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Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions
If Politicians Won't Lead, Citizens Must PDF Print E-mail
Aug 15, 2007 at 12:00 AM
Boycott Movement Targets Israel
By GEORGE BISHARAT, CounterPunch, August 15th 2007

When does a citizen-led boycott of a state become morally justified?

That question is raised by an expanding academic, cultural and economic boycott of Israel. The movement joins churches, unions, professional societies and other groups based in the United States, Canada, Europe and South Africa. It has elicited dramatic reactions from Israel's supporters. U.S. labor leaders have condemned British unions, representing millions of workers, for supporting the Israel boycott. American academics have been frantically gathering signatures against the boycott, and have mounted a prominent advertising campaign in American newspapers - unwittingly elevating the controversy further in the public eye.

Israel's defenders have protested that Israel is not the worst human-rights offender in the world, and singling it out is hypocrisy, or even anti-Semitism. Rhetorically, this shifts focus from Israel's human rights record to the imagined motives of its critics.

But "the worst first" has never been the rule for whom to boycott. Had it been, the Pol Pot regime, not apartheid South Africa, would have been targeted in the past. It was not - Cambodia's ties to the West were insufficient to make any embargo effective. Boycotting North Korea today would be similarly futile. Should every other quest for justice be put on hold as a result?

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Irish Trade Union Congress calls for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions PDF Print E-mail
Jul 13, 2007 at 03:46 PM

The largest civil society organization in Ireland, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, is the latest union to pass a boycott, divestment and sanction motion against Apartheid Israel.

The 770, 000 member-strong organization, which represents trade unions and trade councils across Ireland, condemned the Israeli government in two motions for its oppression of the Palestinian people. Despite the strong wording of the motions, neither was opposed by any speakers, proving that the Irish working classes are sick of the Irish and UK governments’ pandering to Israel and are taking matters into their own hands.

The Congress has vowed to ‘actively and vigorously’ promote a boycott of Israeli goods amongst its members, citing the example of a previous boycott against apartheid South Africa. Affiliated organizations have been told to divest from Israel, and withdraw holdings in companies complicit in the occupation such as Caterpillar, and encourage employers to do so as well. They will also lobby their government and the EU to demand an appropriate response to the illegal actions of Israel.

The motions condemned Israel’s policy of ethnic cleansing against Palestinians, the continued building of the illegal Apartheid wall and expansion of settlements in the West Bank, the horrific assaults on Gaza and the enforced bankruptcy of the Palestinian Authority. They drew attention to the appalling murder of Houda Gallia’s family by the occupation forces as they sat on the beach of Gaza.

The motions were also highly critical of the Irish and British governments and the European Union for failing in their obligations under International Law and standing up to Israel.

Palestinian grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, July 11th, 2007 see full article

 

Volvo: Symbol of safety or human rights abuses? PDF Print E-mail
Jul 03, 2007 at 02:34 PM

The automotive manufacturer Volvo writes on its website that is has the vision of being "the most desired and successful premium car brand by creating the safest and most exciting car experience," and "choosing a car is about the comfort and safety of your passengers, most especially your children." However, the Palestinian people in Israel, including the Bedouins, and the occupied territories might have another view on Volvo.

Home demolitions

According to a spokesperson from the Association of Forty, the unrecognized Bedouin Arab villages Atir and Um Hayran in the Naqab (Negev) were aggressively attacked on Monday morning, 25 June 2007 by more than 1,500 Israeli soldiers. They were accompanied by Jewish youth in orange shirts. Hussein al Rafay'a, head of the Regional Council for the Unrecognized Villages (RUCV) in the Naqab, was arrested because he tried to block the Israeli forces and machinery from approaching the villages and its inhabitants. His colleague managed to take pictures of the demolitions, showing how the big, powerful, yellow Volvo bulldozers razed the homes of the Bedouin villagers to the ground. At least twenty houses were demolished and properties were confiscated, leaving over 150 men, women and children homeless.

United Methodist Church urges for divestment

At its annual conference, 8 to 10 June this year, the New England United Methodist Church issued a report on companies which were identified as supporting the Israeli occupation of Palestine. The report is a product of a Divestment Task Force, consisting of eight clergy and lay members, which was created to implement the resolution on divestment as a peaceful way to work towards justice and peace in the Middle East, adopted at the annual conference of 2005....The automotive manufacturer Volvo writes on its website that is has the vision of being "the most desired and successful premium car brand by creating the safest and most exciting car experience," and "choosing a car is about the comfort and safety of your passengers, most especially your children." However, the Palestinian people in Israel, including the Bedouins, and the occupied territories might have another view on Volvo...

Adri Nieuwhof, The Electronic Intifada, 2 July 2007

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The book lounge joins boycott of Chapters/Indigo PDF Print E-mail
Jun 30, 2007 at 02:59 PM
Bound but not gagged
 
We at rabble have decided to join with Palestinian solidarity activists in their boycott of the Chapters/Indigo family of companies. As a result, we will no longer be publicizing events taking place at Chapters, Indigo, The World’s Biggest Bookstore, Coles, Smithbooks, and The Book Company.

The boycott aims to pressure Heather Reisman and Gerry Schwartz — the owners of the Chapters/Indigo group — to halt their financial backing of the HESEG Foundation for Lone Soldiers. Founded by Reisman and Schwartz in 2005, HESEG provides scholarships to former “lone soldiers” of the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) who are pursuing post-secondary education. It has been commended by Israel’s former Minister of Defence, Shaul Mofaz, for “directly supporting the morale of the IDF.”

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Why Boycott Israel? Because It's Good for You PDF Print E-mail
Jun 30, 2007 at 02:52 PM
 Part I

The boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel’s Apartheid scored an important victory recently when the British University and College Union (UCU) decided to circulate “the full text of the Palestinian boycott call to all branches for information and discussion” and “encourage members to consider the moral implications of existing and proposed links with Israeli academic institutions.” The UCU resolution is in fact quite moderate. Nevertheless, it raised the profile of the campaign and elicited a round of shrill, wall-to-wall condemnations, from newspapers, foundations, politicians and governments. Shockingly, not a single media mogul (or any mogul, for that matter) is in favor of the boycott!

The major argument for boycotting Israel is that it is the right thing to do. And it is. But for those of us who live off wages and depend on public services, it is also the smart thing to do — especially in Europe, where the BDS campaign is now facing a vocal onslaught. Support for Israel is an important pillar of an islamophobic, anti-immigrant and pro-war front, which includes many in the political leadership of Europe; their final prize is finishing off the welfare state. In the second part, I will also show that it is this front — not the UCU — that is heir to Europe’s historical anti-Semitism.

Europe’s political leadership is not merely opposed to boycotting Israel. The European Union, supported by politicians in every European country, has joined the US and Israel in a policy of siege, starving Palestinians of aid, medical supplies and food. The policy punishes Palestinians for daring to democratically replace a corrupt and ineffectual leadership. The EU supports Israel’s demands for Palestinians to unconditionally surrender: one sided “renouncement of violence,” and one-sided “recognition of Israel.” Israel, of course, is free to continue assassinations and bombing and need not recognize any Palestinian rights. Furthermore, European aid money, both public and private, is deployed strategically to help entrench the occupation, increase Palestinian dependency and discourage resistance...

by Gabriel Ash; Dissident Voice; June 27, 2007 

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Falling Arab dictatorships and Israeli government panic
By Mordecai Briemberg
February 1, 2011

http://rabble.ca/news/2011/02/falling-arab-dictatorships-and-israeli-government-panic

The walls are crumbling. The walls behind which dictators indulge in decadent opulence while "their" people are mired in wretched circumstance. The walls behind which "leaders" secretly sell -- for personal gain -- the rights of the people they claim to represent.

Across North Africa and the Middle East, across the Arab world, for decades dictatorship and deepening corruption, firmly supported by imperial powers, seemed beyond challenge. Today, once "stable" regimes are now facing a popular reckoning.

From the vantage point of Palestine, there are three new dynamics.

Read more...