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BDS or emigration: pick one

Ofer Neiman on
Aluf Benn

Aluf Benn urges Israeli elites to fight BDS because it will transform Israel into a state of its citizens, possibly ending up with an Arab prime minister. But that’s what decolonization means.

NYU and UMass Graduate Employee unions vote to divest from Israeli apartheid

Mondoweiss Editors on
(Photo: GSOC-UAW Local 2110 Facebook Page)

This past week the NYU Graduate Employee Union (GSOC-UAW 2110) and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst Graduate Employee Union (GEO-UAW 2322), both representing 2,000 members each, endorsed by full membership vote the call from all major Palestinian trade unions and civil society groups to impose Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel. These resolutions by aspiring educators of future generations significantly contribute to the already evolving discourse on justice for Palestinians.

Maryland coalition defeats anti-BDS bill in State Assembly

Mondoweiss Editors on
The Maryland State House

The Freedom2Boycott in Maryland coalition won a significant victory when the 2016 Maryland legislative session ended April 11 with no anti-boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) bill being introduced into the General Assembly.

Another interview on Israeli TV

Alice Rothchild on
Alice Rothchild

Alice Rothchild is portrayed as an extremist for supporting BDS on Israeli television, and her Facebook page lights up with rage. She responds: Israelis, you must wake up from your stupor and see how the world sees you.

BDS takes two big strides, at CUNY and U of Chicago

Philip Weiss on
Palestinian flag at U of Chicago divestment launch

BDS makes big strides at American schools. University of Chicago student council overwhelmingly supported divestment from 10 companies doing business with “apartheid,” while the CUNY grad doctoral students’ council voted by a similar margin for academic boycott of Israel.

As threats against BDS grow, it is time for ‘sumoud’ in activist communities

Nada Elia on
BDS action in France. (Photo via The Alternative Information Center)

Palestinians have given the world many terms. “Nakba,” the Palestinian catastrophe, and “Intifada,” the “shaking off” of an oppressive system are two examples. Another term is “Sumoud,” the persistence of the Palestinian people, despite close to a century of a denial of their right to exist. As attacks on BDS, and BDS organizers, are intensifying globally, Nada Elia says, “Now is the time for sumoud not just in the homeland, but in activist communities worldwide. Just as Palestinians refuse to surrender their rights to freedom, dignity, self-determination, activists will not give up our right to organize for justice.”

After wins abroad, BDS conference in West Bank sees local traction

Allison Deger on
5th BDS Conference held in the West Bank on April 9, 2016 in al-Bireh outside of Ramallah. (Photo: Allison Deger)

Tamam Abdul, 60, sells Israeli goods in her West Bank supermarket, but she would rather not. “All of the products we receive are Israeli, unfortunately,” she said Saturday outside of Ramallah at a fifth conference about the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel, otherwise known by the acronym BDS.

Unitarian Universalists divest from companies profiting from Israel’s occupation

Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East on
Graphic: Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East

The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) has adopted a human rights investment screen focusing on conflict zones that includes human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territories. The UUA divested from Hewlett Packard Enterprise, HP Inc., and Motorola Solutions. The UUA has also divested from Caterpillar Inc., due to concerns over its environmental and social practices. These four companies have been the target of boycott and divestment campaigns due to their complicity in violations of Palestinian human rights.

‘Rethinking Schools’ endorses BDS

Editors of Rethinking Schools on
BDS protest in Montreal (Photo: Scott Weinstein)

The education journal ‘Rethinking Schools’ endorses BDS: “When the United States was about to invade Afghanistan and again in the lead-up to the war against Iraq, Rethinking Schools argued that these were situations of such magnitude that educators had a moral and an educational responsibility to speak out. We think that Palestine is just such a situation. We’ve had long discussions about what that means for us as educators. One important piece of that responsibility, we believe, is joining the movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel (BDS) for its denial of human rights to Palestinians.”

Italian students launch the “Studenti Contro Il Technion Campaign” to support BDS

Progetto Palestina on
Graphic: #StopTechnionItalia

On January 29th 168 Italian scholars from more than 50 universities signed a pledge calling on their institutions to cut ties with the Israel institute of Technology (Technion) in Haifa. The number has soared rapidly, topping 332 signatures last week. The petition follows similar endorsements by scholars and academic associations across Europe, the US and South Africa.

