Closed Zone – Boycotts & More Protests Against Israeli Land Theft

While Arab bloggers protest Israel’s despicable forced evictions and confiscations of Palestinian homes and land, in the West Bank, activist women prepare to march for International Women’s Day.

Tomorrow the nonviolent Palestinian resistance will take to their fields and towns, to their confiscated land to confront confiscation for the Wall and settlements.

Expectations are for a violent Israeli response that is an omnipresent aspect of the popular resistance. Western Ramallah’s Bil’in and Na’lin will demonstrate, as will Qalqilia’s Jayyous.

Tomorrow is a special day as every Friday the West Bank chooses a pertinent theme with which to devote demonstrations, in addition to protesting the general policy of the occupying Israeli authorities: last week it was the forcible destruction and eviction of East Jerusalem’s Silwan and Al Bustan to the south of Al Aqsa Mosque.

Tomorrow the honor will be paid to international women’s day. Southern Bethlehem’s Umm Salamuna is expected to come out in droves along with activists from throughout the province that received last week confiscation orders for dozens more dunams of its lands.

Women activists in Bethlehem issued an invitation to “all those of you who care about women’s issues.” Hundreds are expected on Friday.

Over at Jews sans Frontieres, Anthony Cordesman’s flawed CSIS report on Israel’s attack on Gaza is soundly examined and glaring omissions highlighted – Cordesman “diplomatically fails to mention the U.S. attempt to overthrow the elected Palestinian government that led to Hamas taking over”, “He also ignores that whole history of potential negotiations with Hamas”.

Cordesman’s work hards to absolve Israel from war crimes because he is concerned about the effects vigorous prosecution of such crimes would have on the deployment of U.S. forces.

Cordesman’s concern is to defend the right of the U.S. and it’s allies, whoever they may be, to fight “assymetric wars” that inherently depend on harm to civilians. International law in its present form is not congruent with the way U.S. strategic interests are evolving. (and U.S. hostility to the ICJ and other treaties that put limits on warfare is well known.) CSIS, and the corporate elite it serves, got its money’s worth.

On the boycott and apartheid front, the cessation of negotiations by the British Embassy with Leviev owned Africa-Israel, a company building on stolen Palestinian land in the West Bank is a landmark decision, setting a terrific precedent for more UK divestments, boycotts and sanctions against Israel in the future.

Tony Greenstein is encouraged by the progress of the international boycott on apartheid Israel.

it is clear that the growing level of support for Boycott in the trade unions and similar organisations, coupled with a consumer boycott and individual businesses also refusing to trade with Israel is making its mark.

To keep an eye on – the “long-delayed trial of two former AIPAC staffers accused of passing classified info to the media and the Israeli government.” Gershom Gorenborg quotes Doug Bloomfield in the New Jersey Jewish News:

One of the topics AIPAC won’t want discussed, say these sources, is how closely it coordinated with Benjamin Netanyahu in the 1990s, when he led the Israeli Likud opposition and later when he was prime minister, to impede the Oslo peace process being pressed by President Bill Clinton and Israeli Prime Ministers Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres.

That could not only validate AIPAC’s critics, who accuse it of being a branch of the Likud, but also lead to an investigation of violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

“What they don’t want out is that even though they publicly sounded like they were supporting the Oslo process, they were working all the time to undermine it,” said a well-informed source.

Boycott, Divestment and Protest Israel Update

From grassroots community action in Tescos in Wales as above to Preston Council voting to boycott Israel and CODEPINK’S visit to Gaza to meet with women’s groups and Hamas officials, ordinary good-hearted people are putting themselves on the line for peace and justice.

From Mondoweiss – US academics at last are making a stand too against Israeli apartheid:

Today we see writers from across the spectrum, Max Blumenthal, Glenn Greenwald, John Mearsheimer, Daniel Levy, Scott McConnell, Paul Craig Roberts–who have educated themselves and said, No thanks, we draw the line. They are making this movement.

Harvard Law Professor Duncan Kennedy strikes the liberation bell –

Just listen to Kennedy’s soft, persuasive voice. It’s a long excerpt. But important. First the Gaza bit:

Numerous observers have charged Israel with committing war crimes during the war. Without downplaying that aspect, I think it is important to understand the 1,300 Palestinian casualties, including 400 children as well as many, many women, versus 13 Israeli casualties, as typical of a particular kind of “police action” that Western colonial powers and Western “ethno-cratic settler regimes” like ours in the U.S., Canada, Australia, Serbia and particularly apartheid South Africa, have historically undertaken to convince resisting native populations that unless they stop resisting they will suffer unbearable death and deprivation. [Here Kennedy seems to agree with my law-and-order post of yesterday] Not just in 1947 and 1948, but also in Lebanon in 1982 and 2006, Israel used similar tactics.

Causing horrific civilian deaths is often perfectly defensible under the laws of war, which favor conventional over unconventional forces in asymmetric warfare. The outright “crimes,” like the My Lai massacre, Abu Ghraib, or Russian massacres in Afghanistan and then in Chechnya, are less important for the civilian victims than the daily tactics of air assault, bombardment, and brutal door-to-door sweeps, meant to draw fire from the resisters that will justify leveling houses and the people in them…

History bit:

In 1967, Israel preemptively attacked Egypt, Jordan and Syria, and occupied the West Bank and Gaza, largely populated by refugees of 1948, as well as East Jerusalem, the Golan Heights and Sinai (later returned to Egypt). This generated another approximately 200,000 Palestinian refugees who were also forbidden to return. Since 1973, Israeli governments have gradually moved about 400,000 Jewish settlers into the West Bank and another 200,000 into East Jerusalem, appropriating about 50 percent of the land (when roads and other infrastructure are taken into account), taking over the water, and alternately exploiting and starving the West Bank and Gaza economies to the point where the Arab population is overwhelmingly dependent on the international “donor community” for subsistence.

Palestinian non-violent and violent resistance to the military occupation is fully legal under international law. On the other hand, many of the specific tactics, especially airplane hijacking, suicide bombing targeting civilians, including children and old people, and indiscriminate rocket attacks, have been widely denounced as criminal….

In his measured article at the Harvard Crimson, Professor Kennedy suggests:

Can this picture be right? If so, what is to be done? If not, what is to be done? If you are not already clear about what you think, it is crucial to try to find out for yourself. If the situation is as bad as I have painted, you might consider some small step, perhaps just a contribution to humanitarian relief for Gaza, or e-mailing the White House, or something more, like advocating for Harvard to divest.

In South Africa, dock workers are refusing to unload Israel ships.

In a Palestine Solidarity Committee news release, the Congress of South African Trade Unions’ decision to “strengthen the campaign in South Africa for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against apartheid Israel” is noted. Referring to workers’ commitment to “refuse to support oppression and exploitation across the globe,” the committee recalls the refusal by Durban dock workers last year to offload arms from China that were destined for Zimbabwe.

The release also says that workers will not allow South African ports to be used as “transit points for goods bound for or emanating from certain dictatorial and oppressive states such as Zimbabwe, Swaziland and Israel.”

The release continues: “We also welcome statements by various South African Jews of conscience who have dissociated themselves from the genocide in Gaza. We call on all South Africans to ensure that none of our family members are allowed to join the Israeli Occupation Forces’ killing machine.”

Calling on the South African government to sever diplomatic and trade relations with Israel, the Palestine Solidarity Committee announced a week of action under the banner “Free Palestine, Isolate Apartheid Israel.”

Turkish soccer player for Sivasspor, midfielder Ibrahim Dagasan, has planted a Palestinian flag in the middle of the pitch at a match in protest against Israel’s offensive in Gaza.

While the Western Australian Maritime Union of Australia support sanctions against Israel and the Sydney branch officials have signed a petition condemning Israel, the conservative AWU condemns boycotts.

Other local union leaders, such as Steve Dargavel from the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, have also attacked Israel’s “aggression” in Gaza

A new article “Why the West backs Israel – and how to make it stop” by Tony Itis makes good reading – Tony explains why the BDS movement can be effective in eliminating Israeli apartheid.

Maltese NGOs are pressuring the EU to annul its uncomfortable ‘special relationship’ with the occupier state.

In view of the recent three-week premeditated campaign of bombing of the population of Gaza and its infrastructure by the State of Israel which came after a crippling, illegal two-year siege, we, 14 member organizations of SKOP, the Maltese national platform of development non-governmental organizations, call for a suspension of the EU-Israel Association Agreement. Freezing the upgrade of its relations with the State of Israel to make it a privileged partner, as the EU has done so far, is simply not enough. If the EU is truly committed to the pursuit of a just peace it must also act in a way that clearly dissociates it from war crimes, while helping to bring the perpetrators to justice.


