Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Boycott-Israel campaign continues, at People's Food Co-op; Ann Arbor, Michigan

Voting begins Sept. 1st, in the store.

Click on flyer, once or twice, to enlarge it.

"Stop Bombing & Starving Palestinian Children"

Click on photo to enlarge.

Click on photo to enlarge.

Click on photo to enlarge.

"Rally calls for justice in Gaza:

"About 150 people attended the event Saturday."


On the Web at:

ANAHEIM - The Irvine man who wore a Palestinian flag on his head and waved another one with his hand said he had plenty of reasons to voice his concerns at an Anaheim rally Saturday, where about 150 denounced what they said were injustices in Gaza.

Saed Jabr, 23, said his father immigrated to the United States after he was booted from his native Palestine in 1948. He lost his family's riches, land and home overnight.

Family members who stayed behind weren't better off, Jabr said.

His 2-year-old Palestinian nephew is so traumatized from regular shootings that he only sleeps if his mother hugs him.

"He even has gray hair," Jabr added.

Stories like these were shared in private conversations and announced via microphone throughout the 1 to 2:30 p.m. rally organized by the Act Now to Stop War & End Racism organization. Protestors – from as far as Modesto – descended on the 500 block of S. Brookhurst Street and chanted "Free, free Palestine."

Many speakers blamed Israel for the bloodshed and misery in Gaza. Though Israel officially pulled out of Gaza, Muna Coobtee, an organizer of the event, said the Israeli military still controls the borders.

"In reality, the people in Gaza are living in the biggest prison in the world," Coobtee said.

Others, however, accused the group of distorting the truth.

Rabbi Marc Dworkin, executive director of the American Jewish Committee, called the rally a "travesty'' and challenged the allegations...

Contact the writer: 714-445-6688 or ccarcamo@ocregister.com


Monday, July 30, 2007

"Israel boycott campaign momentum grows"

by Emma Clancy,
27 July 2007

On the Web at:

The campaign to isolate Israel through boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) has taken meaningful steps forward in the past few months, with major trade unions in Britain, Ireland, South Africa and Canada declaring their support for an international boycott.

The BDS campaign has been gathering momentum since the 2004 "Call for Boycott" was issued by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), a coalition of more than 50 Palestinian civil society organisations.

A May 27 PACBI statement explained that the boycott campaign "is based on the same moral principle embodied in the international civil society campaign against the apartheid regime in South Africa: that people of conscience must take a stand against oppression and use all the means of civil resistance available to bring an end to oppression".

At its inaugural conference in May, the University and Colleges Union (UCU), which represents 120,000 academic and teaching staff, passed a resolution with a clear majority calling for a discussion within union branches about an academic boycott based on the PACBI call. The motion also encouraged UCU members to "consider the moral implications" of links with Israeli academic institutions.

In June, Unison, Britain's largest trade union representing 1.3 million public sector workers, passed a comprehensive resolution at its national conference in support of an "economic, cultural, academic and sporting boycott", and the right of return for the Palestinian refugees from the 1948 establishment of the State of Israel.

In early July, the Transport and General Workers' Union conference, representing 80,000 members, voted to organise its members in an economic and cultural boycott of Israeli products and sports contacts.

On July 6, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, representing trade unions and labour councils in the north and south of Ireland, passed motions condemning the European Union's policy of appeasement in the face of Israeli "crimes against humanity" and calling on the European Union to impose sanctions on Israel. The ICTU motions also pledged to "actively and vigorously" promote a campaign of divestment from Israeli companies and a boycott of Israeli goods and services.

A July 6 media release from the ICTU's Trade Union Friends of Palestine stated, "It should be noted that there was no opposition at all to any of the motions, despite the fact that they represent what must be one of the strongest positions adopted by any trade union congress in the world".

Also in early July, the Dutch government warned a Rotterdam-based company to stop working on the construction of the 700 kilometre-long "separation barrier" in the West Bank (referred to by Palestinians as the "apartheid wall"), as its construction was ruled illegal by the International Court of Justice in 2004.

The British National Union of Journalists (NUJ) passed a motion in favour of a boycott campaign at its annual conference in April, however the decision has since been overturned by the union's national executive council.

Academic freedom

The trade union motions have provoked a predictable backlash from Israel's government and some public institutions, and from Zionist politicians and academics in Britain and the US. Some of the strongest reactions have come from Zionists in the US, and much of the public debate has centred on the proposed academic boycott and its impact on "academic freedom".

The US Congress unanimously passed a resolution characterising the UCU's motion as "anti-Semitic". Despite former British PM Tony Blair's flustered attempts to assure the Israeli government that the UCU's resolution was "not representative of public opinion" in Britain, the Israeli labour federation the Histadrut is cutting ties with several unions involved in the boycott, and some Israeli politicians are calling for counter-boycotts of the countries involved. The pressure was too much for the leadership of the NUJ, which hastily overturned the membership's decision.

Following an anti-boycott campaign driven by pro-Israel journalists from the BBC and the London Guardian newspaper, the NUJ national executive council voted not to take any further action on the boycott as the British Trades Union Council had rejected the call. A 2005 boycott motion by the UCU's precursor had been similarly overturned at an emergency meeting of the leadership.

Leading US Zionist academic Alan Dershowitz, a Harvard law professor, has also called the union resolutions "anti-Semitic". According to the July 14 Guardian, Dershowitz has gathered a team of lawyers to "devastate and bankrupt" those seeking to boycott Israel, in the name of protecting academic freedom.

In June, Dershowitz led a successful campaign to have sociologist Norman Finkelstein denied tenure at De Paul University on the basis of Finkelstein's criticisms of Israel. Those protesting the loudest about infringing upon academic freedom and open discussion, such as Dershowitz, have been leading the campaign to silence academic and political dissent against Israel's policies.

In a July 25 article for Electronic Intifada, Margaret Aziza Pappano points out the hypocrisy of those calling for academic freedom for Israeli academics while failing to call for corresponding freedoms for Palestinians:

"Surely if university presidents are up in arms over a proposed boycott of Israeli academics, they must have something to say about the shutting down of universities, jailing and shooting of students and faculty, daily impeding of students and faculty from getting to classes, denial of student permits to attend universities, and revoking of visas to visiting scholars and researchers that characterizes academic life in Palestine. If a boycott of academic institutions is considered unfair, what does one call the methodical destruction of an educational system?"

UCU executive member Tom Hickey, who led the proposal for an academic boycott, points out that Israeli universities are not neutral institutions but rather are actively complicit in perpetuating the occupation. "No Israeli college or university has publicly condemned what is being done in the occupied territories in the name of every Israeli citizen. Some Israeli educational institutions have established campuses for settlers on illegally confiscated land; others conduct archaeological digs on land from which Palestinian farmers have been expelled."

Boycott tactic

Behind the cries of anti-Semitism and the debate about academic freedom, a serious debate over the effectiveness of the boycott tactic - and the legitimacy of its goals - has opened up within Israel's peace movement, in the public debate between Gush Shalom leader Uri Avnery and Dr Ilan Pappe.

This discussion about the boycott tactic relates directly to the different proposed solutions to the question of Palestinian self-determination. Avnery argues that the only solution is for a Palestinian state to be established alongside Israel, and that a general boycott aimed at the collapse of the Israeli state would fail and would drive the Israeli population into the arms of the far right. However, each day that the occupation is prolonged, the settlements and checkpoint networks expand, and the apartheid wall annexes more Palestinian land, an independent Palestinian state becomes less viable.

Pappe argues that a single democratic state, to which the Palestinian refugees are granted the right to return, is the only feasible and just solution, and that the BDS campaign is a crucial part of achieving this. In response to Avnery's claims that the Israeli population would not be moved to reconsider the basic premise of Zionism by a worldwide boycott, Pappe argues a boycott "will not change this position in a day, but will send a clear message to this public that these positions are racist and unacceptable in the 21st century ... They would have to choose."

From: International News, Green Left Weekly issue #719 1 August 2007.


Thursday, July 26, 2007

Emergency Palestine Protest in Orange County:
Stop the Siege on Gaza! End the Occupation Now!

Saturday, July 28, 1 pm
Brookhurst Plaza: 512 S. Brookhurst St., Anaheim, CA
Map and Driving Directions (Between Broadway and Orange)

Join members of the Arab community and their allies this Saturday, July 28, at 1 pm at an emergency protest against the continuing U.S.-backed Israeli siege on Gaza. The Rafah border checkpoint--the main route for Palestinians in Gaza to access work, food and other basic resources to survive--has been closed by Israel for six weeks straight.

Over 6,000 Palestinians are stranded at the checkpoint, unable return to their homes and families. The conditions are deteriorating each day. These Palestinians, like millions more around the world, want to return to their homes and land. They should not have to wait any longer. The economic and military siege on Gaza must end now!

We will gather on the corner of Brookhurst and Orange in the heart of Orange County's Arab American community to make our voices heard.
Bring flags, signs, banners and show solidarity with Palestine.

Many would like to see those who support peace and justice for Palestine divided. But our common struggle should unite us. Let's stand with the people of Gaza who stand steadfast, despite the brutality of this illegal occupation.

End the siege on Gaza now! End the occupation now! Free Palestine!

Sponsored by: Palestinian American Women’s Association, ANSWER Coalition (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism), Al-Awda-San Diego, Los Angeles and Riverside Chapters, National Council of Arab Americans, Free Palestine Alliance. Endorsed by: Council on American Islamic Relations-Los Angeles, Party for Socialism and Liberation, Palestine Aid Society, Al-Bireh Society, American Community Center of the Inland Empire, Union of Palestinian Women, Bethlehem Association, Palestine National Initiative (Al-Mubadara), United Arab American Chamber of Commerce, Campaign to End Israeli Apartheid and more.

For more info or to endorse, call 949-290-3486, 310-365-0017 or 949-369-6510 or email

PICKET: Boycott Israeli Apartheid!

Commemorating the Qana Massacre.

July 25th, 2007 | Posted in Israel, Boycott

On the Web at:


    PICKET: Boycott Israeli Apartheid!
    Saturday, 28 July 2007, 1pm - 3pm
    Indigo Bookstore, north-west corner of St. Catherine & McGill College
    (McGill Metro)
    Montreal, Quebec

Join us on Saturday, 28 July to remember the second Qana massacre in 2006, and to support the growing boycott against Israeli apartheid.

On July 30th, 2006, Israel’s air-force bombed the town of Qana in southern Lebanon, hitting a three-story apartment block in which Lebanese refugees fleeing the bombardments had taken shelter. The building collapsed under Israeli bombs, burying the people inside and killing many, including at least 16 children.

Human Rights Watch denounced Israel’s military action as a “war crime”, noting a consistent failure on the part of Israel to distinguish between civilians and combatants in its 34-day assault on Lebanon last summer.

Over ten years previously, Israel shelled Qana during the “Grapes of Wrath” military assault on Lebanon. In 1996, Israel hit a United Nations compound where an estimated 800 Lebanese civilians had taken refuge from the Israeli bombardment. An estimated 106 civilians were killed and many injured according to the UN.

A investigation conducted by the UN concluded that “it is unlikely that the shelling of the United Nations compound was the result of gross technical and/or procedural errors” on the part of the Israeli military. In short the attack on Qana was a targeted military attack on Lebanese civilians.

Israel must be held accountable for its war crimes in Lebanon, Palestine & throughout the Middle East region. Join us on Saturday, July 28th to remember the 2nd Qana massacre, and to support the growing boycott movement targeting Israeli apartheid. Israel’s destabilizing role in the Middle East region will never end until the unsustainable, unjust apartheid system, on which Israel is based, falls.

This special picket to remember the Qana massacre is part of a weekly picket of the downtown Montreal Chapters/Indigo bookstore as part of a national boycott campaign.

A Canada-wide boycott of Chapters/Indigo bookstore was launched in December 2006 to oppose the support that Heather Reisman and Gerry Schwartz, the company’s majority shareholders, give to Israeli apartheid.

Reisman and Schwartz have established a fund called “the HESEG Foundation for Lone Soldiers”, a program of financial support for former ‘lone soldiers’, non-Israelis who fight in the Israeli military, in defense of apartheid and occupation. Israeli ‘lone soldiers’ participated in last year’s military attack on the people of Lebanon.

At its peak, HESEG will distribute up to $3M a year to provide scholarships and other benefits to former ‘Lone Soldiers’ who remain in Israel.

As long as the majority shareholders maintain their financial links with HESEG, this campaign are calling on everyone to stop buying from Chapters, World’s Biggest Bookstore, SmithBooks, Coles, the Book Company and Indigospirit.

More information about the boycott of Indigo/Chapters in Canada:

* Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid Toronto: Resource Page.

More information on the Qana Massacre in Lebanon:

* BBC: Qana makes grim history again

* Massacre in Sanctuary; Eyewitness, Robert Fisk.

* Electronic Lebanon: Human Rights and Development

More information about the international movement of
Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israeli apartheid:

* Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Against Israel Campaign.

* Palestinian grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign.

* Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel PACBI.


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

High South African Union official detained by Israeli security in South African airport:

South African Municipal

Workers' Union


News Contact Us Campaigns Photos Documents/Resolutions Resources for Members Search

Press Statement July 19th 2007 11am

SAMWU First Vice President detained,
strip searched by Israeli security

On the Internet at:


The First Vice-President of SAMWU, Mr Xolile Nxu, was detained, interrogated and strip searched by Israeli security en route to the Second Annual Conference on Popular Non-Violent Resistance held recently in the West Bank village of Bil’in, Occupied Palestine. The conference was attended by 400 people from across the world, including EU Parliamentarian, Luisa Morgantini. Mr Nxu spoke on South African resistance to Apartheid, and also held discussions with Palestinians about the need for a One State solution to the current occupation.

Mr Nxu arrived at OR Tambo Airport at 9am for a flight leaving at 11am. He was detained by a man in plain clothes who claimed to be “The Chief of Security”. “I was taken to a small room and subjected to a long and abusive interview, during which I was forced to take off my belt and my pants” says Mr Nxu. The Israeli security eventually escorted Mr Nxu directly through customs and onto the plane itself, one minute before it was about to take off, after plastering all his luggage and hand luggage with red stickers.

SAMWU feels that it is very alarming that Israeli security has free reign in OR Tambo airport, with apparently even more power than customs officials. The union was under the impression that South Africa is a sovereign state and that our citizens are not accountable to the Israeli secret police. It is quite notable that no other country apart from Israel has their own offices, secret police and power to bypass customs at our airports.

Mr Nxu’s ordeal did not end there. When he arrived at Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv, Israel that night at 10pm he was again interrogated until after midnight. He was the last person to be released from the airport. Mr Nxu was then transported to a checkpoint in the West Bank where he was dropped off at 1am. Because of the apartheid system imposed by Israel on the Palestinians, no Palestinian was permitted to collect Mr Nxu at the airport. Mr Nxu had to cross the checkpoint before meeting the Palestinian activists who took him to his accommodation in Bil’in village.

The next day, Mr Nxu accompanied the Bil’in Popular Committee against the Apartheid Wall to a rally demanding the release of Palestinian detainees in the city of Ramallah, just 10 kms away. The group was suddenly stopped at a “temporary checkpoint” and informed that “people from Bil’in are no longer allowed to visit Ramallah”. Mr Abu Ma’an, an elderly leader of the Land Defence Committee in Palestine, was then arrested by Israeli soldiers when he told them that their roadblock was illegal. Mr Nxu then had to intervene and negotiate for Mr Abu Ma’an’s release. Thereafter, the group had to take another arduous route, driving through mountains, to get to Ramallah.

Mr Nxu said that “Israeli Apartheid is worse than South African apartheid. I cannot accept that the very people who were subjected to pogroms in Europe, who understand how it feels, are now doing the very same thing to the Palestinians that was done to them in Europe.”

“Israel must release all detainees now. Israel cannot pretend to want talks with the Palestinians while others are still in prison. America is supporting the consolidation of Israeli Apartheid. The Apartheid Wall itself contravenes the International Court of Justice decision that it must be dismantled. The forced removals of Palestinians from Jerusalem, the imprisonment of children, the humiliation of Palestinians at checkpoints, the theft of their land and house demolitions – all this is tantamount to refusing the Palestinians their rights”.

Mr Nxu also visited the eight meter high concrete wall built by Israel which divides the West Bank into ten Bantustans. “The Apartheid Wall is not for security but has been built specifically to set up a new Palestinian border and to steal land that is now annexed into Israel. Israel is not a democracy but an ethnocracy” said Mr Nxu.

When Mr Nxu left the country he was detained for eight hours at Ben Gurion airport and interrogated about each and every country stamp on his passport. Israeli security also threatened him physically in a failed bid to extract the names of the Palestinian conference organisers from him.

“What I want to know is why was I the only one at that airport who had to go through this? I want to return to a one state democratic Palestine and not a Bantustan homeland, next time I go back. Any two state solution will simply be a Bantustan solution” said Mr Nxu.


For comment call Xolile Nxu, SAMWU First Vice-President on 021 6971151 or 0767549331. For more information on Bil’in village, visit http://www.bilin-village.org/english/

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Palestine Crucified.

Cartoon by Naji al-Ali:

Click on image to enlarge.


What I卐RAEL & the U.S. are planning for 200 million people in the Arab world:

After millions are dead, from war and sanctions and occupation...

Iraqi women now stand in line, waiting for the occupation soldier to give them a meal.

Click on image to enlarge.

"Who Are We Forgetting?

Click on image, once or twice, to enlarge.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

"Slouching toward a Palestinian Holocaust"

by Richard Falk,
Professor Emeritus of International Law and Practice at Princeton University and Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara.

Article published in ZNet
July 05, 2007

On the Web at:

"And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?"

-- William Butler Yeats, The Second Coming

There is little doubt that the Nazi Holocaust was as close to unconditional evil as has been revealed throughout the entire bloody history of the human species. Its massiveness, unconcealed genocidal intent, and reliance on the mentality and instruments of modernity give its enactment in the death camps of Europe a special status in our moral imagination. This special status is exhibited in the continuing presentation of its gruesome realities through film, books, and a variety of cultural artifacts more than six decades after the events in question ceased. The permanent memory of the Holocaust is also kept alive by the existence of several notable museums devoted exclusively to the depiction of the horrors that took place during the period of Nazi rule in Germany.

Against this background, it is especially painful for me, as an American Jew, to feel compelled to portray the ongoing and intensifying abuse of the Palestinian people by Israel through a reliance on such an inflammatory metaphor as 'holocaust.' The word is derived from the Greek holos (meaning 'completely') and kaustos (meaning 'burnt'), and was used in ancient Greece to refer to the complete burning of a sacrificial offering to a divinity. Because such a background implies a religious undertaking, there is some inclination in Jewish literature to prefer the Hebrew word 'Shoah' that can be translated roughly as 'calamity,' and was the name given to the 1985 epic nine-hour narration of the Nazi experience by the French filmmaker, Claude Lanzmann. The Germans themselves were more antiseptic in their designation, officially naming their undertaking as the 'Final Solution of the Jewish Question.' The label is, of course, inaccurate as a variety of non-Jewish identities were also targets of this genocidal assault, including the Roma and Sinti ('gypsies'), Jehovah Witnesses, gays, disabled persons, political opponents.

Is it an irresponsible overstatement to associate the treatment of Palestinians with this criminalized Nazi record of collective atrocity? I think not.

The recent developments in Gaza are especially disturbing because they express so vividly a deliberate intention on the part of Israel and its allies to subject an entire human community to life-endangering conditions of utmost cruelty. The suggestion that this pattern of conduct is a holocaust-in-the-making represents a rather desperate appeal to the governments of the world and to international public opinion to act urgently to prevent these current genocidal tendencies from culminating in a collective tragedy.

If ever the ethos of 'a responsibility to protect,' recently adopted by the UN Security Council as the basis of 'humanitarian intervention' is applicable, it would be to act now to start protecting the people of Gaza from further pain and suffering. But it would be unrealistic to expect the UN to do anything in the face of this crisis, given the pattern of US support for Israel and taking into account the extent to which European governments have lent their weight to recent illicit efforts to crush Hamas as a Palestinian political force.

Even if the pressures exerted on Gaza were to be acknowledged as having genocidal potential and even if Israel's impunity under America's geopolitical umbrella is put aside, there is little assurance that any sort of protective action in Gaza would be taken. There were strong advance signals in 1994 of a genocide to come in Rwanda, and yet nothing was done to stop it; the UN and the world watched while the 1995 Srebrenica massacre of Bosnians took place, an incident that the World Court described as 'genocide' a few months ago; similarly, there have been repeated allegations of genocidal conduct in Darfur over the course of the last several years, and hardly an international finger has been raised, either to protect those threatened or to resolve the conflict in some manner that shares power and resources among the contending ethnic groups.

But Gaza is morally far worse, although mass death has not yet resulted. It is far worse because the international community is watching the ugly spectacle unfold while some of its most influential members actively encourage and assist Israel in its approach to Gaza.
Not only the United States, but also the European Union, are complicit, as are such neighbors as Egypt and Jordan apparently motivated by their worries that Hamas is somehow connected with their own problems associated with the rising strength of the Muslim Brotherhood within their own borders. It is helpful to recall that the liberal democracies of Europe paid homage to Hitler at the 1936 Olympic Games, and then turned away tens of thousands of Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany. I am not suggesting that the comparison should be viewed as literal, but to insist that a pattern of criminality associated with Israeli policies in Gaza has actually been supported by the leading democracies of the 21st century.

To ground these allegations, it is necessary to consider the background of the current situation. For over four decades, ever since 1967, Gaza has been occupied by Israel in a manner that turned this crowded area into a cauldron of pain and suffering for the entire population on a daily basis, with more than half of Gazans living in miserable refugees camps and even more dependent on humanitarian relief to satisfy basic human needs.

With great fanfare, under Sharon's leadership, Israel supposedly ended its military occupation and dismantled its settlements in 2005. The process was largely a sham as Israel maintained full control over borders, air space, offshore seas, as well as asserted its military control of Gaza, engaging in violent incursions, sending missiles to Gaza at will on assassination missions that themselves violate international humanitarian law, and managing to kill more than 300 Gazan civilians since its supposed physical departure.

As unacceptable as is this earlier part of the story, a dramatic turn for the worse occurred when Hamas prevailed in the January 2006 national legislative elections. It is a bitter irony that Hamas was encouraged, especially by Washington, to participate in the elections to show its commitment to a political process (as an alternative to violence) and then was badly punished for having the temerity to succeed. These elections were internationally monitored under the leadership of the former American president, Jimmy Carter, and pronounced as completely fair.

Carter has recently termed this Israeli/American refusal to accept the outcome of such a democratic verdict as itself 'criminal.' It is also deeply discrediting of the campaign of the Bush presidency to promote democracy in the region, an effort already under a dark shadow in view of the policy failure in Iraq.

After winning the Palestinian elections, Hamas was castigated as a terrorist organization that had not renounced violence against Israel and had refused to recognize the Jewish state as a legitimate political entity. In fact, the behavior and outlook of Hamas is quite different. From the outset of its political Hamas was ready to work with other Palestinian groups, especially Fatah and Mahmoud Abbas, to establish a 'unity' government. More than this, their leadership revealed a willingness to move toward an acceptance of Israel's existence if Israel would in turn agree to move back to its 1967 borders, implementing finally unanimous Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338.

Even more dramatically, Hamas proposed a ten-year truce with Israel, and went so far as to put in place a unilateral ceasefire that lasted for eighteen months, and was broken only to engage in rather pathetic strikes mainly taking place in response to Israeli violent provocations in Gaza. As Efraim Halevi, former head of Israel's Mossad was reported to have said, 'What Israel needs from Hamas is an end to violence, not diplomatic recognition.' And this is precisely what Hamas offered and what Israel rejected.

The main weapon available to Hamas, and other Palestinian extremist elements, were Qassam missiles that resulted in producing no more than 12 Israeli deaths in six years. While each civilian death is an unacceptable tragedy, the ratio of death and injury for the two sides in so unequal as to call into question the security logic of continuously inflicting excessive force and collective punishment on the entire beleaguered Gazan population, which is accurately regarded as the world's largest 'prison.'

Instead of trying diplomacy and respecting democratic results, Israel and the United States used their leverage to reverse the outcome of the 2006 elections by organizing a variety of international efforts designed to make Hamas fail in its attempts to govern in Gaza. Such efforts were reinforced by the related unwillingness of the defeated Fatah elements to cooperate with Hamas in establishing a government that would be representative of Palestinians as a whole. The main anti-Hamas tactic relied upon was to support Abbas as the sole legitimate leader of the Palestinian people, to impose an economic boycott on the Palestinians generally, to send in weapons for Fatah militias and to enlist neighbors in these efforts, particularly Egypt and Jordan. The United States Government appointed a special envoy, Lt. Gen. Keith Dayton, to work with Abbas forces, and helped channel $40 million to buildup the Presidential Guard, which were the Fatah forces associated with Abbas.

This was a particularly disgraceful policy. Fatah militias, especially in Gaza, had long been wildly corrupt and often used their weapons to terrorize their adversaries and intimidate the population in a variety of thuggish ways. It was this pattern of abuse by Fatah that was significantly responsible for the Hamas victory in the 2006 elections, along with the popular feelings that Fatah, as a political actor, had neither the will nor capacity to achieve results helpful to the Palestinian people, while Hamas had managed resistance and community service efforts that were widely admired by Gazans.

The latest phase of this external/internal dynamic was to induce civil strife in Gaza that led a complete takeover by Hamas forces. With standard irony, a set of policies adopted by Israel in partnership with the United States once more produced exactly the opposite of their intended effects. The impact of the refusal to honor the election results has after 18 months made Hamas much stronger throughout the Palestinian territories, and put it in control of Gaza. Such an outcome is reminiscent of a similar effect of the 2006 Lebanon War that was undertaken by the Israel/United States strategic partnership to destroy Hezbollah, but had the actual consequence of making Hezbollah a much stronger, more respected force in Lebanon and throughout the region.

The Israel and the United States seemed trapped in a faulty logic that is incapable of learning from mistakes, and takes every setback as a sign that instead of shifting course, the faulty undertaking should be expanded and intensified, that failure resulted from doing too little of the right thing, rather than is the case, doing the wrong thing. So instead of taking advantage of Hamas' renewed call for a unity government, its clarification that it is not against Fatah, but only that "[w]e have fought against a small clique within Fatah," (Abu Ubaya, Hamas military commander), Israel seems more determined than ever to foment civil war in Palestine, to make the Gazans pay with their wellbeing and lives to the extent necessary to crush their will, and to separate once and for all the destinies of Gaza and the West Bank.

The insidious new turn of Israeli occupation policy is as follows: push Abbas to rely on hard-line no compromise approach toward Hamas, highlighted by the creation of an unelected 'emergency' government to replace the elected leadership. The emergency designated prime minister, Salam Fayyad, appointed to replace the Hamas leader, Ismail Haniya, as head of the Palestinian Authority. It is revealing to recall that when Fayyad's party was on the 2006 election list its candidates won only 2% of the vote. Israel is also reportedly ready to ease some West Bank restrictions on movement in such a way as to convince Palestinians that they can have a better future if they repudiate Hamas and place their bets on Abbas, by now a most discredited political figure who has substantially sold out the Palestinian cause to gain favor and support from Israel/United States, as well as to prevail in the internal Palestinian power struggle.

To promote these goals it is conceivable, although unlikely, that Israel might release Marwan Barghouti, the only credible Fatah leader, from prison provided Barghouti would be willing to accept the Israeli approach of Sharon/Olmert to the establishment of a Palestinian state. This latter step is doubtful, as Barghouti is a far cry from Abbas, and would be highly unlikely to agree to anything less than a full withdrawal of Israel to the 1967 borders, including the elimination of West Bank and East Jerusalem settlements.

This latest turn in policy needs to be understood in the wider context of the Israeli refusal to reach a reasonable compromise with the Palestinian people since 1967. There is widespread recognition that such an outcome would depend on Israeli withdrawal, establishment of a Palestinian state with full sovereignty on the West Bank and Gaza, with East Jerusalem as capital, and sufficient external financial assistance to give the Palestinians the prospect of economic viability. The truth is that there is no Israeli leadership with the vision or backing to negotiate such a solution, and so the struggle will continue with violence on both sides.

The Israeli approach to the Palestinian challenge is based on isolating Gaza and cantonizing the West Bank, leaving the settlement blocs intact, and appropriating the whole of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. For years this sidestepping of diplomacy has dominated Israeli behavior, including during the Oslo peace process that was initiated on the White House lawn in 1993 by the famous handshake between Yitzhak Rabin and Yasir Arafat.

While talking about peace, the number of Israeli settlers doubled, huge sums were invested in settlement roads linked directly to Israel, and the process of Israeli settlement and Palestinian displacement from East Jerusalem was moving ahead at a steady pace. Significantly, also, the 'moderate' Arafat was totally discredited as a Palestinian leader capable of negotiating with Israel, being treated as dangerous precisely because he was willing to accept a reasonable compromise. Interestingly, until recently when he became useful in the effort to reverse the Hamas electoral victory, Abbas was treated by Israel as too weak, too lacking in authority, to act on behalf of the Palestinian people in a negotiating process, one more excuse for persisting with its preferred unilateralist course.

These considerations also make it highly unlikely that Barghouti will be released from prison unless there is some dramatic change of heart on the Israeli side. Instead of working toward some kind of political resolution, Israel has built an elaborate and illegal security wall on Palestinian territory, expanded the settlements, made life intolerable for the 1.4 million people crammed into Gaza, and pretends that such unlawful 'facts on the ground' are a path leading toward security and peace.

On June 25, 2007 leaders from Israel, Egypt, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority met in Sharm El Sheik on the Red Sea to move ahead with their anti-Hamas diplomacy. Israel proposes to release 250 Fatah prisoners (of 9,000 Palestinians currently held) and to hand over Palestinian revenues to Abbas on an installment basis, provided none of the funds is used in Gaza, where a humanitarian catastrophe unfolds day by day.

These leaders agreed to cooperate in this effort to break Hamas and to impose a Fatah-led Palestinian Authority on an unwilling Palestine population. Remember that Hamas prevailed in the 2006 elections, not only in Gaza, but in the West Bank as well. To deny Palestinian their right of self-determination is almost certain to backfire in a manner similar to similar efforts, producing a radicalized version of what is being opposed. As some commentators have expressed, getting rid of Hamas means establishing al Qaeda!

Israel is currently stiffening the boycott on economic relations that has brought the people of Gaza to the brink of collective starvation.
This set of policies, carried on for more than four decades, has imposed a sub-human existence on a people that have been repeatedly and systematically made the target of a variety of severe forms of collective punishment. The entire population of Gaza is treated as the 'enemy' of Israel, and little pretext is made in Tel Aviv of acknowledging the innocence of this long victimized civilian society.

To persist with such an approach under present circumstances is indeed genocidal, and risks destroying an entire Palestinian community that is an integral part of an ethnic whole. It is this prospect that makes appropriate the warning of a Palestinian holocaust in the making, and should remind the world of the famous post-Nazi pledge of 'never again.'


Friday, July 20, 2007

Ann Arbor City Councilmember rails against Boycott of Apartheid Israel,
at People's Food Co-op

Fresh local commentary on City Councilmember Lowenstein, on her war against the Boycott-Israel campaign, at Ann Arbor's People's Food Co-op.
See below.

And again today, the President of the People's Food Co-op Board, in downtown Ann Arbor, Michigan, expresses sheer horror...

...Horror that Israel's truly Nazi occupation of Palestinian land should ever be called... Nazi.
Again, she screams "anti-Semitism".

Again, she turns a cold, stone face to the starving, bleeding masses of Palestine, who are suffocating under a most racist Israeli military occupation:

"co-op and boycott"

July 19th, 2007

On the Co-op President's Blog, at:


"There have been a few new responses to my post June 4 on the proposed referendum. A number of differing positions being taken, which I welcome.

"Since I wrote that post a lot has happened. I have had the chance to talk to dozens and dozens of people - averaging a couple every day. Nearly all are calling and writing to express concern and upset about the proposed referendum. A few call to convince me of a correct position - irrelevant, my role is to support a fair and open election process and my personal opinion matters only as far as my personal vote for or against.

"There was the incident at the board meeting last week and the repricussions from that - including not knowing now where the board will meet next as we can not return to a place of business as we can’t guarantee the conduct of our members.

"The flyer which spells Israel using a swastika, and links to a web site using profanity and similar symbology, has been an issue I have not mentioned. It is being distributed independently from the group who brought the boycott referendum, but by former members of that group. Is there any question that the use of a swastika in that form and with the accompanying language is intended to be anti-semitic and inflammatory? The Boycott Israeli Goods group has spoken out against that specific flyer. I join them.

"I will continue to support the referendum process, as I am required to do, I hope the membership makes a wise decision, and I am particularly interested in making sure people understand the process we are now engaged in. But the issue will not dominate this blog, as it already dominates so much of my time. All comments to the blog have to be approved, and I will continue that as I get much more spam than real comments. Comments that are inflammatory and that don’t seem to contribute to a discussion will not be approved, or will be removed."


And more comments, from the Co-op President's Blog today.

They focus on Ann Arbor City Councilmember Lowenstein:

* on Lowenstein's attack against the Co-op boycott-Israel effort,

* on Lowenstein's attack against the City Human Rights Commission's landmark Palestine resolution--

All on the Web at:


Helen Fox Says:

  • "With all due respect to City Council Member Joan Lowenstein, her comment: “About five years ago, they used their bullying tactics to force the Ann Arbor Human Rights Commission to issue a resolution calling for divestment (essentially a boycott) from Israel” is simply not accurate. As Chair of the Ann Arbor Human Rights Commission at that time, I can attest that we looked carefully at both sides of the issue by inviting someone from the Jewish Federation to speak against divestment as well as hearing from community members who supported it. As many on the HRC at that time did not know much about the Israel Palestine situation, they had the opportunity to ask questions and hear dialogue between presenters who disagreed with each other. After that lively, but quite civil session, we put the matter to a vote. The decision was unanimous to advise City Council to support divestment. The resolution was drafted and redrafted over many weeks by HRC members, and finally approved to the satisfaction of all. This is the kind of process that the Co-op should be engaged in on such a serious and contentious topic. Of course it’s going to be divisive, since our diverse and well educated community has many people of Middle Eastern origin, many Muslims, and many Jews with a great variety of opinions, as well as concerned citizens from other backgrounds and religious persuasions. Since I am no longer a HRC member, I can’t speak to why they would have rescinded the divestment resolution. In fact, this is the first I heard of it."

  • Dovy Says:

  • "Ms. Lowenstein, I am Jewish. I am an Orthodox Jew. And I am pleased that people are undertaking a boycott of products from Israel. Since when is the State of Israel immune from criticism for its ethnocratic and racist actions that would never be tolerated in the United States, even in Anne Arbor! Any issue of harassment and violation of civil rights in the community is to be taken up with the police and courts. One issue has nothing to do with the other. However, for some strange reason “bringing together” means turning a blind eye to the horrible suffering of the Palestinians in a regime that violates EVERY fundamental value of the Jewish religion!

  • Please check www.nkusa.org for more information. "


    Friday, July 13, 2007

    "Calls grow for boycott of Israel"

    by Ed O'Loughlin

    July 14, 2007

    THE AGE (Australian daily)

    On the Web at:


    THE Dutch Government has warned a Rotterdam company to stop supplying construction equipment for Israel's 700-kilometre Palestinian separation barrier, a new turn in the international campaign to boycott Israel.

    According to news reports, the Dutch Foreign Minister, Maxime Verhagen, recently told the company that its contract to supply cranes was "undesirable", in light of the International Court of Justice's ruling, three years ago this month, that the project broke international law.

    This warning, from a government normally considered friendly to Israel, comes amid a mounting international campaign to boycott Israel because of its occupation of Arab territories seized 40 years ago.

    This week the US Congress unanimously passed a resolution condemning as "anti-Semitic" the proposed boycott of Israel by a British academics' union.

    "When Israel comes under attack from hatemongers, it is American values that are also under attack," the resolution's main sponsor, Congressman Patrick Murphy, said.

    Last week, the British Transport and General Workers Union joined Unison, Britain's largest union with 1.3 million members, in voting for a boycott of Israeli goods and sporting contacts, similar to that imposed on apartheid South Africa in the 1980s.

    In South Africa, the trade union congress COSATU is spearheading its own campaign.

    In the US, the family of the slain peace activist Rachel Corrie this week revived attempts to sue the huge Caterpillar Corporation for supplying the Israeli army with the armoured bulldozer that crushed their daughter in Gaza in March 2003.

    The calls for boycotts and divestment have so far had no practical impact on Israeli trade, academia or policies, but they have sparked a bitter counter-campaign from Israel and its supporters abroad....


    "Talk to the People's Food Co-op about Israel"

    Ann Arbor, Michigan
    July 13, 2007

    On the Web at:

    "Please contribute to putting pressure on the People's Food Coop not to carry Israeli products due to the violently racist behavior of the Israel military/government against Palestinians and the Arab world in general.

    "Israel brutalizes Palestinians on the basis of their racial identity just like the South Africans did, and activists have worked very hard to launch a referendum among the membership of the People's Food Co-op to not carry the products until the occupation of Palestine--which has gone on for decades-- is called off.

    "The scene today at the People's Food Co-op board meeting in Menlo was quite a sight. The activists had split due to a disagreement with Blaine's tactics, which include spelling 'Israel' with a swastika for the letter 's'. Today Blaine really let the board have it, calling them supporters of a Nazi occupation and calling them totally racist.

    "However, what he actually said was this: First he made a point that the co-op didn't need to run a referendum by its members when it decided to boycott tuna that wasn't 'dolphin-safe.' It was an issue of such basic ethics that they all unanimously adopted the boycott. Then he mentioned how easily they divested from apartheid South Africa, which was essentially the same issue facing Israel: state-controlled racism.

    "Then he takes out a canteloupe and described what Mozhgan who was there with us experienced in Palestine: an Israeli soldier repeatedly bashing a Palestinian's child against a wall until there was blood running down the wall.

    "So then he says, 'You have the power to put a stop to this today. You have the power to take a stand. We've given you hundreds of pages of documents to prove our point. And yet you still refuse.' That's when he started calling them racists and Nazis.

    "The sad thing is, even though it never helps the situation, he was telling the truth.

    "It's absolutely mind-boggling how Israel gets away with what it does. South Africa's apartheid was brought down with a chorus from the whole world and yet nobody will speak up for the Palestinians against Israeli oppression--not even when called to the task. And if you point out that Israel takes advantage of the memory of the Holocaust to deflect criticism, you're called the racist Jew-hating genocidal psycho.

    "All while Israel pushes another war upon us. This time they want us to destroy Iran. And they even have the nerve to say Iran is the country inciting genocide."



    * The People's Food Co-op phone # is 734-994-9174.

    * The Co-op store address is: 216 N. Fourth Avenue, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104. ]

    * The Co-op announcement of the Boycott-Israel Referendum is at:


    Wednesday, July 11, 2007

    "Irish Congress of Trade Unions calls for boycott and divestment"

    Press Release, Trade Union Friends of Palestine, 6 July 2007


    The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) -- representing trade unions and trades councils from the whole island of Ireland -- have today passed two motions on Palestine that are extremely critical of the actions of the Israeli government in its oppression of the Palestinian people.

    The two motions condemn Israel for its human rights abuses, its policy of ethnic cleansing and its war crimes. The motions have been proposed by Belfast Trades Council and by Derry Trades Council. Both motions go into considerable detail about the suffering endured by the Palestinian people under Israeli occupation. Conference also criticizes the British and Irish governments and the European Union for the failed policy of "constructive engagement."

    It characterizes EU policy as one of as "appeasement," and in particular criticises the EU for failing to end the preferential trading status granted to Israel under the Euro-Mediterranean Association Agreement -- as it is formally obligated to do under the human rights clause in Article 2 of that agreement.

    In voting for the motions Conference has not only brought to the attention of the world the massive and enduring injustices being carried out by the Israeli state and by those who collude with it -- companies such as Caterpillar and Irish Cement Roadholdings -- but it has also authorized the leadership of the Irish trade union movement to undertake a wide range of measures to oppose such oppressive actions and to register its solidarity. These include a commitment to "actively and vigorously" promote a policy of boycott and of divestment, to make direct representations to government and to the EU, and to mobilize EU-wide trade union solidarity action.

    Conference also called upon ICTU to send a senior delegation to the Palestinian territories to establish solidarity links. It also welcomed the establishment by ICTU of Trade Union Friends of Palestine.The ICTU is the largest mass organization of the Irish working class. It represents all sections of labor -- from low-paid to senior management -- and all sectors of industry and employment. At its last Biennial Delegate Conference in 2005 the ICTU commited itself to "campaign in solidarity with the Palestinian people."

    In its actions today conference has put meat on the bones of that policy. It is highly significant and it should be noted that there was no opposition at all to any of the motions, despite the fact that they represent what must be one of the strongest positions adopted by any trade union congress in the world. Today's conference has thereby demonstrated that all sections of the Irish working class and of Irish civil society continue to be appalled at the inhumanity of Israeli state policy. It demonstrates that the people of Ireland -- north and south -- are steadfast in their commitment to stand in solidarity alongside their long-suffering and heroic Palestinian brothers and sisters.

    How Israel helps Global Repression

    Excerpt from "Israel, the 'lobby,' and the United States"
    March-April 2007
    Article by Sherry Wolf

    When the exposure of human rights abuses in countries like Guatemala made it politically untenable domestically for the U.S. to continue to back this murderous regime, it outsourced the job to Israel. From the 1970s to the 1990s,

    "a civil war pitted a populist but, in this case, mainly Indian left against a mainly European oligarchy protected by a brutal Mestizo Army. As Guatemalan President Carlos Arana said in 1971, 'If it is necessary to turn the country into a cemetery in order to pacify it, I will not hesitate to do so.' The Israelis supplied Guatemala with Galil rifles, and built an ammunition factory for them, as well as supplying armored personnel carriers and Arava planes. Behind the scenes, they were actively involved in the bloodiest counter-insurgency campaign the hemisphere has known since the European conquest, in which at least 200,000 (mostly Indians) were killed."
    [ Source: Jeremy Bigwood, "Israel's Latin American trail of terror," June 5, 2003, http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Israel/Israel_LAmer_TrailTerror.html]

    In the past Israel has supplied arms and training to: the Suharto dictatorship in Indonesia for its genocide of 200,000 East Timorese; the Nicaraguan contras for its killing of at least 50,000 oppositionists; Chile's Pinochet dictatorship; the military dictatorships of Brazil, Argentina, El Salvador, and the list goes on.
    [ Source: Lance Selfa, ed., The Struggle for Palestine (Chicago, Illinois: Haymarket Books, 2002), page 34 ]

    "I learned an infinite amount of things in Israel, and to that country I owe part of my essence, my human and military achievements," wrote the former (and now deceased) head of the largest right-wing paramilitary group in Colombia, Carlos Castaño. As recently as 2002, the Guatemala-based Israeli company GIRSA supplied Colombian death squads with 3,000 Kalashnikov rifles and 2.5 million rounds of ammunition.
    [ Source: Jeremy Bigwood, "Israel's Latin American trail of terror," June 5, 2003,
    http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Israel/Israel_LAmer_TrailTerror.html ]
    "Another UK Body Boycotts Israel:

    Monday, July 9, 2007

    Picketing the Bookstore that Kills


    Boycott Indigo-Chapters,
    Boycott Israeli Apartheid


    Saturday, 30 June 2007, 13:00 - 15:00
    Indigo Bookstore, NW corner of Ste. Catherine
    & McGill College (McGill Metro)

    A boycott of Chapters/Indigo bookstore was launched in December 2006 to oppose the support that Heather Reisman and Gerry Schwartz, the company’s majority shareholders, give to Israeli apartheid. Reisman and Schwartz have established a fund called “the HESEG Foundation for Lone Soldiers”, a program of financial support for former ‘lone soldiers’, non-Israelis who fight in the Israeli military, in defence of apartheid and occupation. The HESEG Foundation contributes up to 3M$ per year in benefits to former lone soldiers.

    More information about the boycott of Indigo/Chapters in Canada:

    More information about the international movement of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israeli apartheid:


    Major union boycotts Israel;

    Union leader declares Israel's "behavior was often not different from that of the Nazis..."

    "UK's T&G union decides to boycott Israeli products"

    British Transport and General Workers Union votes in favor of launching consumer boycott on all products made in Israel in protest of 'Israel's treatment of the Palestinian people.'

    Histadrut labor federation: We'll cut all ties with them

    by Tani Goldstein

    Published in "Yedioth Ahronoth" (YNet)

    July 8, 2007

    Full article on the Web at:

    "The British Transport and General Workers Union (T&G) has decided to launch a consumer boycott on products made in Israel, in protest of Israel's policy in the West Bank.

    "T&G is one of the United Kingdom's largest trade unions, representing some 800,000 workers.

    British Condemnation

    UK foreign secretary: Academic boycott a mistake / Hagit Klaiman

    Acting President and Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik meets in Britain with former Prime Minister Tony Blair, Prince Charles. Foreign Secretary David Miliband tells her University and College Union's vote in favor of facilitating boycott of Israeli academics caused damage to British citizens
    Full story

    "The decision was made about a month after another British trade union, UNISON, also decided to launch an economic boycott on Israel, and after the University and College Union's voted in favor of considering a boycott of Israeli academics and institutions.

    "T&G voted in favor of a resolution calling for a boycott on Israeli products during a meeting held over the weekend in Brighton. According to the union, the decision was made 'in protest of Israel's treatment of the Palestinian people.'

    "The Union declared that it hoped to repeat the precedence of South African, which was forced to halt its apartheid policy following an economic boycott. We are working to free the Palestinian people from the Israeli war machine, the union said.

    "One of the union's leaders, Eric McDonald, was even quoted by British pres as saying that Israel was intolerant and that its behavior was often not different from that of the Nazis..."