For a third consecutive year the Philadelphia Coalition for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel (Philly BDS) held its annual boycott of Israeli dates during the month of Ramadan, and this year successfully mobilized different businesses across the city to formally pledge not to serve nor buy Israeli date products that are in direct violation of international law.
Category Archives: Activism
On the occasion of his death, Kali Rubaii remembers the time she met Elie Wiesel and explains how his work led her to work for Palestinian freedom, even if Wiesel himself would never join her, “We are given the stories we are given. I was given the Holocaust first, the Nakba second. It is the way Palestine came to me, it is how Handala and I were introduced. Elie Wiesel cannot stop that. I cannot change that. It is my duty to recognize and act upon the memories that prepare me for the present, even if the arbiters of those memories are unwilling. ‘To forget is a crime,’ he insisted. So I remember. And so we much act.”
Members of the Chicago Faith Coalition on Middle East Policy convened at the Kluczynski Federal Building on Thursday morning to deliver a petition with over 1,340 signatures to US Senator Dick Durbin, urging him to martial his and his colleagues’ political leverage to end the blockade of Gaza.
On 17 July 2014, three children from the Shuheibar family were killed by a missile most likely fired by an Israeli drone operator, while another two children were seriously injured. A component of that missile, collected by the family, had “France” written on it. Experts established that it was produced by Eurofarad, a French company later acquired by Exxelia Technologies. French human rights organization ACAT together with a local partner from Gaza, collected evidence and testimonies, and with the help of Ancile-avocats legal office submitted a complaint against the French weapons manufacturer for their complicity in war crimes and involuntary manslaughter.
The Public Institution for Social Security (PIFSS) in Kuwait has decided, as reported in the Kuwaiti media, to divest its funds from G4S, a company that is profiting from the Israeli occupation and has a notorious record of human rights abuses. Guman Mussa, BDS Campaigns Coordinator in the Arab World, welcomed the new victory against G4S saying: “The decision of PIFSS in Kuwait to respond to a call made by Palestinian civil society and BDS Kuwait affirms that the Palestinian cause is part and parcel of the consciousness of the Kuwaiti people. Kuwait shines a glimmer of hope against normalization with Israel’s regime of occupation and settler-colonialism”.
Anna Baltzer writes, “Two years ago, Presbyterians passed divestment by a razor thin margin of just 7 votes. This year, they moved boldly forward with huge majority votes on further strong measures. Meanwhile, the Unitarians achieved a majority on their first attempt at divestment (remember, the Presbyterians took 10 years!). It is clear that we are in a new moment, and that we have much work ahead of us. We are honored to have you by our side during these historic moments in the struggle for freedom and justice in Palestine.”
The Presbyterian Church (USA) continued its strong support for Palestinian rights with the passage of several overtures at its biennial conference including calling on RE/MAX to end sales of houses in illegal Israeli settlements and affirming the use of boycott as a tool for social change.
The Boycott, Divest and Sanction campaign has made huge strides in the occupied West Bank over the past two years, but campaign organizers are no where near done. At the start of Ramadan, the campaign, partnered with several other local community and BDS initiatives across the occupied West Bank, set out with a mission: To get Israeli products off Ramadan dinner tables.
After author Miko Peled criticized Israel at an April event at an Episcopal church on the Upper West Side in NY, the rector organized a session on how to talk about the conflict which featured a city councilman and rabbi opposing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. The Episcopal church is demonstrating moral cowardice by not supporting the non-violent movement to end atrocious Palestinian conditions.
Today, Center for Constitutional Rights, Palestine Legal and Jewish Voice for Peace filed a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request seeking documents relating to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s recent executive order that will blacklist institutions and companies that abide by Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns related to Israeli human rights abuses and violations of international law.
Twenty members of Congress signed a letter to President Barack Obama on Monday, urging the appointment of a Special Envoy for Palestinian Children to ensure the U.S. government prioritizes Palestinian children’s rights.
Jordana Cutler, who is currently the Chief of Staff at the Israeli embassy in Washington DC, and a longtime advisor to Netanyahu, has been named as head of policy and communications at Facebook’s Israel office. The appointment comes as the Israeli government has put pressure on the social network to monitor “incitement” and material critical of the country. Cutler’s position as a diplomatic government official suggests that her role will be to bring Facebook and the Israeli government closer together.
Scholar and writer Viet Thanh Nguyen, 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction winner and associate professor of English and American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California, has endorsed BDS and the cultural and academic boycott of Israel in support of Palestinian rights. “Always remember, never forget. These powerful words compel us to think about both the injustices of the past and the injustices of the present. One of those contemporary injustices that we struggle to remember is the Israeli occupation and the deprivation of Palestinian rights. For any of us concerned with justice, the imperative is clear: we must stand with the disempowered and the forgotten against militarism and the state,” said Nguyen.
In the wake of the massacre at the Pulse nightclub, G4S stock prices fell as people learned that the Orlando shooter was an employee of the company. Kali Rubaii says it is a sign that the world sees the direct links between corporate profit and mass violence, and now is the time for policy change to stop unconditional support for the Security-Industrial Complex.
On Wednesday June 15, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s recent anti-BDS executive order galvanized a diverse coalition of nearly 200 —Palestine solidarity activists, civil liberties defenders, faith organizations, elected officials, antiwar groups and more—to travel from across the state to Albany on Wednesday to deliver a petition calling on Governor Cuomo to rescind the order. Mark Mishler, an activist with the Albany chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace, called Cuomo’s actions “frightening,” but marveled at the organized activist pushback. “What Governor Cuomo did is gave us all strength to come together,” Mishler told Mondoweiss. “Whether we all agree on everything or not, we certainly all agree that it is wrong for Governor Cuomo to think that he can silence people who are speaking up for human rights.”
A group of BDS and Open Hillel activists have produced a darkly humorous web video series about campus divestment from Israel called act-iv-ist. The season finale aired earlier this week.
In his new book War Against the People, Israeli-American writer-activist Jeff Halper argues that Israel has positioned itself as the preeminent vendor of hi-tech tools and tactics for waging “full spectrum” war, smashing “terrorist” entities, policing borders and internal ghettos, and “securitizing” restive populations — all combat-proven, under real-life conditions in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and besieged, hopeless Gaza. In the global, post-9-11, permanent war economy, says Halper, Israel has parlayed its permanent subjugation of the Palestinian people into a huge competitive advantage — deeply attractive to powerful elites within the “core” and far off in the periphery.
Governor Cuomo just makes his executive order against BDS worse with stupid statement “New York stands with Israel because we are Israel and Israel is us.” No wonder the NYT rejected this slop and it shows up in the Washington Post.
Hundreds of protesters descended on New York State Governor Cuomo’s midtown Manhattan office on Thursday, June 9 to stand against state-sanctioned suppression of the right to boycott. Adalah NY, Jewish Voice for Peace and Jews Say No! organized an emergency response to Cuomo’s June 5 executive order attacking the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement in the State of New York. Rani Allen, president of the Palestine Solidarity Alliance of Hunter College, called Cuomo’s decision “an act of retaliation.” “I think it’s a sign of our success,” Allen told Mondoweiss. “It’s a response based on fear of our movement which has been getting larger and larger with time.”
“Creating a government blacklist that imposes state sanctions based on political beliefs raises serious First Amendment concerns,” New York Civil Liberties Union says in denouncing Gov. Cuomo’s executive order barring state business with organizations that advocate Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel.
The Association for Investment in Popular Action Committees writes to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo declaring its support for BDS and asking to be included in the list of boycott-supporting organizations the state of New York will be creating following the governor’s executive order.
The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel salutes all the members of the American Anthropological Association who voted in favor of a resolution to boycott Israeli academic institutions. The resolution was narrowly defeated by a margin of 39 votes, 2,423:2,384. Prof. Haidar Eid, a PACBI Steering Committee member who teaches literature in Gaza, said: “At a time when New York Governor Cuomo is passing anti-democratic, McCarthyite executive orders to ban boycotts of Israel, and the Democratic Party presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is making pronouncements against the movement, the high support for the academic boycott of Israel at the AAA shows that supporters of Palestinian rights are not deterred and no longer afraid to speak out publicly. The tide is clearly turning.”
This week, as Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, enter their 50th year living under Israel’s regime of military occupation and settlements, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has chosen to issue an anti-democratic executive order creating a blacklist of companies and organizations that abide by BDS campaigns for Palestinian freedom, justice and equality. The order is a prelude to McCarthyism 2.0, where loyalty to Israel’s far-right apartheid government, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, trumps respect for human rights, free speech, and common decency.
Dr. Jill Stein is running for president as a member of the Green Party and yesterday her campaign released a statement on US Foreign Policy, Palestine-Israel, and BDS: “the Stein campaign supports actions of nonviolent resistance to the policies of the occupation and of the Israeli apartheid regime, including those of the global boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign, which was endorsed by the Green Party of the United States in 2005 and is supported by thousands of civil society peace activists and organizations.”
PEN’s Suzanne Nossel seems to say that advocating for BDS is a free speech right, but also suggests that a campus may regulate speech that makes others feel “marginalized” or “threatened” in order to maintain a “respectful community.” But she justifies an award to Charlie Hebdo, which insults Muslims right and left.