Showing posts with label motorola. Show all posts
Showing posts with label motorola. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Update from Tampa on Methodist Divestment Vote

US Campaign National Organizer Anna Baltzer and Steering Committee member Sydney Levy write from Tampa where they provide an upbeat assessment of the impending vote of the United Methodist Church resolution on divestment from companies profiting from Israeli military occupation.

Check out their article, "The Push for Divestment Continues as the Methodist General Conference Enters Its Second Week" on Mondoweiss.

Palestinian Methodist Missionary and Pastor Alex Awad outside the Tampa convention center where the Methodist divestment vote will take place. (Photo: Anna Baltzer)
The Methodist vote is scheduled to take place sometime today.  You can watch a live-stream of the proceedings  by clicking here. 

Also, be sure to follow the live-Tweeting from the Methodist conference at the following hash tags and Twitter handles:
  • #gc2012 
  • #churchdivest
  • @UMKairosResp
  • @US_Campaign
  • @jvplive

    Friday, February 17, 2012

    David Wildman at PennBDS: Motorola and Caterpillar profited off apartheid South Africa before occupation

    David Wildman serves on the Steering Committee of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, which has supported the national boycott and divestment campaigns against Motorola and Caterpillar for much of the past decade. The following appeared on Mondoweiss.

    by Alex Kane on February 6, 2012

    Palestinian-American poet Remi Kanazi, who had a rocking performance at Penn's boycott, divestment and sanctions conference (BDS) Saturday night, explained the appeal of BDS in a tweet: "#BDS [is] so successful because it's a positive, ethical, rights based, anti-racist & inclusive movement to upend Apartheid. #pennbds." The conference showcased those qualities. But to add to Kanazi's list, one reason why BDS campaigns targeting Israeli apartheid is so appealing is because it has a successful precedent to look to, as David Wildman reminded conference-goers.
    Wildman is a long-time faith-based activist who gave a talk on Saturday during a panel on the movement against South African apartheid. He told conference goers that, just as Motorola and Caterpillar profit from the Israeli occupation, these companies profited from South African apartheid. And as I learned after doing some reading, Motorola did eventually divest from South Africa in 1985. Today, Motorola and Caterpillar are the targets of divestment campaigns across the country--this time with the focus on Israel.
    Adalah-NY has the history on Motorola:
    Motorola today enables Israeli apartheid as Motorola South Africa once enabled South African apartheid. Forty percent owned by its American parent, Motorola South Africa supplied mobile radio transmitters to the South African police.These radio transmitters helped police suppress protest against white rule. Motorola’s dealings with the apartheid regime came to an end in 1985, when Motorola sold its South African operations to South African electronic company Allied Technologies Ltd. (Altech) on the condition that the latter cease equipment sales to South African agencies. The agreement was a win for US anti-apartheid activists, who had pressured Motorola to break its ties with the South African regime and had helped to pass municipal laws, in New York and elsewhere that prohibited city governments from doing business with companies supplying equipment used to enforce apartheid in South Africa. 
    Caterpillar, on the other hand, resisted the pressure to divest from South Africa. The company's 1985 explanation for resisting calls for divestment is cited in this book on U.S.-South Africa relations:
    Caterpillar is aware of demands that U.S. companies withdraw from South Africa as a protest against governmental policies in that country. We do not believe that such a withdrawal by Caterpillar from South Africa would serve any useful purpose. Withdrawal would be harmful to our employees of every race and would eliminate the  opportunity to work for peaceful change.
    Today, Caterpillar and Motorola continue to profit from Israel's decades-long military occupation. Caterpillar's bulldozers are the machines that crush Palestinian homes, and Motorola, as Adalah-NY explains,
    enables Israel’s apartheid policies and violations of international law through the development and sale of products specifically designed for and used by the Israeli Army
    That's why they are the targets of boycotts and calls for divestment, like Jewish Voice for Peace's TIAA-CREF campaign.
    Fittingly, a day after the end of the BDS conference, the news that South Africa was considering imposing sanctions on Israel broke:
    The country's Minister of Arts and Culture announced at a conference in Pretoria last week that the government is seeking to increase support for the dispossessed Palestinian people.
    "We want to step up our support of the Palestinians and are investigating a number of peaceful ways to upgrade this support. We have no problem with supporting the Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel," Minister of Arts and Culture Paul Mashatile told a local newspaper. 
    How the tables have turned.

    Thursday, September 15, 2011

    MRTI reports on engagement with companies doing business in Israel-Palestine

    The Committee on Mission Responsibility Through Investment of the Presbyterian Church has recommended that the Church add three companies to its divestment list including Caterpillar and Motorola.  Read more about Caterpillar hereand Motorola here.

    At its meeting on September 9, the Committee on Mission Responsibility Through Investment (MRTI) approved its report to the 220th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) on its engagement with corporations doing business in Israel-Palestine. As part of its regular process of corporate engagement, and based on directives given to it by each General Assembly since 2004, the committee recommended that three companies be added to the General Assembly divestment list: Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard, and Motorola Solutions.

