UN official resigns after pressure to withdraw Israel apartheid report

Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 17 March 2017

Rima Khalaf (via Facebook)

A senior United Nations official has resigned, following pressure from Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to withdraw the landmark report published earlier this week finding Israel guilty of apartheid.

Rima Khalaf, the head of the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) which published the report, announced her resignation at a press conference in Beirut on Friday.

Reuters reports that Khalaf took the step “after what she described as pressure from the secretary-general to withdraw a report accusing Israel of imposing an ‘apartheid regime’ on Palestinians.”

“I resigned because it is my duty not to conceal a clear crime, and I stand by all the conclusions of the report,” Khalaf stated.

As of Friday, a press release announcing the report remained visible on the ESCWA website, but the link to the report itself from the press release no longer works.

A full copy of the report is available below.

It concludes that “Israel has established an apartheid regime that dominates the Palestinian people as a whole.”

It finds “beyond a reasonable doubt that Israel is guilty of policies and practices that constitute the crimes of apartheid” as defined in international law.

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US labor board affirms union’s right to boycott Israel

“As Americans who have a constitutional right to criticize our own government, we certainly have a right to criticize and, if we choose, boycott a foreign government that is heavily subsidized by US taxpayers.”

Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 25 July 2016

The United Electrical Workers backed BDS in a vote of delegates at the union’s August 2015 national convention in Baltimore. (via Facebook)

The National Labor Relations Board has reaffirmed its dismissal of charges against the United Electrical workers union because of its support for the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.

The NLRB is the US federal agency that enforces the country’s trade union legislation.

In August 2015, the 30,000-strong United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America, known as UE, became only the second national trade union in the US to back BDS by a vote of delegates at its annual convention in Baltimore.

In October, Shurat HaDin, a lawfare group with ties to Israel’s Mossad spying and assasination agency, filed a complaint against the union, claiming that its support for BDS amounted to a violation of the law against secondary boycotts.

In January, the labor board dismissed the complaint, stating it had investigated and found “there is insufficient evidence to establish a violation” of the law.

Shurat HaDin appealed the dismissal, but on 26 May the labor board’s general counsel issued a letter that the union says reaffirms the earlier decision to throw the case out.

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Israel Lawfare group plans “massive punishments” for activists

“There’s no such thing as a Palestinian person,” key Israel lobbyist says

Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 25 June 2016

“Why are we using the word Palestinian? There’s no such thing as a Palestinian person,” Brooke Goldstein declared to enthusiastic applause at a meeting of key Israel lobby operatives in New York earlier this month.

Goldstein is the director of the Lawfare Project, a legal group that aims, in her words, to “make the enemy pay” – that “enemy” being mainly comprised of Palestine solidarity activists and students.

The Lawfare Project was founded with the support of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, an important forum for anti-Palestinian organizing in the US.

The clip of Goldstein denying outright the existence of Palestinians can be seen above.

At the event, she and other Israel lobby leaders revealed their latest strategies to try to defeat the growing boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

A 58-minute edited video of the event was originally published on YouTube by the Jewish Broadcasting Service on 16 June, but was hidden a day after the journalist Ben White and other supporters of Palestinian rights began to circulate it on social media, drawing attention to Goldstein’s negation of Palestinian existence.

The Electronic Intifada is republishing the whole video under the Fair Use doctrine of the US Copyright Act:

In her presentation, Goldstein acknowledged that efforts to promote Israel as a democracy with “great beaches” had failed to stem the support for Palestinian rights, so “we have to focus on the offense, on Islamists and how they violate the basic civil rights that liberals hold very, very dear.”

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Landmark G4S Boycott Victory

As anti-BDS forces are trying to get various levels of government to “outlaw” BDS, it appears that some corporations are getting the message.

Landmark boycott victory as G4S says it is leaving Israel

Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 10 March 2016

G4S has been protested by Palestine solidarity campaigners worldwide.G4S, one of the world’s biggest security and imprisonment firms, has announced it plans to end all its business with Israel within the next 12 to 24 months. (Anne Paq, ActiveStills)

Palestinians are welcoming the news as a major victory and a sign of the powerful impact of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

But they also warn that pressure on the company must continue until it has actually ended its role in Israel’s violations of the rights of Palestinians, especially thousands languishing in Israel’s prisons.

The announcement makes G4S the latest multinational company – following transport and municipal services firm Veolia, telecom giant Orange and construction materials conglomerate CRH – to head for the exits in the wake of sustained campaigns by the BDS movement.

“Reputationally damaging work”

G4S announced on Wednesday that it plans to “exit a number of businesses,” including G4S Israel, US “youth justice services” and UK “children’s services.”

The Financial Times said that by ending these businesses, the company would be “extracting itself from reputationally damaging work.”

Since 2010, G4S has lost contracts worth millions of dollars as a direct result of activist campaigns.

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Oct 1 – Nov 26, 2014
Book group: Ali Abunimah’s The Battle for Justice in Palestine

Biweekly Wednesdays,
October 1 – November 26
“Palestine Reading Group”
The Lakefront on Langdon,
Memorial Union, UW-Madison [Map]
7 to 8:30 pm

The International Socialist Organization and Students for Justice in Palestine-Madison are hosting a discussion group on Ali Abunimah’s new book The Battle for Justice in Palestine. The first meeting will discuss the Preface and Chapter 1 (pg xi – pg 20). We will continue to meet biweekly Wednesdays @ 7pm until we finish the book.

  • “Efforts to achieve a “two-state solution” have finally collapsed; the struggle for justice in Palestine is at a crossroads. As Israel and its advocates lurch toward greater extremism, many ask where the struggle is headed. This book offers a clear analysis of this crossroads moment and looks forward with urgency down the path to a more hopeful future.”
    Ali Abunimah, The Battle for Justice in Palestine
  • “This is the best book on Palestine in the last decade. No existing book presents the staggering details and sophistication of analysis that Abunimah’s book offers.”
    Joseph Massad, Columbia University
  • “In The Battle for Justice in Palestine it is the voice of Ali Abunimah, fierce, wise – a warrior for justice and peace – someone whose large heart, one senses, beyond his calm, is constantly on fire. A pragmatist but also a poet. This is the book to read to understand the present bizarre and ongoing complexity of the Palestine/Israel tragedy.”
    Alice Walker
  • “With incisive style and scrupulous attention to documentation and detail, Ali Abunimah’s new book offers a complex portrait, from every angle, of the Palestinian struggle for justice today.”
    Rebecca Vilkomerson, executive director, Jewish Voice for Peace
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    Palestinians in Gaza are still waiting for the siege to end

    Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 10 September 2014

    Destruction everywhere

    UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

    A new United Nations assessment published this week lays out the massive scope of the needs facing the nearly 1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza following the “unprecedented” destruction wreaked by 51 days of Israeli bombing in July and August.

    Israel’s assault – which it dubbed “Operation Protective Edge” – left at least 2,133 Palestinians dead and more than eleven thousand injured. More than 100,000 are permanently homeless as some 13 percent of Gaza’s housing stock – 44,300 housing units – was affected by the attack, with five percent rendered completely uninhabitable.

    The UN report “Gaza Initial Rapid Assessment,” published by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA), was conducted through August with the assistance of dozens of Palestinian and international aid agencies, organizations and experts.

    It indicates that almost everyone in every part of Gaza faces some urgent need for basic protection, healthcare and rehabilitation, housing, water, food security or education.

    The report came out the same day that the UN and the Palestinian Authority launched a $551 million emergency appeal to meet urgent humanitarian needs in Gaza.

    The assessment also identifies the need for “legal support to address some of these protection needs, including pursuing accountability for alleged violations of international law resulting in deaths and injuries, as well as destruction of property as a result of the military operation.”

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    Upcoming Events and Gaza Links on the Israeli Attack

    Friday, July 18: Mahmoud Abu Rahma from Rafah on WORT with Max Blumenthal
    Saturday, July 19: Emergency Demonstration for Gaza
    Thursday, July 24: Online Event: Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions: A New Path to Peace
    AND links on Gaza
    Plus: Cartoon of the Week: What if…

    Friday, July 18:
    Mahmoud Abu Rahma of Al Mezan on WORT

    12 noon on WORT Radio, 89.9 fm, Mahmoud Abu Rahma, communications and international relations director for the Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights in Gaza, will be interviewed by A Public Affair host Esty Dinur about the current attack on Gaza. Aburahma recently wrote “Understanding Israel’s Actions”, which states: “It is essential that U.S. citizens understand that this conflict should not continue to be viewed as a symmetrical one any more. When they do not hear about it, there are vicious violations of international law against Palestinians every day; including closures/blockades, settlement activities (population transfer on our land) displacement, killings, detention and torture.” He will be joined by Max Blumenthal, author of “Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel”. Be sure to tune in and call in at 256-2001 with your questions. You can also listen live online.

    Saturday, July 19:
    Emergency Demonstration for Gaza

    11 am, corner of State Street and Mifflin Street, Capitol square, Madison

    As of TODAY, BEFORE the launch of Israel’s ground offensive, at least 221 Palestinians have been killed, of Whom 179 Are Civilians, Including 45 Children and 32 Women, and 1,458 Others Wounded, Mostly Civilians, Including 432 Children and 298 Women (PCHR). One Israeli has been killed and a handful injured.

    MRSCP asks you to join us as we support this demonstration at the Farmer’s Market to protest Israel’s catastrophic and expanding assault on Gaza. Look for our large Palestinian flag banner with the words “Solidarity with Palestine” on it. Please bring “every Palestinian thing you have” and make your own signs .

    If you can’t come (and even if you can) please take a minute to take action on this alert from Peace Action: Call the White House comment line at 202.456.1111 and demand a ceasefire and suspension of U.S. weapons and military aid to Israel.

    Thursday, July 24:
    BDS: A New Path to Peace

    An online lecture presented by The Palestine Center with speakers Lena Ibrahim and Andrew Kadi
    12 – 1:00 pm Central Time
    Watch Live at this link.
    The 2005 call from Palestine Civil Society for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel has gained unprecedented momentum within the international community in recent years. Since 2005, universities, academic groups, banks and faith based organizations have all joined the BDS movement.

    Lena Ibrahim and Andrew Kadi will provide personal testimony for why a grassroots BDS movement in solidarity with Palestinian Civil Society is a new means by which people can put pressure on the U.S., Israel, and the international community to achieve justice in Palestine. This comes in light of yet another failed state-sponsored peace process and escalation of violence against Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.

    For more information visit: Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions: A New Path to Peace.

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    France’s main Jewish group fined for defaming Palestine charity

    France’s highest appeal court has ordered the country’s major Jewish organization to pay damages

    Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 11 Apr 2014

    Article falsely claimed charity raised money for Hamas

    France’s highest appeal court has ordered the country’s major Jewish organization to pay damages for falsely claiming that a charity supporting Palestinians collected money for Hamas.

    The 11 March judgment from the Court of Cassation in the northeastern city of Nancy was first reported by the website Al Kanz this week.

    In June 2010, CRIF, the main umbrella group for Jewish organizations in France, published an article by Marc Knobel alleging that the Committee for Charity and Assistance to the Palestinians – known by its French initials CBSP – was actually raising money for Hamas.

    The article was published days after Israeli forces stormed the ship Mavi Marmara, which was part of a flotilla to Gaza, in international waters, and murdered nine civilians.

    Youcef Benderbal, a CBSP official, was aboard the ship and among hundreds of passengers forcibly taken to the Israeli-controlled port of Ashdod.

    In the days before and after the massacre, the Israeli government engaged in intense propaganda efforts to portray the people aboard the flotilla as dangerous extremists and terrorists.

    According to its own website, CBSP, founded in 1990, supports initiatives for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon and Jordan and such projects as constructing water purification equipment for Gaza.

    Defamation

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