Seattle Port Demonstration Against Apartheid

Aisha Mansour‎, The Palestine Solidarity Committee – Seattle, June 13, 2021

Thank you for your readiness to mobilize Seattle! After our successful action yesterday and rally today, we have prevented the ZIM San Diego from unloading for another day!

SSA President Edward DeNike has asked the ZIM San Diego to leave the Port of Seattle but ZIM is refusing. Let’s show apartheid profiteer ZIM what people power can do! Stay tuned for more updates. No mobilization tomorrow morning. Text to subscribe to our alerts (833) 584 – 1948.


BDS Is Gaining Momentum With #BlockTheBoat Actions in Oakland and Seattle, Yoav Litvin, Truthout, June 11, 2021

Israeli soldiers killed 16-year-old Mohammad today

Defense for Children Palestine, June 11, 2021

Israeli forces shot and killed 16-year-old Mohammad Said Mohammad Hamayel with a live bullet to the chest this afternoon in Beita, a village southeast of the occupied West Bank city of Nablus.

When Mohammad was killed, Beita village residents were protesting against a new illegal Israeli outpost recently established on the village’s land. In the last month, Israeli settlers have established a new illegal outpost, Evyatar, on lands belonging to Beita and two other Palestinian villages.

Read and share Mohammad’s story »

Palestinian children grow up in a hyper-militarized context, where Israeli soldiers confront protesters with live ammunition and armed settlers take over land that has belonged to their families for generations. Too often, Palestinian children’s lives are cut short by Israeli forces who kill with impunity. Systemic impunity has fostered an environment where Israeli forces know no bounds.

Mohammad is the eighth Palestinian child shot and killed by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank this year. We mourn with his family and community and remain committed to documenting and exposing these grave human rights violations against Palestinian children. Thank you so much for your solidarity and support.

In solidarity,

Ayed Abu Eqtaish
Accountability Program Director
Defense for Children International – Palestine

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Rep. Pocan on Israeli police violence at Sheikh Jarrah


Israeli forces detain a man after storming Palestinian houses whose families face eviction in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of East Jerusalem, 4 May 2021 (AFP)

Lubna Masarwa, Mustafa Abu Sneineh, Middle East Eye, 5 May 2021

Israeli military police stormed Palestinian houses in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of occupied East Jerusalem on Tuesday evening, attacking activists taking part in a sit-in solidarity protest with residents facing imminent eviction.

Three Palestinians were arrested and six injured, local sources told Middle East Eye. The Red Crescent reported that two Palestinians had been hospitalised.

Since the beginning of 2020, Israeli courts have ordered the eviction of 13 Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah, a residential area less than a kilometre away from the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem.

Muna al-Kurd, who was attacked on Tuesday evening, told MEE that if Israeli police and settlers take over their houses, “then they will take the whole neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah”.

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Cornel West on Palestine

Useful Idiots, Apr 30, 2021

Friend-of-show Dr. Cornel West has been in the news a lot of late, and not always in a happy way. At the end of February, the brilliant professor of Philosophy, Divinity, and African-American studies announced he was leaving his longtime employers at Harvard University, and moving back to Union Theological Seminary, where he began his teaching career back in 1977. Harvard denied his request to be considered for tenure, apparently for political reasons.

On Useful Idiots, West talked about the likely reasons behind Harvard’s decision (outspokenness on Palestine?), Joe Biden’s first 100 days, and the influence of his late mother Irene B. West.

Also: Matt and Katie debate how many Secret Service agents it takes to get Mike Pence up a ski hill, we denounce the deeply unfunny campaign against the #YangGang​, and we give detailed reviews of all of the movies nominated for Best Picture from this year’s Academy Awards ceremony (without seeing them of course). Is Nomadland a space adventure? Is Mank a misspelled fur-bearing animal? What’s the over/under on debilitating-disease themes for next year’s Oscars?

We explore all these important questions, and more, on this week’s Useful Idiots.

April 14, 2021
Webinar: The Movement Will Not Be Censored

On Wednesday, April 14, join us for a powerhouse event on Palestine advocacy and how to push back against attacks on the movement.

The panel will feature Sumaya Awad of Adalah Justice Project, Beth Miller of Jewish Voice for Peace Action, and Palestine Legal client and Florida State University student Ahmad Daraldik. Senior staff attorney Meera Shah will be moderating.

Register Here to receive a reminder and link to the webinar and to submit your questions for the panel.

You can also watch without registering on the sponsors' Facebook pages:

The Eighth Circuit’s Narrow Decision About Arkansas BDS

One provision has been invalidated, but the general ban on boycotts of Israel by most state government contractors still stands.

An Arkansas statute generally bans the government from contracting with companies that are boycotting Israel. It defines such boycotts as

  • “engaging in refusals to deal,
  • terminating business activities,
  • or other actions that are intended to limit commercial relations with Israel, or persons or entities doing business in Israel or in Israeli-controlled territories, in a discriminatory manner” (bullets added).

District Court Judge Brian S. Miller refused to issue a preliminary injunction against the statute, and granted the state’s motion to dismiss the challenge. The court concluded that “other actions …” should be read as dealing with other commercial behavior, and not, say, speech urging boycotts:

While the statute also defines a boycott to include “other actions that are intended to limit commercial relations with Israel,” this restriction does not include criticism of Act 710 or Israel, calls to boycott Israel, or other types of speech. Familiar canons of statutory interpretation, such as constitutional avoidance and [ejusdem] generis [“[w]here general words follow specific words in a statutory enumeration, the general words are construed to embrace only objects similar in nature to those objects enumerated by the preceding specific words”], counsel in favor of interpreting “other actions” to mean commercial conduct similar to the listed items.

And as thus limited to commercial behavior, the court held, the statute likely didn’t violate the First Amendment. (Michael Dorf, Andrew Koppelman, and I filed an amicus brief on appeal agreeing that the law is constitutional if read as limited to commercial refusals to deal.)

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Illinois faculty rejects efforts to suppress Palestinian freedom

Criticism of Israel is not antisemitism
Grave implications for free speech, distracts from actual racism

UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS AT URBANA-CHAMPAIGN. (INSTAGRAM)

OPEN LETTER, Mondoweiss, DECEMBER 23, 2020

As faculty and staff within the University of Illinois system, we are writing to renew our outrage at the rampant anti-Semitism and racism at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. We condemn all forms of racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, anti-Blackness, xenophobia, and other forms of hatred and dehumanization.

We are also deeply concerned about the way anti-Semitism is defined in a joint statement issued by UIUC, the Jewish United Fund, Hillel groups, and the Brandeis Center in response to complaints that these avowedly pro-Israel groups filed against the University based on student speech and activism for Palestinian human rights.

Specifically, the statement identifies incidents “that demonize or delegitimize Jewish and pro-Israel students…[or] subjects them to double standards” as expressions of anti-Semitism. This conflation of Jewish religious and ethnic identity with a viewpoint that supports the state of Israel or Zionism as a political ideology is a dangerous tactic that is expressly aimed at silencing any and all debate about Israel and Zionism on college campuses.

The way that anti-Semitism is defined in UIUC’s statement correlates with a definition that has been pushed by pro-Israel groups in legislatures, agencies, and institutions around the country and that was adopted by Donald Trump in an executive order issued in 2019. Those same groups have often funded Islamophobia across this country and have allied themselves with right wing organizations. The definition itself is uncontroversial, but it is accompanied by several illustrative examples intended to guide its interpretation and use. For instance, critiques of Israel as a racist state are treated as expressions of anti-Semitism. As the Brandeis Center has said explicitly in the complaint it filed against UIUC, the definition means that: “anti-Zionism is a contemporary form of anti-Semitism.”

The political project to equate criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism is harmful on several levels, and we urge the University of Illinois administration to reject this effort because of the grave implications it has for academic freedom and student free speech on our campuses, the way it distracts from actual racism happening on our campuses, and the ironic consequence of creating an anti-Palestinian/Arab/Muslim environment on campus by targeting students for expressing their experiences and views.

1) The harm to academic freedom and student speech

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Biden needs to reverse Pompeo on Israel/Palestine


U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu make a joint statement after meeting in Jerusalem, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo, Pool)

Tsela Barr and Jeff Spitzer-Resnick, The Cap Times, Dec 4, 2020

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in another lame-duck effort to tie the hands of the incoming administration and give a parting gift to the far right in Israel and to right-wing Christian Evangelicals at home, has just poured kerosene on the fire of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The most senior U.S. official ever to publicly visit an Israeli settlement on occupied Palestinian land in the West Bank, Pompeo proclaimed that settlement-produced goods imported to the U.S. will no longer be labeled as they had previously been, “made in West Bank/Gaza.” Instead, they can now be labeled “made in Israel,” despite the fact that neither U.S. law, nor the United Nations, recognizes Israel’s de facto annexation of large swaths of Palestinian territory.

Trump and Pompeo hope to drive one more nail in the coffin of long-standing official U.S. policy, which, while not sufficiently supportive of the aspirations of the Palestinians for legitimate self-governance on their own land, at least until now has held the settlement enterprise to be illegal, illegitimate, counterproductive to the cause of regional peace and stability, and even damaging to Israel’s own interests.

But there is an even more dangerous part of Pompeo’s pronouncements: that henceforth, the U.S. will officially label the international grassroots movement known as Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) as anti-Semitic and will create what amounts to a blacklist of organizations that support it.

The BDS movement is an international effort by millions of people to try to pressure the Israeli government to respect the human, political and economic rights of Palestinians. It is inspired by a similar movement that targeted and helped overthrow apartheid rule in South Africa.

While, as American Jews, we have serious concerns about rising anti-Semitism, which is traditionally defined as hostility to, prejudice toward, or discrimination against Jews, we are united in opposition to labeling BDS (or other criticism of Israeli policies), as anti-Semitic and even worse, to using the power of governments at all levels to outlaw or punish the BDS movement.

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Pompeo Labels BDS Antisemitic, Threatens Blacklist

This week Pompeo broke with longstanding U.S. policy and visited illegal Israeli settlements. On his trip, he made several announcements, including that the State Department is designating BDS as antisemitic and calling for the U.S. Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism to create what is essentially a blacklist of organizations that support BDS. We will have more on this soon, but for now:

  • Please share the JVP Action statement condemning this widely (this is compliant to share on chapter lists and chapter social media). You can also re-share our petition to the State Department on this issue.
  • Here are other statements you can check out and lift up: