Archive for the Buycott Category

BDS-Related Responses to Israel’s Flotilla Massacre of 31 May 2010

Posted in BDS Success, Buycott, Cultural Boycott, International BDS Actions, Labor Organizing, Why Boycott?! on June 4, 2010 by Marcy Newman

Only a few days since Israel’s illegal and fatal act of aggression against the Gaza Freedom Flotilla,, BDS-related reactions around the world were quick and qualitatively consequential.

Building on 5 years of international BDS activism since the Palestinian Civil Society Call for BDS was launched on 9 July 2005, a year and a half since Israel’s war crimes in Gaza, when its base criminality and status was revealed to the world, and months after the watershed UN Goldstone report, international civil society’s tolerance of Israel’s impunity and war crimes has grown very thin.

The fact that this latest attack was categorically illegal, immoral and unjustifiable, that it targeted civilian ships in international waters, that it led to the murder and injury of tens of humanitarian relief workers and civilian activists from many countries, that among the siege-breaking activists were prominent intellectuals, a Nobel Peace Laureate, a Holocaust survivor, European and other parliamentarians, a former senior US diplomat, representatives of international media, etc., all triggered mass anger around the world and, unprecedentedly, widespread calls for boycotting Israel as a pariah state.

Below are some of the most significant developments that have every potential to carry the global BDS movement to the next qualitative level.

Beyond Israel’s direct criminal responsibility for this massacre, several governments around the world have some of the blood of those international aid workers and activists on their hands. Their shameful complicity is precisely what has afforded Israel its criminal impunity before international law, nourishing its pathological and extremely dangerous feeling of being invincible and beyond world reproach. When such a high degree of impunity is mixed with colonial hegemony, almost unparalleled racism, and a distinct system of apartheid, as is the case in Israel, the concrete danger to the region and indeed the entire world cannot be underestimated.

States, institutions and even individuals that have been complicit in supporting, justifying, whitewashing or otherwise abetting Israel’s crimes and grave violations of international law carry some of the moral and/or legal responsibility for “preparing the scene” for this Flotilla massacre.

This includes the states that voted to accept Israel’s accession to the OECD.

It includes the EU countries that continue business as usual with Israel under the EU-Israel Association Agreement.

It includes Mercosur countries who are in the process of ratifying their free trade agreement with Israel.

It includes India which has turned from a world leader of the non-aligned nations to the second largest importer of Israeli weapons, “field-tested” on Palestinian civilians in Gaza.

It includes the Egyptian and other autocratic Arab regimes that have aided in maintaining the siege or failed to contribute to ending it.

Turkey cannot ignore its own share of the blame, in fact. By speaking loudly against Israel while buying Israeli drones field-tested in Gaza and continuing military cooperation with Israel, it has also aided in creating this monster that is now out of control.

It most certainly includes the South African government which has refused to heed the massive calls from civil society there to cut relations with Israel or lead the way in isolating Israeli apartheid. If for nothing else, the SA government owes this much to the Palestinian people which, along with the Cubans, had led international efforts to support the anti-apartheid movement even much before it became strong and popular.

It includes international artists and writers, including Margaret Atwood, Amitav Ghosh and Elton John, whose “performances’ in Israel — in Sir Elton’s case, still to come — put narrow personal interest ahead of principle, making them accomplices in whitewashing Israeli crimes.

It includes academics who still find excuses to participate in conference held at or sponsored by Israeli academic institutions whose complicity in the state’s occupation, colonization and apartheid are now well documented and beyond any reasonable doubt.

It includes corporations, like Veolia, Alstom, Elbit, Motorola, Caterpillar, Boeing, Intel, Ahava, Agrexco-Carmel, Teva, etc. who directly or indirectly profit from Israel’s colonial oppression and its trampling of Palestinian rights.

It includes faith-based organizations, civil society associations and unions that still invest their pension and other investment funds in companies violating human rights and international law.

It includes the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and other unions that have joined the Histadrut in effectively justifying and whitewashing Israel’s latest atrocity.

BDS is about ending ALL these forms of complicity. As we learned from South Africa, only thus can we beat the beast.

BDS-related Responses to Israel’s Flotilla Massacre of 31 May 2010

(1) Authoritative Legal Analysis of the Israeli Attack on the Flotilla

Leading legal expert, Prof. Ben Saul, who served on the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, described the attack as a violation of article 3 of the Rome Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation of 1988, the fundamental principle of freedom of navigation on the high seas, codified in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea of 1982, and article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

According to the Rome Convention of 1988, Saul argues, “One cannot attack a ship and then claim self-defence if the people on board resist the unlawful use of violence.” He adds, “Legally speaking, government military forces rappelling onto a ship to illegally capture it are treated no differently than other criminals. The right of self-defence in such situations rests with the passengers on board: a person is legally entitled to resist one’s own unlawful capture, abduction and detention.”

Prof. Saul concludes: “This latest sad and shocking episode is a reminder of Israel’s recklessness towards the lives of others, its utter disregard for international opinion, and its incivility as an outlaw of the international community.”

(2) The United Nations

– The UN Human Rights Council voted with an overwhelming majority (32 to 3) to strongly condemn Israel’s actions against the Flotilla and to dispatch an independent, international probe into violations of international law resulting from the incident. Only Italy and the Netherlands joined the US in voting against this simple measure of accountability, putting both governments squarely against the emerging world consensus against Israel’s siege and criminal impunity.

– UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and his top assistants condemned the attack and called on Israel to immediately end its illegal siege of Gaza.

– As expected, the clearest and most principled position in the UN came from UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the occupied Palestinian territory, Prof. Richard Falk, who stated, “It is essential that those Israelis responsible for this lawless and murderous behavior, including political leaders who issued the orders, be held criminally accountable for their wrongful acts,” adding, “The worldwide campaign of boycott, divestment, and sanctions against Israel is now a moral and political imperative, and needs to be supported and strengthened everywhere.”

(3) International Sanctions

– Nicaragua suspended its diplomatic relations with Israel as a response to the,7340,L-3897773,00.html

– South Africa recalled its ambassador to Tel Aviv

– Turkey recalled its ambassador to Tel Aviv for “consultations”

The Turkish parliament unanimously called on government to “revise the political, military and economic relations with Israel,” and to “seek justice against Israel through national and international legal authorities.”

– Norway’s minister of education and head of the Socialist Left party, Kristin Halvorsen, reiterated Norway’s arms ban on Israel and called all other states to “follow the Norwegian position which excludes trading arms with Israel.”

(4) Major BDS-Related Reactions Worldwide (Civil Society)

– In response to an appeal by the BNC, the Swedish Port Workers Union decided to blockade all Israeli ships and cargo to and from Israel from June 15 to 29.

– South African trade union federation COSATU called for “greater support for the international boycott, divestment and sanction campaign against Israel,” urging “all South Africans to refuse to buy or handle any goods from Israel or have any dealings with Israeli businesses.”

– The South African Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (SATAWU), which pioneered the boycott against Israeli maritime trade in February 2009, refusing to offload a ship in Durban, also heeded the BNC appeal, advocating “an escalation of the boycott of Israeli goods” and calling upon its members “not to allow any Israeli ship to dock or unload” and calling upon fellow trade unionists “not to handle them.”

– Swedish under-21 football team refuses to play in Israel, following a similar decision by Turkey’s under-19 team.

– LO, Norway’s largest trade union federation, comprising almost one fifth of the entire Norwegian population, called on the State Pension Fund, the third largest in the world, to divest from all Israeli companies.

In reaction to the Flotilla attack, a public opinion poll revealed that 42% of Norwegians now support a boycott of ALL Israeli products.,7340,L-3898052,00.html

– World renowned British writer, Iain Banks, wrote in the Guardian that the best way for international artists, writers and academics to “convince Israel of its moral degradation and ethical isolation” is “simply by having nothing more to do with this outlaw state.”

COSATU condemns Israeli state piracy

Posted in Apartheid, Buycott, Labor Organizing, Why Boycott?!, Zionism on June 1, 2010 by Marcy Newman

31 May 2010

Union federation outraged at murder of at least twenty people

The Congress of South African Trade Unions is outraged at the murder by Israeli commandos’ of at least twenty people – and injuries to a further 60 – as a result of their armed attack on a convoy of ships carrying aid to the people of Gaza last night, 30 May 2010.

COSATU sends its condolences to the families and friends of those who lost their lives and calls upon the people of the world to condemn this act of Israeli state-sponsored piracy.

The six-ship flotilla, with 750 Palestine Solidarity activists from around the world on board and carrying 10,000 tonnes of aid for the people of Gaza, left Cyprus on Sunday and had been due to arrive in Gaza today.

Then, when it was about 64 km out to sea, in international waters, Israeli armed forces boarded the largest vessel and fought with those on board. The activists say Israeli troops came on board shooting. Israel is now reported to be towing the boats to the port of Ashdod and says it will deport the passengers from there.

The ships were bringing the people of Gaza 10,000 tonnes of badly needed concrete, toys, workbooks, chocolate, pasta and substantial medical supplies. It was acting in accordance with international law.

COSATU fully supports the call on the international community to pressure their governments to condemn this brutal deed and hold Israel accountable for the murder of foreign civilians at sea and illegal piracy of civilian vessels carrying humanitarian aid.

The federation welcomes the decision by the government of Spain and Sweden to withdraw their ambassadors from Israel and calls upon the South African Government to follow their lead.

The flotilla was an international response to the plight of the people of Gaza, following Israel’s closure of the border. Amnesty International in their Annual Human Rights Report concluded that the siege has “deepened the ongoing humanitarian crisis. Mass unemployment, extreme poverty, food insecurity and food price rises caused by shortages left four out of five Gazans dependent on humanitarian aid. The scope of the blockade and statements made by Israeli officials about its purpose showed that it was being imposed as a form of collective punishment of Gazans, a flagrant violation of international law.”

The United Nations has continuously stated that only a fraction of the required aid is entering Gaza due to what it calls ‘the medieval siege’. John Ging, the Director of UNRWA in Gaza, has specifically expressed the need for the flotilla to enter Gaza.

The European Union’s new foreign affairs minister, Catherine Ashton, has just reiterated its call for, “an immediate, sustained and unconditional opening of crossings for the flow of humanitarian aid, commercial goods and persons to and from Gaza.”

COSATU also calls for greater support for the international boycott, divestment and sanction campaign against Israel, which is proving again to be violent and ruthless in attacking and murdering those who stand in its way. We urge all South Africans to refuse to buy or handle any goods from Israel or have any dealings with Israeli businesses.

COSATU reaffirms its support of the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to national sovereignty and the same human rights as any other people. We demand the immediate end to the Israeli siege and the illegal occupation of the sovereign territory which has been violently seized from the Palestinian nation.

Statement issued by Patrick Craven, COSATU national spokesperson, May 31 2010

Take Action: Boycott Wikimania 2011

Posted in Buycott, Take Action, Zionism on May 13, 2010 by Marcy Newman

Haifa (حَيْفَا) is the largest city in northern Israel, and the third-largest city in the country, with a population of over 264,900.

Haifa has a mixed population of Jews and Arabs. It is also home to the Bahá’í World Centre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city is built on the slopes of the majestic Mount Carmel and along the beautiful Mediterranean beach of the Haifa Bay, which gave the city its name in ancient times (‘Haifa’ – or ‘Hof Yafé’ in modern Hebrew – means ‘pretty beach’). Haifa has a history dating back to Biblical times (The earliest known settlement in the vicinity was a small port city established in the Late Bronze Age (14th century BCE)).

In the year 2011, Haifa will celebrate its jubilee – 250 years since the establishment of the new city. In 1761 Dhaher al-Omar, Bedouin ruler of Acre and the Galilee, destroyed the old city of Haifa and rebuilt the town in a new location, surrounding it with a wall. This event is marked as the beginning of the town’s modern era.

Today, the city is a major seaport located on Israel’s Mediterranean coastline. It is located about 90 km north of Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv and is the major regional center of northern Israel. Two respected academic institutions, the University of Haifa and the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, are located in Haifa,

The city hosts dozens of cultural and artistic festivals every year, festivals which celebrates the diversity of the city’s inhabitants and the peaceful coexistence between the members of the various religions who live in it. The proposed venue is the Haifa Auditorium which has been hosting the Haifa International Film Festival for the past 26 years.

The wonderful Mediterranean coasts – which are among the best in Israel, and its proximity to various religious, cultural and historical sites make the city a center of tourism in the north of Israel.

* Country: Israel
* City proposed: Haifa
* Venue: The Haifa Auditorium and the Hecht Building
* Proposed dates: Wednesday – Sunday, August 4-7, 2011; Hacking days take place on August 2nd and 3rd
* Contact persons: Deror Avi

Buycott! 7 Palestinian Companies You Can Support

Posted in Buycott on December 14, 2009 by Marcy Newman

Buy Palestinian products and promote their sale in your communities:

* Canaan Fair Trade
* Olive Branch Olive Oil
* Palestinian Arts and Crafts Trust
* Sunbula
* Folk Art Mavens
* Palestine Online Store
* Dr. Bronner’s soap

Fair trade supports Palestinian farmers

Posted in Buycott on May 10, 2009 by Marcy Newman

The International Fair Trade Association aims to provide farmers in the developing world with a fair share of the profits.

For a Palestinian olive oil company which markets its product through the association, exports have soared after Israel’s war on Gaza.

Al Jazeera’s Nour Odeh reports from the West Bank, where Israeli restrictions have barred Palestinian farmers from accessing thousands of acres of olive orchards.

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