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Nearly 50 Senators Want to Make It a Felony to Boycott Israel

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This piece is a joint publication of Foreign Policy In Focus and TheNation.com.

In 1966, the NAACP of Claiborne County, Mississippi launched a boycott of several white-owned local businesses on the basis of racial discrimination.

It was so impactful that the local hardware store filed a lawsuit against the individuals and organizations who coordinated the boycott. After 10 long years of litigation, the Mississippi Supreme Court ruled in favor of the white businesses and ordered the NAACP to pay for all their lost earnings.

Years later, in 1982, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 8-0 to overturn the lower courts decision on the basis that nonviolent boycotts are a form of free speech protected by the First Amendment. In announcing the unanimous decision, Justice John Paul Stevens said, One of the foundations of our society is the right of individuals to combine with other persons in pursuit of a common goal by lawful means.

That should have been the end of it. But now, Americans right to boycott is under attack once again thanks to a vicious anti-boycott bill making its way through the Senate.

In particular, it appears to target the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. BDS is an international movement calling on individuals, institutions, and governments to boycott Israeli products until it ends its occupation of Palestinian lands. The boycott is explicitly nonviolent and is supported by activists, celebrities, faith-based groups, and political and social justice organizations around the world.

The proposed Israel Anti-Boycott Act would make it a felony for Americans to support BDS, with a penalty of up to $1 million and 20 years in prison.

Unfortunately, the bill enjoys bipartisan support: 32 Republicans and 15 Democrats are currently signed on as cosponsors, including party leaders like Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), and Ted Cruz (R-TX). In response, the ACLU issued a letter urging members of the Senate to oppose the bill based on its direct violation of the First Amendment.(Following the publication of the ACLUs letter, several members of Congress agreed to review their sponsorship, and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) became the first Senator to officially withdraw sponsorship.)

The Israel Anti-Boycott Act would function by amending an earlier law from 1979, which prohibits American citizens and corporations from complying with boycotts called for by foreign nations against U.S. allies. The new law would include boycotts fostered and imposed by international governmental organizations like the United Nations. In this, its a direct response to the 2016 UN Human Rights Council resolution discouraging businesses from operating in Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

In one way, its genius. By claiming a connection between BDS and the UN a connection the UN has never embraced, in that resolution or any other the bill attempts to work around NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware Co.

But the BDS movement is not a product of the UN it has nothing to do with it at all, except to the degree that its based on international law. The BDS call to action was issued in 2005 by a coalition of 170 Palestinian political parties, professional associations, refugee networks, and civil society organizations. BDS is a tactic, not an organization, and the boycott has always been grassroots and decentralized, meaning anyone anywhere can partake in BDS by making the simple decision to do so.

Whether the congressional supporters of the Israel Anti-Boycott Act misunderstand or are intentionally misrepresenting BDS is uncertain, but the Supreme Court decision of 1982 is clear as crystal: Americans right to peaceful boycott with the aim to bring about political, social, and economic change is protected by the First Amendment. That means this bill is more than egregiously immoral its unconstitutional.

The bills language also lumps Israels settlements in with the countrys internationally recognized borders.

Significantly, it declares the UN Human Rights Councils 2016 position on Israeli settlements an action to boycott, divest from, or sanction Israel. Yet that resolution took no position on the boycotting of goods produced in Israel proper it only took aim at Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory, which are illegal under international law.

U.S. policy since 1979 has recognized that the Israeli settlements are inconsistent with international law. By contrast, the new bill effectively erases any distinction between Israel and its settlements in the West Bank. If its passed, anyone who chooses not to do business with or buy items manufactured in illegal Israeli settlements can be convicted, fined, and even jailed.

Efforts to curb this kind of activism are often touted as efforts to combat anti-Semitism. Yet polls show that only 17 percent of American Jews support the continued construction of settlements. The bill is so controversial, in fact, that the liberal pro-Israel organization J Street, which has long opposed BDS, recently announced its opposition to the proposed law on the basis that it divides [opponents of the global BDS movement] by making the issue about the settlements.

Its difficult to know exactly how broadly the law, if passed, will be enforced. Its intentionally vague language leaves a lot to the imagination, and perhaps thats exactly whats intended. The real goal may be to frighten people from engaging in the completely legal act of living out their values in their economic choices.

But we cant let fear prevent us from exercising our rights and fulfilling our moral obligations. The silver lining is that every effort to quell the BDS movement has served to strengthen it. Each attempt at criminalizing the boycott, whether on the state or federal level, has been met with a spike in Google searches for BDS and related terms.

And with the uproar caused by this new bill, the right-wing pro-Israel lobby just may prove to be the BDS movements best ally.

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Nearly 50 Senators Want to Make It a Felony to Boycott Israel

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MLA Delegate Assembly rejects boycott of Israeli universities

PHILADELPHIA — In a defeat for the movement to boycott Israeli academic institutions, members of the Modern Language Associations Delegate Assembly voted down a resolution endorsing the academic boycott on Saturday. Instead, they voted to adopt another resolution that calls on the association of language and literature scholars to refrain from endorsing the boycott of Israeli universities.

The vote on Saturday in favor of the anti-boycott resolution was 101 to 93, while the pro-boycott resolution failed by a 113-79 margin. The anti-boycott resolution will now be forwarded to the MLAs executive council, which will determine whether to distribute it to the full membership for a vote.

The vote on boycott at the MLAs annual convention comes as about half a dozen U.S.-based scholarly associations, including the American Studies Association and the National Womens Studies Association, have formally expressed their support for the boycott of Israeli academic institutions since 2013. Members of the American Anthropological Association narrowly voted down a pro-boycott resolution in the spring.

Opponents of the academic boycott of Israel argue that it limits academic freedom and the free exchange of ideas, a position held by the American Association of University Professors. The text of the anti-boycott resolution approved by members of the Delegate Assembly asserts that endorsing the Palestinian campaign to boycott Israeli academic institutions contradicts the MLAs purpose to promote teaching and research on language and literature and could curtail debates with representatives of Israeli universities, such as faculty members, department chairs and deans, thereby blocking possible dialogue and general scholarly exchange.

Some MLA members have been pushing the organization for years to criticize or boycott Israel for its treatment of Palestinians, and the issue has occupied considerable time at the annual Delegate Assembly meetings. But as the debate has gone on, opponents have become organized as well. Twelve former MLA presidents earlier this week issued a letter opposing the boycott in which they argued that supporting a boycott of universities will damage the reputation of the MLA and will do nothing to solve conflicts in the Middle East.

This resolution is not about justice for Palestinians who have been living under deplorable conditions under the occupation, Sima Godfrey, the associate head of French, Hispanic and Italian studies at the University of British Columbia, said in her remarks against the boycott at the Delegate Assembly meeting. I believe strongly in that justice and their right to that justice. This resolution is not about a two-state solution, which I believe in. This resolution is not about the expansion of settlements in the West Bank, which I deplore. Rather, Godfrey argued the resolution to boycott Israeli academic institutions is about holding Israeli academics collectively responsible for the policies of their government.

Under such circumstances, as a Canadian, I should have boycotted most of the people in this room for the policies of Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Cheney and Bush, and I’m sure you realize that would have been ineffective, she said.

Supporters of the boycott of Israeli universities, on the other hand, argue that it is a powerful way to show solidarity for Palestinians in the face of what the text of the pro-boycott resolution describes as the systematic denial of academic freedom and educational rights for Palestinian scholars and students and the United States material support for Israels ongoing violations of human rights and international laws.

Our resolution is responding to a virtually unanimous call from Palestinian civil society, Rebecca Comay, a professor of philosophy and comparative literature at the University of Toronto, said in introducing the pro-boycott resolution, which was voted down by a 59 to 41percent ratio. The boycott is an act of solidarity to counter the enormous injustices of dispossession, occupation, blockade and racial discrimination that Palestinians continue to suffer daily. These injustices have stripped Palestinians of their basic human rights, including their rights to education and academic freedom, rights we ourselves take for granted and to which the MLA is committed.

Comay said she was shocked and disappointed by the results of the Delegate Assembly vote on Saturday. She described it as shameful that the MLA would take a [negative] position on the activity of boycott, which is protected by the First Amendment. Its like taking a vow of silence.

She added that the anti-boycott resolution is not a principled stand against academic boycotts in general — a position she said she respects even though she doesn’t agree with it — but rather a specific resolution in which Israel was being singled out as a country that should be immune to a boycott by the MLA.

I was prepared for our resolution to fail to win the approval of the majority, but I was not expecting that the MLA would now be taking a principled position against the boycott, which is a much more actively negative stance, Comay said.

Even if the MLAs Delegate Assembly had approved a pro-boycott resolution Saturday, the matter would not have been conclusively decided. Any resolutions supported by the Delegate Assembly — including the anti-boycott measure that was approved — will be forwarded on, first to the MLAs executive council, which under the associations rules is charged with conducting a review of the constitutional, legal and fiduciary issues posed by the language of each resolution approved by the Delegate Assembly. The council will then determine whether to pass it along to the full membership of the association for a vote.

A change to MLAs bylaws that went into effect in 2012 requires a resolution to receive the support of 10percent of all members in order to pass. Since that bars been in place, only two of six resolutions submitted to the full membership for a vote have been ratified.

Our work is not over with, said Cary Nelson, the Jubilee Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the co-editor of The Case Against Academic Boycotts of Israel. Nelson said that it will be a challenge to garner enough votes in support of the anti-boycott resolution to meet that 10percent threshold.

It will be helpful, he said, if we can get a strong member vote behind the resolution. Maybe we won’t have to face this again for a while.

In addition to approving the anti-boycott resolution and defeating the pro-boycott resolution, the MLAs Delegate Assembly voted 83 to 78 to indefinitely postpone consideration of a resolution condemning alleged attacks on academic freedom by Palestinian political organizations, a resolution opposed by critics as racist and as victim blaming in focusing on alleged violations of rights carried out by Palestinians to the exclusion of those attributed to the Israeli government.

That resolution was introduced for consideration after the two boycott-related resolutions had been voted on and the anti-boycott faction emerged victorious. Upon introduction of the resolution, Russell A. Berman, the Walter A. Haas Professor in the Humanities at Stanford University and a proposer of the anti-boycott resolution, spoke on behalf of the third resolution’s proposer of record, the University of South Carolina’s Agnes C. Mueller, who was not present. Berman called for the resolution to be withdrawn from consideration. But others in attendance, incensed at the introduction of a resolution that condemned Palestinian groups for academic freedom violations while ignoring violations perpetrated by the Israeli state, argued that the resolution as submitted should be subject to a full debate.

Barbara Foley, a distinguished professor of English and American studies at Rutgers University’s campus in Newark, described the resolution, which called on the MLA to condemn attacks on academic freedom in Palestinian universities, whether they are perpetrated by the Palestinian Authority or by Hamas, as racist.

David Palumbo-Liu, a professor of comparative literature at Stanford, agreed. I find the erasure of Israel in this resolution to be criminal, said Palumbo-Liu, who objected to the resolution’s silence on what he described as the systemic state suppression of Palestinians.

I think that it is, as Barbara said, racist, and I would say that the move to table it reminds me of nothing so much as what happened after the declaration of black lives matter when people said, All lives matter, he said.

The vote to indefinitely postpone consideration of that resolution was decided by just a five-vote margin. In an earlier email interview with Inside Higher Ed conducted before the Delegate Assembly meeting, Mueller, the resolution’s sponsor, said she had appended to the measure documentation of abuses of academic freedom carried out by Palestinian political groups. The proponents of the boycott call themselves MLA Members for Justice in Palestine, she said. Here are real cases of injustice, documented by serious sources. If they really support justice in Palestine, they should support this.

Post-Trump Commitments

After consideration of the three resolutions related to the Middle East, Michael Brub, the Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Literature at Pennsylvania State University, presented a resolution introduced under the association’s emergency procedures responding to the election of Donald J. Trump to the U.S. presidency. The resolution, as amended, reaffirms the association’s commitment to the ideal of free and unfettered scholarly exchange and its opposition to discrimination on the basis of race, gender, class, ethnicity, color, age, sexual orientation, disability, religion, political beliefs or national origin, and asserts that the Trump administration threatens to violate these core principles of democracy and academic freedom.

In light of this, the resolution, approved by the Delegate Assembly by a 104-8 margin, calls on the association to endorse the AAUP’s statement “Higher Education After the 2016 Election” and encourages members to disseminate the statement widely.

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MLA Delegate Assembly rejects boycott of Israeli universities

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The First Amendment Protects the Right to Boycott Israel …

Earlier this week, the ACLU sent a letter to members of Congress opposing the Israel Anti-Boycott Act. The bill would amend existing law to prohibit people in the United States from supporting boycotts targeting Israel making it a felony to choose not to engage in commerce with companies doing business in Israel and its settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. Violations would be punishable by a civil penaltythat could reach $250,000 anda maximum criminal penalty of $1 million and 20 years in prison.

The bill is aimed at advocates of boycotts targeting Israel, most notably the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement a global campaign that seeks to apply economic and political pressure on Israel to comply with international law. Specifically, the bill sponsors intend the act as a response to the U.N. Human Rights Councils 2016 resolution calling on companies to respect human rights, including in occupied Palestinian territories.

No matter what you think about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, one thing is clear: The First Amendment protects the right to engage in political boycotts.

In fact, the right to boycott is one of the brightest stars in our constitutional firmament. The American Revolution was founded on boycotts against British goods to protest excessive taxes. John Jay led a boycott against New York merchants who engaged in the slave trade. And the Montgomery bus boycott of 19551956 was a major turning point in the struggle for civil rights in the Jim Crow South. In the 1970s and 1980s, colleges and universities led a widespread campaign to boycott and divest from South Africa, in protest of apartheid. In 2015, football players at the University of Missouri went on strike until the school addressed acute racial tensions on campus. And North Carolinas law prohibiting transgender people from accessing restrooms and other facilities consistent with their gender identities sparked massive boycotts by businesses and individuals.

Boycotts are a form of collective action that allows ordinary people to make their voices heard. For precisely this reason, the Supreme Court has held that the First Amendment protects the right to boycott. The courts landmark decision in NAACP v Claiborne Hardware Co. affirmed the constitutional right of NAACP activists to hold a mass economic boycott of white-owned businesses in Port Gibson, Mississippi, to protest the communitys persistent racial inequality and segregation. In ringing language, the court held that the boycotters exercise of their rights to speech, assembly, and petition . . . to change a social order that had consistently treated them as second-class citizens rested on the highest rung of the hierarchy of First Amendment values.

No matter what you think about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, one thing is clear: The First Amendment protects the right to engage in political boycotts.

This is a proud constitutional legacy. Today, though, the right to boycott is under assault. Over the past several years, federal, state, and local legislators have introduced wave after wave of legislation seeking to stamp out boycotts and divestment campaigns aimed at Israel. One such law, passed earlier this year by Nassau County in New York, prohibits the county from doing business with people who support the BDS movement. As a result, Roger Waters of Pink Floyd fame could be banned from playing at the Nassau Coliseum in New York. Similar laws have been passed in Arizona and Kansas.

None of them comport with the First Amendment.

The Israel Anti-Boycott Act introduced in Congress goes a step further, threatening severe civil and criminal punishment against individuals who refrain from doing business with Israel because of their political opposition to its governments actions. The bill amends two existing laws, the Export Administration Act of 1979 and the Export-Import Bank Act of 1945, which prohibit certain boycotts sponsored by foreign governments.

The bill would expand the application of those laws in a number of ways. It would expand the laws to prohibit boycotts called for by international organizations, like the United Nations and the European Union; it would threaten sanctions against people who boycott businesses operating in Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories; and it would prohibit even requests for information about companies business relationships with Israel and Israeli companies. This expansive language would likely chill a wide range of political activity in the United States directed at the Israeli government activity that is constitutionally protected, regardless whether members of Congress agree with it.

A number of the bills sponsors were apparently surprised by the ACLUs free speech concerns with the bill. Severalof them have now expressed their intention to review the legislation with the ACLUs civil rights and civil liberties concerns in mind. We hope they do the right thing by backing away from any bill that violates our First Amendment rights.

This post was updated to reflect the fact that $250,000 is not the minimum civil penalty for violating the law. Rather, the maximum civil penalty is either $250,000 or twice the amount of the money at issue in the alleged violation, whichever is greater.

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Texas town says you cant get hurricane relief if you …

A police officer wades through the Hurricane Harvey floodwaters in Alvin, Texas August 29, 2017. .(photo credit: RICK WILKING / REUTERS)

The American Civil Liberties Union criticized a city in Texas for requiring applicants for Hurricane Harvey rebuilding funds to certify in writing that they will not take part in a boycott of Israel.

The website for Dickinson, Texas, is accepting applications for individuals and businesses who need assistance following the devastating August hurricane. According to the application, those who sign must verify that the applicant (1) does not boycott Israel; and (2) will not boycott Israel during the term of this Agreement.

Dickinson City Management Assistant Bryan Milward attributed the clause to a state law, signed in May, that requires all state contractors to certify that they are not participating in boycotts of Israel. Milward emphasized that the city will not be verifying compliance with the clause, and said he doesnt expect any applications to be rejected because of it.

Because our application also functions as a contract, it was included in there, Milward told JTA Friday. Were not checking up on that. Our city secretary is not digging into anyones background. Were not running background checks or anything like that. Theyre attesting that theyre not boycotting, and were accepting that based on good faith.

Dickinson, a city of about 19,000, was hit especially hard by Harvey. More than three-quarters of its homes were damaged by the hurricane, and 830 were destroyed, according to Milward.

ACLU calls the Dickinson application a violation of free speech rights.

The First Amendment protects Americans right to boycott, and the government cannot condition hurricane relief or any other public benefit on a commitment to refrain from protected political expression, said ACLU of Texas Legal Director Andre Segura in a statement. Dickinsons requirement is an egregious violation of the First Amendment, reminiscent of McCarthy-era loyalty oaths requiring Americans to disavow membership in the Communist party and other forms of subversive activity.

On Oct. 11, the ACLU filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of a public school math teacher in Kansas who was denied a state contract because she participates in the anti-Israel boycott.

Supporters of laws aimed at the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement argue that refusing to do business with a country is not protected speech, and that longstanding laws forbidding support for foreign state boycotts of Israel apply to the business transaction, not the political motivations. If anti-boycott laws are considered unconstitutional, proponents argue, then Americans would be free to violate existing sanctions preventing business with countries like Iran, Cuba or Sudan.

