On January 14, South Dakota’s Republican Governor Kristi Noem signed an executive order that prohibits state offices from doing business with companies that boycott Israel. South Dakota becomes the 28th state to pass legislation that targets the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
Category Archives: Activism
Last week, Jewish and Palestinian student activists with the group Jewish Voice for Peace were in Iowa to demand that Democratic candidates stop funding Israel’s occupation and embrace Palestinian rights.
At daybreak Kefah Adra set out to fill a plastic container of water from a nearby spring, a morning errand she has not done in 15 years. Like many Palestinian towns in this southern region of the West Bank, a-Tuwani is hemmed in by Israeli settlements, which a decade and a half ago cut off access to her water source.
In 2016, the Arizona Legislature passed HB 2617. The legislation (which was signed into law by Governor Doug Ducey) prohibited the state from investing or contracting with groups that boycott Israel. The law also established a blacklist of businesses that support the BDS movement. The legislation prompted a challenge from Mikkel Jordahl, the owner of a law firm that contracts with Coconino County Jail District to provide legal services for prisoners. He’s a supporter of BDS and the law required him to certify that his firm would not engage in the boycott.
Amidst fear and mourning, the Jewish community is turning towards antiracist solidarity to create real safety. “One thing is clear,” JVP member Jay Saper writes, “our shared enemy is white supremacy and our shared solution is one another.”
Jonathan Ofir reflects upon his youth and Zionist indoctrination in Israel. He first thought he was born in Israel, but then realised he was born in Palestine. It is painful to make that declaration but it is a necessary liberation.
Each Hanukkah, the story of the rebellious Maccabees and the cruel Hasmonean dynasty reminds that that we must fiercely defend our communities — but do we repeat the Maccabees’ mistakes and perpetuate repression in the name of safety?
Under Boris Johnson in Britain, Jewish institutions, rabbis, and Jewish student leaders are claiming to fight antisemitism while simultaneously defending, excusing, or denying the discrimination and oppression of another people. It’s a narrative framework that’s not sustainable, Robert Cohen writes.
Majed Abusalama writes that Palestinians are tired of demanding their obvious human rights, but there is now an opportunity to compel the international community to humanize Palestine and to treat Palestinians with full rights — the BDS movement.
Jennifer Bing has been involved in Palestine solidarity activism since the early 1980s and has been one of the driving forces behind the No Way to Treat a Child campaign that led to Rep. Betty McCollum’s historic bill to the stop the detention of Palestinian children. Bing spoke with Mondoweiss’ Michael Arria about how her feelings on pushing lawmakers has changed, how McCollum became an unlikely advocate for the cause, and what comes next.
It is necessary to take a particular look at the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange (GILEE) program in light of ongoing police brutality and understand the role of militarization both at home and abroad.
The Rights Forum, an organization “committed to a fair and sustainable Dutch and European policy on the Palestine/Israel issue,” announced earlier this week that it was delivering its appeal with the support of 185 organizations from 25 countries. “Without further delay, investigate possible war crimes committed in Israeli-occupied Palestinian territory,” the group said in their appeal, which they delivered to Chief ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda at The Hague on Tuesday.
Freedom Is the Future is a joint project recently launched by US Campaign for Palestinian Rights and Adalah Justice Project to establish Palestine’s place in the broader progressive movement by promoting a rights-based framework. “This came about in part because there was a recognition that there was an absence of a framework and reference points within progressive organizing here in the United States that was Palestinian-authored and Palestinian-centered,” Yousef Munayyer explains.
On Dec 2, Brown University’s Advisory Committee on Corporate Responsibility in Investment Policies voted to recommend that the school divest from companies that facilitate Israeli human rights violations. The decision follows a vote this past spring where 69% of Brown’s undergrad student body voted in favor of a referendum to divest from occupation-connected companies like Motorola, Boeing, and Raytheon.
A protest of Islamophobic funding by a leading Jewish charity arm in New York is picking up steam. Victor Kovner says the Jewish Communal Fund of NY “is slurring, smearing the Jewish community as a whole to associate with these vicious, fascist, racist groups. And we must, as Jews, speak up against what they are doing.”
The catastrophic climate crisis is fueled by global inequality and engineered by complicit governments and corporations that put profit before people and planet. Everywhere, the least powerful are the most affected. Indigenous Palestinians living under Israeli occupation and apartheid, with no control over their land or natural resources, are highly vulnerable to the climate crisis.
Research by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign in the U.K. reveals that British universities invest over £456 million in companies complicit in Israeli violations of international law. The research was published as hundreds of students across the country take action as part of ‘Apartheid Off Campus’ day of action, with banner drops and protests at campuses across the UK.
“I am convinced that the loss of legitimacy of the Zionist idea, of the idea of a special state for a special people, is irreversible, that that cannot be resurrected in the 21st century, a time when we at least preach if not practice universal rights and equality,” the writer Ali Abunimah said in a landmark speech ten years ago, and his remarks have proved to be prophetic in describing the anti-Zionist movement inside progressive life.
Roger Waters on the importance of international solidarity with Palestinians: “The aim … is to focus world attention on the plight of the Palestinian people in Gaza in the hope that the scales will fall from the eyes of all, ordinary, decent people round the world, that they may see the enormity of the crimes that have been committed, and demand that their governments bring all possible pressure to bear on Israel to lift the siege.”
Bernie Sanders’s support for Palestinian rights at the Democratic debate Wednesday could not have been expressed “anywhere in the Democratic Party, ever, under any circumstances in the 60s,” Rashid Khalidi says. While Dorothy Zellner says the ongoing divide in the Democratic Party over Palestine is an “ethical” division going back to the Nakba, and there is no point in having a united front that sells out Palestinian rights.
Zak Witus is a member of IfNotNow and a graduate student in Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Chicago. He told Mondoweiss that the group decided to target Schakowsky because she’s “a great moral leader on so many human rights issues, both for her district and the Chicago Jewish community in particular.” He pointed out that Schakowsky opposed the Trump administration’s embassy move, condemned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to block Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), and co-authored an op-ed with Omar about confronting the threat of white nationalism. “Not another penny of taxpayer money should fund another Israeli home demolition or bomb that wipes out an entire family in Gaza,” said Witus, “We think that Jan agrees, and so her committing to defunding the occupation should be a no brainer.”
Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party understands Palestine as a moral foreign policy cause of this generation, and affixes it to their material fight against neoliberal austerity. Nick Rodrigo writes that this relationship lies in the radical street politics of the British student movement between 2008-2011.
Members of Jewish Voice for Peace, American Friends Service Committee, and other constituents occupied the office of Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL 9th District) and called on her to support a congressional bill that promotes human rights for children in Palestine. The protesters read a list of 271 Palestinian children who have been arrested and detained by the Israeli military, as well as a list of the 8 children killed in Israel’s recent attack on Gaza.
Michael Bueckert has been tracking Israel’s anti-BDS app for two years. Mondoweiss spoke to him about the app, its use during the recent attacks on Gaza, and where it is having an impact.
In yet another sign that Palestinian solidarity activists are getting room inside mainstream institutions, scores of Harvard students walked out on Israeli consul general Dani Dayan Wednesday as he began a talk at Harvard Law School on the settlement project. They silently held signs saying “Settlements are a war crime.”