Category Archives:

NYC city council anti-BDS bill meets resistance from protesters

Wilson Dizard on
Protesters outside the New York City Council meeting. (Photo: Samidoun)

The two sides of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement squared off in New York’s City Hall on Thursday, with BDS activists disrupting a hearing where city council members discussed a resolution condemning BDS. “New York City Council should stay out of the business of condemning non-violent human rights movements,” Radhika Sainath, staff attorney with Palestine Legal, said in a statement. “By passing this resolution, New York City Council will chill the speech of New Yorkers eager to be part of an international human rights movement.”

Dozens of Spanish cities declare themselves ‘Free of Israeli Apartheid’

Palestinian BDS National Committee on
Dozens of Spanish cities declaring themselves ‘Free of Israeli Apartheid’ (Graphic: Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement )

Cadiz, provincial capital in the autonomous community of Andalusia in the Spanish state, has become the latest municipality to pass a motion supporting the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights and declaring itself an Israeli “Apartheid Free Zone”. Cadiz joins more than 50 cities and towns across the Spanish state which have voted to declare themselves spaces free from Israeli apartheid.

Pro-Israel groups declare ‘lawfare’ on BDS movement in Canada

Hammam Farah on
Students for Justice in Palestine at UOIT-DC

Groups closely aligned with the far-right Israeli government have declared “lawfare” on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement in Canada. Recent events in Canada’s parliament, the Ontario Legislature and on Canadian campuses reveal the increasingly forceful trajectory of this strategy.

There’s no room on campus to be progressive and pro-Israel

Annie Robbins on
Students at Oberlin College (photo: The Forward)

Israel supporter Seffi Kogen writes at the Forward that Jewish students want to be involved with progressive causes on campus, and the pro-Israel cause too. But it’s impossible to reconcile these political programs.

Beyond the flag

Nada Elia on
Celtic FC fans prominently displayed Palestinian flag on Wednesday during match against Israel's Hapoel Beer Sheva (Photo: Reuters)

Nada Elia says that for those who strive to rise above nationalism, activism for justice in Palestine is rooted in a belief in justice and equal rights for everyone, everywhere. Yet, many of these same activists celebrated with millions around the world when Celtic FC fans flew the Palestinian flag at a game in Glasgow against Israel’s Hapoel Be’er Sheva. She explains that even though activists were waving the Palestinian flag, those events were not about nationalism: “The Palestinian flag has come to symbolize defiance to censorship, a rejection of the Zionist narrative that would have people believe Israel is “defending itself” rather than brutally maintaining its occupation and apartheid policies, and grassroots opposition to state violence, to colonialism, to brutal military oppression.”

Critiques not fit to print: Students and allies respond to ‘NYT’ coverage of Palestine activism on campus

Leah Muskin-Pierret on
Tufts Students for Justice in Palestine. (Photo: Greg Cook)

The New York Times August 3, 2016 article “Students and the Middle East Conflict” misrepresented student activism and served as an implicit endorsement of a right-wing “dialogue” effort. Following the article, the Times published a strategic compilation of letters to the editor that constructs the future of Israel/Palestine as an internal Jewish conversation largely concerned with dialogue. In response, Tufts SJP alumni gathered letters by students and their allies critiquing the article and dialogue efforts that take attention away from ending the Israeli occupation. The Times refused to publish any of the letters, but you can read them here.

#PayPal4Palestine campaign urges PayPal to serve Palestinians, not just Israelis

Wilson Dizard on
PayPal headquarters

PayPal refuses to do business with Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, but allows Israelis and Israeli settlers to use their digital payment service. After PayPal ignored their requests for a meeting, Palestinian activists launched a social media campaign on Friday to call out the company in public with the hashtag #PayPal4Palestine.

Scottish football fans raise over 100,000 pounds for Palestine following flag controversy

Wilson Dizard on
Screenshot from a Lajee Center video thanking Celtic fans. The center is a Palestinian cultural organization in the Aida Refugee Camp.

The defiant display of Palestinian flags in Glasgow last week by Scottish fans of the Celtic soccer team has roused over £100,000 (just over $130,000) in donations online, all marked for helping Palestinians. As the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) is mulling what consequences Celtic fans should face for showing solidarity with the “illicit banner,” the Green Brigade, the hardcore cadre of Celtic fans who raised the Palestinian flag, responded to the threat of sanction with a call for donations for Palestinian medical aid and a refugee camp.

