Archive for the Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions Category

Statement on Jihad al-Murr’s Lawsuit against BDS Organizers in Lebanon

Posted in Actions in Lebanon, Arab Complicity, Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions, Normalization, Take Action on October 24, 2011 by Marcy Newman

You may have heard of the Jihad Al-Murr lawsuit against the organizers of the boycott of the 2010 Placebo concert in Lebanon. If not, here’s a quick recap:

Samah Idriss, director of Dar al-Adab publishing house, received a court summons [recently] from Beirut’s commerce court. Idriss is implicated in a lawsuit for his involvement in a Lebanese boycott campaign against the British rock group Placebo last year. Jihad el-Murr, who heads the company that organized the event, filed the suit on 10 July 2011.

El-Murr is suing Idriss, as well as three other groups involved in the campaign: the Aidoun Refugee Rights Center, the Campaign to Boycott the Supporters of Israel in Lebanon, and the Global BDS Campaign in Lebanon. El-Murr, a self-described famous businessman from a prominent family, is demanding US$180,000 compensation for his company’s financial losses allegedly caused by the boycott campaign.

Jihad el Murr is suing these four organizations/campaigns on the grounds that, because we called for the boycott of Placebo’s concert in Lebanon because they had just performed in Israel, we are thus financially responsible for the smaller turnout at this 2010 concert than the number that went to the 2004 Placebo concert in Lebanon. The lawsuit may have been inspired by the recent anti-boycott law passed by Knesset – which can hold individuals/organizations that call for boycott to be financially responsible for any losses endured by a company/other even without that company proving that the statements have resulted in the loss. The lawsuit may also have been inspired by potential future plans by Jihad el Murr. Either way, the intent is clear: to silence the boycott movement, and to muzzle free speech.

So:

Are you opposed to this anti-boycott lawsuit?
Are you opposed to this attempt to stifle free expression?

If so, please read the statement below. If you agree to this statement, please sign your full name, address, profession, and organization (if any). Please sign your name either in the “comment” section below or email it directly to me at rania.z.masri[at]gmail.com

Note: if you live in Lebanon, you may choose to sign a statement declaring that you are a member of the Campaign to Boycott Zionist Supporters in Lebanon. If so, please state as such in your email or in your comment.

We, the undersigned, attest that we are members of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. We attest that, consequently, we are defendants in the lawsuit against us by To You To See, represented by its manager Mr. Jihad Al-Murr, on the basis of our support for the boycott of the Placebo concert in June 2010 due to Placebo’s insistence on performing in Israel on the eve of the massacre against the Freedom Flotilla.

We, the undersigned, further declare our full stance in solidarity in the defense against this lawsuit. We shall regard this lawsuit as another platform and a new opportunity to consecrate our campaign to boycott supporters of zionist oppression and racism, and to emphasize our right to express what we see as just in the pursuit of this human right. We also stand in solidarity with all the other defendants in this case, including Samah Idriss of the Al-Adab magazine, the Refugee Rights Center – Aidoun, and the Campaign to Boycott Supporters of Israel in Lebanon.
Sometimes the justice system is used to oppress free voices and to strengthen certain power structures. In this lawsuit,the justice system shall be first and foremost a platform to empower the values of justice and freedom in resisting injustice and oppression.

Advertisements

Towards accountability: John Dugard interviewed

Posted in Apartheid, Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions, Why Boycott?!, Zionism on October 9, 2010 by Marcy Newman

Adri Nieuwhof, The Electronic Intifada, 5 October 2010

Last month, Professor John Dugard, former UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, chaired a meeting on universal Jurisdiction in the Hague. The Electronic Intifada contributor Adri Nieuwhof interviewed Dugard about means of bringing Israel to account for its human rights violations, particularly the legal mechanism of universal jurisdiction.

Adri Nieuwhof: Can you explain the principle of universal jurisdiction?

