Calling on Amnesty International to Act for Justice for Palestinians

The members of Boycott Within! who risk legal action by making their demands below support the Palestinian call to boycott, divest from and sanction apartheid from within Israel.

Amnesty International, One Struggle for Freedom Must Not Undermine Another

“To Amnesty International,

We are a group of citizens of Israel who support the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law and universal principles of human rights. Some of us are members of Amnesty International and we’re deeply troubled by your endorsement of the Swedish Metal band, Arch Enemy, which is scheduled to give a gig in Israel, despite its record of violating international law and human rights.

We applaud your tireless documentation of abuses of human rights world-wide and the actions you take to bring them to an end. As you very well know, freedom of expression has never been granted to Palestinians by the Israeli military regime. This is evident from the most recent example of the brutal repression of demonstrations against the apartheid wall and settlements in the West Bank, where Mustafa Tamimi was shot to death in the head with a high velocity gas projectile from zero range (http://youtu.be/69GCTj6_BZs).

So many Palestinian activists, many of whom are still in Israeli prisons, are held under “administrative” arrest for weeks and months, in violation of international law and their human rights. We would like to remind you in particular of two arrests that occurred in late 2009:

1. Abdallah Abu Rahma, whom the army tried to convict for “possession of arms”, when in fact an art exhibition was held in his home: A peace-sign constructed from used gas canisters that the army uses every week against the villagers of Bil’in

2. Mohammad Othman, who was arrested for the crime of talking. At the time, this is what Amnesty International had to say:

“Amnesty International said it is concerned that Abdallah Abu Rahma and Mohammed Othman have been detained solely on account of legitimately exercising their right to freedom of expression in opposing the Israeli fence/wall.” http://www.amnesty.org/en/appeals-for-action/israel-must-stop-harassment-and-detention-palestianian-activists

Amnesty international has also been very supportive of our own group, as we are gradually being targeted by the policies of the Israeli government as well. There is no need to explain to you that we knowingly commit a civil offense in writing this letter. Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa stated this very clearly:

“Despite proponents’ claims to the contrary, [the boycott] law is a blatant attempt to stifle peaceful dissent and campaigning by attacking the right to freedom of expression, which all governments must uphold.” http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/israel-anti-boycott-law-attack-freedom-expression-2011-07-12

We have absolutely no doubt that the Palestinian people were also on your mind, when you launched your “End Repression-Protect Freedom of Expression” campaign. We have absolutely no doubt of the importance of raising awareness about the political prisoners of Yodok in North Korea or the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó. However, we must stress that one struggle for freedom must not undermine another.

Your sponsorship of Arch Enemy, who are scheduled to perform in Israel in January, will directly violate the Palestinian civil society call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS). Hundreds of Palestinian unions, associations, NGOs, institutes, political parties, and groups are asking international artists not to perform in Israel (certainly not in commercial venues), until Israel ends its violations of human rights. Therefore, your sponsorship undermines the Palestinian civil society struggle for equality. liberation and self determination.

In view of this, we ask that you either

1. Withdraw your endorsement of Arch Enemy’s concert in Israel (as you have done before with Leonard Cohen – http://www.pacbi.org/etemplate.php?id=1080) and publicly distance Amnesty International from Arch Enemy’s decision to perform in Israel and express serious reservation about their undermining of Palestinian struggle.

or

2. Assist the band to convey their important message in a way that will not violate the Palestinian civil society BDS call, and will not serve to whitewash Israel’s violations of human rights through a false image of “cultural diversity” and “freedom of expression”.

We would be interested in your comments.

Sincerely,
BOYCOTT! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within”

SOURCE

Rafeef Ziadah’s Presentation to the Russell Tribunal at Cape Town

“Rafeef Ziadah gives a presentation on “Exploitation of labour of members of a racial group or groups in relation to the facts that Israel has raised barriers to Palestinian employment inside Israel since the 1990s, and that Palestinian labour is now used extensively only in the construction and services sectors of Jewish-Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories” for the 3rd International session of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine in Cape Town, November 2011.”

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The Jewish Land Fund – An International Criminal Organisation

Endorse the Stop the JNF call and negate this criminal aspect of Israel apartheid

The JNF was created in 1901 to acquire land and property rights in Palestine and beyond for exclusive Jewish settlement. While indigenous Palestinians are barred from leasing, building on, managing or working their own land, the JNF holds the land in trust for “those of Jewish race or descendency” living anywhere in the world to “promote the interests of Jews in the prescribed region.”

To ensure such racist control over the majority of confiscated Palestinian lands, Israel adopted the JNF model of discriminatory land management as official state policy. In 1953, the Israeli Knesset legislated special status for JNF, enabling it to carry out governmental functions as a Zionist institution (“for Jews only”). The JNF continues to operate as a state-chartered organization[6] under Israeli law with direct control over some thirteen percent of the land in pre-1967 Israel.

Further, the JNF appoints six out of thirteen members of the governing board of the Israel Lands Authority (ILA), which manages the JNF’s thirteen percent, in addition to another eighty percent of all land in Israel. It is through this relationship with the JNF that Israel, while portraying itself as the only democracy in the Middle East, in fact, outsources the land-management
functions of the state to this discriminatory state-chartered organization.

