Devyn Springer reflects on the legacy of Black activists in the South organizing in solidarity with Palestinians: “No, solidarity organizing for Palestinians is not contained to the South. In fact, this organizing likely occurs across the country at varying rates probably higher in other places. However, the South has a legacy that cannot be ignored in this fight; one that is being reckoned with, actualized, and drawn upon as political and emotional spectacle to form its new movement for Palestine.”
Category Archives: Activism
Former MLA President Margaret Ferguson has resigned from the organization following passage of a resolution banning further debate over the academic boycott of Israel. Ferguson writes, “My experience in Israel-Palestine is one of the many reasons I am giving up my membership in an organization I have participated in and learned from for over 40 years—long enough to acquire the privileges of “life membership.” Those privileges are now a burden to me.”
Late last year the Pew Center published a report that confirmed anecdotal data, and plain common sense: hate crimes against Muslims are up. Current rates dwarf the national spike that followed the September 11, 2001 attacks. The culprit for such a dramatic increase is no surprise. Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign for president ushered in a wave of racism against Muslims, among others. To combat the challenges of the political moment, activists Elly Bulkin and Donna Nevel have launched a new campaign: Jews Against Anti-Muslim Racism.
The First Amendment and organizers of a year-long campaign to uphold the right to boycott won an important victory in Massachusetts when the state legislative committee considering an “anti-BDS” bill refused to advance it to the floor, ending its chances of being passed this session. Here’s how grassroots organizing beat the bill.
When rightwing Israeli ambassador Dani Dayan went to Columbia Univ on February 5, a protest coalition of Students for Justice in Palestine of Columbia and Columbia/Barnard’s Jewish Voice for Peace responded with a mock checkpoint and non-disruptive protest aimed at informing fellow students about Israel’s illegal settlement project, which Dayan, a settler, represents.
Norwegian parliamentarian Bjørnar Moxnes officially nominated the BDS movement for Palestinian rights for a Nobel Peace Prize. He did so with the support of his party, the progressive Rødt (Red) Party, explaining why BDS “should be supported without reservation by all democratically-minded people and states.”
Palestinians in Gaza respond to a filmed production of a play about the occupation where the script is entirely sourced from testimonies provided by former Israeli soldiers, complied by the group Breaking the Silence: “By the end of the play, I felt crushed and devastated. Tears rolled down my face, because it is so very real. My fellow Palestinians are humiliated in every aspect of their lives, and why? Because we are Palestinians. But to Israeli soldiers and settlers, we are ‘worms,’ and miserable ones too,” writes Rana Shubair.
An Israeli ‘legal rights group’ said Wednesday it is suing two New Zealanders for “moral and emotional injury” after they allegedly convinced the pop singer Lorde to cancel her performance in Israel. The lawsuit appears to be the first filed under a contentious Israeli anti-boycott law.
As evening turned to night on January 30th in New York City, more than sixty supporters Ahed Tamimi gathered beneath the Amtrak arrivals and departures screen at Penn Station to celebrate her life and demand the 17-year-old’s release. The rally was just one of many around the world on Tamimi’s birthday that brought attention to her case, and the larger struggle for Palestinian liberation that she represents.
Al-Shabaka’s Executive Director Nadia Hijab speaks in London to Palestine solidarity activists: “We badly need a positive, forward-looking narrative of what we are for, a narrative that unifies us and communicates the power of our vision. A narrative that provides a direction for the movement until the time comes for a political outcome. That unifying Palestinian narrative already exists: It’s Freedom. It’s Justice. It’s Equality.”
Steven Salaita on why Zionists should be excluded from left-wing protests: “The most important reason why ‘no Zionists’ is justified has less to do with strategy than with comradely spirit: is the US left finally willing to respect Palestinian (and more broadly Arab) sensibilities? Or will it continue to demand that Palestinians defer their liberation in order to assuage Zionist fragility?”
Granted an op-ed in the New York Times to spread distortions and lies regarding Israel’s critics, the country’s Education Minister Naftali Bennett attempts to whitewash the recent Israeli ban against BDS activist groups, by demonizing them as “enemy soldiers” and slyly comparing them to those who “helped Nazi Germany.”
Nada Elia writes about the efforts to challenge the pinkwashing agenda of the National LGBTQ Task Force, organizer of the Creating Change conference: “From the Women’s March to Creating Change, we need to persist in our demands for equal rights for all. As the global discussion of misogyny and gender violence continues to build up, denouncing their pervasiveness in all aspects of life, we must insist on a discussion of Israel’s intrinsic violation of the human rights of Palestinians, in the name of ‘Jewish democracy.’ Creating Change must do better. #Time’sUp to toss Zionism where it belongs, in supremacist communities.”
