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Boycott RE/MAX protests flood the US during Week of Action

Ben Norton on

RE/MAX is one of the largest real estate corporations in the world. RE/MAX International, based in the US, with headquarters in Denver, Colorado, oversees 7,000 offices in almost 100 countries and several of RE/MAX’s Israeli franchises sell property in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. During the first week of December Palestinian solidarity activists across the US flooded RE/MAX offices demanding that the real estate giant cease its activities in illegal, Jewish-only settlements.

A point by point response to Alan Dershowitz’s ‘Ten Reasons Why The BDS Movement Is Immoral’

Samantha Brotman on
Alan Dershowitz

Since Samantha Brotman began publicly expressing her outrage at last summer’s Israeli assault on Gaza, and especially since she helped to found a local chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace, several of her Jewish friends and colleagues have sent her links to Alan Dershowitz’s “Ten Reasons Why The BDS Movement Is Immoral,” hoping to bring her back into their Zionist fold. Here Brotman responds to Dershowitz’s reasons and notes “I’m glad Dershowitz is scared enough of BDS to take time out of his very busy schedule to write a list like this. This means something is working.”

Elbit Systems loses key Brazil deal over Palestine protests

Palestinian BDS National Committee on
BDS Movement Logo

The Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul has cancelled a major collaboration deal with Israeli military company Elbit Systems in the wake of protests over the firm’s role in oppression of Palestinians.

Civil rights organizations warn universities: there is no ‘civility’ exception to First Amendment

Palestine Solidarity Legal Support on
Northeastern chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine. (Photo courtesy of Northeastern SJP)

A group of civil rights organizations – including Palestine Solidarity Legal Support, the Center for Constitutional Rights, the National Lawyers Guild, Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus, and others – submitted a letter to over 200 universities cautioning administrators against heeding calls to censor or stifle expression criticizing the state of Israel or advocating for Palestinian human rights.

UN commemorates Palestine’s long journey

Claire Paddock on
Photo of Palestinian refugees at UN solidarity exhibit, photographer unknown

The International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People was celebrated at the UN last week. Sec’y General Ban Ki-moon was there, peering at haunting images of Palestinian dispossession.

North Carolina county takes step towards dropping contract with occupation-linked company G4S

Alex Kane on
Activists in Durham hand out anti-G4S flyers. (Photo: Erin Bree/Facebook)

Durham County, North Carolina has taken towards dropping private company G4S’ contract to provide security for libraries, parking lots and other municipal buildings. The move by Durham County commissioners followed a months-long campaign by a coalition of activists who criticized G4S, a British-Danish company, for its ties to the Israeli occupation.

Middle East Studies Association affirms members’ right to boycott Israeli academic institutions (Updated)

Annie Robbins on
BDS Movement Logo

A huge win for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement at the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) annual conference in Washington. Participating members voted overwhelmingly, by a majority of 265 against 79, to adopt a resolution defending their right to boycott Israeli academic institutions, part of the Palestinian campaign for the academic and cultural boycott of Israel. The resolution will now go to a vote of the full membership.

A handful of Wellesley students are trying to shut down discussion of Israel/Palestine

Eliza Marks, Nour Azzouz, and Mallika Govindan on
Wellesley College poster, photograph by Jordan Hannink

A Wellesley College chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine formed this fall and tried to start a conversation about Palestinian human rights. A few pro-Israel students are trying to shut down that conversation, saying it is “menacing.” The campaign represents a bigoted backlash against Palestinian solidarity and in the process Wellesley SJP has been falsely accused of contributing to a growing hostile and anti-Jewish environment on our campus. Three SJP members respond and address the repeated attempts to slander their work for Palestinian and Israeli human rights.

