prime Minister Netanyahu
Prime Minister Netanyahu verses Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions
HERE IS ISRAEL – Boycott Israel by Ari Lesser
European Sanctions on Israel with Danny Ayalon
NO ONE SAYS IT BETTER THAN “STAND WITH US”
Say NO to BDS – Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions
Caroline Glick at the Jerusalem Post Conference 2013
Thank you Shalom TV
August 26th, 2014
BDS Victory Over SodaStream May Equal 900 Palestinians Out of Work
SodaStream is moving its Ma’ale Adumim factory to the Negev
One of the biggest news stories that accompanied the start of 2014 was Scarlett Johansson being named as the global ambassador of SodaStream, an Israeli company based out of the West Bank settlement of Ma’ale Adumim, which develops home carbonation systems that allow users to convert tap water into sparkling water, in more than 100 flavors.
Fresh off of signing the contract with SodaStream, Johansson found herself quickly under fire for supporting a company in “occupied” Palestinian Territories, with New York Magazine referring to the company as “blood bubbles.” Reza Aslan, a well-known writer and academic, later called Johansson a Nazi supporter for working with SodaStream.
The confrontation didn’t end there, however. The SodaStream ad Johansson appeared in would end up almost being banned by the Super Bowl – though they claimed it wasn’t political – and she would end up stepping down from her long-held post as global ambassador of Oxfam due to a “fundamental difference of opinion.” Obviously, anti-Israel crusader Roger Waters also condemned the actress for her unwavering support of SodaStream.
In the days that followed, many argued that Oxfam was being hypocritical and that the waves of protesters who began advocating for the boycott of SodaStream would hurt both Israelis AND Palestinians. After all, 900 Palestinians were employed at the company’s biggest plastics and metals factory in Ma’ale Adumim.
“Those who seek to help the Palestinians end up hurting us,” said Nabil Bashrat, 40, a resident of Ramallah who worked at the factory.
“(The factory) provides income to hundreds of families, entire villages. Peace is what happens here inside, and not outside. Those who are abroad don’t understand the relations and actually sabotage the process. The factory draws us closer. Even in times of instability, as was during the war in Gaza, everything was as usual here.”
Unfortunately for Bashrat, however, and the other 900 Palestinian SodaStream employees, it seems the BDS supporters are more concerned with boycotting Israeli businesses who ‘occupy’ Palestinian settlements than helping the actual Palestinian people themselves.
Now, it seems the supporters finally have their wish: SodaStream has announced, in a reported non-political move, that they are opening up a new factory in a land that indisputably belongs to Israel (unless you’re a member of Hamas or ISIS), near the town of Lahavim in the Negev.
This could potentially mean that, if they evacuate the West Bank factory, the Israeli company will no longer be “occupying” in there any longer. Good job, BDS supporters.
Oh, it would also mean that 900 Palestinians – the people you claim you’re trying to protect here – are now out of a job.
The company will make the move sometime in 2015. While it will still practice its equal opportunity hiring practices, it seems more likely that the region’s Bedouin and African communities will be reaping the benefits of employment as opposed to the Palestinians.
Great job BDS supporters. Way to help out those Palestinians you know and understand so much.
UPDATE: As predicted, SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum has announced that the company may indeed close its doors in its West Bank location, and also said it was not due to the boycott. “The considerations will be purely financial, and do not include the European boycott on manufacturing in the territories,” said Birnbaum. “Nor [will they include] the various calls to boycott products of the company because of its location in Ma’aleh Adumim. The boycott is a nuisance, but does not cause serious financial damage. We are not giving in to the boycott. We are Zionist.”
July 13, 2014
Madonna calls for an end to rockets
Queen of pop posted a tribute to murdered teens on her Facebook page, urging Israelis and Palestinians
to reach a ceasefire agreement amid escalating violence.
The queen of pop, Madonna, is urging Israel and Gaza to come to a ceasefire agreement.
“Conflicts can never be resolved through violence! Cease fire on both sides.. All human life is precious! #humandignity #revolutionoflove” -Madonna
The 55-year-old diva made two consecutive posts, both urging an end to the violence. One post was accompanied by a picture of the three young Israeli yeshiva students who went missing in the West Bank last month and were later found dead, and the other accompanied by a picture of the 16-year-old Palestinian boy who was kidnapped shortly after and found dead near Jerusalem.
The kidnappings were closely followed by a tense escalation of violence including long-range rocket launching from Gaza aimed at metropolitan areas and harsh Israeli airstrikes aimed at demolishing terror sites, resulting in more than 100 casualties. Operation Protective Edge, Israel’s offensive against Gaza is now in its sixth day.
Madonna has been known to have a keen interest in Kabballah, the study of Jewish mysticism, and although she doesn’t identify as Jewish, Madonna is a strong advocate for the ancient Jewish study.
July 13, 2014
Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder launches anti-Israel diatribe during concert
Pearl Jam lead singer Eddie Vedder unleashed a harsh anti-Israel diatribe on stage during his band’s concert at Milton Keynes Bowl in England on Friday.
In a video clip posted on YouTube, Vedder begins to address the tens of thousands of spectators in attendance in the middle of his band’s rendition of the hit song “Daughter.”
“What the f—? What the f—?” Vedder said, alternately taking sips of wine from a bottle he was holding on stage. “We can have this many people having a peaceful time. We can have modern technology. We can reach our friends. We know what they’re thinking before they’re thinking it. The advertisers know what we’re thinking before we’re thinking it. We have technology – all this in our hands.”
“At the same time that something this positive is happening, not even that far away, people are f—ing dropping bombs on each other.”
Although he never explicitly mentions Israel by name, Vedder denounces “those who go across borders and take over land that doesn’t belong to them.”
“I swear to f—ing god, there are people out there who are looking for a reason to kill,” the famed American rocker said. “They’re looking for a reason to go across borders and take over land that doesn’t belong to them. They should get the f—out, and mind their own f—ing business.”
“We don’t want to give them our money. We don’t want to give them our taxes to drop bombs on children.”
It was this point that Vedder began belting out lyrics from Edwin Starr’s pacifist anthem, “War.”
Vedder’s remarks drew a sharp rebuke from Israeli fans of Pearl Jam who had launched a social media campaign aimed at bringing the band here to perform a show.
Ben Red, a rock disc jockey for Israel Radio’s music station 88FM and one of the campaign’s organizers, denounced Vedder on his Facebook page.
“Eddie Vedder, your true face is finally being revealed,” Red wrote. “You are invited not to come here. I personally do not want to see you, and I will erase the Facebook page calling on bringing [Pearl Jam] to Israel, but not before I expose who you really are.”
June 22, 2014
Presbyterians Join the Anti-Israel Choir
Divesting from companies like Motorola Solutions to show solidarity with the Palestinians.
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is bleeding members. Between 2000 and 2013, almost 765,000 members left the organization, a loss of nearly 30%. Last week the church’s leadership met in Detroit for crisis talks.
No, not about the emptying-pews crisis. The Israel-Palestinian crisis.
On Friday, in a close vote (310-303), the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)—the largest of several Presbyterian denominations in America—resolved to divest the organization’s stock in Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard and Motorola Solutions. The church’s Committee on Mission Responsibility Through Investment said the companies have continued to “profit from their involvement in the occupation and the violation of human rights in the region,” and have even “deepened their involvement in roadblocks to a just peace.” Israel’s counterterrorism and defense measures have included razing Palestinian houses (with Caterpillar equipment), operating Gaza and West Bank checkpoints (with Hewlett-Packard technology), and utilizing military communications and surveillance (with Motorola Solutions technology).
The church signaled its antipathy for Israel earlier this year by hawking a study guide called “Zionism Unsettled” in its online church store. In the 76-page pamphlet, Zionism—the movement to establish a Jewish homeland and nation-state in the historic land of Israel—is characterized as a “a struggle for colonial and racist supremacist privilege.”
In a postscript to “Zionism Unsettled,” Naim Ateek, a Palestinian priest and member of the Anglican Church, explains the meaning of the charges in the pamphlet. “It is the equivalent of declaring Zionism heretical, a doctrine that fosters both political and theological injustice. This is the strongest condemnation that a Christian confession can make against any doctrine that promotes death rather than life.”
In one response, Katharine Henderson, president of New York’s Auburn Theological Seminary, said in February that the “premise of the document appears to be that Zionism is the cause of the entire conflict in the Middle East,” in essence “the original sin, from which flows all the suffering of the Palestinian people.” And amid intense criticism of the study guide from the Anti-Defamation League and other groups, the church’s General Assembly declared on Wednesday that ” ‘Zionism Unsettled’ does not represent the views of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).” But the assembly didn’t bar the church from continuing to distribute and sell it.
The divestment resolution that ultimately passed included language affirming Israel’s right to exist and denying that divesting from the three companies is tantamount to alignment with the broader Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. Still, the vote is a victory for anti-Israel forces within the church. And the divestment vote hardly means that the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is ready to shift its focus: The organization’s Middle East Issues Committee sees only one Middle East issue. All 14 of the matters before it this year concerned Israel and Palestine. No Syria. No Iraq.
Another vote regarding Palestinian-Israeli matters by the church’s General Assembly, seemingly more innocuous, is actually more disturbing. The vote instructed the church’s Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy to prepare a report to help the General Assembly reconsider its commitment to a two-state solution and to create a study guide “that will help inform the whole church of the situation on the ground in Palestine.”
In its “advice and counsel” on an anti-divestment proposal, the committee voiced its support for the boycott-Israel movement, compared Israel with apartheid-era South Africa and declared Israel responsible for its own “de-legitimation.” It complained that the anti-divestment proposal “prioritize[d] Israel’s security and underline[d] the flaws of Hamas and other ‘hostile’ neighbors without noting the constant violence of the occupation.” Even with respect to Hamas, whose charter commits it to the destruction of Israel, the committee felt compelled to put “hostile” in scare quotes. The committee has some history on this score: In 2004, it drew widespread condemnation for meeting with leaders of the terrorist organization Hezbollah.
The General Assembly instructed the advisory committee that the new study guide should “honestly point out” that “simple financial investment in a completely occupied land where the occupiers are relentless and unwavering regarding their occupation is not enough to dismantle the matrix of that occupation or dramatically change the vast majority of communities or individual lives that are bowed and broken by systematic and intentional injustice.” The vote to commission the guide was 482-88.
With a dwindling membership, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) clearly needs new friends, but the church does itself no favors by courting Israel’s enemies.
Mr. Marks is a professor of politics at Ursinus College in Collegeville, Pa.
June 4, 2014
Ellen DeGeneres Stands by SodaStream, Buys Israeli Pilot
It’s no secret that Ellen DeGeneres recently made a generous gift of eco-friendly SodaStreams to an entire studio audience, as part of her Earth Day show. Given SodaStream has eliminated the need for plastic soda bottles with a product that uses no electricity, makes drinking soda more healthy, and provides Palestinian Arabs with quality jobs that pay the same wages as those received by Israelis, it’s not hard to see why Ellen chose SodaStream as a perfect fit for both Earth Day and the values she maintains. As she shared with her Facebook audience when singled out by boycott activists who were attempting to have her fired as a spokesperson for J.C. Penney due to her sexual preference in February 2012:
“I usually don’t talk about stuff like this on my show, but I really want to thank everyone who is supporting me. Here are the values I stand for: I stand for honesty, equality, kindness, compassion, treating people the way you’d want to be treated and helping those in need. To me, those are traditional values. That’s what I stand for.” – Ellen DeGeneres
After the highly publicized pressure that advocates of a cultural boycott of Israel recently placed upon Scarlett Johannson for maintaining her role as spokeswoman for SodaStream, one might have anticipated more than just a few back-and-forths on DeGeneres’ Twitter page by a campaign trying to convince the world of its growing “movement.” Instead, their fast-to-fizzle efforts were not enough to warrant a response from the principled comedienne unless one may consider it a response that her production company just bought the rights to Israeli Artza Productions and Channel 10’s “The Gran Plan,” which only just aired in Israel. DeGeneres is expected to produce a pilot based on the format.
Creative Community For Peace thanks Scarlett Johannson and Ellen Degeneres for having the courage of their convictions and maintaining the kind of integrity that represents, as Degeneres so eloquently said, “traditional values” of honesty, equality, kindness and compassion are worth standing for – we couldn’t agree more!
May 21, 2014
Danny Glover Champions Boycott, Discrimination, and Segregation (BDS)
Times of Israel
Danny Glover, William Ayers, rapper Invincible, as well as others involved in the making of “American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs” recently issued a statement which called for the film to be withdrawn from the annual documentary film festival DocAviv, in Tel Aviv, in support of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaign (BDS). The statement read, “We stand in solidarity with the people of Palestine, and support their call for cultural and academic boycott of Israel.”
To their shame, boycott proponents are segregating audiences into two groups — the rest of the world and Israelis.
Creative Community For Peace (CCFP), an organization comprised of prominent members of the entertainment industry, is founded on the belief that art and music build bridges and opposes the singling out of Israel for a cultural boycott. BDS attempts to delegitimize Israel based on misinformation, including false accusations that it is an apartheid state that denies its citizens civil rights and engages in discrimination and segregation.
Expressing support for BDS, in combination with simultaneously urging that the film be made available in Palestine, not only fosters misinformation about Israel but promotes discrimination and undermines the possibility of social change, the legacy of the subject herself. It would appear Glover and companions fail to see this irony.
DocAviv Festival in Tel Aviv is an international competition that presents innovative and compelling documentaries to a broad audience and facilitates professional networking as well as audience interaction. The protest issued on May 12 was too late to effect the scheduled screening on May 13 and 15. “The festival organizers and film producers informed us that [withdrawing the film] was not possible and they would move forward with the screening, over our objections,” said the boycott proponents.
That the DocAviv Festival chose to screen a film that champions the life and work of an Israel detractor is itself a sign of Israel’s flourishing pluralistic society – and it completely undermines the baseless accusations of the boycott movement. The attempts by Glover and companions to compare Israel to the Jim Crow South are emotionally manipulative and completely unfounded. Israel is the only democratic state in the Middle East. It affords equal rights to all of its citizens, has never practiced racial segregation of any kind, and consistently works to encourage and enable Arab integration in every area of life. All of its citizens, regardless of race, gender, sexual preference, or religion, share the same restaurants, water fountains, hospitals, grocery stores, beaches, restrooms, and more. They freely engage in dialogue, express views without restraint, serve in the military, practice their religions, and choose their fashions, partners, and politics. Further, Arabs and women have always served in key roles of government in Israel, which currently boasts 12 democratically elected Arab members of the Knesset. The great Martin Luther King, Jr., accurately described Israel as “one of the great outposts of democracy in the world.”
As a self-described feminist, Boggs, the film’s star, should be pleased to note that Golda Meir, Israel’s first prime minister, was one of the world’s most respected democratically elected female leaders. Additionally, in the ethnically and racially diverse Israel, beauty comes in many colors. The recently crowned Miss Israel was born in Ethiopia and, in response to a judge’s question, had this to say, “There are many different communities of many different colors in Israel, and it’s important to show that to the world.”
Art is often the means through which ideas are communicated and change is born. While this concept appears to have been understood by the producer-director who entered the film into the festival, it sadly appears to have been lost on Glover and company. Boggs, who is described by herself and others as a devoted activist committed to civil rights, should in fact be championing this exhibition. Clearly, she and the other signatories believe Israel is in need of social change, but they illogically wish to deny those they deem most in need of that change the benefit of receiving their message.
The hallmark of the civil rights movement was the fight against discrimination and segregation, and, yet Glover, Invincible, Boggs, and others who support the BDS campaign are singling out Israelis for discrimination solely based on nationality. Unethical on its face, it paints all Israelis with a single brush, ignoring the fact that the country has a diverse population, including nearly 1.7 million Arab citizens (20% of the population) who would also be denied the opportunity to experience this film.
CCFP believes art is unique in its universality, in its ability to touch people from different parts of the planet in similar ways. It has the power to remind us of what we have in common, to make a difference, and to promote peace. It should not be denied to anyone.
May 7, 2014
A Slap to the BDS Bullies
Honest Reporting Daily Blog
One of the most insidious elements of the BDS assault on Israel’s legitimacy is the high profile targeting of culture figures who agree to visit Israel or speak out positively about Israel.
BDS gains undeserved headlines every time it browbeats a celebrity to forego visiting Israel. In recent times, however, the group has been getting publicity it may not want – culture figures standing up to the challenge and declaring their support for Israel.
That’s exactly what happened this week when Telegraph writer Jake Wallis Simons found himself on the receiving end of a bully campaign for agreeing to participate in a literary event in Jerusalem:
Later this month, I am planning to travel to Israel to appear in the Jerusalem literary festival. As surely as night follows day, I have received an “open letter” from a group of 71 activists calling themselves the British Writers in Support of Palestine (BWIP), led by a poet and “professional Tarot card reader”. They were, I was informed, “extremely disappointed” by my decision, and “respectfully encouraged” me to boycott the event.
Join the Fighting BDS Facebook page and take a stand against the delegitimization of Israel.
Simons then goes on to explain why he rejected the boycott, noting numerous inconsistencies in the way Israel is treated by the boycotters compared to other countries.
He also points out the hypocrisy at the heart of the boycott movement:
By the standards of the pro-boycott activists, should the Palestinians not also be boycotted? Their society is severely intolerant of homosexuals; many go to live in Israel rather than face oppression at home. The Palestinian government has signed a reconciliation deal with a terror organisation, and within weeks they may form a unity government. As I reported in the Telegraph last week, the Palestinian leadership pays huge financial rewards to those convicted of terror offences, and cold-blooded child killers are celebrated as heroes when they are released.
While we’re on the subject, shouldn’t the BWIP have called their group “British Writers In Support of Palestine and Israel”? And if not, why not?
As a reporter, Simons writes, “I value objectivity above all, and am not interested in closing my ears to one side of any story, particularly a story as complex as this.”
Maybe if more culture figures respond to BDS bullying by praising Israel for its freedom, holding the Palestinians accountable for their oppression, and drawing attention the hypocricy at the heart of the BDS, the bullies would have to think twice about their tactics.
February 26, 2014
BDS: You Can’t Fight for Justice With Hypocrisy
A Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) protest against Israel. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.
Less than a week before Israel Apartheid Week opened on college campuses across the U.S. and UK, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fired the first shot in Israel’s defense. Referring to the founders of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS) as “classical anti-Semites in modern garb,” Netanyahu said the time has come to delegitimize those who delegitimize Israel.
Netanyahu was likely referring to people such as Omar Barghouti, one of the main founders of the BDS movement and its chief ideologue.
Barghouti claims his movement is opposed to all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism. His own statements, however, demonize Israel and fall well beyond the scope of legitimate criticism. At a speech in Los Angeles earlier this year, for example, Barghouti claimed that IDF soldiers shoot Palestinian children “for sport” just because they are “bored.”
Still, criticism of Netanyahu’s statement came quickly. The Forward published a piece the following day with the unambiguous headline, “BDS is Not Anti-Semitism.” The writer, Emily Hauser, dismissed Netanyahu’s accusations as a cover for Israel’s presence in the West Bank.
And yet, Hauser also adds, “I do not doubt that some members of that movement are unrepentant anti-Semites — just as some members of the Greater Israel movement are unrepentant racists and Islamophobes.”
It’s not just Hauser who acknowledges that a portion of the BDS movement is, indeed, anti-Semitic. New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, writing a few weeks earlier, admitted the same thing.
Friedman noted that students on many college campuses had started boycotting Israel until it withdraws from the West Bank. However, he adds, “Israelis are right to suspect some boycotters of using this cause as a cover for anti-Semitism, given how Israel’s misdeeds are singled out.”
Even Jay Michaelson, a notable left-leaning political commentator, writing in the Forward almost exactly a year before Hauser, echoed her message almost exactly. “Of course there is anti-Semitism in the BDS world — just as there is racism among many right-wing Zionists.”
There is, of course, a significant difference between the BDS movement and Hauser’s Greater Israel and Michaelson’s right-wing Zionists. Those movements are political; BDS claims to be moral. Its call for boycott is couched in the language of justice. The essence of Israel Apartheid Week is the fight against racism.
Except, it isn’t really a fight against racism when it’s carried out by racists and Jew haters. And even supporters of the BDS movement who are not themselves anti-Semitic are aware of the anti-Semitism that permeates the movement. And a movement that tolerates anti-Semitism lacks moral authority.
In a recent column in Haaretz, Peter Beinart suggested that organized Jewish groups would be more effective in the fight against BDS if they actively opposed settlement growth as a sign of commitment to the two-state solution. A similar test can be applied to BDS. The movement would be more credible in its calls for justice if it made a credible effort to fight anti-Semitism, beginning with the anti-Semitism of its own members, alongside the fight for the rights of Palestinians.
You can’t fight for justice with hypocrisy, and there is no bigger hypocrisy today than Israel Apartheid Week.
The darker side of Oxfam
Jake Wallis Simons
February 5th, 2014
Scarlett Johanssen’s breakup with Oxfam over her support for the Israeli company SodaStream has caused fresh scrutiny to be applied to the charity.
And with fresh scrutiny comes fresh revelations.
On Sunday, an Oxfam spokesman gave his organisation’s official line to Haaretz, a Left-leaning Israeli newspaper.
“We don’t provide financial support to the BDS [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions] campaign or fund activities that call for a boycott of Israel,” he said.
“Oxfam is not opposed to trade with Israel, and we don’t support a boycott of Israel or any other country. However, we do oppose trade with Israeli settlements in the West Bank.”
One would expect no less from a charity dedicated to eradicating poverty around the world.
As the latest iteration of the Oxfam website puts it, “lift one person and they will lift others”. This is supported by a short film displaying the slogans, “water for good, food for good, earn for good, learn for good, grow for good, together for good, all for good, lift lives for good”.
But lurking behind this carefully-crafted website, and indeed the spokesman’s carefully-worded statement, is a rather different reality.
In truth, Oxfam channels charity funds to political groups which follow deeply partisan agendas, and support the boycott of Israel.
Over the last few years, Oxfam GB and the Dutch branch of the charity, Oxfam Novib, have granted many tens of thousands pounds to Coalition of Women for Peace (CWP).
This group is linked to whoprofits.org, a website that publicly identifies boycott targets, including Israeli banks, utility providers and companies like SodaStream.
In 2013, Oxfam Novib alone donated more than £70,000 to the group.
Some of the companies listed have just the vaguest connection to the West Bank or the Israeli military.
Motorola is named because of its “long-standing cooperation with Israeli security forces” (it provides the Israel Defence Force (IDF) with encrypted smartphones). Hewlitt Packard, also mentioned on the site, has provided computer systems and biometric access control systems to the IDF.
Oxfam Novib, which receives tens of millions of Euros from the Dutch government, is also a substantial supporter of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PHCR), the organisation behind many “lawfare” suites against Israel, including attempts to arrest Israeli officials abroad.
In 2009, it sponsored Ali Abunimah, co-founder of the popular anti-Israel website Electronic Intifada, to give a presentation in the Netherlands in which he advocated BDS and accused Israel of “ethnic cleansing”, “colonisation” and “apartheid”.
Last year, Oxfam’s logo also appeared on a poster advertising a conference promoting the elimination of Israel as a Jewish state, which was organised by a radical group called Zochrot. Oxfam, however, denies any involvement.
Moreover, as I reported in December, Oxfam GB (as well as UNICEF and Christian Aid) has funded the controversial Left-wing pressure group Breaking the Silence.
Alun McDonald, Oxfam spokesperson in Jerusalem, said: “Oxfam funds Palestinian and Israeli civil society organisations on projects to reduce poverty and address injustice. We value the independence of our partners and we do not expect our grantees to agree with us on all policy issues. We do not provide support to partner activities that call for the boycott of Israel.”
But according to Professor Gerald Steinberg, the president of NGO Monitor, the agenda behind Oxfam’s statements is clear. “For Oxfam to say that it does not support the boycott is like a company claiming that it opposes air pollution, but invests in a coal power plant,” he said.
Israel is considering steps to address the problem of foreign entities interfering in Israeli politics by proxy.
In December, a controversial bill was proposed which would levy a 45 per cent tax on donations from foreign organisations or governments to NGOs that support BDS, demand Israeli soldiers to be tried in international courts, or support terrorism against Israel.
It remains to be seen whether this measure, if adopted, will deter Oxfam and others from funding Israeli political groups. Either way, next time you consider setting up a standing order to donate money to Oxfam, it might be as well to bear in mind where this money is going.
The Times of Israel’s
Seeing SodaStream for myself
February 3, 2014
I’d given up all carbonated drinks over a decade ago (sorry Coke and Pepsi… and SodaStream) so I have no brand loyalty when it comes to SodaStream or any other sparkling beverage. But thanks to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and Oxfam, SodaStream has become the latest flash-point in the demonization campaign against Israel. So, despite the fact that Scarlett Johansson was not going to be there, I jumped at the opportunity to visit SodaStream’s factory in Mishor Adumim, some ten minutes outside Jerusalem.
I joined a group of some 40 journalists representing media outlets from across the globe, all of them drawn to a story that has received a remarkable amount of attention in recent days.
It has it all – the glamorous movie star, a dispute with a major “human rights” organization, controversy over Israeli “settlements,” an international boycott campaign, a Super Bowl ad. What more could you want from a story involving Israelis and Palestinians?
SodaStream, to its credit, has come out fighting against the campaign being waged against it. After visiting the factory, meeting Palestinian employees and hearing from CEO Daniel Birnbaum, I could see that the BDS brigade had picked the wrong target on so many levels.
Here is a company that was not only promoting less sugary beverages and environmentalism, but also promotes peace between peoples by creating workplace coexistence.
A cacophony of noise from machinery greeted us as we entered the factory work space. Dozens of workers sitting at production lines manually putting together the familiar bottles and soda-making machines found in homes around the world. The media pack was literally let loose in the factory to roam with microphones and cameras in hand with no restrictions on who to grab for an interview or comment.
I’m not a journalist by trade and I must admit to feeling uncomfortable with the way that the workers putting together the recyclable bottles and carbonating machines were on display. Whether they liked it or not, they would find themselves the subjects of the cameras.
Interestingly, there were also a few Arab women, clearly observant Muslims, working side-by-side with the men on the factory floor – a further sign that SodaStream runs a “progressive” workplace.
Much has already been written about how the SodaStream factory employs nearly 1300 people, 500 of them Palestinians from the West Bank and another 450 Israeli Arabs and how they work as a “family” with Jewish co-workers, earning far more than the average West Bank wage and employment benefits.
But this was a chance to hear from the workers themselves, many of whom were happy to go on the record with the journalists there. I wandered around the factory listening to Palestinian workers extolling the virtues of working at SodaStream. The overwhelming impression was of a workforce that was truly invested in what they were doing. No senior managers looked over their shoulders or ours while these interviews were taking place.
When one Palestinian worker repeatedly told me “I love SodaStream,” he wasn’t just referring to the fizzy stuff. He told me how much he appreciated working for a company that treated all of its employees well, paid them a good wage and created a working environment where everyone was part of a family irrespective of nationality. Many expressed similar sentiments.
Granted, I’m not sure how much I’d “love” working on a production line for a living but the employees I heard from flatly denied there was any discrimination between Jews and Arabs pointing to the equal opportunities that existed in the company.
Following this, we had the opportunity for a Q and A with SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum. Much of the questioning demonstrated the journalists’ framing of the issue – it was all about the “settlements.”
The opening question was a statement from one journalist that the location of the factory in “occupied territory” was an “obstacle to peace” and how could Birnbaum not see the contradictions between this and his vision of bringing Jews and Arabs together in the workplace. Birnbaum replied by asking how could a place of employment be an obstacle to peace?
He pointed out that the factory at Mishor Adumim is not a settlement but an industrial zone and and as far as he was concerned, he would operate the factory whether it was under Israeli or Palestinian control. After all, SodaStream has a factory in China along with 21 other countries. Does that mean that it is occupying China?
When asked about the effect of the BDS campaign on SodaStream’s business, Birnbaum pointed to 30-40% growth over the past five years. The people who pay the price for boycotts are the Palestinian workers themselves. Some Scandinavian countries have demanded that their SodaStream products be sourced from elsewhere, instead preferring that they get their goods made in that beacon of human rights, China. Were it not for a boycott like this, the Mishor Adumim factory would employ more Palestinians.
Asked about the current controversy and publicity, Birnbaum stated that it is convenient and popular to demonize Israel and that NGOs such as Oxfam were more concerned with attacking Israel than dealing with human rights. After all, what would be achieved if SodaStream were to lay off hundreds of Palestinians leaving them jobless with no way to feed their families?
Birnbaum also accused Oxfam of funding groups responsible for the BDS campaign.
I was tremendously impressed with Daniel Birnbaum’s commitment to peaceful co-existence and SodaStream’s practical role in promoting it. While the boycotters may wish to see the factory closed down, he would not let his workers down.
Less impressive, however, was the line of questioning from many of the journalists. The same people who had just met with and interviewed Palestinians happy with their lot were still unable to get beyond their preconceptions. It seems that even if Birnbaum were to throw wads of free cash for the Palestinians, it wouldn’t be good enough for them.
In their eyes, the welfare of ordinary Palestinians is secondary to the wider consideration of cleansing Jews from the West Bank. Sadly, some of the journalists’ worldview evidently isn’t that far from that of the BDS movement.
Johansson stepping down as Oxfam ambassador
Derrik J. Lang
January 29, 2014
In this Sept. 3, 2013 file photo, actress Scarlett Johansson poses for photographers on the red carpet for the screening of the film “Under The Skin” at the 70th edition of the Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy. Johansson is ending her relationship with Oxfam International after being criticized over her support for an Israeli company that operates in the West Bank. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini, File)
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Scarlett Johansson is ending her relationship with a humanitarian group after being criticized over her support for an Israeli company that operates in the West Bank.
A statement released by Johansson’s spokesman Wednesday said the 29-year-old actress has “a fundamental difference of opinion” with Oxfam International because the humanitarian group opposes all trade from Israeli settlements, saying they are illegal and deny Palestinian rights.
“Scarlett Johansson has respectfully decided to end her ambassador role with Oxfam after eight years,” the statement said. “She and Oxfam have a fundamental difference of opinion in regards to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. She is very proud of her accomplishments and fundraising efforts during her tenure with Oxfam.”
Earlier this month, “The Avengers” and “Her” actress signed on as the first global brand ambassador of SodaStream International Ltd., and she’s set to appear in an ad for the at-home soda maker during the Super Bowl on Feb. 2.
SodaStream has come under fire from pro-Palestinian activists for maintaining a large factory in an Israeli settlement in the West Bank, a territory captured by Israel in 1967 and claimed by the Palestinians.
In response to the criticism, Johansson said last week she was a “supporter of economic cooperation and social interaction between a democratic Israel and Palestine.”
Oxfam took issue with Johansson, noting it was “considering the implications of her new statement and what it means for Ms. Johansson’s role as an Oxfam global ambassador.”
Johansson had served as a global ambassador for Oxfam since 2007, raising funds and promoting awareness about global poverty. In her role as an Oxfam ambassador, she traveled to India, Sri Lanka and Kenya to highlight the impact of traumatic disasters and chronic poverty.
Oxfam representatives did not immediately return messages seeking comment.
Eighty years ago, the Nazis dispatched thousands of SA thugs to enforce their boycott of Jewish businesses. Stars of David were painted on windows. Leaflets listing the crimes of the Jews were handed out. Cameras were set up outside stores to photograph anyone violating the Nazi BDS campaign.
Like modern BDS campaigns, it went beyond businesses to Jewish hospitals, Jewish professionals and Jewish academics. Its goal was to pave the way for mass murder by isolating the Jews of Germany.
Goebbels, Hitler’s propaganda minister, called the boycott a “great moral victory.” Modern BDS activists echo his rhetoric calling their attacks on Jewish businesses and academics a “moral victory”.
The Muslim boycott of Jewish businesses in Israel began in the twenties and predated the Nazi boycott. It may have even helped to inspire it. This was followed by the Arab League boycott of Israel after the Holocaust. The modern BDS boycott is the direct successor of a Saudi policy under a progressive flag.
The BDS boycott of Israel has no peaceful agenda. It does not take breaks during peace negotiations. Its activists do not care whether there are negotiations or not. They just want Israel gone.
Boycotts isolate a group, cutting it off from support, dehumanizing it and then destroying it. The academic boycott of Israel by the American Studies Association, a radical left-wing group that has declared that opposition to American imperialism is at the center of its field, holds to that aim.
The only way to fight a boycott is with a boycott. Either you isolate the people whose goal is to cut you off from the larger society or they cut you off. The dueling boycotts in the 1930s settled the question of who would be isolated as a problematic group, the Nazis or the Jews, when the world accepted the Nazi regime and rejected the Jews. The question was only truly reopened with the invasion of Poland.
Today the question is whether the Jews or the terrorists trying to kill them will be the ones isolated.
The Nazis began as a fringe group. They took over because there were too few decent people willing to stand up to them. Like the rest of the BDS movement; the ASA is a fringe group. The question is will anyone stand up to the BDS movement and its ASA allies?
In the seventies, the United States responded to the Arab League boycott by banning American companies from complying with it. The modern progressive rebirth of that boycott should be met by banning the use of American taxpayer money to fund any organization or event that provides material aid to terrorists by boycotting the Jewish State.
The ban on the use of public funds to subsidize boycotting groups could be used to not only to cut direct funding of such organizations, but would require organizations that provide them with funding to prove that no Federal grant money is being used to subsidize boycotting groups or events by these groups.
The practical effect of such measures would be a boycott of the boycotters forcing non-profits and government organizations to either end funding of these groups or to make their funding process so difficult that the flow of money would diminish.
Bills such as these can be passed by Congress and by states, cities and towns to ensure that any boycotting organization is boycotted by preventing taxpayer money from flowing to it. Efforts to kickstart bills may be easiest in a few heavily Jewish municipalities—including New York City.
Individuals can lead the way by writing to pro-Israel council members, state senators, senators, congressmen and other legislators at all levels of government urging them to advance such a bill.
The sooner action begins; the less likely it will be that any major university will cross that red line. If it does cross that red line then the legislation will be burdened by protests from students and faculty.
While BDS activists target companies and individuals, they have had their biggest successes with non-profits. And non-profits are vulnerable because they are parasitically dependent on outside money.
Until the government acts, individuals who are asked to donate to colleges should reply that they will only donate if it is established that their money will not in any way go to fund members or groups that conduct a boycott of Israel. Enough such requests will lead to an internal “boycott” within academic institutions forcing them to carefully source funds to and segregate funds around boycotting groups.
Even a public conversation about such measures will encourage the remaining 81 schools that are institutional members, such as Rutgers, Brigham Young University, the University of Texas and NYU, to join the schools such as Penn State that have done the right thing by pulling out.
Boycotts, like all forms of bullying, are easy when the bully doesn’t pay a price. A minority of ASA members voted to boycott Israel because it was easier for them to go along than to stand up to the radicals who had hijacked their organization. That will change when there are real consequences, not just for the people whom they are boycotting, but for them as well.
An unfortunate truth of human nature is that many people unthinkingly follow orders. And that is as true of the academics of the American Studies Association as it is of the shoppers in the plazas of Berlin. There were those good Germans who defied the Nazis and their boycott and there are those good ASA members who have chosen to cut their ties with it, rather than be complicit in its bigotry and hate.
But the majority often takes the easy way out by going along with those who are shouting the loudest until they are confronted with the terrible consequences of their actions.
A boycott represents a power relationship. Those who boycott presume that they have the right to cut off a group from society because society hates the group that they have targeted as much as they do. Now is the time to test this faulty premise of the BDS movement and the American Studies Association and see whether Americans, who invariably poll pro-Israel, support Israel or the Muslim terrorists.
The United States is not Nazi Germany even if some academics talk like it is and act like it is. Those academics who try to play Goebbels may have a nasty surprise waiting for them when Americans reject them and everything that they stand for.
The Un-American Studies Association
December 16, 2013
The American Studies Association has voted 2-to-1 for an academic boycott of Israel.
The best comment on this move came from former Harvard president Lawrence
Summers, who criticized the idea that of all the countries in the world that might be
thought to have human rights abuses, that might be thought to have inappropriate
foreign policies, that might be thought to be doing things wrong, the idea that there’s
only one that is worthy of boycott, and that is Israel.
There are 200,000 dead in Syria and millions of refugees, zero academic freedom in China….well, why go on; none of these matters seems worthy of notice by the ASA. It is illuminating that one of the endorsers of this move (actually, it is the second name that appears) on the ASA web site is Angela Davis, former Communist Party candidate for national office and now professor of Feminist Studies Emerita at UC Santa Cruz. She, like the ASA, has long been blind to human rights abuses–except in Israel.
This move by the ASA will not harm Israel, but it is enlightening for anyone with children attending or soon to be attending college that this group of academics harbors such an extraordinary bias. The much larger American Association of University Professors has opposed this and all academic boycotts, but that is only partial comfort. The AAUP opposition means that ASA members had a principled and academically defensible basis for voting against the boycott of Israel, yet they voted for it. Those votes express not only bias against Israel, for the reasons Summers notes, but a bias as well against the spirit of free inquiry that is supposed to infuse American academia.
The AAUP position is worth quoting:
the AAUP has been committed to preserving and advancing the free exchange of ideas among academics irrespective of governmental policies and however unpalatable those policies may be viewed. We reject proposals that curtail the freedom of teachers and researchers to engage in work with academic colleagues, and we reaffirm the paramount importance of the freest possible international movement of scholars and ideas.
Los Angeles Times
Despite boycott calls, Pixies and Soundgarden are expected in Israel
December 25, 2013
The Pixies performing at the Echo in Los Angeles in September. The band reportedly will play at a festival in Israel in June. It canceled a 2010 concert in Tel Aviv following a deadly episode in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
Amid controversy that has flared recently over calls for cultural boycotts agains Israel, the bands the Pixies and Soundgarden have been booked to play in June at a rock festival at a stadium in Tel Aviv, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports.
Boycotts have long been a political pressure tactic advocated by some of the most intense critics of Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians, and debate has intensified with this month’s call by the American Studies Assn., a national group of more than 5,000 U.S. educators, for an academic boycott of conferences and events sponsored by Israeli universities.
The Pixies are well acquainted with the volatile politics surrounding more than 65 years of Israeli-Palestinian strife. Booked to play in Israel in June 2010, the band canceled its show within a week of a deadly late-May Israeli naval raid on a flotilla of ships manned by pro-Palestinian Turkish activists. The activists were trying to break an Israeli blockade and bring supplies to the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian-controlled coastal area from which repeated rocket attacks had been launched against Israeli territory. The confrontation left nine activists dead and brought a global outcry against Israel.
The Pixies apologized for the 2010 cancellation in a statement addressed to Israeli fans, saying that “events beyond our control have conspired against us. We can only hope for better days, in which we will finally present the long-awaited visit of the Pixies in Israel.”
Former Pink Floyd member Roger Waters issued a call last August for rock musicians to shun Israel, which he accused of committing “the crime of apartheid” and “the crime of ethnic cleansing” against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank. In published statements, Waters and American novelist Alice Walker unsuccessfully urged Alicia Keys to cancel a concert in Tel Aviv last July.
According to a recent report in the Jerusalem Post, Lady Gaga and Justin Timberlake are booked to perform in Israel in 2014, but Beyonce had “frozen negotiations” until March over a possible concert there.
Rihanna performed two months ago for a reported crowd of 50,000 at a park in Tel Aviv, and Madonna opened a 2012 world tour in Israel with what she called a “Concert for Peace.”
Sir Tom Jones speaks out against anti-Israel protester
November 24, 2013
Sir Tom Jones says entertainers should ignore calls to boycott Israel because of its treatment of Palestinians
Sir Tom Jones says entertainers should ignore calls to boycott Israel Photo: REX FEATURES
When Sir Tom Jones announced that he was to sing in Israel, he declined to respond to protesters who urged him to boycott the country because of its treatment of Palestinians.
Now that the singer has performed his concerts, he has decided to speak out against the campaign which has seen musicians including Roger Waters, of Pink Floyd, Annie Lennox and Elvis Costello refuse to visit.
“I was in Israel two weeks ago, where a lot of singers won’t go,” says the entertainer, whose hits include It’s Not Unusual, Delilah and The Green, Green Grass of Home. “I don’t agree with that. I think entertainers should entertain. They should go wherever – there shouldn’t be any restrictions. I did two shows in Tel Aviv, and it was fantastic.”
Speaking at the annual dinner of Norwood, a charity supporting vulnerable children, families and people with learning disabilities, Sir Tom tells The Jewish News: “I wanted to go, because the Israeli people asked me. They would like me to sing, and I don’t see any problem in doing that. I don’t see why anyone would mix up the two things – entertainment and politics.”
Earlier this year, Waters called on fellow rock stars to boycott Israel. It came as an increasing number of musicians are refusing to perform there. Costello and Lennox are among the British musicians reported to have said they will no longer play concerts in Israel.
English Methodist Church revives the English anti-Semitism that expelled Jews in 1290, that issued the White Paper against Jews settling the Palestine Mandate and assured the success of the Holocaust.
Historical background: The first Blood Accusation, that Jews use the blood of Christians in our religious ceremonies, in Europe, was made in 1144 in the town of Norwich, England.
The English Methodist Church BDS project revives this disgraceful history of Jew hatred, slander and libel.
The English Jew hater Toynbee considered Judaism an anachronism. He was quite annoyed that we just wouldn’t go away. The English Methodist Church’s priests or deacons are unwitting (perhaps) disciples of Toynbee.
The wider context around Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS)
1. What do you understand to be the motivation/inspiration behind the call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions in relation to Israel?
THIS IS AN ILL-DISGUSED CONTINUATION OF THE ORIGINAL ARAB BOYCOTT AGAINST ISRAEL. THIS IS A CONTINUATION OF THE 100 YEARS OF WARFARE THE ARABS HAVE WAGED AGAINST THE JEWISH POPULATION THROUGHOUT THE MIDEAST. THE MOTIVATION / INSPIRATION OF BDS AGAINST ISRAEL IS TO USE ZIONISM AS A TAWDRY, BLATANTLY OBVIOUS EXCUSE TO CONTINUE EUROPEAN ANTI-SEMITISM BY OTHER MEANS. IT IS SINGULARLY HYPOCRITICAL.
2. In your view, what would be the essential elements of any peace agreement in Israel/Palestine?
WHAT IS PEACE IN THE MIDEAST? SYRIA? CHAOS IN LIBYA? THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD (MB) SEEKING CHAOS, VANDALISM, MURDER AND CHAOS IN EGYPT? THE EGYPTIAN FANATICS BURNING COPTIC CHURCHES AND KILLING COPTICS, RAPING AND KIDNAPING COPTIC GIRLS? SAUDI FUNDING OF WAHHABI EXTREMISM THROUGHOUT THE WORLD? IRAN’S WORLDWIDE TERROR REACH INCLUDING SENDING HIZBOLLAH AGENTS TO SOUTH AMERICA? IRAN DEVELOPING NUKES? IRAN PROMISING TO ANNIHILATE “ZIONISTS”, JEWS, AND ISRAEL — AND AMERICA? IRAN GIVING 80 LASHES TO CHRISTIANS WHO DRINK COMMUNION WINE? IRAN SENTENCE CONVERTS TO CHRISTIANITY TO DEATH? AL-QAEDA’S GLOBAL DEPREDATIONS? ARAB “HONOR KILLINGS”? ARAB MYSOGONY? ARAB HOMOPHOBIA? IRAN STONING WOMEN AND HANGING GAYS? IRAN RAPING GAYS TO DEATH WITH CLUBS AND BOTTLES, EVEN BROKEN ONES? THE TALIBAN?
WHY ARE YOU SO, SO, SO OBSESSED WITH THE PALESTINIANS? THE PALESTI\NIANS INVENTED GLOBAL JIHAD AGAINST JEWS AND ISRAEL. WHY DON’T YOU JUST DEMAND THAT THE PALESTINIANS FINALLY GROW UP AND GET ON WITH THEIR LIVES ALREADY? WHY DON’T YOU DEMAND THEY STOP PROMOSING TO KILL ALL THE JEWS AND ANNIHILATE ISRAEL? SEE PALESTINE MEDIA WATCH, WWW.PMW.ORG.
WHY DO YOU DEMAND A PALESTINE THAT IS JUDENREIN, THAT NAZI PHRASE “CLEAN OF JEWS”? NO JEWS, IT’S CLEAN. THAT IS THE PA DEMAND. THAT IS ABBAS’ DEMAND. WHY DO YOU INSIST THAT WHILE OVER 1 MILLION ARABS CAN LIVE IN ISRAEL WITH FULL, EQUAL RIGHTS, NOT A SINGLE JEW SHOULD LIVE IN JUDEA AND SAMARIA. JUDEA AND SAMARIA ARE THE REAL NAMES FOR THE SO-CALLED “WEST BANK.” WHY DON’T YOU RECOGNIZE THIS?
THE ESSENTIAL ELEMENT OF PEACE IS THAT THE ARABS ACCEPT ISRAEL AS A JEWISH STATE AND STOP CALLING THE REBIRTH OF ISRAEL A CATASTROPHE. WHEN YOUR CHURCH UNDERSTANDS THAT, IT WILL UNDERSTAND THE SITUATION.
3. Do you support a boycott of products produced within Israeli settlements?
ABSOLUTELY NOT. FIRST OF ALL, IT WOULD ECONOMICALLY HARM ARABS MORE THAN IT EVER WOULD ISRAEL. SECOND, IT WOULD GIVE A VICTORY TO THE PEOPLE WHO ARE BEHIND BDS WHO ARE ESSENTIALLY BORN-AGAIN NAZIS. YOU ARE COMPLETELY NAIVE, TO BE VERY, VERY KIND ABOUT WHO THOSE PEOPLE ARE. THEY ARE VILE, BASE, JEW HATING, CONSPIRACY MONGERING BIGOTS. AND YOU ARE BEING THEIR “USEFUL IDIOTS,” AS LENIN WOULD DESCRIBE YOU. WHAT YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND IS THAT AFTER DESTROYING ISRAEL AND THE U.S. AND THE WEST, YOU’RE NEXT, AS INDIVIDUALS. YOU ARE FOOLISH IN THE EXTREME. READ THEIR LITERATURE — AND I DON’T JUST MEAN THEIR INANE RANTS AGAINST ISRAEL. WHAT JUST HAPPENED TO THE AMERICAN STUDENT FROM FLORIDA IN LONDON? WHAT HAPPENED TO HIM? HE IS SCARRED FOR LIFE? WHERE IS YOUR BDS CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE THREAT TO YOUR OWN HOMELAND? YOUR OWN CIVILIZATION AND WAY OF LIFE?
4. Do you support the call for a wider consumer boycott of all Israeli products?
I BELIEVE YOU SHOULD BE CONSISTENT: TURN OFF EVERY COMPUTER DEVICE YOU HAVE. REJECT NUMEROUS MEDICAL ADVANCES AND DRUGS.
IN OTHER WORDS, UNPLUG FROM THE MODERN WORLD AND DROP DEAD IF ANYTHING GOES WRONG.
THIS IS BRAINLESS HYPOCRISY. WITH YOUR SELF-RIGHTEOUS EGOTISM AND EFFETE BIGOTRY, YOU WOULD BOYCOTT ANYTHING THAT WILL HURT THE JEWISH STATE, ANYTHING THAT SUITS YOU, BUT YOU WILL SAVE YOUR OWN MISERABLE HIDES AND NETWORK, BLOG AND SURF THE NET TO YOUR CONVENIENCE AND ADVANTAGE AS IT SUITS YOU. NEVER MIND THAT YOU ARE USING ISRAELI TECHNOLOGY.
YOU ARE BEING LIARS AND HYPOCRITES. IF YOU WANT TO BOYCOTT ISRAEL, CLOSE YOUR BIBLE TOO. THAT’S JEWISH. THAT’S AN ISRAELITE/ISRAELI BOOK. THAT BOOK PROMISES THE JEWS THAT LAND. CLOSE THE BOOK. CLOSE YOUR CHURCH DOOR. TAKE DOWN YOUR CROSSES TO ANOTHER DEAD JEW. AND BE CONSISTENT. DON’T BE HYPOCRITES. BECOME PAGANS AGAIN. (SOME WOULD ARGUE YOU ALREADY HAVE, ACTUALLY.)
5. If you answer ‘Yes’ to Question 4, what changes would you need to see to be content to end your boycott?
BOYCOTT IRAN. BOYCOTT SAUDI ARABIA. BOYCOTT IF YOU MUST THE REAL BARBARIANS.
OTHERWISE, VISIT ISRAEL. SEE HOW A TRULY CIVILIZED PEOPLE AND SOCIETY LIVES AMIDST DERANGED, PRIMITIVE, CANNABILISTIC HATE.
REMEMBER THE VIDEO OF THE SYRIAN JIHADI EATING THE HEART OF A SYRIAN SOLDIER? OF A JIHADI BEHEADING TWO CATHOLIC PRIESTS IN SYRIA?
THIS IS HYPOCRISY, DELUSION AND THOROUGH DISHONESTY TO THE POINT OF INTELLECTUAL, ETHICAL AND SPIRITUAL POLLUTION.
6. What are the arguments against a consumer boycott of all Israeli products? What are the risks?
THE RISK? THAT YOU GIVE THE IMPRIMATEUR OF APPROVAL TO BARBARIANS AND CONDEMN CIVILIZED PEOPLE UNDER SIEGE. THAT YOU SELL OUT WHAT LITTLE SOUL IS LEFT OF ENGLAND’S CHURCHES AND ITS SO-CALLED INTELLECTUALS AND ACADEMICS.
I HAVE NO DOUBT HOW YOU PEOPLE WOULD BEHAVE IF YOU LIVED UNDER THE SAME CIRCUMSTANCES: THOUSANDS OF ROCKETS; BOMBINGS; KNIFINGS; NON-STOP PROPAGANDA OF DEATH, DEHUMANIZATION, DEFAMATION, DESTRUCTION; MURDERS OF CHILDREN; STREET CELEBRATIONS, CANDY HANDED OUT, YODELING FOR JOY WHEN YOUR CHILDREN ARE BARBARICALLY SLAUGHTERED AND WHEN THEIR SLAUGHTERER IS RELEASED IN A “TRADE.” YOU WOULD BE RUTHLESS. YOU PEOPLE ARE SUCH TOTAL FRAUDS. THE MIRACLE IS HOW RESTRAINED THE ISRAELIS HAVE BEEN. THE OBSCENITY IS THAT YOU CONDEMN THE VICTIMS, THAT YOU REVICTIMIZED THE VICTIMS. HOW UTTERLY FOUL!
HAVING BEEN TO ARIEL, ISRAEL, AN “INSIDE THE GREEN LINE” CITY, I WITNESSED THE MIRACLE OF ISRAELI JEWS TURNING BARREN, STONY, USELESS WASTELAND AND INTO A BEAUTIFUL, PRODUCTIVE CITY WITH BUSINESS PARKS, INDUSTRY, A UNIVERSITY, PERFORMING ARTS, HOUSING, GREENERY. NUMEROUS ARABS ARE EMPLOYED BY THE INDUSTRIES AND ARE PAID MORE THAN THEY WOULD BE BY OTHER ARABS. IT IS THEIR ONLY SUPPORT, AN DIF YOU BOYCOTT THEM, YES, THEM — THEY WILL HAVE NOTHING OTHER THAN A WRETCHED PITTANCE FROM YOUR UNRWA SCAM THAT PERPETUATES POVERTY AND HATE.
THOSE EMPLOYED ARABS GET ALONG WITH THE ISRAELIS AND DESPERATELY WANT TO KEEP THEIR JOBS. YOU WOULD MAKE THEM SUFFER SO, YOU — EGOTISTICAL, ARROGANT, IGNORANT FOOLS THAT YOU ARE — CAN FEEL SELF-RIGHTEOUS ABOUT HOW YOU STUCK IT TO THOSE DAMNED JEWS. YOU PEOPLE ARE WORSE THAN PATHETIC.
I AM THE PRO-ZIONIST AND I HAVE FAR MORE COMPASSION FOR THOSE ARABS WHO WOULD BE THROWN INTO POVERTY THAN YOU DO. YOU HAVE NO SHAME. JUST ARROGANCE, SELF-IMPORTANCE AND YOUR DISDAIN FOR JEWS.
7. If you do not support the call for boycott, divestment and sanctions, could you ever see yourself supporting such a call in the future? Under what circumstances?
YES, I WOULD: AGAINST EVERY ARAB REGIME THAT HAS HONOR KILILNGS, THAT OPPRESSES WOMEN AND GAYS.
OOPS! CAN’T DO THAT! YOU COULDN’T BUY THEIR OIL!!!!!! OH, YOU COWARDLY HYPOCRITES! SHAME ON YOU; SHAME ON YOU; SHAME ON YOU. BUT THE PROBLEM IS, YOU HAVE NO SHAME. YOU CRINGING, OIL GUZZLING, MISERABLE COWARDS.
8. What message does the call for a consumer boycott of Israel communicate to the general public? (please specify whether you are answering with reference to the public in the UK, in Israel, in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, or elsewhere)
THE COMMUNICATED MESSAGE IS OBVIOUS: IT’S ALL THE FAULT OF THOSE DAMNED JEWS — AGAIN!!!!! (HEY! MAYBE HITLER WAS ON TO SOMETHING HERE….) YES, THIS IS THE NUREMBERG LAWS ALL OVER AGAIN. DESPICABLE. JUST LOATHSOMELY DESPICABLE. SHAME ON YOU!
9. Do you support an academic boycott of Israel? Please explain your reasoning.
THIS IS PRETTY REDUNDANT. FIRST, UNPLUG STEPHEN HAWKINS FROM EVERY DEVICE HE HAS. THEN HAVE AN ACADEMIC BOYCOTTS?
IS THAT PITHY ENOUGH FOR YOU?
DON’T FORGET TO BOYCOTT THE ISRAELI DRUGS AND RESEARCH AGAINST PARKINSON’S AND ALZHEIMER’S. DON’T WANT THOSE ACADEMICS TO LOSE THEIR MINDS MORE THAN THEY ALREADY HAVE! IRONICALLY, MOUSSA YOUDIM, AN IMPORTANT ISRAELI RESEARCH INTO BRAIN DISEASES, LEFT ENGLAND FOR ISRAEL MANY YEARS AGO. WISE MAN GETTING THE HELL OUT OF THERE. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUiPM7qTEaQ
PROF. HOSSAM HAICK (ARAB ISRAELI MAYBE?), AN ARTIFICIAL NOSE TO DETECT CANCER.
HELPING THE WHEELCHAIR-BOUND “WALK” AGAIN, RADICALLY CHANGING THEIR LIVES:
WATER RECYCLING, WATER DESALINZATION, HELPING EGYPT (VERY QUIETLY) VITALIZE THEIR AGRICULTURE BECAUSE THEY ARE THREATENED WITH MASS FAMINE.
SECRETLY HELPING WOUNDED SYRIANS WITH LIFE-SAVING SURGERY.
LIFESAVINGS SURGERIES FOR THOUSANDS OF PALESTIANIAN BABIES.
A VACCINE THAT MAY PREVENT UP TO 90% OF CANCERS.
SOME OF THE MOST POWERFUL DATABASE SEARCH ENGINES IN THE WORLD.
THE WORLD’S FASTEST COMPUTER CHIPS.
LIFE-SAVING BANDAGES TO STOP MASSIVE BLEEDING. ONE SAVED THE LIFE OF A U.S. CONGRESSWOMAN WHEN SHE WAS SHOT IN ARIZONA.
FUNDAMENTAL RESEARCH ON EARLY AIDS INFECTION AND THE RESPONSE OF THE CD4 T-CELLS THAT WILL LEAD TO AN EFFECTIVE VACCINE AGAINST HIV.
THE TECHNION IN HAIFA IS ONE OF THE WORLD’S TOP TEN UNIVERSITIES. ENGLAND DOES NOT HAVE A SINGLE ONE ON THAT LIST.
YOUDIM IS AT THE TECHNION.
ISRAEL HAS MORE ARABS IN HIGHER EDUCATION THAN, REAL HIGHER EDUCATION, THAN MANY ARAB COUNTRIES.
YOU PEOPLE ARE SO IGNORANT IT BORDERS ON SAVAGERY. IT CERTAINLY CONSITTUTES SUPERSTITUTION. YOUR PROPOSAL IS DEPRAVED.
10. Do you support a cultural boycott of Israel? Please explain your reasoning.
ONLY IF YOU BOYCOTT EVERYTHING CULTURAL THAT IS JEWISH: ALL WRITERS, PAINTERS, PHILOSOPHERS. WHILE YOU ARE AT IT, MATHAMETICIANS, PHYCISISTS, CHEMISTS, BIOCHEMISTS, DOCTORS, RESEARCHERS. HEY, BE CONSISTENT HERE.
BOYCOTT ALL FILMS WITH JEWS IN THE THEM. ALL FILMS DIRECTED AND PRODUCED BY JEWS.
PUT UP SIGNS IN YOUR SHOPS: “NO JEWS!” PAINT SWAZTIKAS ON JEWISH SHOPS.
TAKE ISRAELI BOOKS OUT OF THE LIBRARIES. ISN’T THAT WHAT SCOTLAND IS DOING? BAN MARTIN BUBER. IN FACT, PUBLICLY BURN HIS BOOKS. BURN HIM IN EFFIGY WHILE YOU’;RE AT IT. BRING PITCH FORKS AND TORCHES.
YOU WOULD-BE BASTARD SONS OF NAZIS ARE BASICALLY BURNING BOOKS. WHAT WAS THE EXPRESSION? WHEN THEY BURN BOOKS, NEXT THEY BURN PEOPLE.
11.Under what circumstances, if any, should the Methodist Church divest from companies operating in Israel?
DON’T JUST DIVEST FROM THE COMPANIES. DON’T USE THEIR PRODUCTS AT ALL. SO UNPLUG EVERY SINGLE COMPUTER FOR STARTER.
YOU WILL HAVE TO JUNK YOUR CARS, BY THE WAY BECAUSE THEY ALL USE TECHNOLOGY FROM COMPANIES THAT DO BUSINESS WITH ISRAEL.
AND PLEASE, DO GET TERRIBLY ILL AND DON’T USE AN ISRAEL-DISCOVERED MEDICINE OR PROCEDURE.
BY THE WAY, WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME A ZIONIST BEHEADED AN ENGLISH SOLDIER IN ENGLAND? IN WOOLWICH?
WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME IN FINSBURY PARK THAT A ZIONIST CALLED FOR THE MURDERS OF ENGLISH PEOPLE?
WHEN THAT HAPPENS, YOU CAN CONSIDER DIVESTING FROM…THE CRIMINAL HIMSELF.
12. Should the UK government or European Union impose trade or other restrictions on economic relationships with Israel or alternatively limited restrictions on economic engagement with settlements? If so what form should such sanctions take?
WHAT YOU PREJUDICE-BLINDED DOLTS DON’T GET IS THAT THE ONLY WAY ARABS WILL LEARN TO LIVE WITH JEWS AND NEXT DOOR TO JEWS IS BY LIVING WITH JEWS AND NEXT DOOR TO JEWS.
YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT ISLAM PREACHES DO YOU? ISLAM PREACHES DAR-ES SALEM, THE ISLAMIC WORLD AT PEACE WITH ITSELF BECAUSE IT MUSLIM VERSUS DAR-ES HARAM, THE MUSLIM WORLD AT WAR AGAINST THE MUSLIM WORLD.
THE JEWISH VIEW: LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF BECAUSE YOU TOO WERE ONCE A STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND. IT ASSUMES THE JEW’S NEIGHBOR IS A NON-JEW. BUT YOU WOULD HATE THE JEW, BDS THE JEW AND REWARD THE JEW HATER.
UNLIKE MOST OF YOU, I HAVE BEEN TO ISRAEL SOME 30 TIMES. ARAB ISRAELIS ACTUALLY GET ALONG PRETTY WELL WITH MOST OF THEIR JEWISH NEIGHBORS. MANY OF THEM HAVE GOOD POSITIONS WITH JEWISH COMPANIES. I’VE MET ARABS WITH POSITIONS SUCH AS HEAD SCIENTIST, ACTUALLY. IT’S TROUBLE MAKERS LIKE YOU THAT SOW DISCORD.
ARAB ISRAELIS ACTUALLY DO NOT WANT TO MOVE OUT OF ISRAEL. THEY ACTUALLY LIKE LIVING THERE. THEY COMPLAIN…BUT THEY LIVE THERE. THEY DON’T MOVE OUT, DO THEY? WHEN ARAB ISRAELIS GO TO STUDY IN JORDAN, FOR INSTANCE, THEY ARE DISCRIMINATED AGAINST BY THE JORDIANIAN/PALESTINIAN ARABS. THEY END UP STICKING TOGETHER, LIVING TOGETHER, SOCIALIZING TOGETHER, SPEAKING HEBREW WHEN THEY DON’T WANT TO BE UNDERSTOOD BY THE OTHERS. THEY EVEN GET HOMESICK AND END UP HAPPY TO GET HOME, BACK TO ISRAEL.
YOU PEOPLE ARE ENTITLED TO YOUR UGLY, BENIGHTED OPINIONS, BUT YOU ARE NOT ENTITLED TO YOUR OWN FACTS.
13. What actions other than BDS might members of the Methodist Church take to encourage a political process that could deliver a just and sustainable resolution in Israel and Palestine?
ACTUALLY, MOSTLY STAY OUT OF IT FOR A CHANGE. EUROPE REALLY NEEDS TO KEEP ITS MOUTH SHUT ALREADY. IT’S DONE ENOUGH DAMAGE TO JEWS, HASN’T IT? HAVEN’T YOU DONE ENOUGH DAMAGE YET? DON’T YOU JUST NEED TO ZIP IT?
DON’T YOU JUST NEED TO STOP THE INCREASING NUMBERS OF ATTACKS AGAINST JEWS IN YOUR OWN COUNTRIES, INCLUDING ENGLAND? ISN’T YOUR BDS INFLAMMATORY AND WON’T IT FURTHER INFLAME JEW HATRED AND ANTI-SEMITIC ATTACKS? SHOULDN’T YOU BE DOING MORE TO PROTECT YOUR OWN JEWS AND JUST MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS ALREADY?
SHOULDN’T YOU BE TELLING THE ARABS TO JUST GROW UP AND GET ON WITH THEIR LIVES ALREADY?
AFTER THE HOLOCAUST, THE JEWS BUILT ISRAEL. UTTERLY AMAZING! WHAT WOULD YOU WHINY BRATS HAVE DONE? WHAT HAVE THE ARABS DONE?
OTHERWISE, YOU MIGHT WANT TO TELL THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY TO STOP THE GRAFT AND CORRUPTION IN THE $100s OF MILLIONS — WITH EUROPEAN MONEY YET — TO STOP THEIR MURDEROUS INCITEMENT, TO STOP THE LIE THAT THEY CAN DESTROY ISRAEL AND “RETURN” TO SOMETHING THAT WAS ACTUALLY NEVER THEIRS. (MOST OF THE ARABS WERE IMMIGRANTS THEMSELVES AND THEY MADE THE WAR AGAINST THE JEWS AND LOST ALL RIGHTS THEREBY. READ YOUR HISTORY.)
14. Is there any further theological or other comment that you would like to make in relation to Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions or are there papers or other resources that you would highlight?
YOU PEOPLE ARE IGNORANT. PERIOD. BIGOTTED. PERIOD. YOU NEED TO GET OVER YOURSELVES. YOU ARE FAR TOO SELF-IMPORTANT. YOU HAVE AN OFFICIOUS, MEDDLING IMPULSE THAT YOU RESERVE FOR JEWS THAT YOU NEED TO GET OVER.
WWW.PMW.ORG, AS CITED ABOVE. THE NAZI-LIKE HATRED OF ISRAELIS AND JEWS THROUGHOUT GAZA AND THE PA IS HORRIFYING BUT DELIBERATELY NOT COVERED BY WESTERN MEDIA AND IGNORED BY JEW DISDAINERS LIKE YOUR CHURCH. IF YOU DIDNT DISDAIN JEWS, YOU WOULDN’T BE ABLE TO IGNORE THIS HATEFUL MATERIAL FROM THE ARABS.
WWW.MEMRI.ORG, MIDEAST MEDIA RESEARCH INSTITUTE, TRANSLATES THE PRESS, MEDIA, SCHOOL TEXTS, SERMONS, ETC., OF THE MIDEAST. IT’S HORRIFYING. YOU KNOW NOTHING ABOUT THIS. AND IT’S DOUBTFUL YOU WOULD CARE BECAUSE YOU ARE HYPOCRITES: YOU HOLD JEWS TO A HIGHER STANDARD THAN YOU DO ARABS. YOU INFANTALIZE ARABS – THEY HAVE NO ADULT RESPONSIBILITY – AND DEMONIZE JEWS. MEMRI’S TRANSLATIONS ARE USED BY CONGRESS, STATE DEPARTMENT, CIA, ETC.
WWW.DEFENDDEMOCRACY.ORG, FOUNDATION FOR THE DEFENSE OF DEMOCRACIES, A WASHINGTON THINK TANK FOCUSED ON DEFENDING DEMOCRACY FROM ISLAMIST FANATICISM. ITS MAIN PROJECT IS WORKING WITH THE GOVERNMENT ON THE SANCTIONS AGAINST IRAN. MUCH OF THE THEORY, LEGISLATION AND MONITORING COMES FROM FDD. FDD WORKS WITH CONGRESS (WHERE THEY TESTIFY REGULARLY) AND THE TREASURY DEPT, MONITORING THE SANCTIONS AGAINST IRAN.
WWW.HONESTREPORTING.COM, AN ISRAELI WEBSITE THAT COVERS ANTI-ISRAEL BIAS.
WWW.CAMERA.ORG, COMMITTEE FOR ACCURATE REPORTING ON THE MIDEAST IN AMERICA, AN ORGANIZATION THAT COVERS BIASED, UNTRUTHFUL ANTI-ISRAEL REPORTING – SUCH AS THE OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVE NONSENSE FROM DISORGANIZATIONS SUCH AS YOURS.
WWW.MEF.ORG, MIDDLE EAST FORUM IS A THINK TANK IIN PHILADELPHIA THAT ANLYZES THE CURRENTS IN THE MIDEAST. ONE OF ITS SCHOLARS, RAYMOND IBRAHIM, COVERS THE LARGE-SCALE OPPRESSION AND MURDERS AGAINST THE CHRISTIANS IN THE MIDEAST, WHICH OBVIOUSLY YOUR CHURCH CARES AND DOES NOTHING ABOUT. YOUR CHURCH HATES JEWS MORE THAN IT LOVES VICTIMIZED CHRISTIANS. THIS IS SELF-EVIDENT BY YOUR DEEDS AND FOCUS. IT’S AN ABSOLUTE DISGRACE.
THE BOOKS OF MATTHIAS KUNTZEL THAT TRACE THE CONNECTIONS BETWEEN ARAB ANTI-ZIONISM AND JEW HATRED AND NAZISM. KUNTZEL IS GERMAN; NON-JEWISH, ACADEMIC.
I SOMETIMES AM IN ENGLAND. IF YOU EVER WANT TO HAVE ME DEBATE AGAINST THIS ANTI-SEMITIC BILGE, I WOULD BE GLAD TO DO SO. IF YOU SIMPLY WANT A PRESENTATION, I WOULD BE WILLING TO GIVE ONE. YOUR ORGANIZATION HAS THE POTENTIAL TO DO SOME GOOD. SO FAR, IT CONTEMPLATES ONLY MISCHIEF AND WORSE.
In 2004, Englert, Higgs and Robert Brout won the Wolf prize, an Israeli award granted by the Wolf Foundation and seen as a precursor to the Nobel. (Englert’s colleague Robert Brout passed away in 2011; otherwise he may have also shared yesterday’s Nobel Prize.) (Tom Gross exclusive:) Englert’s British co-winner of Nobel Prize for Physics, Professor Peter Higgs, effectively refuses to acknowledge the fact his co-recipient teaches at Tel Aviv University. Higgs is calling for an academic boycott of Israel, and refused to attend the Wolf prize ceremony. As the Israeli Physical Society Journal (as well as Yediot Ahronot), noted at the time: “Although the British scientist Peter Higgs gave his name to the Higgs field and Higgs particle, at least two other physicists, François Englert and Robert Brout, had a part in the discovery. All three were awarded the prestigious Wolf Prize by Israel’s Knesset in 2004. Higgs boycotted the ceremony for political reasons.”
Not “Friends” of Israel
Quakers Offer a BDS Training Camp
for Anti-Israel Student Leaders
At issue is the Summer BDS Institute for Student Leaders, which took place July 28 – August 1, 2013 at the Presbyterian Church’s Stony Point Center, in Stony Point, New York. The purpose of the Institute was to prepare and train American college students to foment anti-Israel activism on their college campuses in 2013-2014. The curriculum promised to provide students with skills in the following areas (and with meals to accommodate Ramadan – no mention of meals to accommodate kashruth):
Plus: fun in a summer camp-like environment!
Anti-Israel college students were invited to attend five days and four nights for a total price of only $100 — a token amount. The balance of the costs for room, board, programming, and “fun in a summer camp-like environment!” was subsidized by JVP (Jewish Voices for Peace) and AFSC, a service group of Quakers whose mission statement reads:
AFSC is a Quaker organization devoted to service, development, and peace programs throughout the world. Our work is based on the belief in the worth of every person, and faith in the power of love to overcome violence and injustice..
This is a worthy mission statement, but the Quakers belief in the worth of every person and faith does not seem to include Israeli people or Jewish faith. Do the Quakers have other service groups that “work in the belief in the worth” of the Israeli people and in the Jewish faith? I searched but could not find any.
WHY ? With their commitment to quiet individuals seeking the truth — why have Quakers taken such a vocal, organized, collective, and active role in attacking the legitimacy of Israel? Why would a religion that proclaims its love of nonviolence and peace choose sides in the Israel-
Palestinian conflict and surprisingly choose the side that uses violence and rejects the vision of peaceful co-existence?
The Quaker group is not acting alone. They are aided by JVP, a group that deliberately seeks to drive a wedge in the American Jewish community over the issue of Israel, using the American college campus as its forum. One of JVP’s tactics is a campaign they call “Open Hillel” which has the goal of forcing Hillel International to change its policies which bar the use of HIllel chapters to host BDS events.
Open Hillel’s “Testimonials” page is dominated by video endorsements by JVP Rabbinical Council leaders and members. Getting JVP’s pro-BDS message mainstreamed within Hillel fits in perfectly with JVP’s “wedge” strategy to divide the Jewish community on Israel.
Hence, JVP’s campus strategy of finding ways to enter Hillels and weaken their resolve on keeping anti-Israel BDS efforts outside the tent will likely be discussed at the BDS summer camp.
Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Response
“It doesn’t help a single Palestinian. It doesn’t improve the quality of life for Palestinians. It is simply anti-Israel,” the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Abraham Cooper told the Washington Free Beacon. “Unfortunately, the community of the people associated with this particular church have embraced [the BDS campaign] completely, so much so that they are using up whatever moral capital they have to do training for an immoral, hypocritical, and anti-Semitic undertaking.”
The Simon Wiesenthal Center report said the BDS program meets Natan Sharansky’s “three D’s” test for anti-Semitism: It follows “double-standards” by criticizing Israel while overlooking human rights abuses across the Arab world; “demonizes” Israel by comparing its actions to those of Apartheid regimes; and attempts to “de-legitimize” the Jewish state by targeting its existence.
A Short History
of Quaker Positions on Israel
For an interesting blog that includes an Open Letter to the Quakers regarding their 2011 boycott, click here.
IAFI Members – be aware, as you see anti-Israel activity emerge on more and more campuses in America. Perhaps there will be divestment resolutions. Or calls for academic boycotts. Or divisiveness at Hillel. This is not a trend of naturally occurring or spontaneous events that are the original ideas of students. It is the result of a careful multi-faceted campaign, orchestrated by well-funded adult organizations that are using students as fronts for an effort that seeks the end of the Israeli state.
How to respond to EU sanctions
July 26, 2013
THIS WEEK the EU took three steps that together prove Europe’s ill-intentions toward the Jewish state.
First, last Friday the EU announced it is imposing economic sanctions on Israel. The sanctions deny EU funds to Israeli entities with an address beyond the 1949 Armistice Lines. They also deny EU funds to Israeli entities countrywide that carry out activities beyond the 1949 Armistice Lines.
The areas beyond the 1949 Armistice Lines delineated by the EU directive include the Gaza Strip, which Israel abandoned eight years ago; the Golan Heights, which has been under Israeli sovereignty since 1981; eastern, northern and southern Jerusalem, which have been under Israeli sovereignty since 1967; and Judea and Samaria, over which Israel has shared governance with the PLO since 1994 in accordance with signed agreements witnessed by EU representatives.
The EU’s second action was the publication Tuesday of EU foreign policy commissioner Catherine Ashton’s letter to her fellow commissioners informing them that by the end of the year, the EU will publish binding requirements for specially labeling Israeli goods produced by Jews beyond the 1949 Armistice Lines exported to EU member states.
This act is potentially more damaging for Israel than the ban on transferring EU monies to Israeli entities with “bad” addresses. Labeling Israeli products is a means of signaling Europeans consumers that they should view all Israeli exports as morally inferior to other goods and wage a consumer boycott of Israeli products. Indeed, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius described the proposed labeling as an alternative to a broader boycott of all Israeli goods.
The EU’s third act was its decision to define Hezbollah’s “military wing” as a terrorist organization, but leave all the other Hezbollah-related institutions untouched. While the move has been applauded by Israeli politicians desperate to deny Europe’s animosity, Europe’s partial designation of Hezbollah as a terrorist entity is another act of aggression against Israel.
By pretending that Hezbollah has a legitimate “political wing” – a transparent lie that even Hezbollah has denied – the EU ensures that Hezbollah personnel and Hezbollah institutions can continue to find safe haven in Europe so long as the avoid attacking non-Jewish Europeans.
Hezbollah agents can continue raising money, planning attacks, and recruiting terrorists in Europe, as long as Hezbollah labels the activities “political.”
In other words, all Hezbollah operations directed against Israel and Jews will remain lawful in Europe.
Beyond exposing the EU’s fundamental and obsessive hostility toward the Jewish state, these three actions put paid to the EU’s protestations of allegiance to international law and commitment to bringing about peace between the Palestinians and Israel.
As ambassador Alan Baker, the former legal adviser to the Foreign Ministry, wrote in an article published by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, the EU’s actions against Israeli entities that operate beyond the 1949 Armistice Lines are unsupported by international law. The EU’s claim that Israel’s presence beyond the 1949 Armistice Lines is unlawful is not supported by any treaties or customs. Indeed, it is explicitly refuted by treaties and customs.
Israel’s legal rights to sovereignty over Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem are recognized under the law of nations through the 1922 League of Nations Mandate for Palestine, which also called for “close Jewish settlement” of these areas. The Mandate’s allocation of sovereign rights over all of these areas to the Jewish people, and its recognition of the Jews as the indigenous people of the areas, has not been abrogated by any subsequent treaty. To the contrary, they were reinforced by Article 80 of the UN Charter.
Moreover, as Baker noted, the EU wrongly claims that Jewish communities beyond the 1949 Armistice Lines are illegal under Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention from 1949. But authoritative interpretations of Article 49 make clear that Article 49 does not apply to such communities.
The lines the EU points to as Israel’s legal border were never borders and never legal. The 1949 Armistice Lines, which the EU falsely refers to as the 1967 borders, represent nothing more than the lines at which Israeli forces halted the invading armies of Arab states that illegally assaulted the nascent Jewish state at its birth on May 15, 1948.
The armistice agreements explicitly stated that the armistice lines lack all legal significance in terms of claims of parties to lands beyond the lines.
Finally, as Baker noted, the EU itself repeatedly supported UN resolutions and international agreements that recognize the legality of Israel’s continued control and civilian presence in the areas. As a consequence, its own actions contradict its claim that Israel’s presence and the presence of Israeli civilian communities beyond the 1949 Armistice Lines are illegal.
Beyond its unsubstantiated legal claims against Israel, both in its intention to label Israeli products and in its actions related to Hezbollah, the EU is acting in violation of international law. The EU’s intention to label Israeli products involves the imposition of trade barriers in contravention of the World Trade Organization’s legally binding rules.
By allowing Hezbollah to continue to operate in the EU, the EU is in violation of binding UN Security Council Resolution 1373 from 2001 that prohibits the use of member states’ territory for the benefit of terrorist groups.
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni called the EU’s imposition of economic sanctions a “resounding wake-up call,” adding, “I hope that now all those who thought it is possible to continue with the freeze [in the peace talks with the PLO] will understand that we have to act to open negotiations, because this is the only way to protect Israel’s general interests.”
This view, which is the official view of the Left, is based on a complete denial of reality.
The EU announced its sanctions on the very same day US Secretary of State John Kerry announced he had convinced the PLO to return to peace talks with Israel. The confluence of these events could not demonstrate more clearly that the EU’s diplomatic onslaught against Israel has nothing to do with the conduct of negotiations with the PLO. If the EU’s chief interest was bringing Israel and the PLO to the negotiating table, Brussels would be sanctioning the Palestinians who have refused to negotiate with Israel since 2008.
By levying sanctions the EU does not seek to advance the cause of peace. It hopes to coerce Israel into abandoning its legitimate historic claims as the indigenous people of the Land of Israel to the lands allocated to the Jewish people under international law by the 1922 League of Nations Mandate for Palestine. It hopes to coerce Israel into surrendering its right to defensible borders and voluntarily transform itself into an indefensible strategic basket case wholly dependent on the goodwill of outside powers for its survival.
The question is what can Israel do about it? Were Israel to fight fire with fire and levy counter sanctions on European goods it would be entering an economic war that it would lose and therefore has every interest in avoiding. But Israel’s inability to respond in kind to European aggression does not mean it is without options.
Europe is using economic sanctions to expand its political power over Israeli decision-makers. So Israel should act to diminish Europe’s political power in Israel.
The EU itself told Israel how to go about doing this in Paragraph 15 of the sanctions directive. It reads, “The requirements [banning the transfer of EU funds to Israeli entities operating beyond the 1949 armistice lines]… do not apply to activities which, although carried out in the territories…aim at benefiting protected persons under the terms of international humanitarian law who live in these territories [i.e., the Palestinians] and/or at promoting the Middle East peace process in line with EU policy.”
In other words, Israeli NGOs that receive EU assistance are exempt from the financing ban if they commit to undermining Israel’s rights in the area. As the EU sees it, NGOs who receive EU money are EU agents, advancing European goals in the domestic Israeli arena, and as such should be exempted from the EU’s economic sanctions.
In a 2010 meeting with US diplomats leaked by WikiLeaks, Jessica Montell, the executive director of the Israeli-registered pro-Palestinian pressure group B’Tselem, effectively admitted that her organization would cease to exist without European funding.
According to the protocol of the meeting, Montell “estimated her NIS 9 million ($2.4 million) budget is 95 percent funded from abroad, mostly from European countries.”
TO STEM THE momentum of Europe’s new economic war, Israel’s first response to the EU’s sanctions must be swift passage in the Knesset of a law requiring all Israeli entities that agree to operate under the EU’s funding guidelines to register as foreign agents and report all EU contributions.
Those contributions should be taxed at the highest corporate tax rate.
EU officials have stated repeatedly that they seek to undermine Israeli control over Area C. Area C is the area of Judea and Samaria where, in accordance with agreements signed between the PLO and Israel, Israel exercises most civil and military authorities. The EU is funding projects in Area C whose stated goal is to make it impossible over time for Israel to assert its authority over the area.
Israel’s second response to the EU’s announcement of economic sanctions on Israeli economic activity in Judea and Samaria should be to suspend all EU projects in Area C. Future EU projects should be subject to intense scrutiny by the civil administration. Israel’s default position should be to reject, rather than approve, such requests, given their hostile intent.
Finally, EU peacekeeping forces from Gaza to Lebanon to Syria have repeatedly proven not only their cowardice, but their willingness to act in ways that endanger Israel in order to protect themselves.
In Gaza, EU border guards fled to Israel following Hamas’s takeover of the area in 2007.
Along the border with Syria, Austrian peacekeepers fled at the first sign of trouble, leaving Israel to deal with Syrian breaches of the European-sanctioned 1974 disengagement agreement by itself.
European forces in UNIFIL in Lebanon have signed protection agreements with Hezbollah where in exchange for European forces’ turning a blind eye to Hezbollah’s illegal use of civilian infrastructures as military installations, Hezbollah has promised not to murder European forces.
Given this track record, Israel should bar European forces from further participation in armed forces in Israel. To this end, Israel should allow the mandate of the European-dominated Temporary International Presence in Hebron to expire when it next comes up for review. The TIPH, which has been deployed to the city since 1994, is composed of forces from Denmark, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey.
Israel has for years been operating under the misguided belief that the EU would eventually come around and side with Israel against its enemies.
This belief has been informed by equal doses of innocence and wishful thinking. The EU’s decision to initiate an economic war against the Jewish state forces Israel to abandon its long-held illusions.
Israel has options for responding forcefully to Europe’s aggression. If judiciously and firmly employed, these responses can diminish the Europeans’ interest in escalating this economic war, by denying them the political victory they seek.
Originally published in The Jerusalem Post.
Israel Law Center
Lawfare and Boycott Updates
The Briefing: Israel, and the Jewish community at large, is beset by a dangerous international campaign utilizing new strategies to delegitimize the Jewish State. Unable to defeat the IDF militarily or weaken the population through persistent terrorism, the extremist groups, Islamic terrorists and their rogue regime allies have embarked upon a global effort to demonize and isolate Israel, casting it as a pariah state.The widespread Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, and its utilization of Lawfare, is the main component of the “Durban Strategy” adopted by Israel’s opponents at the U.N.’s Human Rights Conference in 2001. Tactics like the Gaza Flotilla, the effort overseas to indict IDF officers and elected officials for war crimes, blood libels in the media, the boycotting of Israeli academics, and the persistent debate over whether a Jewish State has a right to exist, are having a perilous impact on Israel’s security and diplomatic capabilities. As the Anti-Defamation League has stated: “The BDS movement at its very core is anti-Semitic.”
These reports are offered to better inform the Jewish community and Israel’s supporters worldwide on how lawfare and boycotts are used by hate groups to try to destroy Israel through other means.
Anti-Israel extremists call for boycott of Brad Pitt
Anti-Israel extremists recently called for the boycott of Brad Pitt and the movie World War Z, which depicts Israel in good light. The apocalyptic film, starring Pitt, shows Israel as one of the few countries in the world not immediately destroyed by zombies and portrays Israel’s so called “apartheid wall” as a barrier allowing the country to protect itself from the horde of zombies. Pro-Palestinians add that the movie shows how Hollywood has “embraced Zionists” and serves as a pro-Israel “propaganda piece.”Pitt plays a UN employee who traverses the world in a race to stop a zombie pandemic that has toppled armies and governments, and has threatened to destroy humanity itself.
British BDS operatives demand supermarket chain boycott Israel
BDS operatives in Britain recently launched a campaign against Sainsbury’s supermarkets for carrying Israeli products. “Sainsbury’s markets itself as a leader in Fair Trade and claims to source its products ‘with integrity.’ But by sourcing products from companies like Mehadrin and Edom, that are an integral part of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land, Sainsbury’s is profiting from Israeli violations of international law,” the anti-Israel group wrote. The campaigners plan on picketing the stores and pressuring shareholders to end their support for “Israeli apartheid and colonisation.” Sainsbury’s is the third largest chain of supermarkets in the United Kingdom. Sponsors of the campaign include Friends of Al Aqsa and Halifax Friends of Palestine.
Bill and Melinda gates Foundation
Anti-Israel activists recently called on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to end its ties to Israel by way of selling its stake in the British-Danish security firm G4S. The foundation had purchased a 3 percent stake worth $172 million in the company. According to BDS campaigners, G4S has been providing services to Israel’s prison system, which they allege has been responsible for many cases of “torture, ill-treatment, arbitrary detention, solitary confinement and isolation” of Palestinian terrorists. Pro-Palestinians add that the company has also continued its contracts with Israeli “settlements,” and has aided Israel’s transfer of its own civilian population to Judea and Samaria. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is the largest transparently operated private foundation in the world.
EU diplomat says labeling of Israeli products “consumer protectionism”
Andrew Standley, EU’s ambassador to Israel, recently told reporters that the labeling of products made in Judea and Samaria is “consumer protectionism.” The EU is currently working on guidelines which will allow its members to inform citizens on the origin of Israeli products. Standley noted that “consumers should have the confidence that what they buy is correctly labeled, according to EU rules. It is important to emphasize that, indeed, it is not a boycott. At no time, at no stage, has anyone called for settlement products to be prohibited from entering the EU.” Nonetheless, Jewish leaders have said that the labeling is a discriminatory practice which will also harm Palestinian workers employed by Israeli companies.
Israel Law Center
Shurat HaDin – BDS and Lawfare
July 22, 2013
Paul McCartney: BDS groups wanted to kill me
Rock legend Paul McCartney recently disclosed that BDS groups sent him death threats over his planned arrival in Israel in 2008. “I got death threats, but I’m coming anyway. I got explicit death threats, but I have no intention of surrendering. I refuse to cancel my performances in Israel,” McCartney said. McCartney, a former Beatles member, has not been the only one to be targeted by BDS extremists. Some of the artists taking the heat have been Deep Purple, the Pet Shop Boys, Rihanna and Madonna.
Rolling Stones To Israel haters:’Up Yours’
In spite of a concerted campaign by ‘anti-Zionists’, the Rolling Stones have announced they have no intention of cancelling their planned concert in Jerusalem on Israel’s Independence Day, Monday, April 15.
“We’ve been slammed and smacked and twittered a lot by the anti-Israeli side,” said Mick Jagger, the band’s leader and most recognizable member since 1963. “All I can say is: anything worth doing is worth overdoing. So we decided to add a concert on Tuesday.”
Needless to say, tickets to both concerts, Monday night in Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem and Tuesday night in Bloomfield Stadium, Tel Aviv, have been sold out even as Jagger was speaking.
“This is a huge mistake for the Stones,” declared BDS proponent Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb. “They stand to lose a lot of money as a result of showing solidarity with Zionism, because their most devoted fans also support boycotting Israel.”
“I don’t really count myself as a very sophisticated businessperson,” Jagger responded when asked if the Israel concerts are a bad move business wise. “I’m a creative artist. All I know from business I’ve picked up along the way.”
Mick Jagger, as usual, is putting on whomever was interviewing him here. He came from a well educated middle class background and did quite well in school, enough to get a scholarship grant to attend the London School of Economics at a time when a very small percentage of Brits attended university.
It’s also worth mentioning that a number of the Stone’s musical contemporaries (Roger Waters, Brian Eno, Carlos Santana, Elvis Costello, Jon Bon Jovi, and Stevie Wonder, among others*) have cancelled concerts in Israel out of fear of counter boycotts or ideology.Some of them have been borderline anti-semitic, like Waters and Annie Lennox.
Unless you’re suffering from Israel Derangement Syndrome, it takes courage to face up to these people and tell them exactly where they can stick their Jew hatred. And having enough of a rep even after all these years doesn’t hurt.
Thankfully, the Stones have both. And they still rock!
Janne Louise Andersen for Al-Monitor
The Christian Science Monitor
Christa Case Bryant, Staff writer
June 6, 2013
Israel sees prestigious academic prize as tool to engage increasingly hostile academic world
The Dan David Prize has been awarded to some of those in the top echelons of academia, a community that includes many backers of the movement to isolate Israel for its occupation.
At a time when the international pressure on academics to boycott Israel caused even Stephen Hawking to decline an invitation to a prestigious conference in Jerusalem, it is perhaps surprising that one of the most generous prizes in academia is based in Israel.
But the prize is also aimed at helping Israel further integrate with the rest of the world, says Ariel David, president of the Dan David Foundation and the son of its namesake. Headquartered at Tel Aviv University, it requires each laureate to come to Israel to collect his or her award, and partake in a cross-pollination of ideas with Israeli professors and students.
“Isolating Israel and putting it in the corner just reinforces its existential fear, which isn’t completely unjustified,” says Mr. David, citing Iran, Hamas, and Hezbollah. “On the contrary, the more Israel gets the feeling that it’s part of the international community economically, culturally, and politically, the easier it is to set aside its existential fear.”
Each year, themes or areas of studies are chosen in three categories: past, present, and future. This year’s winners include Prof. Sir Geoffrey Lloyd, recognized in the “past” category for his comparison of Greek and Chinese science; philosophy professor Michel Serres of Stanford University and The New Republic’s Literary Editor Leon Wieseltier in the “present” category; and MIT economist Esther Duflo and Prof. Alfred Sommer of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the “future” category of preventive medicine.
They join a long list of distinguished laureates who have received the prize since 2002, including Tony Blair, Al Gore, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, Winston Churchill biographer Martin Gilbert, and Israeli novelist Amos Oz. The winners all donate 10 percent of their prize to fund scholarships, and have a say in choosing the recipients.
David’s father, Dan David, grew up in Romania during World War II and became active in Zionist organizations. He had dreamt of establishing a fishing kibbutz on Israel’s Mediterranean coast, but due to communist rule wasn’t able to leave until 1960, under a law promoting the reunification of families. He left with one suitcase and the equivalent of $10.
During a year in Israel, he established the country’s first photo booth. The mother company then authorized him to open a branch in Italy, which was made possible by a $200,000 loan from a distant cousin that kickstarted his career as a highly successful entrepreneur. He went on to start companies in Spain, the US, Japan, and even his native Romania after the fall of communism.
In part due to gratitude for his cousin’s crucial donation, the late Mr. David donated most of his assets to his foundation 13 years ago and launched the prize a year later.
Two novelist laureates reject pressure to boycott Israel
As the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement has gathered steam in its efforts to punish Israel economically for occupying Palestinians, some recipients of the prize have been pressured to decline it. Canadian writer Margaret Atwood and joint literature recipient Amitav Ghosh of India faced a particularly intense lobbying effort.
However, they held firm to their position that novelists boycotting Israel would not effect the desired change in Israeli policies.
“We have to stand, as we have stood from the very beginning, against the very idea of a cultural boycott,” they said in a joint acceptance speech, quoting Anthony Appiah, president of PEN American Center, an organization that promotes literary endeavors. “We have to continue to say: Only connect.”
BDS Movement Suffers Mega Defeat in TIAA-CREF Divestment Battle
Israel Law Center
May 30, 2013
The anti-Semitic BDS movement suffered a major defeat this week when the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) authorized pension fund giant TIAA-CREF to exclude a resolution calling for divestments from Israeli companies from the ballot at the fund’s upcoming shareholders meeting. The resolution, put forward by a small band of extremist shareholders, would have allowed TIAA-CREF‘s full membership to vote on the resolution at the meeting in North Carolina in July. In the wake of the SEC ruling, however, the resolution will now not be presented to the shareholders and will not be voted upon at all.
Following the submission of the divestment resolution, TIAA-CREF officials had written to the SEC requesting that it be permitted, due to its biased and anti-Israel political content, to “take no action” on the resolution. Essentially, it was asked that they be allowed to leave it off the ballot completely and ignored.
Shurat HaDin sent a warning letter to TIAA-CREF last month informing its leadership that the boycott resolution was a violation of both federal and New York State law and that any effort by the pension fund to implement it would be illegal. The letter noted that New York law defines boycotts as “unlawful discriminatory practice” and that any decision to “refuse to buy from, sell to or trade with, or otherwise discriminate against any person, because of the…creed…[or ]national origin” is unlawful and even places secondary actors, aiding the policy, under liability.
Moreover, we warned the fund that should it pass and actually undertake to boycott Israeli companies, we would file suit on the companies’ behalf against TIAA-CREF, and ask both federal and state law enforcement agencies to take action against the fund’s leadership. We stressed that if the anti-Israel resolution passes, and TIAA-CREF does not expressly disavow it and refuse to comply with it, Shurat HaDin will be ready to immediately bring TIAA-CREF to court to ensure the enforcement of state and federal anti-discrimination and anti-boycott laws, and to ensure that Israeli companies and businesses are not harmed as a result of TIAA-CREF’s newly-adopted policy of discrimination. We also demanded that the extremist boycott resolution not be presented at all.
Last week, American counsel for Shurat HaDin contacted the SEC and discussed our concerns over the divestment resolution noting its anti-Semitic nature, the fact that it only targeted Israel and that it was a violation of the anti-boycott laws. We pointed out to the SEC that the TIAA-CREF’s corporate charter limits its proper function to conducting business ‘to aid and strengthen nonprofit colleges, universities’. As such, we could not understand how a biased and malicious resolution like this can properly be presented to their membership. The resolution violates standing laws, is contrary to public policy and must be abandoned.
We are very grateful that the SEC has now authorized TIAA-CREF to exclude the divestment resolution and not allow it to be voted upon.
The BDS movement is reeling from the SEC decision. They were really hoping that the TIAA-CREF shareholder meeting in July was going to provide them a big public forum for a discussion of their anti-Semitic opinions and their efforts to scapegoat the Jewish State. They believed they had the momentum this time to get a boycott resolution passed by a prestigious fund like the TIAA-CREF but the SEC ruling has put an end to all that.
So chalk up another victory for Israel’s supporters and another colossal failure for the BDS movement. May all their extremist efforts meet the same fate.
Review of Israel Apartheid Week (IAW)
Alexander H. Joffe
Scholars for Peace in the Middle East
March 24, 2013
The return of Israel Apartheid Week (IAW) makes it necessary to review some of the better and less well-known features of this annual, global event. By doing so, it will become possible better to understand the nature and scope of the problem and to improve our focus on potential responses
The first and most important fact regarding IAW is its clearly stated goal of destroying Israel. This is sometimes glossed over by individual events and specific speakers. It may also be lost in the emotionalism that surrounds the agit-prop rhetoric and guerilla theatrics. But the “Basis of Unity for IAW International Coordination” makes the goals and methods of IAW and its local affiliates clear:
We are against the racist ideology of Zionism, which is the impetus for Israeli colonialism, because it inherently discriminates against those who are not Jewish. We are against all forms of discrimination, and believe that there can never be justice without the restoration of full rights for everyone, regardless of religion, ethnicity, or nationality. Our demands are based upon the Palestinian Civil Society Call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel, issued on 9 July 2005 by over 170 Palestinian organizations, which states that:
Boycott, divestment and sanctions should be imposed and maintained until Israel meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with the precepts of international law by:
1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands, dismantling the Wall and freeing all Palestinian and Arab political prisoners;
2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality;
3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN General Assembly resolution 194.
To be part of the Israeli Apartheid Week International Network, organizations should commit to:
a) the basis of unity above
b) coordination with the international network
c) building, as part of Israeli Apartheid Week activities, local BDS awareness and campaigns.
As will be noted below, the nature of these goals raise questions regarding responses from pro-Israel and pro-peace supporters.
Another obvious but unappreciated feature is that IAW is a highly professional, coordinated international effort with unknown sources of funding. It is not a series of loosely affiliated grassroots initiatives that happens to be taking place simultaneously in over 100 cities around the world. It is explicitly based on the “Palestinian Civil Society Call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel” of 2005, which in turn was based on the “Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel” of 2004. But the roots of these efforts have been traced by IAW organizers back to at least 2000, who also make reference to two additional sources of legitimacy, international efforts that opposed apartheid in South Africa and, more ominously, United Nations General Assembly Resolution 3379 of 1975 that declared “Zionism is Racism.”
Thus, in ideological and practical terms the IAW movement justifies itself in two ways. Firstly, that it promotes the will of Palestinian organizations that supported the first call. These are primarily professional, trade and labor organizations controlled by the Fatah movement and other members in the Palestine Liberation Organization, as well as non-governmental organizations in Israel and the Palestinian territories that receive American and European funding. Secondly, IAW sees itself as part of the anti-apartheid tradition endorsed by the international community. This is of course part of the movement’s name and a key element in its marketing. But the lineage back to Resolution 3379 is another indication of the IAW’s true origins and goals.
IAW is also an explicit structural as well as ideological component of the global boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement. The ideological and practical links between IAW and the BDS movement are seen in the regular use of the same speakers at events. Professional activists such as Omar Barghouti, and academics such as Ali Abunimah, Judith Butler, and Saree Makdisi are among the notable individuals who have appeared at IAW and BDS events recently. The rhetoric of IAW differs slightly from that of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, which calls for the “right of return” and BDS activities but which also emphasizes Palestinian and broader Arabic culture as well as political lobbying in the United Kingdom.
Espousing the dissolution of Israel and the “right of return” in favor of single state explicitly denies Jews the right to political sovereignty. Since only Jews are denied this right, IAW and BDS are explicitly antisemitic. The lack of any clear political proposals on the part of IAW, in the form of the desired unitary state, such as “secular” and “democratic,” or any articulation of its political and legal systems, not least of all protections of minorities, is another indication of the IAW’s nature and goals. IAW is fundamentally antinomian, that is, it is more opposed to the existence of Israel than it is in favor of concrete and workable, much less fair, solutions to the Arab-Israeli conflict. This, along with the explicit situation of BDS as part of anti-colonial, indigenous rights, and anti-globalization movements, speaks to BDS and IAW as heirs to the Soviet tradition of antisemitism in the guise of anti-Zionism, which reached a peak with Resolution 3379, and its current position firmly within the global left.
In the past, the relationship between IAW and actual BDS efforts has been obscured by its guerrilla theater tactics. More recently, however, divestment proposals put forward in student governments at American universities appear more carefully timed to coincide with IAW. The failure in March 2013 of one proposal at Stanford University has now been matched by a success at the University of California at San Diego. Such resolutions have had no practical effect on university investment policies but will continue to influence the general university environment, particularly among students.
How IAW actually works remains unclear, since the international and local organizers do not reveal their names in most publicly accessible sources. Organizing local events is conducted in a cell-like manner, and parties interested in participating or contributing must approach local organizers through email or Facebook. This closed structure is a key operating procedure that creates an air of elitism and secrecy to insiders and consistently creates surprises for outsiders. Many of the same individuals appear repeatedly as grassroots activists but at different academic institutions, for example across undergraduate and graduate careers, suggesting a guiding hand as well as sources of support.
IAW’s sources of funding are unknown. It does not fundraise on its international or local websites nor does it tout grants it has received. A brief search of reports filed by non-profits with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) does not show IAW registered as a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization under that name or any close approximation. Organizations may of course be registered as non-profits under whatever name they choose.
The organizational links to the BDS movement, which as noted include sharing speakers, may extend to funding. The funding of the BDS movement is only slightly better understood. For example, the “U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation” is supported by a 501(c)(3) organization called “Education for Just Peace in the Middle East,” whose president is Phyllis Bennis of the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C. But while these organizations are required to file reports with the IRS outlining their activities and expenditures, they are not required to list their donors.
Given the uncompromising nature of IAW’s beliefs and its party-like structure, its range of negative tactics and strident rhetoric, it must be asked what sort of responses the pro-Israel and pro-peace community should muster. Responding to IAW is therefore a subset to what has become a broader debate regarding pro-Israel and pro-peace tactics on American campuses. To what extent should IAW simply be ignored, or responded to by positive programming such as Israel “buycotts”? Is there a place for negative counterprogramming, regarding for example the abuse of women and gays in Palestinian society or racism generally in the Muslim world?
There are no clear guidelines except the suggestion that every campus is different, in terms of its social and political structures, and these should help shape responses. A corollary observation is that any and all responses will be automatically inverted as negatives or pointed to as a deliberate distraction; for example, even a positive discussion of the status of gays in Israeli society will elicit the accusation of “pinkwashing.” Such chilling effects are unquantifiable but run deep. Little need be said regarding IAW’s abuse of human rights rhetoric and explicit denial of any rights to Israelis, or its demands for free speech, and denial of the same to others. Physical violence from pro-Palestinian protestors is not uncommon and must be counted as another chilling effect.
With respect to IAW specifically, one must ask whether any form of direct engagement, in the form of debate or discussion, is worthwhile. With their propensity for dirty tricks, such as the recent posting ofmock eviction notices on the doors of Jewish students at Harvard, and their regular use of mock apartheid walls and checkpoints on college campuses, it is clear that they are true believers with unchangeable minds. To this extent, does engagement in debates or discussions on the part of pro-Israel and pro-peace supporters play into IAW’s hands by legitimizing their viewpoints, rhetoric and tactics?
The explicit entrapment of pro-Israel and pro-peace supporters, in particular Jewish and Jewish Studies faculty members, by BDS supporters generally is an obvious issue but one that is rarely discussed. Faculty members are regularly drawn into to stacked debates or worse, kangaroo courts. If they refuse to participate,this gives anti-Israel organizers the fig leaf of having sought balance and the license to put their own extremism on full display. There is, in a sense, no winning, except through continually exposing IAW’s fundamental bigotry, mendacity, and unfair tactics.
Having said this, it is also necessary correctly to assess IAW’s impact, at least on broader American society. Recent polls have shown, for example, that American sympathies with Israel are matching their all-time high, and that sympathy for Palestinians remains extremely low. Though IAW takes place publicly and not just on campuses, it is there that the impact is most visible. Other sectors that should be kept in view, however, are labor unions and Protestant churches, where BDS efforts have been focused for many years, as well as in the Democratic Party both at the national and local levels, where support for Israel has been dropping. Other impacts are occasionally seen in the entertainment industry, where, for example, calls are regularly issued to petition or boycott artists who perform in Israel.
At present, the overall failure of IAW and the BDS movement to change American public opinion and behavior as a whole is striking. Ensuring that failure continues and expands is no small task, but this is vital if the cause of peace between Israelis and Palestinians is to advance.
Alex Joffe is an archaeologist and historian. He is currently a Shillman-Ginsburg Fellow of the Middle East Forum.
Making Non-Governmental Organizations Accountable
The NGO Monitor’s mission is to provide information and analysis, promoting accountability, and supporting discussion on the reports and activities of NGOs (non-governmental organizations) claiming to advance human rights and humanitarian agendas. The aim of NGO Monitor, as outlined in the mission statement, is to generate and distribute critical analysis and reports on the output of the international NGO community for the benefit of government policy makers, journalists, philanthropic organizations and the general public. We intend to publicize distortions of human rights issues in the Arab-Israeli conflict and provide information and context for the benefit of NGOs working in the Middle East. We hope this will lead to an informed public debate on the role of humanitarian NGOs. NGO Monitor’s objective is to end the practice used by certain self-declared ‘humanitarian NGOs’ of exploiting the label ‘universal human rights values’ to promote politically and ideologically motivated agendas.
ALICIA KEYS IS BEING PRESSURED TO CANCEL HER PERFORMANCE IN TEL AVIV THIS JULY, via Facebook, open letters, Twitter and a petition with thousands of signatures. It is critical that all artists hearing the same false accusations, hear from voices that support liberal, open democracies and the independence of artists.
HELP TELL ARTISTS THE TRUTH ABOUT ISRAEL AND ALLOW MUSIC TO BUILD BRIDGES BETWEEN PEOPLE!
Alicia Keys to go forward with Israel concert, despite pressure from BDS movement
Keys rejects calls from activists, among them author Alice Walker, to boycott Israel and tells New York Times: ‘I look forward to my first visit to Israel.’
Alicia Keys said Friday that she plans on going forward with her scheduled July concert in Israel, despite pressure from activists to drop the gig, the New York Times reported.
Just days after Alicia Keys confirmed her summer performance in March, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign began to kick into gear, and websites, Facebook pages, and petitions urging Keys to cancel her plans to play Tel Aviv started popping up.
Alice Walker, the renowned American author of “The Color Purple” and a proponent of the BDS movement against Israel, has published an open letter urging Keys to cancel the concert.
She said in her letter that although she has never met Keys, “It would grieve me to know you are putting yourself in danger (soul danger) by performing in an apartheid country that is being boycotted by many global conscious artists.”
Invoking the civil rights movement she fought in that the 33-year R&B star is too young to have known personally, Walker calls a boycott of Israel “our only nonviolent option and, as we learned from our own struggle in America, nonviolence is the only path to a peaceful future.”
Responding to the calls to boycott Israel, Keys said Friday to the New York Times:“I look forward to my first visit to Israel. Music is a universal language that is meant to unify audiences in peace and love, and that is the spirit of our show.”
Shame on the entertainers boycotting Israel this summer.
July 23, 2010
If you follow the news closely enough, you might have caught a small item recently about Meg Ryan canceling a scheduled appearance at a film festival in Jerusalem to protest Israeli policy. This was significant not because anyone should care what the nose-crinkling movie star thinks about the Mideast but precisely because no one does. Ryan, a conventional Hollywood Democrat, is a barometer of celebrity politics. That sort of sheeplike, liberal opinion once reflexively favored Israel. Now it’s dabbling in the repellant idea of shunning the entire country.
Support for the Israeli cultural boycott has been growing in surprising places lately. After the Gaza flotilla incident last month, rock bands, including the Pixies, canceled performances at a music festival in Tel Aviv. Elvis Costello announced in May that he was cancelling two upcoming performances to protest the treatment of Palestinians. On his Web site, Costello wrote, “[T]here are occasions when merely having your name added to a concert schedule may be interpreted as a political act that resonates more than anything that might be sung and it may be assumed that one has no mind for the suffering of the innocent.” Unlike Ryan, Costello is a thoughtful person whose views are worthy of respect. So how is he wrong? Why is a private embargo—which includes an academic boycott and the push for divestment on the anti-apartheid model—an unacceptable way for outsiders to protest Israeli treatment of Palestinians
One argument—advanced by Alan Dershowitz and Anthony Julius—is that academic boycotts are intrinsically unacceptable because they violate the principles of free expression and the universality of science and learning. A parallel objection applies to cultural boycotts, which don’t just affect but directly target the most open-minded and forward-thinking members of a society. In the case of Israel, shunning writers like Amos Oz and David Grossman, who serve as national consciences, seems not only intrinsically vile but actively counterproductive from the point of view that opposes the Netanyahu government. On the other hand, it would be hard to justify a blanket rule that cultural and academic sectors are always off-limits. In authoritarian societies, cultural institutions tend to become ideological proxies—think of the National Ballet in Cuba or the East German gymnastics team. Carving out big loopholes merely ensures that sanctions will fail. There’s no blanket cultural exemption in American sanctions in place against Iran. Israel itself is calling for comprehensive international sanctions against Iran that would cover artists and intellectuals.
An even weaker case against the cultural boycott is that it’s unlikely to work. While it’s certainly true that cultural sanctions, on their own, are more inconveniences than lethal weapons, they can have a real impact. In South Africa, for example, many scholars argue that sports sanctions, generally classed as a form of cultural boycott, were an effective form of outside pressure. Banning racially discriminatory teams from the Olympics, and from international cricket and rugby competitions, took away something people really cared about. When it comes to Israel, it’s hard to predict what effect cultural and academic isolation—or bans on participation in sporting events—might have. Some in Israel take international rejection as an affirmation, concluding that amid a sea of hostility, it has no recourse other than self-sufficiency. On the other hand, Israel does care about world opinion, and opponents of the Netanyahu government might cite growing global opprobrium as an argument for a different course.
Perhaps boycotts should be off-limits as a tactic against democratic societies where other means of peaceful protest exist. But here, too, it’s impossible to defend a blanket rule. The immediate resort to sanctions when an elected government does something objectionable but reversible seems extreme and disproportionate. I’m thinking here of San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom’s interdiction of official travel to Arizona because of its draconian immigration law or the European Union’s boycott of Austria after the neo-fascist Jorg Haider joined the government in 2000. But an elected democracy like the Milosevic regime in Serbia can oppress ethnic minorities or even commit genocide as well as an unelected one. And, indeed, one could argue that only in a democracy are the people fully responsible for the actions of their government, making a collective sanction more rather than less justified.
Stevie Wonder cancels Israel military gig on UN recommendation
Dec. 10, 2012
Stevie Wonder is calling off a concert for a group that raises money for the Israeli military.
Wonder had been scheduled to perform on 6 December for Friends of the Israel Defense Forces, which raises money for Israeli soldiers and their families.
Wonder said the United Nations recommended cancelling his performance because he is an official Messenger of Peace for the organisation.
The United Nations overwhelmingly voted to recognize a Palestinian state over vehement US and Israeli objections as hopes for Mideast peace talks stalled.
Wonder said in a statement he was cancelling with a heavy heart but that: “I am and have always been against war, any war, anywhere.”
Several petitions had called on Wonder to cancel the performance.
Stevie Wonder cancels Israel fundraiser concert
Soul legend Stevie Wonder has pulled out of a concert raising money for the Friends of the Israel Defence Forces. The singer, whose hits include Superstition and I Just Called To Say I Love You, had been scheduled to perform at the Los Angeles event on 6 December.
In a statement, Wonder said: “I am and have always been against war, any war, anywhere.”
A ceasefire deal between Israel and Hamas is currently in place, after a week of violence in Gaza last month. But tensions still run high. On Friday, Israel announced it would authorize the construction of 3,000 more housing units in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank. The decision followed a UN General Assembly vote to upgrade the Palestinians’ status to non-member observer state.
Next week’s gala concert supports an organisation which raises money for Israeli soldiers and their families.
Wonder said the United Nations had recommended cancelling his performance because he is an official UN “Messenger of Peace”.
In his statement, the 62-year-old said he had made the decision with a heavy heart. “Given the current and very delicate situation in the Middle East, and with a heart that has always cried out for world unity, I will not be performing,” he added. The musician said he would make contributions to charities that support Israeli and Palestinian children with disabilities.
Video: Dark Side of Roger Waters
December 27, 2012
Roger Waters, composer, lyricist, singer and bassist for rock mega-group Pink Floyd, has also become a “hero to genocidal terrorists” in his later life, notes watchdog group Eye on the UN. The group has created a video (below) that shows Waters in testimony before the UN, comparing Israel to Nazi Germany and lying about Hamas’s policy toward the Jewish state. For millions of people worldwide who hold Pink Floyd’s music dear to their hearts – the video may be a cause for some serious reflection on whether being a musical genius says anything about a person’s morals, historical judgment and political acumen. Waters performed before an audience estimated at 50,000 in Israel in 2006.
Roger Waters, founding member, vocalist and bassist of the iconic rock band ‘Pink Floyd’ has voiced his support for a cultural boycott of Israel.
The British musician performed in Israel in 2005, ignoring calls from Palestinian rights advocates to cancel. While in Israel, Waters visited Jerusalem and Bethlehem. He was taken to the controversial separation fence in the West Bank, which he called “an appalling edifice to behold.”
Waters said he was extremely affected by his tour of the West Bank, scrawling “We don’t need no thought control”, lyrics from one of Pink Floyd’s most popular songs, on the wall, and cancelling his performance in Tel Aviv. Instead, the British star held the concert in Neve Shalom, a cooperative village founded by Jews and Arabs.
In the letter Waters wrote announcing his support of a cultural boycott of Israel, he said that in his “view, the abhorrent and draconian control that Israel wields over the besieged Palestinians in Gaza, and the Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, coupled with its denial of the rights of refugees to return to their homes in Israel, demands that fair minded people around the world support the Palestinians in their civil, nonviolent resistance.”
He concluded the letter, saying that he is joining the campaign of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel, until it satisfies three basic human rights he claims are demanded by international law.
He called on Israel to end the occupation of the West Bank and dismantle the separation fence, recognize the rights of Arab citizens of Israel and granting them full equality and allow all Palestinian refugees to return to their homes.
Waters stressed in his letter that he is not anti-Semitic, and his solidarity with the Palestinians stems from his belief that all people deserve basic human rights.
Last week, American folk music legend Pete Seeger officially joined the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign – an international movement to pressure and sanction Israel through economic means.
Seeger, 92, one of the fathers of American folk music, is a veteran political and peace activist. In the 1950s he was interrogated by the McCarthyist House Unamerican Activities Committee and two years ago performed for U.S. President Barack Obama’s inauguration concert.
Artists, academics and celebrities throughout the world have supported and participated in the cultural boycotting of Israel.
Earlier this year, French pop star Vanessa Paradis cancelled her concert in Israel only a month before she was supposed to arrive in the country with her partner, Hollywood actor Johnny Depp, leaving fans and pundits speculating as to the reasons for the cancellation.
Although Paradis’ agent David Stern claimed that the cancellation was due to professional reasons, insiders who organized the concert claim that the singer acceded to calls to cancel the show made by Palestinian solidarity groups.
According to the same sources, it was apparently the planned visit of Paradis’ partner Johnny Depp that drew the attention of the groups that advocate BDS.
By Nathan Guttman
May 28, 2010
WASHINGTON — It was a feather in the cap of pro-boycott activists, but for Israelis, a major setback.
Both Sides Now: Paul McCartney (1) played before Israeli audiences, and Elton John (3) still is scheduled to perform. But Elvis Costello (2) and Gil Scott-Heron (4) have joined the cultural boycott of Israel. Carlos Santana (5) canceled a large concert in Israel due to “unforeseen scheduling conflicts.”
With battle lines drawn across concert halls and stadiums hosting rock bands, the decision by mega-star Elvis Costello to cancel his planned concerts in Israel is being viewed as a game changer.
In a statement posted on his website, Costello described his decision as a “matter of instinct and conscience.” Israel’s culture minister, Limor Livnat, responded by saying that Costello “is not worthy” of performing in Israel.
The movement for a cultural boycott of Israel has increased its activity in recent years, strategically targeting selected artists who are scheduled to perform there. Until recently, the campaign has had limited success. It failed to dissuade musicians Paul McCartney and Leonard Cohen from giving concerts in Israel, but took pride in positive responses from several authors and poets.
Numerous other stars, such as Madonna, have been unmoved by the cultural boycott campaign, performing successfully in Israel even recently.
But Costello’s action is the first open endorsement of the boycott movement by an A-list artist in protest of Israel’s policies in the occupied West Bank and of its siege of Gaza. In a detailed statement, the performer argued that he could not perform in Israel because by doing so, “it may be assumed that one has no mind for the suffering of the innocent.
“One lives in hope that music is more than mere noise, filling up idle time, whether intending to elate or lament,” Costello wrote in his statement.
He suggested that his decision had been complex and difficult. “I must believe that the audience for the coming concerts would have contained many people who question the policies of their government on settlement and deplore conditions that visit intimidation, humiliation or much worse on Palestinian civilians in the name of national security,” he wrote. “I am also keenly aware of the sensitivity of these themes in the wake of so many despicable acts of violence perpetrated in the name of liberation.
“I offer my sincere apologies for any disappointment to the advance ticket holders as well as to the organizers.”
In reaction, a music industry insider confirmed that the winds could be shifting. The music executive, who spoke on condition of anonymity in light of his ongoing business ties with artists, said that in recent months he had approached more than 15 performing artists with proposals to give concerts in Israel. None had agreed. The contracts offered high levels of compensation. He called them “extreme, big numbers that could match any other gig.”
Another successful boycott campaign was directed at poet and performing artist Gil Scott-Heron. Shortly after announcing his plan to perform in Tel Aviv on May 25, Scott-Heron, who is known for his political activism, was blasted by supporters of the boycott movement, who called on him to cancel his visit. Scott-Heron’s April 24 concert in London was disrupted by pro-Palestinian protesters, and at the end of the show, he announced the cancellation of his Tel Aviv tour.
A letter sent to Scott-Heron by more than 50 pro-boycott groups and artists praised the decision as a moral one. “You have chosen to stand on the right side of history,” the letter stated.
Scott-Heron’s progressive views and his outspoken political stands have made him a prime target of the boycott movement. Organizers explained that they have been focusing on artists who they believe could be open to the idea of culturally boycotting Israel. “Obviously, we can’t target everyone, so we single out those who we think will be more responsive and open to the issue,” said Hannah Mermelstein, a spokesperson for Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel.
But the groups are also going after other performing artists whose planned concerts in Israel are expected to sell tens of thousands of tickets.
Currently, the focus is on singer Elton John, who is scheduled to perform in Tel Aviv on June 17. A video clip circulating on the Web shows a takeoff on Elton John’s 1976 hit “Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word.” The parody replaces the song’s original lyrics with a call to cancel the planned show: “Always seems to me that boycott seems to be the hardest word.”
The song criticizes Elton John for performing in South Africa during the apartheid era and claims that Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is using gay tourism to Israel as part of the country’s rebranding campaign. The clip urges John not to “let Bibi use you as his gay Band-Aid.”
Other high-profile artists being targeted are Bob Dylan, who plans to give a concert in Israel at the end of May, and Joan Armatrading, who is scheduled to give two shows in the first week of June.
But in the battle over public opinion, many other names have also been thrown into the debate. These include artists who either scheduled concerts in Israel or indicated their wish to perform there, but who later withdrew without providing reasons for their decisions.
Such is the case of guitar legend Carlos Santana, who had planned a stop in Israel as part of his tour of Europe and the Middle East. Thousands of tickets to the concert, which was scheduled to take place in a large soccer stadium in Jaffa, had already been sold before Santana and his group announced that the concert had been canceled due to “unforeseen scheduling conflicts.” The Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot quoted unnamed sources from the Israeli production company organizing the concert as saying that Santana had been under “pressure from anti-Israel figures” to cancel the visit.
Another no-show is rapper Snoop Dogg, who pulled out of a planned performance in Israel due to “contractual difficulties.” It is not clear in this case whether the decision was a response to pressure to boycott Israel or the result of slow ticket sales.
Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions activists, however, have included these artists in a list of musicians who declined to perform in Israel, hinting that their decision to cancel was driven by political considerations.
Mermelstein, the Adalah-NY spokesperson, said that even when artists officially cite logistical reasons for canceling their shows, it could still be a sign that they are responding to boycott calls. “Most mainstream artists are not yet making public statements in support of BDS, but the movement is becoming a consideration, and artists are thinking twice before performing there,” she said.
Some artists have come out clearly in support of the boycott and have declared their refusal to appear in Israel. These include mainly poets, authors and scholars rather than performing artists. Indian writer Arundhati Roy, British novelist John Berger, poet Adrienne Rich, director Ken Loach, and author and activist Naomi Klein are among them.
BDS activists in the United States stress that by calling on artists to boycott Israel, they are following demands from Palestinians on the ground who believe that this is an effective way of pressuring Israel. The movement also has supporters in Israel. Ofer Neiman, a Jerusalem activist, said the purpose is to show that occupation “has a price tag attached.” He rejected the notion that having leading artists come to Israel in order to express their disagreement with the government’s policies would be more effective than boycotting. “How many people have taken [rock musician] Roger Waters’ anti-occupation statements to heart when he played here in 2006? The main thing people remember is that he performed here,” said Neiman.
Despite recent successes of the boycott movement, Israelis still face a full slate of concerts and performances this summer. Elton John, Rod Stewart, Rihanna and the Pixies are among those confirmed to play in Israel. Also in the works are plans to host MTV’s annual summer party, one of the music channel’s top productions, in Tel Aviv.
Contact Nathan Guttman at email@example.com
Pixies cancel Israel gig following Gaza raid
US band call off their debut performance in Israel, saying ‘events beyond our control have conspired against us’
June 7, 2010
‘We extend our deepest apologies to fans’ … Black Francis of Pixies. Photograph: Nigel Treblin/AFP/Getty Images
Pixies have cancelled their first-ever performance in Israel, citing “events beyond our control”. Although the US band did not give a reason for the cancellation, organisers said it was linked to Israel’s raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla last week.
“The decision was not reached easily,” the band said. “We all know well the Israeli fans have been waiting for this visit for far too long. We’d like to extend our deepest apologies to the fans but events beyond all our control have conspired against us.”
Pixies were due to perform on 9 June, headlining the second night of the Pic.Nic festival. They are not the first group to call off their appearance at Tel Aviv’s Expo grounds. Both Klaxons and Gorillaz DJs pulled out last week, without giving reasons for their decision. Editorsand Israeli duo Carusella are still scheduled to perform, and English band Placebo went ahead with their show on Pic.Nic’s first night (5 June). “It’s important to [endorse] Israel these days,” an Israeli journalist remarked in a pre-concert interview with Placebo. “I suppose so,” joked frontman Brian Molko, with an awkward laugh, “You know, if you decide to go sailing.”
In the early hours of 31 May, Israeli commandos launched a raid on six ships carrying aid materials to Gaza. Nine pro-Palestinian activists were killed and dozens were injured in the melee, which took place in international waters, 40 miles from shore. Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu said the soldiers were defending themselves, but has opposed an international inquiry.
Even before the events of last week, Pixies were one of several western acts targeted by Israeli human rights activists advocating an artistic boycott of their country. “As much as some of us are huge fans and would love to hear your show, we won’t cross the international picket line … to come and see you,” wrote the group Boycott Israel on 1 March. Singer Elvis Costello cancelled two gigs in Israel last month, calling it “a matter of instinct and conscience”.
Shuki Weiss, promoter of the Pic.Nic festival, called on Israeli authorities to “fight against those who are doing everything they can to prevent artists from performing in Israel”. “We can only hope for better days, in which we will finally present the long-awaited visit of the Pixies in Israel,” she said. Refunds for Wednesday’s concert will be available.
Despite the recent spate of cancellations, several high-profile performers have performed in Israel, including Metallica, Rihanna and Kool and the Gang. Acts such as Elton John and Rod Stewart are scheduled to play the country later this summer.
Elvis Costello cancels concerts in Israel in protest at treatment of Palestinians
Singer says he acted on ‘conscience’, as he joins a list of performers who have boycotted Israel for political reasons
Vikram Dodd, and Rory McCarthy in Jerusalem
May 18, 2010
Elvis Costello has cancelled two concerts he was scheduled to play in Israel in protest at its treatment of Palestinians.
Costello, one of the most gifted British songwriters of his generation, was due to play on 30 June and 1 July but says his “conscience” dictated that he pull out of the performances.
He joins a list of performers who have decided not to play in Israel, including Gil Scott-Heron and Santana.
On his website, Costello wrote: “Then there are occasions when merely having your name added to a concert schedule may be interpreted as a political act that resonates more than anything that might be sung and it may be assumed that one has no mind for the suffering of the innocent.
“I must believe that the audience for the coming concerts would have contained many people who question the policies of their government on settlement and deplore conditions that visit intimidation, humiliation or much worse on Palestinian civilians in the name of national security.
“I am also keenly aware of the sensitivity of these themes in the wake of so many despicable acts of violence perpetrated in the name of liberation.
“It is a matter of instinct and conscience.
“I cannot imagine receiving another invitation to perform in Israel, which is a matter of regret, but I can imagine a better time when I would not be writing this.
“With the hope for peace and understanding. Elvis Costello.”
Sarah Colborne, from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, welcomed the decision: “We are increasingly seeing artists taking a stand against allowing themselves to be used by the Israeli state to normalise their occupation and apartheid policies against Palestinians. Principled artists understood it was unacceptable to play under the apartheid South African regime in Sun City.”
Other artists have cancelled Israeli tours in recent months, including Santana and Gil Scott-Heron, who was also active in the anti-apartheid movement. In one song written to protest against the racist regime in South Africa, Scott-Heron wrote: “The first time I heard there was trouble in the Middle East, I thought they were talking about Pittsburgh.” Leonard Cohen played in Israel last year, despite a similar campaign from the boycott movement asking him to stay away.
“This is not boycotting the Jewish people, or the Israeli people, it is boycotting the occupation,” said Mustafa Barghouti, an independent Palestinian MP. “More and more people are convinced that something should be done and the peaceful and non-violent way to do it is by boycott, divestment and sanctions.”
It comes as Palestinian officials have begun a new effort to boycott products made in Israeli settlements. Last month Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas signed a law banning Palestinians from working in settlements in the occupied territories and banning the sale of settlement goods, including fruit and vegetables. Hundreds of volunteers in the West Bank today distributed lists of 500 Israeli settlement products they want shoppers to boycott.
Israel’s culture and sports minister, Limor Livnat, criticised Costello. “An artist boycotting his fans in Israel is unworthy of performing here,” Livnat was quoted as saying by the Ynet news website.Israel itself has banned people from entering its territory because of their views about its actions. Israeli authorities prevented the Jewish American academic Noam Chomsky from entering the West Bank on Sunday to give a lecture at a Palestinian university near Ramallah. Chomsky was told that the Israeli authorities did not like his political views.