Noam Chomsky On Gaza

For readers inside Syria who cannot view the video because of the block, please install UltraSurf 9.4 and WJ if you’re using Firefox browser. Follow the instructions to install Wj and let me know in the comment section if you have questions. I am sorry I tried to upload the video on Google Videos but Google is joining the US sanctions on Syria apparently so I cannot use the Google Video product.

Or, you can go here and watch the whole video if you have a good internet speed.

Noam Chomsky spoke on the recent US-backed Israeli war on Gaza in an event co-sponsored by the MIT Center for International Studies and its Program on Human Rights and Justice. I think he mentioned some interesting points. There are eleven videos posted on Youtube of the event, I am posting the first one in this post but you can view the rest below:

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Israelis Are Beginning to See the Power of BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions)

From The Alternative Information Center:

In recent years, there has been a gradual growth in the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement, calling to put economic pressure on Israel until it recognizes the rights of the occupied Palestinian people and puts an end the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip, starting on 27 December 2008, which lasted for nearly a month, has given this movement a powerful reason to redouble its efforts. Dozens of BDS campaigns have gained momentum and publicity; dozens of new ones were launched during or immediately after Israel’s attack on the Gaza Strip.

These campaigns range from calls to boycott goods from the illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank, to calls to stop all economic contacts with Israel altogether. They include protests at sporting events, two countries cutting diplomatic ties with Israel (Bolivia and Venezuela), and many demonstrations around the world, attended by hundreds of thousands of protestors.

The growing protest against the atrocities committed by the Israeli military in the Gaza Strip have begun to change something in the Israeli political discourse, and the first indication of this can already be seen in the Israeli economic media.

Although the Israeli economic media doesn’t concern itself with the moral dimension of the attacks on Gaza, the economic dimension of recent events have created a rising level of concern. In order to demonstrate this trend, here are summaries of four articles that appeared in the Israeli The Marker magazine for economic news:

1. On 2 February, Guy Grimland warned about a growing phenomenon of boycott of Israeli high-tech companies, and several Israeli companies received letters from European and U.S. companies explaining that they cannot invest in Israel for moral reasons.

2. In 3 February, Nehemia Strassler, one of Israel’s most famous economic correspondents, attacked the Israeli Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor, Eli Yishai, for calling on the Israeli military to “destroy one hundred homes in Gaza for every rocket that falls in Israel.” Strassler had nothing to say about the Palestinians living in these homes or about the loss of life, but he warned:

“[the minister] doesn’t even understand how the operation in Gaza hurts the economy. The horror sights on television and the words of politicians in Europe and Turkey change the behavior of consumers, businessmen and potential investors. Many European consumers boycott Israeli products in practice. Intellectuals call for an economic war against us and to enforce an official and full consumer boycott.

Calls are heard in board meetings of economic corporations to boycott trade relations with Israel. So far deals were cancelled with Turkey, the UK, Egypt and the Gulf States, and visits by economic delegations were cancelled. It’s much easier now to switch providers while abandoning Israeli providers. Many company boards are required to take wide considerations into account with regards to the good of society and the environment, and they put political considerations in that slot as well.

Of course there is an economic cost to severing diplomatic ties. Qatar cut its trade relations with Israel, Venezuela and Bolivia cut diplomatic relations. Mauritania recalled its ambassador and the relations with Turkey worsened considerably—and this bad ambience seeps into the business sector decisions. Here, just yesterday Dudi Ovshitz, who grows peppers for export, said that ‘there is a concealed boycott of Israeli products in Europe.'”

3. On 6 February, Shuki Sadeh wrote about even more companies that have decided to boycott relations with Israel. A Turkish company demanded that Israeli companies sign a document condemning the Israeli massacre in Gaza before they can offer their services for it. Sadeh quoted Naomi Klein’s recent call for boycott, the 2005 Palestinian civil society call for boycott and Israeli organizations that support the boycott and provide information for the global BDS movement. Sadeh’s article also had concerned quotes by Israeli businessmen who demanded government intervention to protect them from the growing boycott.

4. In 11 February, Ora Koren reported that the Israeli business sectors feel the effects of the attack on Gaza. She reported that Israeli businessmen in Turkey are hiding their names so that the local BDS organizations won’t learn about their activities, and that the situation is even worse in the UK.

