Palestine Update 111
Banish apartheid and discrimination from all civilized society
Israel may not be the only society that practices one form of discrimination or the other. But it easily fits the bill of being the worst in this category. After apartheid ended in South Africa, movements engaged in the struggle against apartheid should have turned their attention to Israel and casteism in India with that same vigor. The Dalits in India and other indigenous people around the world understand what oppression, whether of color, caste, religion or ethnicity does to a community. They wish the momentum of the anti-apartheid struggle had been capitalized on
The world watches in rapt attention while the Nobel Committee decides on who should win the Prize for 2018. Will it be the BDS Movement? The very option must draw people in multitudes and countries endorsing and showing support for the proposition. The Nobel Prize has often tended to exit into irrelevance because of controversial and ill-informed choices of recipients. If the BDS Movement were to win the prize this year, the prize would regain its value and esteem. It would restore the relevance of the prize itself.
Whether or not the Nobel Committee will listen to a voice from the political left, still remains to be seen. As its nominator, Bjørnar Moxnes a Norwegian Parliamentarian notes: “We are fully committed to stopping an ascendant, racist and right-wing politics sweeping too much of our world, and securing freedom, justice and equality for all people” He spells out his rationale:“the grassroots, Palestinian-led BDS movement is a peaceful, global human rights movement that urges the use of economic and cultural boycotts to end Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights and international law…. (it) seeks to end Israel’s half-century of military rule over 4.5 million Palestinians, including the devastating ten-year illegal siege collectively punishing and suffocating nearly 2 million Palestinians in Gaza, the ongoing forcible eviction of Palestinians from their homes, and the theft of Palestinian land through the construction of illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.
In fervent hope Bjørnar Moxnes argues: “If the international community commits to supporting BDS to end the occupation of Palestinian territory and the oppression of the Palestinian people, new hope will be lit for a just peace for Palestinians, Israelis and all people across the Middle East”. The prize would signify that the international community rejects armed struggle and demonstrates preference for nonviolent methods to stop military rule and broader violations of international law.
While the world holds it breath awaiting the release of companies complicit in Israel’s apartheid regime of plunder and loot and murders, it equally awaits recognition of the non-violent and patient peaceful resistance against the bloody war mongering military machine of Israel.
This article is reproduced from ‘Signs of the Times’ SOTT.net, a leading alternative news site providing independent journalism and unbiased analysis. The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS)-movement for Palestinian rights as released a short list of its top achievements for the year 2017. Here is a must read of its wide and growing impact.
- A UN-commissioned report established that Israel has imposed a system of apartheid on the entire Palestinian people and called for BDS measures to end this apartheid regime.
- South Africa again gave the world a lesson in how to concretely resist injustice when its ruling African National Congress (ANC) unanimously voted, at its general conference, for downgrading South Africa’s diplomatic ties with Israel.
- The 25,000 strong Democratic Socialists of America declared its full support for the Palestinian struggle and endorsed the BDS movement.
- The Spanish parliament affirmed that the right to advocate for Palestinian rights through BDS is protected under freedom of speech and association. Hundreds of elected officials in the Spanish state endorsed BDS for Palestinian rights.
- The Barcelona city council decided to support Palestinian rights by adopting ethical procurement guidelines which exclude companies involved in Israel’s military occupation. In the past year, dozens of city councils across the Spanish state declared themselves Israeli “Apartheid Free Zones.”
- The UK government was defeated in court by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and its allies in a ruling that deems it unlawful for the government to restrict the right of local authorities to divest from companies complicit in Israel’s violations of Palestinian human rights.
- The Swiss parliament blocked Israel lobby efforts to criminalize support for BDS.
CULTURE, SPORT & MUSIC
- Six National Football League (NFL) players in the United States turned down an Israeli government-sponsored, all-expenses paid, propaganda trip organized to improve Israel’s fast deteriorating image.
- Grammy-award winning artist Lorde canceled her concert in Tel Aviv, and so did rapper and young feminist icon Princess Nokia (Destiny Nicole Frasqueri), following calls from BDS activists to respect the Palestinian picket line. More than 100 prominent artists wrote in support of Lorde’s right to follow her conscience and exercise her right to boycott.
- Wave of boycotts hit Israeli LGBT film festival & showed growing respect for Palestinian BDS picket line.
- Nine musical acts withdrew from the Pop-Kultur festival in Berlin after supporters of Palestinian rights highlighted that the festival violated the Palestinian BDS picket line.
- Prominent Portugues photographers launch a pledge to refuse professional invitations or financing from Israel and to refuse to collaborate with Israeli cultural institutions until Israel “complies with international law and respects the human rights of Palestinians.”
- The South African Council of Churches (SACC) and the Council of African Independent Churches (CAIC), representing more than a million Christians in South Africa, announced their support for the Palestinian struggle and the BDS movement.
- The Mennonite Church USA voted by an overwhelming 98% majority to divest from companies that profit from the Israeli occupation, following several mainline churches that adopted similar policies in recent years, including the Presbyterian Church USA, the United Church of Christ and the United Methodist Church.
- Twenty-three US churches have declared themselves HP-free after calls from Palestinian Christians to boycott the company for its complicity in Israel’s violations of Palestinian human rights.
TRADE UNIONS & SOCIAL MOVEMENTS
- Norway’s largest trade union federation, LO, representing close to a million workers, endorsed a full boycott of Israel to achieve Palestinian rights under international law.
- A 16 million-strong national farmers’ union in India, the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), joined the BDS movement.
- The largest Canadian workers’ union in the private sector (Unifor), representing more than 310,000 members, endorsed the right to boycott and to deploy BDS tactics to end Israeli military occupation.
- BDS Gulf held its first regional anti-normalization conference in Kuwait City, with a broad participation of speakers, organizations, activists and political figures from the entire Arab Gulf region.
- Major Colombian social movements, organizations and unions joined the BDS movement and called for parallel support for their own struggle for freedom and human rights.
- More than 200 Latin American organizations, coalitions, social movements and personalities published a letter addressed to the Board of Directors of the Mexican multinational company Cemex, calling on its members to end the company’s complicity in Israel’s human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Their efforts are part of a growing #StopCemex campaign.
- G4S suffered more losses around the world due to its ongoing complicity in Israeli crimes. UN Women became the fifth UN agency in Jordan to drop its contracts with G4S following a campaign by BDS activists there, andseven private and public companies in Jordan discontinued their service contracts with G4S.
The Lebanese doctors’ syndicate dropped G4S, following a campaign by boycott activists in Lebanon. G4S also suffered its first loss in Ecuador, where a research institute dropped its contract with the company following a BDS campaign.
A California transportation board dropped its contract with G4S after a human rights and labor coalition, including BDS activists, highlighted the company’s role in violating human rights in Palestine and the United States.
- Denmark’s third largest pension fund “Sampension” excluded four banks and companies from its portfolio, citing their investments in illegal Israeli settlements.They were identified as two Israeli banks, Hapoalim and Leumi, the German construction company HeidelbergCement, and Bezeq, Israel’s largest telecommunications company, which owns telecommunications equipment installed within settlements.
- Israel’s largest public transportation operator “Egged” lost a 190 million euro contract to run public transportation in the Netherlands.
- Air Canada ended a maintenance contract worth tens of millions of dollars with the Israeli arms firm “Israel Aerospace Industries” two years before the contract’s end date.
- One of the largest aeromedical organizations in the world, Australia’s Royal Flying Doctors (RFDS), refused services from the Israeli military and tech company Elbit Systems. Elbit Systems produces 85% of the drones used by the Israeli military, including those used to attack Palestinian civilians in Gaza from 2009 to 2014.
- South Africa’s largest residential university, Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), with over 60,000 students, endorsed the academic boycott of Israel.
- Two Chilean universities cancelled events sponsored by the Israeli embassy. Also, medical students at Chile’s largest university voted to break institutional ties with Israeli universities.
- Seven US student governments voted to divest from companies profiting off Israeli occupation. These include Tufts University, the University of Michigan, California State University at Long Beach, De Anza College, Pitzer College, University of South Florida, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
- The prestigious Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium announced its withdrawal from LAW TRAIN, a complicit EU-funded research cooperation project with the Israeli police and the Israeli Ministry of Public Security. This withdrawal follows an earlier high-profile withdrawal of support by the Portuguese Justice Ministry.