    “The General Assembly asked us to do everything we could to bring about change through dialogue, and we have done this, even asking the Assembly for more time over the years,” said committee chair the Rev. Brian Ellison, a pastor from Kansas City, Mo. “Today we are sadly reporting that these efforts have not produced any substantive change in company policies or practices, and that there is little reason for hope they will do so in the future. According to the Assembly’s prior directives and the church’s ordinary engagement process, we have little choice but to recommend divestment.”

    Monday, June 27, 2011

    BDS Earlham Rallies Alumni to Support Students Working for Ethical Investment

    BDS Earlham is a Coalition Member of the US Campaign

    Students, Friends and families of Earlham College, past and present, are being called upon to promote ethical investment by divesting from companies like Motorola, Caterpillar and Hewlett-Packard, which are complicit in Israel's human rights violations. BDS Earlham has launched a new initiative called "Earlham Alumni Against Apartheid" to get everyone associated with Earlham College involved.

    Below is the a letter from BDS Earlham to all Earlham Alumni, calling on them to join the BDS movement

    Dear Earlhamites,

    On behalf of Earlham Alumni Against Apartheid, I’m writing today to ask you to participate in a campaign to pressure Earlham College to live up to our values of peace, justice, and ethical investment.   A new student group called BDS Earlham is currently asking our college to divest from three companies that are profiting off of the Israeli military occupation of Palestine.  BDS Earlham is asking Earlham Alumni, parents, and friends of the college to show our support for their campaign by signing their petition. I’d like to invite you to take just one moment to show your support by signing their petition and becoming involved in this important campaign.
    BDS Earlham is calling on Earlham to divest from Motorola, Caterpillar, and Hewlett-Packard.  These companies violate the spirit of Earlham’s ethical investment guidelines through their complicity in Israeli human rights violations:
    • Motorola manufactures the Israeli military with encrypted mobile phone technology and manufactures “virtual fences” and surveillance systems for Israeli settlements.   These Jewish-only settlements are a potent symbol of Israeli apartheid and are illegal under several international laws, including the 4th Geneva Convention.  Motorola also has close ties with Aeronautics Defense Systems (ADS), which makes drone aircraft.  Last April Human Rights Watch reported finding debris from Motorola bomb components in the rubble of civilian buildings in the Gaza Strip.
    • Caterpillar manufactures weaponized bulldozers that the Israeli army uses to demolish Palestinian homes.   Since Israel occupied the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in 1967, it has demolished more than 12,000 Palestinian homes, leaving over 70,000 people traumatized and without shelter.
    • Hewlett-Packard manufactures the Basel System, a body scanning technology used at Israeli checkpoints at the Gaza borders and inside the West Bank.   Israel’s system of checkpoints prevent Palestinians from moving freely, stopping farmers from accessing their land, students from going to school, and sick people from getting medical attention.

    Read the rest of the letter and sign the petition here

    Tuesday, June 14, 2011

    TIAA-CREF Censors Shareholders... We Flash-Mob!

    Above: Palestinian boy calls on people worldwide to boycott Elbit and end Israeli occupation and apartheid.

    Traveling through Palestine during the past few weeks, co-leading a delegation organized by Interfaith Peace-Builders, a US Campaign member group, I witnessed firsthand the destruction wrought by corporations profiting from Israeli occupation and apartheid.

    I watched Caterpillar bulldozers leveling earth for illegal Jewish-only settlements in occupied East Jerusalem. I stood under Motorola-equipped watchtowers and thermal cameras at checkpoints and terminals that separate Palestinians from their schools, jobs and basic human services. I saw Elbit equipment used in patrolling the Apartheid wall. I documented Veolia buses operated on roads forbidden to non-Jews in the West Bank. On the first anniversary of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, I honored the nine civilians killed by Israel with Northrop Grumman helicopters and other U.S. taxpayer-funded weapons.

    The growing "We Divest" Campaign demands that retirement fund giant TIAA-CREF divest from Caterpillar, Motorola, Elbit, Veolia and Northrop Grumman because all five are profiting from the illegal Israeli occupation.

    TIAA-CREF presents itself as committed to "serving the greater good," in part by engaging with companies behaving poorly. This is why 20 investors and anti-occupation activists filed a shareholders resolution earlier this year, asking TIAA-CREF to engage with companies profiting from the occupation.

    Despite a stated commitment to transparency, TIAA-CREF asked the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to help suppress the resolution. The SEC agreed not to sue TIAA-CREF for refusing to submit the proposal to a shareholder vote. TIAA-CREF bills itself as socially responsible, yet it is blocking its investors from choosing whether or not to retire on money acquired through an illegal, immoral occupation.

    Above: BDS activists protest outside TIAA-CREF offices in Denver during Israeli Apartheid Week. Click image to enlarge, and click here to see video.

    It's time to show TIAA-CREF that they cannot silence investors and violate their own proclaimed investment standards while we sit idly by! We need to keep the pressure on.

    Many of you have already signed the petition asking TIAA-CREF to divest from Israeli occupation. Now it's time to take the next step. In the spirit of this spring's Flash Mob Frenzy, there will be a coordinated week of flash mobs across the country, starting June 20.

    Have you been itching to stage a flash mob in your community? Here's your chance! There's a song everyone knows, catchy lyrics, and simple but groovy dance steps all ready to use!

    The materials come with a how-to kit based on the US Campaign's BDS Flash Mob Step-by-Step Guide.

    Click here to connect with others in your area to take part in the Flash Mob Action Week and demand that TIAA-CREF stop profiting from occupation, stop censoring investors, and start acting like a real socially responsible investment fund!

    Hope to see you -- getting your socially responsible groove on -- soon!

    Anna Baltzer
    National Organizer

    PS --
    We can support grassroots BDS activism around the country only with grassroots support from people like you. Help us by making a general tax-deductible donation, or by joining our Olive Branch Club to make a recurring tax-deductible donation.

    Thursday, May 19, 2011

    Show Caterpillar it can run, but it can't hide

    By Anna Baltzer, National Organizer
    May 19, 2011

    For the past seven years, the US Campaign and many of our coalition member groups, including Chicagoans Against Apartheid in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace, have dominated Caterpillar's annual Chicago-area shareholder meetings by organizing creative protests inside and outside the meetings, like these actions in 2009 and in 2010 (click to learn more).

    Above: Activists protest outside a Caterpillar shareholder meeting. (click image to enlarge).

    Together, we've challenged the corporation for supplying Israel with D9 bulldozers -- which Israel misuses to demolish Palestinian homes, uproot olive trees, construct Jewish-only settlements and the Apartheid Wall, and kill and maim unarmed civilians -- at Caterpillar's most important annual gathering.

    Apparently CAT has had enough of us all dominating their annual shareholder meeting. Recently, it announced that it is moving its meeting on June 8th to Little Rock, Arkansas. CAT can run 700 miles away for its meeting this year, but we're still watching.

    Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak explained in a recent interview in the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz that:

    "BDS [boycott, divestment, and sanctions]... will start coming at us like a glacier, from all corners."

    Our joint corporate accountability campaign to challenge CAT's role continues from all corners: from shareholder activism, to targeting the U.S. government's Foreign Military Sales Program D9 deliveries, to student divestment campaigns and CAT-free campuses. Only with your help in targeting CAT from "all corners" will this campaign continue to grow!

    Here are some updates and ways for you to advance our collective "Stop Caterpillar" campaign:

    Last October, media reports stated that CAT would not deliver bulldozers to the Israeli military during the civil trial brought by Cindy and Craig Corrie against Israel for the 2003 killing of their daughter Rachel by its military with a weaponized Caterpillar D9 bulldozer as she nonviolently tried to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian home in the Gaza Strip.

    Click here for trial updates from the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice, a US Campaign member group.

    We need to maintain pressure on the Obama Administration and on CAT to make sure no D9 bulldozers -- destined to destroy Palestinian homes and lives -- are delivered ever! In the lead-up to CAT's shareholder meeting...

    Show CAT it can run but it can't hide!
    Join nearly 15,000 people in signing our petition to the Obama Administration demanding the end of D9 Caterpillar bulldozer deliveries to the Israeli military, and an investigation into Israel's violations of U.S. laws committed with Caterpillar equipment.


    Above: Video by Earlham College students (click to watch).

    This spring has brought a surge of campus divestment campaigns targeting Caterpillar and other corporations profiting from Israeli occupation and apartheid. Students at Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA, which declared itself CAT-free last year, have joined with campuses like the University of Arizona (UA) in a "Mock Wall" movement coinciding with the launch of a resolution to divest from Caterpillar and Motorola. Likewise, students in a new US Campaign member group, BDS Earlham, are calling for divestment from Caterpillar, Motorola and Hewlett Packard.

    Show CAT it can run but it can't hide!
    Click here to show your support for the Earlham College resolution to divest from Caterpillar.

    3. Dozens of groups around the country, including member groups Jewish Voice for Peace, Grassroots International, and the Palestine Solidarity Committee at UT-Austin, are building campaigns to get TIAA-CREF, one of the largest financial services providers in the United States, to divest more than $250 million from Caterpillar (along with holdings in other occupation-profiteers).

    Show CAT it can run but it can't hide!
    Click here to call for TIAA-CREF's divestment and to find out how you can become a local organizer on this fast-spreading campaign.

    Let's prove Ehud Barak right by using all possible avenues to end Caterpillar's complicity in Israel's occupation and apartheid policies!

    Monday, May 9, 2011

    TIAA-CREF campaign update

    Jewish Voice for Peace is one of more than 350 member groups in our nationwide coalition.

    Campaign to Divest from Retirement Giant TIAA-CREF, Nationwide Right to Education Tour

    Jewish Voice for Peace

    Our TIAA-CREF campaign continues to gain strength. We are asking the retirement giant to divest from companies such as Caterpillar and Veolia, both heavily implicated in human rights abuses connected to the Israeli occupation. With your help, we plan to bring thousands of new signatures in favor of divestment to the CREF shareholder meeting in July, where some of our members will be presenting a shareholder’s resolution to encourage divestment. Help us spread the word by asking shareholders to sign our public pledge at our new website ( where you can also get additional information about the campaign and how to take action.