These four articles are a sign that there is a shift in the effectiveness of the BDS movement against Israel, and that if the momentum is maintained and strengthened, Israeli businessmen may decide to move their headquarters away from Israel, or to begin to put pressure on the Israeli government to begin respecting international law, and ending the occupation.

Organize for boycott Israel Global Day of Action on 30 March 2009

In December Israel is going to celebrate its colonial establishment on Palestine.  The Secretariat of the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee calls us all to unite our different capacities in a Global Day of Action in solidarity with the Palestinian people [and for the sake of justice] and for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel on 30 March 2009:

The mobilization coincides with the Palestinian Land Day, the annual commemoration of the 1976 Israeli massacre of Palestinians in the Galilee in struggle against massive land expropriation, and forms part of the Global Week of Action against the Crises and War from 28 March 28 to 4 April.

On 30 March BDS actions will particularly focus on:

* Boycotts and divestment from Israeli corporations and international corporations that sustain Israeli apartheid and occupation.
* Legal action to end Israel’s impunity and prosecute its war criminals through national court cases and international tribunals.
* Cancelling and blocking free trade and other preferential agreements with Israel and imposing an arms embargo as the first steps towards fully fledged sanctions against Israel.

The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) includes: Council of National and Islamic Forces in Palestine; General Union of Palestinian Workers; Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions; Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations’ Network (PNGO); Federation of Independent Trade Unions; Union of Palestinian Charitable Organizations; Global Palestine Right of Return Coalition; Occupied Palestine and Golan Heights Advocacy Initiative (OPGAI); General Union of Palestinian Women; Palestinian Farmers Union (PFU); Grassroots Palestinian Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign (STW); Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI); National Committee to Commemorate the Nakba; Civic Coalition for the Defense of Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem (CCDPRJ); Coalition for Jerusalem; and Palestinian Economic Monitor.

Scott Campbell: NYU Occupied! (Watch Them on USTREAM Live)

Scott Campbell sent us this email:

Friends,
I’m writing from New York University where I just started grad school. Very briefly, I’d like to let you all know that as of 9:30pm tonight we have occupied NYU. A website with more info is at www.takebacknyu.com. The list of demands is below. I don’t have internet time and my cell phone is dead, but please spread the word. Thanks!
scott

We, the students of NYU, declare an occupation of this space. This occupation is the culmination of a two-year campaign by the Take Back NYU! coalition, and of campaigns from years past, in whose footsteps we follow.

The occupiers demand to establish a student elected Socially Responsible Finance Committee in which
the first two orders of this committee will be:

a) An in depth investigation of all investments in war and genocide profiteers, as well as companies profiting from the occupation of Palestinian territories.

b) A reassessment of the recently lifted of the ban on Coca Cola products.

Annual scholarships to be provided for thirteen Palestinian students, starting with the 2009/2010 academic year. These scholarships will include funding for books, housing, meals and travel expenses.

The university to donate all excess supplies and materials in an effort to rebuild the University of Gaza.

Read their full demands on their website here.

See live streaming video from the occupation here

Scott has just sent this email too:

Demonstration in support of the NYU occupation:

Thursday, 12:15 PM
In front of Kimmel Student Center
60 Washington Square South, Manhattan, NYC

Since 10pm Wednesday night the third floor of the Kimmel Student Center at New York University has been occupied by more than 70 NYU and non-NYU students. Originally present for the first few hours of the occupation I had to leave for personal reasons, but it is still going strong and spirits are very high. It was recently announced the head of NYU university relations has cut his vacation short and is flying back home. They’re clearly worried.

This is in direct solidarity with the many occupations occurring recently across the globe, from Greece to Britain to the New School and the University of Rochester.

There are 13 demands relating to NYU investments in war profiteers and occupation, the cost of tuition, the lack of transparency and the lack of respect for NYU workers.

See the full list of demands here: http://takebacknyu.com/2009/02/19/nyu-occupied/. See live streaming video from the occupation here: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/take-back-nyu.

Help out and spread the word by:

* Come support the occupation!
* Send a letter to the administration in solidarity
* Send an e-mail to your professors, peers, listservs, facebook groups you name it! Tell the world.
* Have your parent write a letter or e-mail to the university
* Print the following demands and distribute them far and wide!

