Friday, February 27, 2009

Latest Boycott and Divestment Action, against Apartheid Israel.

University sit-in forces divestment of stock in companies that supply military equipment to Israel--

"Power of student action forces university to divest its holdings in major arms companies"

February 27, 2009

by Lisa Jones,

"South Wales Echo" (Wales; U.K.)

On the Web at:

A THREE-DAY sit-in by students protesting against their university’s investment in major arms companies has ended.

Cardiff Students Against War yesterday finished its occupation of the Shandon Lecture Theatre in Cardiff University’s main building on Park Place after bosses agreed to pull funds out of two companies.

Cardiff University has given students written confirmation that they have divested from the arms trade and have instructed fund managers not to reinvest.

Johnny, a spokesman for the coalition, said: “The mood has been very upbeat throughout. People have felt that what they are doing is really achieving something.

“They felt they’ve made a difference.

“There’s been a buzz around the campus.

“It certainly shows that student activism is on the increase.”

During the sit-in, the 100 or so participants listened to talks from visitors, took part in a live link-up with Gaza and watched documentaries about the conflict in the Middle East. A student spokeswoman, who did not want to be named, said: “The university conceded to our key demand which was to divest from the arms trade. They have sold all their shares in BAe and General Electric and instructed their fund managers not to invest in the arms trade.

“This is a major success for the occupation.

“We’ve been the most successful across the UK. It confirms the power of student action. A lot of us have been campaigning against the arms trade for some time.

“We’ve been consistently ignored by the university. They have forced us to take this action.

“It’s not interested in the will of the student, which is why we were forced to take action.”

The sit-in began on Tuesday when students massed outside their union building with a Books Not Bombs protest, where students brought along a book to signify their support for education, not war.

They claimed the university had money invested in BAe Systems and General Electric, which it accuses of supplying military equipment to Israel.

They were refusing to leave the lecture theatre until their demands were met. They were also calling for Cardiff University to be twinned with Gaza and for five students from the troubled region to be given scholarships at Cardiff University.

It is the 28th such protest to take place on campuses around the United Kingdom.

A Cardiff University spokesman said: “In the course of the last few days the University’s investment managers have divested the University of its holdings in both BAe and the infrastructure arm of General Electric.”


Haverford College campaign "to divest from Israeli Apartheid."

The Haverford Campaign

"If I were to change the names, a description of what is happening in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank could describe events in South Africa."

-- Archbishop Desmond Tutu, December, 1989.


Hampshire College Divests!

Hampshire College in Amherst, MA, the first U.S. college to divest from South African apartheid, has become the first U.S. college to divest from Israeli apartheid. Congrats Hampshire and SJP! (More Information)

Our Open Letter To Haverford College

We, the undersigned alumni and associates of Haverford College, deplore the ongoing atrocities and injustices committed by the State of Israel against Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank and Israel. Acknowledging that Haverford's divestment from South Africa had a positive impact on ending apartheid, we demand that Haverford College divest fully from any entity that contributes to or supports the apartheid in Israel/Palestine.

Divestment targets include:

  • U.S. companies doing business in Israel;
  • companies that manufacture or sell military equipment used by Israel;
  • Israeli companies;
  • any other holdings that financially support or sustain Israeli state sponsored apartheid.

In solidarity with those living under an unjust occupation, we pledge to continue this campaign until Haverford acts in accord with its Quaker tradition and invests in peace.

Signed by,

(View Signatures)


Haverford College:

Divest from Israeli Apartheid.

Bryn Mawr & Haverford Colleges

"Bi-College News"

"The Haverford Campaign Calls for Divestment from Israel"

By Nathan Karnovsky

February 24, 2009

"Bi-College News" (Bryn Mawr & Haverford Colleges; Pennsylvania)

On the Web at:

“Do you notice that, even among educated people, there is general recognition of the fact that the modern state of Israel was founded as a symbol of the suffering of humanity…but almost no awareness that this has been at the expense of another people who were innocent of guilt?”

These are the words of Harry Saul, a member of Haverford College’s Class of 1972.

Saul is a member of a group of Haverford alumni that have started The Haverford Campaign, at

The Campaign calls upon Haverford to divest fully from any entity that contributes to or supports what he calls “the apartheid” in Gaza, the West Bank, and Israel.

Saul was inspired to start this campaign by his son, a member of the Students for Justice in Palestine group at Hampshire College, who recently helped convince the school’s administration to completely divest.

“The goals of the campaign are twofold,” Saul said. “First to get the college to completely divest…second…to [help in] raising awareness.”

According to Saul, one of the major challenges is educating people about the role that the United States plays in the conflict.

“People in this country need to first know about what their government is doing,” said Saul. “There is little awareness that the weapons…being used to inflict suffering…are made by American companies and largely paid for by people living in the United States.”

Although as Saul acknowledges, “it is notoriously difficult to get information about investments from private colleges,” he is confident that Haverford must be investing in at least some of the companies that provide support to Israel.

Saul cites Caterpillar, United Technologies, General Electric, ITT Corporation, Motorola, and Terex as a handful of the major companies that must be divested from.

When asked about his use of the word “apartheid” to describe the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Saul responded that the accounts of the fighting reminded him of colonial war.

“It was more like reports I’ve read about the British circling and killing basically defenseless aborigines in Australia,” he said.


NYU demonstration for "boycotting companies that supported the Israeli military"--

--reverberates on campuses 3,000 miles away:

"Playing the part of a protester"

Editorial published: 2/26/09

New York University's Kimmel Student Center was under occupation by a group of nearly 80 student protestors Feb. 18-20.

Though the campaign's goals, essentially to raise opposition to Israeli military action in Gaza, were certainly reasonable, the protestors' methods were ineffective because they were more show than substance.

This student "occupation," or Take Back NYU! (TBNYU) campaign, is part of a wider international trend that gained momentum following Israel's most recent assault on Gaza.

Beginning in mid-January, over a dozen universities in the U.K. staged similiar sit-in protests, beginning at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London on Jan. 13.

On Feb. 17, Edinburgh University's own student sit-in ended as students agreed to leave George Square lecture theatre.

Protests like this are a legacy of the 1960s, in which sit-ins were effectively utilized in ideological battles ranging from Civil Rights (The Greensboro Sit-In February 1, 1960) to Vietnam opposition. Their recent revival, which, according to CNN, has been aided by social networking sites, has led some to claim a revival of 1960s protest spirit. However, "Student activism is still a relatively minority activity compared to its heyday," according to Keith Kahn-Harrisin, a sociologist at the Centre for Urban and Community Research at Goldsmiths College in London.

The protest at NYU strongly paralleled other student sit-ins in the U.K. After settling down in their school's cafeteria, the student activists announced that they would remain there until NYU's administration met their originally unclear demands, which eventually ranged from boycotting companies that supported the Israeli military to providing reconstruction aid for the University of Gaza, which was damaged in a December Israeli airstrike....


Swarthmore College campaign to divest from Israeli Apartheid.

Click on photo to enlarge it.

Swarthmore College divestment Web site:

February 12, 2009 Update

Hampshire College has become the first US educational institution to divest from Israel! Learn more

Our Open Letter To Swarthmore College

We, the undersigned alumni and associates of Swarthmore College, deplore the ongoing atrocities and injustices committed by the State of Israel against Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank and Israel. Acknowledging that Swarthmore's divestment from South Africa had a positive impact on ending apartheid, we demand that Swarthmore College divest fully from any entity that contributes to or supports the apartheid in Israel/Palestine.

Divestment targets include:

  • U.S. companies doing business in Israel;
  • companies that manufacture or sell military equipment used by Israel;
  • Israeli companies;
  • any other holdings that financially support or sustain Israeli state sponsored apartheid.

In solidarity with those living under an unjust occupation, we pledge to withhold all future donations to Swarthmore until full and complete divestment is enacted and made public. When Swarthmore acts in accord with its Quaker tradition and invests in peace, we pledge to multiply our generosity.

Signed by,

(View Signatures)


University of Plymouth students demand boycott against Israeli goods on campus.

Plymouth University Occupied!

Feb. 25, 2009

On Indymedia at:

Around 20 students from the University of Plymouth have occupied room 202 of the Smeaton building, in the middle of campus.

Our demands are as follows:

1. That the University of Plymouth issue a statement condemning the recent and continuing atrocities perpetrated by Israel in the Gaza strip. The University should officially denounce the attacks on civilians, the systematic obstruction of humanitarian aid and the targeting of academic institutions, hospitals, places of worship and international peace keeping facilities.

2. That the University of Plymouth cease to invest directly or indirectly in companies complicit in human rights abuses in the Gaza strip and internationally.

3. That no Israeli goods or goods produced by companies that have directly funded the State of Israel be sold on campus.

4. That the University of Plymouth provide complete financial scholarships for six students from Gaza University which has been bombed by the Israeli military.

5. That any surplus educational resources available to the University of Plymouth are provided to Gaza University and that the shipping of these resources be fully paid for by the University of Plymouth.

6. That there be no legal, financial, or academic measures taken against anyone involved in or supporting the occupation. All those involved will be guaranteed free movement in and out of the occupied space, with open access to electricity and internet.

We await your response to organise a formal meeting between delegates of our occupation and with university management to negotiate these demands.


York University demonstrations for boycott against Israel.

Click on images to enlarge.

York University students demand a cut of all ties with Apartheid Israel, year after year:

Pro-Palestine, Pro-Israel supporters face off in Vari Hall

Denoja Kankesan reports on what happened when Pro-Palestine supporters and Pro-Isr...
Feb. 23, 2009, ExcalWeb

Protest in York University's Student Centre
David Ros reports on what happened after a Drop YFS press conference was interrupted on Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2009.
03:05 - Feb 23, 2009 - 3 days ago -

00:41 - Nov 16, 2006 - 2 years ago -


Excal Logo

"Face off in Vari Hall"

Written by By Denoja Kankesan

THE EXCALIBUR (York University; Canada)

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Israeli and Palestinian supporters hold simultaneous rallies at Vari Hall

Photo by Jad Yaghmour and Alex Pylyshyn

Photo by Jad Yaghmour and Alex Pylyshyn

Pro-Palestinian Daniel Freeman-Maloy (left) and Pro-Israeli Mark Rootenberg (right) are two of many demonstrators who faced off at Vari Hall on Feb. 12

Ethnic tensions at York University continued to escalate as students on opposing sides of the Israel-Palestine conflict met in Vari Hall. On Feb. 12, pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian student groups held simultaneous protests with only a wall of campus security guards separating both sides.

Students in solidarity with the Palestinians stood together to contribute to what they call a global movement that asks international governments to support a boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel. “The world has watched over the course of recent months as Israel not only brutally assaulted Gaza – killing 1,300, wounding many more and destroying 22,000 buildings in a territory that was already devastated – but also then moved to impose a siege that is effectively starving Palestinians,” said Palestinian supporter Daniel Freeman-Maloy.

“In this context there is an urgent need for international action to impose constraints on the Israeli state so that it ceases these violent policies and its policies of occupation and discrimination.” Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA) member Hala Farah said the pro-Palestinian demonstrators are asking York University president Mamdouh Shoukri to release a statement condemning Israel’s bombing of educational institutions in Gaza.

A clash of ideologies

Photo By Alex Pylyshyn

Photo By Alex Pylyshyn

York security forms a human barrier between pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian student protesters.

“Our most important goal here on campus is to promote an academic boycott of educational institutions in Israel. By implementing an academic boycott against Israeli institutions, we can pressure the Israeli government to stop the atrocities they are committing in Gaza,” Farah said. Jewish student groups at York University, including Hillel at York and Hasbara Fellowships at York, organized a counter-demonstration in response to the pro-Palestinian rally held by SAIA. Aaron Rosenberg, co-president of Hasbara Fellowships at York, said Palestinian supporters are spreading fear among Jewish students at York University. “SAIA and other groups that want to spread hate on this campus decided to hold a protest to intimidate and harass Jewish and Israeli students. Jewish groups decided to stand up and say we’re not going to take this type of terror on campus.”

Not all members of the Jewish community, however, feel threatened by Palestinian supporters.

“This isn’t a Jewish versus Palestinian conflict. There are a lot of Jews in the world in growing numbers who oppose Israel’s oppression of Palestine. The Jews who are afraid on campus, I think, are afraid of the extreme pro-Israel lobby. They are afraid of expressing their opinion. They feel that they might be shunned. I think that’s the real fear going on, not fear of Palestinians,” said Andy Lehrer, a member of the group Independent Jewish Voices. “The only time I’ve experienced hatred because I was Jewish was when I attend a counter-demonstration against a pro-Israel rally, and they’ve said, ‘You’re not really Jewish’ and ‘Blow yourselves up,’” he said. Palestinian supporters then marched to the office of the York University Foundation – the university’s fundraising arm – to present a letter asking them to provide more transparency in their financial transactions.

Freeman-Maloy criticized Hillel and Hasbara for creating an atmosphere that worked to drown out the voices of Palestinian supporters. “There is a constituency, in this case organizations like Hillel and their associates off campus, who react fanatically to any concern being expressed for Palestinian human rights and any criticism being made of Israeli war crimes and crimes against humanity. “Here we saw a demonstration trying to bring attention to these crimes, confronted with a counter-demonstration that seeks to make it impossible to hear speeches and to make it easier to sideline the issue by making the demonstration seem unpleasant so people ignore it,” he said. Jewish students have complained of alleged increases in anti-Semitism at York University in recent weeks.

“I think it’s an incredibly violent protest. I think that the intimidation factor is anti-Semitic, and I think it’s anti-Zionist,” Rosenberg said. Police were not called and there were no arrests made. Samuel Nithiananthan, a second-year political science student who attended the rally, denied Rosenberg’s allegations that Palestinian supporters were engaging in anti-Semitic behaviour. “This is not something against Jewish people. This is against the killing of the people in Palestine. This is against the Israeli government, not the Jewish people,” he said. Rosenberg accused SAIA of spreading the message that Israel did not have the right to exist. He also accused minority groups supporting Palestine of supporting terror. “The protest is inherently anti-Zionist. Their message is to destroy the Israeli state and Israeli Jewish people. Anti-Zionist is being against the Jewish state, being against the Jewish right to have a homeland and their right to exist,” Rosenberg said. “I think anybody that came to support the Palestinian protest came here to promote terror, to promote hatred. I don’t care where you are from, your ethnicity, your background. That will not be tolerated.” SAIA spokesperson Adonis El-jamal disagrees.
“Palestinians are not questioning a Jewish homeland. They just want equal rights just like Jewish people want,” El-jamal said.

“We are trying to say that Zionism is different from Judaism. Zionism is a political ideology that hinges on the expulsion of the indigenous people of Palestine, who are the Palestinians. It is not rooted in religion; it uses religion to further political ambition,” he said. Israeli supporters claim they want peace and that they support Palestine’s right to exist. “I think that Palestinians have a right to exist as a state. I believe the Palestinian people have territory. There is no occupation of Gaza and in majority of places in the West Bank,” Rosenberg said. “The problem remains that the Palestinian leadership have not built an infrastructure for a state.”

Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) launched a military campaign against Hamas in the Gaza strip in December 2008. Israel stated the strikes were in response to repetitive rocket and mortar attacks from the Gaza Strip into Israel. The IDF targeted Hamas bases and police training camps. Civilian infrastructure, including mosques, houses and schools, were also attacked. “What we have seen over the years is that there has been a direct considerate effort to destroy Palestinian infrastructure. When Gaza was under siege, where no medical supplies, no food rations or no other outside aid was being supported, it was a direct attack on Palestinian infrastructure,” El-jamal said.

Palestinian supporters questioned the motives of Israel supporters who came dressed in IDF paraphernalia. “When people are speaking of peace and wearing the paraphernalia affiliated with armed forces that are engaged in ongoing crimes against humanity, those statements ring quite hollow and can essentially be dismissed as propaganda,” Freeman-Maloy said. Rosenberg defended the choice of clothing. “IDF is a peaceful organization. I think that Jewish students need to stand together behind their army that protects them,” Rosenberg said.



"When all the protests and UN resolutions don’t help...", boycott against Israel is legitimate, says candidate for Mayor.

"Duisburg candidate for mayor:
"Boycott Israel"

Published: 25 Feb 09, 17:23

Online at:

Hermann Dierkes, a leftist candidate for mayor in the Ruhr Valley city Duisburg, on Wednesday defended his call for a boycott of Israel for its treatment of the Palestinians despite widespread criticism he was stoking anti-Jewish sentiments in Germany.

“When all the protests and UN resolutions don’t help stop continual human rights abuses then such methods are legitimate,” he said in a statement released by the North Rhine-Westphalian regional chapter of his hard-line socialist party The Left.

“To compare it to the racist Nazi boycott of Jewish businesses is highly disingenuous.”

Dierkes unleashed a storm of criticism this week after saying the Holocaust could not be used as an excuse for Israel’s recent military campaign in the Gaza Strip....


Labor Unionists demand boycott against Apartheid Israel-- even refusing to unload Israeli goods.

"Unionists speak up for Palestine"

A group of labor movement activists call for support for the growing boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel.

February 18, 2009

On the Web at:

(Vanissa Chan)

(Photo by Vanissa Chan | SW)

"For the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent."
--Martin Luther King Jr., "Beyond Vietnam," April 4, 1967

WE SALUTE the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union in Durban and Western Australian dock worker members of the Maritime Union of Australia for refusing to handle Israeli shipping.

Theirs is a courageous response to Israel's attack on Palestinians in Gaza that, since December 27 alone, has left some 1,400 dead and 5,000 wounded--nearly all of them civilians.

This action is in the best tradition of dock workers in Denmark and Sweden (1963), the San Francisco Bay Area (1984) and Liverpool (1988), who refused to handle shipping for apartheid South Africa; Oakland dock workers' refusal to load bombs for the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile (1978); and West Coast dock workers' strike against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (2008).

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) rightly "calls on other workers and unions to follow suit and to do all that is necessary to ensure that they boycott all goods to and from Israel until Palestine is free."

COSATU's appeal is particularly relevant for workers in the United States, whose government stands behind Israel's war against the Palestinians, and without which Israeli apartheid cannot continue. In the past 10 years alone, U.S. military aid to Israel was $17 billion; over the next decade, it will be $30 billion. As in Afghanistan and Iraq, it is U.S. aircraft, white phosphorous and bullets that kill and maim on behalf of the occupiers. Both the Democratic and Republican Parties condone the slaughter in Gaza.

Such support bolsters Israel's longstanding role as watchdog and junior partner for U.S. domination over the oil-rich Middle East--and beyond. In that capacity, Israel was apartheid South Africa's closest ally.

As with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, workers in the United States pay a staggering human and financial price, including deepening economic crisis, for U.S.-Israeli war and occupation. Yet in contrast to trade union bodies in South Africa, Australia, Denmark, Britain, Canada and elsewhere, most of labor officialdom in this country--often without the knowledge or consent of union members--is a main accomplice of Israeli apartheid.

For more than 60 years, it has closely collaborated with the Histadrut, the Zionist labor federation that has spearheaded--and whitewashed--apartheid, dispossession and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians since the 1920s. U.S. labor leaders have plowed at least $5 billion of our union pension funds and retirement plans into State of Israel Bonds.

In April 2002, while Israel butchered Palestinian refugees at Jenin in the West Bank, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney was a featured speaker at a belligerent "National Solidarity Rally for Israel."

In July 2007, the Jewish Labor Committee, a Histadrut mouthpiece, enlisted top officials of the AFL-CIO and Change to Win to condemn British union support for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel.

Now, by their silence, these same leaders are complicit in Israel's massacre in Gaza.

These policies echo infamous "AFL-CIA" support for U.S. war and dictatorship in Vietnam, Latin America, Gulf War I, Afghanistan and elsewhere. It strengthens the U.S.-Israel war machine and labor's corporate enemies, reinforces racism and Islamophobia, and makes a mockery of international solidarity.

For all these reasons, we join COSATU in supporting the growing international campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, which demands Palestinian self-determination, including an end to Israeli military occupation, the right of Palestinian refugees to return, and elimination of apartheid throughout historic Palestine.

Join us in publicizing the example of South African and Australian dock workers, and working toward the same kind of labor solidarity here at home. Join us in demanding immediate and total:

1. End to U.S. aid for Israel.

2. Divestment of business and labor investments in Israel.

3. Labor boycott of Israel.

4. Withdrawal of U.S. and allied forces from the Middle East.


Initial Signers (list in formation):

Larry Adams, co-convener, New York City Labor Against the War; former president, NPMHU Local 300
Anthony Arnove, National Writers Union/UAW Local 1981*
Black Workers for Justice (North Carolina)
Marty Goodman, former executive board member, TWU Local 100
Monadel Herzallah, president, Arab American Union Members Council, California
Michael Letwin, co-convener, New York City Labor Against the War; former president, UAW Local 2325/Assn. of Legal Aid Attorneys
Brenda Stokely, co-convener, New York City Labor Against the War; former president, AFSCME DC 1707; co-chair, Million Worker March
Clarence Thomas, national co-chair, Million Worker March Movement; executive board member, ILWU Local 10*
Sam Weinstein, former president, UWUA Local 132
Steve Zeltzer, producer, Labor Video Project

(*Affiliation for identification only--no organizational endorsement implied)


A big majority of Dundee University Students Association has voted to boycott BAE Systems & Eden Springs, due to their ties with Israel.

"Dundee students to vote to boycott Eden Springs--
"Opposition denies Israeli ownership"

Friday, 13 February 2009

by Stephanie Brickman
February 12, 2009

Full article on the Web at:

Dundee University Students Association has resolved to boycott BAE Systems and Eden Springs because of their interests in Israel.

Before last Thursday’s debate on the boycott resolution, Dundee’s university authorities had already agreed to instruct their investment managers to sell defence industry stock, including that in BAE Systems, in response to student pressure.

As a result the debate focused on the water company, Eden Springs. The motion, proposed by the Stop The War Coalition, was backed by 125 of the 180 students attending.

Hayden Krasner, president of the tiny St Andrews University JSoc, spoke against the motion. “I had information from the Scottish Parliament that Eden Springs UK Ltd was a separate company, not connected with Israel, but no-one was listening,” he said later. Proponents of the motion, he said, had compared Israelis to Nazis — “and Israel was said to be the worst state in the world”.

According to Hayden Krasner, students at the debate were calling for this to be the first of many boycotts....


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