Leading Middle East and Islamic studies scholars call on President Trump immediately to pull back from the brink of a war with the Islamic Republic of Iran: “It is clear to us that the human, diplomatic, legal, political, and economic costs to both countries, the Persian Gulf and larger Middle East, the global economy and the global system of international humanitarian law of a US attack would be even more devastating than was the US invasion of Iraq sixteen years ago.”
Category Archives: Activism
This spring, the latest salvo in the battle surrounding Palestinian advocacy came to a head on two university campuses: the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Emory University. Following condemnations and investigations from their respective universities and communities, Mondoweiss spoke to students and faculty involved in both incidents at Emory and UNC to understand, from their point of view, the events that took place, and the wider implications for pro-Palestine activism on their campuses, and on university campuses across America.
Pride Parade organizers have not accepted the Reclaim Pride coalition’s demands to use the parade for grassroots transformational change, so the coalition will hold the first Queer Liberation March in New York City history on June 30. The liberation of Palestine and all Palestinians — queer and non-LGBT as well — is a core commitment of the march, Pauline Park writes.
Members of the Liberal Democrat party in the UK publish an open letter to party leaders, opposing their definition of antisemitism to include criticism of Israel, which led to suspension of a party organization for social media posts. “Israel deserves same treatment as China, Russia or other violators of human rights,” the letter-writers say.
On May 17th, 2019 the German Parliament (Bundestag) has passed a resolution against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) condemning it as anti-Semitic. On June 28th, 2019, Palästina Spricht – Palestine Speaks, a coalition for Palestinian rights and against racism based in Berlin, will be protesting against the shameful resolution and against delegitimizing the BDS movement as a Palestinian non-violent, civil based struggle against Israel’s occupation and apartheid.
Palestinians activists are protesting this weekend at storefronts and offices for the German athletic wear manufacturer Puma. The reason? Puma sponsors the Israel Football Association (IFA), which includes six teams in settlements in the West Bank.
Sara Roy challenges the German parliament over its resolution equating boycott of Israel and anti-Semitism: “I lost a large extended family to fascism and racism. By endorsing the motion that alleges that BDS is anti-Semitic, you are criminalizing the right to free speech and dissent and those who choose to exercise it, which is exactly how fascism takes root.”
After protests from a American Jewish organizations, the California Democratic Party leadership undertook to water down resolutions that were critical of Israel and supportive of Palestinian refugees, put forward by progressive activists. But as Jack O’Dell, the civil rights activist, advised James Zogby long ago: Never be devastated by setbacks and never become overly confident due to progress.
Amith Gupta comments on the controversy over NYU President Andrew Hamilton’s undermining of campus free speech when he censured Steven Thrasher’s NYU commencement speech celebrating BDS. He says lost in the discussion is any meaningful discussion about which ideas are being suppressed at NYU in the first place — and which ideas are being promoted.
Just eight days after an administrator offered public high school teachers in Skokie, Illinois, the opportunity to take a summer professional development course called “Teaching Palestine” as part of “Equity” training, the school district retracted the offer in a statement from top administrators apologizing for for the hurtful, “one-sided nature of this course.” Pro-Israel groups had pressured the school district to remove the “propaganda” course.
Last week, the German Parliament passed a resolution that demonizes the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel. Hatim Kanaaneh writes to German politicians, “you dare to pass judgement on us for peacefully demanding our rights under international law. Now you have the audacity to ascribe to me your predecessors’ innermost ugly sentiments in order to aid and abet our continued victimization as surrogate Germans and anti-Semites.”
In April a delegation of Palestinian youth headed to Johannesburg: “Witnessing South Africa’s persistent social, racial, and economic inequities, that are remnants of colonialism and Apartheid, we problematized the way we, as Palestinians, understand the apartheid analysis.”
The Anthropology Graduate Student Association at UCLA supports Dr. Rabab Abdulhadi who has come under attack for a recent lecture at the university: “As graduate students in the Department of Anthropology who lead discussion sections with undergraduate students, we are committed to creating inclusive and justice-centered academic settings. This includes ensuring that the loudest and most dominant perspectives in our society do not silence empirically verifiable evidence of oppression.”
On May 19, a New Jersey public library canceled a reading by Golbarg Bashi from her children’s book, “P Is for Palestine,” after vocal opposition, notably from the pro-Israel Jewish community. A coalition of Palestinian solidarity groups is petitioning the library to resist racist pressure against free speech for Palestinians and reinstate the reading at its June 5 public board meeting.
The German government’s campaign against BDS has taken its next step – an outright labelling of BDS as anti-Semitic, and association of it with Nazi boycotts of Jews. Palestinian civil society has now responded to the assault.
A report by the Council on Islamic-American Relations revealed a money trail from over 1,000 largely mainstream charities to 39 anti-Muslim groups that it calls the “Islamophobia Network.” In New York City, activists protested one of the charities, the Jewish Communal Fund.
Two Israelis and one Palestinian are on trial for counts of trespassing and assault for disrupting an event with Knesset member Aliza Lavie who spoke at Humboldt University in Berlin in June 2017.
At the “Jerusalem Prayer Breakfast Texas” in San Antonio one Christian charismatic speaker referred to Bill Maher as “the stupidest Jew in Hollywood,” to general laughter. Another speaker bemoaned the inability of Jews to vote in Israeli elections, without any apparent worries about falling into the “dual loyalty” trope.
Playgrounds for Palestine has built 39 playgrounds for Palestinian kids since writer Susie Abulhawa started the organization 18 years ago. Now it’s selling a new line of Palestinian olive oils in the States so you can help the kids and help the farmers too.
New York City’s Whitney Museum of American Art’s legendary Biennial exhibit is taking place, but the Whitney has a problem. Warren B. Kanders, the vice chairmen of the board of trustees, has amassed a $700 million fortune selling law enforcement gear and tear gas that has been used against unarmed civilians in Ferguson, Baltimore, Standing Rock, Puerto Rico, the U.S.-Mexico border, and in Israel/Palestine. Calls for the war profiteer’s resignation are growing louder by the day.
Last week, 11 North American Jews, two Palestinian journalists, and two local Palestinians were arrested for the crime of trying to repair a road connecting five rural Palestinian communities in the Southern West Bank. Jodi Melamed says this action is a crucial example of the “infrastructures of steadfastness” that need to be built to “disrupt the logistics of occupation and strengthen circulations of imagination, resources, and relationships for liberatory world-making together across North America and Israel/Palestine.”
Queer activists in London released a spoof version of YMCA to urge BBC host Graham Norton to boycott Eurovision, because of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. Leila White from London Palestine Action says, “Graham Norton should listen to Palestinians and heed their call for a boycott of Israel until it stops its systematic denial of Palestinians rights. We say no to pinkwashing, yes to BDS!”
Cultural workers in Gaza call on the world to boycott the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest to be held in Tel Aviv, and announce the creation of the Gazavision festival: “Even when Israel bombs us, imprisons our men, women and children, kills and maims thousands of Palestinian protesters on the Great Return March and does everything to silence our voices, we will continue to sing.”
The Israeli bombing of Gaza brought the crisis of the Jewish professional to a head. How to be a rabbi to a community and challenge that community’s ethics? Marc Ellis writes that Rabbi Brant Rosen’s psalm, beginning, “oh lord deliver me from my people,” rises to the challenge.
From March 30 until April 8, Tufts Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) held its eighth annual Israeli Apartheid Week and engaged more than 250 people in lectures, discussions, and performances on Palestinian struggle and resistance, the Israeli occupation and apartheid regime in Palestine, and the campaign to end military and police exchange between the United States and Israel.