Showing posts with label sanctions. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sanctions. Show all posts

Friday, December 16, 2011

Israel Bonds Lawsuit to Continue Despite Governor's Refusal to Divest

US Campaign coalition member group Minnesota Break the Bonds (MN BBC) today distributed the media release below about its lawsuit to get the state to divest from Israel Bonds.

First, here's a TV news clip from November 29, when WCCO Channel 4 News in Minneapolis interviewed activists with MN BBC on the day their lawsuit was announced. The original article can be viewed here.

Israel Bonds Lawsuit to Continue Despite Governor's Refusal to Divest


December 16, 2011


[St. Paul] Minnesota Break the Bonds Campaign (MN BBC), a statewide campaign aimed at stopping Minnesota investment in Israel’s human rights and international law violations, has officially filed its lawsuit against the Minnesota State Board of Investment. This filing comes after Governor Dayton rejected the Campaign’s demand that the SBI divest from in Israel Bonds.

The complaint was formally filed yesterday in the Ramsey County District Court in St. Paul, and today was assigned to Judge Margaret M. Marrinan, with case number 62-CV-11-10079.

On November 29, 2011, MN BBC, along with 26 other co-plaintiffs, including Palestinian residents of the besieged village of Bil’in in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Jewish-Israeli members of the Israeli human rights advocacy group Boycott From Within, served a lawsuit against the SBI demanding that it cancel its Israel Bonds investments. The suit was not formally filed in court at that time in order to permit the SBI an opportunity to resolve MN BBC’s divestment demand without the necessity of court action.

The lawsuit claims that the Board’s investments in Israel Bonds are unlawful according to Minnesota and international law because they help fund Israel’s universally condemned illegal settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Following Governor Dayton’s rejection of the divestment demand, the Executive Committee of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG), headquartered in New York, advised all four members of the SBI Board, including Governor Dayton, that the Board was aiding and abetting Israel’s violation of international law, which also violates Minnesota law. The NLG correspondence to each of the four Board members, which was delivered to them on December 13, 2011, is posted at the MN BBC website at

In deciding to proceed with the lawsuit, the plaintiffs also considered the murder by Israeli soldiers last Friday of Mustafa Tamimi, a Palestinian resident of Nebi Saleh, one of a growing number of West Bank villages besieged by Israeli settlers. Tamimi was shot point-blank in the face with a high velocity tear gas grenade. Israel buys a portion of its military equipment with the aid of Israel Bonds. MN Break the Bonds Campaign believes that Minnesota should not be investing our state's money in such atrocities.

To read the complete version of the lawsuit, go to:


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

We published in The Hill today: "Hold Israel accountable with Leahy law."

Our National Advocacy Director, Josh Ruebner, has a great op-ed today in The Hill, supporting Sen. Leahy's efforts to hold Israel accountable for its violations of U.S. weapons laws. Josh touched a raw nerve with his hard-hitting analysis. Lots of people are attacking him (but not his arguments). Check it out and leave YOUR comment!

Hold Israel accountable with Leahy law

By Josh Ruebner
August 17, 2011

Apologists for Israeli occupation and apartheid claim that advocates for holding Israel accountable for its human rights abuses of Palestinians are “singling Israel out for extra scrutiny” or “holding Israel to a higher standard than other countries.”

Yet, ironically, Israel’s supporters also claim that U.S. military aid to Israel is sacrosanct and, unlike every other governmental program on the chopping block these days, cannot be questioned due to the “special U.S.-Israeli relationship." Dan Carle, a spokesperson for Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), has noted correctly that you cannot have your cake and eat it too.

In response to an article in the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz suggesting that the Vermont Senator will attempt to apply sanctions to certain units of the Israeli military for human rights violations, Carle explained that “the [Leahy] law applies to U.S. aid to foreign security forces around the globe and is intended to be applied consistently across the spectrum of U.S. military aid abroad. Under the law the State Department is responsible for evaluations and enforcement decisions and over the years Senator Leahy has pressed for faithful and consistent application of the law.”

The possibility of Senator Leahy consistently applying this eponymous legislation and holding Israel to the exact same standard as every other country has Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, whose office may have leaked the story in an effort to kill the initiative, in a tizzy.

