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.

Stop G4S, a global campaign endorsed by the Palestinian BDS National Committee, aims to hold the company accountable for providing equipment and services to Israeli prisons in which thousands of Palestinian political prisoners, children and administrative detainees are subjected to inhumane treatment.

G4S also provides equipment for checkpoints along Israel’s wall annexing Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank and for its settlements built in violation of international law.

The firm also co-manages the Israeli police academy in Jerusalem.

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John Quinlan Interviews Sahar Abbasi Baidon

John Quinlan, Forward Forum
KSUN Channel 983, November 2, 2015

John Quinlan talks with Sahar Abbasi Baidon, a mother of four and Women and Children Activities Coordinator at the Madaa Silwan Creative Center in East Jerusalem.

Sahar came to Madison on a national tour of Room Number 4, a photographic campaign prepared by the Madaa Silwan Center and War Child Holland to illustrate the violations of Palestinian children’s rights in East Jerusalem.

She shares stories from her experience and the importance of improving the life of children and women. Kathy Walsh from Madison-Rafah Sister City Project also joins the show to build awareness of the Israel-Palestinian conflict and help bring understanding between the two communities.

November 1, 2015
Room No. 4 Photos and Speaker

room no. 4 handcuffed

Sunday, November 1, 2015
First Unitarian Society
900 University Bay Drive, Madison
1:00 – 2:30 pm

“They left me in the room for 5 hours with my hands tied behind my back and my legs tied to each other. When I refused to confess, they slapped me and tightened the hand ties more and more.” 15-year-old boy

Room No. 4 is a photographic campaign prepared by the Madaa Silwan Center and War Child Holland to illustrate the violations of Palestinian children’s rights in East Jerusalem. The 12 staged photos are accompanied by written testimonies from the children themselves. Room No. 4 is the name of the Israeli interrogation room at the Russian Compound Detention Center in Jerusalem. An additional 10 documentary photos of life in occupied East Jerusalem taken by Majd Ghaith will further demonstrate the violations of children’s rights from home demolitions to settler violence.

Come hear from Sahar Abbasi Baidon – Direct from Palestine! Sahar is a mother of four and the deputy director of MECA’s partner, Madaa Silwan Creative Center, in East Jerusalem. Born and raised in Silwan, Sahar and has worked at Madaa focusing on projects to improve life for children and women. She works directly with children who are arrested, and her interviews and research (“The Impact of Child Arrest”, a study published by Sahar and Dr. Kasahun) are the basis for the Room Number 4 photo exhibit.

Free and open to the public. Donations will be accepted to benefit the Madaa Silwan Creative Center in hiring a psychologist to help these children.

Sponsored by Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA), Madison-Rafah Sister City Project, and Playgrounds for Palestine-Madison. For more information visit MECA or contact rafahsistercity (at) yahoo.com.

Demanding Freedom For Shireen Issawi

“ In our work with people in Gaza, we have been told repeatedly that the issue of the prisoners is a vital one for the entire Palestinian resistance movement that cuts across political divides. Shireen Issawi like all political prisoners needs to know that she is not forgotten and that she is in our hearts.” — Rafah Sister City Project, Madison, Wisconsin

Roots To Resistance: A Project About Art Activism And Global Connection

“As water is to life, so dignity is to my Humanity” Shireen Issawi

MIDEAST-PALESTINIANS-ISRAEL

Shireen Issawi is a Palestinian Human Rights Lawyer who was arrested on March 6th 2014 by the Israeli Military as part of a crackdown on Lawyers who where defending and advocating for Palestinian Prisoners. The lawyers, who were enacting fundamental Human Rights law, were branded as supporters of terrorism and have been incarcerated ever since. Shireen Issawi has become the very prisoner that she sought to defend, someone imprisoned and mistreated because of her work, her beliefs and her non violent resistance. Shireen was arrested because of her actions and complaints as a Human Rights lawyer concerning the mistreatment of Palestinian Prisoners and the holding of prisoners without charge. She was very much aware that defending the rights and treatment of Palestinians was a highly risky endeavor but this did not deter Shireen from her work and she continued to press forward in the face of mounting threats. Where would we be without such Humans, who are willing to sacrifice so much in the name of what is just, and what are we willing to do in support of them?

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It is from the portal of Shireen Issawi that we can view the devastating effects of so many Palestinians currently imprisoned under similar conditions. Perhaps you might imagine your own Sister, Daughter, or Mother arrested, knowing she is innocent but entirely unable to help her, and the World is mostly silent. Indeed Shireen stands in for hundreds of thousands of Political Prisoners all over this Planet, in Burma, Bahrain, Egypt, China, Eritrea, Mexico, here in the US, and in almost every Country across the Globe. As citizens of the World, I hope we will feel obligated and committed to using whatever small tools we may have to denounce such abundant injustice, despite the complications, despite our fears about entering into the realms of Israel and Palestine, despite the ease and lure of keeping quiet and tending our own lives.

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In this case, we at Roots to Resistance, a small Arts and Social Justice Organization, make our offerings to those who have long been seeking and fighting for Justice on issues in Palestine. We have painted an 8 foot high Portrait of Shireen and created a Global Postcard Campaign Demanding her Freedom and an end to the US funding that perpetuates conditions of Occupation across Palestine. Most importantly we have partnered with dozens of Organizations and hundreds of Peoples from all over the World to create A Global Sign Campaign Demanding Freedom For Shireen Issawi. The Organizations and People involved in the campaign may not speak with one voice when it comes to all of the issues involved with Palestine and Israel, but we do speak as one about the absolute demand for Shireen’s release from prison.

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One World UK

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The Global Sign Campaign is an initiative asking folks from all over the Planet to send pictures of themselves holding signs Demanding Freedom For Shireen Issawi. In the end we have gathered over 150 with more arriving each day. Our goal in this endeavor was to invite all voices to demand Justice, not just the politicized or those well versed in the talking points of the Middle East.The invitation was for all to join because we think that a movement filled with a diversity of opinions but one voice on Shireen is the strongest way forward. Please come visit and enjoy the gallery of beautiful faces on our campaign page. puebla mexico 5 If you would like to add your own picture to our Global Sign Campaign please send your submissions on to us: invisible_earth@yahoo.com

Many of those who sent pictures and signs also sent answers to a question we posed: “Why is it important for you to be involved in the Campaign Demanding Freedom For Shireen Issawi? “ Below are some of the answers beginning with a statement from the two Organizations working together to win Shireen’s Freedom.

“Shireen Issawi’s case is emblematic in highlighting how Palestinian human rights defenders are being targeted by Israeli authorities for arrest and prolonged detention due to peacefully working to protect and promote fundamental human rights. Ms. Issawi has now been held continuously in detention for nearly 19 months pending the outcome of her trial. We reiterate our call for the evidence relied upon by the Israeli authorities to indict Ms. Issawi to be subjected to rigorous examination and testing, in accordance with Israel’s duty under international human rights law to protect Ms. Issawi’s right to a fair trial.
Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights of the UK and Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, Ramallah Palestine

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Judith Laitman: A Jewish grandmother’s plea to Barack Obama

JUDITH LAITMAN, Cap Times, Jul 25, 2014

I’ve learned a few things during my more than seven decades on this planet. One of the most important is that when we are witness to evil and we do nothing about it, then we are complicit in that evil.

As a Jew born in 1942, I was imbued with the idea that Israel was a homeland for my people, who had been so horribly treated in the Holocaust. Today, that ideal has been destroyed, as Israel has become not so much a sanctuary for the victimized as a victimizer itself.

Today, I reject the idea that Israel has anything at all to do with my faith, or the values that it taught me. Today, my heart aches as I watch the mighty military power of Israel once again bombing the citizens of Gaza. And so I make my plea:

Mr. Obama, you say that Israel has every right to defend itself from Hamas rockets, and that no country in the world would put up with this. But that argument wrongly assumes an equivalence in power. It also assumes that Hamas committed the first act of war and Israel is merely responding. Neither of these assumptions is true.

Though Israel relocated its Jewish settlers from Gaza to the West Bank in 2006, it never relinquished control of the area. It controls everything that goes in and out, limiting the movement of people, restricting necessities like electricity, food, gas, and medical and building supplies. Under international law, Gaza is still occupied. Many people have referred to Gaza, with its 1.8 million residents, as the largest open-air prison in the world.

In the current conflict, Israel keeps telling us it is just responding to attacks from Hamas. According to the last cease-fire, signed in 2012, Israel was to open border crossings and ease the siege on Gaza. Israel broke that cease-fire just days after it was arranged, by firing on Palestinian fishermen, killing two. This pattern has continued with Israel shooting into Gaza at will, resulting in the death and injury of many Palestinian civilians even as Hamas for the most part upheld the cease-fire. Israel never did ease the siege, and so it has never upheld the cease-fire agreement. In fact, a siege and all it entails is considered an act of war in international law. No people would put up with that without resistance.

In the West Bank, where no rockets are fired, Palestinians have endured countless acts of aggression by Israel, including the demolition of hundreds of homes, the destruction of thousands of olive trees, mass arrests without charge, hundreds of checkpoints, an apartheid wall that separates Palestinians from their own territory, and ever-expanding Jewish-only roads and settlements on Palestinian land. International law states that all of these actions are illegal activity by an occupying power.

This has trapped us in an endless cycle of violence and oppression. It continues because the U.S. government continues to repeat Israel’s propaganda points, provides cover for Israel’s crimes in the U.N., and sends Israel billions in military aid every year.

Mr. Obama, you have the power to change this situation by lending your moral support to the oppressed, instead of the oppressor. Here’s one idea: Get on Air Force One and go to that Gaza beach where four boys were slaughtered. Or visit the now-leveled neighborhood of Shujayea, where the Israeli military just indiscriminately massacred more than 70 men, women and children.

There, make a speech to the world.

You are the most powerful man in the world. So why are you choosing to not use your power? What are you afraid of? Would donations dry up for the Democratic Party? Would you be criticized? Do any of these things matter more than the life of a single Palestinian child, or the future of a whole generation of Palestinian children?

If Nelson Mandela had worried about such things, where would South Africa be today? If Lyndon Johnson had worried about Southern Democratic votes, when would we have ever had civil rights legislation? These men made their mark on history not by doing what was politically expedient, but by doing what was right.

Now it is your time to choose. You can continue on your current course as Israel’s apologist-in-chief, or you can give hope to millions of people living under oppression. In just over two years, you will not have this power. I’ve learned a few things about regret in my life. You will almost certainly regret not using your current power to end the lies that you are now perpetuating.

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Call to action: Join Palestinian political prisoner’s day

Free all Palestinian political prisoners!
Tell Bill Gates to Divest from G4S!

g4s3 April 2014, Occupied Ramallah – Addameer and the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee call on campaigners and people of conscience to take action Palestinian prisoner’s day on April 17 to stand in solidarity with Palestinian political prisoners.

The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, the biggest charitable foundation in the world, owns shares in Israeli prison contractor G4S worth more than $170m. Join us in calling on them to divest their shares!

Over 5,000 Palestinians are currently held in Israeli prisons, including 183 children and 175 held under administrative detention, a form of detention without trial that Israel uses to hold Palestinians indefinitely on secret information.

Each year the Israeli military arrests thousands of Palestinians in an attempt to suppress any resistance to its continued occupation and apartheid policies. Among these are hundreds of children as young as 12 years old. In too many cases Palestinian children are tortured, ill-treated, placed in solitary confinement and coerced into signing a confession in Hebrew, a language which most Palestinian children do not understand. Every year approximately 1,000 children are sentenced in Israeli military courts.

Night raids are the most common form of arrest, during which Israeli soldiers will ransack an individual’s house, destroying personal property and abusing physically abusing family members. The arrested person will then be handcuffed and blindfolded before being thrown into the back of an Israeli military jeep, face-down, where the beatings, insults and humiliation will continue.

Under Israeli military law, Palestinians can be interrogated for a period of 90 days and denied access to a lawyer for the first 60 days. Since 1967, 73 Palestinian detainees have died as a result of torture while under Israeli interrogation, the most recent of which was Arafat Jaradat, who was tortured to death in a G4S-secured interrogation centre in February 2013.

We urge people to take action on Palestinian prisoner’s day on April 17 to stand in solidarity with the struggle of Palestinian political prisoners.

Addameer’s new video on G4S:

Stop G4S – Tell Bill Gates to divest now!

Two years ago, on the eve of the mass hunger strike by more than 2,000 Palestinian political prisoners, Addameer and other Palestinian organisations called for a campaign against G4S, the British security company that runs and providessecurity services and equipment at Israel’s prisons.

As part of the rapidly growing boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, campaigns against G4S are now underway in more than a dozen countries. Universities, banks, charities and trade unions across the world havecancelled contracts with G4S because of its role in Israel’s abhorrent prison system, costing G4S millions of dollars. Feeling the pressure, G4S has tried to make statements distancing itself from Israel’s prison system.

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