Category Archives: Uncategorized

HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR MAKES FINAL GESTURE OF SOLIDARITY WITH PALESTINE

The International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network has published the tribute below to Holocaust survivor Dr Hajo Meyer,  a campaigner for justice for Palestinians and an inspiration to the boycott movement until his death on August 22.

Shortly before he died he led more than 350 survivors and descendants in issuing a widely-publicised denunciation of Israel’s assault on the people of Gaza.

Read a press release about the statement here.

Click here for the Independent’s coverage.

 
 hajo.jpg
Honoring Dr. Hajo Meyer
This past Friday August 22, 2014, Dr. Hajo Meyer, proud member of IJAN and long time anti-Zionist activist passed away. Hajo was unwavering in his conviction and passion that Never Again meant Never Again for Anyone and in his outrage that his experience in Auschwitz is misused by Israel and Zionism to justify the colonization and ethnic cleansing of Palestine.
Dr. Meyer was born in 1924 in Bielefeld, Germany. When he was barred from attending school there after November 1938, he fled to the Netherlands, alone. In I944, after a year in the underground, he was caught and subsequently survived 10 months at Auschwitz.
Dr. Meyer dedicated himself to countering the Zionist manipulation of the Nazi genocide to justify the colonization of Palestine. He played a leading role on the Never Again for Anyone tour of Europe in 2010, and of the United States in 2011.
We will miss Hajo. His message will continue and grow stronger as he is joined by survivors of the Nazi genocide, the descendants of its victims and survivors and all people committed to justice. Our hearts go out to those who loved him.
The morning of his death, the following letter from survivors of the Nazi genocide and the descendants of survivors and victims, in response Elie Wiesel’s attempt to justify the attacks on Gaza, was published as in the NY Times. Hajo was the first to sign on.
Below is the ad listed in the New York Times. For the full list of signers, click here.

TRIBUTES TO VERONICA PLANTON, CAMPAIGNER FOR JUSTICE

veronica planton

Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods pays tribute to Veronica Planton, a dedicated campaigner for justice, who died of cancer at Guys Hospital in London on November 19, 2013.

Veronica was a constant presence at demonstrations in London highlighting Israel’s injustices against Palestinians. She played an active role in many of the boycott actions covered in this blog and  initiated an inspirational campaign to send teddy bears to the children of Gaza.

She also made use of her background in theatre and the arts in productions bringing to life the Palestinian experience. One of these, Love Letters to Gaza, was staged at the Calder Bookshop in October 2011 and formed part of an evening of poetry and theatre  promoted by the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign (PSC).

Veronica refused to allow ill-health to prevent her tireless work on behalf of her local community in the Waterloo district of London, the people of Palestine and the campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions.

When it became too difficult for her to play an active role in street demonstrations on behalf of Palestinian prisoners or other causes, she continued to send the 700 supporters of her local Wandsworth and Lambeth PSC branch frequent emails containing carefully researched digests of news from and about Palestine. 

Tributes read to friends, relations and fellow activists who gathered for her funeral at the City Crematorium on December 3 testified to the range of communities in which Veronica had made her mark.

Messages came from companions who had worked with her at the Sheffield Crucible Theatre in the 1960s, from members of the Coin Street community where she lived, from  Palestine solidarity activists in London and in Palestine itself, and from the Moslem organisation Inminds which announced her death to the activist community.

Veronica Planton

Born 1939, died 19 November 2013

FROM INMINDS.COM

We are very saddened to announce that our dear sister Veronica Planton, a dedicated campaigner for the Palestinian cause, has passed away last week after becoming very ill in the spring.

Despite suffering from severe asthma and always being breathless she passionately stood up for Palestinian rights. She regularly attended protests outside the Israeli settler store Ahava untill it finally closed down, then she joined protests outside the Tower of London in support of the Samouni family of Gaza whose children amongst others were massacred by the Givati  Brigade of the Israeli army which is funded by the Steinmetz diamond company whose diamond was on display in the Tower of London. It was part of the Boycott Israeli Blood Diamonds campaign.

The children were especially close to her heart and she ran a project to send teddy bears to the children of Gaza. After Israel’s brutal attack on Gaza, Veronica would carry a blooded doll at protests to symbolise the murdered children of Gaza. She also helped stage a theatrical performance for Gaza called “Love Letters to Gaza”.

Rest in peace, our dear sister who showed us that even a debilitating illness cannot stop a person who has decided to fight for justice.

Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un – “Surely we belong to Allah and to Him shall we return”

FROM MOHAMMED SARHAN, RAMALLAH:
Dear  brothers and sisters _,
I have no words to express how deeply sorry I am to hear about your great loss . I’m in shock to hear this news. My prayers and thoughts are with you all during this horrible time. I love you all  and please give a big hug from us to each one who are attending the funeral . I would love to  be there tojust  to say the word.
Our thoughts with all of you in this time.  Veronica was the one said, ” Yes,  Palestinians deserve a better life, life of freedom ,justice and the  right to return to their villages and beloved ones .”
Its the time to say that we will follow up your steady search for justice and freedom..
.
Horia Falastine  (Free Palestine)Your Sincerely, Mohammad Sarhan, Ramallah

J-BIG LETTER IN TELEGRAPH: “NIGEL KENNEDY SILENCED”

A letter from Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods, headlined Nigel Kennedy silenced, appears on page 27 of today’s Daily Telegraph (22 August). It has been published virtually unedited. It appears online among a number of other letters on different subjects. The full text is reproduced below.

There is also a write-up by John Bingham, the paper’s religious affairs editor.

Nigel Kennedy silenced

SIR – Some of us were present at the exhilarating celebration of musical artistry of Nigel Kennedy’s Four Seasons Prom, with the Palestine Strings (Ivan Hewett, telegraph.co.uk). We congratulate the BBC for giving young players from the Edward Said Conservatory an all-too-rare opportunity to demonstrate the vitality of Palestinian cultural life, despite all the obstacles they face.

It now appears that the BBC intends to censor tomorrow’s broadcast of the concert, redacting a statement by Kennedy in which he hinted at the harsh conditions under which Palestinian musicians live. He said the Prom performance showed that “given equality and getting rid of apartheid gives a beautiful chance for amazing things to happen”.

The BBC said these words do not “fall within the editorial remit of the Proms as a classical music festival”. Kennedy responded with a statement condemning an “imperial lack of impartiality”. We note the Jewish Chronicle’s report indicating that the BBC has been subjected to pressure from pro-Israel advocates.

As Jewish campaigners for equality, justice and freedom for all in Israel/Palestine, we urge the BBC to acknowledge his comments as an integral part of a performance which was warmly received by an enthusiastic Proms crowd. The BBC owes television viewers the right to see the event uncensored, in its entirety.

George Abendstern 
Seymour Alexander 
Craig Berman 
Linda Clair 
Mike Cushman 
Nancy Elan 
Pia Feig 
Deborah Fink 
Tony Greenstein 
Abe Hayeem 
Rosamine Hayeem 
Riva Joffe 
Leah Levane 
Rachel Lever 
Dr Les Levidow 
Prof Moshé Machover 
Beryl Maizels 
Miriam Margolyes
Dr Simon Pirani 
Renate Prince 
Roland Rance 
Prof Jonathan Rosenhead
Chair, British Committee for the Universities of Palestine
Leon Rosselson
Dr Joan Safran 
Sabby Sagall 
Alexei Sayle
Miriam Scharf 
Stanley Walinets 
Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi 
Secretary, Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods 
Devra Wiseman 
Naomi Woodspring 
Terry Yason

EURO 2013 IN ISRAEL DRAWS PALESTINIAN, ISRAELI AND OPERATIC PROTESTS

Israel’s shameful hosting of the UEFA under-21 men’s football finals, due to conclude when defending champions Spain face five-time champions Italy on Tuesday June 18, has elicited a range of creative protests from Israelis and Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and from operatic singers in the UK.

In the West Bank village of Nabih Saleh, regular protests against the course of Israel's Apartheid wall deployed the Red Card symbol. See a series of photos here.

In the West Bank village of Nabih Saleh, regular protests against the course of Israel’s Apartheid wall deployed the Red Card symbol. See a series of photos here.

Israeli activists staged a series of Red Card protests linking the UEFA tournament to 65 years of confiscation of Palestinian land.

Israeli activists staged a series of Red Card protests linking the UEFA tournament to 65 years of confiscation of Palestinian land.

In London, J-BIG soprano Deborah Fink and baritone Willem Meijs gave football's favourite operatic number a new twist.

In London, J-BIG soprano Deborah Fink and baritone Willem Meijs gave football’s favourite operatic number a new twist. See YouTube video of their performance.

INDEPENDENT PUBLISHES J-BIG LETTER ON ZIONIST CLAIMS OF ANTISEMITISM

The suggestion by Zionist supporters that Gerald Scarfe’s cartoon in The Sunday Times was anti-Semitic is a classic example of the abuse of the term. It drains the term of all meaning and, like the boy who cried wolf, desensitises people to anti-Semitism when it does rear its head.

