Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Save the Dates for Action in November

The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation wants you to start thinking about actions for the first two weeks of November. The first week of November, we are encouraging supporters and member groups to hold teach-in, rallies, media action days, and other actions to hold U.S. lawmakers and tax payers responsible for complicity in the ongoing siege of the Gaza Strip. This week of action is being organized in conjunction with the organizers of the Gaza Freedom March, which is endorsed by the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. We encourage you to sign up for the Gaza Freedom March today! The second week of November, we are promoting the international Week Against the Apartheid Wall called for by the Grassroots Palestinian Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign. We encourage you to plan events and actions drawing attention to the situation in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and the effect that the apartheid wall has had on Palestinian rights to land, movement, and access. Start thinking of ideas for actions now, and keep an eye on this blog and the US Campaign website for details and resources.

Center for Constitutional Rights Calls on President Obama to Stick to His Promises, Support Goldstone Report

from the Center for Constitutional Rights: Help put the pressure on our government to stand by its promises. Write or call the White House at (202) 456-1111 and ask President Obama to stand for human rights and accountability. Insist that he support a strong resolution in the Human Rights Council endorsing and implementing Justice Richard Goldstone's Report recommendations and supporting international justice mechanisms if domestic investigations are inadequate. The Report to the U.N. Human Rights Council documents war crimes including deliberate and indiscriminate attacks against civilians committed in the context of military operations in Gaza in December 2008-January 2009. You can also write Ambassador Susan Rice of the U.S. Mission to the U.N. or call (212) 415-4062. For more information, click here.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Free Mohammad Othman: BDS movement has its first prisoner of conscience

The following is from the Stop the Wall campaign: Free Mohammad Othman Now! Latest News, Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, September 24th, 2009 On September 22, Mohammad Othman was arrested by soldiers on the Allenby Bridge Crossing, the border from Jordan to Palestine. He is now being held in Huwara prison as a prisoner of conscience, arrested solely for his human rights work.
Mohammad, 33 years old, has dedicated the last ten years of his life to the defense of Palestinian human rights. He has campaigned with the Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign against the dispossession of Palestinian farmers and against the involvement of Israeli and international business in the violations of Palestinian human rights. His village, Jayyous, has been devastated by the Apartheid Wall and Zufim - a settlement, built by Lev Leviev's companies. These companies are facing a successful boycott campaign because of their violations of Palestinian rights. Mohammad was returning from one of his trip to Norway, during which he met with senior officials, including Norwegian Finance Minister Kristen Halvorsen. Norway’s national Pension Fund recently announced that it had divested from Elbit, the Israeli company which provides both Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and other military technology for Occupation forces, as well as security systems for the Wall and settlements. This is not the first time Palestinian human rights defenders have been arrested after trips abroad. Recently, Muhammad Srour, an eye witness at the UN Fact Finding Mission on Gaza, was arrested on his way back from Geneva. This arrest was a clear act of reprisal against Srour for speaking out about Israel’s violations of international law. Arresting Palestinians as they return from travel is yet another Israeli tactic to try to silence Palestinian human rights defenders. It complements the overall policy of isolation of the Palestinian people behind checkpoints, walls and razor wire. Click here to find out how to take action! To stay updated on Omar's case, visit the Free Mohammad Othman blog. For U.S.-specific action, see this website that has been set up by US Campaign member group Grassroots International.

BDS Gets a Hearing on Chicago Public Radio

Check out this piece on Chicago Public Radio's "Worldview" program, featuring US Campaign National Conference speaker Omar Barghouti and Naomi Klein, both of whom present eloquent defenses of the movement for boycott, divestment, and sanctions to put pressure on Israel to comply with universal standards of international law and human rights. Alon Pinkas, Ambassador-at-Large for the State of Israel, is also featured on the program. It's interesting to note how few of the central points of either Barghouti or Klein's arguments that Pinkas responds to. Listen to the program by clicking here.

Updates on Goldstone Report

Here at the US Campaign's national office, we're closely following developments surrounding the Goldstone Report on Gaza. Click here for an updated policy analysis on the U.S. reaction to the report. Last week, the US Campaign sent an open letter to Ambassador Susan Rice urging the United States to accept the recommendations of the Goldstone Report. The open letter was covered by JTA and YubaNet. To keep up with media coverage of the US Campaign, click here. You can watch a video of the U.S. response to the Goldstone Report at the Human Rights Council in Geneva here (transcript available here): For an alternative response, click here to read the endorsement of the report by Palestinian human rights organizations.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Take Action: Support the Recommendations of the Goldstone Report on Gaza

Last week, the UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, headed by Justice Richard Goldstone, a former member of the South African Constitutional Court and former Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, released a 575-page report documenting violations of human rights and international law, war crimes, and possible crimes against humanity committed before, during, and after Israel’s December 2008-January 2009 assault on the occupied Gaza Strip.
The reactions of Israel and its supporters were swift and furious. Israel’s President said the report "makes a mockery of history." AIPAC condemned the report as “deeply flawed” and “biased.” And Rep. Gary Ackerman, one of Capitol Hill’s most vociferous defenders of Israeli occupation and apartheid, accused the authors of the report of living in a “self-righteous fantasyland.”
Why are Israel and its supporters so upset by the Goldstone Report? Because it fairly and even-handedly examined the actions of all parties to the conflict and made recommendations to hold all human rights violators accountable through enforcement mechanisms, including compensation and potential prosecution at the International Criminal Court.
As you can imagine, the Obama Administration is under immense pressure to bury this report at the level of the UN Human Rights Council where it will be discussed on September 29 so that it is not referred to international bodies with enforcement powers such as UN Security Council, General Assembly, or International Criminal Court, as the report recommended.
Unfortunately it appears that the Obama Administration is caving into this pressure. Speaking at the UN last week, Ambassador Susan Rice, Permanent U.S. Representative to United Nations, characterized the report as “unbalanced, one sided and basically unacceptable.” Assistant Secretary of State Phillip Crowley urged that the “report should not be used as a mechanism to add impediments to getting back to the peace process,” as if holding human rights abusers accountable and establishing peace are mutually exclusive affairs.
It’s a shame that the United States appears to be shielding Israel, yet again, for any accountability for its illegal actions in international forums. It’s even more of a shame coming so soon after the United States, for the first time, assumed a seat on the UN Human Rights Council and, in the words of Dr. Esther Brinner, Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of International Organization Affairs, stated: “Make no mistake; the United States will not look the other way in the face of serious human rights abuses. The truth must be told, the facts brought to light and the consequences faced.”
The Obama Administration faces a serious test of its commitment to the universality of human rights on September 29 when it will vote on whether to accept the Goldstone Report recommendations.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Richard Goldstone talks about report on Gaza war crimes

Watch video of Richard Goldstone, the South African judge who authored the UN Human Rights Council-sponsored report on violations of human rights and international law during Israel's December-January attacks on the Gaza Strip. Here, Goldstone is interviewed by Al Jazeera English: And here is video of Judge Goldstone's press conference at the United Nations: (Thanks to Palestine Video) And here's Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! and Norman Finkelstein discussing the Goldstone Report: Take action to support the recommendations of the Goldstone Report by clicking here.

US Campaign Steering Committee in Electronic Intifada: "US Campaign's longstanding endorsement of the boycott call"

The Electronic Intifada has published a letter from US Campaign Steering Committee members David Wildman and Amie Fishman regarding boycott and divestment decisions made at the US Campaign's 8th National Organizers' Conference:
"Indeed...we broke new ground at this conference by voting to expand the scope of our boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) work to encompass both cultural and academic boycotts of Israeli institutions and campaigns against Israeli corporations profiting from occupation and apartheid. Up until this conference, the US Campaign focused its BDS efforts on confronting US corporations that profit from Israeli occupation and apartheid. While this expanded commitment is new, the US Campaign's commitments to BDS and organizing within an anti-apartheid framework are longstanding....The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation has been and will continue to be committed to the Palestinian civil society call for BDS and to opposing Israeli apartheid policies toward Palestinians."
Read the full letter here. Get involved with the US Campaign's BDS work by clicking here. Become a local organizer for our campaigns against U.S. military aid, Motorola, and Caterpillar by clicking here.

