Here are some messages from and about the Middle East we want to share: testimonies from the civilian front line, Arab news updates and links for background, action and protest.

the page below brings posts from March 16 till December 28, 2009
most recent posts are here

follow these links for previous posts:

March 16 - December 27, 2009
January 14 - March 4, 2009
December 27, 2008 - January 13, 2009
January 2008 - December 2008
October 2006 - December 2007
Mid August till end of September 2006
August 2006 14 / 13 / 12 / 11 / 10 / 9 / 8 / 7 / 6 / 5 / 4 / 3 / 1
July 2006 31 / 30 / 29 / 28 / 27 / 26 / 25 / 23 / 22 / 21 / 20 / 19 / 18 / 17 / 16 / 15 / 11 / 8 / 6 / 5

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From: BDS
Date: Tuesday, december 28, 2010 09:11:01 GMT+01:00
Subject: Commemorating Gaza Massacre - End Complicity, Intensify BDS

On the Second Anniversary of Israel’s Bloodbath in Gaza:

End International Complicity, Intensify BDS

Occupied Palestine, 27 December 2010 – On the morning of 27 December 2008 Israeli forces initiated a 23-day military offensive against the occupied and besieged Gaza Strip killing more than 1400 and injuring over 5000 Palestinians, predominantly civilians and refugees since 1948. Two years have passed and those responsible for the atrocities committed have not yet been held accountable. The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) calls on conscientious people and organizations around the world to step up efforts to end Israel’s long record of impunity through boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) until international law and Palestinian rights are upheld.

The UN Goldstone report -- endorsed by the UN Human Rights Council, UN General Assembly, European Parliament, Arab League, among others -- found serious evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated mainly by Israel against the occupied Palestinian population in Gaza. The findings of the Mission confirmed earlier investigations conducted by independent Palestinian, Israeli and international human rights organizations. The Goldstone report called for credible and independent investigation and prosecution of those responsible, and for reparations for the victims. It called upon the United Nations and its members to activate international judicial mechanisms, should domestic measures fail to meet the required international standards. In the two years since Israel's “Operation Cast Lead”, no effective judicial investigations have been conducted into the conflict, and Israel has refused to cooperate with the UN Fact Finding Mission. Referring to "structural flaws" in the so-called Israeli justice system, the Goldstone report concluded that Israel cannot be trusted to administer justice according to international standards [1]. In such situations, international law demands recourse to international judicial mechanisms. States blatantly shielding Israel from international legal scrutiny, chiefly the US and some European governments, have thwarted Palestinian recourse to international justice mechanisms, highlighting the need more than ever for intensifying the global BDS movement’s efforts to end Israel’s impunity and Western complicity in perpetuating it.

Violations of international law continue to this day, inter alia, through the continuing Israeli-imposed illegal siege of the Gaza Strip. Israel’s ongoing blockade of essential foods, construction supplies, as well as access to health and educational services is not only immoral; it is a severe form of collective punishment, a war crime that is strictly prohibited under Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. It is inducing mass poverty, water contamination, environmental collapse, chronic diseases, economic devastation, and hundreds of deaths. This medieval, patently illegal siege, in its fourth year, against 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza has been squarely condemned by leading legal experts, including UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the oPt, Prof. Richard Falk, who described it as constituting "slow genocide." This is but a continuation of Israel’s brutal oppression of the Palestinian people, including their mass expulsion from their homes during the Nakba in 1948, military rule, occupation and colonization of their land, apartheid, and persistent denial of the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and lands and to receive reparations, as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.

Following the massacre of humanitarian relief workers and activists aboard the Freedom Flotilla on 31 May 2010, Israel announced that it would “ease” the siege of Gaza. However, as a recent report [2] by a coalition of leading humanitarian organizations concluded, “Israel has done just enough to ease the pressure on itself from the international community, but far too little to ease the restrictions on the daily lives of the 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza.”

Cast Lead marked a turning point in public opinion reminiscent of the international reaction to the 1960 Sharpeville massacre in apartheid South Africa. Support for BDS has been growing at a spectacular rate around the world. Governments are finding it harder to justify policies that treat Israel as if it were above international law. Israel is increasingly seen as a pariah state. On the occasion of the second anniversary of Israel’s brutal aggression on Gaza, the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee calls on:

- People of conscience around the world to intensify BDS efforts to hold Israel accountable and pressure their governments to immediately suspend arms trade with Israel, implement trade sanctions, and bring to justice all Israeli officials and military personnel who took the decision and/or implemented Israel’s massacre of Palestinians in Gaza.

- Civil society organizations -- including faith based groups, universities, trade unions, women’s associations, student groups, academic and professional associations, etc. -- to boycott Israeli goods and complicit institutions and to divest their own investment and pension funds of all stock in Israeli and international companies that are complicit in maintaining Israel's occupation, apartheid and violation of international law.

- Governments to respect their obligation to provide access to justice for the Palestinian victims via the United Nations and in domestic and international courts, and to impose pressure, including sanctions, on Israel to immediately end its illegal siege of the occupied Gaza Strip and to cease its policies of colonialism and apartheid that oppress the Palestinian people.

Without paying a price, Israel is very likely to continue on the path of massacres, forcible displacement, and construction of colonial settlements on occupied Palestinian land. On the second anniversary of the Gaza massacre, nothing can be more effective than creatively and persistently spreading and deepening BDS campaigns to hold Israel accountable. This is the shortest and most reliable path to justice, freedom, equal rights and sustainable peace.

BDS National Committee (BNC)

[1] Goldstone Report, paragraph 1756

[2] Dashed Hopes, Crisis Action November 2010


Date: Monday, december 27, 2010 09:47:28 GMT+01:00
Subject: Gaza Open Letter: Two Years after the Massacre, a Demand for Justice

Gaza civil society institutions -- 27 December 2010

An Open Letter from Gaza: Two Years after the Massacre, a Demand for Justice

We the Palestinians of the Besieged Gaza Strip, on this day, two years on from Israel's genocidal attack on our families, our houses, our roads, our factories and our schools, are saying enough inaction, enough discussion, enough waiting – the time is now to hold Israel to account for its ongoing crimes against us. On the 27th of December 2008, Israel began an indiscriminate bombardment of the Gaza Strip. The assault lasted 22 days, killing 1,417 Palestinians, 352 of them children, according to main-stream Human Rights Organizations. For a staggering 528 hours, Israeli Occupation Forces let loose their US-supplied F15s, F16s, Merkava Tanks, internationally prohibited White Phosphorous, and bombed and invaded the small Palestinian coastal enclave that is home to 1.5 million, of whom 800,000 are children and over 80 percent UN registered refugees. Around 5,300 remain permanently wounded.

This devastation exceeded in savagery all previous massacres suffered in Gaza, such as the 21children killed in Jabalia in March 2008 or the 19 civilians killed sheltering in their house in the Beit Hanoun Massacre of 2006. The carnage even exceeded the attacks in November 1956 in which Israeli troops indiscriminately rounded up and killed 275 Palestinians in the Southern town of Khan Younis and 111 more in Rafah.

Since the Gaza massacre of 2009, world citizens have undertaken the responsibility to pressure Israel to comply with international law, through a proven strategy of boycott, divestment and sanctions. As in the global BDS movement that was so effective in ending the apartheid South African regime, we urge people of conscience to join the BDS call made by over 170 Palestinian organizations in 2005. As in South Africa the imbalance of power and representation in this struggle can be counterbalanced by a powerful international solidarity movement with BDS at the forefront, holding Israeli policy makers to account, something the international governing community has repeatedly failed to do. Similarly, creative civilian efforts such as the Free Gaza boats that broke the siege five times, the Gaza Freedom March, the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, and the many land convoys must never stop their siege-breaking, highlighting the inhumanity of keeping 1.5 million Gazans in an open-air prison.

Two years have now passed since Israel’s gravest of genocidal acts that should have left people in no doubt of the brutal extent of Israel’s plans for the Palestinians. The murderous navy assault on international activists aboard the Gaza Freedom Flotilla in the Mediterranean Sea magnified to the world the cheapness Israel has assigned to Palestinian llife for so long. The world knows now, yet two years on nothing has changed for Palestinians.

The Goldstone Report came and went: despite its listing count after count of international law contraventions, Israeli “war crimes” and “possible crimes against humanity,” the European Union, the United Nations, the Red Cross, and all major Human Rights Organizations have called for an end to the illegal, medieval siege, it carries on unabated. On 11th November 2010 UNRWA head John Ging said, “There's been no material change for the people on the ground here in terms of their status, the aid dependency, the absence of any recovery or reconstruction, no economy…The easing, as it was described, has been nothing more than a political easing of the pressure on Israel and Egypt.”

On the 2nd of December, 22 international organizations including Amnesty, Oxfam, Save the Children, Christian Aid, and Medical Aid for Palestinians produced the report 'Dashed Hopes, Continuation of the Gaza Blockade’ calling for international action to force Israel to unconditionally lift the blockade, saying the Palestinians of Gaza under Israeli siege continue to live in the same devastating conditions. Only a week ago Human Rights Watch published a comprehensive report "Separate and Unequal" that denounced Israeli policies as Apartheid, echoing similar sentiments by South African anti-apartheid activists.

We Palestinians of Gaza want to live at liberty to meet Palestinian friends or family from Tulkarem, Jerusalem or Nazareth; we want to have the right to travel and move freely. We want to live without fear of another bombing campaign that leaves hundreds of our children dead and many more injured or with cancers from the contamination of Israel’s white phosphorous and chemical warfare. We want to live without the humiliations at Israeli checkpoints or the indignity of not providing for our families because of the unemployment brought about by the economic control and the illegal siege. We are calling for an end to the racism that underpins all this oppression.

We ask: when will the world’s countries act according to the basic premise that people should be treated equally, regardless of their origin, ethnicity or colour – is it so far-fetched that a Palestinian child deserves the same human rights as any other human being? Will you be able to look back and say you stood on the right side of history or will you have sided with the oppressor?

We, therefore, call on the international community to take up its responsibility to protect the Palestinian people from Israel’s heinous aggression, immediately ending the siege with full compensation for the destruction of life and infrastructure visited upon us by this explicit policy of collective punishment. Nothing whatsoever justifies the intentional policies of savagery, including the severing of access to the water and electricity supply to 1.5 million people. The international conspiracy of silence towards the genocidal war taking place against the more than 1.5 million civilians in Gaza indicates complicity in these war crimes.

We also call upon all Palestine solidarity groups and all international civil society organizations to demand:

- An end to the siege that has been imposed on the Palestinian people in the West Bank and Gaza Strip as a result of their exercise of democratic choice.

- The protection of civilian lives and property, as stipulated in International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law such as The Fourth Geneva Convention.

- The immediate release of all political prisoners.

- That Palestinian refugees in the Gaza Strip be immediately provided with financial and material support to cope with the immense hardship that they are experiencing.

- An end to occupation, Apartheid and other war crimes.

- Immediate reparations and compensation for all destruction carried out by the Israeli Occupation Forces in the Gaza Strip.

Boycott Divest and Sanction, join the many International Trade Unions, Universities, Supermarkets and artists and writers who refuse to entertain Apartheid Israel. Speak out for Palestine, for Gaza, and crucially ACT. The time is now.

Besieged Gaza, Palestine

List of signatories:

General Union for Public Services Workers

General Union for Health Services Workers

University Teachers' Association

Palestinian Congregation for Lawyers

General Union for Petrochemical and Gas Workers

General Union for Agricultural Workers

Union of Women’s Work Committees

Union of Synergies—Women Unit

The One Democratic State Group

Arab Cultural Forum

Palestinian Students’ Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel

Association of Al-Quds Bank for Culture and Info

Palestine Sailing Federation

Palestinian Association for Fishing and Maritime

Palestinian Network of Non-Governmental Organizations

Palestinian Women Committees

Progressive Students’ Union

Medical Relief Society

The General Society for Rehabilitation

General Union of Palestinian Women

Afaq Jadeeda Cultural Centre for Women and Children

Deir Al-Balah Cultural Centre for Women and Children

Maghazi Cultural Centre for Children

Al-Sahel Centre for Women and Youth

Ghassan Kanfani Kindergartens

Rachel Corrie Centre, Rafah

Rafah Olympia City Sisters

Al Awda Centre, Rafah

Al Awda Hospital, Jabaliya Camp

Ajyal Association, Gaza

General Union of Palestinian Syndicates

Al Karmel Centre, Nuseirat

Local Initiative, Beit Hanoun

Union of Health Work Committees

Red Crescent Society Gaza Strip

Beit Lahiya Cultural Centre

Al Awda Centre, Rafah


Date: Wednesday, june 30, 2010 06:59:19
Subject: After the Flotilla Massacre, Cultural Boycott of Israel Takes Off (Statement)

PACBI | 29 June 2010
After the Flotilla Massacre: Cultural Boycott of Israel Takes Off

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), established in April 2004 by a small group of Palestinian academics and intellectuals and widely supported by leading civil society associations, unions and networks,[1] has not witnessed a sustained surge in cultural boycott of Israel as in the last year and a half, since the Israeli war of aggression on Gaza.

Today there are campaigns for the academic and cultural boycott of Israel in the US, Britain, France, Italy, Spain, South Africa, Australia, Germany, Belgium, Canada, Norway, among others.

When artists or arts groups announce plans to perform -- or display as the case may be -- in Israel, PACBI and its partners around the world appeal directly to these artists, if a direct communication channel avails itself. Otherwise, we issue open letters and network with other groups to apply moral pressure on the artists/bands to convince them to cancel performances and exhibits in Israel.

Inspired by the South African anti-apartheid cultural boycott, PACBI has relied entirely onmoral pressure, appealing to the conscience of the artists in question as well as their fans. When all else fails, supporters do at times organize civil protests at international concerts of artists who adamantly refuse to heed our calls. Our main argument is that performing in a state that practices occupation, colonization and apartheid, as Israel does, cannot be regarded as a purely artistic act, if any such act exists. Regardless of intentions, such an act is a conscious form of complicity that is manipulated by Israel in its frantic efforts to whitewash its persistent violations of international law and Palestinian rights. This is because artistic performances in Israel promote a “business as usual” attitude that normalizes and sanitizes a state that has committed war crimes over several decades -- in Gaza, Jerusalem, the Naqab (Negev), and now in the high seas against international humanitarian relief workers aboard the Freedom Flotilla.

An artist who performs in Israel today -- just like any artist who violated the boycott and performed in Sun City, South Africa, during apartheid -- can only be seen by Palestinians and people of conscience around the world as motivated by profit and personal gain far more than by moral principles. We know that Israeli concert promoters offer large sums of money to lure international performers as part of Israel’s “Brand Israel”[2] campaign, designed explicitly to hide Israel’s criminal violations of human rights under a guise of artistic and scientific glamour and a deceptive image of cultural excellence and “liberalism.”

In 1965, the American Committee on Africa, following the lead of prominent British arts associations, sponsored a historic declaration against South African apartheid, signed by more than 60 cultural personalities. It read: "We say no to apartheid. We take this pledge in solemn resolve to refuse any encouragement of, or indeed, any professional association with the present Republic of South Africa, this until the day when all its people shall equally enjoy the educational and cultural advantages of that rich and beautiful land."[3] PACBI hopes to achieve the same level of commitment from international artists in isolating apartheid Israel.

The main impact of the boycott at this stage is to expose Israel as a pariah, to increase its isolation, thus raising the price of its injustices against the Palestinian people and challenging international complicity in perpetuating its occupation and apartheid.

In reaction to Israel’s Freedom Flotilla massacre which led to the murder of 9 unarmed Turkish humanitarian relief workers and human rights activists – one with dual Turkish/US citizenship -- and to the injury of dozens more from several countries, leading cultural figures and bands reacted swiftly and decisively.

Endorsing a cultural boycott of Israel, world renowned British writer, Iain Banks, wrote in the Guardian that the best way for international artists, writers and academics to “convince Israel of its moral degradation and ethical isolation” is “simply by having nothing more to do with this outlaw state.”[4] This position by Banks was later endorsed byStephane Hessel,[5] co-author of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Holocaust survivor and former French diplomat.

Many British literary and academic figures published a letter[6] in the Independent that said, "We … appeal to British writers and scholars to boycott all literary, cultural and academic visits to Israel sponsored by the Israeli government, including those organised by Israeli cultural foundations and universities."

Cartoon artist Martin Rowson expressed the shock shared by millions in a cartoon[7] in the Guardian. Rowson depicted intimidating, heavily-armed Israeli commandos commandeering Noah's ark, incarcerating all the frightened animals, with one of the soldiers cruelly crushing a dead peace dove -- olive branch and all -- justifying it to a devastated Noah by saying, "[The dove] was clearly intent on pecking innocent civilians."

In the world of performing arts, the Klaxons and Gorillaz Sound System cancelled their scheduled concerts in Israel, reportedly due to the Flotilla attack,[8] and so did thePixies.[9]

The latest famous performer to cancel a gig in Israel was US folk singer Devendra Banhart. While holding on to the delusional and peculiar concept that a musician can simply "share a human not a political message" even if performing to the oppressor community, as it were, in the context of occupation, apartheid and extreme violations of human rights, Banhart justified his withdrawal by saying that "it seems that we are being used to support views that are not our own."[10] Israeli media outlets had tried to portray his scheduled gig as a political message in solidarity with Israel at a time of increasing isolation.

World best-selling writer, the Swedish Henning Mankell, who was on the Freedom Flotilla when attacked, called for South-Africa style global sanctions against Israel in response to its brutality.[11]

The best-selling US author, Alice Walker, reminded the world of the Rosa Parks-triggered and Martin Luther King-led boycott of a racist bus company in Montgomery, Alabama during the US civil rights movement, calling for wide endorsement of BDS against Israel as a moral duty in solidarity with Palestinians, "to soothe the pain and attend the sorrows of a people wrongly treated for generations."[12]

In the weeks before the Flotilla attack, artists of the caliber of Elvis Costello, Gil Scott-Heron and Carlos Santana all cancelled [13] scheduled performances in Israel after receiving appeals from Palestinian and international BDS groups.

But even well before the latest Israeli bloodbath, many prominent international cultural figures had heeded or directly supported cultural boycott appeals issued by the PACBI and widely supported by Palestinian civil society. It may be most convenient to break down the various artists/cultural figures’ responses to the PACBI Call into three categories:

(A) Cultural figures (artists, authors, etc.) who explicitly support the Palestinian cultural boycott of Israel.

The statement by 500 Artists against Apartheid in Montreal[14] is the latest, most impressive of these efforts.

Earlier, in 2006, the famous British author and artist, John Berger, issued a statement[15]explicitly endorsing the cultural boycott of Israel. He collected 93 endorsements then on this powerful declaration, including some very prominent writers and artists.

Other intellectuals and artists in this category who were not on the Berger list include: Ken Loach, Judith Butler, Naomi Klein, The Yes-Men, Sarah Schulman, Aharon Shabtai,Udi Aloni, Adrienne Rich, John Williams (perhaps the greatest classical guitarist alive), and now Iain Banks, Alice Walker, among others.

(B) Cultural figures who openly refuse to participate in Israel's official celebrations and festivals for unambiguous political reasons.

In 2008, countering Israel’s “60th Anniversary” celebrations, PACBI collected tens of signatures of prominent artists and authors for a half-page advertisement[16] that was published in the International Herald Tribune on 8 May that year. The list included luminaries like Mahmoud Darwish, Augusto Boal, Roger Waters, Andre Brink, Vincenzo Consolo, and Nigel Kennedy. Some of the signatories on that ad later adopted the boycott explicitly, moving to Category (A) above.

(C) Cultural figures who decline offers to perform/speak in Israel or agree and then cancel without giving any explicit political reasons.

This category includes: Bono, U2, Bjork, Jean-Luc Godard, Snoop Dogg, and others.

PACBI appealed to Bono, for instance, in 2008 and again in 2010, urging him not to perform in Israel. Both times his performances were cancelled, but he never gave a specific reason to the media, other than the regular "scheduling" problem. PACBI deeply appreciates his decision not to entertain Israeli apartheid.

Many top artists refuse to perform in Israel from the start. The Forward, the leading Jewish daily in New York, informs us that at least 15 leading performers actually refused to play Israel, despite lucrative remuneration offers:

"In reaction, a music industry insider confirmed that the winds could be shifting. The music executive, who spoke on condition of anonymity in light of his ongoing business ties with artists, said that in recent months he had approached more than 15 performing artists with proposals to give concerts in Israel. None had agreed. The contracts offered high levels of compensation. He called them 'extreme, big numbers that could match any other gig.'”[17]

Some artists argue that, instead of boycotting, they prefer to visit Israel and use the performance opportunity to express their views against Israeli injustices. This ostensibly noble idea is not only -- unfortunately -- too rare to be viewed as significant; it is ill conceived. Such a hypothetically courageous stance cannot possibly outdo or neutralize the far more substantial harm done due to these performances taking place, as Israel, with its formidable influence in mainstream Western media, cynically uses them to project a false image of normalcy that enables it to maintain its occupation and apartheid. Ultimately, a conscientious artist is expected to heed the appeals of the oppressed as to what they reallyneed from them in the struggle to end injustice and colonial oppression. This was true in the South African anti-apartheid struggle, too.

As to the commonly used "art ought to be above politics" argument, it is patently ahistorical and political par excellence. Artists are humans who are expected to be more, not less, sensitive than others in empathizing with human suffering and rejecting oppression. When they choose to side with hegemonic oppressors for money, fame or other material gains at the expense of basic commitment to human rights, they end up selling their souls and declaring their utter ethical corruption. Artists, like Elton John,[18] who violated the anti-apartheid cultural boycott and entertained South Africans at Sun City, were viewed as crossing a moral picket line. So are those that insist on entertaining Israeli apartheid today.

The great majority of Palestinian cultural figures stand solidly behind the call for a cultural boycott of Israel,[19] as do all the main cultural institutions and associations. While Palestinian artists may indirectly suffer from a worldwide boycott, they view and accept this is as a minimal price to pay in order to see the light at the end of the long tunnel of Israeli occupation, ethnic cleansing, apartheid and racist denial of our refugee rights. In this context, Palestinian artists often express the commonly held view that world artists have a moral obligation to stop colluding with the oppressor, at the very least, in order to help end this multi-tiered oppression and bring about freedom and just peace.



From: omar barghouti
Date: Tuesday, june 1, 2010 17:14:47
Subject: Palestinian civil society calls for intensifying BDS as Israel massacres humanitarian aid workers

****please distribute far and wide****

Call for Action by the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC)

1 June 2010

Palestinian civil society calls for intensifying boycott and sanctions as Israel massacres humanitarian relief workers and international solidarity activists

Occupied Palestine, 1 June 2010 - The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) strongly condemns last night’s fatal attack by the Israeli navy on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla carrying humanitarian aid to the occupied and besieged Gaza Strip. The BNC conveys Palestinian civil society’s condolences to the families and friends of those killed by the Israeli assault and warmly salutes the principled solidarity and moral commitment of all those involved in the Gaza Freedom Flotilla.

In response, the BNC calls on international civil society to:

· Mobilize for an emergency Global BDS Day of Action on Saturday 5 June 2010 -- the 43rd anniversary of the Israeli occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem
· Pressure governments to start implementing trade sanctions and arms embargos

We call specifically on transport and dock workers and unions around the globe to:
· Refuse to load/offload Israeli ships and airplanes, following the historic example set by the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) in Durban in February 2009 and endorsed by the Maritime Union of Australia (Western Australia).

The Flotilla, which was attacked in international waters in violation of international law, was carrying relief supplies that Israel has persistently prevented from entering Gaza, including medical supplies, cement and food. Israel’s siege is considered a form of collective punishment, a war crime under Article 33 of the Geneva Convention. All of the relief workers and activists on board the Gaza Flotilla ships were unarmed. In legal terms, Israel's military assault against the Flotilla is an act of aggression against the countries whose flags the ships were carrying; politically, it is an assault against human decency and all people of conscience around the world who support freedom and justice.

Israel’s impunity is the direct result of the international community’s failure to hold it accountable for its ongoing occupation, colonization and apartheid against the Palestinian people. Israel’s most recent war crimes committed in Gaza and documented in the Goldstone report as well as crimes committed in 2006 against the Lebanese people did not trigger any UN or official sanctions, entrenching Israel’s feeling of being above the law. In fact, Israel’s grave violation of international law was recently rewarded when the OECD voted unanimously to accept its membership. The BNC urges international civil society to end this deep and fatal complicity.

The BNC also welcomes and affirms the call of the UN expert on human rights Prof. Richard Falk who stated, “It is time to insist on the end of the blockade of Gaza. The worldwide campaign of boycott, divestment, and sanctions against Israel is now a moral and political imperative, and needs to be supported and strengthened everywhere.”[1]

The UN Security Council has, unsurprisingly, failed to hold Israel accountable for its aggression against the Gaza Freedom Flotilla.[2] The BNC calls upon the UN General Assembly, the European Union, the Arab League and their member states to undertake practical measures which will end Israel's impunity for its massive and systematic violation of international law, including by:

· Immediately ending all collusion with Israel's unlawful blockade of the Gaza Strip and pressuring Israel's to guarantee unrestricted humanitarian access and freedom of movement of people and products into and out of the Gaza Strip;
· Bringing to justice all Israeli officials and military personnel who took the decision and/or implemented this latest massacre as well as earlier war crimes;
· Pressuring your government to immediately suspend arms trade with Israel, and to implement trade sanctions and arms embargos against Israel.

· In particular, we call on the EU to suspend the EU-Israel Association Agreement, the Mercosur to suspend the FTA, India to reverse decision to hold negotiations around an India-Israel FTA and to stop arms deals with Israel, and Turkey to impose an arms embargo on Israel.

The BNC also calls on people of conscience and citizen groups all over the world to intensify BDS campaigns against Israel as the most effective means of holding it accountable to international law and ending its fatal impunity.

For action ideas and updates, please see:

For more information and coordination of action, please contact:

Ziyaad Lunat (Europe)

Michael Deas (Europe)


[1] For the full statement of Prof. Richard Falk, see:

[2] SC/9940 of 31 May 2010, UN Security Council, Presidential Statement S/PRST/2010/9


Date: Sunday, may 16, 2010 12:43:56
Subject: PACBI Newsletter

ACTION ITEM - Armatrading: Oppose Apartheid Israel! PACBI is deeply troubled to learn that you are scheduled to perform in Israel on June 4th and 5th, in violation of the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Call, which calls on people of conscience throughout the world to isolate Israel until it ends its colonial and apartheid oppression against the Palestinian people. We urge you, as a prominent artist known for your commitment to social justice, not to perform in apartheid Israel.
Full PACBI Open Letter
Please email Joan Armatrading and ask her to cancel her upcoming performance in Israel, by clicking on this link below, and sending her the PACBI statement:
Contact Joan Armatrading

ACTION ITEM - Call on Elton John to cancel his June 17th concert in Tel Aviv! Palestinian civil society has called on Elton John to cancel his June 17th concert in Tel Aviv. If he does so, he'll be joining Santana and Gil-Scott Heron, who recently cancelled their concerts in Israel. This video suggests six reasons why Elton should join the BDS movement.
Hey Elton

NEWS/OPINION?Gil Scott-Heron: Thank you for heeding the Palestinian call to boycott Israel! In a letter, fifty-seven organizations and artists thank Gil Scott-Heron for heeding the Palestinian call to boycott Israel. The letter was initiated by Adalah-NY
Full News Story

PACBI OPEN LETTER - Atwood: Do not accept prizes from Apartheid Israel! Reject the prize and ceremony presided over by the head of a state accused of war crimes and serious violations of international law.
Full PACBI Open Letter

PACBI OPEN LETTER Irish Theatre Co. cancel performance in Tel Aviv! PACBI is pleased to announce that Gare St Lazare Players have cancelled their performance at Tel Aviv University.
Full PACBI Open Letter and update

PACBI OPEN LETTER - Ghosh: Do not undermine the Palestinian struggle for freedom! Your acceptance of the Dan David Prize comes at a time when the movement to boycott Israel is gaining ground in response to Israel?s flagrant violation of Palestinian human and political rights.
Full PACBI Open Letter

NEWS/OPINION - Palestinian Youth united against normalization with Israel In commemoration of the anniversary of the Nakba, and as an expression of our commitment to resisting Israeli occupation, colonization and apartheid in accordance with international law, we declare our rejection of normalization with the Israel on all levels. Economic, political, cultural and institutional normalization legitimize Israel?s oppression of the Palestinian people by giving the appearance of normalcy to the relationship between oppressor and oppressed. This relationship is hardly one between equals as Israel continues to violate our inalienable rights, steal our land, and prevent refugees from our right of return in contravention of international law and numerous UN resolutions.
Full Statement from Occupied Palestine

NEWS/OPINION - Open Letters and Statements of Support to the BERKELEY Student Senate in support of the Divestment Bill
Letters and statements of support have come from around the world for the recent Berkeley student divestment initiative (Senate Bill 118A), including from notable figures like Desmond Tutu, Judith Butler and Naomi Klein, in addition to BOYCOTT!, the Israeli group supporting the Palestinian call for BDS. Desmond Tutu said that the issue is the same in Palestine as it was in South Africa, ?equality?. (Full Letter)

Judith Butler, in a speech lending support stated, ?You will not be alone...You will stand with us, and we will most surely stand with you. ? (Full Speech), while Naomi Klein, following the presidential veto of the bill, wrote in an open letter to the members of the senate ?I am writing to urge you to reaffirm Senate Bill 118A, despite the recent presidential veto?. (Full Letter)

The Israeli group BOYCOTT! wrote a letter of support to the UC Berkeley Students for Justice in Palestine (the group that initiated the boycott effort), stating that the efforts were ?not only the best hope for Palestinians but also for Israelis ?
(Full Letter)

NEWS/OPINION - An Open Letter to Margaret Atwood from Gaza: Don?t Stand on the Wrong Side of History. The Palestinian Students' Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel (PSCABI) wrote an open letter to Atwood stating that ?By accepting the prize at Tel Aviv University, you will be indirectly giving a slight and inadvertent nod to Israel?s policy of ethnic cleansing and genocide.? and urged her to decline the award. Full Letter

NEWS/OPINION - Chomsky, other scientists condemn Boston museum?s Israeli celebration. Open letter to the Boston Museum of Science objecting to sponsorship of Israeli propaganda...?We, the undersigned group of scientists...condemn the Museum of Science?s decision to co-sponsor and host ?Israeli Innovation Weekend? (IIW) on May 2?. Full Letter

RISALA (meaning mission, message or letter in Arabic) is PACBI?s Official Newsletter


Date: Wednesday, january 13, 2010 21:24:20
Subject: Entertaining Apartheid Israel ... U 2 Bono? (Open Letter)

Open Letter to Bono:

Entertaining Apartheid Israel ... U 2 Bono?

PACBI - Occupied Ramallah, 13 January 2010

Dear Bono,
The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) was deeply disturbed to learn that that you are scheduled to perform in Israel this coming summer. Two years ago, you were invited by Israeli President Shimon Peres to attend a conference in Israel marking Israel‘s contributions to medicine, science, and conservation; we urged you then, as a prominent activist on issues of global inequality and a campaigner for basic human rights, to say no to Israel, especially since the invitation coincided with celebrations marking the 60th anniversary of the founding of the state.[1] You did not go to Israel then; we call on you now not to grant legitimacy to a state that practices the most pernicious form of colonialism and apartheid.
Performing in Israel would violate the almost unanimously endorsed Palestinian civil society Call for Boycotts, Divestments, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel.[2] This Call is directed particularly towards international activists, artists, and academics of conscience, such as yourself. Moreover, it would come a year and a half after Israel’s bloody military assault against the occupied Gaza Strip which left over 1,440 Palestinians dead, of whom 431 were children, and 5380 injured.[3] The 1.5 million Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip, the overwhelming majority of whom are refugees who were expelled from their homes by Zionist forces in 1948,[4] were subjected to three weeks of relentless Israeli state terror, whereby Israeli warplanes systematically targeted civilian areas, reducing whole neighborhoods and vital civilian infrastructure to rubble and partially destroying Gaza’s leading university and scores of schools, including several run by the UN, where civilians were taking shelter.
This criminal assault comes after three years of an ongoing, illegal, crippling Israeli siege of Gaza which has shattered all spheres of life, prompting the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights, Richard Falk, to describe it as “a prelude to genocide”. The UN Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, headed by the highly respected South African judge, Richard Goldstone, found Israel guilty of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity, as did major international human rights organizations, such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. The Goldstone report concluded that Israel’s war on Gaza was “designed to punish, humiliate and terrorize a civilian population, radically diminish its local economic capacity both to work and to provide for itself, and to force upon it an ever increasing sense of dependency and vulnerability.”[5]
In a recent New York Times op-ed[6], you wrote of your hope “that the regimes in North Korea, Myanmar and elsewhere are taking note of the trouble an aroused citizenry can give to tyrants.” You went on to further elaborate on the hope that “people in places filled with rage and despair, places like the Palestinian territories, will in the days ahead find among them their Gandhi, their King, their Aung San Suu Kyi.” Rather than shifting the blame from the violence of the colonial oppressor to the resistance of the indigenous oppressed and characterizing the Palestinians as a population filled with “rage and despair,” it is more apt to consider them among the “aroused citizenry” responding to tyranny – Israel‘s regime of occupation and apartheid.
As to your hope that the Palestinians will soon find their own leading figure to champion nonviolent resistance, the Palestinian civil society Call for Boycotts, Divestments, and Sanctions against Israel is one of the largest nonviolent, morally consistent movements for ending Israel’s system of apartheid and colonial oppression. It is endorsed by a majority of Palestinian civil society. As a leading artist who is concerned about human rights, it is your moral obligation to honor this call and not to cross our "picket line."
A whole generation was affected by your musical activism, when you sang of the civil rights movement in America, the everyday human heroes in El Salvador and the brave struggles in Ireland – you filled a space that forced political morality into pop culture. Entertaining apartheid Israel despite all the injustice it is committing against the Palestinians would significantly smear this great legacy of yours.
Through systematic repression and incarceration of human rights defenders without due process, Israel has made sure that those Palestinian "Gandhis" and "Kings" do not rise to prominence. Activists such as Mohammed Othman, Abdallah Abu Rahma, and Jamal Jum’a, to mention only a few recent examples, have been imprisoned without charge or trial, a practice that has been harshly condemned by Amnesty International.[7] Historically, successive Israeli governments went even further in suppressing civil and popular resistance: one of Yitzhak Rabin’s strategies in the First Intifada, for instance, was to “break the bones” of young Palestinian protestors, often "preemptively;" more recently, Israeli military forces have brutally dispersed weekly nonviolent Palestinian protests against Israel’s Wall—which was declared illegal by the International Court of Justice in 2004—by firing rubber bullets, teargas canisters, and sometimes live ammunition onto protestors. Such methods have resulted in the injury of hundreds of peaceful protesters, including some internationals and Israelis, as well as the death of several Palestinian civilians and American human rights activist, Tristan Anderson.
Your appearance in Israel would lend to its well-oiled campaign to whitewash all the above grave violations of international law and basic human rights through "re-branding" itself as a liberal nation enjoying membership in the Western club of democracies. Above everything else, it would serve to deflect attention away from Israel‘s three forms of oppression against the Palestinian people: the legalized and institutionalized system of racial discrimination against the Palestinian citizens of Israel; the military occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip; and the continuous denial of the Palestinian refugees’ UN-sanctioned right to return to their homes and to receive just reparations.

As a promoter of peace and justice, you are a distinguished member and co-founder of the ONE Campaign to end extreme poverty in Africa. The international patron of this campaign, South African Nobel Laureate and celebrated anti-apartheid activist, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, remarked[8] that “the end of apartheid stands as one of the crowning accomplishments of the past century, but we would not have succeeded without the help of international pressure-- in particular the divestment movement of the 1980s…a similar movement has taken shape, this time aiming at an end to the Israeli occupation.” He concluded that “if apartheid ended, so can this occupation, but the moral force and international pressure will have to be just as determined. The current divestment effort is the first, though certainly not the only, necessary move in that direction.”

We urge you to heed the wise words of Archbishop Tutu and to honor the Palestinian Call. Your performance in Israel would be tantamount to having performed in Sun City during South Africa’s apartheid era, in violation of the international boycott unanimously endorsed by the oppressed South African majority. We call on you not to entertain Israeli Apartheid!


[4] Ilan Pappe, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine. Oxford: Oneworld Publications, 2007.


From: Ziyaad Lunat
Date: Saturday, january 2, 2010 19:01:21
Subject: Cairo Declaration: End Israeli Apartheid


Ziyaad Lunat – 0191181340 (Egypt)

January 1, 2010

Gaza Freedom Marchers issue the "Cairo Declaration"

to end Israeli Apartheid

(Cairo) Gaza Freedom Marchers approved today a declaration aimed at accelerating the global campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israeli Apartheid.

Roughly 1400 activists from 43 countries converged in Cairo on their way to Gaza to join with Palestinians marching to break Israel's illegal siege. They were prevented from entering Gaza by the Egyptian authorities.

As a result, the Freedom Marchers remained in Cairo. They staged a series of nonviolent actions aimed at pressuring the international community to end the siege as one step in the larger struggle to secure justice for Palestinians throughout historic Palestine.

This declaration arose from those actions:

End Israeli Apartheid

Cairo Declaration

January 1, 2010

We, international delegates meeting in Cairo during the Gaza Freedom March 2009 in collective response to an initiative from the South African delegation, state:

In view of:

- Israel's ongoing collective punishment of Palestinians through the illegal occupation and siege of Gaza;

- the illegal occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the continued construction of the illegal Apartheid Wall and settlements;

- the new Wall under construction by Egypt and the US which will tighten even further the siege of Gaza;

- the contempt for Palestinian democracy shown by Israel, the US, Canada, the EU and others after the Palestinian elections of 2006;

- the war crimes committed by Israel during the invasion of Gaza one year ago;

- the continuing discrimination and repression faced by Palestinians within Israel;

- and the continuing exile of millions of Palestinian refugees;

- all of which oppressive acts are based ultimately on the Zionist ideology which underpins Israel;

- in the knowledge that our own governments have given Israel direct economic, financial, military and diplomatic support and allowed it to behave with impunity;

- and mindful of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (2007)

We reaffirm our commitment to:

Palestinian Self-Determination

Ending the Occupation

Equal Rights for All within historic Palestine

The full Right of Return for Palestinian refugees

We therefore reaffirm our commitment to the United Palestinian call of July 2005 for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) to compel Israel to comply with international law.

To that end, we call for and wish to help initiate a global mass, democratic anti-apartheid movement to work in full consultation with Palestinian civil society to implement the Palestinian call for BDS.

Mindful of the many strong similarities between apartheid Israel and the former apartheid regime in South Africa, we propose:

1) An international speaking tour in the first 6 months of 2010 by Palestinian and South African trade unionists and civil society activists, to be joined by trade unionists and activists committed to this programme within the countries toured, to take mass education on BDS directly to the trade union membership and wider public internationally;

2) Participation in the Israeli Apartheid Week in March 2010;

3) A systematic unified approach to the boycott of Israeli products, involving consumers, workers and their unions in the retail, warehousing, and transportation sectors;

4) Developing the Academic, Cultural and Sports boycott;

5) Campaigns to encourage divestment of trade union and other pension funds from companies directly implicated in the Occupation and/or the Israeli military industries;

6) Legal actions targeting the external recruitment of soldiers to serve in the Israeli military, and the prosecution of Israeli government war criminals; coordination of Citizen's Arrest Bureaux to identify, campaign and seek to prosecute Israeli war criminals; support for the Goldstone Report and the implementation of its recommendations;

7) Campaigns against charitable status of the Jewish National Fund (JNF).

We appeal to organisations and individuals committed to this declaration to sign it and work with us to make it a reality.

Please e-mail us at

Signed by:

(* Affiliation for identification purposes only.)

1. Hedy Epstein, Holocaust Survivor/ Women in Black*, USA

2. Nomthandazo Sikiti, Nehawu, Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), Affiliate International Officer*, South Africa

3. Zico Tamela, Satawu, Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) Affiliate International Officer*, South Africa

4. Hlokoza Motau, Numsa, Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) Affiliate International Officer*, South Africa

5. George Mahlangu, Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) Campaigns Coordinator*, South Africa

6. Crystal Dicks, Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) Education Secretary*, South Africa

7. Savera Kalideen, SA Palestinian Solidarity Committee*, South Africa

8. Suzanne Hotz, SA Palestinian Solidarity Group*, South Africa

9. Shehnaaz Wadee, SA Palestinian Solidarity Alliance*, South Africa

10. Haroon Wadee, SA Palestinian Solidarity Alliance*, South Africa

11. Sayeed Dhansey, South Africa

12. Faiza Desai, SA Palestinian Solidarity Alliance*, South Africa

13. Ali Abunimah, Electronic Intifada*, USA

14. Hilary Minch, Ireland Palestine Solidarity Committee*, Ireland

15. Anthony Loewenstein, Australia

16. Sam Perlo-Freeman, United Kingdom

17. Julie Moentk, Pax Christi*, USA

18. Ulf Fogelström, Sweden

19. Ann Polivka, Chico Peace and Justice Center*, USA

20. Mark Johnson, Fellowship of Reconciliation*, USA

21. Elfi Padovan, Munich Peace Committee*/Die Linke*, Germany

22. Elizabeth Barger, Peace Roots Alliance*/Plenty I*, USA

23. Sarah Roche-Mahdi, CodePink*, USA

24. Svetlana Gesheva-Anar, Bulgaria

25. Cristina Ruiz Cortina, Al Quds-Malaga*, Spain

26. Rachel Wyon, Boston Gaza Freedom March*, USA

27. Mary Hughes-Thompson, Women in Black*, USA

28. David Letwin, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN)*, USA

29. Jean Athey, Peace Action Montgomery*, USA

30. Gael Murphy, Gaza Freedom March*/CodePink*, USA

31. Thomas McAfee, Journalist/PC*, USA

32. Jean Louis Faure, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN)*, France

33. Timothy A King, Christians for Peace and Justice in the Middle East*, USA

34. Gail Chalbi, Palestine/Israel Justice Project of the Minnesota United Methodist Church*, USA

35. Ouahib Chalbi, Palestine/Israel Justice Project of the Minnesota United Methodist Church*, USA

36. Greg Dropkin, Liverpool Friends of Palestine*, England

37. Felice Gelman, Wespac Peace and Justice New York*/Gaza Freedom March*, USA

38. Ron Witton, Australian Academic Union*, Australia

39. Hayley Wallace, Palestine Solidarity Committee*, USA

40. Norma Turner, Manchester Palestine Solidarity Campaign*, England

41. Paula Abrams-Hourani, Women in Black (Vienna)*/ Jewish Voice for Just Peace in the Middle East*, Austria

42. Mateo Bernal, Industrial Workers of the World*, USA

43. Mary Mattieu, Collectif Urgence Palestine*, Switzerland

44. Agneta Zuppinger, Collectif Urgence Palestine*, Switzerland

45. Ashley Annis, People for Peace*, Canada

46. Peige Desgarlois, People for Peace*, Canada

47. Hannah Carter, Canadian Friends of Sabeel*, Canada

48. Laura Ashfield, Canadian Friends of Sabeel*, Canada

49. Iman Ghazal, People for Peace*, Canada

50. Filsam Farah, People for Peace*, Canada

51. Awa Allin, People for Peace*, Canada

52. Cleopatra McGovern, USA

53. Miranda Collet, Spain

54. Alison Phillips, Scotland

55. Nicholas Abramson, Middle East Crisis Response Network*/Jews Say No*, USA

56. Tarak Kauff, Middle East Crisis Response Network*/Veterans for Peace*, USA

57. Jesse Meisler-Abramson, USA

58. Hope Mariposa, USA

59. Ivesa Lübben. Bremer Netzwerk fur Gerechten Frieden in Nahost*, Germany

60. Sheila Finan, Mid-Hudson Council MERC*, USA

61. Joanne Lingle, Christians for Peace and Justice in the Middle East (CPJME)*, USA

62. Barbara Lubin, Middle East Children’s Alliance*, USA

63. Josie Shields-Stromsness, Middle East Children’s Alliance*, USA

64. Anna Keuchen, Germany

65. Judith Mahoney Pasternak, WRL* and Indypendent*, USA

66. Ellen Davidson, New York City Indymedia*, WRL*, Indypendent*, USA

67. Ina Kelleher, USA

68. Lee Gargagliano, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (Chicago)*, USA

69. Brad Taylor, OUT-FM*, USA

70. Helga Mankovitz, SPHR (Queen’s University)*, Canada

71. Mick Napier, Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign*, Scotland

72. Agnes Kueng, Paso Basel*, Switzerland

73. Anne Paxton, Voices of Palestine*, USA

74. Leila El Abtah, The Netherlands

75. Richard Van der Wouden, The Netherlands

76. Rafiq A. Firis, P.K.R.*/Isra*, The Netherlands

77. Sandra Tamari, USA

78. Alice Azzouzi, Way to Jerusalem*, USA

79. J’Ann Schoonmaker Allen, USA

80. Ruth F. Hooke, Episcopalian Peace Fellowship*, USA

81. Jean E. Lee, Holy Land Awareness Action Task Group of United Church of Canada*, Canada

82. Delphine de Boutray, Association Thèâtre Cine*, France

83. Sylvia Schwarz, USA

84. Alexandra Safi, Germany

85. Abdullah Anar, Green Party – Turkey*, Turkey

86. Ted Auerbach, USA

87. Martha Hennessy, Catholic Worker*, USA

88. Louis Ultale, Interfaile Pace e Bene*, USA

89. Leila Zand, Fellowship of Reconciliation*, USA

90. Emma Grigore, CodePink*, USA

91. Sammer Abdelela, New York Community of Muslim Progressives*, USA

92. Sharat G. Lin, San Jose Peace and Justice Center*, USA

93. Katherine E. Sheetz, Free Gaza*, USA

94. Steve Greaves, Free Gaza*, USA

95. Trevor Baumgartner, Free Gaza*, USA

96. Hanan Tabbara, USA

97. Marina Barakatt, CodePink*, USA

98. Keren Bariyov, USA

99. Ursula Sagmeister, Women in Black – Vienna*, Austria

100. Ann Cunningham, Australia

101. Bill Perry, Delaware Valley Veterans for Peace*, USA

102. Terry Perry, Delaware Valley Veterans for Peace*, USA

103. Athena Viscusi, USA

104. Marco Viscusi, USA

105. Paki Wieland, Northampton Committee*, USA

106. Manijeh Saba, New York / New Jersey, USA

107. Ellen Graves, USA

108. Zoë Lawlor, Ireland – Palestine Solidarity Campaign*, Ireland

109. Miguel García Grassot, Al Quds – Málaga*, Spain

110. Ana Mamora Romero, ASPA-Asociacion Andaluza Solidaridad y Paz*, Spain

111. Ehab Lotayef, CJPP Canada*, Canada

112. David Heap, London Anti-War*, Canada

113. Adie Mormech, Free Gaza* / Action Palestine*, England

114. Aimee Shalan, UK

115. Liliane Cordova, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN)*, Spain

116. Priscilla Lynch, USA

117. Jenna Bitar, USA

118. Deborah Mardon, USA

119. Becky Thompson, USA

120. Diane Hereford, USA

121. David Heap, People for Peace London*, Canada

122. Donah Abdulla, Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights*, Canada

123. Wendy Goldsmith, People for Peace London*, Canada

124. Abdu Mihirig, Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights-UBC*, Canada

125. Saldibastami, Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights-UBC*, Canada

126. Abdenahmane Bouaffad, CMF*, France

127. Feroze Mithiborwala, Awami Bharat*, India

128. John Dear, Pax Christi*, USA

129. Ziyaad Lunat, Portugal

130. Michael Letwin, New York City Labor Against the War (NYCLAW)

Labor For Palestine


Date: Friday, january 1, 2010 12:05:03
Subject: PACBI Newsletter #1 - 2009 BDS Highlights


PACBI Newsletter #1 - 2009 BDS Highlights

The Year 2009 has proved to be a watershed in the growth of the global BDS movement. The massive lethal Israeli war of aggression on the Gaza Strip in late December 2008 and January 2009 galvanized many organized groups and individuals around the world to call for BDS actions as a means to end Israel?s criminal impunity and disregard for international law.

The report of the UN Fact-Finding Mission led by Judge Richard Goldstone, released in September 2009, found strong evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the assault on the Palestinian people in Gaza, and called for holding Israel accountable before international law. That report, and the media attention given to it, moved the terms of international solidarity with Palestine into a new plane, where calling for BDS is no longer considered "unrealistic" or "counterproductive." BDS is emerging more strongly than ever as a key morally sound and politically realistic strategy for bringing an end to Israel?s impunity and holding it accountable to the same international standards as other nations.

In Palestine, the BDS National Committee (BNC), established in April 2008, has emerged as the principal anchor of the global BDS movement. A wide civil society coalition representing major sectors of Palestinian society in the OPT, inside Israel (1948) and in exile, the BNC has played a leading role in initiating international action, giving advice to BDS activists around the world, and participating in national and international forums. PACBI, which is one of the founders of the BDS movement and a member of its leadership, the BNC, continues to be actively engaged in the global BDS movement, both locally and internationally, on the level of academic and cultural boycott. Members of PACBI?s Steering Committee have participated in many conferences, workshops, lectures, and seminars around the world to promote BDS and form alliances within international civil society. PACBI has also issued a number of important reference documents; it continues to receive positive feedback and requests for advice from artists, academics and activists using this material. The PACBI website, with both English and Arabic pages, is a valuable source of information for BDS campaigns around the world, averaging 750,000 unique visits per year.

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