Friday, January 29, 2010

NYT reports on Palestinian nonviolence, UA students target Caterkiller, video of Netherlands boycott action, Dr. Zinn, and more

A lot happening today, and not a whole lot of time to update, so I'm just going to post a few items that might be of interest: 1) Mondoweiss is carrying some good updates on President Obama being challenged over U.S. aid to Israel and Palestinian human rights in Tampa yesterday. Phil Weiss refers to Obama's response as a "meltdown," and US Campaign Steering Committee member Adam Horowitz quotes Laila Abdelaziz, the student who raised the question about aid to Israel, from an interview with a local news station:
"How are the Palestinian people supposed to do anything if they’re the ones being occupied? The occupiers have to allow for something to happen which they have not yet allowed to happen. I asked President Obama why he says America as a nation supports human rights, but at the same time, one of our greatest allies is Israel, a country that does not support human rights, and has many human rights violations. President Obama did not really answer my question or address it, so I’m really disappointed right now."
2) The New York Times has finally noticed the growing movement of Palestinian nonviolent resistance to Israeli occupation and apartheid. The Times reports on the recent arrest of Bil'in leader Mohammad Khatib:
"“Bilin is no longer about the struggle for Bilin,” said Mr. Khatib, who was arrested in August and has been awaiting trial on an incitement charge. “This is part of a national struggle,” he said, adding that ending the Israeli occupation was the ultimate goal. Before dawn on Thursday soldiers came to Mr. Khatib’s home in Bilin and took him away again."
Mondoweiss has a good critique of the Times article. Click here for media action resources, and click here to demand the release of Mohammad Khatib, Abdallah Abu Rahmah, and other jailed leaders of grassroots Palestinian resistance. 3) Gabriel Schivone of the University of Arizona Community for Human Rights has a great article at the UA Daily Wildcat about the university's investments in Caterpillar. Here's a quick excerpt:
"Beginning in October 2009, the student-led University Community for Human Rights began to approach the College of Engineering to make known the campus investigation into the company, provide information on Caterpillar, discuss alternatives with the college and make recommendations. In an e-mail sent last Thursday, College of Engineering Dean Jeff Goldberg wrote, “Funny, but nobody here had any idea of what Caterpillar is accused of doing … Something tells me that we would not be where we are right now (if the college) had known.” But as the contract remains intact on campus — and the college’s knowledge of Caterpillar’s activities grows — the range of criticism is persists....It’s quite clear the administration now knows about Caterpillar’s “instruments of destruction” which the UA has sadly been endorsing for six long, destructive years."
Read the full article, find out more about the campaign against Caterkiller, and check out the US Campaign's resources for campus groups. You can also keep up with the latest media coverage of boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) by clicking here. 4) Yesterday we shared a link to an article about Israel/Palestine by Howard Zinn. We continue to honor his memory today by posting this link a speech by Dr. Zinn on Mark Braverman's Politics of Hope blog, entitled "We must transfer our anger to the brutalities of our time," as well as this excerpt from his writing on CommonDreams. 5) The "Dear Colleague" letter signed by 54 Members of Congress which calls for an end to the Israeli blockade and collective punishment of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip has been getting some media attention. The Jewish Telegraph Agency reported on the letter, as did the Minnesota Independent. It's not too late "cheer or jeer" your member of Congress for their response to the letter by clicking here. 6) And finally, check out this inspiring list of 2009 BDS victories from the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), and this great video of a boycott action at a supermarket in the Netherlands: