You may be too afraid or too far away to join the Friday Bil’in protest but you can be there in spirit
Posted: 30 Apr 2010 08:32 AM PDT

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Pictures are frrom Hamde Abu’s photostream. On facebook, Hamde reports that CRH refers to an Irish cement company.

Four people were arrested today, including a female journalist and an international activist. Prior to the demonstration, two Israeli activists broached the Wall and attempted to post flyers calling for the arrest of the soldier who shot Emad Rizka in the forehead at last Friday’s demonstration. When soldiers approached them, they moved away, and soldiers instead arrested two Al-Jazeera cameramen who were sitting in a car by the Wall.
Injuries this week consisted of a girl who was struck from behind with a tear gas canister. Cameraman Haitham al-Khatib was also hit in his stomach by a canister. The international activist who was arrested was treated roughly by the soldiers, who ripped off his gas mask and threw him to the ground, resulting in a 3-inch gash on his leg and a wound to his ear.
Today’s demonstration was held in solidarity with the actions of IPSC – the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign – which is organizing major demonstrations this week against the Irish multinational company CRH. CRH acquired a 25% shareholding in the Israeli group Mashav Initiating and Development Ltd, which is the holding company for Nesher Cement. Nesher is the sole Israeli cement company, meaning it supplies cement and building materials for the ongoing construction of the illegal Separation Wall, the Jerusalem Light Railway project, the illegal colonial settlements and the network of apartheid settler-only roads, underpasses, bridges and tunnels in occupied Palestine.

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the great American awakening is upon us (and the CFR is clueless)
Posted: 30 Apr 2010 07:50 AM PDT

I always miss the best lines. A friend, Ilene Cohen, spotted the best line in Henry Siegman’s takedown of Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations. It’s the last one, below:

Forty plus years into this conflict and into the creeping Israeli annexation of territory in the 22 percent of Palestine left the Palestinians, Haass pleads for patience for the situation to “ripen” before we try to end it by putting forward an American plan. He maintains that what is missing is not ideas, but the will and ability of the parties to compromise. Haass notes that “Palestinian leadership remains weak and divided; the Israeli government is too ideological and fractured; U.S. relations are too strained for Israel to place much faith in American promises.”
One would have thought the problem has been placing faith in Israeli promises.

Ask Haaretz: What drives ’secret’ US policymaking?
Posted: 30 Apr 2010 07:38 AM PDT

From Haaretz, on the Israel lobby, its sociological roots. Why doesn’t this stuff ever get exhumed here? Note the reference to money. The Washington Post has said 60 percent of Democratic giving. I guess that’s not a story; and Jews and money is an antisemitic, pogrom-producing canard.

Until the midterm elections in November, U.S. President Barack Obama cannot permit himself a rift with Israel. Eighty percent of Jews vote for Democrats. The Jews of New York, California and Florida alone contribute 40 percent of campaign expenses. A clandestine battle is now being waged between Bibi and Obama as to when American Jews will tell Obama, who is putting on the pressure: “We’ve had it.” But for all the covert contempt of our leftists, the Pentagon has no interest in weakening Israel.
The absurdity is that Israel’s most inflated cabinet ever is dominated by two people. And the two of them are now secretly concocting a formula with the U.S. administration that will enable a renewal of negotiations with the Palestinian leadership.

Guess what, Jews are good at capitalism. Jerry Muller says this in his great new book. We are actually valued for this in the U.S. And this is from J Weekly in the Bay Area, about some high-tech awards being made this week.

At least four of the six CEO of the Year nom[inee]s are Jewish – an interesting achievement.

Jacqueline Rose on Zionism
Posted: 30 Apr 2010 07:01 AM PDT

My quotation of the day. Well, call it an excerpt. From Jacqueline Rose, The Question of Zion (2005):

