Archive for the ‘Israel Apartheid’ Category

Demolishing the Spurious, Libelous Claim That Israel Is an Apartheid State – Algemeiner

Benjamin Pogrund was born in South Africa. As a journalist, he fought the apartheid regime, most notably through his work forThe Rand Daily Mail. When the government closed the paperdown and exiled him, Benjaminmoved to London, where he joinedThe IndependentandTheSundayTimes. In his latest book,Drawing Fire: Investigating the Accusations of Apartheid in Israel, he completely demolishes the spurious, not to say libelous, claim that Israel is an apartheid state.

I became an opponent ofapartheid when my father took me with him to South Africa in 1955, on one of his lecture tours. While he was busy, I was placed in the charge of some lovely Jewish ladies who turned out to be radical adversariesof the system. They tookme around the country,making sure I saw the evils of the system first hand. Asa student, I joined the Anti-Apartheid Movement, eventually risingto become honorary president of the Scottish arm of the movement.

In 1985, I was approached by the then-chief rabbi of South Africa Bernard Casper, to consider succeeding him. I spent a month in Johannesburg to explorethe possibilities, and familiarizemyself with the inside story of South Africa to see whether there was anything I could do, if I took the position, to mitigate or even combat the apartheid government. It was through Benjamins good offices that I met many of the African National Congressand Congress of South African TradeUnionsunderground leadership not an easy feat.Only Benjamins reputation and the enormous respect they had for him got me through. They all advised me not to move to South Africa, telling me that if I wouldtake a stand, Id be put on the next plane out of the country. They said thesituation was hopeless, and a bloodbath was imminent. Of course, fortunately, things worked out differently, due overwhelmingly to the greatness of Nelson Mandela and the realism of President de Klerk. And the late Rabbi Cyril Harris, who tookon Rabbi Caspers role, did an excellent job shepherding the Jewish community through the transition.

February 20, 2017 5:53 pm

Benjamin and his family subsequently moved to Israel, where he joined my late brother, Mickey, in setting up the Centre for Social Concern at Yakar, in Jerusalem, to try to bring Israelis and Palestinians together.

Unlike most people, Benjaminpersonallyknows and has experienced apartheid. Hence, he is better able than most to deal with the charges that Israel is an apartheid state. He can say,categorically, that applying the term apartheid to Israel is simply ignorance, if not malice. To call Israel genocidal when its Arab population has doubled is a joke. Even the population of the Palestinian territories has mushroomed. Which means that Israelis must be the most incompetent genocidists ever!

In his balanced, detailed and honest book, Benjamincompletely demolishes the comparison by presentingentirely objective facts. Under apartheid, no black South African was allowed to vote or take up residence in white areas. In contrast, Israeli Arabs sit in the Knesset, the Supreme Court and hold senior positions never, ever accorded to blacks in South Africa under the old regime. The areas beyond the Green Linecurrently occupied by Israel are, indeed, in a state of limbo awaiting a final peace settlement, but only the Palestinians arelooking forthe area to be occupied by only one race. The Afrikaaner whites never intended to give any sovereignty to blacks, regardless of any settlement of differences. Theirs was an ideology of racial superiority, not an unfortunate political accommodation awaiting a peace treaty, in which peace was being pursued in principal, if not always in reality. This book is an excellent overview of the present struggle between two competing claims. It is possibly the fairest book on the market for a balanced, objective viewpoint of this conflict.

It is all the more important because, in examining the charges, Benjaminpulls no punches in criticizing Israel as it functions within the Green Line, and inthe occupied West Bank and Gaza. He has no patience for extremism on either side. He points out Israels mistakes, failures and shortcomings without trying in any way to disguise or minimize them. This book is an important source of facts and arguments that will help anyone on the frontline defending Israel against the lies, half-truths and mendacious libels that one hears all the time and in almost every sector of the media, the glitterati, the NGOs, the charities and academia. That polemicists and politicians lie is, of course, a given. But that people professing honesty, objectivity and ethics lieillustrates the prejudice and hypocrisy that stalks the world we live in, and actually prevents and postpones any chance of a settlement.

This is the issue. Sadly, no matter what Benjamin, or anyone else for that matter, writes, it will make absolutely no difference. Ideological blindness is played out on university campuses where professors leaningsbecome the only points of view acceptable if one intendsto pass exams or gain promotions. There,aggressive, bullying student cadres look to disrupt and silence any other perspectives. All this, at a time when most of the nations who berate Israel as a colonial interloper and aggressor are themselves the most corrupt offenders against human rights and civilized behavior on earth.

Israel will survive. But the awful side effect of exaggerated and prejudiced anti-Israel propaganda is that it further empowers right-wing refusal to compromise. It reinforces a siege mentality, imperviousness to self-analysis. One despairs of a solution when exceptional, fair and experienced people like Benjamin will simply not be listened to, because they will be dismissed as tools of colonialism, regardless of their record. At the same time, he will be dismissed by the Israeli Right as being too liberal. Such is the mad, mad world we live in. It is only by encountering good, honest people like Benjamin Pogrund that we can retain some faith in humanity and its prospects.

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Demolishing the Spurious, Libelous Claim That Israel Is an Apartheid State – Algemeiner

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February 20, 2017   Posted in: Israel Apartheid  Comments Closed

NFL’s Cameron Jordan During Trip to Holy Land Spars on Twitter With Follower Accusing Him of ‘Doing PR for Israeli … – Algemeiner

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Cameron Jordan. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

An NFL star currently on a week-long tour of Israelbatted away criticism from a social media user on Saturday who accused the player of doing PR for the Jewish states apartheid system.

PR? Im goin on a trip for the spiritual and historical layout of a country Ive always wanted to go to. Im learning more,New Orleans Saintsdefensive end Cameron Jordan shot back.

Cameron one of five out of an original group of 11 NFL players scheduled to take the Feb. 13-20 trip who did notsuccumb to pressure from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movementand cancel his participation alsoposted positive reviews of the country, along with photos of fun-filledactivities and visits to Christian sites.

The trip was sponsored byIsraels Tourism Ministry.

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Jewish Student Leader at UK University: Defeat of BDS Motion Due to Efforts of Broad Campus Coaltion – Algemeiner

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Photo: City, University of London.

Astudent government motion to boycott Israel wastabledthis week at a British university, due to the efforts of a broad campus coalition, thehead of the schools Jewish Society (JSoc) toldThe Algemeineron Friday.

Michal Belovski, president of City, University of London JSoc was referring to what he called alarge contingent of both Jewish and non-Jewish students who banded together to defeat the resolution, a version of which was passed in November and subsequently rejected by the schools Board of Trustees.

Since then, according to Belovski, the motion was reworded in an attempt to enable it to be brought before the student union (CUSU) once again.

February 19, 2017 8:09 am

But we were ready this second time around, with more Jews and allies willing to vote against it, she said. The proposer realized, as soon as we walked into the meeting, that not only would the motion not pass, but we would put up a good fight first so she pulled it before it wasdebated or voted on.

The original proposal called on the CUSU to raise awareness of Palestinian issuesof BDS around campus and commit resources:

BDS is now a vibrant global movement[that has] a major impact and is effectively challenging international support for Israeli apartheid and settler-colonialism.

Israel is occupying and colonizing Palestine and discriminating against Palestinian citizens and denying Palestine refugees the right to return to their home.

The amendedversion, which was obtained byThe Algemeiner, used more politically neutral language, stating, in part:

[BDS] is a tactic inspired from the South African anti-apartheid movement. A United Nations human rights investigator has likened Israelis occupation of Palestinian terrorize to apartheid South Africa and says should be serious consideration over bringing the occupation to the international court of justice [sic].

BDS is aimed at the Israeli state as a political entity and is responding to a call from Palestinian civil society, Palestinian citizens of Israel and the diaspora. It is a short term strategy to encourage Israel to respond to international calls and comply with international law.

According to Belovski, while many UK universitieshave passed BDS resolutions, the lack of support for the motion at the second meeting showed me that the students at City welcome everyone and arent interested in divisive campaigns.

The defeat of the City boycottmotion came the same week that a similar proposal at Northern Irelands Ulster University calling on the student union to divest from companies complicit in Israelsbrutal military occupation of the Palestinian territories failed, while aproposal to implement new policies to combat antisemitism and memorialize the Holocaust passed.

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Greenwald on Trump-Netanyahu Meeting & How Israel Is Turning into an Apartheid-Like State – Democracy Now!

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: On Wednesday, President Donald Trump ended a long-standing U.S. commitment to the establishment of a Palestinian state, saying he had no preference for either a one-state or two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Trumps comment came during a news conference at the White House with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: So Im looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like. Im very happy with the one that both parties like. I can live with either one. I thought for a while the two-state looked like it may be the easier of the two. But honestly, if Bibi and if the Palestiniansif Israel and the Palestinians are happy, Im happy with the one they like the best. As far as the embassy moving to Jerusalem, Id love to see that happen. Were looking at it very, very strongly. Were looking at it with great care. Great care, believe me. And well see what happens. OK?

NERMEEN SHAIKH: So thats President Trump speaking yesterday at a joint news conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Glenn, could you respond to that and what the significance is of Trump suggesting a significant, massive change to many, many years of a U.S. policy on this?

GLENN GREENWALD: So, I guess I question, first of all, the extent to which it really is such a massive change in U.S. policy. It is, of course, a huge departure rhetorically from what the U.S. government has said for decades, which is that their policy is there ought to be a two-state solution. The reality, though, as any honest person involved in this conflict or who watches it admits, is that the two-state solution has been dying, and, in fact, probably dead for many years. Its just that nobody wants to admit it. If you look at a map, its almost impossible to see where a separate Palestinian state in the West Bank can be created, given the growth of settlements under Prime Minister Netanyahu, growth which, by the way, the United States not only didnt stop, but abetted by shoveling Israel with money, with weapons, with all kinds of diplomatic support, as they were expanding those settlements. Yes, they objected occasionally, in rhetoric, but, in action, never did.

And so, I think the two-state solution is something that were all eager not to give up on, because the alternatives are both so bad. But the reality is that in Israel there is an erosion of support for the two-state solution. There are high-level members of PresidentPrime Minister Netanyahus Cabinet, high ministers, who explicitly oppose it. The reality is that because of the course Israel has taken, the only two options that are realand its essentially what Donald Trump, in his own kind of stumbling, inept, ignorant way, was getting at, was the only two options are: have Israel become an apartheid state, where a minority of Jews have political rights and control a country in which a majority of citizens have no political rights, exactly like was true of apartheid South Africa, or have one state in which all citizens have political rights, in which case Israel would no longer exist as a Jewish state. Neither of those options are good ones, but that is the course that Israel is taking. And what Trump is saying is, essentially, if the Israelis and Palestinians want a certain solution, we, the United States, are not going to prevent them from doing that.

What is really worrying is that Donald Trump is empowering some of the worst extremists in the world when it comes to Israeli policy. His son-in-law, whos in charge of it, is a supporter of some of the hardest-core settlements in the West Bank. And Congress is taking up this week his nomination of a hardcore pro-settlement lunatic to be the U.S. ambassador to Israel. Just this morning, five ambassadors, former ambassadors to Israel, of both parties, came out and opposed him on the grounds that hes essentially insane. And so, I do think theres a dangerous tilting toward extremists in Israel on the part of the Trump administration. But the two-state solution has really only existed in rhetoric for a long time. And on some level, a lot of supporters of Palestinian rights think its actually a good thing to finally have that candid admission that a two-state solution is not really possible anymore because of Israeli behavior.

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War on Want events for Annual Israeli Apartheid Week 2017 | War … – War on Want (press release)

Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) is an international series of events that seeks to raise awareness of Israels settler-colonial project and Apartheid system* over the Palestinian people and to build support for the growingBoycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

These Israeli Apartheid Week events bring together veteran activists from the anti-apartheid struggle, Black Lives Matter and Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) in dialogue to mark our collective resistance at the current moment; to learn from each other and build our movements stronger.

War on Want is proud to be co-sponsoring two events for Israeli Apartheid Week:

Israeli Apartheid Week 2017: London opening plenary

Chair:

Dr Karma Nabulsi – A Professor of Politics and International Relations at Oxford University, and Fellow in Politics at St Edmund Hall, Oxford.

Speakers:

Aja Monet – A contemporary poet, lyricist and activist of Cuban-Jamaican descent from Brooklyn, New York. A volunteer with Dream Defenders, part of the broader Movement for Black Lives.

Farid Esack – A veteran anti-apartheid activist and Professor in the Study of Islam and Head of the Department of Religion Studies at the University of Johannesburg.

Sponsored by War on Want, Palestine BDS National Committee (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement), the NUS Black Student Campaign, SOAS Palestine society and KCL Action Palestine.

Sounds of Resistance (concert)

As part of the Israeli Apartheid Week 2017 this night will bring together an innovative and original selection of artists from Morocco, NY and London. From the astute power of rap and spoken word to the mesmerising effect of Darija Arabic poetry, we invite you to unite, listen and celebrate the sounds of resistance.

Hosted by the acclaimed spoken word artist Rafeef Ziadah, this night is a testimony to unity, solidarity and political consciousness.

N3rdistan | Morocco Standing at the border of oriental-beat and urban electronic music, N3rdistan electrifies a timeless poetry that bridges generation gaps, playfully stirring debate about the changing face of oppression.

Aja-Monet | NYC Aja Monet is a Cuban-Jamaican poet originally from East NY, Brooklyn. At 19 years old, she was the youngest to ever win the Grand Slam Champion title of the Lower East side’s legendary Nuyorican Poet’s Caf in 2007. Her work is classically surrealist, engaging hip hop, soul, and literary audiences. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Prg-Tfb0Vl8

Rafeef Ziadah | Palestine Rafeef uses language to narrate, inspire and pull apart stereotypes. Her poems We Teach Life, Sir and Shades of Anger went viral online within days of their release. Her new album, released in November 2015, features an exciting blend of poetry and music with original compositions from Phil Monsour.

Sponsored by MARSM UK, War on Want, with SOAS Palestine Society and Movement for Justice

*There is overwhelming evidence that the system instituted by the Israeli government against the Palestinian people is correctly described as a system of Apartheid. We have detailed some of this evidence, including the legal definition of Apartheid. We encourage you to read about what Apartheid means and why it has prompted Palestinian civil society to call for boycotts and divestment from companies and institutions complicit in Israel’s violations of international law, and trade and military sanctions on Israel, similar to those imposed on Apartheid South Africa in the 1980’s.

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Why I must oppose smears against Israel’s critics in Germany – The Electronic Intifada (blog)

Adri Nieuwhof Lobby Watch 15 February 2017

Veteran South African activistFarid Esack (Meraj Chhaya/Flickr)

I have to speak out against the smear campaign waged in Germany against Farid Esack, an Islamic studies professor from South Africa.

When Israels supporters learned that Esack had been given a teaching post at the University of Hamburg, they made baseless allegations of anti-Semitism against him.

