Archive for March, 2009

COMMUNITY RALLY TO END THE WARS ON MARCH 19

Posted in Organizing on March 15, 2009 by lamalucy

TIME TO INVEST IN AMERICA
COMMUNITY RALLY TO END THE WARS ON MARCH 19

Eight community organizations are sponsoring a peaceful rally and march in downtown Boise on Thursday, March 19 to protest the continuing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Invest in America – End the Wars event will get underway at the Capitol Annex, 6th and Jefferson, at 4:30 p.m. followed by a march to Boise City Hall, 150 Capitol Blvd., for a rally at 5:15 p.m.

March 19 marks six years since the US invasion of Iraq, and there will be hundreds of protest events held throughout the country.

Activists will distribute Department of Defense “receipts” for the $939 billion U. S. taxpayers have spent on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to date. Idaho taxpayers have contributed more than $1.5 billion. They will also gather signatures on post cards to the Idaho Congressional delegation that call on them to “take us beyond war into a new economy for the sake of our state and our country.” Millions of “dollars” will be stuffed into a “rat hole” to signify the waste of money on unsuccessful military strategies and the tragedy of unmet human needs in Idaho.

The event is free and family-friendly. The event is sponsored by Veterans for Peace, Iraq
Veterans Against the War, Idaho Peace Coalition, United Vision for Idaho, Idaho Campaign to End Israeli Apartheid, Brown Berets, Intertribal Native Council, Interfaith Alliance of Idaho, and United Action for Idaho.

For more information please contact idahopeacecoalition@msn.com.
Contact: Liz Paul 853-4435

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Israel Boycott Movement Gains Momentum

Posted in Boycott, Gaza, Organizing on March 4, 2009 by lamalucy

israeli-apartheid-week-2009-poster
Mel Frykberg
RAMALLAH, Mar 3 (IPS) – “Standing United with the People of Gaza” is the theme of this week’s Israel Apartheid Week (IAW), which kicked off in Toronto and another 39 cities across the globe Sunday.
A movement to boycott Israeli goods, culture and academic institutions is gaining momentum as Geneva prepares to host the UN’s Anti-Racism Conference, Durban 2 next month amidst swirling controversy.
Both Canada and the U.S. are boycotting the Durban 2 conference in protest over what they perceive as a strongly anti-Israel agenda.
The first UN Anti-Racism conference, held in the South African city Durban in 2001, saw the Israeli and U.S. delegates storm out of the conference, accusing other delegates of focusing too strongly on Israel.
U.S. and Canadian support might have offered some comfort for Israel. However, international criticism of Israel’s three-week bloody offensive into Gaza, which left more than 1,300 Palestinians dead and thousands more wounded, most of them civilian, has breathed fresh life into a Boycott, Divest, Sanctions (BDS) campaign.
The BDS campaign followed a 2005 appeal from over 170 Palestinian civil society groups to launch a divestment campaign “as a way of bringing non- violent pressure to bear on the state of Israel to end its violations of international law.”
In the wake of the BDS campaign, critics of Israel have lashed out at what they see as parallels between South Africa’s former apartheid system and Israeli racism.
They point to Israel’s discriminatory treatment of ethnic Palestinians within Israel who hold Israeli passports, and the extensive human rights abuses against Palestinians in the occupied territories by Israeli security forces.
During the apartheid era, ties between Israel and South Africa were extremely strong, with the Jewish state helping to train South Africa’s security forces as well as supplying the regime in Pretoria with weapons.
Meanwhile, Toronto, where the Israel Apartheid Week movement was born, will hold forums, film shows, cultural events and street protests to mark IAW week. One of the guest speakers is former South African intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils.
Kasrils is no stranger to controversy. His parents fled from Tzarist Russian pogroms carried out against Jews, and immigrated to South Africa at the beginning of the last century.
During white rule, as a member of the African National Congress (ANC), working both in exile and underground in South Africa, he was reviled by many white South Africans as a “terrorist”.
He has also been labelled a self-hating Jew by many Israelis and South African Jews due to the strong stand he and the ANC have taken against Israel’s policies.
Meanwhile, in New York, prominent IAW activist Nir Harel, a member of Israel’s Anarchists Against the Wall, will also be courting controversy. His group regularly protests against Israel’s separation barrier, which divides Israel proper from the Palestinian West Bank.
The barrier deviates significantly from the Green Line, the internationally recognised border, into Palestinian territory where it has swallowed huge amounts of land, dispossessing farmers from their agricultural crops.
Another Israeli activist, Matan Cohen, has been central in the first U.S. college implementing a divestment campaign against Israel. Hampshire College in Massachusetts called for divestment from over 200 companies that the college says is responsible for violating its socially responsible investment policies in Israel.
The companies which provide the Israeli military with equipment and services in the occupied West Bank and Gaza include Caterpillar, United Technologies, General Electric, ITT Corporation, Motorola and Terex.
A Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) petition for divestment was supported by more than 800 students, professors, and alumni at the college, that has only 1,350 students.
Hampshire college may be small but it has been big in social activism. It was also the first U.S. educational institution to divest from South Africa, ten years before other universities and colleges followed suit.
U.S. campus activism is spreading. The University of Rochester in New York and members of the community are also involved in boycott activities.
Students from Macalester College, a liberal arts college located in St. Paul, Minnesota, occupied the Minnesota Trade Office in January and then picketed there Feb. 6, demanding that the state end all trade with Israel. New York University students too began a divestment campaign.
Professors and university employees in Quebec, Canada, endorsed the Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees’ call to boycott Israel.
SJP’s actions at Hampshire College follow similar moves by the National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education in the UK.
In London, students held sit-ins at Goldsmith University and the London School of Economics, among other institutions. Similar protests have spread throughout the U.K., with some winning concessions from university officials.
At Manchester University, about a thousand students joined a campaign equating Israel with apartheid-era South Africa, and called on the administration and student union to boycott Israeli companies and support Gaza and the BDS movement.
In Australia the University of Western Sydney’s Student Association recently joined the international BDS campaign. International trade union support for political action against Israel has been seen from Spain to South Africa.
The South African Transport and Allied Workers Union, under directive of the Council of South African Trade Unions, refused recently to unload an Israeli ship which docked in Durban, despite threats and pressure from both management and the Israeli lobby.
The Irish Congress of Trade Unions, with 600,000 members in 55 unions, is preparing to start a boycott of Israeli goods.
Meanwhile, the biggest trade union in Canada’s Ontario province, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), was forced under pressure to moderate its call for a boycott of all academic institutions in Israel. Instead it called for a boycott of Israeli institutions engaged in research which aided the Israel Defence Forces (IDF). (END/2009)

The Fifth Annual Israeli Apartheid Week March 1 – 8, 2009

Posted in Organizing on March 3, 2009 by lamalucy

Mark your calendars – the 5th Annual Israeli Apartheid Week will take place across the globe from March 1-8, 2009!

First launched in Toronto in 2005, IAW has grown to become one of the most important global events in the Palestine solidarity calendar. Last year, more than 25 cities around the world participated in the week’s activities, which also commemorated 60 years since the expulsion of the Palestinian people from their homes and land in 1947-1948. IAW 2008 was launched with a live broadcast from the South African township of Soweto by Palestinian leader and former member of the Israeli Knesset, Azmi Bishara.

This year, IAW occurs in the wake of Israel’s barbaric assault against the people of Gaza. Lectures, films, and actions will make the point that these latest massacres further confirm the true nature of Israeli Apartheid. IAW 2009 will continue to build and strengthen the growing Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement at a global level.israeli-apartheid-week-2009-bookmark-front1

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