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Maryland coalition defeats anti-BDS bill in State Assembly

Mondoweiss Editors on
The Maryland State House

The Freedom2Boycott in Maryland coalition won a significant victory when the 2016 Maryland legislative session ended April 11 with no anti-boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) bill being introduced into the General Assembly.

Another interview on Israeli TV

Alice Rothchild on
Alice Rothchild

Alice Rothchild is portrayed as an extremist for supporting BDS on Israeli television, and her Facebook page lights up with rage. She responds: Israelis, you must wake up from your stupor and see how the world sees you.

Whose Birthright?

Sophia Goodfriend on
An image from the zine Whose Birthright?

Tufts student Sophia Goodfriend introduces the new ‘zine ‘Whose Birthright’ which seeks to expose the politics embedded in each site visited on the Birthright Israel trip and challenge the explicitly Zionist Jewish identity that Birthright Israel imparts.

We Stand with Palestine in the Spirit of ‘Sumud’: Statement from the U.S. prisoner, labor and academic solidarity delegation to Palestine

Mondoweiss Editors on
US Prisoner, Labor and Academic Delegation with colleagues from 
the Institute for Women's Studies at Birzeit University, Birzeit, 
Palestine, March 29, 2016

At a moment of growing resistance to state violence and injustice the world over, a delegation including former U.S.-held political prisoners and social prisoners, former Black Panther Party members, prison abolitionists, trade unionists and university professors traveled to Palestine in March 2016. On April 17, the International Day of Solidarity with Palestinian Prisoners, the delegates have released a statement that reads in part, “We express our support for the struggle for a free Palestine as a central struggle in the worldwide movement against U.S. imperialism. We are committed to employing a variety of tactics in solidarity with Palestine, including Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, and we condemn Israeli and Zionist attacks against advocates for justice for/in Palestine in our communities and on our campuses. We connect prisoner and labor movements across the borders; and apply the spirit of sumud to all our struggles for liberation within the United States.”

BDS takes two big strides, at CUNY and U of Chicago

Philip Weiss on
Palestinian flag at U of Chicago divestment launch

BDS makes big strides at American schools. University of Chicago student council overwhelmingly supported divestment from 10 companies doing business with “apartheid,” while the CUNY grad doctoral students’ council voted by a similar margin for academic boycott of Israel.

As threats against BDS grow, it is time for ‘sumoud’ in activist communities

Nada Elia on
BDS action in France. (Photo via The Alternative Information Center)

Palestinians have given the world many terms. “Nakba,” the Palestinian catastrophe, and “Intifada,” the “shaking off” of an oppressive system are two examples. Another term is “Sumoud,” the persistence of the Palestinian people, despite close to a century of a denial of their right to exist. As attacks on BDS, and BDS organizers, are intensifying globally, Nada Elia says, “Now is the time for sumoud not just in the homeland, but in activist communities worldwide. Just as Palestinians refuse to surrender their rights to freedom, dignity, self-determination, activists will not give up our right to organize for justice.”

After wins abroad, BDS conference in West Bank sees local traction

Allison Deger on
5th BDS Conference held in the West Bank on April 9, 2016 in al-Bireh outside of Ramallah. (Photo: Allison Deger)

Tamam Abdul, 60, sells Israeli goods in her West Bank supermarket, but she would rather not. “All of the products we receive are Israeli, unfortunately,” she said Saturday outside of Ramallah at a fifth conference about the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel, otherwise known by the acronym BDS.

Unitarian Universalists divest from companies profiting from Israel’s occupation

Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East on
Graphic: Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East

The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) has adopted a human rights investment screen focusing on conflict zones that includes human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territories. The UUA divested from Hewlett Packard Enterprise, HP Inc., and Motorola Solutions. The UUA has also divested from Caterpillar Inc., due to concerns over its environmental and social practices. These four companies have been the target of boycott and divestment campaigns due to their complicity in violations of Palestinian human rights.

‘Rethinking Schools’ endorses BDS

Editors of Rethinking Schools on
BDS protest in Montreal (Photo: Scott Weinstein)

The education journal ‘Rethinking Schools’ endorses BDS: “When the United States was about to invade Afghanistan and again in the lead-up to the war against Iraq, Rethinking Schools argued that these were situations of such magnitude that educators had a moral and an educational responsibility to speak out. We think that Palestine is just such a situation. We’ve had long discussions about what that means for us as educators. One important piece of that responsibility, we believe, is joining the movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel (BDS) for its denial of human rights to Palestinians.”

Italian students launch the “Studenti Contro Il Technion Campaign” to support BDS

Progetto Palestina on
Graphic: #StopTechnionItalia

On January 29th 168 Italian scholars from more than 50 universities signed a pledge calling on their institutions to cut ties with the Israel institute of Technology (Technion) in Haifa. The number has soared rapidly, topping 332 signatures last week. The petition follows similar endorsements by scholars and academic associations across Europe, the US and South Africa.

Eric Alterman contradicts himself about anti-Semitism on campus

James North on
Eric Alterman speaking at CUNY Queensborogh Community College in 2008. (Image: YouTube)

Eric Alterman says he’s never heard “a single anti-Semitic syllable uttered” in 12 years on the CUNY faculty. Then he asserts without evidence that there is “no doubt” anti-Semitism at campuses across the U.S. Which is it?

Right to education, from Pine Ridge to Palestine

Osama Mor, Amira Sakalla and Kristian Davis Bailey on
Students from Birzeit on the first Right to Education tour (Photo: NSJP)

Next week the 2016 Right to Education tour will arrive in the United States. During the first two weeks in April students from universities across Palestine will be speaking at American university campuses about their experiences studying under Israeli occupation and the impact of colonialism on their education. Organizers are putting a spotlight on two locations the tour will be arriving in this year: The University of Hawaii and the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Both of these locations reflect the long history of US settler-colonization and their inclusion in the tour aims to accentuate the continuing struggle of both the Kanaka Maoli and Oglala Sioux indigenous peoples.

Video: Meet the brave shoemaker who filmed Israeli soldier executing a Palestinian

Philip Weiss on
Imad Abu Shamsiya at his sewing machine

Imad Abu Shamsiyah, the Palestinian who shot the video of an Israeli soldier executing a Palestinian youth in Hebron last week, is a shoemaker who says he will never leave his house despite pressure of Jewish settlers, even though he needs to present his number, 242, at a checkpoint in order to enter the ghetto he lives in.

Why I chose to get arrested at AIPAC

Ariel Gold on
Ariel Gold participating in a protest at the 2016 AIPAC Policy Conference.

CODEPINK’s Ariel Gold explains why she engaged in civil disobedience while protesting at the AIPAC Policy Conference: “As the mother to two Jewish American teenagers, it is my responsibility to speak up and clarify that AIPAC and Netanyahu do not speak for me.”

Indiana lawmakers seek to silence critics of Israel

Bill V. Mullen and Edward E. Curtis IV on
Photograph of campus activism from the Students Supporting Israel website

How do we know BDS is working? Because in Indiana as in coastal areas BDS opponents are actively trying to stop the movement. The state legislature is attempting to limit public discussion of BDS, and smear BDS proponents as anti-Semites.

Young liberal Zionists, it’s time to let go and move on

Robert Cohen on
Peace badges. Credit, UJS

Jewish fears on British campuses stemming from activism against Israel represent an uncomfortable reckoning for young diaspora Jews who are unable to see or accept what has happened to Jews, Judaism and Jewish identity over the last 100 years under the influence of Zionist colonialism.