Enrique Iglesias, don’t sing for Israeli Apartheid!

The following letter to Enrique Iglesias, urging him to respect the boycott of Israel, was coordinated by the BDS Group Catalonia. USACBI is a signatory and is distributing the letter, in English and Spanish. Also, please see the Facebook page calling upon Iglesias to boycott apartheid Israel.

Enrique Iglesias, don’t sing for the Israeli apartheid!

Dear Enrique Iglesias,

This letter has been signed by civil society groups and organisations from different parts of the world that support the campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel. We were saddened to hear that you plan to give a concert in Israel on 30 May.

You may not be aware of the serious breaches of International Law and violations of Human Rights made by Israel against the Palestinian population over the last 63 years. The following are just a few of them:

  • In 1948-1949 the budding Jewish state implemented a policy of ethnic cleansing that converted more than 750,000 Palestinians into refugees. There are now almost 5 million refugees surviving in difficult conditions in refugee camps all over the Middle East. In spite of the stipulations of International Law, Israel does not recognise their right to return to their lands
  • Since 1967, Israel has illegally installed more than 500,000 Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, on land stolen from the Palestinian population. These settlers are protected by the powerful Israeli army and benefit from the same apartheid system that imposes extremely harsh living conditions on the Palestinian population in all aspects of their life
  • Since 2002, Israel has been building a separation Wall in the occupied Palestinian Territory (in the West Bank and East Jerusalem). The Wall was declared illegal in 2004 in a report by the International Court of Justice. It has a disastrous impact on the daily life of thousands of Palestinian men and women, because it impedes access to health care, housing, education and work, all of which are basic Human Rights
  • Since 2007, Israel has imposed a cruel economic blockade on the 1.6 million inhabitants of the Gaza Strip. Amnesty International has declared on countless occasions that the blockade of Gaza is illegal and has pushed its population into unemployment, poverty and dependency on aid agencies for survival
  • In 2008-2009, Israel attacked the Gaza strip committing war crimes and crimes against humanity. More than 1,400 inhabitants of Gaza died during the attack. Most of them were civilians. The details of the attack can be found in the report drawn up by the South African judge Richard Goldstone in 2009 for the UN
  • The Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel have the misfortune to be non-Jewish citizens in a Jewish state. They suffer from structural legal discrimination; more than 30 laws discriminate against them in favour of the Jewish citizens of Israel

In 2005, more than 170 Palestinian civil society organisations called for a campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel to be maintained until Israel meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with the precepts of international law by:

  • Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall
  • Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
  • Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194

You may think that your songs, which convey peace and love, should reach all corners of the world, including Israel, and should not be mixed up with politics. Unfortunately, giving a concert in Israel is not a neutral act; it will be used by the Israeli government to legitimise the illegal policies implemented against the Palestinian population and will be understood in this way by millions of citizens across the world. Last April, when the young singer Justin Bieber gave a concert in Israel, President Benyamin Netanyahu tried desperately to use his presence to improve the image of the decadent Israeli government. When Bieber refused to attend a meeting with children living in areas targeted by Qassam rockets, Netanyahu cancelled his own meeting with the singer. Bieber only wanted to sing, and had intended to avoid any involvement in politics but this turned out to be impossible. The same thing will happen to you if you give a concert in Israel.

The following artists have recently cancelled their performances in Israel in response to the call for a BDS campaign: Devendra Banhart, Tommy Sands, Elvis Costello, Carlos Santana, Gil Scott Heron, the Pixies, Gorillaz Sound System, Vanessa Paradis, La Carrau and Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

An academic and cultural boycott is an effective way of putting pressure on Israel and has a real chance of obtaining a change in the policies that contravene International Law. This was made clear in the case of the South-African apartheid.

For all of the reasons given in this letter we urge you to cancel your concert in Israel. As an outstanding and respected international figure in the world of music you can contribute to obtaining freedom, justice and a just peace in Palestine.
Please don’t sing for the Israeli apartheid!

Best regards,



Grup BDS Catalunya

Comunitat Palestina de Catalunya

Associació Catalana de Jueus i Palestins – JUNTS

Comissió Universitària Catalana per Palestina (CUNCAP)

Xarxa d’Enllaç amb Palestina

Intersindical Alternativa de Catalunya

BDS Madrid

BDS Galiza

Euskal Herria Palestina Sarea

Red Solidaria contra la Ocupación de Palestina (RESCOP) – Spain

Plataforma para el Boicot Académico a Israel (PBAI) – Spain

IJAN-Red de Judíos Antisionistas en España – Spain

Artefacto Cultural – Brazil/Spain

European Platform for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (EPACBI) – Europe

Comité de Solidariedade com a Palestina – Portugal

Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign – Scotland

British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (BRICUP) – United Kingdom

Boycott Israel Network (BIN) – United Kingdom

Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods (J-BIG) – United Kingdom

Women in Black (Vienna) – Austria

Critical Jewish Voice – Austria

Utrecht for Palestine – Netherlands

Dutch Bathrobes Brigades – Netherlands

Dutch network “Samenwerken voor Palestina” (29 organizations) –  Netherlands

EuroPalestine – France

Association des Universitaires pour le Respect du Droit International en Palestine (AURDIP) – France

BDS Switzerland – Switzerland

Belgium Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (BACBI) – Belgium

Génération Palestine – Belgium

Berlin Academic Boycott – Germany

BDS Group Berlin – Germany

Middle East and Asia

Palestinian Academic and Cultural Boycott against Israel (PACBI) – Palestine

BOYCOTT! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within – Israel

Alternative Information Center (AIC) – Palestine/Israel

Palestinian Students’ Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel (PSCABI) – Palestine

Palestine Peace Soridarity at Seoul – South Korea


U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI) – United States

Artists United Against Apartheid – United States

The Canadian Arab Federation – Canada

Federación de Entidades Argentino-Palestinas – Argentina

Foro Itinerante de Participación Popular – Venezuela

Comité Solidaridad con Palestina – Costa Rica

Union de estudiantes palestinos de Colombia – Colombia

Fundación Encuentro Colombo-Árabe Barranquilla – Colombia

Unión de Internacionalistas con Palestina – Colombia

Unión General de Estudiantes Palestinos – Chile

Coordinadora para el Boicot a Israel – Chile

Centro Cultural Mundo Árabe de Iquique – Chile

Juventud Por Palestina de Iquique – Chile

Deportivo Palestino Iquique – Chile

Dabke Infantil Al Hayat – Chile

Dabke y Danza Árabe Al Helm Al Arabi – Chile

Juventud Unión Árabe de Antofagasta – Chile

Juventud Árabe Valparaíso y Viña del Mar – Chile

Asociación de Jovenes Unidos por Palestina (Santiago) – Chile

Juventud Árabe de Chillan – Chile

Juventud Árabe de Concepción – Chile

Juventud Árabe de Temuco – Chile

Juventud Árabe por Palestina de Valdivia – Chile


BDS Working Group – South Africa

South African Artists against Apartheid – South Africa


International Solidarity Movement (ISM)

Enrique Iglesias, no cantes para el apartheid israelí!

Querido Enrique Iglesias,

Los abajo firmantes somos grupos y organizaciones de la sociedad civil que, desde diversos puntos del mundo, promovemos el Boicot, Desinversión y Sanciones (BDS) contra el Estado de Israel. La noticia de tu concierto en Israel el próximo 30 de mayo nos ha producido una gran tristeza.

