David Lloyd, a founding member of the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, reflects on the failure of the Modern Language Association to endorse a boycott of Israeli academic institutions: “What was all too clear was that the right to academic freedom does not really extend beyond the boundaries of a quite narrowly defined Western academy, of which Israel’s academy is an honorary member.”
Category Archives: BDS
Nada Elia reports: At the Modern Language Association’s annual meeting in Philadelphia, on January 7, 2017, the Delegate Assembly voted against a resolution calling for the boycott of Israeli universities complicit in the denial of academic freedom for the Palestinian people. A resolution that would add racist insult to injury, by blaming the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, but not Israel, for the plight of Palestinian scholars, was tabled.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Lebanon has ended its contract with the world’s largest security company, G4S, following a boycott campaign by activists in the country and across the world over the company’s role in Israel’s violations of Palestinian human rights.
The Brandeis Center has sent a letter to the Modern Language Association threatening a lawsuit if the Association passes the resolution to endorse the Palestinian call for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. The threatened lawsuit would be frivolous and unlikely to pass muster, but the threat itself is hardly a surprise. On the contrary, it is an index of the growing success of the boycott movement in changing public understanding of Israel’s ongoing violations of international law and human rights.
Last night the Peace United Church of Christ in Santa Cruz, CA voted to refrain from buying Hewlett-Packard (HP) products until HP companies cease to profit from Israel’s violation of Palestinian human rights. The congregation made the move as part of the HP-Free Churches campaign initiated by the Friends of Sabeel North America.
The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in Jordan has dropped its contracts with the world’s largest security firm, occupation profiteer G4S, following an ongoing BDS campaign over the firm’s role in Israel’s violations of human rights.
The steady growth of the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian freedom has been met by a wave legislation aimed at punishing or suppressing our 1st amendment rights to free speech and silencing student activism. The latest of these bills is the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act, introduced yesterday by U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Tim Scott (R-SC), which redefines anti-Semitism to include criticism of Israel.
In October of 2015, a Florida State Senator from Miami, Dwight Bullard, voted against a measure to blacklist companies that endorse BDS. DNC chairwoman and member of Congress, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, told Senator Bullard that his political future was over and top donors to the Florida Democratic Party called Bullard personally and threatened their support for him and the Democratic Party because of his position on the BDS blacklist measure. Senator Bullard eventually lost his reelection campaign earlier this month, after being labeled a “terrorist sympathizer” by media outlets, pro-Israel groups, and by both his Democratic primary opponent and then his Republican general election opponent.
This week an international alliance of Palestine solidarity and social justice activists begins a coordinated week of actions across the globe that targets occupation profiteer Hewlett-Packard (HP). The Global BDS Week of Action against HP companies- taking place from November 25th through December 3rd, with more than 90 actions planned on six continents- is believed to be the largest coordinated set of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) activities since the call for BDS was issued by Palestinian civil society in 2005.
A call for boycott of the Israeli settlements by liberal Zionists including Michael Walzer, Peter Beinart, and Kai Bird in the New York Review of Books shatters a traditional taboo on such measures; and we should do everything to foster this debate and point out the limitations of actions that don’t target the state that promotes these settlements.
Renen Raz, a prominent Israeli activist known as a defender and advocate for the rights of Palestinians and promoter of the BDS movement, died at the age of 28 over the weekend.
His friends said he suffered from brain cancer.
Kenneth Marcus, an Israel supporter, refused to share a stage at a Bard College conference on free speech with Dima Khalidi, president of Palestine Legal, and likened the organization’s positions to Holocaust denial and the stereotype of Jews that their breath stinks. He was apparently referring to the group’s protection of speech in favor of BDS.
On September 26th, 2016 Nobel Energy signed a deal with Jordan’s National Electric Power Company Ltd. (NEPCO) to import gas from the Leviathan field off the shores of Haifa. Jordan BDS categorically rejects the agreement for strategic, economic and moral reasons as it ties Jordan’s energy, economic and political security to Israel for the coming 15 years.
A Spanish High Court of the Asturias region upheld a decision last week declaring a Langreo City Council agreement to boycott Israel illegal. And last month the UK government’s Department for Communities and Local Government published guidance for local authorities stating that “using pension policies to pursue boycott, divestment and sanctions against foreign nations and UK defence industries are inappropriate”.
Over the past few years, as support for Palestinian rights has grown across the United States, student members of SJP chapters nationally have been facing intense online harassment for speaking up for Palestinian rights. One particular organization, the Canary Mission, has led multiple concerted attacks against students and faculty, tweeting about them as “Jew haters” and “terrorists” to potential employers. Over 1000 professors, representing a variety of viewpoints on Israel/Palestine, signed a statement insisting that the Canary Mission has no place on university campuses, and should not be taken seriously by university departments when evaluating prospective students for admission.
September 25, 2016 marked the thirteenth anniversary of the passing of Professor Edward Said, one of the most influential intellectuals of the twentieth century, and a political icon for anyone invested in the Question of Palestine. And as happens with many historical icons, Said’s legacy is causing a tug-of-war between “liberal Zionists” on the one hand, and the thousands of anti-Zionist critics and BDS activists his radical scholarship and political engagement have spawned.
The two sides of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement squared off in New York’s City Hall on Thursday, with BDS activists disrupting a hearing where city council members discussed a resolution condemning BDS. “New York City Council should stay out of the business of condemning non-violent human rights movements,” Radhika Sainath, staff attorney with Palestine Legal, said in a statement. “By passing this resolution, New York City Council will chill the speech of New Yorkers eager to be part of an international human rights movement.”
Cadiz, provincial capital in the autonomous community of Andalusia in the Spanish state, has become the latest municipality to pass a motion supporting the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights and declaring itself an Israeli “Apartheid Free Zone”. Cadiz joins more than 50 cities and towns across the Spanish state which have voted to declare themselves spaces free from Israeli apartheid.
Two dioceses of the Lutheran Church of Sweden sponsored a Kairos Palestine summer camp to consider ramping up the pressure on Israel by increasing support of the BDS movement. “We have waited 41 years” as the situation has gotten worse and worse in Israel and the Occupied Territories, said Rev. Anna Karin Hammar. “We are cowards.”
“I have no problem with Jewish people or any other religion or different beliefs. But for personal reasons, you can’t ask me to shake the hand of anyone from this state, especially in front of the whole world.” These words, spoken by an individual who has just engaged in a gesture of support for the Palestinian people, are a standard response to the accusation of anti-Semitism which is routinely hurled at pro-justice activists. Yet as Egyptian judoka Islam El-Shehaby uttered them last week in Brazil, they signified a new milestone: the sports boycott had arrived at the 2016 Olympic Games.
Palestinian BDS National Committee responds to Movement for Black Lives policy platform: “We pledge to firmly and consistently stand in solidarity with our black sisters and brothers in the United States and around the world by supporting the demands and policy proposals in this platform.”
Israel will soon search for, deport, and prevent the entry of international activists involved in the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement, based on intelligence provided in part by hotline tips to a task force, said Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan Sunday.
Palestinian writer and activist Nada Elia responds to claims that an economic boycott of Israel is bound to fail: “BDS will never bankrupt Israel, and that is not necessary for it to achieve its goals: showing that the emperor has no clothes, and empowering justice-minded people everywhere to disengage from a hyper-militarized, violent rogue state, until it stops violating international law and the human rights of an oppressed people.”
The National Labor Relations Board has reaffirmed its dismissal an unfair labor practice charge brought by an Israeli law firm against a U.S. union, the United Electrical Workers, over its support of protests against Israeli policies including the union’s endorsement of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) movement. UE National President Peter Knowlton said that UE in the past had “withstood attempts by the U.S. government to silence us during the McCarthy era in the 1950s,” and was “unbowed by the latest attempt of a surrogate of the Israeli government to stifle our call for justice for Palestinian and Israeli workers.”
Gaza-based activist and academic Haidar Eid responds to queries sent by some activists about international gatherings and conferences that are being organized to address BDS-related issues without acknowledging the Palestinian leadership of the movement.