Palestine

Palestinians have upped the stakes in their struggle for freedom and justice on the anniversary of al-Nakba (“The Castrophe”), as Palestinains refer to the ethnic cleansing that accompnied the founding of Israel in 1948).

Israel responded with lethal repression.

A ferocious media campaign, led by the Murdoch press, has been unleashed against Sydney’s Marrickville Council over a motion it passed endorsing the global campaign of boycott, disinvestment and sanctions targetting Israel. The council debated the motion, which was originally supported by all Greens and Labor Party councillors, on April 19.

Much of the hysteria surrounding the support of Sydney’s Marrickville Council for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel has focused on the comparison made by the global BDS campaign with the former apartheid system in South Africa.

Pro-Israel politicians and propagandists are quite aware of the power of the comparison. By describing a system where one part of the population has democracy and another doesn’t, it takes away Israel’s claim to legitimacy as a “Jewish democracy”.

Below is an extract of a letter Archbishop Desmond Tutu sent to the student leaders at UC Berkeley in March 2010 regarding Berkeley’s decision to divest from Israel.

* * *

I am writing to tell you that, despite what detractors may allege, you are doing the right thing. You are doing the moral thing. You are doing that which is incumbent on you as humans who believe that all people have dignity and rights, and that all those being denied their dignity and rights deserve the solidarity of their fellow human beings.

Israeli forces have sealed the occupied West Bank village of Beit Ommar since March 24 for an indefinite time.

Soldiers continue to arrest young Palestinian residents and hold them in Israeli detention centres.

In a move akin to the four-year-long economic blockade against the Gaza Strip, Israeli soldiers have closed the six entrances to the village of 17,000 inhabitants.

It has imposed a widespread prohibition policy against all major imports and exports from the village. This includes gasoline, produce, raw industrial materials and basic supplies.

This went up on IS singer Macy Gray's Facebook page on January 17:

"I'm booked for 2 shows in Tel Aviv. I'm getting a lot of letters from activists urging/begging me to boycott by NOT performing in protest of Apartheid against the Palestinians. What the Israeli government is doing to the Palestinians is disgusting, but I wanna go. I gotta lotta fans there I don't want to cancel on and I don't know how my NOT going changes anything. What do you think? Stay or go?"

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange said that over the next six months, Wikileaks will be releasing more files related to Israel.

“There are 3,700 files related to Israel and the source of 2,700 files is Israel,” he told Al-Jazeera on December 22. “The Guardian, El Pais and Le Monde have published only two percent of the files related to Israel due to the sensitive relations between Germany, France and Israel.”

More than 100 Palestine solidarity activists gathered in Melbourne over October 29-31 for Australia's first national BDS conference.

Palestinian civil society groups called for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel five years ago. The BDS campaign demands an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine, the dismantlement of the separation wall in the West Bank, equal rights for Palestinian citizens of Israel, and the right of return for Palestinian refugees.

Anna Baltzer is a US activist who worked in Palestine with the International Women's Peace Service documenting human rights abuses. She is author of Witness in Palestine: A Jewish American Woman in the Occupied Territories.

PERTH — Jewish American author Anna Baltzer spoke to a packed audience of more than 100 people at a forum hosted by Friends of Palestine WA on October 21.

She began by explaining that there were differences between the words "Jewish" (relating to faith or kinship), "Israeli" (relating to citizenship in the state of Israel) and "Zionist" (a political ideology).

Most of her presentation documented the illegal occupation of Palestinian land sponsored by the state of Israel and the effects of that occupation.

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