Saturday, September 27, 2008

"The Israelis at the airport acted like Jim Crow segregationists of old, never forsaking an opportunity to publicly humiliate black people."


Freedom Rider:
"Boycott Israel"

On the Web at:

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

To call attention to Israel's apartheid policies is to ask for immediate labeling as an "anti-Semite." Just ask former president Jimmy Carter. Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performer Abdur-Rahim Jackson was separated from the troupe and made to dance for Israeli airport security - twice - to prove he wasn't a danger to the Jewish State, based on his name.

"Israel's dismal human rights record has created numerous calls for economic boycotts of that nation," and cultural boycotts, as well. "The Israelis at the airport acted like Jim Crow segregationists of old, never forsaking an opportunity to publicly humiliate black people." Israel acts like the U.S. "did in its own apartheid era."

Freedom Rider: Boycott Israel

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

"The Israelis at the airport acted like Jim Crow segregationists of old."

When Zionism is legitimately called racist, the howls of protest are predictable and immediate. Critics of Israel are vilified by charges of anti-Semitism and disparaged or ignored by the press. The American media include criticism of Israel among the many subjects that are taken off the table and disappeared from the list of permitted subjects of discourse.

Yet there are times when Israel's racism becomes obvious in a way that cannot be ignored. Recently the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performed in Israel as part of an international tour. When one of the dancers, Abdur-Rahim Jackson, went through security at Jerusalem's Ben Gurion airport he was taken aside by Israeli security where he was asked to dance, not once but twice.

"To be greeted like this because of my name, it took me back a little bit," said Mr. Jackson. Jackson attempted to explain that he was a dancer when the security officer told him to perform. "I stood up. I asked what type of dance? He said, ‘Just do anything.' I just moved around." Jackson was interrogated a second time and was again asked to dance.

He was told that his Muslim name was cause for concern and he was advised by the security officers to change it. Mr. Jackson was understated in his reaction to this affront. He admitted being "embarrassed" but declined to file an official complaint. The company performed as scheduled and little more was said about the incident. "Aside from the incident at the airport, we've received a warm welcome from the people of Israel," said artistic director Judith Jamison.

"Jackson attempted to explain that he was a dancer when the security officer told him to perform."

The incident was outrageous and should have been treated as such by Mr. Jackson, the Alvin Ailey company, the United States government and the people of Israel, who we are always told are the only civilized people in that part of the world. That is just one of the propaganda talking points about Israel that has been etched in American consciousness. Israel is good, its neighbors are bad and they are unworthy of any consideration that their grievances might be legitimate.

This narrative persists despite easily verified reports of continued Israeli human rights abuses. There are documented reports of Gazans in need of medical care being denied permission to leave their prison nation unless they agree to spy for Israel. The Israeli Defense forces use civilians as human shields, destroy thousands of Palestinian homes, and detain more than 10,000 who sit behind bars, without charge or trial.

Israel's dismal human rights record has created numerous calls for economic boycotts of that nation. The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel was formed in 2004. They requested that their colleagues around the world "comprehensively and consistently boycott all Israeli academic and cultural institutions until Israel withdraws from all the lands occupied in 1967, including East Jerusalem; removes all its colonies in those lands; agrees to United Nations resolutions relevant to the restitution of Palestinian refugees rights; and dismantles its system of apartheid."

"The Israeli Defense forces use civilians as human shields, destroy thousands of Palestinian homes, and detain more than 10,000."

It is awful that an internationally recognized and respected institution like the Alvin Ailey company would defy this simple and reasonable request made by fellow artists. Yet in fairness, it must be pointed out that respecting the boycott would be difficult for the Alvin Ailey group to carry out, even if predisposed to do so. Cultural institutions are dependent on the largesse of wealthy benefactors, and the good will of powerful people. If the invitation had been rejected the Alvin Ailey company might have endangered its very existence.

The Israelis at the airport acted like Jim Crow segregationists of old, never forsaking an opportunity to publicly humiliate black people. Israel does function as America did in its own apartheid era. It does so with impunity, comfortable in the knowledge that no one who speaks the truth about that government will ever be powerful enough to take action against it.

Despite the embarrassment and trauma he endured, Abdur-Rahim Jackson is actually luckier than others who ran afoul of the IDF. He could have been shot dead, like BBC camera man James Miller, or crushed by a tractor like Rachel Corrie. Jackson was made to feel less than human, but he isn't dead. Perhaps he knew what he was doing when he decided not to complain.

Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgandaReport.Com.

Ms. Kimberley maintains an edifying and frequently updated blog at More of her work is also available at her Black Agenda Report archive page.

Comments (39)add comment

Sanction Israel

written by Mike , September 17, 2008

Another great article by Ms Kimberley. I'm waiting for members of the Black Congressional Caucus to weigh in on this issue(sike.) We all know, like Obama their probably shit'in in their pants. However, I'm surprized that Ms Jamison continued the performance.

Israel is a racist, aparthied, terrorist, occupying force which is an abomination onto humanity. And Obama has no problem supporting the evil that is Israel. It was indeed embarrassing to watch Obama campaign deny former presindent Carter due honors to speak at the recent democratic convention.

If their was ever a county in the universe that deserved to be sanctioned... it's Israel. I'll be calling members of the CBC (cowards) to get their response to the humilation of this black dancer.

Another Biting Commentary

written by T O , September 17, 2008

Thanks again Margaret for remaining unabashed in speaking truth to power. Barack Obama's infantile and naive mentality is dangerous to those who have an appetite for peace in the middle east.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Boycott-Israel Resolution is attempted at Michigan Student Assembly

The Michigan Daily

Previously on the Web at:

By Chris Herring, written on Sep. 24, 2008

By Matt Aaronson
Daily Staff Reporter

Published on THE WIRE, then deleted:

"...An attempted resolution proposal"

Ann Arbor resident and anti-Israel activist Blaine Coleman and a woman who claimed her name was Abeer Hamza tried to propose a resolution “to boycott apartheid-Israel, and to stop apartheid on campus.”

The resolution, handed out to the assembly in a packet, listed three items in its summary: “Boycott all Israeli products,” “Take that $1 trillion you’re spending to kill Muslims, and spend it instead on rebuilding Detroit,” and “Stop 400 years of white privilege—the University should admit every black high school graduate.” As a number of assembly members got up to leave during his speech, Coleman remarked “If you’re against rebuilding Detroit, you’ll want to leave the room now.”

MSA President Sabrina Shingwani reminded the assembly that everyone who takes the floor at meetings is entitled to the same freedom of speech. (Though it’s unclear whether Coleman had a right to be there. More on that later)

The woman who identified herself as Abeer Hamza called Israel “a major force of destruction” and claimed that if “all the things that Israel has done” had been done by another country, the assembly “would be here every night passing resolutions.”

After the speakers finished, Shingwani told the assembly there is currently no such resolution and that the proper procedure for proposing such a resolution had not been followed.

Later, Student General Counsel Michael Benson reiterated the importance of respecting the First Amendment rights of those voicing their opinions before the Assembly. He ripped up his copy of the proposal, as another student representative already had, before yielding back his time.

As for Coleman, he left the meeting when he realized someone from MSA had notified the Department of Public Safety of his appearance at the meeting. Coleman has been told not to return to University property by campus police because of his involvement in past incidents.


Blaine Coleman
said (Sep. 24, 2008 at 1:11AM)
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Thanks to Mr. Aaronson for accurately reporting the substance of the Boycott-Israel Resolution.

It is remarkable that, whenever you peacefully ask for humanitarian boycotts against Israel, Israel’s defenders reach for a gun– in this case, you see MSA members reaching for the police.

Palestinians face worse. Many thousands have been shot dead by the Israeli army, on Palestinian land. Over a million Palestinians are being starved in Gaza, by an Israeli army siege… as MSA members tear up Palestine human rights resolutions in Ann Arbor.

What kind of “democracy” is that?

What kind of “Free Speech” is that?


Friday, September 19, 2008

MSA Resolution to Boycott Apartheid Israel, and to Stop Apartheid on Campus


Malcolm X, meeting with the leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organization in 1964.

This was sixteen years after European Zionists invaded Palestine, destroying over 400 Palestinian villages.

It was an extremely violent ethnic cleansing operation.

It exiled the majority of Palestinians out of Palestine.


This Resolution has been proposed for an immediate vote by the Michigan Student Assembly, at the University of Michigan.

This Resolution then was torn up by the Assembly's General Counsel, as the "Michigan Daily" reporter watched:

But the Resolution was again presented to the Assembly for a vote.

This Resolution has also been proposed for a vote by the University's LSA Student Government:

Resolution to Boycott Apartheid Israel,

and to Stop Apartheid on Campus

Resolution Summary:

  1. Boycott all Israeli products.
  2. Take that $1 trillion you’re spending to kill Muslims, and spend it instead on re-building Detroit.
  3. Stop 400 years of White Privilege—the University should admit every Black high school graduate.

  1. Boycott all Israeli products

WHEREAS, White Supremacism, including Zionism, is the most genocidal force on Earth,

WHEREAS, Congress has paid $300 billion to Israel, according to Congressman John Dingell,

WHEREAS, Israel spent that money on a genocidal ethnic cleansing campaign against the Palestinian people, which has culminated in the Israeli siege against Gaza,

WHEREAS, Israel has forced 1.5 million Palestinians into a concentration-camp existence in Gaza, where childhood malnutrition and anemia are rampant,

WHEREAS, Israel is threatening to unleash a “Holocaust” on Gaza,

WHEREAS, Malcolm X was right— the Zionists had no “legal or moral right to invade Arab Palestine, uproot its Arab citizens from their homes and seize all Arab property for themselves”

WHEREAS, Israel’s alliance with Apartheid South Africa was "more intimate and more extensive than anything similar in Israel’s history", according to Professor Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi,

WHEREAS, Israel has hundreds of nuclear weapons, which it tried to share with Apartheid South Africa,

WHEREAS, Israel is training its pilots to nuke Iran, a land of 76 million people who have never invaded anyone,

WHEREAS, Israel trained and oversaw SAVAK, the brutal force of torturers who kept the Shah of Iran in power,

WHEREAS, the United States has been bleeding Iran with economic sanctions, then with U.S.-imposed dictatorship, then with U.S.-fueled invasions, almost continuously since 1952,

WHEREAS, those economic sanctions still make it impossible for Iranians to get spare parts for any airplane, from anywhere in the world,

WHEREAS, Israel is demanding even crueler economic sanctions against Iran,

THEREFORE, the Michigan Student Assembly demands that Congress impose a total boycott against all Israeli products,

THEREFORE, we demand that Congress cut off all aid to the racist state of Israel, the last Apartheid State on Earth.

THEREFORE, we demand that the University of Michigan Board of Regents declare a boycott against all products imported from the racist state of Israel.

  1. Take that $1 trillion you’re spending to kill Muslims, and spend it instead on re-building Detroit.

WHEREAS, Congress has spent $1 trillion to kill millions of Iraqis since 1991,

WHEREAS, Congress has killed over a million Afghans since the 1980’s, using a series of unbelievable excuses,

WHEREAS, the U.S. repeatedly bombs Somalia, using more unbelievable excuses,

WHEREAS, Senator Clinton threatens to “obliterate Iran”, and Senator McCain sings “bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran”,

WHEREAS, Senator Obama threatens to invade Pakistan, then President Bush launches military strikes directly on Pakistan,

WHEREAS, Congress’s trillion-dollar genocide against Muslim lands is conducted at the direct expense of Black America,

WHEREAS, Congress’s trillion-dollar occupation of Muslim lands is conducted at the direct expense of Black America,

THEREFORE, the Michigan Student Assembly demands that Congress immediately remove its trillion-dollar army of occupation from every nation on Earth, because that army only brings coups, torture, racism, and death to the planet;

THEREFORE, we demand that Congress immediately spend that trillion dollars, which was stolen from Black America, on the immediate rebuilding of Detroit, including mass transit that every Detroiter can walk to, including the best elementary, secondary, and university education in the nation, including the best neighborhood clinics, the best neighborhood libraries, and the best housing infrastructure in the nation, and including the necessary industrial facilities to build all of those things, and to employ every Detroiter of working age, with full union wages and benefits,

THEREFORE, we demand that Congress similarly rebuild every U.S. inner city, and that this rebuilding be directed by Black engineers, architects, professors, physicians, educators, and managers, and that this rebuilding be staffed by Black union labor, nationwide, until Black unemployment ceases to exist,

  1. Stop 400 Years of White Privilege—

--the University should Admit every Black high school graduate.

WHEREAS, centuries of government policy, backed up by organized white violence at every level, has attempted to beat down African political power, financial power, industrial power, and landholding power, from the Congo to Chicago,

WHEREAS, Martin Luther King Jr. was right— the U.S. government is “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today”,

WHEREAS, the U.S. has murdered and imprisoned African and African-American leadership on a mind-boggling scale, from Lumumba in the Congo, to Mandela in South Africa, to Fred Hampton in Chicago, to Marcus Garvey, to the Orangeburg Massacre, to the Jackson State Massacre, to the U.S.-Israeli-South-African invasion of Angola in the 1970’s, to the U.S.-Israeli-South-African creation of death squads across the African continent which have murdered millions and stripped Africa of unimaginable wealth,

WHEREAS, today’s white suburban power structure was built with a trillion-dollar federal highway subsidy, and with massive governmental subsidies to build all-white suburban settlements, which have sucked the wealth and political power of Black America into virtually all-white enclaves, while barring the bulk of Black America from entry,

WHEREAS, white political, economic, employment, and educational power has always been built on massive federal subsidies, from the railroads in the 19th century, to the government-backed white academies created to suck away resources from any public educational system that might benefit Black students,

THEREFORE, the Michigan Student Assembly finds it obscene that a violent, 400-year steamroller of white privilege-- where whites use the riches of Black labor to perpetuate a closed circle of privileged white university admissions, a closed circle of white business connections, a closed circle of white jobs, perpetuated by a heavily subsidized white suburban political machine,-- is called a “meritocracy”, while the slightest effort to get Black students into the University is called “reverse racism”;

THEREFORE, the Michigan Student Assembly demands that the University of Michigan Board of Regents immediately guarantee admission, tuition-free, to every Black student who graduates from every Michigan high school, together with year-round tutoring for every new student who needs it;

THERFORE, we declare, in advance, a highly visible picket line and a 3-day student strike, if any state authority attempts to “stand in the schoolhouse door” to block the open admission of Black students to this University.




In 1975, Israel had helped South Africa to invade Angola, sending military advisers and electronic equipment to the front.

The next year, you see the Prime Minister of Apartheid South Africa, John Vorster (second from right), meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin (right), with future Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin (left), and with Moshe Dayan, in Israeli-occupied Jerusalem (al-Quds).