Newsletter: When Empires Fall

fp2011hhh

By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese. The Pentagon recently released a report, “At Our Own Peril: DoD Risk Assessment in a Post-Primacy World,” which details its concerns about losing access to resources and “resistance to authority” both at home and around the world as governments lose legitimacy. Faced with these changes, the United States could embrace them, become a cooperative member of the world, transition to a lower-waste lower-energy sustainable existence and draw back the military to use those resources to meet domestic needs. Sadly, that is not what the Pentagon has in mind. There is a saying, when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. The US is the biggest empire in the world; therefore, the Pentagon’s solutions are “more surveillance, more propaganda (‘strategic manipulation of perceptions’) and more military expansionism.” The United States’ reign as an Empire is coming to an end. It is up to those of us living in the US to take action to prevent more aggression and demand that the US dismantle its empire in a way that causes the least harm at home and abroad.

45 Senators And 237 Congress Members Support Making BDS A Crime

Israel South Africa protest calling for BDS

By Emily Shugerman for The Independent. A bill that would criminalise boycotts against Israel has been signed by 45 US senators and 237 congressman. The so-called “Israel Anti-Boycott Act” would impose fines of up to $250,000 (£192,000) on any US citizen “engaged in interstate or foreign commerce” who supports a boycott of Israeli goods and services. The US has long defended Israel in territorial disputes in the Middle East, even as the Israeli military has expanded into areas assigned to the Palestinians by international law. This position runs counter to that of the United Nations, which claims Israel’s settlements in occupied Palestinian territory have “no legal validity”, and “constitute flagrant violation of international law”. In their new legislation, members of Congress claim the UN is considering a resolution to withhold assistance from – and prevent trade with – settlements in East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the Golan Heights. The Israel Anti-Boycott act would punish any American who supported such measures.

Lawmakers Seek To Make It A Crime To Support BDS Against Israel

Mark Apollo/Pacific Press/SIPA/AP

By Glenn Greenwald and Ryan Grim for The Intercept – THE CRIMINALIZATION OF political speech and activism against Israel has become one of the gravest threats to free speech in the West. In France, activists have been arrested and prosecuted for wearing T-shirts advocating a boycott of Israel. The U.K. has enacted a series of measures designed to outlaw such activism. In the U.S., governors compete with one another over who can implement the most extreme regulations to bar businesses from participating in any boycotts aimed even at Israeli settlements, which the world regards as illegal. On U.S. campuses, punishment of pro-Palestinian students for expressing criticisms of Israel is so commonplace that the Center for Constitutional Rights refers to it as “the Palestine Exception” to free speech. But now, a group of 43 senators — 29 Republicans and 14 Democrats — wants to implement a law that would make it a felony for Americans to support the international boycott against Israel, which was launched in protest of that country’s decades-old occupation of Palestine. The two primary sponsors of the bill are Democrat Ben Cardin of Maryland and Republican Rob Portman of Ohio.

Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions: Reasons To Support BDS

Demonstrators hold up signs during a BDS protest in Melbourne, Australia, in 2010. Wikimedia Commons/Takver (CC-BY-SA)

By Ariella Azoulay for Alternet – The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement is a way to achieve three things: (1) to expose the mechanisms of dispossession, segregation, and legalized discrimination against Palestinians that are part of the Israeli democratic regime; (2) to publicly and internationally express solidarity with the Palestinians as a people, confronting the Israeli regime’s continuous efforts to fragment them into groups that are governed differentially within and beyond the green line; and (3) to mount pressure capable of impacting daily life for the privileged group of the governed population, i.e., Jewish Israelis, in order to radically alter the conduct of the Israeli regime or transform it altogether. A call for boycott is based on the assumption that sovereign states are actors in an international arena, and hence individuals, groups, institutions, and states can suspend their interactions with particular regimes until the justice of certain demands are recognized and adequately addressed. The Palestinian-led BDS movement thus aims to mobilize the international community to respond to a triple call from within that advocates: full equality for Palestinian citizens of Israel…

UK Court: Illegal To Ban BDS Movement Against Israel

‘On 11 June Avigdor Lieberman proudly announced that Israel was planning its greatest expansion of settlement homes since 1992.’ Ramot in the occupied West Bank. Photograph: Ronen Zvulun/Reuters

By Ben Jamal for The Guardian – Two weeks ago I found myself in a sweaty room in the Royal Courts of Justice, packed with fellow Palestine activists, listening to detailed and sometimes arcane legal arguments about pension law. The journey that ended in that courtroom began in September last year when the government announced new guidance intended to prohibit local government pension schemes from pursuing “divestment and sanctions against foreign nations and UK defence industries … other than where formal legal sanctions, embargoes and restrictions have been put in place by the government”. The key target of these new rules was made clear in the government press releaseabout the decision. This was the government acting to place a ban on boycotting Israel. The regulations were introduced in November 2016 despite a public consultation indicating that 98% of respondents thought this was the wrong thing to do, and a wider public outcry. The Palestine Solidarity Campaign, of which I’m the director, decided to take the government on. We launched a judicial review supported with witness statements from War on Want, Campaign Against the Arms Trade and the Quakers.

Britain’s Largest Student Union Endorses BDS

Image of students celebrating after the University of Manchester’s Student Union Senate voted to pass a motion in support of BDS on 11th December 2016 [@IsraelWC/Facebook]

By Staff of MEMO – The largest student union in Britain has officially endorsed the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, in a significant success for Palestine solidarity activists. The University of Manchester’s Student Union Senate voted last Thursday to pass a motion in support of BDS. The motion won the backing of 60 per cent of the SU Senate, following an impassioned debate. The motion was put forward by Huda Ammori, President of Recognise Refugee Rights Society, and was supported by Etisha Choudhury, President of Action Palestine, and the BDS Campaigns Committee. In the three weeks prior to last week’s Senate meeting…

BDS Activists Plan Black Friday Protests Against HP’s Support For Israeli Apartheid

An Israeli border police officer stands as Palestinian women wait to cross the Qalandia checkpoint between the West Bank city of Ramallah and Jerusalem, June 17, 2015. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

By Kit O’Connell for Mint Press News – AUSTIN, Texas — Though best known for their computers and computer peripherals like printers, companies under the Hewlett-Packard umbrella are engaged in another profitable, and far more nefarious business: enabling apartheid Israel to track the movement of occupied Palestinians. Activists from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement are calling for a week of action against HP beginning on Black Friday, the high-volume shopping day that occurs after Thanksgiving.

Dream Defenders Statement On Condemnation of M4BL Platform

bela-palestina-1-000-warga-kulit-hitam-as-boikot-israel-ZVJ

By Dream Defenders. On Monday, the Dream Defenders along with 50 other organizations, representing hundreds of Black people across the country launched A Vision for Black Lives, an agenda that clearly defines policies, organizing tactics and resources to advance Black liberation. The platform included a call for the US government to divest from military expenditures and US aid to the State of Israel and instead, invest this war-making money towards building infrastructure to support Black and Brown communities in the US. Since our launch, some Zionist organizations have condemned the platform and have announced that they will cut all ties with the Movement for Black Live, going so far as to label some in the BLM movement anti-semitic.

Black Lives Matter Endorses BDS: Israel Is ‘Apartheid State’

Black Lives Matter protestors at City Hall Park in New York City, August 1, 2016. Drew Angerer

By Staff of Haaretz – Black Lives Matter Network is one of over 50 black-led organizations in the coalition. While the majority of the document addresses issues other than Israel, the section on foreign policy, titled Invest-Divest, objects to U.S. military aid to Israel, which it describes as “a state that practices systematic discrimination and has maintained a military occupation of Palestine for decades.” While the section addresses other foreign policy issues, particularly the movement’s objections to the drug war and the war on terror, it criticizes no foreign country other than Israel.