This book arises for me out of an anguished curiosity. Appalled by what the Israeli state perpetrates on a daily basis in the name of the Jewish people, committed to Palestinian self-determination, or to full political and civic equality, I am nonetheless unable to follow some of the most obvious paths open to someone for whom this is the case. I am not happy, to put it at its most simple, to treat Zionism as an insult. A dirty word. Today, notably since 9/11, Zionism has, I believe, become almost impossible to talk about. “Look,” insisted distinguished poet and critic Tom Paulin, “you’re either a Zionist or an anti-Zionist, there’s no middle way. Everyone who supports the state of Israel is a Zionist.”…
In a strange repetition of messianism, Zionism seems to require either unconditional rejection or belief. You are Zionist or anti-Zionist. No argument. In fact inside Israel, “anti-Zionist” has a very specific meaning–it refers to those who see the project in Palestine as colonialist from the start (unlike left Zionists, for whom things began to go wrong only with the occupation of the territories that followed the 1967 Six-Day War). But there were also Zionists–Noam Chomsky was one of them in his youth–who believed that the Jews in Palestine should never acquire a sovereign state. And there were others before him, like Martin Buber, for whom the creation of the State of Israel in 1948 was, to use the term of the Palestinian refugees, a “catastrophe.” Does it make any difference–can it make a difference today (the question of the second chapter)–that Zionism was from the beginning riven by internal critique?
This study therefore asks of the reader to do what may well seem impossible. To suspend both belief and disbelief. To try to enter the imaginative mind-set of Zionism in order to understand why it commands such passionate and seemingly intractable allegiance. I am convinced that a simple dismissal of Zionism fatally undermines the case it is intended to promote. On three grounds. First political. As Lenin once said, you must always construe your enemy at their strongest point. Otherwise your refusal or blindness will expose you to the enemy’s unacknowledged strengths. Second, psychoanalytic. Insult an identity and you will drive it in deeper (for the same reason, you will not have any effect on Zionism by simply accusing it of being based on a set of myths). Finally, historical. Such a dismissal leaves us in complete ignorance as to what Zionism is, or was. “To paraphrase Marc Bloch to the historians of the French Revolution,” Bensoussan concludes his opening paragraph, “we would like to say to the present-day protagonists: ‘Zionists, anti-Zionists, for pity’s sake tell us what Zionism was!'”
…[A]s a divided, torn, fraught historic entity, Zionism slips back into a nightmare or a dream. Today we are often told either that the worst of Israel is the fulfillment of Zionism or that Israel today is a travesty of the true spirit of the earliest Zionist faith. … I therefore want to issue a wager, or use this study to attempt an experiment. To enter the house of Zionism without blocking the exits. To try to understand what Zionism thought, at the deepest and often most disturbing level, it was doing, in its own language and terms, without cutting off the path to dissent…
I start on the basis that Zionism is one of the most potent collective movements of the twentieth century, whose potency needs urgently to be understood. It has the capacity to foster identifications that are as immutable as, indeed, the ineffable Name. As a movement, Zionism has the power, that is, to sacralize itself.

Boycotts from Arizona to Palestine
Posted: 29 Apr 2010 07:42 PM PDT

Tell me if this sounds familiar:
A new order allows enforcement officials to stop anyone who “looks illegal” (read: has brown skin) and demand that they produce documents proving their right to be in a place they call home. Failure to produce such documents can lead to fines, jail time, or deportation. Widely seen as a violation of basic rights, this new order leads to widespread calls for boycott.
I’m speaking, of course, about Arizona’s new racist law, SB1070–but I could just as easily be talking about Palestine.
If you haven’t heard, SB1070 effectively mandates racial profiling by giving local police officers the right to demand immigration documentation from anyone they think might be in the country without documents. Here’s the Washington Post summarizing the new law (and insisting on calling human beings “illegal”):

“The law gives local police broad authority to stop and request documents from anyone they reasonably suspect is an illegal immigrant. It calls for aggressive prosecution of illegal immigrants, and officers can be sued if they do not enforce the law.”

SB 1070 is so racist and over the top that it has led to a wave of outrage around the country, including condemnation from a wide spectrum of faith leaders and President Barack Obama. Many organizations and individuals have called for a boycott of Arizona, including Arizona Member of Congress Raul Grijalva, award-winning author Tayari Jones, and Washington Post columnist Robert McCartney.
I support these calls, just as I support efforts to oppose so-called “Secure Communities” initiatives that would require local law enforcement to work with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in a manner sure to promote racial profiling and ruin community policing efforts.
I have to wonder, though, how calls to boycott Arizona–including sports boycotts and boycotts on travel to the state–are so easily endorsed in the Washington Post (McCartney: “I like the idea of a boycott because it’s so all-American”), while calls to boycott Israel for its consistent violations of Palestinian human rights and international law are deemed “controversial.”
The connections are eerie: earlier this month, a new Israeli military order came into effect in the Palestinian West Bank, which would allow the military to demand that any Palestinian, anytime, produce proof of their right to be in a place they call home. According to the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz:

“A new military order will take effect this week, enabling the army to deport tens of thousands of Palestinians from the West Bank and prosecute them on infiltration charges, which carry long prison terms….The order’s vague language will allow army officers to exploit it arbitrarily to carry out mass expulsions, in accordance with military orders which were issued under unclear circumstances. The first candidates for expulsion will be people whose ID cards bear addresses in the Gaza Strip, including children born in the West Bank and Palestinians living in the West Bank who have lost their residency status for various reasons.”

