BDS makes further inroads

Palestine Update  167
Opinion

BDS makes further inroads
The BDS campaign has not always penetrated through conservative political and church circles, especially the pseudo radical sections. But that has not slowed the campaign. In fact it is growing into a spirited opposition to Israel’s apartheid practices and is using strategic and creative interventions to transform ripples into waves. Last week, the Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees (PFUUPE) and the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) combined together to launch an intense campaign calling on Physics professors to boycott a workshop scheduled settlement complex to be held in Ariel University- a settlement in the West Bank. In a letter to mobilize the boycott they said: “The apartheid wall built to annex Ariel to Israel, and declared illegal in 2004 by the International Court of Justice (ICJ), (it) severs Palestinian villages from each other and restricts freedom of movement and their development. Palestinians have to live with the stench of wastewater from Ariel that affects their health; destroys their crops and pollutes water sources”. The letter added: “Israel denies travel permits to Palestinian scholars, severely limiting access to international conferences. Since the start of the current academic year, Israel has denied entry or refused to renew visas for scores of faculty members of Palestinian universities holding foreign passports. Israel denies Palestinians the fundamental right of academic freedom and Ariel University is playing an active role”.

The MNC PepsiCo has announced its decision to buy Soda Stream which withdrew from the West Bank after a prolonged campaign against its presence in Palestine. The campaign was sought to be discredited by those who oppose the BDS citing the number of Palestinian jobs that were lost owing to the boycott. SodaStream will now re-enter Palestine through the backdoor but may not necessarily be the target of the BDS campaign. BDS campaigners are against SodaStream because its up to date facility exploits the region’s Bedouin community and is complicit in Israel’s overall mistreatment of Palestinians. As Omar Barghouthi argues: “All corporations that are complicit in Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights are legitimate targets for the BDS movement.” Some activists take the view that it is “easier to mobilize people around companies that operate in Palestinian territories, where their arguments are more clear-cut”.

In an important breakthrough, political analysts observe a leftward trend taking place in the US Democratic Party with several candidates with proposals similar to those of Bernie Sanders likely to enter Congress in the 2018 mid-term elections. And these new faces of grassroots politics have been bold in their support for the Palestinian cause. If this signifies the entry of a considerable pro-Palestinian voice in the US political system, it could begin to significantly alter the equation in US support to Israel which, until now, has been heavily weighted in favour of Israel. Expectedly, the pro-Israel lobby is already reacting ruthlessly. But, given the mounting opposition from progressive church bodies, University campuses, and trade unions to Israel’s apartheid-like policies, the emerging political changes in the US may soon result in tough challenges to Israel’s free ride in controlling US policy in the region. Israel is already steadily losing the support of ‘the street’. The momentum is shifting towards the Palestinians as the cruelties inflicted on Palestinians by Israel’s increasingly open racist formulations, rampant militarism, and legislative justifications for the same.And the stubborn resistance is yielding dividends for the people of Gaza.  Hamas has more than hinted of an end to Israel’s decade-long blockade of Gaza. A truce deal may be just around the corner. Indirect negotiations between Gaza’s Hamas rulers and Israel brokered by Egyptian and UN officials have reportedly included discussion on easing the blockade. Israel has yet to accept that its blockade is illegal and may not life it completely- not as yet.  Incremental progress is acceptable when the circumstances are as harsh as they are in Gaza. But justice will remain the ultimate goal.

Ranjan Solomon


Speakers withdraw from Settlement University workshop

Six of the eleven invited speakers have confirmed their withdrawal from a physics workshop at Ariel University, which is built on occupied Palestinian land in an illegal Israeli settlement. Palestinian academics are urging remaining speakers to withdraw from the workshop. In a strongly worded letter they appealed to invitee, on behalf of Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees (PFUUPE) and the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), “to cancel your participation at this university, which is built on occupied Palestinian land, in violation of international law”. They pointed out that Ariel University was built in the illegal Israeli settlement of the same name in the occupied Palestinian West Bank. The settlement of Ariel was built on land stolen from surrounding Palestinian villages and on land Palestinian families have cultivated for generations. The letter pointed out that “the apartheid wall built to annex Ariel to Israel, and declared illegal in 2004 by the International Court of Justice (ICJ), (it) severs Palestinian villages from each other and restricts freedom of movement and their development. Palestinians have to live with the stench of wastewater from Ariel that affects their health, destroys their crops and pollutes water sources.

