BDS – Expressing Solidarity While Conducting Trade With Israel Is Hypocrisy

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By Miko Peled for American Herold Tribune – Israel is all geared up for war against the call for BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) and the de-legitimization of the Zionist state. The ministry of strategic affairs headed by Gil’ad Erdan – which is charged with this task – is now equipped with a budget, a former Israeli army general, retired Brig. General Sima Vakini-Gil who acts as the ministry’s General Director and a new assistant to the General Director, Tsahi Gavrieli who has brought a new wind to the sails of the anti-BDS ship. Gavrieli brought in a team that includes legal experts, economists and media people and according to a story recently published in Hebrew on Ynet they call on the Israeli public to take part in the campaign. According to the story, some parts of the campaign are overt and some covert, and the ministry will no longer be on the defensive but take an active, offensive position. Israelis are now encouraged to join this campaign with apps like ACT.IL which shows how to take the fight on social media and combat the “slurs” against Israel. According to Gavrieli the BDS movement is losing ground in the US, and he brings as examples recent laws passed by over twenty states that criminalize the call to boycott Israel.

The Arab American Radicals Who Paved Way For BDS

Popular Resistance, Revolution, Rebellion, Capitalism

By Rod Such for The Electronic Antifada – One of the earliest boycott, divestment and sanctions, or BDS, victories in the United States came in 1973 when United Auto Workers Local 600 in Dearborn, Michigan, voted to divest its Israeli bonds after a campaign waged by the Arab Workers Caucus and the American Arab Coordinating Committee. The campaign drew comparisons with apartheid South Africa and won the support of many Black autoworkers in Michigan. Was it just an oddity that decades before Palestinian civil society called for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel in 2005, industrial workers in the US heartland were already waging a BDS struggle? Or, far from being a rogue wave, was it an integral part of the oceanic upheavals among workers, students, immigrants and people of color during the heady maelstroms of the 1960s and ’70s? The Rise of the Arab American Left makes it clear this was no oddity, although it did have certain characteristics unique to the Arab American experience. Given the relative paucity of scholarship on the history of the Arab American left, this book is a must-read for those who wish to learn more about that community’s activism during this period of radical upheaval.

Artists WIthdraw From Israeli Sponsored Cultural Event

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By Staff of BDS – Following a popular campaign across several countries in a matter of days, nine acts have withdrawn from the Pop-Kultur festival in Berlin due to sponsorship by the Israeli embassy. Send a letter of thanks to these principled artists for standing in solidarity with Palestinian freedom, justice and equality. Young Fathers were among the latest to withdraw, recalling their “long history of opposing any form of hatred including racism and anti-Semitism” and their support for “a peaceful solution that allows Palestinians the right to return to a safe homeland and that allows Israelis and Palestinians of all faiths (and none) to live together in peace.” Sleaford Mods announced their manager Steve Underwood would withdraw from a panel discussion at the festival. They join Syrian artists Mohammad Abu Hajar of Mazzaj Rap and DJ Hello Psychaleppo, Islam Chipsy from Egypt, Tunisian singer Emel Mathlouthi, UK artists Annie Goh and Iklan feat. Law Holt and the Finnish band Oranssi Pazuzu. Thurston Moore, who performed at Pop-Kultur last year, tweeted in support of these principled artists and urged the festival to withdraw “Israeli embassy sponsorship in solidarity with Palestinian call for cultural boycott.”

Newsletter: Policies For The People

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By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese. Political economist C. J. Polychroniou recently interviewed David M. Kotz, author of “The Rise and Fall of Neoliberal Capitalism,” about the transition in the US from a regulated capitalism instituted under FDR that protected workers and the vulnerable to some extent to a financialized global neoliberal capitalism that started in the 1970s. Under neoliberalism, the rich got richer while protections for workers in the form of unions and and the vulnerable in the form of a social safety net were dismantled. In addition, the environmental impacts of industry and fossil fuels are barely considered despite the reality of climate change. Neoliberalism crashed in 2008 and has remained in a crisis state ever since with a stagnating economy, growing wealth divide and political turmoil. Crises are turning points.

BDS Movement Turns 12, Marks Anniversary With List Of 12 Wins In 2017

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By Staff of Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee – July 9, 2017 marks 12 years since the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement was born. It’s been 12 years since an impressively large and diverse coalition across Palestinian civil society surmounted incredible odds to unify around three basic Palestinian rights and a nonviolent, inclusive, anti-racist path of struggle to achieve them. Despite the fragmentation, military occupation, segregation and dispossession, we came together to assert our people’s right to freedom, justice, equality and dignity. The 2005 BDS Call embodies overwhelming Palestinian support for demanding an end to Israel’s military occupation and the dismantling of its illegal wall, an end to its institutionalized and legalized system of racial discrimination which meets the UN definition of apartheid, and the right of refugees to return to their homeland as stipulated in international law. Inspired by the South African anti-apartheid movement and the American Civil Rights Movement, entities representing Palestinians everywhere called on people of conscience worldwide to adopt pressure tactics in support of our struggle for rights. BDS calls for boycott and divestment initiatives in the academic, cultural, economic and sports fields and for pressuring states to implement meaningful sanctions against Israel until it fully complies with its obligations under international law.

Newsletter: When Empires Fall

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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

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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

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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.