John Dugard: Essentially, universal jurisdiction means that a state has the power to exercise jurisdiction over serious crimes under international law that were committed outside the boundaries of the state by non-nationals. Normally states have only jurisdiction over crimes in their territory by their nationals.

AN: Do states have responsibility towards exercising universal jurisdiction?

JD: Yes, if states are serious about suppressing international crime and preventing impunity, then there is an obligation to exercise universal jurisdiction. It is important to realize that the International Criminal Court in The Hague has limited universal jurisdiction. If impunity is to be avoided, states will have the obligation to prosecute international crimes themselves.

AN: Can you specify what this obligation of states implies?

JD: They have to institute criminal procedures against persons suspected of international crimes, to investigate and to bring the suspects before their court.

AN: You spoke at the meeting about selectivity in implementing universal jurisdiction. Can you clarify this?

JD: Universal jurisdiction is not very effective at present. There are practical difficulties involved, in particular, the collection of evidence. For example, if the Netherlands prosecuted serious crimes committed in Rwanda, it will have to collect evidence in Rwanda. There is no political will on the part of states to exercise universal jurisdiction, particularly where it concerns Israeli officials. When attempts are made to exercise universal jurisdiction over Israeli officials obstacles are raised by governments or courts find some technical reasons for not exercising universal jurisdiction.

AN: Is there a reason behind this selectivity in universal jurisdiction?

JD: European and American states are reluctant to undermine their relations with Israel.

AN: What needs to be done to reverse this selectivity? Is there a role for civil society?

JD: Civil society can always bring pressure on governments to exercise criminal jurisdiction. It has a role to play in changing public opinion. It will mean that courts will start to exercise universal jurisdiction.

AN: Israel increasingly oppresses human rights defenders and activists campaigning for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS). Can you comment on this development?

JD: It is unfortunate. Israel has been relatively tolerant of dissent in its society. It indicates a new repressive tendency of Israeli society. The effect will be stifled dissent in Israeli society.

AN: Can you comment on the imprisonment of civil society leader and Palestinian citizen of Israel Ameer Makhoul and the reports that he was tortured during the interrogations?

JD: My difficulty is that I have not been in Israel since 2007. I cannot comment on Israel. In the past there were frequent allegations of torture by Israeli human rights activists. That is serious. I am out of touch with recent developments.

AN: Israeli accuses the BDS movement of delegitimizing Israel. What is your reaction to this accusation?

JD: The BDS actions are delegitimizing Israel. There is no question about that. Obviously Israel is unwilling to accept that, similar to apartheid South Africa, which did want to suppress international sanctions. BDS was at that time effective, largely as a result of international advocacy for [boycott, divestment and] sanctions. It delegitimized the state and ultimately led to change in South Africa.

The comparison between Israel and South Africa is important. The situation is very similar at present. The international community is increasingly critical of Israel, advocating for international [boycott, divestment and] sanctions. It is not surprising that Israel is taking steps to prevent them in the same way the South African government did.

Adri Nieuwhof is a consultant and human rights advocate based in Switzerland.

Propaganda and Israel/Palestine: The War is On

Posted in Apartheid, Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions, Why Boycott?!, Zionism on October 9, 2010 by Marcy Newman

Poor CAMERA…so victimized, so lonely. Tell the President and Provost of Boston University you are alarmed that they are welcoming a group of apologists for Israeli war crimes!

Is boycotting Israel anti-Semitic?

Posted in Apartheid, Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions, Why Boycott?!, Zionism on October 9, 2010 by Marcy Newman

Sherry Wolf, a member of the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, responds to claims from supporters of Zionism that criticism of Israel–and in particular, the movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions against it–is “anti-Semitic.”

October 7, 2010

ISRAEL’S SUPPORTERS wield the accusation that Palestine solidarity activists who support a boycott of Israel are guilty of anti-Semitism.

Sherry Wolf Sherry Wolf is the author of Sexuality and Socialism: History, Politics and Theory of LGBT Liberation and an associate editor of the International Socialist Review. Her writing has also appeared in the Nation, CounterPunch and New Politics. She was on the executive committee of the 2009 National Equality March.

Because this charge is so repugnant to progressives, as Zionists are all too aware, it can have the effect of shutting down any debate about Israel’s crimes. In particular, the charge is leveled at the global movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel, which seeks a campaign until Israel “meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with international law,” as stated in the BDS call to action.

The outlandish charges by Israel’s defenders against pro-Palestine activists reach the heights of hysteria on Web sites like BoycottIsrael.org.uk, which falsely poses as “The official boycott Israel site” and is headlined, “The real Palestine story is just anti-Semitism re-branded–instigated and supported by the storm troopers of our time.”

There you have it. According to them, support for a boycott of Israel, which acts in open defiance of international laws and any unbiased person’s moral code, is nouveau-Nazism.

This accusation is not simply an odious lie, it is an attempt to manipulate hatred of anti-Semitism to draw attention away from the ongoing Israeli crimes of dispossession, systematic racism, collective punishment and wholesale warfare on a population guilty of nothing other than their own existence.

It is an old debaters’ ruse that when you don’t have the facts on your side, change the subject. That’s what the charge of anti-Semitism is really all about.

When Zionists claim that acts of anti-Semitism, which are on the rise in some places, are the result of the BDS movement, activists must confidently confront them with reality. The BDS movement has always condemned anti-Semitism in all its forms, and none of its materials nor actions make appeals to anti-Jewish sentiment.

Omar Barghouti, a BDS movement leader, visited Rome last spring, and this is how journalist Max Blumenthal reported on his response to this mischaracterization of the boycott campaign:

Regarding the accusation of anti-Semitism frequently leveled at BDS, he replied that such an accusation is in itself anti-Semitic, inasmuch as it creates an equivalence between all Jews and Israeli policies, implying that Jews are monolithic, and that all Jews should be held responsible for Israel’s actions.

Such generalizations and the idea of collective Jewish responsibility are fundamentally anti-Semitic. He called upon Europeans to stop assuaging their Holocaust guilt by oppressing the victims of the victims of the Holocaust.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

KNOWING THE history of Palestinian oppression is indispensable in combating this myth.

The expulsion in 1948 of nearly 700,000 Palestinians from their homeland as part of a colonial-settler project undertaken by Zionists and supported by the United States is an uncontestable point of history, about which anyone is welcome to their own opinion, but not their own version of the facts. It happened.

As Israeli-born Jewish historian Ilan Pappé writes in A History of Modern Palestine:

Out of about 850,000 Palestinians living in the territories designated by the UN as a Jewish state, only 160,000 remained [by 1949] on or nearby their land and homes. Those who remained became the Palestinian minority in Israel. The rest were expelled or fled under the threat of expulsion, and a few thousand died in massacres.

Palestinians were driven from their land, some by the self-described terrorists of the Zionist Irgun and Stern Gang. Today, most of the world’s Palestinian population lives in exile outside of Israel and in the Palestine Occupied Territories, with no right to return to the land of their ancestors. This refusal of return is in stark contrast to the Law of Return that virtually guarantees citizenship to Jews from around the world–even if they have no family there, have never before visited, nor speak the Hebrew language.

The horrifying conditions of malnutrition, mass unemployment and wholesale deprivation in the Gaza Strip are often detailed by SocialistWorker.org, as are the atrocious facts of life for those Arabs living in the West Bank, where hundreds of miles of separation walls with militarized checkpoints confine the daily lives of every Palestinian.

But less is written about Palestinian citizens of Israel–those who live outside of the Occupied Territories of the West Bank and Gaza, but inside the borders of Israel–who live under a separate set of laws. That is, they live under apartheid conditions. If not for the horrors of the Holocaust, most people would readily agree that a nation with privileges and rights for one ethnic group and not the others is racist. By any objective measure, Israel is, in fact, a racist state.

For example, all residents of Israel must register their ethnicity–Jewish, Arab, Druze–because different rights accrue to different peoples, and all must carry identity cards that have this information at all times. Non-Jews of Israel, of whom there are more than 1 million, are treated more like residents without a nationality or equal rights.

This became shockingly clear in July when a Palestinian Israeli man was convicted of raping a Jewish Israeli woman in Jerusalem even though the couple had consensual sex. Because the man had lied about his nationality and deceived her, he was convicted of rape.

As Jewish Israeli journalist Gideon Levy argued, “I would like to raise only one question with the judge. What if this guy had been a Jew who pretended to be a Muslim and had sex with a Muslim woman? Would he have been convicted of rape? The answer is: of course not.”

Ninety-three percent of the land in Israel is nationalized and controlled by the Jewish National Fund and the Jewish Agency, which denies Arabs the right to buy or even rent land, while Jews can easily do so.

Facts are facts. Israel claims to be a Jewish state that aims to “transfer,” better known as cleanse, Palestinians in order to maintain its demographic Jewish majority. Therefore, it is trying to taint a global justice movement with charges of anti-Semitism so that Israel will not be turned into a pariah state for its apartheid laws and unconscionable war crimes.

That some people in the world might falsely conflate Judaism with Zionism is perhaps because the state of Israel does so itself. That is not a brush Zionists can paint the BDS movement with, however.

Jews such as Pappé, Levy, Blumenthal and a growing army of lesser-known pro-Palestinian Jews, including myself, are willing to call out Israel for its thwarting of international law and basic norms of humanity. And we especially, the children and grandchildren of the Holocaust generation, will not allow accusations of anti-Semitism to muddy the waters.

The BDS movement is a struggle for social, political and economic justice. Join it.

Gaza Academics and Students: U. of Johannesburg’s Decision to Condition Ties with Ben Gurion University, a Step in the Right Direction (Statement)

Posted in Apartheid, Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions, Zionism on October 3, 2010 by Marcy Newman

Besieged Gaza,

University Teachers’ Association
Palestinian Students Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel

30.September.2010

Gaza Academics and Students: U. of Johannesburg’s Decision to Condition Ties with Ben Gurion University, a Step in the Right Direction

University Teachers’ Association in Palestine and Palestinian Students’ Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel welcome the decision taken by the Senate of the University of Johannesburg (UJ) to distance itself from the crimes of Apartheid Israel. The decision made by UJ’s highest academic body to set conditions for the relationship with Ben Burion University comes in response to a nationwide academic petition supported by more than 250 South African academics and Vice Chancellors.

But for us Gazans faced with atrocity after atrocity, bearing the brunt of Apartheid Israel’s continuous violation of international law and impunity ever since over two thirds of us were ethnically cleansed from where Israel and Ben Gurion University were founded over the ruins of our 531 Palestinian towns and villages destroyed by Zionist militias and, later, by the nascent Israeli army, the decision is evidently not enough, albeit an important step in the right direction,

The petition, backed by South African luminaries and anti-apartheid activists such as Breyten Breytenbach, John Dugard, Antjie Krog, Barney Pityana, Kader Asmal and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, demanded that the University of Johannesburg should apply the boycott unconditionally to Ben Gurion University until it ceases its complicity in Israel’s extensive violations of international law and until it terminates all privileges extended to the Israeli Occupation Forces.

We members of academia in Gaza encourage more action given the extent to which we have lost our brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers in the continuous Israeli attacks on the 1.5 million Palestinians under siege here, and given the extent to which the international community has rewarded Israel in the past with academic, cultural, trade and military links. Military support has included the 3 billion dollars a year from the US and notoriously included Israel’s own provision of weapons to the South African Apartheid regime when the world’s citizenry had joined the boycott movement of this other abominable major oppression based on racism.

During the bombing of Gaza, in what came to be known as the Sharpeville of Palestine, over New Year of 2009 more than 430 of our children were killed, more than 37 primary and secondary schools including 18 schools serving as shelters for the internally displaced were hit, the American International school was reduced to rubble, and Islamic University of Gaza (IUG) partially demolished. The fact-finding investigation conducted by the University of Johannesburg confirmed BGU’s links with the Israeli Occupation Force (IOF.

In light of these ongoing, yet unaccounted for crimes, as part of the 2005 Palestinian Civil Society Call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS), and inspired by the boycott that put an end to South African Apartheid, we demand the complete academic boycott of Ben Gurion University as outlined by the petition itself and guidelines set by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), fully supported by anti apartheid-hero Archbishop Desmond Tutu who has said:

“Palestinians have chosen, like we did, the nonviolent tools of boycott, divestment and sanctions.”

South African universities with their own long and complex histories of both support for apartheid and resistance know more than anyone, perhaps, the value of this nonviolent resistance. “Israeli Universities, including BGU, are an intimate part of the Israeli regime, by active choice,” as Archbishop Tutu said. And, as the unprecedented South African petition by academics says, “While Palestinians are not able to access universities and schools, Israeli universities produce the research, technology, arguments and leaders for maintaining the occupation.”

We expect all post-Apartheid Academic institutions, including UJ, to join the momentum around the world, particularly among academics, who are heeding the call of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. As our students continue to have their education restricted in all forms by the Israeli siege and occupation, discrimination based entirely on race and ethnicity, we hope the University of Johannesburg takes note and joins unconditionally the boycott movement of Israeli academia – the oppressed majority of South Africans in the Apartheid era would have expected nothing less.

Besieged Gaza,

University Teachers’ Association in Palestine
Palestinian Students’ Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel

UJ decision backward

Posted in Apartheid, Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions, Zionism on October 3, 2010 by Marcy Newman

Sep 29, 2010 | Sowetan Editorial
Sun Oct 03 15:00:48 SAST 2010

THE world, with the obvious exception of the lunatic fringe, is fast becoming unanimous in its condemnation of repression, wherever it rears its ugly head.

It is heartening to note that the voices coming out of Cosatu are mindful of this clarion call for all progressive forces to join, as the trade union federation puts it, the growing global momentum calling for more decisive action on Israel to end the illegal occupation of Palestine.

For the dons at the University of Johannesburg to wish to continue their collaboration with their counterparts at the Ben Gurion University, an agreement signed when the local institution was still the Randse Afrikaanse Universiteit, RAU, is regrettable.

At the time the scientific and water management agreement was signed into being, South Africa was in the grip of apartheid. We have since moved on.

The BGU is complicit with the Israelis in their litany of errors against the people of Palestine.

The world yearns for peace in the Middle East and in its support for soldiers in the Israeli Defence Force for whom it extends special study privileges, the BGU has not proved a proper ally for tranquillity in the region. Their active cooperation with the IDF makes BGU’s relationship with UJ overtly anachronistic, given that the SA university wants to sell itself as an institution committed to justice and reconciliation.

Like Cosatu, we invoke the wisdom of Nelson Mandela and implore those at the helm of UJ to bear it in mind: “We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”

It Takes a Cynic: ‘If I Were Not Obama, I Would Be Diogenes’

Posted in Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions, Why Boycott?! on October 3, 2010 by Marcy Newman

Cynics would critically understand the realities of the Palestinian-Israeli crises.

By Dallas Darling

As a lawyer and one time activist, President Barack Obama should not have lashed out at the Cynics when he asked the United Nations General Assembly and the world to back his plan to forge a Palestinian State and a secure Israel. Actually, it is Cynicism itself that is sorely and desperately needed in order for a just and secure Palestinian State and Israeli State to peacefully co-exist and thrive.

It is unfortunate too, that the current meaning of “cynic” is someone who assumes the worst about human nature. However, Cynicism was an Ancient Greek philosophical movement probably founded by Diogenes of Sinope. The Cynics took their name either from their meeting place or from the word kynikos, referring to the free, unfettered-and always questioning-lifestyle mixed with contempt for the established social and political orders of their day.