NLRB Confirms Legality of Union Support for Israel Boycott

United Electrical WOrkers

By Staff of United Electrical Workers. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has reaffirmed its dismissal an unfair labor practice charge brought by an Israeli law firm against a U.S. union, the United Electrical Workers, over its support of protests against Israeli policies including the union’s endorsement of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) movement. At its national convention in Baltimore August 16-20, 2015, the United Electrical Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE) adopted a resolution endorsing the BDS movement to pressure Israel to negotiate peace with the Palestinians and end the occupation. UE is the first national U.S. union to endorse BDS. Read the resolution here. On October 23, the Israeli law firm Shurat Hadin filed a charge with the NLRB alleging that UE’s resolution violated the prohibition in U.S. labor law against “secondary boycotts.” The union disputed the charge, arguing that Shurat Hadin’s action was an attempt to interfere with the First Amendment rights of the union and its members to express opinions on political and international issues, and also that the Israeli firm’s allegation were factually untrue. On January 12, Region 6 of the NLRB dismissed the charge.

Israel Lawfare Group Plans “Massive Punishments” For Activists

A BDS demonstration in Melbourne, Australia, 2010.Mohammed Ouda/Wikimedia Commons read more: http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/jewish-world-news/1.673550

By Ali Abunimah for Electronic Antifada – “Why are we using the word Palestinian? There’s no such thing as a Palestinian person,” Brooke Goldstein declared to enthusiastic applause at a meeting of key Israel lobby operatives in New York earlier this month. Goldstein is the director of the Lawfare Project, a legal group that aims, in her words, to “make the enemy pay” – that “enemy” being mainly comprised of Palestine solidarity activists and students. The Lawfare Project was founded with the support of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, an important forum for anti-Palestinian organizing in the US.

BDS: Discussing Difficult Issues In A Fast-Growing Movement

Palestinian fishermen hold banners in a protest to demand the boycott of the Israeli agricultural products, during the 10th annual Israeli Apartheid Week

By Omar Barghouti for Al Shakaba – Israel’s attacks on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and other human rights defenders living under occupation, such as Al Haq staff, have dominated the headlines in recent weeks, including the direct threats made by leading Israeli officials against BDS activists and in particular against the movement’s co-founder Omar Barghouti. Beyond the headlines, the work goes on, as does continuous debate and discussion to further the movement amongst Palestinians at home and abroad as well as among global solidarity activists. There is much to discuss and some of the issues are difficult ones, including questions of framing.

Gov. Cuomo’s Executive Order Against BDS May Strengthen Movement

A protester at a demonstration against New York Gov. Cuomo’s anti-BDS executive order in New York City on June 9. (Jewish Voice for Peace/Jake Ratner)

By Tekendra Parmar for Waging Nonviolence – On June 5, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order to create a blacklist of entities that support the boycott, divestment and sanctions, or BDS, movement for Palestinian rights and remove New York State funds from any “institution or company” determined to advocate for or participate in the BDS movement. In response, protesters picketed outside Cuomo’s New York City office on June 9. The crowd was a mix of old and young — teachers, musicians, lawyers and journalists.

Apartheid, Human Rights And BDS

Ryan Rodrick Beiler | Shutterstock.com

By Robert Fantina for Counter Punch – Now that Israel has declared the Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) movement an existential threat, along with all the countless other things that supposedly represent such a threat to that apartheid nation, United States government officials, who are second to none in their obeisance to Israel, have begun to act. Some states have actually passed laws banning BDS. Since New York was not one of them, its Zionist governor, Andrew Cuomo, issued an executive order, preventing the state from doing any business with businesses that support the movement.

Irish, Dutch, Swedish Governments Speak Out For Right To Call For BDS

Screen-Shot-2016-05-28-at-11.28.35-600x280

By Staff of Palestinian BDS National Committee – The Dutch and Irish governments have publicly stated that calls for a boycott of Israel are legitimate, with the Dutch foreign minister saying that advocating and campaigning for Palestinian rights through the nonviolent Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel are “protected by the freedom of expression”. The statements dealt a serious blow to Israel’s relentless war of repression that has led governments in the UK, France, Canada and state legislatures across the US to introduce anti-democratic legislation