Monthly Archives: December 2011


Investigative journalist Asa Winstanley has discovered more evidence that the campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israeli apartheid has Israel’s supporters  rattled.

Writing  in The Electronic Intifada, Winstanley said that, in its attempts to discredit Jews who backed Palestinian political activist Raed Salah’s fight against deportation from the UK,  the Community Security Trust (CST) denounced them to a government department as “extreme”.

Citing a report sent in August to the Home Office, Winstanley said the CST denounced several “anti-Zionist British Jewish individuals and groups” as “extreme groups,” claiming they were “unrepresentative of the vast majority of British Jews.

“The CST denounced as “extreme” well-known Palestine solidarity activist Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network and the anti-Zionist Orthodox Jewish group Neturei Karta. The report highlights that Wimborne-Idrissi is secretary of Jews For Boycotting Israeli Goods.”

Winstanley says that use of the term “extreme groups” is significant. “It’s a phrase the CST usually reserves for violent far-right groups such as the British National Party, the National Front and Combat 18; or for Islamic political groups like Hizb ut-Tahrir.”

He  said it appeared that  “the CST works behind the scenes with an assertively pro-Israel agenda not stated in its charitable remit. There are also serious questions over the CST’s links to the government of Israel and, allegedly, to its intelligence services.”

Read Winstanley’s report in full here, plus background on his sources.

Maccabees, Miracles and Zionists…and how to get the balance right.

The Jewish festival of Hanukkah began yesterday, prompting thoughtful ruminations from Robert Cohen. Here, with our good wishes for the festive season, is a link to his blog, Micah’s Paradigm Shift. There is another relevant link at the bottom of this post.

Cohen notes that, for most of its history, Hannukah was marginal to Jewish life. Then the  story of the Maccabee revolt was seized upon and given new prominence by Zionists entranced by a story of Jews taking their fate into their own hands.

“No waiting around for the Messiah to bring their redemption and defeat to their enemies,” writes Cohen. “Rather than the pale, meek, Talmud scholars of Eastern Europe, here were muscular, uninhibited Jews from the Promised Land with the strength to succeed.”

Sea also Tony Karom’s piece on Rootless Cosmopolitan last year, ‘Hannukah without the Taliban‘ (cross-posted from Jnews).


Six months have passed since the 2011 UEFA Under-21s competition in Denmark and the launch of a campaign to persuade European football’s governing body to reverse its decision granting Israel the junior final in 2013.

Photo: Agence-France Presse

So far UEFA President Michel Platini has stubbornly refused to respond  to the appeal last June from 42 football clubs in besieged Gaza, not to reward Israel for its persistent infringements of Palestinian rights.

This is despite a steady stream of protests including a pitch invasion by French protesters,  a “Love Football, Hate Apartheid” action in Ireland and publication of a letter signed by high-profile individuals in two leading European newspapers.

The letter, over the names of renowned diplomat Stephane Hessel,  film-maker Ken Loach and Nobel Peace Prizewinner  Mairead Maguire among others, appeared in both the Irish Times and the UK Guardian.

“A state that uses military might to hold sway over land it illegally occupies and exploits, flouts international law and ignores UN resolutions surely forfeits the right to be treated as a member of the community of nations,” the letter said.

It called on UEFA to “respond positively” to the appeal from the 42 Gazan football clubs, backed by many sporting bodies.

Supporters of  the Red Card Israeli Apartheid campaign are now preparing to ratchet up the action with direct approaches to national football association presidents, supporters clubs and fans.

“UEFA is faced with serious ethical and moral problems by the choice of an Israeli venue for the finals,” said London-based campaign coordinator Geoff Lee. “With all the concern about racism in and around the game at the moment, it’s time to wake up to the fact that Israel’s entrenched discrimination against Palestinians amounts to systematic racism affecting football along with  the rest of society.”

Add your voice to the campaign by using this e-tool set up by the  Palestine Solidarity Campaign and following it on the BDSmovement website.

Culture and the Right Hand of the State: Lessons from Filmbase’s “Israeli Film Days”

This piece by Raymond Deane, cultural officer of Ireland’s Palestine Solidarity Campaign, reposted from Irish Left Review, includes a useful discussion of how to apply the criteria for cultural boycott.

Image of the protest at Filmbase during “Israeli Film Days” courtesy of

Between 24-27 November 2011, the Government of Israel held “Israeli Film Days” at Filmbase in Temple Bar, Dublin’s “cultural quarter”. In advance of this event, the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) requested Filmbase to reconsider its decision to host the festival:

“At a time when Irish peace activists have been illegally imprisoned in Israel after their humanitarian ship the MV Saoirse was hi-jacked in international waters by Israeli commandos, hosting these ‘Israeli Film Days’ sends out the worst possible message: that Filmbase is indifferent to its exploitation as a site of propaganda for the state that perpetrates such atrocities.  To cancel the event at this point would… be perceived worldwide as an honourable gesture of solidarity with the oppressed Palestinian people who have called for an international cultural boycott of the Israeli state.”

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) also issued an “Open Letter to Filmbase“, expressing its surprise

“that a prominent Irish cultural institution would allow the Israeli embassy to carry out this audacious ‘Brand Israel’ activity on its premises hardly two weeks after Irish peace activists were illegally apprehended by the Israeli navy in international waters, humiliated, and imprisoned in Israel…”

These approaches were rejected by Filmbase, despite much dissension among its employees, not all of whom supported the decision to host the event.

Read more.

BDS campaigners successful against racism charge


A recent French court ruling was a setback for pro-Israel groups attempting to brand boycott campaigners as racists.

In this post on Electronic Intifada, Ali Abunimah analyses this significant development:

Twelve French activists from a group called Boycott 68 have been acquitted on charges of “inciting discrimination and racial hatred” for calling on French shoppers to boycott Israeli goods.

The court judgment in the eastern city of Mulhouse deals a blow to efforts by French prosecutors and Zionist groups to outlaw the growing boycott, divestment and sanctions(BDS) movement. The acquittal received wide coverage in French media.

Campagne BDS France declared in a statement (my translation), on the day of the verdict:

Thursday, 15 December will be a historic date for the Campaign in France. The court at Mulhouse has in effect acquitted the 12 activists prosecuted for their participation in the BDS campaign.

They had been pursued by the usual conveyers of Israel’s policies, as well as by the LICRA [International League against Racism and Anti-Semitism] for “discrimination and inciting hatred and violence toward a group or nation” for having participated in two boycott actions in the Carrefour supermarket in Illzach.

The protests took place in September 2009 and May 2010. The statement noted that similar cases, have been brought against French activists in the cities of Perpignan, Paris, Bordeaux and Pontoise and that on 8 July a court in Paris had acquitted another activist on a similar charge. More cases are pending.

Read more.

This video shows the kind of actions, going on in supermarkets across Europe, to which the French charges related.