Cynics continually challenged and rejected the tyrants and tyrannical myths of their day that caged the soul and spirit. They also distinguished between “natural” and “artificial” values and solutions, exalting virtue as the highest good. According to the Cynics, virtue consisted of wisdom, courage, temperance, and justice. Cynics also believed and taught that knowledge of one’s circumstances and surroundings led to correct and right courses of action.

Today, Cynics would critically understand the realities and nature of the Palestinian-Israeli crises, along with its history of repeated injuries and abuses. Cynics would denounce and then confront the 1948 forced removal of thousands of Palestinians into makeshift refugee camps, so as to appease Zionism-a movement to establish an exclusive Jewish State at the expense of others who also claim Palestine as their ancestral lands. Cynics would work for fairness and equal rights for all Palestinians, along with repatriation for stolen lands.

Like Diogenes, Cynics today would have the courage to carry a lamp in broad daylight in search of an honest and just person. This would have included the UN General Assembly and its Security Council, thought to be a democratic body. Like the Athenian Assembly, though, they exclude the majority of people, or non-citizens, slaves, the poor, and, of course, Palestinians. By carrying a lit lamp in broad daylight, the ruling powers and their hypocritical forms of government and governance would be stripped to their naked and shameful essence.

The Cynics temperance would question and challenge America’s disproportional selling and supplying of weapons to Israel. They would stop Israel’s military interventions into Palestinian territories, and its armed invasions into Palestinian mosques and homes. Cynics would boycott Israel’s aggressive settlement expansions into Palestinian lands. Cynicism would apply the same rules to both Israel and Palestine. For Cynics, a fair society can only be maintained when everyone has equal opportunities for education and jobs, and when all have access to housing, clean drinking water, electricity, healthcare, and mobility.

Because of their virtuous poverty and deep sense of equality and justice, Cynics have often sought a more simpler, nonviolent and peaceful society. They have confronted and defied militant and powerful and unjust rulers, including unfair Old and New World Orders. The impulse towards Cynicism has at times been found in humanity. It has also arisen in all historical epochs. Cynics and Cynicism will again help resolve the Palestinian-Israeli crises. Cynics will bring about a more secure and just Palestinian State and Israeli State.

In hindsight, Cynicism has never forcibly relocated, killed or massacred Palestinians, unlike Zionism and U.S. Militarism.Neither has it ever been used for indifference, ignorance and hate, as some have used the Holy Land for their own unholy alliances and political gains and for their ethnocentric schemes. The Cynics “bitter words” have been used to challenge injustices and killing the innocent. The Cynics bombs are “Why?” and “For Whom?”, with regards to historical myths and tyrannical thinking imposed by rulers and their conquerors.

Of interest too is the Cynics disdain of hypocritical and worldly power. It was illustrated in the story of Diogenes’ meeting with Alexander the Great. Having conquered parts of Asia, Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East, Alexander was one of the most powerful and greatest rulers of the world. When Alexander asked the sage Diogenes if there was some service he could do him, Diogenes replied, “Stand a little less between me and the sun.” Alexander was then quoted as saying, “If I were not Alexander, I would be Diogenes.”

For Cynics and others who search for wisdom, justice, peace and virtue, then, the question is Zionism or Cynicism? And again: “If I were not Obama, I would be Diogenes.”

– Dallas Darling is the author of Politics 501: An A-Z Reading on Conscientious Political Thought and Action, Some Nations Above God: 52 Weekly Reflections On Modern-Day Imperialism, Militarism, And Consumerism in the Context of John‘s Apocalyptic Vision, and The Other Side Of Christianity: Reflections on Faith, Politics, Spirituality, History, and Peace. He is a correspondent for www.worldnews.com. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com. Visit: www.beverlydarling.com and wn.com//dallasdarling.

%d bloggers like this: