Archive for the International BDS Actions Category

Architects against Israeli occupation

Posted in International BDS Actions on October 9, 2010 by Marcy Newman

With the settlement freeze over, international architects must take action to end illegal construction in the West Bank

o Abe Hayeem
o guardian.co.uk, Monday 4 October 2010 10.01 BST

In deciding to back the boycott of Ariel theatre in the West Bank, Frank Gehry, the Canadian-American architect of Guggenheim fame, joins a growing body of professionals who are making a stand against the illegal settlements. Ariel, a quintessential illegal settlement, is continually expanding to fit the over-generous boundaries staked out over Palestinian land, choking the development of Palestinian villages nearby. Its new state-funded cultural centre, 20 years in the construction, is due to open in November.

Architecture and planning are instruments of the occupation, and constitute part of a continuing war against a whole people, whether as a minority within Israel’s green line, or in the occupied territories. Since this involves dispossession, discrimination and acquisition of land and homes by force, against the Geneva conventions, it can be classified as participation in war crimes.

Arbitrary planning laws are not enforced in the many illegal projects built by settlers, and major development plans are implemented without complete approval. Areas owned by Palestinians are simply declared to be green areas, making their presence there “illegal”.

What can one say about the Israeli architects who follow the state’s policies and aims yet deny that their role is political? Despite all the evidence of illegality under international law and breaches of human rights in the land grabs, house demolitions and evictions, Israeli architects and planners continue their activities. They cannot claim that they do not know: there have been plenty of calls for them to stop.

More of the illegal projects that have been built over the last four decades are ready to go now that the recent settlement freeze has ended – with no sign of resistance or protest from the Israeli Association of United Architects (IAUA). This applies not only to ultra-Zionist architecture firms but mainstream architects of international repute such as Moshe Safdie and Shlomo Aronson. Safdie has been responsible for the now notorious Plan 11555 for the extreme nationalist settler movement Elad that has, in effect, been given control of Silwan, a Palestinian neighbourhood in East Jerusalem.

The International Union of Architects (UIA) has already taken note that Israeli architecture and planning in the West Bank is contrary to its professional ethics and codes of conduct. After Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine raised this issue at the UIA council meeting in Brazil in July 2009, the UIA issued a statement saying:

“The UIA council condemns development projects and the construction of buildings on land that has been ethnically purified or illegally appropriated, and projects based on regulations that are ethnically or culturally discriminatory, and similarly it condemns all action contravening the fourth Geneva Convention.”

With settlers now celebrating the prospect of thousands of new housing units being built in the West Bank, Israeli architects will continue reaping the bonanza of a housing boom that has continued for decades. Writing in Haaretz earlier this month, Esther Zandberg, the paper’s architecture correspondent, said:

“Trends and world-views seep in from the other side of the Green Line and impact on architecture in the rest of Israel more than architects are willing to admit. A protest by established architects within the community, figures with a reputation and influence, could lead to a protest movement that will draw many, restore to architecture its confidence in itself and its values, and may also make its own contribution to the end of the conflict over the land. Architects? Protest? Peace really can happen.”

The international solidarity movement has decided that the best way to change Israel’s behaviour is to take actions against Israeli companies and institutions in order to put pressure on the government there. Last year, as the result of a campaign led by APJP, Pacbi and universities in Europe, Spain disqualified architecture students from the “Ariel University Centre of Samaria” (sic) from a competition to build a solar house in the Solar Decathlon in Madrid. “Spain acted in line with European Union policy of opposing Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land,” a Spanish official said.

Since little seems forthcoming from the Israeli architects’ body, despite appeals over the last decade, the responsibility falls on architects worldwide and the UIA to press for action to end this complicity, and defend the ethics and humanity of their profession.

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Palestine boycott committee calls on US pension fund to divest from Israel

Posted in International BDS Actions on October 9, 2010 by Marcy Newman

Press release, Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee, 5 October 2010

The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC), on behalf of its constituent organizations and unions representing the majority of Palestinian civil society, calls upon the US non-profit pension fund TIAA-CREF to live up to its motto of providing “Financial Services for the Greater Good” by divesting its funds from companies that profit from Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories and violation of Palestinian rights. As in the struggle to end South African apartheid, divestment from wrongdoing companies is not just a moral obligation; it is a time-honored, particularly effective, non-violent form of pressure that can significantly contribute to ending Israel’s occupation, racial discrimination and denial of refugee rights.

The BNC strongly supports the fast-growing and inspiring campaign initiated by Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) and widely endorsed by US solidarity and just peace advocacy groups and coalitions, including the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation and Adalah-NY, aimed at pressuring TIAA-CREF to divest from companies profiting from Israel’s occupation and violation of international law. We urge all groups working on boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaigns in the US, especially on university campuses, to endorse this campaign and join it, whenever possible, to amplify its reach and impact across the US.

Investing in companies that profit from Israel’s multi-tiered oppression of the Palestinian people is a form of complicity in this oppression. Israel is methodically and routinely violating international law and Palestinian rights as part of its system of apartheid, colonization and occupation. Israeli colonial settlements in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, continue to grow relentlessly, destroying lives and livelihoods. These settlements are all illegal according to international law, as most recently confirmed by the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in July 2004. The construction of Israel’s apartheid wall has isolated and put at risk of displacement over 250,000 Palestinians from over 75 communities. The immoral and illegal siege of Gaza continues, and the 2008-2009 military aggression campaign known as Operation Cast Lead has been condemned by a UN fact finding mission as constituting war crimes and possible crimes against humanity “in furtherance of an overall and continuing policy aimed at punishing the Gaza population.” Palestinian citizens of Israel face “institutional, legal and societal discrimination,” condemned even in US State Department reports. Over six million Palestinian refugees, the majority of the Palestinian people, are denied their UN-sanctioned right to return to their homes and receive reparations.

Through its investments in companies complicit in Israel’s violations of international law, TIAA-CREF directly profits from and is in turn accountable for these violations of international law:

* Holdings worth $19.24m in Veolia, a company that profits from the construction and expansion of illegal Jewish-only settlements by operating a landfill in the West Bank, collecting rubbish from illegal settlements and being a key partner in a light rail system linking West Jerusalem and illegal Israeli settlements, described by the UN Human Rights Council as a “clear violation of international law”.

* Holdings worth $1.69m in Elbit Systems, Israel’s largest arms manufacturer which provides unmanned aerial vehicles used in the massacre of Palestinian civilians in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead and has been integral in the creation of the apartheid wall across the West Bank that has been ruled illegal by the ICJ.

* Holdings worth $91.75m in Motorola, a provider of equipment and components for military checkpoints, that serve a humiliating and integral part of Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian territory, and the Israeli occupation forces.

* Holdings worth $199.06m in Northrop Grumman, a vital supplier of military equipment to the Israeli occupation forces.

* Holdings worth $236.85m in Caterpillar, who supply bulldozers routinely used to demolish Palestinian homes and in the construction of illegal Israeli settlements and supply unmanned bulldozers specially designed for urban warfare that were used in Operation Cast Lead.

* Investments do not exist in isolation from the actions they fund. As holders of pension schemes with TIAA-CREF, over 3.5 million academic, medical, cultural and research practitioners throughout the United States are unwittingly profiting from violations of international law. Israeli impunity relies on the economic and political support gained by such investments; so did apartheid South Africa’s impunity. The BNC was pleased to learn that TIAA-CREF no longer owns shares in Africa-Israel, a company heavily involved in settlement construction. However, the BNC urges TIAA-CREF to ensure that its actions consistently reflect its own public statements about its commitment to “influence positive social change” and to ensure it sells its holdings in all companies that profit from Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory and infringement of Palestinian rights.

In the face of the failure of the international community to hold Israel to account for its violations of international law and its denial of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, and in harmony with the 2005 BDS Call issued by the overwhelming majority in Palestinian civil society, individuals of conscience, trade union and diverse institutions have engaged in campaigns to boycott and divest from companies complicit in Israeli violations of international law.

TIAA-CREF is an institution of great significance and weight and must take its responsibilities seriously. An organization that professes to lead the field in ethical investment and hold progressive principles cannot bankroll and politically bolster Israeli aggression. Nor should individual pension scheme holders have their hard-earned savings ethically tarnished by their investment in Israeli violations of international law. The BNC looks forward to hearing that TIAA-CREF has ended its active complicity with Israeli contravention of Palestinian rights and calls upon board of TIAA-CREF to:

* Immediately divest its shares in all companies actively involved in the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory.

* Take steps to ensure that such investments cannot be allowed to re-enter its portfolios.

* Inform all companies whose shares it holds that it will not tolerate involvement in Israeli aggression of any kind.

The BNC also calls upon individuals of conscience, international solidarity groups and academic, labour and student groups in particular to:

* Work closely with JVP, Adalah-NY and the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation to support, enhance and ensure the success of the campaign against TIAA-CREF’s unethical investments.

* Raise awareness of TIAA-CREF’s investments in Israeli violations of international law in their communities, work places and educational establishments.

The BNC views this campaign with utter interest, as it is well justified, well though-out, as well as has every potential to succeed and, as a result, to play a key role in bolstering divestment campaigns across the US. Such prospects should not be taken lightly, given the undeniably great role played by divestment of international banks and corporations, especially the US-based ones, from apartheid South Africa in supporting the struggle for freedom and justice there.

Open letter to UK Trades Union Congress General Secretary

Posted in International BDS Actions, Labor Organizing on October 9, 2010 by Marcy Newman

4th October 2010
Brendan Barber
General Secretary
Trades Union Congress
Congress House
Great Russell Street
London WC1B 3LS

Dear Mr Barber,

The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC), of which all of Palestinian trade union federations are members, warmly welcomes the recent passing of a motion at the UK Trades Union Congress (TUC) that sets out plans for boycotting the products of and divesting from Israeli and international companies that are implicated in Israel’s occupation and colonial settlements.

The global trade union movement has consistently demonstrated its commitment to Palestinian rights by adopting labour-led sanctions as a form of effective solidarity with Palestinians. In the wake of the attack on the Freedom Flotilla and in response to appeals from the BNC1 and from the entire Palestinian trade union movement,2 dockworkers in Sweden and California, USA implemented blockades of Israeli goods and an Israeli ship respectively. The World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU), representing over 80 million workers worldwide, called for a three-day strike against handling cargo to and from Israel.3 Dockworkers in India, Turkey, Norway and South Africa – where the South African Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (SATAWU) pioneered the boycott against Israeli maritime trade in February 2009 by refusing to offload a ship in Durban in protest of Israel’s war of aggression on the Gaza Strip – also announced support and plans to implement blockades.4 The South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU) has launched a campaign to make every municipality in South Africa an “Apartheid Israel free zone”.5 Earlier this year, trade union federations and coalitions in Belgium,6 Canada and the Basque country joined other national federations and scores of individual unions in endorsing the global BDS movement.7

Adopting measures in the framework of the Palestinian call for boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) is the most morally consistent and prominent form of trade union solidarity with Palestinian civil society and with Palestinian workers, in particular.

With almost seven million members, the TUC is the largest organised civil society body in the UK. Its pledge to lobby the UK Government and the EU to take stronger steps to ensure that Israel complies with UN resolutions is therefore a welcome and important one. The BNC hopes that the TUC feels able to lobby for and take steps to ensure the recognition and implementation of all of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people – the end of the occupation and colonisation of all Arab lands occupied by Israel since 1967 and dismantling of the wall, the recognition of the right of Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality and, crucially, the implementation of the Palestinian right to return as stipulated in UN resolution 194.

The BNC looks forward to the joint work between the TUC General Council and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) to actively encourage the boycott of, and divestment from, companies that profit from Israel’s occupation. Given the size and important role of the TUC and UK trade unions in general, successful efforts to ensure that pension funds do not invest in corporate supporters of Israeli occupation and other violations of international law would have real and lasting political impacts. The BNC is hopeful about the prospects of such a pension divestment campaign as a necessary step towards the adoption of a full and comprehensive boycott of Israel, as called for by Palestinian civil society.

Given that the Scottish, Irish and South African Trade Union congresses have firmly endorsed BDS and are actively reviewing relations with the Histadrut as part of this process, and following the decision by UNISON and the UCU to take similar steps with regards to the Israeli trade union entity, the BNC is pleased that Congress condemns the Histadrut for seeking to justify the Israeli killing of civilians on the Freedom Flotilla. The Histadrut actively supported the 2008-09 Gaza massacre and is seen by the overwhelming majority of Palestinians, including Palestinian trade unionists, as remaining just as vital to Israel’s system of occupation, colonisation and Apartheid as it ever has been. The BNC hopes this latest step is part of a process that will result in the TUC adopting the position of some of its international counterparts and member unions by reviewing its relationship with the Histadrut.

