Thursday, July 31, 2008
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Somerville Divestment Committee demands action against Apartheid Israel;
Zionists want Iran's blood ("Turn Tehran into a parking lot." )
"Anti-Israel group returns to ballot"
SOMERVILLE JOURNAL (Somerville, Massachusetts)
July 29, 2008
On the Web at:
By George P. Hassett
The Somerville Divestment Project is back. The polarizing group that has brought hundreds to City Hall to protest and support Israeli policies in the Middle East, is pushing another non-binding ballot question to city voters in November.
The resolution would direct State Rep. Denise provost, D-Somerville, to “vote in favor of a non-binding resolution calling on the federal government to support the right of all people, including non-Jewish Palestinians of Israel, to live free from laws that give more rights to people of one religion than another.” Provost’s district covers roughly two-thirds of the city.
A similar measure calling for the “right of all refugees, including Palestinian refugees to return to their land of origin,” failed with 45 percent of the vote in 2006, according to SDP organizer Ron Francis. Another 2006 question called provost to support “all governmental entities of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to sell any investments they hold either in Israel Bonds or in companies that supply Military equipment to Israel.” That measure failed with 31 percent of the vote.
SDP has divided Somerville citizens over a seemingly far away conflict in another part of the world since 2004. That year, on Nov. 8 hundreds crowded City Hall to support and oppose an SDP resolution that all city investors sell their Israel bonds along with their stock in six companies – including General Electric – that build Israeli weapons. The crowd that night had their backpacks and packages checked by eight city police officers at the front entrance of City Hall.
The measure gave mayor Joseph A. Curtatone the opportunity – in front of a crowd in the Aldermanic Chambers that filled all 90 seats, lined the walls three and four deep and overflowed into the hallway - to weigh in on the foreign conflict.
“Fair and just treatment of the Palestinian people residing in the territories is essential to building peace in the region. However I also support Israel’s right to defend itself and safeguard it’s people,” Curtatone said. “The Retirement Board’s Chief responsibility is to secure the highest rate of return possible for the fund. In rare exceptions, the moral imperative is so clear and unambiguous as to warrant divestment. This is not such a case.”
Curtatone said if passed he would veto the resolution. The public hearing that followed featured a former Israel soldier being hissed at and accusations that opponents of the measure had “the blood of dead Palestinians” on their hands.
Since that meeting, SDP has alienated some of its own members by stepping up their rhetoric and describing the policies of the Israeli government as “apartheid.”
SDP member Bob Cable said this time around, “controversy is inevitable,” and he expects some opposition.
"Posted by:Imux | July 29, 2008 at 10:22 PM "
Monday, July 28, 2008
"UN Report: At 45%, Gaza unemployment is highest in the world"
July 28, 2008
On the Web at:
"The unemployment rate in the Gaza Strip now stands at 45 percent, higher than anywhere else in the world, according to a report released recently by the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration.
"Nearly 95 percent of all factories operating in Gaza have been closed down in recent years, says the report. Israel's year long economic blockade on the coastal territory and repeated closure of electricity and fuel sources have also contributed to the humanitarian crisis.
"According to a separate report published by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the unemployment rate in the West Bank reached 25 percent between July and December 2007 - double the average rate in the Middle East and North Africa region."
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Palestinians Appalled by Obama's Comments.
On YouTube at:
Congressman Dingell: "...during my 50 years in Congress, I have proudly supported more than $300 billion dollars in aid for the State of Israel..."
"...during my 50 years in Congress, I have proudly supported more than $300 billion dollars in aid for the State of Israel. ..."
--Congressman John Dingell, at:
Don't Vote for Lowenstein. She defends the Apartheid State of Israel.
How will she judge you, if she is elected as Judge?
To see the video, click below, at:
--Even after Israel dropped 4 million cluster bombs on Lebanon.
More calls for sanctions against Israel:
As Palestine suffers "ethnic cleansing, occupation, detentions and assassinations of civilians..."
"Israeli academic boycott:
" 'Sanctions, not connections' "
In "The Guardian" (U.K.), at:
July 25, 2008
Gordon Brown's speech to the Knesset left me unsure whether to laugh or cry, says Sue Blackwell of the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (BRICUP).
I laughed at his pompous declaration that "the British government will stand full-square against any boycotts of Israel or Israeli academics and their institutions." After all, the University and College Union has not yet voted for a boycott: merely that "colleagues be asked to consider the moral and political implications of educational links with Israeli institutions". This modest call to conscience has induced apoplexy in both the British and Israeli cabinets. Clearly we have struck a raw nerve.
I also laughed, rather bitterly, at Brown's inability to perceive his own ironies. For instance, his reference to 1948 as the year when "the centuries of exile ended", whereas for thousands of Palestinians it was the year when exile began; or his pledge to "show those who would give licence to terror... that the path to a better future runs not through violence, not by murder, and never with the killing of civilians." Coming from one failing prime minister with blood on his hands to another, this was a bit rich.
There wasn't a lot to laugh at: mostly I cried. I cried at our prime minister's utter lack of historical awareness. As my colleague Dr Ghada Karmi put it: "He is either ignorant of or indifferent to the facts". His praise for Israel's achievements in "draining the swamps in the 20th century" was an uninspired variant on the "making the desert blossom like the rose" theme. He only managed to introduce the word "Palestinian" two-thirds of the way through his speech.
I cried at his abject hypocrisy in praising Israeli achievements in the face of "war, terror, violence, threats, intimidation and insecurity". Where was his praise for Palestinian achievements in the face of ethnic cleansing, occupation, detentions and assassinations of civilians, an illegal wall through the West Bank and the siege of Gaza? When he said "the people of Israel have a right to live here, to live freely and to live in security", which people of Israel did he mean? Did he include the Arab citizens of villages like Dar El-Hanoun, whose roads and playground were demolished by the Ministry of the Interior because the village was "unrecognised"?
Brown drew attention to Israeli achievements in medicine, academia, the arts, sport, music, science and technology. BRICUP is currently campaigning for boycotts in each of these spheres.
The Israeli Medical Association is a pariah because it fails to investigate allegations that its members condone torture during interrogation. The Israeli football team gets picketed because Israel has repeatedly prevented the Palestinian team from travelling and has destroyed Palestinian football pitches. Musicians, artists and writers intending to appear in Israel are being urged to treat Tel Aviv like Sun City in the days of South African apartheid.
Architects are called on to stop underpinning the occupation. Scientists and academics are challenged about their institutions' complicity with the military establishment.
So when Brown announced grants for joint initiatives through the Britain-Israel Research and Academic Exchange Partnership, BRICUP urged British and Israeli academics of conscience not to participate. This is an attempt to continue "business as usual" and we should have no part in it. As Ghada Karmi puts it: "Israel needs sanctions, not appeasement."
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Zionist attack at People's Food Co-op:
The Boycott-Israel campaign is told that Palestinian children should face "more death"
"Boycott Israel at People's Food Co-op"
On that video, you will see the language Zionists use, against peaceful Boycott-Israel activists.
Over 1,300 people have witnessed this verbal assault on the children of Palestine--
--as televised on YouTube.
From the front sidewalk of the People's Food Co-op, you will see an Israel-booster urging:
* More aerial assassinations of Palestinians, by the Israeli air force,
* "More death" to Palestinian children.
People's Food Co-op management, by frequently calling the police on Boycott-Israel campaigners, have empowered Zionists to use the most bloody language against Palestinians.
Will the Co-op management finally condemn such racist attacks on Palestinian children, from their own front sidewalk?
You can find out by calling the People's Food Co-op, at: 734-994-9174.
(Please be polite.)
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
"I believe that a Penn State boycott of Israel will cause a cascade effect for other institutions to follow..."
Posted on July 23, 2008
DAILY COLLEGIAN (Pennsylvania State University)
The Palestine-Israel conflict has gone on too long. After more than 60 years of conflict, no end is in sight to the crisis and all military approaches seem to have failed. Therefore, the academic and intellectual communities are probably the only ones that can force a peaceful end to the conflict.
Penn State President Graham Spanier and the Penn State Board of Trustees need to set a precedent and boycott countries that don't adhere to the protection of human rights and international law.
I believe that a Penn State boycott of Israel will cause a cascade effect for other institutions to follow, thus forcing Israel to adhere to human rights and international law. Such actions have already proven to be effective when a world boycott lead to the end of the racist apartheid regime in South Africa.
As long as Israel continues to build illegal settlements, continues to illegally occupy Palestinian land, build an apartheid wall and continues to subjugate the basic rights of Palestinian people, there will never be a peaceful end to the conflict. It is time for Penn State to regard Israel as an apartheid state as we did South Africa.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
"Israel needs sanctions, not appeasement, says boycott group"
22-07-2008 London, (BRICUP):
On the Web at:
The British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (BRICUP), the main organisation in the UK promoting the academic and cultural boycott of Israel, condemned the academic initiative announced by Gordon Brown in yesterday’s Knesset speech as “abject hypocrisy”.
BRICUP called on British academics to refuse the “blood money” promised for Israeli-British collaboration through the Britain-Israel Research and Academic Exchange Partnership (BIRAX) which Brown announced will provide grants for joint scientific research and exchanges between Israel and Britain.
BRICUP notes that Brown had nothing to say about the systematic sabotage of Palestinian centres of learning and research by the Israeli separation wall, by military incursions and checkpoints, and by the detention of tutors and students. Mr. Brown spoke of peace and collaborative endeavour; he turned his eyes away from the cultural and educational deprivation, imposed as a matter of policy, on the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories and from the Palestinians discriminated against in education and research inside Israel itself. This Brown-Olmert initiative attempts to draw a veil over that reality. It is shameful that the representatives of a British Government should take such a selective view of historical oppressions.
“It is abject hypocrisy for Brown to praise Israeli achievements in the face of ‘war, terror, violence, threats, intimidation and insecurity’” said Sue Blackwell, a BRICUP activist at Birmingham University. “Why did he have nothing to say about Palestinian achievements in the face of decades of ethnic cleansing, illegal occupation, political detentions and assassinations of civilians, an illegal apartheid wall through the West Bank and the siege of Gaza? He has completely swallowed the Zionist narrative in his grovelings to Olmert: a case of one failing Prime Minister trying to prop up another.”
“The University and College Union has not even voted for a boycott" said Tom Hickey, a lecturer at the University of Brighton, UK, and mover of the recent motion on links with Israeli institutions at the UCU Congress. “We have merely suggested that members reflect on their moral consciences, and ask themselves whether they can, with equanimity, continue links with Israeli institutions that are complicit in the attempted extirpation of the Palestinian people, and the colonisation of the West Bank. But clearly we have hit a raw nerve, to judge from the hysteria in both governments. BRICUP sees this as a mark of its achievement. We have drawn national and international attention to this barbarism, and we are receiving an increasingly sympathetic response from our Israeli colleagues.”
BRICUP is less than impressed by Brown’s frequent references in his speech to his Christian background, as the son of a Minister of the Church who had learned Hebrew. “He had the chutzpah to quote the prophet Amos, who never failed to speak truth to power about social injustice” said Professor Jonathan Rosenhead. “Brown has never managed to speak truth to power about anything, unlike Archbishop Desmond Tutu who has called Israel’s siege of Gaza an ‘abomination’.”
In his speech, Brown drew attention to Israeli achievements in medicine, academia, the arts, sport, music, science and technology. BRICUP is currently campaigning for boycotts of Israel in each of these spheres. It does so because of the complicity of Israeli universities and colleges, and of its medical and cultural establishment, in the barbaric occupation of the Occupied Territories. The Israeli Medical Association is in the dock for failing to investigate the participation by some of its members in the torture of Palestinian detainees. Appearances by the Israeli football team have been picketed because Israel has repeatedly prevented the Palestinian team from travelling inside the area or overseas, and has destroyed Palestinian football pitches. Musicians, artists and writers intending to appear in Israel are being urged to treat Tel Aviv like Sun City in the days of South African apartheid.
The partnership initiative announced yesterday is clearly a response to the decision of the University and College Union (UCU) in the UK, and other teaching and scholarly organisations internationally, to reflect on the appropriateness of continued contact with Israeli institutions in these circumstances. This was made clear by the comment by Bill Rammell, a British education Minister. It is remarkable that an invitation to ethical reflection by a small but influential educational trade union should provoke such an exorbitant reaction. BRICUP takes the UK and Israeli governments' reaction as testimony both to the sensitivity of the question and to the effectiveness of the debate about boycott and sanctions.
BRICUP urges British and Israeli academics of conscience not to participate in the academic collaborations touted by the Prime Minister. “Much of the finance for these partnerships is clearly coming from parts of the private and voluntary sectors that are allied to Israel, irrespective of its actions or policies as a state” said Mike Cushman of the London School of Economics, and a member of BRICUP. “But whatever the source, we are urging our colleagues not to touch any of this funding with a bargepole: it is blood money and they should recognise it as such.”
"As a Palestinian and an academic, I am horrified at Gordon Brown's insouciance in the face of ongoing Israeli violations of Palestinian academic freedom, in the Occupied Territories and in Israel itself" said Dr Ghada Karmi, a Palestinian doctor and BRICUP member from Exeter University. "He is either ignorant of or indifferent to the facts. Israel needs sanctions, not appeasement."
Sunday, July 20, 2008
"...a boycott and divestment movement against Israel (due to its occupation of Palestinian territories) will go into overdrive."
"No Attack on Iran!"
By Bill Fletcher Jr.
Former President and chief executive officer of TransAfrica Forum
July 9, 2008
On the Web at:
It feels like every few months there is a need for an outcry against a possible U.S. or Israeli attack on Iran. For a few moments, the drum beat of war recedes only to emerge again with the same rationale: Iran is allegedly a threat to the U.S.A. and to world peace.
I thought that the matter was settled, at least for a while, when this past fall US intelligence agencies revealed that Iran had no nuclear weapons program and had, in fact, abandoned such plans several years ago.
This seemed to take the wind out of the sails of the Bush administration for a few weeks until they decided to change their tune and focus on alleged Iranian involvement in the Iraq war. Specifically, it was claimed that the Iranians were arming Shiite groups in Iraq.
The situation became downright silly when Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain visited Iraq and kept alleging that Al Qaeda-linked groups were based in Iran.
For someone who supposedly knows so much about world affairs this error either betrayed the early onset of dementia or it was a calculated political manipulation.
Al Qaeda, and its allies, are Sunni-based and have a mutual hostility with the Iranian Shiite regime. In any case, not to let the facts get in the way of provoking a war, Sen. McCain eventually corrected himself but continued to blame the Iranians for all sorts of alleged evils.
It is most interesting, though, to listen to the arguments that are raised against Iran. Whether the Iranians are arming the Iraqi Shiites is actually secondary to something more important: The USA illegally invaded and occupied a sovereign country, plunging that country into chaos.
The bottom line is that it is the U.S.A., before ANYONE else, which should not be in Iraq. Focusing on Iran misses the point entirely, something that is clearly intentional.
The renewed focus on Iran and nuclear power remains very curious. Iran is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. It possesses no documented weapons. Israel is not a signatory to the agreement. It possesses, according to former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, 150 such weapons.
Iran has not invaded another country during the 20th (or now 21st century). Iran possesses limited technology for a delivery system. No one has been able to document any effort to develop nuclear weapons. And, even if it is in the minds of some of the Iranian leaders, the construction of such weapons is years off. So, what is going on?
In case you missed it, the Bush administration lied its way into an invasion of Iraq, suggesting that the Hussein regime had all sorts of dastardly intents. Nothing was ever proven, and in fact, it appears that some of Saddam Hussein’s reluctance to discuss his military capabilities derived, quite ironically, from a fear of revealing Iraqi weaknesses to Iran!
So, with the U.S.A. and Israel suggesting that an attack on Iran is inevitable, we the people of the U.S.A. have to ask ourselves two questions: (1)What will we do to prevent an attack? and (2)What should we do if there is an attack?
Preventing an attack necessitates making our elected officials aware that we oppose such a move and we wish them to draw the line. As Congressman John Conyers has pointed out, an attack on Iran without the approval of Congress will be an illegal act. Congress needs to be prepared to make that point clear.
Yet, Israel may become the “sub-contractor” for the U.S.A. in attacking Iran. Israel can and has been restrained by the U.S.A. in the past. Israel must understand that should it attack Iran current global discussions already underway concerning a boycott and divestment movement against Israel (due to its occupation of Palestinian territories) will go into overdrive. There would probably be no way of stopping such a movement even if one wanted to.
So, in that sense, what to do to stop an attack is linked to what to do if an attack takes place. Our elected leaders must understand that we will not sit back.
Oh, one more thing in case you think that this is something that you can ignore: If you are currently concerned about the price of gas, you had better be petrified thinking about what will happen should there be another war and should the Iranians decide to block oil exports from the Persian/Arabian Gulf. Just a friendly reminder....
(Bill Fletcher, Jr. is a Senior Scholar with the Institute for Policy Studies and the immediate past president of TransAfrica Forum. He is the co-author of ‘‘Solidarity Divided’’ which analyzes the crisis of organized labor in the USA. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org this column was distributed by the NNPA.)
Israel jawboning US into striking Iran (PRESS TV, 12-16-2007)
Nuclear hypocrisy in Iran’s treatment (FCN, 03-12-2006)
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Seattle newspaper column says:
Divest from U.S. occupation of Iraq, and from the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land
"Divesting is interesting alternative to war"
By D. PARVAZ
July 18, 2008
There's been much sanctimonious talk of sanctions against Iran and divestment from companies or funds dealing within the country, with a new agreement in the Senate focusing on both sanctions and divestment from businesses operating in/with Iran. While sanctions can backfire (think of the disastrous sanctions against Iraq), they're better than bombs. And divestment -- putting one's money where one's mouth is -- seems even better. I'm not going to pretend to understand all the details of divestments -- it can get complicated -- but from a purely ethical point, it's do-able and is the right thing to do.
When Mitt Romney last year fired off a letter to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, ranting that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad shouldn't be allowed to address the U.N. General Assembly and that he should instead be charged with war crimes under the Genocide Convention, he should've checked his stock portfolio before sending the missive. At the time (and maybe still now), Romney held stock in companies that did business with the government of Sudan, where genocide is extinguishing lives at a terrifying pace. It struck me as odd that Romney felt he could condemn a theoretical genocide -- Iran has never been party to the mass killing of Jews, as Romney implied -- while he felt comfortable profiting from a real one.
Divesting is complex, but several states have started doing so from companies that do business with certain countries. For example, Michigan just passed a bill divesting from Sudan and Iran. But, if one is going to divest oneself, financially anyway, from war, corruption and misery, why not be fair about it?
So, I'm interested to see where Seattle ballot Initiative 97 (Divest from War and Occupation) will go.
I-97 would impose guidelines on how the city invests employee retirement funds, specifically, mandating that funds not be invested in companies profiting directly from our occupation of Iraq (unsanctioned by the U.N.), any similarly unjustified attack and -- here's the interesting/sticky part -- Israel's occupation of Palestinian territory. The initiative's elegant text lays out why a pre-emptive war without U.N. authorization, the illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian lands (see: The World Court at The Hague) and a possible pre-emptive attack on Iran are all violations of international law and human rights and therefore ought not be profited from. Contrary to what I-97 opponents would have you believe, this isn't a move against Israel's right to statehood -- it's a statement against illegal settlements in the occupied lands. The initiative focuses on the likes of Halliburton Holding Co. and Caterpillar Inc. (one of their armored bulldozers was used to kill Rachel Corrie) but not companies such as The Boeing Co., because, the thinking goes, Boeing doesn't specifically manufacture or sell crafts used for illegal (by international law) occupations.
Socially conscious investments are possible, but according to a P-I story on I-97, despite the fact that this sort of thing was done before with companies dealing with South Africa during the era of apartheid, Councilman Nick Licata had no luck in trying to divest the city's pension fund companies that rake in the big bucks from the conflict in Darfur. Even if I-97 survives the bogus anti-Israel charges, I worry the initiative might drown a dark, oily death (what else would Iraq and Sudan have in common?).
In The Alert -- "The Voice of the Thundering 36th!" -- probably the most enthusiastically named party newsletter, state Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles wrote that while she admires the spirit behind I-97, she can't agree with the bit about Israel. "If a simple solution were to be found, it already would have been achieved. Solely blaming Israel and equating its behavior with the U.S. pre-emptive war in Iraq and the profiteering on the part of Halliburton do not coincide with our democratic principles." I respectfully disagree. The initiative doesn't aim to offer solutions, per se. It offers us a way to no longer support and profit from illegal wars and occupations.
D. Parvaz is an editorial writer and member of the P-I Editorial Board. E-mail: email@example.com.
Friday, July 18, 2008
By Gideon Levy
Friday, 07.18.2008, 01:06pm
On the Web at:
Reporting from "Nablus, the most imprisoned city in the West Bank."--
"...Ninety percent of the children in the ancient neighborhood suffer from anemia and malnutrition, the economic situation is dire, the nightly incursions are continuing, and some of the inhabitants are not allowed to leave the city at all...."
"Using Bombs to Stave Off War"
by Benny Morris
NEW YORK TIMES
July 18, 2008
On the Web at:
"ISRAEL will almost surely attack Iran’s nuclear sites in the next four to seven months — and the leaders in Washington and even Tehran should hope that the attack will be successful enough to cause at least a significant delay in the Iranian production schedule, if not complete destruction, of that country’s nuclear program. Because if the attack fails, the Middle East will almost certainly face a nuclear war — either through a subsequent pre-emptive Israeli nuclear strike or a nuclear exchange shortly after Iran gets the bomb...
"...the best they [Iran's leaders] could hope for is that Israel’s conventional air assault will destroy their nuclear facilities. To be sure, this would mean thousands of Iranian casualties and international humiliation. But the alternative is an Iran turned into a nuclear wasteland...
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Vice President Kere has campaigned for the boycott of Apartheid Israel on campus.
| ************************************************************* |
"boycott 'Zionist' coffee"
By Erika Beauchesne | Published 04/2/2008 | Print , Ryersonian , News , Campus news |
(Ryerson University student newspaper)
On the Web at:
Outgoing RSU vice-president of education Heather Kere is spearheading a politically charged and controversial motion to remove Starbucks from Ryerson’s campus to protest the company’s alleged endorsement of Israel.
“The CEO and chairman of Starbucks (Howard Schultz) is a financial supporter of the state of Israel, an oppressive state that violates many UN resolutions, and so by supporting Starbucks, we’re supporting the apartheid system in Israel,” said Kere.
According to Kere, they’re not looking to remove Starbucks products from the entire campus – just yet. For now, they’re focusing only on Oakham House, where the RSU has the means to control what is sold.
She added that there’s already a campaign underway to eliminate all Coca-Cola products from Ryerson, which is more of a long-term endeavour.
Kere said it’s important for the board to take an active stance against the company, even if it means taking away a service some students on campus regularly enjoy.
“Our board is pretty progressive. It’s generally not uncommon for us to isolate companies that violate human rights such as Coke or Starbucks,” Kere said.
But Kere’s motion is controversial as she blatantly states that the RSU opposes Zionism, which she sees as a form of racism.
But this isn’t true, as Kere’s position on Zionism isn’t the RSU’s official stance, said president Nora Loreto.
“We don’t have an explicit position on Zionism,” Loreto said, adding that even if members voted for the motion to remove Starbucks from the SCC, it doesn’t mean they’re supporting Kere’s political opinions.
“The preamble of the motion doesn’t matter — what we vote on are the action clauses.
“In my opinion there hasn’t been enough solid evidence linking Starbucks with the killing of Palestianian people. The biggest issue has been getting enough fair-trade coffee, and if it’s the case that Starbucks isn’t fair trade, we’ll be pushing (for it to be removed).”
Anita Bromberg, director of Jewish rights group B’nai Brith’s legal department, said the political assertion behind Kere’s motion is “despicable and inappropriate.
“This is not what one hopes happens on a university campus,” she said.
The situation in the Middle East is a complicated issue and “hopefully, right-thinking people will be striving for peace instead of singling out one side,” she said.
Bromberg said, “We first butted heads with Ms. Kere last year when she was bringing (Malik Zulu) Shabazz onto campus — an American anti-Semite.
Since then, she said, Kere has been “involved with other anti-Israeli propaganda on campus.”
Kere said this is an untrue statement, adding that Shabazz was a guest speaker who was invited by other organizers of a campaign to recognize the contributions of young African-Americans.
"That’s what the RSU endorsed,” she said. “CFS were also sponsoring it and so were other student unions. We did not invite that individual.”
But Kere isn’t shy about voicing her anti-Israel views. Last November, Kere failed in getting the CFS to vote on an academic boycott of Israeli universities and professors. Her motion was removed from the agenda without debate.
This past February, Kere was also the face of Israeli Apartheid Week...
The Angry Arab News Service
وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب
July 17, 2008
"Since 1967, Israel has arrested some 750,000 Palestinians, or some 25% of all Palestinians.
"There are now more than 10,000 Palestinian prisoners (including women, children and elderly) in Israeli jails. 360 of the prisoners are children, including a 6 months old child, who is the youngest prisoner in the world. Some 6.18% of prisoners are ill.
"Israel has arrested 10,000 Palestinian women since 1967. Four Palestinian women have delivered while in Israeli jails. "
--from As-Safir newspaper, translated at:
A rally banner showed an Israeli flag, planted into the bloodied back of a dead Palestinian.
Other signs said "Death to Apartheid" and "Zionism is Racism."
"Interview on banning the term 'Israeli apartheid' at Macmaster University"
On the Web at:
Brief excerpts from the interview with Jamila Ghaddar, of MacMaster University's Students for Palestinian Human Rights:
Jamila Ghaddar: "Well as the Israeli officials have declared they have initiated a Holocaust against the Gazan people. I’m sure you’re aware of some of the massive massacring taking place in Gaza, and I think what this really shows is what does it mean to be a hate criminal.
"Because they always claim that to defend Palestinian rights as outlined in international law-- that this is a hate crime against Jewish people, because of the Holocaust, the Holocaust that was perpetuated by the Western powers against a Semitic population within their midst. Well it’s very interesting that now Israeli officials…Zionists…Euro-Zionists…people who come out of the 19th century Western ideological movement, that they think it’s ok to launch a Holocaust against the Palestinian people, and if I were to say anything maybe it’s not Israeli apartheid, maybe it’s Israeli genocide, maybe it’s just a little bit worse than apartheid..."
Jamila Ghaddar: "I think when you have the criminalization of dissent and when you have the criminalization of resistance it’s because they don’t want a solution to the problem-- they just want to implement the final solution..."
Monday, July 14, 2008
"Anti-Zionist Orthodox Jews Condemn Zionist Pogroms in West Bank and Strangulation of Gaza"
On the Web at:
A Statement From Neturei Karta Palestine
"Anti-Zionist Orthodox Jews worldwide condemn the savage pograms unleashed against the Palestinian people in the West Bank by the Zionist terrorist gang known as the 'IDF', " a statement by the Neturei Karta in Palestine started.
Members of Neturei Karta in a protest (Photo: Wikimedia)
The statement, which was signed by Rabbi Meir Hirsh, condemns the attacks against the Palestinian people and describe it as a program aimed at terrorizing the civil society in Palestine, and describes the Gaza Strip as a prison made by Israel.
The statement also calls on the International community to take steps to change the situation in the Palestinian Territories and to boycott Israel.
"We implore the world community not to stand idly by and allow the Palestinian people to be terrorized and sacrificed solely in order to make life comfortable for the Zionist regime. Where are the peacekeeping troops? Where are the UN declarations? Where are the world summits of the major powers? Where are the declarations and condemnations? Where are the arms boycotts against the Zionists?"
The group also relate the lack of action by the world countries to being called anti-Semite.
"What is the reason for the constant silence in the face of the Zionist miscreants? Is it intimidation and threats to use the term “anti-Semite” against any person or government who dares to criticize their brutality?"
The statement criticizes the Jewish leaders and rabbis in Israel saying that they ae intimidated by the Zionists, accusing Zionism of disgracing the word "Jew."
"You are silent and the word “Jew” is seen among the nations to mean murderer and terrorist!," the statement added.
Neturei Karta is the Aramaic term for "Guardians of the City".
According to their website, Neturei Karta opposes the state of Israel. The group was founded in Jerusalem, Palestine in 1938, splitting off from Agudas Yisroel. Agudas Yisroel was established in 1912 for the purpose of fighting Zionism.
"Neturei Karta oppose the so-called 'State of Israel' not because it operates secularly, but because the entire concept of a sovereign Jewish state is contrary to Jewish Law," the webstie says.
Members of Neturei Karta in Palestine refer to themselves as Palestinians and they are represented in the Palestinian Legislative Council, (The Palestinian Parliament).
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Click on picture to enlarge it.
Saturday, July 12, 2008
"Protesters target Israeli jeweller"
by Sharmila Devi, Foreign Correspondent
Published in "The National", at:
Last Updated: July 12. 2008 9:03PM UAE
View of the Levant Jewellery store at Mina Al Salam hotel in Dubai, which sells Leviev’s jewellery. Pawan Singh / The National
NEW YORK // Human rights protesters took to the streets in New York last week to continue their campaign against an Israeli billionaire who is suspected of building settlements in the occupied West Bank.
Adalah-NY, a Jewish-Palestinian umbrella group of activists, vowed to maintain pressure on Lev Leviev, a real estate and diamond mogul who is one of the richest men in Israel, over his suspected activities in the West Bank and to prevent him from opening more Leviev diamond jewellery stores in Dubai.
“There is growing awareness around the world about Leviev’s blatant human rights abuses,” said Daniel Lang-Levitsky, a spokesman for Jews Against the Occupation, which is part of Adalah-NY.
Unicef, the United Nations children’s agency, announced last month it would not accept any financial contributions from Leviev companies after finding “at least reasonable grounds for suspecting” they were building settlements in defiance of international law.
Mr Leviev is the chairman of Africa Israel Investments, a global conglomerate.
One of its units is Danya Cebus, which activists say is helping to construct the settlement of Zufim on land taken from the Palestinian village of Jayyous in the northern West Bank.
There is one Leviev store at the Mina Al Salam hotel in Dubai; plans to open more shops appear to be on hold while the Arab League’s Central Boycott Office in Damascus considers its position.
About 20 people gathered on a rainy afternoon outside the Leviev store on Madison Avenue on Wednesday for the latest in a string of protests that started last year. Wednesday was the fourth anniversary of the International Court of Justice’s ruling that Israel’s separation barrier illegally annexed Palestinian land.
Just inside the store, protected by a New York police cordon, a burly security guard in a suit stood behind a window display of diamonds and a printed list of Leviev store locations – London, New York, Moscow and Dubai.
The protesters chanted such slogans as “you sparkle, you shine, but settlements are still a crime” and “you’re glitzy, you’re glam, you’re stealing Palestinian land”. Many people walking past, including glamorous Upper East Side ladies, looked bemused but many took a leaflet.
“Our movement is providing a model for other campaigns in the boycott movement,” said Riham Barghouti, a spokesman for Adalah-NY, who is from Ramallah and works as a teacher in Brooklyn.
“Our main message to supporters either here or in the United Arab Emirates is that in spite of the difficulties, it is possible to get together and protest against human rights violations.”
Mr Leviev’s public relations staff would not comment. In an interview with Ha’aretz, an Israeli newspaper, this year, the usually media-shy Mr Leviev said he would build in the Palestinian territories as long as he had permission from Israel.
He said “groups that are funded by business competitors” were behind the protests but offered no evidence.
The Adalah-NY grassroots campaign – including protests, letters to the media and internet activism – is sharply focused against Mr Leviev and his business activities in the West Bank but also supports striking miners at his companies in Namibia and rent-controlled tenants at properties owned by the businessman in New York.
Although Adalah-NY is a small group, it said its effect was illustrated by Unicef’s rejection of further financial contributions from Mr Leviev.
Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, which fights anti-Semitism, defends Mr Leviev.
“The decision not to accept assistance from Mr Leviev smacks of selective political discrimination,” Mr Foxman said. “This decision only gives legitimacy to those who would seek to promote a boycott of the state of Israel and its supporters.”
The debate was taken up by Richard Silverstein, who runs the liberal Tikun Olam website.
“I’ve been following Adalah’s energetic, months-long campaign against Russo-Israeli diamond baron Lev Leviev with great interest. Not so much because I agree with Adalah’s politics regarding the I-P [Israel-Palestine] conflict but because I find Leviev’s political, commercial and religious interests to be so odious,” he wrote. “Through an imaginative, tenacious campaign they have nipped at Leviev’s heels all over the globe where he maintains commercial interests.”
