Showing posts with label BDS. Show all posts
Showing posts with label BDS. Show all posts

Monday, June 6, 2016

Tell Gov. Cuomo: We Have a #RightToBoycott!

Can you write a letter to the editor to the New York Times today in response to this article about Governor Cuomo's executive order, which will put institutions and companies that engage in BDS on a blacklist? Letters should be 175 words or less and submitted to within the next 24 hours. 

Please consider sending letters to other newspapers covering this story as well. Guidelines for writing and submission can usually be found in the newspaper's opinion section on their website.
Talking points can include: 
  • This is a McCarthyite attack on a movement for justice and human rights. 
  • Boycotts have long been a tactic to achieve social change and the movement for Palestinian freedom should not be singled out.
  • This is an anti-democratic move by the Governor to circumvent the legislative process
  • This move seeks to silence the growing numbers of Americans who support BDS/economic tactics to put pressure on Israel to respect Palestinian human rights, and is part of a larger legal campaign being waged against BDS in the US.
  • Governor Cuomo should rescind this un-democratic order immediately.

You can also tweet at Gov. Cuomo using one of these sample tweets or make your own!:
  • Don't punish free speech, @NYGovCuomo! Rescind executive order 157 today. We have a #righttoboycott!
  • Political speech is protected under the First Amendment, @NYGovCuomo. Rescind executive order 157 today! #righttoboycott
  • I want my civil liberties back, @NYGovCuomo! Rescind executive order 157 today! I have a #righttoboycott.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

10 Years Later: BDS Breaks Through! July 9 We Divest Day of Action

Mark your calendars! The We Divest Campaign has called for a national day of action on July 9, which marks the 10 year anniversary of the International Court of Justice’s historic ruling declaring Israel's wall on occupied Palestinian land to be illegal.

Below are materials to help with planning your day of action.

  • Not sure how you will participate? If you already have a local BDS campaign running, head to your target on July 9th. Don’t yet have a campaign? Here are some ideas: 
    • Go to your local TIAA-CREF office.
    • Head or to a place where one of our target companies has corporate offices or sells products. 
    • Focus on the company Elbit, in solidarity with Stop the Wall's month of action. 
    • Do a BDS tour: march around town to various stores that sell products from target companies. 
    • Go to a public place where there’s lots of foot traffic!
    • Don’t have a local group? No problem. Take action online by joining our social media team to be on call on July 9th.
  • Want to dance in a Pink Floyd-parody flash mob?  Below are lyrics, here is a recording of the song, and email for a video of the dance!
  • Want to connect with activists planning actions in other cities? Save the date for a national planning call on Monday, June 23, at 8:00pm EDT/5:00pm PDT. 
Will your group participate? Email to let us know!

We Divest Day of Action 2014 Coordinating Committee

Another Brick in the Wall

We don't need no occupation (Divest! Divest!)
We don't need no swat patrol  (Divest! Divest!)
Cat's bulldozing West Bank classrooms (Divest! Divest!)
That's not for the greater good 
Elbit Systems, Caterpillar, G4S, Hewlett Packard, SodaStream
Hey, T-Cref, leave them kids alone!
All in all we're gonna tear those bricks from the wall
All in all we're gonna tear those bricks from the wall 

We don't need no Northrop Grumman (Divest! Divest!)
Death and mayhem from above (Divest! Divest!)
Motorola's no Solution (Divest! Divest!)
For Palestine let's show some love
Northrop Grumman, Veolia, Sodastream, Elbit Systems, Caterpillar
Hey, T-Cref, your dollars flatten homes!
All in all we're gonna tear those bricks from the wall
All in all we're gonna tear those bricks from the wall

We don't need Veolia Light Rail (Divest! Divest!)
Seizing East Jerusalem (Divest! Divest!)
Divest from Elbit's ammunition (Divest! Divest!)
And yes they helped to built the wall
Hewlett Packard, Northrop Grumman, Elbit Systems, Caterpillar, G4S
Hey, T-Cref, look how apartheid's grown!
All in all we're gonna tear those bricks from the wall
All in all we're gonna tear those bricks from the wall

Thursday, April 24, 2014

12 States Participate in Free Cone Day!

The following report back is by Mark Hage of member group Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel.