This was the opening paragraph of a letter in the Independent newspaper on February 4, submitted by Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods and carrying 28 names gathered at short notice. They included actress Miriam Margolyes, OBE and writer Alexei Sayle as well as a sprinkling of professors and other academics.

Read the whole letter here.

 The letter has attracted several appreciative comments from readers of the Independent. 

Here is one:

I am writing to say how pleased I am to see the letter in today’s Independent: Gerald Scarfe’s cartoon is not antisemitic.   Your examples of Palestinian youths are shocking and they, alone, provide justification for Scarfe’s cartoon.  I am ashamed to hear the ‘anti-semitic’ outcry: why do even Jews mix Israel with being Jewish?

As a Jew, I despair when the holocaust is emotively and perhaps even cynically high-jacked to obfuscate facts.   Palestinians have lost land, their human rights and their lives  due to the trifold expedience of Israeli internal politics, international support and military power.

I am certainly in favour of boycotting Israeli goods and will sign up right now.

 

ELOQUENT PALESTINIAN PLEA THAT MOVED STEVIE WONDER

Media reports from the US have confirmed what was briefly rumoured – legendary pop musician Stevie Wonder has cancelled his performance scheduled for December 6 at a gala in Los Angeles saluting IDF Soldiers.

The 25-time Grammy winner was to appear before an audience of more than 1,000, including dignitaries from the U.S. and Israel.

Stevie WonderPicture: REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

Stevie Wonder
Picture: REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

Credit is due to all the activists who mobilised via social media to persuade the great singer to realise his mistake. This eloquent Palestinian plea must have helped move him to change his mind about playing for the benefit of the Israeli war machine:

Dear Stevie,

On a typical cold wintery night, on January 25th 1995, I hobbled on my crutches
with an inflamed and bandaged knee into the aisles of the famous Radio City
Music Hall in New York City. Here I was, a twenty three year old aspiring actor
from Palestine, who despite severely injuring my knee in a basketball game two
days before, was not about to miss what he will for the next eighteen years
claim as  “the best concert”  he ever attended. This was a concert by Stevie
Wonder, the genius whose music had inspired me and whose cassettes, CDs, and now mp3, had kept me company many a time, and who not only sang beautiful melodies with an amazing voice but whose lyrics tackled the whole spectrum of life. From oppression to freedom, from infidelity to the purest love, and from sadness to euphoria, so many of your songs are attached to the milestones of my life.

On that day in 1995, I had waited till the concert had ended and the crowd had
cleared and hopped on my crutches down to the stage door. With a mix of pity for my injury and some persuasion, I had convinced the bodyguards to let me through to meet you. There you were, standing talking to other fans or your crew. Struck by the awe of the moment, I had no idea what to say to you.  “Stevie, my name is Bassem and I am from Palestine”. You had looked towards my direction. I have no idea if you had even heard what I said, but that was my cue to approach you and give you a hug. You hugged me back. That was enough for me: the affirmation that I had a “moment” with you that no one could ever take away from me. Following that moment, I took off my black and white Palestinian kaffiyah, the symbol of struggle, resistance, and freedom for Palestinians, and put it in your hands and said, “This is from the people of Palestine.”  I have relived these moments, alone and with friends, with mostly joy, nostalgia, and sometimes humor. However, there was no doubt, in my mind that you were an artist who understood our world, who sided with the poor, the oppressed, the needy, and the heartbroken. Your music and words were your contribution to make the world a less little cruel.

Until today.

Today I was horrified to hear about your intension to play at the annual gala of the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) organization to be held on December 6 in Los Angeles. Today I am living in Palestine and have just lived through the same Israeli Defense Forces, the one you are supporting, killing more than one hundred and thirty of my people in Gaza, many of whom were civilians including children. This army, Stevie, is a tool of oppression and subjugation that has kept me, my family, and my people occupied for over forty five years. Every day, this army is protecting the seizure of more Palestinian land to build illegal Israeli settlement on further denying me my rights as a human being. As I read the news of your upcoming performance, I kept on wondering, how can Stevie even contemplate doing this? There must be a mistake somehow. I searched the internet whether this was a rumor or a hoax.

Unfortunately, my worst fears were confirmed. You are supporting occupation,
oppression, destruction, and apartheid.

I have no idea what has led you to this decision. I am writing this open letter
hoping it results in the restoration of the almost perfect image of you and your
art in my mind and my life.

I am urging you to cancel this performance and stand with the values of justice
and peace for all.