Eric Alterman contradicts himself about anti-Semitism on campus

James North on
Eric Alterman speaking at CUNY Queensborogh Community College in 2008. (Image: YouTube)

Eric Alterman says he’s never heard “a single anti-Semitic syllable uttered” in 12 years on the CUNY faculty. Then he asserts without evidence that there is “no doubt” anti-Semitism at campuses across the U.S. Which is it?

Indiana lawmakers seek to silence critics of Israel

Bill V. Mullen and Edward E. Curtis IV on
Photograph of campus activism from the Students Supporting Israel website

How do we know BDS is working? Because in Indiana as in coastal areas BDS opponents are actively trying to stop the movement. The state legislature is attempting to limit public discussion of BDS, and smear BDS proponents as anti-Semites.

Portland’s socially responsible investments committee recommends putting Caterpillar on city’s ‘do-not-buy’ list

Mondoweiss Editors on
IDF Caterpillar D9 armored bulldozer displayed on Israel 66th Independence Day. (Photo: Zachi Evenor/ Wikimedia)

Portland’s Socially Responsible Investments Committee (SRIC) voted – 4 in favor, 2 opposed – at its March 17th meeting to recommend that City funds should not be invested in Caterpillar, citing concern that Caterpillar Corporation violates a number of the City’s socially responsible investment criteria. Maxine Fookson, from Occupation-Free Portland, which pushed for Caterpillar to be placed on the Do-Not-Buy List, said “This is an important victory for human rights. The SRIC today took a stand on the right side of history making it clear that companies, like Caterpillar, that are knowingly engaged in human rights violations in the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land should not be supported by Portland investments.”

Israel’s legal warfare on BDS fosters repression and McCarthyism across the world

Palestinian BDS National Committee on
A BDS logo

The global movement supporting the Palestinian people’s right to freedom, justice and equality has taken impressive steps into the political mainstream in recent years. As a result, Israel, its lobby groups and its right-wing supporters have launched an unprecedented, well-funded global campaign to silence Palestinian narratives and criminalize BDS advocacy, especially in western countries. Israeli-induced attacks on free speech and civil rights in Europe, the US and Canada, among others, are fostering an ominous environment of bullying, intimidation and repression that has all the hallmarks of the era of McCarthyism in the US and the worst days of the apartheid regime in South Africa.

Over 60 Massachusetts organizations protest ‘anti BDS’ legislation

Nancy Murray and Liza Behrendt on
Hundreds of people supporting Palestinians marched to the Massachusetts State House, July 22, 2014. 
(Photo: Marilyn Humphries)

“Legislation that bars BDS activity by private groups, whether corporations or universities, strikes at the heart of First Amendment-protected free speech, will be challenged in the courts and is likely to be struck down.” Defenders of BDS do not often see eye to eye with Abraham Foxman, who wrote these lines shortly before stepping down last year as the national director of the Anti Defamation League. But this is the message that the Massachusetts Freedom to Boycott Coalition will be taking to the halls of the State House on March 15 when they hand deliver to each legislative office a copy of a statement opposing anti-BDS legislation that has been signed by 61 organizations from across the Commonwealth.

BDS Victory: Ahava moving factory out of occupied West Bank

Annie Robbins on
Photo: Code Pink's Stolen Beauty Ahava Boycott Campaign

Ahava Dead Sea cosmetics, a company that pillages mud products from occupied Palestine, plans to move its factory from the occupied West Bank to within Israel’s pre-1967 borders. The company had been the longtime target of Code Pink’s Stolen Beauty Ahava boycott campaign, which included activists chaining themselves to concrete blocks inside Ahava’s London store, and persistent online social media actions spanning continents since the campaign was launched in 2009.

Palestinian students rally local businesses to support BDS in occupied West Bank

Sheren Khalel and Abed Al Qaisi on
March in support of BDS in Bethlehem (Photo: Abed Al Qaisi)

Dozens of Palestinian students marched in the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem to encourage business owners to get behind the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement on Sunday. Ibrahim Subhay, a 22-year-old student in Bethlehem, told Mondoweiss that his main goal was to educate business owners on the importance of the BDS movement, “We can’t ask the international community to support us, and not do our part to support ourselves.”

By opposing nonviolent BDS, McGill and Canadian government put themselves on wrong side of history

Mondoweiss Editors on
McGill BDS Action Network (photo: McGill Daily)

McGill professors committed to justice and equity strongly disagree with the Principal Suzanne Fortier’s official response on behalf of the Montreal university administration to the recent Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) motion in support of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel and the subsequent on-line process which failed to ratify this vote.