Omar Barghouti on Israel’s New Attack of Gaza and BDS

After delays and unscrupulous attempts to keep him out of the US, Omar Barghouti is finally allowed into the US for his speaking tour to promote his new book, Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions: The Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights.

Omar comments on BDS, the current Israeli onslaught in Gaza, US complicity and the overall Middle East scene.

We’re seeing a not just sea change in Arab diplomacy after the departure of Mubarak, the dictator of Egypt. First we saw the U.S. veto against its own position for decades that Israel’s colonial settlements are illegal and an obstacle to peace. The U.S. had to veto that, because there was no longer Mubarak to do its dirty work. If Mubarak were still around, he would have pressured the Palestinians to pull this out of the Security Council and not to embarrass the U.S. So the U.S. had to vote against its own position and to stand in this little dark corner with Israel facing the entire world community. So we’re seeing here some change, some real change, in the tone of the Arab League and of the Arab officials towards the Palestinians. Absolutely, a no-fly zone is more justified than ever over Gaza. Why should it be over Libya only, and Israelis, as an occupying power, continue to bomb Gaza with U.S. weaponry, F-16s and U.S. missiles?

Israel is feeling this complete imbalance in its so-called Arab neighbor. So, Israel is losing that cover, and this is extremely important for our movement. And it has given a boost to the Palestinian nonviolent movement, especially in the form of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. We saw a lot of growth around the world.

In the last year or so, especially after the attack on the flotilla, we’ve seen a very steep rise in cultural boycott of Israel. So we’re connecting this with the cultural resistance on the ground. It’s not just that the Palestinians are continuing to produce culture to counter Israel’s occupation and apartheid, but we’re also calling on performers, musicians, theater directors, and so on, not to perform in Israel, as they did during the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa.

The BDS movement is based on international law and universal principles of human rights. We have Israeli partners. We have many faith communities, many trade unions supporting the movement now. It has really grown drastically, and this is why it’s worrying Israel, because it has not yet developed a weapon to counter this simple nonviolent movement. It’s not a centralized, dogmatic kind of movement. It doesn’t have a very difficult agenda. It’s a basic, liberal, decent agenda based on human rights that any person can join. And many people have been joining.

Full transcript here.

Omar Barghouti : “People have rights, and when we say we want to end Israel’s multitiered system of oppression…we must immediately, in the same sentence, say people have equal rights in every formal way” . Author, activist and professor Sarah Schulman has been involved with the Palestinian queer movement, emphasizing that their struggle is deeply tied to the struggle to end the occupation.

Palestine / Israel Links

UN General Assembly Campaign for Palestinian State Gathers Momentum
UN General Assembly “Uniting for Palestine”
Raymond Deane: ‘Mr Geldof should consider whether it was “appropriate” to attend the IsraAid conference because “the criminal actions of the Israeli state have resulted in the Palestinians being more dependent on humanitarian aid than any people on earth”.’
VEOLIA: Another BDS victory as Veolia dumped from possible billion pound tender

Fight to rescind the Goldstone report reaches the US Congress : the evil ziolobby in the US attempts to quash the evidence of war crimes. This is possibly an indication of the fear by which this report is held by the ziolobby. Fortunately, the UN is not subject to this sort of outrageous bullying and the UNGA may take this as further incitement against it and react in the opposite manner to which the ziolobby intends. I’m hoping for a Uniting for Peace resolution which will permit Israel and its scumbag US accomplice to be thwarted by ICC action regardless of US power.

‘According to Ros-Lehtinen, the initiative will “make it U.S. policy to demand that the UN General Assembly revoke and repudiate the Goldstone Report and any UN resolutions stemming from the report, and will refund to U.S. taxpayers their share of the costs for the report and its follow-on measures.”’

Lieberman speaks from his pulpit – busy flushing the evidence?
SAMAH SABAWI: The horrible truth about Gaza
Lieberman: Israel should topple Hamas
Major-General Dangot admits that Israeli war crimes are state policy:

“They know very well that we’ll hit public institutions and have even instructed students to continue attending school,” he said, adding, “How ironic that while their kids continue to attend school, they keep firing rockets deep into Israeli territory.”

The Goldstone Chronicles
Goldstone Flinched Due To Social Pressure – din rodefed?

Goldstone’s community in Johannesburg summoned Goldstone to a meeting with the Jewish Federation at which communal leaders essentially indicted Goldstone for being a traitor.

Israel must respond disproportionately – Israeli ex-IDF justifies war crimes, admits intent :

As our southern towns continue to come under heavy fire, Israel must respond disproportionately until normalcy and calm are reestablished and our waning deterrence has been restored

Lieberman: Gaza ceasefire is not in Israel’s interests
‘Boycott Israel’ campaign challenges apartheid
Sudan: We have proof that Israel was behind strike
Mutual deterrence between Israel and Gaza is working
Supreme Court is on wrong side of West Bank separation fence
Education Ministry hunting for Arab teachers absent on Land Day
Lieberman to be served draft indictment for graft in next 24 hours
Ran Greenstein: Reflections on academic boycotts in the wake of the UJ-BGU campaign
9 more detained in latest Awarta sweep
Haaretz WikiLeaks exclusive / Israel ruled out military option on Iran years ago
It’s democracy stupid

Where exactly is the extremism with this vision that is “rooted in a century-old history of civil, non-violent resistance against settler colonialism, occupation and ethnic cleansing”? The extremism is more likely to be found in the anti-BDS propaganda, comparing this unarmed resistance to the Nazi boycott of Jews in 1930’s, whereby “dehumanizing them…is a vital step on the way to genocide”.

