Friday, November 21, 2008

Massachusetts: Major vote against Apartheid Israel

"Americans Vote Yes for Equality Between Jews and Non-Jews Inside


by the Somerville Divestment Project

Full article on the Web at:

November 5, 2008

Election day in the United States, 2008, will be remembered in most history books as the day
Americans elected the first African-American as president. But it also deserves to go down in
history for another reason. It was the first day when Americans rejected the instructions of their pro-Israel politicians and newspapers and instead voted for the principle that non-Jews should be equal with Jews under the law inside Israel, and not discriminated against as they are today in apartheid Israel.

The Somerville Divestment Project (SDP) placed Question 4 on the ballot in two state
representative districts, one in Somerville and the other in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The
question asked, "Shall the state representative from this district be instructed to vote in
favor of a non-binding resolution calling on the federal government to support the right of
all people, including non-Jewish Palestinian citizens of Israel, to live free from laws that
give more rights to people of one religion than another?"

The "Yes" votes outnumbered the "No" votes 9,100 to 5,542 in Somerville, and 9,637 to 3,650 in Cambridge. If Obama had won by this kind of a margin it would have been declared a Super-Landslide!

Not a single politician or newspaper supported Question 4. On the contrary, the Somerville
Journal reported in its election week edition that, "The City of Somerville, including all city
aldermen, does not support questions 4 and 5, said spokesman Tom Champion. The mayor of
Somerville also opposed Question 4 and the so-called “Progressive” Democrats of Somerville
were silent (apparently supporting equal rights is not part of the “progressive” agenda.) The only other Somerville newspaper, the Somerville News, editorialized, "The Somerville Divestment Project has divided Somerville residents by bringing up far-away, world conflicts in a municipal context. Reject the tactics of the Somerville Divestment project and vote no on Question 4."

Apparently the voters saw things differently.

In 2006 the SDP placed two questions (5 and 6) similar to Question 4 on the ballot in Somerville.
One called for Somerville to divest from Israel and the other called for supporting the right of all
refugees, including Palestinian refugees, to return to their homeland.

In spite of intense “Vote No” campaigning by the Boston Globe, both Somerville newspapers and the Israeli Consul for New England, as well as Mayor Curtatone, Congressman Capuano, and both candidates for governor—Deval Patrick (now the Democratic Party governor) and Kerry Healy the Republican--featuring glossy mass mailings and signboards with photographs of all four politicians saying “We Stand With Israel, Vote No on Questions 5 and 6,” and despite the unanimity of all these “respectable” leaders making many voters wonder if perhaps the SDP’s ballot questions that seemed so reasonable on the surface might actually reflect some kind of bad hidden agenda, despite all this the “Yes” vote was 31% for divestment and 45% for supporting the right of return of Palestinians.

Tuesday’s vote was therefore not the first time voters rejected the mainstream politicians to
support human rights for Palestinians.....

The Significance of This Vote is Enormous

The significance of this vote is enormous. It demonstrates that Americans support the principle of equality, and believe that Israel is wrong in discriminating against non-Jews under the law. It
shows that Americans do not want their government to support this discrimination inside Israel,
regardless of whether Israel is "our ally" or a "Jewish state."

It shows, in other words, that when given a chance to choose between the principle of equality versus the Zionist principle of inequality (that Israel must be a "Jewish" state in which the sovereign authority is "the Jewish people" and not all citizens equally) then Americans chose equality, even when their politicians and newspapers tell them not to....


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

150 Protesters Accuse the President of Apartheid Israel of being a "War Criminal", and of starving Gaza

"Peres. Unmoved by protest"
Photo: AP


"UK protestors call Peres 'war criminal' "

"President's address in front of 1,000 Oxford University students interrupted by small group of demonstrators claiming Israel ethnically cleansed Palestinians, calling for end to Gaza siege.

"Peres: We don't need your permission to stay alive"

by Hagit Klaiman

Published: 11.19.08, 07:28 / Israel News

See the full article in YNet News at:,7340,L-3625214,00.html

Pro-Palestinian protestors interrupted President Shimon Peres' speech Tuesday evening at Britain's Oxford University. The angry students called Peres a "war criminal" and called for an end to the Israeli occupation in the Palestinian territories.

Peres was expected to address the two houses of the British parliament on Wednesday.

The Israeli president spoke before some 1,000 British students at Oxford, while dozens of other students protested outside the lecture hall. They carried signs reading, "A person cannot be called 'a man of peace' if he develops nuclear weapons", and chanted "free Palestine" and "occupation is a crime".

A propaganda leaflet, titled "Peres is a war criminal", was handed out outside the hall.

The leaflet read, "In the past 60 years he contributed to and was responsible for Israeli terror and the ongoing occupation. He recruited and armed the Hagana terrorists who led the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1948.

"This man is responsible for the only nuclear weapons cache in the entire Middle East. As the president of Israel, he is responsible for starving a million and a half Palestinians subject to a siege in Gaza."

Protestors inside the hall interrupted Peres' speech several times. One of them shouted at him, "I am here on behalf of a million and a half residents of Gaza who are being bombed by Israel every day. I am here in the name of 11,000 Palestinian prisoners. I am here in the name of the 800,000 refugees expelled. War criminal, you should be ashamed of yourself."

'Hitler would also remain silent'

The audience did not keep quiet in light of the ongoing attacks. When one of the demonstrators called Peres a "war criminal", most of those present booed her. She did not hesitate and replied, 'If Hitler were here now, he would remain silent as you are silent and listen to Peres' speech."

The president, who remained composed and kept his restraint, responded to one of the protestors by saying, "We have the right to stay alive. We don't need your permission."

One of the students, who claimed to be demonstrating on behalf of all of Gaza's residents, was told by Peres, "Sometimes it's not so terrible to open your eyes and ears and keep your mouth closed for a different opportunity."

At the end of the event, Peres said he was unmoved by the demonstration and would continue his PR efforts for Israel....


"Unflappable Peres delivers consistent message"

by Anshel Pfeffer
November 19, 2008

In the "Jewish Chronicle" (London, U.K.).

See the full article at:

President Shimon Peres showed grace under fire on Tuesday night when he was systematically heckled and barracked by Oxford students at the city's Sheldonian Theatre.

The trip to Oxford on Tuesday evening was always going to be the most unpredictable part of the presidential visit. On the one hand there was Mr Peres' insistence on plunging head-first into the academic boycott issue, and on the other, the preparations of various pro-Palestinian groups to protest against the visit of the man they described as a "war criminal" caused a lot of worry to the security detail.

In the event, the detail of mounted police with riot gear outside the Sheldonian Theatre, where Mr Peres was to give his lecture on "The Globalisation of Peace" was unnecessary. About 150 demonstrators gathered outside but they seemed content to chant "Free, free Palestine" and hand out leaflets detailing Mr Peres' "crimes against humanity" and blaming the Americans for 9/11. But the main concern was what was going to happen inside the splendid hall. The university had ruled that any student with a valid university card would be allowed in on a first come, first served basis- and trouble was expected. A team of bodyguards and a group of proctors were ranged around the theatre in readiness.

On arrival, Mr Peres was received with thunderous applause and no sign of any dissent. But three minutes into his lecture, when he was explaining how Barack Obama's election was the realisation of the Zionist dream of eradicating antisemitism and racism, a young man stood up and shouted: "I am here as the representative of 800,000 Palestinians ethnically cleansed by Israel."

A few people shushed him; Mr Peres continued speaking as if nothing had happened and the protestor sat down. But for the next hour, every five minutes or so, another student got up to represent a different sector of the downtrodden Palestinian people. Only once, when one actually started walking towards the president, shouting: "How dare you, leader of an apartheid state," was he bundled out of the hall by the proctors.

Throughout these disturbances, Mr Peres carried on unflappably, though towards the end he seemed to be chafing a bit. To one heckler who claimed to be representing "thousands of farmers who had their land taken away by Israeli settlers" he said: "It's not bad to open the eyes and ears and keep the mouth for a later occasion...."


Monday, November 17, 2008

Ballot question against Israeli state racism--

"Palestinian Rights Win on Question #4"

November 5, 2008

On Boston Indymedia at:

In Somerville and Cambridge, Massachusetts, a ballot question supporting the right of Palestinians to "live free from laws that give more rights to people of one religion than another" passed in both cities, on November 4, 2008.

This was an effort launched by the Somerville Divestment Project (SDP) last year.

SDP has worked in coalition with organizations such as, Cambridge Residents for Human Rights (CRHR) and Jamaica Plain Residents for Human Rights (JPRHR), to highlight the needs of Palestinians to live free of intimidation on their lands.

This letter describes the successful ballot question in more detail:



"Question 4 targets Israel"

In "Cambridge Chronicle" & "Cambridge TAB", at:

Oct 30, 2008

Cambridge -

If a country has laws that explicitly discriminate against people of a given religion then it impossible for victims of the discrimination to appeal to a court of law for redress since the laws themselves are discriminatory. This is the subject of Question 4 in Somerville and Cambridge.

Question 4 calls for our federal government to “support the right of all people, including non-Jewish Palestinians citizens of Israel, to live free from laws that give more rights to one group than another.”

That such laws exist in Israel is undeniable. The Law of Return explicitly allows Jews from anywhere in the world to immigrate to Israel automatically, without any complications, while non-Jews cannot. Even non-Jews whose relatives are UN-registered refugees from the area are denied the same rights as Jews are given.

This has real consequences for non-Jewish citizens of Israel. A non-Jewish person, who has a sick grandfather that wants to come to live in Israel in order to be taken care of by loving relatives, is out of luck. A Jewish person in the same situation can bring his/her grandfather with no questions asked.

Not surprisingly any person, Jewish or non-Jewish, who advocates that laws change to make Israel a real democracy with equal rights for all citizens is explicitly forbidden to participate in government (see Basic Law 7A).

Legalized discrimination is not new. The US and South Africa once had such systems; they were unfair and dehumanized both the advantaged group and the disenfranchised group. The only chance for reconciliation of conflict in the Middle East begins with ending the legalized discrimination against people who are supposed to be “equal citizens” in a supposed “democracy.” Indeed, what kind of democracy does Israel have if 20 percent of its citizens live under dramatically different laws because on their religion?

Legalized discrimination is a core illness in Israel, in place since its founding, and has resulted in many decades of unfortunate symptoms that involve human rights violations against Jews and non-Jews. Instead of judging people by the “content of their character” Israel’s founders chose to judge people by the Jewish content of their blood.

A “yes” vote on Question 4 sends a signal that blatantly discriminatory laws against non-Jewish Christian and Muslim people is not the way toward resolving the conflict and in fact is the way to perpetuate it.




Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Boycott Israel: Protest Israeli orchestra at University of Michigan.

By hosting these two Israeli government-sponsored institutions--the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra and the Batsheva Dance Company...

...The University Musical Society is openly disrespecting the will of the occupied Palestinian people, as expressed in numerous boycott calls.

Therefore, the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra's appearance will be the cause of a very visible protest outside Hill Auditorium, this Sunday, November 16, 2008, at 3 PM:

Click on the flyer to enlarge it.


November 16th protest:

BOYCOTT ISRAEL: Boycott the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Israeli Apartheid Institutions: The Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra & the Batsheva Dance Company

The Middle East Task Force of Ann Arbor, Michigan is organizing a nonviolent protest outside the Hill Auditorium on Sunday, November 16, 2008, at 3:00 PM in support of the boycott of two Israeli cultural organizations touring the US. Both organizations will be hosted by the University Musical Society (UMS), based in Ann Arbor.

The rationale for the boycott is adequately developed in the letter to UMS President Ken Fischer here. The purpose of this post is to provide more information about the two organizations in question, the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra (JSO) and Batsheva Dance Company (BDC).

According to a recent article on the ardently pro-Israel web site, ISRAEL21C:

The orchestra was founded in the 1940s as an adjunct to BBC radio in Mandatory Palestine, and became the Kol Israel (Voice of Israel) national radio orchestra with the establishment of the State of Israel. In the 1970s, it was expanded and became the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, Israel Broadcasting Authority (IBA).