    In support of the campaign, we launched a “Right to Education” tour featuring Palestinian students who are speaking in fifteen cities across the United States, from campuses to community centers to high schools. At one of our early events in Boston, we heard that students were talking in the hallways, at lunch, and in classes about what they had heard from the Palestinian students about their lives and the obstacles they face due to the Occupation. You can find the whole tour schedule at


    Sunday, May 1, 2011

    Dr. Cornel West endorses BDS, supports Ethnic Studies at University of Arizona

    Editor's Note: We also blogged about recent actions on the University of Arizona campus here.

    Nora Barrows-Friedman
    Saturday, April 30, 2011

    Following the recent direct action on the University of Arizona (UA) campus — in which an enormous mock wall was constructed to bring attention to Israel’s wall in the West Bank and the wall at the US-Mexico border — legendary intellectual and academic Dr. Cornel West formally called on the UA community to divest from corporations that profit from Israel’s illegal settlement policies and the occupation of Palestine as well as from “immigrant and indigenous suffering and youth cultural censorship in Arizona and nationwide.”

    In an open letter to the UA community, including students, faculty, staff, and the administration, Dr. West stated:

    “Powerful social movements such as the one that helped end South African apartheid have shown that when world governments fail to enforce the rule of law, international civil community must arise to meet the challenge of upholding fundamental human rights and securing justice. Ethnic studies youth activists and groups like Jewish Voice for Peace are doing just that. As [South African Archbishop Desmond] Tutu and many others point out in the case of the Palestinians—as well as that of Latina/o immigrants and indigenous peoples in the U.S.—the tactic of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) is an effectively nonviolent means of exerting moral and economic pressures to end unjust policies, from racial profiling to repressive laws, to foreign occupation and land settlement.  Perhaps the most vulnerable right in these situations is the right of education, because of the endangered cultural future it represents.  Those in the United States and Israel who hold the levers of power and influence over such policies must be beckoned to the negotiating table so that vulnerable peoples can anticipate a peaceful future through living a just and honorable peace.”

    Identifying Caterpillar and Motorola, two US corporations that have entrenched contracts with the Israeli military, Dr. West said that such companies are responsible for the “treachery targeting our youth’s future” and praised the current campaign launched by JVP to urge giant pension fund TIAA-CREF to divest from such corporations.

    Connecting the struggles between Palestine and Arizona (and other immigrant communities across the US) has been a powerful movement that keeps growing more and more vocal. Especially with the shocking presence of Arizona’s anti-immigrant “Minutemen” — whose members have been given the green light by state officials to shoot-to-kill undocumented immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border — the solidarity movements bridging Palestinian and American indigenous peoples have been intensifying. Elizabeth Dake, a student and ASUA Women’s Resource Center Health and Sexuality Chair, stated in the Arizona Daily Wildcat (UA’s on-campus newspaper) on 25 April that:

    “Denying education to Palestinian students and eliminating ethnic studies in Arizona are necessary steps to maintain oppressive, pro-corporate policies. The UofA currently holds contracts with Motorola, Caterpillar…which support Israeli occupation of Palestine and anti-immigrant legislation in Arizona. Divestment is the strongest statement our university can make in support for worldwide human rights. We, as members of the university community, demand that our administration end our university’s contracts with these corporations and stand up for human rights around the world and at home.”

    Dr. West’s endorsement of the Palestinian-led call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) comes amidst a time of severe attacks not only against Latin American immigrants, but of Ethnic Studies programs across Arizona campuses — a move that has sparked nationwide outrage and protest from students, academics and anti-racist activists. In a joint press release, No More Deaths (No Mas Muertes) and Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) stated that:

    West’s letter came on the heels of an Ethnic Studies youth movement that is shaking Arizona and the nation to its bones.

    This past Tuesday night, when the Tucson Unified District School Board (TUSD) was to vote on a fateful measure that would effectively dismantle Ethnic Studies programs as core classes for students, the popular youth coalition UNIDOS (United Non-discriminatory Individuals Demanding Our Studies) and dozens of supporters occupied the TUSD headquarters. Minutes before the meeting was to begin, 9 UNIDOS activists rushed the Board platform and chained themselves to Board members’ chairs and dais, setting up a banner that read, “UNIDOS Presents the Youth School Board.” The Board was unable to hold their meeting and rescheduled for a later time. Asiya Mir, organizer with UNIDOS and founder of Tucson High School Students for Justice in Palestine, was one of the 9 activists who chained themselves to the board. Mir believes the TUSD board will not yield from selling out the students’ education. However, she said, “We stopped them from passing the vote tonight. For tonight, it’s a victory.”

