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‘If Not Now’ blocks traffic outside Trump DC hotel to protest embassy move

Allison Deger on

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. 

How Durham, NC became the first U.S. city to ban police exchanges with Israel

Zaina Alsous and Sammy Hanf on

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.

‘Rather than trying to hide the occupation from the world – end the occupation’: Israeli orgs respond to gov’t deporting Human Rights Watch director

B'Tselem on

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.”

Roseanne Barr says she will fight Jews supporting BDS by educating them about Torah

Allison Deger on

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?”

Major bike race will kick off in Jerusalem Friday even as snipers line up on Gaza border

Rob Lipton on

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. 

Subscribers and donors withdraw support from the Philadelphia Orchestra over Israel tour

Susan Landau on

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.

The struggle of Palestinians is the struggle of Native Americans

Rebecca Miles on

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.

The end of exclusivity

Nada Elia on

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.”

George Washington student Senate passes divestment resolution as intimidation campaign continues

Jesse Rubin on

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 Christians and Muslims call on faith communities to help end the occupation

Open Letter on

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.”

Natalie Portman’s cancellation: Inching towards the tipping point

Nada Elia on

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.

Dear Natalie Portman: I too was once a liberal Zionist

Robert Cohen on

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.”

Natalie Portman says, Enough!

Philip Weiss and James North on

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.

IfNotNow ups pressure on Schumer to end silence on Israeli killings of unarmed protesters

Philip Weiss on

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.

In major BDS win, Barnard students vote overwhelmingly to divest from the Israeli occupation

Jesse Rubin on

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.

George Washington University divestment vote cancelled due to safety concerns following threatening anti-BDS posters

Jesse Rubin on

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.

Countering a Blacklist: Introducing ‘Against Canary Mission’

Sumaya Awad and Bill V. Mullen on

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.

Contextualizing the Great March of Return

Haidar Eid on

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 Gaza protests are challenging every facet of Israel’s dispossession of the Palestinian people

Jonathan Ofir on

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.”

50 NYU student groups endorse BDS, call on university to divest from companies complicit in Israeli occupation

NYU Students for Justice in Palestine on

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.”

Video: Palestinians explain why they are risking their lives by joining Gaza protests

Yumna Patel, Akram Al-Wa'ra and Nidal Wuheid on

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.