The trade union movement played a crucial role in the international solidarity that contributed to the downfall of Apartheid in South Africa. A wide range of trade unions in the UK are making significant and principled contributions to the global movement against Israeli Apartheid. The BNC warmly welcomes the news that Congress has adopted such strong and principled steps within the BDS framework, and it looks forward to and is willing to assist in any way that it can, the implementation of these policies at the grassroots, branch level as part of a movement towards the full adoption of the Palestinian civil society BDS call.

Yours sincerely,

BNC Secretariat Occupied Palestine

1 http://bdsmovement.net/?q=node/710
2 http://bdsmovement.net/?q=node/712
3 http://bdsmovement.net/?q=node/718
4 http://bdsmovement.net/?q=node/755
5 http://www.samwu.org.za/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=621&Itemid=1
6 http://bdsmovement.net/?q=node/752
7 http://bdsmovement.net/?q=node/758

Georgia Urged to Divest and Boycott Israel

Posted in International BDS Actions on October 9, 2010 by Marcy Newman

(Distributed by the Green Party of the United States, http://www.gp.org)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

For further information, contact:
Bruce Dixon, 678-298-9463 x3
Press Secretary, Georgia Green Party
http://www.GeorgiaGreenParty.org/

Georgia Greens cite reports of IDF atrocities

In correspondence addressed to state legislative appropriations leadership, the officers of the Georgia Green Party today urged that “the state of Georgia sever its economic ties with the Apartheid state of Israel”, and called specifically for the end of Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange collaboration with Israeli police agencies (http://www.georgiagreenparty.org/QDC/Actions/GeorgiaBudgetWritersUrgedToDivestFromIsrael).

Under this program, Georgia State University facilitates international travel and training between Georgia police agencies and police agencies from Israel, who enforce the Apartheid conditions in occupied Palestine. The Party warns such training would involve the sort of ‘counter-terrorism’ tactics which could only cost Georgia taxpayers expensive settlements in wrongful death and civil rights violations.

This past week’s report by a UN Commission on Human Rights has focused renewed attention on the daily atrocities which make the Israeli settlement of Palestine possible.

“Our state and federal tax dollars support Israeli’s militarized occupation of Palestine. Our government’s spending choices have made each of us complicit in the IDF’s murder of six Free Gaza activists this past Summer. Israel is guilty of crimes against humanity in general and the Palestinian people in particular,” said Adam Shapiro, a member of Atlanta’s Congregation Bet Havrim and the Co-Chair of the Georgia Green Party. “I grew up believing that the state of Israel would serve as a safe haven for oppressed Jews. It is a sad irony then, that Israel is instead the oppressor. Those Jews who choose to defend Israeli aggression do not speak for all of us. And our silent complicity with those who would justify these crimes is tantamount to our serving as the Good Germans of our time.”

Isolated by hostile military patrols and bombarded by artillery and U.S. built, Israeli flown warplanes, the Gaza community endures without medicines and with scant food. A series of Gaza Peace Flotillas have used unarmed ships seeking to break the Israeli military blockade of Gaza, bringing humanitarian aid, including food and medicines to the besieged Palestinian community. The flotillas have been met by escalating military attacks. In May in International waters, Israeli commandos hijacked the Gaza Peace Flotilla sailing through the Mediterranean Sea with a military assault by sea and air. By the time the Flotilla reversed course, returning to its port in Turkey, six of its crew had been ‘summarily executed’. Among them US citizen Furkan Dogan.

The UN report found that much of the Israeli force used “was unnecessary, disproportionate, excessive and inappropriate and resulted in the wholly avoidable killing and maiming of a large number of civilian passengers”; that “at least six of the killings can be characterized as extra-legal, arbitrary and summary executions”; and that Israel violated numerous international human rights conventions, including the Fourth Geneva Conventions.

The September 22nd report is based on the report of 121 eye witnesses, although IDF personnel refused to cooperate. The Mission reviewed Turkish autopsy reports on the recovered bodies and detailed forensic reports which they prepared. An examination of forensic evidence corroborated eye witness accounts that peace activists aboard the Mavi Marmara were executed while lying face down on the deck.

