While senior White House officials were in Jerusalem today to mark the opening of the U.S. embassy, and 55 Palestinian protesters in Gaza were killed by Israeli forces, young Jews with the group If Not Now blocked traffic in Washington DC outside the Trump International Hotel for two hours by erecting an “Embassy of Freedom” to protest the administration’s move.
Category Archives: Activism
Durham, North Carolina became the first city in the country to ban local police exchanges with Israel on April 16, when the city council unanimously passed a resolution opposing any international “military-style” training for police officers. The victory was the result of a two-year campaign by a coalition of 10 local organizations, as well as the deep legacy of intersectional and internationalist solidarity in the U.S. South.
Fifteen Israeli human rights organizations issued a statement condemning the Israeli government’s decision to deport Omar Shakir, Israel and Palestine Director at Human Rights Watch: “Israel is trying to keep both its own citizens and the world from seeing what it is doing. Neither closing the borders to human rights groups and activists nor other Israeli measures against organizations critical of the occupation will deter us – or them – from reporting human rights violations in areas under Israeli control. Rather than trying to hide the occupation from the world – end the occupation.”
Moving Forward looks like the Forward to suggest Jewish newspapers should be cover the Palestinian Nakba on its 70th year.
BDS support among Jews is a problem that goes back to Jews being against other Jews in the Torah, says Roseanne Barr. She would reach out to those Israel-criticizing Jews with Torah. “They are not really all that educated,” Barr told the Jerusalem Post conference. “I would tell them….Do you know you’re looking at the greatest recorded rebellion of a slave class of people that’s ever been written?”
For the first time in its 101-year history the Giro bicycle race will begin outside Europe, on May 4 in Jerusalem, thanks to $12 million from the Israeli government. We can on the same Friday look forward to the spectacle of the start of an international sporting event hosted by the same country that about 50 miles away is concurrently killing and wounding civilians in cold blood.
Katherine Franke: “My interrogation in Tel Aviv made it clear that I was banned from entering Israel because of my work in the U.S. on behalf of Palestinian rights.”
The campaign against the Philadelphia Orchestra’s upcoming tour to Israel continues to intensify. Eleven longtime subscribers and donors have issued a statement announcing their decision to withdraw their support of the Orchestra if it does not cancel the tour. “We will no longer support the Orchestra if it decides to lend legitimacy to Israel’s apartheid regime,” the statement reads.
Rebecca Miles has lived her entire life in Lapwai, Idaho and since 2009 she has been the Executive Director of the Nez Perce tribe. Miles writes that the struggle for Palestinians rings familiar to her struggle as a Native American where indigenous people must struggle for the use of their own waterways, resources and ways of life.
Many Palestinians and their allies had long maintained that the Palestine predicament was absolutely unique, but Nada Elia says an increasingly larger number of Palestinians now appreciate the similarities between their oppression and the oppression of others. Elia writes, “As we commemorate seventy years of Palestinian Nakba, seventy years of ongoing catastrophe, we can finally envision freedom through the end of Palestinian exclusivity: we exist, as a distinct people, despite the Zionist claim to the contrary, and we are not terrorists one and all, but freedom fighters and civilians standing up for our human rights, as freedom fighters and disenfranchised civilians have stood up and will continue to stand up for their human rights all around the globe.”
The George Washington University student Senate overwhelmingly passed a resolution to divest from nine companies known to be complicit in Israel’s violations of Palestinian human rights after being delayed a week because of threats to their safety by the anti-BDS group Canary Mission. Still, Canary Mission showed up on campus the night of the Senate vote, and it got very bizarre.
Palestinian Christian Advocates for Justice and the Palestinian Christian Alliance for Peace: “The Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem, as well as the rest of the West Bank, Gaza, and the Syrian Golan Heights, is now in its fifty-first year, the longest military occupation since the end of the nineteenth century. Palestinian Christians and Muslims are calling on the church to use its influence to end the occupation.”
Israeli human rights activists submitted a Freedom of Information request concerning the international network of anti-BDS activity by Israeli ministries – and were surprised to find that the Justice Ministry was directly involved.
Like the recent Barnard BDS vote, Natalie Portman’s refusal to attend the Genesis Prize award presentation shows how deep the cracks in Zionism are running for a growing number of Jews who today find it “increasingly tricky” to reconcile one’s familiar love for Israel and one’s decency, and eventually opt towards dissociating themselves from Zionism.
In refusing to attend a prize ceremony in Israel, Natalie Portman says the problem with Israel is Netanyahu. But the problem is Zionism, Robert Cohen writes to Portman. “If you continue to see Zionism as essentially liberal and progressive you will never understand why it creates in your own words: ‘violence, corruption, inequality, and abuse of power’. The current Israeli government is not an aberration. When Netanyahu falls, Zionism with all of its violence, corruption and inequality will stay put.”
Israeli-American actress Natalie Portman’s refusal to accept an award at a ceremony in Israel because of “extremely distressing” recent events is causing a huge headache for Israel advocates. The correct response comes from Benjamin Netanyahu, Bret Stephens and Avi Mayer: avoid the topic.
The Gaza killings have had a huge effect on world opinion. Tonight they became even bigger. In an astonishing move, the Israeli-American film star Natalie Portman, 36, informed an Israeli foundation she would not show up at the awards ceremony of Israel’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize because recent events have been “extremely distressing” to her, an obvious reference to Israel’s killings of nearly 40 unarmed Palestinian protesters.
The young Jewish group IfNotNow has seen 37 members arrested protesting Jewish leaders silence on Israeli killings of unarmed Palestinian protesters. The statement it helped elicit from Sen. Dianne Feinstein, urging both sides to end violence, was sadly reminiscent of Donald Trump blaming both sides for the alt-right killing at Charlottesville protests.
Barnard and Columbia University administrations have often targeted Palestinian solidarity and censored Palestinian voices on campus, but yesterday Barnard students voted overwhelmingly in favor of a resolution calling on the university to divest from companies complicit in Palestinian human rights violations. With 1,153 total votes cast, yesterday’s turnout was the largest in Barnard’s history according to the Student Government Association. The final vote 64.3% in favor and just 35.7% opposed.
On the eve of a divestment vote by George Washington University’s student senate, multiple students witnessed two men who they say clearly did not attend the university, posting flyers around campus attacking the student group responsible for the resolution, as well as Students for Justice in Palestine, Jewish Voice for Peace, and Student Association Senators. The vote was cancelled due to safety concerns and rescheduled for April 23.
In April of 2015, an anonymous website called Canary Mission appeared with profiles of mostly young Arab, Black, and Jewish student activists with the mission of intimidating supporters of Palestinian human rights into silence. Now, at long last, organized opposition to Canary Mission has arrived. Today the project Against Canary Mission is launching, featuring a website dedicated to representing in truthful detail the lives of activists in support of Palestinian liberation, and to narrating accurately the conditions of Israel’s Occupation.
Haidar Eid writes from Gaza: “We have reached the conclusion that our fight on the ground through a series of marches culminating on May 15, the 70th anniversary of the Nakba, can pose a serious challenge to Israel’s system of occupation, colonization and apartheid if it is accompanied by a global campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions.”
The Great March of Return began on Land Day and ends on Nakba Day. In the process it is demonstrating that each period of Palestinian dispossession is connected — it is an ongoing saga where the Nakba never ended. The protest is also showing that when Palestinians seek to make the world remember them, they are killed with impunity. Still, Jonathan Ofir says the Israeli response has exposed Israel “as the monster that it was destined to be.”
Fifty student organizations at New York University have issued a statement endorsing BDS: “We support the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement for Palestinian human rights as it is a non-violent method of resisting Israeli apartheid from abroad. We call on NYU to divest its holdings from companies and funds that are complicit in the Israeli occupation of Palestine.”
On March 30th, thousands of Palestinians from across the besieged Gaza Strip launched “The Great March of Return,” to demand their right to return to their pre-1948 homelands in historic Palestine. Since then, at least 29 Palestinian protesters have been killed, including a journalist and at least two minors. In this video, Palestinians who are putting their lives on the line to join the protests in Gaza explain why they are taking such a risk.