Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Columbia University: Still pushing to divest from Apartheid Israel.




"Turath event addresses divestment controversy with visiting student"


Columbia students listened intently as Jess Chilton McConnell, a junior from the University of Edinburgh, described her and her classmates’ six-day occupation of their school to call for its divestment from companies supporting the occupation of Gaza and limiting academic freedom for Palestinian students.


In a lecture sponsored by CU’s Turath and moderated by Matt Swagler, GSAS ’10, a member of the Columbia Palestine Forum and the Barnard-Columbia International Socialist Organization, McConnell spoke about their occupation of the George Square Lecture Theatre from Feb. 11 to Feb. 16 to encourage their school’s divestment from companies that are complicit with Israel’s actions in Palestine. Members of the Columbia Palestine Forum said they hope to use McConnell’s experience as a model for their own divestment campaign that began in early March.


Previously, around 30 universities had similar occupations, such as Oxford University and London School of Economics.


Among the many demands were requests to end relations with companies allowing the occupation, such as Eden Springs; provide scholarships for at least five students in Gaza; make donations such as textbooks, chairs, and computers to schools and hospitals in Gaza affected by the war; offer support for lectures and debates at Edinburgh concerning the conflict; and take no legal, academic, or financial actions against students participating in the occupation. All demands were met, as well as an opportunity to bring their case to the University Court.


“There were negative reactions but we weren’t disheartened. We couldn’t be disheartened by any accusation. We were excited about the debate we incited,” McConnell said.


She also addressed the controversy surrounding their use of the word “occupation” to describe their protest.


“There was some question about whether we should be using that word. ... We were occupying against the occupation in Gaza,” she said. “No one felt that it was too problematic.”


She insisted that the primary goal of the occupation was to push forth demands and respond to a specific event in Gaza.


In terms of the initial support for the occupation, she said that people in the UK felt that conditions were brutal in the Gaza Strip.


“There was a national understanding why the government wasn’t responding to the massive humanitarian, civilian death toll,” she said. “People were seeing what was going on every day on the BBC, nothing was being obscured. The national feeling was very angry. ... Things just snowballed.” As a result, students were eager to get involved.


She also addressed the issue of there being a lack of coordination on a national level, citing the spontaneity of the situation as a contributing factor.


“We just wanted to focus on the fact that this was the beginning of the campaign,” she said. “We didn’t want to get into people’s disagreements and divisions at the time.”


Students would come and go as the occupation progressed but towards the end, many were in attendance. They also garnered around 600 signatures.


“It was definitely a sign of the anger and desire to get the government or get someone to do something,” she said. “People were willing to put their name on this piece of paper to demand what were largely humanitarian demands. ... We didn’t polarize the issue.”


Students seemed impressed with McConnell’s occupation success and how it might pave the way for students at Columbia to take more action in support of academic freedom for Palestinian students.


“I thought Jess’ talk was excellent,” Michele Showman, a Teachers College student, said. “A great chance to hear about the occupations—to make political comparisons between thr overall environment in UK compared to here with respect to Zionism. It would encourage students to take action against Columbia.”


“The context in Columbia and England is very different,” Olivia Rosane, BC ’09, and a member of Columbia Coalition Against the War said. “She had some good strategies.”


“I think hearing from her experiences organizing is a huge resource for students in the US who are in the beginning stages of organizing—for shaping our campaign and organizing on campus,” Akua Gyamerah, Mailman School of Public Health ’10 and a member of the Columbia Palestine Forum, said. “It indicates that it is possible to actually win demands from the University.”


“Columbia has this legacy of students having occupations on their own campus—part of having Jess come was to talk about the possibilities of taking radical action on Columbia’s campus,” Swagler said. “Part of what made Jess’ stay so captivating is how natural it was for students to want to respond to human rights’ abuses that they saw.”


________________________________________


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Billboard-- "Stop Killing Children; No More Military Aid to Israel".



Click on image to enlarge it.

_________________________




BILLBOARD CAMPAIGN-PRESS RELEASE

http://stop30billion.com/contentsindex.php?page=billboardpressrelease



Contact: Lori Rudolph, 505-550-9553, lorir@unm.edu
Rich Forer, 265-1898, rich_forer@yahoo.com
April 9, 2009

For Immediate Release


LOCAL GRASSROOTS COALITION CALLS ON CONGRESSMEN BINGAMAN, UDALL AND HEINRICH TO SUSPEND WEAPONS SALES TO ISRAEL


ALBUQUERQUE, NM - The Albuquerque-based Coalition to Stop $30 Billion to Israel issued calls today for a suspension of military aid to Israel in response to charges that Israel may have violated U.S. and International Law in its recent attack on the Gaza Strip. The Coalition is publicizing its message via 10 small billboards scattered across Albuquerque.

The billboards (image shown below) feature images of a young Palestinian girl and an Israeli tank along with the message: "Tell Congress: Stop Killing Children, End Military Aid to Israel." Billboard locations include 1415 Indian School NE, 5500 2nd Street NW, and 112 Coors NW.




According to fact sheets researched and compiled by the Coalition, the U.S. agreed to provide Israel with $30 billion in military aid over a ten year period. Israel received its first subsidy in 2008. The Coalition says the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) used some of this aid in its December 27, 2008 to January 18, 2009 assault against Gaza and may have committed war crimes.

More than 1,400 Palestinians, including over 300 children and 900 civilians were killed during the assault, dubbed Operation Cast Lead.

The military aid, which amounts to $3 billion per year of taxpayer money that Americans can ill afford, appears to be in violation of the Arms Export Control Act and the Foreign Assistance Act. The Coalition calls on the voters of Albuquerque to call or write Senators Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall and Representative Martin Heinrich and demand that U.S. military aid to Israel be suspended. The Coalition also asks voters in Congressional Districts 2 and 3 to contact their representatives with the same message.


To download the full press release, click here.


______________________________________

At UCLA, January 2009:

Chants of “Zionism is racism,” “Zionism is Nazism,” “Free, Free Palestine” and “F…, f… Israel.”


The truth is coming out, on the University of California campuses, both at Santa Barbara and at Los Angeles.

And a Zionist journal expresses a lot of upset about it, here:


"Santa Barbara professor compared Israelis to Nazis"


"The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles"

April 27, 2009

At:

http://www.jewishjournal.com/thegodblog/item/santa_barbara_professor_compared_israelis_to_nazis_20090427/


That journal felt compelled to share the following (very true) information provided by Professor William I. Robinson:



Photo

The journal was not happy to see these parallel images from UCSB professor William I. Robinson.







Professor Robinson, a USCB sociology professor, included that image in his course materials, under the heading “Parallel images of Nazis and Israelis,“ 42 side-by-side photos (like the one above.)


Here’s a portion of what Professor Robinson wrote, according to the same journal:


"I am forwarding some horrific, parallel images of Nazi atrocities against the Jews and Israeli atrocities against thePalestinians. Perhaps the most frightening are not those providing a graphic depiction of the carnage but that which shows Israeli children writing 'with love' on a bomb that will tear apart Palestinian children.


"Gaza is Israel’s Warsaw - a vast concentration camp that confined and blockaded Palestinians, subjecting them to the slow death of malnutrition, disease and despair, nearly two years before their subjection to the quick death of Israeli bombs. We are witness to a slow-motion process of genocide (Websters: 'the systematic killing of, or a program of action intended to destroy, a whole national or ethnic group'), a process whose objective is not so much to physically eliminate each and every Palestinian than to eliminate the Palestinians as a people in any meaningful sense of the notion of people-hood."


______________________________

______________________________


The same journal is still upset about a UCLA symposium in January 2009, too...


From an article that Tom Tugend reported then:


"Symposium at UCLA pours on the anti-Israel hate",


In "The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles", February 12, 2009--


The final speaker was UCLA English literature professor Saree Makdisi, who stated that when Israeli forces withdrew from Gaza in 2005, the continuing blockade “made Gaza a prison and [Israel] threw away the keys.” He added that it was Israel’s “premeditated state policy” to kill Gazans and stunt the growth of their children.


While the four professorial talks were delivered and received quietly, interrupted only occasionally by applause, emotions escalated during the closing question-and-answer session.


Most of the questioners were adults, well beyond student age, and their softball questions about control of Washington by the Jewish lobby and how to divest from Israel were easily fielded by the speakers.


The mood changed when a few pro-Israel attendees got their chance, according to audience members. When Eric Golub asked Hajjar whether she would consider as prosecutable crimes Hamas’ murder of Fatah rivals, the use of civilians as human shields and recruitment of suicide bombers, the professor responded, “If you think I favor suicide bombings, then you have that Zionist hat on your head screwed on way too tight.”


Hajjar later retracted her comment, but her initial response was met by audience cheers and chants of “Zionism is racism,” “Zionism is Nazism,” “Free, Free Palestine” and “F…, f… Israel.”


______________________________



Sunday, April 26, 2009

"The motion... also demands that the Government bans arms sales to and economic support for Israel..."


"Expel Israeli ambassador, UCU Congress will demand"


THE TIMES HIGHER EDUCATION (London, U.K.)


21 April 2009



"...A motion due to be debated at the University and College Union’s annual Congress in May will call on the Government to expel the Israeli ambassador from the UK.


"The motion, put forward by the North West Regional Committee, also demands that the Government bans arms sales to and economic support for Israel, and asks it to 'support self-determination of the Palestinian people'..."


______________________________________________

This is "the third national union federation to sign on to the international BDS [boycott] campaign against Israel."


"Scottish unions, Nobel laureate condemn Israel"

by Stuart Munckton
25 April 2009

GREEN LEFT WEEKLY (Australia)

On the Web at:

http://www.greenleft.org.au/2009/792/40781



“The Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC), representing every Scottish trade union, voted overwhelmingly to commit to boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel”, the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign said on April 22.

Including federations in Ireland and South Africa, the STUC is the third national union federation to sign on to the international BDS [boycott, divestment, and sanctions] campaign against Israel.

“The vote followed a visit to Israel/Palestine by an STUC delegation in March which heard from a wide range of trade union and other bodies and returned with a unanimous recommendation that the parent body adopt boycotts, divestment and sanctions”, the statement said.

STUC General Secretary Grahame Smith said the federation supported the BDS campaign because of “Israel’s attacks on the human rights of Palestinian people and its breaches of international laws”.

Nobel peace laureate Mairead Maguire accused Israel of “ethnic cleansing”, an April 22 AFP report said. Maguire, who won the 1976 Nobel prize for efforts towards a peaceful solution to the violence in Ireland’s north, condemned Israel plans to demolish 88 homes owned by Arabs in occupied East Jerusalem.

Speaking in a protest tent erected by residents facing demolition, Maguire said: “I believe the Israeli government policies are against international law, against human rights, against the dignity of the Palestinian people.”

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Palestine in 1945.

This was before the Zionists stole it.




Click on the map to enlarge it.


This shows Palestine in 1945. You see that it's still overwhelmingly Palestinian.

This was despite years of brutal Zionist attacks on Palestinians, despite Zionist colonization efforts, and despite the Zionists' efforts to get the land any way they possibly could.

Source of the map: The Institute for Palestine Studies, at:

http://www.palestine-studies.org/enakba/Maps/Map%20III,%20Land%20Ownership,%201945.pdf


______________________________________________

Norwegian lawsuit aginst high Israeli officials for "practicing organized terrorism", and using white phosphorus against the people of Gaza.






"Norway's chief prosecutor considers Israeli war crimes case"

Friday, 24 April 2009

Published in "Watan", at:

http://www.watan.com/en/the-news/488-norways-chief-prosecutor-considers-israeli-war-crimes-case.html



OSLO, -- After the filing on Wednesday of a war crimes case against Israeli leaders by a group of Norwegian lawyers on behalf of people and families affected by the war on Gaza the chief prosecutor said the complaint will be studied.

"We will follow normal procedure, which means we will look through the complaint to determine whether or not to send it to the police to carry out a formal investigation," Siri Frigaard, chief prosecutor at Norway's National Authority for Prosecution of Organized and Other Serious Crimes, told Reuters on Thursday.


The complaint by Norwegian lawyers has been filed under a law which allows foreigners to be prosecuted in Norway over war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity even when the alleged criminal acts are committed outside the country.


The lawsuit which includes charges of practicing organized terrorism and using internationally banned weapons such as white phosphorus against Gaza people, asks for the arrest and extradition of former Israeli premier Ehud Olmert as well as his foreign affairs minister Tzipi Livni, and war minister Ehud Barak in addition to other senior Israeli military officers.

On Wednesday an Israeli report said that its internal investigations concluded that it did not violate international law during the war on Gaza but admitted that there was a very small number of "unfortunate incidents" such as the airstrike that killed 21 members of the same family which, the report said, was "unavoidable".


_________________________________________


Friday, April 24, 2009

What the Zionists have done to Gaza:

"65 percent of children aged 9-12 months, and 35 percent of pregnant women are anaemic."


"Worsening malnutrition for Gaza children"


April 24, 2009

Middle East Online, at:

http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/features/?id=31693


...Anaemia


"Anaemia among children and pregnant women is high in Gaza and there are fluctuations in the rates according to availability of food and the political and economic situation in the area,” said Daher.


WHO believes iron and vitamin A deficiencies have increased during and since the conflict. The results of WHO’s current anaemia assessment in Gaza are due in May, but according to Daher, 65 percent of children aged 9-12 months, and 35 percent of pregnant women are anaemic.


The UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) has an assessment due in July, but is also concerned about the increase in anaemia cases, according to UNRWA health officer Mohammed Maqadma.


There is a positive correlation between malnutrition and low meat (animal proteins) intake, low consumption of fruit, family size and income, according to UNICEF.


The amount of affordable fresh fruit and protein on the Gaza market has been significantly reduced due to the closures, according to OCHA. “The last shipment of livestock entered Gaza on 31 October 2008, and since the Hamas takeover in June 2007 livestock imports have been severely restricted,” said OCHA field officer Hamada al-Bayari in Gaza.


The director of all 56 primary healthcare centres run by the health ministry in Gaza, Fouad Issawi, said cases of stunting and anaemia increased in 2008 and 2009. Since 2007 the amount of anti-anaemia drugs - like ferrous carbonate (with vitamin C) and folic acid - required by primary health clinics had increased dramatically, he said.


“There was a rise in anaemia amongst children in our centres in 2008 and [this is] continuing,” said Adnan al-Wahaidi, director of Ard al-Insan Benevolent Association in Gaza, the main healthcare NGO supporting an estimated 16,000 undernourished children.


“Women with children who are underweight or wasting have been coming to the centres in greater numbers over the last few months; many of their husbands died during the recent conflict or are unemployed.”


_____________________________________________________


Israel guilty of "bloody, brutal and systematic annexation of land, destruction of homes and the deliberate creation of an apartheid system."



Independent Member of Parliament (MP) Claire Short, a former Labor MP and government minister, is one of many who support boycott against Apartheid Israel:


"Mashaal to address British parliament"


In the "Jerusalem Post", April 22, 2009, at:

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1239710750944&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull


...In a 2007 article in the Irish Times, Short condemned Israel as being guilty of "bloody, brutal and systematic annexation of land, destruction of homes and the deliberate creation of an apartheid system."


She also said that Britain and the European Union were "colluding in this operation and the building of a new apartheid regime" because they gave Israel preferential trade access.


Short supports a boycott of Israel, saying at a 2007 UN conference that a boycott had worked for South Africa and that Israel was "much worse than the original apartheid state."


In 2005, Short said US backing for "Israeli policies of expansion of the Israeli state and oppression of the Palestinian people" was the major cause of bitter division and violence in the world.


_______________________________



Columbia University:

Students continue to call for divestment from Israel--


"Columnist presents partisan views while making false insinuations"

Published in the COLUMBIA SPECTATOR

Columbia University (New York City)

April 23, 2009

On the Web at:

http://www.columbiaspectator.com/2009/04/22/letters-editor


To the Editor:


Columnist Jon Hollander’s April 15 piece, “Activism that matters,” insinuates that groups like the Columbia Palestine Forum are the cause for the perpetuation of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict by failing to consider the most rudimentary facts of the situation. First of all, nowhere in its statement or demands does the Columbia Palestine Forum use the term “apartheid.” In fact, I believe the first usage of the term apartheid in this recent upsurge of campus debate was by LionPAC and Hillel in their flyer campaign.


This being said, divestment and the impositions of sanctions on Israel are long overdue. “Demonizing” the state of Israel is not the new black. It’s a reaction to the atrocities which occurred in Gaza earlier this year, and which have been occurring for the past 60 years.


Israel is in violation of numerous United Nations resolutions, among which it is stated that Israel must withdraw to the 1967 borders and allow refugees the right to return. Israel’s most recent attack on Gaza was not only avoidable, but it indiscriminately killed over 1,400 Palestinians and destroyed the Strip’s infrastructure. Israel, as an occupying power, breached international humanitarian law with impunity for three weeks of massacre in Gaza.


Despite the rosy picture Hollander paints, Arabs do not enjoy the same rights as Jews in Israel, at least not in terms of property rights, hiring, marriage, healthcare, schooling, etc. Palestinians cannot move freely within their country, and are increasingly threatened by the growth of illegal settlements in the West Bank. Moreover, it was Israel that allowed Hamas to grow in the ’80s to subdue the secular nationalist movement. Nonetheless, what Hamas seeks is implementation of UN resolutions.


The principal factor “feeding the cycle of hatred” is the subjugation and violence to which Israel subjects the Palestinians. So Hollander, before you pass judgment, I recommend you consult a source other than the U.S. Congress for an unbiased assessment of the situation.



Nancy Elshami, BC ’10
April 18, 2009


__________________________________

Israeli policy of Palestinian starvation and death:


"Patients are still dying in Gaza because Israel refuses to let them exit"

Update 21.04.2009


"Physicians for Human Rights-Israel:

"The army must accept patients' referral applications and facilitate their exit from Gaza to receive medical treatment

- 10 patients from the Gaza Strip have died since the collapse of the Israeli-Palestinian coordination mechanism
- Israel refuses to deal with dozens of referrals of Gaza patients it has received from organizations that form a temporary alternative arrangement to the collapsed coordination mechanism.

"The Israeli army, by way of the Gaza DCO, refuses to deal with dozens of referrals to medical treatment outside of Gaza that Physicians for Human Rights-Israel had submitted even though the Palestinian coordination mechanism has stopped functioning. In so doing, the DCO prevents many patients from receiving adequate, at times, life-saving, medical treatment.

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights in Gaza has documented ten cases in which the circumstances that brought about a patient's death were directly related to the collapse of the coordinating mechanism. The World Health Organization, (WHO) confirmed eight of the ten cases.

"The coordination mechanism that worked to refer patients to external medical treatment from Gaza, and worked in coordination with Israel and the Palestinian Authority, effectively stopped operating on March 22 when the Hamas Government dissolved the referral office, and replaced its workers, among them the Palestinian coordinator Mr. Rif'at Muhesen with new officials. As a result, Israel immediately stopped its cooperation with the new coordination office.

"International organizations like the World Health Organization and the PCRS announced they would not serve as an alternative to either committee – the previous or the new one - and will not submit individual requests on behalf of patients to the Israeli authorities. They therefore do not offer a temporary alternative address to the patients of Gaza.

"PHR-Israel that usually operates as an appeal instance in cases of prevention of medical treatment is obliged, under these circumstances, to function as the only body that receives applications for referrals from patients. In the last four weeks more than 120 written requests were delivered by PHR-Israel to the Israeli DCO on behalf of patients in need of medical treatment outside of Gaza. These patients already held all the required documents and the only obstacle preventing them from reaching the medical treatment they needed was an exit permit from the Israeli authorities. The army refuses to deal with most of the appeals submitted by PHR-Israel.


"The army is actively preventing medical treatment from patients:

- By refusing to acknowledge the existence of a new coordinating mechanism in Gaza, and by refusing to deal with it.
- By refusing to process the dozens of applications referred to it by PHR-Israel, arguing the former coordination committee will soon be reinstated, though it is evident this is not happening.
- By referring patients to Mr Husein al-Sheikh the person appointed by the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah to chair the former Civil Committee. The army claims this committee is referring patients from Gaza while in practice, the representatives of this very committee, in Gaza and Ramallah have repeatedly stated they were not referring patients' applications.

"Physicians for Human Rights-Israel addressed the army in a letter on April 8 demanding it to process the applications on behalf of patients that are referred to it by PHR- Israel and other organizations. To date, we did not receive any reply and the army's policies persist.

"In its conduct, Israel is making the patients of Gaza into hostages in political power struggles that have no relevance to their medical situation. Israel is using these patients and their vulnerable condition to advance political interests.

Until the inter-Palestinian political struggles are resolved, and until the reinstatement of a functioning Civil Committee accepted by all parties, PHR-Israel calls on the State of Israel to accept patients' referral applications and enable them to exit Gaza to receive medical treatment.

"For further information please contact Ran Yaron, Director of OPT Department

"Tel: 0547577696 email: ranyaron@phr.org.il


--------------------------------------------------


SIGNS OF WORSENING MALNUTRITION AMONG CHILDREN

Report, The Electronic Intifada, 22 April 2009



GAZA CITY, occupied Gaza Strip (IRIN) - Rising poverty,
unemployment and food insecurity in Gaza, compounded by
the recent 23-day Israeli offensive, have increased the
threat of child malnutrition, say UN agencies, health
ministry officials and healthcare non-governmental
organizations in Gaza.


http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article10479.shtml


--------------------------------------------------

"I believe the Israeli government is carrying out a policy of ethnic cleansing against Palestinians here in east Jerusalem," said Maguire...


"Nobel Laureate Accuses Israel of 'Ethnic Cleansing' "





On the Web at:

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2009/04/22-1



Nobel peace laureate Mairead Maguire on Tuesday accused Israel of "ethnic cleansing" policies in annexed east Jerusalem, where the municipality plans to tear down almost 90 Arab homes.


[Nobel peace laureate Mairead Maguire speaks during a press conference in the Silwan neighborhood of east Jerusalem. Maguire on Tuesday accused Israel of "ethnic cleansing" policies in annexed east Jerusalem, where the municipality plans to tear down almost 90 Arab homes. (AFP)]

Nobel peace laureate Mairead Maguire speaks during a press conference in the Silwan neighborhood of east Jerusalem. Maguire on Tuesday accused Israel of "ethnic cleansing" policies in annexed east Jerusalem, where the municipality plans to tear down almost 90 Arab homes. (AFP)



"I believe the Israeli government is carrying out a policy of ethnic cleansing against Palestinians here in east Jerusalem," said Maguire, who won the 1976 Nobel prize for her efforts at reaching a peaceful solution to the violence in Northern Ireland.

"I believe the Israeli government policies are against international law, against human rights, against the dignity of the Palestinian people," she said at a news conference.


It was held in a protest tent erected by residents of east Jerusalem's Silwan neighbourhood where 88 Arab homes are under demolition orders.




The Israeli authorities say the houses were built or extended without the necessary construction permits. Palestinians say the planned demolitions aim at forcing them out of east Jerusalem.


If the demolition orders are carried out 1,500 people would be left homeless in one of the largest forced evictions since Israel occupied mostly Arab east Jerusalem in the 1967 war and later annexed it.


Israel considers Jerusalem to be its eternal and undivided capital, while Palestinians want to make east Jerusalem the capital of their future state.


The Israeli human rights group B'Tselem says that since 2004 the Israeli authorities have torn down more than 400 homes in east Jerusalem.


______________________________________________


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Hundreds march through University of Michigan campus, demanding divestment from Israel--



Click on photo to enlarge it.


The photo shows a July 2006 rally for divestment against Israel, on the University of Michigan's Ann Arbor campus.

A contemporary article from the "Michigan Daily" is quoted below:


_______________________________________

"Diag stage for anti-violence rally:

"Community members protest Israel's military aggression in Lebanon"



About 250 community members, students and faculty members gathered on the Diag Saturday afternoon in a rally against Israel's military actions in Lebanon.


As speakers began to give personal accounts of relatives in Lebanon, supporters and families wearing red, green and white - the national colors of Lebanon - slowly trickled into the crowd.


"It's extremely easy for people to forget about injustices happening oceans away," said Shimaa Abdelfadeel, an organizer of the rally and political chair of the Muslim Students' Association.


Abdelfadeel said the Lebanese perspective has not been equally covered in the media. "The event was more of an educational demonstration than anything," she said.


Today marks the 13th day of violence between Israeli and Hezbollah forces in Lebanon.


The conflict began when Hezbollah fighters captured two Israeli soldiers.


Calling the action an act of war, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert responded by sending planes to bomb Hezbollah camps in southern Lebanon.


The Washington Post estimates that at least 375 Lebanese, mostly civilians, and 36 Israelis - including 17 civilians - have been killed since the conflict began.


President George W. Bush has not called for a cease-fire, saying Israel has the right to defend itself.


Although some spoke and carried signs specifically addressing Israeli's military action in Lebanon, crowd members also chanted against United States involvement in Iraq and escalating conflict in Gaza between Israeli forces and Palestinians.


Abdelfadeel said it's easier to focus on Lebanon because the nation is receiving the most media attention of the countries experiencing conflict in the Middle East - but that other areas, such as the Gaza Strip, were equally important to organizers.


The rally culminated in a nearly 40-minute march through the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair but city law requires a permit for large groups to march in the streets.


Due to time constraints, organizers did not apply for a permit, Abdelfadeel said. Instead, the march made two laps on the sidewalks of campus.


Four Department of Public Safety Officers escorted the march.


During the group's second lap, one man screamed back at the demonstrators, causing some adverse reaction from marchers. The instance was quickly broken up by organizers.


American Culture and Women's Studies Prof. Nadine Naber, who spoke at the rally, said the individual was "insignificant" to the event's overall success.


Abdelfadeel said that the biggest misconception onlookers might have of the rally is that "we as a group support Hezbollah or Hamas and that we don't care about the Israel civilian casualties. That's not true at all."


University alum Laurel Federbush and her mother, who are Jewish, marched with signs reading "Real Jews denounce Israel's war crimes."


Federbush said that while the Israeli government often speaks on behalf of Jewish people, she does not support its actions in Lebanon.


Over the past few months Federbush has asked the University's Board of Regents to cut financial ties with Israel twice.


Each time the line passed University President Mary Sue Coleman's residence on South University Avenue, leaders paused to demand that the University divest from Israel.


Activist and University alum Tarek Diya shouted into a bullhorn, "Mary Sue, I told you we'd be back," as police officers monitored the crowd from Coleman's lawn.


"This will be the year of divestment for Ann Arbor," he continued. Abdelfadeel said Students Allied for Freedom and Equality plans to make a push for divestment in the fall.


The Muslim Students' Association has signed a resolution created by SAFE in support of divestment.


This past March, about 140 faculty and students petitioned the University's Board of Regents to cut all financial ties with Israel.


At that time, Regent Laurence Deitch (D-Bingham Farms) told the Daily the board would never support divestment.


Deitch said many regents question whether divestment is an appropriate action for a university to take, even in extreme cases, because it opposes the board's goal of encouraging investment.


The University last divested from the tobacco industry in 2000.


Locally, the rally was sponsored by the Muslim Students' Association, SAFE, the Michigan Congress of Arab American Organizations and the Muslim Community Association of Ann Arbor and Vicinity. Several Toledo-based groups also sponsored the demonstration.


Abdelfadeel said the event was also heavily publicized throughout Dearborn's Muslim community.


She said that although she expected more supporters from out of town, she was impressed by the number of Ann Arbor community members who marched.


This past Tuesday, a similar Dearborn rally attracted nearly 10,000 people.


____________________________________


University of Michigan student government, at Dearborn, demands divestment against Israeli military.


"Dearborn student gov't demands divestment:

"Bill passes unanimously; regents almost certainly won't vote to divest"



By Kelly Fraser

MICHIGAN DAILY (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor)

October 3rd, 2006

http://www.michigandaily.com/content/dearborn-student-govt-demands-divestment




The student government at the University's Dearborn campus last week unanimously passed a resolution calling for the University's Board of Regents to vote to divest from Israel.


The student government passed similar resolutions in 2004 and 2005.


