Jesse Rubin reports from a standing-room-only event in Brooklyn on free speech and Palestine solidarity in support of Dareen Tatour, a Palestinian poet under house arrest whose case has come to symbolize the absurdity of Israel’s selectively guaranteed right to free speech.
Category Archives: Activism
Roger Waters brought his national tour to New York this week. Tonight he is on Long Island, and regrettably the New York media have given a platform to Israel fanatics to smear the songwriter/bassist. Local TV stations have passed on outrageous statements, that Waters is an anti-Semite and that Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) is bigoted.
The ADL’s forays into a security relationship with Israel, and backing an anti-boycott law circulating through Congress caught has caught the ire of Jewish community groups and activists who see the organization as favoring pro-Israel advocacy over monitoring anti-Jewish hate groups.
Washington Senator Maria Cantwell is a co-sponsor of the Israel Anti-Boycott Act that the Israel lobby has pushed in Congress, and she claims to be a supporter of human rights and free speech. Six of her constituents meet with a Cantwell staffer to explain that the boycott movement is trying to free Palestinians living under occupation and is not anti-Semitic.
An unidentified group has launched a shadowy website identifying New Yorkers believed to support the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights—placing their photos, social media links and email addresses on a “blacklist” located at OutlawBDS.com. The list features ninety-seven individuals divided into the categories Campuses, Public & NPOs and Private Sector Activists. Project OutlawBDS claims it was established by a group who “consider themselves to be analytical in their approach to the BDS movement,” whose stated intention is to “provide support for New York State Senate Bill S2492,” the latest attempt to pass anti-BDS legislation in the state.
The confluence of fascism and Zionism is becoming more obvious by the day, with alt-right leader Richard Spencer describing himself as a “white Zionist,” while the Zionist Organization of American invites Steve Bannon as a speaker at its annual gala. And as the two forms of racial supremacy merge seamlessly together, the Palestinian struggle for human rights and dignity can set the model for discursive changes, the rejection of racism as status-quo, no matter how powerfully endorsed by the state and its militarized apparatus, and an understanding that together, we are greater than the sum of our parts.
Over 400 Palestinians, in both the occupied Palestinian territories and in Israel have been arrested for posts on social media in the last year alone.
On August 28, Palestinians in Hebron took to the streets to protest a newly-extended fence that divides the road leading to the Ibrahim Mosque in half; two-thirds of the street is divided off and allocated to the Israeli settlers, with the remaining third left for the Palestinian community. Ella Hattey writes, “The segregation fence of Salayma makes life intolerable for its residents, it imprisons a community guilty of no crime-except that of being born Palestinian.”
Jordan BDS thanks the private and public companies in Jordan that have discontinued their contracts with the security company G4S in response to a global boycott call against the company for its role in the Israeli occupation.
Rima Najjar: “I don’t know what it means to be Palestinian Jordanian, which is how I began my life, nor do I really understand what it means to be Palestinian American, which is my current status. But I know in my bones what it is to be Palestinian.”
Kim Jensen writes: Why do critics of cultural boycotts insist on framing them as a form of censorship, rather than as an invitation to imagine and enact more principled forms of engagement? Are cultural and academic boycotts an effective strategy when some artists and allies may be marginalized in the process? These are the kinds of questions that are explored in a useful new collection of essays, “Assuming Boycott: Resistance, Agency, and Cultural Production,” which offers a rich and lively analysis of historical and present-day boycotts and the ethical, political, and practical issues they raise.
Noam Chomsky has said something that even Israeli officials haven’t – that Israel would use nuclear weapons to avert the Palestinian right of return. Is he threatening? And why?
“Among the pledge supporters are João Pina, winner of the 2017 Prémio Estação Imagem Viana do Castelo, Portugal’s only photojournalism award.”–Comité de Solidariedade com a Palestina
“White Jews may be shocked at this undeniable evidence of U.S. racism; African Americans merely see more of the same. Black people did not need to be reminded by hoods and swastikas that we live in a dangerously racist country”–Lesley Williams.
The Campus Anti-Fascist Network is a new grassroots, multiracial collective of faculty, students and staff committed to fighting the presence of fascists, white supremacists and nationalists on University campuses. One of the network founders, American Studies Professor Bill Mullen of Purdue University, says the network has exploded since the confrontation in Charlottesville, “We have nearly 200 members nationally and internationally. Nearly 1,000 people joined our [closed] Facebook page within 48 hours when it went live.”
Rabbi Brant Rosen’s 2012 book, Wrestling in the Daylight: A Rabbi’s Path to Palestinian Solidarity, is out in a second edition, detailing his decision to leave an Evanston, Ill., congregation over Israel issues. His friend Liz Rose– who once came into his office and announced, “I’m losing my fucking mind” over Israel — says the book is a powerful guide for Jews setting out on the journey away from Zionism.
Lincoln Center went forward with Israeli-government-sponsored play this summer. But BDS campaign scored victories. Four newspapers that ran an ADL op-ed claiming that the BDS movement is bigoted against Israelis were compelled to correct the error to make it clear the target is a government that persecutes Palestinians.
It is a familiar scenario. A Palestinian voice that defies a rigidly enforced popular narrative rises and is heard. Gatekeeper pro-Israel organizations, purporting to represent the entire Jewish community, spring into outraged action and whip up Islamophobic hysteria that terrorism and antisemitism lurk where Palestinian political expression is allowed. This scenario is playing out today, as the right-wing, pro-Israel brigade vilifies Reem’s California, an Arab street-corner bakery in Oakland, CA, as promoting terrorism and hatred of Jews and seeks to drive it out of business. Against this background, the local community, as well as social justice organizations, have rallied to Reem’s side.
Imagine that the women’s liberation movement was relegated to back yard barbecues? Imagine if the boycott campaign against South African Apartheid amounted to writing an op-ed and carrying a megaphone? Deep expressions of free speech and activism are absent from Senator Ron Wyden’s circumscribed description of free speech in justifying the Israel Anti-Boycott Act he favors.
American Muslims for Palestine has just posted a great new video on the Israel Anti-Boycott Act, Senate 720, making clear the stakes in this legislation: The US Congress is selling out our right to free speech to the highest bidder, and to lobbyists.
Oregon Senator Ron Wyden has turned himself into a knot on the Israel Anti Boycott Act. He wants to defend your right to picnic for BDS, but the ACLU says you could go to jail if you tweet support for a UN boycott, under the bill. Katie Miranda reports from senator’s latest town hall, in Tualatin, Oregon.
Seth Andersen says there are lessons the Palestine Solidarity Movement can learn from Norman Finkelstein: “‘Zionism is racism’, ‘Israel is a settler colonialist state’, ‘a settler colonialist project needs to be decolonized’’ If you’re a left-leaning person and you are working for justice in Palestine, you have probably come across statements like these. And as true as they may be, we have to ask ourselves a fundamental question: “Who are we talking to?” As Norman Finkelstein put it: ‘Zionism for most people is a hairspray, a cologne’. And I think he has a point. The broad public has no idea what we are talking about.”
The West Bank village of Al-Walaja is stuck in the “seam zone” between by Israel’s separation wall to the east and the Green Line to the west. The only one road in or out of the village is shared by the illegal Israeli settlement of Gilo and looks more like a prison compound that a residential community. There are currently 28 homes in al-Walaja with Israeli demolition orders issued, but local activists are working to find a way to help protect the homes under threat. “We are a small village yes, but if they think that means they can kick us out and empty Palestinians from this land in order to connect their settlements, then they are wrong,” Khader al-Araj, head of the Al Walaja village council, tells Mondoweiss. “We will fight this, we aren’t going anywhere.”
The movement for Israel Palestine should be built around a very simple program. Equal rights. A principle Jews honor in the west. If you say that Zionism is a “noble and integral part of Judaism”, then, I can’t work with you. If you can’t acknowledge that Israel/Palestine is an asymmetrical conflict in which one side has power, and a state apparatus, and a standing army, and is maintaining an illegal occupation with the backing of the world’s super power, you’re in denial.
NY Senator Kirsten Gillibrand withdrew her name from a bill to impose penalties on supporting boycott of Israel, and Israel lobby group AIPAC, which drafted the bill, promptly expressed disappointment and targeted her for lobbying campaign