Students across the UK have mobilized in what are now almost two dozen university liberations, in protest against Israel, in solidarity with the people of Gaza, and seeking their universities’ divestment from companies doing business in Israel while doing more to support the victims of Israel’s war. These students have been tremendously courageous, as well as creative and inspiring.

Open Anthropology has an excellent post on the progress of Canadian and UK University protests against Israel, particularly the actions at Manchester University.

Boycott Israel & Their Supporters

We have boycotted Israeli products as far as practicable for all our lives – for the oppressive Occupation and brutality perpetrated by the apartheid pariah state has been going on that long. Perhaps at this point we should make it clear that we regard all people as deserving of human rights and justice, regardless of race, religion and culture. The justice we’d prefer for Israel’s arch mass murderers would be long prison terms.

Barghouti illuminates for us how academic freedom in Israel includes the freedom to call for killing of others including mass murder despite declarations of genocide being a war crime, let alone just the illegality of inciting of violence and racial hatred in most western countries.

Despite its substantial Arab-Palestinian student population, Haifa University harbors, or at least tolerates, a culture of racism — against Arabs in general and Palestinians in particular — which manifests itself in the fact that members of its faculty espouse racist “theories,” publish bigoted research papers, and advocate ethnic cleansing with impunity. The university has consistently and systematically failed to censure such academics or to properly investigate accusations of racism raised against them.

It provides institutional support to racist academics and their research activities. The most notorious of these academics is Arnon Sofer, chair of geo-strategy at Haifa University and vice-chair of its Center for National Security Studies. He is also known in Israel as the prophet of the “Arab demographic threat.” He takes credit for the route of the Israeli apartheid wall — declared illegal by the International Court of Justice in the Hague, on July 9, 2004 — saying, “This is exactly my map.”

Prof. Sofer, who views the high birth rate of the Bedouin Palestinian citizens of Israel as a “tragedy,” and has no patience for “democracy and pretty words,” [6] has for many years openly advocated “voluntary transfer” — or soft ethnic cleansing — of Palestinians in the occupied territories as well as Palestinian citizens of Israel, in order to guarantee “a Zionist-Jewish state with an overwhelming majority of Jews.” In one particularly telling prediction, Sofer says, “When 2.5 million [Palestinians] live in a closed-off Gaza, those people will become even bigger animals than they are today, with the aid of an insane fundamentalist Islam. So, if we want to remain alive, we will have to kill and kill and kill. All day, every day. If we don’t kill, we will cease to exist. The only thing that concerns me is how to ensure that the [Jewish] boys and men who are going to have to do the killing will be able to return home to their families and be normal human beings.” [7]

According to Barghouti there are however taboos within academia:

“The Zionist ideology which stipulates that Israel must retain its Jewish majority is a non-debatable given in the country — and the bedrock of opposition to allowing the return of Palestinian refugees. The very few intellectuals who dare to question this sacred cow are labeled ‘extremists’.” Ben-Dor attacks those in the Israeli “left” who opposed the boycott as “sophisticated accomplices to the smothering of debate .”

That antisocial, dysfunctional, racist behaviour is tolerated amongst academic leaders may explain in some way how Israeli politicians have made calls to violence so frequently throughout the short, violent existence of Israel without censure, committal to psychiatric institutions or jail. When leaders express sociopathic murderous intent, they can engender it amongst the populace as well. This promotion of violence as a public ethic may also explain the feelings of Israel’s neighbours toward it. Israel – paranoid, sociopathic and suffering from a bad case of Munchausen’s Syndrome by Proxy.

Boycott calls renewed after Israel bombs University Teachers Assn.

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott learned today from its Steering Committee member Dr. Haidar Eid that the headquarters of the University Teachers Association-Palestine, in Gaza, was bombed by the Israeli occupation forces during their indiscriminate, willful destruction campaign in the Tel al-Hawa neighborhood of Gaza City on Friday.

This latest wanton attack on an academic organization is far from being an exception. It is only the latest episode in what Oxford University academic Karma Nabulsi has termed “scholasticide,” or Israel’s systematic and intentional destruction of Palestinian education centers. In its current war on Gaza alone, Israel has bombed the ministry of education, the Islamic University of Gaza, and tens of schools, including at least four UNRWA [the United Nations agency for Palestine refugees] schools, after having largely destroyed the infrastructure of teaching throughout the year and a half of its illegal and criminal siege of the densely populated Gaza Strip.

Specifically, and as a minimal response to these Israeli atrocities and grave violations of international law and the most basic human rights, PACBI calls on academics, academic unions, intellectuals, cultural workers and institutions the world over to intensify the boycott of all Israeli academic and cultural institutions due to their complicity in the Israeli occupation and other forms of oppression against the Palestinian people. Putting an end to Israel’s impunity and holding it accountable is the moral responsibility of every conscientious human being today.

Here’s some links to assist you to support Palestinian rights when next you go shopping.

Palestinian Mothers

Boycott Israel Campaign

Israel’s attack on Gaza demonstrated clearly the need for Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions (BDS)

Israel’s bar code prefix is 729. More information here.

Israeli fruit and veg leave a bitter aftertaste

Finally, in case a hasbaranik tries to convince you to rip out the Intel chip in your computer – Intel has 3 manufacturing plants in China, the US and Israel.

For those who try to tell you cell phones were invented in Israel

Veolia looses 3,5 billion EUR contract in Sweden – this is a significant loss for Israeli industry brought about by concerned citizens in Stockholm.

Oxford City Council boycotts Israel

This is clearly another sign of the importance for commercial actors not to have their brand associated to unethical behaviour, in the case of illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian territory we can already see a trend of international companies who are moving out their operations from settlements, says Joakim Wohlfeil at the Swedish development organization Diakonia.

Get involved with the Global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Program to help Palestine and stop Israeli apartheid.

BOYCOTT ISRAEL! Launched in Marawi City – Philippines

A Moral Choice – Divesting from the Israeli Occupation

International Writers and Scholars Endorse Academic Boycott of Israel

We reject as false Israel’s characterization of its military attacks on Gaza as retaliation. Israel’s latest assault on Gaza is part of its longtime racist jurisprudence against its indigenous Palestinian population, during which the Israeli state has systematically dispossessed, starved, tortured, and economically exploited the Palestinian people.

We reject as untrue the Israeli government’s claims that the Palestinians use civilians as human shields, and that Hamas is an irredeemable terrorist organization. Without endorsing its platforms or philosophy, we recognize Hamas as a democratically elected ruling party. We do not endorse the regime of any existing Arab state, and call for the upholding of internationally mandated human rights and democratic elections in all Arab states.

Why I’m Boycotting Israeli Produce:

Fruit and vegetable exports are crucial to the Israeli economy. A consumer boycott of agricultural produce exerts direct economic pressure where it matters

Israel’s agricultural exporting company, Carmel Agrexco, is one of the biggest suppliers of fresh produce to the UK.

We can use the same tactic against Israel that was so effective in showing up South Africa as the apartheid state it once was. The parallels with South Africa are striking. Writing in the Guardian, Naomi Klein recently reminded us of the words of Ronnie Kasrils, a prominent South African politician, who said in 2007 that the segregation he saw in the West Bank and Gaza was “infinitely worse than apartheid”.

So what, exactly, is he talking about? While we have been munching our way through its avocadoes, Israel has demolished Palestinian homes, evicted their occupants and expropriated their land and water resources. It has illegally colonised productive Palestinian land with waves of settlers. A boycott of Israeli fruit and vegetables, as opposed to other sorts of boycott (academic, sporting), is particularly apt because horticulture has been a major plank of Israeli expansion. Medjoul dates in the Jordan Valley, for example, base their operations on confiscated Palestinian land, in contravention of international law and the Fourth Geneva Convention.

As if that wasn’t enough, Israel has effectively imprisoned Palestinians with checkpoints, an illegal wall and an oppressive system of travel permits and colour-coded identity cards, so scuppering Palestinian economic development. As OXFAM told the House of Commons International Development Committee (pdf), costs for Palestinians who want to export products are up to 70% higher than for Israelis. Settlers in the West Bank get direct access to markets in and through Israel without the disruptive road blocks and transfers faced by the Palestinians who are obliged to rely on Israeli intermediaries. The revenue from taxes and customs goes to Israel, which costs the Palestinian economy 3% of its GDP a year.

By refusing to buy Israeli produce, ethically-minded consumers can be part of the wider Boycott Israeli Goods campaign (BIG) and add to the international condemnation of Israel’s tactics in Palestine. The reasons for a boycott precede the most recent open conflict and are ever-more important. Even if the current shaky ceasefire holds, Gaza will still be an open prison and Palestine will still be a country whose food economy is actively sabotaged by its powerful neighbour. Just at the moment, many people don’t have any appetite for Israeli produce. A boycott gives us something to do about it.