Friday, July 11, 2008
South African fighters against apartheid visit occupied Palestine, and say:
" 'This is like apartheid"
Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, a member of the South African delegation, in the West Bank city of Hebron
" 'This is like apartheid':
"ANC veterans visit West Bank"
Friday, 11 July 2008
In "The Independent" (U.K.), at:
Veterans of the anti-apartheid struggle said last night that the restrictions endured by Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied territories was in some respects worse than that imposed on the black majority under white rule in South Africa.
Members of a 23-strong human-rights team of prominent South Africans cited the impact of the Israeli military's separation barrier, checkpoints, the permit system for Palestinian travel, and the extent to which Palestinians are barred from using roads in the West Bank.
After a five-day visit to Israel and the Occupied Territories, some delegates expressed shock and dismay at conditions in the Israeli-controlled heart of Hebron. Uniquely among West Bank cities, 800 settlers now live there and segregation has seen the closure of nearly 3,000 Palestinian businesses and housing units. Palestinian cars (and in some sections pedestrians) are prohibited from using the once busy streets.
"Even with the system of permits, even with the limits of movement to South Africa, we never had as much restriction on movement as I see for the people here," said an ANC parliamentarian, Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge of the West Bank. "There are areas in which people would live their whole lifetime without visiting because it's impossible."
Mrs Madlala-Routledge, a former deputy health minister in President Thabo Mbeki's government, added: "While I want to be careful not to characterise everything that I see here as apartheid, I just do find comparisons in a number of places. I also find differences."
Comparisons with apartheid have long been anathema to majority Israeli opinion, though they have been somewhat less taboo since the Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, last year warned that without an early two-state agreement Israel could face a South African-style struggle for equal voting rights.
Fatima Hassan, a leading South African human rights lawyer, said: "The issue of separate roads,[different registration] of cars driven by different nationalities, the indignity of producing a permit any time a soldier asks for it, and of waiting in long queues in the boiling sun at checkpoints just to enter your own city, I think is worse than what we experienced during apartheid." She was speaking after the tour, which included a visit to the Holocaust Museum at Yad Vashem and a meeting with Israel's Chief Justice, Dorit Beinisch.
One prominent member of the delegation, who declined to be named, said South Africa had been "much poorer" both during and after apartheid than the Palestinian territories. But he added: "The daily indignity to which the Palestinian population is subjected far outstrips the apartheid regime. And the effectiveness with which the bureaucracy implements the repressive measures far exceed that of the apartheid regime."
Members of the delegation – the first of its kind – visited Nablus as well as towns and villages bordering the separation barrier, including Na'alin where a temporary curfew was imposed after joint Israeli-Palestinian demonstrations against the barrier.
The visit was organised by Israeli human rights groups which co-operate with Palestinians committed to non-violent campaigns against Israeli occupation.
In Hebron's main Shuhada Street, the South African delegation was plunged into a confrontation after one of the local settlers' leaders disrupted the tour by unleashing a barrage of abuse through a megaphone at one of the Israeli guides. Amid angry arguments, police arrested three of the Israeli guides.
Mrs Madlala Routledge exclaimed: "This is ridiculous. Why are they arresting our guides and leaving the man with the megaphone?"
Dennis Davis, a high court judge and one of the South African delegation's several Jewish members, told the extreme right-wing Hebron settlers' leader Baruch Marzel: "These provocations didn't come from us. I'm Jewish and I look at this and I say to myself, how can I feel fear from other Jews?"
Andrew Feinstein, a former ANC parliament member, said that the visit to Yad Vashem had been "extremely moving" because his mother had been a Holocaust survivor who lost many members of her family. "As you walk into Yad Vashem you see a quote that says in effect you should know a country not only by what it does but what it tolerates," he said. "So I found it very shocking to then come and here and see footage of teenagers heaping abuse on Palestinian children as they come out of school, and throwing stones at them. And that this should be done in the name of Judaism I find totally reprehensible.
"What the Holocaust teaches us more than anything else is that we must never turn our heads away in the face of injustice."
The delegation's final formal statement made no mention of comparisons with apartheid and Judge Davis said he thought the use of the term in the Middle East context was "very unhelpful".
He added: "The level of social control I've seen here, separate roads, different number plates [between Palestinian and Israeli cars] may well be more cynically pernicious than what we have ever had. But this is a country that is really about how there is going to be divorce and we were always a marriage." Ms Hassan herself said she thought the apartheid comparison was a potential "red herring".
Israelis point out there are no South-African-style laws segregating Israeli and East Jerusalem Arabs from Israeli Jews in public spaces.
The delegation yesterday urged international support for the "new and small movement of Palestinian-Israeli joint non-violent struggle". And its members stressed their understanding of Israeli security needs. Mr Feinstein said: "I completely understand the fears of Israelis ... but at the same time we have seen for ourselves and been told about all sorts of measures that don't seem to be in terms of security and in some instances could if anything undermine security of state."
The delegation also visited the Parents' Circle – a joint organisation of Israeli and Palestinian families bereaved by the conflict. Ms Hassan said this had been at once the most "depressing and inspiring" visit of the trip.
"Student lobbying organization votes to boycott 'apartheid' Israel"
By Joey Coleman | July 11th, 2008
On the Web at:
Nearly two months ago, Quebec’s L’Association pour une Solidarité Syndicale Étudiante (ASSÉ) voted to boycott Isreali goods and called for sanctions against Israel.
Really, and this is a student issue how?
(It’s worth noting the disconnect between French and English Canada here. Had this occurred at any English Canadian students’ union, we (the media horde) would have been all over the story.)
There Is 1 Response So Far. »
Comment by EvaSK on 11 July 2008:
It is not student issue, it is whole humanity issue.
This is a excerpt from article called “Worse than Apartheid” published by leading Israeli newpaper, Haareth, on 10th of July 2008:
She was deputy defense minister from 1999 to 2004; in 1987 she served time in prison. Later, I asked her in what ways the situation here is worse than apartheid. “The absolute control of people’s lives, the lack of freedom of movement, the army presence everywhere, the total separation and the extensive destruction we saw.”
Madlala-Routledge thinks that the struggle against the occupation is not succeeding here because of U.S. support for Israel - not the case with apartheid, which international sanctions helped destroy. Here, the racist ideology is also reinforced by religion, which was not the case in South Africa. “Talk about the ‘promised land’ and the ‘chosen people’ adds a religious dimension to racism which we did not have.”
Equally harsh are the remarks of the editor-in-chief of the Sunday Times of South Africa, Mondli Makhanya, 38. “When you observe from afar you know that things are bad, but you do not know how bad. Nothing can prepare you for the evil we have seen here. In a certain sense, it is worse, worse, worse than everything we endured. The level of the apartheid, the racism and the brutality are worse than the worst period of apartheid.