A new milestone: BDS at the Olympics

Nada Elia on
Islam El Shehaby refuses to shake Or Sasson's hand. (Photo: Getty images)

“I have no problem with Jewish people or any other religion or different beliefs. But for personal reasons, you can’t ask me to shake the hand of anyone from this state, especially in front of the whole world.” These words, spoken by an individual who has just engaged in a gesture of support for the Palestinian people, are a standard response to the accusation of anti-Semitism which is routinely hurled at pro-justice activists. Yet as Egyptian judoka Islam El-Shehaby uttered them last week in Brazil, they signified a new milestone: the sports boycott had arrived at the 2016 Olympic Games.

In overwhelming vote, leading Lutheran branch calls on US to cut off aid to Israel

Annie Robbins on
Albert Asfour, Anna Baltzer, Pastor Kahder Khalila  (photo: Christopher Hazou)

This weekend the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) overwhelmingly approved two resolutions calling on the U.S. government to end all financial and military aid to Israel until Israel “compl[ies] with internationally recognized human rights standards”, freezes settlement construction on occupied Palestinian land, and for the church to adopt an investment screen to avoid profiting from Israel’s Occupation, at ELCA’s triennial 2016 Churchwide Assembly in New Orleans.

‘LA Jews for Peace’ proudly endorses platform of ‘Movement for Black Lives’

Mondoweiss Editors on
LA Jews for Peace logo

LA Jews for Peace does not believe that the Movement for Black Lives Platform’s incorrect use of the term “genocide” negates an otherwise powerful statement for social, racial, political, and economic justice enunciated in the Platform’s other 37,000 words. That is why LA Jews for Peace proudly endorses the Platform of the Movement for Black Lives.

Dream Defenders statement on the condemnation of Movement for Black Lives platform by some pro-Israel groups

Dream Defenders on
Dream Defenders logo

On Monday, the Dream Defenders along with 50 other organizations, representing hundreds of Black people across the country launched “A Vision for Black Lives”, an agenda that clearly defines policies, organizing tactics and resources to advance Black liberation. The platform included a call for the US government to divest from military expenditures and US aid to the State of Israel and instead, invest this war-making money towards building infrastructure to support Black and Brown communities in the US. Since the launch, some Zionist organizations have condemned the platform and have announced that they will cut all ties with the Movement for Black Live, going so far as to label some in the BLM movement anti-semitic. Their response has made it all the more clear why we stand in solidarity with Palestine and with Black and Brown people around the world fighting for justice.

Except on Palestine?

Noushin Framke on
Rev. Osagyefu Sekou

A number of the prominent leaders who fought hard for LGBTQ rights in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) have stood as the biggest obstacles in the struggle for Palestinian witness in the denomination, writes longtime Presbyterian activist Noushin Framke. These PEP’s throw their bodies in the way of holding any event that might be critical of Israel.

Five US citizens detained, interrogated, denied entry to Israel

US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation on
Ben Gurion airport

On July 17, 2016, a group of young American delegates traveled to Israel-Palestine in order to observe the conditions under which Palestinians live, and to gain a better understanding of the situation on the ground. Upon their arrival, a US Campaign staffer and four other members of the group — all carrying US passports — were interrogated by Israeli border police about their backgrounds and political involvement. Four of the five delegates who were questioned, held, and denied entry were people of color and Muslim, and the fifth had a long beard. Israel has ethnically and religiously profiled visitors so often that the State Department’s travel advisory for Israel reads: “Some US citizens of Arab or Muslim heritage not on the Palestinian Population Registry or otherwise prohibited from entering Israel have experienced significant difficulties and unequal and hostile treatment at Israel’s borders and checkpoints.”

What the economic boycott of Israel can achieve

Nada Elia on
Palestinian fishermen hold banners in a protest to demand the boycott of the Israeli agricultural products, during the 10th annual Israeli Apartheid Week, at the seaport of Gaza City on March 16, 2014. (Photo: Ashraf Amra/APA Images)

Palestinian writer and activist Nada Elia responds to claims that an economic boycott of Israel is bound to fail: “BDS will never bankrupt Israel, and that is not necessary for it to achieve its goals: showing that the emperor has no clothes, and empowering justice-minded people everywhere to disengage from a hyper-militarized, violent rogue state, until it stops violating international law and the human rights of an oppressed people.”

NLRB upholds union’s right to support Israel boycott

Mondoweiss Editors on
Logo of the United Electrical Workers union (UE).

The National Labor Relations Board has reaffirmed its dismissal an unfair labor practice charge brought by an Israeli law firm against a U.S. union, the United Electrical Workers, over its support of protests against Israeli policies including the union’s endorsement of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) movement. UE National President Peter Knowlton said that UE in the past had “withstood attempts by the U.S. government to silence us during the McCarthy era in the 1950s,” and was “unbowed by the latest attempt of a surrogate of the Israeli government to stifle our call for justice for Palestinian and Israeli workers.”