Gush Shalom took the lead in responding to the Palestinian request for BDS against the Occupation. It led to a nasty new law forbidding anyone in Israel from calling for a boycott. Which led to “Avnery v. the State of Israel”. But, dangerous goods apart, a state cannot tell consumers what or what not to buy. Except in Israel with a newly supine Supreme Court.
In this strongly argued article, Mike Cushman responds in detail to the half-baked, ill-informed arguments from the Board of Deputies against BDS – obviously a fearsome movement to have prompted them to such expenditure of money if not time.
The Board of Deputies is supposedly the most – the only – representative body of British Jews. It has issued a condemnation of the BDS campaign. Robert Cohen writes directly to them reminding them of the Jewish heritage of standing with the oppressed – and asking why they do not once acknowledge that Israel perpetrates an illegal occupation of the West Bank (now in its 48th year) and an illegal blockade of Gaza. Again, subservience to Israel trumps a tradition of universal values.
‘Oslo’ is dead. Economic aid does nothing for political spirit. Bibi’s re-election means no negotiation. The 2-state solution is not viable. It’s time to start again and take the steps which would create a new political system for Palestinians says Alaa Tartir. A new political spirit and leadership are needed.
Over 700 artists of every variety have signed a pledge ‘to accept neither professional invitations to Israel, nor funding, from any institutions linked to its government until it complies with international law and universal principles of human rights.’
On February 10th the US-Israel Trade and Commercial Enhancement Act was submitted to Congress. It makes US-EU trade contingent on the EU doing everything possible to suppress the BDS movement. Meanwhile, the EU is considering increased sanctions against settlement products if talks with the PNA are not resumed.
A campaign run by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Jenin Friendship Association in London’s east end borough, Tower Hamlets, has succeeded in persuading the council to adopt an ethical procurement policy which would exclude companies like G4S and Veolia from contracts because of their complicity with an illegal occupation.
Despite the terrible toll of dead, injured and traumatised in Gaza, Ramzy Baroud finds hope in the lively Palestinian resistance and international recognition of the right to fight back. Here he picks out the five most clarifying developments of the year.
Omar Barghouti wows a huge audience at Columbia University, New York, with an optimistic assessment of Palestinian determination, of BDS and the inability of the Israeli government – however much money and soft power it expends – to convince the world that it’s the persecuted good guy.
Two professors from Columbia university, New York – which has been a hotbed of BDS debate – use different platforms to set out their cases for BDS, for and against (they’re not talking to each other but to wider audiences). Neither is an apologist for Israel but they use different criteria for deciding on the value of BDS,
Beset by declining demand for its products especially in the US, labour disputes in its occupied territory factory at Ma’aleh Adumim, and a developing worldwide boycott movement which claims to have persuaded George Soros to divest among its many achievements, Sodastream is set for a revamp which will almost certainly include closing its factory on the West Bank. Who says targeted boycotts don’t work?
Who Profits? is a brave and committed Israeli organisation – a research center dedicated to exposing the commercial involvement of Israeli and international companies in the continued Israeli control over Palestinian and Syrian land. It focuses on three main areas of corporate involvement in the occupation: the settlement industry, economic exploitation and control over population.
Here, just to remind readers of its wonderful work, are two reports from its October 2014 Newsletter
Amira Hass is the Israeli journalist who has done most, via the English-language edition of Haaretz, to educate westerners in the reality of Israeli occupation. But staff and students at Bir Zeit expelled her from a public conference as a zionist. This marks both the separatism of some Palestinian radicals and, as Jonathan Cook reports, the death of the Israeli peace camp and any experience of Israeli/Palestinian anti-occupation action.
Here is a form of BDS. Pro-Palestinian protesters in Oakland, California have again prevented an Israeli cargo ship , the Zim Piraeus, docking and unloading. The Block the Boat initiative involves finding out from port authorities the dates of arrival and the nature of cargo aboard. The Zim ship went elsewhere.
The Community Security Trust has, by and large, earned a reputation as a sensible and apolitical guardian of the safety of British Jews. Now the charity’s communications director has branched out into public appeals to counter the BDS movement because it is making Israel the new South Africa. There goes CST’s reputation.
This week the long-running argument about the morality, efficacy and limits of boycotting Israeli products as a means of pressing for change from the outside hit the headlines. London’s Tricycle theatre did not want to accept the Israeli state-funding for the Jewish Film Festival which it hosts. Although the theatre offered to make up the funding itself, the JFF rejected the offer on grounds of principle.
Martin Shaw, a renowned expert on war and genocide in the modern era, has written before about the Israel-Palestine conflict, expressing reservations about boycotting Israel. In the light of current developments he reviews his position.
The most highly rated company in the UK, the John Lewis partnership which has 45 shops in the UK, has decided to stop selling SodaStream products . Ecostream, the shop set up by SodaStream in Brighton, and similarly affected by regular boycott demonstrations, has been closed. The campaign has successfully highlighted the issue of production in illegal settlements.
Noam Chomsky’s energy in this article is primarily directed against US foreign policy and its role in supporting Israel’s anti-Palestinian rule. His critique of BDS is that the movement cannot impose the S (sanctions) – and that its aim of promoting the right of return for refugees is ‘a guarantee of failure’. He doesn’t say what he thinks should happen to the thousands crammed in camps – but floats the notion of a ‘no-state’ solution.
If you look through the media serving the biggest city in Pacific NW in the land of free speech you will find no mention of its public event on BDS – except for dire warnings from the Jewish establishment. So here you can read an account which includes how Palestinians recovered from disastrous embraces (like the Irish) of the Nazis and then violence to its current strategy of peaceful popular pressure for BDS.