    Dr. West explained in his letter that Ethnic Studies programs:

    “[are] about the quest for truth, from the standpoint of the weak and the vulnerable who are rising up to speak, to educate, to struggle and to build justice from the ground up … Bold Arizona youth who are fending off attacks on their cherished Ethnic Studies in an environment of racism and hostility; courageous Palestinian youth who aim to preserve and defend their own fragile Ethnic Studies from the violent, cultural destruction of a vicious, 44-year Israeli occupation—an occupation whose length continually represses the memory of a peaceful time … A decent education cannot be limited to tolerating youth accessing their ethnic and cultural history but must be about facilitating their right to do so, without the hindrance of state or corporate exploiters.”

    West continued:

    “Attacks on education are big business. Greed is amuck in Arizona and in occupied Palestine. U.S. corporations like Caterpillar and Motorola—and others especially in the prison-Industrial complex—continue to profit from the suffering of peoples who seek dignity and self-determination in Arizona. Similar corporations profit from the misery of occupied and distressed peoples in Palestine.”


    Thursday, February 4, 2010

    Boycott and divestment gets mainstream attention in church, on campus

    It's good news to see that boycott and divestment campaigns against companies profiting from Israeli occupation and apartheid are becoming increasingly mainstream. Here's a couple of recent examples. The National Catholic Reporter ran a great article about the Kairos Document produced by the Palestinian Christian community, calling for churches around the world to intervene for justice and peace in Israel/Palestine via boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaigns:
    "The leaders of the thirteen Christian communities serving in the Palestinian territories -- including Latin and Orthodox patriarchs -- have declared the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories a “sin against God and humanity” and urged Christians everywhere to nonviolently intervene to end its injustices....Such a response, the authors wrote, includes civil disobedience, boycotts, and divestment campaigns. “Resistance is a right and duty for Christians. But it is resistance with love as its logic,” they said....The national committee for the Palestinian Boycott and Divestment and Sanctions campaign said it “saluted the moral clarity, courage, and principled position conveyed in this new document which emphasizes that resisting injustice should ‘concern the church.’ "
    The article quotes US Campaign National Media Coordinator David Hosey in regards to U.S. church involvement with divestment campaigns:
    "David Hosey, media coordinator for the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation and a missionary with the United Methodist Church, said members of the New England conference of that church are in correspondence with the targeted companies, the first step in “phased divestment.” The Methodists adopted a resolution in 2004 opposing the Israeli occupation of Palestinian Territories. Various regional conferences are now debating whether or not to express that opposition with divestment campaigns....
    As for action from the Roman Catholic Church, Hosey said members of the Sisters of Loretto, a U.S. order of Catholic women religious, were pushing for shareholder resolutions urging Caterpillar to stop its sale of militarized bulldozers to Israel.
    Christian calls for divestment have sparked criticism from various Jewish organizations and, at times, strained inter-religious dialogue. But Hosey thinks that could change as more Jewish and Israeli groups endorse using economic pressure to change Israeli action in the Occupied Territories."
    Divestment is becoming part of the mainstream discourse on U.S. campuses as well. The University of Arizona Daily Wildcat now includes a weekly column on corporate involvement in the Israeli occupation. This week's column notes the connections between corporate accountability work against sweat shops, the BDS campaign against South African apartheid, and the BDS movement against Israeli occupation, as well as highlighting the University's investments in human rights abusers Caterpillar and Motorola:
    "After an intensive anti-sweatshop campaign last spring led by students in the Sweatshop-Free Coalition and University Community for Human Rights, President Robert Shelton had the UA divest our financial holdings in the Russell Corporation due to the company’s singularly cruel labor abuses in its factories in Honduras. Now, while all eyes are on Shelton as he continues to sit on the UA’s illegal business contracts with Caterpillar and Motorola, it’s worth noting that divestment activism on campus stretches back far beyond Shelton’s tenure and probably beyond everything else on campus except for the oldest of UA’s buildings........Motorola and Caterpillar, two companies perpetuating grisly crimes upon mostly Palestinian civilians in the occupied West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, are so unspeakable as to have prompted Jewish South African politician Ronnie Kasrils, who was quoted in the United Kingdom’s Guardian in a 2006 article, to denounce the U.S.-backed Israeli occupation as “much worse than apartheid” of the sort under which Kasrils and others survived for so many long, bloody years. A rich history has proven that UA students have risen to the occasion of doing everything they can to disassociate themselves and their universities from such atrocities. One doesn’t have to look far to see that such a time has come again."
    Check out the US Campaign's website for resources on starting your own boycott and divestment campaign on campus and/or organizing against Caterpillar and Motorola in your community.

    Tuesday, January 26, 2010

    Powerful campus divestment video from Students Against Israeli Apartheid--Carleton University

    Check out this powerful video from Students Against Israeli Apartheid at Carleton University in Ottawa: Learn how to start a divestment campaign on your own campus by clicking here. Learn more about the boycott of Motorola here. Click here to learn about Israeli Apartheid Week 2010--and email if you want to get involved in Israeli Apartheid Week in the United States!

    Monday, January 25, 2010

    Another divestment victory in Denmark as energy builds for campus divestment across North America

    A Danish bank has added two Israeli companies that profit from the Israeli occupation to their list of companies that fail to meet the bank's Socially Responsible Investment standards, according to the Copenhagen Post Online. Settlement-builder Africa Israel and Apartheid Wall-contractor Elbit Systems were added to the "no investment" list of Dankse Bank. This is not the first time that either company has come under fire for its violation of human rights and international law in the occupied Palestinian territories. Africa Israel is majority-owned by New York-based diamond merchant Lev Leviev, a fact that has been highlighted by US Campaign member group Adalah-NY in a sustained campaign against Leviev's settlement-building and blood-diamond dealing activities. Leviev invests in Israeli settlements throughout the West Bank, including on the land of the Palestinian village of Bil'in, home of still-imprisoned Palestinian activist Abdallah Abu Rahmah. In March 2009, the British Embassy in Tel Aviv refused to rent space to Africa Israel due to the companies illegal activity in the West Bank. Elbit Systems, which is one of the major contractors involved in the building of Israel's Apartheid Wall and also has half of the contract on the U.S./Mexico border wall, has already lost investors due to its involvement in the Israeli Occupation, most notably the decision of the Norwegian Government Pension Fund to divest from Elbit in September 2009. Recently-freed Palestinian activist Mohammad Othman was arrested by Israel while returning from Norway to testify about the involvement of Elbit in the construction of the Wall. The Copenhagen Post Online quotes a representative of Dankse Bank on the reason for the bank's "no investment" decision:
    "Thomas H. Kjærgaard, head of Danske Bank’s SRI department, told the bank was looking out for the interests of its customers by not ‘placing their money in companies that violate international standards’. ‘It’s not in itself against national legislation to build a house, but our SRI policy goes further than that. It adheres to UN conventions and analyses them in a political context. It’s the Nordic, UN and EU position that the settlements are illegal and a hindrance to a peaceful resolution. On that basis we can state that this is a violation of our SRI policy,’ he said."
    Investors in other corporate profiteers--companies such as Caterpillar and Motorola that continue to make money at the expense of Palestinian lives, lands, and liberty--would do well to heed Kjærgaard's words. -- In other divestment news, the energy of campus divestment campaigns continues to grow. Here's Gabriel Schivone writing in the University of Arizona Daily Wildcat:
    "In a letter dated Dec. 31, 2009, addressed to the student-led monitoring group, the University of Arizona Community for Human Rights, and to the faculty-based University Committee for Monitoring Labor and Human Rights Issues, the New England Conference of the United Methodist Church relayed its leading research on each Motorola and Caterpillar with regard to the companies’ involvement in the illegal military occupation of Palestine: “For years churches and human rights groups have met with Caterpillar and submitted resolutions urging it to stop providing bulldozers that demolish Palestinian homes.”

    “During this time,” the church states, “Caterpillar has deepened its involvement with the occupation.” "

    And here's Aidan McDonald of Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, writing at
    "[D]espite Carleton President Roseann Runte's characterization of the university as an institution that is "engaged in solving real-world problems," and her proclamation that it emphasizes human rights and social justice, Students Against Israeli Apartheid -- Carleton (SAIA) has discovered that the Carleton University Pension Fund has tens of millions of dollars invested in...companies which are willing contributors to the litany of social and political ailments that plague our global community....Motorola, BAE and Northrop Grumman are perhaps the most egregious of the bunch, as they all supplied Israel with military equipment that was used in the 2008-2009 bombardment of Gaza....Adopting SRI would go a long way towards making Carleton a more ethical institution, and would align it with its obligations under international law. Similarly, divesting from these companies would be a major step for the BDS movement, and for the pursuit of justice for the Palestinian people. The international precedents for both actions have been set. The pressure is now on for Carleton to do the right thing."
    Read the rest of Gabriel and Aidan's articles, and then find out how you can start your own campus divestment initiative.

    Tuesday, January 12, 2010

    CommonDreams article on Gaza Freedom March highlights Israeli apartheid

    Joshua Brollier of Voices for Creative Nonviolence relates some "Lessons from the Gaza Freedom March" at Here's Brollier on Israeli apartheid:
    "Throughout the Gaza Freedom March presence in Cairo, our sisters and brothers from the South African delegation dynamically articulated the connections between injuries that indigenous Africans suffered under the white supremacist regime in Pretoria and the inequalities that Palestinians now face at the hands of the Israeli government. The delegation informed us that just as blacks in South Africa were forced to live in Bantustans and provide cheap labor for industry controlled by whites, so the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank are caged in smaller and smaller areas controlled by Israeli military checkpoints. The economic livelihood of the Palestinians is reliant upon free movement through these checkpoints and Israel often only grants access for Palestinians when it is financially useful for Israel. Similar to the situation in South Africa, Israel controls all the beneficial natural resources and siphons the productivity and profit of the resources away from the people of Palestine."
    Brollier goes on to note that comparisons with South Africa or with the U.S. governments treatment of American Indians highlights the ongoing complicity of U.S. government and corporate actors:
    "Many people who study and discuss issues related to Palestine are aware of the South African and North American analogies, but the general public in the United States doesn't seem to notice that we are subsidizing these bloody policies with 3.5 billion dollars of military aid per year....The Cairo declaration was formed and the South African group gave us insight to further focus the Boycott Divestment Sanctions Movement (BDS) through "campaigns to encourage divestment of trade union and other pension funds from companies directly implicated in the Occupation and/or the Israeli military industries." They suggested very specifically targeting companies in our areas that both enable and profit from the occupation."
    Like what Brollier is saying? Here's how you can get involved: 1) The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation carries out targeted campaigns against Motorola, Caterpillar, and Ahava, three companies that are directly complicit in Israeli occupation and apartheid. Find out more about these and other BDS campaigns by clicking here, and sign up as a local organizer here. 2) Find out more about Israeli apartheid by clicking here, and check out the international Israeli Apartheid Video Contest organized by US Campaign member group and our allies at Stop the Wall. 3) Oppose U.S. military aid to Israel by organizing in your Congressional District.