Sound familiar? As with SB1070, the Israeli military order purports to be in response to illegal migration (“infiltration”), but is actually a license for racial profiling and mass deportation–i.e., ethnic cleansing. And yet where was the Washington Post call for boycott?
There’s more: The Palestinian civil society call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israeli violations of international law came one year after the International Court of Justice ruled against the Israel’s “Separation Barrier,” which annexes massive sections of East Jerusalem and the West Bank. That “Barrier” (read: apartheid Wall) is being built, in part, by Elbit, an Israeli military contractor that also has half of the contract on the U.S./Mexico Border Wall.
And SB1070 is likely to lead to the type of checkpoints and arbitrary “searches” and arrests that have been daily reality for West Bank Palestinians for decades. The West Bank currently has over 500 checkpoints, roadblocks, and closures–in an area the size of Delaware, not Arizona.
Of course, in Arizona and in Palestine/Israel, many of the people affected by racist laws and policies can trace their ancestral connection to the place back well before the current (predominantly white-skinned) regimes making such racist laws came into power. That’s how colonialism and occupation works. And as Jewish Israeli Assaf Oron writes at DailyKos, racial profiling linked to ID documents is a fact of life for Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel as well.
So here’s what I’m saying: all those calling for boycotting Arizona because of a racist “documentation and deportation” law–I’m with you. And everyone who supports the Palestinian BDS call should be with you too. But we’re asking you to support boycotts targeting such racist laws, mandating displacement and ethnic cleansing, that are supported by U.S. policy and U.S. corporations, no matter where these “laws” are being made.
And yes, that includes you, faith leaders who have rightfully condemned SB1070. The Palestinian Christian community is asking you for your support, too.
Now is the time. It’s the right thing to do. And it just makes sense.
David Hosey is the National Media Coordinator of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. For more information on how you can get involved with boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS), check out the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation’s BDS resources.

Mearsheimer’s realistic/crystal ball: incipient apartheid, apartheid, then binational state
Posted: 29 Apr 2010 07:34 PM PDT

John Mearsheimer gave a splendid lecture today at the Palestine Center in D.C. titled “The Future of Palestine: Righteous Jews vs. the New Afrikaners” in which he stated that the two-state-solution is over (“most Israelis are opposed to making the sacrifices that would be necessary to create a viable Palestinian state, and there is little reason to expect them to have an epiphany on this issue”) and we are now in a process that will result in a binational state. But how long, dear, how long? Apartheid will give way to a binational state, Mearsheimer argued, because once “those [American] Jews who comprise the great ambivalent middle” understand that Israel is a full-fledged apartheid state, they will side with the “righteous Jews,” such as Naomi Klein, Tony Judt, and Roger Cohen, and not the lobby, and thus help to produce a real democracy.  Excerpt:

