9 February 2013
Palestinians call for a boycott of Israeli diamonds
Over 50 Palestinian organisations, representing a cross-section of Palestinian civil society, including women’s groups and trade unions, and international organisations in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for equality, justice and an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine, have issued an appeal to women and men of conscience and jewellers worldwide to reject diamonds processed in Israel.
The Palestinian civil society organizations and international solidarity groups call upon:
1. Jewellers worldwide to immediately end the trade in diamonds processed in Israel, and
2. women and men of conscience the world over to reject diamonds from Israel which fund a military regime that murders, maims and terrorises innocent men, women and children with impunity.
Samir Abed-Rabbo, a coordinator of the campaign for a global rejection of Israeli diamonds said: “Revenue from Israel’s diamond industry is a major source of funding for the Israeli military which stands accused of war crimes by the UN Human Rights Council, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. Diamonds processed in Israel evade the human rights strictures of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme which only bans ‘conflict diamonds’ or rough diamonds used by rebel groups to finance conflicts against legitimate governments.”
Pointing out the repeated refusal of the Kimberley Process to ban all blood diamonds he said: “The failure of the Kimberley Process to broaden the definition of a “conflict diamond” and ban polished diamonds that fund war crimes means that diamond purchasers are being sold blood diamonds, which are falsely labelled conflict-free by jewellers, including most, if not all, of the world’s most iconic jewellery establishments.”
Decrying the lack of security for Palestinians he continued: “International governments, the US and EU in particular, have failed to protect Palestinians from Israel’s diamond-funded military which last November killed 170 Palestinians, mainly civilians, including 33 children and in the last four weeks shot and killed six unarmed Palestinians. He said: “Diamonds are Israel’s most important manufacturing export commodity; accounting for 30% of Israel’s manufacturing exports. Without revenue from the diamond industry Israel could not afford the financial burden of the illegal occupation, construction of Jewish colonies on Palestinian lands and the brutal subjugation of the Palestinian people. ”
He concluded by calling on diamond-purchasers to: “be wary of claims by jewellers that “ethically sourced” or “responsibly sourced” diamonds are conflict-free, as the diamonds may still be blood diamonds if they were cut and polished in Israel where diamond-revenue funds a regime guilty of war crimes. Consumers should demand to know where a diamond was cut and polished as well as where it was sourced.” They need to be aware that when they buy a diamond processed in Israel it is tarnished with the blood of innocent Palestinian men, women and children.
This call is endorsed by the following Palestinian and International organisations:
