Friday, November 13, 2009

Boycotting Israel, at universities and supermarkets:

Supermarkets face campaign to Boycott Apartheid Israel:

"Israel boycott steps up a gear this week"

In Al Bawaba, November 12, 2009, at:

Two of Britain's biggest supermarket chains will be targeted in a "week of boycott action" to highlight their continued sale of produce from illegal Israeli settlements, solidarity campaigners have announced.

Waitrose and Morrisons will be the main focus for action this week in protests organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) and coinciding with a week of action called by the Palestinian grass roots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign.

The Palestinian-based coalition has called on supporters to launch a week of global mobilisation against "the walls of apartheid" in the West Bank and Gaza from today.

Actions in Britain will include demonstrations and pickets outside Waitrose and Morrisons and mass co-ordinated phone calls to the headquarters of both stores on Wednesday.

Sarah Colborne of PSC said: "We are specifically targeting Waitrose and Morrisons as they have so far failed to engage in serious discussion with us.

"The PSC are hoping that they will take a principled position and stop stocking goods from illegal settlements."

In a statement, Waitrose insisted that the produce it sells from illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank is grown on farms where a "Palestinian and Israeli workforce have worked side by side for many years."

Refuting the supermarket's claims, Ms Colborne noted: "There is no equality.

"Palestinian workers are forced to work in the settlements because their own economy has been destroyed by the Israeli occupation," she said.

"The settlements are built on stolen land and are irrigated by water stolen from the Palestinians. Palestinian children as young as 12 work on settlement farms."

Palestinian workers in Israeli settlements earn less than 50 per cent of the minimum wage and sometimes as little as five US cents an hour, according to Israel/Palestine-based employment rights organisation Kav LaOved.

They receive no holiday pay, pensions or sick pay and require work permits which can be rescinded if they complain about conditions or ask for a pay rise.

In September, the TUC conference voted to support a campaign of boycott, sanction and disinvestment, targeting Israeli goods as well as companies which benefit from Israel's illegal occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

The resolution was a culmination of a wave of motions at individual union conferences this year in anger following Israel's war on the Gaza Strip in January, which killed 1,314 Palestinians.


"French union joins Israel boycott"

November 11, 2009

On the Web at:

Bethlehem – Ma’an – A French labor union decided to join the international movement to apply Boycotts, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) on Israel, a statement from the National Work Confederation (ConfĂ©dĂ©ration Nationale du Travail - CNT) said Wednesday.

“The commitment of the CNT to support the Palestinian people over many years has led us naturally to join this vital campaign to end the exploitation and occupation by Israel,” the document said.

The international secretary of the union said it would also invite each of its constituent members to join the BDS campaign and participate in its activities.

“Our joining this Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanctions campaign is coherent with our solidarity with Palestine, defined by our statement of support of the Palestinian people’s struggle, adopted by the CNT during its 2006 congress. This statement is the expression of the anti-colonial and internationalist principles of our union,” the statement continued.

“It confirms our opposition to all forms of colonization and occupation as well as our solidarity with the oppressed against the oppressor,” the organization also said.

“As it was done in the case of South Africa, this initiative aims at weighing through economic means and the media on the state of Israel until the unpunished oppression of the Palestinian people and the denial of their fundamental rights end,” the statement said.

CNT describes itself as “an anti-capitalist internationalist union involved in social class struggles.”

Originally launched with an appeal from 170 Palestinian civil society groups, the boycott campaign has been gaining momentum, especially since Israel’s war on the Gaza Strip last winter which left more than 1,400 Palestinians dead.

In February, South African dock workers refused to offload cargo from Israeli ships in an expression of solidarity with Palestinians.


Resolution Presented at Detroit City Council, to stop spending Trillions on Killing Muslims, and instead spent it to re-build Detroit:

This Resolution was proposed at Detroit City Council on Tuesday, November 10, 2009:

Click on the proposed Resolution to enlarge it.

The text of the Resolution is as follows:


Detroit City Council Resolution asking Congress to:
* Stop Spending Trillions to Kill Muslims, and to
* Start Spending that Money to Re-build Detroit.

WHEREAS, U.S. Congressman John Dingell issued a news release, on April 23, 2008, stating that Congress has given Israel over $300 billion,

WHEREAS, The Iraq war alone will cost $3 trillion, according to “Harpers” magazine, January 2009,

WHEREAS, The United States has spent trillions to kill Muslims in Iraq, Palestine,
Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, and Lebanon; and has recently killed a Detroit Imam,

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, That the Detroit City Council asks the U.S. Congress to immediately stop spending trillions of dollars killing Muslims, to stop sending aid to Israel, and to start spending that money to re-build Detroit and every inner city in the United States.


University of Sussex Students' Union votes for a full boycott against Israeli goods

University of Sussex students: The Palestine Society, and Stop The War.


"Sussex Student Union vote to boycott Israel"

On the Web at:

On Wednesday 28th of October [2009] the University of Sussex Student Union voted in line with the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS to boycott Israel. The movement calls upon Israel to respect international law and end the occupation of Palestine.

The referendum result mandates the Students’ Union to remove all Israeli produce from its stores, and review its sources for food outlets. The vote was one of the largest and most closely-contested in the Union’s history, with 562 voting in favour of the boycott and 450 voting against it.

The debate over the boycott was often tense, with the Friends of Palestine Society leading the ‘Yes’ campaign, and the ‘No’ campaign running under the slogan ‘Build Bridges Not Boycotts’. Martha Baker, a member of Palestine Society and speaker at one of the events, said that the biggest challenge for the pro-Boycott team was not, however, the pro-Israeli campaigners.

Baker commented: “Our biggest challenge was ignorance: most students are not aware of the situation facing Palestinians living under occupation. The more we spoke to people, the more they understood the reasons for boycotting Israel.”

Yasmin Khan, Senior Campaigns Officer at UK charity War On Want added: “Palestinians have suffered under the Israeli repression for 61 years, during which time governments all over the world have allowed Israel to act with impunity. It is time for this to change. The Boycott movement could be just the thing to finally bring justice to Palestine.”

Palestine Society member Bushra Khalidi says that the society will now focus its efforts on gaining scholarships for Palestinian students, and lobbying the Union to sell Palestinian West Bank produce.

Sussex becomes the latest student UK union to vote to boycott Israel, the University of Manchester Student Union and the University of Essex Student Union both voted for a boycott in March of this year, several other student unions in the UK have taken similar steps in recent years. The Right to Education campaign sees these boycotts as a symbol of solidarity with Palestinian students and a positive step towards securing academic freedom for Palestinians by highlighting the ongoing injustice of the Israeli occupation.

The imposition of immediate boycott, divestment and sanctions against the state of Israel is one of the strongest ways to register criticism and delegitimize the actions and policies of the Israeli government towards Palestinians. In particular, Israel’s siege on Gaza and their refusal to permit Gazans the basic equipment and supplies necessary for universally-acceptable living standards highlights the Israeli government’s flagrant disregard for human rights and international law.

As such, the methods of boycott, divestment and sanctions remain vital tools of activism until Israel abides by international human rights and humanitarian laws, dismantles its apartheid regime spanning both the occupied territories and Israel proper, and commits to pursuing a long-lasting, just solution.


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