    Update on Musab Musa Raba'i, Palestinian shepherd attacked by Israeli military

    Last week we passed along a report of an attack on Palestinian shepherds and representatives of US Campaign member group Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) in the West Bank village of At-Tuwani. Here is an update from CPT, and some ideas for action: "On 7 January 2009, soldiers detained Musab Musa Raba’i after attacking him and members of his family as they were complying with the soldiers' order to move their flocks off their family-owned land.(See 8 January 2010 release, AT-TUWANI: Israeli soldiers attack and injure Palestinian shepherds and CPTers; arrest Musa Raba’i) The same eight soldiers who arrested Raba’i and attacked his family took him to a military base at the nearby Suseya settlement. For four hours, soldiers struck him in the back, in the face, and slammed him into walls. The soldiers questioned him about his brothers. Raba’i refused to give any information and refused to speak Hebrew with the soldiers, which infuriated them. The soldiers told him that they would come to his house in the following days and beat or kill him and his brothers. They tried to force him to say that they were the best soldiers in the IDF and beat him when he would not. Raba’i told CPTers the soldiers tied his hands and feet, blindfolded him, and sat him on a chair. Raba’i put his head in his lap, in an attempt to protect his head and his genitals, and refused to lift it. He said that at one point, a soldier cocked his rifle and told him to lift his head or he would shoot him. Raba’i refused. When another soldier tried to bring him food and water, as the military is legally obligated to do in such situations, the soldiers who were torturing him swore at the soldier and told him to leave. The soldiers also refused to allow Raba’i to pray. After four hours of this interrogation and torture, they took Raba’i to Israeli police station in Kiryat Arba settlement. The Israeli police told him that they usually offer detainees food and water, but were giving him nothing because they wanted to punish him. They said that if they ever saw his face again, they would kill him. After thirty minutes, the police tied his hands and feet, blindfolded him, drove him to a location unknown to him and threw him out of the jeep. Fearing that soldiers, police or settlers might see him, he hid in a bush until he saw his family's car. Raba'i was able to call his family, who, accompanied by CPTers, found him and brought him home."
    1) This attack on At-Tuwani appears to be part of a recent increase in repression of Palestinian grassroots nonviolent resistance to Israeli occupation and apartheid. Click here to read more about some of the Palestinian grassroots leaders who have been targeted by this campaign. You can also click here to send an email to the U.S. Consulate in East Jerusalem demanding the release of Palestinians who are imprisoned for their dissent. You can edit the letter to include information about the attack on At-Tuwani and to ask Daniel Rubinstein, the U.S. Consul General in East Jerusalem, to demand that those involved in this crime be brought to justice. Click here to send an email.
    2) U.S. tax dollars aid and abet the human rights abuses committed by the Israeli army, including this most recent attack on At-Tuwani. Organize to oppose U.S. military aid to Israel in your Congressional district by clicking here, and join us in Washington D.C. in March for a Grassroots Advocacy Training and Lobby Day.
    3) Motorola produces communications and surveillance equipment for the Israeli military as well as for settlements like the ones that are encroaching on At-Tuwani's land. Sign a boycott pledge, send an email to Moto's management, and order a Motorola organizing kit.

    Friday, January 8, 2010

    Former Director of American Jewish Congress: Israel is "the only apartheid regime in the Western world"