At the end of the concert in 1995, the band had stopped playing after over two
hours of music. You were sitting on your piano stool and people were shouting
out the names of songs they still wanted you to play. Then suddenly, for a brief
moment, there ensued an eerily beautiful silence that encompassed that glorious
concert hall. Taking advantage of that, I yelled the name of my favorite song at
that time “Lately”. Without flinching, you turned to the band and said, “You
heard the man!” and the beautiful music had started flowing.

Here’s to hoping you hear me again.

Bassim Nasir

FOOTBALL STARS RALLY IN SUPPORT OF PALESTINE

As Israel prepares to announce the draw for UEFA’s under-21 football finals in June next year, the Red Card Israeli Racism campaign has put out the following news release.
FOOTBALL STARS RALLY IN SUPPORT OF PALESTINE
+ FREDERIC KANOUTE, MOUSSA SOW, DEMBA BA, JACQUES FATY SAY UEFA IS REWARDING ISRAEL FOR “ACTIONS CONTRARY TO SPORTING VALUES”
+ MPS AND OTHER EMINENT BRITS SAY ISRAEL MUST NOT HOST UEFA UNDER 21 FINALS
Nov 27 – On the eve of the announcement in Tel Aviv of the draw for the Euro 2013 under-21 finals next June, some of the biggest names in European football have condemned Israel ’s military attack on Gaza which killed 170 people, including Palestinian boys playing football, and destroyed vital sports infrastructure.
Former Tottenham and Sevilla striker Frederic Kanoute is among those signing a statement referring to Israel’s hosting of the U-21 championship as rewarding it “for actions that are contrary to sporting values”.   (See full statement below)
On November 8, 13-year-old Ahmed Younis Khader Abu Daqqa was shot in the abdomen by the Israeli military while playing football with his friends in ‘Abassan village, east of the southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Yunis . He died in hospital shortly afterwards. Four other boys were also killed.
The Palestinian Paralympic Committee offices, along with a stadium and sports complex where the Palestine team prepared for London 2012, were among facilities wiped out by Israeli bomb attacks in the days that followed.
A number of football fixtures and gatherings have been moved because of the violence.
Pressure on UEFA to change the venue for the 2013 u-21 finals is mounting as 20 British Members of Parliament have signed a motion (EDM 640) in the House of Commons  stating:
” That this House congratulates the Football Association for its Kick It Out campaign against racism in football; registers with profound disapproval, however, that the FA is prepared to participate in the European Under-21 football tournament to be played in Israel in June 2013, even though Israel is geographically not in Europe and is a country which has policies of racial apartheid against Palestinians.”
Campaigners in a number of European centres are marking the draw in Israel on Wednesday.
Red Card Israeli Racism in Britain has handed in a petition of several thousand signatures.  along with a statement from public figures including filmmaker Ken Loach, calling on the Football Association to support a change of venue for the 2013 tournament. (Text and signatures attached).
UK campaign coordinator Geoff Lee said, “ In addition to the increasing racist violence against Arabs in Israel which is well known to UEFA , the latest attacks by Israel on the besieged people of Gaza must make the UEFA delegates rethink this issue.”
In Italy, a letter has been delivered to the Italian Football Federation calling for withdrawal of the Italian national team from the competition unless there is a change of venue. On themorning of Wednesday, November 28 a protest will be held outside the nationalheadquarters in Rome during which activists have requested a meeting with management.
NOTES FOR EDITORS:
1. ENGLISH TRANSLATION OF FRENCH LANGUAGE STATEMENT SIGNED BY :
Frederic Kanoute, Moussa Sow, Demba Ba, Jacques Faty and others
The horrific situation faced by Palestinian civilians in recent days is deeply concerning. We have learnt that on November 10 the Israeli army bombarded a sports stadium on Gaza . Four young people who were playing football were killed. Mohamed Harara and Ahmed Harara (16 and 17 years old), Matar Rahman and Ahmed Al Dirdissawi (18 years old).
We are also aware that since February 2012 two footballers with the Al Amari team, Omar Rowis (23) and Mohammed Nemer (22) are still imprisoned in Israel without trial or charge.
In the run-up to Israel hosting the UEFA Under-21 European Championship, which will reward Israel for actions that are contrary to sporting values, we as European sportspeople wish to express our regret the turmoil of recent days, the primary victim of which has been the Palestinian people.
We express our solidarity and our support for the civilian causalities. All people have the right to a life of dignity, freedom and security. The Palestinians must be protected by the rule of international law. We hope that a just peace will finally emerge – it is simply unacceptable that children are killed while they are peacefully playing football.
  2. THE STATEMENT IN FRENCH
Palestine , le sport au pied du mur
La situation subie par les civils palestiniens ces derniers jours est plus que préoccupante. Nous avons appris que le 10 novembre, l’armée israélienne a bombardé un terrain de sport à Gaza . Quatre jeunes qui jouaient au football ont été tués : Mohamed Harara et Ahmed Harara (16 et 17 ans), Matar Rahman et Ahmed Al Dirdissawi (18 ans).
Nous savons en outre que depuis février 2012, les deux joueurs de football de l’équipe d’Al Amari, Omar Rowis (23 ans) Mohammed Nemer (22 ans) sont toujours emprisonnés en Israël sans procès et sans jugement.
À la veille où Israël doit accueillir l’Euro des moins de 21 ans, se voyant ainsi récompensé alors qu’il commet des actes qui restent contraires aux valeurs du Sport, nous, sportifs européens, regrettons la situation d’embrasement de ces derniers jours qui a pour première victime le peuple palestinien. Nous exprimons notre solidarité et notre soutien aux victimes civiles. Tout peuple a le droit de vivre dignement, dans la liberté et la sécurité. Les Palestiniens ne peuvent en ce sens être exclus du droit international. Nous espérons que le droit et la justice règneront enfin, parce qu’il est inadmissible que des enfants meurent alors qu’ils jouent paisiblement au football.
Premiers signataires: Kanoute, Moussa Sow, Demba Ba, Jacques Faty
4. Events in Israel cancelled because of the violence:

5. England could host u-21 in 2013 instead of Israel

5. Statement from Ken Loach and other eminent figures calling for UEFA to move under-21 finals from Israel .
 
STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF PALESTINIAN FOOTBALL
As football supporters we hear with concern an appeal from Mahmoud Sarsak,http://www.bdsmovement.net/2012/mahmoud-sarsak-uefa-appeal-9826 a young Palestinian national team player whose career was cut short by three years’ detention without trial in an Israeli jail.
We are aware that he regained his freedom last July 10, only after a three month hunger strike won him sympathy and support from influential voices in the football world.
Sarsak is asking us now to show our support for all Palestinians who love the beautiful game but who suffer the impact of discriminatory Israeli policies on Palestinian football and the life of the community in general.
We are disturbed by the myriad ways in which the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian West Bank and the siege of  Gaza  prevent both the development of Palestinian sport at grass roots level and its representation in international competitions. These include:
  • regulations and checkpoints that block the movement of players between Palestinian towns and villages and between  Gaza  and the  West Bank ;
  • official interference preventing the Palestinian national team from travelling abroad to train or compete and making it virtually impossible for foreign teams to attend fixtures in Palestine ;
  • restrictions on the importation of equipment, even when donated by international footballing organisations;
  • prevention of the construction of facilities.
In addition to these impediments, life under occupation entails the constant threat of detention or even death. Two  West Bank footballers, Mohammed Saedy Ibrahim Nemer and goalkeeper Omar Khaled Omar Abu Rowis, were detained in February and have been incarcerated ever since.
Four footballers were among the 1,400 Palestinians killed during the Israeli assault on  Gaza  in December 2008 – January 2009.   Even children are not exempt. On June 20 this year, twelve-year-old Mamoun Zuhdi al-Dam was killed by an Israeli warplane as he played football on land near his family home in  Gaza .
Against this background, Sarsak has drawn our attention to Palestinian dismay at UEFA’s insistence on having  Israel  host next year’s under-21 finals.
He says that staging this, or any other UEFA competition, in  Israel “is legitimising  Israel ’s continued occupation, oppression and apartheid policies. There can be no place in football for segregation and oppression so prestigious tournaments cannot be allowed to take place in  Israel .”
Taking into account the high profile given in European football to combating racism wherever it appears, we agree with Sarsak that it is inappropriate for European football’s governing body to be staging international competitions in a country responsible for systematic discrimination against Palestinians.
We therefore call upon UEFA to move the 2013 U21 finals away from  Israel  and to assure Palestinians that  Israel  will not be granted such an honour as long as its discriminatory practices continue.
Signed:
John Austin
Dr. Salman Abu Sitta
Stephen Cavalier
Jeremy Corbyn MP
Bob Crow
Rev. Garth Hewitt
Ghada Karmi
Bruce Kent,
Ken Loach
Paul Laverty
Kika Markham
Karma Nabulsi
Prof. Steven Rose
Keith Sonnet
David Thompson
Jenny Tonge