Saturday, December 18, 2010

Stirling Local Council votes to Boycott Israeli Goods


Stirling Council to Boycott Israeli Goods

STIRLING COUNCIL TO BOYCOTT “APARTHEID” ISRAEL


Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign: Media Release

Wednesday 15th December 2010

At: http://shuafat-stirlingpartnership.blogspot.com/2010/12/stirling-council-to-boycott-israeli.html


The Council members are shown below.
Only 2 of them opposed the Boycott:




Stirling Council became the latest local authority to support a campaign to boycott "Apartheid" Israel on Monday, after condemning Israel's "open aggression and disregard for International Law."


The motion by Labour Councillors Colin Finlay and John Hendry states, "Apartheid was not acceptable in South Africa and it is not acceptable in Palestine", and instructs procurement officers to "ensure future agreements and contracts boycott all Israeli goods".

Two of the 22 members on the SNP-led Council, both Conservative, opposed the motion.


Councillor Colin Finlay:

Councillor Finlay, who helps run the Stirling branch of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC), said he was delighted at the decision: "More and more Scottish councils are distancing themselves from Israel and its racist apartheid policies. Palestinians deserve our support, so I am delighted that Stirling is playing its part in the international boycott campaign. This is a significant step in the right direction."

Speaking from Palestine, SPSC Scottish Secretary, Sofiah Macleod said that Palestinians were "buoyed up" by this and other similar acts of solidarity.

Just last week, Edinburgh Council rejected an attempt by Veolia to take over a range of public services in the city, after hearing evidence from Macleod of the French firm's involvement in Israel's illegal settlements. City leaders had also received legal advice that contacting Veolia could expose the local authority to "legal action for failing to take on board their obligation to recognise and comply with their duties and responsibilities under the Geneva Conventions and international law."

________________________________________

END


Notes for editors:

1. The Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign started in autumn 2000 in response to the Palestinian second uprising against Israeli occupation (Intifada). The SPSC has branches and groups of supporters in several Scottish towns, cities, and universities, as well as individual members across Scotland and elsewhere.

For further information, contact:
SPSC Chair, Mick Napier: 0131 620 0052; 07958002591

Email: media@scottishpsc.org.uk (default reply to this email)
Website: www.scottishpsc.org.uk


2. Motion to Stirling Council, Monday 13th December 2010, Item 20(b) on the Agenda:
http://minutes.stirling.gov.uk/PDFs/Scouncil/Agendas/CouncilAgenda.pdf

Blockade of Gaza

"Stirling Council condemns the Government of Israel for its continuing illegal occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the blockade of Gaza. Council notes the heroic resilience of the people in these areas in the face of Israeli Defence Force's open aggression and disregard for International Law. Stirling Council recognises that Apartheid was not acceptable in South Africa and it is not acceptable in Palestine. This Council therefore resolves to reassess its current procurement arrangements and ensure future agreements and contracts boycott all Israeli goods. Council also agrees to write to all Scottish Local Authorities, Westminster and Holyrood Governments calling on them to implement an immediate boycott of all Israeli goods."

--Signed by Councillor Colin Finlay and Councillor John Hendry



The motion was passed subject to the following being added: "within the legal framework set by the Geneva Convention and the Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations 2006"

Marrickville Municipal Council votes to support boycott against Israel, by a vote of 10 to 2.




Marrickville has become the first local council in Australia to join the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel.


This week the Council voted 10 to 2 for the motion to support the BDS -- an international campaign designed to stop trade and investment in companies, sporting teams and other institutions with ties to Israel.


It aims to coerce Israel to restore human rights and return occupied land to Palestinians.


The United Nations and Australian Federal and State Governments have refused to support the BDS.


But the NSW Greens are backing the campaign.


2SER’s Elise Scott spoke with Green’s Marrickville Councilor Cathy Peters, who put forward the motion this week.


**************************************************


AUSTRALIA:

Marrickville Council votes to support BDS 14Dec10


At: http://australiansforpalestine.com/34297


December 15, 2010


Greens, ALP and an Independent councillor united at Marrickville Municipal Council to adopt the following resolution moved by Greens Councillor Cathy Peters:


“That:

  1. In particular recognition of its sister city relationship with Bethlehem and the strong support for this relationship from local progressive faith communities and other community members, Marrickville Council support the principles of the BDS global campaign and report back on any links the Council has with organisations or companies that support or profit from the Israeli military occupation of Palestine with a view to the Council divesting from such links and imposing a boycott on any future such links or goods purchases.
  2. Marrickville Council boycott all goods made in Israel and any sporting, institutional academic, government or institutional cultural exchanges.
  3. Marrickville Council write to the local State and Federal ministers (Carmel Tebbutt and Anthony Albanese) informing them of Council’s position and seeking their support at the State and Federal level for the global BDS movement.”


**************************************************

Seattle buses say: "Israeli War Crimes: Your Tax Dollars at Work"



Click on the TV news photo to enlarge it.

-----------------------------------------

" 'Israeli War Crimes' signs to go on Metro buses"

The full TV news report is on Seattle's KING 5 TV News at:



by ALLEN SCHAUFFLER / KING 5 News


SEATTLE – "Israeli War Crimes," the enormous advertisement reads. "Your tax dollars at work."

To the right of the image is a group of children -- one little boy stares out at the viewer, the others gawk at a demolished building, all rebar and crumbled concrete.

It's an ad you'll be seeing soon on a handful of Metro buses in downtown Seattle.

A group calling itself the Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign has paid King County $1,794 so that 12 buses will carry that message around town, starting two days after Christmas. That's December 27: the two-year anniversary of Israeli attacks on Gaza...


_______________________________

Friday, December 17, 2010

Associated Press finally hounds the White House about jailing of Palestinian...



The video and story are on the Web at:




The YouTube video is also at:




**********************************************

"Wayne State Student Council...demanded that Wayne State dump any Israeli investments."


"Jack soft on Israel"

In the METRO TIMES (Detroit, Michigan)

December 15, 2010

At: http://metrotimes.com/news/letters-to-the-editor-1.1077422


Re: "Leadership for sale" (Dec. 8), Jack Lessenberry can't have forgotten how Israel massacred 1,400 innocent Palestinians in Gaza, less than two years ago.


Yet Lessenberry is not campaigning against Israel. No, Lessenberry is venting his spleen against Helen Thomas.


Helen Thomas is rightly incensed at how Palestine is robbed, starved and massacred. She dared to demand action against Israel, as we all should.


How on Earth did that drive Lessenberry to libel Thomas as "a vulgar anti-Semite"?


Instead, Lessenberry should have joined her in demanding action against Israel, at long last.

Lessenberry should have joined the Wayne State Student Council in April 2003 — when the council demanded that Wayne State dump any Israeli investments.


Instead, Lessenberry has gravely dishonored himself and Metro Times. He chose to shield the Zionists, as they starve Gaza, and to strike Helen Thomas with a libelous death blow.


I hope to see the Metro Times replace Lessenberry's column with one by a human rights fighter who hates racism — like Helen Thomas. It's shameful to shield the Zionists. Stand with the occupied people of Palestine, and boycott Israel.


—Blaine Coleman, Ann Arbor


*******************************************************


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Students protest Israeli military propaganda at the University of Massachusetts:


This exact protest, against campus propaganda from Israeli soldiers, was originated by University of Michigan students.

The protests have already spread to Arizona State University, and to the University of Massachusetts , as you can see below.

The U.Mass. protest video is below.


_____________________________________________


One of the members of Students for Justice in Palestine has written that the protest was in accordance with the call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions against Israel:


"Another silent walk-out in protest of Israel’s PR campaign"

Excerpted from the main article at:



"...In doing this action, we are also in accordance with the call for a boycott, divest, and sanctions movement against Israel. Until Israel is held responsible for their crimes against humanity, until they remove all troops from occupied territories, until they accept the right of return, and abandon the systematic policy of carving up the land – we will continue to boycott Israel to the fullest extent. Israel is a colonizer-settler state which has forcibly expelled the indigenous people from their land for decades. Despite condemning international accounts of their domestic policies, Israel is still being financed by economically powerful companies and countries. As a form of non-violent resistance, the boycott movement as a necessity needs to swell and multiply. We see hope on the horizon, and as a coalition, we are attempting to foster ways to reach those ends until Palestine is free, imbued with joyfulness and sovereignty..."




Monday, November 29, 2010

Another Food Co-op Votes to Boycott Israeli Goods.



Dublin Food Co-op Votes to Boycott Israeli Goods:

At: http://www.alternativenews.org/english/index.php/topics/economy-of-the-occupation/3044-irish-groups-continue-supporting-bds


Members of Ireland’s Dublin Food Co-Op voted overwhelmingly to boycott Israeli goods at a Special General Meeting on 25 November.


This was the third attempt over the last 2 years to bring in a boycott of Israeli goods, reported the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign, and this time the motion finally passed with 50 in support, and only 6 against.


The Dublin Food Co-op, which was formed in 1983 and is based “on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity,” had in the past an unwritten policy not to stock or sell Israeli produce, though some member were doing so anyway.

The boycott motion states: “The boycott, if agreed, shall remain in force until such time as the state of Israel agrees:

a) to allow humanitarian-aid and un-armed peace activists entry into Palestine without the threat of violence and death from Israeli armed forces; and

b) agrees to honor UN resolutions regarding the unlawful occupation of Palestine in the so called Israeli 'settlements'.

The boycott, if approved, also includes Dublin Food Co-Op's artisan food producer members and organic farmers who occasionally sell at the co-op, fruit and vegetables imported from Israel.”

The decision will affect the co-op’s 1,200 members and is in the vein of their organizational principles, which state that “co-operative members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others.”

A week earlier, its biennial conference Ireland’s Technical Engineering and Electrical Union (TEEU) unanimously voted to “support for a boycott campaign of Israeli goods and services and a policy of disinvestment from Israeli companies” as a result of the Israeli state’s continuing breaches of international law and human rights abuses against the people of Palestine.


***********************************************


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Conference demands "End U.S. Aid to Israel" --



Berkeley:

"Palestine, American Wars, and Islamophobia in America"



End U.S. Aid to Israel
Billions for Education, Not War and Occupation
Defend Civil Liberties and End FBI Raids


Speakers include:
  • Hatem Bazian, UCB
  • Michael Shehadeh, LA 8
  • Ziad Abbas, MECA
  • Barbara Lubin, MECA
  • Jeff Mackler, UNAC
  • Masao Suzuki, Committee to Stop FBI Repression
  • Blanca Missé, UCB Student Worker Action Team
  • Cal Students for Justice in Palestine
  • UCB Muslim Student Association

Sponsors: United National Antiwar Committee (UNAC), Cal. Students for Justice in Palestine, UCB Muslim Student Association, Middle East Children's Alliance, One Struggle One Fight, Arab Resource Organizing Center, Alliance for South Asians Taking Action, and the International Socialist Organization.

For more info, call 510-268-9429, email teachinNov30@gmail.com, or visitteachinNov30.wordpress.com.

Download the flier.


Tuesday, November 30, 2010 - 7:00pm

UC Berkeley • Pauley Ballroom

Location:
2475 Bancroft Way
Berkeley, CA

______________________________


______________________________

Today's campus movements to divest from Israeli occupation--


"Campuses work to further the BDS Movement"

ARAB AMERICAN NEWS, page 14
Dearborn, Michigan
November 28, 2010



Click on images to enlarge.


Campuses work to further the BDS movement
By Nick Meyer
Sunday, 11.28.2010, 01:14am

The apartheid situation in South Africa ended in the 1990s in large part because of boycotts on college campuses, and many scholars have argued that the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement (BDS) is the most effective way for ending the current blockade and occupation of Palestine by Israeli military forces.


The BDS movement against companies with Israeli ties has been active at American campuses in recent weeks in response to desperate pleas from human rights organizations, the United Nations, and world political leaders to end the occupation.


Sabra hummus removed after divestment push


On November 19, Chicago's DePaul University announced that their dining services organization would discontinue the sale of hummus made by Sabra, an Israeli brand that students have said is known for its vocal and material support of the Israeli army, which has been accused of numerous war crimes in Gaza by the U.N. The products were removed from store shelves for the rest of the semester with a ban likely in the near future according to the Huffington Post.


DePaul's Students for Justice in Palestine organization provided research that the Strauss Group, which co-owns Sabra hummus, had direct monetary ties with Israeli forces that continue to enforce the illegal occupations of Palestinian land.


The boycott is being used as a blueprint for how to effect change at the college level from the ground up.


Sabra hummus is also the target of a boycott launched by The Princeton Committee on Palestine at Princeton University in New Jersey as the group has created a referendum asking the school's dining services to sell an alternative brand of hummus.


EMU in Virginia, University of Southern California pushing for divestment


At Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) in Virginia, a group of students is pushing for divestment from companies supporting Israel's military as well.


The liberal arts Christian college's Students for Morally Responsible Investment (SMRI) group has met recently with the administration and other Mennonite institutions in an attempt to continue the BDS movement and to promote the peaceful ideals of the Mennonite church.


Divestment resolutions have been passed at various schools across the country including one by the University of Michigan-Dearborn's student government.


The University of Southern California's Students for Justice in Palestine organization is also planning to make its own push for divestment from companies supporting the Israeli military.


Columbia University checkpoints raise awareness


Echoing a demonstration held this year at UM-Dearborn by the Arab Student Union, New York-based Columbia University students dressed as Israeli soldiers stopped other students on their way to class at mock checkpoints resembling those set up in the West Bank in Palestine. The event was held on Thursday, Nov. 18.


Some students were ordered to the ground and blindfolded in demonstrations of life for Palestinians at military checkpoints in the West Bank.


Other students on campus came together for a counter-demonstration, saying that the checkpoints didn't accurately represent the situation in the occupied West Bank.


The Columbia Students for Justice in Palestine said its demonstration was meant to protest human rights violations at checkpoints that many human rights activists have witnessed from their time working in the West Bank.


******************************************

Princeton University boycott campaign against Israeli Hummus--


"Princeton students: Boycott Sabra hummus.

"Palestinian group wants Israeli product removed from campus stores because it serves 'occupation' "

by Yitzhak Benhorin

Published in YNet, 11.27.2010



"Hummus feeding the 'occupation'?

"Next week students at New Jersey's Princeton University will be called upon to prevent Sabra-brand hummus from being sold at restaurants and stores on campus.

"A number of Palestinian students, joined by a Chilean Jew, decided to campaign against the tasty snack on the grounds that it serves "the occupation".

"The boycott attempt is fueled by the Palestinian students' discovery that the Israeli Strauss company, which owns Sabra together with Pepsi, supports and cares for soldiers from the Golani Brigade.

"The Princeton Committee on Palestine decided to hold a vote deciding whether to sell Sabra's competitors on campus after pointing out the irony that hummus, traditionally an Arab dish, was being marketed by a company affiliated with a state allegedly violating Palestinians' rights...."


****************************

Friday, November 26, 2010

Jewish Witnesses for Peace Strongly Supports the Boycott against Apartheid Israel--


"Synagogue Vigil Group Celebrates Seven-Year Anniversary"


Published in AnnArbor.com,
November 21, 2010

At:



When you pass by Beth Israel Congregation on Washtenaw Avenue on any Saturday morning between 9:30 and 10:45 – no matter if there's knee-deep snow, minus six-degree temperatures, or thunderstorms - you’re sure to see at least a half dozen people holding nicely-printed signs saying how atrociously Israel is treating the Palestinians. These are the "Vigilers" of the Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends (JWPF), an organization led by Henry Herskovitz, which has just celebrated its seven-year anniversary this past September.

The group, many of whom had been to Palestine with the Michigan Peace Team or the International Solidarity Movement (which was co-founded by JWPF member Thom Saffold) witnessed the imprisoning conditions under which Palestinians are compelled to live. Other painful observations included the Israeli Defense Forces’ shooting randomly into crowds of civilians at weddings, funerals, and peaceful protests; into houses, too often killing anyone unlucky enough to be standing directly inside, or at children throwing stones at well-armed soldiers or at bulldozers knocking down homes of innocents.

The group's aim was to introduce the public and synagogue members to what was going on in Israel/Palestine, in the absence of unbiased media coverage and because of Henry’s not being permitted to speak to the Congregation inside about his recent trip to Palestine. The Ann Arbor Police Department has – at the instigation of Beth Israel congregants – examined this group from head to toe, and has concluded that its presence on the public sidewalk is completely street-legal.

But it appears from the Zionist community’s statements, letters, and actions that a great many still support Israel's claimed "right" as a Jewish state foisted upon an unwilling population in Palestine. Many congregants would like the Vigilers to go away so that they can pray in peace. But the Synagogue, and all Jewish worship places in this intellectual town, still have an Israeli flag inside and the congregation at Beth Israel still offers the traditional prayer for the state of Israel and its soldiers.

"Why do you keep on vigiling?" several JWPF people were asked. Replied Gloria Harb, of Palestinian heritage, "It’s the only way I can express my outrage. I feel our signs express the ideas our mass media refuse to debate. We say what needs to be said." Marcia Federbush, historically Jewish, said, "We have to remind people once a week of how barbarically the Israelis are treating the Palestinians. This is a good place for people to mention Palestinians in their prayers." And Henry Herskovitz, who in Ann Arbor is considered the arch anti-Zionist spokesperson, answered, "What better place to protest Israel’s atrocities than in front of the House of Israel? (Beth Israel in Hebrew means ‘House of Israel’)."

Well-known activists, like the beleaguered but always cheerful Rev. Edward Pinkney from Benton Harbor, Daniel McGowan, President of Deir Yassin Remembered, and Hedy Epstein, co-founder of the Gaza freedom boats, have come to town to join the JWPF vigils.


**************************


From the 73 comments below the article:


The leadership of these Palestine vigils also comments --

"...In addition to raising awareness of Israel's crimes, our vigils also strongly support boycotting Israel until the following are achieved:

"1. The full civil and political equality of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel within Israel;
"2. The prompt implementation of the rights of Palestinian refugees of 1947-8 and 1967 to return to their homes and properties in Israel and Palestine as stipulated in UN resolution 194; and,
"3. The prompt end of Israeli occupation and colonization of all lands seized by Israel in 1967.


"These demands are part of the 2005 Call by more than 170 Palestinian political parties, unions, NGOs and networks, representing the entire spectrum of Palestinian civil society -- under occupation, in Israel, and in the diaspora.


"Readers should continue to boycott Israeli goods now stocked at the local People's Food Co-op.

Additionally, there are distinct rumors that a well-known anti-Zionist plans to run again for the Board of Directors in 2011. Stay tuned."


****************************


Irish Trade Union Votes Unanimously for Boycott against Israel




"Another BDS Victory: Irish Trade Union TEEU Votes to Boycott Israel"

ALTERNATIVE INFORMATION CENTER
November 26, 2010



At its biennial conference last weekend, the Technical Engineering and Electrical Union (TEEU) unanimously voted to “support for a boycott campaign of Israeli goods and services and a policy of disinvestment from Israeli companies” as a result of the Israeli state’s continuing breaches of international law and human rights abuses against the people of Palestine."

The Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) welcomed the passing of the motion[1].




TEEU General President, Frank Keoghan, welcomed the motion saying: “It is an expression of the solidarity and empathy that members of the TEEU, and indeed all Irish people, feel for the suffering people of Palestine, that this motion received the unanimous support of our Conference.”



The motion was submitted by the TEEU’s Executive Management Committee, and speaking from the floor one delegate outlined the rationale for the motion, saying: “The global trade union movement has consistently demonstrated its commitment to Palestinian rights by adopting labour-led sanctions as a form of effective solidarity with Palestinians. The TEEU should be proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with our Palestinian trade union brothers and sisters, those brave Israelis – Jewish and Arab - who promote BDS, and those trade unions from Britain, to Belguim, to Canada to South Africa and beyond that have taken the principled decision to support BDS.”


IPSC National Chairperson Freda Hughes praised the passing of the resolution saying: “The IPSC congratulates the TEEU on passing this historic motion, and we proudly welcome the TEEU into the ranks of the Palestinian-led worldwide Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) coalition that will finally bring to an end Israeli apartheid, occupation and the oppression of the Palestinian people”.


[1]: The full text of the motion reads as follows:


Conference pledges its support for a boycott campaign of Israeli goods and services and a policy of disinvestment from Israeli companies as a means of encouraging the Israeli government to comply with International Law and to cease violating the human rights of the Palestinian people and will pursue active engagement with Palestinian and Israeli human rights groups and civic society organisations as appropriate.


*********************

Saturday, November 20, 2010

"Minnesotans Call for Divestment from Israel"



"Minnesotans Call for Divestment from Israel"

by Minnesota Break the Bonds Campaign, Nov 20, 2010



The video is produced by the Minnesota Break the Bonds Campaign (MNBBC), a statewide organization calling for Minnesota to divest from Israel Bonds until Israel complies with international human-rights law. We are Palestinians, Jews, Christians, Muslims, students, professionals, parents, community members and allies working together to bring fair and honest Palestine-centric education to Minnesota, to support justice and human rights, and to examine our relationship as Minnesotans to Israel's occupation of Palestine.


****************************

Friday, November 19, 2010

Boycott-Israel candidates are 100% victorious at Olympia Food Co-op.

Boycott victory at DePaul University, too--



"Record Turnout For Olympia Food Co-op Board Election"

Nov. 17, 2010

At:

Olympia, WA — In a record turnout, members of the Olympia Food Co-op have chosen four new representatives and one incumbent for the organization’s Board of Directors. The large turnout was attributed by many in the community as a response to the July 15 decision by the Olympia Food Co-op to boycott Israeli goods in support of Palestinian human rights. The ballot included 14 candidates and the five elected are: Rochelle Gause, Erin Genia, John Regan, Eric Mapes, and TJ Johnson.

“An organization that places social justice and sustainable practices at the forefront of the policy decisions is an organization I am proud to serve,” says newly elected Erin Genia, a low-income mother of three, a recipient of Master of Public Administration, and a member of the Sisseton-Wapheton Dakota Oyate.


Over the next two years, the newly elected board members will bring a wide variety of expertise to their positions. John Regan has worked with a 43-year-old food co-op in Barquisimeto, Venezuela; Rochelle Gause has worked with food justice, local farming, and low-income communities, most recently with GRuB; TJ Johnson is part of Sustainable South Sound, and served as a city-council member who stood out for his support of the anti-war movement; Eric Mapes is a law student with experience from working with the Immigrant Family Advocacy Project and the Street Youth Legal Advocates of Washington.


All five elected candidates have publicly expressed support for the current boycott of Israeli products.


“I see the boycott as an integral part of the Co-op’s mission to encourage economic and social justice and view the election results as a strong confirmation of the Co-op membership’s supportive stance of the growing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions [BDS] movement” says Rochelle Gause, one of the elected candidates with a long history of working for Palestinian human rights, and also a member of the local advocacy group Olympia BDS.


This election reaffirms the Co-op’s importance to the Olympia community as a healthy and socially just alternative to mainstream grocery stores.


Olympia BDS remains dedicated to continuing the process of education and discussion on the issue of justice for Palestinians.


Olympia BDS (www.olympiabds.org)


contact@olympiabds.org

Press Contact: Andrew Meyer (360) 628-3087


********************************


"DePaul divests from Israeli hummus product"


By Sami Kishawi

Nov. 19, 2010

At: http://smpalestine.com/2010/11/19/depaul-divests-from-israeli-hummus-product/


Today marks another win for the global boycott, divestment, sanctions (BDS) movement against corporations that profit from severe human rights violations. Chicago’s very own DePaul University just announced that their dining services will be discontinuing the sale of hummus manufactured by Sabra, an Israeli brand known for its vocal and material support of Israeli Defense Forces. The administration has temporarily suspended the sale of Sabra products and will likely move towards permanently banning the brand from campus.


A little over two weeks ago, members of DePaul’s Students for Justice in Palestine expressed concern over the sale of Sabra products after discovering that Chartwells, which provides dining services to the university, had introduced the Israeli-brand hummus to food and dining facilities throughout campus. Acting on their concern, the students compiled research and revealed that the Strauss Group, co-owner of Sabra, has direct monetary ties with elite Israeli military forces currently and historically involved in the illegal occupation of Palestinian land.


One week after bringing the issue to the attention of campus administrators, the university informed campaign organizers that Sabra products are set to be removed from shelves for the remainder of the school quarter and will most likely not be sold on campus in the future. (Read the email sent to administrators at the end of the post.)


The ultimate success of this modest divestment campaign isn’t that it resulted in the removal of a product from campus cafeteria shelves but, rather, that it has undoubtedly set the framework for future campaigns in college campuses throughout the United States.


With exactly 156 colleges and universities using Chartwells for their campus dining needs, the BDS movement against IDF-sponsoring companies like Strauss Group and Sabra can potentially reach national heights. By discontinuing the sale of Sabra products, DePaul University has made its stance clear: Any product or company involved with flagrant human rights violations against Palestinians or any other people does not mirror the principles on which the university is founded and is therefore not welcome on campus.


The administration’s quick response indicates the importance of preserving and respecting Palestinian rights by divesting from companies that do the exact opposite.



DePaul’s divestment from Strauss Group-owned Sabra products comes less than a month after a similar attempt at divestment hit the streets of Philadelphia. Over two dozen activists gathered at a supermarket near the University of Pennsylvania to protest the sale of Sabra hummus. A video of the action was released to the public via YouTube where it quickly grew in popularity and eventually prompted Strauss Group to remove all references supporting the Israeli military from its English-translated website. However, the Hebrew version of the website still maintains the corporation’s public support of IDF activity.

Major BDS campaigns generally take years of concentrated grassroots efforts before any significant progress is made but that did not deter the small group of DePaul students from voicing their concern and offering alternative solutions that fell in line with the university’s code of ethics. The efforts put into this divestment campaign, both at DePaul and in Philadelphia, serve as a model for future college BDS movements. Any institution of higher learning that promotes morality, justice, and respect must make sure to abide by its principles. If it doesn’t, it is up to the students to make sure things change for the better.


--Sami Kishawi


— — — — — — — — — — — —


Email sent to DePaul administrators:


Hello Stephanie and Joe,

My name is Shirien and I’m part of Students for Justice in Palestine at DePaul. I’m writing you because it has recently come to our attention that Chartwells has started selling Sabra hummus products at DePaul. Many SJP members, as well as several other students, are deeply disturbed about this development. SGA President Ross R., as well as DePaul alumni Ben M. (both CC’d) recommended that we get in contact with you both in order to assist us with this matter.

The reason why we are concerned is because the company which manufactures Sabra hummus, the Strauss Group, has been a voice of support for the ongoing Israeli occupation through its ties with Israel’s military. This is apparent in their vocal support and material sustenance of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), namely the Golani Brigade. The Golani Brigade, Israel’s elite force, is known for its history of severe human rights violations. Many instances of these violations are well documented, from the assassination of Israeli PM Yitzhak Rabin to the torture and humiliation of Palestinian detainees. Because of this, a boycott campaign against Sabra is happening at many universities in cities across the nation.

Many of us students are concerned about DePaul affiliating with a company with such strong military and political ties. We feel that continuing the sale of Sabra products at DePaul is in violation of our Vincentian values, which require us to stand against injustice. This goes for any other companies affiliated with human suffering.

We would like to meet with you both so that we can discuss this matter more in-depth. CC’d to this email are key board members from SJP, as well as Erez, who is on the Fair Business Practices Committee. We want to voice our concerns and perhaps present alternative hummus brands that are more socially conscious. We hope that you can hear us out and help steer us in the right direction of how to go about addressing this.

Would it be possible to set up a meeting some time next week? I included everyone in one email thread so we can all be in the loop. Please let us know what you think. Thank you for your time and consideration!

Sincerely,

Shirien


— — — — — — — — — — — —


Palestine rights demonstration at Columbia:

Mock Checkpoints expose Israeli Brutality


"Israel, Palestine groups clash on College Walk:

"The Columbia Students for Justice in Palestine set up mock checkpoints—to resemble those manned by the Israeli army in the West Bank—drawing crowds and counter-protests for several hours."


by Leah Greenbaum and Anna Etra
COLUMBIA SPECTATOR
November 19, 2010



Students dressed as Israeli soldiers stopped other students, ordered them to the ground, and blindfolded them in a demonstration that drew multiple campus groups to a standoff on College Walk Thursday afternoon.


The Columbia Students for Justice in Palestine set up mock checkpoints—to resemble those manned by the Israeli army in the West Bank—drawing crowds and counter-protests for several hours.


Organizers from CSJP said the demonstration was meant to protest human rights violations at these checkpoints, while representatives from pro-Israel groups argued that the event was offensive and the checkpoints are a needed form of protection.


Four groups under the Columbia/Barnard Hillel, the umbrella organization for Jewish student life, set up camp opposite CSJP on the sundial and distributed fliers telling passersby that checkpoints were a necessary evil and a product of a complicated relationship.


“Our gut reaction was to show up with suicide belts and say, ‘See this is why we have checkpoints’,” said Jonah Liben, GS/JTS ’11 and Hillel’s Israel coordinator. “We did not want to stoop to that level of evocative anger.”


Dina Zbeidy, GSAS and a member of CSJP, who marched around Low Plaza with army garb and a cardboard gun, said she spent most of her life on the other side of an AK-47.


“I had to go to a checkpoint every day for two years, so I know how they act usually,” she said, explaining that she lived on the Arab side of West Jerusalem and always dreaded the hour-and-a-half security check, where she would be shoved and yelled at.


Lior Hemi, GS, who donned an Israeli flag in protest of the checkpoint, questioned the methods behind the protest.


“I think it’s fair to do demonstrations, I think it’s important, but a lot of the time it’s one-sided,” he said. “How is it going to enhance my cause to show the other side’s satanic side? Is that really going to make me look better? I don’t think so.”


Yasmina Raiani, CC ’12 and one of the organizers of the CSJP event, said the focus of the event was on violations of human rights, not political debates.


“The point is to be talking to people who don’t know that much. I talk to people, especially Zionists, who are distorting the truth or approaching me aggressively,” she said.


After the second round of mock security checks, a loud argument broke out in the middle of College Walk between the supporters and critics of Israel.


Ravi Bhalla, CC ’13, said he was happy to see such a spirited debate, even though he said both sides seemed to focus on minutiae.


“I think they’re both a little too animated,” he said of the students who threw around expletives and references to lethal explosives. “That said, it is incredibly interesting. I’m really happy to see this kind of stuff going on. … There’s obviously stuff both clubs could probably do to make the situation better.”


Eric Schorr, GS/JTS ’12 and vice president of LionPAC, a pro-Israel group, said on behalf of his organization that he was incredibly offended by the mock checkpoints.


“They [CSJP] held a radical demonstration distorting the reality of what happens at checkpoints in the West Bank,” he said, adding that not everyone who passes through a checkpoint is treated so roughly.


Still, Alaa Milbes, GSAS and a member of CSJP, said their goal was clear—to “portray what Palestinian students go through on a daily basis....”



*******************************

Princeton campaign to boycott Israeli aggression --


"Students campaign for alternative hummus"

by Alaka Halder
DAILY PRINCETONIAN
November 19, 2010




The Princeton Committee on Palestine has sponsored a referendum in next week’s USG elections that asks Dining Services to sell an alternative to Sabra hummus in all its retail locations on campus.

The Strauss Group and PepsiCo each own 50 percent of Sabra Dipping Company. The Strauss Group provided Israeli soldiers with care packages that include Sabra hummus.


In August, Philly Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, a Philadelphia group that encourages activism against Israel, released an open letter calling for a boycott of Sabra for the same reason.


Both PCP and Philly BDS take issue with The Strauss Group’s support of the Israeli Golani Brigade. Members of the Brigade have been reprimanded by the Israeli military for inappropriate behavior.


The brigade has “a culture of aggression,” Yoel Bitran ’11, president of PCP, adding in an e-mail.


Strauss is Israel’s second-largest food and beverage company. It provides care packages and sports equipment to Israeli soldiers as part of its corporate social responsibility program, Sabra representative Ilya Welfeld said in an e-mail.


PCP started a petition in support of the referendum last Thursday. More than 200 students have signed it, the threshold for getting a referendum on the ballot.


“The Princeton Committee on Palestine objects to the fact that Sabra is the only hummus brand that is offered in most University stores and that students who wish to eat this traditional Arab food are forced to buy a product that is connected to human rights abuses against Arab civilians,” Bitran wrote in a statement concerning the issue.


“This lack of choice is particularly egregious and violent for Princetonians of Arab descent, who cannot eat the food that is quintessential to their culture unless they are willing to support crimes against their own people,” the statement continued.


Bitran also created a “Boycott Sabra Hummus” event that had 129 people listed as attending as of Thursday evening.


In response, officers of Tigers for Israel created their own event on Facebook, titled “Save the Hummus!--Vote Against the Sabra Hummus Boycott.” It had 1,878 people listed as attending as of Thursday evening.


If a majority of students vote in favor of the referendum, the USG will inform Dining Services, USG president Michael Yaroshefsky ’12 said in an e-mail...



*******************************************


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

"US Mennonite students push for divestment from Israeli occupation"


"US Mennonite students push for divestment from Israeli occupation"


Nov. 15, 2010

At: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/13564



Eastern Mennonite University students are pushing their institution for divestment from companies supporting Israeli military occupation of Palestinian lands.


On 12 November 2010, Students for Morally Responsible Investment (SMRI) presented their case against EMU's investment in businesses which help fund or further oppression in Israel-Palestine.


Leaders of SMRI have now met with Everence (a Mennonite financial institution), Mennonite Educational Agency (MEA) and the EMU administration, seeking a change of policy.


They say they are hopeful about progress made at the meetings - including the Financial and Audit Committee of EMU last week.


"The presence of 35 EMU students right outside of the meeting room, sitting in vigil, in solidarity, and in support, was amazing to see," said senior (final year student) Jessica Sarriot.


"Clearly, implementing more just economic involvement in Israel/Palestine is something many people at EMU care deeply about. I think the understanding of divestment as 'do no harm' goes a long way in explaining its support here," she added.


SMRI sees this as an issue that does not stop at EMU, but affects the greater community and Mennonite Church in the USA.


Senior Mark Fenton also spoke of the complexities involved in being "true to our identity as a Mennonite institution - a peace church - and having integrity about our identity."


***********************************


Friday, November 12, 2010

At Brandeis University:

Campaign for divestment against Israel


"Rothchild advocates divestment from Israel"

November 12, 2010

In the Brandeis Hoot, at Brandeis University, at:

http://thebrandeishoot.com/articles/9100


A small group of people met on Tuesday night for an intimate discussion with Alice Rothchild on the possibility of utilizing a BDS-boycott, divestment, sanctions-strategy in order to counter the Israeli occupation of the West Bank.


Alice Rothchild is a gynecologist and obstetrician who has been politically active throughout her life, and particularly so in attempting to promote social justice for the Palestinians. She has gone on many trips to Israel to learn about the conditions in the West Bank. Rothchild is also particularly notable for the recent publication of the second edition of her book, “Broken Promises, Broken Dreams: The Stories of Jewish and Palestinian Trauma and Resilience.”

The event was sponsored by Brandeis Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace, and was entitled “Difficult Conversations: Alice Rothchild on BDS.” The event started off with Alice speaking about her views on the occupation as well as Israel in general, and then she made her way into speaking about BDS as a method to solve what she sees as a crucial problem. She took a chance at the beginning of her speech to acknowledge the controversy of her ideas.

“So what I’m going to do,” she stated, “is invite you to step outside the box. I am speaking to share, not to convince. I don’t have to prove that I’m right, but I want to share with you how things look to me.” She also acknowledged that “Boycott, divestment, and sanctions is probably the most difficult topic in the Jewish community today.” However, she also argued the point that it is not uncommon for ideas which seem radical to be accepted with time.

“I think it’s important,” Rothchild stated, “to remember that there are a lot of radical ideas that were once really difficult that are now mainstream, like Zionism,” which Rothchild characterized today as “the litmus test for being a good Jew.”

Throughout her speech, the common theme was one of bemoaning the conditions of the Palestinian people, primarily in the West Bank, but also touching on Gaza and Israel Proper. She described the negative effects of the 500 to 600 checkpoints along the Green Line, as well as within West Bank Borders through explaining how sometimes women going into labor are delayed at the checkpoints and wind up not being able to make it to the hospital. She also talked about how sometimes Palestinians are restricted from walking along certain streets, even if the street in question is in front of their house. Generally, she likens the control of the Palestinians by Israel to any other oppression throughout history, seeing everything as a pattern of one party controlling and oppressing another.

“Change Arab to Native American, African-American and Japanese and obvious parallels emerge with our own legacies of colonialism, slavery, segregation, detention camps and civil rights struggles”.

She used all of this description of the plight of the Palestinians in order to show how this is a serious problem which needs to be solved, and she believes it can be solved through BDS. Boycott, divestment and sanctions, as described by Rothchild, is a method of using the economy in order to promote social justice. It could be as simple as not buying hummus made in the West Bank. Perhaps labels could be put on products coming from the West Bank which state their origin explicitly. While Rothchild admitted early on in her speech that it is a controversial idea, she argued that BDS is an integral part of social justice movements and is perfectly acceptable.

“BDS is an old tradition. It is a part of activist tradition. It dates back in the US to the 1700s to the Quakers who refused to do business with slave owners…It’s been used against apartheid South Africa…It was used by Jews who boycotted goods made in Nazi Germany.”

She then came to the question, as she explained, of “why BDS now?” She responded by saying simply, “and I think what I’ve heard, over and over again is ‘everything else has been tried’.”
After Rothchild finished speaking and answered questions the group broke up into smaller discussion groups of a few people each, and people got a chance to have intimate conversations about their views on what Rothchild spoke about and about Israel in general. It was a friendly atmosphere, which seemed to accept any viewpoints.

Following this, the group came back together although some had already started to trickle out, and discussed the issues.

When asked about the event, John Sussman, a senior, had a positive tone.

“I think it was a pretty informative and pretty provocative event. I think it was very balanced. I think it was very conciliatory. I think it was a chance to share an opinion from an American Jew about how we as American Jews can and should care about Israel and care about changing its policies.”

Paraska Tolan, another senior, also found it interesting, and yet had a little criticism.

“I thought it was pretty interesting. I wish she had spent more time on talking about specifically boycott, divestment and sanctions because I think that’s why a lot of people came. They were here to be shocked.”

Overall, it was a very interesting event. Regardless of different beliefs on the subject, it was certainly a very comfortable environment in which everyone was allowed to speak and express their feelings openly on a very controversial issue.



*************************************