Yesterday, students, campus workers, and allies from across the University of California system were in Los Angeles to call on the UC Regents to listen to student voices and divest university funds from corporations that profit from human rights abuses against the Palestinian people.
Category Archives: Activism
Cyclists and supporters of Palestinian human rights took to the streets in 20 cities across the world on Saturday, March 10, 2018 for the #RelocateTheRace International Day of Action. Bike rallies and actions called on Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the governing body of cycling to relocate the start of the famed Giro d’Italia cycling event, set for May 4 in Jerusalem.
Why hold an international mental health conference which many of the psychoanalysts and psychotherapists will not be able to get into the country? Dr. Samah Jabr, a Palestinian clinician, and Jewish Voice for Peace have created a petition asking the IARPP to change the location of its 2019 conference from Tel Aviv. Maybe Jordan or Cyprus?
Senator Ben Cardin has released an amended version of the Israel Anti-Boycott Act following highly-publicized public opposition from national and grassroots civil rights organizers. The new version of the bill, which is being supported by AIPAC, continues to criminalize the right to boycott, which is a form of free speech, and even in its revised version would legitimize the occupation. Nada Elia says the amended version is still unconstitutional, and must still be opposed with the same energy and determination activists had last year.
Two new billboards in Connecticut raise awareness about Ahed Tamimi, the 17-year-old Palestinian activist who now faces up to 10 years in Israeli prison, and the issue of child prisoners held by Israel. Mona Abdo an activist with the Palestine Advocacy Project says, “Like Nelson Mandela for South Africa during apartheid, Ahed Tamimi has become a symbol of Palestine’s 50 years of resistance to Israeli’s brutal occupation and apartheid system. The world called for the release of Nelson Mandela then, and now we must call for the release of Ahed Tamimi and the 350 other child prisoners held in Israel’s military prisons.”
Emmett Gulley, the Quaker who was the first to head up American Friends Service Committee’s (AFSC) Gaza unit in 1949 arrived when the Nakba was still underway. Nearly 70 years later, AFSC is still working in Gaza. Now, there are many more people living there, and the air is filled with drones and surveillance balloons, but the situation, and conclusions, are fundamentally the same: it’s time to end the blockade of Gaza and the occupation of Palestine.
Are Texas and Arizona banning free speech on campus? The University of Houston and Arizona State University are forcing speakers to disavow boycotts against Israel in order to speak at events on campus.
It is “shameful” and “unacceptable,” that on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, a book store, Book Culture, was coerced into signing a political statement opposing the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) targeting Israel in order to participate in a bookfair at a leading synagogue. More than 40 Jews, including Peter Beinart, Dorothy Zellner and Letty Cottin Pogrebin, write that “a cloud hangs over our neighborhood.”
In her remarks on “Black-Palestinian Solidarity,” organized by Columbia University Apartheid Divest and the Columbia Black Students Organization in honor of Black History Month, Dr. Robyn Spencer, a history professor at Lehman College, explained how her work as a longtime prisoner solidarity activist led her to an explicit solidarity with the Palestinian people.
The Irish artist Jim Fitzpatrick of Che Guevara black and red portrait fame has done it again: He has painted a minimalist poster of the Palestinian resister Ahed Tamimi, in jail for 2 months for slapping a soldier. And the world should pay attention, because Ahed Tamimi’s life is at risk, with Israelis calling for crimes against her person.
Devyn Springer reflects on the legacy of Black activists in the South organizing in solidarity with Palestinians: “No, solidarity organizing for Palestinians is not contained to the South. In fact, this organizing likely occurs across the country at varying rates probably higher in other places. However, the South has a legacy that cannot be ignored in this fight; one that is being reckoned with, actualized, and drawn upon as political and emotional spectacle to form its new movement for Palestine.”
Former MLA President Margaret Ferguson has resigned from the organization following passage of a resolution banning further debate over the academic boycott of Israel. Ferguson writes, “My experience in Israel-Palestine is one of the many reasons I am giving up my membership in an organization I have participated in and learned from for over 40 years—long enough to acquire the privileges of “life membership.” Those privileges are now a burden to me.”
Late last year the Pew Center published a report that confirmed anecdotal data, and plain common sense: hate crimes against Muslims are up. Current rates dwarf the national spike that followed the September 11, 2001 attacks. The culprit for such a dramatic increase is no surprise. Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign for president ushered in a wave of racism against Muslims, among others. To combat the challenges of the political moment, activists Elly Bulkin and Donna Nevel have launched a new campaign: Jews Against Anti-Muslim Racism.
The First Amendment and organizers of a year-long campaign to uphold the right to boycott won an important victory in Massachusetts when the state legislative committee considering an “anti-BDS” bill refused to advance it to the floor, ending its chances of being passed this session. Here’s how grassroots organizing beat the bill.
When rightwing Israeli ambassador Dani Dayan went to Columbia Univ on February 5, a protest coalition of Students for Justice in Palestine of Columbia and Columbia/Barnard’s Jewish Voice for Peace responded with a mock checkpoint and non-disruptive protest aimed at informing fellow students about Israel’s illegal settlement project, which Dayan, a settler, represents.
Norwegian parliamentarian Bjørnar Moxnes officially nominated the BDS movement for Palestinian rights for a Nobel Peace Prize. He did so with the support of his party, the progressive Rødt (Red) Party, explaining why BDS “should be supported without reservation by all democratically-minded people and states.”
Palestinians in Gaza respond to a filmed production of a play about the occupation where the script is entirely sourced from testimonies provided by former Israeli soldiers, complied by the group Breaking the Silence: “By the end of the play, I felt crushed and devastated. Tears rolled down my face, because it is so very real. My fellow Palestinians are humiliated in every aspect of their lives, and why? Because we are Palestinians. But to Israeli soldiers and settlers, we are ‘worms,’ and miserable ones too,” writes Rana Shubair.
An Israeli ‘legal rights group’ said Wednesday it is suing two New Zealanders for “moral and emotional injury” after they allegedly convinced the pop singer Lorde to cancel her performance in Israel. The lawsuit appears to be the first filed under a contentious Israeli anti-boycott law.
As evening turned to night on January 30th in New York City, more than sixty supporters Ahed Tamimi gathered beneath the Amtrak arrivals and departures screen at Penn Station to celebrate her life and demand the 17-year-old’s release. The rally was just one of many around the world on Tamimi’s birthday that brought attention to her case, and the larger struggle for Palestinian liberation that she represents.
Al-Shabaka’s Executive Director Nadia Hijab speaks in London to Palestine solidarity activists: “We badly need a positive, forward-looking narrative of what we are for, a narrative that unifies us and communicates the power of our vision. A narrative that provides a direction for the movement until the time comes for a political outcome. That unifying Palestinian narrative already exists: It’s Freedom. It’s Justice. It’s Equality.”
Steven Salaita on why Zionists should be excluded from left-wing protests: “The most important reason why ‘no Zionists’ is justified has less to do with strategy than with comradely spirit: is the US left finally willing to respect Palestinian (and more broadly Arab) sensibilities? Or will it continue to demand that Palestinians defer their liberation in order to assuage Zionist fragility?”
Granted an op-ed in the New York Times to spread distortions and lies regarding Israel’s critics, the country’s Education Minister Naftali Bennett attempts to whitewash the recent Israeli ban against BDS activist groups, by demonizing them as “enemy soldiers” and slyly comparing them to those who “helped Nazi Germany.”
Nada Elia writes about the efforts to challenge the pinkwashing agenda of the National LGBTQ Task Force, organizer of the Creating Change conference: “From the Women’s March to Creating Change, we need to persist in our demands for equal rights for all. As the global discussion of misogyny and gender violence continues to build up, denouncing their pervasiveness in all aspects of life, we must insist on a discussion of Israel’s intrinsic violation of the human rights of Palestinians, in the name of ‘Jewish democracy.’ Creating Change must do better. #Time’sUp to toss Zionism where it belongs, in supremacist communities.”
The Campus Antifascist Network calls for an end to the serial and libelous harassment of Stanford University Professor David Palumbo-Liu perpetrated by Fox News, the Stanford Review, and the alt-right.
Rockers Nick Cave and Thom Yorke were both contemptuous of the BDS movement last year. But the indefinite imprisonment of 16-year-old Ahed Tamimi for slapping a soldier, which highlights the detention of more than 600 Palestinian children every year, ought to convince these free artists where their real sympathies should lie, with caged young people who have no hope of realizing their dreams, Frank Barat writes.