Invitation – JAI-ATG Olive Picking Program 2018


A program for Civil International Solidarity with Palestinians
October 13th (arrival) – 22nd (departure), 2018
West Bank, Palestine
Register online now

The JAI together with the Alternative Tourism Group (ATG) are organizing the 15th annual Olive Picking Program of 2018. This agricultural event is of special significance to the Palestinian economy when all energies and efforts are mobilized.

Besides olive picking, the program features introductory presentations about the current situation in Palestine and the effects of the Apartheid Wall, tours in the old city of Jerusalem, Hebron, and Bethlehem, in addition to evening sessions, cultural event and social gatherings.

Read about

The JAI Olive Tree Campaign
The Olive Picking Program and last years’ programs’ reports.
Reported attacks on farmers and land in Palestine.
Attacks on Olive Tree Campaign’ planted fields.

More Information:

  • An optional evening program will also be organized during the Picking Program, which includes film screenings or professional presentations on certain topics related to Palestinian life under occupation related international campaigns.
  • The cost of the program including accommodation in a double room, meals, guides, local transportation and other relevant expenses is $750. Requesting a single room at the hotel would cost the participant $200 Extra. Any extra night(s) accommodation (before the night of the 13th/14th of October, or after the night of the 21st/22nd of October 2018) is beyond the scope of the program and the participant has to pay extra for.
  • Accommodation can be arranged at a hotel or with a local family.
  • A tour guide will be present with the group at all times for facilitation purposes.
  • Travel from and to the airport is NOT included in the cost but can be arranged for (100 USD per person for each drive, unless sharing with a group of other participants).
  • Please do NOT fill and submit the registration form before booking your ticket, in order to fill your arrival and departure information in the same record.
  • Upon registration, you are automatically admitted to participate in the program (without having to wait for confirmation from our side), and you will receive further information / replies accordingly.

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University of Manchester removes Sabra Hummus

BDS campaigners petitioned to remove the brand, slamming the university's "complicity in human rights violations"

The New Arab, 8 February, 2018

UoM’s BDS campaign described the stocking of Sabra Hummus in shops on campus as making the “university complicit in human rights violations through the funding of the ‘elite’ branch of the Israeli army”.

The ‘elite’ branch references the Golani Brigade, “who are known to commit a myriad of war crimes in Palestine”, added the statement.

Campaigners hoping to highlight the violations committed by the Israeli military force released a petition challenging the stocking of Sabra products and sent a statement to the manager of catering at the university.

Sabra, a US-based company, is owned jointly by PepsiCo and Strauss Group.

Strauss, an Israeli multinational corporation, invests and financially supports the Golani Brigade, part of Israel’s military force, according to their website.

Following the recall campaign, the statement in English was removed from the website, however it remains in Hebrew.

Strauss aids the Golani Brigade “with an ongoing variety of food products for their training or missions, and provide personal care packages for each soldier that completes the path”.

The website added that they provide the unit with funding for “welfare, cultural and educational activities, such as pocket money for underprivileged soldiers, sports and recreational equipment, care packages and books and games for the soldiers’ club”.

According to the statement compiled by the campaign, the Brigade “played key roles in the Israeli army’s assault on the Gaza Strip in 2008-9 during ‘Operation Cast Lead'”. The 22-day military offensive killed more than 1,400 Palestinians and devastated the coastal enclave.

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Israeli Forces Continue Its Military Campaign in Jenin


Ref: 15/2018

In a new crime of excessive use of lethal force, on Saturday, 03 February 2018, Israeli forces killed an 18-year-old Palestinian civilian and wounded 7 others, including 4 children. This happened when Israeli forces moved into Burqin village, west of Jenin, as part of their ongoing military operation, which started on 18 January 2018, to search for Ahmed Naser Jarar (22). Ahmed is accused of killing an Israeli Rabbi on 09 January 2018 near “Hafat Gilead” settlement, southwest of Nablus.

According to investigations conducted by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) and eyewitnesses’ accounts, at approximately 14:25 on Saturday, 03 February 2018, Israeli forces accompanied with military vehicles and 2 bulldozers and backed by a drone moved into the Eastern neighborhood in Burqin village, west of Jenin. The Israeli forces surrounded many houses belonging to ‘Ateeq family and Jarrar family archeological palace in order to arrest Ahmed Naser Jarrar, who was accused of killing an Israeli Rabbi on 09 January 2018 near “Hafat Gilead” settlement, southwest of Nablus. The Israeli forces topped civilians’ houses roofs and heavily fired sound bombs and explosives. They shouted via loudspeakers: “Ahmed, Surrender yourself or we will demolish each house in the neighborhood.”  Meanwhile, two Israeli bulldozers started demolishing two 260-square-meter sheds built of tin plates and bricks and used for breeding livestock. The two sheds belong to Mostafa Abed al-Rahman ‘Ateeq and his brother Hasan. During the operation, dozens of Palestinian youngsters and children gathered in the neighborhood and in al-Hadaf area adjacent to the southeastern side of Burqin village to throw stones and empty bottles at the Israeli soldiers, who immediately opened fire at them. As a result, 8 civilians, including 4 children, were wounded. Among them was Ahmed Sameer Mahmoud ‘Obaid (18), who was hit with a bullet to the head. Ahmed was then taken to al-Razi Hospital, where he was admitted to the Operation Room (OR). However, Doctors failed to save his life and pronounced his death at approximately 22:10 on the same day. Doctors at the hospital added that the bullet lodged in Ahmed’s brain.

At approximately 04:30 on the same day, Israeli forces moved into al-Kafir village, southeast of Jenin. They raided and searched several houses after breaking the outside doors and topping the roofs. They then surrounded a house belonging to Walid Theeb al-Rashid and ordered the family members to get out of the house and turn themselves in. After getting out of the house, the Israeli soldiers locked the family members in the first floor of a house belonging to Noor Eden Rawhi Rashed ‘Awad, who rents the house from Khalid Ersheid. The soldiers then fired shells from shoulder-launched weapons at a cave and blew it up. They then fired several shells at doors of old houses’ stores near the abovementioned house and blew them up. The Israeli forces then called out via loudspeakers for Ahmed Nasser Jarrar to come out and turn himself in.

PCHR follows with deep concern the deteriorating situation in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) and is strongly concerned over the use of lethal force against unarmed civilians in peaceful protests in violation of the International Humanitarian Law (IHL). PCHR hereby condemns the Israeli forces’ use of excessive, disproportionate and lethal force against the protestors and believes that this is due to the green light given by the Israeli government to the soldiers following the American Decision to declare Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel. Therefore, this constitutes a direct complicity in a crime of offensive and directly threatens the international peace and security.

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Wisconsin should reject boycott bill;
it is not anti-Semitic

MJS-Leah-VukmirState Sen. Leah Vukmir (Megan Papachristou Photography)

Sandy Pasch, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Feb. 6, 2018

Legislation working its way through the state Legislature would prohibit Wisconsin businesses who sign on to the global Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement from receiving some state contracts.

And, unfortunately, Assembly Bill 553 and Senate Bill 450 are attracting bipartisan support because of a false conflation of BDS with anti-Semitism and discrimination.

But these bills are a mistake for Wisconsin at every level.

The bills would institute a level of bureaucracy in monitoring business negotiations in the state, constituting a dangerous erosion of democratic social control. If a company responded to a citizens’ BDS campaign to divest its interests, for example, that company would no longer be eligible for certain state contracts. And the several church synods that have elected to divest their pension funds would become ineligible to contract with the state to provide social services. These bills make the moral decisions of citizens and parishioners a barrier to free enterprise.

Historically, boycotts have been an important, nonviolent tool of dissent. A global boycott of South Africa, often compared in moral scope to the BDS movement, was decisive in ending the apartheid regime. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled decisively in NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware in 1982 that boycotts constitute protected speech, assembly, petition and association. Just last month, in the first federal test of anti-boycott laws at the state level, a federal judge ruled that Kansas’ anti-boycott law was an unconstitutional denial of free speech.

Why is the State of Wisconsin trying to pass a bill that has already been judged unconstitutional and whose true purpose is to shield Israel from criticism about legitimate human rights issues?

Introduced by state Sen. Leah Vukmir (R-Brookfield) and state Rep. Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield), the bills are a product of the right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council. Their bills are strikingly similar to many anti-BDS bills introduced or passed in more than half the states in the U.S. at the behest of ALEC. It makes sense, then, that politicians such as Vukmir and Kooyenga, deeply allied with ALEC and the billionaire Koch brothers, support this undemocratic legislation.

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Kansas Doesn’t Even Try to Defend Its Israel Anti-Boycott Law

Brian Hauss, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project, November 30, 2017

 

Graffiti on the Israeli separation wall dividing the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Abu Dis reads, Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Shutterstock

Kansas officials are scheduled to appear in court tomorrow to defend a state law designed to suppress boycotts of Israel. There’s just one problem: The state quite literally has no defense for the law’s First Amendment violations.

The ACLU filed a lawsuit in October against a law requiring anyone contracting with the state to sign a statement affirming that they don’t boycott Israel or its settlements. We represent Esther Koontz, a math teacher who was hired by the state to train other teachers. Together with members of her Mennonite church, Esther boycotts Israel to protest its treatment of Palestinians. After she explained that she could not in good conscience sign the statement, the state refused to let her participate in the training program.

The law violates the First Amendment, which protects the right to participate in political boycotts. That right was affirmed by the Supreme Court in 1982, when it ruled that an NAACP boycott of white-owned businesses in Mississippi during the civil rights movement was a protected form of free expression and free association. But despite long-held consensus around the right to boycott, we were still pretty surprised when Kansas didn’t even try to argue the law is constitutional.

We asked for a preliminary injunction, which would immediately halt enforcement of the law and allow Esther to do the job she was hired for. In its response brief, Kansas doesn’t mention the First Amendment even once, even though the entire case turns on the myriad ways the law violates First Amendment rights. Instead, the government relies on a couple half-baked procedural arguments in an attempt to convince the court to leave the law in place for now.

First, Kansas argues that a preliminary injunction isn’t necessary because Esther could always receive monetary damages at the end of the lawsuit, should she win. But courts have long recognized that the government can’t use money damages to buy off the loss of First Amendment rights.

The government’s other argument is that the Kansas secretary of administration would have given Esther a waiver, had she sought one, exempting her from the requirement to refrain from boycotting Israel. But the government can’t neutralize legal challenges to blatantly unconstitutional laws by making one-off exceptions for the people who happen to file lawsuits. Even if Esther could have gotten a waiver, that wouldn’t help other Kansans affected by the law.

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Federal Court Strikes Down Kansas Anti-BDS Law


Israeli security forces and Palestinian protesters confront each other in Jerusalem’s Old City on Dec. 15, 2017.

Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept, January 31 2018

A federal judge on Tuesday ruled that a Kansas law designed to punish people who boycott Israel is an unconstitutional denial of free speech. The ruling is a significant victory for free speech rights because the global campaign to criminalize, or otherwise legally outlaw, the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement has been spreading rapidly in numerous political and academic centers in the U.S. This judicial decision definitively declares those efforts — when they manifest in the U.S. — to be a direct infringement of basic First Amendment rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

The enjoined law, enacted last year by the Kansas legislature, requires all state contractors — as a prerequisite to receiving any paid work from the state — “to certify that they are not engaged in a boycott of Israel.” The month before the law was implemented, Esther Koontz, a Mennonite who works as a curriculum teacher for the Kansas public school system, decided that she would boycott goods made in Israel, motivated in part by a film she had seen detailing the abuse of Palestinians by the occupying Israeli government, and in part by a resolution enacted by the national Mennonite Church. The resolution acknowledged “the cry for justice of Palestinians, especially those living under oppressive military occupation for fifty years”; vowed to “oppose military occupation and seek a just peace in Israel and Palestine”; and urged “individuals and congregations to avoid the purchase of products associated with acts of violence or policies of military occupation, including items produced in [Israeli] settlements.”

A month after this law became effective, Koontz, having just completed a training program to teach new courses, was offered a position at a new Kansas school. But, as the court recounts, “the program director asked Ms. Koontz to sign a certification confirming that she was not participating in a boycott of Israel, as the Kansas Law requires.” Koontz ultimately replied that she was unable and unwilling to sign such an oath because she is, in fact, participating in a boycott of Israel. As a result, she was told that no contract could be signed with her.

In response to being denied this job due to her political views, Koontz retained the American Civil Liberties Union, which sued the commissioner of education, asking a federal court to enjoin enforcement of the law on the grounds that denying Koontz a job due to her boycotting of Israel violates her First Amendment rights. The court on Tuesday agreed and preliminarily enjoined enforcement of the law.

The ruling is significant for two independent reasons. The first is the definitive and emphatic nature of the ruling. The court dispensed with an oft-repeated but mythical belief about free speech rights: namely, that they only bar the government from imprisoning or otherwise actively punishing someone for their views, but do not bar them from withholding optional benefits (such as an employment contract) as retaliation for those views. Very little effort is required to see why such a proposition is wrong: Just imagine a law which provided that only people who believe in liberalism (or conservatism) will be eligible for unemployment benefits or college loans. Few would have trouble understanding the direct assault on free speech guarantees posed by such a law; the same is true of a law that denies any other benefits (including employment contracts) based on the state’s disapproval of one’s political views, as the court explained in its ruling (emphasis added):

Even more important is the court’s categorical decree that participating in boycotts is absolutely protected by the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech and petition rights. Citing the 1982 U.S. Supreme Court case that invoked free speech rights to protect members of the NAACP from punishment by the state of Mississippi for boycotting white-owned stores, the court in the Kansas case pointedly ruled that “the First Amendment protects the right to participate in a boycott.” In doing so, it explained that the core purpose of the Kansas law is to punish those who are critical of Israeli occupation and are working to end it: “The Kansas Law’s legislative history reveals that its goal is to undermine the message of those participating in a boycott of Israel. This is either viewpoint discrimination against the opinion that Israel mistreats Palestinians or subject matter discrimination on the topic of Israel.”

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February 24, 2018:
International Festival at Overture Center


Local Goes Global
Overture Hall Main Lobby
201 State Street, Madison
10:30 am – 4:30 pm

Come and enjoy the free performances, plus food and crafts from all over the world. Stop by our table where MRSCP will again be selling our Palestinian products including extra-virgin Holy Land Olive Oil, olive oil soap, Palestinian-made Hirbawi kuffiyahs, earrings from the Hebron Women’s Co-op, ceramics, embroidery and other crafts from Gaza and the West Bank.

More information from Overture Center.

February 20, 2018
Film: The Occupation of the American Mind

Madison Central Library
201 W. Mifflin Street, Madison
7:00 pm

Jewish Voice for Peace-Madison presents a showing of the film The Occupation of the American Mind. Co-sponsored by MRSCP.

Israel’s ongoing military occupation of Palestinian territory and its repeated invasions of the Gaza strip have triggered a fierce backlash against Israeli policies virtually everywhere in the world — except the United States.

The Occupation of the American Mind takes an eye-opening look at this critical exception, zeroing in on pro-Israel public relations efforts within the U.S. Narrated by Roger Waters and featuring leading observers of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, the film explores how the Israeli government, the U.S. government, and the pro-Israel lobby have joined forces, often with very different motives, to shape American media coverage of the conflict in Israel’s favor.

The Occupation of the American Mind provides a sweeping analysis of Israel’s decades-long battle for the hearts, minds, and tax dollars of the American people — a battle that has only intensified over the past few years in the face of widening international condemnation of Israel’s increasingly right-wing policies.

For details and updates check Jewish Voice for Peace-Madison.

Ahed Tamimi is turning 17 – demand her freedom on her birthday!

Jan 30, 2018 — Dear friend,

Tomorrow, 31 January, Ahed Tamimi, the imprisoned Palestinian teen, is turning 17. Unfortunately, due to the Israeli settler colonial occupation, she will be marking her birthday behind bars in HaSharon prison awaiting a military court hearing, forcibly separated from her mother (also imprisoned) and the rest of her family.

These days are international days of action to support Ahed. You can be a part of wishing Ahed a happy birthday and sending her greetings of solidarity and freedom!

Ahed is one of over 350 imprisoned Palestinian children and over 6,100 Palestinian prisoners in total. These actions not only demand freedom for Ahed but for all of the Palestinians subject to imprisonment, occupation, apartheid and colonialism.

You can take action online!

In only seconds, you can join an online social media action to free Ahed Tamimi by joining in the Thunderclap! On 31 January, join a global campaign to tweet for Ahed Tamimi’s birthday. It’s easy to add your Twitter, Facebook or Tumblr account to the campaign: click here to join: (https://samidoun.us8.list-manage.com/track/click?u=ca6966f2db7aa619c20875634&id=a0f376c926&e=3116ec7e79).

There are many more actions you can take to support Ahed and the cause of Palestinian freedom. Check out our online action alert to learn more: (http://samidoun.net/2018/01/schedule-of-international-events-take-action-to-free-ahed-tamimi-and-all-palestinian-prisoners/)

Join us to take action in your own city, town or campus!
Join one of the many worldwide actions for Ahed Tamimi in the coming days! Add your event to the list by messaging them to us on Facebook or sending us an e-mail.

Make sure you have posters and flyers for your event: click here to download materials. We encourage you to reproduce and distribute them freely in your city! (https://samidoun.us8.list-manage.com/track/click?u=ca6966f2db7aa619c20875634&id=a58fa49701&e=3116ec7e79)

Tuesday, 30 January, Al-Khalil, Palestine. Birthday party for Ahed Tamimi, 6:00 pm, Tel Rumeida – Shuhada Street. Details: (https://www.facebook.com/events/186358621952559/)

For more information: (http://samidoun.net/)