Es posible que no conozcas las graves violaciones del Derecho Internacional y de los Derechos Humanos que Israel comete desde hace 63 años en contra de la población palestina. Citamos a continuación sólo algunas de ellas:

  • En 1948-1949 el naciente Estado judío llevó a cabo una limpieza étnica que convirtió a más de 750.000 palestinos en refugiados. Hoy en día son cerca de 5 millones, que malviven en campos de refugiados esparcidos por todo Oriente Medio; Israel no les permite regresar a sus tierras, en contra de lo que dispone el Derecho Internacional
  • En Cisjordania y Jerusalén Este ocupados, Israel ha instalado desde 1967, de forma ilegal, a más de 500.000 colonos judíos en las tierras robadas a la población palestina. Los colonos cuentan con la protección del poderoso ejército israelí y se benefician de un cómodo sistema de apartheid que en contrapartida somete a la población palestina a unas condiciones de vida durísimas, en todos los ámbitos
  • Desde 2002, Israel construye un Muro de separación en territorio palestino ocupado (en Jerusalén Este y Cisjordania), que fue declarado ilegal en 2004 en un informe de la Corte Internacional de Justicia. El Muro tiene un impacto nefasto en las vidas cotidianas de miles de palestinas y palestinos, haciendo muy difícil su acceso a derechos básicos como la salud, vivienda, educación, trabajo, etc.
  • Desde 2007, Israel impone a los 1,6 millones de habitantes de la Franja de Gaza un cruel bloqueo económico. La ONG Amnistía Internacional ha declarado en innumerables ocasiones que el bloqueo es ilegal, y que éste ha llevado a la población de Gaza al desempleo, la pobreza y la dependencia de las agencias de ayuda internacional para su simple supervivencia
  • En 2008-2009, Israel atacó la Franja de Gaza, cometiendo crímenes de guerra y contra la humanidad, tal como detalla el Informe que el juez surafricano Richard Goldstone elaboró para la ONU en 2009. Más de 1.400 habitantes de Gaza, la mayoría de ellos civiles, murieron durante el ataque
  • Los ciudadanos árabes palestinos de Israel, que tiene la desdicha de ser ciudadanos no judíos en un Estado judío, sufren una discriminación legal estructural: más de 30 leyes los discriminan respecto a los ciudadanos judíos israelíes

El 2005, más de 170 organizaciones de la sociedad civil palestina, lanzaron un llamado pidiendo el Boicot, las Desinversiones y las Sanciones (BDS) contra Israel hasta que Israel cumpla su obligación de reconocer el derecho inalienable del pueblo palestino a la autodeterminación y acate completamente los preceptos del Derecho Internacional por medio de:

  • La finalización de su ocupación y colonización de todas las tierras árabes y el desmantelamiento del Muro;
  • El reconocimiento del derecho fundamental de los ciudadanos árabe-palestinos de Israel a una igualdad completa; y
  • El respeto, protección y promoción del derecho de los refugiados palestinos a retornar a sus casas y propiedades, tal como lo estipuló la resolución 194 de la ONU

Seguramente piensas que tus canciones, portadoras de paz y amor, deben llegar a cualquier rincón del mundo -incluido Israel- y no deben mezclarse con la política. Desgraciadamente, cantar en Israel no es un acto neutro, puesto que será interpretado por el gobierno israelí y por millones de ciudadanos del mundo como una legitimación de las políticas ilegales contra la población palestina. En abril, el cantante adolescente Justin Bieber dio un concierto en Israel, y el presidente israelí Benyamin Netanyahu intentó desesperadamente utilizar su presencia para mejorar la imagen de su decadente gobierno; al negarse a reunirse con niños que viven en zonas afectadas por el lanzamiento de cohetes Qassam, Netanyahu canceló una reunión que tenía prevista con el artista. Aunque Justin quería limitarse a cantar y evitar la política, le resultó imposible. Y lo mismo te sucederá a ti, si cantas en Israel.

Respondiendo al llamado del BDS, recientemente han cancelado sus actuaciones en Israel los siguientes artistas: Devendra Banhart, Tommy Sands, Elvis Costello, Carlos Santana, Gil Scott Heron, the Pixies, Gorillaz Sound System, Vanessa Paradis, La Carrau y Ladysmith Black Mambazo, entre otros.

El Boicot Académico y Cultural es una forma eficaz de presión con una posibilidad real de conseguir el cambio de las políticas contrarias al Derecho Internacional, tal como demostró el caso del apartheid sudafricano.

Por todo lo que hemos expuesto en esta carta, te pedimos que canceles tu concierto en Israel. Tú, como figura de fama y prestigio mundial en el mundo de la música, puedes contribuir al logro de la libertad, la justicia y la paz justa en Palestina.

Por favor, no cantes para el apartheid israelí!




Grup BDS Catalunya

Comunitat Palestina de Catalunya

Associació Catalana de Jueus i Palestins – JUNTS

Comissió Universitària Catalana per Palestina (CUNCAP)

Xarxa d’Enllaç amb Palestina

Intersindical Alternativa de Catalunya

BDS Madrid

BDS Galiza

Euskal Herria Palestina Sarea

Red Solidaria contra la Ocupación de Palestina (RESCOP) – España

Plataforma para el Boicot Académico a Israel (PBAI) – España

IJAN-Red de Judíos Antisionistas en España – España

Artefacto Cultural – Brasil/España

European Platform for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (EPACBI) – Europa

Comité de Solidariedade com a Palestina – Portugal

Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign – Escocia

British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (BRICUP) – Reino Unido

Boycott Israel Network (BIN) – Reino Unido

Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods (J-BIG) – Reino Unido

Women in Black (Vienna) – Austria

Critical Jewish Voice – Austria

Utrecht for Palestine – Holanda

Dutch Bathrobes Brigades – Holanda

Dutch network “Samenwerken voor Palestina” (29 organizaciones) – Holanda

EuroPalestine – Francia

Association des Universitaires pour le Respect du Droit International en Palestine (AURDIP) – Francia

BDS Switzerland – Suiza

Belgium Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (BACBI) – Bélgica

Génération Palestine – Bélgica

Berlin Academic Boycott – Alemania

BDS Group Berlin – Alemania

Oriente Medio y Asia

Palestinian Academic and Cultural Boycott against Israel (PACBI) – Palestina

BOYCOTT! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within – Israel

Centro de Información Alternativa (AIC) – Palestina/Israel

Palestinian Students’ Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel (PSCABI) – Palestina

Palestine Peace Soridarity at Seoul – Corea del Sur


U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI) – Estados Unidos

Artists United Against Apartheid – Estados Unidos

The Canadian Arab Federation – Canadá

Federación de Entidades Argentino-Palestinas – Argentina

Foro Itinerante de Participación Popular – Venezuela

Comité Solidaridad con Palestina – Costa Rica

Union de estudiantes palestinos de Colombia – Colombia

Fundación Encuentro Colombo-Árabe Barranquilla – Colombia

Unión de Internacionalistas con Palestina – Colombia

Unión General de Estudiantes Palestinos – Chile

Coordinadora para el Boicot a Israel – Chile

Centro Cultural Mundo Árabe de Iquique – Chile

Juventud Por Palestina de Iquique – Chile

Deportivo Palestino Iquique – Chile

Dabke Infantil Al Hayat – Chile

Dabke y Danza Árabe Al Helm Al Arabi – Chile

Juventud Unión Árabe de Antofagasta – Chile

Juventud Árabe Valparaíso y Viña del Mar – Chile

Asociación de Jovenes Unidos por Palestina (Santiago) – Chile

Juventud Árabe de Chillan – Chile

Juventud Árabe de Concepción – Chile

Juventud Árabe de Temuco – Chile

Juventud Árabe por Palestina de Valdivia – Chile


BDS Working Group – Sudáfrica

South African Artists against Apartheid – Sudáfrica


International Solidarity Movement (ISM)

Posted in Cultural Boycott, Spanish Organizing, USACBI in the News

Video: How Now BDS? Media, Politics and Queer Activism

Adalah-NY sponsored this event, featuring Judith Butler, John Greyson and Jasbir Puar, as part of New York City’s Israeli Apartheid Week.

This event was held on March 11 at Judson Memorial Church in Manhattan, as part of Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) in NYC. John Greyson, Judith Butler and Jasbir Puar discussed new forms of activism in support of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, focusing on both the cultural and academic boycott and the importance of queer BDS activism in Palestine and elsewhere. “How Now BDS” centered on how BDS is done now, and what must still be done. The panelists also discussed the NYC LGBT Center’s controversial decision to cancel the IAW event “Party to End Apartheid,” and to ban the event organizers Siegebusters from holding its meetings there.

Judith Butler is a Professor at the University of California, Berkeley and author of Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity, and numerous other works. She is also active in gender and sexual politics and human rights, anti-war politics, and Jewish Voice for Peace.

John Greyson is a Toronto video artist/filmmaker whose features, shorts and installations include Fig Trees, Proteus, and Lilies. He is an associate professor in Film at York University.

Jasbir Puar is professor of Women’s & Gender Studies at Rutgers University, the author of Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times , and a board member of the Audre Lorde Project. She has written on Israel’s strategy of “pinkwashing,” exploiting Israel’s gay community to improve Israel’s international image.

This year marked the 7th Annual International Israeli Apartheid Week and the 5th year that IAW was held in NYC.

Posted in Boycott News, U.S. Academica, U.S. Cultural Workers, U.S. Organizing

“Damning” report on University of Johannesburg’s relations with Israel’s Ben-Gurion University

Today, a fact-finding report commissioned on the University of Johannesburg’s relationship with Israel’s Ben-Gurion University (BGU) was released. The report, titled, “The UJ-BGU Report”, is attached to this media release and can be accessed at www.ujpetition.com.

The UJ-BGU Report reveals “damning” evidence of BGU’s active collaboration with the Israeli military, its discriminatory practices, contributions to human rights abuses and suppression of academic freedom.

The report will form part of a discussion at a joint Amnesty International and University of Johannesburg seminar on Wednesday, 16 March at 15h30 (UJ  Council Chambers Conference Room, Kingsway Campus, Johannesburg).

Early in 2010 members of UJ’s academic, worker and student community called on their university to end its Apartheid-era relationship with Israel’s Ben-Gurion University (BGU). The call stemmed from BGU’s direct support and active collaboration with the Israeli military and illegal occupation.

Subsequently, on 29 September 2010, UJ’s Senate (its highest decision-making body) imposed certain conditions on BGU that have to be met by the 01st of April 2011 – or else face automatic termination of relations. These conditions include inter alia the addition of a Palestinian University into the current UJ-BGU agreement; as well as a requirement that the UJ-BGU relationship “will not entail any activity, including teaching and research, which has any direct or indirect military implications or contributes to the abuse of human rights.”

In light of UJ’s Senate Resolution, members of the UJ Petition Committee undertook an investigation into UJ’s links with Israel’s Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.  The resulting 45-page report represents 6 months of research and constitutes a broad overview of BGU’s practices in relation to the Israeli Defense Force (IDF), Israel’s illegal occupation, discriminatory practices and the suppression of academic freedom.

Documenting detailed, factual evidence and information regarding BGU’s direct and indirect role in further entrenching the violations of human rights and international law by the Israeli state, the report is divided into four parts.

Part 1 of the report exposes BGU’s ongoing, deliberate and wide-ranging support for the Israeli military and illegal occupation, including participation in programs specifically sponsored by and benefiting the IDF. For example, through its technology transfer company, BGU has an ongoing partnership with Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd (“Rafael”). Rafael ‘develops and produces state-of-the-art armaments for the IDF and Israel’s defense system’. This is just one of many collaborations highlighted by the report.

Part 2 of the report documents the manner in which BGU conspicuously and actively supports attempts by the Israeli Government to curb academic freedom and dissenting voices on Israeli University campuses.  In light of the current dangers posed to academic freedom through Israeli state measures such as the widely-condemned Prohibition on Instituting a Boycott Bill, the report reveals a concerning institutional position adopted by BGU. For example, BGU’s Senate recently reviewed its Code of Ethics and has instituted an effective prohibition on lecturers; preventing them from voicing their political opinions during classes, as well as referencing their university titles when speaking publicly (including via oped articles and news items) about politics or their personal opinions.

Part 3 deals directly with the controversial water research project that is the subject of the agreement between UJ and BGU. The findings of the report demonstrate how the research supported and undertaken by BGU forms part of an intricate nexus which supports and entrenches the discriminatory policies on water availability consumption within Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. Furthermore, the partners that BGU chooses for its water research, like the Jewish National Fund and the Arava Institute, are themselves involved in activities that undermine human rights.

Finally, Part 4 of the report analyzes and systematically uncovers how BGU not only mirrors Israeli discriminatory policies and practices, but actively reinforces its exclusions and differential treatment, particularly through preferential treatment for military enlisted students.

The findings of the investigation demonstrate the multi-faceted support which BGU actively nurtures and thereby furthers the policies of the Israeli state and its violation of human rights. On the basis of these findings, the report concludes that there is a clear failure by BGU to meet the criteria established by the UJ Senate Resolution.

BGU’s practices and policies, the report concludes, are incompatible with UJ’s values.

The report has been tabled by the University of Johannesburg’s Senate, which will meet on Wednesday the 23rd of March 2011. All signs indicate that BGU has not met the conditions imposed on it by UJ and that relations will terminate.

Furthermore, these findings call into question any relationships that other institutions currently engaging with BGU may have.

The call for ending of relations has been supported by a petition of more than 350 prominent South African academics, including: Kader Asmal, Breyten Breytenbach, Alan Boesak, Antjie Krog, Mahmood Mamdani, Barney Pityana, Sampie Terreblanche and Archbishop Desmond Tutu (www.ujpetition.com). Last week NEHAWU, and a day later COSATU, came out in full support and backing of the campaign.

Download the report here

Support the campaign here

Posted in Boycott News, South African Academica, South African Organizing, Take Action

Students Against Israeli Apartheid at the University of Toronto and York University Launch Campus Divestment Campaign

Sign the SAIA Toronto Divestment Petition HERE

On Monday March 7, the first night of Israeli Apartheid Week 2011, Students Against Israeli Apartheid, at the University of Toronto and York University officially launched a campaign demanding that their respective universities divest from four companies involved in violations of Palestinian human rights and Israeli Apartheid.  Investments in BAE SystemsLockheed MartinNorthrop Grumman and Hewlett Packard have been found in the University of Toronto’s Pension Master Trust, Long Term Capital Appreciation Pool, and Expendable Funds Investment Pool, as well as in York University’s Pension and Endowment Funds. The complicit companies create military technologies used in the murder of civilians, the destruction of infrastructure and the daily humiliation of Palestinians. Just under two decades ago York University was one of the first to divest from South African Apartheid; U of T was shamefully one of the last.

The entire week of IAW events, including guest lectures from Judith Butler, Ali Abunimah, Judy Rebick and Riham Barghouti, focussed on institutional complicity and the importance of the campus as a site of resistance. All of the week’s speakers have signed on to our divestment campaign in the spirit of holding our universities accountable to their purported commitment to the “vigilant protection of human rights”.

Join these renowned intellectuals and social justice activists, in addition to over 100 faculty members who have already signed on, to demand that our universities do the right thing and take action to divest now!

Please sign our petition below and encourage your organization, union or club to stand with us against our universities’ complicity in human right’s violations against Palestinians.

We thank you for your support.

View our Divestment Trailer:

View Our Divestment Reports on the SAIA Toronto Website

Sign Our Divestment Petition Here

Students Against Israeli Apartheid (University of Toronto and York University) Divestment Petition

Whereas on March 7th, 2011, Students Against Israeli Apartheid at the University of Toronto and York University published divestment reports entitled “Holding the University of Toronto Accountable” and “Holding York University Accountable,” respectively;

Whereas BAE Systems, Northrop Grumman, Hewlett Packard and Lockheed Martin provide military and/or information technologies that contribute in specific ways to violations of international law by the Israeli state;

Whereas the investments of the University of Toronto and York University in these four companies makes them complicit in the commission of crimes under international law;

Whereas the University of Toronto and York University also violate their own stated commitments to values of human rights and social justice by investing in these four companies;

Whereas all people and organizations, including the University of Toronto and York University, are bound by the principles of international law; and

Whereas public universities, including the University of Toronto and York University, have a special responsibility to work with students, faculty, and staff to undergo a democratic and transparent process to ensure accountability to principles of social and environmental justice;

Therefore we, the undersigned, demand that:

(1) The University of Toronto and York University divest from and refuse to reinvest in BAE Systems, Northrop Grumman, Hewlett Packard and Lockheed Martin;

(2) The University of Toronto and York University refrain from investing in all companies involved in violations of international law. With respect to Palestine, this entails following the guidelines put forth by Students for Justice in Palestine in the historic divestment by Hampshire College:

The University of Toronto and York University should refrain from investing in companies that:

a)     Provide products or services that contribute to the maintenance of the Israeli military occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, as well as the Syrian Golan Heights;

b)    Provide products or services that contribute to the maintenance and expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories;

c)     Establish facilities or operations in Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories;

d)    Provide products or services that contribute to the maintenance and construction of the Wall;

e)     Provide products or services that contribute to violent acts that target either Israeli or Palestinian civilians.

Signed by:

·      Nahla Abdo, Professor of Sociology, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Carleton University

·      Baha Abu-Laban, Professor Emeritus, Department of Sociology, University of Alberta

·      Yasmeen Abu-Laban, Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Alberta

·      Nadia Abu-Zahra, Assistant Professor, School of International Development and Global Studies, University of Ottawa

·      Ali Abunimah, author and journalist

·      Mary Louise Adams, Associate Professor, School of Kinesiology and Health Studies, Queen’s University

·      Greg Albo, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, York University

·      Tariq Amin-Khan, Associate Professor, Department of Politics, Ryerson University

·      Sedef Arat-Koc, Associate Professor, Department of Politics and Public Administration, Ryerson University

·      Feyzi Baban, Associate Professor, Politics Department, Trent University

·      Abigail B. Bakan, Professor, Political Studies, Queen’s University

·      Omar Barghouti, Founding member of the global BDS Campaign and PACBI

·      Riham Barghouti, Founding member of Adalah-NY

·      Darin Barney, Canada Research Chair in Technology & Citizenship, Department of Art History & Communication Studies, McGill University

·      Roger Beck, Professor Emeritus, Department of Historical Studies, University of Toronto Mississauga

·      Deborah Brock, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, York University

·      Jenny Burman, Associate Professor, Department of Art History and Communication Studies, McGill University

·      Judith Butler, Maxine Elliot Professor,  Departments of Rhetoric and Comparative Literature, University of California, Berkeley

·      James Cairns, Assistant Professor, Contemporary Studies, Wilfrid Laurier University, Brantford

·      David Camfield, Associate Professor, Labour Studies Program, University of Manitoba

·      Dominique Caouette, Associate Professor, Département de science politique, Université de Montréal

·      Aziz Choudry, Assistant Professor, Department of Integrated Studies in Education, McGill University

·      David Clandfield, Professor Emeritus, Department of French and New College, University of Toronto

·      Deborah Cook, Department of Philosophy, University of Windsor

·      Deborah Cowen, Assistant Professor, Department of Geography, University of Toronto

·      Howard S. Davidson, Associate Professor, Extended Education,University of Manitoba

·      Chandler Davis, Professor Emeritus, Department of Mathematics and New College, University of Toronto

·      Kari Dehli, Professor, Sociology and Equity Studies in Education, OISE University of Toronto

·      Michel Desjardins, Professor, Department of Religion and Culture, Wilfrid Laurier University

·      John Dugard,South African Professor of International Law, Author, former judge on the International Court of Justice

·      Peter Eglin, Professor, Department of Sociology, Wilfrid Laurier University

·      Peter Fitting, Professor Emeritus, French and Cinema Studies, University of Toronto

·      Sue Ferguson, Assistant Professor, Journalism  and Contemporary Studies, Wilfrid Laurier University, Brantford

·      Margot Francis, Assistant Professor, Women’s Studies/Sociology, Brock University

·      Gavin Fridell, Associate Professor & Chair, Department of Political Studies, Trent University

·      Doreen Fumia, Associate Professor, Sociology, Ryerson University

·      Grace-Edward Galabuzi, Associate Professor, Department of Politics, Ryerson University

·      Dina Georgis, Assistant Professor, Women and Gender Studies, University of Toronto

·      Amanda Glasbeek, Assistant Professor, Department of Social Science, York University

·      Harry Glasbeek, Professor Emeritus and Senior Scholar, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University

·      Kanishka Goonewardena,  Associate Professor, Department of Geography and Program in Planning, University of Toronto

·      Todd Gordon, Contract Faculty, Department of Political Science, York University

·      Kevin A. Gould, Assistant Professor, Geography, Planning, and Environment, Concordia University

·      John Greyson, Associate Professor: Production, Department of Film, York University

·      Laam Hae, Assistant Professor, Political Science, York University

·      Paul A. Hamel, Professor, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto

·      Jens Hanssen, Associate Professor, Department of History, University of Toronto

·      Michelle Hartman, Associate Professor, Institute of Islamic Studies, McGill University

·      Amir Hassanpour, Professor, Department of Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations, University of Toronto

·      David Heap, Associate Professor, French Studies Dept. & Linguistics Program, University of Western Ontario

·      Rob Heynen, Contract Faculty, Department of Political Science, York University

·      Adrienne Carey Hurley, Assistant Professor, East Asian Studies, McGill University

·      Steve Jordan, Associate Professor, Department of Integrated Studies in Education, McGill University

·      Ilan Kapoor, Professor, Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University

·      Ali Kazimi, Associate Professor, Department of Film, York University

·      Paul Kellogg, Assistant Professor, Centre for Integrated Studies, Athabasca University

·      Kamala Kempadoo, Professor, Department of Social Science, York University

·      Muhammad Ali Khalidi, Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, York University

·      Shahnaz Khan, Women and Gender Studies, Wilfrid Laurier University

·      Gary Kinsman, Professor, Department of Sociology, Laurentian University

·      Stefan Kipfer, Associate Professor, Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University

·      Anna Kruzynski, Assistant Professor, School of Community and Public Affairs, Concordia University

·      Atif Kubursi, Professor Emeritus, Department of Economics, McMaster University

·      Clarice Kuhling, Lecturer/Contract Faculty, Department of Sociology and Department of Contemporary Studies, Wilfrid Laurier University

·      Alex Latta, Assistant Professor, Department of Global Studies, Wilfrid Laurier University

·      Abby Lippman, Professor, Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Occupational Health, McGill University

·      Margaret Little, Full Professor, Gender Studies/ Political Studies, Queen’s University

·      Ken Loach, filmmaker

·      Rashmi Luther, Lecturer, School of Social Work, Carleton University

·      Linzi Manicom, Lecturer, New College Service Learning, University of Toronto

·      Ruth Marshall, Assistant Professor, Dept. for the Study of Religion / Dept. of Political Science, University of Toronto

·      Sara Matthews, Assistant Professor, Department of Global Studies, Wilfrid Laurier University

·      J.J. McMurtry, Associate Professor, Business and Society Program, York University

·      David McNally, Professor, Political Science, York University

·      Anne Meneley, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, Trent University

·      Rod Michalko, Lecturer, New College, & Adjunct Professor (University of Toronto) and Critical Disability Studies, School of Health Management & Policy (York University)

·      Kiran Mirchandani, Associate Professor, OISE, University of Toronto

·      Dieter Misgeld. Professor emeritus, Department of Theory and Policy Studies in Education, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) of the University of Toronto

·      Shahrzad Mojab, Professor, Dept. of Adult Education/Counselling Psychology, OISE-University of Toronto

·      Colin Mooers, Professor and Director, Graduate Program in Communication and Culture, Ryerson University

·      Mary-Jo Nadeau, Lecturer, Department of Sociology, University of Toronto Mississauga

·      Sheryl Nestel, Lecturer, Department of Sociology and Equity Studies, OISE/UT

·      Melanie Newton, Associate Professor, Department of History, University of Toronto

·      Maria-Belén Ordóñez, Course Director, Department of Anthropology,York University

·      Margaret Pappano, Associate Professor, Department of English, Queen’s University

·      Anthony Paré, Professor, Integrated Studies in Education, McGill University

·      Alejandro Paz, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Humanities, University of Toronto Scarborough

·      Garry Potter, Department of Sociology, Wilfrid Laurier University

·      Judy Rebick, Instructor, Ryerson University

·      James A. Reilly, Professor, Modern Middle East History, Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, University of Toronto

·      Stephanie Ross, Assistant Professor and Coordinator, Work and Labour Studies Programme,

Department of Social Science, York University

·      Reuben N. Roth, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, Director, Labour Studies Program, Laurentian University

·      E. Natalie Rothman, Assistant Professor, Department of Humanities,  University of Toronto Scarborough

·      Ariel Salzmann, Associate Professor, Islamic and World History, Department of History,  Queen’s University

·      John S. Saul, Professor Emeritus of Social and Political Science, York University and FRSC

·      Alan Sears, Associate Professor, Sociology, Ryerson University

·      Bill Skidmore, Instructor, Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies (Human Rights), Carleton University

·      Harry Smaller, Associate Professor Emeritus, Faculty of Education, York University

·      Jesook Song, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto

·      Susan Spronk, Assistant Professor, School of International Development and Global Studies, University of Ottawa

·      Daiva Stasiulis, Professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Carleton University

·      Sunera Thobani, Associate Professor, Centre for Women’s and Gender Studies, Director, RAGA Centre, University of British Columbia

·      David P. Thomas, Assistant Professor, Department of Politics & International Relations, Mount Allison University

·      Mark Thomas, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, York University

·      Steve Tufts, Associate Professor, Department of Geography, York University

·      Alissa Trotz, Associate Professor, Women and Gender Studies, University of Toronto

·      Salim Vally, Senior Lecturer, University of Johannesburg

·      Rinaldo Walcott, Associate Professor, Sociology and Equity Studies in Education, OISE University of Toronto

·      Cynthia Wright, contract faculty, School of Women’s Studies, York University

·      b.h. Yael, Professor, Integrated Media, Faculty of Art, OCAD University

·      Anna Zalik, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University

·      Jasmin Zine, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology & Muslim Studies Option; Director, Cultural Analysis & Social Theory (CAST) M.A Program, Wilfrid Laurier University


·      F4P – Faculty for Palestine (Canada)

·      PSC – Palestine Solidarity Campaign, South Africa

·      USACBI – U.S. Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel

·      BRICUP- British Committee for Universities for Palestine

For more information, get in touch: toronto.divests@gmail.com

Posted in Boycott News, Canadian Academia, Canadian Organizing, Divestment, Student Organizing

University of Johannesburg: Cancel Relationship with Ben-Gurion University!

International academics are invited to sign the petition from the University of Johannesburg, calling for an end to the university’s relationship with Ben-Gurion University(www.ujpetition.com). The UJ Petition was initiated late last year by South African academics, who have now asked for international support. USACBI has endorsed this petition, has has PACBI, COSATU (the Congress of South African Trade Unions) and numerous prominent South African and international academics.

The petition is in support of the campaign being led by academics and students at the University of Johannesburg (UJ): calling on UJ to cancel its relationship with the Israel’s Ben-Gurion University (BGU). This is on the grounds of BGU’s active support and collaboration with the Israeli military and occupation.

To date over 300 prominent South African academics have signed the UJ Petition including some of our country’s leading voices: Professors Neville Alexander, Kader Asmal, Alan Boesak, Breyten Breytenbach, John Dugard, Antjie Krog and Wilhelm Verwoerd. The campaign has received the full support and backing from Vice-
Chancellors of three SA universities: Professors Barney Pityana (Universityof South Africa), Derrick Swartz (Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University) and Saleem Badat (Rhodes University). Furthermore, Nobel Laureate, Archbishop Desmond Tutu wrote this open letter to UJ: www.ujpetition.com/2010/09/sunday-times-26092010-israeli-ties.html

On the 23rd of March 2011 UJ’s Senate will meet to finalize this matter. The UJ Petition has become an important statement on the issue – and in the run up to the final decision, the voice of international academics will assist enormously. International academics can lend their support by replying to this email or by sending their name, title, designation and institutional affiliation to ujpetition@gmail.com. As a member of the international academic community, their name will be added in a “support” category next to the list of SA signatories.

All endorsements will include the standard disclaimer: “Institutional names are for identification purposes only”

As members of the academic community of South Africa, a country with a history of brute racism on the one hand and both academic acquiescence and resistance to it on the other, we write to you with deep concern regarding the relationship between the University of Johannesburg (UJ) and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU). The relationship agreement, presented as ‘merely the continuation’ of a ‘purely scientific co-operation’ is currently being reviewed owing to concerns raised by UJ students, academics and staff.

For reasons explained below and detailed in the attached Fact Sheet, we wish to add our voices to those calling for the suspension of UJ’s agreement with BGU.
As academics we acknowledge that all of our scholarly work takes place within larger social contexts – particularly in institutions committed to social transformation. South African institutions are under an obligation to revisit relationships forged during the apartheid era with other institutions that turned a blind eye to racial oppression in the name of ‘purely scholarly’ or ‘scientific work’.
The Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories has had disastrous effects on access to education for Palestinians. While Palestinians are not able to access universities and schools, Israeli universities produce the research, technology, arguments and leaders for maintaining the occupation. BGU is no exception, by maintaining links to both the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) and the arms industry BGU structurally supports and facilitates the Israeli occupation. An example of BGU’s complicity is its agreement with the IDF to provide full university qualification to airforce pilots within a special BGU programme. Furthermore, BGU is also complicit in the general discrimination at Israeli universities against Palestinians and Palestinian citizens of Israel.
It is clear to us that any connection with an institution so heavily vested in the Israeli occupation would amount to collaboration with an occupation that denigrates the values and principles that form the basis of any vibrant democracy. These are not only the values that underpin our post-apartheid South Africa, but are also values that we believe UJ has come to respect and uphold in the democratic era.
We thus support the decision taken by UJ to reconsider the agreement between itself and BGU. Furthermore, we call for the relationship to be suspended until such a time that, at minimum, the state of Israel adheres to international law and BGU, (as did some South African universities during the struggle against South African apartheid) openly declares itself against the occupation and withdraws all privileges for the soldiers who enforce it.
Posted in Boycott News, South African Academica, South African Organizing, Take Action

Bay Area community members say “Drown Out Apartheid” at Israeli Philharmonic in San Francisco

Tour greeted with protests in six of seven U.S. cities


February 27 – Fifty members of the Bay Area human rights community protested the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra’s (IPO) performance at Davies Symphony Hall on Sunday evening, using chants, songs and street theater to highlight the IPO’s role in whitewashing Israel’s apartheid policies against the Palestinian people.  The orchestra’s performances are being met with protests in six of the seven cities on its US tour, including a protest last Tuesday at Carnegie Hall in New York and at Seattle’s Benaroya Opera House on Saturday night.

Concert-goers were greeted with a checkpoint proclaiming “Palestinians Must Stop, Israelis Can Go Around,” modeled after checkpoints wait in the West Bank where Palestinians are frequently forced to wait for hours.  The checkpoint was guarded by soldiers armed with musical instruments morphing into guns.  Protesters carried signs reading, “Don’t Harmonize With Apartheid,” “Israel Fiddles while Palestine Burns,” and “Justice Presto, Not Lento.”

The protest also featured a kazoo band.  Demonstrators banged pots and pans and blew whistles while chanting “drown out apartheid.”

Arla S. Ertz of the Friends of Deir Ibzi’a, one of the protest sponsors, explained, “We are here to let the Israeli government and the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra know that they cannot drown out the Palestinian people’s cries for justice.”  The US protests respond to the call from the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) to boycott cultural institutions like the IPO that work to normalize Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories and whitewash the oppression of Palestinians in Israel, the occupied territories, and in exile.

Concert attendees were given mock IPO programs featuring a cover photo of a past IPO performance in front of Israeli tanks for the Israeli army, and, on the inside, information about how the IPO promotes Israeli policies of discrimination and occupation.

The protest was met by an aggressive counter-demonstration.  Numerous human rights activists were physically assaulted by counter-demonstrators and concert attendees.  One fur-clad concert-goer tore up the mock program and stuffed it down the brassiere of the woman who offered it to her.

In Seattle on Saturday night, protesters stood up at the end of the performance and unfurled a ten-foot “END THE OCCUPATION” banner from seats in the center orchestra section.

By serving as cultural ambassadors for Israel, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra is supporting the “Brand Israel” initiative, a campaign by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to divert attention from Israel’s oppression of Palestinians and “show Israel’s prettier face, so we [Israel] are not thought of purely in the context of war.” The IPO refrains from criticism of Israel’s policies and is described by the American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra as “Israel’s finest cultural emissary.”  American Friends of the IPO further notes that “the goodwill created by [the IPO’s] tours…is of enormous value to the State of Israel. As a result, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra maintains its position at the forefront of cultural diplomacy and the international music scene.”

The growing international movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel has gained momentum in recent years, with performers like Elvis Costello, Gil Scott-Heron, Devendra Banhart, and the Pixies all refusing to play in Israel. Folk singing legend Pete Seeger has recently announced his support for the cultural boycott of Israel (http://adalahny.org/press-releases-other/folk-music-legend-pete-seeger-endorses-boycott-of-israel). In the wake of Israel’s attack on the Freedom Flotilla last May, actors Meg Ryan and Dustin Hoffman cancelled trips to Israel in protest.  The 2005 Palestinian civil society call for BDS (www.bdsmovement.net) until Israel respects Palestinians’ basic rights was endorsed by over 170 Palestinian civil society groups. The Palestinian BDS movement is a nonviolent campaign for Palestinian rights inspired by the international boycott campaign that helped to abolish apartheid in South Africa.

See photos from the action at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2011/02/28/18673315.php.  Video coming soon.


Posted in Boycott News, Cultural Boycott, U.S. Cultural Workers, U.S. Organizing

Pappe: Stuttgart Declaration represents a paradigm shift

Ilan Pappe

January 18, 2011 Following the controversy (*) caused by the Final Declaration of the Conference of Solidarity with Palestine, held in November 2010 in Stuttgart under the title “One Democratic State in Palestine with Equal Rights for all its Citizens “, Ilan Pappe emphasizes here the importance and relevance of this statement which represents a paradigm shift.

Recently the organizers of the Stuttgart conference and especially those who signed the Stuttgart declaration came under sever criticism from various writers and politicians in Germany and were exposed at time even to typical German center left abrasive language.

Setting aside the insignificant aspects of the dialogue — the style and the bizarre focus on one particular person who signed the declaration — it is important to stress the main issues and the principal points that made this conference such a significant contribution to the struggle for Palestine.

The scene of activism in the struggle of Palestine has an orthodoxy on the one hand, and a new challenging movement, on the other. The Orthodoxy based its vision of peace on a two states solution and on a deep conviction that a change from with the Israeli society, through the “peace camp” there, will bring about an equitable solution. Two fully sovereign states would live next to each other and would also agree on how to solve the Palestine refugee problem and will decide jointly what kind of a Jerusalem there would be. It also included a wish to see Israel more of a state of all its citizens and less as a Jewish state — but nonetheless retaining its Jewish character.

This vision was clearly based on the wish to help the Palestinians on the one hand and on realpolitic considerations on the other. It was and is driven by over sensitivity for the wishes and ambitions of the powerful Israeli party and by exaggerated consideration for the international balance of power and in particular it is calculated in a way that would fit the basic American position and stances on the issue. It is however a sincere position and in this respect it is different from the position of the political elites of the West which were much more cynical when they pushed forward a softer version of this Orthodox view — these politicians knew and still know that this discourse and plan allows Israel to continue uninterrupted the dispossession of Palestine and the Palestinians and is not in any way a credible formula for ending the colonization of Palestine.

This orthodox view has slowly vanished from the scene of activism. The official peace camp in Israel, and the Liberal Zionist organizations world wide still subscribe to it — as do the more leftist politicians in Germany and Europe. In some ways, dear friends such as Norman Finkelstein and Noam Chomsky still endorse it in the name of realpolitic and efficiency.

But the vast majority of activists had enough. The emergence of the BDS movement, through the call for such action by the Palestinian civil society inside and outside of Palestine, the growing interests and support for the one state solution and the emergence of a clearer, be it as small, anti Zionist peace camp in Israel, have provided an alternative thinking.

The new movement which is supported by activists all around the world, inside Israel and Palestine, is modeled on the anti-Apartheid solidarity movement. The whole of Palestine is an area that was and is colonized, and occupied in one way or form by Israel and in it Palestinians are subject to various legal and oppressive regimes and therefore the need is to change fundamentally the reality on the ground before it would be too late.

In other words we have witnessed a paradigm shift represented in this new activism (which of course has many elements of old ideas drawn from the PLO 1968 charter and activist groups such as Abna al-Balad, Matzpen, the PFLP and PDFLP which are updated to the current reality and which were deserted in 1993 in the name of realpolitic). The new paradigm insists on analyzing Israel as a settler colonialist state of the 21st century whose ideology is the main and principal obstacle for peace and seeks peaceful means of changing this regime for the sake of everyone living there and those who were expelled from there.

Activism for the sake of activism is useless. It has to be based on an analysis and suggest a prognosis. For this work activism for the sake of activism is useless it has to be connected to a clear analysis and prognosis. Zionism was and is a settler colonialist movement and Israel is a settler colonialist state and as long as this stay like this, even withdrawal from part of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and the creation of a Bantustan there would not end the dispossession and the ethnic cleansing that began in 1948. Bantustans did not end Apartheid in South Africa.

The new movement, in which the meeting in Stuttgart, was an important landmark, is galvanizing OUTSIDE support for Palestine and the Palestinians. It is not, and can not, be concerned with the question of Palestinian representation — this can only be resolved by the Palestinians themselves, or how best is for the Israeli Jews to accept the responsibility for the ethnic cleansing of Palestine and how to move on to a different future where both Arabs and Jews can live together. But in Stuttgart, especially on the podium there was a sizable representation for both Palestinians and Israelis and therefore the declaration wisely describe both their aspirations, supported morally by others, and an outline for action in Europe for bringing an end for the dispossession of Palestine — not just in small parts of it.

It is not ridiculous to aspire for a regime change in Israel; it is not naive to envision a state where everyone is equal and it is not unrealistic to work for the unconditional return of the Palestinian refugees to their homes. Moreover, such wishes do not obstruct the struggle against the current daily Israeli abuses in the land of Palestine; on the contrary, it gives the only possible rational explanation why we should oppose with the same commitment and moral force the demolition of houses in Jerusalem, in the Negev and in the Gaza Strip.

Stuttgart was a station, and the train continues now elsewhere to campuses in America, Churches in England and union halls in Europe. Hopefully it will get to synagogues as well and there is no need to confuse the struggle against Zionism, with anything else. This is as it is a formidable ideology, with a state and an army that harmed not only Palestinians but also Jews wherever they are, including in Israel.

We should thank the organizers, sign the declaration, and move on. Palestine can not wait for the internal German misgivings and inhibitions. We should boycott, sanction and divest as this is the only way forward for us from the outside so that both peoples in the inside would have fair chance to build a better future.

Ilan Pappe
12 January, 2011.

Ilan Pappe, Israeli historian, Professor of History at the University of Exeter (UK), has written many books and works with local and international journals. He is the author of : “The Making of the Arab-Israeli Conflict” (London and New York 1992), “The Israel/Palestine Question” (London and New York 1999), “La storia della Palestina moderna” (Einaudi 2004), “The Modern Middle East” (London and New York 2005) and “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine” (2006).

(*) The Final Declaration of the Conference was strongly criticized (see: “Ein- oder Zweistaatenlosung fur Palastina? ” and “Zur “Vision” einer Einstaatenlosung im Nahen Osten”) by Dr Ludwig Watzal who had not participated in the Conference. The Stuttgart Palestinian Committee has responded to this criticism in a letter entitled .”Wer verschanzt sich eigentlich hinter dogmatischen Barrieren?” (“Who is really hiding behind dogmatic barriers?”).)

Posted in Boycott, Boycott News, German Organizing

British Writers in Support of Palestine: Jerusalem Book Fair & Prize Eminently Boycottable

BWISP – Jerusalem Book Fair & Prize: Both Eminently Boycottable

It was announced yesterday that British novelist Ian McEwan has been awarded the Jerusalem Prize, awarded biennally at the Jerusalem Book Fair, to a writer whose work explores the theme of the ‘freedom of the individual in society’. The Book Fair is notable for its Fellowship scheme, in which selected ‘promising’ international editors and agents are treated as guests of the Fair, and offered tours of the city and environs. The Prize, which comes with a trip to Jerusalem and $10,000, has previously been awarded to authors including Susan Sontag, Arthur Miller and J.M. Coetzee. Five previous winners have gone on to be Nobel Laureates, giving the Prize a prestige beyond its relatively modest cash reward.

BWISP reacts with dismay to today’s further announcement that McEwan intends to accept the Prize. The writer stated in The Guardian:

“I think one should always make a distinction between a civil society and its government. It is the Jerusalem book fair, not the Israeli foreign ministry, which is making the award. I would urge people to make the distinction – it is about literature.

“I am not a supporter of the Israeli settler movement, nor of Hamas. I would align myself in the middle of a great many of my Israeli friends who despair that there will ever be peace while the settlements continue. I support the UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon’s call for a freeze on the settlements. But I also have no time for Hamas lobbing missiles into Israel either.”

In a sign of how far the BDS movement has come, The Guardian solicted a response from Betty Hunter, the general secretary of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, who said: “We welcome Ian McEwan’s statement about his disapproval of the settlements but we would point out that accepting this prestigious prize is a way of giving support to the Israeli government, which is dedicated to pursuing illegal expulsion policies against the Palestinian people. His acceptance will be used as a public relations exercise by the Israeli government.”

BWISP would like to support Hunter’s statement with the following arguments in favour of boycotting both the Jerusalem Book Fair and Prize:

1) Israel has illegally occupied East Jerusalem since 1967. The Arab residents of what ought to be the capital of a Palestinian state are instead subjected to house demolition, routine humiliation at checkpoints, and arrest and/or expulsion for peacefully demonstrating against these soul-destroying injustices. Considering also the continuing illegal settlements in the West Bank; the siege of Gaza; the detention and mistreatment of Palestinian children; and the murder of nine humanitarian aid workers on the Mavi Marmara; the ‘Jerusalem Prize’, with its theme of ‘individual freedom in society’, is both a cruel joke and a propaganda tool for the Israeli state.

2) The Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement is a Palestinian and international civil society campaign. It is not organised by Hamas; rather it represents a non-violent alternative to rocket attacks.

3) The Jerusalem Book Fair’s basic premise is ‘business as usual’ in an Apartheid state. According to a recent Fellow:

”Most evenings wound down in the wee hours at the American Colony Hotel in East Jerusalem, near the Old City. The last evening, the hotel’s bartender kept serving drinks and then played deejay. The group danced to Arabic music, to ABBA, to American pop. Said [one] literary editor, “The basement bar of the American Colony Hotel is now my favorite place in the world to do publishing deals.”

As an Israeli business venture that normalises and whitewashes the Occupation, and uses the Occupied Territories as a commercial venue, The Book Fair is as legitimate a target for boycott as Carmel Agrexco or Caterpillar Inc.

4) Furthermore, while the Fellowship website states that the fair is funded by publishers, the Book Fair could not operate or claim such prestige without its close links to civic and national government; Israeli universities; and the Israeli Tourish Board. In 2009 President Shimon Peres presented the Jerusalem Prize to Haruki Murakami. The ‘Friends of Jerusalem Award’ – which recognizes publishing people who have devoted themselves in one way or another to the Book Fair – is presented in ‘the surprisingly intimate surroundings of the council chamber of Jerusalem’s City Hall’. Publishers Weekly reports that the major Israeli retailers represented are Steimatzky and Academon, the latter of which has bookshops on all Israel’s university campuses. And the official site of the Fellowship Scheme provides links to the Israeli Tourist Board.

5) The Book Fair operates an apartheid policy in its Fellowship scheme, which excludes Arab editors and agents. In 2005 Publishers Weeklyconjectured that:
“Perhaps, if the hope of peace is realized, the fellows program could also include editors from Arabic countries.”

BWISP welcomes correction on this point, but to our knowledge the Book Fair gives absolutely no reason, justifable or otherwise, for excluding these literary professionals from the scheme.

6) The Book Fair treats the Arab-Israeli conflict as a clash of cultures, not a struggle to resist Occupation.

A 2005 Publishers Weekly article gives a flavour of the misleading impressions that Fellows receive from their hosts. One Fellow stated:

“Jerusalem is an awe-inspiring city to walk or drive around. It offers unique vantage points on the passions currently renting the fabric of modern life. As one of our guides put it, when you have a mosque built on top of a church which is built on top of a temple, you have a great visual of the exceptional vertical real estate battle inspiring the never-ending clashes of East and West in this city. And you understand why the problem is so difficult to solve.” Another Fellow was impressed by Jerusalem’s “sense of history, the sense of it being a debatable city in every way, with most cultures and religions laying claim to it at various times since its establishment.”

Similarly, on the official Fellowship website the traditional trip to the Dead Sea is described by a Fellow without even the words ‘West Bank’, and passing reference only to ‘Israeli history’; while another Fellow compares the Book Fair to one in Brazil with the comment: ‘Paraty’s past is in Colonial trade; Jerusalem’s history is Biblical of course’.

Finally, in 2005 the Fair hosted panel discussions and poetry readings on the theme of ‘Bridging Two Culture’, an event entitled Voices from Two Sides of the Bridge, which took place at the at ‘the crossing point between North Israel and Jordan, the Sheikh Hussein Bridge’. This no doubt well-intentioned effort to at least acknowledge decades of conflict, was essentially an extension of the Book Fair practice of normalising the Occupation. The boxed report on the 2005 event doesn’t mention the word ‘Occupation’, or quote more than one Palestinian.

To conclude:

In light of all these circumstances, BWISP strongly believes that writers, editors and agent of conscience should boycott the Jerusalem Book Fair and the Jerusalem Prize. We therefore ask Ian McEwan to reconsider his decision to accept this corrupt and cynical honour.

BWISP, however, is a loose affiliation of writers with common cause, but sometimes slightly different viewpoints. Some BWISP members feel that given McEwan’s express intention to accept the Prize, he should be asked to follow in the footsteps of the 2003 Prize recipient Arthur Miller. According to Publishers Weekly:

“Miller had a scheduling conflict and could not accept the award in person, but he did prepare a video acceptance and used the occasion to admonish Israel: “The Jews have from their beginnings declared that god above all means justice before any other value. We are the people of the book and the book, after all, is the Bible, and the Bible means justice or it means nothing.” Miller firmly believes that the settlement policy is a deviation from justice. Uri Lupoliansky, the new mayor of Jerusalem, and also the city’s first ultra-Orthodox mayor, spent about 15 minutes trying to discredit Miller’s point of view, but his speech, like many others in the course of the fair, was delivered in Hebrew and never translated into English–only a handful of the international visitors understood his comments. The mayor challenged Dan Kurtzer, the U.S. ambassador to Israel, who was accepting the award on Miller’s behalf, to take up his argument. Ever the diplomat, Kurtzer noted that while justice is a hallmark of Judaism, so is peace, truth and loving kindness.

If Ian McEwan is similarly truly opposed to the Israeli settlements and the obstacle to justice, peace, truth and loving kindness they represent, his conscience should dictate that he likewise use the occasion of his acceptance speech – and his ‘individual freedom in society’ – to explicitly criticise the ruthless, expansionist policies of the Israeli government. Only by making such a statement could he begin to justify his decision to override the wishes of Palestinian civil society, and accept this tainted Prize. A decision with which BWISP does not, and can never, agree.

Posted in Boycott, Boycott News, British Cultural Workers, British Organizing, Cultural Boycott

AMARC: World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters Joins BDS Movement

Recently, in La Plata, Argentina, the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC)  joined the BDS movement. See below for the AMARC statement and a solidarity statement from Tadamon! Montreal.

AMARC 10 motion to support Palestinian civil society call for BDS (Spanish and French available here)

–Whereas Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people comprises the following:

-Denial of its responsibility for the Nakba

– in particular the waves of ethnic cleansing and dispossession thatcreated the Palestinian refugee problem

– and therefore refusal to accept the inalienable rights of the refugees anddisplaced stipulated in and protected by international law;

-Military occupation and colonization of the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and Gaza since 1967, in violation of international law and UN resolutions;

-The entrenched system of racial discrimination and segregation against the Palestinian citizens of Israel, which resembles the defunct apartheid system in South Africa;

Whereas Israeli media institutions and the vast majority of Israeli journalists have either contributed directly to maintaining, defending or otherwise justifying the above forms of oppression, or have been complicit in them through their silence;

Whereas all forms of international intervention have until now failed to force Israel to comply with international law or to end its repression of the Palestinians, which has manifested itself in many forms, including siege, indiscriminate killing, wanton destruction and the racist colonial wall;

Whereas people of conscience in the international community of journalists and media producers have historically shouldered the moral responsibility to fight injustice, as exemplified in their struggle to abolish apartheid in SouthAfrica through diverse forms of boycott; Whereas the growing international boycott movement against Israel has expressed the need for a Palestinian frame of reference outlining guiding principles.

In the spirit of international solidarity, moral consistency, and resistance to injustice and oppression

– Be It Resolved That AMARC 10 supports the call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against Israel;

Be It Further Resolved That AMARC 10 representatives comprehensively and consistently boycott all Israeli media institutions and products as a contribution to the struggle to end Israel’s occupation, colonization and system of apartheid, by applying the following:

1. Refrain from participation in any form of cooperation, collaboration or joint projects with Israeli media institutions;

2. Advocate a comprehensive boycott of Israeli media institutions at the national and international levels, including suspension of all forms of funding and subsidies to these institutions;

3. Promote divestment and disinvestment from Israel by international media institutions;

4. Support Palestinian media institutions directly without requiring them to partner with Israeli counterparts as an explicit or implicit condition for such support;

5. Work toward the condemnation of Israeli policies by pressing for resolutions to be adopted by our respective radio stations, associations, and organizations.

Be It Further Resolved That, unless violating any of the above criteria, in the absence of official Israeli sponsorship, the individual product of an Israeli media worker per se is not boycottable.

Be it further Resolved that we do welcome the creation of community radios in Israel and welcome them to join AMARC.

Tadamon! Montreal Statement (Also in French)

As the world remembers the Israeli bombardment of Gaza at the turn of 2009, the Palestine solidarity movement continues to build the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israeli apartheid. Social justice networks globally are moving in unprecedented ways to back the growing BDS campaign, launched in occupied Palestine by civil society organizations in 2005.

Recently in La Plata, Argentina, the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC) held their 10th international conference and voted to join the global BDS movement.


In the first move by a major international media organization to back BDS, the decision is critically important due to the deep implication of AMARC member radio stations within grassroots social movements around the world from Africa, to Asia, to the Americas. As community radio has long been a key element to grassroots social justice movements internationally, the BDS resolution passed by AMARC in Argentina points to the increasing interconnections between the Palestine solidarity movement and liberation movements globally– an injustice to one is an injustice to all.

AMARC facilitates a network of more than 4000 community radio stations in over one-hundred countries. Since its formation over twenty-years ago, AMARC has focused on propelling the community radio sector globally in an effort to democratize the media in the face of increasing corporate media concentration. AMARC “advocates for the right to communicate at the international, national, local and neighbourhood levels and defends and promotes the interests of the community radio movement through solidarity, networking and cooperation.”

AMARC is truly a global social movement on popular access to communications and has been a revolutionary network in representing front-line community radio stations and bringing a voice to the voiceless. AMARC is truly global in its grassroots reach– from the Philippines to communities throughout Africa. In occupied Palestine, projects like the International Middle East Media Center (IMEMC), a member station to AMARC, produce regular community radio reporting on the human reality of Palestinian life under Israeli apartheid, rebroadcast by community radio stations globally.

In the context of increasing consolidation of corporate and state direct media globally, which often denies a voice to community-lead movements, community radio has emerged a key point of communication for grassroots movements in recent decades. AMARC has played a key role in facilitating this process at a global level and has hosted global community radio gatherings internationally. Prior to Argentina, AMARC held an international conference in Amman, Jordan. Given its’ geographical location and political proximity to Palestine, this global gathering in Amman provided an opportunity for members to learn first hand about Palestinian exile in Jordan and the ongoing Palestinian struggle for freedom.

A move to support BDS by a global media organization heightens the pressure on the Israeli government to end the siege on Gaza, to end the military occupation over the West Bank and to respect international law in relation to Palestine. Today, a global media network can now provide the networks internationally to continue building the BDS campaign globally via grassroots movements and community radio.

“People of conscience in the international community of journalists and media producers have historically shouldered the moral responsibility to fight injustice, as exemplified in their struggle to abolish apartheid in South Africa through diverse forms of boycott,” outlines the conference resolution, “AMARC supports the call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against Israel … as a contribution to the struggle to end Israel’s occupation, colonization and system of apartheid.”

Please take action and send your support to AMARC for their principled stand on Palestine.

Below, please find a few ways to get involved:

* read the full text of the AMARC statement & post/share via your networks, statement at: http://bit.ly/gB3Cld

* please email a letter of solidarity/support to: secretariat(at)si.amarc.org and cc info(at)tadamon.ca or by fax to +1-514-849-7129

* Ask your union, community group or radio station, association or collective to follow AMARCs lead and adopt a position/resolution in support of the international campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israeli apartheid.

* If you are interested in getting involved or supporting the global BDS campaign and live in Montreal please contact Tadamon!

In solidarity,

tel: 514 664 1036
email: info(at)tadamon.ca
web: http://www.tadamon.ca/


Posted in Argentine Organizing, BDS Success, Boycott News, Canadian Organizing, Cultural Boycott

USACBI Appeal to Macy Gray: Don’t legitimize apartheid

Dear Macy Gray,

You report on your Facebook page that you are receiving “a lot of letters from activists urging/begging me to boycott by NOT performing in protest of Apartheid against the Palestinians.” And you say that you “don’t know how my NOT going changes anything.”  The answer is that the cultural boycott of Israel is having the same effect on Israel as the cultural boycott of Apartheid South Africa once had in delegitimizing the crime of Apartheid there.

Activists, including a group of courageous Israeli activists, Boycott from Within, are urging you not to go because the effect of your appearing in Tel Aviv will be to send a strong message to Israelis that what they are doing to Palestine is acceptable.  You would be saying that their state and its policies, which systematically discriminate against Palestinians in Israel and in the Occupied Territories and Gaza, are normal and that Israel is just one democracy among others.

To go to Tel Aviv is to actively lend your support to Israel’s discriminatory and illegal occupation of Palestine, which has been recognized as a form of apartheid by statesmen like Jimmy Carter and Bishop Desmond Tutu, by numerous human rights groups including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, and by millions of ordinary citizens worldwide.

The Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa has stated in its report that “the three pillars of apartheid in South Africa are all practiced by Israel” in the Occupied Palestinian Territories [OPT]:

The first pillar “derives from Israeli laws and policies that establish Jewish identity for purposes of law and afford a preferential legal status and material benefits to Jews over non-Jews”.

The second pillar is reflected in “Israel’s ‘grand’ policy to fragment the OPT and ensure that Palestinians remain confined to the reserves designated for them while Israeli Jews are prohibited from entering those reserves but enjoy freedom of movement throughout the rest of the Palestinian territory.

The third pillar is “Israel’s invocation of ‘security’ to validate sweeping restrictions on Palestinian freedom of opinion, expression, assembly, association and movement in order to mask a true underlying intent to suppress dissent to its system of domination and thereby maintain control over Palestinians as a group.”

You would be playing in Tel Aviv while Palestinian homes are being demolished, Palestinian olive groves being bulldozed, Palestinian children being denied access to their schools and Palestinian farmers denied the right to cultivate their fields.  You would be singing in Tel Aviv while Palestinians live under the shadow of a gigantic separation wall that cuts villages off from their fields and whole communities from one another.  You would be applauded by Israelis while their bulldozers demolish Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem in order to construct illegal settlements for Jewish settlers.

Not to go to Tel Aviv is to send a strong and unambiguous message that Israel’s continuing assault on the Palestinian people, its ethnic cleansing of a people who have lived for centuries on that land, and its illegal occupation and settlement of East Jerusalem and the West Bank are NOT normal and NOT acceptable.  That does change things.  It changes how the world sees what is happening to Palestine, just as Elvis Costello’s refusal to go to Israel changed things.  Change is incremental, always, but you too can do your part.

In 1985, a group of musicians, including Steve Van Zand, Ruben Blades, Bob Dylan, Herbie Hancock, Ringo Starr, Gil-Scott Heron, Nona Hendryx, Pat Benatar, and Miles Davis, formed Artists United Against Apartheid  and vowed never to perform at Sun City in South Africa, because to do so would have been an acceptance of apartheid.

Would you have gone to play in Sun City then? How could you conscientiously play Tel Aviv now?  We urge you to consult your conscience and to decline to play Tel Aviv until such times as Palestinians and Israelis can live on terms of full political and social equality.


USACBI, the United States Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel




Posted in Boycott, Boycott News, Cultural Boycott, U.S. Cultural Workers, U.S. Organizing, USACBI in the News