Palestinians stand in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en nation

The TransCanada Coastal Gaslink pipeline aims to steal Wet’suwet’en land, use resource extraction to solidify control over Indigenous territories, destroy the environment and violate Indigenous laws.

Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), February 13, 2020

From the occupied Palestinian territory, we stand in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en nation and land defenders at the Unist’ot’en Camp and Gidimt’en who continue to resist Canada’s colonial incursions of their unceded territories.

The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), the largest coalition in Palestinian civil society that leads the global BDS movement, sends a message of support to your struggle.

We call on the Palestine solidarity movement in Turtle Island and elsewhere to stand with the Wet’suwet’en nation.

As Palestinians, we have firsthand experience with a colonial power, Israel’s regime of occupation, colonization and apartheid, that systemically works to dispossess, divide and strip us of our lands and resources.

We know too well, from our own experience, that the TransCanada Coastal Gaslink pipeline aims to steal Wet’suwet’en land, use resource extraction to solidify control over Indigenous territories, destroy the environment and violate Indigenous laws. We also know that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) attacks, sanctioned by the Trudeau government, against the Hereditary Wet’suwet’en leadership, matriarchs and land defenders, are used to violate Indigenous sovereignty. The RCMP is employing tactics and equipment similar to Israel’s government, including Caterpillar bulldozers, to seize indigenous lands.

We are deeply grateful for the Wet’suwet’en people for their indomitable spirit, and their tireless defence of the land and water resources. We stand firmly with you in your struggle for your land and ancestral rights.

Palestinians owe the Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island a great debt for teaching us how to resist settler colonialism generation after generation through your powerful resistance, grace and indomitable spirit.

The BNC is committed to building stronger ties of solidarity between our peoples and movements, and we will work with our partners in Turtle Island to make this a reality.

From Palestine to Wet’suwet’en, we stand united with you in the struggle against settler colonialism, racism, corporate criminality and your inalienable rights for justice and self-determination.

We would be honoured to welcome you in Palestine, when the time is right.

BDS Victory: Liverpool FC reject Puma sponsorship

Palestine Solidarity Campaign, 1/13/20

Thank you to the hundreds of supporters who wrote to Liverpool FC about our #BoycottPuma campaign!

Amidst growing international pressure for sports teams to boycott Puma over their complicity with Israeli war crimes, we’re delighted that Liverpool FC have rejected Puma’s kit sponsorship offer. Please join the campaign and help get other clubs to #BoycottPuma.

Join the #BoycottPuma campaign

Take action and demand UK football clubs ditch Puma. Use our template letter to send a message to football clubs calling on them to end sponsorship deals with Puma. Just follow this link.

Boycott Puma

Puma is the main sponsor of the Israel Football Association (IFA), which includes football clubs based in illegal Israeli settlements on stolen Palestinian land. All Israeli settlements are considered war crimes under international law.

As one of the world’s top athletic apparel makers, Puma’s sponsorship brings international legitimacy to the IFA and helps maintain its direct involvement with violations of human rights and international law off the field.

More than 200 Palestinian teams have called on Puma to end its support for Israel’s military occupation by terminating its sponsorship deal with the IFA.

BOYCOTT Puma until they end their sponsorship of Israeli Apartheid.

Israeli settlements are illegal land grabs that form an integral part of Israel’s occupation infrastructure – pushing indigenous Palestinian families off their land, robbing natural resources, and denying Palestinians their right of movement.

Israel uses sport and the IFA to sportwash its crimes against the Palestinians – Dont let Puma help them!

BDS impact in 2019

Mahmoud Nawajaa, BDSMovement.net

The anti-Palestinian Trump Administration and Boris Johnson government are more than ever directly engaged in Israel’s desperate war of repression on advocacy for Palestinian rights and the BDS movement in particular. Thanks to your support, our BDS movement for freedom, justice and equality continued to grow in scale and impact in 2019.

Here are just a few highlights of BDS impact in 2019:

    South Africa, whose citizens brought apartheid to an end through protests and boycotts, officially downgraded its relations with Israel.

    Leading European trade unions – the European Federation of Public Services Unions, representing eight million people, and the UK’s Trades Union Congress, representing six million people – called for suspending the EU-Israel free trade agreement or ending arms sales to Israel.

    Major international companies – Australia’s Macquarie, Canada’s Bombardier, France’s Alstom, and Germany’s Siemens – withdrew from bidding to build Israel’s illegal settlement railway on stolen Palestinian land in occupied East Jerusalem.

    Support grew among US progressives and liberals for BDS and the right to boycott. Polls show 44% of Democratic voters supporting BDS. 80% of Democrats oppose laws penalizing people boycotting Israel, and 72% of all Americans oppose such laws. Democratic lawmakers introduced a historic House resolution affirming the right to boycott, and the Democratic Socialists of America committed to national BDS organizing.

    More artists – authors, actors, musicians and visual artists– cancelled performances and/or stated their support for the cultural boycott of apartheid Israel. More than 150,000 people, hundreds of artists and over 100 LGBT+ organizations joined our calls to boycott Eurovision 2019 in Tel Aviv. Only 10% of the expected tourists showed up.

    Campaigns for a military embargo against Israel grew and won victories. The French insurance giant AXA partially divested from Israeli arms company Elbit Systems. 200 organizations and individuals representing the Global South united in a call for a military embargo against Israel.

    2019’s annual Israeli Apartheid Week featured more than 200 events, across 30 countries, on five continents.

    In Europe, more progress was made towards banning goods and services produced in Israel’s illegal settlements. Oslo’s City Council banned procurement of settlement products. The European Court of Justice ruled that settlement goods must be accurately labeled. Ireland’s Parliament passed a bill to ban settlement goods, moving the ban closer to becoming law.

    Support grew for the academic boycott of Israel and for campus divestment. An NYU department and the Pitzer College Council in the US, New Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia University and The British Society for Middle Eastern Studies all adopted boycott measures. A Brown University corporate responsibility advisory committee recommended the university divest from companies complicit in Israel’s oppression.

    The US Episcopal Church, with 1.7 million members, voted to divest from Caterpillar, Motorola Solutions and Israel Discount Bank over involvement in Israel’s human rights violations.

    Trade unions took the lead in growing the campaign to Boycott HP, including the Netherland’s FNV, with 1.2 million members; Unite, with 1.1 million UK members; and the Maritime Union of Australia – Sydney Branch.

    • BDS supporters won four significant court victories in the US and Germany, countries where parliaments and governments have pushed hardest to repress the right to boycott.

While far-right forces made gains in Israel and other parts of the world in 2019, the growth of our anti-racist BDS movement, with support from principled allies worldwide, provides a ray of hope that another world is possible for Palestinians, just as it is for people enduring injustice worldwide.

Donate to help us win!

Trump strategy to stifle campus organizing for Palestinian rights


UNC-Chapel Hill Students for Justice in Palestine, December 24, 2012. (Photo: Facebook)

Josh Ruebner, Mondoweiss, December 12, 2019

President Trump signed yesterday an Executive Order empowering the federal government to crack down on campus organizing for Palestinian rights under the guise of combating antisemitism. 

“This is our message to universities: If you want to accept the tremendous amount of federal dollars that you get every year, you must reject antisemitism,” Trump stated during a White House Hanukkah reception which doubled as a signing ceremony.

But Trump’s Executive Order has nothing to do with combating the scourge of antisemitism, the revival of which he is greatly responsible for by stoking white supremacy. Instead, it is primarily designed to pressure universities to disallow students to boycott for Palestinian rights. 

This aim, however, is not self-evident in the text of the Executive Order, which omits any reference to Israel, Palestinians, or BDS. The true intent of Trump’s action is obfuscated in a brief mention that government agencies “shall consider” the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism and its associated contemporary examples of antisemitism in determining whether Jewish people have had their civil rights violated under Title VI of Civil Rights Act.

To be clear, the federal government should ensure that the civil rights of all religious minorities are upheld. And, also to be clear, what the IHRA’s working definition of antisemitism describes, along with many of its contemporary examples, are unambiguously and unimpeachably anti-Jewish bigotry.

However, some of the IHRA’s examples of antisemitism touching upon criticism of Israel are problematic. These include “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor,” and “applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.”

These vague and subjective examples are designed to be flexible enough to cover large swaths of First Amendment-protected free speech. For example, campus Zionist groups could argue that Jewish students’ civil rights are being violated if a Students for Justice in Palestine chapter advocates for a single, democratic state in which indigenous Palestinians would have equal rights to Jewish Israelis; hosts an academic panel deconstructing Israel’s foundational racist policies and laws; or organizes a campus boycott of Israeli goods to protest Israeli governmental policies without simultaneously and with equal vigor organizing boycotts against every other single country in the world with a parliament.

While the text of the Executive Order requires this background knowledge to understand its real impact, the Trump administration’s dubiously entitled “fact sheet” accompanying the order necessitates no such digging. 

Immediately under a bullet point noting “horrific acts of violence against Jewish Americans and synagogues in the United States,” the Trump administration oh-so-subtly pivots to a smear campaign against “18 Democrat [sic] Members of Congress [who] cosponsored legislation in support of the anti-Semitic ‘Boycott, Divest, Sanctions’ (BDS) movement,” claiming they “shockingly compared support for Israel to support for Nazi Germany.”

