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BDS Movement

Biden-Lapid Joint Declaration Takes Aim At BDS Movement

On July 14 U.S. President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid signed a joint strategic declaration that highlights the bonds between the two countries, pledges further bilateral cooperation, and vows to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. It also takes aim at the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS), the nonviolent effort to pressure Israel in meeting its obligations under international law. “The United States and Israel affirm that they will continue to work together to combat all efforts to boycott or de-legitimize Israel, to deny its right to self-defense, or to unfairly single it out in any forum, including at the United Nations or the International Criminal Court,” reads the Jerusalem U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Joint Declaration. “While fully respecting the right to freedom of expression, they firmly reject the BDS campaign.”

As Anti-BDS Bills Become The Norm, ACLU Takes Fight To The Supreme Court

Little Rock, Arkansas - In June, a federal appeals court upheld an Arkansas law barring state contractors from boycotting Israel, sparking concerns over First Amendment rights in the United States. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a decision made last year by a panel of three judges who found that mandating a pledge to not boycott Israel is unconstitutional. However, the recent court ruling determined boycotts are not expressive conduct and instead related to commercial activity and therefore the state can regulate such actions.

Unilever Sells Israeli Ben And Jerry’s, Allows Operation In Settlements

Unilever has sold Ben and Jerry’s Israeli business to its Israeli licensee, one year after the American ice cream company announced that it would end sales in the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt). After a year of backlash, legal challenges, and Zionist lobbying, Ben and Jerry’s products will return to illegal settlements, in direct contradiction of the company’s will. In July 2021, when Ben and Jerry’s declared that selling in the oPt would be “inconsistent with [its] values,” the company also revealed that it would not be renewing its agreement with its Israel-based licensee at the end of the year.

Rights Groups Urge Court To Strike Down Unconstitutional Texas Law

The Center For Constitutional Rights And Palestine Legal Filed An Amicus Brief In The Fifth Circuit Court Of Appeals In Support Of A Lawsuit Seeking To Strike Down A Texas Law That Requires Government Contractors To Pledge Not To Engage In Boycott, Divestment And Sanctions (BDS) Campaigns For Palestinian Rights. After A Court Blocked An Earlier Version Of Texas’s Anti-Boycott Law Following Lawsuits From Individuals With State Contracts, Texas Amended The Law To Exclude Companies With 9 Or Fewer Full-Time Employees And Contracts Under $100,000. While The Revised Law Mooted The Previous Lawsuits, Its Underlying First Amendment Challenges Remained. The Center For Constitutional Rights And Palestine Legal’s Brief States That The New Texas Law Still Violates The First Amendment And Unconstitutionally Targets Protected Political Speech In Support Of Palestinian Human Rights.

As More Students, Faculty Back BDS, Universities Maintain Apartheid Ties

Tel Aviv, Israel - This month, City University of New York’s (CUNY) law school faculty unanimously passed a resolution endorsing the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement, joining a chorus of American universities advocating for Palestinian rights. Harvard University’s Crimson newspaper endorsed the movement earlier this year, with 50 of the school’s faculty members supporting the decision. And in March, the Middle East Studies Association also voted to endorse the BDS movement. As college campuses across the U.S. grow in their support for Palestine, their administrations – many still having relations with major Israeli universities complicit in Israel’s occupation of Palestine – appear less likely to agree.

How Unions Are Backing BDS

In March, both the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), collectively representing more than 300,000 workers in the state, passed a resolution calling for the state of Oregon to divest from the fund that owns Israeli spyware firm NSO. The resolution also calls on the state to implement a human rights screening for all future investments. And just weeks ago, the Oregon Education Association, representing more than 40,000 teachers, passed a similar resolution at its convention. The passing of these resolutions comes after multiple investigations revealed a shocking record of human rights abuses committed by governments around the world using NSO’s controversial Pegasus spyware.

BDS Victory: General Mills Says It Will Divest From Israel

On May 31 General Mills announced that it divested its 60% stake in its Israeli subsidiary. For the last two years the company has been targeted by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) over the fact that some of its Pillsbury products are manufactured in an illegal Israeli settlement. General Mills’s statement doesn’t reference the BDS campaign and claims that the move simply reflects the company’s “strategic choices about where to prioritize our resources to drive superior returns.” Bodan Holdings, an Israel-based company who previously owned the other 40% of the business, will take over the entire operation. As AFSC points out on Twitter, it remains unclear whether Pillsbury products can still be made in the factory under General Mills’s license agreement.

Thousands Rally, March: US And Israel: Hands Off Jerusalem!

Chicago, IL - The Chicago Coalition for Justice in Palestine led a crowd of close to 1000 people, mostly youth from the Palestinian community in the Chicago area, to protest the attacks on the Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, April 18. The Coalition includes the American Muslims for Palestine, United States Palestinian Community Network (UCPSN), Students for Justice in Palestine- Chicago (SJP), Al-Nahda, Palestinian American Community Center, and Palestinian American Council. Al-Aqsa Mosque is the third holiest site in Islam, and repeatedly since Friday, April 15, Israeli soldiers and police have attacked it. They chose a Friday, the night when the largest number of people are there praying. The attack also took place during Ramadan, the most sacred month of the year for Muslims.

BDS Fights Heat Up Across Campuses

On April 7 the student government at Ohio State University passed a resolution calling on the school to divest from companies connected to human rights abuses in Palestine. The two companies targeted are Hewlett Packard Enterprise, who provides technology to the Israeli military, and Caterpillar Inc., whose bulldozers are used to demolish Palestinian homes. “The passage of this resolution is merely one milestone on the long journey to the Palestinian people’s eventual triumph,” said the school’s SJP chapter in a statement. “We urge our supporters to remain vigilant and empowered as we take our next steps for accountability.” This victory was short-lived, as the effort was immediately stonewalled.

Governors Who Criminalized BDS In Their States Demand Boycott Of Russia

A number of U.S. lawmakers have called for a boycott targeting Russia following the invasion of Ukraine, but some of the same politicians are responsible for their states’ anti-BDS laws. “Today I sent a letter to the Liquor Control Board urging them to remove Russian-sourced products from stores and cease selling them ASAP,” tweeted Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf. “Pennsylvania stands in solidarity with the people of Ukraine.” “I urge you to remove Russian-sourced products from stores and cease selling them as quickly as possible as a small show of solidarity and support for the people of Ukraine, and an expression of our collective revulsion with the unprovoked actions of the Russian state,” reads Wolf’s letter to the Liquor Control Board.

European Citizens Initiative To Stop Trade With Illegal Settlements

Brussels - Marking the World Day of Social Justice on February 20 a coalition of more than 100 civil society organizations, has launched a European Citizens Initiative (ECI) to stop trade with illegal settlements in occupied territories. An ECI is an official instrument for democratic participation of citizens in EU policy making. If an ECI garners one million signatures from EU citizens over 12 months the European Commission must consider and debate the petition’s demands.  This ECI demands EU legislation that will outlaw trade with illegal settlements, anywhere and at all times, including trade with Israel’s illegal settlements in occupied Palestine.

Demonstration Calls To #BoycottPuma Outside Brand’s Flagship Store

New York City - On Saturday, 12 February, Samidoun NY/NJ joined Within Our Lifetime and the Palestinian Youth Movement NY to rally outside the PUMA flagship store in Manhattan. The picket took place as part of the global day of action to boycott PUMA because of the German athletic wear brand’s sponsorship of the Israel Football Association, an institution of Zionist sportswashing and colonialism. Not only does the IFA represent “Israel” sports, built atop the colonization of Palestine, it even includes as members siz teams based in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank of Palestine. PUMA’s sponsorship of the IFA provides direct economic support to Israeli apartheid, colonialism and occupation as well as political and moral endorsement of its policies and practices.

Israel Gets Georgia To Strip Free Speech Rights (Again)

After Abby's major legal victory getting Georgia's anti-BDS law ruled unenforceable, Israel has hit back by getting the State Legislature to keep this brazenly unconstitutional law officially on the books.

Global Days Of Action For Palestinian Rights

On  28, 29, 30 January 2022, we call for a global mobilization in solidarity with the Palestinian people in their steadfast resistance against Israel’s forced displacement in Jerusalem’s neighborhoods of Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan, in Al-Naqab, the Jordan Valley, the southern Hebron Hills and beyond. These Global Days of Action are in response to the call by the Bedouin-Palestinian community of Al-Naqab for international solidarity to support their struggle against Israel’s ongoing Nakba.

BDS At The Sydney Festival, With Jennine Khalik And Sara Saleh

Just hours before it is set to begin, dozens of acts are withdrawing from the prestigious Sydney Festival in protest of the event’s sponsorship by the Israeli Embassy. One group that has chosen to do so are Melbourne-based musicians Karate Boogaloo, who explained that: Boycotts and divestments have a strong track record of holding governments and corporations accountable for their actions, which is why Karate Boogaloo is standing in solidarity with Palestinian people and boycotting the Sydney Festival, as a result of it accepting money from the human rights-abusing regime that is the Israeli Government. The boycott has proven to be a public-relations disaster for Israel, which attempts to use the arts as a way to launder its image across much of the developed world. Today, Lowkey sits down to talk to two of the boycott’s organizers, Sara Saleh and Jennine Khalik.
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