The second annual Free Cone Day leafleting action at Ben & Jerry’s scoop shops on Tuesday, April 8, organized by Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel (, was a great success.
Solidarity activists in at least 12 states (CA, CO, CT, NY, MA, MN, NC, NH, OR, NH, VT, and WA) distributed thousands of leaflets prepared by VTJP on Ben & Jerry’s commercial ties to illegal, Jewish-only settlements.

Additionally, 335 e-mails were sent to the company’s CEO, Jostein Solheim, on April 8, and in the two weeks leading up to FCD, more than 500 messages were e-mailed to him.

Your ice cream is free today - Palestine is not!

VTJP is still compiling reports on this year’s FCD action, and, in due course, we’ll post on our website a comprehensive summary of what transpired on April 8.

Here’s a sampling of what we’ve learned so far:

In San Jose, California, nearly 1,100 leaflets were handed out, and one of the activists shared an observation common to those who leafleted everywhere: “Most of the customers were pleasant, and many were interested to hear the information and take a leaflet.”

At least 1,000 more leaflets found their way into the hands of people at four scoop shops in Berkeley, Oakland, and San Francisco. There, as in San Jose, most encounters with the public were friendly and, according to one of the activists, “Many were ignorant of the situation in [Israel-Palestine], so it was a wonderful opportunity for education.”

Our compatriots with the New England Palestine Education Network and Veterans for Peace in Manchester, New Hampshire, told us many people are surprised to learn that Ben & Jerry’s ice cream is being sold in Israeli settlements.  VTJP activists have had the same experience frequently.

In Denver, a student activist was grateful for the opportunity to talk with people in his community about the Ben & Jerry’s campaign and the Israeli occupation generally.  He also appreciated the exposure this action generated for the Students for Justice in Palestine chapter at the University of Colorado.

Members of Upper Hudson Peace Action's Palestinian Rights Committee leafleted outside a cone shop in Albany, New York, and held a sign that read: “Ben & Jerry’s: Yes in Albany. No in Illegal Israeli Settlements.”  They spoke with the shop manager, who was polite, said he knew why they were there, and invited them in for a free cone.

In Portland, Oregon, twelve volunteers from the local chapters of Jewish Voice for Peace, Portland Palestine Coalition, Lutherans for Justice in the Holy Land, and Americans United for Equal Palestinian Rights passed out hundreds of leaflets and only two were dropped on the ground.

Jewish Voice for Peace activists in Tacoma, Washington, noted that not only were folks “willing to take the info, but the overwhelming majority left with leaflet still in hand!” The action also provided a great opportunity to reach a lot of young people.

In Vermont, there was leafleting at the two scoop shops in Burlington, including the one at the University of Vermont, and at the company’s factory in Waterbury. Members of VTJP’s BDS committee spoke with CEO Jostein Solheim and Rob Michalak, the head of the company’s Global Mission Office, when they dropped in at the scoop shop in downtown Burlington.

Ben & Jerry’s Campaign is Growing!

This FCD action saw many more activists, groups and scoop shops involved than last year.  Moreover, since last September, 220 organizations around the world have signed VTJP’s letter urging the company to stop doing business with Israeli settlements. We respectfully ask of organizations that have not done so to consider adding their names to the letter.

What began as a conversation in 2011 between a small band of activists in Vermont on how to contribute locally to the international BDS movement has grown into something much bigger than we could have imagined, and inspires us to keep organizing and engaging Ben & Jerry’s.

VTJP is deeply grateful for the support and counsel of the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation and its member groups, and to the Palestine solidarity community everywhere.

We are one year into this campaign, and there is still much work to be done.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Josh Ruebner's "Shattered Hopes" Book Tour Comes to the Triangle Area, Mar. 25-26

Last fall, Josh Ruebner, our National Advocacy Director, shared the exciting news of the publication of his first book, Shattered Hopes: Obama's Failure to Broker Israeli-Palestinian Peace.

We are excited to announce that he will be visiting the Triangle Area Tuesday, March 25 and Wednesday, March 26. We hope that you can join him at one or more of the events he'll be doing-- at Church of Reconciliation (USA) in Chapel Hill, NC, Meredith College in Raleigh, NC, and University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in Chapel Hill, NC. 

Below is the flyer for the events. Click here for the PDF version.

RSVP and invite your friends on Facebook to Church of Reconciliation (USA) here, Meredith College here, and University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill here.
For additional information on Josh's spring book tour, see his website here. We look forward to seeing you there!

--Ntebo Mokuena, U.S. Campaign Intern

Josh Ruebner's "Shattered Hopes" Book Tour Comes to Atlanta, Mar. 23-24

Last fall, Josh Ruebner, our National Advocacy Director, shared the exciting news of the publication of his first book, Shattered Hopes: Obama's Failure to Broker Israeli-Palestinian Peace.

We are excited to announce that he will be visiting Atlanta, GA Sunday, March 23 and Monday, March 24. We hope that you can join him at one or more of the events he'll be doing-- at Central Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, GA, North Decatur Presbyterian Church in Decatur, GA, Agnes Scott College in Decatur, GAand Oakhurst Baptist Church in Decatur, GA.

Below is a flyer for the events. Click here for the PDF version.

RSVP and invite your friends on Facebook to the events at Central Presbyterian Church here, North Decatur Presbyterian Church here, Agnes Scott College here, and Oakhurst Baptist Church here.
For additional information on Josh's spring book tour, see his website here. We look forward to seeing you there!

--Ntebo Mokuena, U.S. Campaign Intern

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Josh Ruebner's "Shattered Hopes" Book Tour Comes to Kansas and Missouri, Feb. 27- Mar. 2

Last fall, Josh Ruebner, our National Advocacy Director, shared the exciting news of the publication of his first book, Shattered Hopes: Obama's Failure to Broker Israeli-Palestinian Peace.

We are excited to announce that he will be visiting Kansas and Missouri from February 27-March 2. We hope that you can join him at one or more of the four events he'll be doing in Kansas and Missouri -- at University of Kansas, Watermark Books in Wichita, Keystone United Methodist Church in Kansas City, and an event in private home in Fairway, Kansas.

Below is a flyer for the events. Click here for the PDF version.

RSVP and invite your friends on Facebook to the events at University of Kansas here, Watermark Books here, and Keystone United Methodist Church here. To RSVP for the private home event, email whitmoreandy@hotmail.comAnd for additional information on Josh's spring book tour, see his website here. We look forward to seeing you there!

--Ntebo Mokuena, U.S. Campaign Intern

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

SodaStream Culture Jamming on Amazon

BDS activists have been posting reviews on Amazon in an effort to educate consumers about occupation-profiteer SodaStream and its exploitation of Palestinian labor, land, and resources.

There are two ways you can join in this campaign:
  • Vote up 1-star reviews so that they are more prominently featured. 
    • Go to
    • Locate the reviews about SodaStream manufacturing its products in illegal Israeli settlements and the company's abuse of Palestinian rights.
    • Under each review there is question: Was this review helpful to you? Click the "Yes" button.
    • You must be logged into your Amazon account to take action.
  • Write your own review on Amazon. Find tips and sample reviews from the US Palestinian Community Network here

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

TELL BARTELL: Stop Selling SodaStream

From Palestine Solidarity Committee- Seattle and Northwest BDS Coalition

We would like to take the international campaign to a local Seattle target.  Bartell Drugs still sells SodaStream, and Bartell is a locally-operated, family-run Puget Sound chain with headquarters in West Seattle.  Many of us shop in Bartell stores, and many of us are even recognized by staff in our neighborhood Bartell store.  With enough local pressure, Bartell would be able to decide at the local level to stop selling SodaStream.

We have already flashmobbed the downtown Third Ave Bartell store, and last May during Nakba Day flashmobbing we handed them a letter telling them why they should stop selling SodaStream.  Now we need to spread that message to Bartell stores all over Seattle and Puget Sound.

In early November, we phoned and faxed our concerns to George and Jean Bartell, CEOs of Bartell Drugs.  We asked for a meeting and have gotten no response so far.  

We have now prepared a letter, revised from the letter we delivered in May, which tells Bartell why they should stop selling SodaStream.  You can use our letter — attached as a Word.doc and pasted below — or personalize and adapt it as you need, either by email or postal mail.  

During the Days of Action Against SodaStream, Nov 29 - Dec 10, will you TELL BARTELL to stop selling SodaStream?  Will you email or mail or phone Bartell?  Or print and hand-deliver a copy of the letter to staff at your local Bartell?