“The apartheid regime viewed the blacks as inferior; I do not think the Israelis see the Palestinians as human beings at all. How can a human brain engineer this total separation, the separate roads, the checkpoints? What we went through was terrible, terrible, terrible - and yet there is no comparison. Here it is more terrible. We also knew that it would end one day; here there is no end in sight. The end of the tunnel is blacker than black.
“Under apartheid, whites and blacks met in certain places. The Israelis and the Palestinians do not meet any longer at all. The separation is total. It seems to me that the Israelis would like the Palestinians to disappear. There was never anything like that in our case. The whites did not want the blacks to disappear. I saw the settlers in Silwan [in East Jerusalem] - people who want to expel other people from their place.”
In the "Detroit News", July 11, 2008, at:
"It is high time The Detroit News denounced Islamophobia. As Israel turns Gaza into a modern replica of the Warsaw ghetto, trying to starve a million Palestinians into submission, The News should join the call for a humanitarian boycott against Israel before Palestine is starved to death."
Thursday, July 10, 2008
South Africa: "When we think of the massive land theft perpetrated against the people of South Africa, we remember... the theft of Palestinian land"
"We fought apartheid; we see no reason to celebrate it in Israel now!"
17 May 2008
On the Web at:
We, South Africans who faced the might of unjust and brutal apartheid machinery in South Africa and fought against it with all our strength, with the objective to live in a just, democratic society, refuse today to celebrate the existence of an Apartheid state in the Middle East. While Israel and its apologists around the world will, with pomp and ceremony, loudly proclaim the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the state of Israel this month, we who have lived with and struggled against oppression and colonialism will, instead, remember 6 decades of catastrophe for the Palestinian people. 60 years ago, 750,000 Palestinians were brutally expelled from their homeland, suffering persecution, massacres, and torture. They and their descendants remain refugees. This is no reason to celebrate.
When we think of the Sharpeville massacre of 1960, we also remember the Deir Yassin massacre of 1948.
When we think of South Africa’s Bantustan policy, we remember the bantustanisation of Palestine by the Israelis.
When we think of our heroes who languished on Robben Island and elsewhere, we remember the 11,000 Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails.
When we think of the massive land theft perpetrated against the people of South Africa, we remember that the theft of Palestinian land continues with the building of illegal Israeli settlements and the Apartheid Wall.
When we think of the Group Areas Act and other such apartheid legislation, we remember that 93% of the land in Israel is reserved for Jewish use only.
When we think of Black people being systematically dispossessed in South Africa, we remember that Israel uses ethnic and racial dispossession to strike at the heart of Palestinian life.
When we think of how the SADF troops persecuted our people in the townships, we remember that attacks from tanks, fighter jets and helicopter gunships are the daily experience of Palestinians in the Occupied Territory.
When we think of the SADF attacks against our neighbouring states, we remember that Israel deliberately destabilises the Middle East region and threatens international peace and security, including with its 100s of nuclear warheads.
We who have fought against Apartheid and vowed not to allow it to happen again can not allow Israel to continue perpetrating apartheid, colonialism and occupation against the indigenous people of Palestine.
We dare not allow Israel to continue violating international law with impunity.
We will not stand by while Israel continues to starve and bomb the people of Gaza.
We who fought all our lives for South Africa to be a state for all its people demand that millions of Palestinian refugees must be accorded the right to return to the homes from where they were expelled.
Apartheid was a gross violation of human rights. It was so in South Africa and it is so with regard to Israel’s persecution of the Palestinians!
- Ronnie Kasrils, Minister of Intelligence / End Occupation Campaign
- Blade Nzimande, General Secretary, South African Communist Party
- Zwelinzima Vavi, General Secretary, Congress of South African Trade Unions
- Ahmed Kathrada, Nelson Mandela Foundation
- Eddie Makue, General Secretary, South African Council of Churches
- Makoma Lekalakala, Social Movements Indaba
- Dale McKinley, Anti-Privatisation Forum
- Lybon Mabasa, President, Socialist Party of Azania
- Costa Gazi, Pan Africanist Congress of Azania
- Jeremy Cronin, South African Communist Party
- Sydney Mufamadi, Minister of Provincial and Local Government
- Mosioua Terror Lekota, Minister of Safety and Security
- Mosibudi Mangena, President, Azanian Peoples Organisation / Minister of Science and Technology
- Alec Erwin, Minister of Public Enterprises
- Essop Pahad, Minister in the Presidency
- Enver Surty, Deputy Minister of Education
- Roy Padayache, Deputy Minister of Communications
- Derek Hanekom, Deputy Minister of Science and Technology
- Rob Davies, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry
- Lorretta Jacobus, Deputy Minister of Correctional Services
- Sam Ramsamy, International Olympic Committee
- Yasmin Sooka, Executive Director, Foundation for Human Rights
- Pregs Govender, Feminist Activist and Author: Love and Courage, A Story of Insubordination
- Adam Habib, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of Johannesburg
- Frene Ginwala, African National Congress
- Salim Vally, Palestine Solidarity Committee
- Na’eem Jeenah, Palestine Solidarity Committee
- Brian Ashley, Amandla Publications
- Mercia Andrews, Palestine Solidarity Group
- Andile Mngxitama, land rights activist
- Farid Esack, Professor of Contemporary Islam, Harvard University
- Elinor Sisulu, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
- Andre Zaaiman
- Virginia Setshedi, Coalition Against Water Privatisation
- Max Ozinsky, Not in my Name
- Revd Basil Manning, Minister, United Congregational Church of Southern Africa
- Firoz Osman, Media Review Network
- Zapiro, cartoonist
- Mphutlane wa Bofelo, General Secretary, Muslim Youth Movement
- Steven Friedman, academic
- Ighsaan Hendricks, President, Muslim Judicial Council
- Iqbal Jassat, Media Review Network
- Stiaan van der Merwe, Palestine Solidarity Committee
- Naaziem Adam, Palestine Solidarity Alliance
- Asha Moodley, Board member of Agenda feminist journal
- Suraya Bibi Khan, Palestine Solidarity Alliance
- Nazir Osman, Palestine Solidarity Alliance
- Allan Horwitz, Jewish Voices
- Jackie Dugard, legal and human rights activist
- Professor Alan and Beata Lipman
- Caroline O’Reilly, researcher
- Jane Lipman
- Shereen Mills, Human rights lawyer, Centre for Applied Legal Studies
- Noor Nieftagodien, University of the Witwatersrand
- Bobby Peek, Groundworks
- Arnold Tsunga, Chair, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
- Mcebisi Skwatsha, Provincial Secretary, ANC Western Cape - Owen Manda, Centre for Sociological Research, University of Johannesburg - Claire Cerruti, Keep Left
NB: Organisational affiliations above are for identification purposes only and do not necessarily reflect organisational endorsement
- African National Congress
- Al Quds Foundation
- Anti-Privatisation Forum and its 28 affiliates
- Azanian Peoples Organisation
- Congress of South African Trade Unions
- Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
- End Occupation Campaign
- Media Review Network
- Muslim Judicial Council
- Muslim Youth Movement of South Africa
- Not In My Name
- Palestine Solidarity Alliance
- Palestine Solidarity Committee
- Palestine Solidarity Group
- Social Movements Indaba
- Socialist Party of Azania
- South African Communist Party
- South African Council of Churches
"Linking the Iraq War and the Occupation:
"A Damned Good Assembly"
By STANLEY HELLER
Published in Counterpunch, at:
July 9, 2008
A big cheer filled the hall as an important section of the US Left broke new ground and incorporated the Palestinian struggle firmly into the analysis the anti-war movement.
The program of the National Assembly to End the Iraq War and Occupation recognized Palestine as not just as a worthy cause to be embraced from time to time as long as no one objected, but declared it was intertwined with the War at the root. It also overthrew years of Left dogma and recognized the Israel lobbies as a force not only in influencing policy on Israel/Palestine, but also on Iraq and Iran as well.
The National Assembly was 400 or so people gathered in Cleveland June 28-29.
It was made up of people who were very unhappy with the way things were going in the movement, with all the multiplicity of coalitions, UFPJ, ANSWER, TONC, etc. and the fact that there were no huge demonstrations against the war in March on the anniversary of “Shock and Awe.” The Assembly was modeled after an anti-war coalition of Vietnam War days, open to everyone, with everyone having the same vote. People could just walk in off the street and participate and many did. Not all were leftists. Some were Libertarian.
This model of democracy contrasts with assemblies of other coalitions which are either made up of “official” delegates of recognized groups or are totally top down. Organizers of the National Assembly said the idea was not to create a new coalition, but to issue a powerful call for unity and new strategic thinking. Over 500 organizations and personalities endorsed the convention from Cindy Sheehan, to US Labor Against the War, Veterans for Peace, the North Shore (Ohio) AFL-CIO to Socialist Action. Leslie Cagan of UFPJ, Brian Becker of ANSWER and Larry Holmes of TONC attended as observers and spoke at an evening session.
Conference organizers came up with a five point strategy on which there was general agreement: immediate withdrawal of all troops/contractors from Iraq, mass action in the streets, independence from the Democrats (and any other party), unity of all anti-war forces and the afore-mentioned democratic decision making process. However, many wanted to go further. The sticking points were Palestine, Afghanistan and Iran.
Connecticut’s Middle East Crisis Committee submitted language on Palestine with three points:
1) that to oppose the war we had to fight Palestinian mistreatment and Israeli militarism,
2) that oil was not the sole motivation for the Iraq invasion and that military/security industries and the influence of Christian and Jewish Zionist lobbies for Israel had to be mentioned prominently and
3) that the conference should call upon peace forces to engage in BDS: boycotts, divestment and sanctions against the Israeli state as long as it would not respect Palestinian human rights and international law.
This position is in advance of any of the movement coalitions. ANSWER is in total support of Palestinians, but never says a word about the Israel lobbies. UFPJ has an official position for cutting off aid to Israel, but you have to dig for many minutes to find it on their website. There’s not even permanent link about Palestine/Israel on its home page...
...In the end the vote went our way on the lobby question by a hair and then the whole amendment passed by a sizeable margin. There was an excitement and grins all around the hall. This was a breakthrough!
More followed. Withdrawal from Afghanistan was added to the agenda. This is a tough issue. Nobody supports the Taliban fanatics, but it was clear that after seven years and umpteen billions of dollars the situation was crumbling. The day before I had pointed out that US presidents from Carter to Bush had armed and fattened the Jihadists for a decade, and that the US military was the last force you’d put in to set things right. I quoted the words of historian-activist Lenni Brenner, “You don’t usually send in the arsonist to put out the fire.”
An amendment was offered to add Afghanistan to the action document right along with Iraq and to even change the name of the Assembly to the “National Assembly to End the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars and Occupations”. It passed handily. So did a strong resolution condemning any move to attack Iran or to murder its people with sanctions.
There were a lot of impressive speakers. Jeremey Scahill talked about the notorious Blackwater. Sailor-activist Jonathan Hutto who was one of the founders of the Appeal for Redress got a standing ovation and delighted many with his attack on Obama. Clarence Thomas of the West Coast Longshoremen inspired the audience with an account of the Mayday union strike against the war. Immigrant leader Jesse Diaz talked about the great Boycott/Strike of 2006 and called for 100 days of picketing for immigrants culminating with a big action on May 1, 2009. There were 18 workshops with topics ranging from “Lessons of Vietnam Organizing”, “Next Oil Wars in Africa” to “Palestine” and “Iran”.
The Assembly urged support for demonstrations at the Republican and Democratic Party conventions (September 1-4, 2008 and August 25-28, 2008 respectively), other actions preceding the elections -- especially those called for October 11 -- and proposed December 9-14 as dates for nationally coordinated local actions across the country demanding the immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan and massive bi-coastal national demonstrations in the spring. Finally the Assembly will continue as a network.
All in all, it was damned good outcome. Now the task is to go out and organize.
USLAW needs to be won over to a good position on Palestine. It does great work on Iraq and Iran, but its worldview needs to expand. There is no doubt USLAW activists have a tough road to hoe in their unions on the Palestine issue. Labor bureaucrats are thick as thieves with Israeli officialdom. Labor unions have hundreds of millions of dollars of members’ funds invested in Israel bonds. A year ago 29 top US labor leaders condemned British unions for calling for boycotts against Israel. However, they are bucking the tide.
The Canadian Union of Public Employees called for a boycott in 2006. COSATU, South Africa’s biggest union federation did the same in 2007. IMPACT (the Irish Municipal, Public and Civil Trade Union), The Canadian Union of Postal Workers and Ireland’s largest public sector union went for a boycott in the spring of this year and UNISON the biggest union in the UK decided for a boycott in June. US unions were once blind cheerleaders for US wars, now the ranks clearly are opposed to the Iraq adventure. The trick is to broaden their outlook to get them oppopsed to all aspects of the War.
And we need to go to UFPJ, ANSWER and TONC and other coalitions and bring them the message. The movement needs to be out in the streets in massive numbers demanding the return of all the troops and exposure of all the scoundrels who brought on this disaster.
Stanley Heller is Chairperson of the Middle East Crisis Committee (CT) and host of "The Struggle" a weekly TV news program. He can be reached at: mail@TheStruggle.org