The smears were spread by members of Angela Merkels Christian Democrats, the right-wing populist party Alternative fr Deutschland, the Green Partys Volker Beck and Katharina Fegebank, as well as by Israeli diplomats.

I have to speak out because my parents suffered under the German occupation of the Netherlands. One lesson I learned from their past is that I should never remain silent when the rights of others are trampled upon.

That is why I supported the South African people in their fight against apartheid and that is why I defend the rights of the Palestinians today.

I am deeply disturbed about how academics such as Eleonora Roldn Mendvil, Farid Esack and Norman Finkelstein have come under attack in Germany because they criticize Israels violations of Palestinian rights. The pro-Israel lobby is waging smear campaigns against defenders of Palestinian rights, with a view to excluding them from German universities.

The lobbys tactics remind me of the witch-hunting McCarthy era in the US.

The tactics remind me, too, of the Radikalenerlass (Radicals Decree) in 1970s Germany. It banned thousands from working as civil servants because of accusations that they held radical views.

I have known Farid Esack since the 1980s when I worked with the Holland Committee on Southern Africa. Our committee organized boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaigns against South Africa and provided political and material support to the liberation movement, the African National Congress (ANC).

Esack fought apartheid as a leading member of the Call of Islam organization and the United Democratic Front (UDF).

The UDF was founded in the 1980s at a time the ANC was banned by the apartheid regime. It brought together trade unions with various grassroots organizations, including the Call of Islam.

The aim of these organizations was to make South Africa ungovernable by mobilizing people in campaigns to defy the apartheid regime. For example, Esack was among the organizers of a 1989 peace march in Cape Town. Around 30,000 people took part in that protest, defying the state of emergency.

Ten years after South African apartheid was defeated, our paths crossed again. We were both speaking out against Israels violations of Palestinian rights and supporting the Palestinian people in their fight for freedom, justice and equality.

In recent months, Esack has been a guest professor at the Academy of World Religions in Hamburg University. Pro-Israel lobbyists have attacked the university for hiring Esack and slandered him personally.

The accusations against him were first published in the German newspaper Die Welt.

Esack is the chair of BDS South Africa, which urges nonviolent activism against Israeli apartheid.

It should be clear to everyone of goodwill that Israel-hatred is anti-Semitism, Daniel Killy, a spokesperson for Hamburgs Jewish community, has told The Jerusalem Post.

But criticism of Israels policies and practices is not the same as Israel-hatred or anti-Semitism. False accusations of anti-Semitism are frequently used to stifle criticism of Israeli state violence.

In the same Jerusalem Post article, the Israeli embassy in Berlin makes an unsubstantiated accusation that Esack is a man who expressed anti-Semitic statements and who is sympathetic to Holocaust denial.

That is a lie. Esack has described the Holocaust as a crime against humanity of unspeakable proportions. At a 2013 Holocaust Remembrance Day event in Johannesburg, Esack said that he felt ashamed bloody ashamed whenever he heard Muslims expressing a hatred of Jews.

The Jerusalem Post also claims that Esack has helped raise funds for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

I asked Esack about this allegation. He replied that neither he nor anyone else in BDS South Africa raised money for any organization designated as a terrorist organization by anybody.

Esack was also quoted in The Jerusalem Post as saying that the idea of an Islamic state must be allowed to be represented in Germany.

The newspaper was apparently referring to what Esack told a conference about Islamophobia in Europe that was held in Hamburg last month.

I defended the right of various communities to argue the case for their own political utopias, Esack told me. Coming from South Africa, this included the right for people to argue for a state inspired by Islamic values, or, for that matter, for vegans to make the case for a society where all meat consumption is banned. In fact, I am not well disposed towards any state founded for any particular religious or ethnic community.

I am proud to have known Farid Esack for so long and I highly respect his consistency in opposing injustice and all forms of racism including anti-Semitism.

The pro-Israel lobby must not be allowed to prevent academics who defend Palestinian rights from visiting German universities. It is vital that the universities themselves stay calm when they come under attack.

If these smear campaigns continue, then academic freedom will be at risk.

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Students Protest University Talk by Extreme Israeli Ambassador … – AlterNet

Photo Credit: Columbia University Apartheid Divest

Students gathered in the streets of New York City on Monday night to protest a speech at Columbia University by an extreme, far-right Israeli politician.

Danny Danon,Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, is notorious for his overtly racist remarks and support for hard-line policies that blatantly violate international law. In a 2012 hate rally against migrants, which inspired a riot and violent attacks, Danon demonized African refugees as “a national plague” and insisted “the State of Israel is engaged in a war against an enemy state composed of infiltrators.”

The extreme Israeli politician was invited to speak at Columbia University on February 13 by the local chapter of the real estate tycoon-backed organization Students Supporting Israel. The event was met with backlash from progressive student groups, which described the Israeli ambassador as “Donald Trump on steroids.”

Inside, activists disrupted the talk in protest. Students also held up signs and distributed flyers highlighting Danon’s history of racism and fanatical views.

Danon is even further to the right of Israel’s hyper-conservative Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He has called for a prominent Palestinian member of Israel’s parliament to be jailed and proposed that Palestinian citizens of Israel be required to take a “loyalty” oath to the self-proclaimed Jewish state.

Characterized by an Israeli lawmaker as “a right-wing extremist with the diplomatic sensitivity of a pit bull,” Danon has also publicly called for Israel to officially annex Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank, in flagrant contravention of international law, and even spearheaded an initiative in the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) to authorize just that.

“Danny Danon is Donald Trump on steroids, and no government has been more glowing than Israel’s in its praise for Donald Trump,” said Columbia University Apartheid Divest in a statement to AlterNet.

Columbia University Apartheid Divest, a coalition group that consists of the school’s branches of Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace, organized the demonstration. The protest was also co-sponsored by other progressive student organizations.

“In dangerous times with Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and white supremacy on the rise we want to highlight Israel’s role as a model for the global far-right,” Columbia University Apartheid Divest continued. “From border walls to Muslim bans, Israel is a pioneer in state racism.”

“It is crucial that we protest Danon just as we would protest Trump,” the group added. “We have mobilized against the politics of hate in America, and that battle is an international one.”

During his campaign, Trump cited Israel’s separation wall as a model for what he wants on the U.S.-Mexico border. The barrier, which peace activists refer to as an apartheid wall, is illegal under international law.

The Trump administration has shown unflinching support for the Israeli government, despite its incessant violations of international law.

Rudy Rochman, the president of the Columbia chapter of Students Supporting Israel, told AlterNet, “Danny Danon is the Ambassador of Israel to the UN. As an Israeli cultural group at an Ivy league institution, we wanted to expose the student body to Israel’s position, struggles and aspirations at the United Nations. Ambassador Danon came to speak about Israel’s official position and not his personal politics.”

Rochman, who notes on his public Facebook fanpage that he previously served in the Israeli military, disparagingly referred to pro-Palestinian organizations as “hate groups” and accused them of attempting “to prohibit freedom of speech and to yell intolerant abuses to a crowd who genuinely wanted to hear the ambassador.”

He added, “What is even more shameful, is the fact that these groups are piggybacking off of the struggles of Native Americans, Mexicans, African Americans and Black South Africans. Latching onto slogans and attaching the word ‘Palestine’, reveals their goals of injecting hatred for Israel in minority rights movements” (the quotes around Palestine were his).

“Universities are meant to be a marketplace of ideas where thoughts and opinions can be exchanged freely,” Rochman concluded. He did not answer AlterNet’s questions about whether or not it is appropriate for an extreme right-wing politician who has made overtly racist remarks to be invited to speak at a university.

Students Supporting Israel calls itself a grassroots organization, but its activities are bankrolled by the Milstein Family Foundation. The foundation’s president, Adam Milstein, is an Israeli real estate tycoon, and it funds a vast array of leading pro-Israel organizations in the U.S.

Students Supporting Israel chapters at Columbia and other campuses around the country devote themselves to opposing the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, or BDS, a global campaign to use peaceful economic mechanisms to pressure Israel to abide by international law and respect Palestinian human rights.

Jeffrey Jacobs, a PhD candidate in political science and long-time organizer with Student for Justice in Palestine, stressed to AlterNet that the protest highlighted “the linkages between the growth of racism and white supremacy in the wake of Trump and the concomitant growth in the confidence of Israel’s settlement regime and demonization of Palestinians.”

Yasmeen Abdel Majeed, a Palestinian American student at Columbia, remarked, “It was absolutely unacceptable for the university to allow Danon to speak on campus.” She warned that inviting the extremist “to give a speech at the university normalizes racism,” adding, “It is particularly important to disrupt ‘respectable racism.'”

In his speech, Danon declared, in opposition to international law, that “Jerusalem is the undivided capital of Israel.” His remarks were met with cheers from the audience. Abdel Majeed responded, “We all know very well that this is a euphemism for the ethnic cleansing of Jerusalem that is currently taking place.”

She noted that Danon “pathologized” Palestinians in a “racist way,” and emphasized, “Protesting Danon was important because we need to call racists racists.”

In 2010, the Israeli military attacked a civilian ship from the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, which was led by human rights activists hoping to bring humanitarian aid and construction materials to Gaza, which has for a decade been under an Israeli blockade United Nations experts said it illegal. Israel killed nine activists in the attack in international waters. In response to widespread international condemnation, Danon lamented that only nine activists had been killed, and wished the Israeli military had acted “with a much larger show of force” that fully destroyed the boat.

Organizers pointed out that Danon’s speech at Columbia came just weeks after the UN Security Council voted to condemn illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. Since November 1967, the UN has made it absolutely clear that those settlements violate international law, and even the U.S. government has reiterated this.

Israel’s current government is the most right-wing in its 70-year history. When he completes his present term, hard-line right-wing Prime Minister Netanyahu will have been the longest serving head of state in the history of Israel.

Many leading Israeli officials, like Danon, refer to African refugees as “infiltrators.” Some even go so far as to liken African asylum-seekers to cancer.

In fact, racism is so widespread in Israeli society, a 2012 study by the Israel Democracy Institute found that a staggering 52 percent of Jewish Israelis agreed with politician Miri Regev (now Israel’s minister of culture) that African refugees and migrants are “a cancer in the body.” More than one-third of Jewish Israelis condoned anti-African violence.

Ben Norton is a reporter for AlterNet’s Grayzone Project. You can follow him on Twitter at @BenjaminNorton.

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Hevron Fund raffle ends Wednesday afternoon – hurry! – Arutz Sheva

The last day of the Hevron Fund raffle is Wednesday afternoon February 15th with proceeds going to help the Jewish Community of Hevron.

The fundraising drive helps provide assistance for the residents of the historic city with funds going toward parks and playgrounds, ambulances, and upgraded facilities that benefit families, visitors and IDF soldiers stationed in the city.

The raffle coincidentally coincides with Open Shuhada Street week, sponsored by the Youth Against ‘Settlements’ movement. For the past eight years, the group has organized protests, some of them violent, demanding that the main thoroughfare for the Jewish neighborhoods in Hevron be open to traffic from Palestinian Authority residents. Officially recognized as King David Street, it is known in Arabic as Shuhada, or Martyrs Street.

It has been shut to PA traffic intermittently since the mid 1990s by the Israel Defense Force and government to prevent terrorist attacks. Numerous attacks occurred on or near the street, including the murder of Gadi Levy and his pregnant wife Dina who were killed in an explosion in 2003. After years of court wrangling, the Supreme Court finally ruled that the closure was necessary to prevent loss of human life in 2011.

Ironically, while internationally funded agitators use King David Street as an example of “Israeli apartheid,” it is the Jewish community that is restricted from accessing most of the city. Hevron is divided into H1, under PA jurisdiction, and H2 under Israeli jurisdiction, and Israelis are forbidden to cross over from H2 as this would put their lives in immediate danger. In contrast, PA residents, though they must pass through checkpoints, can move back and forth with impunity.

Ein Sarah street, where the Sarah’s Spring archaeological site is located is off limits for Jews, as is the Elonei Mamre excavation, and other historic locations. Even holy sites within H2 are open only on special occasions, such as the Tomb of Avner Ben Ner, and the bustling Casbah area where Jewish people once lived prior to the 1929 massacre when Arabs turned on their unarmed Jewish neighbors and cruelly butchered men, women and children.

The Jewish community of Hevron is located in what is termed the Old City by PA residents. But the majority of Hevron is a bustling metropolis which accounts for nearly 40% of the PA economy. Hevron has two multi-story shopping centers, a 4,000-seat sports area, and numerous large factories that employ thousands. There is even an official outlet of the US Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise, located on Ein Sarah Street.

Despite the inequalities and a biased media, the Jewish Community of Hevron is thriving. There is a high rate of volunteerism and community involvement, and a low to zero rate of crime and unemployment. People find Hevron to be a meaningful place to raise families and report a high quality of life and a sense of living for a purpose.

But the community still needs help with many facilities needing funds for upkeep, educational programs and ways to accommodate the hundreds of thousands of people who make pilgrimages to the city every year.

For more information on the Hebron Fund raffle, click here: https://hebronfund.org/support/hebron-fund-raffle

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BDS demonstrators disrupt talk by Israel’s UN ambassador – The Times of Israel

A lecture by Israels ambassador to the UN Danny Danon was disrupted Monday as supporters of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divest and Sanctions campaign burst in on the event.

The protesters shouted Palestine will be liberated from the river to the sea, Israel is a terror state, and Israel has no right to exist.

Danon, who was addressing some 300 students from New Yorks Columbia University, told the protesters, Instead of inciting and lying, sit down on the chairs and maybe youll learn something, the Ynet news site reported.

We wont remain silent in the face of the lies that you are spreading about Israel, he added. We will continue to make our voices heard and to stand up for our just truth.

This is just the problem with the Palestinians, Danon said. They lie, incite and do not recognize Israels right to exist. But I have a message for those students the Jewish people will never leave the Land of Israel.

Pro-Israel students applauded Danon and booed the intruders, who retreated from the hall.

The demonstration began outside the lecture hall, with some 100 activists chanting against Danon, Israel and the Trump administrations immigration policy.

Danon spoke about what he described as a distortion whereby the United Nations made endless anti-Israel decisions.

With the help of the new administration in the US, we will bring about a new era at the UN, he said, an era where Israel is treated fairly like all the nations of the world.

Asked by a student what could be done to counter the BDS movement, Danon said, The best answer to lies is the simple truth. You should act against the lies and for the State of Israel, and show the truth to the indifferent majority. Only by presenting the facts will we beat the boycott movements campaign of hate.

The Palestinian-led BDS has become a global campaign to challenge what it calls Israeli apartheid and settler colonialism.

The rest is here:

BDS demonstrators disrupt talk by Israel’s UN ambassador – The Times of Israel

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February 14, 2017   Posted in: Israel Apartheid  Comments Closed

Demolishing the Spurious, Libelous Claim That Israel Is an Apartheid State – Algemeiner

Benjamin Pogrund was born in South Africa. As a journalist, he fought the apartheid regime, most notably through his work forThe Rand Daily Mail. When the government closed the paperdown and exiled him, Benjaminmoved to London, where he joinedThe IndependentandTheSundayTimes. In his latest book,Drawing Fire: Investigating the Accusations of Apartheid in Israel, he completely demolishes the spurious, not to say libelous, claim that Israel is an apartheid state. I became an opponent ofapartheid when my father took me with him to South Africa in 1955, on one of his lecture tours. While he was busy, I was placed in the charge of some lovely Jewish ladies who turned out to be radical adversariesof the system. They tookme around the country,making sure I saw the evils of the system first hand. Asa student, I joined the Anti-Apartheid Movement, eventually risingto become honorary president of the Scottish arm of the movement. In 1985, I was approached by the then-chief rabbi of South Africa Bernard Casper, to consider succeeding him. I spent a month in Johannesburg to explorethe possibilities, and familiarizemyself with the inside story of South Africa to see whether there was anything I could do, if I took the position, to mitigate or even combat the apartheid government. It was through Benjamins good offices that I met many of the African National Congressand Congress of South African TradeUnionsunderground leadership not an easy feat.Only Benjamins reputation and the enormous respect they had for him got me through. They all advised me not to move to South Africa, telling me that if I wouldtake a stand, Id be put on the next plane out of the country. They said thesituation was hopeless, and a bloodbath was imminent. Of course, fortunately, things worked out differently, due overwhelmingly to the greatness of Nelson Mandela and the realism of President de Klerk. And the late Rabbi Cyril Harris, who tookon Rabbi Caspers role, did an excellent job shepherding the Jewish community through the transition. February 20, 2017 5:53 pm Benjamin and his family subsequently moved to Israel, where he joined my late brother, Mickey, in setting up the Centre for Social Concern at Yakar, in Jerusalem, to try to bring Israelis and Palestinians together. Unlike most people, Benjaminpersonallyknows and has experienced apartheid. Hence, he is better able than most to deal with the charges that Israel is an apartheid state. He can say,categorically, that applying the term apartheid to Israel is simply ignorance, if not malice. To call Israel genocidal when its Arab population has doubled is a joke. Even the population of the Palestinian territories has mushroomed. Which means that Israelis must be the most incompetent genocidists ever! In his balanced, detailed and honest book, Benjamincompletely demolishes the comparison by presentingentirely objective facts. Under apartheid, no black South African was allowed to vote or take up residence in white areas. In contrast, Israeli Arabs sit in the Knesset, the Supreme Court and hold senior positions never, ever accorded to blacks in South Africa under the old regime. The areas beyond the Green Linecurrently occupied by Israel are, indeed, in a state of limbo awaiting a final peace settlement, but only the Palestinians arelooking forthe area to be occupied by only one race. The Afrikaaner whites never intended to give any sovereignty to blacks, regardless of any settlement of differences. Theirs was an ideology of racial superiority, not an unfortunate political accommodation awaiting a peace treaty, in which peace was being pursued in principal, if not always in reality. This book is an excellent overview of the present struggle between two competing claims. It is possibly the fairest book on the market for a balanced, objective viewpoint of this conflict. It is all the more important because, in examining the charges, Benjaminpulls no punches in criticizing Israel as it functions within the Green Line, and inthe occupied West Bank and Gaza. He has no patience for extremism on either side. He points out Israels mistakes, failures and shortcomings without trying in any way to disguise or minimize them. This book is an important source of facts and arguments that will help anyone on the frontline defending Israel against the lies, half-truths and mendacious libels that one hears all the time and in almost every sector of the media, the glitterati, the NGOs, the charities and academia. That polemicists and politicians lie is, of course, a given. But that people professing honesty, objectivity and ethics lieillustrates the prejudice and hypocrisy that stalks the world we live in, and actually prevents and postpones any chance of a settlement. This is the issue. Sadly, no matter what Benjamin, or anyone else for that matter, writes, it will make absolutely no difference. Ideological blindness is played out on university campuses where professors leaningsbecome the only points of view acceptable if one intendsto pass exams or gain promotions. There,aggressive, bullying student cadres look to disrupt and silence any other perspectives. All this, at a time when most of the nations who berate Israel as a colonial interloper and aggressor are themselves the most corrupt offenders against human rights and civilized behavior on earth. Israel will survive. But the awful side effect of exaggerated and prejudiced anti-Israel propaganda is that it further empowers right-wing refusal to compromise. It reinforces a siege mentality, imperviousness to self-analysis. One despairs of a solution when exceptional, fair and experienced people like Benjamin will simply not be listened to, because they will be dismissed as tools of colonialism, regardless of their record. At the same time, he will be dismissed by the Israeli Right as being too liberal. Such is the mad, mad world we live in. It is only by encountering good, honest people like Benjamin Pogrund that we can retain some faith in humanity and its prospects.

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NFL’s Cameron Jordan During Trip to Holy Land Spars on Twitter With Follower Accusing Him of ‘Doing PR for Israeli … – Algemeiner

Email a copy of “NFLs Cameron Jordan During Trip to Holy Land Rebuffs Twitter Follower Accusing Him of Doing PR for Israeli Apartheid” to a friend Cameron Jordan. Photo: Wikimedia Commons. An NFL star currently on a week-long tour of Israelbatted away criticism from a social media user on Saturday who accused the player of doing PR for the Jewish states apartheid system. PR? Im goin on a trip for the spiritual and historical layout of a country Ive always wanted to go to. Im learning more,New Orleans Saintsdefensive end Cameron Jordan shot back. Cameron one of five out of an original group of 11 NFL players scheduled to take the Feb. 13-20 trip who did notsuccumb to pressure from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movementand cancel his participation alsoposted positive reviews of the country, along with photos of fun-filledactivities and visits to Christian sites. The trip was sponsored byIsraels Tourism Ministry.

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Jewish Student Leader at UK University: Defeat of BDS Motion Due to Efforts of Broad Campus Coaltion – Algemeiner

Email a copy of “Jewish Student Leader at UK University: Defeat of BDS Motion Due to Efforts of Broad Campus Coaltion” to a friend Photo: City, University of London. Astudent government motion to boycott Israel wastabledthis week at a British university, due to the efforts of a broad campus coalition, thehead of the schools Jewish Society (JSoc) toldThe Algemeineron Friday. Michal Belovski, president of City, University of London JSoc was referring to what he called alarge contingent of both Jewish and non-Jewish students who banded together to defeat the resolution, a version of which was passed in November and subsequently rejected by the schools Board of Trustees. Since then, according to Belovski, the motion was reworded in an attempt to enable it to be brought before the student union (CUSU) once again. February 19, 2017 8:09 am But we were ready this second time around, with more Jews and allies willing to vote against it, she said. The proposer realized, as soon as we walked into the meeting, that not only would the motion not pass, but we would put up a good fight first so she pulled it before it wasdebated or voted on. The original proposal called on the CUSU to raise awareness of Palestinian issuesof BDS around campus and commit resources: BDS is now a vibrant global movement[that has] a major impact and is effectively challenging international support for Israeli apartheid and settler-colonialism. Israel is occupying and colonizing Palestine and discriminating against Palestinian citizens and denying Palestine refugees the right to return to their home. The amendedversion, which was obtained byThe Algemeiner, used more politically neutral language, stating, in part: [BDS] is a tactic inspired from the South African anti-apartheid movement. A United Nations human rights investigator has likened Israelis occupation of Palestinian terrorize to apartheid South Africa and says should be serious consideration over bringing the occupation to the international court of justice [sic]. BDS is aimed at the Israeli state as a political entity and is responding to a call from Palestinian civil society, Palestinian citizens of Israel and the diaspora. It is a short term strategy to encourage Israel to respond to international calls and comply with international law. According to Belovski, while many UK universitieshave passed BDS resolutions, the lack of support for the motion at the second meeting showed me that the students at City welcome everyone and arent interested in divisive campaigns. The defeat of the City boycottmotion came the same week that a similar proposal at Northern Irelands Ulster University calling on the student union to divest from companies complicit in Israelsbrutal military occupation of the Palestinian territories failed, while aproposal to implement new policies to combat antisemitism and memorialize the Holocaust passed.

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February 19, 2017   Posted in: Israel Apartheid  Comments Closed

Greenwald on Trump-Netanyahu Meeting & How Israel Is Turning into an Apartheid-Like State – Democracy Now!

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form. NERMEEN SHAIKH: On Wednesday, President Donald Trump ended a long-standing U.S. commitment to the establishment of a Palestinian state, saying he had no preference for either a one-state or two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Trumps comment came during a news conference at the White House with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: So Im looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like. Im very happy with the one that both parties like. I can live with either one. I thought for a while the two-state looked like it may be the easier of the two. But honestly, if Bibi and if the Palestiniansif Israel and the Palestinians are happy, Im happy with the one they like the best. As far as the embassy moving to Jerusalem, Id love to see that happen. Were looking at it very, very strongly. Were looking at it with great care. Great care, believe me. And well see what happens. OK? NERMEEN SHAIKH: So thats President Trump speaking yesterday at a joint news conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Glenn, could you respond to that and what the significance is of Trump suggesting a significant, massive change to many, many years of a U.S. policy on this? GLENN GREENWALD: So, I guess I question, first of all, the extent to which it really is such a massive change in U.S. policy. It is, of course, a huge departure rhetorically from what the U.S. government has said for decades, which is that their policy is there ought to be a two-state solution. The reality, though, as any honest person involved in this conflict or who watches it admits, is that the two-state solution has been dying, and, in fact, probably dead for many years. Its just that nobody wants to admit it. If you look at a map, its almost impossible to see where a separate Palestinian state in the West Bank can be created, given the growth of settlements under Prime Minister Netanyahu, growth which, by the way, the United States not only didnt stop, but abetted by shoveling Israel with money, with weapons, with all kinds of diplomatic support, as they were expanding those settlements. Yes, they objected occasionally, in rhetoric, but, in action, never did. And so, I think the two-state solution is something that were all eager not to give up on, because the alternatives are both so bad. But the reality is that in Israel there is an erosion of support for the two-state solution. There are high-level members of PresidentPrime Minister Netanyahus Cabinet, high ministers, who explicitly oppose it. The reality is that because of the course Israel has taken, the only two options that are realand its essentially what Donald Trump, in his own kind of stumbling, inept, ignorant way, was getting at, was the only two options are: have Israel become an apartheid state, where a minority of Jews have political rights and control a country in which a majority of citizens have no political rights, exactly like was true of apartheid South Africa, or have one state in which all citizens have political rights, in which case Israel would no longer exist as a Jewish state. Neither of those options are good ones, but that is the course that Israel is taking. And what Trump is saying is, essentially, if the Israelis and Palestinians want a certain solution, we, the United States, are not going to prevent them from doing that. What is really worrying is that Donald Trump is empowering some of the worst extremists in the world when it comes to Israeli policy. His son-in-law, whos in charge of it, is a supporter of some of the hardest-core settlements in the West Bank. And Congress is taking up this week his nomination of a hardcore pro-settlement lunatic to be the U.S. ambassador to Israel. Just this morning, five ambassadors, former ambassadors to Israel, of both parties, came out and opposed him on the grounds that hes essentially insane. And so, I do think theres a dangerous tilting toward extremists in Israel on the part of the Trump administration. But the two-state solution has really only existed in rhetoric for a long time. And on some level, a lot of supporters of Palestinian rights think its actually a good thing to finally have that candid admission that a two-state solution is not really possible anymore because of Israeli behavior.

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February 18, 2017   Posted in: Israel Apartheid  Comments Closed

War on Want events for Annual Israeli Apartheid Week 2017 | War … – War on Want (press release)

Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) is an international series of events that seeks to raise awareness of Israels settler-colonial project and Apartheid system* over the Palestinian people and to build support for the growingBoycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. These Israeli Apartheid Week events bring together veteran activists from the anti-apartheid struggle, Black Lives Matter and Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) in dialogue to mark our collective resistance at the current moment; to learn from each other and build our movements stronger. War on Want is proud to be co-sponsoring two events for Israeli Apartheid Week: Israeli Apartheid Week 2017: London opening plenary Chair: Dr Karma Nabulsi – A Professor of Politics and International Relations at Oxford University, and Fellow in Politics at St Edmund Hall, Oxford. Speakers: Aja Monet – A contemporary poet, lyricist and activist of Cuban-Jamaican descent from Brooklyn, New York. A volunteer with Dream Defenders, part of the broader Movement for Black Lives. Farid Esack – A veteran anti-apartheid activist and Professor in the Study of Islam and Head of the Department of Religion Studies at the University of Johannesburg. Sponsored by War on Want, Palestine BDS National Committee (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement), the NUS Black Student Campaign, SOAS Palestine society and KCL Action Palestine. Sounds of Resistance (concert) As part of the Israeli Apartheid Week 2017 this night will bring together an innovative and original selection of artists from Morocco, NY and London. From the astute power of rap and spoken word to the mesmerising effect of Darija Arabic poetry, we invite you to unite, listen and celebrate the sounds of resistance. Hosted by the acclaimed spoken word artist Rafeef Ziadah, this night is a testimony to unity, solidarity and political consciousness. N3rdistan | Morocco Standing at the border of oriental-beat and urban electronic music, N3rdistan electrifies a timeless poetry that bridges generation gaps, playfully stirring debate about the changing face of oppression. Aja-Monet | NYC Aja Monet is a Cuban-Jamaican poet originally from East NY, Brooklyn. At 19 years old, she was the youngest to ever win the Grand Slam Champion title of the Lower East side’s legendary Nuyorican Poet’s Caf in 2007. Her work is classically surrealist, engaging hip hop, soul, and literary audiences. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Prg-Tfb0Vl8 Rafeef Ziadah | Palestine Rafeef uses language to narrate, inspire and pull apart stereotypes. Her poems We Teach Life, Sir and Shades of Anger went viral online within days of their release. Her new album, released in November 2015, features an exciting blend of poetry and music with original compositions from Phil Monsour. Sponsored by MARSM UK, War on Want, with SOAS Palestine Society and Movement for Justice *There is overwhelming evidence that the system instituted by the Israeli government against the Palestinian people is correctly described as a system of Apartheid. We have detailed some of this evidence, including the legal definition of Apartheid. We encourage you to read about what Apartheid means and why it has prompted Palestinian civil society to call for boycotts and divestment from companies and institutions complicit in Israel’s violations of international law, and trade and military sanctions on Israel, similar to those imposed on Apartheid South Africa in the 1980’s.

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February 18, 2017   Posted in: Israel Apartheid  Comments Closed

Why I must oppose smears against Israel’s critics in Germany – The Electronic Intifada (blog)

Adri Nieuwhof Lobby Watch 15 February 2017 Veteran South African activistFarid Esack (Meraj Chhaya/Flickr) I have to speak out against the smear campaign waged in Germany against Farid Esack, an Islamic studies professor from South Africa. When Israels supporters learned that Esack had been given a teaching post at the University of Hamburg, they made baseless allegations of anti-Semitism against him. The smears were spread by members of Angela Merkels Christian Democrats, the right-wing populist party Alternative fr Deutschland, the Green Partys Volker Beck and Katharina Fegebank, as well as by Israeli diplomats. I have to speak out because my parents suffered under the German occupation of the Netherlands. One lesson I learned from their past is that I should never remain silent when the rights of others are trampled upon. That is why I supported the South African people in their fight against apartheid and that is why I defend the rights of the Palestinians today. I am deeply disturbed about how academics such as Eleonora Roldn Mendvil, Farid Esack and Norman Finkelstein have come under attack in Germany because they criticize Israels violations of Palestinian rights. The pro-Israel lobby is waging smear campaigns against defenders of Palestinian rights, with a view to excluding them from German universities. The lobbys tactics remind me of the witch-hunting McCarthy era in the US. The tactics remind me, too, of the Radikalenerlass (Radicals Decree) in 1970s Germany. It banned thousands from working as civil servants because of accusations that they held radical views. I have known Farid Esack since the 1980s when I worked with the Holland Committee on Southern Africa. Our committee organized boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaigns against South Africa and provided political and material support to the liberation movement, the African National Congress (ANC). Esack fought apartheid as a leading member of the Call of Islam organization and the United Democratic Front (UDF). The UDF was founded in the 1980s at a time the ANC was banned by the apartheid regime. It brought together trade unions with various grassroots organizations, including the Call of Islam. The aim of these organizations was to make South Africa ungovernable by mobilizing people in campaigns to defy the apartheid regime. For example, Esack was among the organizers of a 1989 peace march in Cape Town. Around 30,000 people took part in that protest, defying the state of emergency. Ten years after South African apartheid was defeated, our paths crossed again. We were both speaking out against Israels violations of Palestinian rights and supporting the Palestinian people in their fight for freedom, justice and equality. In recent months, Esack has been a guest professor at the Academy of World Religions in Hamburg University. Pro-Israel lobbyists have attacked the university for hiring Esack and slandered him personally. The accusations against him were first published in the German newspaper Die Welt. Esack is the chair of BDS South Africa, which urges nonviolent activism against Israeli apartheid. It should be clear to everyone of goodwill that Israel-hatred is anti-Semitism, Daniel Killy, a spokesperson for Hamburgs Jewish community, has told The Jerusalem Post. But criticism of Israels policies and practices is not the same as Israel-hatred or anti-Semitism. False accusations of anti-Semitism are frequently used to stifle criticism of Israeli state violence. In the same Jerusalem Post article, the Israeli embassy in Berlin makes an unsubstantiated accusation that Esack is a man who expressed anti-Semitic statements and who is sympathetic to Holocaust denial. That is a lie. Esack has described the Holocaust as a crime against humanity of unspeakable proportions. At a 2013 Holocaust Remembrance Day event in Johannesburg, Esack said that he felt ashamed bloody ashamed whenever he heard Muslims expressing a hatred of Jews. The Jerusalem Post also claims that Esack has helped raise funds for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. I asked Esack about this allegation. He replied that neither he nor anyone else in BDS South Africa raised money for any organization designated as a terrorist organization by anybody. Esack was also quoted in The Jerusalem Post as saying that the idea of an Islamic state must be allowed to be represented in Germany. The newspaper was apparently referring to what Esack told a conference about Islamophobia in Europe that was held in Hamburg last month. I defended the right of various communities to argue the case for their own political utopias, Esack told me. Coming from South Africa, this included the right for people to argue for a state inspired by Islamic values, or, for that matter, for vegans to make the case for a society where all meat consumption is banned. In fact, I am not well disposed towards any state founded for any particular religious or ethnic community. I am proud to have known Farid Esack for so long and I highly respect his consistency in opposing injustice and all forms of racism including anti-Semitism. The pro-Israel lobby must not be allowed to prevent academics who defend Palestinian rights from visiting German universities. It is vital that the universities themselves stay calm when they come under attack. If these smear campaigns continue, then academic freedom will be at risk.

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February 16, 2017   Posted in: Israel Apartheid  Comments Closed

Students Protest University Talk by Extreme Israeli Ambassador … – AlterNet

Photo Credit: Columbia University Apartheid Divest Students gathered in the streets of New York City on Monday night to protest a speech at Columbia University by an extreme, far-right Israeli politician. Danny Danon,Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, is notorious for his overtly racist remarks and support for hard-line policies that blatantly violate international law. In a 2012 hate rally against migrants, which inspired a riot and violent attacks, Danon demonized African refugees as “a national plague” and insisted “the State of Israel is engaged in a war against an enemy state composed of infiltrators.” The extreme Israeli politician was invited to speak at Columbia University on February 13 by the local chapter of the real estate tycoon-backed organization Students Supporting Israel. The event was met with backlash from progressive student groups, which described the Israeli ambassador as “Donald Trump on steroids.” Inside, activists disrupted the talk in protest. Students also held up signs and distributed flyers highlighting Danon’s history of racism and fanatical views. Danon is even further to the right of Israel’s hyper-conservative Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He has called for a prominent Palestinian member of Israel’s parliament to be jailed and proposed that Palestinian citizens of Israel be required to take a “loyalty” oath to the self-proclaimed Jewish state. Characterized by an Israeli lawmaker as “a right-wing extremist with the diplomatic sensitivity of a pit bull,” Danon has also publicly called for Israel to officially annex Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank, in flagrant contravention of international law, and even spearheaded an initiative in the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) to authorize just that. “Danny Danon is Donald Trump on steroids, and no government has been more glowing than Israel’s in its praise for Donald Trump,” said Columbia University Apartheid Divest in a statement to AlterNet. Columbia University Apartheid Divest, a coalition group that consists of the school’s branches of Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace, organized the demonstration. The protest was also co-sponsored by other progressive student organizations. “In dangerous times with Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and white supremacy on the rise we want to highlight Israel’s role as a model for the global far-right,” Columbia University Apartheid Divest continued. “From border walls to Muslim bans, Israel is a pioneer in state racism.” “It is crucial that we protest Danon just as we would protest Trump,” the group added. “We have mobilized against the politics of hate in America, and that battle is an international one.” During his campaign, Trump cited Israel’s separation wall as a model for what he wants on the U.S.-Mexico border. The barrier, which peace activists refer to as an apartheid wall, is illegal under international law. The Trump administration has shown unflinching support for the Israeli government, despite its incessant violations of international law. Rudy Rochman, the president of the Columbia chapter of Students Supporting Israel, told AlterNet, “Danny Danon is the Ambassador of Israel to the UN. As an Israeli cultural group at an Ivy league institution, we wanted to expose the student body to Israel’s position, struggles and aspirations at the United Nations. Ambassador Danon came to speak about Israel’s official position and not his personal politics.” Rochman, who notes on his public Facebook fanpage that he previously served in the Israeli military, disparagingly referred to pro-Palestinian organizations as “hate groups” and accused them of attempting “to prohibit freedom of speech and to yell intolerant abuses to a crowd who genuinely wanted to hear the ambassador.” He added, “What is even more shameful, is the fact that these groups are piggybacking off of the struggles of Native Americans, Mexicans, African Americans and Black South Africans. Latching onto slogans and attaching the word ‘Palestine’, reveals their goals of injecting hatred for Israel in minority rights movements” (the quotes around Palestine were his). “Universities are meant to be a marketplace of ideas where thoughts and opinions can be exchanged freely,” Rochman concluded. He did not answer AlterNet’s questions about whether or not it is appropriate for an extreme right-wing politician who has made overtly racist remarks to be invited to speak at a university. Students Supporting Israel calls itself a grassroots organization, but its activities are bankrolled by the Milstein Family Foundation. The foundation’s president, Adam Milstein, is an Israeli real estate tycoon, and it funds a vast array of leading pro-Israel organizations in the U.S. Students Supporting Israel chapters at Columbia and other campuses around the country devote themselves to opposing the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, or BDS, a global campaign to use peaceful economic mechanisms to pressure Israel to abide by international law and respect Palestinian human rights. Jeffrey Jacobs, a PhD candidate in political science and long-time organizer with Student for Justice in Palestine, stressed to AlterNet that the protest highlighted “the linkages between the growth of racism and white supremacy in the wake of Trump and the concomitant growth in the confidence of Israel’s settlement regime and demonization of Palestinians.” Yasmeen Abdel Majeed, a Palestinian American student at Columbia, remarked, “It was absolutely unacceptable for the university to allow Danon to speak on campus.” She warned that inviting the extremist “to give a speech at the university normalizes racism,” adding, “It is particularly important to disrupt ‘respectable racism.'” In his speech, Danon declared, in opposition to international law, that “Jerusalem is the undivided capital of Israel.” His remarks were met with cheers from the audience. Abdel Majeed responded, “We all know very well that this is a euphemism for the ethnic cleansing of Jerusalem that is currently taking place.” She noted that Danon “pathologized” Palestinians in a “racist way,” and emphasized, “Protesting Danon was important because we need to call racists racists.” In 2010, the Israeli military attacked a civilian ship from the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, which was led by human rights activists hoping to bring humanitarian aid and construction materials to Gaza, which has for a decade been under an Israeli blockade United Nations experts said it illegal. Israel killed nine activists in the attack in international waters. In response to widespread international condemnation, Danon lamented that only nine activists had been killed, and wished the Israeli military had acted “with a much larger show of force” that fully destroyed the boat. Organizers pointed out that Danon’s speech at Columbia came just weeks after the UN Security Council voted to condemn illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. Since November 1967, the UN has made it absolutely clear that those settlements violate international law, and even the U.S. government has reiterated this. Israel’s current government is the most right-wing in its 70-year history. When he completes his present term, hard-line right-wing Prime Minister Netanyahu will have been the longest serving head of state in the history of Israel. Many leading Israeli officials, like Danon, refer to African refugees as “infiltrators.” Some even go so far as to liken African asylum-seekers to cancer. In fact, racism is so widespread in Israeli society, a 2012 study by the Israel Democracy Institute found that a staggering 52 percent of Jewish Israelis agreed with politician Miri Regev (now Israel’s minister of culture) that African refugees and migrants are “a cancer in the body.” More than one-third of Jewish Israelis condoned anti-African violence. Ben Norton is a reporter for AlterNet’s Grayzone Project. You can follow him on Twitter at @BenjaminNorton.

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February 16, 2017   Posted in: Israel Apartheid  Comments Closed

Hevron Fund raffle ends Wednesday afternoon – hurry! – Arutz Sheva

The last day of the Hevron Fund raffle is Wednesday afternoon February 15th with proceeds going to help the Jewish Community of Hevron. The fundraising drive helps provide assistance for the residents of the historic city with funds going toward parks and playgrounds, ambulances, and upgraded facilities that benefit families, visitors and IDF soldiers stationed in the city. The raffle coincidentally coincides with Open Shuhada Street week, sponsored by the Youth Against ‘Settlements’ movement. For the past eight years, the group has organized protests, some of them violent, demanding that the main thoroughfare for the Jewish neighborhoods in Hevron be open to traffic from Palestinian Authority residents. Officially recognized as King David Street, it is known in Arabic as Shuhada, or Martyrs Street. It has been shut to PA traffic intermittently since the mid 1990s by the Israel Defense Force and government to prevent terrorist attacks. Numerous attacks occurred on or near the street, including the murder of Gadi Levy and his pregnant wife Dina who were killed in an explosion in 2003. After years of court wrangling, the Supreme Court finally ruled that the closure was necessary to prevent loss of human life in 2011. Ironically, while internationally funded agitators use King David Street as an example of “Israeli apartheid,” it is the Jewish community that is restricted from accessing most of the city. Hevron is divided into H1, under PA jurisdiction, and H2 under Israeli jurisdiction, and Israelis are forbidden to cross over from H2 as this would put their lives in immediate danger. In contrast, PA residents, though they must pass through checkpoints, can move back and forth with impunity. Ein Sarah street, where the Sarah’s Spring archaeological site is located is off limits for Jews, as is the Elonei Mamre excavation, and other historic locations. Even holy sites within H2 are open only on special occasions, such as the Tomb of Avner Ben Ner, and the bustling Casbah area where Jewish people once lived prior to the 1929 massacre when Arabs turned on their unarmed Jewish neighbors and cruelly butchered men, women and children. The Jewish community of Hevron is located in what is termed the Old City by PA residents. But the majority of Hevron is a bustling metropolis which accounts for nearly 40% of the PA economy. Hevron has two multi-story shopping centers, a 4,000-seat sports area, and numerous large factories that employ thousands. There is even an official outlet of the US Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise, located on Ein Sarah Street. Despite the inequalities and a biased media, the Jewish Community of Hevron is thriving. There is a high rate of volunteerism and community involvement, and a low to zero rate of crime and unemployment. People find Hevron to be a meaningful place to raise families and report a high quality of life and a sense of living for a purpose. But the community still needs help with many facilities needing funds for upkeep, educational programs and ways to accommodate the hundreds of thousands of people who make pilgrimages to the city every year. For more information on the Hebron Fund raffle, click here: https://hebronfund.org/support/hebron-fund-raffle

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February 15, 2017   Posted in: Israel Apartheid  Comments Closed

BDS demonstrators disrupt talk by Israel’s UN ambassador – The Times of Israel

A lecture by Israels ambassador to the UN Danny Danon was disrupted Monday as supporters of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divest and Sanctions campaign burst in on the event. The protesters shouted Palestine will be liberated from the river to the sea, Israel is a terror state, and Israel has no right to exist. Danon, who was addressing some 300 students from New Yorks Columbia University, told the protesters, Instead of inciting and lying, sit down on the chairs and maybe youll learn something, the Ynet news site reported. We wont remain silent in the face of the lies that you are spreading about Israel, he added. We will continue to make our voices heard and to stand up for our just truth. This is just the problem with the Palestinians, Danon said. They lie, incite and do not recognize Israels right to exist. But I have a message for those students the Jewish people will never leave the Land of Israel. Pro-Israel students applauded Danon and booed the intruders, who retreated from the hall. The demonstration began outside the lecture hall, with some 100 activists chanting against Danon, Israel and the Trump administrations immigration policy. Danon spoke about what he described as a distortion whereby the United Nations made endless anti-Israel decisions. With the help of the new administration in the US, we will bring about a new era at the UN, he said, an era where Israel is treated fairly like all the nations of the world. Asked by a student what could be done to counter the BDS movement, Danon said, The best answer to lies is the simple truth. You should act against the lies and for the State of Israel, and show the truth to the indifferent majority. Only by presenting the facts will we beat the boycott movements campaign of hate. The Palestinian-led BDS has become a global campaign to challenge what it calls Israeli apartheid and settler colonialism.

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February 14, 2017   Posted in: Israel Apartheid  Comments Closed


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