The unique model of apartheid, colonisation and military occupation that Israel imposes on the Palestinians, along with myriad violations of international law, have made Palestine the moral cause of a generation. Yet many people continue to ask, ‘what can we do?’
Generation Palestine helps to answer this question by bringing together Palestinian and international activists in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. The movement aims to pressure Israel until it complies with International Law, mirroring the model that was successfully utilised against South African apartheid.
Featuring: KALI AKUNO, NIDAL AL-AZZA, IAIN BANKS, OMAR BARGHOUTI, RAMZY BAROUD, PROFESSOR RICHARD FALK ARCHBISHOP ATALLAH HANNA, SHIR HEVER, HAZEM JAMJOUM, RONNIE KASRILS, RIFAT ODEH KASSIS, AYESHA KIDWAI, PAUL LAVERTY, KEN LOACH, EAMONN MCCANN, MICK NAPIER, ADRI NIEUWHOF, REBECCA O’BRIEN, ILAN PAPPE, PRABIR PURKAYASTHA, DAVID RANDALL, RAJI SOURANI, ARCHBISHOP DESMOND TUTU, RAFEEF ZIADAH.
‘The BDS movement is the most enlightened, moral, fearless and dynamic blow for freedom I have known for many years. I believe it will be a vital factor in the liberation of Palestine. The inspiring voices in this book will help achieve that goal.’
JOHN PILGER, journalist and filmmaker
‘When governments cannot be relied upon to defend humanity, it is the role of us, the people, to lead the struggle for justice. Generation Palestine is essential reading for all who believe in changing this world for the better. Never again should we ask ‘What can we do?’ This excellent book provides us with the answers.’
STEìPHANE HESSEL, diplomat, writer, concentration camp survivor, and former French resistance fighter
‘Reading this book, talking about it and acting upon its ideas is a further political act against an injustice that has lasted a life-time and which we must put an end to’
JOHN BERGER, author of Ways Of Seeing (1972)
‘This book tells the story of the BDS campaign, designed to secure justice for Palestinian people by mobilising civil-society to apply pressure on Israel. It describes the injustices that have prompted it and the measures taken in its pursuance.
JOHN DUGARD, Professor of International Law and former UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory
TO ORDER THE BOOK FOR ONLY £13 INCLUDING FREE UK P&P SIMPLY VISIT WWW.PLUTOBOOKS.COM
This week writer Iain Banks announced he has cancer and may have just months to live. Here he explains why, in 2010, he decided his novels would no longer be published in Israel
I support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign because, especially in our instantly connected world, an injustice committed against one, or against one group of people, is an injustice against all, against every one of us; a collective injury.
My particular reason for participating in the cultural boycott of Israelis that, first of all, I can; I’m a writer, a novelist, and I produce works that are, as a rule, presented to the international market. This gives me a small extra degree of power over that which I possess as a (UK) citizen and a consumer. Secondly, where possible when trying to make a point, one ought to be precise, and hit where it hurts. The sports boycott of South Africa when it was still run by the racist apartheid regime helped to bring the country to its senses because the ruling Afrikaaner minority put so much store in their sporting prowess. Rugby and cricket in particular mattered to them profoundly, and their teams’ generally elevated position in the international league tables was a matter of considerable pride. When they were eventually isolated by the sporting boycott – as part of the wider cultural and trade boycott – they were forced that much more persuasively to confront their own outlaw status in the world.
A sporting boycott of Israel would make relatively little difference to the self-esteem of Israelis in comparison to South Africa; an intellectual and cultural one might help make all the difference, especially now that the events of the Arab spring and the continuing repercussions of the attack on the Gaza-bound flotilla peace convoy have threatened both Israel’s ability to rely on Egypt’s collusion in the containment of Gaza, and Turkey’s willingness to engage sympathetically with the Israeli regime at all. Feeling increasingly isolated, Israel is all the more vulnerable to further evidence that it, in turn, like the racist South African regime it once supported and collaborated with, is increasingly regarded as an outlaw state.
I was able to play a tiny part in South Africa’s cultural boycott, ensuring that – once it thundered through to me that I could do so – my novels weren’t sold there (while subject to an earlier contract, under whose terms the books were sold in South Africa, I did a rough calculation of royalties earned each year and sent that amount to the ANC). Since the 2010 attack on the Turkish-led convoy to Gaza in international waters, I’ve instructed my agent not to sell the rights to my novels to Israeli publishers. I don’t buy Israeli-sourced products or food, and my partner and I try to support Palestinian-sourced products wherever possible.
It doesn’t feel like much, and I’m not completely happy doing even this; it can sometimes feel like taking part in collective punishment (although BDS is, by definition, aimed directly at the state and not the people), and that’s one of the most damning charges that can be levelled at Israel itself: that it engages in the collective punishment of the Palestinian people within Israel, and the occupied territories, that is, the West Bank and – especially – the vast prison camp that is Gaza. The problem is that constructive engagement and reasoned argument demonstrably have not worked, and the relatively crude weapon of boycott is pretty much all that’s left. (To the question, “What about boycotting Saudi Arabia?” – all I can claim is that cutting back on my consumption of its most lucrative export was a peripheral reason for giving up the powerful cars I used to drive, and for stopping flying, some years ago. I certainly wouldn’t let a book of mine be published there either, although – unsurprisingly, given some of the things I’ve said about that barbaric excuse for a country, not to mention the contents of the books themselves – the issue has never arisen, and never will with anything remotely resembling the current regime in power.)
As someone who has always respected and admired the achievements of the Jewish people – they’ve probably contributed even more to world civilisation than the Scots, and we Caledonians are hardly shy about promoting our own wee-but-influential record and status – and has felt sympathy for the suffering they experienced, especially in the years leading up to and then during the second world war and the Holocaust, I’ll always feel uncomfortable taking part in any action that – even if only thanks to the efforts of the Israeli propaganda machine – may be claimed by some to target them, despite the fact that the state of Israel and the Jewish people are not synonymous. Israel and its apologists can’t have it both ways, though: if they’re going to make the rather hysterical claim that any and every criticism of Israeli domestic or foreign policy amounts to antisemitism, they have to accept that this claimed, if specious, indivisibility provides an opportunity for what they claim to be the censure of one to function as the condemnation of the other.
The particular tragedy of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinian people is that nobody seems to have learned anything. Israel itself was brought into being partly as a belated and guilty attempt by the world community to help compensate for its complicity in, or at least its inability to prevent, the catastrophic crime of the Holocaust. Of all people, the Jewish people ought to know how it feels to be persecuted en masse, to be punished collectively and to be treated as less than human. For the Israeli state and the collective of often unlikely bedfellows who support it so unquestioningly throughout the world to pursue and support the inhumane treatment of the Palestinian people – forced so brutally off their land in 1948 and still under attack today – to be so blind to the idea that injustice is injustice, regardless not just on whom it is visited, but by whom as well, is one of the defining iniquities of our age, and powerfully implies a shamingly low upper limit on the extent of our species’ moral intelligence.
The solution to the dispossession and persecution of one people can never be to dispossess and persecute another. When we do this, or participate in this, or even just allow this to happen without criticism or resistance, we only help ensure further injustice, oppression, intolerance, cruelty and violence in the future.
We may see ourselves as many tribes, but we are one species, and in failing to speak out against injustices inflicted on some of our number and doing what we can to combat those without piling further wrongs on earlier ones, we are effectively collectively punishing ourselves.
The BDS campaign for justice for the Palestinian people is one I would hope any decent, open-minded person would support. Gentile or Jew, conservative or leftist, no matter who you are or how you see yourself, these people are our people, and collectively we have turned our backs on their suffering for far too long.
On 15 April 2012, Horia Ankour, 30, a French nursing student, boarded Air France flight 4384 from Nice to Tel Aviv. She was traveling as part of a solidarity initiative called “Welcome to Palestine.”
Just minutes before the aircraft was scheduled to take off, a cabin attendant approached Ms. Ankour, took her to a corner and asked her whether she had an Israeli passport. When Ankour answered “no,” the cabin attendant demanded to know whether she was Jewish. When she also answered negatively, Ankour was thrown off the flight.
Ankour was given a written statement from Air France documenting the incident and confirming that the questions were asked at the direct behest of Israeli authorities.“Today they ask you if you’re Jewish, tomorrow if you’re Muslim…”
Today a court in the Paris suburb of Bobigny found Air France guilty of illegal discrimination against Ankour and fined the airline 10,000 euros ($13,000) in damages and another 3,000 euros ($3,900) in costs.
“The court declares Air France guilty of the crime of discrimination,” Judge Nabila Mani-Saada said in her ruling.
“We cannot tolerate this kind of conduct on our territory,” state prosecutor Abdelkrim Grini had said during the trial. “Today they ask you if you’re Jewish, tomorrow if you’re Muslim, after tomorrow if you’re homosexual or a trade unionist.”
Fabrice Pradon, the lawyer for Air France, had told the court that the demand to ask Ankour the questions about her religion had come “directly from Israeli authorities.”
Several other airlines were complicit in Israel’s effort to stop the Welcome to Palestine initiative by barring passengers on Israeli orders.Israeli “airline security” a front for Shin Bet secret police
The incident is reminiscent of a row that broke out between Israel and South Africa in 2009 after Jonathan Garb, a former security official with the Israeli airline El Al told the South African investigative television program Carte Blanche that the airline’s security had been a front for Israel’s Shin Bet secret police for years and that it used explicitly racist tactics against black and Muslim travelers at Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport.
“What we are trained is to look for the immediate threat – the Muslim guy,” Garb claimed. “The crazy thing is that we are profiling people racially, ethnically and even on religious grounds … This is what we do.”
After Carte Blanche sent in an undercover reporter whose experience confirmed the differential and unconstitutional treatment of Muslims, South Africa protested to Israel and deported an El Al security official.
While it is unclear whether French authorities will take similar steps to prevent Israel from exporting its racism onto French territory, it appears that it is still possible for citizens like Horia Ankour to receive vindication in French courts.
We have some good news and an opportunity to take action! Since the March 14 launch of the Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel (VTJP) campaign urging Ben & Jerry’s to stop selling and catering to Jewish-only settlements in occupied Palestine, close to 3,500 people have signed a petition to the company, 650 e-mails were sent to Ben & Jerry’s CEO, and nearly 90 organizations have endorsed the campaign. To all those who have taken action so far, VTJP would like to say: Thank you. It makes a difference.
The president of the Ben & Jerry’s Board of Directors, Jeff Furman, told the Burlington Free Press that he believes catering operations to the settlements have stopped since VTJP brought the matter to the company’s attention. This would signify a major victory for the campaign!
VTJP is still working to confirm Furman’s claim and is asking groups to redouble efforts to ensure that Ben & Jerry’s ends all complicity with Israel’s occupation and discriminatory policies:
TAKE ACTION ON TUESDAY! On April 9, Ben & Jerry’s will host the annual “Free Cone Day” at Ben & Jerry’s scoop shops worldwide. “Coneheads” of the World: Unite Against Israel’s Occupation of Palestine!
This is an opportunity not only to disseminate information about the campaign, but to engage people one-on-one about the occupation and BDS. In Vermont, the event draws large crowds and media attention, and that is likely to be the case at Ben & Jerry’s scoop shops elsewhere.
VTJP will be leafleting at scoop shops in Vermont and Students for Justice in Palestine chapter at the University of Vermont will be tabling at the scoop shop on campus, urging people to sign the petition and send an e-mail as they wait in line.
VTJP invites you to join the effort at a scoop shop in your area! Help build on the momentum of recent campaign developments by showing Ben & Jerry’s that not just VTJP but activists around the country and world are calling on the company to do the right thing!
Here’s how you can…
- Find the shop nearest you by clicking here.
- Download this flier that VTJP designed, and feel free to insert your group’s contact information.
- Please send news and photos of your actions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Feel free to contact email@example.com if you have any questions.
- Whether or not you can take action on Tuesday, please continue to help gather petition signatures, e-mails to the CEO, and organizational endorsements in support of the campaign.
Other campaign developments:
- The campaign has been covered by major Vermont media outlets as well as publications in the U.S., United Kingdom and Pakistan.
- In media comments about VTJP’s efforts, Board member Furman — who is an anti-racism activist who traveled last year to the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, with a delegation of American civil rights leaders — spoke about Israel’s settlements and called them “illegal.”
- What is the company itself saying? Not much.
- Ben & Jerry’s executives have refused requests for media interviews but issued a statement. The statement mischaracterized Ben & Jerry’s interactions with VTJP over the last two years and insisted that its Israeli franchise’s business is consistent with the company’s Social Mission but provided no elaboration or explanation. Ben & Jerry’s also said it has a “shared responsibility” to promote the cause of peace in Israel/Palestine and wants to find “innovative ways” to do this, but it offered no specifics. The company’s statement did not include the words “occupation” or “settlements.”
- Remember Deir Yassin on April 9
When you take action on Free Cone Day, remember that April 9 is also Deir Yassin Remembrance Day. On April 9, 1948, Zionist militia massacred more than 100 Palestinian men, women and children in the village of Deir Yassin, near Jerusalem. The massacre was part of the Nakba, a massive, systematic military operation by Zionist forces to conquer territory and force Palestinians from their lands in the creation of the state of Israel. Approximately 750,000 Palestinians were expelled and 500 Palestinian villages razed and depopulated.
It’s still vitally important to tell the truth about Deir Yassin, 65 years on, just as it is important to expose Ben & Jerry’s commercial complicity in Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands today.
While Ben & Jerry’s ice cream cone may be free on April 9, Palestine is NOT. Please take action at a scoop shop near you.
30 March 2013 — Palestinians are today commemorating with action Land Day, a day in 1976 when Israeli military forces shot and killed six young Palestinian citizens of Israel. These brave youth were among thousands protesting the Israeli government’s expropriation of Palestinian land. Many of the same policies of land theft and slow ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Palestinians are still being intensively pursued by the Israeli government, particularly in Jerusalem, the Jordan Valley and the Naqab (Negev). Large demonstrations to commemorate Land Day are today taking place across all of historical Palestine and among Palestinian refugee communities in exile.
International supporters of the Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice and equality are marking Land Day with actions and initiatives to further campaigns for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel. Actions taking place include:
- At the current World Social Forum in Tunis, Land Day has been designated ‘Palestine Day’ and will be marked with a large demonstration in Palestine and a series of events to discuss and develop BDS campaigns.
- Across six cities in France, demonstrations are calling on supermarkets to end trade with Mehadrin and other Israeli agricultural export companies that participate directly in the appropriation of Palestinian land and selling illegal settlement products. Palestinian agricultural organisations recently appealed for actions to end international trade with Israeli agricultural companies that are complicit in the Israeli occupation.
- In Britain, campaigners have marked Land Day with an official complaint to the UK Charities Commission, urging it to remove the charity status currently enjoyed by the Jewish National Fund, a para-statal organization that has a long history of institutionalised racism and involvement with Israel’s theft of Palestinian land and continues to be a key component of Israel’s structure of oppression over the Palestinian people.
- Actions and demonstrations in support of BDS campaigns in cities across world including in Dublin and Cork (Ireland), Brighton and Liverpool (UK), Torino (Italy), Seattle, St Louis, Richardson and Dallas (all US). A more complete list of cities where actions are taking place and detailed reports will be published on BDSmovement.net.
The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) salutes the organisers of this impressive array of actions, which are befitting of the health and fast growing strength of the BDS movement.
The BDS movement today enjoys unprecedented levels of support from trade unions, NGOs, churches and civil society as a whole. This support and the tireless and strategic efforts of people of conscience across the world have led our movement to become capable of taking effective steps towards ending the international support that Israel depends on in order to continue its crimes against the Palestinian people. Important successes achieved in recent months include:
- South Africa’s ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC), at its 53rd National Conference, reaffirmed a resolution supporting the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel campaign. In October 2012, the ANC’s International Solidarity Conference (ISC) declared its full support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel campaign.
- Students for Justice in Palestine chapters across California have succeeded in persuading student governments at the San Diego, Irvine and Riverside colleges of the University of California to adopt resolutions calling for divestment from companies complicit with Israel’s occupation.
Student governments at campuses across Canada have endorsed BDS in recent months.
In the UK, student unions at Queen Mary’s London and University College London recently became the latest to endorse BDS, joining a list of more than 20 universities to do so.
Israeli Apartheid Week, which aims to raise awareness about the apartheid dimension of Israel’s regime and to promote BDS, took place at more than 100 cities earlier this spring.
- French multinational Veolia, which is the focus of a major BDS campaign due to its provision of infrastructure services for illegal Israeli settlements, has been forced to withdraw from bidding on a £4.5 billion ($6.84 billion) local government waste collection contract in London and contracts in Liverpool (UK) and Yolo County (US) due to mass community mobilisations against its complicity with Israel’s colonisation of Palestinian land. Veolia has now failed to win contracts worth more than $16 billion following BDS campaigns and appears to be selling off some of its business in Europe, where it consistently faces opposition when bidding on a local government contracts.
- G4S, the private military and security company that helps Israel to operate prisons at which Palestinian political prisoners are detained without trial and subjected to torture, has lost contracts with the University of Oslo and the Dundee University Student Association as a result of BDS campaigns. The company has already faced the European Union parliament, Danish banks and charities and Dutch charities cutting their ties. Mass mobilisations in Palestine on Palestinian Prisoners Day, April 17, will be supported internationally with protests and events targeting G4S.
- The UN and member state governments are increasingly supporting targeted BDS measures against Israel. In a step towards a full ban on trade with illegal Israeli settlements, the Dutch government has announced that it will follow South Africa, the UK and Denmark by introducing new guidance for labeling of settlement produce. A UN report has called for states to meet their legal obligations by ending support for settlements and on businesses to terminate their business interests in the settlements.
Israel may be continuing with its colonisation of Palestinian land and with the implementation of new apartheid policies, yet Palestinian resistance remains steadfast and inspirational and is in fact growing in strength and sophistication. This resistance is increasingly being supported internationally with effective grassroots pressure in the form of BDS campaigns.
These campaigns are not only providing a way for international supporters of the Palestinian struggle to engage in effective solidarity that gives strength to Palestinians as they resist Israeli occupation and apartheid, they are changing public and institutional attitudes towards Israeli violations of international law and Palestinian rights and achieving important and tangible successes.
In turn, these actions are creating real pressure on the Israeli political discourse, as evidenced most recently by the expression of fear about the impact of BDS in the election campaign of Israeli war criminal and politician Tzipi Livni. BDS pressure is increasingly forcing Israeli society to confront the extent to which ordinary people across the world oppose and refuse to support Israel’s subjugation of the Palestinian people.
Whilst there remains a long road before us, the Palestinian BDS National Committee is immensely proud of the movement that it has worked with its international partners to develop. Let us continue to work together to even further expand, develop and mainstream our movement for freedom, justice and equality.
BDS National Committee (BNC)
CODZ unequivocally supports the BDS Movement.
Since 1948, Israel has “ethnically cleansed” more than 750,000 Palestinians from their ancestral homes in the West Bank, forcing them into squalid refugee camps in neighboring Arab countries which have had difficulty providing for their own population. This forcible appropriation of Palestinian property, much of it valuable agricultural and mineral producing land, continues on an everyday basis in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem for the benefit of Israeli “settlers” who, protected by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), harass the supplanted Palestinians.
Israel expands this land-grab with the construction of a grotesque Wall that arbitrarily cuts through Palestinian land, severing Palestinians’ access to their water sources, olive groves and grazing grounds, and facilitating exploitation of these stolen fields by Israeli developers, who in turn destroy Palestinian houses and other personal property to make way for the building of Jewish-only settlements. Further expropriation, with the aim of annexing the whole of Palestine, occurs with the construction of paved roads that criss-cross the West Bank for the exclusive use of the Israeli settlers. This seizure of land is accompanied by Israel’s apartheid-like harassment of and discrimination against Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza and in Israel itself – through indefinite administrative detentions, torture during detention, arresting of children, brutal interrogations, arbitrary expulsions, military curfews, and school closures, targeted assassinations, warrantless midnight raids and electronic surveillance, and endless humiliating checkpoints.
The Role of Zionism
A driving force behind Israel’s Anschluss of Palestinian land and persecution of Palestinians is Zionism, a bible-based supremacist ideology with a substantial racial component. Zionism justifies the ethnic cleansing of Palestine and the apartheid conditions in which Israel forces Palestinians to live, as a means of securing Jewish safety vis-à-vis the legacy of European antisemitism. Zionism justifies the ethnic cleansing of Palestine and the apartheid conditions in which Israel forces Palestinians to live, as a means of securing Jewish safety, given the legacy of European antisemitism. Zionism universalizes antisemitism to all of humanity with special attribution to Arab peoples. Accordingly, Zionists project historical European antisemitism onto Palestinians and onto any supporters of Palestinian human rights. Any resistance to this ideology or the blatant theft and suffocating oppression it enables, from children attempting to reach their schools to the rare act of violent resistance, has been met with savage, disproportionate reprisal by the IDF. Witness the twenty-two day continuous bombardment of Gaza by the IDF in December 2008 and January 2009.
In the name of Zionism, successive Israel governments have acted with impunity, violating international law, ignoring United Nations Resolutions, disregarding rulings of the International Court of Justice and dismissing the findings of neutral investigative bodies such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, The Jugard Commission, the Goldstone Report, and the United Nations Human Rights Council.
Why Boycott Israel?
The question arises: “Why not boycott other states guilty of oppression of minorities Why just Israel?” For the simple reason that Americans who are horrified and outraged by Israel’s wanton disregard of human rights and international norms have no alternative effective non-violent sanction other than BDS. Appeals to Congress and to this and other Administrations have fallen on deaf ears. To the contrary, Israel’s belligerence is rewarded by the U.S. with an annual subsidy of four billion taxpayers’ dollars, shared military technology, munificent trading advantages and an on-call veto in the U.N. Security Council.
In December, 2011, the U.S. Congress gave 29 standing ovations to Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, after which 81 congressional representatives were treated to vacations in Israel, all facilitated and arranged by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the pro-Israel lobby umbrella organization. U.S. senators and representatives, with few exceptions, toe the pro-Israel line, knowing that any deviation may result in electoral defeat, engineered by AIPAC.
CODZ and BDS
The Call for international BDS against Israel originated in Palestinian civil society in 2005. It was modeled on the Call for BDS against the apartheid government of South Africa in the 1970s. CODZ’s support for BDS is in no way in response to any law, directive, program or mandate of any national government, including the provisional government of Palestine.
CODZ recognizes and supports the Call for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel to continue until, as set forth in the Call:
“Israel meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with the precepts of international law by:
Aruri, Naseer H., Dishonest Broker: The U.S. Role in Israel and Palestine (Boston: South End Press, 2003).
Barghouti, Omar, Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions: The Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights (Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2011).
Corporate Watch, Targeting Israeli Apartheid: A Boycott Divestment Sanctions Handbook (London: Corporate Watch, 2011).
Davis, Uri, Apartheid Israel: Possibilities for the Struggle Within (London: Zed, 2003).
Fischbach, Michael R., Records of Dispossession: Palestinian Refugee Property and the Arab-Israeli Conflict(New York and Chichester: Columbia University Press, 2003).
Ghanem, As’ad, The Palestinian-Arab Minority in Israel, 1948-2000: A Political Study (Albany: SUNY Press, 2001).
Jansen, Godfrey H., Zionism, Israel and Asian Nationalism (Beirut: Institute for Palestine Studies, 1971).
Jiryis, Sabri, Arabs in Israel, trans. Inea Bushnaq (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1976).
Kovel, Joel, Overcoming Zionism: Creating a Single Democratic State in Israel/Palestine (London: Pluto Press, 2007).
Lim, Audrea, ed., The Case for Sanctions against Israel (London and New York: Verso, 2012).
Masalha, Nur, Maximum Land and Minimum Arabs: Israel, Transfer, and Palestinians, 1949-1996, 2nd ed. (Beirut: Institute for Palestine Studies, 2002). [in Arabic]
Petras, James, The Power of Israel in the United States (Atlanta: Clarity Press, 2006).
Rodinson, Maxime, Israel: A Colonial-Settler State?, trans. David Thorstad (New York: Monad Press/Pathfinder Press, 1973).
Rubenberg, Cheryl A., Israel and the American National Interest: A Critical Examination (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1986).
Taylor, Alan R., The Zionist Mind: The Origins and Development of Zionist Thought (Beirut: Institute for Palestine Studies, 1974).
White, Ben, Palestinians in Israel: Segregation, Discrimination and Democracy, 2000-2010 (London: Pluto Press, 2012).
For additional suggested readings, please visit http://codzorg.net/resources/suggested-reading.
Most everybody knows that Ben & Jerry’s makes premium ice cream and champions “Peace” and “Love.” What they don’t know is that this socially responsible business and strong supporter of Occupy Wall Street is making ice cream in Israel and selling it in illegal settlements in Occupied Palestine.
Progressive Except for Palestine
Ben & Jerry’s business practices are tethered to a vibrant Social Mission that commits it to
…meet human needs and eliminate injustices in our local, national and international communities by integrating these concerns into out day-to-day business activities.
…seek and support nonviolent ways to achieve peace and justice.
…show a deep respect for human beings inside and outside our company and for the communities in which they live.
Sadly, Ben & Jerry’s Social Mission seems not to apply to Occupied Palestine. Based on an investigation in 2011, Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine Israel (www.vtjp.org) learned that the company is selling ice cream in illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and has plans to increase the number of scoop shops in Israel. The company’s also runs an ice cream factory near Kiryat Malachi—like virtually all Israeli towns and cities, it was built on lands confiscated from a Palestinian village forcibly de-populated in 1948.
Trucks that distribute Ben & Jerry’s ice cream travel seamlessly from the factory gates, down the forgotten roads of the Nakba, then on super highways that have systematically eviscerated the “Green Line,” circumventing military checkpoints and roadblocks that torment Palestinians, to arrive at markets in Jewish settlements entrenched on stolen Palestinian land—places like Gilo, Pisgat Ze’ev, Ma’ale Admumim and Mishor Adumim. One of our activists visited these locations in 2011 and found Ben & Jerry’s ice cream for sale. With assistance from a Jewish-Israeli compatriot, we also discovered that Jewish settlers can order a party cart with catering services from the factory.
Ben & Jerry’s is not the most egregious corporate offender in Palestine. But unlike those that are, it has a genuine Social Mission, one with a respectable track record and moral currency that cannot be reconciled with Zionist occupation and colonization. Doing business in Israel and the occupied territory—even the business of ice cream—adds credibility to a racist, violent and unjust status quo. Ben & Jerry’s commercial ventures help “normalize” life for the occupying power and its settlers at a time when millions of Palestinians are denied the right to live normally because, and only because, they are not Jewish.
A Time to Act: Ending Ben & Jerry’s Complicity in Israel’s Occupation
On March 14, 2013, VTJP is launching an international campaign calling on solidarity activists and people of conscience to contact Ben & Jerry’s and urge it to take the following measures until Israel terminates its military occupation and colonization of Palestinian lands in compliance with international law:
1. End the marketing, sales and catering of Ben & Jerry’s products in Israel and Jewish-only settlements in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank.
2. Stop manufacturing ice cream in Israel.
3. Issue a statement calling (a) for an end to Israel’s occupation and settlement enterprise and (b) appealing directly to other socially responsible companies to do likewise and to end business operations in Israel and its illegal settlements.
Here is how individuals and organizations can help:
1. Read and circulate our report, Peace, Love & Occupation, about Ben & Jerry’s complicity in Israel’s occupation at www.vtjp.org/icecream.
2. Please endorse this campaign. To do so, just send VTJP an e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. Sign a petition at http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/641/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=12624.
4. Send an e-mail to Ben & Jerry’s CEO Jostein Solheim at www.vtjp.org/icecream/petition.php.
5. Leaflet at Ben & Jerry’s scoop shops on “Free Cone Day.” We’ll let you know when it is. We’ve prepared a leaflet you can use at http://www.vtjp.org/icecream/freecone-trifold.pdf.
6. Donate to our campaign. Send a check to Peace & Justice Center, 60 Lake St., #1C Burlington, VT05401. IMPORTANT: Write “VTJP” in the memo line.
Ben & Jerry’s CEO, Jostein Solheim, said in an interview:
“The world needs dramatic change to address the social and environmental challenges we are facing. Values led businesses can play a critical role in driving that positive change. We need to lead by example, and prove to the world that this is the best way to run a business.”
It’s time for Palestine to be one of the beneficiaries of “dramatic” and “positive” change.” Ben & Jerry’s can help make that possible by severing its commercial ties to Israel, to its military occupation and to its illegal settlement regime.
Read VTJP’s report here: http://www.vtjp.org/icecream/VTJP_Report_Peace_Love_and_Occupation.pdf
AKRON, Pa. — The board of directors of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) U.S. unanimously decided that MCC U.S. will not knowingly invest in companies that benefit from products or services used to perpetrate acts of violence against Palestinians, Israelis and other people groups.
The action, taken at the board’s March 16 meeting in Akron, grew from a call from partners in Palestine and Israel, including churches there, and follows a discernment process with leaders of the denominations that sponsor MCC U.S.
MCC staff in the Middle East delivered the message from churches and other partners in a letter shared about a year ago. MCC has worked with partners in Palestine and Israel for more than 60 years and more than 40 years, respectively.
The board agreed that “all reasonable measures” are to be applied immediately to not support violence in the Palestine and Israel conflict,
and also that staff should explore “similar actions in support of partners
in other parts of the world.”
The action means that The board of directors of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) U.S. unanimously decided that MCC U.S. will not knowingly invest in companies that benefit from products or services used to perpetrate acts of violence against Palestinians, Israelis and other people groups. will not invest direct holdings in companies on the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) “Israel/Palestine Investment Screen” list, will choose to invest in mutual funds that limit exposure to companies on the list and will join efforts to encourage the mutual funds that it holds to adopt similar screens. Staff also will aim to align MCC U.S.’ purchasing patterns with these investment principles.
MCC U.S. Executive Director J Ron Byler explained that while the list names only companies that support Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, perpetrating acts of violence against Israelis is already illegal for Europe- and U.S.-based companies. “We will take action if we become aware of offenders against Israel, but our government ensures we do no harm to Israel, while there is no such care for Palestinians. With our partners, we desire peace, justice and reconciliation for all.”
MCC U.S. investments traditionally have mirrored the organization’s core Christian values, using vehicles such as socially responsible funds.
Byler said another aspect of the action included participating with sponsoring denominations’ peacemaking and justice-seeking efforts as invited. He said opportunities for this exist now with sponsoring denomination Mennonite Church USA.
* Judgment says that complainant was trying to use the law for political purposes
* Employment Tribunal result hailed as important victory by pro-Palestinian groups
The British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (BRICUP) today welcomed the outcome of the Employment Tribunal (ET) case brought by Ronnie Fraser against his union, the University and College Union (UCU).The former college teacher’s claim of institutional antisemitism on the part of the union was thrown out comprehensively.
“Fraser vs. UCU” was viewed by activists as a test case for all UK unions’ right to advocate boycott of Israeli universities and products, and firms that operate in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.It also has important implications for free speech on Palestine and Israel on university campuses.
In the two-week hearing at Kingsway ET last November, Fraser had alleged that he was treated unfairly and with hostility during union debates about academic boycott, and about the decision not to use a contentious ‘working definition of antisemitism’ that conflated antisemitism with criticism of Israel.
Fraser’s case was argued by Anthony Julius, the lawyer who handled Princess Diana’s divorce, and author of a recent book on antisemitism.His numerous witnesses included the disgraced former MP Denis MacShane.
Summing up for Fraser, Mr. Julius argued that the ‘attachment to Israel’ of many Jews in the UK constitutes a ‘protected characteristic’ under the Equality Act 2010. If the Tribunal had agreed with him, open discussion of Israeli policies – whether in the unions or in the media – would have become almost impossible.
Fraser agreed that he had been able to speak in UCU’s boycott debates but claimed that his speeches at UCU’s Annual Congress were not applauded because of antisemitism on the part of fellow delegates. But UCU’s Counsel, Antony White QC, showed that other Jewish speakers, both for and against the boycott motions, had been applauded.
All ten of Fraser’s claims were thrown out by the ET. The judgment says “we greatly regret that the case was ever brought. At heart it represents an impermissible attempt to achieve a political end by litigious means”.
The tribunal received a letter signed by 58 Jewish members of UCU who said that they held differing views about academic boycott, but all agreed that their union was not antisemitic.
Fraser is the founder and director of the pressure group Academic Friends of Israel and a member of the Board of Deputies (BoD) of British Jews. The hearing revealed the extent to which pro-Israel lobby groups had attempted to interfere with UCU’s policies and decision-making.In his evidence Fraser admitted that “the Friends of the various Israeli University groups” had donated £70,000 to the Fair Play Campaign Group, set up by the BoD and the Jewish Leadership Council to coordinate activity against boycotts of Israel.Fraser further alleged that the Fair Play Campaign Group in turn had given £50,000 to Engage, an organisation campaigning against academic boycott.Fraser and his witnesses admitted under cross-examination that in 2007 he withdrew a Congress motion on antisemitism after pressure from the BoD, the Jewish Leadership Council and Engage.
Tom Hickey, a senior member of UCU’s National Executive Committee, said: “This is a landmark judgment. The accusation of antisemitism against UCU because it supports a boycott of Israel is absurd. Its record in fighting racism, including antisemitism, is second to none in the trade union movement. Had this vacuous charge been upheld, unions and universities would have been silenced on the key moral issue of the century”.
According to Professor Jonathan Rosenhead of the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (BRICUP) “The Fraser case against UCU has now been shown up clearly for what it was, an attempt to shut down legitimate debate about Israel. The Israelis have a word for it – ‘lawfare’. It isn’t working.”
On March 21st, in an historic vote at the largest students’ union in Canada, York University’s undergraduate students’ union, the York Federation of Students (YFS), voted overwhelmingly in favour of a resolution to endorse the Global Campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israeli apartheid. In passing this BDS resolution, the YFS now joins many student unions around the world, who have all passed similar resolutions. In Canadian universities, the BDS campaign has had several milestones in the last year at Carleton University (Graduate Students’ Association), University of Regina (Student Union) and most recently, York University (Graduate Students’ Association) and University of Toronto (Graduate Students’ Union).
The resolution was drafted in response to the 2005 Palestinian civil society call for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel as a means to pressure it to comply with international law and to end its occupation of the West Bank and Gaza; allow Palestinian refugees their internationally guaranteed right to return to their homes and villages; and grant equal rights to Palestinian citizens of Israel.
With 18 votes in favour and 2 opposed, the board of the York Federation of Students passed the resolution to endorse the BDS campaign, as well as demand that York University abide by the BDS call; specifically urging the University to withdraw its investments from Northrop Grumman, BAE Systems, Amphenol and other companies that are selling weapons and military equipment to Israel .
“The oppression of the Palestinian people at the hands of the Israeli state is not some far off issue that we can choose to ignore. We are already deeply implicated in the human rights violations of the Israeli State through our investments in the above-mentioned companies. We do not have the privilege to remain ‘neutral’ on this issue,” said Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA) York collective member Huda Al-Sarraj.
In November of this academic year, SAIA York achieved its first BDS success with the passing of a BDS motion at the York University Graduate Students’ Association (GSA). SAIA York now hopes to bring its demand for divestment to the York University Administration by lobbying for the implementation of a socially responsible investment policy. With the support of the GSA and the YFS, as well as the TA’s, GA’s and contract faculty union, CUPE 3903, which passed a BDS motion in 2006, SAIA York will now demand an end to the investment of university funds into companies that profit from violations of international law and human rights.