    Henry Siegman, a former national director of the American Jewish Congress and of the Synagogue Council of America who is now director of the U.S./Middle East Project in New York, writes in The Nation that Israel's continued expansion of settlements constitutes apartheid:
    "Israel's relentless drive to establish "facts on the ground" in the occupied West Bank, a drive that continues in violation of even the limited settlement freeze to which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu committed himself, seems finally to have succeeded in locking in the irreversibility of its colonial project. As a result of that "achievement," one that successive Israeli governments have long sought in order to preclude the possibility of a two-state solution, Israel has crossed the threshold from "the only democracy in the Middle East" to the only apartheid regime in the Western world."
    Siegman goes on to propose that dismantling this system of Israeli apartheid, which he defines as "when a state denies national self-determination to a part of its population--even one that is in the minority--to which it has also denied the rights of citizenship"--will take international intervention:
    It is now widely recognized in most Israeli circles--although denied by Israel's government--that the settlements have become so widespread and so deeply implanted in the West Bank as to rule out the possibility of their removal (except for a few isolated and sparsely populated ones) by this or any future Israeli government unless compelled to do so by international intervention, an eventuality until now considered entirely unlikely....Sooner or later the White House, Congress and the American public...will have to face the fact that America's "special relationship" with Israel is sustaining a colonial enterprise.
    Let your Member of Congress know that you are not interested in maintaining a colonial enterprise. Sign up to organize against U.S. military aid to Israel in your Congressional district by clicking here, and click here to register for our upcoming Grassroots Advocacy Training and Lobby Days in Washington, DC.
    Siegman calls apartheid when he sees it. You can do the same. To learn more about standing up to Israeli apartheid, click here. And click here to sign a pledge to boycott Motorola, a company that is deeply involved in maintaining the infrastructure of Israeli apartheid.

    Thursday, January 7, 2010

    Israeli army attacks Palestinian shepherds and representatives of US Campaign member group

    From US Campaign member group Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT):
    "This morning, Thursday 7 January, 2010, Israeli soldiers attacked and injured Palestinian shepherds from the Musa Raba’i family, as they grazed their sheep in Humra valley, near the village of At-Tuwani in the South Hebron Hills. The soldiers also attacked the two CPTers accompanying the shepherds and broke a video camera. Before leaving the area the soldiers arrested one of the shepherds, Musab Musa Raba’i.
    At around 10:30am Palestinian shepherds were grazing their sheep on privately owned Palestinian land when they saw Israeli settlers observing them from the outpost of Havat Ma’on. A short time later an Israeli army jeep came to the area. After stopping to speak with one of the settlers, three Israeli soldiers approached the shepherds and ordered them to leave the area. The shepherds explained that it was their land, but agreed to move further down into the valley. The soldiers followed them and grabbed at one of the shepherds, so they all tried to quickly leave the area with their sheep. A second army jeep came to the area and a further three soldiers joined in the attack escalating the violence. Soldiers hit the shepherds with their rifle butts, pushed them and while some soldiers forcibly held them to the ground others kicked them.
    Other members of the family came to the area, and the women tried to intervene, hoping to deescalate the situation. However, the women were also forcefully pushed to the ground. CPTers trying to video tape the violent attack were roughly pushed and a soldier grabbed at and broke one of the video cameras.
    Other villagers came to the area and tried to calm the situation by talking with the soldiers, but the soldiers ignored all pleas for calm and instead fired percussion grenades and tear gas into the small group of women and children gathered nearby on the hillside.
    Israeli police reported to the scene after receiving numerous calls from internationals, but arrived as the soldiers were leaving the area. The police told CPTers that there would be a military investigation into the actions of the soldiers.
    During the incident a spokeperson from an Israeli Human Right Organization called the local Israeli Army Brigade Operations Room and the Israeli Army Coordination Office to find out what was happening. She told CPT “I called several time and they had no information and no idea that something was going on in At Tuwani.”
    Additional information: At the time of writing Musab Musa Raba’i is still detained at Kiryat Arba police station. One elderly woman, Umm Juma’ Raba’i, and a young woman, Umm Ribhi Raba’i, who is 2 months pregnant, had to be taken to hospital, suffering from the effects of tear gas inhalation. Three of the shepherds, Kamaal Raba’i, Majde Raba’i and Juma’ Raba’i were hospitalized for their injuries, and a young boy, Ramze Jamaal Raba’i, had his tooth broken."
    UPDATE: Musab Musa Raba'i was released after being beaten badly and not charged with any crime. More details soon.
    1) This attack on At-Tuwani appears to be part of a recent increase in repression of Palestinian grassroots nonviolent resistance to Israeli occupation and apartheid. Click here to read more about some of the Palestinian grassroots leaders who have been targeted by this campaign. You can also click here to send an email to the U.S. Consulate in East Jerusalem demanding the release of Palestinians who are imprisoned for their dissent. You can edit the letter to include information about the attack on At-Tuwani and to ask Daniel Rubinstein, the U.S. Consul General in East Jerusalem, to demand that those involved in this crime be brought to justice. Click here to send an email.
    2) U.S. tax dollars aid and abet the human rights abuses committed by the Israeli army, including this most recent attack on At-Tuwani. Organize to oppose U.S. military aid to Israel in your Congressional district by clicking here.
    3) Motorola produces communications and surveillance equipment for the Israeli military as well as for settlements like the ones that are encroaching on At-Tuwani's land. Sign a boycott pledge and order a Motorola organizing kit.
    4) Check out this video from CPT documenting yet another aspect of Israeli apartheid--electrical pylons for At-Tuwani being taken away by the Israeli military while nearby Israeli settlements enjoy electricity--and then learn more about standing up to Israeli apartheid by clicking here.