Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Boycotts Go Back to School!

This fall, as college students return to campus, the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, in partnership with Hampshire College Students for Justice in Palestine, is organizing a five-city boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) tour across the country.

Ever since the dynamic student organizers at Hampshire got their university to divest from corporations supporting Israeli occupation and apartheid, we have been planning with them how to spread successful campus boycott and divestment campaigns to other campuses around the country.

In October, we're taking all of our research and resources on the road, stopping in Milwaukee, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Columbus, and Amherst to spark and strengthen BDS campaigns. Support this tour by clicking here to make a tax-deductible donation now.

The energy at our recent national organizers' conference demonstrated that now is the time to move forward with focused, strategic BDS work. Experts as diverse as Omar Barghouti (of PACBI) and Howard Kohr (of AIPAC) agree that we are at a critical moment for BDS. You can help make this tour a success and help spread the BDS movement in the United States by clicking here.

The US Campaign's National Organizer, organizers from Hampshire SJP, and other experts will offer skills-building workshops and hold public events free of charge at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee (Oct 7-10), Emory University (Oct 18-20), the University of Pittsburgh (Oct 22-24), and the Ohio State University (Oct 23-25). Finally, we're partnering with Hampshire SJP to present at their national campus BDS conference in Amherst Nov. 20-22nd. These conferences will offer students and faculty the skills and knowledge they need to launch and sustain successful boycott and divestment campaigns on their campuses and in their communities. With your support we will continue this organizing effort at campuses in California, North Carolina, and Virginia in the spring.

Learn more about the US Campaign's effort to bring BDS organizing resources and trainings to campuses across the United States by organizer@endtheoccupation.org. To register for a campus BDS conference in your area email the US Campaign's National Organizer organizer@endtheoccupation.org. Find out more about the national BDS conference at HampshireCollege this November organizer@endtheoccupation.org.

Make a tax-deductible contribution to support campus BDS conferences

Friday, September 25, 2009

Spain expels Israeli scientists from solar energy competition

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/sep/24/spain-solar-competition-israelis

Scientists kicked out of contest because they are based in the West Bank, Spain's government says

Giles Tremlett in Madrid
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 24 September 2009 17.52 BST

Spain's government today said it had expelled a group of Israeli scientists from a state-funded solar energy competition because they were based in occupied areas of the West Bank.

The decision to expel the team from the Ariel University Centre of Samaria from Solar Decathlon Europe, an international competition involving 20 universities, provoked angry reactions in Israel.

The Israeli team had been selected as one of the 20 finalists in a competition to design solar-powered housing that is part-sponsored by the US energy department. Spain is hosting the first European version of the event next year and claims ultimate say over who takes part.

"This university is in the occupied territories and all the ministry has done is apply the policy of the European Union," a housing ministry spokesman said. "The EU does not recognise the occupation of the West Bank which is where this university is."

The Israeli university replied that it "rejects with disgust the one-sided announcement we received from the Spanish housing ministry".

It claimed the decision both "contravenes international law and international charters on academic freedom" and harms 10,000 students at the university, including 500 Arabs.

It was only after the Israeli project joined the group of finalists, which include the University of Nottingham, that officials at Spain's housing ministry were made aware that the university was in the West Bank.

Both the Israelis and the US energy department were advised of the decision over a week ago.

The Israeli team had described their "stretch house" project as being inspired by the Tent of Abraham. "It is adaptable according to its owner's wishes and is able to expand and create hospitable spaces," they said. "In its closed state when additional space is not required, it uses only half the energy necessary to operate a regular house."

Spain had been under pressure from pro-Palestinian groups which claimed that allowing the Israeli university to take part was a breach of international law.

They said that the university was located in the Ariel settlement, the second biggest zone in Israel's expanding West Bank presence.

In a letter to housing minister Beatriz Corredor, Fayeq Kishawi, coordinator of a Palestinian campaign group against the settlements, said: "As somebody suffering like the others from Ariel's continuous 'stretching' I wonder how the Solar Decathlon can accept a project submitted by an institution that has stolen our land and will build its project on our stolen land."

Spain has recently been at the centre of complaints by Jewish groups who claim that anti-Semitism there is on the rise.

A decision by El Mundo newspaper to publish an interview with Holocaust-denying historian David Irving angered the Israeli ambassador, Raphael Schutz, who claimed it showed a lack of moral and ethical judgement.

The ambassador has been subject to racial abuse on the streets of Madrid, where he was recently approached by three men who shouted "dirty Jew," "Jew bastard" and "Jewish dog".

A report this week by the New York-based Anti-Defamation League complained of what it claimed was a rise in anti-Semitism across Spain and, especially, in its mainstream media.

"We are deeply concerned about the mainstreaming of anti-Semitism in Spain, with more public expressions and greater public acceptance of classic stereotypes," said the league's director, Abraham H Foxman.

"Among the major European countries, only in Spain have we seen viciously anti-Semitic cartoons in the mainstream media, and street protests where Israel is accused of Genocide and Jews are vilified and compared to Nazis."

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Growth in BDS.

Growth in BDS.

OMAR BARGHOUTI
PACBI has a new document, top of site: guidelines. See http://www.pacbi.org/etemplate.php?id=1045

See also http://www.bdsmovement.net/

Boycott is Israel’s weakest point. To be de-normalized – they hate that. It’s what Palestinians want – the overwhelming call of civil society.

BDS needs to be implemented with context, sensitivity, gradualism, and flexibility. The accusation that BDS is anti-Semitic is in itself anti-Semitic, insofar as it equates Israel with Judaism. BDS is a human rights campaign, led by Jews and Palestinians, based in solid precedent.

BDS is also an educational tool – not a campaign to do after education gets you there. It provoked debate in UK, moving things forward. Should we wait? Go tell Brand Israel to wait.

South Africa took 27 years, from the call for boycott in 1959.

Apartheid is not just a South African phenomenon. The UN defined it in 1973, and reaffirmed in 2002 as one of 11 recognized crimes against humanity.

Academic/cultural:

It is an institutional boycott, not on individuals. End institutional links with Israeli universities.
Bir Zeit was closed for four years, in the 1^st intifada – where’s the academic freedom?
The wall and settlements were designed at Israeli universities.

Weapons are designed at Tel Aviv U. So was the Doctrine of Disproportionate Force. (You can’t defeat Hezbollah, so destroy the Lebanese infrastructure, hurt the population, turn them against Hezbollah.)
No academic institution or association has taken a position against the occupation.

A petition to /ease restrictions/ on Palestinian students at checkpoints was singed by only 407 of 9,000 Israeli academics.

Dance companies, musicians, films are sent abroad as part of “Brand Israel,” to clean up tarnished image. Even projects critical of the state are funded by the state. For example, the film “Lemon Tree” was sent to the San Antonio Film Festival by the government. Films merely funded by the government are not boycotted, except if funded to tour, for festivals, etc.

Culture is often cast in the context of “co-existence.” But co-existence comes with equality, not apartheid.
Trader Joe’s carries three Israeli products we know of:

Dorot Frozen Herbs, Israeli Cous Cous, Pastures of Eden Israeli Feta.

We boycott the state, not the manifestation. You don’t boycott Sudanese products made in Darfur. 80% of the Israeli economy is somehow profiting from settlements.

Science:

Individual scientists can work together, but not through institutional sponsorships.
International institutions with Israeli participation: don’t boycott them, but pressure them to sever Israeli participation.

South Africa was a blanket boycott. This makes sense because we don’t wish to repeat McCarthyism. We don’t judge people’s views but their institutional loyalties.

Don’t go to Israel to educate people. It’s complicity. Put your education in the LA Times.

Sports boycott coming soon.

“Our South Africa moment has finally arrived. Let’s do it.”

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Global BDS Movement

BDS Movement.net

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Ahava Drops Spokesperson Amid Public Relations Fiasco

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Sept. 4, 2009 CONTACT Nancy Kricorian, Stolen Beauty campaign coordinator, 646-234-8529

Ahava Drops Spokesperson Amid Public Relations Fiasco A first victory for CODEPINK's "Stolen Beauty" campaign

NEW YORK CITY -- The Israeli cosmetics company, Ahava, which illegally manufactures and appropriates its products in occupied Palestinian territory, has dropped its spokesperson Kristin Davis amid a public relations debacle sparked by the peace group CODEPINKís Stolen Beauty campaign.

As Gawker.com http://gawker.com/5351985/cosmetics-company-uses-kristin-davis-and-then-kicks-h er-out first reported yesterday, 'Sex & the City' star Kristin Davis has been dropped by Ahava. All trace of her image and mention of her name have already been removed from Ahava's website.

Davis' dismissal, and the accompanying blow to Ahava's image, follow the successful launch of CODEPINK's Stolen Beauty campaign designed to spread word of Ahava's illegal practices -- its products are falsely labeled as "Made in Israel" but in actuality are made in an illegal settlement in occupied Palestinian territory, and often contain resources appropriated from occupied land, in clear violation of international law.

For the past two months CODEPINK activists have been appearing at Ahava stores, trade booths, and online, spreading word of Ahava's illegal business practices (view photos and publicity at www.stolenbeauty.org ). Particularly newsworthy was Davis' dual role as Ahava spokesperson and as a goodwill ambassador for the international charity Oxfamóa group that has courageously spoken out against the illegal Israeli settlement trade. First, CODEPINK activists reached out to Davis http://www.opposingviews.com/articles/opinion-code-pink-snubbed-by-sex-and-the- city-star-kristin-davis-r-1244746975 to dissuade her from continuing her paid promotional appearances for Ahava. When that failed, public pressure forced Oxfam to suspend Davis from publicity work for the charity. The glare of publicity, including a story on Page 6 of the New York Post http://www.nypost.com/seven/08062009/gossip/pagesix/sex_star__oxfam_part_ways_1

83164. htm), surrounding that controversy appears now to have helped make untenable Ahava's P.R. campaign centered on Davis.

While Davis' apparent hypocrisy served as a convenient initial lightning rod for mobilizing the Stolen Beauty campaign, and has helped generate enormous press coverage of Ahava's crimes, the campaign has yet to begin to reach its full force. In a few weeks, another wave of activity (and a whole new pressure point for Ahava) will be unveiled. In the meantime, though, CODEPINK activists celebrate this first small victory, and the enormous increase in consumer awareness it has focused on Ahava's illegal practices.

For more information, please call Nancy Kricorian, Stolen Beauty campaign coordinator, at 646-234-8529.
--

Jean Stevens National Media Coordinator CODEPINK Women for Peace

646. 723.1781 (o)

508. 769.2138 (c) jean@... Twitter: JeanStevens1 PINKTank: www.codepink4peace.org/blog

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Leviev’s Africa Israel stock plummets

http://jta.org/news/article/2009/09/01/1007582/levievs-africa-israeli-stock-plummets

Leviev’s Africa Israel stock plummets

September 1, 2009

JERUSALEM (JTA) -- Africa Israel Investments stock plummeted after the real estate firm said it could not repay billions of dollars in debt.

Sunday's announcement by the company, owned by Russian-Jewish billionaire Lev Leviev, caused shares to drop 25.5 percent on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. The stock fell another 13.7 percent Monday as the firm floated the idea of renegotiating the terms of its debts with bond holders and banks.

"Our main mistake was the investments in the U.S.," said Leviev, a diamond baron now living in England, told Israel's business daily Globes.

Africa Israel bought The New York Times building in Manhattan in April 2007 at a cost of $525 million, but the property has depreciated 40 percent because of the world economic crisis, Ha'aretz reported.

Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said Monday that the Israeli government would not intervene to help Leviev, whose company has faced boycotts because a subsidiary is involved in constructing homes in West Bank Jewish settlements.

Leviev is a major philanthropist for Jewish causes in the former Soviet Union and Israel.

 

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