“I shuddered when I heard the news, knowing that if not for her father’s health, it could have been Cynthia they shot,” said Patrician Crayton, Georgia Green Party cochair, Atlanta grandmother and local tv host, referring to former Georgia Congress Member Cynthia McKinney who in 2008 carried the Party’s nomination as the Green candidate for President of the United States. McKinney spent a week in an Israeli prison when she participated for a second time in ongoing campaign by the Gaza Peace Flotilla. Her suitcase full of crayons and paper for the children of besieged Gaza were also seized at that time.

In a 95-36-11 vote which concluded August 1st, the Green National Committee adopted changes to the Party’s national Platform endorsing the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign urged since 2005 by Palestinian Civil Society, as well as a one-state resolution in which the human rights of all, Jewish, Palestinian and otherwise would be protected. Support for the BDS campaign now included in the Party’s Platform was first expressed by the Party with the adoption on November 20th, 2005 of Resolution #190.

“I am proud that the Green Party stands tall with the highest traditions of the Jewish community, with our shared support for social justice for all. Its time we Jews remember what made the ‘good Germans’, good,” said Shapiro. “And we must break that silence before it is too late.”

— 30 —

For further information, link to:

http://www.GeorgiaGreenParty.org/
http://www.freegaza.org/

Letter to Georgia Appropriations Chairmen
http://www.georgiagreenparty.org/QDC/Actions/GeorgiaBudgetWritersUrgedToDivestFromIsrael
http://www.georgiagreenparty.org/system/files/Ltr_Georgia_Appropriations_Leadership_BoycottIsrael.pdf

http://green.gpus.org/cgi-bin/vote/propdetail?pid=471

http://green.gpus.org/cgi-bin/vote/propdetail?pid=190

TIAA-CREF: Divest from Injustice

Posted in Apartheid, International BDS Actions, Take Action, Zionism on October 4, 2010 by Marcy Newman

Occupied Palestine, October 4th 2010 – The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC), on behalf of its constituent organizations and unions representing the majority of Palestinian civil society, calls upon the US non-profit pension fund TIAA-CREF to live up to its motto of providing “Financial Services for the Greater Good” by divesting its funds from companies that profit from Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories and violation of Palestinian rights. As in the struggle to end South African apartheid, divestment from wrongdoing companies is not just a moral obligation; it is a time-honored, particularly effective, non-violent form of pressure that can significantly contribute to ending Israel’s occupation, racial discrimination and denial of refugee rights.

The BNC strongly supports the fast-growing and inspiring campaign initiated by Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP)1 and widely endorsed by US solidarity and just peace advocacy groups and coalitions, including the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation2 and Adalah-NY3, aimed at pressuring TIAA-CREF to divest from companies profiting from Israel’s occupation and violation of international law. We urge all groups working on boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaigns in the US, especially on university campuses, to endorse this campaign and join it, whenever possible, to amplify its reach and impact across the US.

Investing in companies that profit from Israel’s multi-tiered oppression of the Palestinian people is a form of complicity in this oppression. Israel is methodically and routinely violating international law and Palestinian rights as part of its system of apartheid, colonization and occupation.4 Israeli colonial settlements in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, continue to grow relentlessly, destroying lives and livelihoods. These settlements are all illegal according international law, as most recently confirmed by the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in July 2004.5 The construction of Israel’s Apartheid Wall has isolated and put at risk of displacement over 250,000 Palestinians from over 75 communities.6 The immoral and illegal siege of Gaza continues, and the 2008-2009 military aggression campaign known as Operation Cast Lead has been condemned by a UN fact finding mission as constituting war crimes and possible crimes against humanity “in furtherance of an overall and continuing policy aimed at punishing the Gaza population”.7 Palestinian citizens of Israel face “institutional, legal and societal discrimination,” condemned even in US State Department reports.8 Over six million Palestinian refugees, the majority of the Palestinian people, are denied their UN-sanctioned right to return to their homes and receive reparations.

