Archive for the ‘Israel Apartheid’ Category

Queers Against Israeli Apartheid Retiring | Queers Against …

After seven years of Palestine solidarity work in LGBTQ communities, Queers Against Israeli Apartheid will officially retire at the end of the month.

QuAIA was formed in 2008, after a public forum during Israeli Apartheid Week at the University of Toronto where concerns were raised about pinkwashing: Israels use of gay rights to divert international attention away from the states violation of Palestinian human rights. The small activist group was propelled into international celebrity after the pro-Israel lobby attempted to have Pride Torontos funding revoked in order to silence Palestine solidarity voices at the 2010 festival.

Over the last seven years, QuAIAs accomplishments include:

*Educating Canadians about the conditions of occupation and apartheid policies in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.

*Winning rulings under the City of Torontos Anti-discrimination Policy, Pride Torontos Dispute Resolution Process (under Ontario Arbitration Act), and at an Ontario Human Rights Tribunal, that the term Israeli apartheid is a legitimate form of political expression, despite aggressive attempts by the Israel lobby to brand criticism of Israeli government policy and actions as hate speech.

*Making the terms Israeli apartheid and pinkwashing household words in queer communities in Toronto and around the globe.

*Fighting attacks by several city politicians and lobbyists on Pride funding.

*Sparking a community discussion about freedom of expression, censorship and politics at Pride, which led to a major rejuvenation of the festival and challenged the move to turn Pride into a corporate-driven spectacle geared to tourists.

*Hosting forums, screenings and educational events that built connections and coalitions with other movements for social justice (feminists, anti-Tar Sands activists, First Nations, etc.)

*Inspiring the formation of other QuAIA groups in queer communities around the world, and promoting dialogue and action on transnational queer politics.

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Queers Against Israeli Apartheid Retiring | Queers Against …

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February 28, 2015   Posted in: Israel Apartheid  Comments Closed

THROWDOWN THURSDAY: The Four Causes of Anti-Israelism

By JULIUS KAIREY

If Israel were an Arab country, it would receive near-universal praise as a paragon of justice. Its robust protections of freedom of speech, along with frequent and open elections, would make it the only Arab state in which people have a real say in the operation of their government. Israel would be celebrated as the only gay-friendly state in a region of rampant anti-gay persecution. Its strict prohibition of the traditional practice of honor killings where women accused of disgracing the family name are murdered by their male relatives would be lauded as proof of its progressive and egalitarian values. And its modern capitalist economy, driven by a dynamic high-tech sector, would be the model for other Arab nations seeking to lift their people from the depths of poverty.

Of course, Israel isnt an Arab nation, and it is treated according to this double-standard. It is the worlds only majority-Jewish state, and it is surrounded by Arab theocracies, dictatorships and monarchies, each of which have gone to war in a failed bid to end its existence. And yet, Israels remarkable history of repeated triumph in the face of seemingly insurmountable adversity receives little sympathy among some left-wing segments of communities across the nation.

While Israels actions are put under a microscope its every flaw magnified to the maximum possible extent its enemies are given a free pass.

It is not immediately obvious why this is so. Israels history reads like a liberal success story. The Jewish people have refused to consent to their exile from the land of Israel, perpetrated by the Romans nearly 2,000 years ago. Rather than submit to oppression and injustice, Jews returned home over the centuries. In the 19th century, this movement for national liberation, called Zionism, sought to establish a modern state in the Jewish national homeland. This place would be a refuge from the forces of bigotry and hatred a place where Jews from around the world could gather for collective security whenever their lives or livelihoods came under threat. To this day, thousands of Jews migrate to Israel annually most recently from France for safety from the resurgence of anti-Semitism.

But you will not hear any of this from Israels detractors. They subject Israel to a constant torrent of demonization, all while applying a moral standard on Israel that is applied to no other country on Earth. Zionism is equated with racism and Israel is called a terrorist state, even the moral equivalent of apartheid South Africa, a country that maintained a total and systematic separation between Whites and non-Whites. These accusations continue in total disregard of the fact that Israel is the only country in the Middle East where Jews and Arabs live alongside one another in substantial numbers, vote in the same elections and serve together in the same national legislature.

While Israels actions are put under a microscope its every flaw magnified to the maximum possible extent its enemies are given a free pass. Hamas brazenly indiscriminate rocket attacks on Israeli cities which even the Palestinian Authority has called war crimes are either encouraged as necessary for resistance, or dismissed as insignificant. Hamas genocidal charter, which calls not just for the destruction of Israel but for the murder of Jews worldwide, is attributed to a harmless overreaction to Israels non-existent occupation of the Gaza Strip, not to be taken seriously. Where else is the threat of genocide not to be taken seriously?

So why cant Israel get a fair hearing in certain segments of campus communities and elsewhere? It comes down to Israels character.

Israels first crime is that it is a Western nation. In the minds of Israels critics, to be Western is to be suspect, especially when your country is juxtaposed with non-Western nations. Israeli actions are confused with colonialism by those who erroneously insist that, to this day, imperialism drives relations between Western and non-Western peoples. To attack Israel is to give non-Westerners a leg up in these supposedly colonial interactions.

Israels second offense is that it is pro-American. It is little surprise that Israels fiercest opponents are also militant critics of the United States. They deride Americas invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq as modern-day imperialism and look forward to a day when America will be forced to relinquish its superpower status. Because Israel and America have such strong links, Israel is tarred as a mere instrument of Americas supposedly nefarious interests abroad. Bashing Israel is just their way of expressing contempt for the policies of the United States, and as such serves as an outlet for virulent anti-Americanism. They treat the Jewish State as America in the Middle East.

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February 26, 2015   Posted in: Israel Apartheid  Comments Closed

MUNI anti-Israel bus ads sponsors pro-terror and antisemitic links

Paul Larudee, co-founder of the Free Palestine Movement and Free Gaza Movement. Image via Wikipedia

Once again in San Francisco, city buses are sporting anti-Israel banners. This time they boldly state: ISRAELS WAR CRIMES Your Tax Dollars at Work. These ads are the products of two sponsors, Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign (SeaMAC) and NoTaxDollarsToIsrael.com.

