Sunday, August 30, 2009

Demonstration against Starbucks in Ann Arbor:

Boycott Israel, Sept. 2, 2009.

Click on flyer to enlarge it:

Click on flyer to enlarge it.

Boycott Israel!

Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, is coming to Ann Arbor on Wednesday, September 2nd 2009.

Protest: 12 Noon to 1:30 PM,

Day: Wednesday, September 2nd 2009.

Place: Cobblestone Farm, 2781 Packard Road, Ann Arbor, MI.
Cobblestone's Tel: 734.794.6230

Gaza is dying:

* In Gaza, anemia among children 9-12 months old stood at over 60 percent in February of 2009 (U.N. Office for Humanitarian Affairs)

* Bloody diarrhea and viral hepatitis remain major causes of morbidity among the refugee population of the Gaza Strip.


Starbucks CEO: Hip-Deep in the Blood of Palestine.

See the article, below, from the last time he was picketed in Ann Arbor:

"Ann Arbor Jews protest Israel fundraiser"


December 4-10, 2004

By Danielle Smith -- ANN ARBOR - Protesters stood outside theYpsilanti Marriott here this week on Palestine Solidarity Day in an effort to confront the guests of the Jewish Federation of Washtenaw County's fourth annual fundraising event. Palestine Solidarity Day observes the anniversary of the UN Partition Plan of 1947 which created the State of Israel on Palestinian land.

The protest was a silent vigil organized by Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends (JWP & F) and took place on November 27th. Blaine Coleman, one protester, said, "Raising money for Israel, when the Israeli state is so thuggishly robbing and killing Palestine, is wrong."

The event was sponsored in part by Ford Motor Company.

Howard Schultz, Chairman and CEO of Starbucks Coffee, was the featured speaker. Schultz has long been a lightning rod of controversy due his support of Israel. In 1998 he was honored by the Jerusalem Fund of Aish HaTorah with "The Israel 50th Anniversary Friend of Zion Tribute Award" for his services to the Jewish state in "playing a key role in promoting close alliance between the United States and Israel". The Jerusalem Fund of Aish HaTorah funds the largely discredited website and has been accused of illegally funding Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's Likud party.

The Jewish Federation claims that it initiates, coordinates, and supports activities here at home and around the world that strengthen Jewish life. JWP & F's founder Henry Herskovitz claims most of the more than half a million dollars raised at the dinner each year goes directly to Israel.

Neal Elyakin of Ann Arbor is the new federation president and is also a founder of the "Michigan Friends of the Israel Defense Forces," an organization that has outraged many Arab Americans in the Michigan community and which has recently been involved in an advertising scandal with local banks.

Herskovitz actually purchased a hotel room at the Marriott so the security guards could not kick him out went he went inside.

Henry said, "After the protest I went into the hotel lobby bar with my Free PalestineT-Shirt to watch attendees leaving the conference. I saw (U. S. Rep.) John Dingell, Ann Arbor Police Chief Dan Oates, Joan Lowenstein, Leigh Greden, four Ann Arbor city Councilpersons and four rabbis of Ann Arbor - Rob Dobrusin of Beth Israel, Bob Levy of Temple Beth Emeth, Aharon Goldstein of Chabad House, and his son Rabbi Alter Goldstein, of an unknown congregation.

"The security told me I was smart to buy a room 'or you would be so out of here...' "


"Starbucks the target of Arab boycott for its growing links to Israel"

by Robert Fisk

"The Independent" (UK), June 14, 2002, at:

"Across five Arab states a new and closely co-ordinated campaign to boycott American goods is being launched, with Starbucks coffee shops their primary target, but with Nestlé, Coca-Cola, Johnson & Johnson and Burger King outlets also on the list. In Beirut today, activists will be leafleting outside the city's four Starbucks shops, detailing the pro-Israeli sentiments of its chief executive, Howard Shultz, and claiming he is 'an active Zionist'.

"In 1998, Mr Shultz was awarded the "Israeli 50th Anniversary Tribute Award" from the Jerusalem Fund of Aish Ha-Torah, which is strongly critical of Yasser Arafat and insists that the occupied Palestinian territories should be described only as 'disputed'.

"In a speech to Jewish Americans in Seattle earlier this year – at the height of the Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon's, reoccupation of West Bank towns – Starbucks' top man condemned Palestinian 'inaction' and announced that 'the Palestinians aren't doing their job – they're not stopping terrorism'. Gideon Meir, an Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman, complimented Mr Shultz for helping American students to hear 'Israeli presentations on the Middle East crisis'.

"...Mr Shultz is a regular visitor to Israel and one of many personalities who have been brought to Jerusalem as a guest of the Theodor Herzl mission, at whose gala dinner is held an award ceremony of the Friends of Zion to honour those 'who have played key roles in promoting close alliance between the United States and Israel'."


Friday, August 28, 2009

"Oxford City Council calls for boycott" against Israel--


"Oxford City Council calls for boycott"

See video at:

"Oxford City council called for a boycott of Israeli products following Israel’s assault on Gaza.

"In an unprecedented move, the Council passed a motion, which as well as condemning the loss of civilian life in Gaza, called for individuals to boycott products made by Israel."


You can view the full motion, recognizing the importance of boycotting Israel, on the Oxford City Council's Web site.

Click on:


Monday, August 24, 2009

Boycotting "Israel" to Death -- at Ann Arbor City Council.

Boycotting "Israel" to Death -- at Ann Arbor City Council.

This video was taken August 17, 2009, at the City Council meeting.

To see the video, click on YouTube at:


Thousands have petitioned Ann Arbor City Council for sanctions against "Israel", the Racist Butcher State.

Instead of paying "Israel" $300 billion to massacre Palestine, Congress should spend that $300 billion re-building Detroit... NOW!

Since 1984, people have demanded sanctions against "Israel" at Ann Arbor City Council--
See the January 10, 1984 "Ann Arbor News", at:

Note: Congressman John Dingell has admitted that Congress has given $300 billion to "Israel":


From the news report, describing speeches at the Ann Arbor City Council on August 17, 2009--

"Ann Arbor Chronicle", at:


...[The speaker]
"began by describing the sign he was holding, which depicted an Israeli soldier pointing a gun at children. He continued by criticizing the $300 billion of U.S. aid to Israel as supporting the killing of Palestinians and Lebanese. He told the city council that they had the ability to consider a resolution, hold a public hearing, and vote on a measure that would enact a boycott of Israeli goods. He characterized both the U.S. and Israel as built on robbing people of color, saying that black America has been robbed for centuries. The $300 billion of aid that has been spent historically on aid to Israel, he said, should be spent to rebuild Detroit and other inner cities."


Against collaboration and "dialogue" with Zionists--

See especially the last paragraph:

"Any call for a 'balanced' discourse on this issue -- where the motto 'there are two sides to every story' is revered almost religiously -- is intellectually and morally dishonest, and ignores the fact that, when it comes to cases of colonialism, apartheid, and oppression, there is no such thing as 'balance.' The oppressor society, by and large, will not give up its privileges without pressure. This is why the BDS campaign is such an important instrument of change."


"Can we talk? The Middle East 'peace industry' "

by Faris Giacaman,
The Electronic Intifada,
20 August 2009

Attempts to establish "dialogue" while Israel continues to oppress Palestinians only undermine the call for boycott. (ActiveStills)

Upon finding out that I am Palestinian, many people I meet at college in the United States are eager to inform me of various activities that they have participated in that promote "coexistence" and "dialogue" between both sides of the "conflict," no doubt expecting me to give a nod of approval. However, these efforts are harmful and undermine the Palestinian civil society call for boycott, divestment and sanctions of Israel -- the only way of pressuring Israel to cease its violations of Palestinians' rights.

When I was a high school student in Ramallah, one of the better known "people-to-people" initiatives, Seeds of Peace, often visited my school, asking students to join their program. Almost every year, they would send a few of my classmates to a summer camp in the US with a similar group of Israeli students. According to the Seeds of Peace website, at the camp they are taught "to develop empathy, respect, and confidence as well as leadership, communication and negotiation skills -- all critical components that will facilitate peaceful coexistence for the next generation." They paint quite a rosy picture, and most people in college are very surprised to hear that I think such activities are misguided at best, and immoral, at worst. Why on earth would I be against "coexistence," they invariably ask?

During the last few years, there have been growing calls to bring to an end Israel's oppression of the Palestinian people through an international movement of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS). One of the commonly-held objections to the boycott is that it is counter-productive, and that "dialogue" and "fostering coexistence" is much more constructive than boycotts.

With the beginning of the Oslo accords in 1993, there has been an entire industry that works toward bringing Israelis and Palestinians together in these "dialogue" groups. The stated purpose of such groups is the creating of understanding between "both sides of the conflict," in order to "build bridges" and "overcome barriers." However, the assumption that such activities will help facilitate peace is not only incorrect, but is actually morally lacking.

The presumption that dialogue is needed in order to achieve peace completely ignores the historical context of the situation in Palestine. It assumes that both sides have committed, more or less, an equal amount of atrocities against one another, and are equally culpable for the wrongs that have been done. It is assumed that not one side is either completely right or completely wrong, but that both sides have legitimate claims that should be addressed, and certain blind spots that must be overcome. Therefore, both sides must listen to the "other" point of view, in order to foster understanding and communication, which would presumably lead to "coexistence" or "reconciliation."

Such an approach is deemed "balanced" or "moderate," as if that is a good thing. However, the reality on the ground is vastly different than the "moderate" view of this so-called "conflict." Even the word "conflict" is misleading, because it implies a dispute between two symmetric parties. The reality is not so; it is not a case of simple misunderstanding or mutual hatred which stands in the way of peace. The context of the situation in Israel/Palestine is that of colonialism, apartheid and racism, a situation in which there is an oppressor and an oppressed, a colonizer and a colonized.

In cases of colonialism and apartheid, history shows that colonial regimes do not relinquish power without popular struggle and resistance, or direct international pressure. It is a particularly naive view to assume that persuasion and "talking" will convince an oppressive system to give up its power.

The apartheid regime in South Africa, for instance, was ended after years of struggle with the vital aid of an international campaign of sanctions, divestments and boycotts. If one had suggested to the oppressed South Africans living in bantustans to try and understand the other point of view (i.e. the point of view of South African white supremacists), people would have laughed at such a ridiculous notion. Similarly, during the Indian struggle for emancipation from British colonial rule, Mahatma Gandhi would not have been venerated as a fighter for justice had he renounced satyagraha -- "holding firmly to the truth," his term for his nonviolent resistance movement -- and instead advocated for dialogue with the occupying British colonialists in order to understand their side of the story.

Now, it is true that some white South Africans stood in solidarity with the oppressed black South Africans, and participated in the struggle against apartheid. And there were, to be sure, some British dissenters to their government's colonial policies. But those supporters explicitly stood alongside the oppressed with the clear objective of ending oppression, of fighting the injustices perpetrated by their governments and representatives. Any joint gathering of both parties, therefore, can only be morally sound when the citizens of the oppressive state stand in solidarity with the members of the oppressed group, not under the banner of "dialogue" for the purpose of "understanding the other side of the story." Dialogue is only acceptable when done for the purpose of further understanding the plight of the oppressed, not under the framework of having "both sides heard."

It has been argued, however, by the Palestinian proponents of these dialogue groups, that such activities may be used as a tool -- not to promote so-called "understanding," -- but to actually win over Israelis to the Palestinian struggle for justice, by persuading them or "having them recognize our humanity."

However, this assumption is also naive. Unfortunately, most Israelis have fallen victim to the propaganda that the Zionist establishment and its many outlets feed them from a young age. Moreover, it will require a huge, concerted effort to counter this propaganda through persuasion. For example, most Israelis will not be convinced that their government has reached a level of criminality that warrants a call for boycott. Even if they are logically convinced of the brutalities of Israeli oppression, it will most likely not be enough to rouse them into any form of action against it. This has been proven to be true time and again, evident in the abject failure of such dialogue groups to form any comprehensive anti-occupation movement ever since their inception with the Oslo process. In reality, nothing short of sustained pressure -- not persuasion -- will make Israelis realize that Palestinian rights have to be rectified. That is the logic of the BDS movement, which is entirely opposed to the false logic of dialogue.

Based on an unpublished 2002 report by the Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information, the San Francisco Chronicle reported last October that "between 1993 and 2000 [alone], Western governments and foundations spent between $20 million and $25 million on the dialogue groups." A subsequent wide-scale survey of Palestinians who participated in the dialogue groups revealed that this great expenditure failed to produce "a single peace activist on either side." This affirms the belief among Palestinians that the entire enterprise is a waste of time and money.

The survey also revealed that the Palestinian participants were not fully representative of their society. Many participants tended to be "children or friends of high-ranking Palestinian officials or economic elites. Only seven percent of participants were refugee camp residents, even though they make up 16 percent of the Palestinian population." The survey also found that 91 percent of Palestinian participants no longer maintained ties with Israelis they met. In addition, 93 percent were not approached with follow-up camp activity, and only five percent agreed the whole ordeal helped "promote peace culture and dialogue between participants."

Despite the resounding failure of these dialogue projects, money continues to be invested in them. As Omar Barghouti, one of the founding members of the BDS movement in Palestine, explained in The Electronic Intifada, "there have been so many attempts at dialogue since 1993 ... it became an industry -- we call it the peace industry."

This may be partly attributed to two factors. The dominant factor is the useful role such projects play in public relations. For example, the Seeds of Peace website boosts its legitimacy by featuring an impressive array of endorsements by popular politicians and authorities, such as Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, George Mitchell, Shimon Peres, George Bush, Colin Powell and Tony Blair, amongst others. The second factor is the need of certain Israeli "leftists" and "liberals" to feel as if they are doing something admirable to "question themselves," while in reality they take no substantive stand against the crimes that their government commits in their name. The politicians and Western governments continue to fund such projects, thereby bolstering their images as supporters of "coexistence," and the "liberal" Israeli participants can exonerate themselves of any guilt by participating in the noble act of "fostering peace." A symbiotic relationship, of sorts.

The lack of results from such initiatives is not surprising, as the stated objectives of dialogue and "coexistence" groups do not include convincing Israelis to help Palestinians gain the respect of their inalienable rights. The minimum requirement of recognizing Israel's inherently oppressive nature is absent in these dialogue groups. Rather, these organizations operate under the dubious assumption that the "conflict" is very complex and multifaceted, where there are "two sides to every story," and each narrative has certain valid claims as well as biases.

As the authoritative call by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel makes plain, any joint Palestinian-Israeli activities -- whether they be film screenings or summer camps -- can only be acceptable when their stated objective is to end, protest, and/or raise awareness of the oppression of the Palestinians.

Any Israeli seeking to interact with Palestinians, with the clear objective of solidarity and helping them to end oppression, will be welcomed with open arms. Caution must be raised, however, when invitations are made to participate in a dialogue between "both sides" of the so-called "conflict."

Any call for a "balanced" discourse on this issue -- where the motto "there are two sides to every story" is revered almost religiously -- is intellectually and morally dishonest, and ignores the fact that, when it comes to cases of colonialism, apartheid, and oppression, there is no such thing as "balance." The oppressor society, by and large, will not give up its privileges without pressure. This is why the BDS campaign is such an important instrument of change.

--Faris Giacaman is a Palestinian student from the West Bank, attending his second year of college in the United States.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

"How did boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) on South Africa help to break the back of apartheid?"


Palestine Solidarity, Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment:

Lessons Learned from South Africa’s Anti-Apartheid Movement

On the Web at:

with Gerald Lenoir, Jackie Husary & Ayla Jay Schoenwald

Wednesday, August 19th
7 PM

Friend’s Meeting House

65 9th Street, between Market and Mission
San Francisco (please enter from the north door, near Market Street)

wheelchair accessible

Join the Arab Resource and Organizing Center, Break the Siege and the Center for Political Education for an educational evening, with speakers from the South Africa anti-apartheid movement of the 80s and 90s, and the Palestine solidarity movement today, looking at the rich lessons and current work fighting apartheid from South Africa to Palestine.

How did boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) on South Africa help to break the back of apartheid?

How is the anti-apartheid framework useful for the Palestine solidarity work? What do differences in the geopolitical role of South Africa and Israel mean for BDS and Palestine? What’s the significance of cultural and academic boycotts? What’s currently happening in the Bay Area in terms of boycott, divestment and sanctions on Israel?

$5-$10 donation requested, no one turned away for lack of funds

click below for speakers’ bios

Jackie Husary is a Palestinian-American born and raised in San Francisco. She received her Bachelor’s in International Relations with an emphasis on the Middle East and Third World Development. Her thesis, “Betting on the Underdog: Why States Support Palestine” focused on Third World solidarity with Palestine specifically looking at South African and Cuban solidarity with Palestinian quest for self-determination and human rights. In her undergrad, she was actively involved in the General Union of Palestine Students (GUPS) and was its chair in the last semester. She also was a board member of the Cesar Chavez Student Center Governing Board. In Fall 2009 she will begin a Master’s program in Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University. She currently works for the Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Initiative at SF State.

Gerald Lenoir is a board member of the Interfaith Peace Builders, an organization that leads delegations to Israel/Palestine to learn about and advance the work of Palestinians and Israelis committed to nonviolent struggle for peace and justice. He is also the director of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI).

Lenoir was the director of Southern Africa Program of the American Friends Service Committee in Seattle in the mid-1970s and the co-chair of the Seattle Coalition Against Apartheid in the mid-1980s. In 1994, he traveled to South Africa as a journalist to cover the historic all-race elections for the Oakland Tribune and the Black Scholar Magazine.

Ayla Jay Schoenwald has been involved with Break the Siege since it was created in 2006 in response to the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, with a few brief interludes during which she moved to NY and worked with Adalah-NY, a group in NYC that also works on boycott, divestment, and sanctions. She’s also been involved with a variety of other Palestine Solidarity organizations, including the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network. This May, Ayla spent a week in Gaza with a delegation called “Viva Gaza.”

Bay Area Campaign to End Israeli Apartheid ::



Saturday, August 8, 2009

700,000 Palestinians incarcerated by "Israel" since 1967.

"Women tell of abuse in Israeli prisons"

By Inter Press Service

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Printed in the "Daily Star" (Lebanon), at:


Jon Elmer

Inter Press Service

OCCUPIED BETHLEHEM: In her office at the Bethlehem women’s counseling center, Khawla al-Azraq recounts her memories from Israeli prison as vividly as if they were yesterday: the routine physical and psychological abuse, the nightly room searches, the hunger strikes and other collective actions in protest against their conditions, and the intense study sessions with her fellow prisoners.

“I still have a hard time with certain aspects – particularly the torture and the long periods in isolation. Prison is not a normal life. The psychological impacts affect how you see the world long after you are released,” she says. “And the problems that remain from prison affect your family, your community – every aspect of your life.”

Azraq served three separate terms in prison, beginning in 1979 and running though the period leading up to the Palestinian uprising that began in 1987. She is among some 12,000 women who have been imprisoned by Israel since 1967, according to a recent report by the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society, an arms-length agency of the Palestinian Authority.

The arrest of the women is part of a pattern of incarceration of Palestinians by Israel that now totals over 700,000 since the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza began 42 years ago, according to the prisoners society. Currently there are upwards of 11,000 Palestinians imprisoned in Israel.

A publication by Defense for Children International says that at least 355 Palestinian children were being held in Israel’s prisons at the end of June.

Abdullah al-Zeghari, director of the Bethlehem branch of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society told IPS that while women face significant pressures inside Israel’s prisons, including strip searches, poor sanitation, sub-standard living conditions, se­vere restrictions on family visits, and long periods of isolation, the treatment they are given is part of an overall strategy of punitive measures against Palestinian activists, not just women.

“Israel treats all Palestinian prisoners harshly, without re­gard for whether they are wo­men, children or adults – they see them all as Palestinians.”

Israel’s systemic abuses have long been documented by hu­man rights groups. So far at least 196 Palestinians have died or been killed while in Israeli custody, Zeghari says. “Some of them were killed by torture, some were shot after they were arrested, while others died because they were denied necessary medication.”

According to Addameer, a Palestinian human rights group that supports prisoners, women prisoners are “usually detained in harsher conditions than men, in jails dating back to the British Mandate period (1922-48), lacking modern day infrastructure or gender-sensitive healthcare. Humid, unhygienic, deprived of natural sunlight and overcrowded, these facilities have been designed for men and by men and rarely do they meet women’s needs.”

Azraq says women face particular challenges in continuing education while in prison. Un­like male prisoners who have access to high school equivalency courses, women are not uniformly afforded the same access.

Still, prison is not dead time. Palestinians often refer to prisons as the universities of the na­tional movement, where long study sessions and critical political organization and decision-making take place.

The political organizing within Israel’s prisons has improved conditions for Palestinian prisoners over the past 40 years. Getting visits, and access to books and writing materials have been hard won victories for prisoners, achieved through grueling hunger strikes and in the face of harsh Israeli measures to counteract the advances. “The strength that we gain from collective action and our focus on the national project makes the experience easier,” Azraq says. “We learned to be more patient, more focused, and more stable in our resistance.”

Azraq told IPS she had in fact resisted release two weeks before the due date. “I was caught by surprise, and was upset because I was prepared for a certain date, and there was more work to be done.”

The work was all about resistance. “After my first experience I began reading intensely about interrogation techniques and torture – to understand the prison as part of our resistance.”

For their part, the Palestinians hold one Israeli prisoner – a corporal captured after a raid on an Israeli post on the Gaza border by militants in June 2006. Hamas, who holds the prisoner, has reportedly offered to release the soldier in exchange for the women and children held in Israeli prisons.

Negotiations on a prisoner exchange have so far been fruitless. Israel has been loath to negotiate on Palestinian prisoners since the Palestinian uprising, the Intifadah, began in September 2000.

In 2003 Avigdor Lieberman, now foreign minister, responded to pressure from then-US President George W. Bush to release some Palestinian prisoners as part of the doomed “road map” peace proposal by telling a cabinet meeting: “It would be better to drown these prisoners in the Dead Sea if possible, since that’s the lowest point in the world.” He added that, as transportation minister, he would provide buses to carry out the task.

In the nine years since the Intifadah began, more than 70,000 Palestinians have been arrested by Israel, according to Zeghari, including at least 850 women. In an ongoing occupation, precise data is difficult to come by in every circumstance....