The resolution follows on the heels of comments made by Progressive Caucus Chairwoman Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) to a pro-Palestine protest in Chicago earlier this month in which she correctly identified Israel as a racist state and pointed out that the Palestinian people have a right to self-determination. In a bipartisan effort to exonerate Israel of its crimes and to shame those who speak out, the U.S. Congress passed a resolution defending Israel, which was supported by more than 400 Congressional Representatives, including 195 Democrats. Denial of reality, however, does not change that reality. Israel is not only a racist state; it is a violent apartheid state and a puppet for U.S. imperialism.
In 1999, South African anti-apartheid activist and revolutionary leader Nelson Mandela visited Gaza and said, “We know too well our freedom is not complete without the freedom of the Palestinians.” Since his death in 2013, Mandela’s unifying message of decolonization reverberated across the globe. The anti-colonial, anti-apartheid struggle that he led to end racial segregation and transform South Africa into a democratic nation has been lauded by Palestinians, who have drawn parallels between Israeli occupation and apartheid to the situation that Black South Africans faced. Joining Mnar Adley for this week’s MintCast interview to discuss the struggle against Apartheid and the continued struggle against colonialism is Nkosi “Mandla” Mandela.
A succession of events starting in Barcelona, Spain, in February, and followed in Liège, Belgium, and Oslo, Norway, in April sent a strong message to Israel: The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) is alive and well. In Barcelona, the city’s Mayor canceled a twinning agreement with the Israeli city of Tel Aviv. The decision was not an impulsive one, although Ada Colau is well-known for her principled positions on many issues. It was, however, an outcome of a fully democratic process initiated by a proposal submitted by left-wing parties at the city council.
Thanks to Canadian BDS Coalition member, Human Rights for All, for their solidarity at the Royal Bank of Canada's Annual General Meeting (RBC AGM) on April 5, 2023, in Saskatoon. With vehicular access blocked and two snipers on the roof, at least 150 environmental and Indigenous rights activists rallied in front of the Delta Bessborough Hotel in Saskatoon where RBC was holding their AGM. They were there to protest against RBC’s putting 99% of their energy investments in fossil fuels. Since the Paris climate agreement was signed, RBC has provided over $270 billion to fossil fuel companies, with last year representing a 45 per cent increase in fossil fuel funding from the year before.
During his presidential campaign, Biden committed to rejoining the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. But a year and a half into his term, he failed to return the U.S. to the deal. He has also imposed additional sanctions on Iran, shamefully capitulating to Israeli pressure. In the Jerusalem Declaration, Biden, on behalf of the United States, signed a “commitment never to allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon, and [pledged] that it is prepared to use all elements of its national power to ensure that outcome.” When asked in an interview on Israeli television whether he would use military force against Iran, Biden ominously replied, “As a last resort, yes.” Biden has refused to reverse other Trump actions that pandered to Israel as well. He has not withdrawn Trump’s illegal recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Conversations with Palestinians both young and old almost always end with them saying to me, “you [a Jewish Israeli] can say these things, but if we were to say them we would be excluded from all spaces and we would be called anti-semitic.” A young Palestinian interning in Washington, D.C. told me she felt that she needed an Israeli beside her to give her legitimacy. Not in her own eyes, but in the eyes of the D.C. establishment. Sadly, she is probably correct; in the anti-Arab, and particularly anti-Palestinian atmosphere in Washington, this is very likely true.
Palestinians yesterday flew a drone carrying the Palestinian flag over occupied East Jerusalem, where thousands of Israeli settlers held a provocative march in the Old City. Locals reported that the flag was raised using a "small drone from a distance, just before the Israeli forces began chasing the Palestinian man who was controlling the drone." Israeli forces were mobilized amid a state of panic that appeared among the marching settlers, as the flag flew over the Damascus Gate area. Settlers yesterday held the provocative Flag March to mark Israel's illegal capture of occupied East Jerusalem. To protect the March occupation forces fired stun grenades and rubber-coated metal bullets at Palestinians protesting against it.
The Israeli High Court on Wednesday greenlit the forcible expulsion of 1,200 Palestinians in the Masafer Yatta area of the southern occupied West Bank, ending a more than two-decade battle in the courts. The Israeli government claims the residents of eight herding communities in an area of the South Hebron Hills, known as Masafer Yatta, are residing “illegally” in a military firing zone, and has been attempting to expel them from the area for decades. The residents of Masafer Yatta, however, date their presence in the area several decades ago, before the area was occupied by Israel in 1967, and declared a firing zone by the military in the 1980s. Late Wednesday night, the High Court rejected an appeal by the residents against their expulsion, paving the way for the Israeli military to demolish their homes and forcibly expel them from their land, a crime under international law.
The JNF (Jewish National Fund) once again is in the news, this time for collaborating with the State of Israel in dispossessing Palestinian residents of the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. According to a 2010 UN report, this is not the first time Sheikh Jarrah’s residents have been dispossessed and, while illegal under international law, it is not illegal according to Israeli law. It is one more act of brutality, brought to you on a regular basis by Israel and the JNF since 1948. On the evening of January 18, 2022, in Sheikh Jarrah, Israeli police attacked the home of the Salahiya family—a family that was originally displaced by Israel in 1948. The destruction of homes and land in such attacks is executed by the JNF. In the January attack, police arrested Mahmoud Salahiya and his sons and violently removed the rest of the family from their home.
Palestine Action have raided Elbit System’s subsidiary, UAV Engines Ltd, in Shenstone, Staffordshire at 7.15 this morning. The activists have sprayed blood-red paint and begun dismantling the weapons factory, whilst occupying the roof to prevent site operations. With windows smashed and equipment dismantled, the action draws parallels with Israel’s forced demolitions of Palestinian homes, sounding the alarm on the ethnic cleansing Israel is currently enacting in Sheikh Jarrah, Palestine. Elbit Systems are Israel’s largest arms manufacturer and hold a significant presence in Britain. A key subsidiary, UAV Engines Ltd has been a target of Palestine Action since the group’s launch in July 2020, when activists shut the site five times in five months and caused millions of pounds of losses.
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.”
United Kingdom - Three activists who defaced an Israeli drone engines factory in the UK were found not guilty of criminal damage on Monday. The two-day trial took place at Newcastle-under-Lyme Magistrates Court, near Stoke-on-Trent in central England. Palestine Action co-founder Huda Ammori told The Electronic Intifada that the victory showed they were on the right track. “We’re going to continue to take direct action in order to shut down and undermine Israel’s arms trade,” she said. It was reassuring to have court backing for taking action against Israeli arms makers, she added, and that “to disrupt them and throw red paint over their buildings is something that’s perfectly within our rights to do.”
Jerusalem — “I need a cell for a Jew,” the Israeli cops driving the jeep called into the jail. I was the Jew they were referring to and the jail was the infamous “Muskobia,” in the heart of West Jerusalem. This was the end of a long and tiring day that began with a protest in the village of Nabi Saleh in Palestine. I was covered in sweat, tear gas, dust, and quite a bit of the disgusting skunk liquid that the Israeli army sprays on protestors. It was a hot day and my arms were full of bruises, my elbow and wrists sprained from the soldiers twisting them during the arrest. But regardless of the fact that I was protesting with Palestinians, I was still a Jew and when I was sent to jail for the night the authorities needed to make sure I was in a cell for Jews.
Israel agreed on Thursday to release a hunger-striking prisoner in four months after lengthy negotiations. Miqdad Qawasmeh suspended his hunger strike on Thursday after refusing food for 113 days to protest his detention without charge or trial after Israel agreed to release him in February 2022. His victory came after lengthy and arduous negotiations between the leadership of the Hamas prisoners’ group and Israeli authorities. The 24-year-old was the youngest of six Palestinian men who have been refusing food for weeks and months in protest of Israel’s detention of them without charge or trial. Five others are still fighting for their freedom on empty stomachs.
Raja Shehadeh, Palestinian writer, and activist, and founder of the rights group Al-Haq, talks about the recent Israeli decision to designate six organizations as terrorists. He explains the context for the Israeli move, the long history of repression of Palestinian activists, and the resistance put up by these groups and the Palestinian people.