Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) is an annual international series of events held in over 200 cities and campuses across the globe including Canada, the U.S. and South Africa. The aim of IAW is to educate people about the nature of Israel as an apartheid system and the non-violent tactic of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns as part of a growing resistance movement.
We understand Israeli apartheid as one element of a global system of economic and military domination. To this end, we stand in solidarity with all oppressed groups around the world, in particular, indigenous communities suffering under settler colonialism, exploitation and displacement. Close to home, Idol No More has emerged as an important continuation of resistance to our own history of ethnic cleansing and colonialism in North America.
This Thursday, February 7th, Brooklyn College will hold a forum on the Boycott Divestment Sanctions movement (BDS), featuring Palestinian BDS advocate Omar Barghouti and UC-Berkeley philosopher Judith Butler. Brooklyn College has been embroiled in controversy over the past week, with staunch Israel advocate Alan Dershowitz calling the event an “anti-Israel hatefest.” A letter by almost a dozen city officials calls for Brooklyn College’s Political Science Department to withdraw their sponsorship of the event, while New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikund goes a step further by calling for President Karen Gould’s resignation.
We applaud President Gould and the Brooklyn College Political Science Department’s decision to go forth with this event, as it will highlight how important BDS is as a nonviolent tool against Israel’s grave human rights violations and illegal occupation of Palestine. The smears of anti-Semitism being used against Barghouti, Butler, and the event organizers are an attempt to silence speech that is critical of Israel’s unilateral behavior in the Middle East. That state officials are demanding a university department only sponsor speakers they approve of is not only chilling, but will set a negative precedent for all universities that receive city and state funding. BDS is being discussed on campuses throughout the world, and we must ensure that the university remains an arena where important topics can be discussed, debated, and criticized freely.
If you would like to express your support for Brooklyn College’s Political Science Department, sign the petition: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/support-academic-freedom-at-cuny/
Emad Burnat’s road to filmmaking can be described as the starting when he bought his first camera with the birth of his fourth son. Burnat wanted to film Gibrael’s childhood growing up in Bil’in–a village outside of Ramallah in the West Bank. But this is not just a home video that happens to be set in an occupied territory—it is a document of occupied life. Some of Gibrael’s first words are jesh—“soldier”, and “wall.” He doesn’t kick rocks on walks with his father and brother, but empty teargas canisters. Documenting his son’s life, Burnat also films friends and family as they protest the encroaching separation wall being built on Bi’lin’s land with weekly marches, sit-ins, the building of an outpost shelter in the path of the wall. The intensity of the IDF’s aggression increases year by year, as curfews are imposed, soldiers enter homes at night, new areas are designated “closed military zones,” and Palestinian, Israeli, and international protesters are shot. And year by year, Burnat’s cameras are broken as he documents his son growing up and his village shrinking.
In an impressive victory for the American BDS movement, Veolia Water North America withdrew as a prospective bidder for a California water contract totaling $325 million. The Davis Committee of Palestinian Rights (DCPR), with the help of the citizens of Yolo County, effectively campaigned against Veolia’s participation in the bidding process, pointing to Veolia’s profiteering from Israeli occupation and abuse of Palestinian human rights.
Veolia’s complicity with Israel’s war crimes and violations of international law has made it a prime target for international BDS activists. It won the contract to build and maintain the Jerusalem Light Rail project, which aims at separating Jerusalem from the West Bank. Additionally, Veolia operates bus routes for Israeli settlers, allowing them to shuttle between Israeli cities and illegal settlements in the West Bank. Over the last decade, Palestinians and international human rights activists have contested Veolia’s operation of the Tovlan Landfill in the occupied Jordan Valley, built upon stolen Palestinian land.
Importantly, this victory in California represents one in a chain of high-profile losses suffered by Veolia as a result of the BDS Campaign. In London, the No2 Veolia Action Group led a well-organized campaign that saw Veolia withdraw from a £4.7bn contract to provide waste management to seven London boroughs. The Friends Fiduciary Corporation also divested from Veolia following requests by Quakers concerned about the plight of Palestinians under occupation.
SUPER UW is encouraged by the victory in California and hopes we can work as a community to encourage similar victories at the University of Washington and beyond.
Nearly 55,000 people have been killed since 2006 in Mexico’s ‘Narcoinsurgency.’ Drug and arms trafficking—going north and south across the international divide—are now the primary concern of U.S. military and homeland security forces and the Mexican Army. But that’s not all. Millions of undocumented migrants came to the United States from Mexico in the wake of the destruction of the Mexican agricultural sector starting in the 1980s with the implementation of NAFTA-like neoliberal policies.
In Israel, military forces and industries have been largely shaped by decades of conquest and pacification campaigns against Palestinians. Israel began restricting Palestinian labor inside Israel with closure policies and the widespread erection of checkpoints in 1991. Closely linked political, economic, and ecological crises in eastern Africa have created an influx of migrants and refugees, especially from Sudan and Eritrea.
“We, University of Washington students, faculty and community members watched in horror as the events of November 2012 unfolded in Gaza. We know that the bombardment, like in 2008/9, is only possible with the billions of dollars of U.S. military aid Israel receives each year. We know that when drones and bombs say “Made in the USA” we are complicit in the deaths of thousands. We applaud recent efforts of students and faculty at other colleges and universities to urge their institutions not to invest in companies that profit from occupation and war. We recognize the 2005 call from Palestinian Civil Society for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions as a direct request to the international community to engage in non-violent pressure to end this injustice. We sign our support towards efforts that seek to end our financial complicity in the abuse of international law and human rights.”
Please join SUPER UW as we assemble in front of the HUB this Monday 11/19/2012 at 11:15AM, and again in Red Square at 12:15 in a silent vigil as a show of solidarity for the people of Gaza. Please wear black if possible, and bring black umbrellas if you have them. More information below. See everyone there!