Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Europe's largest student union throws it's weight behind boycott Israel campaign

From BDS Movement
The University of London Union (ULU) has voted 10-1 to institute and campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) in support of Palestine. The motion called for “thorough research into ULU investments and contracts” with companies guilty of “violating Palestinian human rights” as set out by the Palestinian Boycott National Committee (BNC). Ashok Kumar, Senate member for LSE, speaking in favour of the motion, argued, “We have precedents for boycotting campaigns at ULU, especially with South Africa and the boycott campaign over Barclays bank, that supported the Apartheid regime. We are now responding to the Palestinian call for civil action in support of their fight against racism.”

The motion also called on other students’ unions to join in the campaign for Palestinian human rights. ULU is the largest students’ union in Europe with over 120,000 members from colleges across London. ULU senate consists of the presidents of the 20 students unions reprsenting every University of London University. James Haywood, President-elect at Goldsmiths Students’ Union, stated, “We are delighted that this motion has passed, and with such a clear vote as well. We have seen throughout history that boycotts are a crucial nonviolent tactic in achieving freedom, and target institutions, not individuals.”

Sean Rillo Raczka, incoming ULU Vice President, “I’m delighted that ULU has passed this BDS policy on Israel. We stand in solidarity with the oppressed Palestinian people, and as Vice President next year I will ensure that the University of London Union does not give profit to those denying the human rights of the Palestinians” more

James Haywood
Goldsmiths University Students’ Union

IHH announces Mavi Marmara ready to sail with 10,000 volunteers to join flotilla mission

From Ynet
...A few weeks ago, the organizers of the upcoming flotilla postponed the departure of the Gaza-bound maritime convoy to the end of June, and Israeli elements speculated that the measure was taken because the event failed to attract participants. But the IHH said that the event was delayed because of the elections in Turkey, and that 10,000 people have already signed up to take part. The movement allows registration through its website, and has been distributing applications across Turkey and abroad.

In an interview with Turkey's Kanal 5 television station, Yildirim said that the turn out for the flotilla is unprecedented, and denied Israel's claim that people are afraid of participating.

"Our goal is to gather a million people who want to board the flotilla ship," he said. "From these applicants we will choose a limited number of people, but each of the applicants will be considered as though he is on the flotilla. We are not afraid, and want to convey the message to Israel that we are coming."

Yildirim added that an "Israeli attack" would actually serve the purpose of the flotilla. "This time, all of the world's nations will stand against (Israel)," he said. "It could benefit the Palestinians." more

UNRWA's 11,500 Gaza workers on strike against unfair dismissal of three employees

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Palestinians working for the UN refugee agency in Gaza announced a comprehensive strike for Wednesday, over the dismissal of three employees union officials say were wrongfully let go.

The strike will last all day Wednesday through Thursday, and see all of UNRWA's unessential services, like schools, clinics, and administration offices close. Nearly 11,500 workers will walk out of their jobs, effecting 238 schools and 25 clinics. more

Up to 170 states could back Palestinian statehood vote at UN in September

Over 130 of the 192 member states of the United Nations are expected to support the establishment of a Palestinian state if it is brought up for a vote by the General Assembly this coming September. That is the view of diplomatic experts in Israel, who explain, however, that these are preliminary assessments, in the absence of a draft resolution and after only initial contacts regarding the vote. If the draft resolution text is moderate, the number of states supporting it is likely to reach about 170.

Already in December 1988, 104 countries supported a resolution [not a security council resolution] recognizing the declaration of a Palestinian state that was put forward by PLO chairman Yasser Arafat at the Palestinian National Council a month earlier in Algiers. In December 2008 the UN General Assembly ratified the Palestinians' right to establish a state. more

Video: US masters student at Hebrew University hit in head by tear gas cannister tells his story

‘Is this is what the most moral army in the world does!?’: An American student describes being shot by the Israeli military during a peaceful demonstration. He told his story to Mondoweiss.
My name is Christopher Whitman from outside Boston, Massachusetts. I live in Ramallah in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. I am a Master's student in the Hebrew University in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies. I was in Al-Nabi Saleh today protesting against the 44 year Israeli occupation and its current policy of illegal land confiscation expand the range of settlements in the region which include Dolev, Halamish, and Nahalil (sp?)...

...The paramedic cleaned up my wounds as best he could. I felt delirious and discombobulated. At one point the blood loss was so extreme the places in my body that were farthest from my heart (fingers, knees) began tensing to a point of no control and I felt like a cripple. The ambulance arrived at Ramallah Hospital 30 minutes later, but my treatment was delayed due to a strike. I saw many doctors, had x-rays, CT scans, and stitches free of charge. Many people who were at the protest came to see how I was and even had a gift given to me from the village...which was the piece of my head the was knocked off by the tear gas cannister more
Warning: see below a graphic picture of a piece of Christopher's head:

Jewish Chronicle runs story by historian on his 'pleasure' over killing of Italian activist Arrigoni

Harriet Sherwood's View from Jerusalem (Guardian) highlights a particularly revolting story that appeared in the London-based Jewish Chronicle newspaper in which an historian by the name of Geoffrey Alderman professes his 'pleasure' at the killing of pro-palestine activist Vittorio Arrigoni. The salafists and the Zionists are indeed made for each other.
(The Guardian's Harriet Sherwood was shocked)
Historian writes of 'pleasure' at murder of pro-Palestinian activist

Author of op-ed article in Jewish Chronicle tells me he 'rejoiced' at death of Vittorio Arrigoni

I was sent a link this week to a piece published in the Jewish Chronicle by historian Geoffrey Alderman, the opening sentence of which I found pretty shocking.

Under the headline This Was No Peace Activist, Alderman wrote:

"Few events - not even the execution of Osama bin Laden - have caused me greater pleasure in recent weeks than news of the death of the Italian so-called 'peace activist' Vittorio Arrigoni."

Arrigoni, an activist with the International Solidarity Movement, was murdered in Gaza last month after being abducted by Islamic extremists. He was strangled with a plastic cord. Hamas subsequently killed those responsible for Arrigoni's death.

His murder, wrote Alderman, "was immediately pounced upon by the western media as an affront to the civilised world". This is indeed the case; many newspapers - including the Guardian - ran stories and profiles describing Arrigoni's commitment to the Palestinian cause and the extremist stance of those who killed him.

But, wrote Alderman, "the truth is very different. Vittorio Arrigoni, a disciple of the International Solidarity Movement, had travelled to Gaza to assist in the breaking of the Israeli naval blockade. As a supporter of Hamas he was a consummate Jew-hater."

He said Arrigoni's Facebook page - in Italian - contained "explicit anti-Jewish imagery".

I asked Alderman - who has occasionally contributed to the Guardian - whether he regretted recording his "pleasure" at Arrigoni's death. "It's still my view," he told me on the phone from London. "He was a Jew-hater like Adolf Hitler. Yes, he deserved to die for being a Jew-hater. I rejoiced in the death of a Jew-hater. I have no regrets."

Jeff Halper, an Israeli activist and academic, who knew Arrigoni well, said Alderman's charges against him were "outrageous". more

Audio: IMEU briefing on Lebanon dead - 'The Nakba Day protests and their significance'

From the Institute for Middle East Understanding - audio press briefing on the killing of 12 protesters on the Lebanon/Israel border on 15 May.


This year's demonstrations were the largest in memory and come amidst stalled negotiations. Do they signal the outbreak of a third Palestinian uprising against Israel's 44-year-old occupation and colonization of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, as some have been predicting? Join us with guests:

Mustafa Barghouti in the West Bank, Dr. Eyad Sarraj in Gaza, Joseph Dana in Israel, and Omar Ghraieb in Gaza

Video: policeman filmed assaulting Arab woman is a senior Israeli police chief

More on the video, posted Tuesday showing the casual violence of the Israeli police towards Palestinians. Pictured is not just any old cop but Kobi Bachar, deputy commander of the Galilee District Police. The woman assaults is an Arab lawyer who had the temerity to ask him why he was arresting peaceful protesters.

South African scholar detained at Ben Gurion airport - property and passport confiscated

Na'em Jeenah was detained and interrogated for 10 hours.

From Al Jazeera
Na'eem Jeenah, a South African scholar who was detained by Israel, has reportedly been deported to Turkey. The Afro-Middle East Centre (AMEC) in Johannesburg issued the following statement:

The director of the Afro Middle East Centre (AMEC) Na’eem Jeenah has been deported to Istanbul after ten hours of interrogation. Mr Jeenah’s passport and all his belongings were not returned. He was deported late last night and is presently in a holding area at Istanbul Airport.

We call on our government to offer Mr Jeenah full consular support and to speedily facilitate his safe travel home. AMEC also, at the very least, demands vigorous condemnation of this unconscionable act and an official protest to the Israeli government from our Department of International Relations and Cooperation...
Na'eem Jeenah's website is here.

Israel turns Nakba dispossession into a 63-year process for oppressed Palestinians

From Haaretz
How natural it is for Israeli spokesmen to assert that the Nakba Day marches from Syria and Lebanon were the product of incitement and foreign calculations. The state, which bases its existence on 2,000 years of longing for and belonging to this country, shows contempt toward palpable displays of belonging to and longing for the same country of those who we expelled 63 years ago - and of their descendants.

The memorial day for the Holocaust, and the memorial day for the Nakba, are behind us. So the time has come to write about them both...

...Every Jew in the world, whether a citizen of the U.S. or Morocco, has rights in this one country, from the river to the sea, that we denied to those who live in it today, and those who were born in it and grow old as refugees in Lebanon or Syria. And the Oslo process? Israel devised it as a stratagem to impose the solution of reservations.

Israel makes capital out of the six million to justify policies of destruction and expulsion not just in the past, but in the present and future. As the state which claims to be the heir of the Holocaust martyrs, Israel crowns itself as the winner in the global, historical competition of victimhood. Yet it manufactures methods of oppression and dispossession of the individual and the collective, methods which turn the Nakba into a continuing, 63-year process. more

Egyptian activists refused entry to Gaza stage sit-in at Rafah crossing

Egyptian activists who staged a demonstration at the border after evading security forces have been refused permission to cross into Gaza. They are staging a sit-in in response.
Dozens of Egyptian activists spent Monday night at the Rafah border crossing after Egyptian authorities refused to let them into Gaza on Nakba Day, the anniversary of the creation of the state of Israel.

The activists, who arrived from Cairo and several other Egyptian provinces, refused to return to their homes and decided to stage a sit-in at the border to support what they have called a third Palestinian intifada.

The activists called for the return of Palestinian refugees and the opening of the Rafah border crossing for all individuals and goods, which they said should remain under the exclusive control of Egyptian authorities.

The activists also called for closing the Israeli Embassy, expelling the Israeli ambassador, stopping gas exports to Israel and abolishing the Camp David Accords. more

Israeli troops accused of deliberately targeting photographer at Gaza Nakba commemoration

(pic: Tom Hurndall, pictured centre, was killed by Israeli occupation forces in January 2004)

Jerusalem - A Palestinian photographer who was shot on Sunday while covering protests in the Gaza Strip may have been "deliberately targeted" by an Israeli soldier, a media rights group said on Tuesday.

"Reporters Without Borders was told that (Mohammed) Othman was clearly identifiable as a journalist at the time of the shooting and was deliberately targeted," Reporters Sans Frontieres said.

Othman was critically wounded as he covered demonstrations near the Erez crossing in northern Gaza. more