Friday, February 27, 2009

University sit-in forces divestment of stock in companies that supply military equipment to Israel.

"Power of student action forces university to divest its holdings in major arms companies"

A THREE-DAY sit-in by students protesting against their university’s investment in major arms companies has ended.

Cardiff Students Against War yesterday finished its occupation of the Shandon Lecture Theatre in Cardiff University’s main building on Park Place after bosses agreed to pull funds out of two companies.

Cardiff University has given students written confirmation that they have divested from the arms trade and have instructed fund managers not to reinvest.

Johnny, a spokesman for the coalition, said: “The mood has been very upbeat throughout. People have felt that what they are doing is really achieving something.

“They felt they’ve made a difference.

“There’s been a buzz around the campus.

“It certainly shows that student activism is on the increase.”

During the sit-in, the 100 or so participants listened to talks from visitors, took part in a live link-up with Gaza and watched documentaries about the conflict in the Middle East. A student spokeswoman, who did not want to be named, said: “The university conceded to our key demand which was to divest from the arms trade. They have sold all their shares in BAe and General Electric and instructed their fund managers not to invest in the arms trade.

“This is a major success for the occupation.

“We’ve been the most successful across the UK. It confirms the power of student action. A lot of us have been campaigning against the arms trade for some time.

“We’ve been consistently ignored by the university. They have forced us to take this action.

“It’s not interested in the will of the student, which is why we were forced to take action.”

The sit-in began on Tuesday when students massed outside their union building with a Books Not Bombs protest, where students brought along a book to signify their support for education, not war.

They claimed the university had money invested in BAe Systems and General Electric, which it accuses of supplying military equipment to Israel.

They were refusing to leave the lecture theatre until their demands were met. They were also calling for Cardiff University to be twinned with Gaza and for five students from the troubled region to be given scholarships at Cardiff University.

It is the 28th such protest to take place on campuses around the United Kingdom.

A Cardiff University spokesman said: “In the course of the last few days the University’s investment managers have divested the University of its holdings in both BAe and the infrastructure arm of General Electric.”


Thursday, February 26, 2009

University of Plymouth students demand boycott against Israeli goods on campus.

Plymouth University Occupied!

Feb. 25, 2009

On Indymedia at:

Around 20 students from the University of Plymouth have occupied room 202 of the Smeaton building, in the middle of campus.

Our demands are as follows:

1. That the University of Plymouth issue a statement condemning the recent and continuing atrocities perpetrated by Israel in the Gaza strip. The University should officially denounce the attacks on civilians, the systematic obstruction of humanitarian aid and the targeting of academic institutions, hospitals, places of worship and international peace keeping facilities.

2. That the University of Plymouth cease to invest directly or indirectly in companies complicit in human rights abuses in the Gaza strip and internationally.

3. That no Israeli goods or goods produced by companies that have directly funded the State of Israel be sold on campus.

4. That the University of Plymouth provide complete financial scholarships for six students from Gaza University which has been bombed by the Israeli military.

5. That any surplus educational resources available to the University of Plymouth are provided to Gaza University and that the shipping of these resources be fully paid for by the University of Plymouth.

6. That there be no legal, financial, or academic measures taken against anyone involved in or supporting the occupation. All those involved will be guaranteed free movement in and out of the occupied space, with open access to electricity and internet.

We await your response to organise a formal meeting between delegates of our occupation and with university management to negotiate these demands.


York University demonstrations for boycott against Israel.

Click on images to enlarge.

York University students demand a cut of all ties with Apartheid Israel, year after year:

Pro-Palestine, Pro-Israel supporters face off in Vari Hall

Denoja Kankesan reports on what happened when Pro-Palestine supporters and Pro-Isr...
Feb. 23, 2009, ExcalWeb

Protest in York University's Student Centre
03:05 - Feb 23, 2009 - 3 days ago -

00:41 - Nov 16, 2006 - 2 years ago -


"Face off in Vari Hall"

Written by By Denoja Kankesan

THE EXCALIBUR (York University; Canada)

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Israeli and Palestinian supporters hold simultaneous rallies at Vari Hall

Photo by Jad Yaghmour and Alex Pylyshyn

Photo by Jad Yaghmour and Alex Pylyshyn

Pro-Palestinian Daniel Freeman-Maloy (left) and Pro-Israeli Mark Rootenberg (right) are two of many demonstrators who faced off at Vari Hall on Feb. 12

Ethnic tensions at York University continued to escalate as students on opposing sides of the Israel-Palestine conflict met in Vari Hall. On Feb. 12, pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian student groups held simultaneous protests with only a wall of campus security guards separating both sides.

Students in solidarity with the Palestinians stood together to contribute to what they call a global movement that asks international governments to support a boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel. “The world has watched over the course of recent months as Israel not only brutally assaulted Gaza – killing 1,300, wounding many more and destroying 22,000 buildings in a territory that was already devastated – but also then moved to impose a siege that is effectively starving Palestinians,” said Palestinian supporter Daniel Freeman-Maloy.

“In this context there is an urgent need for international action to impose constraints on the Israeli state so that it ceases these violent policies and its policies of occupation and discrimination.” Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA) member Hala Farah said the pro-Palestinian demonstrators are asking York University president Mamdouh Shoukri to release a statement condemning Israel’s bombing of educational institutions in Gaza.

A clash of ideologies

Photo By Alex Pylyshyn

Photo By Alex Pylyshyn

York security forms a human barrier between pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian student protesters.

“Our most important goal here on campus is to promote an academic boycott of educational institutions in Israel. By implementing an academic boycott against Israeli institutions, we can pressure the Israeli government to stop the atrocities they are committing in Gaza,” Farah said. Jewish student groups at York University, including Hillel at York and Hasbara Fellowships at York, organized a counter-demonstration in response to the pro-Palestinian rally held by SAIA. Aaron Rosenberg, co-president of Hasbara Fellowships at York, said Palestinian supporters are spreading fear among Jewish students at York University. “SAIA and other groups that want to spread hate on this campus decided to hold a protest to intimidate and harass Jewish and Israeli students. Jewish groups decided to stand up and say we’re not going to take this type of terror on campus.”

Not all members of the Jewish community, however, feel threatened by Palestinian supporters.

“This isn’t a Jewish versus Palestinian conflict. There are a lot of Jews in the world in growing numbers who oppose Israel’s oppression of Palestine. The Jews who are afraid on campus, I think, are afraid of the extreme pro-Israel lobby. They are afraid of expressing their opinion. They feel that they might be shunned. I think that’s the real fear going on, not fear of Palestinians,” said Andy Lehrer, a member of the group Independent Jewish Voices. “The only time I’ve experienced hatred because I was Jewish was when I attend a counter-demonstration against a pro-Israel rally, and they’ve said, ‘You’re not really Jewish’ and ‘Blow yourselves up,’” he said. Palestinian supporters then marched to the office of the York University Foundation – the university’s fundraising arm – to present a letter asking them to provide more transparency in their financial transactions.

Freeman-Maloy criticized Hillel and Hasbara for creating an atmosphere that worked to drown out the voices of Palestinian supporters. “There is a constituency, in this case organizations like Hillel and their associates off campus, who react fanatically to any concern being expressed for Palestinian human rights and any criticism being made of Israeli war crimes and crimes against humanity. “Here we saw a demonstration trying to bring attention to these crimes, confronted with a counter-demonstration that seeks to make it impossible to hear speeches and to make it easier to sideline the issue by making the demonstration seem unpleasant so people ignore it,” he said. Jewish students have complained of alleged increases in anti-Semitism at York University in recent weeks.

“I think it’s an incredibly violent protest. I think that the intimidation factor is anti-Semitic, and I think it’s anti-Zionist,” Rosenberg said. Police were not called and there were no arrests made. Samuel Nithiananthan, a second-year political science student who attended the rally, denied Rosenberg’s allegations that Palestinian supporters were engaging in anti-Semitic behaviour. “This is not something against Jewish people. This is against the killing of the people in Palestine. This is against the Israeli government, not the Jewish people,” he said. Rosenberg accused SAIA of spreading the message that Israel did not have the right to exist. He also accused minority groups supporting Palestine of supporting terror. “The protest is inherently anti-Zionist. Their message is to destroy the Israeli state and Israeli Jewish people. Anti-Zionist is being against the Jewish state, being against the Jewish right to have a homeland and their right to exist,” Rosenberg said. “I think anybody that came to support the Palestinian protest came here to promote terror, to promote hatred. I don’t care where you are from, your ethnicity, your background. That will not be tolerated.” SAIA spokesperson Adonis El-jamal disagrees.
“Palestinians are not questioning a Jewish homeland. They just want equal rights just like Jewish people want,” El-jamal said.

“We are trying to say that Zionism is different from Judaism. Zionism is a political ideology that hinges on the expulsion of the indigenous people of Palestine, who are the Palestinians. It is not rooted in religion; it uses religion to further political ambition,” he said. Israeli supporters claim they want peace and that they support Palestine’s right to exist. “I think that Palestinians have a right to exist as a state. I believe the Palestinian people have territory. There is no occupation of Gaza and in majority of places in the West Bank,” Rosenberg said. “The problem remains that the Palestinian leadership have not built an infrastructure for a state.”

Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) launched a military campaign against Hamas in the Gaza strip in December 2008. Israel stated the strikes were in response to repetitive rocket and mortar attacks from the Gaza Strip into Israel. The IDF targeted Hamas bases and police training camps. Civilian infrastructure, including mosques, houses and schools, were also attacked. “What we have seen over the years is that there has been a direct considerate effort to destroy Palestinian infrastructure. When Gaza was under siege, where no medical supplies, no food rations or no other outside aid was being supported, it was a direct attack on Palestinian infrastructure,” El-jamal said.

Palestinian supporters questioned the motives of Israel supporters who came dressed in IDF paraphernalia. “When people are speaking of peace and wearing the paraphernalia affiliated with armed forces that are engaged in ongoing crimes against humanity, those statements ring quite hollow and can essentially be dismissed as propaganda,” Freeman-Maloy said. Rosenberg defended the choice of clothing. “IDF is a peaceful organization. I think that Jewish students need to stand together behind their army that protects them,” Rosenberg said.


NYU demonstration for "boycotting companies that supported the Israeli military"--

--reverberates on campuses 3,000 miles away:

"Playing the part of a protester"


Originally published: 2/26/09

THE SANTA CLARA (Santa Clara University; Santa Clara, California)

On the Web at:

New York University's Kimmel Student Center was under occupation by a group of nearly 80 student protestors Feb. 18-20.

Though the campaign's goals, essentially to raise opposition to Israeli military action in Gaza, were certainly reasonable, the protestors' methods were ineffective because they were more show than substance.

This student "occupation," or Take Back NYU! (TBNYU) campaign, is part of a wider international trend that gained momentum following Israel's most recent assault on Gaza.

Beginning in mid-January, over a dozen universities in the U.K. staged similiar sit-in protests, beginning at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London on Jan. 13.

On Feb. 17, Edinburgh University's own student sit-in ended as students agreed to leave George Square lecture theatre.

Protests like this are a legacy of the 1960s, in which sit-ins were effectively utilized in ideological battles ranging from Civil Rights (The Greensboro Sit-In February 1, 1960) to Vietnam opposition. Their recent revival, which, according to CNN, has been aided by social networking sites, has led some to claim a revival of 1960s protest spirit. However, "Student activism is still a relatively minority activity compared to its heyday," according to Keith Kahn-Harrisin, a sociologist at the Centre for Urban and Community Research at Goldsmiths College in London.

The protest at NYU strongly paralleled other student sit-ins in the U.K. After settling down in their school's cafeteria, the student activists announced that they would remain there until NYU's administration met their originally unclear demands, which eventually ranged from boycotting companies that supported the Israeli military to providing reconstruction aid for the University of Gaza, which was damaged in a December Israeli airstrike....


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Swarthmore College campaign to divest from Israeli Apartheid.

Click on photo to enlarge it.

Swarthmore College divestment Web site:


February 12, 2009 Update

Hampshire College has become the first US educational institution to divest from Israel! Learn more

Our Open Letter To Swarthmore College

We, the undersigned alumni and associates of Swarthmore College, deplore the ongoing atrocities and injustices committed by the State of Israel against Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank and Israel. Acknowledging that Swarthmore's divestment from South Africa had a positive impact on ending apartheid, we demand that Swarthmore College divest fully from any entity that contributes to or supports the apartheid in Israel/Palestine.

Divestment targets include:

  • U.S. companies doing business in Israel;
  • companies that manufacture or sell military equipment used by Israel;
  • Israeli companies;
  • any other holdings that financially support or sustain Israeli state sponsored apartheid.

In solidarity with those living under an unjust occupation, we pledge to withhold all future donations to Swarthmore until full and complete divestment is enacted and made public. When Swarthmore acts in accord with its Quaker tradition and invests in peace, we pledge to multiply our generosity.

Signed by,

(View Signatures)


Haverford College campaign "to divest from Israeli Apartheid."

The Haverford Campaign

"If I were to change the names, a description of what is happening in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank could describe events in South Africa."

-- Archbishop Desmond Tutu, December, 1989.


Hampshire College Divests!

Hampshire College in Amherst, MA, the first U.S. college to divest from South African apartheid, has become the first U.S. college to divest from Israeli apartheid. Congrats Hampshire and SJP! (More Information)

Our Open Letter To Haverford College

We, the undersigned alumni and associates of Haverford College, deplore the ongoing atrocities and injustices committed by the State of Israel against Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank and Israel. Acknowledging that Haverford's divestment from South Africa had a positive impact on ending apartheid, we demand that Haverford College divest fully from any entity that contributes to or supports the apartheid in Israel/Palestine.

Divestment targets include:

  • U.S. companies doing business in Israel;
  • companies that manufacture or sell military equipment used by Israel;
  • Israeli companies;
  • any other holdings that financially support or sustain Israeli state sponsored apartheid.

In solidarity with those living under an unjust occupation, we pledge to continue this campaign until Haverford acts in accord with its Quaker tradition and invests in peace.

Signed by,

(View Signatures)


Haverford College:

Divest from Israeli Apartheid.

Bryn Mawr & Haverford Colleges

"Bi-College News"

The Haverford Campaign Calls for Divestment from Israel

By Nathan Karnovsky

February 24, 2009

"Bi-College News" (Bryn Mawr & Haverford Colleges; Pennsylvania)

On the Web at:

“Do you notice that, even among educated people, there is general recognition of the fact that the modern state of Israel was founded as a symbol of the suffering of humanity…but almost no awareness that this has been at the expense of another people who were innocent of guilt?”

These are the words of Harry Saul, a member of Haverford College’s Class of 1972.

Saul is a member of a group of Haverford alumni that have started The Haverford Campaign, at

The Campaign calls upon Haverford to divest fully from any entity that contributes to or supports what he calls “the apartheid” in Gaza, the West Bank, and Israel.

Saul was inspired to start this campaign by his son, a member of the Students for Justice in Palestine group at Hampshire College, who recently helped convince the school’s administration to completely divest.

“The goals of the campaign are twofold,” Saul said. “First to get the college to completely divest…second…to [help in] raising awareness.”

According to Saul, one of the major challenges is educating people about the role that the United States plays in the conflict.

“People in this country need to first know about what their government is doing,” said Saul. “There is little awareness that the weapons…being used to inflict suffering…are made by American companies and largely paid for by people living in the United States.”

Although as Saul acknowledges, “it is notoriously difficult to get information about investments from private colleges,” he is confident that Haverford must be investing in at least some of the companies that provide support to Israel.

Saul cites Caterpillar, United Technologies, General Electric, ITT Corporation, Motorola, and Terex as a handful of the major companies that must be divested from.

When asked about his use of the word “apartheid” to describe the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Saul responded that the accounts of the fighting reminded him of colonial war.

“It was more like reports I’ve read about the British circling and killing basically defenseless aborigines in Australia,” he said.



"When all the protests and UN resolutions don’t help...", boycott against Israel is legitimate, says candidate for Mayor.

"Duisburg candidate for mayor:
"Boycott Israel"

Published: 25 Feb 09, 17:23

Online at:

Hermann Dierkes, a leftist candidate for mayor in the Ruhr Valley city Duisburg, on Wednesday defended his call for a boycott of Israel for its treatment of the Palestinians despite widespread criticism he was stoking anti-Jewish sentiments in Germany.

“When all the protests and UN resolutions don’t help stop continual human rights abuses then such methods are legitimate,” he said in a statement released by the North Rhine-Westphalian regional chapter of his hard-line socialist party The Left.

“To compare it to the racist Nazi boycott of Jewish businesses is highly disingenuous.”

Dierkes unleashed a storm of criticism this week after saying the Holocaust could not be used as an excuse for Israel’s recent military campaign in the Gaza Strip....


Labor Unionists demand boycott against Apartheid Israel-- even refusing to unload Israeli goods.

"Unionists speak up for Palestine"

A group of labor movement activists call for support for the growing boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel.

(Vanissa Chan)

(Photo by Vanissa Chan | SW)

"For the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent."
--Martin Luther King Jr., "Beyond Vietnam," April 4, 1967

WE SALUTE the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union in Durban and Western Australian dock worker members of the Maritime Union of Australia for refusing to handle Israeli shipping.

Theirs is a courageous response to Israel's attack on Palestinians in Gaza that, since December 27 alone, has left some 1,400 dead and 5,000 wounded--nearly all of them civilians.

This action is in the best tradition of dock workers in Denmark and Sweden (1963), the San Francisco Bay Area (1984) and Liverpool (1988), who refused to handle shipping for apartheid South Africa; Oakland dock workers' refusal to load bombs for the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile (1978); and West Coast dock workers' strike against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (2008).

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) rightly "calls on other workers and unions to follow suit and to do all that is necessary to ensure that they boycott all goods to and from Israel until Palestine is free."

COSATU's appeal is particularly relevant for workers in the United States, whose government stands behind Israel's war against the Palestinians, and without which Israeli apartheid cannot continue. In the past 10 years alone, U.S. military aid to Israel was $17 billion; over the next decade, it will be $30 billion. As in Afghanistan and Iraq, it is U.S. aircraft, white phosphorous and bullets that kill and maim on behalf of the occupiers. Both the Democratic and Republican Parties condone the slaughter in Gaza.

Such support bolsters Israel's longstanding role as watchdog and junior partner for U.S. domination over the oil-rich Middle East--and beyond. In that capacity, Israel was apartheid South Africa's closest ally.

As with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, workers in the United States pay a staggering human and financial price, including deepening economic crisis, for U.S.-Israeli war and occupation. Yet in contrast to trade union bodies in South Africa, Australia, Denmark, Britain, Canada and elsewhere, most of labor officialdom in this country--often without the knowledge or consent of union members--is a main accomplice of Israeli apartheid.

For more than 60 years, it has closely collaborated with the Histadrut, the Zionist labor federation that has spearheaded--and whitewashed--apartheid, dispossession and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians since the 1920s. U.S. labor leaders have plowed at least $5 billion of our union pension funds and retirement plans into State of Israel Bonds.

In April 2002, while Israel butchered Palestinian refugees at Jenin in the West Bank, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney was a featured speaker at a belligerent "National Solidarity Rally for Israel."

In July 2007, the Jewish Labor Committee, a Histadrut mouthpiece, enlisted top officials of the AFL-CIO and Change to Win to condemn British union support for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel.

Now, by their silence, these same leaders are complicit in Israel's massacre in Gaza.

These policies echo infamous "AFL-CIA" support for U.S. war and dictatorship in Vietnam, Latin America, Gulf War I, Afghanistan and elsewhere. It strengthens the U.S.-Israel war machine and labor's corporate enemies, reinforces racism and Islamophobia, and makes a mockery of international solidarity.

For all these reasons, we join COSATU in supporting the growing international campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, which demands Palestinian self-determination, including an end to Israeli military occupation, the right of Palestinian refugees to return, and elimination of apartheid throughout historic Palestine.

Join us in publicizing the example of South African and Australian dock workers, and working toward the same kind of labor solidarity here at home. Join us in demanding immediate and total:

1. End to U.S. aid for Israel.

2. Divestment of business and labor investments in Israel.

3. Labor boycott of Israel.

4. Withdrawal of U.S. and allied forces from the Middle East.


Initial Signers (list in formation):

Larry Adams, co-convener, New York City Labor Against the War; former president, NPMHU Local 300
Anthony Arnove, National Writers Union/UAW Local 1981*
Black Workers for Justice (North Carolina)
Marty Goodman, former executive board member, TWU Local 100
Monadel Herzallah, president, Arab American Union Members Council, California
Michael Letwin, co-convener, New York City Labor Against the War; former president, UAW Local 2325/Assn. of Legal Aid Attorneys
Brenda Stokely, co-convener, New York City Labor Against the War; former president, AFSCME DC 1707; co-chair, Million Worker March
Clarence Thomas, national co-chair, Million Worker March Movement; executive board member, ILWU Local 10*
Sam Weinstein, former president, UWUA Local 132
Steve Zeltzer, producer, Labor Video Project

(*Affiliation for identification only--no organizational endorsement implied)


A big majority of Dundee University Students Association has voted to boycott BAE Systems & Eden Springs, due to their ties with Israel.

"Dundee students to vote to boycott Eden Springs--
"Opposition denies Israeli ownership"

Friday, 13 February 2009

by Stephanie Brickman

Dundee University Students Association has resolved to boycott BAE Systems and Eden Springs because of their interests in Israel.

Before last Thursday’s debate on the boycott resolution, Dundee’s university authorities had already agreed to instruct their investment managers to sell defence industry stock, including that in BAE Systems, in response to student pressure.

As a result the debate focused on the water company, Eden Springs. The motion, proposed by the Stop The War Coalition, was backed by 125 of the 180 students attending.

Hayden Krasner, president of the tiny St Andrews University JSoc, spoke against the motion. “I had information from the Scottish Parliament that Eden Springs UK Ltd was a separate company, not connected with Israel, but no-one was listening,” he said later. Proponents of the motion, he said, had compared Israelis to Nazis — “and Israel was said to be the worst state in the world”.

According to Hayden Krasner, students at the debate were calling for this to be the first of many boycotts.

But the university’s lawyers are now consulting the Scottish Charity Regulators to ascertain whether the motion is legal.

In Glasgow’s Strathclyde University, a move has already been made to stop buying Eden Springs water — but the university’s secretary, Dr Peter West, said: “The decision to cease purchasing water from Eden Springs is for operational reasons. We are committed to developing a sustainable approach.”


"The only thing Israel has proved it can do... better than anyone else is kill innocent women and children."

"The Beginning of the End for Israel", by Yvonne Ridley

On the Web at:

as he might, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert can not snatch any sort of victory out of the jaws of defeat that are closing down on the failed Zionist project.

This, quite simply, is the beginning of the end for Israel.

The only thing Israel has proved it can do militarily better than anyone else is kill innocent women and children. And in its genocidal drive to wipe the Palestinian people from existence it has dealt itself a fatal blow.

In the belief they would seize an easy victory from the people of Gaza, after retreating broken and humiliated by Hizb'Allah in Lebanon two years earlier, Israel once again learned what happens when you underestimate the enemy.

Gaza has been reduced to piles or rubble in some areas as Zionist bombs pounded the tiny coastal strip by land, sea and air. It was a ruthless, brutal campaign deliberately timed for the final weeks of George W Bush's US presidency and before the start of the Israeli elections.

Olmert and Tzipi Livni, the daughter of a war criminal and terrorist (well, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, does it?) boasted how they would crush Hamas and stop the Qassam rockets from being fired into Israel.

And so, playing the victim yet again, the Zionist State unleashed the might of its army - the fourth largest in the world - on the most densely populated piece of land on Earth, claiming it needed to stop a few tin rockets powered by fertiliser fuel heading towards land stolen from the Palestinians in the first place. Oh, the irony of it all.

By trying to win hearts and minds they enlisted the support of Zionist think tanks who would go into overdrive to try and discredit Hamas and its supporters through TV and newspaper columns. Some of the accusations laid against Hamas were plain ridiculous and silly and fooled no one apart from the commissioning editors.

As I write this article I am watching Olmert on the BBC speaking at a news conference with European leaders saying he wants Israeli troops to leave Gaza "as quickly as possible". Meanwhile Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniya, is on al-Aqsa TV praising his people for their courage and bravery and saying they have won a great victory over Israel.

And indeed they have.

The drive to crush Hamas has failed - in fact many of the millions across the world who marched against the war proudly and loudly declared: "We are all Hamas".

The cries shocked Olmert, Livni and co who, in their breath-taking arrogance believed the world would stand by and applaud from the sidelines as they went to war with the people of Gaza.

What happened instead was demonstrations, riots, anarchy and outrage from ordinary people pouring out of just about every city on the planet. This was the moment when another battle was launched: People Power versus the politicians. And 'we' the people won it easily.

Leaders who once said they supported Israel began putting a distance between themselves and Tel Aviv. The gaggle of belly-dancing Arab leaders began to dance to a different tune while some of the Arab world's most brutal dictators clamped down even more on their own citizens seeing coups and plots, real or imaginary, at every turn.

Shameful 'scholars for dollars' issued fatwas proclaiming demonstrations were haram ... these same sheikhs were full of praise for those of us who rallied and marched to show our anger over the vile Danish cartoons which ridiculed The Prophet Mohamed (pbuh). Such hypocrisy reveals them for what they are - men without honour or integrity.

Oh how the Middle East could do with some revolutionary figures like Venezeula's Hugo Chavez who kicked out the Israeli Ambassador and then Bolivia followed suit.

But perhaps the most devastating blow to Israel came from one time Gulf ally, The Emir of Qatar who ended trade relations with the rogue state.

We still do not know how many Israeli soldiers have died ... it is a figure Olmert is trying to keep quiet. No public, ceremonial funerals are shown on TV in Tel Aviv. The Israelis, so used to playing the victim for the American and European media, have not been able to publicly display their mourning to the world. Could it be that mothers, wives and daughters of the dead would want to blame the Israeli government for yet another failed campaign?

It is a far cry from the week before, when Olmert regaled a cheering crowd in Ashkelon about how he telephoned George W Bush and interrupted him in the middle of a speech he was making in Philadelphia and told him to instruct Condaleezza Rice not to vote for a UN resolution Condi herself had written. Bush did as he was told, said Olmert to roars of approval.

I hope Barrack Obama and Hilary Clinton take note.

And I hope they realise now that the democratically elected Hamas are the only party in town to sit down and negotiate with. Failed Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas should now viewed as collateral damage. His credibility has gone and any deal he made with Israel over this shameful period will soon be revealed. By the way, I understand his luxury villa in Gaza is about the only building that is free of shrapnel, shells or bullet marks. It certainly survived the bombing in a district which was attacked without mercy. Funny that!

Gaza will rise again from the rubble with its people even stronger than before. They are an example to resistance fighters across the world and they will go down in history for their bravery and courage.

In a few years time children across the Middle East will be raised on the heroic stories and exploits of the people of Gaza. And as they are safely tucked up in their beds, they'll probably ask: "So what did happen to Israel? Did it really exist?"

Yvonne Ridley is a co-Founder of SGS - Stop Gaza Slaughter. Her website is She was also part of the Free Gaza Movement and was on one of two boats to break the siege of Gaza and sail into the port for the first time in more than 40 years last August. She and film-maker Aki Nawaz are producing a documentary for Press TV about the historic voyage.

Yvonne is a member of Respect.


More campuses occupied, as students demand boycott against Israel.

"Students in occupation at St Andrews university in Fife, Scotland"
(Photo: Glasgow Palestine Human Rights Campaign)

"Wave of student revolt is transforming colleges"

by Siân Ruddick

Tuesday 24 February 2009

On the Web at:

The student movement in support of Gaza shows no sign of slowing. Occupations, protests and campaigns continue to be a major feature on Britain’s campuses.

Manchester university students were still involved in the longest-running of the wave of occupations as Socialist Worker went to press, having held their space for more than 20 days.

The Manchester students remain defiant in the face of one of the most hardheaded managements in the country, led by the arch-privatiser Alan Gilbert.

Privatisation and an increasingly corporate culture have undermined students’ rights to use university space and shape their education.


Manchester university student Siobhan Brown has been involved in the occupation from the beginning.

She told Socialist Worker, “We’re continuing to fight the management. People are really determined to see our demands met. There have been new people coming to join us and we’ve been holding meetings and stalls to remind people we’re still here.”

Management suggested they would meet with the student union representatives but refused to meet with elected reps from the occupation.

Students have rejected this offer. The student union has been mandated to defend the occupation and its demands by a motion passed at a 1,000-strong general meeting last week.

Elsewhere new occupations are starting every week. Students at London College of Communication (LCC), and at Plymouth and Cardiff universities, went into occupation this week. A meeting of 80 students at LCC, addressed by Tony Benn, voted to occupy on Monday of this week.

LCC is part of the University of the Arts London and students from colleges throughout the university are involved.

The occupation’s demands include scholarships for ten Palestinian students and that the college host an exhibition of art from Palestine and by artists dealing with the conflict.

Some 120 students came to a Stop the War Coalition meeting at University of East London (UEL) on Wednesday of last week. An organising meeting followed where 60 students voted for occupation.

Sohrob Kamali, a first year student at UEL, told Socialist Worker, “When the occupations started, we knew we had to have one at UEL.

“It is a big university, very multicultural and in the heart of a diverse community. We have made it very difficult for people to ignore us and we’re reaching out to new people all the time.

“We’re in the main building and the entrance is covered with banners, as well as a huge banner hung on the bridge everyone has to walk under to get onto campus.

“We’ve had political meetings most days and stalls every day. We’re due to meet with management this week to restate our demands and negotiate fulfilling them.”


Even St Andrews university in Scotland – a famously conservative institution, which Prince William attended – has been touched by the new radical student mood.

St Andrews student Martin Schmierer said their occupation was about “making a protest against all injustices”.

The students at St Andrews went into occupation on Wednesday of last week.

They have demanded an end to investment in arms companies including BAE Systems and the establishment of an ethics committee to ensure that the university does not accept any income in the future from organisations linked to the Israeli military.

Martin explained, “The students are organising talks every day with trade unionists and leading figures from the Stop the War movement as well as students from other universities who have been in occupation.”

The agitation over Gaza is not just expressed through occupations. Dundee students are running a growing campaign supporting demands of educational equipment to be sent to Gaza. This has included passing a motion in the student union.

Dundee student Alexis told Socialist Worker, “We’re holding protests outside the university court meeting and demonstrating support for our Stop the War representatives when they meet with the principal later this week.

“We are coming to the G20 protests on 28 March. Our trades council and Stop the War group are organising transport now and we want lots of students to come along.”


This week the mood of resistance has generalised into other issues. Students at Byam Shaw School of Art in London have occupied their college against cuts in budgets and workshops that have directly affected their use of facilities.

Internationally, students at New York University were met with a vicious reaction from management when they went into occupation last week.

The “Take Back NYU” occupation made a variety of demands – including for free education and for a condemnation by the university of the Israeli massacre in Gaza.

The students were dragged out of the occupation after a few days. Many of those involved were expelled from their courses and banned from university grounds.

The movement here and across the world must remain strong and united. The scale of the activism and the broadening of the issues – from Gaza, to free education and cuts – show the kind of legacy this movement can leave behind.


Macalester College-- Students demand "the immediate end of all Minnesotan business with Israel because it is the business of massacre..."

"Mac students protest Minnesota's ties to Israel"

By: Amy Ledig, Editor in Chief

The Mac Weekly (Macalester College; St. Paul, Minnesota)


On the Web at:

The Minnesota Trade Office has found itself the target of protests against trade agreements and ties with Israel, and Macalester students are getting in on the action.

The first protest took place on Jan. 23, when a group of 12 people entered the Trade office, located in the First National Bank building in St. Paul, on Jan. 23 to voice their opposition to Minnesota's trade dealings with Israel in light of the war in Gaza.

The demonstrators had a statement of demands calling for "the immediate end of all Minnesotan business with Israel because it is the business of massacre, it is the business of killing children, of killing doctors, the business of chemical warfare, of starvation."

"The sit in lasted for 45 minutes, and was deemed a success by the demonstrators because the employees of the Trade Office were unable to go on with their work for that time, and all of the state offices on that floor were made to realize their complicity with the atrocities in Gaza as workers for the state," Nick Huelster '11 said.

When St. Paul Police arrived on the scene the demonstrators left.

The second incident happened in much the same way. Hadley Pope '09, who was at the protest, said that a little under 25 people, of which 10 to 15 were Macalester students, returned to the office in a follow up protest.

"The state has really actively pursued trade with Israel," Pope said, adding that Minnesota companies have made $125 million in profits from trade with the Middle Eastern nation she called an apartheid state. The Trade Office has drawn the protesters' attention because it serves as the middleman, facilitating these deals, she said.

Pope said that protesters gathered outside the building with a banner to pass out informational sheets and then tried to get into the office. This time they were stopped by security presence and were not able to gain access. Huestler added that they then chanted in the lobby, leaving when the police were called.

Pope said there is no specific follow-up planned, but seemed committed to the cause, saying that the U.S. needs to put an end to the violence in Gaza.


More demands to boycott Apartheid Israel-- at campuses, labor unions, demonstrations worldwide:

"Movement grows to boycott Israeli products"

Published Feb 23, 2009, 10:12 PM

On the Web at:

Furious at Israel’s horrific siege of Gaza and inspired by the courageous people of Gaza, workers, students and progressive activists are organizing sit-ins, demonstrations and other acts of solidarity with the Palestinian people.

Many groups are getting on board and endorsing the Palestinian-led call for an international campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel.

Palestinian boy Mohammed kutkut, 14, right, covers his face as he sits next to the name sign of his killed friend Ahed Qaddas in the Fakhoura boys school in Jebaliya, northern Gaza strip, Jan. 24. Three friends in his class were killed when the Israeli army shelled Jebaliya in the past weeks

Palestinian boy Mohammed kutkut, 14, right, covers his face as he sits next to the name sign of his killed friend Ahed Qaddas in the Fakhoura boys school in Jebaliya, northern Gaza strip, Jan. 24. Three friends in his class were killed when the Israeli army shelled Jebaliya in the past weeks

From South Africa, where union dockworkers heroically refused to unload an Israeli ship, to Irish activists, Basque unionists and students in Britain and the United States, momentum is growing in the struggle to cut ties to Israel.

Students across Britain, including Palestinian and Arab youth, have taken direct action and occupied 21 campuses to protest Israel’s military assaults on Gaza and to demand their schools end links to the Zionist state and to the British weapons maker BAE Systems, which arms Israel.

In London, students held sit-ins at Goldsmith University and the London School of Economics, among others. Similar protests spread through England to Birmingham, Sussex, Norwich, Warwick, Oxford, Leeds, Cambridge and elsewhere. Some protests have won concessions from university officials.

At Manchester University, 1,000 students equated Israel with apartheid-era South Africa and called on the administration and student union to boycott Israeli companies and support Gaza and the BDS movement. The student union agreed.

Strong sit-ins have been held in Scotland at the universities of Dundee, Glasgow, Edinburgh and at Strathclyde.

Other solidarity actions continue. British MP George Galloway and 300 volunteers left Ramsgate Feb. 14 in a 110-vehicle caravan, whose vans, fire truck and ambulances were filled with community-donated food, medicine, clothes and toys to be donated in Gaza. Viva Palestine, Stop the War Coalition, Muslim groups and trade unions organized this 5,000-mile journey.

Irish organizations join BDS campaign

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions, with 600,000 members in 55 unions, is prepared to start a boycott of Israeli goods. The Jan. 31 Irish Times carried a full-page ad, headlined “Irish Call for Justice for Palestine,” sponsored by the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Its 350 signers called for the Irish government and people to boycott Israeli products and to support the BDS campaign.

When thousands of Irish marchers in Derry commemorated the 37th anniversary of Bloody Sunday—when British soldiers killed 14 unarmed people in 1972—they carried 1,000 Palestinian flags in tribute to the Palestinians killed by Israeli bombs in Gaza. The names of children killed were posted at the Children’s Wall. Sinn Fein’s banner read, “Solidarity with People of Gaza, Stop the Blockade.”

Welsh activists were arrested in Swansea at a Tesco’s grocery store after they seized produce grown on illegally occupied Palestinian land. The media reported their message calling on Wales’ people to support a countrywide boycott of Israeli goods.

Demonstrations in more than 30 cities in Basque Country, with 30,000 participants, have called for BDS and linked the Basque and Palestinian struggles. Trade unions joined a Bilbao demonstration calling for a boycott of Israel. Ten municipalities called for breaking ties to Israel.

In Catalonia, protesters leapt onto a basketball court to disrupt a Barcelona-Maccabi (Tel Aviv) game, waving Palestinian flags and signs saying “Boycott Israel.”

Professors and university employees in Quebec also endorsed the Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees’ call to boycott Israel.

The BDS campaign is growing in the U.S. As Hampshire College students successfully campaigned for school divestment from Israel, a University of Rochester sit-in was organized by Students for a Democratic Society. They demanded no school ties to U.S. and Israeli militarism in the Middle East and aid for Gaza schools. Iraq Veterans against the War and Rochester Against War took part.

Macalester College students occupied the Minnesota Trade Office in St. Paul last month, then picketed there on Feb. 6, demanding that the state end all trade with Israel.

And New York University students began a divestment campaign at their school.

A 24-hour demonstration outside the World Zionist Organization’s New York office, from Feb. 12-13, drew 900 Jewish activists. Jews Say No targeted Israel’s blockade of Gaza and the ongoing occupation and demanded justice for the Palestinians.

Meanwhile, thousands of e-mail endorsements from the U.S., Canada and worldwide have poured in to the Jews in Solidarity with Palestine campaign. (See

A cultural boycott is also underway. Chicago protesters wearing bandages stained with red paint, symbolizing Palestinian casualties, recently picketed the Israeli Batsheva Dance Company. The International Solidarity Movement and the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel plan protests wherever the dance company performs.

The Palestinian BDS National Committee has issued an international call for a Global Day of Action in Solidarity with the Palestinian people and for concrete and bold BDS actions on March 30 to make this mobilization “a historic step forward in the new movement.”


Boycott against Israel will be demanded at dozens of North American Universities.

"Academic boycott of Israel takes off in Canada"

author Wednesday February 25, 2009 09:53author by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC News Report this post to the editors
On the Web at:

Over 40 universities in Canada will be participating in activities to mark 'Israeli Apartheid Week' beginning on Sunday.

Students from the participating universities are calling for a boycott of Israeli academic and cultural institutions until Israel ends what they call apartheid policies against the Palestinians.

Controversial 'Israeli apartheid week' poster

Controversial 'Israeli apartheid week' poster

In addition to the university groups, CUPE (Canadian Union of Public Employees), the largest trade union in the Canadian Province of Ontario, has called for a boycott of all Israeli institutions that engage in research for the Israeli military.

According to the organizers of Israeli Apartheid Week, the campaign was first launched in Toronto in 2005. In 2008, more than 25 cities around the world participated in the week's activities, which also commemorated 60 years since the expulsion of the Palestinian people from their homes and land in 1947-1948. Israeli Apartheid Week 2008 was launched with a live broadcast from the South African township of Soweto by Palestinian leader and former member of the Israeli Knesset, Azmi Bishara.

The network organizing the week states, “This year, IAW occurs in the wake of Israel's barbaric assault against the people of Gaza. Lectures, films, and actions will make the point that these latest massacres further confirm the true nature of Israeli Apartheid. IAW 2009 will continue to build and strengthen the growing Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement at a global level.”

The event is not without controversy, however. In Canada, Carleton University officials tried to ban a poster advertising the event, which displays a Palestinian child being targeted by an Israeli airforce missile.

According to one supporter of the poster, "Many know the numbers: nearly 1400 Palestinians killed, over half civilian, the majority of those women and children. Fourteen Israelis were killed, four by their own misconduct. As well, it is well documented by Israeli, Palestinian and international human rights groups that the levels of force measured between rock-throwing Palestinian civilians and the [Israeli military]’s US-funded military machine are anything but equal. Yes, Hamas and other militant groups conduct suicide bombings and rocketing that target Israeli civilians. But the death and destruction of Palestinian land and people far exceeds that of Israel, many including [Jewish academic Norman] Finkelstein, citing it at a ten-to-one ratio....This poster is an accurate representation of the political and conflictual realities of the two sides, with the [Israeli military] might on one side and the death of unarmed Palestinian civilians on the other."


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Against Genocide in Gaza, at U.C.- Irvine

University of California at Irvine, 2008.


Hampshire College activist says:

Dodging the divestment issue will NOT help your image with Palestine human rights supporters.

"Divestment from Israeli occupation:
"Hampshire College leads the way"

Published Feb 23, 2009, 10:25 PM

On the Web at:

On Feb. 7, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) won a significant victory at Hampshire College in Massachusetts when the administration announced it would divest from six companies that directly profit from the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

Over 800 students, professors and alumni signed SJP’s “institutional statement” calling for the divestment. After an intense two-year campaign by the student movement, Hampshire became the first college in the United States to divest from the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

The six corporations that Hampshire divested from provide the Israeli military with equipment and services in the Occupied West Bank and Gaza. They are Caterpillar, United Technologies, General Electric, ITT Corporation, Motorola and Terex.

SJP carried out this campaign in response to a call from Palestinians to boycott, divest and sanction as a way of bringing pressure on the state of Israel to end its violations of international law. So far they have gotten support from many groups and prominent individuals who have endorsed their institutional statement. Among the endorsers are Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Desmond Tutu, Rashid Khalidi, vice president of the EU Parliament Luisa Morgantini, former member of Congress from Georgia Cynthia McKinney, Ronnie Kasrils, Israeli historian Ilan Pappe, John Berger, Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire, author Leslie Feinberg and Roger Waters of Pink Floyd.

In 1979 Hampshire paved the way for divestment campaigns across the country as the first school in the country to divest from apartheid South Africa. Now it is the first to divest from the occupation of Palestine.

The students in SJP not only pressured Hampshire to divest from companies directly linked to the Israeli occupation, they also opened up an issue that has too often been silenced in the U.S. Their actions will hopefully spread to other schools of higher education throughout the U.S.

Shortly after the school divested, school President Ralph Hexter and the head of the board of trustees put out a statement saying the divestment had nothing to do with the political situation in the region. They claimed the school divested because the six particular companies violated Hampshire’s responsible investing policy. The administration’s attempt to depoliticize this act of divestment is completely transparent.

Distancing themselves from the radical notion of divesting from the Israeli occupation can only do them harm when building new bridges to groups supportive of Palestine, and it will not redeem them in the eyes of the Zionist movement. This is evident from the reaction of Harvard University professor Allan Dershowitz, who threatened to boycott Hampshire College shortly after the divestment statement was released to the press even after Hexter made his distancing statement.

Taking a stance against Israel has never been easy in the U.S. due to the vast amount of support given to the Israeli military by the U.S. government. However, despite the resistance from the administration and parts of the media, this brave act by Hampshire College was met with broad support from campus groups, parents of students and endorsers, who have voiced nothing but positive reinforcement for the divestment.

As a student at Hampshire College and as a member of SJP who has worked for the last two years on this campaign, I hope this small act in our small school will have an impact on other student groups. It shows that resistance and organizing will work and that students can effect change in their schools. I also hope this divestment from Israel’s brutal and illegal occupation of Palestine will voice solidarity with the Palestinian people and bring us one step closer to ending the occupation.

The writer is a Fight Imperialism, Stand Together (FIST) organizer.


At Emory University (Atlanta, Georgia):

Standing up for Palestinian human rights through "boycotts, divestments and sanctions."

awards flag

"A Time To Be Radical"

By Nick Juliano

Posted: 02/23/2009

In the "Emory Wheel", at:

Students have historically been at the forefront of progressive causes that challenge the existing political order and criticize inequalities such as racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination. In the 1960s, Students for a Democratic Society stood alongside Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. as they addressed injustices of the past and worked toward a more just and democratic nation.

Similarly, campuses in the 1970s and 1980s were vibrant scenes of political defiance as students joined with faculty in opposing Apartheid in South Africa through boycotts, divestments and sanctions. In both cases, students held sit-ins, protests, marches — building occupations and lectures by coupling the theater of civil disobedience with a strong academic backbone that opposed and ultimately brought about the fall of prevailing racial codes of conduct.

Segregation is gone, and every Western nation except Israel cut military and intelligence ties with the oppressive South African government, causing South Africa’s Apartheid regime to enter the international isolation that contributed to its collapse. I do not intend so much as to respond to the Wheel staff editorial from last Friday; indeed, I praise its intentions and much of its content, but I think it raises issues about the context of the issue of Palestine and all social justice struggles to which I would like to speak.

A frequent critique of the use of the word “apartheid” to describe the Palestinian struggle has been that it is radical. I have heard this from professors, students and some administrators alike. My response is: That may not be a bad thing.

Challenging segregation was once seen as a radical idea, as was the movement against Apartheid in South Africa. Indeed, thousands of people were arrested, beaten and killed in these struggles.

Today, students across the world are using these same tactics that were used against segregation and apartheid to dismantle what we see as Israel’s apartheid against Palestinians. We are seeking the implementation of international law, and we’re standing up for basic human rights through a boycotts, divestments and sanctions.

Two weeks ago, Hampshire College, the first American university to divest from South Africa, became the first American university to divest from companies supporting the Israeli occupation — which has been found illegal by an international court — after a two-year process of engagement between Students for Justice in Palestine and their administration.

A wave of student sit-ins swept the United Kingdom in the aftermath of the Israeli assault on the starved population of Gaza, and students at NYU have occupied buildings on campus in solidarity with the Palestinian people and are demanding a cessation of relationships between NYU and Israeli institutions.

We go to college to be exposed to controversial ideas that challenge and expose the racism, sexism and discrimination in contemporary society. Malcolm X was considered a radical and banned from campuses. Martin Luther King was considered a radical prior to his assasination, and just last week we heard David Horowitz call Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela, critical leaders of the anti-Apartheid movement, “terrorists.”

Today, Malcolm X, King, Tutu and Mandela are revered as heroes who dared to question the racism and injustice of their times. Professors, students and administrators who praise dynamic student movements of the past, while simultaneously condemning those of the present as being unbalanced, divisive or controversial are on the wrong side of history and are only avoiding the issue of Palestine, giving lip service to moderation. What would a moderate opinion of segregation be? Is it possible to have a moderate view of Apartheid? When racism and injustice is the source of a problem, moderation becomes the ally of apathy.

Norman Finkelstein, a Jewish-American whose parents suffered the horrors of Auschwitz and whose family was otherwise annihilated in the Nazi Holocaust, will be addressing the Emory community as the culminating speaker of Emory Advocates for Justice in Palestine’s “Israeli Apartheid Week.” The week’s purpose is not to raise awareness. This term is abused in academia. The week, on our campus and across the world, will inform and challenge an existing injustice by building support for the international effort to challenge the Israeli state to allow for equal opportunities for Arabs under occupation and in the diaspora alongside Jews.

In his work, Finkelstein draws on the experiences of his family to criticize the current systemic racism that is present in Israeli policy. He calls for equal rights for Arabs and Jews under the same law. He’s a radical, certainly. But radical is not a bad word. King, Malcolm X and Nelson Mandela have taught us this.

Nick Juliano is a College senior from Atlanta. He is a member of the Coordinating Committee for Emory Advocates for Justice in Palestine.