Monday, May 24, 2010
Margaret Atwood came to Bard College on Friday, May 21st to receive the Mary McCarthy award, after accepting the Dan David prize at Tel-Aviv University. Bard was hosting the President's dinner and awards ceremony at Fisher Center.
The protest was at the intersection of Annandale Rd. and Manor Ave. (on Bard campus) from 4:30 PM - 6:30 PM. We had about 18 people and were gathered along the road leading to the Fisher Center.
Our first BDS meeting was held at Doris' House at the end of the Bard Protest. 15 of us have formally started the Hudson Valley BDS movement.
Please join us for future events that we will post on this website.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Full article at:
Boycott? As my Palestinian friends in the West Bank and Gaza sink deeper into depression, watching their lives ticking away without the chance to give their kids (never mind themselves) a wholly free and dignified place in the sun, the Palestinian-led BDS movement for boycott, divestment, and sanctions doesnít look to me like a nefarious ìArab plotî anymore. Now, with international energy behind it, it seems like the last best hopeóboth for Israelis and for Palestinians. Maybe the BDS campaign will really develop enough heft to counter Israelís overwhelming military advantage, by upping the economic and social cost of self-defeating supremacist-separatist policies . . . until even total equality for Palestinians might begin to seem like the less scary alternative!
Deciding to endorse BDS was not something I have come to out of hatred for Israel, despite what the talkbacks will say. I live here, after all; Iíd like to see this country get a life. Everything else has already been tried, and my friend Sam and his family are still locked up in Al Bireh and my friend Maha and her family are still locked up in Gaza City and I cannot, in good conscience, sit here in my pleasant little village near Jerusalem in silence and play it safe while they and millions of other Palestinians sit in their respective cages. Iím not an ideologue and I canít say I much like the basic idea of boycotts: they are nonviolent but they run on a kind of negative energy (donít buy, donít sell, donít invest, donít visit . . . ). On the other hand, the relentless, intensifying dehumanization of people I love and respect would seem to leave me no choice. Inaction is not an option.
Note that the BDS strategy targets, not Israel itself or Israelis as such, but rather Israeli transgressions of international law and the Israeli authorities and institutions that drive those transgressions and the Israeli cultural icons who refrain from denouncing them and the Israeli universities that cooperate with them. As a law-abiding Israeli, I am not in favor of Israelís (or anyoneís) transgressions of international law and therefore I must not support them with my silence. When I realized that the only thing still keeping me from publicly and prominently endorsing BDS was my fear of punishment (losing friends, losing a job, losing my personal freedom if the BDS activism here is finally, thoroughly, criminalized), I understood that it was time to speak out.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
The Tides Are Changing in Palestine and Israel
Friday, May 14, 2010
April 5, 2010
c/o McClelland & Stewart
75 Sherbourne St., 5th Floor
Back in 1981, I remember vividly that when the Toronto police raided several bathhouses and arrested 300 men, you agreed to speak out at a hastily arranged benefit — the first public figure to do so. Your courage meant a great deal to our gay community then, and your words were typically memorable: “Why on earth would the police object to cleanliness?”
I understand you’re going to Israel in May, to accept the Dan David Prize at Tel Aviv University. Will you find words for the Gaza students who wrote to you yesterday, 44 miles down the coast, asking you to refuse the prize? Will you mention the ongoing siege of Gaza, and the larger occupation, whose check points and security wall have reduced the region to an apartheid state? Will you mention the two unarmed teenagers Mohammed Qadas, 16, and Asaud Qadus, 19, who were shot by Israeli army snipers last week? His aunt says that Mohammed had gone out to buy ice-cream. Why on earth would the army object to ice-cream?
I write today as a fan, someone whose life was changed on reading A Handmaid’s Tale, someone who still treasures my rare edition of The Journals of Susanna Moodie. For decades, you’ve been an extraordinary role model for so many of us, embracing the role of artist as a figure of conscience. You’ve consistently spoken out against a host of injustices, even as you engaged with the complexities of each issue. In May, will you decline this prize, in recognition of the growing boycott movement which is trying to contribute to peace in the region? Will you at least speak out against the war crimes committed a year ago? Will you perhaps donate a portion to a writers group in Gaza? Will you at the very least acknowledge the complexities that this award, and this conflict, represent? Or will you remain silent, making us wonder: why on earth would Margaret Atwood of all people object to complexity?
