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.
Category Archives: Activism
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.
On the morning of Friday, May 3, Israeli forces suppressed a joint action organized by Palestinian, Israeli and International Jewish activists to rehabilitate historical roads that are used by Palestinian communities in South Hebron Hills in the West Bank. Around 17 were arrested, including two photojournalists, who were interrogated in Kiryat Arba police station before getting released after 8 hours of detention.
Marc Lamont Hill seems emboldened by his firing by CNN last year for daring to imagine equal rights in Israel and Palestine. On Wednesday night, he spoke of “Gettin’ rid of the settler colonial project altogether” and mocked the term, “liberal Zionist, whatever that is.” He will appear on a star-studded panel about Palestine on Saturday May 4 at UMass Amherst.
Citing faculty and students who were denied entry into Israel, New York University’s Department of Social and Cultural Analysis passes a resolution that pledges non-cooperation with the university’s study abroad program in Tel Aviv.
BDS South Africa board member Tisetso Magama writes: “South African workers, across all sectors, are becoming flag-bearers of the BDS and Palestine solidarity movement with unionists insisting that workplaces must become Apartheid Israel Free Zones. The Palestinian BDS campaign against Israel, inspired by our own successful isolation of Apartheid South Africa, is moving at a far faster pace than the boycott of Apartheid South Africa did. This is partially because the Israeli regime of Apartheid and oppression against the Palestinians, as our former President Kgalema Mothlante, has put it, ‘is far worse that what we Black South Africans experienced.'”
On May Day 2019, Graduate Students for Justice in Palestine at UCLA express their firm support for the Johns Hopkins University Garland Sit-in and the demands being raised by participants for the university to demilitarize and defund the university’s private police force, end all contracts with ICE, and ensure that justice and accountability is enacted following the police murder of Tyrone West, a black man killed by a member of the Morgan State University Police Force.
Yossi Gurvitz says that as long as we focus on occupied territories, of land, we are bound within the rules of occupation, where the occupier and his “security needs” will always win. Instead he proposes we should start speaking of the Israeli Military Dictatorship: “Avoid all discussions of sovereignty. They’re useless. Speak of night raids intended only to terrify people, of invading houses without warrants, of indefinite imprisonment without trial; speak of the horror lurking beneath all this. Speak, in short, not of territories but of people.”
UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy has urged organizers of a campus forum about efforts to shut down pro-Palestinian voices, featuring Roger Waters and Linda Sarsour, to include “differing points of view” in the panel so that there will be “dialogue” between pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian advocates.
Nada Elia disagrees with those who say it was good Benjamin Netanyahu won the recent Israeli elections because it will help reveal the nature of Israeli society to the world. “Did anyone who is in any way genuinely interested in politics still believe, up till Netanyahu’s fifth reelection, that the two-state solution is a valid option that simply requires the right Israeli prime minister?” she asks.
The “vast majority of world Jewry” perceive Roger Waters, Marc Lamont Hill, and Linda Sarsour to be anti-Semites because they have called for democracy in Israel and Palestine, say 80 groups trying to end UMass’s sponsorship of a May 4 forum on– the quashing of speech on Palestinian human rights. The letter is classic McCarthyism, says organizer Jeremy Earp.
On May 4, activists are staging a star-studded event at UMass Amherst about their refusal to bow to intimidation tactics and shut up about Palestinian human rights. Titled “Not Backing Down,” the forum will feature Roger Waters, Linda Sarsour, Dave Zirin and Marc Lamont Hill.Sponsors had hoped to bring Hanan Ashrawi from Palestine. But she did not receive a visa over several weeks during which the event was organized. “I think this is something new from the Trump administration,” Professor Sut Jhally said of the delay on Ashrawi’s application. He linked it to the denial of entry to Omar Barghouti last week and said that Trump is “doing the bidding of the Israeli government.”
Israel’s most powerful weapon is the smearing of its critics as anti-Semites. After the Jewish Chronicle in London smeared Tom Suarez, the author filed a formal complaint against the newspaper with Britain’s main media watchdog, the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO), and won a partial victory.
The 2019 edition of the Houston Palestine Film Festival marks its 13th anniversary with a lineup of award-winning features and shorts focusing on Palestine including films by Nadine Labaki, Julia Bacha and Wisam Al Jafari.
Manchester Palestine Action took action Sunday in the Puma department of British retailer Sports Direct to call for a global boycott of Puma for sponsoring the Israeli Football Association, which includes teams in Israel’s illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian land.