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Wisconsin becomes latest state to pass anti-boycott Israel …

Governor of Wisconsin and potential Republican U.S. Presidential candidate Scott Walker refers to the book “Jesus Calling” at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition’s forum in Waukee, Iowa.(photo credit:REUTERS)

Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin issued an executive order on Friday barring state agencies from engaging in business with entities that discriminate against Israel.

The executive order came ahead of the departure for Israel on Friday of a 15-member trade group led by Walker, which will be in the country through Thursday.

We stand firmly against discrimination in any form and we wholly support our friends in Israel, said Walker, adding, I look forward to leading a trade delegation to Israel to foster new trade partnerships between Wisconsin and Israeli businesses.

Wisconsin (population almost 6 million) is the 24th US state to promulgate either a law or an executive order forbidding the state from conduction business with firms engaged in BDS activity targeting Israel.

The order states: Consistent with existing Wisconsin nondiscrimination provisions and regulations governing purchases…

agencies may not execute a contract with a business entity if that entity is engaging in a boycott of Israel. Further, agencies shall reserve the right to terminate any contract with a business entity that engages in a boycott of Israel during the term of the contract.

The order says boycotts based on religion, national origin, ethnicity or residence are discriminatory, and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel serves to inflame conflict; and over 20 states have enacted laws or resolutions against the BDS campaign.

Israel-Wisconsin trade is flourishing, with Wisconsin exporting over $80 million annually to Israel and importing over $200m. annually from Israel, according to Walkers statement.

The governor is a Republican who was a presidential candidate in 2016.

Walker in his statement expressed support for a state bill that would prohibit any entity in state government or local government from adopting a rule, ordinance, policy or procedure that involves the entity in a boycott of Israel, or a boycott of a person doing business in Israel or in a territory under Israeli jurisdiction. The bill also requires that state contracts for materials, supplies, equipment and services include a provision that the vendor is not currently participating in and will not participate in a boycott of Israel during the contract.

The legislation was co-authored by Sen. Leah Vukmir (R-Brookfield) and Rep. Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield).

The Israel Projects CEO and president Josh Block said, The Israel Project is grateful to Governor Walker for his leadership in fighting against BDS discrimination. For years, Israel and only Israel has been targeted by this deceptive attempt to delegitimize its very right to exist. BDS proponents do not seek a better life for the Palestinians, nor do they aim to create a political environment favorable to a lasting peace between Israel and its neighbors.

Their true aim is the destruction of the Jewish state.

Block added, From the North to South, in blue [predominantly Democrat] and red [predominantly Republican] states and with strong bipartisan support lawmakers in 24 states have now declared BDS a form of discrimination and sent a clear signal that their states will not tolerate or condone taxpayer dollars going to subsidize anti-Israel hate.

Walkers decision was praised on Twitter by the Israel Action Network.

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Did a City in Texas Require Harvey Aid Recipients to …

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As of October 2017, would-be recipients of a repair grant from Dickinson, Texas, must promise not to boycott Israel.

With communities in Texas attempting to recover and rebuild from the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey in late 2017, an administrative measure taken by one Texas city has attracted national attention.

Texas Monthly reported:

The city of Dickinson, in Galveston County, was among the hardest-hit places whenHurricane Harveys torrential rains slammed Texas. Residents now seeking Harvey relief face a strange ultimatum: agree not to boycott Israel, or your application for aid will be denied.

The Houston Chronicle wrote:

A recently passed state law prohibits Texas governmental entities including cities from contracting with or investing certain public funds in companies that boycott Israel.

Anti-Israel policies are anti-Texas policies, and we will not tolerate such actions against an important ally, Gov. Greg Abbott said in a news release earlier this year.

Dickinsons application for aid to rebuild homes and businesses requires residents to state that they will not boycott Israel during the term of the agreement, according to a form on the citys website.

We received several inquiries from readers wondering about the veracity of these reports.

As of 24 October 2017, the city of Dickinson, Texas, does indeed require anyone applying for a Hurricane Harvey Repair Grant to promise not to boycott Israel.

Those seeking a grant are required to sign an agreement with the city of Dickinson for the purpose of providing funds to assist in rebuilding a home or a business impacted by Hurricane Harvey within the City in a timely manner that will maintain the Citys ad valorem and sales tax revenues, along with other benefits for the City as a whole.

One of the terms of the application is:

11. Verification not to Boycott Israel. By executing this Agreement below, the Applicant verifies that the Applicant: (1) does not boycott Israel; and (2) will not boycott Israel during the term of this Agreement.

Dickinson Mayor Julie Masters told local TV news channel KHOU that the city was required to include that condition on the release of the funding by a recently-passed Texas state law House Bill 89, which Governor Greg Abbott signed in May, and which came into effect on 1 September 2017.

The law states:

A governmental entity may not enter into a contract with a company for goods or services unless the contract contains a written verification from the company that it:

Does not boycott Israel; and

will not boycott Israel during the term of the contract.

Speaking to KHOU, Mayor Masters said:

We had to include that verbiage [from] that statute that was required in that statuteWere just the messenger dont crucify us. Were just following state law.

H.B. 89 does not appear to require that any release of public funds come with a commitment by the recipient not to boycott Israel. Rather, it states that Texas (or cities and towns within Texas) cannot enter into a contract with anyone for goods or services without adding the no boycott clause.

Under Dickinsons repair grant application and agreement, the city would provide financial assistance directly to the recipient for the purpose of repairing and rebuilding private homes and businesses. So its unclear how the city receives goods or services in return for the grant.

However, the agreement also defines the grant recipient as an independent contractor.

According to KHOU, Masters is set to consult with Texas state officials over the wording of the law.

The American Civil Liberties Union has criticized both the Dickinson agreement and the state law, saying it was reminiscent of McCarthy-era loyalty oaths.

In a statement, ACLU of Texas Legal Director Andre Segura said:

The First Amendment protects Americans right to boycott, and the government cannot condition hurricane relief or any other public benefit on a commitment to refrain from protected political expression.

Got a tip or a rumor? Contact us here.

Reigstad, Leif. Dickinson Residents Must Take Stance on Israel to Get Harvey Relief. Texas Monthly. 20 October 2017.

Lewis, Brooke A. and Margaret Kadifa. Dickinson Demands Hurricane Harvey Victims Agree to Not Boycott Israel. Houston Chronicle. 22 October 2017.

City of Dickinson, Texas. Hurricane Harvey Repair Grant Application and Agreement. Unknown publication date.

Chapin, Josh. City of Dickinson Defends Harvey Relief Requirement Regarding Israel. KHOU-TV. 20 October 2017.

King, Phil. House Bill No. 89. Texas State Legislature. 2 May 2017.

ACLU of Texas. Texas City Tells People no Hurricane Harvey Aid Unless They Promise Not to Boycott Israel. &nbsp 20 October 2017.

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Prize-winning photographers launch Israel boycott pledge – The Electronic Intifada (blog)

Ali Abunimah Activism and BDS Beat 21 August 2017

A Palestinian photographer works amid tear gas fired by Israeli forces during confrontations with Palestinian protestersnear the boundary between Israel and the central Gaza Strip, October 2015.

More than 40 Portuguese photographers, photography teachers and students have launched a pledge to reject professional invitations or funding from the Israeli state, and to refuse to collaborate with Israeli institutions complicit in Israels regime of occupation, colonialism and apartheid.

The photographers are pledging to boycott Israel until it complies with international law and respects the human rights of Palestinians.

They are urging other photographers to join the call, which they launched to coincide with World Photo Day on Saturday, an annual celebration of the transformative influence of photography.

Their pledge comes in response to the Palestinian call for a cultural boycott of Israel, as Israel uses culture to whitewash and obscure its violations of Palestinian rights.

Those supporting the pledge include Joo Pina, winner of the 2017 Prmio Estao Imagem Viana do Castelo, Portugals only photojournalism award, and Nuno Lobito, a photographer and television personality who has traveled to almost every country in the world.

It is time for Israels brand of apartheid to enjoy the same treatment as South African apartheid and be target of a comprehensive international boycott until it respects human rights, Lobito said.

Photographers can no longer be silent about the treatment of their Palestinian colleagues living under an indefensible occupation that has lasted for over half a century, Lobito added.

Palestinians have called for solidarity through boycotts and this pledge is our practical contribution to their struggle.

Palestinian arts photographers, photojournalists and videographers have been frequent targets of violence by Israeli occupation forces.

In 2014, the year it launched a massive military assault on Gaza, Israel was the second most lethal country in the world for journalists.

In May this year, an Israeli settler shot and injured Majdi Mohammed, a photographer for the Associated Press, while he was covering a protest near the occupied West Bank city of Nablus.

The settler shot dead a Palestinian protester in the same incident.

The Committee to Protect Journalists condemned Israeli occupation forces inaction toward the suspected shooter.

Israeli authorities should not allow a man who by his own admission shot at a crowd, injuring a journalist and killing a young man, to rest comfortably at home, unmolested by police, the groups Middle East and North Africa coordinator Sherif Mansour said.

Israel must show that its citizens cannot shoot journalists or other unarmed civilians with impunity.

Unprovoked attacks on press photographers and journalists by Israeli occupation forces have been met with similar impunity.

Last month, there was a surge in attacks on journalists, including photographers, by Israeli forces who reacted with violence to Palestinian civil disobedience against tightened restrictions on entry to Jerusalems al-Aqsa mosque compound.

Earlier this month, Oren Ziv, a photographer with the collective ActiveStills, told The Electronic Intifada that Israeli soldiers and police regularly attack Palestinian and other journalists who cover smaller Palestinian demonstrations, but the events in Jerusalem were unusual because of the wide attention they received.

Miguel Carrio, winner of the 2012 Concelho da Bienal de Vila Franca de Xira award, urged fellow photographers to observe the boycott.

Having witnessed first-hand the crimes Israel is committing daily against Palestinians, signing up to this initiative has become a natural step, Carrio said.

It is fundamental to promote this effort through all means possible.

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So Now American Zionists Want to Boycott Israel

Several prominent American Zionists including long-time supporters of Israel are so outraged at the Israeli government’s recent decision regarding the Western Wall and non-orthodox conversion, that they are urging American Jews to reduce or even eliminate their support for Israel.

According to an article by Elliot Abrams in Mosaic, Ike Fisher a prominent member of the Aipac board, threatened to “suspend” all further financial support for Israel.

Daniel Gordis, a leading voice for Conservative Judaism, urged American Jews to cancel their El al tickets and fly Delta or United. He also proposed “withholding donations to Israeli hospitals, so that ‘They start running out of money’ and ‘begin to falter.'”

This sort of emotional response is reminiscent of the temper tantrum outgoing President Barak Obama engaged in when he refused to veto the UN’s recent anti-Israel resolution.

I strongly disagree both with the Israeli government’s capitulation to the minority of ultra-Orthodox Jews, who wield far too much influence in Israeli politics, and with the proposals to cut back on support for Israel by some of my fellow critics of the Israeli government’s recent decisions with regard to religion.

I strongly support greater separation between religion and state in Israel, as Theodor Herzl outlined in his plan for the nation-state of the Jewish People in Der Judenstaat 120 years ago: “We shall . . . prevent any theocratic tendencies from coming to the fore on the part of our priesthood. We shall keep our priests [by which is meant Rabbis] within the confines of heir temples.”

It was David Ben Gurion, Israel’s founding Prime Minister, who made the deal with the Orthodox Rabbinate that violated Herzl’s mandate and knocked down the wall of separation between religion and state.

He allocated to the Chief Rabbinate authority over many secular matters, such as marriage, divorce and child custody. He also laid the ground work for the creation of religious parties that have been a necessary part of most Israeli coalitions for many years.

So don’t blame Israel’s current Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, for the recent capitulation.

His government’s survival depends on his unholy alliance with allegedly holy parties that threaten to leave the coalition and bring down his government unless he capitulated.

The alternative to a Netanyahu government might well be far to the right of the current government, both on religious matters and on prospects for peace.

Reasonable people may disagree as to whether Netanyahu did the right thing, but I believe that given the choice between the current government and what may well replace it, PM Netanyahu acted on acceptable priorities.

This is not to say that I am happy with the end result.

As a post-denominational Jew, I want to see a part of the Western Wall opened to conservative and reform prayer.

I also want to see conservative and reform and modern orthodox rabbis deemed fully competent to perform rituals including marriage and divorce. I will continue to fight for these outcomes, and I think we will ultimately be successful.

But in the meantime, I will also continue to fly El Al, contribute to Israeli hospitals, attend APAC events, and encourage Americans to support Israel, both politically and financially. To do otherwise is to engage in a form of BDS the tactic currently employed by Israel’s enemies to delegitimate the Nation state of the Jewish people.

Supporters of BDS will point to these benign boycotts as a way of justifying their malignant ones. If BDS is an immoral tactic, as it surely is, so too is punishing the people of Israel for the failure of its government to be fully inclusive of Jews who do not align themselves with the ultra-Orthodox.

Tough love may be an appropriate response in family matters, but boycotting a troubled nation which has become a pariah among the hard-left is not the appropriate response to the Israeli government’s recent decisions regarding religion.

The answer is not disengagement, but rather greater engagement with Israel on matters that involve world Jewry.

I, too, am furious about the arrogant and destructive threats of the ultra-Orthodox parties in the current government.

I, too, would prefer to see a coalition that excluded the ultra-Orthodox parties.

I, too, would like to see a high wall of separation that kept the Rabbi’s out of politics.

But I do not live in Israel, and Israel is a democracy.

Ultimately it is up to the citizens of Israel to change the current system. The role of American Jews is limited to persuasion, not coercion.

In the end, we will be successful in persuading the Israeli people to take the power of religious, coercion out of the hands of the ultra-Orthodox minority because that would not only be good for secular Israelis who are a majority but also for religious Israelis. History has proved that separation of state from religion is better not only for the state, but also for religion.

This article was originally published by Gatestone Institute.

You can follow Alan Dershowitz on Twitter (@AlanDersh) and Facebook (AlanMDershowitz).

Professor Alan Dershowitz is the author of “Taking the Stand: My Life in the Law” and most recently, “Electile Dysfunction: A Guide for Unaroused Voters.” Read more reports from Alan M. Dershowitz Click Here Now.

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So Now American Zionists Want to Boycott Israel

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August 19, 2017   Posted in: Boycott Israel  Comments Closed

Artists boycott Israel sponsored festival in Germany – Middle East Monitor

Four artists have cancelled their scheduled performances at an international festival in Berlin citing the festivals partnership with the Israeli embassy and their support for the Palestinian call for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

The Pop-Kultur festival, which is due to take place in Berlin next week, is an annual event that attracts thousands of visitors. While the two-day event also boasts over 30 sponsors including several internationally recognised brands, Israel appears to be the only foreign country taking a keen interest.

Tunisian singer-songwriter Emel Mathlouthi, one of the four to cancel their performance, said in a statement posted on Facebook yesterday that she was looking forward to playing until [I] realised the festival was sponsored by Israeli embassy. The musician went on to say: As things get tougher inside and outside Palestine, what each one of us can always do is show solidarity and empathy, as artists it starts by being true and faithful.

Announcing their cancellation, the Egyptian group Islam Chipsy said on Monday that they had cancelled their performance because of the participation of the Israeli embassy. The group posted on Facebook that they wanted to make it clear that their music seeks to resist violence, persecution and discrimination of any kind against each other.

Mohammad Abu Hajar of the Mazzaj Rap Band, who was previously jailed in Syria for his activism, explained why his group had cancelled its appearance last week:

It did not take us a minute to know what we had to do; we will not participate in a festival that accepts the partnership with an embassy representing a state and a government led by right-wing party Likud and Netanyahu which openly declared on many different occasions anti-Arab, anti-Muslim and anti-Black attitudes.

Given this and its perpetration of all previous governments colonial behaviour, we understand the partnership with an embassy as an attempt to whitewash the image of its government and an endorsement of its behaviour.

Read:Palestinians protest Radioheads support for apartheid Israel

Abu Hajar went on to say that the festival cannot achieve its stated aim of bringing artists from different backgrounds together on one stage under such conditions. Our stand is not against a culture, but resistance against a discriminatory, colonial government, he added. It is not merely an opinion that we disagree with, but a whole set of oppressive structures, manifesting themselves in the policies of the Israeli state.

Syrian DJ and producer Hello Psychaleppo, the third artist to cancel, said on Monday that at the time he agreed to take part in the festival over a couple of months ago, he was not aware that the Israeli embassy was amongst the sponsors of the event.

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) welcomed the cancellations saying in a statement released yesterday: [PACBI] salutes the artists who have cancelled their participation in Pop-Kultur to protest Israels sponsorship.

As in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, a regime of oppression and racism should never be welcomed in cultural spaces claiming to advocate for openness, inclusion and human rights.

PACBI, a founding member of the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions (BDS) National Committee, went on to condemn Pop-Kulturs acceptance of Israels sponsorship describing the decision as a conscious act of complicity in whitewashing Israels regime of occupation and apartheid.

Pop-Kultur responded to the string of cancellations in a statement yesterday to confirm that the four artists had cancelled their performances at this years festival due to its partnership with the Israeli embassy. They also confirmed that the Israeli embassy partly contributes to the travel expenses for artists performing at the festival.

Meanwhile, Artists for Palestine UK (APUK) published an open letter addressed to UK musicians scheduled to perform at Pop-Kultur calling on them to withdraw from the event.

When you signed up to play Berlin Pop-Kultur, you possibly didnt know that the Israeli embassy in Germany was a sponsor. Maybe you also dont know that Palestinian civil society, living under Israeli military occupation or in exile, is appealing to artists not to take part in events sponsored by the state of Israel, in solidarity with the Palestinians long struggle for rights and freedom.

But now that you do know, will you follow the example of the musicians who have withdrawn from Pop-Kultur in the past few days?

APUK, whose pledge to uphold the cultural boycott of Israel has been signed by more than 1,200 UK artists continued:

You have the power to tell the Palestinians they are not alone under occupation and in exile. Please use your power. Please withdraw from Berlin Pop-Kultur.

Pop-Kultur is one of several cultural festivals which the Israeli embassy has been keen to support. The Edinburgh Fringe, one of the UKs major festivals, also partnered with the Israeli embassy. Critics say that under the banner of coexistence and cultural cooperation Israel is trying to whitewash its brutal occupation of Palestine and the long list of human rights abuses committed by its occupying forces against the Palestinians.

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Artists boycott Israel sponsored festival in Germany – Middle East Monitor

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August 16, 2017   Posted in: Boycott Israel  Comments Closed

Nearly 50 Senators Want to Make It a Felony to Boycott Israel

(Photo: Kate Ausburn / Flickr) This piece is a joint publication of Foreign Policy In Focus and TheNation.com. In 1966, the NAACP of Claiborne County, Mississippi launched a boycott of several white-owned local businesses on the basis of racial discrimination. It was so impactful that the local hardware store filed a lawsuit against the individuals and organizations who coordinated the boycott. After 10 long years of litigation, the Mississippi Supreme Court ruled in favor of the white businesses and ordered the NAACP to pay for all their lost earnings. Years later, in 1982, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 8-0 to overturn the lower courts decision on the basis that nonviolent boycotts are a form of free speech protected by the First Amendment. In announcing the unanimous decision, Justice John Paul Stevens said, One of the foundations of our society is the right of individuals to combine with other persons in pursuit of a common goal by lawful means. That should have been the end of it. But now, Americans right to boycott is under attack once again thanks to a vicious anti-boycott bill making its way through the Senate. In particular, it appears to target the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. BDS is an international movement calling on individuals, institutions, and governments to boycott Israeli products until it ends its occupation of Palestinian lands. The boycott is explicitly nonviolent and is supported by activists, celebrities, faith-based groups, and political and social justice organizations around the world. The proposed Israel Anti-Boycott Act would make it a felony for Americans to support BDS, with a penalty of up to $1 million and 20 years in prison. Unfortunately, the bill enjoys bipartisan support: 32 Republicans and 15 Democrats are currently signed on as cosponsors, including party leaders like Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), and Ted Cruz (R-TX). In response, the ACLU issued a letter urging members of the Senate to oppose the bill based on its direct violation of the First Amendment.(Following the publication of the ACLUs letter, several members of Congress agreed to review their sponsorship, and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) became the first Senator to officially withdraw sponsorship.) The Israel Anti-Boycott Act would function by amending an earlier law from 1979, which prohibits American citizens and corporations from complying with boycotts called for by foreign nations against U.S. allies. The new law would include boycotts fostered and imposed by international governmental organizations like the United Nations. In this, its a direct response to the 2016 UN Human Rights Council resolution discouraging businesses from operating in Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. In one way, its genius. By claiming a connection between BDS and the UN a connection the UN has never embraced, in that resolution or any other the bill attempts to work around NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware Co. But the BDS movement is not a product of the UN it has nothing to do with it at all, except to the degree that its based on international law. The BDS call to action was issued in 2005 by a coalition of 170 Palestinian political parties, professional associations, refugee networks, and civil society organizations. BDS is a tactic, not an organization, and the boycott has always been grassroots and decentralized, meaning anyone anywhere can partake in BDS by making the simple decision to do so. Whether the congressional supporters of the Israel Anti-Boycott Act misunderstand or are intentionally misrepresenting BDS is uncertain, but the Supreme Court decision of 1982 is clear as crystal: Americans right to peaceful boycott with the aim to bring about political, social, and economic change is protected by the First Amendment. That means this bill is more than egregiously immoral its unconstitutional. The bills language also lumps Israels settlements in with the countrys internationally recognized borders. Significantly, it declares the UN Human Rights Councils 2016 position on Israeli settlements an action to boycott, divest from, or sanction Israel. Yet that resolution took no position on the boycotting of goods produced in Israel proper it only took aim at Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory, which are illegal under international law. U.S. policy since 1979 has recognized that the Israeli settlements are inconsistent with international law. By contrast, the new bill effectively erases any distinction between Israel and its settlements in the West Bank. If its passed, anyone who chooses not to do business with or buy items manufactured in illegal Israeli settlements can be convicted, fined, and even jailed. Efforts to curb this kind of activism are often touted as efforts to combat anti-Semitism. Yet polls show that only 17 percent of American Jews support the continued construction of settlements. The bill is so controversial, in fact, that the liberal pro-Israel organization J Street, which has long opposed BDS, recently announced its opposition to the proposed law on the basis that it divides [opponents of the global BDS movement] by making the issue about the settlements. Its difficult to know exactly how broadly the law, if passed, will be enforced. Its intentionally vague language leaves a lot to the imagination, and perhaps thats exactly whats intended. The real goal may be to frighten people from engaging in the completely legal act of living out their values in their economic choices. But we cant let fear prevent us from exercising our rights and fulfilling our moral obligations. The silver lining is that every effort to quell the BDS movement has served to strengthen it. Each attempt at criminalizing the boycott, whether on the state or federal level, has been met with a spike in Google searches for BDS and related terms. And with the uproar caused by this new bill, the right-wing pro-Israel lobby just may prove to be the BDS movements best ally.

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December 7, 2017   Posted in: Boycott Israel  Comments Closed

MLA Delegate Assembly rejects boycott of Israeli universities

PHILADELPHIA — In a defeat for the movement to boycott Israeli academic institutions, members of the Modern Language Associations Delegate Assembly voted down a resolution endorsing the academic boycott on Saturday. Instead, they voted to adopt another resolution that calls on the association of language and literature scholars to refrain from endorsing the boycott of Israeli universities. The vote on Saturday in favor of the anti-boycott resolution was 101 to 93, while the pro-boycott resolution failed by a 113-79 margin. The anti-boycott resolution will now be forwarded to the MLAs executive council, which will determine whether to distribute it to the full membership for a vote. The vote on boycott at the MLAs annual convention comes as about half a dozen U.S.-based scholarly associations, including the American Studies Association and the National Womens Studies Association, have formally expressed their support for the boycott of Israeli academic institutions since 2013. Members of the American Anthropological Association narrowly voted down a pro-boycott resolution in the spring. Opponents of the academic boycott of Israel argue that it limits academic freedom and the free exchange of ideas, a position held by the American Association of University Professors. The text of the anti-boycott resolution approved by members of the Delegate Assembly asserts that endorsing the Palestinian campaign to boycott Israeli academic institutions contradicts the MLAs purpose to promote teaching and research on language and literature and could curtail debates with representatives of Israeli universities, such as faculty members, department chairs and deans, thereby blocking possible dialogue and general scholarly exchange. Some MLA members have been pushing the organization for years to criticize or boycott Israel for its treatment of Palestinians, and the issue has occupied considerable time at the annual Delegate Assembly meetings. But as the debate has gone on, opponents have become organized as well. Twelve former MLA presidents earlier this week issued a letter opposing the boycott in which they argued that supporting a boycott of universities will damage the reputation of the MLA and will do nothing to solve conflicts in the Middle East. This resolution is not about justice for Palestinians who have been living under deplorable conditions under the occupation, Sima Godfrey, the associate head of French, Hispanic and Italian studies at the University of British Columbia, said in her remarks against the boycott at the Delegate Assembly meeting. I believe strongly in that justice and their right to that justice. This resolution is not about a two-state solution, which I believe in. This resolution is not about the expansion of settlements in the West Bank, which I deplore. Rather, Godfrey argued the resolution to boycott Israeli academic institutions is about holding Israeli academics collectively responsible for the policies of their government. Under such circumstances, as a Canadian, I should have boycotted most of the people in this room for the policies of Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Cheney and Bush, and I’m sure you realize that would have been ineffective, she said. Supporters of the boycott of Israeli universities, on the other hand, argue that it is a powerful way to show solidarity for Palestinians in the face of what the text of the pro-boycott resolution describes as the systematic denial of academic freedom and educational rights for Palestinian scholars and students and the United States material support for Israels ongoing violations of human rights and international laws. Our resolution is responding to a virtually unanimous call from Palestinian civil society, Rebecca Comay, a professor of philosophy and comparative literature at the University of Toronto, said in introducing the pro-boycott resolution, which was voted down by a 59 to 41percent ratio. The boycott is an act of solidarity to counter the enormous injustices of dispossession, occupation, blockade and racial discrimination that Palestinians continue to suffer daily. These injustices have stripped Palestinians of their basic human rights, including their rights to education and academic freedom, rights we ourselves take for granted and to which the MLA is committed. Comay said she was shocked and disappointed by the results of the Delegate Assembly vote on Saturday. She described it as shameful that the MLA would take a [negative] position on the activity of boycott, which is protected by the First Amendment. Its like taking a vow of silence. She added that the anti-boycott resolution is not a principled stand against academic boycotts in general — a position she said she respects even though she doesn’t agree with it — but rather a specific resolution in which Israel was being singled out as a country that should be immune to a boycott by the MLA. I was prepared for our resolution to fail to win the approval of the majority, but I was not expecting that the MLA would now be taking a principled position against the boycott, which is a much more actively negative stance, Comay said. Even if the MLAs Delegate Assembly had approved a pro-boycott resolution Saturday, the matter would not have been conclusively decided. Any resolutions supported by the Delegate Assembly — including the anti-boycott measure that was approved — will be forwarded on, first to the MLAs executive council, which under the associations rules is charged with conducting a review of the constitutional, legal and fiduciary issues posed by the language of each resolution approved by the Delegate Assembly. The council will then determine whether to pass it along to the full membership of the association for a vote. A change to MLAs bylaws that went into effect in 2012 requires a resolution to receive the support of 10percent of all members in order to pass. Since that bars been in place, only two of six resolutions submitted to the full membership for a vote have been ratified. Our work is not over with, said Cary Nelson, the Jubilee Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the co-editor of The Case Against Academic Boycotts of Israel. Nelson said that it will be a challenge to garner enough votes in support of the anti-boycott resolution to meet that 10percent threshold. It will be helpful, he said, if we can get a strong member vote behind the resolution. Maybe we won’t have to face this again for a while. In addition to approving the anti-boycott resolution and defeating the pro-boycott resolution, the MLAs Delegate Assembly voted 83 to 78 to indefinitely postpone consideration of a resolution condemning alleged attacks on academic freedom by Palestinian political organizations, a resolution opposed by critics as racist and as victim blaming in focusing on alleged violations of rights carried out by Palestinians to the exclusion of those attributed to the Israeli government. That resolution was introduced for consideration after the two boycott-related resolutions had been voted on and the anti-boycott faction emerged victorious. Upon introduction of the resolution, Russell A. Berman, the Walter A. Haas Professor in the Humanities at Stanford University and a proposer of the anti-boycott resolution, spoke on behalf of the third resolution’s proposer of record, the University of South Carolina’s Agnes C. Mueller, who was not present. Berman called for the resolution to be withdrawn from consideration. But others in attendance, incensed at the introduction of a resolution that condemned Palestinian groups for academic freedom violations while ignoring violations perpetrated by the Israeli state, argued that the resolution as submitted should be subject to a full debate. Barbara Foley, a distinguished professor of English and American studies at Rutgers University’s campus in Newark, described the resolution, which called on the MLA to condemn attacks on academic freedom in Palestinian universities, whether they are perpetrated by the Palestinian Authority or by Hamas, as racist. David Palumbo-Liu, a professor of comparative literature at Stanford, agreed. I find the erasure of Israel in this resolution to be criminal, said Palumbo-Liu, who objected to the resolution’s silence on what he described as the systemic state suppression of Palestinians. I think that it is, as Barbara said, racist, and I would say that the move to table it reminds me of nothing so much as what happened after the declaration of black lives matter when people said, All lives matter, he said. The vote to indefinitely postpone consideration of that resolution was decided by just a five-vote margin. In an earlier email interview with Inside Higher Ed conducted before the Delegate Assembly meeting, Mueller, the resolution’s sponsor, said she had appended to the measure documentation of abuses of academic freedom carried out by Palestinian political groups. The proponents of the boycott call themselves MLA Members for Justice in Palestine, she said. Here are real cases of injustice, documented by serious sources. If they really support justice in Palestine, they should support this. Post-Trump Commitments After consideration of the three resolutions related to the Middle East, Michael Brub, the Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Literature at Pennsylvania State University, presented a resolution introduced under the association’s emergency procedures responding to the election of Donald J. Trump to the U.S. presidency. The resolution, as amended, reaffirms the association’s commitment to the ideal of free and unfettered scholarly exchange and its opposition to discrimination on the basis of race, gender, class, ethnicity, color, age, sexual orientation, disability, religion, political beliefs or national origin, and asserts that the Trump administration threatens to violate these core principles of democracy and academic freedom. In light of this, the resolution, approved by the Delegate Assembly by a 104-8 margin, calls on the association to endorse the AAUP’s statement “Higher Education After the 2016 Election” and encourages members to disseminate the statement widely.

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December 7, 2017   Posted in: Boycott Israel  Comments Closed

The First Amendment Protects the Right to Boycott Israel …

Earlier this week, the ACLU sent a letter to members of Congress opposing the Israel Anti-Boycott Act. The bill would amend existing law to prohibit people in the United States from supporting boycotts targeting Israel making it a felony to choose not to engage in commerce with companies doing business in Israel and its settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. Violations would be punishable by a civil penaltythat could reach $250,000 anda maximum criminal penalty of $1 million and 20 years in prison. The bill is aimed at advocates of boycotts targeting Israel, most notably the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement a global campaign that seeks to apply economic and political pressure on Israel to comply with international law. Specifically, the bill sponsors intend the act as a response to the U.N. Human Rights Councils 2016 resolution calling on companies to respect human rights, including in occupied Palestinian territories. No matter what you think about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, one thing is clear: The First Amendment protects the right to engage in political boycotts. In fact, the right to boycott is one of the brightest stars in our constitutional firmament. The American Revolution was founded on boycotts against British goods to protest excessive taxes. John Jay led a boycott against New York merchants who engaged in the slave trade. And the Montgomery bus boycott of 19551956 was a major turning point in the struggle for civil rights in the Jim Crow South. In the 1970s and 1980s, colleges and universities led a widespread campaign to boycott and divest from South Africa, in protest of apartheid. In 2015, football players at the University of Missouri went on strike until the school addressed acute racial tensions on campus. And North Carolinas law prohibiting transgender people from accessing restrooms and other facilities consistent with their gender identities sparked massive boycotts by businesses and individuals. Boycotts are a form of collective action that allows ordinary people to make their voices heard. For precisely this reason, the Supreme Court has held that the First Amendment protects the right to boycott. The courts landmark decision in NAACP v Claiborne Hardware Co. affirmed the constitutional right of NAACP activists to hold a mass economic boycott of white-owned businesses in Port Gibson, Mississippi, to protest the communitys persistent racial inequality and segregation. In ringing language, the court held that the boycotters exercise of their rights to speech, assembly, and petition . . . to change a social order that had consistently treated them as second-class citizens rested on the highest rung of the hierarchy of First Amendment values. No matter what you think about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, one thing is clear: The First Amendment protects the right to engage in political boycotts. This is a proud constitutional legacy. Today, though, the right to boycott is under assault. Over the past several years, federal, state, and local legislators have introduced wave after wave of legislation seeking to stamp out boycotts and divestment campaigns aimed at Israel. One such law, passed earlier this year by Nassau County in New York, prohibits the county from doing business with people who support the BDS movement. As a result, Roger Waters of Pink Floyd fame could be banned from playing at the Nassau Coliseum in New York. Similar laws have been passed in Arizona and Kansas. None of them comport with the First Amendment. The Israel Anti-Boycott Act introduced in Congress goes a step further, threatening severe civil and criminal punishment against individuals who refrain from doing business with Israel because of their political opposition to its governments actions. The bill amends two existing laws, the Export Administration Act of 1979 and the Export-Import Bank Act of 1945, which prohibit certain boycotts sponsored by foreign governments. The bill would expand the application of those laws in a number of ways. It would expand the laws to prohibit boycotts called for by international organizations, like the United Nations and the European Union; it would threaten sanctions against people who boycott businesses operating in Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories; and it would prohibit even requests for information about companies business relationships with Israel and Israeli companies. This expansive language would likely chill a wide range of political activity in the United States directed at the Israeli government activity that is constitutionally protected, regardless whether members of Congress agree with it. A number of the bills sponsors were apparently surprised by the ACLUs free speech concerns with the bill. Severalof them have now expressed their intention to review the legislation with the ACLUs civil rights and civil liberties concerns in mind. We hope they do the right thing by backing away from any bill that violates our First Amendment rights. This post was updated to reflect the fact that $250,000 is not the minimum civil penalty for violating the law. Rather, the maximum civil penalty is either $250,000 or twice the amount of the money at issue in the alleged violation, whichever is greater.

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November 29, 2017   Posted in: Boycott Israel  Comments Closed

Texas town says you cant get hurricane relief if you …

A police officer wades through the Hurricane Harvey floodwaters in Alvin, Texas August 29, 2017. .(photo credit: RICK WILKING / REUTERS) The American Civil Liberties Union criticized a city in Texas for requiring applicants for Hurricane Harvey rebuilding funds to certify in writing that they will not take part in a boycott of Israel. The website for Dickinson, Texas, is accepting applications for individuals and businesses who need assistance following the devastating August hurricane. According to the application, those who sign must verify that the applicant (1) does not boycott Israel; and (2) will not boycott Israel during the term of this Agreement. Dickinson City Management Assistant Bryan Milward attributed the clause to a state law, signed in May, that requires all state contractors to certify that they are not participating in boycotts of Israel. Milward emphasized that the city will not be verifying compliance with the clause, and said he doesnt expect any applications to be rejected because of it. Because our application also functions as a contract, it was included in there, Milward told JTA Friday. Were not checking up on that. Our city secretary is not digging into anyones background. Were not running background checks or anything like that. Theyre attesting that theyre not boycotting, and were accepting that based on good faith. Dickinson, a city of about 19,000, was hit especially hard by Harvey. More than three-quarters of its homes were damaged by the hurricane, and 830 were destroyed, according to Milward. ACLU calls the Dickinson application a violation of free speech rights. The First Amendment protects Americans right to boycott, and the government cannot condition hurricane relief or any other public benefit on a commitment to refrain from protected political expression, said ACLU of Texas Legal Director Andre Segura in a statement. Dickinsons requirement is an egregious violation of the First Amendment, reminiscent of McCarthy-era loyalty oaths requiring Americans to disavow membership in the Communist party and other forms of subversive activity. On Oct. 11, the ACLU filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of a public school math teacher in Kansas who was denied a state contract because she participates in the anti-Israel boycott. Supporters of laws aimed at the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement argue that refusing to do business with a country is not protected speech, and that longstanding laws forbidding support for foreign state boycotts of Israel apply to the business transaction, not the political motivations. If anti-boycott laws are considered unconstitutional, proponents argue, then Americans would be free to violate existing sanctions preventing business with countries like Iran, Cuba or Sudan. Share on facebook

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Wisconsin becomes latest state to pass anti-boycott Israel …

Governor of Wisconsin and potential Republican U.S. Presidential candidate Scott Walker refers to the book “Jesus Calling” at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition’s forum in Waukee, Iowa.(photo credit:REUTERS) Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin issued an executive order on Friday barring state agencies from engaging in business with entities that discriminate against Israel. The executive order came ahead of the departure for Israel on Friday of a 15-member trade group led by Walker, which will be in the country through Thursday. We stand firmly against discrimination in any form and we wholly support our friends in Israel, said Walker, adding, I look forward to leading a trade delegation to Israel to foster new trade partnerships between Wisconsin and Israeli businesses. Wisconsin (population almost 6 million) is the 24th US state to promulgate either a law or an executive order forbidding the state from conduction business with firms engaged in BDS activity targeting Israel. The order states: Consistent with existing Wisconsin nondiscrimination provisions and regulations governing purchases… agencies may not execute a contract with a business entity if that entity is engaging in a boycott of Israel. Further, agencies shall reserve the right to terminate any contract with a business entity that engages in a boycott of Israel during the term of the contract. The order says boycotts based on religion, national origin, ethnicity or residence are discriminatory, and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel serves to inflame conflict; and over 20 states have enacted laws or resolutions against the BDS campaign. Israel-Wisconsin trade is flourishing, with Wisconsin exporting over $80 million annually to Israel and importing over $200m. annually from Israel, according to Walkers statement. The governor is a Republican who was a presidential candidate in 2016. Walker in his statement expressed support for a state bill that would prohibit any entity in state government or local government from adopting a rule, ordinance, policy or procedure that involves the entity in a boycott of Israel, or a boycott of a person doing business in Israel or in a territory under Israeli jurisdiction. The bill also requires that state contracts for materials, supplies, equipment and services include a provision that the vendor is not currently participating in and will not participate in a boycott of Israel during the contract. The legislation was co-authored by Sen. Leah Vukmir (R-Brookfield) and Rep. Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield). The Israel Projects CEO and president Josh Block said, The Israel Project is grateful to Governor Walker for his leadership in fighting against BDS discrimination. For years, Israel and only Israel has been targeted by this deceptive attempt to delegitimize its very right to exist. BDS proponents do not seek a better life for the Palestinians, nor do they aim to create a political environment favorable to a lasting peace between Israel and its neighbors. Their true aim is the destruction of the Jewish state. Block added, From the North to South, in blue [predominantly Democrat] and red [predominantly Republican] states and with strong bipartisan support lawmakers in 24 states have now declared BDS a form of discrimination and sent a clear signal that their states will not tolerate or condone taxpayer dollars going to subsidize anti-Israel hate. Walkers decision was praised on Twitter by the Israel Action Network. Share on facebook

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November 25, 2017   Posted in: Boycott Israel  Comments Closed

Did a City in Texas Require Harvey Aid Recipients to …

‘;if (currentUrl.indexOf(‘.asp’) > -1) { jQuery(‘#image-error’).html(errorMarkup);} As of October 2017, would-be recipients of a repair grant from Dickinson, Texas, must promise not to boycott Israel. With communities in Texas attempting to recover and rebuild from the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey in late 2017, an administrative measure taken by one Texas city has attracted national attention. Texas Monthly reported: The city of Dickinson, in Galveston County, was among the hardest-hit places whenHurricane Harveys torrential rains slammed Texas. Residents now seeking Harvey relief face a strange ultimatum: agree not to boycott Israel, or your application for aid will be denied. The Houston Chronicle wrote: A recently passed state law prohibits Texas governmental entities including cities from contracting with or investing certain public funds in companies that boycott Israel. Anti-Israel policies are anti-Texas policies, and we will not tolerate such actions against an important ally, Gov. Greg Abbott said in a news release earlier this year. Dickinsons application for aid to rebuild homes and businesses requires residents to state that they will not boycott Israel during the term of the agreement, according to a form on the citys website. We received several inquiries from readers wondering about the veracity of these reports. As of 24 October 2017, the city of Dickinson, Texas, does indeed require anyone applying for a Hurricane Harvey Repair Grant to promise not to boycott Israel. Those seeking a grant are required to sign an agreement with the city of Dickinson for the purpose of providing funds to assist in rebuilding a home or a business impacted by Hurricane Harvey within the City in a timely manner that will maintain the Citys ad valorem and sales tax revenues, along with other benefits for the City as a whole. One of the terms of the application is: 11. Verification not to Boycott Israel. By executing this Agreement below, the Applicant verifies that the Applicant: (1) does not boycott Israel; and (2) will not boycott Israel during the term of this Agreement. Dickinson Mayor Julie Masters told local TV news channel KHOU that the city was required to include that condition on the release of the funding by a recently-passed Texas state law House Bill 89, which Governor Greg Abbott signed in May, and which came into effect on 1 September 2017. The law states: A governmental entity may not enter into a contract with a company for goods or services unless the contract contains a written verification from the company that it: Does not boycott Israel; and will not boycott Israel during the term of the contract. Speaking to KHOU, Mayor Masters said: We had to include that verbiage [from] that statute that was required in that statuteWere just the messenger dont crucify us. Were just following state law. H.B. 89 does not appear to require that any release of public funds come with a commitment by the recipient not to boycott Israel. Rather, it states that Texas (or cities and towns within Texas) cannot enter into a contract with anyone for goods or services without adding the no boycott clause. Under Dickinsons repair grant application and agreement, the city would provide financial assistance directly to the recipient for the purpose of repairing and rebuilding private homes and businesses. So its unclear how the city receives goods or services in return for the grant. However, the agreement also defines the grant recipient as an independent contractor. According to KHOU, Masters is set to consult with Texas state officials over the wording of the law. The American Civil Liberties Union has criticized both the Dickinson agreement and the state law, saying it was reminiscent of McCarthy-era loyalty oaths. In a statement, ACLU of Texas Legal Director Andre Segura said: The First Amendment protects Americans right to boycott, and the government cannot condition hurricane relief or any other public benefit on a commitment to refrain from protected political expression. Got a tip or a rumor? Contact us here. Reigstad, Leif. Dickinson Residents Must Take Stance on Israel to Get Harvey Relief. Texas Monthly. 20 October 2017. Lewis, Brooke A. and Margaret Kadifa. Dickinson Demands Hurricane Harvey Victims Agree to Not Boycott Israel. Houston Chronicle. 22 October 2017. City of Dickinson, Texas. Hurricane Harvey Repair Grant Application and Agreement. Unknown publication date. Chapin, Josh. City of Dickinson Defends Harvey Relief Requirement Regarding Israel. KHOU-TV. 20 October 2017. King, Phil. House Bill No. 89. Texas State Legislature. 2 May 2017. ACLU of Texas. Texas City Tells People no Hurricane Harvey Aid Unless They Promise Not to Boycott Israel. &nbsp 20 October 2017.

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November 25, 2017   Posted in: Boycott Israel  Comments Closed

Prize-winning photographers launch Israel boycott pledge – The Electronic Intifada (blog)

Ali Abunimah Activism and BDS Beat 21 August 2017 A Palestinian photographer works amid tear gas fired by Israeli forces during confrontations with Palestinian protestersnear the boundary between Israel and the central Gaza Strip, October 2015. More than 40 Portuguese photographers, photography teachers and students have launched a pledge to reject professional invitations or funding from the Israeli state, and to refuse to collaborate with Israeli institutions complicit in Israels regime of occupation, colonialism and apartheid. The photographers are pledging to boycott Israel until it complies with international law and respects the human rights of Palestinians. They are urging other photographers to join the call, which they launched to coincide with World Photo Day on Saturday, an annual celebration of the transformative influence of photography. Their pledge comes in response to the Palestinian call for a cultural boycott of Israel, as Israel uses culture to whitewash and obscure its violations of Palestinian rights. Those supporting the pledge include Joo Pina, winner of the 2017 Prmio Estao Imagem Viana do Castelo, Portugals only photojournalism award, and Nuno Lobito, a photographer and television personality who has traveled to almost every country in the world. It is time for Israels brand of apartheid to enjoy the same treatment as South African apartheid and be target of a comprehensive international boycott until it respects human rights, Lobito said. Photographers can no longer be silent about the treatment of their Palestinian colleagues living under an indefensible occupation that has lasted for over half a century, Lobito added. Palestinians have called for solidarity through boycotts and this pledge is our practical contribution to their struggle. Palestinian arts photographers, photojournalists and videographers have been frequent targets of violence by Israeli occupation forces. In 2014, the year it launched a massive military assault on Gaza, Israel was the second most lethal country in the world for journalists. In May this year, an Israeli settler shot and injured Majdi Mohammed, a photographer for the Associated Press, while he was covering a protest near the occupied West Bank city of Nablus. The settler shot dead a Palestinian protester in the same incident. The Committee to Protect Journalists condemned Israeli occupation forces inaction toward the suspected shooter. Israeli authorities should not allow a man who by his own admission shot at a crowd, injuring a journalist and killing a young man, to rest comfortably at home, unmolested by police, the groups Middle East and North Africa coordinator Sherif Mansour said. Israel must show that its citizens cannot shoot journalists or other unarmed civilians with impunity. Unprovoked attacks on press photographers and journalists by Israeli occupation forces have been met with similar impunity. Last month, there was a surge in attacks on journalists, including photographers, by Israeli forces who reacted with violence to Palestinian civil disobedience against tightened restrictions on entry to Jerusalems al-Aqsa mosque compound. Earlier this month, Oren Ziv, a photographer with the collective ActiveStills, told The Electronic Intifada that Israeli soldiers and police regularly attack Palestinian and other journalists who cover smaller Palestinian demonstrations, but the events in Jerusalem were unusual because of the wide attention they received. Miguel Carrio, winner of the 2012 Concelho da Bienal de Vila Franca de Xira award, urged fellow photographers to observe the boycott. Having witnessed first-hand the crimes Israel is committing daily against Palestinians, signing up to this initiative has become a natural step, Carrio said. It is fundamental to promote this effort through all means possible.

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August 22, 2017   Posted in: Boycott Israel  Comments Closed

So Now American Zionists Want to Boycott Israel

Several prominent American Zionists including long-time supporters of Israel are so outraged at the Israeli government’s recent decision regarding the Western Wall and non-orthodox conversion, that they are urging American Jews to reduce or even eliminate their support for Israel. According to an article by Elliot Abrams in Mosaic, Ike Fisher a prominent member of the Aipac board, threatened to “suspend” all further financial support for Israel. Daniel Gordis, a leading voice for Conservative Judaism, urged American Jews to cancel their El al tickets and fly Delta or United. He also proposed “withholding donations to Israeli hospitals, so that ‘They start running out of money’ and ‘begin to falter.'” This sort of emotional response is reminiscent of the temper tantrum outgoing President Barak Obama engaged in when he refused to veto the UN’s recent anti-Israel resolution. I strongly disagree both with the Israeli government’s capitulation to the minority of ultra-Orthodox Jews, who wield far too much influence in Israeli politics, and with the proposals to cut back on support for Israel by some of my fellow critics of the Israeli government’s recent decisions with regard to religion. I strongly support greater separation between religion and state in Israel, as Theodor Herzl outlined in his plan for the nation-state of the Jewish People in Der Judenstaat 120 years ago: “We shall . . . prevent any theocratic tendencies from coming to the fore on the part of our priesthood. We shall keep our priests [by which is meant Rabbis] within the confines of heir temples.” It was David Ben Gurion, Israel’s founding Prime Minister, who made the deal with the Orthodox Rabbinate that violated Herzl’s mandate and knocked down the wall of separation between religion and state. He allocated to the Chief Rabbinate authority over many secular matters, such as marriage, divorce and child custody. He also laid the ground work for the creation of religious parties that have been a necessary part of most Israeli coalitions for many years. So don’t blame Israel’s current Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, for the recent capitulation. His government’s survival depends on his unholy alliance with allegedly holy parties that threaten to leave the coalition and bring down his government unless he capitulated. The alternative to a Netanyahu government might well be far to the right of the current government, both on religious matters and on prospects for peace. Reasonable people may disagree as to whether Netanyahu did the right thing, but I believe that given the choice between the current government and what may well replace it, PM Netanyahu acted on acceptable priorities. This is not to say that I am happy with the end result. As a post-denominational Jew, I want to see a part of the Western Wall opened to conservative and reform prayer. I also want to see conservative and reform and modern orthodox rabbis deemed fully competent to perform rituals including marriage and divorce. I will continue to fight for these outcomes, and I think we will ultimately be successful. But in the meantime, I will also continue to fly El Al, contribute to Israeli hospitals, attend APAC events, and encourage Americans to support Israel, both politically and financially. To do otherwise is to engage in a form of BDS the tactic currently employed by Israel’s enemies to delegitimate the Nation state of the Jewish people. Supporters of BDS will point to these benign boycotts as a way of justifying their malignant ones. If BDS is an immoral tactic, as it surely is, so too is punishing the people of Israel for the failure of its government to be fully inclusive of Jews who do not align themselves with the ultra-Orthodox. Tough love may be an appropriate response in family matters, but boycotting a troubled nation which has become a pariah among the hard-left is not the appropriate response to the Israeli government’s recent decisions regarding religion. The answer is not disengagement, but rather greater engagement with Israel on matters that involve world Jewry. I, too, am furious about the arrogant and destructive threats of the ultra-Orthodox parties in the current government. I, too, would prefer to see a coalition that excluded the ultra-Orthodox parties. I, too, would like to see a high wall of separation that kept the Rabbi’s out of politics. But I do not live in Israel, and Israel is a democracy. Ultimately it is up to the citizens of Israel to change the current system. The role of American Jews is limited to persuasion, not coercion. In the end, we will be successful in persuading the Israeli people to take the power of religious, coercion out of the hands of the ultra-Orthodox minority because that would not only be good for secular Israelis who are a majority but also for religious Israelis. History has proved that separation of state from religion is better not only for the state, but also for religion. This article was originally published by Gatestone Institute. You can follow Alan Dershowitz on Twitter (@AlanDersh) and Facebook (AlanMDershowitz). Professor Alan Dershowitz is the author of “Taking the Stand: My Life in the Law” and most recently, “Electile Dysfunction: A Guide for Unaroused Voters.” Read more reports from Alan M. Dershowitz Click Here Now. 2017 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

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August 19, 2017   Posted in: Boycott Israel  Comments Closed

Artists boycott Israel sponsored festival in Germany – Middle East Monitor

Four artists have cancelled their scheduled performances at an international festival in Berlin citing the festivals partnership with the Israeli embassy and their support for the Palestinian call for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. The Pop-Kultur festival, which is due to take place in Berlin next week, is an annual event that attracts thousands of visitors. While the two-day event also boasts over 30 sponsors including several internationally recognised brands, Israel appears to be the only foreign country taking a keen interest. Tunisian singer-songwriter Emel Mathlouthi, one of the four to cancel their performance, said in a statement posted on Facebook yesterday that she was looking forward to playing until [I] realised the festival was sponsored by Israeli embassy. The musician went on to say: As things get tougher inside and outside Palestine, what each one of us can always do is show solidarity and empathy, as artists it starts by being true and faithful. Announcing their cancellation, the Egyptian group Islam Chipsy said on Monday that they had cancelled their performance because of the participation of the Israeli embassy. The group posted on Facebook that they wanted to make it clear that their music seeks to resist violence, persecution and discrimination of any kind against each other. Mohammad Abu Hajar of the Mazzaj Rap Band, who was previously jailed in Syria for his activism, explained why his group had cancelled its appearance last week: It did not take us a minute to know what we had to do; we will not participate in a festival that accepts the partnership with an embassy representing a state and a government led by right-wing party Likud and Netanyahu which openly declared on many different occasions anti-Arab, anti-Muslim and anti-Black attitudes. Given this and its perpetration of all previous governments colonial behaviour, we understand the partnership with an embassy as an attempt to whitewash the image of its government and an endorsement of its behaviour. Read:Palestinians protest Radioheads support for apartheid Israel Abu Hajar went on to say that the festival cannot achieve its stated aim of bringing artists from different backgrounds together on one stage under such conditions. Our stand is not against a culture, but resistance against a discriminatory, colonial government, he added. It is not merely an opinion that we disagree with, but a whole set of oppressive structures, manifesting themselves in the policies of the Israeli state. Syrian DJ and producer Hello Psychaleppo, the third artist to cancel, said on Monday that at the time he agreed to take part in the festival over a couple of months ago, he was not aware that the Israeli embassy was amongst the sponsors of the event. The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) welcomed the cancellations saying in a statement released yesterday: [PACBI] salutes the artists who have cancelled their participation in Pop-Kultur to protest Israels sponsorship. As in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, a regime of oppression and racism should never be welcomed in cultural spaces claiming to advocate for openness, inclusion and human rights. PACBI, a founding member of the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions (BDS) National Committee, went on to condemn Pop-Kulturs acceptance of Israels sponsorship describing the decision as a conscious act of complicity in whitewashing Israels regime of occupation and apartheid. Pop-Kultur responded to the string of cancellations in a statement yesterday to confirm that the four artists had cancelled their performances at this years festival due to its partnership with the Israeli embassy. They also confirmed that the Israeli embassy partly contributes to the travel expenses for artists performing at the festival. Meanwhile, Artists for Palestine UK (APUK) published an open letter addressed to UK musicians scheduled to perform at Pop-Kultur calling on them to withdraw from the event. When you signed up to play Berlin Pop-Kultur, you possibly didnt know that the Israeli embassy in Germany was a sponsor. Maybe you also dont know that Palestinian civil society, living under Israeli military occupation or in exile, is appealing to artists not to take part in events sponsored by the state of Israel, in solidarity with the Palestinians long struggle for rights and freedom. But now that you do know, will you follow the example of the musicians who have withdrawn from Pop-Kultur in the past few days? APUK, whose pledge to uphold the cultural boycott of Israel has been signed by more than 1,200 UK artists continued: You have the power to tell the Palestinians they are not alone under occupation and in exile. Please use your power. Please withdraw from Berlin Pop-Kultur. Pop-Kultur is one of several cultural festivals which the Israeli embassy has been keen to support. The Edinburgh Fringe, one of the UKs major festivals, also partnered with the Israeli embassy. Critics say that under the banner of coexistence and cultural cooperation Israel is trying to whitewash its brutal occupation of Palestine and the long list of human rights abuses committed by its occupying forces against the Palestinians.

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August 16, 2017   Posted in: Boycott Israel  Comments Closed


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