1. The Association of Women Committees for Social Work (AWCSW)
2. The Society of Women Graduates
3. The Palestinian Development Women Studies Association
4. Center for Women’s Legal Research and Consulting
5. Women’s Affairs Center
6. Community Media Center
7. SemSem – Association for Relief and Development
8. Palestinian Association for Development and Reconstruction
9. Creative Women Forum
10. Muslim Women Association
11. Palestinian Association for Development and Heritage Protection
12. Al-Mustaqbal Society for Development
13. Afak Center for Women
14. Women and Community Empowerment Center
15. Nour El Marefa El Khairia Association
16. Al Aqsa Sport Club
17. Samed for Relief and Development Association
18. Palestinian Association for Truth and Justice
19. Humans without Boarder and for Social Security
20. Union of the Committees of Women in the Struggle
21. Union of the Committees of Workers in the Struggle
22. The Coast for Growth and Development
23. The European Center for Studies and Documentations
24. The Union of Agricultural Workers Committees
25. Milad Association for the Development of Youth Capabilities
26. Palestinian Renaissance Society
27. Ghassan Kanafani Development Association
28. Progressive Democratic National Gathering
29. Campaign to Boycott Israeli Products
30. Labor Resources Center
31. Union of the Committees of Independent Workers
32. Akabir Group for the Art
33. CompuLife for General Services
34. Afaq Jadeeda Association
35. The Palestinian Union for Struggling Women
36. General Union of Cultural Centers
37. Union of Palestinian Engineers in the Struggle
38. Union of Palestinian Students in the Struggle
39. Progressive Students Front
40. Union of Palestinian Women
41. AL-Awda New York, The Palestinian Right to Return Coalition
42. Beit Conivencia
43. Free Gaza Movement
44. Free Palestine Movement
45. International Solidarity Movement – Northern California
46. Jews for Palestinian Right of Return
47. Labor for Palestine (US)
48. New York City Labor Against the War
49. Samidoun: Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network
50. Siegebusters Working Group
51. US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
52. US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation
53. Interfaith Committee for Palestinian Rights.
54. Friends of Deir Ibzi’a
55. Bay Area Women in Black
56. 14 Friends of Palestine
57. Al Nakba Awareness Project
58. Birmingham Peace Project
59. Corvallis-Albany Friends of Middle East Peace
61. North Texas, Boycott Divestment and Sanctions of Israel Campaign
62. St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee
63. International Women’s Peace Service
64. Free Gaza Scotland
65. Democratic Progressive Youth Union
66. Cultural Centre of Maghazi Association
67. Progressive Popular Front for Students
68. Heritage Benevolent Association
69. Al Mirsad for the Rights of Palestinian Refugees
70. The Palestinian Association for the Treatment of Addiction
71. The Arab People Union – All Branches
72. Arab People Parliament
73. Cardiff Palestine Solidarity Campaign
74. Northwest BDS Coalition
75. Palestine Solidarity Committee – Seattle
76. Madison-Rafah Sister City Project
77. Oberlin College Students for a Free Palestine
78. If Americans Knew
79. Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice
80. Women for Palestine (Gaza)
81. Australians for Palestine
82. Women for Palestine (Australia)
83. Coalition for a Free Palestine (South Africa)
84. Canada Palestine Association
85. Voice of Palestine (Canada)
86. Innovative Minds (inminds.com)
87. Leeds Palestine Solidarity Campaign
88. Trade Union Friends of Palestine (Ireland)
89. Centre for Civil Society Economic Justice Project, Durban, South Africa
90. The National Union of Families of Martyrs
91. Palestinian Media Forum
92. The Palestinian Youth Coalition in Lebanon
For comment contact:
Samir Abed-Rabbo – USA – 001- 972-810-7285
Nasir Hammad – Palestine – 00-972-599-454-744
Sean Clinton – Europe – 353-87-2725300
Notes for Editors
Sunday, March 17
Nile Restaurant, Madison
5:30 pm, dinner at 6:15 pm
March 16, 2013 will mark the tenth anniversary of the killing of Rachel Corrie in Rafah in the Gaza Strip.
As we have for the last few years, MRSCP will mark this occasion with our annual dinner benefit, once again at the Nile Restaurant on Odana Road. Funds raised by the dinner will go toward the completion of our third water filtration system for Rafah schools, which will be dedicated to Rachel.
The program which follows will feature a recorded video message from Craig and Cindy Corrie and a report on what we saw and learned in our recent delegation to Gaza.
The menu will include hummus, felafel, spinach pie, cheese pie, foule, lentil soup with spinach, bread and dessert. Ticket prices are $25 per person at the door, or $22.50 if paid in advance by Tuesday, March 12. We are doing our best to keep the dinner cost as affordable as we can; we hope that those who can afford more will consider donating to the water filter project.
If you would like to attend, please RSVP to Donna Wallbaum at email@example.com or 235-7870 with the number in your party by Thursday, March 14. She will give you instructions as to paying in advance or at the door.
Space is limited, so we urge you to get your reservations in as soon as you can.
As always, thanks for your support and we look forward to seeing you on March 17.
Contact: rafahsistercity at yahoo.com
Annie Robbins, Mondoweiss, January 10, 2013
There’s a big rally coming up on Inauguration Weekend in Washington DC and we’re all invited. The “No Blank Check Rally,” sponsored by Jewish Voice for Peace, Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee and Washington Interfaith Alliance for Middle East Peace is a chance, as the promoters say, to
Tell President Obama:
Israel should not be above the law.
Condition US aid to Israel on compliance with US & international law.
No Blank Check for Israel
Rally & Candlelight Procession to the White House
Saturday January 19, 2013
4 – 6 pm EST
Rally starts at Farragut Square (Connecticut Ave., 17th and K Streets, NW)
Followed by candlelight procession down 17th Street
Ends at 17th St. and Pennsylvania Ave.—one block from White House.
So what’s it all about and why is it so important Americans show up? I spoke with Shelley Fudge, Jewish Voice for Peace DC Metro Chapter coordinator, and asked her what the No Blank Check rally was all about. She said she wanted peace in the Middle East to be on Obama’s front burner with US aid to Israel in compliance with US and International laws. ”Obama told us to make him do it at the beginning of his presidency and we’re ready. … we have to make him. We want something for our tax dollars we give Israel.”
Fudge is referring to Obama’s own description of presidential power and community organizing. As Amy Goodman said, “In Obama’s second term, hope for change rests with us, the people” and she continued:
President Obama is a former community organizer himself. What happens when the community organizer-in-chief becomes the commander-in-chief? Who does the community organizing then?
Interestingly, he offered a suggestion when speaking at a small New Jersey campaign event when he was first running for president. Someone asked him what he would do about the Middle East. He answered with a story about the legendary 20th century organizer A Philip Randolph meeting with President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Randolph described to FDR the condition of black people in America, the condition of working people. Reportedly, FDR listened intently, then replied: “I agree with everything you have said. Now, make me do it.”
That was the message Obama repeated.
There you have it. Make him do it. You’ve got an invitation from the president himself.
President Obama has asked that we make our voices heard to move his administration and Congress in the right direction. This is our chance. Israel, the biggest long-term recipient of US aid, should not be above the law.
There’s a letter to Obama with almost 50,000 signatures so far and the goal of the sponsors is to collect as many signatures as possible before Inauguration Day and deliver the letter to the president. Sign it HERE.
The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, January 9, 2013
Saturday, January 19th 2013, 4-6 pm
Rally at Farragut Square (Conn. Ave., 17th and K Streets, NW) at 4 pm
Followed by Candlelight Procession to the White House
Tell President Obama:
Israel should not be above the law.
Condition US aid to Israel on compliance with US & international law.
Sign the letter to President Obama NOW:
Sponsored by Jewish Voice for Peace, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee and Washington Interfaith Alliance for Middle East Peace
Endorsed by: Alliance for Global Justice, American University Students for Justice in Palestine, BDS LA for Justice in Palestine (Los Angelos, CA), Chicago Divests, Chicago Faith Coalition on Middle East Policy, CodePink, CodePink Arizona, Committee for Open Discussion of Zionism, Committee for Palestinian Rights (Howard County, MD), Cornell University Students for Justice in Palestine, Episcopal Peace Fellowship Palestine Israel Network, 14 Friends of Palestine, Hilton Head for Peace, Interdenominational Advocates for Peace of Ann Arbor, MI, Interfaith Peace-Builders, Israel/Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A., Jewish Voice for Peace – American University, Jewish Voice for Peace Bay Area Chapter, Jewish Voice for Peace Boston, Jewish Voice for Peace – DC Metro, Jews Say No! (New York City), Madison-Rafah Sister City Project (Madison, WI), Middle East Committee of Women Against Military Madness, Minnesota Break the Bonds, Palestine Israel Action Group of Ann Arbor Friends Meeting, Pax Christi Hilton Head, Peace Action Montgomery (Montgomery County, MD), Sabeel DC Metro, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (Boulder, CO Branch), Unitarian Universalist Church Of Kenya, Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East, United Methodists’ Holy Land Task Force, University of Maryland Students for Justice in Palestine, US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, US Palestinian Community Network – DC Chapter, Veterans for Peace – Phil Berrigan Memorial Chapter (Baltimore MD), Washington DC International Socialist Organization, Women in Black Union Square
More info here: http://tinyurl.com/NoBlankCheckForIsrael
No Blank Check for Israel Rally video: http://youtu.be/7VV4VKgOmZM
The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, PO Box 53062, Washington DC 20009. Phone: (202) 939-6050, Fax: (202) 265-4574, Toll Free: (800) 368-5788, www.wrmea.org Published by the American Educational Trust, a non-profit foundation incorporated in Washington, DC to provide the American public with balanced and accurate information concerning U.S. relations with Middle Eastern states. Material from the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs may be printed with out charge with attribution to the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs.