Our struggles bind us; our unity is stronger than our oppressors! (Report from Apoorva Gautam, BDS South ASIA)

Palestine Update 432

Our struggles bind us; our unity is stronger than our oppressors!
(Report from Apoorva Gautam, BDS South ASIA)

Farmers in India are mounting a historic struggle not only against the new anti-farmer laws imposed by the Modi govt., but also against neoliberal policies, crony capitalism as well as crushing of dissent in the last years. It is only fitting that a year since the anti-CAA protests, we are coming to the end of 2020 being led by this struggle.

Indeed the connectedness to and the defense of land is essential to farmers as well as Palestinians resisting Israeli occupation, apartheid and settler colonialism. More specifically, Israeli companies such as Netafim that profit of Israeli settlements and colonialism also impose contract farming models in India, all the while posturing as bringing “sustainable development”. Netafim, an Israeli drip irrigation company, was part of a consortium that imposed the ‘Kuppam model’ of contract farming back in the 90s, a model which the new farm laws seek to make permanent.

  • Palestinian Stop the Wall campaign has shared this video, in solidarity with the farmers. In November, as part of their World Without Walls actions, they had Vijoo Krishnan from All India Kisan Sabha and Meera Sanghamitra from NAPM discuss land, agriculture, water related as well as wider democratic struggles in India:

The Antisemitism Industry: how antisemitism is being politicized and weaponized in Europe to defend Israel
A disturbing snapshot of the political climate rapidly emerging across Europe on the issue of antisemitism… a kind of cultural, political and intellectual reign of terror in Germany since the parliament passed a resolution last year equating support for non-violent boycotts of Israel – in solidarity with Palestinians oppressed by Israel – with antisemitism. The article concerns Germany but anyone reading it will see very strong parallels with what is happening in other European countries, especially the UK and France.

The same European leaders who a few years ago marched in Paris shouting “Je suis Charlie” – upholding the inalienable free speech rights of white Europeans to offend Muslims by insulting and ridiculing their Prophet – are now queuing up to outlaw free speech when it is directed against Israel, a state that refuses to end its belligerent occupation of Palestinian land. European leaders have repeatedly shown they are all too ready to crush the free speech of Palestinians, and those in solidarity with them, to avoid offending sections of the Jewish community.

European Muslims have no right to take offense at insults about a religion they identify with, but European Jews have every right to take offense at criticism of an aggressive Middle Eastern state they identify with. Seen another way, the perverse secular priorities of European mainstream culture now place the sanctity of a militarized state, Israel, above the sanctity of a religion with a billion followers.


Normalization, the Palestinian Cause and some issues kept quiet (Excerpts)
The reactions to some Arab states’ recent normalization agreements with Israel lack an unwritten aspect, and that is the vital needs of these states. Very few took notice that these states and their peoples have their causes too.

The danger of Iran and its proclivity for expansion, Morocco retrieving what it considers its territorial integrity Picture: +972 Magazine
and Sudan being removed from the terrorism list and the economic implications of this development, are not trivial issues. Even Lebanon, which did not normalize ties, is seen by some to have pursued direct negotiations with the Israelis on border demarcation because of its need for extracting its oil.

So long as the “Arabs” are an assortment of states, societies and interests, it will remain difficult to disregard these issues and concerns, limit them to the desire of this or that ruling class, or to demand that they are sacrificed in the name of a “national commitment” that no longer means much to anyone. Some among those who oppose normalization say that it facilitates regimes’ suppression of people. But how would they reply when the most tyrannical authorities, indeed the ones that have ravaged Palestinians’ lives more than any others, are the regimes most vocal about fighting Israel and hindering normalization? So, this argument is multifaceted and can be taken in various directions, with or without normalization.

Those who would hear this often expressed and repetitive rhetoric were divided between those who believed it and those pretending to do so because they didn’t really know what to think.

 Muslim scholars warn against Israel deals
Muslim scholars warn against Israel deals
The International Union for Muslim Scholars (IUMS) warned against the normalization deals with Israel, saying they can lead to the formation of a new blockade against the Palestinian people. Ahmed al-Raysuni, president of the Doha-based IUMS, said: “The normalization [with Israel] by some Arab regimes threatens not only to obliterate the Palestinian cause, but also to create new barriers against the Palestinian people.” Al-Raysuni urged the Muslim scholars to break such blockade against the Palestinian people and counter “Israel and those regimes which have normalized relations, by popular activism, awareness, and a solid stance.”

Sheikh Ekrima Sabri, Al-Aqsa Mosque’s preacher, called on the Muslim scholars to form an effective front to isolate and encircle those regimes which have normalized relations with Israel by abandoning their ethical stance and values.

In 2020, four Arab countries, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco, announced normalization deals with Israel. The deals have drawn widespread condemnation from Palestinians, who say the accords ignore their rights and do not serve the Palestinian cause.

Israel helping African governments to place us all under surveillance
Do Africans face a future similar to Palestinians living under Israeli rule, where they will have to fear being tracked by authorities for resisting repression? It’s possible, according to a new report from the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab, an interdisciplinary unit that investigates digital espionage against civil society.

The Running in Circles: Uncovering the Clients of Cyberespionage Firm Circles report details how the cyber-weapons of an Israeli telecoms companies, Circles, is being sold to governments in Botswana, Nigeria, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Equatorial Guinea, and Morocco. Along with 18 other nations, it is being used to snoop on the personal communications of opposition politicians, rights activists, and journalists. Using only the telephone number, Circles’ technology can identify the location of a phone anywhere in the world within seconds. It can also access calls and messaging apps on the device. Co-operation from telecoms companies is not required, and governments can track targets across borders without needing a warrant.

Circles is a sister company of the NSO Group, an Israeli company notorious for licensing its invasive iPhone and Android spyware called Pegasus to suppressive regimes such as Saudi Arabia and Mexico.