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May 6, 2016 / 28 Nisan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Divestment and Sanctions’

40 Columbia University Faculty Sign Anti-Israel BDS Petition

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016

Dozens of faculty members at Columbia University have signed a petition calling upon their employer to “divest from corporations that supply, perpetuate and profit from a system that has subjugated the Palestinian people.”

The 40 signatories proclaimed their solidarity on the petition with Columbia University Apartheid Divest, Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace.

CUAD demanded last month the university divest from eight corporations that “profit from the State of Israel’s ongoing system of settler colonialism, military occupation and apartheid law” as part of the BDS movement, the Columbia Spectator reported.

“As both scholars and community members, we are professionally, intellectually, and morally invested in our University. We deem it our duty to hold our institution accountable for the ethical implications of its own actions, notably its financial investments and their implications around the world,” the petition said.

“In particular, we take issue with our financial involvements in institutions associated with the State of Israel’s military occupation of Palestinian lands, continued violations of Palestinian human rights, systematic destruction of life and property, inhumane segregation and systemic forms of discrimination.”

As a policy, the University does not comment on specific holdings in its endowment portfolio.

Hana Levi Julian

SodaStream Forced to Lay Off Last PA Workers Thanks to Terror & BDS

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

The SodaStream plant in Lehavim was forced to lay off the remaining 74 Arab workers Monday who had transferred with the company in October from the Palestinian Authority.

SodaStream produces a small machine for homemakers to create their own fizzy drinks.

There was no choice. SodaStream had been forced to move from its site on the “other” side of the 1949 Armistice Line due to pressure from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement ending the jobs of 500 PA workers.

A boycott of Israeli products in PA-controlled territories had proved effective, persuading SodaStream there was no point in remaining in the area.

The BDS coordinator in the PA capital city of Ramallah – Mahmoud Nawaja’a – called the loss of the jobs at SodaStream “part of the price that should be paid in the process of ending the occupation.” But then, Nawaja’a was not one of those who lost his livelihood.

Last year’s European Union labeling requirements forcing Israeli companies to indicate whether their products were made in areas outside of pre-1967 Israel only aided and abetted the BDS boycotts.

The welcome move by the British government last month to ban the public sector boycotts of Israeli suppliers came too late for SodaStream’s PA Arab workers.

In addition, after the start of the terror wave, Israel cut off work permits because many of the murderous terrorists attacking innocent civilians were found to be PA residents with work permits and no criminal records.

That was the employment death knell for the PA workers who had been able to move with the company to its new location in Lehavim.

“There is no hope in Palestine,” Anas Abdul Wadud Ghayth told Voice of America. Ghayth is one of the Arab workers from the Palestinian Authority. “There is little work; we can’t be happy there like we were happy here.”

The company said it would fight to get the work permits back for its PA Arab employees.

“If the government of Israel does not allow the Palestinians to get to their jobs, I will bring those jobs to the Palestinians. That is not a threat. It is a fact,” said Daniel Birnbaum, SodaStream’s CEO.

According to the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), 58,000 Palestinian Authority residents still hold permits to work in Israel. Another 27,000 are working for Israeli businesses in Jewish communities and industrial zones in Judea and Samaria.

Hana Levi Julian

Canada Formally Condemns Anti- Israel BDS Movement

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016

The Canadian Parliament voted overwhelmingly Monday afternoon (229-51) to formally condemn the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. The historic motion was a wall-to-wall rejection of BDS by the representatives of the Canadian people.

Both Liberals and Conservatives backed the motion “That, given Canada and Israel share a long history of friendship as well as economic and diplomatic relations, the House reject the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which promotes the demonization and delegitimization of the State of Israel, and call upon the government to condemn any and all attempts by Canadian organizations, groups or individuals to promote the BDS movement, both here at home and abroad.”

Canada has for years stood beside Israel against the onslaught of the new anti-Semitism that began to creep up on campuses across North America and in Europe.

Former Prime Minister Stephen Harper was present to cast his ballot against the movement together with the rest of his Conservative colleagues. Tom Muclair, leader of the NDP, opposed it, according to CIJ News.

Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion declared after announcing the Liberals would also condemn BDS, “The world will win nothing by boycotting Israel, but depriving itself of the talents of its inventiveness.”

Liberal candidate Michael Levitt said during a February 18 debate that “BDS is about intolerance. It’s a broader movement to… collectively punish all Israelis by holding Israel alone responsible for the Arab-Israeli conflict. Whereas anti-Semites have long targeted Jews throughout the world as the root of all society’s ills, this new form of anti-Semitism targets Israel as the Jew among the nations, singling out the Jewish State as the root of all ills in the world.”

During the same debate, Liberal MP Anthony Housefather noted that the BDS movement is “asking for the disappearance of the State of Israel. BDS is saying that all Palestinian refugees must have the right of return to what is today Israel, which would automatically create a situation where we would not have a two-state solution. We would have a one-state solution where Israel was not a majority Jewish State…. the only one in the whole entire world, and that is wrong. BDS, which again singles out Israel, is not looking at all those other countries in the world that engage in egregious human rights violations… The whole idea of holding Israel to a higher moral standard than anyone else is clearly anti-Semitic,” he said.

MP Jeff Watson called the BDS movement “hateful and deceitful.” He denounced “this new anti-Semitism which is poisoning our Canadian campuses.”

Hana Levi Julian

University of Missouri Students Kill Anti-Zionist Course

Sunday, June 14th, 2015

A University of Missouri (MU) fall 2015 honors tutorial that pro-Israel students felt would promote bigotry and misinformation on their college campus has been cancelled because of lack of interest.

“Perspectives on Zionism” was scheduled to be taught by self-proclaimed “post-Zionist” and “Nakba Jew-in-law” George Smith, a tenured biology professor who pushed for a curriculum that the instructor himself said would have included works by anti-Zionist authors such as Ilan Pappé. Smith also has accused Israel of ethnic cleansing.

The pro-Israel community welcomed the news of the course’s cancellation. and Destiny G. Albritton, former president of MU’s Christians United for Israel (CUFI) campus chapter, said:

I can now walk away with the knowledge that there is no interest among students [at MU] to take biased classes like Smith’s.

Smith has written dozens of columns and letters to the editor in the local and campus newspapers in Columbia, Md., equating Israel’s Independence Day with a Palestinian version of Holocaust Remembrance Day. He uses phrases such as “Zionist mythology” and accuses Israel of “colonization of the Occupied Palestinian Territories.”

He shows up at pro-Israel events and heckles the speakers. Earlier this year, when 25-year-old Israel Defense Forces reservist Hen Mazzig spoke at MU as part of the StandWithUs Israeli Soldiers Tour of the Midwest, Smith heckled him from the audience with hostile questions and accusations.

“[He said], ‘Why do you kill Palestinians? How many U.N. schools have you attacked?” Mazzig told the Chicago Tribune. “And at the end, he came to me and said, ‘How can you come here and defend Ashkenazi Jews—white Eastern European Jews—when you are an Arab Jew?’”

MU alum Daniel Swindell said Smith brought flyers to a talk by the Sderot Media Center’s Noam Bedein that made a joke out of the thousands of rockets that have been launched at Israel.

Smith has used his tenure to bring in anti-Israel speakers with university funding. Recently, six university depart-ments sponsored a talk by author Saree Makdisi, who has said it is more important to eliminate the Jewish state than to create a Palestinian one.

“He uses his reputation to get several departmental sponsors,” Albritton told JNS.org. “But when Students Sup-porting Israel or CUFI asks these same departments to co-sponsor events, we wither don’t hear back or we hear, ‘we cannot help you.’ It’s not fair.”

Smith disagrees and told JNS:

I do go to pro-Zionist meetings, but I don’t disrupt. I am just vocal with my questions. People have freedom of speech. Our university does not sensor our political speech—or any other kind of speech.

“The University of Missouri is not a hot bed of anti-Semitism or BDS (the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement),” Karen Aroesty, Missouri/Southern Illinois regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, told JNS.org. Until recently, the impact Smith had on campus was, in Aroesty’s words, “minimal.”

The honors tutorial, however, created tension.

“When I saw the roster of what honors tutorial would be offered in the fall and I saw that George wanted to teach this class, I immediately spread the word around,” said Albritton. “George [Smith] is not qualified to teach the class. His background is in biology. He has no background in international relations. His only interested in Zionism is that he has been a virulent anti-Zionist activist.”

Nancy West, director of MU’s Honors College, told JNS.org that honors tutorials are different than courses offered under the normal curriculum of the university. They are one-credit electives taught by instructors with “expertise in the subject area,” but not necessarily with credentials. Courses are reviewed by a faculty, staff, and student cur-riculum committee that reads the syllabus and interviews the teacher. According to university spokeswoman Mary Jo Banken, Smith’s class was approved by the committee with a vote of eight to four, with two abstentions. An affidavit is being prepared by Jewish community activists, in conjunction with the university legal department, that would help ensure Smith will be turned down next time he tries to teach about Zionism.

JNS News Service

Rabbis Equate BDS Movement with Biblical Theft, Murder

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

The Rabbinical Alliance of America – a major American mainstream rabbinic organization – has equated support for the BDS movement with being an accessory to Biblical theft and murder.

The organization urged fellow Jews to reject absolutely the ‘boycott, divestment and sanctions’ movement against Israel rather than risk transgressions of those and other Biblical prohibitions.

The 800-member organization warned in a statement issued at its recent rabbinic convocation there is a “rising tide of anti-Semitism worldwide and [the] anti-Jewish rhetoric associated with the BDS movement against the people and the State of Israel.”

In addition, the RAA said the goals of the BDS movement are so toxic they actually contravene Biblical standards for anyone who considers themselves ‘People of the Book,’ be they Jewish or not.

The movement “contravenes Biblical scripture and undermines the very foundations that assure a just and moral society for all people,” said the RAA.

“The Rabbinical Alliance views this movement as being malevolent in calling Israel an apartheid state as it utilizes inflammatory language to delegitimize the basic human rights of the Jewish people for self-determination and to live amongst its neighbors in security and safety.

“The Rabbinical Alliance calls upon members of the Jewish faith and all people of good will to reject the BDS movement in all of its variations as its goal is to harm the safety and security of the Jewish people in Israel, as well as impact its hard working Jewish citizens and Arab residents from earning their livelihood and being able to export their products to other regions of the globe.

“Any action in support of the … movement is tantamount to transgressing numerous Biblical prohibitions of theft, denial of gainful employment, the utilization of unjust weights and measurements and is considered to be a contributing factor to the very serious transgression of the shedding of blood (murder) of a fellow human being,” the rabbis wrote.

Hana Levi Julian

On Israel’s President’s Conference

Sunday, June 9th, 2013

 I would, in retaliation, host Saudi Arabia, Iran and Pakistan “Apartheid Weeks.” Stephen Hawking has, apparently, no issues speaking in China and Iran, two countries with appalling human rights records. No one speaks about BDS of Saudi Arabia, where the list of human rights violations is endless. Where were their voices? Or Pakistan, with religious minorities facing persecution and violence against women? No one asked me to cancel my trip to Pakistan.

Recently I received an email from “a Palestinian in Vancouver,” in Canada, asking me to boycott Israel’s annual Presidential Conference, “Facing Tomorrow,” soon in Jerusalem, where I have been invited to speak.

The request for my boycott citied as reasons Israel’s human rights violations and mentioned that as Stephen Hawking boycotted the conference, perhaps I should, as well.

My response to my Palestinian friend is that the first time I was invited to speak at this conference three years ago, I went, hesitantly, not knowing what it was all about. I was so enthused by both my visit to Israel and the conference that I wrote extensively about the experience on my blog, and later named my own Not-for-Profit Organization “Muslims Facing Tomorrow” with an idea that one day, I would host a similar conference about ideas and a vision for a better tomorrow.

Upon my return, I praised the country and the people, but many of my Muslim friends were not interested in knowing these details. They only asked, “Were there any Palestinians at the conference and was the Israel-Palestinian issue discussed?” I was happy to respond that yes, there were Palestinians at the conference; I had even brought home a book on Islam from one of the Palestinian speakers there.

About human rights violations: granted that Israel, like every other country, has violations — but far fewer than those of the countries surrounding it. Israel is still the only liberal democracy in the area where one can find gender equality and freedom for its citizens. During my visits to Israel, I have, in fact, questioned Israeli Arabs and found that they are loath to leave the country where they enjoy freedom and human rights.

As I am accredited to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, where I attend its sessions twice a year, I have a close connection with human rights. At the UNHRC, I hear a lot about humanitarian crises, and these do not include Israel. The OIC (Organization of Islamic Co-operation), for instance, – a group of 57 Arab and Muslim States which has a permanent delegation to the United Nations and is the largest international organization outside the United Nations — continuously slams and blames Israel for everything happening in the Arab and Muslim world and beyond. This incrimination of Israel has become the norm, and can be seen as a ruse to deflect or move focus away from the real problems besetting the Arab world.

BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) against Israel is also not a new movement, but has taken on a life of its own at academic institutions all over North America. This movement has led to “Israel Apartheid Week” events, ugly and nonsensical, at many universities. If I were a student, I would, in retaliation, host Saudi Arabia, Iran and Pakistan “Apartheid Weeks.” But I know that is not the solution to the problems besetting these countries, and the crux of the issue is how freedom of speech can become the fine line between hate mongering and truth.

This incrimination also highlights the double standards held by academics such as Stephen Hawking: he had no issues, apparently, speaking in China and Iran, two countries that have appalling human rights records. But that is his problem.

My problem is that I am from Pakistan, a country where the word human rights has no meaning or recognition whatsoever. According to the Human Rights Watch World Report on Pakistan for 2012, Pakistan had a disastrous year — including increasing attacks on civilians by militant groups, religious minorities facing unprecedented insecurity and persecution, and where freedom of belief and expression are coming under severe threat as the presence of Islamists has grown by leaps and bounds. This does not even begin to address violations against women. The Aurat Foundation, a local women’s rights group in Pakistan, says the number of incidents of violence against women in Pakistan has increased at least seven percent over the past year.

Raheel Raza

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/on-israels-presidents-conference/2013/06/09/

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