The “Leahy Law,” as it is commonly known, prohibits the United States from providing any weapons or training to “any unit of the security forces of a foreign country if the Secretary of State has credible evidence that such unit has committed gross violations of human rights.” In the past, this law has been invoked to curtail military aid to countries as diverse as Indonesia, Colombia, Pakistan, and the Philippines. Along with other provisions in the Foreign Assistance Act, of which it is a part, and the Arms Export Control Act, it forms the basis of an across-the-board policy that is supposed to ensure that U.S. assistance does not contribute to human rights abuses.


Friday, May 27, 2011

U.S. Announces Sanctions Against Israeli Company

Although clearly this news has nothing to do with our movement to end U.S. support for Israeli occupation and apartheid -- which we pursue partly through boycott-divestment-and-sanctions campaigns -- still it might serve as a useful answer to anyone who claims that we cannot boycott or sanction Israel.

By Isabel Kershner
May 26, 2011

JERUSALEM -- Even as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was praising the United States in a speech on Tuesday for imposing tougher sanctions on Iran for its nuclear activities, the State Department announced that it was imposing sanctions on a leading Israeli company, Ofer Brothers Group, for activities supporting Iran’s energy sector.

While the State Department’s decision caused Israel considerable embarrassment, it was the timing that created the greatest stir. It came soon after Mr. Netanyahu’s friction with Mr. Obama over using the 1967 borders as a basis for solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“Nobody wants to over-interpret the choice of timing,” said an Israeli official who was speaking on the condition of anonymity for diplomatic reasons, “but there was no objective reason for the State Department to come out with the announcement on that precise day.”

“Does this carry meaning? I am unable to tell you. But you cannot blame anybody for being suspicious,” he said.

The Obama administration dismissed any connection between the sanctions and Mr. Netanyahu’s visit. “These sanctions take months” to work through the Department of Treasury’s vetting process, a senior administration official said. “There is a process.”

Still, the awkward fact remains that a corporation owned by one of Israel’s most prominent business families has been blacklisted for dealings, however indirect, with Iran.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Nakba Day Killings: One More Reason to Boycott Bibi

Above: Protesters gather along the Lebanese-Israeli border in Maroun al-Ras, Lebanon, to mark the anniversary of the Nakba. Photo: Mahmoud Ramsey. (click image to enlarge).

On Sunday, May 15, Israel killed at least 12 unarmed Palestinian refugees and injured hundreds more. The refugees were commemorating the 63rd anniversary of the Nakba, or "catastrophe," as Palestinians call their dispossession and expulsion by Israel before, during, and ever since its founding in 1948.

These Palestinian refugees, inspired by the "Arab Spring" to act as their own agents for achieving their fundamental human rights, sought to exercise their internationally recognized -- but long-denied -- right of return to their homes.

Israel's lethal response with live ammunition provides a stark reminder of the extent to which it will go to maintain its apartheid policies against Palestinians.

While Israel allows Jewish people from anywhere in the world automatically to attain citizenship, it forcibly forbids the return of Palestinian refugees whom it exiled from their homes. Such a policy -- discrimination based on religious or ethnic differences -- is the very definition of apartheid.

Israel's latest atrocity adds one more reason for you to persuade your Members of Congress to boycott Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu's upcoming address to a joint meeting of Congress on May 24.

We've almost reached two thirds of our goal of 10,000 signatures, after which we'll deliver your signature to House Speaker John Boehner, who invited Netanyahu to speak.

Have you signed the petition yet?  If not, please take a minute to sign it, and then spread the word to your friends!

Our message is starting to be heard. There's evidence that if Bibi comes to Congress to deliver more of the same tired arguments -- about why Israel should continue its apartheid rule over Palestinians -- then perhaps his reception won't be so warm.

Last Friday, the Israeli newspaper Ma'ariv cited U.S. sources stating that if Bibi's speech doesn't contain "real content," then "he would be better off canceling it altogether... a speech before Congress is not a ritualistic matter -- he must lay out his vision for peace."[1]

Help us increase the pressure on Israel by signing our petition today.

While in Washington, DC, Netanyahu also will be speaking to the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the largest and most influential lobby supporting Israeli occupation and apartheid against Palestinians.

To coincide with AIPAC's conference, the US Campaign Steering Committee, Advisory Board and staff are gearing up to participate in the discourse-challenging panels and workshops of "Move Over AIPAC," a US Campaign-endorsed event, May 21-24.

Learn more about this seminal event, organized by US Campaign member group CODEPINK, and how you can get involved in efforts to challenge U.S. support for Israeli occupation and apartheid. Join us as we continue our work to change U.S. policy to support freedom, justice and equality as we help to Move Over AIPAC.

[1] Thanks to Israeli human rights activist Didi Remez for the translation of this article.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Take Action: Boycott Bibi

When Congress overrode President Ronald Reagan's veto of a bill to impose sanctions against Apartheid South Africa, enacting the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986 into law, the New York Times reported[1] that:

"Senator Richard G. Lugar, the Indiana Republican who heads the Foreign Relations Committee and was the chief sponsor of the measure, appealed in emotional terms to Pretoria to heed the action taken by Congress.

'As a friend of that Government we are saying wake up!' he said."
Members of Congress often declare that the United States is Israel's "best friend." As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu prepares to address a joint meeting of Congress later this month, it is time for us to wake up members of Congress and tell them that the United States must end its support for Israeli apartheid against Palestinians.

Sign our petition to members of Congress demanding they boycott Bibi's address.

Help us reach our goal of 10,000 signatures this week and we'll personally deliver your signature to House Speaker John Boehner, who invited Netanyahu to address Congress.

Although we haven't yet gained the strength to force the United States to adopt sanctions against Israel for its apartheid practices against Palestinians, we are part of a growing and formidable international movement, taking its lead from Palestinian civil society, that is running successful boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaigns against Israel and corporations that profit from its apartheid policies.

Be a part of this movement by demanding that Congress boycott Bibi's address

Congress never once invited a leader of Apartheid South Africa to address a joint meeting. Post-apartheid President Nelson Mandela was the first and only South African president to receive this honor.

Netanyahu's address this month to a joint meeting of Congress will be the seventh time an Israeli political leader does so.[2]

Tell your members of Congress that they should boycott Bibi's address.

Netanyahu's address to Congress coincides with the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Join us in Washington, DC, at the US Campaign-endorsed Move Over AIPAC gathering, May 21-24, as we continue to build our movement to end U.S. support for Israeli apartheid.



Monday, February 15, 2010 asks: Would sanctions imposed on (apartheid) Israel help Palestinians?

Tony Karon has a piece at that highlights Israeli apartheid and asks the obvious question--if sanctions were necessary to end South African apartheid, won't they be required to end the modern day version? Karon notes a recent statement by Israeli 'Defense' Minister Ehud Barak ("If the Palestinians vote in elections it is a binational state, and if they don't vote it is an apartheid state.") and points out an interesting historical connection:
"Barak sounded his warning in the same week that South Africa marked the 20th anniversary of the decision by the then President F.W. De Klerk to free Nelson Mandela and begin negotiating an end to apartheid. It was certainly a courageous decision by De Klerk, but it's important to remember that it was not some epiphany about the immorality of apartheid that changed his mind. By 1989, with the Cold War essentially over, Pretoria had gotten the message that it could no longer count on U.S. support to head off sanctions and other international pressure in the name of anticommunist solidarity. Financial sanctions were beginning to bite and the price of maintaining the status quo was beginning to appear prohibitive....Political leaders typically change course not because they change their philosophy, but because the cost-benefit ratio in maintaining the status quo no longer makes sense.... [I]f his efforts are to bear any fruit, Obama and his international partners will have to change the cost-benefit analysis for the Israelis and Palestinians by raising both the inducements to act and the consequences of inaction. As long as the status quo remains more politically comfortable than the alternative, there's no reason to expect any progress."
Read the full article here. We've said it before and we'll say it again--the discourse in this country is changing. Words like "apartheid" and "sanctions" are becoming increasingly acceptable to relate to Israeli policy. Of course, we don't think that Israeli apartheid is a thing of the future--it's a thing of the present. That's why we're promoting Israeli Apartheid Week 2010 from March 1-7. Click here to find out more, to see what other groups are organizing, and to get resources for organizing your own Israeli Apartheid Week actions and events.