It is a week since the vote in the American Anthropological Association membership to boycott Israeli institutions went live. What happened during that week? Sedil Naghniyeh, a fifteen-year-old from Jenin, died on Wednesday of a gunshot wound to her head. Israeli soldiers shot her on Monday, June 19, while she was standing in her front yard. Six others died and tens were wounded during that same attack on Jenin. On that day, hundreds of Israeli Jewish settlers descended on the Palestinian village of Turmus Ayya, just north of Ramallah. As per a Ha’aretz editorial, the scene is familiar: “cars are torched, windows are smashed, flames rise from among the houses…police and army let the attacks happen, as they have for decades.”
St. Paul, Minnesota - On March 2, the Minnesota State Board of Investment (SBI) which includes Governor Walz, Attorney General Ellison, State Auditor Blaha and Secretary of State Simon, met for the first time this year at the state capitol. They meet quarterly to monitor the investments of Minnesota public employees. At the meeting members of the Palestine solidarity movement spoke out. One of the speakers was Brandon Schorsch, an anti-Zionist Jew and activist with the Anti-War Committee, who stated, “So today, building on our testimony from last August, we bring a list of well over a dozen companies that the SBI is currently investing in that are knowingly violating international law by doing business in or aiding in the development of illegal settlements.
Barcelona, Spain - Ada Colau, Mayor of Barcelona, announced on Wednesday, February 8, her city’s temporary suspension of all official relations with Israel over its apartheid practices and systematic violations of Palestinian rights in the occupied territories. Colau wrote a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday announcing the decision to suspend relations with Israel. She also announced that the twinning agreement with the Tel Aviv city council, signed in 1998, was suspended “until the Israeli authorities put an end to the system of violations of the Palestinian people and fully comply with the obligations imposed on them by the international law and the various United Nations resolutions.” Colau clarified that the decision was solely related to the institutional relationship between authorities in Barcelona and Israel, and did not affect relationships between the residents of Israel and the city.
Ben & Jerry’s has repudiated the ice cream sold under its name in Israel and the occupied West Bank by an Israeli company. The sale of the frozen treats in Israeli settlements built on Palestinian land in violation of international law is at the heart of a legal dispute between Ben & Jerry’s and its owner Unilever. “Without the consent of Ben & Jerry’s Independent Board, Unilever has sold trademark rights to the Hebrew and Arabic language versions of the Ben & Jerry’s name to Blue & White Ice Cream Ltd,” Ben & Jerry’s independent board said Tuesday. “Any products sold by Blue & White Ice Cream Ltd. are uniquely its own and should not be confused with products produced and distributed by Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Inc,” the board added, noting that the Vermont-based company “has no ownership of, affiliation with, or economic interest in Blue & White Ice Cream Ltd.”
After its success in organizing the Week of Return and Liberation in a number of areas among Palestinians in exile and diaspora, conducting mass demonstrations in the streets of Brussels and elsewhere. Thousands participated, raising images of the martyrs of the resistance and leaders of the prisoners’ movement, chanting for the Jenin Brigade, the Lion’s Den and the Palestinian resistance. The march was endorsed by over 100 organizations. After the Zionist ambassador failed to cancel the march through repression, intimidation and distortion, it must be said that the Masar Badil took an important step forward in terms of strengthening the role of the Palestinian diaspora and the position of the international popular incubator for Palestine and the Resistance.
On Wednesday, August 31, I interrupted a major funding announcement at McGill to ask the head of the university about her suppression of Palestine solidarity. As she spoke from the Faculty Club’s stage I asked Principal Suzanne Fortier, “Do McGill students have the right to oppose the killing of Palestinian children? Do they have the right to oppose Israeli colonialism and apartheid?” McGill’s principal failed to respond. I then stated that her administration’s threat to cancel the student union’s funding after students voted overwhelmingly for a “Palestine Solidarity Policy” was “anti-democratic and anti-Palestinian”. I added it was “shameful” and made her “complicit in Israeli colonialism and violence”.
On Saturday, 5 February, activists in Vancouver gathered outside the downtown BC Liquor Store for a picket and literature distribution calling for the publicly owned stores to stop selling Israeli wines, many of which are produced in the occupied Palestinian and Syrian lands of the West Bank and the Golan Heights. Despite repeated calls to provincial officials noting that the sale of these wines means that BC Liquor Stores are directly implicated in war crimes, they have continued to take no action and market these apartheid wines. The Canada Palestine Association has led the campaign for years to remove these wines from publicly owned liquor stores. Despite the fact that the British Columbia government is headed by the New Democratic Party, and the federal NDP has officially called for an end to trade with Israeli settlements, the NDP-run BC government continues to sell these products in the publicly owned crown corporation stores it is responsible for.
At least 30 major artists, performers and organizations have pulled out of the Sydney Festival in Australia over a $20,000 sponsorship deal with the Israeli embassy. Comedian Tom Ballard stated that “I love the Festival and I love telling jokes, but standing up for human rights and standing against a system of apartheid is more important.”
Over the past 18 months, calls for a UN-led investigation into Israeli apartheid have intensified globally, most notably from South Africa and Namibia, as well as from hundreds of political and civil society leaders in the Global South. The UK Labour Party’s conference in October also overwhelmingly voted for condemning Israeli apartheid and upholding Palestinian human rights. In June, former UN chief Ban Ki-moon suggested that Israel is imposing apartheid on Palestinians. Now is the time for the UN to act against apartheid Israel #UNinvestigateApartheid! Take Action Now With Effective Solidarity Actions With Palestinian People.
On Wednesday, 6 October, activists marched through downtown Vancouver, Canada, as part of the Boycott Tour, drawing attention to the complicity of corporations, universities and government institutions in Canada in the ongoing colonization, occupation and apartheid throughout occupied Palestine. The march took place as part of Palestine Action Week, five days of collective action in solidarity with Palestinians and their fight for liberation, and against settler-colonialism, apartheid, and imperialist violence. Palestine Action Week was organized by a coalition of Vancouver-area groups, including Palestinian Youth Movement, National Students for Justice in Palestine, Canada Palestine Association, UBC Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights, SFU Students for Justice in Palestine, Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, BDS Vancouver, Anti-racism coalition Vancouver, Independent Jewish Voices, Rise SFU, Sulong UBC, and the Caucus.
Israel has been dealt a hammer blow by sports clothing manufacturer Nike. The mega-brand has announced that it will end the sale of its products in stores within the occupation state in a move welcomed by social media users as another victory for the international Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign. “Following a comprehensive review performed by the company and considering the changing marketplace, it has been decided that the continuation of the business relationship between you and the company does no longer match the company’s policy and goals,” Nike is reported as saying in a letter sent to shops in Israel. Nike’s decision is expected to hit retailers hard. As one of the most popular sporting brands in the world, its products account for a large proportion of sales.
It’s not a good time to be PUMA’s CEO. Last month we learned just how nervous he is about the growing campaign to boycott PUMA over its support for Israeli apartheid. Teams in several countries are dropping PUMA, and PUMA’s celebrity ambassadors and business partners are beginning to raise ethical concerns. Now nearly 60,000 people have signed a petition to PUMA by global advocacy organization SumOfUs. And tomorrow, September 18, groups around the world, from New Zealand to South Africa to North America, will join the #BoycottPUMA Global Day of Action. We don’t particularly enjoy seeing PUMA’s CEO so agitated, but we would really enjoy seeing Palestinians enjoy freedom and justice. So we advise him to end PUMA’s complicity in apartheid Israel’s denial of Palestinian rights.
The US state of Arizona has taken the decision to punish Ben & Jerry's, one of America's most successful firms, for the company's boycott of illegal Israeli settlements. The global ice cream brand decided in July to end the sale of its products in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories. Although the decision was seen as a major victory for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, a severe backlash from pro-Israel groups has been anticipated ever since. Kimberly Yee announced on Tuesday that Arizona State is disinvesting in Ben & Jerry's parent company Unilever, saying that the boycott decision was in violation of Arizona law. The state treasurer said that its investments in Unilever had been reduced from $143 million in June to $50 million and will drop to zero by 21 September.
On Monday Ben & Jerry’s announced that it would stop selling ice cream in Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory. The move comes after years of pressure from activists in the company’s home state of Vermont. “We believe it is inconsistent with our values for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT),” reads a statement on the company’s website. “We also hear and recognize the concerns shared with us by our fans and trusted partners.” “We have a longstanding partnership with our licensee, who manufactures Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in Israel and distributes it in the region,” it continues. “We have been working to change this, and so we have informed our licensee that we will not renew the license agreement when it expires at the end of next year.”
An Israeli container ship was prevented from docking Monday at the Prince Rupert, B.C., port after a group of about 10 protesters — whose aim is to block Israel from shipping goods to North America — formed a picket line at an entrance to the Fairview container terminal. The container ship, the Volans — owned by Israeli shipping company ZIM — was anchored in Prince Rupert's harbour for most of the day Sunday. The protesters said they were acting in solidarity with a movement called Block the Boat, which aims to block Israel from shipping goods to this continent as a reaction to the recent conflict between Israel and Palestinian militants. The ship was unable to dock as protestors set up a picket line at the terminal's entrance, which unionized longshore workers would not cross.