Some reflections on the 5th anniversary of Kairos Palestine

Marc H. Ellis on
Elias Chacour, a former archbishop for the Melkite Greek Catholic church

During the five years of the existence of the landmark Kairos document on Palestinian conditions, solidarity with Palestinians has increased. But the reckoning that Kairos Palestine calls for hasn’t happened. It won’t happen in the near future either. The powers that be in the world are uninterested in Palestinian freedom

In landslide, UCLA student govt votes to divest from Israeli occupation

Adam Horowitz on
(Image: UCLA Divest Facebook page)

The University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) undergraduate student government voted 8-2-2 to pass a resolution calling on the university to divest from companies profiting from Israeli human rights abuses and occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. According to a UCLA Students for Justice in Palestine press release, UCLA’s vote marks the sixth undergraduate University of California campus to support divestment from the Israeli occupation.

RE/MAX cashes in on Israel’s illegal settlements

Medea Benjamin on

The Israeli government’s recent announcement that it had authorized the building of another 1,000 settlement homes in East Jerusalem left the US government seeing red, with State Department spokeswoman Jen Psakicalling the settlement activity “illegitimate” and “incompatible with the pursuit of peace.” But the announcement must have left the US-based real estate giant RE/MAX “seeing green,” ready to cash in on the sale and rental of more illegal settlement homes. Among the 90 countries with RE/MAX franchises is in Israel. Since its entry into the Israeli market in 1995, RE/MAX has become the largest network of real estate agencies in Israel, boasting 100 branches and over 900 real estate agents in this small country roughly the size of New Jersey. But here is the problem. RE/MAX Israel sells properties that are not only in Israel proper, but are also in occupied Palestinian lands of the West Bank.

Running for Gaza: Linda Wafi’s marathon journey for Palestinian children

Alex Kane on
Linda Wafi in a Manhattan coffee shop. (Photo: Alex Kane)

On November 2, Linda Wafi participated in the 26.2 mile-New York City Marathon. The 33-year-old Palestinian resident of Washington, D.C. was not just running for exercise, though. Wafi was raising money for the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund, a nonprofit that brings injured children from the Middle East to hospitals around the world for treatment. The fund is busy these days with helping Palestinians who were injured during Israel’s last military operation in the Gaza Strip, an area Wafi lived in for ten years.

All-star musicians come together to support Gaza with new album ‘2 Unite All’

Annie Robbins on
2 Unite All ~ Cover Art by Greg Spalenka / TuneCore distribution

“2 Unite All” features 26 powerful musical tracks of healing and peace created in a wonderful and very accessible way for people around the world to support the besieged Palestinian community of Gaza. The album features Peter Gabriel, The Police’s Stewart Copeland, Grammy Award-winning opera singer Sasha Cooke, Rick Allen (Def Leppard), Country Grammy winner Gary Nicholson, Pearl Thompson (Cure/Led Zeppelin) and System of a Down’s Serj Tankian.

Unionizing solidarity with Palestine: Support grows for BDS among grassroots labor movement

Alborz Gandanhari, David McCleary, Kumars Salehi and Tory Webster on
Block the Boat march in Oakland. (Photo: Bob Ristelhueber)

Compared to its international counterparts, the U.S. labor movement has been slow to embrace BDS. On the grassroots level, however, things look different. This summer, hundreds of US labor leaders and organizers signed on to Labor for Palestine’s BDS statement. To add to these inspiring developments, on December 4th, UAW 2865, a union that represents 13,000 student workers across nine University of California campuses, will become the first U.S. union to hold a membership vote on joining the BDS movement. Similarly encouraging are recent solidarity actions in the San Francisco Bay Area, which show that, despite the ambivalence among some union leadership, rank-and-filers do not hesitate to stand in solidarity with the oppressed.

Tufts students challenge university’s complicity in Israeli violence

Leah Muskin-Pierret on
Tufts SJP Group Shot marching for water rights. (Photo: Leah Muskin-Pierret)

Murder, in any democracy’s foreign policy, is hardly ever sold as murder; instead it is neatly repackaged, advertised as necessary defense to loyal constituents. On November 10, the Fletcher School and Tufts Hillel will host one of the primary architects of this summer’s massacres in Gaza. Tufts Students for Justice in Palestine is calling on Tufts President Anthony Monaco to cancel a speaking engagement by Lt. Col. Dr. Eran Shamir- Borer so that apologists for Israeli war crimes are not honored on their campus.