Saturday, 21 February 2009

Israel gets the anti-apartheid treatment in the sports arena

Posted on Islam Times website
Barcelona Basketball Fans: Boycott Palestine
After sports fans and activists in Turkey and New Zealand took action in support of a sports boycott of Israel, this very promising sports boycott movement has finally eached Europe, where it counts the most, starting from Barcelona, no less, a major European sports powerhouse! As many of you already know, Israeli teams compete in European championships as if Israel were part of Europe. Not different from academia, among other fields.

Finally, Israeli sports teams are facing what their South African predecessors had experienced in the 1980s. Could not have come at a more opportune time ...

And for those who think that sports should not be "politicized" or that Israeli sports is about the nobility of athletics as an expression of humanity, a thorough examination of the Israeli sports scene will confirm that sports teams (particularly football and basketball teams and most of their fans) are no different from the mainstream in Israel: racist, colonial and every bit deserving of boycott.

NYU use police-state methods to suspend 18 students

picture by Yana Paskova

NYU has gone in hard against the student occupation by suspending 18of them when the sit-in ended Friday. This is likely to lead to more action and the admins hope of nipping things in the bud will surely blow up in their face. NYU's polce-state methods included photographing occupiers and calling in the police, pepper spray and all.

From the New York Times
A protest by New York University students seeking negotiations with school officials over financial and academic issues ended Friday after almost 40 hours, with students leaving a dining room that had been barricaded and a school spokesman announcing the suspensions of 18 of the participants pending a disciplinary review...

...Ms. Quadir said that those inside the room were photographed and asked to present identification and that school officials distributed letters to N.Y.U. students that stated, "You are suspended from, and classified as a persona non grata at New York University...

...students who had been suspended said they would continue their campaign.

"We are fighting for transparency," said Drew Phillips, a junior majoring in philosophy. “What we need right now is the support of everybody." more

Egypt strengthens security at Rafah - opening border for two or three days

Haaretz reports that Egypt has moved hundreds of policemen to its Gaza border to prevent a breach by Palestinians. Meanwhile reports that Egypt may be opening the border for two (according to ynetnews) or three days (according to AP) to commercial traffic. The Egyptian state is in a quandry about its collaboration with the Israelis.
Egyptian authorities have dispatched hundreds of policemen to the border with the Gaza Strip, fearing Palestinian protesters might try to breach it into Sinai, security officials said on Saturday.

One official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Egypt has information that hundreds of Palestinians were planning a demonstration demanding that Cairo open its Rafah border crossing with Gaza to normal traffic.

The officials said 400 riot police were deployed in the border region as a precautionary measure.

Katyusha rockets fired into Israel from Lebanon today. Three casualties reported by Israelis. Hezbollah denies involvement.

St Andrews, UEL, Byam Shaw and Manchester occupations in for the weekend

picture: Byam Shaw under occupation

From UEL occupation blog
Just a quick plea to all of you who are in support of our occupation and following our blog to email our acting vice chancellor stating that you unconditionally support our demands and our occupation!

This will be extremely helpful to us, particuarly as we are meeting with the vice chancellors group on Tuesday morning and have to have support from them over our demands.

Our Vice Chancellor Professor Susan Price can be contacted at and her phone number is 020 822 34159.

Any pressure we can place on them will help us win success on each of our demands.
Please be polite in your emails. It doesn't have to be long - just a clear message that you admire our actions, and believe that the University should meet our demands - and be proud to do so, as so many institutions did in reponse to white South African Apartheid.

Byam Shaw College of Art had a meeeting with their principal A. Warman and R. Imeson theDean of Students on Thursday. This occupation is centred around immediate student concerns over course closures and inadequte funding. There are no specific Gaza demands but hopefully the students will include them at some stage.

St Andrews opened negotiations on Thursday and here's a taster:
Principal Louise Richardson and Vice Principal (External Relations) Stephen Magee, and Proctor/Provost of St Leonard’s College/Dean of Graduate Studies, Christopher Smith.

Speaking with the students the Principal stated that she “absolutely believes in your right to exercise civil disobedience and your point of view”, mentioning that she had done similar activities as a student herself.

The Principal reasserted that the University would not take a stance on the conflict in Gaza and commented that other University’s Principals (Professor Sir Timothy O’Shea) were “inappropriate” to do so. The Principal said that she “feels very strongly that the university cannot come out and make a statement about a political situation”.

Manchester University management have still not opened negotiations with the students. Manchester is in its 17th day of occupation making the longest running, and largest, occupation so far.
Despite our perseverance, the strength of our numbers, and our vast support from the student body, our Vice-Chancellor continues to ignore us. The hard-line approach that he pursued when we occupied his boardroom in the John Owens building (which culminated in him threatening to expel the protesters if we did not vacate the building), has been dropped in favour of a policy of simply ignoring us, aside from the occasional, impersonal letter. We have repeatedly offered to vacate the building temporarily if a firm timeline of negotiations is laid out; this offer has been refused.

Morocco/Algeria border opens for Viva Palestina - first time in 10 years

[11:24 GMT 21 Feb - Brass bands are playing on both sides of the border - Convoy is just crossing the border with Algeria. Historic - not been opened for 10 years since the Mariam appeal bus went through! - see twitter feed below]
Yvonne Ridely report from Press TV

Viva Palestina bridging Moroccon, Algerian gap
Fri, 20 Feb 2009 12:45:33 GMT
By Yvonne Ridley
#Although there are still thousands of miles separating the convoy from its end game of delivering aid to Gaza, Saturday's border crossing is the one which will be recorded in the history books.

Morocco and Algeria agreed to put aside their differences to open their land border for the first time in 15 years for the sake of Palestine.

Palestine has often been described as the key which can open the door to Middle East peace, but tomorrow it will open a door in the Maghreb which has been tightly shut since 1994.

* Yvonne Ridley and film-maker Hassan al Banna Ghani are part of the "Viva Palestina" convoy making a documentary recording the historic journey.
Go to her blog here

NYU occupation a taste of things to come

The NYU occupation has come to an end after the university 'shut down the building' following their 1.00am Friday morning deadline for students to leave.
First the internet access was switched off and then all electricity except the lights. Yesterday's support demonstration ended with students surging past security and police to gain entry to the Kemmel building cafeteria occupation.
Today there was another large support rally at which the police used pepper spray to keep people away from the building entrance. More cops arrived and brought the situation under control, as they say. The locked out students failed to gain entry.

The occupation attracted national and international support news coverage and garnered equally widespread support. Its example, and the New School University and University of Rochester occupations before it, has surely lit a spark that university administrations across the US will be having sleepless nights over.
All those involved in the occupation are to be suspended and five occupiers who were tricked into meeting admin will be expelled. Somehow I don't tihnk we've heard the last from NYU...Defend the victimised students!

Protest to the university:

John Beckman, NYU Spokesman
(212) 998-6848

Office of the Provost
Tel: (212) 998-2415
Fax: (212) 995-3190

Office of the Vice President

Contact NYU Housing to complain about student evictions:
Phone: 212-998-4600

video here from NY1

From the New York Times
Saher Almaita, 22, a senior philosophy major at William Paterson University in Wayne, N.J., said curiosity and sympathy led him to join the protest.

“We’re so alienated from each other that the opportunity to do something together is a rush,” he said, then added with a smile, “I want to experience humanity to its fullest.”

Campus opinion during the day was divided; some denounced the occupation as disruptive and others were more encouraging. “I don’t support all of what they’re doing,” said Adrian Untermyer, 19, a freshman, “but I support the fact that they’re asserting themselves.

Take Back NYU! is a coalition of nearly two dozen groups and hundreds of students at New York University demanding budget disclosure, endowment disclosure, and student representation on the Board of Trustees.

Medical aid convoy leaves Glasgow for Rafah link up with Viva Palestina

Scottish Medical Aid For Gaza left Scotland today to link up with the
Viva Palestina convoy at Rafah. They have packed seven vehicles full
of urgently needed medical equipment. The mini-convoy is gathering
more volunteers when it passes through Lancashire.

AFP: Two Palestinians killed near Gaza border: medics

Israeli Occupation Forces, otherwise known as the IDF, just can't stop
killing people. A question for Israel supporters: do the Palestinians
have a right to self-defence?