Thursday, January 29, 2009

U.S. Academics demand Boycott and Divestment against Israel:

"International Writers and Scholars Endorse Academic Boycott of Israel"

January 27, 2009


We stand in support of the indigenous Palestinian people in Gaza, who are fighting for their survival against one of the most brutal uses of state power in both this century and the last.

We condemn Israel's recent (December 2008/ January 2009) breaches of international law in the Gaza Strip, which include the bombing of densely-populated neighborhoods, illegal deployment of the chemical white phosphorous, and attacks on schools, ambulances, relief agencies, hospitals, universities, and places of worship. We condemn Israel's restriction of access to media and aid workers.

We reject as false Israel's characterization of its military attacks on Gaza as retaliation. Israel's latest assault on Gaza is part of its longtime racist jurisprudence against its indigenous Palestinian population, during which the Israeli state has systematically dispossessed, starved, tortured, and economically exploited the Palestinian people.

We reject as untrue the Israeli government's claims that the Palestinians use civilians as human shields, and that Hamas is an irredeemable terrorist organization. Without endorsing its platforms or philosophy, we recognize Hamas as a democratically elected ruling party. We do not endorse the regime of any existing Arab state, and call for the upholding of internationally mandated human rights and democratic elections in all Arab states.

We call upon our fellow writers and academics in the United States to question discourses that justify and rationalize injustice, and to address Israeli assaults on civilians in Gaza as one of the most important moral issues of our time.

We call upon institutions of higher education in the U.S. to cut ties with Israeli academic institutions, dissolve study abroad programs in Israel, and divest institutional funds from Israeli companies, using the 1980s boycott against apartheid South Africa as a model.

We call on all people of conscience to join us in boycotting Israeli products and institutions until a just, democratic state for all residents of Palestine/Israel comes into existence.

Mohammed Abed
Elmaz Abinader
Diana Abu-Jaber
Ali Abunimah
Opal Palmer Adisa
Deborah Al-Najjar
Evelyn Azeeza Alsultany
Amina Baraka
Amiri Baraka
George Bisharat
Sherwin Bitsui
Breyten Breytenbach
Van Brock
Hayan Charara
Allison Hedge Coke
Lara Deeb
Vicente Diaz
Marilyn Hacker
Mechthild Hart
Sam Hamill
Randa Jarrar
Fady Joudah
Mohja Kahf
Rima Najjar Kapitan
Persis Karim
J. Kehaulani Kauanui
Haunani Kay-Trask
David Lloyd
Sunaina Maira
Nur Masalha
Khaled Mattawa
Daniel AbdalHayy Moore
Aileen Moreton-Robinson
Nadine Naber
Marcy Newman
Viet Nguyen
Simon J. Ortiz
Vijay Prashad
Steven Salaita
Therese Saliba
Sarita See
Deema Shehabi
Matthew Shenoda
Naomi Shihab Nye
Magid Shihade
Vandana Shiva
Noenoe Silva
Andrea Smith
Ahdaf Soueif
Ghada Talhami
Frank X. Walker
Robert Warrior


"With a large stockpile of nuclear weapons and an apparent willingness to unleash appalling violence... Israel remains the most serious threat..."


"Israeli aggression, not its peril, is issue"

by Jon Debling | Saline

Thursday January 29, 2009, 10:38 AM

ANN ARBOR NEWS (Ann Arbor, Michigan)

On the Web at:

"The massacre in Gaza should firmly put an end to the myth that Israel is a helpless nation desperately fighting to survive among hostile neighbors. Rather, the scale of the onslaught against the Palestinians and their utter inability to defend themselves is proof that Hamas has never been a real threat to the existence of Israel.

"Furthermore, the lack of any response, military or political, from any surrounding Arab country, demonstrates that Israel remains a regional superpower with nothing to fear except hollow threats from impotent leaders.

"However, the intensity of the attacks on Gaza, and previously in Lebanon, does reveal a cruel and sadistic side to Israel and questions the wisdom of permitting it to retain a powerful military.

"It seems clear that the most pressing issue for the international community to contend with is how to defend and protect the Palestinians in Gaza against future Israeli violence. The second prudent step would be containing Israel's military capability by restricting weapon sales to provide a more equitable balance of power in the region.

"Finally, intense action to eliminate Israel's nuclear weaponry is critical to maintaining stability in the Middle East. With a large stockpile of nuclear weapons and an apparent willingness to unleash appalling violence on its neighbors, Israel remains the most serious threat to peace in the region."


National U.S. campaign to boycott Israel--

The U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel is at this Blog:

January 22, 2009 Press Release--

(at )

U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel Joins International Calls To Boycott Israeli Academic and Cultural Institutions


Sherna Berger Gluck, shernagluck [at]; Jess Ghannam, jess.ghannam [at]; David Lloyd, davidcll [at]; and Sunaina Maira, smaira [at]

As educators of conscience, we have been unable to stand by and watch in silence Israel’s indiscriminate assault on the Gaza Strip and its educational institutions.

Accordingly, in response to the call by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) and by more than 500 Israeli citizens to foreign embassies in Tel Aviv, we call for:

(1) Refraining from participation in any form of academic and cultural cooperation, collaboration or joint projects with Israeli institutions that do not vocally oppose Israeli state policies against Palestine;

(2) Advocating a comprehensive boycott of Israeli institutions at the national and international levels, including suspension of all forms of funding and subsidies to these institutions;

(3) Promoting divestment and disinvestment from Israel by international academic institutions;

(4) Working toward the condemnation of Israeli policies by pressing for resolutions to be adopted by academic, professional and cultural associations and organizations;

(5) Supporting Palestinian academic and cultural institutions directly without requiring them to partner with Israeli counterparts as an explicit or implicit condition for such support.

Israel’s latest assault on Gaza has killed at least 1300 Palestinians, one third of them children, and injured 5300 or more. Israel has targeted civilians, using internationally-proscribed phosphorous bombs, deprived them of power, water and other means to life, and sought to destroy the infrastructure of Palestinian civil society, including hospitals, administrative buildings and UN facilities. It has targeted with peculiar consistency educational institutions of all kinds.

Since December 27, Israel has deliberately bombed the Islamic University of Gaza, the Ministry of Education, the American International School, at least ten UNRWA schools, one of which was sheltering displaced Palestinian civilians, and tens of other schools and educational facilities. Each of these acts constitutes a breach of international law and a probable war crime. The unilateral ceasefire declared by Israel puts an end temporarily to the most brutal slaughter of civilians, but it inaugurates a new phase of occupation of Gaza. It is not a solution but a continuation by familiar means of the ongoing destruction of Palestinian civil society.

This most recent Israeli onslaught against Palestinian academic institutions is not exceptional, but is part of Israel’s deliberate destruction of Palestinian educational and research institutions. Over the course of its 40-year long occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, Israel has systematically deprived Palestinian children and youth of education, daily threatening their lives and restricting their access to schools and universities. Palestinians, who live as second-class citizens in Israel, face systematic educational discrimination education there too: although Palestinian-Israelis make up 20 percent of Israel’s population, they constitute only 10 percent of its undergraduate student body, and only 1 percent of its university faculty.

