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European legal experts call on EU to stop trading with settlements

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The Israeli flag flying over Israeli settlements in the West Bank (Photo: Reuters)

An open letter signed by dozens of prominent legal scholars calls on the European Union to stop trading with Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. This letter comes in the wake of the EU decision to label settlement products. However, as the international law experts confirm, the EU and its member states have a firm obligation under international law to stop trading with settlements altogether.

UC divests from private prisons — thanks to Afrikan Black Coalition

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Photo: Afrikan Black Coalition (ABC)

Due to pressure from the Afrikan Black Coalition (ABC), a coalition of Black student groups on University of California campuses, UC will have all holdings in private prisons sold by December 31st, 2015. The three corporations are Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), Geo Group, and G4S. G4S has been targeted by the BDS movement and profits from incarceration and deportation in Palestine as well as the US.

Students and academics challenge the ‘Palestine exception’ to free speech in the US

Megan Hanna on
Northeastern chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine protesting censorship on campus. (Photo courtesy of Northeastern SJP)

The university is often imagined to be a utopian space where academic debates are freely and fiercely waged, traditional orthodoxies are challenged and marginalized opinions can be voiced without fear of personal attack. However, a disturbing movement across US campuses has been repressing pro-Palestinian free speech, and attacks those who are peacefully advocating human rights. A new report documents burgeoning attacks on pro-Palestinian human rights advocates in the US, with most of the victims being students and scholars.

No, those Israel boycotts are not illegal

Radhika Sainath on
Vote in favor of the academic boycott of Israel at the American Anthropological Association’s annual business Dec. 5, 2014 (photo: Anthropologists for the Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions)

On December 1, the Wall Street Journal published an oped titled, “Those Israel Boycotts Are Illegal” after members of the American Anthropological Association overwhelmingly voted in favor of endorsing a resolution calling for the academic boycott of Israeli institutions. In response, Palestine Legal staff attorney Radhika Sainath submitted the following letter to the editor, which the Journal refused to run.

Why my books are not published in Israel

Susan Abulhawa on
Susan Abulhawa (Photo: Dorthe Karlsen)

Palestinian author Susan Albulhawa shares a correspondence with an Israeli publisher where she explains why she won’t allow her books to be published in Israel: “How could I sell my novel rights to a people who have been destroying our society?”

Albuquerque coalition delivers letters of solidarity to New Mexico Muslims

Annie Robbins on
Letter of support sent to Albuquerque mosque on December 11, 2015 (Photo: Albuquerque Center for Peace & Justice)

In a personalized gesture of love and solidarity with Muslim members of their community, a coalition of citizens in Albuquerque, New Mexico reached out to the Islamic Center of New Mexico on Friday by personally delivering hand crafted cards and letters of support after Donald Trump’s racist called for a ban on Muslims entering US.

Human Rights Trump Oppression: Over 800 New Yorkers stand in solidarity with refugees and Muslims

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In front of the Trump International Hotel near Columbus Circle, human rights activists in support of Syrian and Iraqi refugees held up signs "Human Rights Trump Oppression" in protest of Islamophobic, Arabphobic, Xenophobic statement by Presidential Candidate Donald Trump.

On Thursday Dec 10, 2015 over 800 members from the Arab community, Muslim community and human rights activists of New York City came together in solidarity for Syrian and Iraqi refugees to say no to the harmful racism, Islamophobia, Arabphobia, and Xenophobia towards the refugee community. People of all different faiths and backgrounds joined the rally, simultaneously there was a banner drop at the Trump Towers.

Blood Diamonds: Tiffany’s supplier funds IDF unit accused of war crimes

Sean Clinton on
Human rights activists protest outside Tiffany's on Old Bond Street in London at Christmas in 2014. (Photo:

Revenue from a Tiffany’s supplier, the Beny Steinmetz Group Resources company, is channelled via the Steinmetz Foundation to the Israeli military which stands accused of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity by the UN Human Rights Council. Sean Clinton writes, “While Tiffany & Co’s efforts to promote ‘responsible mining’ and prevent ‘conflict diamonds’ from entering their supply chain are laudable, the failure to fully secure their supply chain means that diamonds linked to gross human rights violations in Palestine can still infiltrate their supply.”

Open letter to Rabbi Susan Talve from St. Louis Jews

St. Louis Jewish Voice for Peace on
Rabbi Susan Talve

Dear Rabbi Susan Talve, Your Thanksgiving-Hanukkah letter last week drew a parallel between Black protesters in Ferguson and Jewish Israelis, mentioning Palestinians only in reference to attacks on Jews and portraying them as angry and confused without just cause. We find the parallel between Jews in Israel and African Americans misleading and offensive. Your Hanukkah letter talks about the uncomfortable “breach” we must all step into. As a leader in the progressive Jewish community, we invite you to join with us in stepping into a different breach — one where your hopes and dreams for Israel collide with the brutal realities of Palestinian oppression. Let us struggle together to reach the other side.

UNHCR ends G4S security contracts in Jordan (Updated)

Ryvka Barnard on
Protest in London, calls on the UN to cancel its $22m contracts with G4S.  (Photo: BDS Movement/Facebook)

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement announced a victory today as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Jordan confirmed to journalists that it no longer does business with the British private security firm G4S.

San Jose State University becomes first California State University to pass student government BDS resolution

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(Image: Students for Justice in Palestine at SJSU Facebook page)

On Wednesday November 18, 2015, San Jose State University became the first California State University to pass a student government resolution to divest from companies complicit in the Israeli occupation of Palestine. The Associated Students resolution calls on the Board of Directors to remove San Jose State University’s holdings from four companies that play an active role in the human rights violations committed by the Israeli Government in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. This resolution is endorsed by 28 organizations the vast majority of which are student organizations of diverse backgrounds.

Affirming the rights of students to organize, protest, and resist

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Faculty and graduate student members of CUNY for Palestine, reiterate their unequivocal support for students to organize for social justice, and to protest against injustices, without having their rights to free speech and free assembly infringed upon or violated by members of the university administration or law enforcement.

Protesters stage citizen’s arrest of Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely at West Coast Ha’aretz conference

Annie Robbins on
Screenshot: Bay Area Activists #ArrestTzipi

Bay Area activists pulled off an awesome action yesterday at Haaretz’s Zionism 3.0: Israel’s Place in Tomorrow’s World conference in Palo Alto, California. As Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely was introduced and stepped up to the podium a clear voice rung out: “Tzipi Hotovely this is a citizens’ arrest! We charge you with inciting colonial violence.”

Dialogue’s Demise: Why the American Anthropological Association should support the boycott of Israe​li​ academic institutions

Laurie King on
A BDS pamphlet.

On Friday, the American Anthropological Association will consider a resolution to boycott Israeli academic institutions. Laurie King writes in favor of boycott. “A boycott of Israeli universities (not individuals) would show Palestinians that they are not forgotten, that their suffering has not gone unnoticed or unanalyzed, that they are still considered fully human, while encouraging Israeli society to confront the discrimination and structural violence implicit in Zionism as it now is manifest in Israeli governmental, military, economic, and social policies.”

‘I endorse the cultural boycott of Israel’: Prominent artists support New York-based campaign for cultural boycott of Israel

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Tunde Adebimpe of the band TV on the Radio. (Image: Adalah-NY)

A new video released by Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel features eight leading artists stating, “I endorse the cultural boycott of Israel.” The artists include Tony-nominated stage and television actress Kathleen Chalfant; musician Roger Waters, a founding member of Pink Floyd; musicians Kyp Malone and Tunde Adebimpe of TV on the Radio; musicians Kool A.D and Tamar-kali; artist and author of Drawing Blood, Molly Crabapple; and visual artist Swoon.

Dan Rabinowitz’s response to Nadia Abu El-Haj on BDS

Dan Rabinowitz on
Dan Rabinowitz, then President of the Israeli Anthropological Association (IAA), Introducing Edward Said’s key-note speech at the IAA’s annual conference of 1999, Nazareth, Israel.

Dan Rabinowitz to Nadia Abu El-Haj: I never claimed that had Said been alive he would have been opposed to BDS. I know that Noam Chomsky, who shared many of Edward’s views, recently spoke against BDS. But I cannot tell what Edward’s position would have been, so I did not.

Academics both ‘pleased and concerned’ with Salaita settlement with University of Illinois

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Steven Salaita (Photo: American University of Beirut)

Yesterday a settlement was announced in Professor Steven Salaita’s lawsuit against the University of Illinois for violating his academic freedom and right to free speech. Over 80 academics have responded by signing onto a letter saying: We are pleased that the University of Illinois trustees, through the payment of a substantial monetary settlement to Professor Salaita, have acknowledged how Professor Salaita’s termination amounted to a serious violation of both his constitutional right to free speech on matters of public concern, and principles of academic freedom. We recognize that UIUC’s unlawful treatment of Professor Salaita has had implications well beyond Professor Salaita individually. We feel strongly that the monetary settlement of Professor Salaita’s legal claim does not address the underlying breaches of academic freedom and widely accepted standards for the conduct of academic governance.

DC protests mark the end of PEP era — progressive except Palestine

Kristin Szremski on
Netanyahu accepting award at American Enterprise Institute

What happened in Washington DC this week has changed the course of activism in the nation’s capital on the issue of Palestine. Josh Ruebner, policy director for the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, says, “We made it quite clear that it is unacceptable to be ‘progressive except for Palestine’ [PEP] any longer. It is imperative that organizations continue to deny legitimacy to Israeli policies in progressive circles.”

Zionism, anti-blackness, and the struggle for Palestine

Jemima Pierre on
Eritrean Habtom Zerhom, 29, was killed by an Israeli security officer after a mob misidentified him as a Bedouin attacker. (Photo: i24 News)

Jemima Pierre writes, “As a Black anthropologist with cultural, political, and research concerns in communities of African descent, I know too well the ways that global structures of race and power operate to control, destroy, debase, punish, and dehumanize. I understand that anti-Blackness in Israel is but a symptom of the broader culture and practice of Palestinian disenfranchisement.”

Oberlin College Board of Trustees rejects divestment proposal amidst lack of transparency

Jacob Ertel on
Oberlin College

Oberlin College’s Investment Office has rejected a proposal submitted by the campus club, Students for a Free Palestine, calling on the college to drop holdings in a number of corporations involved in Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories. Though Oberlin’s Student Senate passed a divestment resolution submitted by Students for a Free Palestine in May 2013, the Board’s rejection of SFP’s divestment proposal indicates a watershed moment for campus-based BDS movements across the country: it represents what can happen when symbolic divestment resolutions are met with supposedly amenable college administrative frameworks.