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Author Archives: Phan Nguyen
On Monday the Washington State Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of the anti-BDS lawsuit against the Olympia Food Co-op. The suit had been filed by five Co-op members in 2011 to force the Co-op to rescind its boycott of Israeli goods. Several pro-Israel interests became involved in the case as well, ranging from the multimillion-dollar Israel advocacy group StandWithUs, to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and most recently the Lawfare Project.
In quitting her role as an Oxfam global ambassador Scarlett Johansson cited “fundamental difference of opinion in regards to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement” between herself and the organization. With this statement, Johansson and her public relations team not only extricate her from a vulnerable position, but does so cynically and opportunistically by throwing Oxfam under the bus implying that she was being forced by Oxfam to honor the Palestinian BDS call.
Scarlett Johansson has finally issued a statement in response to criticisms over her new role as “global ambassador” for the Israeli settlement–produced SodaStream. Yet her statement, at 259 words, does not directly address any of the criticisms against her. The question now is whether Oxfam can stay true to its principles enough to compel Johansson to break her ties with SodaStream — or else break its ties with Johansson.
One of the most prominent US voices against the academic boycott of Israel is Cary Nelson, professor of English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a former president of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP). Phan Nguyen demonstrates neither Nelson nor the AAUP is as principled on the issue as it may seem when opposing academic boycotts.
‘Apolitical’ arts organization combatting BDS is front for pro-settler group tied to Israeli Foreign Ministry
Creative Community for Peace (CCFP) is an organization that, in its own words, “supports the idea of building bridges between people through art and music.” Since its formation in 2010–11, CCFP has led the fight in the United States against the cultural boycott of Israel, proclaiming that “music and the arts are bridge[s] to peace and they should not be politicized.” CCFP hopes to convince artists that performing in Israel during a boycott does not mean taking a political position. But CCFP is actually a front for StandWithUs, the notorious right-wing pro-settler organization that works closely with the Israeli Foreign Ministry. And CCFP provides cover for StandWithUs to fight cultural boycott without exposing its own political pro-Israel agenda.
In Part II of Phan Nguyen’s study on Eric Alterman’s questionable statements on Palestine and Israel he addresses the careless and false accusations that Alterman makes against Max Blumenthal’s book Goliath, and demonstrates that Alterman is an unreliable commentator on Palestine/Israel.
Phan Nguyen reviews some of Eric Alterman’s statements that undermine his self-proclaimed status as a conscientious critic of the Israeli occupation.
Phan Nguyen demonstrates the breadth of ‘Elder of Ziyon”’s shoddy scholarship, and examines what the hasbara industry accepts as a groundbreaking exposé.
A smear campaign against UN Rapporteur Richard Falk distorts his words to claim that he blames Israel and the US for the Boston bombing—and that he believes the vicitms had it coming. Yet Falk never made the comments he was accused of making. Above, Falk talks at the United Nations.
Phan Nguyen reflects on the 10th anniversary of Rachel Corrie’s death: “I was at my home in Olympia, Washington, on the morning of Sunday, March 16, 2003, when I received a call from Will, a friend who had traveled to Rafah. It was a pleasant surprise. I had already heard from Rachel Corrie, whom he had gone to Palestine with, but not from him, so my enthusiasm was pronounced when I asked him how he was doing. “Um … really bad,” he said. “Rachel’s dead.””
Pamela Geller and other Israel supporters rejoiced when it was announced that, in an affront to BDS, the Rolling Stones would perform in Israel—except it was a hoax.
When New York public officials criticized Brooklyn College for hosting a BDS event with Judith Butler and Omar Barghouti, it wasn’t the first time local politicians had mobilized against pro-Palestinian activism. Under the guidance of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York elected officials have rallied against boycott, supported censoring speakers critical of Israel and even met with settler leaders. Although JCRC may not have led the fight at Brooklyn College, its influence in city politics is clear to see. Above, New York City Council members pose with JCRC-NY Vice President and CEO Michael Miller and Israeli Minister of Information and Diaspora (and settler) Yuli Edelstein.
Phan Nguyen examines the conflicting rocket attack statistics cited by the Israeli military to justify the current attack on Gaza.
“Rage” is all the rage with Newsweek, apparently. For comparison:
Veteran peace activist and interfaith dialogue advocate Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb is the latest target in a campaign to attack Barack Obama in the run-up to the US presidential election.
The recent hubbub over the word “occupation” reminds me of a conversation I had last year with Akiva Tor, the Israeli Consul General to the Pacific Northwest.
What does the Equality Forum’s LGBT Summit and a conference hosted by John Hagee have in common? The same headlining speaker.
Yesterday, YNet, the Times of Israel, the JTA, and the Jewish Daily Forward published reports about the targeting of 200 Jewish university students in a guerrilla campaign instigated by “pro-Palestinian” activists at the start of Passover. One problem with the story — it never happened.
Hasbara in 1988: ‘despite difficulties, South Africa is a vital, progressive state with much to admire ‘
First of an ongoing series by Phan Nguyen on the use of the apartheid analogy. Defenders of South African apartheid said blacks were doing better there than in other African countries and South Africa was an asset to the west. Sound familiar?
The pro-Israel organization StandWithUs concocted a story about a mass boycott of a Jewish deli in Olympia, WA to attack the region’s growing BDS movement.
Last week, three pinkwashing events in Seattle, Tacoma, and Olympia, Washington were cancelled, following actions by anti-pinkwashing activists.
On February 27, Judge Thomas McPhee of Thurston County Superior Court dismissed the anti-BDS lawsuit against the Olympia Food Co-op, accepting the defendants’ motion that the lawsuit violated Washington State’s anti-SLAPP law. Here are excerpts of Judge McPhee’s key findings.
The first court hearing in the lawsuit against the Olympia Food Co-op will commence on Thursday, February 24. Let’s look at some of the players behind this “apolitical” lawsuit, from the plaintiffs to the StandWithUs-affiliated attorneys to the Israeli officials.
Last week, the David Project released its “white paper” on Israel advocacy in US colleges and universities, titled A Burning Campus? Rethinking Israel Advocacy at America’s Universities and Colleges.
Khader Adnan, age 33, is on his 59th day on hunger strike. Fifty-nine days was how long it took for Francis Hughes to succumb to his starvation and die. Hughes was one of ten Irish republican prisoners who died during the 1981 hunger strike, calling for the British government to recognize their status as political prisoners.