The defense of Lara Alqasem who was barred entry by Israel for her studies, was based on the notion that she does not currently practice BDS. Thus, her victory at Supreme Court is also a blow to BDS and a victory for liberal Zionists. She has become a pawn in an internal Israeli-Zionist political game, where the right and left compete against each other about who is a “better Zionist”.
Category Archives: Activism
Two New Zealand BDS activists who counseled pop-star Lorde to cancel Israel concert have been fined by an Israeli court for harming the “artistic welfare” of three fans, but the two are not paying, and directing funds to Gaza mental health efforts.
Jaap C. Bosma considers a definition of anti-Palestinian racism and how it can be used by activists for Palestinian rights.
On October 10, Israeli anti-Zionist and international activists were invited to the Gaza fence across from an encampment of the Great March of Return. The two groups met and were able to see and speak to each other with only a few dozen meters and the siege fence between them. Armed soldiers arrived and attempted to disperse the meeting. The demonstrators left from both sides without incident, promising to meet each other again.
The case of Lara Alqasem, the American citizen fighting deportation from Israel, is shining a bright light on Israel’s racial profiling of American students, the growing witch hunt against BDS activists, and the very real impact of smear websites. It is also catapulting into prominence the rationale behind the academic boycott of Israel.
A French court ruled to end requiring retailers to label goods originating from the West Bank, overturning a 2016 law where products from the settlements could no longer be stamped “made in Israel.
Palestinian, US Jewish, and Israeli groups joined theater artists in signing a letter calling on Toronto, New York and Pittsburgh arts organizations not to host Israel’s Gesher Theatre or partner with the Israeli government.
Refaat Alareer writes a poem to Dareen Tatour –
I am at the stake
I am being burnt
For being here
For writing poetry
I am in prison.
An optimal anti-Zionism is a politics and a discourse, and is a commitment to unimaginable possibilities—that is, to realizing what arbiters of common sense like to call “impossible.” Steven Salaita offers some suggestions on what a principled anti-Zionism looks like.
David Lloyd says that the outrage that has greeted University of Michigan’s John Cheney-Lippold refusal to write a letter of reference for a student who wished to participate in a Study Abroad Program in Israel is astonishingly hypocritical. “No professor and no institution should engage in furthering programs that so systematically violate our long-cherished equal-opportunity and anti-discrimination policies, inscribed both in federal law and campus codes. US academics should do the right thing by following Professor Cheney-Lippold’s courageous example and refusing to participate in any institutional endorsement of study abroad in Israel,” Lloyd writes.
Donna Nevel says she frequently hears the sentiment articulated in some progressive Jewish spaces that the left needs to be more concerned about anti-Semitism. But she wonders what exactly is being referred to, and why is anti-Semitism being singled out as a particular problem when other injustices aren’t? “I believe those of us within Jewish social justice spaces who are concerned about anti-Semitism on the left would benefit from deep reflection about what it is we are centering and why,” Nevel writes.
On October 3-7, cyclists from all over the world will ride 400 km from Boston to NYC to raise awareness and $250,000 that will go towards Women’s Empowerment, Community Rehabilitation targeting disabilities among children and adults, and Mental Health support in the Gaza Strip.
Frank Sinatra got $2 million in 1981 to defy boycott calls and play South African apartheid venue Sun City. Lana Del Rey just heeded boycott calls, giving up a $700,000 appearance fee, nearly 10 times her usual reported fee, and canceled Israel’s “escapist” Meteor festival. See the parallel?
On Thursday lawyer Dimitri Lascaris called on two Liberal MPs to denounce death threats made by B’nai B’rith supporters against a number of other Liberal MPs and the Prime Minister. But instead of condemning those who called for politicians to face the “guillotine” or “stoning”, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) and Canadian politicians smeared the individual drawing attention to the death threats.
Lana Del Rey is one of many artists who recently canceled their performance at the upcoming Meteor Festival in Israel. Natasha Rappezzo writes, “If Lana Del Rey chose to perform at the Meteor Festival, she would have been using her name and influence to whitewash Israeli crimes. As a fan, I am happy that one of my favorite artists has grown and will stand on the side of justice. As a supporter of Palestinian human rights and freedom, it has been incredible to watch Palestinians and the international community rise to action and deliver this win for the movement.”
Donna Nevel and Alan Levine draw upon the theme of tashlich — a Jewish new year ritual in which Jews throw crumbs or pebbles into moving water to symbolically cast away transgressions — to urge our communities to reflect upon what keeps us from being full-hearted partners to the Palestinian movement for justice.
The British Labour Party adopted the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism, which states that criticism of Israel is criticism of the Jewish people. Thus Israel frames Jews everywhere for the crime it knows that it has committed. But that’s anti-Semitic!
Scientists from around the world write an open letter deploring a particle physics conference being held at Ariel University, an academic institution located in an Israeli settlement deep in the West Bank.
When EU ministers met in Vienna, BDS Austria was there to protest millions of Euros in research grants to Israeli scientific institutions. While the EU’s rules state that these grants must be for “civilian” programs, many are supporting companies that participate in the repression, surveillance, and exploitation of the Palestinian population.
Josh Glancy writes in the New York Times that Jeremy Corbyn is guilty of “classic anti-Semitism” for saying that British Zionists lack irony, but Glancy himself has written that Zionism is “at the heart” of British Jewish identity, and most British Jews are “culturally Israeli.” Thus do Zionists conflate Jews and Israel.
In a few days Britain’s Labour Party will decide if it will adopt a controversial definition of anti-Semitism. Norman Finkelstein writes, “If the Labour Party adopts these taboos, respected scholarship will be suppressed while Israel will become the beneficiary of a pernicious double standard.”
A coalition of 24 Palestinian civil society groups, including the largest trade unions, professional associations and refugee networks, released a statement urging the UK Labour Party and trade unions to reject the “biased, anti-Palestinian” IHRA definition of antisemitism which seeks to conflate antisemitism with criticism of Israel. The definition they say, “aims to silence criticism of Israeli policies that clearly violate Palestinian human rights.”
Omar Barghouti, co-founder of the BDS movement, says that even after being bought by PepsiCo, Sodastream should still be boycotted: “SodaStream is still subject to boycott by the global, Palestinian-led BDS movement for Palestinian rights. Its new factory is actively complicit in Israel’s policy of displacing the indigenous Bedouin-Palestinian citizens of Israel in the Naqab (Negev). SodaStream’s mistreatment of and discrimination against Palestinian workers is not forgotten either.”
Palestinian filmmaker Ahmed Mansour describes his new film “Brooklyn, Inshallah,” which tells the inspiring story of Khader El-Yateem’s campaign for a seat on the NY City Council. Mansour is hoping to use the film to support voter registration drives and mobilize Arab and Muslim voters for the 2018 midterm elections.
Norwegian activist Kristin Foss was shot and badly bruised on Saturday in the occupied West Bank by a rubber bullet fired by an Israeli soldier, while posing no danger. The Norwegian media has noticed – will the government do anything about it?