Stay tuned.
To those who’re not checking my tags, I have recently added the “Activists are my family” tag, those would be the occupiers.

Queer activists call for boycott of Tel Aviv film festival

Via ei:

Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism (QUIT!), a San Francisco Bay Area solidarity group, is calling on international Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans and Queer filmmakers not to participate in the Tel Aviv International LGBT Film Festival this June. QUIT!’s call for filmmakers to respect the cultural boycott of Israel initiated by more than 100 organizations of Palestinian civil society. The call has been joined by members of South West Asian and North African Bay Area Queers (SWANABAQ) and a founder of Trikone, the largest South Asian LGBT organization in the world.

One filmmaker has already notified festival organizers of his decision not to participate. Maher Sabry, director of the Egyptian film Toul Omry (All My Life), wrote: “It would be hypocrisy of me to call for boycotting the Egyptian government for mistreating gay men and not to call for boycotting Israel for the mass punishment of innocent Palestinian civilians for assault by few militants.” Sabry added, “One day, I dream to screen Toul Omry in the Holy Land, when it becomes a place of peace, when Jews, Christians, Muslims and others can live as equal with same rights, when there are no refugee camps, no religious or ethnic discrimination, no land-confiscation, tree-burning or house-demolition, no bloodshed and mass punishment, no injustice, no militants and no military aggression.”

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel was launched in Ramallah in April 2004 by a group of Palestinian academics and intellectuals to join the growing international boycott movement. International signatories include filmmakers Sophie Fiennes, Ken Loach, Haim Bresheeth and Jenny Morgan, writers John Berger, Arundhati Roy, Amiri Baraka, Naomi Klein and Eduardo Galeano, and musicians Brian Eno and Leon Rosselson.

In a letter to British director Shamim Sarif, whose film I Can’t Think Straight has already been accepted by the Tel Aviv festival, QUIT! stated, “As queer people, we know that mainstream media and organizations don’t tell the full story of our lives, and frequently present outright lies that once accepted become difficult to refute. One example of this practice is the conscious public relations campaign presenting Israel as the ‘only democracy in the Middle East,’ and specifically representing it as a haven for LGBT people … LGBT Palestinians living in the occupied territories, like straight Palestinians, are denied their basic human rights.”

Tinku Ishtiaq, a founder of Trikone and previous co-chair of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission also wrote to Sharif: “Just as the international boycotts against South Africa during its apartheid era were helpful in finally bringing about the downfall of Apartheid it is hoped that similar boycotts against Israel would bring about the change that is necessary for Palestinians to survive … I believe that our rights should not supersede the rights of other oppressed groups. Your participation in the Tel Aviv film festival would be particularly sad for gay human rights activists who are struggling for Palestinian rights.”

QUIT! and its allies are asking international filmmakers to write to festival organizers notifying them that they will not submit their films or accept invitations to participate until Israel meets its obligations under international law. Israel is currently in violation of more than 80 United Nations resolutions, including Resolution 242, which affirms the right for the refugees to return home.

“Israeli queers are oppressed for their sexuality and gender identity, just as queers in every other country are,” said QUIT member Kate Raphael. “For the last several years their pride parades have been violently attacked by religious Jews. LGBT organizers in Israel should support the Palestinian boycott, which will lead to a more just society for everyone in the area. They should not ask international queers to break the boycott to participate in their event.”

QUIT! is a grassroots nonviolent direct action group based in San Francisco that has been active against war and occupation since early 2001.

Protest signs for the Batsheva Dance Company tour of North America

From Nigel Parry blog:

The University of Minnesota is bringing the Batsheva Dance Company of Tel Aviv to Minneapolis [tonight] for one performance. This is a violation of the 2004 Palestinian call to “comprehensively and consistently boycott all Israeli academic and cultural institutions”and the 2005 call of 171 Palestinian civil society organizations for broad boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel. This dance company is funded by the Israeli government and is considered a “leading ambassador” of the Israeli government, by the Israeli government.

Several of Batsheva’s members are serving Israeli reservist soldiers. An atypically high number of reservist units in the Israeli army were deployed in the Gaza Strip–where an indisputable slaughter was carried out, with terrible stories published even in mainstream sources.

Bringing Israel government-funded, dancing Israeli soldiers to town after the gratuitous massacre of Gazans is utterly unacceptable.

Batsheva is described as “perhaps the best known global ambassador of Israeli culture” by the Israeli government and its self-description often includes the phrase that “Batsheva is proud to be considered Israel’s leading ambassador.” How does Batsheva reconcile its international mission as an artistic ambassador with the reality of the racist, militaristic, and expansionist state that it represents?

These flayers are made by Nigel Parry to help American activists in their protest to this Zionist company which is touring the US right now. check his post over here for more flayers.

Today's Bookmarks

Tulkarem to boycott Israeli goods starting 1 March

Tulkarem – Ma’an – The city of Tulkarem will begin a total boycott of Israeli goods starting March, the chamber of commerce announced Thursday.

The chamber, in conjunction with several local merchants and organizations, decided to launch the campaign, called “Keeping Tulkarem Clean of Israeli Goods.” The city will have assistance in organizing popular awareness of the efforts from coordinators from the popular anti-wall campaigns including Jamal Jum’ah.

Member of the local coordination committee Jamal Barham stressed the importance of unifying efforts to ensure the success of the campaign. This will include helping shop owners identify non-Israeli goods to replace common items like milk, flour, juice and chocolate.

The goal of the Tulkarem project is to increase the production of Palestinian goods from supplying 15% to 25% of consumer goods in Palestinian areas. They anticipate that this jump will provide at least 100,000 jobs in the production sectors.

Palestine is the second largest consumer of Israeli goods and imports 2.6 billion US dollars of Israeli made products per year.

French academics join the call to boycott Israel

Israel’s impunity must end

Reports have made it clear that Israel’s actions in Gaza amount to war crimes: a population denied all possibility of escape or self-defense has been starved, deprived of medical care, and massacred beyond the view of the media. Images and accounts of the results of these actions are now reaching us, and they are frankly unbearable. It is not a matter of “excesses” committed by a few soldiers, but rather of a deliberate policy that borders on ethnic cleansing. To quote a letter signed by 300 British-based academics and published in the Guardian January 16, “The goal of this war has never changed: to use overwhelming military power to eradicate the Palestinians as a political force, one capable of resisting Israel’s ongoing appropriation of their land and resources.”

Israel’s impunity must end. Neither humanitarian aid nor a call to extend the ceasefire will suffice. The blockade of Gaza must be lifted and Israel, together with its political and military leaders, must be tried for war crimes. We ask the French government and the French population to take all practical measures to force Israel to accept these demands, and, first of all, to define and apply to Israel a program of boycott, divestment, and sanctions.

We who have signed this text commit ourselves to cease all collaboration with Israeli institutions participating in the occupation, and declare our solidarity with those who in Israel struggle courageously for the human, social, and political rights of Palestinians.

Read the French version signed by French academics  on the U.S. Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel blog.

and check these links:

Latest Guardian Article on Occupations and Sit-Ins

Israel used experimental weapons in Gaza developed at UC

UPDATE: Call on Israeli Soldiers to Stop War Crimes published in Haaretz

A fellow Egyptian blogger was sexually harassed

Another Blogger Detained For Gaza

World gets its first gay leader

My father once heard MLK denounce Israel

and don’t forget to check Mondoweiss blog for updates on Hampshire College in Amherst, MA, the first American college to divest from Israel.

I Support Hampshire College SJP

I am going to send an email to the president’s office everyday =)

Via Pulse:

Ever since it announced to widespread applause its decision to divest from the Israeli occupation, Hampshire College administration is being hammered by the Israel lobby’s flak machine led by Zionist fanatic Alan Dershowitz (best known for his academic malpractices) who is threatening the institution with withdrawal of funding, unless, Inside Higher Ed reports, ‘Hampshire resolves any ambiguities and clearly states that it rejects student efforts to divest from the Jewish state. “What they have to do is make it impossible for the students to plausibly be able to declare victory,” said Dershowitz, whose son went to Hampshire.’ But Hampshire students are standing strong (here they are in their own words). They are calling on the institution’s administration to embrace the moment. They recognize that this is ‘bigger than Hampshire‘.(For full coverage check out the indispensalbe MondoWeiss)

Following is a call from  Hampshire students for support. This is a historical moment. Please take the time to apprise the administration of your views.

Dear Supporters,

Over the last 24 hours, there has been a huge response from students, parents, journalists, activists, public figures, political organizations, and individuals such as yourselves from across the country and the world congratulating us for our historic achievement this week.  We are impressed and heartened by your passion in supporting us in this exciting campaign.

There have been many developments since SJP went public with the divestment, so it might be hard to keep track of the flurry of updates that have been published all over the internet. Please visit our website for the most recent statements (http://www.hsjp.org/). Also, Phillip Weiss’s blog (http://www.philipweiss.org/) is a particularly good resource, as they’ve been following the events closely.

Your support so far has been so helpful, especially since we’ve been working non-stop since we broke the news. There’s so much more to be done, so we’ve come up with a few specific ways to demonstrate your solidarity with SJP and the movement.  Here they are:

1) E-mail the administration and the President to voice your concern over their refusal to own up to the divestment decision. Express your disappointment that President Hexter has done nothing to condemn Alan Dershowitz’s threatening phone calls to SJP’s spokespeople (see update on website). Forward your letters of congratulations that you sent to us to them too. Make sure they know that divestment is not just a college—it’s a movement!

A script is attached to the end of this e-mail (or the bottom of this message) as a guide if you would like to use it.

Contact:

Ralph Hexter (President): rhexter@hampshire.edu

President’s Office: +1 413-559-5521

2) Hampshire’s endowment is very small which means that most of the college’s year-to-year operating budget comes from tuition fees.For those who have donated, your contributions are greatly appreciated and important as the school is already in a troubled financial state. What we would like you to do for now is e-mail us every time you make a donation with the amount and your name so we can keep track of the funds and the support network.  If you haven’t donated already, here’s the link:

https://alumni.hampshire.edu/giving/waysToGive/giveOnline.aspx

3) Contribute to our video series, “Voices of Divestment.” We are trying to show the world that this isn’t about a small group of activists, but a wide range of people from all different walks of life. We would like you to make short 30-second to 1-minute clips and send them to us by uploading the video to YouTube and emailing us the link.

Keep them informal, but stay passionate! Improvise. We want to hear why you support divestment in your own words.

Check out existing videos here: http://www.hsjp.org/voices-of-divestment/

Or alternatively: http://voicesofdivestment.wordpress.com/

4) Build momentum! This isn’t just about us; we’ve been getting a lot of e-mails about help and advice for starting similar BDS campaigns at other schools, and this is one of the most important ways you can help. If the BDS movement spreads rapidly, it will become clear to the public and the media that this is not just a local administrative dispute, but that we have finally reached a critical threshold in the United States.

Many groups and individuals have contacted us asking about going on speaking tours and giving trainings for campus divestment movements. We are very excited about the prospects of helping to spread divestment to many campuses and are investigating the logistics of how to make this happen. For now if you are interested in hosting us for a speaking tour in some capacity, please email us at: HampshireSJP@gmail.com with the subject “SPEAKING”.

*****

The following is the script to guide you in e-mailing the president’s office:

Hello, my name is _____. I am calling/e-mailing to express my congratulations to Hampshire College for your historic decision to divest from the Israeli Occupation. This move should be an example to all institutions of higher learning across the world.

However, I am disappointed that the administration has been trying to distance itself from the decision and de-politicize the powerful statement that divestment sends. In your response to the Student’s public campaign, you have repeatedly insisted that the divestment decision had a “variety of reasons” for going through, and that it had no regional or political significance. However, the length & intensity of the campaign that the Students for Justice in Palestine have run makes it clear that it was their efforts that brought this divestment to the table. I sincerely hope that you will reconsider your position on divestment and express your support for the students’ efforts in an official statement soon.

Lastly, your failure to condemn the threats Alan Dershowitz has made towards SJP’s spokespeople is deplorable. Dershowitz has called for a boycott on the College and you have still maintained your “neutral” position, hurting the students, the college, and yourself. I urge you to protect your students and their right to speak out on this monumental occasion.

Thank you.

http://www.hsjp.org

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=55085942212