Through its investments in companies complicit in Israel’s violations of international law, TIAA-CREF directly profits from and is in turn accountable for these violations of international law:

– Holdings worth $19.24m in Veolia,9 a company that profits from the construction and expansion of illegal Jewish-only settlements by operating a landfill in the West Bank,10 collecting rubbish from illegal settlements11 and being a key partner in a light rail system linking West Jerusalem and illegal Israeli settlements, described by the UN Human Rights Council as a “clear violation of international law”.12

– Holdings worth $1.69m in Elbit Systems,13 Israel’s largest arms manufacturer which provides unmanned aerial vehicles used in the massacre of Palestinian civilians in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead and has been integral in the creation of the Apartheid Wall across the West Bank14 that has been ruled illegal by the ICJ.

– Holdings worth $91.75m in Motorola,15 a provider of equipment and components for military checkpoints, that serve a humiliating and integral part of Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian Territory, and the Israeli occupation forces.16

– Holdings worth $199.06m in Northrop Grumman,17 a vital supplier of military equipment to the Israeli occupation forces.18

– Holdings worth $236.85m in Caterpillar,19 who supply bulldozers routinely used to demolish Palestinian homes and in the construction of illegal Israeli settlements and supply unmanned bulldozers specially designed for urban warfare that were used in Operation Cast Lead. 20

Investments do not exist in isolation from the actions they fund. As holders of pension schemes with TIAA-CREF, over 3.5 million21 academic, medical, cultural and research practitioners throughout the United States are unwittingly profiting from violations of international law. Israeli impunity relies on the economic and political support gained by such investments; so did apartheid South Africa’s impunity. The BNC was pleased to learn that TIAA-CREF no longer owns shares in Africa-Israel,22 a company heavily involved in settlement construction.23 However, the BNC urges TIAA-CREF to ensure that its actions consistently reflect its own public statements about its commitment to “influence positive social change”24 and to ensure it sells its holdings in all companies that profit from Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory and infringement of Palestinian rights.

In the face of the failure of the international community to hold Israel to account for its violations of international law and its denial of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, and in harmony with the 2005 BDS Call issued by the overwhelming majority in Palestinian civil society, individuals of conscience, trade union and diverse institutions have engaged in campaigns to boycott and divest from companies complicit in Israeli violations of international law.

TIAA-CREF is an institution of great significance and weight and must take its responsibilities seriously. An organisation that professes to lead the field in ethical investment and hold progressive principles cannot bankroll and politically bolster Israeli aggression. Nor should individual pension scheme holders have their hard-earned savings ethically tarnished by their investment in Israeli violations of international law. The BNC looks forward to hearing that TIAA-CREF has ended its active complicity with Israeli contravention of Palestinian rights and calls upon board of TIAA-CREF to:

– Immediately divest its shares in all companies actively involved in the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory.

– Take steps to ensure that such investments cannot be allowed to re-enter its portfolios.

– Inform all companies whose shares it holds that it will not tolerate involvement in Israeli aggression of any kind.

The BNC also calls upon individuals of conscience, international solidarity groups and academic, labour and student groups in particular to:

– Work closely with JVP, Adalah-NY and the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation to support, enhance and ensure the success of the campaign against TIAA-CREF’s unethical investments.

– Raise awareness of TIAA-CREF’s investments in Israeli violations of international law in their communities, work places and educational establishments.

The BNC views this campaign with utter interest, as it is well justified, well though-out, as well as has every potential to succeed and, as a result, to play a key role in bolstering divestment campaigns across the US. Such prospects should not be taken lightly, given the undeniably great role played by divestment of international banks and corporations, especially the US-based ones, from apartheid South Africa in supporting the struggle for freedom and justice there.