During the illegal siege of Gaza over the past year and a half, Israel intensified the destruction of the educational infrastructure that has been completed during the current war. These continual violations show no sign of diminishing and Israeli academic institutions and most Israeli academics have by their silence been complicit with these attacks.

We believe that non-violent external pressure on Israel, in the form of an academic, cultural and economic boycott of Israel, can help bring an end to the ongoing massacres of civilians and an end the occupation of Gaza and Palestine. We therefore urge a comprehensive boycott, including divestment, political sanctions, and the immediate halt to all military aid, sales and deliveries to Israel. However, as educators of conscience, we specifically call for an academic and cultural boycott of Israeli institutions as a key element in this larger action.

We urge our colleagues, nationally, regionally, and internationally, to stand up against Israel’s ongoing scholasticide and to support the non-violent call for academic boycott, disinvestment, and sanctions.

This boycott should be maintained until Israel meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with the precepts of international law by:

1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall;

2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and

3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.

For further information on the campaign, see:

Facebook and My Space.

To endorse this campaign, e-mail to uscom4acbi [at]


Media coverage--

"For first time, U.S. professors call for academic and cultural boycott of Israel"

Ha'aretz, January 29, 2009, at:

"In the wake of Operation Cast Lead, a group of American university professors has for the first time launched a national campaign calling for an academic and cultural boycott of Israel.

"While Israeli academics have grown used to such news from Great Britain, where anti-Israel groups several times attempted to establish academic boycotts, the formation of the United States movement marks the first time that a national academic boycott movement has come out of America...

" 'As educators of conscience, we have been unable to stand by and watch in silence Israel's indiscriminate assault on the Gaza Strip and its educational institutions,' the U.S. Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel stated in its inaugural press release last Thursday.

"Speaking in its mission statement of the 'censorship and silencing of the Palestine question in U.S. universities, as well as U.S. society at large,' the group follows the usual pattern of such boycotts, calling for 'non-violent punitive measures' against Israel, such as the implementation of divestment initiatives, 'similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era...' "


Boycott Israeli dance company in Ann Arbor--

Protest at the Power Center, Sat., Feb. 14, 2009:

Click on the flyer to enlarge it.



7:30 PM Sharp, Saturday February 14, 2009

3:30 PM Sharp, Sunday, February 15, 2009

(performances start at 8 PM and 4 PM)
Power Center, 121 Fletcher (at Huron) UMich-Ann Arbor

Sponsored by the Middle East Task Force with support from Michigan Peace Team, Home for Peace and Justice, MidEast JustPeace, Newaygo County People for Peace, Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends, Ann Arbor Coalition Against War, and the Palestine Office.

The University Musical Society is bringing the Batsheva Dance Company of Tel Aviv to Ann Arbor for two performances. This is a violation of the 2004 Palestinian call to "comprehensively and consistently boycott all Israeli academic and cultural institutions" and the 2005 call of 171 Palestinian civil society organizations for broad boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel.

The Batsheva Dance Company is funded by the Israeli government, it has no Arab performers, and is "proud to be considered Israel's leading ambassador." Ohad Naharin, the dance company's director, is an Israeli army veteran and current Israeli soldiers/reservists also belong to the company. We urge you to join us as we nonviolently oppose these performances as part of building a sustained BDS campaign.

Occupied Ramallah, Palestine - 27 December 2008: Now, more than ever, the Palestinian Boycott, divestment andSanctions National Committee, BNC, calls upon international civil society not just to protest and condemn in diverse forms Israel's massacre in Gaza, but also to join and intensify the international Boycott, Divestment andSanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel … Without sustained, effective pressure by people of conscience theworld over, Israel will continue with its gradual, rolling acts of genocide against the Palestinians, burying anyprospects for a just peace under the blood and rubble of Gaza, Nablus and Jerusalem.


What you can do:

1. Call, write, or send an e-letter to Ken Fischer and the UMS Board asking them to cancel the show and honor the boycott against Israel
(go to

2. Write letters to the editor of the Michigan Daily and Ann Arbor News.
3. Don't buy tickets to the Batsheva performance.
4. If you already have tickets then exchange them for another show.
5. Please join us in nonviolently protesting the Batsheva performances unless the UMS cancels them.
For updates, directions, and more information go to:


Sunday, January 25, 2009

Michigan students jailed for protesting U.S. support of Israel:

"We're just asking them to stop supplying weapons to Israel."

Seeking action:

"Three people are taken away by police after 6 p.m. Thursday from the office of U.S. Sen. Carl Levin in Lansing after they were arrested. They staged a sit-in to protest support of Israel and its recent military action in Gaza."

(Rod Sanford/Lansing State Journal)


"Levin office sit-in ends with arrests:

"Three were protesting Detroit senator's support of Israel"

by Scott Davis • •

January 23, 2009 •

"Lansing State Journal" (Lansing, Michigan)

On the Web at:

On the 18th floor of Boji Tower in downtown Lansing, civil disobedience was in the air.

Three college students were arrested Thursday evening in the office of U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Detroit, during their sit-in protest of his support of Israel despite its recent military action in Gaza.

The students, who arrived in the office about noon, had pledged to stay in the office until they were allowed to discuss the issue by telephone with Levin, who was in Washington, D.C.

They were hoping to convince Levin to oppose all aid to Israel and launch an investigation of alleged war crimes in Gaza.

"We're not asking for the U.S. to supply weapons to Hamas," said Max Kantar, 21, a Ferris State University student from Big Rapids. "We're just asking them to stop supplying weapons to Israel."

Also arrested by Lansing police were Ahlam Mohsen, 21, a Michigan State University student from Coldwater, and Patrick Daly, 19, a Ferris State University student from Bellevue.

Lansing police Lt. Steve Person said all three would be charged with trespassing and lodged in the city lockup overnight. The misdemeanor offense is punishable by up to 90 days in jail.

Levin's staffers had told the students that he was too busy Thursday to speak with them by telephone, but that he would be willing to schedule a call with them on a later day.

"Senator Levin appreciates the right of people to express their views on issues, and welcomes those views when he receives them," Tara Andringa, Levin's spokeswoman, said in a prepared statement. "I spoke to the group on Senator Levin's behalf and listened to the views that they expressed. I told them Senator Levin's schedule was very busy today and that I would relay their concerns to the senator."

Police were called after Boji Tower security staff asked the students to leave when Levin's office was closing for the day at 5:30 p.m., and they refused. The three students had been sitting in a small lobby area of the office. Upon arrival, Person again gave the students a chance to leave without being arrested, and again they refused.

Levin has been a supporter of military aid to Israel. The group staged the protest a day after the last of Israel's troops left the Gaza Strip.

Some human rights organizations have criticized Israel for the military action, which Israel contends was done in response to missile attacks by Hamas.

The two sides disagree on the death toll, particularly the ratio of combatants and civilians. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights is endeavoring to count the casualties of the 23-day war.

--The Associated Press contributed to this report.


Dearborn City Council approves Resolution urging an end to the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip.

"Demonstrators march along Warren Avenue in Dearborn on Dec. 30 protesting Israeli attacks on Gaza that lasted 23 days and killed about 1,300 Palestinians."
PHOTO: Khalil AlHajal/TAAN


"Dearborn City Council passes Gaza resolution:

"Body condemns civilian deaths, urges humanitarian aid to Palestinians"

By Nick Meyer
ARAB AMERICAN NEWS (Dearborn, Michigan)

Friday, 01.23.2009

On the Web at:

DEARBORN — After having the matter brought to their attention last week, the Dearborn City Council voted unanimously to pass a resolution condemning the attacks on civilians in the 23-day Gaza war and urging a truce and an end to the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip.