In fact, the resolution in question, H.Res.496, introduced by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), reaffirms in general terms the First Amendment right of people to engage in boycotts and maintains that “Americans of conscience have a proud history of participating in boycotts to advocate for human rights abroad,” including “boycotting Nazi Germany from March 1933 to October 1941 in response to the dehumanization of the Jewish people in the lead-up to the Holocaust.” 

These aptly-named bullet points are the quintessence of the Trump administration’s weaponization of antisemitism and its concomitant Islamophobia.

It is worth noting that the president resorted to this Executive Order only because a similar legislative effort has stalled in Congress due to First Amendment concerns. The order mirrors the misleadingly-named Anti-Semitism Awareness Act, which is currently languishing in committee and has failed to pass previous congressional sessions.

It is also important to acknowledge that Trump’s Executive Order was not issued on a whim but as the culmination of a deliberate strategy to stifle campus organizing for Palestinian rights. On the campaign trail, Jason Greenblatt and David Friedman menacingly pledged that “the Trump administration will ask the Justice Department to investigate coordinated attempts on college campuses to intimidate students who support Israel.” And the FBI has dutifully responded by siccing its agents on students who would threaten the supply of Sabra hummus in cafeterias. 

The Trump administration stepped up its attack on students organizing for Palestinian rights by nominating Kenneth Marcus to be the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the Department of Education. Marcus has spent the better part of his career filing baseless Title VI discrimination claims against student organizers for Palestinian rights, trying to defund Middle East Studies programs demonstrating insufficient fealty to Israel, and advocating for the IHRA antisemitism definition.

Last year, Marcus wrote a letter to the Zionist Organization of America announcing that the Office of Civil Rights was now unilaterally employing the controversial IHRA definition and examples of antisemitism in its investigations. This move was made absent regular interagency coordination or a public comment period. 

Trump’s Executive Order provides Marcus with the post-facto regulatory justification he needs to bolster his hasty fiat. 

The stage is now set for an even more unprecedented governmental crack down against student organizers for Palestinian rights.

Josh Ruebner is Senior Principal at Progress Up Consulting and author of Israel: Democracy or Apartheid State? and Shattered Hopes: Obama’s Failure to Broker Israeli-Palestinian Peace (Verso Books).

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Tell Donald Trump to Stop Using Jews to Shut Down Free Speech

After a week of antisemitic speech, today Donald Trump is signing an executive order to withhold money from college campuses that tolerate “anti-Israel” movements

As a Jewish college student, I know that Trump’s order isn’t meant to keep me safe – it’s meant to silence human rights advocates and, in particular, Palestinian and Muslim students.

Students who speak out against the occupation on college campuses are already targeted and censored. At the University of Michigan, where I go to school, Palestinian students know that sharing their stories publicly might mean being added to shady online blacklists or labelled antisemites.

Now Trump wants to crack down even further on campus free speech, and he’s doing it under the pretense of protecting us.

Trump’s executive order is meant to create a culture of fear for people who fight for Palestinian rights and freedom. The more who speak out against him today, the harder it will be for him to succeed. Will you add your name to our petition condemning Trump’s attacks on free speech in our name?

Criticizing Israel’s military occupation is not antisemitic. In a time of rising and deadly antisemitism, Jews need to be loud and clear eyed about what fighting for our safety means.

Trump cannot be trusted to define antisemitism for us. He incites deadly white nationalist violence against our community. He calls us disloyal. When speaking to American Jews, he refers to Israel as “your country” because he believes we do not really belong here. This Executive Order will not protect our community from Trump’s white nationalism or the violent threats we face.

IfNotNow is standing up for Jewish safety in solidarity with Palestinians, Muslims, and everyone targeted by white nationalist violence. Together, we will fight antisemitism and white nationalism, claim the right to speak for ourselves, and fight for the freedom and dignity of all Israelis and Palestinians.

Today that means condemning in the clearest possible terms Donald Trump’s dangerous Executive Order attacking free speech. Will you add your name to our petition rejecting Trump’s order now? The more people who speak out, the harder it will be for him to silence us, or our allies.

Let’s be loud.

Becca Lubow
IfNotNow Michigan

Join us in court and defend the right to boycott in Olympia, Washington

Center for Constitutional Rights, October 21, 2019

Join us in court tomorrow in Olympia, Washington, as Center for Constitutional Rights Deputy Legal Director Maria LaHood argues in our case Davis v. Cox defending former volunteer board members of the Olympia Food Co-op in their decision to boycott Israeli products in line with the co-op’s mission and long history of encouraging social justice.

Courts dismissed the lawsuit against our clients in 2012, 2014, and 2018, yet the plaintiffs have continued to pursue the case in an attempt to chill free speech and punish support for Palestinian human rights. We will continue to argue that the lawsuit brought against our clients is illegal and should be dismissed.

Learn more on our case page.

Revealed: rightwing push to ban criticism of Israel on US campuses

Documents seen by Guardian show fresh attack on university debate under the guise of prohibiting antisemitism


Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu in 2017. First amendment advocates see the potential spread of such laws as a major threat to free speech on campuses. (Ronen Zvulun/Reuters)

Ed Pilkington, The Guardian US, 17 Oct 2019

Rightwing activists are attempting to spread new laws across Republican-controlled states that would ban criticism on public university campuses of Israel and its occupation of Palestinian territory.

Pro-Israel and conservative lobbyists are encouraging state lawmakers to outlaw antisemitism in public education, from kindergarten through to graduate universities. But the proposed definition of antisemitism is so wide that, in addition to standard protections against hate speech towards Jews, it would also prohibit debate about the human rights violations of the Israeli government.

First amendment advocates see the potential spread of such laws as a major threat to free speech on campuses.

Among the activities that would be prohibited by the new laws are human rights investigations focusing specifically on Israel. Also banned would be any speech “demonizing Israel by … blaming Israel for all inter-religious or political tensions” or “delegitimizing Israel by … questioning Israel’s right to exist”.

The push began at a conference in August held by the American Legislative Exchange Council, Alec, a conservative network which has a long history of propagating rightwing policies at state level through model bills. The group, dubbed a “bill mill”, has spearheaded attacks on trade unions, opposition to Obamacare, voter suppression measures and legislation blocking efforts to address the climate crisis.

The meeting at Alec is disclosed in emails obtained under a freedom of information request by David Armiak, research director for the watchdog Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) and shared with the Guardian. They show that several Republican state lawmakers joined pro-Israeli lobbyists in Austin, Texas, to discuss disseminating new restrictions on speech relating to Israel on campuses across the heartlands.

The private meeting was led by Randy Fine, a Republican from Florida who was instrumental in passing in May the first state law outlawing antisemitism in public education. A week later he emailed fellow participants under the subject line: Anti-Semitism Bill Discussed at Alec.

Fine has faced controversy in the past over his aggressive opposition to public debate about Israel. Earlier this year he called a local Jewish constituent a “Judenrat” because the man had attended a forum titled: Palestine/Israel, Opening the Dialogue.

The term “Judenrat” was the name for Nazi-mandated councils in Jewish ghettos during the second world war and has been used to refer to Jews who collaborated with the Nazis.

Also attending the meeting at Alec were lawmakers from South Carolina, North Carolina, Arkansas, Kansas and Oklahoma, as well as representatives of two pro-Israel lobbying groups. “It was great to see you at the Alec conference last week in Austin and to briefly share the work we did in passing HB 741, the strongest antisemitism bill ever passed in the United States,” Fine wrote to them.


The former governor of Florida Jeb Bush speaks at the American Legislative Exchange Council in 2013. (M. Spencer Green/Associated Press)

The Florida Republican encouraged peers in other state assemblies to work with one of the lobbying groups, the Israeli-American Coalition for Action, which he said had been “instrumental in providing outside support as I pushed the bill”. In a separate email to the group, IAC for Action’s Joseph Sabag said that he and his legal team had taken Fine’s Florida bill and “refined it into a model that can be brought elsewhere. I urge you to contact me or Rep Alan Clemmons and take advantage of our policy support if you are considering filing a bill.”

Clemmons is Alec’s national chairman. A Republican representative from South Carolina, he introduced a similar antisemitism definition into a budget bill in his state in 2018.

Sabag told the Guardian that it would be incorrect to suggest that IAC for Action was encouraging state lawmakers to adopt the definition. He said his organization “provides legal analysis and policy resources in response to requests from legislators who wish to draw upon our subject matter expertise. Antisemitism is a hot issue right now, so of course there are many who are naturally interested.”

He also denied that Alec was involved in the legislative push. “No such bills have been presented to them for model consideration, and they’ve held no policy discussions on the matter or taken any position.”

The emails seen by the Guardian, he said, “emerged out of an after-hours private gathering of friends and colleagues, not an Alec function and Alec held no such forum or discussion at its conference”.

The Guardian asked Alec to comment, but received no reply.

The emails give a clear indication of the motive behind the push for antisemitism bills – countering criticism of Israel on campuses.

Fine writes that under the new laws “antisemitism (whether acts by students, administrators or faculty, policies and procedures, club organizations etc) [will] be treated identically as how racism is treated. Students for Justice in Palestine is now treated the same way as the Ku Klux Klan – as they should be.”

Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) is a leading pro-Palestinian student activist group that campaigns in at least 80 campuses for an international boycott of Israel in protest at its occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. It has been at the forefront of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement in the US that has already prompted a number of states to pass new laws penalizing such boycotts of Israel to the dismay of free speech advocates.

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