Fr. Miguel d'Escoto's farewell speech to UN General Assembly

Last Monday, Father Miguel d'Escoto gave his final speech as President of the UN General Assembly. You can read the full speech here, but check out this excerpt:
"My greatest frustration this year has been the Palestine situation. The Question of Palestine continues to be the most serious and prolonged unresolved political and human rights issue on the agenda of the United Nations since its inception. The evident lack of commitment for resolving it is a scandal that has caused me much sorrow.
I promised a proactive Presidency, and sincerely believe that I did everything I possibly could in this regard, requesting and attempting to persuade those who should have been most closely involved to call for the convocation of the General Assembly to consider the Palestine situation. However, whether at the time of the three-week invasion of Gaza that began on 27 December or now, all I received was advice to give the process more time, because things were always on the point of being resolved and we should do nothing that could endanger the success that was always just beyond our reach.
Faced with this situation, I sincerely did not know what to do. I wanted to help Palestine, but those who should supposedly have been most interested denied their support for reasons of “caution” that I was incapable of understanding. I hope that they were right and that I was wrong. Otherwise, we face an ugly situation of constant complicity with the aggression against the rights of the noble and long-suffering Palestinian people.
A just resolution of the Question of Palestine must be based on the content of international law, and will only be attained when the unity of the Palestinian people has been achieved and the international community speaks with all its representatives who enjoy credibility and have been democratically elected. In addition to the withdrawal of the Israelis from all territories illegally occupied since 1967, international law demands that all Palestinians displaced during the creation of the State of Israel, their children and grandchildren, be permitted to return to their homeland of Palestine."

Friday, September 18, 2009

Goldstone Report Already Making Waves

The Goldstone Report, the report on the December-January assault on the Gaza Strip initiated by the UN Human Rights Council, has finally been released, and is already making waves. US Campaign Advisory Board member Nadia Hijab writes in Agence Global:
"On Monday, the United States assumed its seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council -- the one the Bush administration had cold-shouldered, then boycotted. Its representative declared in Obamaesque tones, “Make no mistake: The United States will not look the other way in the face of serious human rights abuses.” And on Tuesday, Justice Richard Goldstone and his team submitted the report of their fact-finding mission into violations of international human rights and humanitarian law during Israel’s December-January offensive against Gaza -- a report requested by the Council itself."
What are advocates for human rights and international law to make of the report? It has been produced by preeminently qualified experts on international law, including one participant in the commission of inquiry on Darfur and Goldstone himself, who served as prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunes for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. It is, in the words of Nadia Hijab, "painstakingly even-handed," criticizing not just Israel but Hamas and the Palestinian Authority for their crack-downs on opposition during the December-January assaults. It's recommendations include that the crimes described in the report be taken up by the International Criminal Court. It is, in short, one of the most potentially important documents of international law related to Israel/Palestine since the 2004 ICJ advisory ruling against the apartheid Wall. What does that mean for us? Hijab quotes outgoing UN General Assembly President Father Miguel d'Escoto, who spoke powerfully of the need for accountability in his final speech in that position:
"[d'Escoto] went on to make a very serious accusation against “those who should supposedly have been most interested” yet “denied their support.” He said he hoped “that they were right and that I was wrong. Otherwise, we face an ugly situation of constant complicity with the aggression against the rights of the noble and long-suffering Palestinian people.” If this complicity repeats itself at the Human Rights Council, the Goldstone Report will be sunk. The power of the state system (and a putative statelet) will have trumped the principles of international law and human rights -- unless human rights advocates act to make sure the right thing gets done."
We need to make sure the right thing gets done. Over the next few days we'll be posting action alerts and resources that you, our supporters, need in order to make sure that this report doesn't get "sunk," as Nadia Hijab fears it will. For now, if you haven't already, join our campaign to end U.S. military aid to Israel--military aid that was used to commit many of the crimes described in the Goldstone report. Check out the whole report here [warning: it's a big file to download]. Read Hijab's full article here. Watch US Campaign steering committee member Phyllis Bennis talk about the report with Laura Flanders on GRITtv. And donate to the US Campaign to support our response to the Goldstone report. Stay tuned for more!
UPDATE: You can now take action to support the recommendations of the Goldstone Report by clicking here.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

US Campaign National Organizers' Conference a success--and in the media spotlight!

We're back from Chicago after a successful conference! Thanks to all of you who made our 8th National Organizers' Conference such a great success. We're still sorting through everything that we need to do to follow-up from the conference. We'll have a detailed conference report available within the next few days. In the meantime, though, we've been getting a lot of media coverage of our boycott, divestment, and sanctions work, especially after member groups in good standing voted to adopt the principle of academic and cultural boycott into the BDS work of the US Campaign. Since 2005, the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation has endorsed the Palestinian civil society call for BDS, and we've placed our BDS work in an anti-apartheid framework since 2006. We've worked to pressure Caterpillar and Motorola to end their corporate complicity in Israeli occupation and apartheid. Now, as a coalition, we have agreed to expand our BDS work into the realm of academic and cultural boycotts, as well as boycotts of Israeli goods such as Ahava beauty products. Check out US Campaign Steering Committee member Phyllis Bennis, Palestinian lawyer Diana Buttu (who was one of the featured speakers of the US Campaign's 2008 anti-apartheid speaking tour), and Israeli academic Neve Gordon, whose recent LA Times op-ed has helped raised the profile of the BDS movement in the mainstream U.S. press, discussing BDS on Laura Flanders' GRITtv. : In addition to the discussion of boycott and divestment, Bennis discusses reactions to the Goldstone report on the Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip. This episode of GRITtv also features Hasan Kwame Jeffries, who discusses struggle against the U.S. form of apartheid from Reconstruction to today. The interview with Jeffries is a powerful reminder that the struggle against racism and oppression is long-term work--work that must continue if justice is to be possible. The National Conference also got coverage in The Electronic Intifada, where Nada Elia, an organizer with the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, discusses the importance of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation endorsing cultural and academic boycott. Check out the full article here. And the Jewish Daily Forward put forward its own analysis of the BDS movement, including this important quote from American Jewish Committee spokesman Ben Cohen:
"[It]'s clear to me that this discourse of boycott is being increasingly legitimized, and it would appear that some companies are responsive to it."
It is exactly the increasing presence of boycott and divestment in the mainstream discourse about U.S. policy toward Israel/Palestine that leads US Campaign conference speaker Omar Barghouti to proclaim, "Our South African moment has arrived." We'll be getting you more information about the decisions that were made at our National Conference in the next few days. Keep your eyes on this blog and our website!

US Campaign National Conference speaker Omar Barghouti on BDS

We're going to have video of speeches by Prof. Rashid Khalidi and Omar Barghouti at our 8th Annual National Organizers' Conference up in the next few days. In the meantime, though, check out this video of Omar Barghouti outlining the basics of the BDS movement, courtesy of Palestine Video and WHYNotNews:

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Naomi Klein discusses the Toronto Film Festival on Democracy Now

From Democracy Now on September 14, 2009: "A protest at the Toronto International Film Festival has taken center stage after a group of artists and writers signed a letter of protest against the festival’s decision to spotlight the city of Tel Aviv. Activists say the TIFF spotlight plays into Israel’s attempt to improve its global image in the wake of the assault on the Gaza Strip and the ongoing occupation of Palestinian land. Over 1,500 people have signed the letter, called “The Toronto Declaration: No Celebration of Occupation,” including Jane Fonda, Viggo Mortensen, Danny Glover and Harry Belafonte. We speak with journalist and author Naomi Klein, who helped draft the letter."

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Headin' to Chicago

Well, here we go. The packets are printed, the last emails have been sent, our registration list is finalized. We're heading to Chicago for the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation's 8th Annual National Organizers' Conference. We'll be networking, strategizing, discussing proposals to advance our work, voting on new Steering Committee members, enjoying an evening with Rashid Khalidi, Omar Barghouti, and Tala Abu Rahmeh, reuniting with old friends, and more. We won't have time to blog or send updates during the conference, but keep an eye on the blog, website, Twitter, and Facebook for post-conference updates. Next week, we'll be coming back to DC, and our members will head back to their home communities--and the work of changing U.S. policy begins anew! Hope to see you in Chicago!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

New BDS resources from US Campaign member group Interfaith Peace Initative

US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation member group Interfaith Peace Initiative has two updated resources for activists working to end Israeli occupation and human rights violations. Check out the updated survey of Global Actions against Israeli occupation, including boycott and divestment actions taken by unions, faith communities, and human rights organizations, by clicking here. And click here for a comprehensive list of companies that directly profit from the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land. Get involved with boycott, divestment, and sanctions by clicking here.

Nadia Hijab: Settling for...Settlements

US Campaign Advisory Board member Nadia Hijab is, like the rest of us, less than impressed with what the "settlement freeze" has turned out to looks like:
"The Arabs have a saying for someone who’s not getting anywhere: “He’s managed to explain, after considerable strain, that water is water.” And so it is with US envoy George Mitchell: After considerable effort he’s apparently settled for a settlement freeze that involves more settlements."
How to respond to the continuing unwillingness of the United States to cut military aid to Israel even when U.S. demands for an end to settlements go totally unheeded? Hijab argues that Palestinian civil society provides the answer:
"The other hopeful trend remains the work of the Palestinian civil society, whose boycott call against Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights bears new fruit almost every day. Most recently Jane Fonda, Naomi Klein, Alice Walker, Danny Glover joined over 50 artists to protest the Toronto International Film Festival spotlight on the city of Tel Aviv. They are not against showing Israeli films but rather are against the staging of "a propaganda campaign on behalf of … an apartheid regime.” And then there is the Norwegian pension fund decision to divest from the Israeli company Elbit Systems for its involvement in construction on occupied Palestinian land. "We do not wish to fund companies that so directly contribute to violations of international humanitarian law," explained Finance Minister Kristin Halvorsen."
Check out Nadia Hijab's full article here.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

8th Annual National Organizers' Conference is Almost Here!

We only have a few more days left until the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation's 8th Annual National Organizers' Conference in Chicago! Check out our website for updates on our Saturday night fundraiser, proposals that will be discussed at the National Conference, and more. Hope to see you in Chicago!

Another "Your Tax Dollars at Work" Moment: Free Gaza Movement reports that Israeli Navy incinerates Gaza fishing boat

From the Free Gaza Movement: U.S. military aid and arms transfers to Israel include warships and ammunition. To learn more about the details of U.S. arms transfers to Israel, check out the Capitol Hill briefing we did on the subject by clicking here. Meanwhile, check out these two items from today's headlines on Democracy Now, first on settlements:
"Israel has announced plans to build 455 more housing units in the West Bank, defying demands from the Obama administration for a freeze on settlement construction. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said President Obama regrets Israel’s decision. Gibbs said, “the United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued settlement expansion and we urge that it stop.""
And then on the United States' role in the global arms trade:
"A new study has revealed the United States is quickly expanding its role as the world’s largest weapons supplier. In 2008, the US signed weapons agreements worth nearly $38 billion. That’s ten times as much as Italy, the world’s second largest arms dealer. The US is now responsible for 68 percent of all business in the global arms bazaar."
Help us end the madness. Take action to oppose military aid to Israel by clicking here.

"Activate Our Networks"

Talking to Congressional staffers or Members of Congress about human rights and international law in Israel/Palestine--and about cutting military aid to Israel until it abides by these universally recognized standards--can be a bit frustrating at times. Often, we hear back from people who have been stonewalled by staffer or have been told that the Member of Congress would love to help but just can't. A little while back we linked to an interview with US Campaign National Organizer Katherine Fuchs in WireTap Magazine. Here's what Fuchs had to say about Congressional advocacy in that piece [emphasis added]:
"When I meet with a sympathetic staffer or member of Congress, they often want to help and find ways of doing so short of cutting military aid because they are afraid that they would catch hell from their constituents. It's much more depressing to hear this come from the mouth of someone who clearly wants to do more than it is to be shut out by someone whose last campaign was funded by the Israel lobby and whose mind was made up before I stepped into their office. Every time I hear that the constituents back home wouldn't stand for sanctioning Israel's bad behavior I am motivated to activate our networks in that district to show the member of Congress that their constituents really do believe in standing up for human rights law."
Not to scare you all or anything, but "our networks" means YOU! The discourse on Israel/Palestine--whether it's in the media, among consumers, in corporate boardrooms, or on Capitol Hill--won't change without your dedicated work. We need people working in every district, every state, every municipality, on every campus, everywhere. Get activated by clicking here.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Detroit-based hip hop artist Invincible reps BDS, US Campaign

Check out the video from Detroit-based hip hop artist Invincible, for her track "People Not Places," which was the winner of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation's "Best Recorded Audio" award in our Expressions of Nakba art competition (not to mention being named "Greatest Hip-Hop Song for Palestine Ever" by blogger Will at KABOBfest). The video is directed by Iqaa The Olivetone and features Suhell Nafar from the Palestinian hip hop group Dam and Abeer (aka Sabrina Da Witch). It also features a background appearance from the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation's fancy banner, right around minute 4:00 (try not to be bowled over with excitement). The video also includes testimonies from Palestinians and others who share their own experiences of displacement and loss of identity. Here's Invincible explaining what the song covers: "This song was inspired by and has been in the works since a conversation with my mom (or ima in Hebrew) 5 years ago, when I asked her if she missed "back home",(which she calls Israel) and she responded profoundly- "I miss people not places". I realized what a privilege it was to not miss a place and land that so many Palestinians have been displaced from. The song takes the listener on a journey through a haunted "birthright" tour where the buried Palestinian significance of each location comes to light. Along the route i expose the process of historic and continued colonization as being even deeper than land seizure and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, but one that is invested in erasing the Arabic language, culture, and memory. One of my main aims is to destroy the myth of a "Jewish birthright" to a land Palestinians are denied the Right of Return to." Check it out: Like that one? Here's another video from Invincible, this time spreading the word about boycott, divestment, and sanctions: Watch. Listen. Then get involved!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Lev Leviev's Financial Follies

This week news broke that Russian-Israeli tycoon Lev Leviev's Africa-Israel Company is unable to repay billions of dollars of debt. While Leviev's loss is primarily pinned on falling real estate prices in the United States, there are some indications that that Africa-Israel's difficulty finding additional capitol is due to the boycott & divestment (BDS) campaign that has been targeting Leviev for two years. Leviev made his fortune in diamonds and real estate, and both of these endeavors have been boycott and divestment targets. Leviev's diamond enterprises have been criticized for human rights abuses in Angola. Leviev's real estate ventures include gentrification in Brooklyn, NY and Jewish-only settlements such as Ma'ale Adumim, Har Homa, Adam, Matityahu East, and Modi'in Ilit in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Ma'ale Adumim is a huge settlement block that makes travel between the Northern and Southern portions of the Palestinian West Bank nearly impossible for Palestinians (it's quite easy if you're allowed to drive on Israeli-only bypass roads). Modi'in and Matityahu East are the settlements that prompted Israel to build a wall confiscating 60% of the village of Bi'lin's land. It is these settlement projects that pushed BlackRock, a British investment bank, to divest of holdings in Africa-Israel. A week after the BlackRock news broke, Leviev announced that Africa-Israel could not raise the capitol to repay its debts. While Africa-Israel isn't the only company taking a beating due to speculation in the American real estate market, it is the only one that's been targeted for by a BDS campaign, which can make a big difference when seeking new investors. It seems that being the center of controversy over human rights violations makes it difficult to get additional loans - or even to keep current investors. The following Democracy Now! clip features an interview with two proponents of the Leviev boycott. This blog post has been edited slightly to add clarity that was lacking in the original version.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Naomi Klein and Israeli publisher Yael Lerer talk BDS with Cecilie Surasky of Jewish Voice for Peace

The conversation about boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) continues to grow in media outlets large and small! On Alternet today, Cecilie Surasky, of US Campaign member group Jewish Voice for Peace, interviews Naomi Klein and Israeli publisher Yael Lerer on why boycotting Israel will pressure the country to live up to international law. Check out the full interview here.