The final vote was held on Thursday, January 22 and passed by a tally of 6 to 0.

Councilman George Darany said he was proud that the council responded to the way in which the city's Arab American community was affected by the "devastation in Gaza."

"It's important to let the 45 percent of the population know that we stand behind them on this issue," he said.

It shows solidarity between the council and the people of the city."

Darany also said he regretted that Dearborn wasn't the first city in America to pass such a resolution, as Cambridge, Mass. passed one on Jan. 12 calling for an end to attacks on civilians on both sides of the conflict.

An embossed copy of the resolution will now be sent to the Michigan Congressional Delegation by the Dearborn City Clerk as a result of the approval. Darany said the body would attempt to follow up on the appeals the resolution makes to Michigan's legislature.

"We'll follow up, see that they do. It's not just a piece of paper that we enter for the record.

"Being 100 percent of Arab descent myself, it makes me proud that we can count on the city to step up to the plate when need be."

The first resolution, proposed Tuesday, included the number of people killed in the war but Councilwoman Nancy Hubbard decided to table it in order to look further into the matter. Hubbard said she was concerned that the numbers would be disputed.

The final resolution didn't include the death toll but changes proposed by The Arab American News publisher Osama Siblani, who first introduced the resolution to Councilwoman Susan Sareini, were included. The statement "massive loss of life and the destruction of property" was added to the condemnation section and the addition of the language "particularly including Egypt and Israel" was added to the section concerning the allowance of Gaza to engage in free trade with the outside world.

The resolution also said that the Dearborn City Council urges the United States government to press for access to Gaza for journalists, a strong emphasis on humanitarian aid for Gazans, and a long-term negotiated peace and a two-state solution that acknowledges the right of Israelis and Palestinians to live in peace and freedom.

Siblani said he was satisfied with the passing of the resolution.

"I want to thank all those who voted for it and to thank the mayor (John B. O'Reilly) for his leadership of the city.

"In particular, I would like to express my deepest appreciation on behalf of this community to Councilwoman Sareini who worked very hard despite her medical condition to pass this resolution. We hope that other cities will pass resolutions and we will work to spread it to other cities as well."

Sareini talked about the message the resolution sent to the people of the city.

"This resolution reaffirmed Dearborn's support for human rights for all people," said Sareini. "It puts the administration on record recognizing the grievous impact this has had on the people of Gaza and the senseless loss of innocent life and destruction."

Sareini thanked Siblani for bringing the issue to the council's attention and also said she hoped that the community would continue to bring such matters to light when necessary.

"This doesn't change what's happening but it lends our voice to the many voices. The blockade has tremendously impacted women and children. I really don't believe that people understand the issue there."

--Khalil AlHajal contributed to this report

Dearborn City Councilwoman Susan Sareini introduced the resolution


Friday, January 23, 2009

For boycott and divestment against Israel:

"Storm of student protest over Gaza gathers force"

Manchester Rain 6°C 1°C

A group of students occupy Arts A2 lecture theatre at the University of Sussex, Brighton. Photograph: Frank Baron/Guardian


"Storm of student protest over Gaza gathers force:

"Sit-ins at 16 universities spell return to radicalism, fuelled by social networking and blogs"

by Anthea Lipsett & Alison Benjamin, Friday 23 January 2009, 17.33 GMT

In The Guardian (Manchester, U.K.), at:

A group of 15 students are sitting at the back of the lecture theatre. Some are wearing scarves associated with the Palestinian movement, others hold the Palestinian flag. They are silent, apart from the few words one of them utters at the beginning of the lecture explaining why they are there: as part of a symbolic silent protest to show solidarity with the people of Gaza.

On the walls are photos of the conflict, showing men carrying blood-splattered children and posters calling for the massacre in Gaza to stop. In the corner of the room is a pile of sleeping bags and a table stacked with bottled water and cartons of fruit juice.

Over the last week, a storm of student protests has gathered over 16 universities across England, suggesting that students are awakening from the political apathy of which they are often accused. It's enough to bring a tear to the eye of ageing sixties radicals.

Starting at the School of Oriental and African Studies, occupations in protest at events in Gaza spread to King's College London and the London School of Economics (LSE), then out of the capital to Sussex, Warwick, Newcastle, Oxford, Essex, Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan, Bristol, Nottingham, Salford, and Kingston.

At Sussex, students have occupied the arts lecture theatre 24 hours a day sincea meeting with a controversial British Palestinian academic, Azzam Tamimi, on Tuesday night.

Simon Englert, 19, a second-year English literature and drama student from Belgium, is a member of the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign on campus and one of the instigators of the 100-strong occupation. "It's important for Universities to take a stand on this. We are told in history about the central role that students play in defending causes. So that is what we are doing today," he says. "We invited LSE students along to our meeting and they helped to inspire this action."

"The action has brought together socialists, Islamists and even students from the green movement who realise the detrimental effects of war on the environment," says Gwen Wilkinson, a first-year psychology student from Newport.

A handful of Jewish students are involved in the protest, including Englert. "I don't want to make a big thing about it," he says, "but Israel doesn't speak for the world's Jewish community."

The occupiers have issued the university with six demands including the issuing of a statement condemning the "atrocities perpetrated by Israel in the Gaza Strip" and calling on it to disinvest from "companies complicit in human rights abuses". At night they are using the internet facilities in the lecture hall to contact groups in the West Bank and are hoping to get through to Gaza.

Eleanor, 20, a first-year English and history student, has signed their petition. Although she says many students are attracted to Sussex by its radical history, she is reluctant to get involved in the occupation. "There are two sides to the story and Hamas were firing rockets into Israel," she says.

And the occupation has passed some students by entirely. May Lam, a second-year media studies student rushing from the library, says: "I don't even have time to do my own thing. It's remote, in another country and there's nothing I can do about it. There are so many problems here in the UK with a recession."

At the LSE, veteran campaigner and politician Tony Benn told students: "I don't believe in protesting, because that looks like you've lost the battle and don't like it. I believe in making demands. This is more important than you realise at the moment, but when people get together and do something, that's when history is changed."

The numbers involved are a tiny proportion of the 2.5 million-strong UK student body, but they appear to speak for many more, and to have caught a wider mood. So far the protests have been peaceful and treated gently by the authorities, though some Jewish students have complained they feel threatened.

King's students see the university occupations as a resurgence of the kind of action that took place during the anti-apartheid movement of the 1980s.

The zenith of British student political activism in the 1960s does not warrant a mention now, not even the protest by LSE students against Ian Smith's regime in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), let alone those in 1968. Presumably for today's students, many of whom were born in the early 1990s, the sixties are ancient history.

Unlike the anti-apartheid protesters, today's students have the power of the internet at their disposal. They have put it to good use, publicising their campaigns through social-networking sites, making regular updates on blogs, and supporting one another through emailed messages of solidarity.