The Campus Antifascist Network calls for an end to the serial and libelous harassment of Stanford University Professor David Palumbo-Liu perpetrated by Fox News, the Stanford Review, and the alt-right.
Rockers Nick Cave and Thom Yorke were both contemptuous of the BDS movement last year. But the indefinite imprisonment of 16-year-old Ahed Tamimi for slapping a soldier, which highlights the detention of more than 600 Palestinian children every year, ought to convince these free artists where their real sympathies should lie, with caged young people who have no hope of realizing their dreams, Frank Barat writes.
After pressure from local pro-Israel organizations, the New Orleans City Council yesterday voted unanimously to rescind a human rights resolution that the body passed exactly two weeks ago. “The hoods are off. We see the way Zionist organizations like the Anti-Defamation League and Jewish Federation are willing to kill a human rights resolution and undermine entire movements to protect Israel,” Anna Baltzer, Director of Organizing and Advocacy with the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, said.
Kadima, the Seattle Reconstructionist Jewish community, gave an award to a grassroots immigrants’ rights group, the Northwest Detention Center Resistance/Resistencia al NWDC, which focuses on a federal detention center in Tacoma, after the Jewish Federations of Seattle chose to honor the police department, despite its record of excessive force.
As thousands of women, and men, dust off their pink pussy hats ahead of this weekend’s anniversary Women’s March, Nada Elia says we are seeing many of the divisions that riddled last year’s rallies surface again. Thankfully, she says, we are also witnessing the emergence of a solid alternative to the shortcomings of imperial feminism. Elia writes, “Palestinian women and our allies have long pointed out the erasure of our oppression from mainstream feminist discourse. Hopefully 2018, and the grassroots insistence that Palestine must be included in intersectional struggles for justice, will put an end to that.”
Approximately 3,500 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip depend on fishing to make a living, supporting families of often eight or more people each. Many risk their lives and their boats every time they sail out any distance, due to almost daily attacks by the Israeli navy—with the most recent one on Jan. 9, when five Gaza fishermen were detained and their two boats confiscated. A team from We Are Not Numbers goes out on a night-time fishing run to experience first-hand both the joys and the risks of the profession.
On Monday the Central Council of the PLO, the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, officially announced its support for the BDS movement and called, for the first time, on the international community to “impose sanctions on Israel” to end its ongoing, grave violations of Palestinian rights as stipulated by international law. This marks the most explicit and official adoption of the BDS movement by the PLO.
After backlash to the New Orleans City Council resolution in support of human rights, which was pushed by Palestinian solidarity activists, Councilmember-At-Large Jason Williams who voted in support of the resolution stopped discussing parallels between South Africa during Apartheid and Israel.
At a settlers’ winery in an illegal settlement outside Hebron, boxes are labeled “Made in Israel,” and a bottle of Riesling says “Jerusalem Winery, Israel” — false labels to get around EU restrictions on the sale of settlement goods. Two European visitors get photographic proof.
Israel has long labored to convince its allies that the BDS movement is anti-Semitic, but Nada Elia says the new entry ban reveals Israel’s true concern: “Ultimately, the oddly selective blacklist is not about protecting Israel from anti-Semitic attacks, it is about defending it from the one strategy, BDS, that seems to be working. Shunning the charade of ‘talks’ and ‘process,’ BDS has exposed the racist ideology at the very heart of Zionism, allowed the Palestine solidarity movement to build global alliances and enabled individuals to enact their solidarity in concrete ways that have secured many victories, big and small. No blacklist banning entry into Israel can stop this.”
The statistics show higher levels of Palestinian deaths, disabilities, home demolitions and poverty than at any other time since the dispossession of Palestinians in 1948. At the same time, there is an internal crisis of political leadership and Palestinian civil society is divided at a time when it is imperative that Palestinians show unity against the Israeli occupation. Haidar Eid writes, “the example of South Africa has a role to play in Palestine today. Not only can we learn about Israel by examining apartheid in South Africa, but we can also help to take the Palestinian cause forward by learning from the South African anti-apartheid struggle.”
Israel issued a blacklist of 20 organizations that support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Among those barred entry are Code Pink, AFSC, American Muslims for Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace. “We wear this designation as a badge of honor,” said Yousef Munayyer of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights.