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.
Category Archives: Activism
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
The Israeli Supreme Court backed the state in only permitting Gazan music students to take part in the Jordanian part of a workshop and concerts – not the part in Ramallah. And it piously intoned, “[M]usical development…is not necessarily bound by location”.
Charlie Zimmerman reflects on his time with the Center for Jewish Nonviolence during a work camp over the summer to rebuild a Palestinian village, “Maybe this struggle for the soul of Judaism is one reason why I have observed an increase in visibility of and support for Jewish anti-occupation organizations in the Diaspora. More and more of us, in addition to pursuing justice, are fighting for Jewish identities we can embrace proudly and to keep our tradition alive, compassionate, and meaningful. Diaspora Jews, for the sake of Palestinians, ourselves, and our tradition, must continue to raise our voices and insist that injustice being perpetrated in our name and on our dime must end.”
There are two claims one hears from people opposed to any serious action taken in favor of Palestinian rights. Anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism. And BDS unfairly singles out Israel and therefore (you guessed it) is anti-Semitic. Here are the short answers those claims deserve.
Tithi Bhattacharya and Bill V. Mullen write, “a watershed that has created both a set of tactics, and as importantly a confidence, among reactionary forces in the U.S., that U.S. university faculty, including tenured faculty, can be harassed, trolled, smeared and bullied—even out of a job— for daring to act as public advocates for social justice. We may call this trend the ‘Salaitification’ of higher education in reference to Steven Salaita. It takes the special form of a new, emboldened ‘alt-right’ who have taken to emulating tactics first deployed by Zionists and defenders of Israel to stalk and attempt to destroy the careers of American academic dissidents”
Palestinian human rights activist Issa Amro faces a possible lengthy prison sentence for a laughable set of charges Israel has lodged against him. Efforts to ethnically cleanse Hebron do not change the essentially Palestinian nature of the city, he says.
“It is alarming that Israel gave a blacklist to a foreign airline, in this case, Lufthansa, who then prohibited the boarding of U.S. passengers in a U.S. airport. Meaning, the Israeli law to ban BDS activists was actually imposed in the U.S., not in Israel,” Eitan Mack writes in FOIA to Israeli government over its actions.
The Anti-Israel Boycott Act was challenged repeatedly at Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s Town Hall in the Bronx on Saturday July 22. Gillibrand promised to take another look at the bill, said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has no vision for peace, and acknowledged that AIPAC has a stranglehold on Congress.
Proponents of law targeting BDS in Massachusetts argue that Israeli companies would leave the state if the legislature fails to pass anti-BDS act. That’s frankly absurd. Israel needs Massachusetts much more than Massachusetts needs Israel.
A new initiative to stifle Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) in the Massachusetts legislature is a bill to “Prohibit Discrimination in State Contracts”, arguing that targeting Israel is a form of discrimination aimed at people’s religion and national origin. Opponents showed that this is a facade to hide the anti-free-speech intent of the legislation.
Neighbors of a mansion on Chicago’s north side yesterday OK’d Haymarket Books’ plan to move in by a 50-30 vote; but only after the publisher’s application for a zoning variance was attacked by pro-Israel forces who conflated anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism.
Israel advances a law that will make secret its operations to suppress the movement for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said the law would exempt government agencies from complying with FOIA requests that could reveal its fight against BDS, and its overseas civilian partners that seek to hide their relationship with the Israeli government.
South Australia is now the first Australian state to call on country’s government to recognize the state of Palestine. But nearly three out of four Australians want the country to do just that.
The United Methodists in the U.S. pass 7 resolutions supporting the boycotts of and divestment from Israel, and pass 23 resolutions from 15 regional church bodies’ 2017 resolutions that also denounce abuse of Palestinian children under the Israeli occupation.
Canadian stores are ordered to deshelve wines produced in settlements that carry a “made in Israel” origin tag. From here one, settler wines must me marked “made in the West Bank occupied territory.”
Tune in Saturday, July 15 when the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) will be hosting a live web conversation with Roger Waters on his support for the cultural boycott of Israel and Palestinians’ rights.