Download the four JNF ebooks collated to date:

Vol 1 – Introducing the Jewish National Fund
Vol 2 – Preparing for Legal Action Focus : Canada Park
Vol 3 – Ongoing Ethnic Cleansing : Judaizing the Naqab
Vol 4 – Greenwashing Apartheid – Environmental Coverup

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The first three weeks of December saw Israel demolish over 20 structures, leaving 32 Palestinians homeless and affecting another 150 people. In addition, several places have received new stop-work or demolition orders and verbal warnings from Israeli forces.

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Terrific comprehensive, hyperlinked and accurate up to date site for journalists and serious researchers on US Defense/Defence spending.

Arch Enemy and BDS: F*CK the Boycott & Amnesty International will go with us to Tel Aviv

Freedom Riders of Palestine
The Palestinian Freedom Riders recently highlighted Israel's unjust apartheid policy of separate but unequal.
Will Amnesty International decide to ignore the Palestinian call for justice but to instead obey Arch Enemy’s call? Arch Enemy is making strong claims that Amnesty International accompany them to Israel, as they break through the Palestinian picket line known as BDS.[1]

The cultural boycott is Palestine’s non-violent form of resistance to the continued oppression and apartheid inflicted on them by Israel. Amnesty making a “show” with Arch Enemy would only serve to normalize apartheid and deflect from the need to hold Israel accountable to International Law.

Electronica musician Moby recently broke the boycott call and played for Israel’s Pic.Nic for apartheid. Moby did not have the audacity to demand that Amnesty International be present at his concert. Art For Amnesty lists Moby as one of their prominent supporters.[2] That Moby broke the boycott call is appalling, but it would have been worse had he removed all references to Palestine on his facebook (he never did), and insisted on Art For Amnesty to join him in Israel, all the while, thanking Israel lobby group “Stand With Us,” and recording vocals with a pro-settler band in Israel.

Can Amnesty International maintain credibility and appear in Tel Aviv with Arch Enemy?

  • Arch Enemy has repressed all mention of the Palestinian call on their facebook, aggressively banning human rights volunteers and deleting posts.[3]
  • In a disturbing disregard for the Palestinian plight today, Arch Enemy has not responded nor acknowledged the PACBI’s letter written directly to Arch Enemy.
  • Arch Enemy’s lead singer has publicly thanked “Stand With Us.” The “Stand With Us” twitter profile clearly shows exactly who they are. Until pressured to remove it, the lead singer kept her tweet of thanks to SWU visible.[4]
  • Arch Enemy’s lead singer did collaborate with the pro-Zionist band Amaseffer. She did the vocals for the band’s track “Midian” in 2008.

Amnesty set a precedent in 2009. They chose to withdraw from Leonard Cohen’s concert in Israel.[5] Depending on which way the pendulum swings, Amnesty will either choose to maintain the precendent they set in 2009, or they will choose to ignore the Palestinian call for boycott, creating a setback in the fight for human rights. Hopes are high that Amnesty will simply refrain.

_____________________________________________________________________________

[1] See http://www.kadaitcha.com/2011/12/19/anarchist-arch-enemy-stands-with-fascism/
[2] See http://amnesty.org/en/art-for-amnesty/who-works-with-us/music,-gigs-and-tours
[3] See http://zazafl.wordpress.com/2011/12/13/arch-enemys-angela-gossow-refuses-to-hear-palestinian-voices/
[4] http://refrainplayingisrael.posterous.com/arch-enemy-thanks-israel-lobby-stand-with-us
[5] http://www.bdsmovement.net/2009/amnesty-international-withdraws-from-leonard-cohen%E2%80%99s-israel-concert-fund-513#.TvVAVTVSTFK

SOURCE

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Chavez Calls Out Obama As a Scrooge and Fraud

Delightful to read at Christmas time – Chavez nails Obama, figurehead of the neolib US plutocracy behemoth, as a miserly fraud.

The president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, replied to statements said by his counterpart from the United States, Barack Obama, who criticized the sovereign relationship between Venezuela and Cuba, among others.

Chavez asked Obama to take care of poor people in his own country, who since the arrival of winter have endured cuts in social assistance to pay for in home heating.

“Obama is a total fraud. He cut social assistance for home heating oil for the poor,” Chavez said during a cabinet meeting at the Miraflores Presidential Palace.

Given that situation, President Chavez said he had held a conversation with Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez so as to increase the support of Venezuela’s CITGO to poor people who endure temperatures below zero during the winter in the United States.

According to Chavez, Obama is just looking for votes by criticising others and Chavez called on him to work with “the good people” of the United States.

“Obama is just about to lose the elections and with these criticisms [of Venezuela] he just wants to win some votes. You are a fraud, a total fraud. If I could be a candidate in the United States, I would beat you. I would win 80-20, I would beat you with [the votes] of all the good people you have there,” Chavez said.

Who wouldn’t prefer Chavez and a socialist system over the traditional US nepotistic plutocracy?

Referring way back to Trotsky, it may be worthwhile to consider the relevance of his thoughts to the Occupy movement, which has as yet not produced a revolutionary party capable of leading it to victory.

‘We must not identify war dictatorship — the dictatorship of the military machine, of the staff, of finance capital — with a fascist dictatorship. For the latter, there is first necessary a feeling of desperation of large masses of the people. When the revolutionary parties betray them, when the vanguard of workers shows it incapacity to lead the people to victory — then the farmers, the small business men, the unemployed, the soldiers, etc., become capable of supporting a fascist movement, but only then.

‘We may set it down as a historical law: fascism was able to conquer only in those countries where the conservative labor parties prevented the proletariat from utilizing the revolutionary situation and seizing power.”

from Leon Trotsky’s FASCISM What It Is and How To Fight It

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