PHONE at  1-877-BARTELL (1-877-227-8355)
MAIL at  Bartell Drugs
4025 Delridge Way SW, Suite 400,
Seattle, WA 98106 

We’d like to count you if you Tell Bartell.  
Email Linda Bevis at  (Don’t forget the pesky digit “1” in the address.)   If you email Bartell, bcc us.   If you mail or phone or hand-deliver or have an interaction with or conversation with staff at Bartell, please email and tell us about it!

Bartell is a local opportunity for us.  Tell Bartell to stop selling Sodastream and all other products of Israeli apartheid.

Monday, November 25, 2013


This online action is being promoted by Jewish Voice for Peace-Seattle. (See update at end!)

We need your help! Sur La Table is erasing negative comments posted on their website about SodaStream. We need to show them they cannot censor the truth about Israeli Occupation! 

Spend 2 minutes now to help us stop Sur La Table from censoring the truth about SodaStream. Join us: write a review to help replace the censored reviews of SodaStream now!

Make sure to take a screenshot and send it to in case they delete yours!

Dozens of activists and concerned consumers have been posting thoughtful comments on Sur La Table's website explaining what we think of SodaStream, a product made in an illegal settlement in the West Bank, in violation of international law and at the expense of justice for Palestinians. 

Rather than attend to the serious concerns about the harm caused by SodaStream, Sur La Table has responded by erasing the comments. But the good news is that we are posting new ones faster than they can delete them. Sur La Table is paying attention, and we we need to continue acting fast to show that we aren't going anywhere! 

Please take a minute now to write a replacement review on the Sur La Table website! Follow this link to create an account. And then go to this page and post a comment. 

Together, we can burst the SodaStream Bubble!
JVP - Seattle

PS. Please help us spread the word far and wide! Share these links on FB, Twitter, and with all your lists! Make sure to tag SurLaTable. Here are some sample tweets:

  • .@Sur_La_Table, why don't you want your customers to know that SodaStream is made in an illegal settlement? #BoycottSodastream
  • .@Sur_La_Table is censoring consumer concern about products made in violation of international law. #BoycottSodastream
  • .@Sur_La_Table, the truth about the Israeli Occupation can't be erased like a comment on your website. #BoycottSodastream

Sur La TaBlitz: Take Action Online to Deshelve SodaStream- Phase 1

What: Blitz Sur La Table’s SodaStream staff favorite page with reviews that explain SodaStream's connection to the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

Why: SodaStream is an Israeli product made in an illegal settlement in the West Bank, further entrenching the Occupation. Jewish Voice for Peace Seattle has organized a campaign to demand that Sur La Table deshelve SodaStream. This campaign is in response to the Palestinian civil society call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions of Israel.

3 simple steps: Make an account, post a review, take a snapshot and email it to JVP!

Step 1: Click on this link to register for an account

Step 2: Click on this link to arrive at the SodaStream product page. Scroll all the way down until you find the reviews box and write a review (suggestions below)!

Step 3: Take a screenshot and send it to

The key message you want to include in your reviews is:
The SodaStream corporation entrenches the Israeli occupation of Palestine while it directly profits from the occupation.

Here are some subpoints:

  • SodaStream is a product made in violation of international law. SodaStream’s main production plant is located on confiscated Palestinian farmland.
  • SodaStream exploits Palestinian labor to create their products.
  • SodaStream is paid for in part by the Israeli government. SodaStream receives generous tax incentives from the Israeli and local governments to establish their factory in the West Bank on Palestinian land.
  • Every purchase of SodaStream contributes to illegal settlements in Palestine. The factory pays taxes to the Israeli settlement, Ma’aleh Adumim, not the the Palestinian Authority.
  • Expansion of Israeli settlements, such as Ma’aleh Adumim where the main SodaStream factory is located, erodes Palestinian territorial contiguity.

Sources for more information:

Contact if you have any questions or need help.

UPDATE: We need your help! In the next two days we need 100 phone calls to Sur La Table's customer service to show we won't stand for censorship. Call: 1-800-243-0852  to register your complaint today!

People in solidarity with Palestine have attempted to put over 50 reviews up on the Sur La Table SodaStream page. Sur La Table has censored all of the reviews, taking them down or not allowing them to be posted at all. You can see some of these reviews here.

Call Sur La Table's customer service and tell them they cannot censor the truth about SodaStream and the Israeli occupation. 

Call: 1-800-243-0852 

Sample Script if you attempted to post a review:
My review about SodaStream was censored this weekend. Your website includes factually incorrect information, claiming SodaStream is made in Israel when in fact it is made in an illegal settlement in the West Bank. Please stop keeping this information from your customers---- you cannot censor the truth about SodaStream and the Israeli occupation. Do the ethical thing and deshelve SodaStream today!

Sample Script if you haven't attempted to post a review:
I have been informed that Sur La Table has censored reviews connecting SodaStream to the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Your website includes factually incorrect information, claiming SodaStream is made in Israel when in fact it is made in an illegal settlement in the West Bank. Please stop keeping this information from your customers -- you cannot censor the truth about SodaStream and the Israeli occupation. Do the ethical thing and deshelve SodaStream today!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Infographic: St. Louis Veolia Timeline

Check out this infographic from St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee. Since late 2012, the PSC has joined other local organizations in opposing a city contract with Veolia

Owly Images

Monday, July 15, 2013

TIAA-CREF Drops SodaStream!

The We Divest Team just shared the exciting news that TIAA-CREF is no longer invested in SodaStream! You can read the press release here:

Please start tweeting the press release to help spread the word! Here are some sample tweets for you to use, and please also keep an eye on @WeDivest for infographics and more tweets!

  • Keep it Up @TC_Talks! Last year dropped @CaterpillarInc, this year sold off @SodaStreamUSA, next year Veolia? #wedivest

  • Selling off SodaStream is 4 the greater good @TC_Talks! Ur helping illegal Israeli settlements fizzle out! #wedivest

  • Good for @TC_Talks refusing to no longer drink the oppression flavor of SodaStream! Keep it up TIAA-CREF! #wedivest

  • Now that pension fund TIAA-CREF has sold off its share to #SodaStream, will #Veolia be next?

  • Bravo to TIAA-CREF for selling off shares in @SodaStreamUSA! Next year, Veolia? #wedivest @TC_Talks

  • Breaking! @SodaStreamUSA’s relationship with TIAA-CREF fizzles: #wedivest @TC_Talks

  • Retirement giant TIAA-CREF drops controversial Israeli settlement company @SodaStreamUSA: #wedivest @TC_Talks 

Also share these memes. Download them here. 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Keep the Pressure on Alicia Keys!

Check out all the amazing actions activists and organizations have taken to convince Alicia Keys to cancel her show in Tel Aviv on July 4:

You can help keep the pressure on Alicia Keys by tweeting often! Use #AKFAM and tweet to @aliciakeys, @IDTweeps, and @keepachildalive.

Also help spread the petition urging her to cancel, which already has more than 15,000 signatures! Petition link:

  • Over 50 orgs ask @aliciakeys to boycott apartheid and cancel Israel cc @IDTweeps #BDS (Tweet Now
  • Going ahead with ur show @aliciakeys will be used by Israel to whitewash its oppression of Palestinians cc @IDTweeps (Tweet Now)
  • Due to Israeli oppression, vast majority of Palestinians will be unable to join u in Tel Aviv @aliciakeys @IDTweeps (Tweet Now)
  • Over 15,000 people are asking Alicia Keys to cancel her concert in Tel Aviv cc @IDTweeps @keepachildalive (Tweet Now)  
  • Since 2000 Israeli forces responsible for deaths of over 1,300 Palestinian children cc @aliciakeys @keepachildalive (Tweet Now)  
  • Some people want it all. Palestinians just want justice, freedom & equality. @aliciakeys @IDTweeps @keepachildalive (Tweet Now
  • Hey #AKFAM let @aliciakeys know she should boycott aprtheid cc @IDTweeps @keepachildalive (Tweet Now)
  • Be a Superwoman @aliciakeys & boycott #apartheid for all mothers fighting for better days to come cc @IDTweeps (Tweet Now)  
  • Hey Alicia Keys, Israel is accused of abusing Palestinian children- again cc @keepachildalive (Tweet Now
  • Dear @aliciakeys, help @keepachildalive by canceling that apartheid gig! UN report: Israel tortures Palestinian kids (Tweet Now
  • Learn about Boycott Divestment Sanctions #BDS movement for #Palestine rights & why Alicia Keys urged to cancel Israel (Tweet Now)
  • Why are activists asking Alicia Keys to cancel her concert in Israel? #AKFAM (Tweet Now)

Friday, June 21, 2013

More United Methodists Divest From Companies Supporting Israel’s Occupation

Press release from our member group United Methodist Kairos Response. 

Four United Methodist annual or regional conferences (New England, Minnesota, Pacific Northwest and Upper New York) have voted this month to divest or have their funds divested from companies involved with Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land. They joined five other conferences (West Ohio, New York, Northern Illinois, California Nevada and California Pacific) which had already taken similar action, bringing the total to nine regional bodies representing thousands of churches.  

The companies targeted in the recent resolutions included Caterpillar, Motorola Solutions, Hewlett Packard and, in one case, General Electric. All play significant roles in the occupation. 

In addition, at least five other conferencesi have asked the denomination’s General Board of Pension and Health Benefits to divest its holdings in companies that profit from the occupation.  Two more conferences, Susquehanna and Eastern Pennsylvania, established official task forces this month to examine the issue. 

As United Methodists learn about Israel’s land confiscation, home demolitions, and the segregated systems of transportation, water, and laws that discriminate against Christians and Muslims, there is a strong sense that the church must act.  Palestinian Christians have called on churches around the world to help end the occupation of their land.ii 

According to John Wagner of United Methodist Kairos Response, “Our denomination has a long history of upholding human rights around the world. The question now is whether we will bring the same resolve to the situation in the Holy Land, where our fellow Christians have asked for our help.”

The divestment movement has gained momentum as illegal Israeli settlements expand on Palestinian land and Israeli attacks on Christians and Muslims increase.  In 2012, Friends Fiduciary Committee, which handles investments for the Quaker denomination, divested from Caterpillar, Hewlett Packard and Veolia Environnement because of their involvement in the occupation. This spring, the Mennonite Church and the American Friends Service Committee declared twenty nine companies profiting from the occupation ineligible for investment.

Divestment is a nonviolent form of economic protest long used to encourage companies to end unjust practices.  The church has engaged for yearsiii in dialog with Caterpillar, Hewlett Packard, and Motorola Solutions about their role in Israel’s occupation. Those calling for divestment say it will strengthen the church in future negotiations by providing a consequence for ignoring the church’s concerns.  

In 2012, Caterpillar stock was downgraded by MSCI, a prestigious ratings agency, and then dropped from the socially responsible portfolios of the giant US pension fund, TIAA CREF, which divested $72 million of Caterpillar stock.  At that time the company’s role in the occupation was given as a reason.iv  Large European pension funds have also divested from companies involved with the occupation.  According to Susanne Hoder of the New England Conference, “Divestment is a good move financially and an essential move morally for the church.”

About UMKR: United Methodist Kairos Response is a global grassroots network of laity and clergy within the United Methodist Church working to end Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land.  Responding to an urgent call from Palestinian Christians, UMKR advocates principled investment decisions and consumer choices that will have an impact on the occupation.  Through research, education and advocacy, UMKR supports non-violent means of securing a just peace for all the peoples of Israel and Palestine. For more information, see 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Twitter Action for CAT Shareholder Meeting June 12!

Caterpillar will be conducting its 2013 annual meeting of stockholders on  Wednesday, June 12 at 8am EDT in  Greensboro, North Carolina. A number of groups are planning actions around the meeting and you can get involved as well by tweeting during the meeting about CAT selling weaponized bulldozers to Israel, house demolitions, and BDS. 

The meeting is from 8am-9am EDT, so plan your tweets to be posted then. Sample tweets below. You can also make your own using #stopCAT and @CaterpillarInc. 

  • Rachel stood in front of CAT bulldozer to protect Palestinian home & YOU can join Day of Action against @CaterpillarInc (Tweet Now)
  • Since 1967 Israel has demolished at least 25,000 Palestinian homes #stopCAT (Tweet Now
  • In March 2003 a Caterpillar D9 bulldozer operated by Israeli army killed peace activist Rachel Corrie #stopCAT (Tweet Now
  • Surprised @CaterpillarInc wasn't named to "25 Noteworthy Companies" profiting from occupation & #humanrights abuses (Tweet Now
  • Shame that @CaterpillarInc proudly supports Israel's brutal military occupation (Tweet Now
  • .@CaterpillarInc is the world's leading manufacturer of destruction equipment #stopCAT (Tweet Now
  • At Visitors Center u can experience Caterpillar. Don't worry, ur house won't be demolished by a bulldozer #stopCAT (Tweet Now)
  • .@OberlinCollege Student Senate voted to divest from @CaterpillarInc. Won’t TIAA-CREF do the same? #stopCAT @TC_Talks (Tweet Now)
  • 10 years ago Rachel Corrie blocked path of CAT bulldozer, protesting destruction of Palestinian homes #stopCAT (Tweet Now
  • Don’t you love shareholder meetings for corporations that support the Israeli occupation? #stopCAT @CaterpillarInc (Tweet Now
  • So what will it be? People or profit? Rachel Corrie chose people #stopCAT #RememberRachel (Tweet Now)  
  • Israeli demolition of Palestinian homes has killed 21 unarmed Palestinians since 1967 #stopCAT (Tweet Now
  • @CaterpillarInc bulldozers destroy Palestinian homes, build illegal settlements & walls, kill civilians #stopCAT (Tweet Now
Also Jon Huntsman, who is best known for being one the Republican presidential hopefuls of the 2012 elections but also holds a prominent position as a board member of Caterpillar, will be the commencement speaker at the University of Washington on Saturday, June 15. 

Students for Palestinian Equal Rights and The Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice are organizing lots of ways to educate commencement-goers and graduates about the role of CAT in the Israeli occupation and to urge Huntsman to use his position to end sales of CAT bulldozers to Israel. Get involved here and follow #uwCATfree on Twitter. 
  • Hey @JonHuntsman, It's Time. CAT Out of Palestine via @uwsuper (Tweet Now
  • #Huskies Take Action and urge @JonHuntsman to end sales of CAT bulldozers to Israel #stopCAT (Tweet Now)
  • Congrats #uwgrad13! Use this occasion to tell ur commencement speaker @JonHuntsman to do right thing #uwCATfree (Tweet Now)

Thursday, June 6, 2013

What is “economic peace?”

These last few days, the term “economic peace” has been used to critique the decision of Secretary of State John Kerry to invest $4 billion in the West Bank. What is “economic peace” and why for many activists who wish to see justice in Palestine, is this controversial?

 “Economic peace” means that economic stability and prosperity in the Palestinian territories would be a good vector of political prosperity. However, what economic peace develops and promotes is the dependency of the Palestinian Authority on Israel.

The PA has no power to implement any form of economic policy to begin with due to the occupation. The Oslo Accords did not grant independence to the Palestinian territories but rather nominal control of certain parts to the PA. Decades later, the PA, with the help of the international community through plans like Kerry's, is trying to deliver growth and economic prosperity while ignoring the issue of occupation. Economic peace has meant the PA following global trend of adopting neoliberal policies that haven't actually helped alleviate poverty, let alone end the occupation. Donors have been giving funds to the PA that have exceeded $1.5 dollars annually since 2007, yet a third of the West Bank inhabitants live under the poverty line. Instead money has been going to the construction of international hotels, car shows and fashionable restaurants. It also created a bubble in the city of Ramallah.

The occupation means that the PA has to rely on Israel to establish any political or economic agenda. The PA has no central bank and therefore cannot control the interest rates and inflation or set a competitive currency exchange rate in support of export-led economic growth. Its commitment to the Economic Protocol with Israel means that it cannot independently reduce tariff rates or value Added Taxes. Well-defined property rights, which are a prerequisite for investment, are not present in the West Bank due to the limited jurisdiction of the PA. The PA only controls fiscal policy, notably through reducing public expenditure and increasing tax revenues. Almost everything else is dependent on Israel.

In the reports by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank about the economic situation of Palestinians, the consequences of occupation are never mentioned. Both of these institutions use technical and neutral vocabulary and do not denounce Israel’s unlawful policies. Kerry's latest plans resembles past ones pushed by the United States and international organizations like the IMF and World Bank. These plans try to normalize occupation- economic peace, seems to be only another word for status quo. 

Even if one takes a neoliberal point of view, economic growth can only occur when there is a production of goods or services. Given that the Palestinians have no control over their production or their goods, Kerry’s plan or any other plan that does not ask for the end of the Israeli occupation is doomed to fail.
Occupation is still present because many companies in the United States and worldwide benefit from it. Kerry should consider supporting peace by promoting the BDS movement and ending U.S. military aid to Israel. This is an economic plan for Palestine that will cost less and achieve more. Isn’t that the goal given the current bad economy?