This website is registered to Bay Area resident Paul Larudee, a co-founder of both the Free Palestine Movement and Free Gaza Movement.

Larudee also received a Medal of Honor.

From Hamas.

In 2008, after he sailed to Gaza to break the Israeli siege with the Free Gaza Movement. Larudee and his fellow mariners met with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, who awarded them with a medal of honor. That Hamas is listed as a terrorist organization by the US, the EU, UK, Canada, and many other countries did not seem to be an issue for Larudee and his shipmates.

It would be wrong to conclude that this Hamas link is ancient history from seven years ago. Larudees Free Palestine Movement website currently displays a photograph of him and his former Free Gaza Movement colleagues surrounding Haniyeh while proudly wearing their Hamas medals.

Larudees relationship with Hamas makes sense in light of comments he made to KPFA: Not everybody that we work with in the Palestinian community is necessarily devoted to non-violence. And under international law, it is permitted for oppressed and occupied peoples to resist using armed resistance. This is permitted and we recognize their right to do so.

Of course, international law does not permit armed resistance against civilians (i.e. terrorism), but why should reality stand in the way of a good argument?

Larudees extremism also extends into Jewish conspiracy fantasies. Last September, he penned an article called Strangler Fig Nation, alleging that Israel, through the American Jewish community, is a parasite feeding off the host/victim nation the United States by controlling key U.S. institutions. He wrote also of how the Israel Lobby has grown with few constraints, fed by its domination of the American Jewish community, extensive control of publishing and the media, the establishment and control of strategic think tanks that provide governmental advisers, and by a well-coordinated and lavishly funded political campaign machine.

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MUNI anti-Israel bus ads sponsors pro-terror and antisemitic links

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February 24, 2015   Posted in: Israel Apartheid  Comments Closed

Jordan BDS calls Day of Action on Feb 20 against Israel gas deal

Feb 18 2015 / 8:13 pm

Jordan BDS campaigners have planned a Day of Action for Friday February 20, in protest at the countrys proposed gas deal with Israel.

In September 2014, the Jordanian National Electric Power Company signed a letter of intent to import gas from the Leviathan fields, located in the Mediterranean waters controlled by Israel. The fields are operated by US company Noble Energy and co-owned by three Israeli companies.

According to Jordan BDS activists, the import of natural gas from Israel to Jordan is worth $15 billion, of which $8.4 billion will go directly to the Israeli treasury that sustains occupation and apartheid and funds Israeli terror operations and atrocities.

– Read More: Jordan BDS calls Day of Action on Feb 20 against Israel gas deal Middle East Monitor

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February 20, 2015   Posted in: Israel Apartheid  Comments Closed

Fighting The Israel Apartheid Lie And Other BDS …

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A Zionist in exile, Mirabelle has, in past lives, been a lawyer, a skier, and a chef. Outside of Israel, her favorite place in the world is Sun Valley, Idaho.

The Northeast is covered in snow, New Years Eve bashes are a distant memory, and the college kids are back at school, with slew of activists bringing divestment resolutions to campuses. To quote a UC Davis divestment proponent, Hamas & Sharia law have taken overat that school, and other campuses are in the crosshairs.

UCLA Divests logo makes clear that all of Israel, not merely the West Bank, is the target

Groups like Camera On Campus and Stand With Us have been doing a great job countering these hatefests. Not all campuses, however, have chapters of these groups. When I was a student at an ultra-left midwest campus, hostile to Israel as far back as anyone can remember, these groups didnt even exist, and our little band of campus Israel supporters was on our own. A lot has changed since then, but one thing hasnt: the movement to delegitimize Israel is based on half-truths, distortions, and outright lies disseminated in part by anti-Semites and in part by the small group of well-meaning but severely misguided liberals with whom they ally. The themes that these Israel-bashers rely on are occupation, checkpoints, settlements, and apartheid. This year it also seems likely that we will hear more about Gaza than we have in the past.

The mantra that there is an ongoing occupation in the West Bank and Gaza has become so entrenched that even mainstream media, as well as many Jews, believe it. This terminology, however, disregards the fact that the reason Israel remains in the West Bank today is that the Palestinian leadership has rejected multiple attempts by Israel to leave it. It is undisputed that Israel has offered to leave the West Bank twice in this century, firstin 2000, at Camp David, and then againin 2008. In 2008, then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert offered a compromise under which representatives from five nations Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Palestine, the US, and Israel would administer the Old City of Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount/Dome of the Rock and The Western Wall. Olmerts plan included a tunnel that would have connected Gaza with the West Bank, and withdrawal from 93.7% of the West Bank, with land swaps providing territory equal to another 5.8%, for a total of 99.5% of the territory. Olmert even presented a map to Palestinian President Abbas. But Abbas himself walked away from this offer, with no serious explanation. So it is hard to understand how, after this, Abbas can claim that Israel is occupying the West Bank in violation of the will of the Palestinian people. Israel is in the West Bank because the Palestinian President will not allow Israel to leave.

Leaving unilaterally, without agreement, is what Israel did in Gaza. In 2005, Israel withdrew fully to the 1967 ceasefire lines, dismantling all of the existing settlements and removing all Israeli Jews that were within that territory by force. After the withdrawal, the residents of Gaza elected Hamas, which has started three wars with Israel since that time, making further unilateral withdrawals impossible.

The ubiquitous claim that Israel is occupying any part of Palestine, therefore, is a distortion of fact that is severely misleading.

BDS advocates love to tell stories about seeing a terrified mother separated from her toddler at a checkpoint, or how a sister was unable to visit her brother because of the security barrier. They point to the human cost of these measures and of course, there is a cost to them. The vague references to security that many of us make in response to such stories, however, gloss over the human cost of the Second Intifada.

Todays undergrads most likely do not remember the Second Intifada all that well. They do not remember the terror of reading about yet another bombing on what seemed like a weekly basis. Similarly, very few people are aware that the Second Intifada was started intentionally by Arafat after he rejected Israeli Prime Minister Baraks offer of statehood at Camp David in 2000.

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February 19, 2015   Posted in: Israel Apartheid  Comments Closed

Netanyahu, Israel right to worry

Because of the long, deep relationship connecting the United States and Israel, some see the back-and-forth sniping between President Barack Obama and his surrogates, and the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as being the inconsequential product of a personality clash between headstrong leaders. Rep. Eliot L. Engel of New York, ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, called it a tempest in a teapot.

But as tensions build over Netanyahus unprecedented plan to address Congress on March 3 without the White Houses approval or blessing, we think its wrong to see the recent war of words and, allegedly, media leaks as a passing storm. Instead, at its core are increasing fears among Israelis that Obamas assumptions about Israels enemies are naive and thus dangerous to Israels future. There is also concern that Obamas core views about Israel have at least some overlap with what might be called the faculty lounge view of Israel among the left in much of the Western world. That view blames democratic Israel for much of whats wrong in the otherwise mostly theocratic Middle East, compares its attempts to keep its citizens safe to apartheid and thinks its villainy is so extreme that it should be targeted with a divestment campaign.

U.S. negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program drive this anxiety. U.S. concessions on centrifuges to enrich uranium and other aspects of Irans program have triggered existential dread among many Israelis. They believe an Islamic theocracy with nuclear bombs will do what Iranian leaders have vowed to do for decades: annihilate Israel.

This is not just the view of extremists. A recent Jerusalem Post analysis that was in many ways critical of Netanyahu accepted as a given that the U.S. and other nations negotiating with Tehran would be willing to take a bad deal and declare victory. Netanyahus fear, that the world powers will effectively undo the sanctions without undoing Irans nuclear quest, is not his personal whim, paranoia, grandstanding or politicking, the Post wrote. Its real, credible and foreboding, and in the Jewish state, it is also consensus.

This consensus is why Netanyahu is expected to win re-election March 17. This consensus is also why many Israelis believe that an Israel-Iran war is inevitable. The Jewish state will not permit what President Obama seems ready to tolerate: an Iran with a sophisticated nuclear program that could easily be repurposed to build weapons to wipe out Tel Aviv and Haifa.

This grim pessimism could not be at deeper odds with the tidy view of the world offered by the president in his recent State of the Union speech, in which he declared America had turned the page on a violent era in a global affairs.

And it is why we welcome Netanyahus speech to Congress, which is sure to focus on U.S. negotiations with Iran. Our elected leaders should not tolerate a bad deal with Iran even if that is the commander-in-chiefs inclination.

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February 17, 2015   Posted in: Israel Apartheid  Comments Closed

South Africa: Leila Khaled's Presence in Parliament Lost in Pandemonium

Photo: Nardus Engelbrecht/Sapa

Police officers arrest a Democratic Alliance supporter near Parliament in Cape Town before President Jacob Zuma’s state of the nation address on February 13, 2015.

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Amongst the audience in Parliament’s public gallery for President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) was a Palestinian freedom icon who carried with her the hopes of all Palestinians that the ANC government would begin making moves towards cutting ties with Israel.

Leila Khaled, a decades-long leader in exile of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, was in South Africa, as a guest of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) South Africa movement.

For a brief moment this week, after BDS South Africa released a press statement saying that Zuma himself had invited Khaled to his address, there was a sense that perhaps the ANC government might be getting ready to do much more than voice support for Palestine while continuing to foster trade, diplomatic and intelligence relations with the apartheid state of Israel.

After all, Home Affairs minister Malusi Gigaba had welcomed Khaled when she landed in South Africa days earlier, and had even given a joint press conference with activists from the BDS movement, which wants a trade ban between Israel and South Africa in solidarity with Palestine.

However, BDS South Africa quickly backtracked on their announcement, saying that Khaled had been invited to the SONA not by Zuma but by senior parliamentary staff. The very fact that BDS South Africa had to issue a correction indicated that someone in Zuma’s office had made it clear that the president was averse to the idea that he could have invited Khaled to his oration. Although there was never any suggestion that Zuma would use his address to announce changes to South African relations with Palestine or Israel, if the president himself had invited Khaled, this would have suggested a move towards state endorsement of BDS. Eventually, Khaled’s presence at the SONA went unnoticed after local politics in the form of an Economic Freedom Fighters anti-corruption protest stole the show.

This was somewhat symbolic of the ruling party’s approach to Palestine over the past 21 years, where the ANC decries the brutal military occupation of Palestine by Israel in public, but behind closed doors props up the Israeli apartheid system. ANC relations with Israel are so cordial that the Israeli secret service is permitted to operate its own office inside OR Tambo airport.

Sometimes Israeli atrocities, such as the 2010 slaughter by the Israeli military of nine international peace activists who were sailing to Gaza to protest the Israeli siege, will prompt the ANC to make a gesture of outrage, such as recalling the ambassador to Israel. But even in this case, the ambassador was sent back to Israel after a few weeks. During his recall period, the spokesperson for the South African embassy in Israel repeatedly emphasised that the government had no intention of cutting ties with Israel.

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South Africa: Leila Khaled's Presence in Parliament Lost in Pandemonium

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February 17, 2015   Posted in: Israel Apartheid  Comments Closed

The case against academic boycotts of Israel

Cary Nelson and Gabriel Brahm, in less than a year, were able to assemble, edit, index, and bring to press a 500-plus page thoughtful volume of essays, outlining many of the problems with boycotting (some would say blacklisting) Israeli academic institutions (and, as the book convincingly argues, the academics who make up those institutions, Jewish and Arab alike).

The impetuses for the book were the votes in late 2013 by the American Studies Association (and some other small academic groups) to boycott Israeli academic institutions, and the anti-Israel resolution and one-sided pro-boycott panel discussion at the January 2014 meeting of the Modern Language Association. While a growing body of literature endorses an academic boycott (or Boycott/Divestment/Sanctions more broadly), there was no single volume outlining the case against an academic boycott, and Nelson and Brahm were determined to produce one.

Like any volume of essays, some are more valuable than others, but there are exceptional ones here. Stand-out essays include one by Russell Berman, who makes a compelling case that there is no such thing as an institutional boycott, because of the ways an individual academic necessarily depends on the institution; and by Sharon Ann Musher, who retells the troubling story of the American Studies Associations endorsement of an academic boycott in powerful detail, showing how at each step pro-boycott proponents within the ASA chose to limit discussion and derail communications from those opposed to the resolution.

Musher also includes a great quote not adequately reported at the time, demonstrating the rank absurdity of an academic boycott as a means that is supposed to motivate Israel politicians to become more progressive Catholic University President John Garveys description of the ASA vote as a kind of inept volunteer fire department, aiming to put out the Israeli-Palestinian conflagration by throwing gasoline on the fire. Thats not exactly right. It has decided to pour gas not on the source of the fire, but on bystanders, some of whom are trying to extinguish the flames. Likewise, in the valuable supporting material at the end of the book, Sari Nusseibeh, then (2006) president of Al Quds University, correctly noted, If we are to look at Israeli society, it is within the academic community that weve had the most progressive pro-peace views and views that have come out in favor of seeing us as equals. If you want to punish any sector, this is the last one to approach.

The most important essay is Cary Nelsons thoughtful examination of Judith Butler, and the pro-academic boycott movement for which she is both a leading advocate and guiding intellectual. Nelson deconstructs what he terms Butlers idealist fantasy of historical possibility, in which she presumes that Jewish Israelis would gladly abandon their capacity for national self-expression, and willingly see Israel disappear, in order to effectuate Butlers view of what a political solution to the conflict might look like (in effect, Jewish sovereignty relinquished, and a majority Arab population in a single state, where the common frame of identity would be shared senses of diaspora). Nelson effectively demonstrates that this is not only magical thinking, but also a formula for perpetual violence (since neither side will abandon its desires for national self-expression without a fight).

As other essays make clear, the point of the exercise of the academic boycott is not necessarily to win, or as some of its supporters believe, a vehicle to get Israel to pull out of the West Bank, but rather to reinforce the narrative that Israel is a deformed, illegitimate society that has no right to be treated by the same standards as other nation states (sort of like how classic antisemitism views Jews).

Ilan Troens essays, toward the end of the volume, underscore two important points: 1) that the conflict is wrongly cast by pro-boycotters as a simple one of European colonizers and their victims, rather than as a complex conflict between two peoples, both of whom have indigenous ties to the land and 2) the deep involvement of Palestinian Arabs within the Israeli higher education system, and the damage that would be done to them, and to efforts to increase empathy across the political divide, if an academic boycott were to succeed.

Other important contributions are David Hirshs review of the academic boycott efforts in the United Kingdom, and Paul Bermans thoughtful preface.

The volume is also intriguing because, while politics divide pro- and anti-boycott activists, there are also significant political divisions in the anti-boycott camp, ones that are not directly addressed, but make the volume richer for this diversity.

Many of the essays dance around the question of whether BDS in general, or the proposal of a blacklist of Israeli academics is antisemitic. Whether the antisemitism tag fits, in whole or part, is not a necessary question to answer — academic boycotts are anathema to the educational process regardless. But many essays demonstrate that the principles behind the boycott (such as the PACBI call for boycott based, in part, on objection to Israels Zionist ideology) are intended by the movements leaders as opposition to the Jewish national project, presented as a principled anti-racist stance by those who either see themselves as victims or racism, or as allies to such victims. Alan Johnson, in his contribution, calls this vindictive one-statism [which] seeks to end Israel by rewinding the film of history and undoing 1948. Nelson posits, any solution that involves dismantling the Jewish state is antisemitic in effect and fueled at least obliquely, as Butler seems not to understand, by antisemitic traditions.

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February 16, 2015   Posted in: Israel Apartheid  Comments Closed

Hillel Head Has a Brian Williams Moment

If only Eric Fingerhut fought Israels enemies as ferociously as he fights its defenders, perhaps he wouldnt be losing the war for Israel on campus.

There has been much anticipation in the American Jewish community for Mr. Fingerhut, who was appointed President and CEO of Hillel International in July 2013, to reveal his plan to reverse the diminishing fortunes of Israel at Americas universities. Last Thursday we finally found out what that plan is: vilify anyone who calls out Hillel for its inaction.

A few days ago, I published a story in the Observer detailing how Hillel NYU had refused to promote an event were holding with Israeli Ambassador Ron Prosor this coming Tuesday. They even refused to send an email blast to their students, a refusal that continues as of this writing.

In response to my story, Mr. Fingerhut sent an email to Hillels funders that was forwarded to me by a number of them who were disgusted by his effort at character assassination. The email said that Mr. Fingerhut was personally aware of how Hillel NYU was in close touch with the Israeli ambassadors office about hosting him a few weeks later. That would explain why Hillel refused to promote the Ambassadors response to Israels enemies on campus and the global demonization of the Jewish state.

Mr. Fingerhut went on to accuse me of having written the clearest example oflashon hara(sinful speech) that I have seen in a long time, and certainly the most egregious example I have seen from a religious leader. He claimed that I had created a false impression that Hillel was opposing an appearance from the Israeli Ambassador, which, he said, is tantamount to lying.

I expected a backlash. But not this vicious.

Here are the facts. Hillel refused to promote the Ambassador. The excuse that they were doing their own event with the Ambassador turned out to be untrue.

There was no planned event with Ambassador Prosor subsequent to ours and there was no contact between Hillel and the Ambassadors office, a fact belatedly confirmed to me by Rabbi Yehuda Sarna, Hillels NYU director.

Prior to this event I had already had several conference calls with Mr. Fingerhut and his lieutenants trying to prod them out of their inertia and stand up for Israel. I even invited them to a national summit of all pro-Israel groups on campus that my organization would fund in its entirety to give Hillel ideas about what could be done to fight for Israel. I made it clear to Eric that I believe in Hillel and my only intention was to help.

What I got in response was an attempt by Mr. Fingerhut to silence me. In most of the conference calls I was asked never to criticize Hillel again.

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Hillel Head Has a Brian Williams Moment

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February 15, 2015   Posted in: Israel Apartheid  Comments Closed

Queers Against Israeli Apartheid Retiring | Queers Against …

After seven years of Palestine solidarity work in LGBTQ communities, Queers Against Israeli Apartheid will officially retire at the end of the month. QuAIA was formed in 2008, after a public forum during Israeli Apartheid Week at the University of Toronto where concerns were raised about pinkwashing: Israels use of gay rights to divert international attention away from the states violation of Palestinian human rights. The small activist group was propelled into international celebrity after the pro-Israel lobby attempted to have Pride Torontos funding revoked in order to silence Palestine solidarity voices at the 2010 festival. Over the last seven years, QuAIAs accomplishments include: *Educating Canadians about the conditions of occupation and apartheid policies in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. *Winning rulings under the City of Torontos Anti-discrimination Policy, Pride Torontos Dispute Resolution Process (under Ontario Arbitration Act), and at an Ontario Human Rights Tribunal, that the term Israeli apartheid is a legitimate form of political expression, despite aggressive attempts by the Israel lobby to brand criticism of Israeli government policy and actions as hate speech. *Making the terms Israeli apartheid and pinkwashing household words in queer communities in Toronto and around the globe. *Fighting attacks by several city politicians and lobbyists on Pride funding. *Sparking a community discussion about freedom of expression, censorship and politics at Pride, which led to a major rejuvenation of the festival and challenged the move to turn Pride into a corporate-driven spectacle geared to tourists. *Hosting forums, screenings and educational events that built connections and coalitions with other movements for social justice (feminists, anti-Tar Sands activists, First Nations, etc.) *Inspiring the formation of other QuAIA groups in queer communities around the world, and promoting dialogue and action on transnational queer politics.

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February 28, 2015   Posted in: Israel Apartheid  Comments Closed

THROWDOWN THURSDAY: The Four Causes of Anti-Israelism

By JULIUS KAIREY If Israel were an Arab country, it would receive near-universal praise as a paragon of justice. Its robust protections of freedom of speech, along with frequent and open elections, would make it the only Arab state in which people have a real say in the operation of their government. Israel would be celebrated as the only gay-friendly state in a region of rampant anti-gay persecution. Its strict prohibition of the traditional practice of honor killings where women accused of disgracing the family name are murdered by their male relatives would be lauded as proof of its progressive and egalitarian values. And its modern capitalist economy, driven by a dynamic high-tech sector, would be the model for other Arab nations seeking to lift their people from the depths of poverty. Of course, Israel isnt an Arab nation, and it is treated according to this double-standard. It is the worlds only majority-Jewish state, and it is surrounded by Arab theocracies, dictatorships and monarchies, each of which have gone to war in a failed bid to end its existence. And yet, Israels remarkable history of repeated triumph in the face of seemingly insurmountable adversity receives little sympathy among some left-wing segments of communities across the nation. While Israels actions are put under a microscope its every flaw magnified to the maximum possible extent its enemies are given a free pass. It is not immediately obvious why this is so. Israels history reads like a liberal success story. The Jewish people have refused to consent to their exile from the land of Israel, perpetrated by the Romans nearly 2,000 years ago. Rather than submit to oppression and injustice, Jews returned home over the centuries. In the 19th century, this movement for national liberation, called Zionism, sought to establish a modern state in the Jewish national homeland. This place would be a refuge from the forces of bigotry and hatred a place where Jews from around the world could gather for collective security whenever their lives or livelihoods came under threat. To this day, thousands of Jews migrate to Israel annually most recently from France for safety from the resurgence of anti-Semitism. But you will not hear any of this from Israels detractors. They subject Israel to a constant torrent of demonization, all while applying a moral standard on Israel that is applied to no other country on Earth. Zionism is equated with racism and Israel is called a terrorist state, even the moral equivalent of apartheid South Africa, a country that maintained a total and systematic separation between Whites and non-Whites. These accusations continue in total disregard of the fact that Israel is the only country in the Middle East where Jews and Arabs live alongside one another in substantial numbers, vote in the same elections and serve together in the same national legislature. While Israels actions are put under a microscope its every flaw magnified to the maximum possible extent its enemies are given a free pass. Hamas brazenly indiscriminate rocket attacks on Israeli cities which even the Palestinian Authority has called war crimes are either encouraged as necessary for resistance, or dismissed as insignificant. Hamas genocidal charter, which calls not just for the destruction of Israel but for the murder of Jews worldwide, is attributed to a harmless overreaction to Israels non-existent occupation of the Gaza Strip, not to be taken seriously. Where else is the threat of genocide not to be taken seriously? So why cant Israel get a fair hearing in certain segments of campus communities and elsewhere? It comes down to Israels character. Israels first crime is that it is a Western nation. In the minds of Israels critics, to be Western is to be suspect, especially when your country is juxtaposed with non-Western nations. Israeli actions are confused with colonialism by those who erroneously insist that, to this day, imperialism drives relations between Western and non-Western peoples. To attack Israel is to give non-Westerners a leg up in these supposedly colonial interactions. Israels second offense is that it is pro-American. It is little surprise that Israels fiercest opponents are also militant critics of the United States. They deride Americas invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq as modern-day imperialism and look forward to a day when America will be forced to relinquish its superpower status. Because Israel and America have such strong links, Israel is tarred as a mere instrument of Americas supposedly nefarious interests abroad. Bashing Israel is just their way of expressing contempt for the policies of the United States, and as such serves as an outlet for virulent anti-Americanism. They treat the Jewish State as America in the Middle East.

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February 26, 2015   Posted in: Israel Apartheid  Comments Closed

MUNI anti-Israel bus ads sponsors pro-terror and antisemitic links

Paul Larudee, co-founder of the Free Palestine Movement and Free Gaza Movement. Image via Wikipedia Once again in San Francisco, city buses are sporting anti-Israel banners. This time they boldly state: ISRAELS WAR CRIMES Your Tax Dollars at Work. These ads are the products of two sponsors, Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign (SeaMAC) and NoTaxDollarsToIsrael.com. This website is registered to Bay Area resident Paul Larudee, a co-founder of both the Free Palestine Movement and Free Gaza Movement. Larudee also received a Medal of Honor. From Hamas. In 2008, after he sailed to Gaza to break the Israeli siege with the Free Gaza Movement. Larudee and his fellow mariners met with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, who awarded them with a medal of honor. That Hamas is listed as a terrorist organization by the US, the EU, UK, Canada, and many other countries did not seem to be an issue for Larudee and his shipmates. It would be wrong to conclude that this Hamas link is ancient history from seven years ago. Larudees Free Palestine Movement website currently displays a photograph of him and his former Free Gaza Movement colleagues surrounding Haniyeh while proudly wearing their Hamas medals. Larudees relationship with Hamas makes sense in light of comments he made to KPFA: Not everybody that we work with in the Palestinian community is necessarily devoted to non-violence. And under international law, it is permitted for oppressed and occupied peoples to resist using armed resistance. This is permitted and we recognize their right to do so. Of course, international law does not permit armed resistance against civilians (i.e. terrorism), but why should reality stand in the way of a good argument? Larudees extremism also extends into Jewish conspiracy fantasies. Last September, he penned an article called Strangler Fig Nation, alleging that Israel, through the American Jewish community, is a parasite feeding off the host/victim nation the United States by controlling key U.S. institutions. He wrote also of how the Israel Lobby has grown with few constraints, fed by its domination of the American Jewish community, extensive control of publishing and the media, the establishment and control of strategic think tanks that provide governmental advisers, and by a well-coordinated and lavishly funded political campaign machine.

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February 24, 2015   Posted in: Israel Apartheid  Comments Closed

Jordan BDS calls Day of Action on Feb 20 against Israel gas deal

Feb 18 2015 / 8:13 pm Jordan BDS campaigners have planned a Day of Action for Friday February 20, in protest at the countrys proposed gas deal with Israel. In September 2014, the Jordanian National Electric Power Company signed a letter of intent to import gas from the Leviathan fields, located in the Mediterranean waters controlled by Israel. The fields are operated by US company Noble Energy and co-owned by three Israeli companies. According to Jordan BDS activists, the import of natural gas from Israel to Jordan is worth $15 billion, of which $8.4 billion will go directly to the Israeli treasury that sustains occupation and apartheid and funds Israeli terror operations and atrocities. – Read More: Jordan BDS calls Day of Action on Feb 20 against Israel gas deal Middle East Monitor

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February 20, 2015   Posted in: Israel Apartheid  Comments Closed

Fighting The Israel Apartheid Lie And Other BDS …

The following two tabs change content below. A Zionist in exile, Mirabelle has, in past lives, been a lawyer, a skier, and a chef. Outside of Israel, her favorite place in the world is Sun Valley, Idaho. The Northeast is covered in snow, New Years Eve bashes are a distant memory, and the college kids are back at school, with slew of activists bringing divestment resolutions to campuses. To quote a UC Davis divestment proponent, Hamas & Sharia law have taken overat that school, and other campuses are in the crosshairs. UCLA Divests logo makes clear that all of Israel, not merely the West Bank, is the target Groups like Camera On Campus and Stand With Us have been doing a great job countering these hatefests. Not all campuses, however, have chapters of these groups. When I was a student at an ultra-left midwest campus, hostile to Israel as far back as anyone can remember, these groups didnt even exist, and our little band of campus Israel supporters was on our own. A lot has changed since then, but one thing hasnt: the movement to delegitimize Israel is based on half-truths, distortions, and outright lies disseminated in part by anti-Semites and in part by the small group of well-meaning but severely misguided liberals with whom they ally. The themes that these Israel-bashers rely on are occupation, checkpoints, settlements, and apartheid. This year it also seems likely that we will hear more about Gaza than we have in the past. The mantra that there is an ongoing occupation in the West Bank and Gaza has become so entrenched that even mainstream media, as well as many Jews, believe it. This terminology, however, disregards the fact that the reason Israel remains in the West Bank today is that the Palestinian leadership has rejected multiple attempts by Israel to leave it. It is undisputed that Israel has offered to leave the West Bank twice in this century, firstin 2000, at Camp David, and then againin 2008. In 2008, then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert offered a compromise under which representatives from five nations Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Palestine, the US, and Israel would administer the Old City of Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount/Dome of the Rock and The Western Wall. Olmerts plan included a tunnel that would have connected Gaza with the West Bank, and withdrawal from 93.7% of the West Bank, with land swaps providing territory equal to another 5.8%, for a total of 99.5% of the territory. Olmert even presented a map to Palestinian President Abbas. But Abbas himself walked away from this offer, with no serious explanation. So it is hard to understand how, after this, Abbas can claim that Israel is occupying the West Bank in violation of the will of the Palestinian people. Israel is in the West Bank because the Palestinian President will not allow Israel to leave. Leaving unilaterally, without agreement, is what Israel did in Gaza. In 2005, Israel withdrew fully to the 1967 ceasefire lines, dismantling all of the existing settlements and removing all Israeli Jews that were within that territory by force. After the withdrawal, the residents of Gaza elected Hamas, which has started three wars with Israel since that time, making further unilateral withdrawals impossible. The ubiquitous claim that Israel is occupying any part of Palestine, therefore, is a distortion of fact that is severely misleading. BDS advocates love to tell stories about seeing a terrified mother separated from her toddler at a checkpoint, or how a sister was unable to visit her brother because of the security barrier. They point to the human cost of these measures and of course, there is a cost to them. The vague references to security that many of us make in response to such stories, however, gloss over the human cost of the Second Intifada. Todays undergrads most likely do not remember the Second Intifada all that well. They do not remember the terror of reading about yet another bombing on what seemed like a weekly basis. Similarly, very few people are aware that the Second Intifada was started intentionally by Arafat after he rejected Israeli Prime Minister Baraks offer of statehood at Camp David in 2000.

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February 19, 2015   Posted in: Israel Apartheid  Comments Closed

Netanyahu, Israel right to worry

Because of the long, deep relationship connecting the United States and Israel, some see the back-and-forth sniping between President Barack Obama and his surrogates, and the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as being the inconsequential product of a personality clash between headstrong leaders. Rep. Eliot L. Engel of New York, ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, called it a tempest in a teapot. But as tensions build over Netanyahus unprecedented plan to address Congress on March 3 without the White Houses approval or blessing, we think its wrong to see the recent war of words and, allegedly, media leaks as a passing storm. Instead, at its core are increasing fears among Israelis that Obamas assumptions about Israels enemies are naive and thus dangerous to Israels future. There is also concern that Obamas core views about Israel have at least some overlap with what might be called the faculty lounge view of Israel among the left in much of the Western world. That view blames democratic Israel for much of whats wrong in the otherwise mostly theocratic Middle East, compares its attempts to keep its citizens safe to apartheid and thinks its villainy is so extreme that it should be targeted with a divestment campaign. U.S. negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program drive this anxiety. U.S. concessions on centrifuges to enrich uranium and other aspects of Irans program have triggered existential dread among many Israelis. They believe an Islamic theocracy with nuclear bombs will do what Iranian leaders have vowed to do for decades: annihilate Israel. This is not just the view of extremists. A recent Jerusalem Post analysis that was in many ways critical of Netanyahu accepted as a given that the U.S. and other nations negotiating with Tehran would be willing to take a bad deal and declare victory. Netanyahus fear, that the world powers will effectively undo the sanctions without undoing Irans nuclear quest, is not his personal whim, paranoia, grandstanding or politicking, the Post wrote. Its real, credible and foreboding, and in the Jewish state, it is also consensus. This consensus is why Netanyahu is expected to win re-election March 17. This consensus is also why many Israelis believe that an Israel-Iran war is inevitable. The Jewish state will not permit what President Obama seems ready to tolerate: an Iran with a sophisticated nuclear program that could easily be repurposed to build weapons to wipe out Tel Aviv and Haifa. This grim pessimism could not be at deeper odds with the tidy view of the world offered by the president in his recent State of the Union speech, in which he declared America had turned the page on a violent era in a global affairs. And it is why we welcome Netanyahus speech to Congress, which is sure to focus on U.S. negotiations with Iran. Our elected leaders should not tolerate a bad deal with Iran even if that is the commander-in-chiefs inclination.

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February 17, 2015   Posted in: Israel Apartheid  Comments Closed

South Africa: Leila Khaled's Presence in Parliament Lost in Pandemonium

Photo: Nardus Engelbrecht/Sapa Police officers arrest a Democratic Alliance supporter near Parliament in Cape Town before President Jacob Zuma’s state of the nation address on February 13, 2015. opinion Amongst the audience in Parliament’s public gallery for President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) was a Palestinian freedom icon who carried with her the hopes of all Palestinians that the ANC government would begin making moves towards cutting ties with Israel. Leila Khaled, a decades-long leader in exile of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, was in South Africa, as a guest of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) South Africa movement. For a brief moment this week, after BDS South Africa released a press statement saying that Zuma himself had invited Khaled to his address, there was a sense that perhaps the ANC government might be getting ready to do much more than voice support for Palestine while continuing to foster trade, diplomatic and intelligence relations with the apartheid state of Israel. After all, Home Affairs minister Malusi Gigaba had welcomed Khaled when she landed in South Africa days earlier, and had even given a joint press conference with activists from the BDS movement, which wants a trade ban between Israel and South Africa in solidarity with Palestine. However, BDS South Africa quickly backtracked on their announcement, saying that Khaled had been invited to the SONA not by Zuma but by senior parliamentary staff. The very fact that BDS South Africa had to issue a correction indicated that someone in Zuma’s office had made it clear that the president was averse to the idea that he could have invited Khaled to his oration. Although there was never any suggestion that Zuma would use his address to announce changes to South African relations with Palestine or Israel, if the president himself had invited Khaled, this would have suggested a move towards state endorsement of BDS. Eventually, Khaled’s presence at the SONA went unnoticed after local politics in the form of an Economic Freedom Fighters anti-corruption protest stole the show. This was somewhat symbolic of the ruling party’s approach to Palestine over the past 21 years, where the ANC decries the brutal military occupation of Palestine by Israel in public, but behind closed doors props up the Israeli apartheid system. ANC relations with Israel are so cordial that the Israeli secret service is permitted to operate its own office inside OR Tambo airport. Sometimes Israeli atrocities, such as the 2010 slaughter by the Israeli military of nine international peace activists who were sailing to Gaza to protest the Israeli siege, will prompt the ANC to make a gesture of outrage, such as recalling the ambassador to Israel. But even in this case, the ambassador was sent back to Israel after a few weeks. During his recall period, the spokesperson for the South African embassy in Israel repeatedly emphasised that the government had no intention of cutting ties with Israel.

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February 17, 2015   Posted in: Israel Apartheid  Comments Closed

The case against academic boycotts of Israel

Cary Nelson and Gabriel Brahm, in less than a year, were able to assemble, edit, index, and bring to press a 500-plus page thoughtful volume of essays, outlining many of the problems with boycotting (some would say blacklisting) Israeli academic institutions (and, as the book convincingly argues, the academics who make up those institutions, Jewish and Arab alike). The impetuses for the book were the votes in late 2013 by the American Studies Association (and some other small academic groups) to boycott Israeli academic institutions, and the anti-Israel resolution and one-sided pro-boycott panel discussion at the January 2014 meeting of the Modern Language Association. While a growing body of literature endorses an academic boycott (or Boycott/Divestment/Sanctions more broadly), there was no single volume outlining the case against an academic boycott, and Nelson and Brahm were determined to produce one. Like any volume of essays, some are more valuable than others, but there are exceptional ones here. Stand-out essays include one by Russell Berman, who makes a compelling case that there is no such thing as an institutional boycott, because of the ways an individual academic necessarily depends on the institution; and by Sharon Ann Musher, who retells the troubling story of the American Studies Associations endorsement of an academic boycott in powerful detail, showing how at each step pro-boycott proponents within the ASA chose to limit discussion and derail communications from those opposed to the resolution. Musher also includes a great quote not adequately reported at the time, demonstrating the rank absurdity of an academic boycott as a means that is supposed to motivate Israel politicians to become more progressive Catholic University President John Garveys description of the ASA vote as a kind of inept volunteer fire department, aiming to put out the Israeli-Palestinian conflagration by throwing gasoline on the fire. Thats not exactly right. It has decided to pour gas not on the source of the fire, but on bystanders, some of whom are trying to extinguish the flames. Likewise, in the valuable supporting material at the end of the book, Sari Nusseibeh, then (2006) president of Al Quds University, correctly noted, If we are to look at Israeli society, it is within the academic community that weve had the most progressive pro-peace views and views that have come out in favor of seeing us as equals. If you want to punish any sector, this is the last one to approach. The most important essay is Cary Nelsons thoughtful examination of Judith Butler, and the pro-academic boycott movement for which she is both a leading advocate and guiding intellectual. Nelson deconstructs what he terms Butlers idealist fantasy of historical possibility, in which she presumes that Jewish Israelis would gladly abandon their capacity for national self-expression, and willingly see Israel disappear, in order to effectuate Butlers view of what a political solution to the conflict might look like (in effect, Jewish sovereignty relinquished, and a majority Arab population in a single state, where the common frame of identity would be shared senses of diaspora). Nelson effectively demonstrates that this is not only magical thinking, but also a formula for perpetual violence (since neither side will abandon its desires for national self-expression without a fight). As other essays make clear, the point of the exercise of the academic boycott is not necessarily to win, or as some of its supporters believe, a vehicle to get Israel to pull out of the West Bank, but rather to reinforce the narrative that Israel is a deformed, illegitimate society that has no right to be treated by the same standards as other nation states (sort of like how classic antisemitism views Jews). Ilan Troens essays, toward the end of the volume, underscore two important points: 1) that the conflict is wrongly cast by pro-boycotters as a simple one of European colonizers and their victims, rather than as a complex conflict between two peoples, both of whom have indigenous ties to the land and 2) the deep involvement of Palestinian Arabs within the Israeli higher education system, and the damage that would be done to them, and to efforts to increase empathy across the political divide, if an academic boycott were to succeed. Other important contributions are David Hirshs review of the academic boycott efforts in the United Kingdom, and Paul Bermans thoughtful preface. The volume is also intriguing because, while politics divide pro- and anti-boycott activists, there are also significant political divisions in the anti-boycott camp, ones that are not directly addressed, but make the volume richer for this diversity. Many of the essays dance around the question of whether BDS in general, or the proposal of a blacklist of Israeli academics is antisemitic. Whether the antisemitism tag fits, in whole or part, is not a necessary question to answer — academic boycotts are anathema to the educational process regardless. But many essays demonstrate that the principles behind the boycott (such as the PACBI call for boycott based, in part, on objection to Israels Zionist ideology) are intended by the movements leaders as opposition to the Jewish national project, presented as a principled anti-racist stance by those who either see themselves as victims or racism, or as allies to such victims. Alan Johnson, in his contribution, calls this vindictive one-statism [which] seeks to end Israel by rewinding the film of history and undoing 1948. Nelson posits, any solution that involves dismantling the Jewish state is antisemitic in effect and fueled at least obliquely, as Butler seems not to understand, by antisemitic traditions.

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February 16, 2015   Posted in: Israel Apartheid  Comments Closed

Hillel Head Has a Brian Williams Moment

If only Eric Fingerhut fought Israels enemies as ferociously as he fights its defenders, perhaps he wouldnt be losing the war for Israel on campus. There has been much anticipation in the American Jewish community for Mr. Fingerhut, who was appointed President and CEO of Hillel International in July 2013, to reveal his plan to reverse the diminishing fortunes of Israel at Americas universities. Last Thursday we finally found out what that plan is: vilify anyone who calls out Hillel for its inaction. A few days ago, I published a story in the Observer detailing how Hillel NYU had refused to promote an event were holding with Israeli Ambassador Ron Prosor this coming Tuesday. They even refused to send an email blast to their students, a refusal that continues as of this writing. In response to my story, Mr. Fingerhut sent an email to Hillels funders that was forwarded to me by a number of them who were disgusted by his effort at character assassination. The email said that Mr. Fingerhut was personally aware of how Hillel NYU was in close touch with the Israeli ambassadors office about hosting him a few weeks later. That would explain why Hillel refused to promote the Ambassadors response to Israels enemies on campus and the global demonization of the Jewish state. Mr. Fingerhut went on to accuse me of having written the clearest example oflashon hara(sinful speech) that I have seen in a long time, and certainly the most egregious example I have seen from a religious leader. He claimed that I had created a false impression that Hillel was opposing an appearance from the Israeli Ambassador, which, he said, is tantamount to lying. I expected a backlash. But not this vicious. Here are the facts. Hillel refused to promote the Ambassador. The excuse that they were doing their own event with the Ambassador turned out to be untrue. There was no planned event with Ambassador Prosor subsequent to ours and there was no contact between Hillel and the Ambassadors office, a fact belatedly confirmed to me by Rabbi Yehuda Sarna, Hillels NYU director. Prior to this event I had already had several conference calls with Mr. Fingerhut and his lieutenants trying to prod them out of their inertia and stand up for Israel. I even invited them to a national summit of all pro-Israel groups on campus that my organization would fund in its entirety to give Hillel ideas about what could be done to fight for Israel. I made it clear to Eric that I believe in Hillel and my only intention was to help. What I got in response was an attempt by Mr. Fingerhut to silence me. In most of the conference calls I was asked never to criticize Hillel again.

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February 15, 2015   Posted in: Israel Apartheid  Comments Closed


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