All the occupying students have issued similar demands: a statement from their vice-chancellor condemning the Israeli bombing of Gaza; severing university investment or links with companies supplying equipment used in the conflict; sending surplus computers and books to students in Gaza; scholarships for Gazan students – and no repercussions for their activism.

King's students also want the university to remove the honorary degree it bestowed on Israel's president, Shimon Peres, last November. In Oxford, students occupying the historic Clarendon building called on Balliol College to cancel a lecture series in Peres's honour.

University officials have on the whole agreed to help students fundraise and send equipment to Gaza, but vice-chancellors have carefully sidestepped demands to issue political statements condemning Israel's conduct.

So far, four of the occupying student groups have claimed victory: at the School of Oriental and African Studies and the University of Essex (after two days), and at Oxford (after just 10 hours), and the LSE. At the LSE, the student sit-in lasted a week but ended peacefully when the director, Sir Howard Davies, agreed to meet most of the students' demands.

In a statement, he said he understood the students' concerns and that the suffering of civilians in Gaza was "painful to observe". But he refused to issue an official university condemnation of the conflict or to publish regular financial statements spelling out the university's investment in companies involved in supplying arms to Palestine and Israel.

Michael Deas, a third-year environmental policy student involved in the LSE occupation, said students were "delighted" with the outcome. "It's a real victory for student activism, particularly forcing the director into making a statement," he said. Police evicted protesting students at the University of Birmingham after 12 hours.

In recent months, student activists have not limited themselves to sit-in protests over Gaza. They have boycotted careers fairs over university links with companies of which they disapprove – distributing badges, draping banners over displays and even dumping bags of coal to make their point.

The ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict has driven hundreds of students to act. But they still a tiny minority. Officials at Warwick – where students have demanded an end to links with BAE, GE Aviation, MBDA, Qinetiq and Rolls Royce – pointed out last week that more than 1,000 students had attended a careers fair where those companies were represented. Careerists, it seems, outnumber the idealists.


Thursday, January 22, 2009


Oxford University:

The 8th British university to be hit with an occupation by protesters, demanding boycott against Israel, and other measures in solidarity with the occupied people of Palestine.






On Oxford Occupation in Solidarity with Gaza! at:


In the first week of term, over 80 Oxford University students have occupied the historic Bodleian building to demand that the university releases a statement condemning the attack on Gaza and cancel the lecture series at Balliol College inaugurated by Shimon Peres.

Students organised the sit in after attending an emergency meeting in Oxford organised to discuss the war on Gaza and the precarious ceasefire. Members of the University entered the Clarendon building and sat down at 1200, British time, on Thursday 22nd January. Their demands were presented to University officials.

The group represents a broad spectrum of concerned students and has the support of peace campaigners here in Oxford. They want the University Proctor to express solidarity with Palestinian academic community and condemning the attack on the educational infrastructure.

“Palestinians have the same rights as we do, including the right to education as enshrined in the United Nations Universal Declaration on Human Rights. We are proud to be students at Oxford University and do not want the University to contribute in any way to the undermining of the right to education. It is not a matter of politics, it is a matter of humanity,” a spokesperson said.

Students demand that the Master of Balliol College cancel the lecture series inaugurated by Shimon Peres. The group are also demanding that Oxford University divests from arms firm BAE Systems, an arms company who supply the Israeli military.

“The fact that Oxford University invests in BAE Systems means that it is directly profiting from the collective punishment of the Palestinian people. Our University cannot be funded by unlawful military aggression. Oxford University must divest from BAE and other arms companies immediately.

Students have also issued several demands related to providing material support for Palestinian students including providing 5 fully paid scholarships for Palestinian students and resources for education in Gaza.

Numerous Oxford academics as well as the Oxford University Islamic Society, the Oxford Palestine Society, the Oxford Indian and the Oxford Pakistan societies have already signed petitions condemning the Israeli attack on Gaza.


1) Statement

Oxford University should release a statement in support of the right of Palestinians to education and its support to the Palestinian Academic community. The University should condemn in particular the attack on the Islamic University in Gaza.

2) Divestment

Oxford University currently holds investments in BAE Systems, a firm that the Campaign Against the Arms Trade ( states provides weapons and ammunition for the Israeli military. This means that our university is being directly funded by the Israeli war on Gaza. Oxford University must divest from BAE and other companies which supply arms to Israel.

3) 5 fully paid scholarships for Palestinian students.
Particularly after the attack on Gaza and the ongoing hardships suffered by Palestinians, Oxford University should offer 5 fully-funded scholarships to Palestinian students as a way to contribute to greater access to education for those affected by the conflict.

4) A cancellation lecture series inaugurated by Shimon Peres.
The group demands that the Master of Balliol College cancel the lecture series that was inaugurated by the Israeli President Shimon Peres. It is not appropriate to have such a lecture series in light of the attack on Gaza and the ongoing siege.

5) Resources for Education.
The Oxford University should donate resources to, and support, the University and educational infrastructure that have been bombed in Gaza.

6) Right to Peaceful Protest
Oxford University has a proud history of student activism. Students united to campaign against apartheid, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. All students have a democratic right to peaceful protest and students should not be prevented from expressing their opinions by fear of reprisals.


Juliette Harkin 07740818376
Omar al-Shehabi 07966570155 (for Arabic media)


1) Oxford University is the 8th University to go into occupation and joins SOAS, LSE, Warwick, Essex, Kings College London, Birmingham and Sussex universities.

2) The Oxford University occupation follows on from emergency meetings about Gaza and a well orchestrated protest in October 2007 against the decision of Balliol College, Oxford University, to inaugurate a lecture series in the name of Shimon Peres, president of Israel and responsible for atrocities against the Palestinian people.

Comments »

  1. warwicksolidaritysitin said

    Solidarity, fellow occupiers! It’s good to have you on the team..

  2. Bloody brilliant-you are now the EIGHTH. I have to rush to class but well done, keep it up.

    Solidarity fropm SOAS.

    Please send me anything interesting…xxx


Berkeley memorial for 437 Gaza children murdered by "Israel".

Click on news photo, to enlarge it.

The Daily Californian
Thursday, Jan 22, 2009

"Student Groups Clash Over Gaza Strip Protest"


"A coalition of students holding a memorial for Palestinian victims of the recent conflict in the Gaza Strip were met with a counter-protest by pro-Israeli students yesterday.

"The memorial, which was erected by students from the Gaza Solidarity Coalition around 9 a.m., comprised 210 coffins as well as signs commemorating children who died during the conflict.

"According to the Associated Press, at least 1,259 Palestinians and 13 Israelis died in the conflict, which began Dec. 27. Israel and Hamas both declared separate cease-fires Sunday...."


"Gaza death toll: 1 330 "

NEWS 24 (South Africa)

January 22, 2009,,2-10-1462_2457197,00.html

Gaza City - Israel's war on Gaza killed 1 330 people, at least half of them civilians, and wounded 5 450 others, Palestinian medics said on Thursday in a final toll of the offensive.

Among the dead were 437 children under 16, 110 women, 123 elderly men, 14 medics and four journalists, according to Muawiya Hassanein, the head of Gaza medical services.

The wounded include 1,890 children and 200 people in serious condition, he said. Six hundred injured people have been transferred outside Gaza for treatment.

Israel unleashed its Operation Cast Lead on the Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip on December 27 in response to rocket fire from the territory and brought it to an end last Sunday with a ceasefire.

On the Israeli side, three civilians and 10 soldiers died in combat and rocket strikes and dozens were wounded, according to official figures.



Swarthmore College:

"Divest fully from any entity that contributes to or supports the apartheid in Israel/Palestine..."

The Daily Gazette

"Swat Alums Start Israel Divestment Campaign"

Last Friday, went live with an open petition urging Swarthmore to “divest fully from any entity that contributes to or supports the apartheid in Israel/Palestine,” including U.S. companies that do business in Israel, companies that manufacture military equipment used by Israel, and Israeli companies themselves.

The campaign is the brainchild of Chiara Ricciardone ‘05 and husband Micah White ‘04. The Gazette spoke to Ricciardone, who studied history and interpretation theory at Swarthmore and is currently a PhD student in Philosophy, Interpretation, and Culture at SUNY Binghamton. Ricciardone said that she was “feeling angry over the deaths in Gaza” when she read an article by Naomi Klein, which sparked the idea for the campaign.

With over 110 signatures from young alumni and current students, Ricciardone said she has been “overwhelmed with the positive response so far” but is hoping to be able to reach older alumni as well. Ricciardone continued, “an alumni structure has more durability… We won’t graduate and forget about it because to us this is a struggle for the meaning and reputation of our school.”

The alumni base is also important because the petition pledges “to withhold all future donations to Swarthmore until full and complete divestment is enacted and made public.”

“My feeling is that they want to do the right thing, but also have a responsibility to protect the school’s finances,” said Ricciardone of the Board of Managers. “The idea of the donation strike… [is that] we’re trying to convince them that Israeli divestment is not only ethically right but also financially right, that in this case they are one and the same thing.”

Asked about the wide-ranging call for divestment targets, Riccardone said, “while of course we are pushing for the fullest divestment possible, we are happy to work with the administration to arrive at a feasible divestment plan.”

The campaign is new enough that the organizers have not yet spoken with anyone in the college administration, but the Gazette spoke to College Treasurer Suzanne Welsh about the college’s general policy on ethically-motivated divestment.

Welsh explained that the Board of Managers would have to vote on any divestment plan, and that “as a matter of policy, the Investment Committee manages the endowment in order to yield the best long-term financial results, rather than to pursue social objectives.” She continued, “the college’s primary mission is to educate the students and that’s what our endowment should be used for primarily… Adopting a policy that would restrict investments for a different social purpose might detract from our primary mission.”

That said, “from time to time issues come along that are so compelling that exceptions have been made.”

The best example here is Swarthmore’s 1986 decision to divest from South Africa in order to oppose apartheid, and Ricciardone acknowledged that the South African divestment was an inspiration for her campaign.

Welsh explained that during apartheid, the college tried only to invest in U.S. companies that adopted the Sullivan Principles of not supporting apartheid, but “as time went on that did not get resolved… [and] a full-scale divestment campaign was launched internationally to help to put pressure on the government.”

Multiple Swarthmore constituencies latched onto the campaign, which Welsh described as a “very divisive issue for the Board of Managers… Ultimately, a compromise was reached where the board agreed to divest from U.S. companies doing business in South Africa, but only if the cost of that decision could be quantified and charged to the annual budget each year.”

The Board felt that the extra cost should not be absorbed by the endowment, since “if it’s the current generation who want to make that decision, they should be willing to pay the cost… The people who were opposed would stand aside as long as that was the case.”

This meant that the rough cost of not investing in these companies was quantified—between one million and two million dollars in each year of the policy, according to Welsh—and was treated as a line item on the budget that had to be accounted for, making those funds unavailable for other needs.

More recently, students ran a campaign for the college to divest from the Sudan in 2005, but Welsh explained that this was a different case because it only involved foreign companies, which “we don’t invest in directly.”

“They’re part of a fund that we buy… [and] we don’t have any control over these funds… so it was sort of a moot point in that sense,” Welsh said.

Nevertheless, “we had discussions with several of the fund managers,” and also wrote a letter to the managers of the funds asking them to take Sudanese policies into account. Overall, “the holdings of companies were really minimal… We didn’t feel there was any significant exposure.”

Riccardone feels that “Israeli apartheid” is a compelling enough issue to be a good divestment choice for Swarthmore. “Swarthmore has a historic opportunity to make a name for themselves as the first institution to stand against apartheid in Israel. That will continue to attract the passionate and political students we want… [and] give us a reputation as a Quaker institution that doesn’t just talk, but actually invests in peace,” she said.

Furthermore, Riccardone feels that “American institutions especially should divest. For Muslims to see US citizens taking a stance against apartheid, that will do more to undermine support for terrorism than a war ever could… If we divest from the bulldozer companies, from the apartheid wall, those will be material and physical ways to help.”


Sunday, January 18, 2009


"Boycott Israel at People's Food Co-op"

Click on video image to enlarge it.


This video is on YouTube at:

It has been seen by over 6,000 viewers.

The video was released on July 21, 2008, in the 18th month of the campaign to boycott all Israeli products, in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The boycott against Israeli products had gathered almost 1,000 petition signatures, demanding boycott, at the People’s Food Co-op, a grocery store.

The Zionists use very bloody language to oppose the boycott.

The Zionists openly encourage "more death" of Palestinian children, as you can see in the video.


Saturday, January 17, 2009

Boycott Israel at the University of Michigan.

Click on the flyer to enlarge it.


Boycott Israel!

At Michigan Student Assembly, Tuesday, 7:30 PM,

3rd floor of Michigan Union, 530 S. State St., Ann Arbor.

Israel is incinerating Gaza. Israel has received $300 billion in U.S. aid.

So here is the Boycott-Israel Resolution for MSA to approve:

· We, the Michigan Student Assembly, urge the University of Michigan to boycott all products imported from the Apartheid State of Israel.

· We also urge the University to boycott all joint projects with any institution of the State of Israel.

· We urge the U.S. Congress to stop spending trillions on killing Palestinians, Iraqis, and Afghanis.

· We urge Congress to spend those trillions on re-building every U.S. inner city, starting with Detroit.

· We urge the University to admit every Black student who graduates from high school in Michigan, tuition-free. If Congress can pay trillions to privileged Wall Street investors, with no questions asked, then Congress can certainly pay that tuition.


Thursday, January 15, 2009

"The Gaza Ghetto Uprising" is like the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

Nazi troops round up Polish Jews during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in May 1943. (Photographer Unknown)


"The Gaza Ghetto Uprising"

by Joseph Massad, The Electronic Intifada, 4 January 2009

On the Web at:

One is often baffled by the ironies of international relations and the alliances they foster. Take for example the Israeli colonial settlement that had declared war on the Palestinian people and several Arab countries since its inception while at the same time it built alliances with many Arab regimes and with Palestinian leaders.

While Hashemite-Zionist relations and Maronite Church-Zionist relations have always been known and documented, there has been less documentation of the services that Israel has provided and continues to provide to Arab regimes over the decades. It is now recognized that Israel's 1967 invasion of Egypt aimed successfully to destroy Gamal Abdul-Nasser, the enemy of all US dictatorial allies among the Arab regimes, whom the US and before it Britain and France had tried to topple since the 1950s but failed. Israel thus rendered a great service to Arab monarchies (and a few republics) from "the ocean to the Gulf," whose survival was threatened by Nasser and Nasserism.

Israel's subsequent intervention in Jordan in 1970 to help the Jordanian army destroy Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) guerrillas and its final crushing of that organization in its massive invasions of Lebanon in 1978 and 1982 were also important services it rendered to these same regimes threatened by the PLO's "revolutionary" potential and its sometimes recalcitrant positions. Israeli intelligence has also provided over the decades crucial information to several Arab regimes enabling them to crush their political opposition and strengthen their dictatorial rule. Prominent examples among recipients of Israeli intelligence largesse include the Moroccan and the Omani dictatorships.

Israel's services to Arab regimes continue apace. Its 2006 invasion of Lebanon, engineered to destroy Hizballah, was cheered by Arab regimes and neoliberal Arab intellectuals hostile to Hizballah and employed exclusively by Saudi media outlets. Though the massive Israeli destruction of southern Lebanon and south Beirut and the massacres of more than a thousand Lebanese strengthened Hizballah and weakened Israel's military standing, the invasion was much appreciated by Israel's Arab allies. Indeed since 2006, Israel's Arab regime allies as well as neoliberal Arab intellectuals have been openly calling on it to neutralize the so-called Iranian "threat" for its own sake and at their behest as well.

The US has seen this as an opportune moment to fully integrate Israel in the region, so much so that it signaled to its Gulf allies to make proposals for a new regional alliance that includes Israel in its midst. The Bahraini foreign minister suggested a few weeks ago that Israel join the Arab League. Many such proposals have already been made in the past few months welcoming the colonial settlement to the regional alliance against Iran.

Since 2006, Arab regimes, neoliberal Arab intellectuals, as well as the Palestinian Collaborationist Authority (PCA) in Ramallah have reached an understanding that only Israel will be able to save them from Hizballah and Hamas, both organizations constituting a threat to the open alliance Arab regimes have with the US and Israel against Iran and all progressive forces in the region. These were not closely guarded secret hopes, but strategies that were openly discussed in private meetings, which often spilled into the public realm. The discussions in the Arab media and the declarations made by Israeli officials in the context of the ongoing Israeli massacres of the one and a half million Palestinians in Gaza in the last 10 days have left little to the imagination.

A veritable open alliance now exists between the Palestinian Collaborationist Authority, Arab regimes, and Israel with the support of neoliberal Arab intellectuals, wherein Israel is subcontracted to decimate the Hamas government -- the only democratically elected government in the entire Arab world.

Here let us remember that Hamas was democratically elected in free elections and that its elected officials and members of parliament were kidnapped by the Israeli occupation and have been languishing in Israeli jails for years, and that the Palestinian Collaborationist Authority set their offices on fire, staged strikes against them, and signaled the PCA bureaucracy not to follow their orders. It was after all this failed to dislodge Hamas from power that the US, Israel, and the PCA staged a coup to massacre Hamas leaders in Gaza that backfired on them.

The carnage unleashed by Israel in the last 10 days is the latest attempt by Israel to ensure that all Arabs and all Palestinians are ruled by dictators and never by democratically elected officials.

Many are wondering how the Arab regimes and the PCA can be so brazen in their "treachery" of the Palestinians. "Don't they fear being overthrown by the people?" is an oft-repeated question. The answer of course is a resounding "no." It is true that collaboration with Israel by Arab regimes is not new, and that what is new is merely their openness about it, but there is a perfectly good reason for this.

In the 1940s and the 1950s, these regimes could not declare openly their alliance with Israel, as there were popular and international forces that would have removed them from power had they done so. Indeed, some at the time flirted with alliances that unofficially included Israel, like the Baghdad Pact, but they paid a heavy price for such collaboration. The Cold War, Third World revolutionism, Arab nationalism, the Soviet Union, China, Nasser, were all factors to be considered. While a few of these factors had remained when Egypt's Sadat declared his open alliance with the US and Israel in the late 1970s, none of these factors remains today.

The US, Israel, and their major Arab allies have neutralized these forces one by one since 1967, opening the way for this brazen alliance between Israel and the Arab dictatorships, all of which are in the service of US interests in the region. These Arab regimes rule by terror and fear and have at their disposal the best secret police and repressive security apparatus that the US can train and equip and which oil money and US aid can buy.

When Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni was asked point blank by al-Jazeera's anchorman if Israel had an arrangement with Arab regimes to commit the Gaza massacres, she refused to answer and finally denied such an arrangement existed but could not help but affirm that there are those in the Arab world who "think" as Israel does and that Hamas is their enemy as it is the enemy of Israel. This is, incidentally, the same Tzipi Livni, who only a few weeks ago informed Palestinian citizens of Israel that she has slated them for denationalization and deportation to the Palestinian Bantustans once Israel and the international community grants these West Bank prisons the status of an independent Palestinian state enclosed within the apartheid wall.

After her war on Palestinians in Gaza started last week, Livni declared that her war against the Palestinian people is not only about security but also about Israel's "values" which non-collaborator Palestinians (unlike the PCA) do not share. Livni is of course right. Unlike Livni and the Israeli leadership, whose ethnic-cleansing ideals and plans are to make Israel a purely Jewish state that is Palästinenser-rein, most Palestinians believe that they should remain present on their lands even and especially if this sullies the purity of a Jewish Israel.

Livni has also asserted that Israel's values are shared by the "free world" and by unfree Arab regimes that are allies of the "free world." We can add, that her values are also shared by Saudi-funded neoliberal Arab intellectuals and by the leadership of the Palestinian Collaborationist Authority ensconced in the Green Zone of Ramallah. The civilized values of Israel are not unlike those espoused by the US in its ongoing wars against Arabs and Muslims, and are very much like European colonial values during the high age of colonialism and beyond. Livni and the Israeli leadership speak of human rights, democracy, peace, and justice as universal while applying them only to Jews and denying them especially to Palestinians. This is hardly an Israeli ruse. Let us remember the undying words of Frantz Fanon in this regard: "leave this Europe where they never tire of talking of man, yet murder men everywhere they find them, at the corner of every one of their own streets, in all the corners of the globe."

On the Palestinian front, the term of chief Palestinian collaborator and coup leader Mahmoud Abbas ends on 9 January. Israel hopes to extend his collaborationist rule as head of the PCA it set up through the Oslo agreement in 1993. As Palestinians are murdered and injured in the thousands, world powers are cheering on. This is hardly a new development. It happens often in the context of other populations being murdered by allies of the US and Europe, and it even happened during World War II as the Nazi genocide was proceeding. On 19 April 1943, Britain and the US met in Bermuda, presumably to discuss the situation of Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe. That was also the day when the Nazis had launched their war against the remaining Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto but were met with unexpected courageous resistance. Little came out of the Bermuda Conference and the ongoing war against the Warsaw Ghetto proceeded uninterrupted.

The Jewish resistance in the Warsaw Ghetto executed Jewish collaborators with the Nazis and bravely faced up to the Nazi army with what little weapons it had before being massacred. Their uprising was always inspirational to the Palestinians. In the heyday of the PLO as a symbol of Palestinian liberation, the organization would lay flower wreathes at the Warsaw Ghetto monument to honor these fallen Jewish heroes.

Szmul Zygielbojm was the leader of the Jewish socialist party, the Bund, in Poland and was part of the resistance against the Nazi invasion in 1939. He would later become a hostage held by the Nazis but would later be released and made a member of the Jewish council or judenrat, the Nazi equivalent of the Israeli-created Palestinian Collaborationist Authority, and which was charged with building a Jewish ghetto in Warsaw. Zygielbojm opposed the Nazi order and fled to Belgium, France, the US, and in 1942 ended up in London where he joined the Polish government in exile. On 12 May 1943, after he received word that the resistance in the Warsaw Ghetto was finally crushed and many of its fighters killed, Zygielbojm turned on the gas in his London flat and committed suicide in protest against the indifference and inaction of the Allies to the plight of the Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe. He also felt that he had no right to live after his comrades were killed resisting the Nazis. In his suicide letter, Zygielbojm insisted that while the Nazis were responsible for the murder of the Polish Jews, the Allies, through their inaction, were also guilty:

The latest news that has reached us from Poland makes it clear beyond any doubt that the Germans are now murdering the last remnants of the Jews in Poland with unbridled cruelty. Behind the walls of the ghetto the last act of this tragedy is now being played out.

The responsibility for the crime of the murder of the whole Jewish nationality in Poland rests first of all on those who are carrying it out, but indirectly it falls also upon the whole of humanity, on the peoples of the Allied nations and on their governments, who up to this day have not taken any real steps to halt this crime. By looking on passively upon this murder of defenseless millions, tortured children, women and men they have become partners to the responsibility ...

I cannot continue to live and to be silent while the remnants of Polish Jewry, whose representative I am, are being murdered. My comrades in the Warsaw ghetto fell with arms in their hands in the last heroic battle. I was not permitted to fall like them, together with them, but I belong with them, to their mass grave.

By my death, I wish to give expression to my most profound protest against the inaction in which the world watches and permits the destruction of the Jewish people...

The Palestinian Collaborationist Authority that runs the judenrat set up by Oslo has never even attempted to resist Israeli orders. Not one member of the top leadership decided to resign and not serve. Mahmoud Abbas, having provided so many dishonorable services to Israel, lacks Zygielbojm's integrity and noble principles and would never follow in Zygielbojm's footsteps.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian people will resist the invading Israelis with all their might and against astronomical odds. The Palestinian people, like Zygielbojm before them, understand very well that Abbas, his clique, the Arab regimes, the US and Europe are all culpable in their slaughter as much as Israel is. In the case of Zygielbojm, he blamed world powers for their indifference and inaction, in the Palestinian case, world and regional powers are co-conspirators and active partners in crime.

The crushing of the Gaza Ghetto Uprising and the slaughter of its defenseless population will be relatively an easy task for the giant Israeli military machine and Israel's sadistic political leadership. It is dealing with the aftermath of a strengthened Palestinian determination to continue to resist Israel that will prove much more difficult for Israel and its Arab allies to deal with. While the thousands of dead and injured Palestinians are the main victims of this latest Israeli terrorist war, the major political loser in all this will be Abbas and his clique of collaborators. The test for Palestinian resistance now is to continue to refuse to grant Israel the right to conquer populations, to steal their land, to destroy their livelihoods, to imprison them in ghettos, and to starve them without being resisted.

The only constant in Palestinian lives for the last century of Zionist atrocities has been resistance to the Zionist project of erasing them from the face of the earth. While Zionism sought and recruited Arab and Palestinian collaborators since its inception in the hope of crushing Palestinian resistance, neither Israel nor any of its collaborators has been able to stop it.

The lesson that Zionism has refused to learn, and still refuses to learn, is that the Palestinian yearning for freedom from the Zionist yoke cannot be extinguished no matter how barbaric Israel's crimes become. The Gaza Ghetto Uprising will mark both the latest chapter in Palestinian resistance to colonialism and the latest Israeli colonial brutality in a region whose peoples will never accept the legitimacy of a racist European colonial settlement in their midst.

Joseph Massad is associate professor of modern Arab politics and intellectual history at Columbia University in New York.

Related Links

At the University of Michigan:

Hundreds Demonstrate for Gaza, and chant "Boycott Israel"

Click on image to enlarge it.

"Two campus events, two points of view",

by Nicole Aber

MICHIGAN DAILY (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor)

January 15, 2009

On the Internet at:

As the temperature neared zero degrees on Wednesday night, about 200 people gathered on the steps of the Michigan Union to protest Israel’s recent invasion of Gaza.

The demonstration was organized by Students Allied for Freedom and Equality, a campus student group on campus that aims to promote human rights and self-determination for the Palestinian people, according to the group’s website.

Andrew Dalack, SAFE’S co-chair, said the group planned the protest in order to galvanize campus support for the Palestinian cause.

“There’s a sizable number of students on campus that demands an immediate cease fire, that supports an immediate end to U.S. military aid to Israel and that supports the full and immediate end to Israel’s current occupation in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank,” Dalack said.

Students and Ann Arbor residents came out in droves to show support for SAFE’s cause. Many protestors were carrying signs including ones that read, “What has Zionism done for peace?” as a woman shouted in a mega-phone, “Boycott Israel now.”

In addition to holding up signs, students carried both Palestinian and Hamas flags.

Dalack said he was upset that protestors were carrying flags of political parties, like Hamas.

“I was disappointed by the ignorance some people displayed in their language, signage and behavior to onlookers as well,” Dalack said. “I hope that the inappropriate behavior by some community members does not reflect on the community as a whole, as they are supportive, rational and of high moral caliber.”

Members of Students for Social Equality were also at the demonstration to show support for the cause, despite minor disagreements with SAFE’s message.

“Students for Social Equality oppose the attack, but we also try to bring perspective of the bankruptcy of religious nationalism,” LSA senior Daniel Green, a member of Students for Social Equality, said. “We think that it’s very destructive — Hamas’s role in this. We’re here in support of the opposition of the attack and the occupation, but we also have a perspective which may not be the same as everyone here.”

While SAFE was busy making preparations for the protest, yesterday, members of the pro-Israel community took part in a “Blue Out” in order to show support for Israel.

The Union of Progressive Zionists, the American Movement for Israel and Israel Initiating Dialogue, Education and Advocacy, organized the Blue Out, in which they encouraged students to wear blue in support of Israel during this “difficult time,” said LSA junior Bria Gray, chair of the UPZ.

“What we’re promoting is that everyone wear blue in support of Israel,” Gray said. “We’re promoting education about what’s going on so that if someone’s noticing you’re wearing a blue shirt, hopefully you’ll be able to share something about how Israel is not this war-monger evil country, but a country that is trying to protect itself the only way it knows how.”

Gray said that while the SAFE demonstration was not the only reason they chose Wednesday for the Blue Out, it was definitely part of the motivation.

“I think partly we want to react soon because it broke out during the break,” she said. “We have to learn together to educate ourselves.”

Ben Kaminsky, chair of Israel IDEA, and Rachel Goldstein, chair of the American Movement for Israel said, however, that the Blue Out was not intentionally scheduled for the same day as the SAFE demonstration.

“We do not want to react against the feelings of other student organizations, but rather unite the pro-Israel community,” Goldstein said in an e-mail interview. “Everybody has a different perspective on the situation in Gaza, but we can join together on the idea that Israel has a right to defend itself in some way.”

LSA freshman Jennie Fine, who recently lived in Israel for a year, took part in the Blue Out after receiving an e-mail from AMI, in order to show her support for Israel.

“The West doesn’t understand what’s going on in the Middle East. They have no idea,” Fine said. “It’s a different world over there.”

LSA sophomore Craig Foldes said he wore blue yesterday as a way to advocate for Israel.

“Israel gets a bad reputation, but it needs to do whatever it can to ensure its survival,” Foldes said.

Several members of Israel IDEA, including Kaminsky, showed up at the demonstration.

Kaminsky said he wasn’t pleased with the behavior of some of the protesters.

“You have people waving Hamas flags. Hamas is a terrorist organization. It’s absolutely outrageous that these things can go on,” Kaminsky said

Despite the presence of opposition groups, LSA junior Kamblya Youseff who was at the event said she was happy with how the demonstration went.

“I just think it was amazing. It was very impressive and it showed a lot about what kind of support this cause can garner,” she said.

Youseff added that the demonstrators' willingness to brave the cold is indicative of their support for the cause.

“If that in itself doesn’t tell people that something’s going wrong in the world, then I don’t know what will.”


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

"Boycott Apartheid Israel" is demanded, at Gaza march, in Ann Arbor, Michigan:

Click on photo of Gaza march, to enlarge it.


At the University of Michigan central campus,
Ann Arbor, Michigan,

January 14, 2009:

See the above photo, from the large march to defend the massacred people of Gaza.

There were many chants of "Boycott Israel".

You can also see the "Boycott Apartheid Israel" sign, in the above photo.


100 demonstrators for Gaza "shut down a Starbucks store Tuesday, shouting anti-Israel slogans and causing customers inside to flee."

"A Lebanese protester shouts anti-Israeli slogans during a demonstration held by leftist groups to protest against the Israel's ground attack on the Gaza Strip, in front a Starbucks Coffee shop, in Beirut, Lebanon, Tuesday Jan. 13, 2009.

"About a hundred demonstrators have converged on west Beirut's branch of the Starbucks coffee shop and closed it down in protest over the Israeli attack on Gaza. Protesters are justifying their actions by claiming that the Starbucks corporation' owner donates money to the Israeli military."(AP Photo/Hussein Malla)


"Protesters close Beirut Starbucks branch"

By BASSEM MROUE – January 13, 2009

On the Web at:

BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) — About one hundred demonstrators angry with Israel's offensive in the Gaza Strip shut down a Starbucks store Tuesday, shouting anti-Israel slogans and causing customers inside to flee.

The protest in Beirut is the latest of a series of demonstrations across the Arab world since Israel launched its offensive, designed to stop Hamas rocket fire into Israel, on Dec. 27; more than 900 Palestinians have been killed in the fighting.

The protesters said they targeted the store because they claim that Howard Schultz, the company's CEO, chairman and president, donates money to the Israeli military. A spokeswoman for the Seattle, Washington-based conglomerate called accusations Starbucks supports Israel "false" and said the political preferences of one of its employees has no bearing on the company's policies.

The demonstrators hung several banners on the shop's window and used white tape to paste a Star of David over the green-and-white Starbucks sign.

The protesters also distributed a letter saying Schultz "is one of the pillars of the American Jewish lobby and the owner of the Starbucks," which they said donates money to the Israeli military.

Starbucks is a publicly traded company, with stores in 49 countries.

A company spokeswoman Tuesday referred questions to a company statement released earlier this month in which the company said "rumors that Starbucks Coffee Company and its management support Israel are unequivocally false."

"Starbucks is a non-political organization and does not support political causes. Further, the political preferences of a Starbucks partner (employee) at any level have absolutely no bearing on Starbucks company policies," the statement read.

Trevino also referred questions about the Beirut protest to the company's partner in the Middle East, Kuwait-based M.H. Alshaya Co. The Middle East stores are not directly owned by Starbucks but are licensed by M.H. Alshaya, she said.

Repeated calls by The Associated Press to M.H. Alshaya went unanswered late Tuesday.

Starbucks has been operating in Lebanon for several years and has 16 branches around the country, according to the company's Web site.

Associated Press writers Hussein Malla in Beirut and Phuong Le, in Seattle, Washington contributed to this report.


Boycott against Israel is demanded, at Michigan Student Assembly, as 940 Palestinians die.

"MSA considers Gaza conflict"

By Matt Aaronson and Jenna Skoller
Daily Staff Reporter

MICHIGAN DAILY (University of Michigan)

January 14th, 2009

On the Web at:

In the Michigan Student Assembly’s first meeting of the semester, a resolution regarding the ongoing conflict in Gaza monopolized the meeting’s time, as more than a half dozen members of the University community weighed in on the issue.

The resolution, titled “Peace in Gaza and Israel,” was authored by LSA Representative Gibran Baydoun and MSA Chief of Staff Ashley Schwedt. It cited, among other things the death count so far in the conflict, which now stands at more than 940 Palestinian deaths and 13 Israeli deaths as of last night, according to the Associated Press. The proposal also referenced the fact that nearby Dearborn, which is home to a University satellite campus, has one of the largest concentrations of Arabs outside of the Middle East.

The resolution called for MSA executives to meet with the student leaders of the American Movement for Israel, Students Allied for Freedom and Equality and any other student organizations interested in discussing the conflict.

During the portion of the meeting allotted for public comment, a number of students and Ann Arbor residents offered their take on the events transpiring in Gaza and what the assembly can do about it.

LSA junior Andrew Dalack, co-chair of SAFE, urged the assembly to pass the resolution in the hope of contributing to a “peaceful resolution to the current situation in Gaza.”

He said that the issue was very emotional and contentious for many University students and members of the Ann Arbor community, but that people should continue to learn about the situation.

“At the very least, we can all take the time to take a step back, read a couple books and try to engage each other in meaningful and productive conversation,” Dalack said.

Rep. Andrew Chinsky said that MSA’s actions related to the conflict should be limited to educational purposes, and that it was up to other student groups to take a position on the issue.

Any political decisions, he said, were out of the assembly’s boundaries.
“This is what the United Nations does. This is what the United States State Department does,” he said.

Rachel Goldstein, the chair of AMI, who was present at the meeting but opted not to speak, agreed with Chinsky’s sentiment in an e-mail to the Daily.

“A resolution regarding an international conflict has no place in the policies of our student government,” she said. “A vote in favor of the proposed resolution demonizes one people and state over another in a conflict that is far too complex for a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ vote.”

Baydoun defended the premise of the resolution, referencing many times in the history of the assembly, when MSA took bold positions on national and global issues.

“I don’t want us to be scared of what our potential is,” he said. “And I also don’t want us to be reckless.”

When it came time for local residents to give their input on the resolution, some of the speakers implored the assembly to take action against what they depicted as a humanitarian crisis in the region.

Mozhgan Savabie, who is a research fellow at the University, appealed to the assembly to “boycott” Israel, although she did not elaborate on the details of such a boycott.

“To continue to say ‘peace’ while we throw bombs at people is lunacy,” she said. “Everybody in this world can see that we are lunatics. We are immoral, barbarian lunatics.”

The assembly plans to vote on the resolution at next week’s meeting.