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BDS

Palestinians reject Madonna’s ‘fig-leaf gestures of solidarity’

Jonathan Ofir on
Madonna and Quavo stand under the words "Wake Up" at the end of the Eurovision performance of their song “Future.” (Photo via Twitter/@madonnatribe)

Madonna tried to offset criticism of her participation in the Eurovision song contest by incorporating a Palestinian flag into her final performance. “The most meaningful expression of solidarity is to cancel performances in apartheid Israel,” the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel responded in a statement.

Republicans push BDS bill to paint Dems as anti-Semites, and party leadership falls for the trap

Josh Ruebner on
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) (Photo: Center for American Progress/Flickr)

On Wednesday, Republicans in the House of Representatives initiated a rarely-used legislative procedure to try to force a vote on a controversial bill that encourages states and localities to penalize individuals, nonprofit organizations, and companies that boycott for Palestinian rights. This is the latest GOP move in an ongoing, concerted effort to to portray themselves as the saviors of Israel and the Jewish people and paint the Democrats as an anti-Semitic, BDS-loving, radical left horde. And Democrats seem to be falling into the trap.

On Nakba Day 2019 the question before us is — justice or apartheid?

Nada Elia on
A masked Palestinian protestor climbs Israel's separation wall during a weekly demonstration against Israeli occupation in the West Bank village of Nilin(Photo: Issam Rimawi/ APA Images)

Nada Elia writes on Nakba Day 2019: “This year, to honor all that has been lost, and ensure we can move forward, we must pressure our politicians to address the Nakba from the river to the sea.  Let us then seize the moment to demand that our progressive politicians abandon their mindless platitudes about the two-state delusion, and ask them to choose instead:  justice, or apartheid.”

Sun, Gays, Misogyny, and Shawarma: Eurovision promo yet another failed Israeli bid for legitimacy

Denijal Jegić on
Screenshot of the KAN Eurovision video

This year’s Eurovision Song Contest is taking place in Tel Aviv. The popular music event could be a great propaganda opportunity for Europe’s last colony. But government-funded Hasbara continues to recycle the same colonial myths, trying to conceal settler-colonial inscription and indigenous erasure behind colorful pictures of sun, sea, rainbow flags, and shawarma.

Queer activists spoof YMCA in Graham Norton appeal to boycott Eurovision

London Palestine Action on
Screenshot from the Yes BDS video

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!”

Palestinian FM calls for EU sanctions to halt US-Israeli peace plan

James Reinl on
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki has urged European nations to sanction Israel for illegally grabbing Palestinian land, saying the US Trump administration’s expected peace plan will do nothing to bring about Middle East peace. “They have to start thinking about sanctions, boycotting, Israeli policies, actions, the relationship, review their strategic bilateral relations with Israel — as [the] European Union and as individual countries,” al-Maliki told Mondoweiss.

Gaza cultural centers and artists call for a boycott of Eurovision 2019

Open Letter on
Cultural workers in Gaza call on the world to boycott the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest to be held in Tel Aviv, and have announced the creation of the Gazavision festival.

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.”

Potatoes and Palestinians: celebrating International Workers Day

Tisetso Magama on
Pretoria, South Africa, November 28, 2017. (Photo: BDS South Africa)

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.'”

From God to art to politics, in Amman

Alice Rothchild on

A natural gas pipeline from the sea through Jordan is Israel’s latest effort to normalize relations with its Arab neighbors. But Palestinians resist. In Amman, Alice Rothchild visits an exhibit of remarkable friezes by Palestinian artist, Abdul Hay Mosallam. “They killed me and my killer denied me while turning cold in my grave,” are the words on the Gaza piece.

Despite brave stances, Bernie Sanders is still to the right of Democratic voters on Palestine

Hamzah Raza on
Bernie Sanders speaking at a campaign rally

At a recent CNN town hall, Bernie Sanders courageously asserted that “Israel is run by a racist government” and called for “a level playing field” between Israel and the Palestinians. Hamzah Reza writes that while such rhetoric is a breath of fresh air, the reality is that Sanders has refused to take the tangible actions that a plurality of rank-and-file Democratic voters want him to take.

Israel supporters try to shut down UMass forum about efforts by Israel supporters to shut down debate

Philip Weiss on

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.”

Israeli court upholds decision to deport human rights worker

Allison Deger on
Document from an Israeli government compiled dossier on Human Rights Watch's Israel and Palestine country director Omar Shakir. (Image: Human Rights Watch)

An Israeli court Tuesday upheld a ruling deport Human Rights Watch’s Israel and Palestine director Omar Shakir over his advocacy calling on online booking agents to cease providing platforms for rentals in Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Deborah Lipstadt, you’re wrong to say Jewish BDS supporters are enabling antisemitism

Robert Cohen on
Deborah Lipstadt, from her twitter feed.

In her new book, Deborah Lipstadt says, “Zionism is the national liberation movement of Jews,” and therefore those who oppose the idea of a Jewish state are anti-Semitic. She distorts the values of anti-Zionists, who are for democracy not ethnic states, and offers an ideological justification for the displacement of Palestinians.

Student & community groups condemn racist harassment campaign against Palestinian rights advocates at Emory University

Open Letter on
Emory Students for Justice in Palestine logo

Emory Students for Justice in Palestine has come under attack for educational events, flyers, and protests it organized as part of Israel Apartheid Week. “Smearing racial justice advocates as ‘anti-Semites’ is an increasingly visible trend,” the organization writes, and they “reject the notion that challenges to US foreign policy and advocacy for justice in the Middle East are a form of discrimination against our friends in the Jewish community.” Emory SJP also calls on Emory University to cease validating the bigoted smear campaign and to discipline students and other Emory community members that are complicit in the ongoing harassment.

A veto against a just peace for all in Palestine and Israel

Daniel A. Segal on

Pitzer College’s governing council voted March 14 to suspend a program in Israel for the same reason US institutions ended collaborations with Apartheid South Africa in the 1980s. Pitzer President Melvin Oliver’s veto of the resolution not only harms Pitzer but harms Palestinians and Jewish Israelis, as it blocks a material contribution to expanding the possibility of justice and peace for all, Pitzer Professor Daniel Segal writes.

O’Rourke says special relationship with Israel goes against US values of equality and dignity

Philip Weiss on

Beto O’Rourke says at a campaign stop in New Hampshire that Israeli human rights violations hurt the U.S. “These truths that we hold so dear — that we are all created equal– ‘all of us’ needs to mean, ‘All of us,’ not relationships of convenience for short term security gains but relationships that allow us to continue to be the example for so much of the rest of the world.”

Israeli Apartheid Week opens worldwide, as Netanyahu confirms discriminatory regime

Palestinian BDS National Committee on
2019 Israeli Apartheid Week logo

The 15th annual Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW), the largest global boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) mobilization for Palestinian rights, opened on Monday with more than 80 events in 40 cities across Europe, North America and Palestine, featuring protests, lectures, film screenings, and cultural events. IAW is expected to be held in more than 200 cities worldwide.

Pitzer College battle over suspending Israel study program shows divide on the left over BDS

Philip Weiss on

Pitzer’s College Council took a historic and overwhelming vote to suspend a study-abroad program in Israel following years of organizing by progressive faculty and students. President Melvin Oliver’s swift veto of the resolution shows the discomfort that the mainstream left is feeling about Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) and also the growing moral importance of the issue on the left.