It Doesn’t Take a Nobel Laureate to Understand the Complex and Seemingly Unsolvable Phenomena of Apartheid

Spot the Nobel Laureate

At the end of October, 40 Nobel Laureates decided to collaborate with an overtly Zionist institution and write a dubious-at-best (Fisking will begin momentarily) public statement, denouncing the academic and cultural portion of the initiatives of the growing world-wide BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement. Their claims were not new to us, in the movement, nor did they inspire any serious debate, or new thought. Though the statement in itself merited no intellectual response, the mere stature of its authors elicited a response from PACBI (the Palestinian campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel). That said, in the spirit of the free exchange of ideas (and my obsession with taking talkbacks way too seriously), I’d also like to reply to the [n]obel Laureates.

On Ethics and Axioms

“Always shocked but never surprised” has become a mantra to me in the past couple of years. I’ve grown to understand my reality as a place (or rather a twilight zone) where shocking events often happen and ignorant statements are often made, and all without the blink of an eye. No guilt, no shame. No accountability.

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New Israeli Report: Israeli Banks are Principal Beneficiaries of the Illegal Settlements

The branch of Bank Poalei Agudat Israel of First International Bank in the settlement of Modi’in Illit ~Photo: Who Profits, April 2009.

According to a new report by Who Profits, a research project that exposes Israeli and international corporate involvement in the occupation:

“The banks are well aware of the activities carried out with their financial assistance.”

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Not Playing Anymore – Israeli Theatre Actors Rise Up

“Ariel’s Center for the Performing Arts – Ariel’s residents have always benefited from a rich variety of local facilities and services. These services have traditionally rendered Ariel the focal point of life in the region, and earned it the title of Capital of the Shomron. The city’s Center for the Performing Arts is yet another addition to life, culture and excellence in the heart of Israel.” (from the Ariel website)

It’s no news by now that Israel is constructing a culture center in the illegal Ariel settlement. It’s not surprising that Habima, Israel’s national theater company, was scheduled to preform there. It is, however, refreshing that actresses and actors from Habima and other leading theater companies, the likes of the Cameri, signed a letter to Culture Minister, Limor Livnat, refusing to preform in the Occupied Territories.

Of Boycotts and Green Bans

Sixty/Thirty-six is a big number for any one sector in Israel, not to mention for any dissent in Israel, at all. I can’t say the actor’s letter doesn’t spark hope in me as to a growth in dissent in Israel (they’ve been joined by non-theatre people of the arts), but one mustn’t get carried away. The Guardian reported:

“Dozens of Israeli actors, playwrights and directors have signed a letter refusing to take part in productions by leading theater companies at a new cultural center in a West Bank settlement, prompting renewed debate over the legitimacy of artistic boycott.”

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Law of Boycott Prohibition

Note: The following article ignores said law’s implications on Palestinians. To read a compressive article on that, I recommend Band Annie’s Weblog.

Israelis calling for support of the Palestinian call for BDS are under attack from all sides. Whether it be the media, private people in the name of some seriously disturbing organizations [Hebrew], government members, or as of late: Law makers taking fascism in Israel up a notch.

The Weapon of Mass Destruction Called “Email”

I’m a signed and active member of the group called BOYCOTT! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within. This group is a non-profit, non-governmental group of citizens of Israel (some Jews, some Palestinians). It’s what you might call a tactical, one-track group, that will probably break up (under this title) as soon as our goal is fulfilled.

What’s our goal? Well, contrary to what the common belief in Israel is, it’s not the isolation of Israel- that’s just the means. As we endorse the Palestinian call “as is”, the goals are clearly stated in the call:

  1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall;
  2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
  3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.

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Apartheid = Immoral Order

Authors Margaret Atwood and Amitav Ghosh are well known for works centered around oppression and colonialism with an anti-war stance. Tel-Aviv University is one of the prime targets of the academic boycott, for its support and part in Israel’s violent occupation over the Palestinian people. The Dan David Prize is one of those high-profile awards (very similar to the Oscar or the Nobel) which makes celebrities out of artists, academics and and scientists, and kicks perceptions and economies out of whack, for the sake of prestige, in the name bettering the world, under a very capitalist premise. But most importantly, the Dan David Prize is co-sponsored by the Tel-Aviv University (which is of course funded by the government, as it should be) and the ceremony is attended by the president of Israel.

The First BDS Direct Action in Israel
Atwood and Ghosh accepted the prize and its one million dollars, in all its bloody glory, even though they were beseeched, time and time and time again, not to support apartheid. On May 11th they spoke at a symposium, following their acceptance of the prize and we, Israeli activists of BDS, were there to make sure our stance is clear:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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BDS: Calling all Geographers

What follows is an open letter in response to the International Geographical Union’s (IGU) refusal to relocate its July 12 – 16, 2010 regional conference outside of Tel Aviv in support of the internationally supported Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign aimed at Israel.  The IGU was initially confronted by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel in November 2009.  This letter was printed on the US Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel’s website today.

Geographers and other academics can sign the letter here.

As geographers, faculty, students, and people of conscience, we are profoundly dismayed by IGU’s decision to hold its July 2010 regional conference in Tel Aviv, in violation of the widely endorsed Palestinian civil society call for Boycott, Divestments, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel. We are equally troubled by IGU’s response [1] to the open letter issued by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), which urged the Executive Committee to relocate the upcoming regional conference out of Israel [2].

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The BDS Movement Wishes to Thank the Following Zionists

There are many people, from many different countries busting their ass in order to move the BDS (Boycott Divestment Sanctions) movement forward. These people are human rights activists, concerned citizens, people of conscious.

Sometimes, however, the propellers of the BDS movement are not what you’d expect. They are hard-core fascist, self-righteous Zionists, so unable to see beyond their own ideology that they actually hurt themselves. I’d like to take a moment to thank them all.

The BDS Movement Wishes to Thank the Israeli Mainstream Media

In the past 3 months, the Israeli media went from irresponsibly ignoring the BDS movement, to at least 6 articles a day, among the online media, focusing on the fear of Israel’s deteriorating image, in the world. Though articles about actual news (like the Dexia Bank disinvestment) are missing from the mainstream media, we can witness the fear and loathing in the Zionist state, all over the main three media outlets:

Left warns of global boycott over Ariel U. [Yediot Acharonot/Ynet]

World isn’t buying Israel’s explanations anymore [Ha’aretz]

[Israel’s] image is at an all time low. International pressure is mounting, and the calls for ostracism and boycotts are multiplying. All this was fueled by the Goldstone report, which was in itself fueled by Israeli sources. The funding for these sources is provided by, amongst others, the NIF. The question is whether the New Israeli Fund is indeed for Israel… Israel is bleeding, IDF officers are closed up in the Kiriya, leaders are canceling visitations abroad, Israeli produce is taken of the shelves and this is just the beginning. [Ma’ariv/nrg, limited by my translation]

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USACBI Statement on 1 Year Anniversary of ‘Operation Cast Lead’

December 27, 2009 marks the one-year anniversary of the beginning of ‘Operation Cast Lead,’ Israel’s 22-day assault on the captive population of Gaza, which killed 1400 people, one third of them children, and injured more than 5300.  During this war on an impoverished, mostly refugee population, Israel targeted civilians, using internationally proscribed white phosphorous bombs, deprived them of power, water and other essentials, and sought to destroy the infrastructure of Palestinian civil society, including hospitals, administrative buildings and UN facilities.  It targeted with peculiar consistency educational institutions of all kinds: the Islamic University of Gaza, the Ministry of Education, the American International School, at least ten UNRWA schools, one of which was sheltering internally displaced Palestinian civilians with nowhere to flee, and tens of other schools and educational facilities. 

While world leaders have tragically failed to come to Gaza’s help, civilians everywhere are rallying to show their solidarity with the Palestinian people, with anniversary vigils taking place this week in New York, Washington DC, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Boston, Los Angeles, and many more cities and towns in the US and world-wide.

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Divide and Conquer – Undermining the BDS Movement from Within

Last week, my local BDS group was put on alert, when the following headline emerged:

“Palestinian Unions Say Israel Boycott Would Harm Them”

The Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU) is a signatory of the PACBI (Palestinian Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel) call for BDS (#5), and has an estimate of 290,000 members. Naturally, if- all of a sudden- they’re not on board with the BDS movement, it’s cause for concern. That said, the whole scheme of things didn’t seem to make sense, so off I went on another journey through the Zionist Jungle.

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The Buycott Campaign

Do you support Israel? Are you fed up with calls to boycott Israeli goods and services? Want to do something about it? NOW YOU CAN. Sign up for BUYCOTT ALERTS today.We’ll alert you when a boycott initiative needs to be countered, and we’ll let you know the results of every BUYCOTT action.

In a twilight zone, where an established state needs protection from grassroot communities, we have the Buycott campaign. Who are these people and how have they sprung up over night?

Encouraging Consumerism and Faking Tolerance
I got to the official Buycott page through Wikipedia, where two lines and two links were thrown together in haste, in order to give the campaign more Google juice. The site has a clean Getty Image-esque design, and considering how quickly this whole campaign was erected, I say touché to my opponents- you may not be worthy, but you know your shit.

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