. But we shouldn’t turn inward, we must build broader communities.