1 http://www.jewishvoiceforpeace.org/campaigns/tiaa-cref-divest-occupation
2 http://www.endtheoccupation.org/article.php?list=type&type=203
3 For more information on the successful Adalah-NY campaign to secure TIAA-CREF divestment from Africa Israel see: http://campaigns.adalahny.org/tiaa-cref
4 For an in-depth analysis of Israel’s regime over the Palestinian people constituting occupation, colonization and apartheid see: http://bdsmovement.net/files/English-BNC_Position_Paper-Durban_Review.pdf
5 http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/index.php?pr=71&code=mwp&p1=3&p2=4&p3=6&case=131&k=5a
6 http://stopthewall.org/activistresources/1633.shtml http://www.stopthewall.org/downloads/pdf/ThreatenedvillagesFS.pdf http://www.stopthewall.org/downloads/pdf/ThreatenedvillagesFS.pdf
7 http://unispal.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/0/8B74CCCA633569BC8525763200528D40
8 http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/nea/136070.htm
9 Official TIAA-CREF records cited at https://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/301/images/Profiles-Veolia.pdf
10 http://whoprofits.org/Company%20Info.php?id=581
11 http://www.corporatewatch.org/?lid=3514
12 http://unispal.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/0/262DD94458BA4CA2852576F000701580
13 Official TIAA-CREF records cited at https://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/301/images/Profiles-Elbit.pdf
14 http://www.stopthewall.org/downloads/pdf/Elbit-fc.pdf
15 Official TIAA-CREF records cited at https://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/301/images/Profiles-Motorola.pdf
16 http://www.whoprofits.org/Company%20Info.php?id=544
17 Official TIAA-CREF records cited at https://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/301/images/Profiles-NG.pdf
18 https://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/301/images/Profiles-NG.pdf
19 Official TIAA-CREF records cited at https://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/301/images/Profiles-CAT.pdf
20 http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2004/11/21/israel-caterpillar-should-suspend-bulldozer-sales http://www.whoprofits.org/Company%20Info.php?id=601
21 http://www.tiaa-cref.org/public/about/press/about_us/releases/pressrelease274.html
22 http://www.tiaa-cref.org/public/about/news/articles/gen0909_185.html
23 http://adalahny.org/land-developer-bds/land-developers-bds/page-4 http://whoprofits.org/Company%20Info.php?id=447
24 http://www.tiaa-cref.org/public/about/how-we-invest/sri/index.html

PRESS RELEASE – SA UNIVERSITY: Conditional termination with Israeli institution

Posted in BDS Success, International BDS Actions on October 3, 2010 by Marcy Newman

29 September 2010

This afternoon, after what was described as a “most tense” Senate

meeting, UJ’s highest academic body voted to conditionally end its

Apartheid-era relationship with Ben-Gurion University (BGU). A

fact-finding investigation conducted by the University confirmed BGU’s

links with the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) and complicity in the

Israeli occupation.

Against the backdrop of a significant public campaign, these findings

confirm the facts presented in a nationwide academic petition, which

has been supported by over 250 South African academics

(www.ujpetition.com). The petition has been backed by Vice-Chancellors

from four universities, and prominent leaders such as Breyten

Breytenbach, John Dugard, Antjie Krog, Barney Pityana, Kader Asmal and

Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

The overwhelming support of respected South African voices has

highlighted the structural complicity of Israeli universities in the

occupation and, as a result, the decision by UJ emphasises the

necessity for South African universities to reconsider their

affiliations to Israeli institutions.

Accepting the recommendations of the report, UJ has committed itself

to end any research or teaching relationship with BGU that has direct

or indirect military links; or in instances where human rights abuses

are identified. If BGU violates any of the conditions agreed on by

Senate or UJ’s stated principles, which include “solidarity with any

oppressed population”, the relationship will be terminated

automatically after 6 months. Further, Senate has recognised the

necessity for the University to engage with Palestinian universities

and has made this a requirement for interaction with the Israeli

institution.

Whilst the decision marks an unprecedented development towards the

complete boycott of Israel by South Africa, UJ’s decision goes only

part of the way in meeting the demands raised by the petitioners –

which was to insist that Israel must abide by international law and

that BGU terminates all privileges extended to the IDF. With this

milestone in the academic boycott of Israel, the campaign for boycott

will persist in taking these gains forward.

www.ujpetition.com

http://www.uj.ac.za

Mr Herman ESTERHUIZEN

Coordinator: Media Relations

Division of Marketing and Communication

Tel +27 11 559 6653

Cell +27 72 129 0777

Media release:

2010-09-29

The Senate of the University of Johannesburg (UJ) has voted not to
continue a long-standing relationship with Ben Gurion University (BGU)
in Israel in its present form and has set conditions for the
relationship to continue.

The conditions are that the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
governing the relationship between the two institutions be amended to
include Palestinian universities chosen with the direct involvement of
UJ. These universities are to be consulted on the terms of the amended
MoU and UJ will consider their views.

Additionally, UJ will not engage in any activities with BGU that have
direct or indirect military implications, this to be monitored by UJ’s
Senate Academic Freedom Committee.