Lerer, whose Andalus publishing company focuses on translating Arabic literature into Hebrew, explains why Israelis should support boycott:
"Twenty years ago I could never have imagined this semi-apartheid situation. I care about the future in this place. I care about my fellow Israelis. I have a huge family here and many, many friends. I know many people who don't have any other passports, and who don't have any other options. I think that the solution for this place, the only possible future, is living together. Unfortunately, at this stage, I don't see how this future can be achieved without international pressure. And I think that boycott is a nonviolent tool that has already shown us that it can work. So I'm asking: please boycott me."
Klein, who recently organized a book tour to promote the Hebrew translation of her book The Shock Doctrine that was in accordance with the Palestinian civil society call for BDS, argues that BDS is an effective tool for changing public opinion and policy in the United States:
"I also believe this movement could be a game-changer in the United States. Let's remember that a huge part of the success of the anti-apartheid struggle in the eighties was due to popular education....The Palestinian BDS call could play that kind of movement-building role today, giving people something concrete they can organize around in their schools and communities.... Whether he recognizes it or not, Obama needs the Palestinian struggle to be a popular, grassroots issue like the South African struggle was....[The] only hope of not just having him hold to this tentative position but actually improving this position is if there’s a popular movement that is very clear in its demands for Israel abide by international law on all fronts, and that's exactly what BDS is."
Check out the full article here; and find out how you can get involved in BDS by clicking here.

Yet another "Your Tax Dollars At Work" moment

From the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), via the International Solidarity Movement: IOF willfully kill a Palestinian child in al-Jalazoun refugee camp, north of Ramallah Posted on: September 1, 2009 | ShareThis | Print 1 September 2009 The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) strongly condemns the willful killing of a 15-year-old Palestinian child by Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF). The attack occurred yesterday, 31 August 2009, near the entrance of al-Jalazoun refugee camp, north of Ramallah. According to investigations conduced by PCHR, at approximately 21:30 on Monday, 31 August 2009, IOF troops stationed at a military observation tower inside “Beit Eil” settlement, north of Ramallah, opened fire at five Palestinian children who were near al-Jalazon UNRWA School, located near the southeastern entrance of al-Jalazoun refugee camp. One of the children, 15-year-old Mohammed Riad Nayef ‘Elayan, was wounded by three bullets to the chest. An ambulance from Sheikh Zayed Hospital in Ramallah attempted to reach the area. However, the ambulance was stopped by at least 30 soldiers who prevented the medical crew from attending to the wounded child. Meanwhile, dozens of Palestinian civilians gathered on the spot and attempted to help the wounded child, but Israeli soldiers fired tear gas canisters at the crowd. The ambulance driver, Usama Hassan Ibrahim al-Najjar, 37, was hit by a tear gas canister to the left leg. ‘Ali Ahmed Mohammed Nakhla, 29, also sustained similar injuries. Mohammed was left bleeding for approximately an hour. At approximately 22:30, IOF transferred the child to Beit Eil settlement where he was evacuated by a helicopter to Hadasa ‘Ein Karem Hospital in West Jerusalem. In the early morning, Israeli sources declared that the child had succumbed to his wounds. IOF have continued to hold the child’s body. IOF arrested the four children who were with ‘Elayan and kept them detained in Beit Eil settlement untill 03:00 on Tuesday, 1 September 2009. One of the released children informed PCHR that the children were walking normally in the street where the attack took place and that they suddenly found themselves under Israeli gunfire. The boy said that when Israeli soldiers saw the wounded child falling onto the ground, they rushed to the scene and arrested his companions. The soldiers left the boy bleeding without offering him any medical aid. PCHR strongly condemns the murder of a child by IOF, and: 1. Reiterates condemnation of this latest crime, which is part of a series of crimes committed by IOF in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). 2. Calls upon the international community to promptly and urgently take action in order to stop such crimes, and renews its call for the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfill their obligations and provide protection to Palestinian civilians in the OPT.
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Tired of your tax dollars going to fund these sorts of human rights abuses? Click here to do something about it.