Associate Professor (York), filmmaker
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Episcopal Peace Fellowship Announces:
Monday, May 10, 2010
Palestinian civil society has called on Elton John to respect its boycott call and cancel his June 17th concert in Tel Aviv. If he does so, he'll be joining Santana and Gil-Scott Heron, who recently cancelled their spring concerts in Israel. This video suggests six reasons why Elton should join the BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions) movement.
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
From: Marla Erlien
To: members talk ajjp
Sent: Tue, May 4, 2010 6:55 am
Subject: [Ajjpbusiness] Fwd: Boston Activists Disrupt Israeli Propaganda Event at Museum of Science
Monday, May 3, 2010
A lot has been happening over the past few weeks, particularly within the global movement for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS). It may not feel like much if I'm the only list you're on, but there are new campaigns and votes all the time. The most recent vote at UC San Diego last Wednesday was sent to committee. You can
http://oeoj.ucsd.edu/Divestment_Resolution.pdf read the resolution, http://www.petitiononline.com/sddivest/petition.html sign the petition, and/or http://as.ucsd.edu/council/roster.php?class=council send a letter of support.
I want to tell you about three initiatives - a statement, a book, and an assembly - by Jewish Americans supporting BDS. Here they are, in order
I. BREAKING THE LAW OF RETURN
Below is a statement I worked on with Hannah Mermelstein, Nava Etshalom, and Amy Kaplan and an accompanying video. I invite others to read, watch, sign, and/or support the initiative. It speaks for itself∑
Recommended: Click here to Watch the Video! http://bit.ly/cXNXU4
We are Jews from the United States, who, like Jewish people throughout the world, have an automatic right to Israeli citizenship under Israel's "law of return."
Today there are more than seven million Palestinian refugees around the world. Israel denies their right to return to their homes and land˜a right recognized and undisputed by UN Resolution 194, the Geneva Convention, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Meanwhile, we are invited to live on that same land simply because we are Jewish.
We renounce this "right" to "return" offered to us by Israeli law. It is not right that we may "return" to a state that is not ours while Palestinians are excluded and continuously dispossessed.
In 1947-49, Zionist militias destroyed more than 500 Palestinian villages and made more than 800,000 Palestinian people refugees in order to create a Jewish state on land where the majority was not Jewish. It is Palestinians who have the right to return to their own land.
Now in Gaza, where more than three quarters of the people are refugees, the State of Israel not only denies the population its right of return, but also incarcerates the entire Gaza Strip under illegal and inhumane siege conditions.
We reject the notion that Israel is a "safe haven" from anti-Semitism for Jews. No one is truly safe when the price of that "security" is oppression, inequality, and occupation of another people.
Today there is a growing transnational movement for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel, called for by Palestinian civil society and supported by activists, artists, and academics around the world, including an increasing number of conscientious Israelis. As part of this campaign, we pledge to boycott the "law of return." As an act of political and ideological divestment, we repudiate the claims the State of Israel makes on us as potential citizens.
We protest Israel's colonial policies and discriminatory laws toward the Palestinian people, as well as the U.S. government's political and financial support of these policies.
We hereby renounce Israel's "law of return" and refuse to lend the state our support, resources, or passports.
1. If you are a U.S. Jew, you can add your name to the signatories (there are already hundreds!) by emailing
2. Join our <../../bit.ly/a7hNqE>Facebook group ˆ all people who support this statement are welcome!
II. "SHIFTING SANDS"
This is your last chance to pre-order at a discount the upcoming book, Shifting Sands: Jewish Women Confront the Israeli Occupation, which comes into print on Tuesday!
I contributed a chapter, as did
Visit the book's http://www.shiftingsands-book.com/ Official Website and note the Events Calendar at the top.
And don't forget to join the
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Shifting-Sands-Jewish-American-Women-Speak-Out-Against-the-Occupation/117315474206 Facebook fan page and/or follow http://twitter.com/shifting__sands Shifting Sands on Twitter. http://twitter.com/shifting__sands
III. U.S. ASSEMBLY OF JEWS: CONFRONTING RACISM & APARTHEID
June 19-22, 2010
Between the Allied Media Conference and the US Social Forum in Detroit this summer, there will be a historic gathering of anti-Zionist Jews to develop strategies for US organizing, advance the BDS call, and much more!
Join the http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=308730373213&ref=ts Facebook group and visit the http://www.jewsconfrontapartheid.org/ Official Website to get more information, register, propose a session, contribute, check out the endorsements, or spread the word
Although it should not be exaggerated, these three initiatives are testimony to a continuing shift in Jewish consciousness on this issue. It is no longer an extraordinary thing to meet Anti-Zionist Jews in the United States, and
If you're not active now, there's no better time to start!