Australia’s bipartisan loyalty to Israel is apparently in question when the Greens gain the balance of power in the Senate in three months. Is this because the major parties need to save face with Israel or Australia?. Over 100 Australian leaders have ‘graduated’ from the Rambam Israel Fellowship, including Julia Gillard, Kevin Rudd, Alexander Downer and Bill Shorten. The six day program is engineered by the Israeli Foreign Ministry. By their own admission, the Rambam organisers have declared that “for the money we invest in, you can’t ask for better results”.

The latest vilification of the BDS campaign is yet another example of a return on this investment.

The AIJAC organisation which pays for the Rambam hasbara fellowships which 100 pollies etc have been on is a private organisation which doesn’t disclose its funding. Sourcewatch says:

‘The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) is a right wing lobby group based in Melbourne and Sydney, Australia. On its website and in the media, AIJAC often claims to represent the Australian Jewish community, stating that it “represents the interests of the Australian Jewish community to government, media and other community groups and organisations.” [1]. In reality, it is a small, privately funded think tank which represents no one but its own small membership.

AIJAC describes itself as a think tank, however it does not do original research, and focuses mostly on political lobbying. It has been described as “an aggressive, no holds barred, privately funded, political lobby group. It is variously described as “the only effective organisation that lobbies for Israel”, a “Melbourne based pro-Zionist think-tank”, “Zionist propagandists”, “contentious”, but not a body, according to the President of the New South Wales Board of Deputies, “that is in any elected or democratic sense representative of the community”. ‘

‘AIJAC’s website states that it is “associated with” the American Jewish Committee’

One funder that it has exposed is The Pratt Foundation:

“The Pratt Foundation was established in 1978 by Richard and Jeanne Pratt with the shared vision of supporting charitable enterprises and adding value to philanthropy. The Foundation is now one of the largest private sources of philanthropy in Australia. In the words of its mission statement, it aims “to enrich the lives of our community” and, in the words of Jeremiah, it works to fulfil this aim in a spirit of “kindness, justice and equity”.” [1]

“Through the Pratt Foundation, Visy donates over $10 million to a wide range of causes.”

The Pratt Foundation donates to the JNF.

Can’t find anything about its funding of AIJAC on its sites.

The foundation has an australian and israeli website.

Pratt went down for price fixing in 2008, fined $36m. He returned his Order of Australia.

An oldie but goody on Rambam thank you ma’ams. Possibly where Wakim got the inaccuracy about the Israeli government funding RamBams.

Rambamming Makes the Front Page
Hamas, Palestinian Authority Not Ordering Iron Dome Defense System
The Sharp End of Hebron

The Israeli government is clever in using settlers. They are trying to say that Hebron is important for religious history, but what I hear from settlers is that it is a step towards taking Nablus, Ramallah, and the entire West Bank. Hebron is a frontline. If they succeed here in their campaign of ethnic cleansing under the banner of religion, they will move on to new goals.

The Australian runs dodgy book review misquoting the Balfour Declaration
Norman Finkelstein spoke at a Students for Justice in Palestine event.

Reading from a Wikileaks document, Finkelstein revealed that Israeli officials privately announced to an American representative that Israel planned to bring Gaza’s economy to the brink of collapse.

“There never has been, is not, and never will be a peace process,” Finkelstein said. “Rational people don’t judge by words, they judge by outcomes and results. Truthfully, it is an annexation process that uses peace as a facade.”

Tap Dancing to AIPAC’s Tune

But when Israel supporters whine about the “anti-Israel climate on campus”, let’s not forget that the only groups with money to take out full-page ads are Israel advocates.

Netanyahu mulling West Bank pullout to stave off ‘diplomatic tsunami’

Libya Links

Libyan rebels reject African cease-fire proposal
Libya after the NATO invasion

For the people of Libya, there can be no quick fix. Not only will the post-invasion Libyan state lack the means to defend its sovereignty externally, a post-invasion Libyan government will need to accommodate a highly fractured society through patient coalition-building, if Libyan society is not to disintegrate into an Afghan-style civil war.

That necessary work will have to be political, not military. For that work to begin, the first prerequisite is an end to the NATO invasion and a ceasefire.


The Greens and Palestine

‘the attack the NSW Greens have endured is not simply about discrediting the third force in Australian politics – although that certainly is one of the aims. This campaign of slander is, more broadly, an attempt to intimidate anyone even thinking about taking a principled anti-racist stance against Israel.

The right’s unwavering devotion to Israel’s cause is not, as they claim, a function of their support for freedom and democracy, but a reflection of their unquestioning support for Western domination of the Arab world. For that reason at least, supporters of Palestine need to stand firm against the ravings of the pro-Zionist right.’

Wikileaks Links

#Wikileaks @ioerror harassed & detained at airport AGAIN by CBP who say ‘You remember 9/11? That’s why!’ #US #fascism #policestate #
@ioerror Of course, I was again denied access to my lawyer, again denied information on my “random” screening, and I missed my connecting flight. #
@ioerror While asking questions, they located Gene Sharp books about authoritarianism and obedience. Apparently, something some passengers lack. #
@ioerror When I discussed my detainment with one of the officers, before I’d missed my flight, I was told that I was making it harder on myself. #
@ioerror The actual interactions with the border guards are certainly becoming less and less pleasant. The CBP agents in Texas also served in Iraq. #
@ioerror Needless to say, I do not actually believe that Americans are safer because Agent Rodriguez and his buddies were Army snipers in Iraq. #

Other Links

7 Examples of How the Poor Are Being Robbed to Give More Wealth to the Rich
Arab Government Human Rights Abuses in 2010