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Wide-ranging coalition rallies in Albany to demand Cuomo rescind anti-BDS order

Jesse Rubin on
Activists call on New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to rescind his recent anti-BDS executive order. (Photo: Jesse Rubin)

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.”

Global Palestine – An Interview with Jeff Halper

David Kattenburg on
Jeff Halper (Photo: David Kattenburg)

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.

Activists descend on Cuomo NYC office to defend right to boycott

Jesse Rubin on
(Photo: Jewish Voice for Peace)

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.”

BDS activists say close American Anthropological Association boycott vote shows ‘rising tide of support for Palestinian rights’

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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.”

Activist meets with the White House and Congress to stop Israeli demolitions in the West Bank

Donna Baranski-Walker on
The Israeli army flattened  the Za'atara park within a few minutes. It was the only place for children to play in the town of Beita, south of Nablus.
(Photo: The Palestinian Information Center)

“Why is this happening now?” That’s the question a senior adviser to President Obama asked Donna Baranski-Walker of the Rebuilding Alliance when her team with him last week to urge the President’s leadership to stop the crisis of demolitions underway in Area C of the West Bank. Baranski-Walker writes, “Tangible action by the President, Senators and Representatives, and by U.S. citizens as their constituents, is needed now to recognize Palestinian planning rights and stop the demolitions of Palestinian homes, barns, schools and water cisterns in Palestine’s Area C.”

Tel Aviv Gay Pride: Not a cause for celebration

Ramzy Kumsieh and Mikki Stelder on
(Image: Boycott Tel Aviv Pride campaign)

This year’s Tel Aviv Pride, taking place on June 3rd, will attract tens of thousands of international gay tourists to Tel Aviv, whose tourist dollars and cultural capital are used by the Israeli state to promote the country in a positive light. The Boycott Tel Aviv Pride campaign aims to highlight the ways gay tourism is complicit with occupation and argues that any cultural event organized with money from the Israeli state should be boycotted. Ramzy Kumsieh and Mikki Stelder write, “As queer Palestinian, BDS, and transnational solidarity activists we aim to resituate Israel’s gay pride and gay tourism campaign within a political context of the reality of war and occupation.”

‘My weekend in Palestine’ changed an Australian man’s life

Philip Weiss on
Rob Martin

Australian Rob Martin was enraged by the Gaza onslaught of 2014. So he went to Palestine for the first time and threw himself into opposition to the occupation, in video’d encounters with Israeli soldiers in occupied Bil’in that media back home have ignored.

Irish and Dutch governments join Sweden in speaking out for right to call for BDS

Palestinian BDS National Committee on
Photo: BDSmovement

The Dutch and Irish governments have publicly stated that calls for a boycott of Israel are legitimate, with the Dutch foreign minister saying that advocating and campaigning for Palestinian rights through the nonviolent Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel are “protected by the freedom of expression”.

‘Why is water dangerous?’ A Palestinian plea to the US Congress

Donna Baranski-Walker on
El-Atrash at the Senate (with the author)

The Israeli Army has initiated a crisis of demolitions in the West Bank’s Area C, displacing more Palestinian families this year than in all of 2015. A stated program of forced relocation is underway. The Rebuilding Alliance urges Americans to call Congress to oppose US support for the project.

Holocaust survivor and activist for justice Hedy Epstein dies at 91

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Hedy Epstein (Photo: Humans of St. Louis/Lindy Drew)

Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein, 91, died at her home in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, on May 26, 2016. An internationally renowned, respected and admired advocate for human and civil rights, Hedy was encircled by friends who lovingly cared for her at home. Born August 15, 1924, in the Bavarian region of Germany, her lifelong commitment to human rights was formed by the horrific experiences she and her family endured under the repressive Nazi regime. As part of her lifetime of working for social justice, Epstein had been devoted to working for peace and justice in Israel and Palestine since the 1982 massacre at Sabra and Shatila.

Acclaimed Irish literary festival’s refusal to accept Israeli state funding welcomed by artists and human rights campaigners

Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) on
BDS logo

The decision by Listowel Writers’ Week Festival, an internationally acclaimed literary festival in the Irish heritage town of Listowel County Kerry, to refuse funding from the Israeli Embassy in Ireland has been welcomed by artists, human rights campaigners and Palestine solidarity activists in Ireland, and is being hailed as victory for the growing Palestinian-led global Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) movement.

UW-Madison graduate student union endorses BDS

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(Photo: Teaching Assistants’ Association at the University of Wisconsin-Madison)

Members of the Teaching Assistants’ Association at the University of Wisconsin-Madison vote overwhelmingly in favor of a resolution to divest from the State of Israel and corporations that profit from the illegal occupation of Palestine. During a two-week vote distributed to all union members, the Teaching Assistants’ Association (TAA/AFT Local 3220) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the oldest graduate student labor union in the United States representing over 9,000 graduate workers and students, voted overwhelmingly (81% of voting members) in favor of adopting a resolution to divest from Israeli state institutions and international corporations complicit in the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the ongoing violations of Palestinians’ human rights.