The piece, which can be seen in full here, concludes with powerful arguments from Omar Barghouti of the Palestinian BDS National Committee and Ronnie Barkan of the Israeli group Boycott from Within.
Category Archives: israel
On March 19 the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) became the first UK professional association to take action against Israel for its breaches of international law.
“It is now time for sports initiatives to add their voice….[to] commercial and cultural actions worldwide … demanding an end to Israel’s repressive policies,” says the petition text.
Thanks are due to writer and BDS advocate Mike Marqusee for a powerful response to the critics of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, and to Ami Asher from the Israeli organisation Zochrot for exposing the “filthy work” of ethnic cleansing on which the State of Israel rests.
Follow the links to read these valuable pieces in full.
Marqusee publishes an edited version of a letter he sent to a relative in the US who’s been trying to figure out the BDS issue in the wake of the recent onslaught against the American Studies Association’s decision to support the academic boycott.
It’s important to remember that what BDS calls for is basically the withdrawal of the current support given to Israel by our governments and institutions. If you invest money in a company that is profiting from the settlement programme in the West Bank, you are investing in ethnic cleansing – and the first thing you should do when you learn that is simply to stop doing it. All the rest is special pleading.
Asher responds to Israeli journalist Ari Shavit who has written about the expulsion and massacre of Palestinians in Lydda, 1948 in the New Yorker, asserting that even ‘the critics of later years enjoyed the fruits of their deed.’
Shavit struggles to make sense of the “black box of Zionism,” as he calls Lydda. He starts by describing the neighboring Jewish youth village of Ben Shemen and also ends there, with a commanding view of the town. A Palmach militia fighter recently interviewed as part of Zochrot’s oral history project had a similar point of view to offer. Look at the town as you drive past it on your way back to Tel Aviv, he said, and imagine it bustling with a million Palestinians – then you will thank me.
Shavit is just as candid. He too feels enormous gratitude for the perpetrators of the Lydda massacre for doing the “filthy work” because even “the critics of later years,” who I can only assume include the likes of me, “enjoyed the fruits of their deed.” This zero-sum hypothesis – us or them – is the very essence of Zionism.
Saturday September 28 marked a national day of action to highlight the scandal of high street stores marketing Sodastream – fizzy drink-making products for the home produced by an Israeli company operating out of an illegal settlement on Palestinian land. There were protests in many cities around the UK.
J-BIG made a point of supporting the campaigners in Brighton and Hove who have steadfastedly maintained weekly protests since the Ecostream store opened just over a year ago. They have faced vicious attacks from Zionists, supported by the Brighton Argus newspaper in attacking them as anti-semites. One of those they have vilified is Jewish PSC member Terry Yason who addressed the protest on Saturday to put the record straight.
Here’s what he said.
Over 2000 years ago Hillel, the most famous of all Jewish Rabbis, said when asked What is Judaism? – “That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah; the rest is commentary.”
Since Hillel Jews have consistently supported the underdog – at The Battle of Cable Street against the Fascists in Brick Lane, London in 1936 , in the International Brigades in Spain fighting Franco for the democratically elected Republican Government, in the Civil Rights Movement riding and dying with the Freedom Riders in Mississippi in the 60s and fighting in the ANC against Apartheid South Africa. We have an honourable history.
But today the Government of the “Jewish State” of Israel defy Hillel in their inhumane treatment of the Palestinians. For the first time in Jewish history, to their shame, they have created their own Underdog.
SodaStream, the parent of the Brighton shop Eco Stream, manufacture their products in a factory situated in the illegal settlement of MISHOR ADUMIN. In the Sodastream corporate video their CEO… claims they are one big happy family. Here is what one Palestinian worker says about working for Sodastream.
“I feel humiliated and I am also disgraced as a Palestinian, as the claims in the corporate video are all lies. We Palestinian workers in this factory always feel like we are enslaved . . . “
Brighton and Hove Palestine Solidarity Campaign is a universal movement, made up of ordinary people of all colours, religions , politics, nationalities and back grounds. Together we oppose the savage treatment meted out to the Palestinians by the Israeli government.
As a cornerstone of their propaganda , the Israeli Government continually label those who oppose her as anti Semitic.
Today I am here as a Jew, with my Jewish and non Jewish comrades, to destroy once and for all that insidious claim , and to proclaim that Anti Zionism is a call not for the destruction of the State of Israel but for its emancipation . When we opposed Apartheid in South Africa the result was the Rainbow Nation.
Like South Africa, Israel can become the democracy it so mistakenly calls itself, if it also abandons Apartheid.
To make even more of a nonsense of their lies; today we are joined by members of the two national Jewish organisations, Jews for Justice for Palestinians and Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods .
We also have support from two Jewish artists who have sent these emails.
From actress Miriam Margolyes:
‘ A great wrong is being done in Israel & decent Palestinian people are having their lives destroyed. Brighton should emphatically NOT patronise the ECO shop. It is a fraud & a disgrace. ‘
From comedian and author Alexei Sayle:
‘I wish all the best to the demonstrators, Sodastream drinks taste like creosote anyway and the fact that they’re produced in an illegal settlement makes them doubly repulsive’
Israel was created in my name, exclusively for Jews by Jews, and as a Jew I feel a special responsibility to protest at the racist actions of the Israeli government towards the Palestinians – their colonial land grab , the relentless building of settlements on Palestinian land, their diversion of priceless water to the settlements, the constant confiscation of Palestinian land , the thousands of Palestinians in Israeli jails and to the shooting by the IDF of Palestinian children. In their their relentless and murderous pursuit of a land devoid of Palestinians they destroy the dream of Hillel.
Today I ask the Jews of the Diaspora to remember your history in supporting the underdog, and support us in withdrawing your support for Israeli Government policies towards the Palestinians.
To all the people of Brighton and Hove I ask you to boycott the EcoStream shop , refuse to buy SodaStream products and send them packing out of our beautiful city .
See also Tony Greenstein’s blog for a detailed report and more pictures.
J-BIG is supporting the call from Brighton & Hove PSC to mark a year of protests to expose the Israeli-owned Ecostream shop. It poses as an eco-friendly enterprise but markets Sodastream products manufactured in Male Adumim. This is one among many illegal settlements which pollute Palestinian land and deprive Palestinians of access to water. See full details of the nationwide Day of Action on Saturday here.
We will be taking the J-BIG banner to Brighton for a special demonstration starting at The Clocktower on Saturday at 12 noon. Please join us if you can.
The regular demonstrations have become quite dramatic at times because of particularly nasty Zionist counter-protests. Our Jewish friend Terry Yason, who will be reading out messages of support on the 28th, has been forced to take legal action against a Christian Zionist who attacked him, calling him a Kapo and a fake Jew! The Brighton Argus newspaper has been backing a Zionist campaign to brand the pro-Palestinian activists as antisemites.
We are particularly grateful to Miriam Margolyes and Alexei Sayle for providing the following statements of support.
‘A great wrong is being done in Israel & decent Palestinian people are having their lives destroyed. Brighton should emphatically NOT patronise the ECO shop. It is a fraud & a disgrace.‘ — Miriam Margolyes
“I wish all the best to the demonstrators. Sodastream drinks taste like creosote anyway and the fact that they’re produced in an illegal settlement makes them doubly repulsive.” – Alexei Sayle
J-BIG has signed the following petition supporting two Australian academics targeted by an Israeli Law Centre. We invite you to sign the petition, http://www.change.org/petitions/supporters-of-free-speech-and-human-rights-defend-free-speech-and-human-rights-and-support-the-bds
Prof. Stuart Rees, Chair of the Sydney Peace Foundation and Associate Prof. Jake Lynch, Director of Sydney University’s Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPACS), have been threatened with legal action by Shurat HaDin, an Israeli Law Centre, through agents acting on their behalf in Australia.
The claim is that Rees and Lynch are backing racist and discriminatory policies through their support for the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
These accusations are unfounded and intimidatory. They are intended to stifle free speech.
The BDS movement is a call for justice by all sectors of Palestinian civil society and supported around the world by unions, churches, civil society and human rights groups. It is a form of non violent popular resistance and international solidarity in protest against Israel’s persistent violation of Palestinian human rights and international law.
BDS policies make it clear that it is a human rights based movement and opposed to racism in all forms, including anti-Semitism.
Inspired by the effective movement against apartheid South Africa, BDS is directed against the illegal military occupation and settlements of the West Bank, the collective punishment of Gaza and Israeli discrimination of its own Palestinian citizens.
BDS opposes corporations, institutions and organizations which support Israel’s violation of human rights and international law including businesses such as Caterpillar, Motorola, G4S and Veolia.
In 2009, Assoc. Professor Lynch wrote to the Sydney Vice Chancellor asking him to revoke fellowships schemes between the University of Sydney and two Israeli universities: Technion University, Haifa and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
In 2012, Professor Don Avnon of Hebrew University contacted Assoc. Prof. Lynch, seeking permission to use his name on an application under the Sir Zelman Cowan fellowship program. Prof Lynch refused, citing his and CPACS’ support for a boycott of institutional links with universities in Israel.
By supporting BDS and in resisting derision and threats for doing so, Rees and Lynch have rejected the attempt by a foreign agency – in this case the Israeli law firm Shurat HaDin – to stifle dissent in Australia. This letter invites you to do the same, and in the following terms:
I hereby support the global BDS movement.
I wish to be named a co defendant.