This year's resolution reads, "We demand that the University cease all investment in companies that financially benefit from the actions of the Israeli military in illegally occupied territories."


Bilal Dabaja, Dearborn's student government's senate speaker, said the resolution is stronger than the previous two because of this summer's war between Israel and Hezbollah.


Dearborn Student Government President Tarek Baydoun said the resolution has broad support on campus. It is unlikely, however, that the resolution will be meet with the same level of support in Ann Arbor or by the regents, who would ultimately decide whether the University divests.


As a branch of the University, the Dearborn campus cannot independently divest.


The resolution asks the regents to form an advisory committee of administrators and students to examine the University's financial ties with Israel. This request follows procedure created by a resolution adopted by the board in 1978 to consider divestment cases.


The 1978 resolution reads, "If the Regents shall determine that a particular issue involves serious moral or ethical questions which are of concern to many members of the University community, an advisory committee consisting of members of the University Senate, students, administration and alumni will be appointed to gather information and formulate recommendations for the Regents' consideration."


Divestment is rare. The University has only divested twice in its history. First, in 1978, the board voted to divest from apartheid South Africa. In 2000, it divested from the tobacco industry.


Baydoun said the student government hopes to increase the influence of the divestment resolution with a University-wide petition drive.


Dabaja said the goal of the petition is to collect "as many signatures as possible" to convince the regents to take up the matter.


Dabaja acknowledged that the regents have historically not been receptive to the idea but said the resolution is necessary.


"We understand that in the past the regents have not agreed with us, but we will continue to bring this issue to their attention," he said. "If we cannot stop the tragedy, it is our duty to speak out against the injustice in our capacity as students."


Last March, University Regent Larry Deitch (D-Bingham Farms) told the Daily the regents would not support divestment and that a resolution from student government would not change this.


In an e-mail yesterday, Deitch reaffirmed his position.


When asked if there were any circumstances under which the University should divest or if last week's resolution changed his position, Deitch replied only, "NO."...


______________________________________


The entire Scottish union movement has just voted "overwhelmingly to commit to boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel."


"Scottish Trade Union Congress votes to support boycotts, divestment and sanctions against apartheid Israel"



By the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign


On the Web at:


http://links.org.au/node/1010



April 22, 2009 --


The Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC), representing every Scottish trade union, voted overwhelmingly to commit to boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel. This is the third example of a national trade union federation [including Ireland and South Africa] committing to boycotts, divestment and sanctions and is a clear indication that, while Israel can kill Palestinians with impunity and Western support, it has lost the battle for world public opinion. It is now seen to be a state born out of ethnic cleansing and still expanding through the violent dispossession of the Palestinian people.


Speaker after speaker expressed intense anger at Israel's butchery of 1300 Palestinians in Gaza over New Year, as well as the much longer history of Israel's ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. The vote followed a visit to Israel/Palestine by an STUC delegation in March which heard from a wide range of trade union and other bodies and returned with a unanimous recommendation that the parent body adopt boycotts, divestment and sanctions. Read the delegation's report at http://www.stuc.org.uk/files/Palestine/Delegation%20Report%202009.pdf.


The STUC move to a position of boycotts, divestment and sanctions followed debate on the delegation's report with affiliated unions, as well as consultations across Scotland. There were written and oral submissions from Zionist as well as human rights bodies.


The commitment to boycotts, divestment and sanctions was made despite aggressive lobbying by Zionist groups, including an absurd warning that a commitment to active support for Palestinians' human rights would lead to attacks on Scottish Jews, and the parachuting into Scotland of the Histadrut’s head of communications from Israel.


The STUC's new position is a dramatic breakthrough which has the potential to greatly accelerate the boycott campaign already underway in Scotland against, for example, Israeli companies and sporting or cultural visits. The Scottish government earlier in the year yielded to public concerns and cancelled a trade delegation to Israel.


It will also make easier the task of building a mass boycott campaign across the land surface of Scotland, in every town and small community, in every supermarket and every sporting and cultural event.


Israel's New Year mountain of corpses in Gaza, together with its frequent murder of unarmed civilians across Palestine was only the latest in a long series of Israeli massacres. We may be unable to stop the next one, but our job of building the sort of mass boycotts, divestment and sanctions campaign that can confront Israel's violence with a countervailing force has just become easier. An aroused world opinion is increasingly ready to ensure that all don't die in vain.


We can only offer hope to the hard-pressed Palestinians that their freedom is coming, however long Israel and its allies work to delay it.


Speaking prior to the debate, STUC General Secretary, Grahame Smith, said: “The STUC General Council is recommending support for boycott and calls for sanctions against Israel because of its attacks on the human rights of Palestinian people and its breaches of international laws.


Mr Smith continued: “On our recent visit to Israel and Palestine we witnessed the human rights violations experienced by ordinary Palestinians on a daily basis. We saw how restrictions on movement and checkpoints prevent people from going to work, to school and to visit their families – even when they are sick and dying.”


“We heard powerful arguments from the Palestinian Human Rights Organisation, Al-Haq, outlining how Israel is in breach of the Geneva Conventions, and the need for other signatories to international laws to hold Israel to account.”


“Our delegation also met with the leadership of Israeli trade union centre, Histadrut, and the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions. The STUC has carefully considered the complex issues involved, and we believe that we have a moral obligation to show solidarity to Palestinian people.” -- Read the full STUC press release at http://www.stuc.org.uk/news/633/stuc-debates-boycott-of-israel.


View the STUC General Council recommendation passed at the STUC congress on April 22 in Perth, Scotland, at http://spsc.scottishpsc.org.uk/files/STUCbds.pdf. The significant paragraphs are:


6.1 The General Council is recommending that Congress should take a position of:


  • supporting boycotts and disinvestments against lsrael,
  • calling for sanctions against lsrael,
  • encouraging positive investments in the occupied territories...

6.6 The STUC acknowledges its relationship with both PGFTU and Histadrut and supports the development of a constructive dialogue between them. The STUC will explain its position on BDS to Histadrut, and will, over the next 12 months, raise with them Histadrut positions in relation to Gaza and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The STUC will review its relationship with Histadrut in this context.



[Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, c/o Peace & Justice Centre, 2 Princes Street, Edinburgh EH2 4BJ. Email secretary [at] scottishpsc.org.uk, visit http://www.scottishpsc.org.uk. SPSC is affiliated to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (UK), http://www.palestinecampaign.org.]


__________________________________________________

At Brown University: Boycott against Israel--

against "Israel’s brutal campaign of repression, apartheid and ethnic cleansing."


Letter:


"Don't use American money to fund Israeli repression"

Thursday, April 23, 2009


"The Brown Daily Herald" (Brown University; Rhode Island)


On the Web at:


http://www.browndailyherald.com/letter-don-t-use-american-money-to-fund-israeli-repression-1.1730173



To the Editor:


The recent letter from Brown Students for Israel and Hillel (“No divestment at Hampshire, no divestment at Brown,” April 15) grossly misrepresents the Hampshire divestment, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement and the nature of Zionism.


First, Hampshire President Hexter released the letter cited only after Zionist enforcer Alan Dershowitz threatened to call for a boycott campaign against Hampshire and to withhold a significant personal donation if the university did not renounce the BDS movement. That the administration partly acquiesced to overt intimidation cannot erase the fact that it was Hampshire Students for Justice in Palestine who campaigned for two years and presented their case to the Board, securing the decision to divest from the fund in question. Hexter may retrospectively whitewash, but the action and its context speak for themselves.


Second, the canard that Israel is uniquely singled out is absurd. Many regimes perpetrate human rights violations, and are justly censured. How many, however, carry out those violations with weapons and funding provided by the U.S. government? We don’t pay for North Korean torture with our taxes, nor does the Iranian army use American-supplied white phosphorus or cluster bombs to target civilians. Americans finance Israel’s occupation and apartheid regime with funds that should go to healthcare for our neighbors, schools for our children.


Finally, to characterize Zionism as simply “the belief in the right of national self-determination for the Jewish people” is profoundly ahistorical and disingenuous. From its inception, Zionism has pursued ethnically exclusive Jewish nationalism, openly envisaging the ethnic cleansing of non-Jews. Theodor Herzl described in 1895 plans to “spirit the penniless population across the border … denying it any employment in our own country,” whereupon “We shall then sell only to Jews, and all real estate will be traded only among Jews.”


David Ben-Gurion said, “We must expel Arabs and take their place,” implementing policies that saw mass expulsion of conquered Arab populations throughout the region. Since 1948 Israel has consistently dispossessed the Arab population into ever-shrinking enclaves of land, with ever-dwindling human rights, leading to the shattered open-air prison that is Gaza today and the checkpoint-riddled Bantustan landscape of the West Bank.


The Israeli government just elected not only refuses to support even a notional Palestinian state, but features as Foreign Minister the openly neo-fascist Avigdor Lieberman, who has variously advocated bombing the Aswan Dam, drowning thousands of Palestinian prisoners in the Dead Sea (even offering to provide buses for the trip — who exactly is driving whom into the sea?) and killing Knesset members who had contact with Hamas after it was elected. He openly advocates transfer of Israel’s 1.2 million Palestinian citizens.


No person of conscience can support any people’s project of self-determination if that project fundamentally requires the brutal abrogation of that right for another people. As anti-Zionists, we oppose not the Jewish right to self-determination, but the Israeli occupation. As BDS supporters, we call on Americans to resist the use of our name, our clout and our tax, tuition and investment dollars in the service of Israel’s brutal campaign of repression, apartheid and ethnic cleansing.




Jesse Soodalter ’94, MD’09

William Keach, Professor of English
Francesca Contreras ’11
Elaine Freedgood, Visiting Professor of English
Paige Sarlin GS
Sean Feiner ’11
Lindsay Goss GS

Andrea Dillon ’11
Caitlin Chazen GS
Alex Ortiz ’09
Margaree Little ’09
Will Lambek ’09.5
Shaun Joseph ’03
Rodrigo Lehtinen ’09
Eric Larson GS
Senia Barragan ’08
Dara Bayer ’08
Matthew Hamilton ’05



______________________________________


Columbia University:

Professors emphasize Israeli destruction of Palestinian academic freedom (students are blocked from school by troops).




"Faculty to convene on Palestinian academic freedom"


April 23, 2009


In the COLUMBIA SPECTATOR (Columbia University) at:


http://www.columbiaspectator.com/2009/04/22/faculty-convene-palestinian-academic-freedom



Members of the Faculty of the Arts and Sciences will meet at noon today to discuss Columbia’s role concerning academic freedom and scholarly research in the West Bank and Gaza, and to once again call on University President Lee Bollinger to publicly take a stance on the issue.


The faculty-organized meeting, which will convene at the request of professors who petitioned to hold a special meeting on the issue—including MEALAC’s Gil Anidjar and anthropology’s Brinkley Messick, who circulated the information in a press release sent to Spectator—follows a letter signed by 134 faculty members and sent to Bollinger in February.


The letter asked Bollinger to express “support for the academic freedom of Palestinians” and publicly censure Israel’s actions during the January military conflict in Gaza as they relate to academia.


At today’s meeting, the Faculty will debate whether Bollinger should speak on behalf of the University as he has on past international matters. They will also offer a proposal for an advisory committee aimed to investigate ways in which Columbia can support Palestinian students and professors.


“We would like to have an open and informed and indeed vigorous debate on the role Columbia can play,” Anidjar, professor of Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures and religion, wrote in an e-mail. Anidjar referred to Columbia’s “leadership position on the issue of academic freedom in the Middle East,” specifically in Israel and Iran, and urged the administration to balance its commitment to such causes across the region.


The Faculty of the Arts and Sciences gathers on a semi-annual basis to discuss issues important to the approximately 650 professors in 29 academic departments. But according to Katharina Volk, classics professor and chair of the Executive Committee for the Faculty of the Arts and Sciences, University bylaws enable faculty to conduct an “extraordinary meeting”—separate from the official schedule—should 25 faculty members sign a petition.


Today’s discussion is part of a larger dialogue on campus among students, professors, and administrators who voice a variety of opinions on how Columbia should react to Israeli-Palestinian relations. Although this meeting is organized solely by faculty, student groups have spent the past few months rallying and publicizing their stances on the January military actions in Gaza.


“I am pleased to see that the University is open to hearing from its students and its faculty on all issues. With that being said, I think that this is another extension of the ridiculous set of demands that has been going on for a few weeks, and I think the idea that we would divest from Israel is utterly ridiculous,” said Jacob Shapiro, GS/JTS ’10 and president of LionPAC, a pro-Israel student group that opposes divestment from Israel.


But others see this meeting as an opportunity to further work with the administration on achieving certain objectives. “It is extremely encouraging to us to know that this meeting is happening, especially as we continue to organize to pressure the administration to meet our demands in support of Palestinian rights,” said Akua Gyamerah, School of Public Health ’10, and a member of both the Barnard-Columbia International Socialist Organization and the Columbia Palestine Forum, a campaign launched in early March to garner support for Palestinian rights to education.


Whereas students have covered Israeli-Palestinian relations from a variety of angles, the faculty’s concerns deal specifically with education and scholarly research in the Palestinian territories. Professors emphasize that Israel has blocked Palestinian students and professors from pursuing Fulbright Scholarships abroad and from traveling to and from universities within Palestine.


While Bollinger issued a letter to the faculty in March, and told Spectator on Wednesday he has nothing further to add, the professors directing today’s meeting charge that he has given unequal airtime to the Israeli and Palestinian causes. In addition to resisting divestment from companies who conduct business in Israel in 2002, Bollinger has maintained links with Israel through the Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies, Anidjar said. He added that this meeting could ultimately result in the creation of a similar institute intended to gather resources on Palestine and host Palestinian scholars.


“I have always welcomed principled discussions about academic freedom and, in my own scholarship, have regularly addressed issues of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and academic freedom,” Bollinger wrote in the response letter. “In general, however, I do not speak out nor does the University take official positions on specific actions by governments in the many ongoing conflicts around the world that might in some way also threaten academic freedom.”


Administrators in the Arts and Sciences, who are overseeing the meeting, could be reached for comment by press time.


______________________________________

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Motion to Boycott Israeli Goods-- at a major Canadian Retailer.


"Store facing bid to boycott Israeli products"

Toronto "Globe and Mail"



On the Web at:


http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090422.wmec22/BNStory/National/home



One of Canada's iconic retailers is facing a politically charged debate at its annual general meeting, where it expects a motion to boycott Israeli products will be introduced.


Mountain Equipment Co-op, a Canadian outdoor clothing and gear store, allows any member to introduce an “ordinary resolution” at its meetings, in keeping with its co-operative ethos. The store has more than three million members, but few attend the regular meetings.


The company has been told to expect, in an unprecedented move, the Israeli motion at its April 30 meeting, said Tim Southam, MEC's public affairs manager.


“Our understanding is there will be a motion brought forward by someone who is obviously concerned by our sourcing from Israel,” he said.It's not clear who will introduce the resolution, but such a move is supported by one small peace association, BC Teachers for Peace and Global Education, which pushed for such a move in February.


“We don't think that MEC should be using factories in Israel, should be investing in Israel,” said PAGE spokesman Patrik Parkes, who cited Israel's recent aggression in Gaza as a reason. But any vote – pass or fail – could be little more than a gesture.


Ordinary resolutions are not binding. Mr. Southam, in an interview Tuesday, suggested MEC wouldn't change its policy.


“It's become very political, much to our consternation,” Mr. Southam said, adding the company follows international sanctions and boycotts set by the federal government. “We are not of the view that MEC, as a retailer, should enact, you know, boycotts on our own.”


Mr. Parkes, a MEC customer, said since the company prides itself on its ethical guidelines, an Israeli boycott is a necessary move.


“We don't feel that using Israeli companies is in line with their mandate, their ethical mandate,” he said.


The company sells two Israeli-made types of products – seamless underwear and water packs – and Mr. Southam said both companies passed MEC's screening process with their work standards.


“They passed that process, and our people were sufficiently satisfied that our standards would be upheld,” he said. “This is the reality of being a national retailer operating in a global economy with a global supply chain.”


The meeting is set for the evening of April 30 at Simon Fraser University's Harbour Centre building in Vancouver. Any MEC customer who signed up before January can attend and vote.


The pre-meeting membership application deadline is a long-established principle of the company, Mr. Southam said.


“What it aims to do is make sure that a particular interest group is not able to sign up a whole bunch of people and stack the room,” he said, adding that while an Israeli boycott hasn't been proposed, the company has dealt with politically charged ordinary resolutions in the past.


“They do come up on occasion,” he said. “We certainly are mindful of how emotionally-charged this issue is, so we have informed the management of the facility where it's going to be held about this issue. We are making arrangements to ensure there is security on site... We are intent on the meeting proceeding in an orderly and civilized manner.”


_____________________________________________


Never Again:

Don't let the Zionists Bleed Palestine so Easily and Cheaply, ever again.

Boycott "Israel" Now.


"Killing Bassem: Just Like That"

'Another one. Again. Just like that. In an instant..'


PALESTINE CHRONICLE


April 21, 2009


On the Web at:

http://www.palestinechronicle.com/view_article_details.php?id=15043


By Sayed Dhansay


He stands on a small sandy hilltop wearing a bright yellow t-shirt, cigarette in hand. He is calling out to the soldiers on the other side of the fence “Do not shoot, do not shoot. There are children and internationals here, do not shoot.” Thin white wisps of teargas linger in the gentle breeze, a moment of calm in the confrontation.


Suddenly a teargas canister whizzes past the camera making an audible “clunk” as it hits something to the right. He tries to let out a scream, but all he manages is a stifled yelp. One can almost hear his breath being cut short as the projectile punctures his chest. Another muted scream of pain. He falls to the ground then jumps up quickly, running a few steps before collapsing again.


His body rolls a few times as he hits the ground, his limbs flapping loosely underneath him. Two fellow demonstrators run to him, looking almost surprised and unsure of what has just happened. They turn him over, lifting his shirt and calling his name. But he is unresponsive. His eyes are open but his body lies motionless. His bright yellow shirt now quickly growing a wet red stain over his heart.


And so the occupied people of Palestine sacrifice yet another one of their young men. Another one. Again. Just like that. In an instant. Caught live on camera for the world to see. 29 year old Bassem Ibrahim Abu Rahme was later pronounced dead at Ramallah hospital on Friday 17 April 2009 after being shot in the chest with a high-velocity teargas canister by an Israeli soldier. A faceless, nameless soldier of course, who will never have to explain or account for taking the life of another human being.


Bassem posed no threat to the security of Israel as he stood atop that hill. He was not armed, nor was he throwing stones. Ironically, he was calling out to the Israeli forces to hold their fire because children and internationals were present, when he was shot. He was involved in a non-violent demonstration when his own life was so violently taken.


For nearly four years now the residents of Bil’in have non-violently protested the annexation of their land by Israel’s so-called “security fence”. This barrier has effectively annexed roughly 60% of Bil’in’s farming land to the Israeli side.


As this village is almost exclusively sustained by agriculture, one could say that 60% of their economy has disappeared, with dire consequences for the community.


The International Court of Justice ruled in 2005 that the barrier in its entirety is illegal under international law, and recommended that Israel halt its construction and demolish the parts that had already been completed.


In addition, the Israeli Supreme Court has ruled on three different occasions that the route of the barrier in Bil’in is illegal under Israeli law. The IDF was ordered to reroute the barrier in order that it did not usurp so much of Bil’in’s land. Until today, not a single meter has been removed in Bil’in or elsewhere in the West Bank.


The Israeli army’s claim that this is a security measure is simply preposterous. One doesn’t have to look far across the barrier in Bil’in to see what the land is being stolen for – the extension of yet another illegal settlement. In this case, the Matityahu East neighbourhood of the Modi’in Ilit settlement.


Bil’in has become somewhat of an inspiration and example in the West Bank for its now famous weekly protests. The small village has also gained international recognition for its steadfastness and commitment to non-violent protest, as documented in the award-winning film, ‘Bil’in My Love’.


The villagers, along with international and even Israeli demonstrators, have faithfully upheld their weekly protests every single Friday, without exception, for the last three years. While these demonstrations are strictly non-violent and consist mainly of chanting, waving the Palestinian flag and attempting to access the confiscated land, the response from Israeli forces is always harsh.


Every week demonstrators are showered with copious amounts of rubber coated steel bullets and teargas. In another West Bank village, Na’alin, four youths were shot dead in separate incidents by Israeli soldiers last year, also while protesting against the barrier in their village.


Lately, however, IOF troops have employed a new and deadly tactic in an effort to quell protest. This involves the use of a new, high-velocity teargas canister which is being shot directly at protestors. These canisters are relatively quiet when fired, emitting only a faint smoke trail, which makes them difficult to detect. In addition, their 400 meter range makes them lethal when fired directly at people.


This is the same type of teargas canister which nearly killed 37 year old American activist Tristan Anderson in Na’alin on 13 March 2009 when he was shot directly in the face from 60 meters away. He remains in a coma in a Tel Aviv hospital.


Though these canisters are meant to be fired upwards in an arc-like projection, Israeli soldiers have realized their deadly potential and are using them as bullets, probably in an attempt to disguise their intentions by not shooting ordinary ammunition.


While Tristan Anderson remains in a serious coma, he was lucky to escape with his life. Bassem however, was not as fortunate. And because he is Palestinian, the mainstream international media will not be interested in his case. He is simply not important enough.


His story will be relegated to the bottom corner of a back page of a newspaper somewhere, probably in biased language that blames him for his own death – if even that. As the haunting sound of his last painful screams play over in my head, I wonder just how much more the collective Palestinian spirit can take before another mass uprising.


For now, the resilience of Bil’in lives on. The next day, hundreds turned out for Bassem’s funeral. His body, draped in the Palestinian flag, hoisted above them. Held aloft by chants of “Ash Shaheed Habibullah” (The martyr is beloved by God). Moving briskly to its resting place where so many have been taken before.


And while Palestine waits patiently for the international community to stand by its side, the fearless people of Bil’in will be out again this Friday. Ready to sacrifice their blood and their souls for something very simple – just to have returned what has, and always will, rightfully be theirs.



(Bassem is the 18th Palestinian to be killed in non-violent anti-wall demonstrations in the West Bank since 2004.)



- Sayed Dhansay is based in South Africa. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.


_____________________________________

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Another City Council campaign to Boycott Israeli Goods, following the massacre of Gaza.


lep.co.uk - brought to you by the Lancashire Evening Post in Preston


"Call for council to boycott Israel"


20 April 2009

On the Web at:

http://www.lep.co.uk/news/Call-for-council-to-boycott.5187229.jp


Coun Michael Lavalette wants Preston Council to boycott Israeli goods

Councilor Michael Lavalette wants Preston Council to boycott Israeli goods.

____________________________________________________


Preston should boycott any goods which come from Israel, a city councillor has said.

Socialist councillor Michael Lavalette, who represents the town centre on Preston Council, has called for the council to ban all Israeli goods in protest over the conflict in Gaza.

He is set to submit a notice of motion asking the council to back the call this week.

He also wants to ensure no council resources are invested in Israel.

And he says civic chiefs should write to supermarkets across the city and councils across the country urging them to join the protest.

But council group leaders said the motion was in danger of "stirring up racial hatred."


It comes after an extraordinary council meeting over the Gaza conflict in January which was supported by Coun Lavalette but criticised as being a waste of time and money.

Tory and council leader Ken Hudson said: "I'm not sure this is something that is really for Preston.

"I'm not sure that we are going to invest in Israel and I'm not sure how many goods come into local supermarkets from Israel.

"I am, as I said at the special council meeting on Gaza, very keen that there is a peaceful world out there, but I'm not sure just exactly what we are doing by stirring up racial hatred."

Danny Gallagher, leader of the Lib Dem group on the council, said: "I can't see what he is going to gain from it, that's my personal view. What good is it going to do?"

Joy Wolfe, of the Manchester Zionist Central Council, said: "I think it is highly inappropriate for our councils to do anything of this nature.

"The very people he would want to help – the Palestinian people – will be the ones who suffer as a result of boycotting goods because they help to produce them."

Coun Lavalette said: "We have not started this campaign, we are joining it. There is a growing international campaign to boycott Israeli goods, and a number of councils have taken it up."

He said the council could boycott products such as olive oil, dates and Jaffa oranges.

The notice of motion has yet to attract a seconder. It will be debated at Thursday's Town Hall meeting.


_____________________________________

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Video:

Israeli troops murder another peaceful Palestinian human rights activist, in broad daylight.


YouTube video:

"Demonstrator killed in Bilin by Israeli forces"

This video, showing Bassem Abu Rahma's cold-blooded murder by Israeli troops, has been quickly removed from the Web by YouTube.


Demonstrator killed in Bilin by Israeli forces
1:04



So look at this video instead, not yet removed, of the young man's funeral:


"Palestinians mourn demonstrator's death - 18 Apr 09"


On YouTube at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OI6d7pFKzSU



Palestinians mourn demonstrator's death - 18 Apr 09
2:47





More details of Bassem Abu Rahma's murder have just been published.

See YNet, April 19, 2009,

On the Web at:

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3702943,00.html


"...A video filmed at the scene of the incident shows the protestors approaching the fence, including Bassem Abu Rahma, who is seen wearing a yellow shirt.

"Abdullah was near Bassem when he was hurt. 'I can say for certain that there was no violence or provocation on the part of the protestors,' he says. 'The casualty's last words were to the soldiers and police officers: "Stop firing, stop firing." And then the grenade hit him and he was critically injured....'


"...He adds that
Bassem was the youngest of five brothers and that he also had a sister. 'It's a simple family, a poor family which suffered a lot of pain after part of its land was robbed, and was always involved in the non-violent struggle to return the lands,' he says.

" 'Those who came to the house came to grieve the fatal casualty and console, but also to show their appreciation for the family, which has suffered directly for a second time.'

"This is not the first time the Abu Rahma family makes headlines under unfortunate circumstances: Bassem's brother, Ashraf, was one of the most famous victims of the Palestinian struggle against the separation fence, when an IDF soldier was filmed shooting him while he was bound, after being arrested while trying to transfer foods and medications to residents of the nearby village of Naalin, which was under curfew. The shooting soldier was accused of inappropriate behavior, and the regiment commander who was present during the incident was moved to a different post."



___________________________



Cutting off Aid to Israel:

"More than 5,000 petition signatures weren't enough to persuade Ann Arbor City Council..."


As Palestine continues to be massacred...

Since January 1984, the Ann Arbor City Council has been urged to divest from Israel, to boycott Israel, and to approve resolutions against aid to Israel:





Click on image to enlarge it.


It's the front page of the "Ann Arbor News", January 10, 1984.

The article is entitled, "Council rejects Mideast resolution".


The article states as follows:

"More than 5,000 petition signatures weren't enough to persuade Ann Arbor City Council to place a resolution urging the withholding of U.S. aid to Israel on the April city ballot.

"Council never voted on the measure at all...

The resolution "would have instructed the city clerk to write to President Reagan and his cabinet asking that Israel receive no more funds from the U.S. until its policy of settlements on the West Bank is halted."


___________________________________


This attempted resolution followed Israel's massacre of tens of thousands of Lebanese and Palestinians in 1982. At that time, Israel was an extremely intimate ally of Apartheid South Africa, and gave major assistance to genocidal military dictatorships, most horrifically in Guatemala.

This article is a perfect illustration of how even the smallest symbolic action against Israel is opposed by Zionists who use the word "peace" as a weapon, to silence all talk of action.

The Ann Arbor City Council has refused to allow any public hearing, or any city council debate, on proposals to cut aid to Israel, from January 1984 until the present day.

Many speakers at Ann Arbor City Council have urged the Council, from 2002 until 2009, to divest from Israel, to boycott Israel, and to approve that resolution to end U.S. military aid to Israel. The City Council responded by attempting to eliminate all public comment (until the end of meetings, often at midnight or later.)

The Council even enforced a stone wall of silence against its own appointed Human Rights Commission, which formally urged the City Council to approve a resolution to end U.S. military aid to Israel in December 2003.

Speakers still appear at City Council to urge action against Israel, as Israel continues massacring and robbing Palestinians.


_________________________________