The UJ Senate also requests BGU to “respect UJ’s duty to take
seriously allegations of behaviour on the part of BGU’s stakeholders
that is incompatible with UJ’s values” and calls on BGU to respond to
reasonable requests from UJ seeking more information about “BGU’s
formal policies and informal practices”.

Should the conditions imposed by UJ not be met within six months, the
MoU between the two institutions will automatically lapse on 1 April
2011.

It will also lapse if there are any violations of UJ’s stated
principles, which the Senate task team outlines as “solidarity with
any oppressed population” and that UJ’s engagement with BGU and other
institutions in the region must “encourage reconciliation and the
advancement of human dignity and human solidarity”.

The Senate vote still has to be ratified by the Council of the
University, but BGU and its advocacy group in South Africa will be
notified of the task team’s findings and the Senate vote by Professor
Ihron Rensburg, Vice-Chancellor of UJ.

The Senate action is the result of findings by a task team established
at a special meeting of the university Senate on 17 May where some
members of the University’s highest academic body proposed to sever
the current Memorandum of Understanding between UJ and BGU because of
alleged incompatibility between BGU’s practices and UJ’s central
values.

After hearing representations, the Senate decided to form a task team
that would put its mind to the issues raised and make a recommendation
to the Senate on how to respond to the proposal to sever links with
BGU.

The committee, which was headed by Professor Adam Habib,
Vice-Chancellor: Research, Innovation and Advancement at UJ, was
evenly divided between advocates for termination of links and those in
favour of continued conditional engagement.

“The committee met five times with a view to finding a principled
common ground on which a recommendation to Senate could be advanced,”
says Professor Habib. “In developing this recommendation we were
mindful that our recommendation would need to be consistently applied
in other similar contexts where UJ’s central values were not upheld
and where human rights abuses were identified.”

Platini: ’I’ll Kick Israel Out Of Europe’

Posted in Apartheid, International BDS Actions, Zionism on October 3, 2010 by Marcy Newman

Palestine Monitor
2 October 2010

The UEFA President has taken a tough stance, “Israel must choose between allowing Palestinian sport to continue and prosper or be forced to face the consequences for their behaviour.”

Michel Platini, president of European football’s ruling body, threatened Israel with expulsion from the union if it continues to undermine football in Palestine. His comments this week were prompted by Israel’s refusal to allow six of the Palestinian national team to travel from Gaza to a match with Mauritania in August.

Israeli spokesmen said the players were denied access for “security reasons”, claiming they did not have the correct permit. Protests were held in the West Bank town of Al-Ram and Palestinian Football Federation (PFF) President Djibril Rajoub vowed to take the matter further and “demand the removal of Israel from international sporting organizations.”

Following a conversation with Rajoub, Platini, president of the European Union of Football Associations (Uefa), took a strong stance on Israel’s restrictions. “We accepted them in Europe and furnished them with the conditions for membership and they must respect the letter of the laws and international regulations otherwise there is no justification for them to remain in Europe”, he said. “Israel must choose between allowing Palestinian sport to continue and prosper or be forced to face the consequences for their behaviour.” Platini added that International Football Federation (FIFA) chief Sepp Blatter had struck a similar tone during a private phone conversation

Palestinian football has been frequently disrupted by policies of the occupation, although informally there are agreements to leave it untouched as a “humanitarian gesture”. The domestic league season is often shut down prematurely; only seven seasons have been completed since 1977 and players are commonly subjected to harassment and violence. Two national team players from Gaza, Ayman Alkurd and Wajeh Moshate, were killed during Operation Cast Lead and the national stadium was destroyed by Israeli bombs.

Despite the problems, the PFF has been flourishing of late. In 2008, the men’s national team played its first match on home soil, and a year later 15,000 watched the women’s team take on Jordan. Both have gone on to enjoy some creditable results and FIFA conferred its development award on Palestine in 2008 “in recognition of the difficult task that it had accomplished in keeping football alive”.

With membership of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), already secured, and European Union (EU) acceptance seeming more likely, Platini’s comments represent a momentum check for Israel. Rejection from European football, which they have participated in since receiving a special invitation in 1994, would be a damaging blow to Israel’s standing in its adopted continent.

The matter will be discussed at a special Uefa meeting in Belarus in October.

Read more about football in Palestine http://www.palestinemonitor.org/spip/spip.php?article1416

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