The letter added: “Israel denies travel permits to Palestinian scholars, severely limiting access to international conferences. Since the start of the current academic year, Israel has denied entry or refused to renew visas for scores of faculty members of Palestinian universities holding foreign passports. Israel denies Palestinians the fundamental right of academic freedom and Ariel University is playing an active role…The European Union and the US-Israel Binational Science Foundation exclude Israeli academic institutions in the occupied Palestinian territories, such as Ariel University, from grants and research programs. Israeli academic associations, including the Israeli Anthropological Association and the Israeli Sociological Society, as well as 1200 Israeli academics, have shunned and are refusing to cooperate with Ariel University”.

The letter concludes by asserting “We, Palestinian academics and human rights defenders, urge you to do the right thing and cancel your participation at this conference in the illegal settlement of Ariel.

Source: http://imemc.org/article/more-than-half-the-invited-speakers-withdraw-from-scientific-workshop-at-israeli-settlement-university/

Pepsi Just Bought SodaStream. So about that West Bank Boycott Controversy
PepsiCo announced on Monday it is buying Israeli-owned sparkling water firm SodaStream for $3.2 billion. The deal culminates a long comeback for SodaStream, which was for years the target of an international boycott campaign and symbol of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. PepsiCo announced on Monday it is buying Israeli-owned sparkling water firm SodaStream for $3.2 billion. The deal culminates a long comeback for SodaStream, which was for years the target of an international boycott campaign and symbol of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. Although BDS proponents still oppose SodaStream and claim that the firm’s current facility exploits the region’s Bedouin community and is complicit in Israel’s overall mistreatment of Palestinians. “As was the case with the international boycott of and divestment from corporations complicit in the crimes of apartheid South Africa, all corporations that are complicit in Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights are legitimate targets for the BDS movement,” said Omar Barghouti, co-founder of the BDS movement for Palestinian rights. But some activists acknowledge that it’s easier to mobilize people around companies that operate in Palestinian territories, where their arguments are more clear-cut.

https://www.huffingtonpost.in/entry/pepsico-sodastream-israel_us_5b7c00d7e4b018b93e97aba2

New wave of progressive Democrats could forge a pro-Palestinian faction in US Congress
There’s clearly a leftward trend taking place in the US Democratic Party. Several candidates with proposals similar to those of Bernie Sanders, for example, are likely to enter Congress in the 2018 mid-term elections. This could mark the beginning of a significant pro-Palestinian voice in the US political system. And the pro-Israel lobby is already reacting harshly. There are several progressive Democrats who’ve beaten candidates from the party’s establishment ‘centrist’ wing. And these new faces of grassroots politics have been bold in their support for the Palestinian cause.In June of this year, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez shocked the US political system by beating Joe Crowley in a New York Democratic Party primary race. Many saw the victory of the openly democratic socialist Ocasio-Cortez over an establishment centrist as one of the biggest political upsets in recent US history. Her proposals include universal healthcare, free higher education at public universities, and reform of the US banking system. Her triumph is part of a wider shift in the US towards many of these bread-and-butter social democratic domestic policies. Ocasio-Cortez’s entrance into Congress – almost certain given her district’s demographics – may also have a huge impact on the politics of the Middle East; because she will add a significant pro-Palestinian voice to an overwhelmingly pro-Israel political establishment. She has been unequivocal, for example, in condemning Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and the humanitarian crisis that it has created.
Source:
https://www.thecanary.co/global/world-analysis/2018/08/21/new-wave-of-progressive-democrats-could-forge-a-pro-palestinian-faction-in-us-congress/

Hamas: End to Israel’s Gaza blockade ‘around the corner’
Hamas leader Ismail Haniya said an end to Israel’s decade-long blockade of Gaza was “around the corner” as talk of a possible truce deal intensifies. Indirect negotiations between Gaza’s Hamas rulers and Israel brokered by Egyptian and UN officials have reportedly included discussion on easing the blockade, but by no means a complete lifting of it.
Speaking to thousands of Palestinians during prayers for the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday on Tuesday, Haniya, head of Hamas’ political bureau, did not directly address the possibility of a truce, mooted in Israeli and Palestinian media for weeks.  “Thanks to these marches and resistance, we are just around the corner from closing the page on this unjust blockade,” Haniya said. “We are on our way to ending this unjust blockade of Gaza.”
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2018/08/hamas-israel-gaza-blockade-corner-180821134707824.html

Don’t befriend me for a day, and leave me a month. Don’t get close to me if you’re going to leave. Don’t say what you don’t do. Be close or get away.

 لا تصاحبني يوماً .. لتهجرني شهراً ولا تقربني .. لتبعدني .. لا تقل ما لا تفعل كُن قريباً .. أو ابتعد.

Mahmoud Darwish.