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Tell Kanye West: Don’t be ‘heartless’ — Don’t play apartheid Israel!

Mondoweiss Editors on

Activists call on Kanye West to respect the growing international movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions and cancel his September 30 concert in Israel, a racist regime that Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and other veteran freedom fighters have described as worse than apartheid South Africa.

BDS is here to stay: Message to a CT synagogue

Robert Gelbach on
Robert Gelbach

The real meaning of BDS is that ending injustices requires substantial change in the way Israel has chosen to act and to think about itself, Bob Gelbach of Jewish Voice for Peace tells a groundbreaking forum on the movement at a CT synagogue

Read the historic United Electrical Workers Union resolution endorsing BDS

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Logo of the United Electrical Workers union (UE).

“We reached a breaking point when Israel launched the war on Gaza in 2014, killing over 2,000 people including 500 children. Because Israel has been unwilling to engage in real negotiations to bring about a just resolution to the occupation, this is a necessary step for labor to take in order to bring about a peaceful end to the conflicts there,” Carl Rosen, president of UE’s Western Region and a member of the national executive board.

First national trade union in the US votes to endorse BDS

Kate on

From the United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers of America report on its recent national convention: Delegates upheld the UE tradition of taking courageous stands on foreign policy issues when they adopted the resolution on Palestine and Israel that calls for cutting off U.S. aid to Israel, U.S. support for a peace settlement on the basis of self-determination for Palestinians and the right to return. The resolution also endorses the worldwide BDS movement making UE the first U.S. national union to endorse BDS. Speaking for the resolution were Angaza Laughinghouse, Local 150, Matt Braddon, Local 222; Chris Wolford, Local 170; Autumn Martinez and Elizabeth Jesdale, Local 255. Martinez and Jesdale both said they had met Palestinian trade unionists when they attended the World Social Forum in Tunisia, and Martinez said, “It’s absolutely disgusting what is going on. Free Palestine!”

Lessons from Veolia: Supporting the occupation is bad for business

Barbara Harvey on
JVP Boston activists protest outside Harvard Kennedy School where Veolia CEO, Mark Joseph, gave a lecture about "Issues in Transportation". In Cambridge, MA on November 14, 2012. (Photo: Tess Scheflan/

Veolia has sold the last of its remaining businesses in the occupied Palestinian territories, becoming the first major BDS target company to fully withdraw from all of its various Occupation enterprises. Barbara Harvey says the successful BDS campaign against Veolia makes a persuasive case that profiteering from legal and human rights violations can be bad for business when the opposition is organized.

BDS call for boycott should not ignore states’ responsibility to uphold international law

Shawan Jabarin on
Protesters call for a boycott of SodaSteam,  whose main production site is in the illegal West Bank settlement of Ma'aleh Adumim and the industrial zone of Mishor Edomin.

Al Haq Director Shawan Jabarin argues that “Ban” should be added to the BDS lexicon: “Products originating from Israeli agricultural and industrial settlements are essential to reinforcing the illegal settlement enterprise, and provide vital revenues that help ensure their viability and growth. Accordingly, states fail to comply with their international legal obligations by allowing settlement products to enter domestic markets. By not implementing a ban on settlement products, states themselves are politicizing a legal issue and shifting the burden to consumers.”

Omar Barghouti on Matisyahu: ‘Perfectly reasonable to oppose performance by any bigot’

Ben Norton on
Matisyahu performing at the 2015 AIPAC Policy Conference

Jewish American rapper Matisyahu (the stage name of Matthew Paul Miller) was disinvited from a music festival in Spain because of his support for Israel. Organizers of the Rototom Sunsplash European Reggae Festival say they were pressured to cancel the performance by supporters of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. After Spain’s foreign ministry condemned the cancellation of the performance, the festival apologized and re-invited Matisyahu. Denying accusations that the decision to cancel Matisyahu’s performance was motivated in any way by anti-Semitism, Spanish BDS activists maintain that they objected to Matisyahu’s “incitement to racial hatred and his defense of Israeli war crimes, including in his lyrics,” and “his hateful and racist views that dehumanize Palestinians and justify their oppression.”

Over 1,000 Black activists, scholars and artists sign statement supporting freedom and equality for Palestinian people

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A stack of signs from the Palestine Contingent to Ferguson October. Photos of a Palestine2Ferguson sign at the main march during Ferguson October. (Photo by Christopher Hazou)

Over 1,000 Black activists, artists, scholars, students, and organizations have released a statement reaffirming their “solidarity with the Palestinian struggle and commitment to the liberation of Palestine’s land and people.” The list of signatories includes scholar-activists Angela Davis and Cornel West, political prisoners Mumia Abu-Jamal and Sundiata Acoli, rappers Talib Kweli, Boots Riley and Jasiri X, and Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors. 40 organizations signed, including the Florida-based Dream Defenders and St. Louis-based Hands Up United and Tribe X, which were founded after the killings of Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown, respectively, as well as the 35-year-old Organization for Black Struggle in St. Louis. The statement debuted Tuesday afternoon on the website of Ebony, the largest Black publication in the US.

Gulf Labor Artist Coalition stages BDS intervention at 2015 Venice Biennale

Annie Robbins on
G.U.L.F. intervention outside Israel's National Pavilion at 2015 Venice Biennale Aug.2, 2015 Photo: G.U.L.F.

Gulf Labor Coalition’s creatively interjected Palestinian resistance and BDS into the 2015 Venice Biennale on Sunday. GLC’s exhibition artists staged an intervention performance adding a stencil of Handala to their exhibition banner hung prominently in the Pavilion Arsenale exhibition hall, read a ‘Statement on Palestine’ and occupied the 2nd floor of the Israeli Pavilion.

What about Palestinian academic freedom?

Howard Davidson on
Gaza school attacked by Israel, 2014.

Howard Davidson writes: “If Palestinians’ academic freedom is to be valued as it is for Israelis, then a boycott of Israel state sponsored research and teaching is justified until the forces that deny academic freedom for Palestinians no longer exist. It is admirable to treasure academic freedom and to bristle at any suggestion of boycotts. It is hypocrisy to admonish the BDS call for academic boycott of Israeli institutions with no protest against a colonial regime that is denying Palestinian the same freedom.”

The Israeli Anthropological Association’s desperate attempt to derail the academic boycott

Isaiah Silver on

On 11 June 2015, the Israeli Anthropological Association passed a resolution, for the first time in its 42 year history calling for an end to the occupation, while simultaneously opposing the call for academic boycotts of Israeli academic institutions. Although the recognition of Palestinian rights is a necessary first step, both the timing and content of the statement raise serious questions about the sincerity of the organization’s newfound commitment to ending human rights abuses.

Pro-BDS anthropologists publish guide to boycotting Israeli academic institutions

Annie Robbins on

Last week Anthropologists for the Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions marked the anniversaries of Israel’s brutal 51-day attack on Gaza last summer and the 10th anniversary of the BDS movement by releasing the document “Boycotting Israeli Academic Institutions — Advice for Anthropologists,” which provides advice to scholars on how to implement the boycott in their individual capacities.

The case for US government sanctions on Israel

Jeff Warner and Dick Platkin on

Enacting sanctions on Israel, that is ending the U.S. government’s unflinching support of Israel, should be the key action item for organizations leading the BDS movement, yet most of them are conspicuously silent on this topic.

The BDS Movement at 10: An interview with Omar Barghouti

Adam Horowitz and Philip Weiss on
Omar Barghouti

Mondoweiss co-editors Adam Horowitz and Philip Weiss talk with Palestinian human rights activist and co-founder of the BDS movement Omar Barghouti on the tenth anniversary of the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions again Israel.

Following boycott campaign, 1st Israeli Feis attempts to smear activists as it cancels performance

Stan Hoben and Annie Robbins on
Palestinians on the West Bank appeal for the Feis to be cancelled  Photo: Hamza Burnat

Following an intense campaign by Irish BDS activists, organizers of the 1st Israeli Feis, a first time competitive tournament of traditional Irish Dance in Israel, announced the­­ cancellation of the event on their Facebook page yesterday. In the initial cancellation announcement, the event accused the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC), of threatening to kill “everyone” participating in the event, by shooting them in the head. Talk about massive social media fail.

United Church of Christ votes to boycott & divest from companies profiting from Israel’s occupation

Mondoweiss Editors on
The UCC vote.

Today, in a vote of 508 in favor and 124 against, the plenary of the 30th United Church of Christ General Synod passed a resolution calling for boycotts and divestment from companies that profit from Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands. “As disciples of Jesus, we hear and seek to heed his call to be peacemakers, responding to violence with nonviolence and extending love to all,” said Rev. John Deckenback, Conference Minister of the Central Atlantic Conference of the UCC, which submitted the resolution to the synod. “It is in that spirit of love for both Israelis and Palestinians, and a desire to support Palestinians in their nonviolent struggle for freedom, that the United Church of Christ has passed this resolution.”

Irish activists hit hard against 1st Irish dance competition in Israel

Stan Hoben on
#DontDance4Israel Photo by @Ruthanasia

In March, The Carey Academy, Israel announced the 1st Israeli Feis, a competitive tournament of traditional Irish dancing, to take place in Tel Aviv in August. In response, the Irish Palestinian Activist Collective has called on organizers to cancel it in solidarity with the Palestinian BDS call: “Your performance in Israel is the moral equivalent to performing in South Africa during the apartheid era.”