[T]there is going to be a Greater Israel between the Jordan and the Mediterranean. In fact, I would argue that it already exists. But who will live there and what kind of political system will it have?
It is not going to be a democratic bi-national state, at least in the near future. An overwhelming majority of Israel’s Jews have no interest in living in a state that would be dominated by the Palestinians. And that includes young Israeli Jews, many of whom hold clearly racist views toward the Palestinians in their midst. Furthermore, few of Israel’s supporters in the United States are interested in this outcome, at least at this point in time. Most Palestinians, of course, would accept a democratic bi-national state without hesitation if it could be achieved quickly. But that is not going to happen, although as I will argue shortly, it is likely to come to pass down the road.
Then there is ethnic cleansing, which would certainly mean that Greater Israel would have a Jewish majority. But that murderous strategy seems unlikely, because it would do enormous damage to Israel’s moral fabric, its relationship with Jews in the Diaspora, and to its international standing. Israel and its supporters would be treated harshly by history, and it would poison relations with Israel’s neighbors for years to come. No genuine friend of Israel could support this policy, which would clearly be a crime against humanity. It also seems unlikely, because most of the 5.5 million Palestinians living between the Jordan and the Mediterranean would put up fierce resistance if Israel tried to expel them from their homes. 
Nevertheless, there is reason to worry that Israelis might adopt this solution as the demographic balance shifts against them and they fear for the survival of the Jewish state. Given the right circumstances – say a war involving Israel that is accompanied by serious Palestinian unrest – Israeli leaders might conclude that they can expel massive numbers of Palestinians from Greater Israel and depend on the lobby to protect them from international criticism and especially from sanctions.
We should not underestimate Israel’s willingness to employ such a horrific strategy if the opportunity presents itself. It is apparent from public opinion surveys and everyday discourse that many Israelis hold racist views of Palestinians and the Gaza massacre makes clear that they have few qualms about killing Palestinian civilians. It is difficult to disagree with Jimmy Carter’s comment earlier this year that “the citizens of Palestine are treated more like animals than like human beings.” A century of conflict and four decades of occupation will do that to a people.
Furthermore, a substantial number of Israeli Jews – some 40 percent or more – believe that the Arab citizens of Israel should be “encouraged” to leave by the government. Indeed, former foreign minister Tzipi Livni has said that if there is a two-state solution, she expected Israel’s Palestinian citizens to leave and settle in the new Palestinian state. And then there is the recent military order issued by the IDF that is aimed at “preventing infiltration” into the West Bank. In fact, it enables Israel to deport tens of thousands of Palestinians from the West Bank should it choose to do so. And, of course, the Israelis engaged in a massive cleansing of the Palestinians in 1948 and again in 1967. Still, I do not believe Israel will resort to this horrible course of action.
The most likely outcome in the absence of a two-state solution is that Greater Israel will become a full-fledged apartheid state. As anyone who has spent time in the Occupied Territories knows, it is already an incipient apartheid state with separate laws, separate roads, and separate housing for Israelis and Palestinians, who are essentially confined to impoverished enclaves that they can leave and enter only with great difficulty.
Israelis and their American supporters invariably bristle at the comparison to white rule in South Africa, but that is their future if they create a Greater Israel while denying full political rights to an Arab population that will soon outnumber the Jewish population in the entirety of the land. Indeed, two former Israeli prime ministers have made this very point. Ehud Olmert, who was Netanyahu’s predecessor, said in late November 2007 that if “the two-state solution collapses,” Israel will “face a South-African-style struggle.” He went so far as to argue that, “as soon as that happens, the state of Israel is finished.” Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, who is now Israel’s defense minister, said in early February of this year that, “As long as in this territory west of the Jordan River there is only one political entity called Israel it is going to be either non-Jewish, or non-democratic. If this bloc of millions of Palestinians cannot vote, that will be an apartheid state.” 
Other Israelis, as well as Jimmy Carter and Bishop Desmond Tutu, have warned that if Israel does not pull out of the Occupied Territories it will become an apartheid state like white-ruled South Africa. But if I am right, the occupation is not going to end and there will not be a two-state solution. That means Israel will complete its transformation into a full-blown apartheid state over the next decade.
In the long run, however, Israel will not be able to maintain itself as an apartheid state. Like racist South Africa, it will eventually evolve into a democratic bi-national state whose politics will be dominated by the more numerous Palestinians. Of course, this means that Israel faces a bleak future as a Jewish state. Let me explain why. 
For starters, the discrimination and repression that is the essence of apartheid will be increasingly visible to people all around the world. Israel and its supporters have been able to do a good job of keeping the mainstream media in the United States from telling the truth about what Israel is doing to the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. But the Internet is a game changer. It not only makes it easy for the opponents of apartheid to get the real story out to the world, but it also allows Americans to learn the story that the New York Times and the Washington Post have been hiding from them. Over time, this situation may even force these two media institutions to cover the story more accurately themselves.
The growing visibility of this issue is not just a function of the Internet. It is also due to the fact that the plight of the Palestinians matters greatly to people all across the Arab and Islamic world, and they constantly raise the issue with Westerners. It also matters very much to the influential human rights community, which is naturally going to be critical of Israel’s harsh treatment of the Palestinians. It is not surprising that hardline Israelis and their American supporters are now waging a vicious smear campaign against those human rights organizations that criticize Israel. 
The main problem that Israel’s defenders face, however, is that it is impossible to defend apartheid, because it is antithetical to core Western values. How does one make a moral case for apartheid, especially in the United States, where democracy is venerated and segregation and racism are routinely condemned? It is hard to imagine the United States having a special relationship with an apartheid state. Indeed, it is hard to imagine the United States having much sympathy for one. It is much easier to imagine the United States strongly opposing that racist state’s political system and working hard to change it. Of course, many other countries around the globe would follow suit. This is surely why former Prime Minister Olmert said that going down the apartheid road would be suicidal for Israel.
Apartheid is not only morally reprehensible, but it also guarantees that Israel will remain a strategic liability for the United States…
I believe that most of the Jews in the great ambivalent middle will not defend apartheid Israel but will either keep quiet or side with the righteous Jews against the new Afrikaners, who will become increasingly marginalized over time. And once that happens, the lobby will be unable to provide cover for Israel’s racist policies toward the Palestinians in the way it has in the past.

Israel’s democratic values: Punish human rights organizations, not war criminals
Posted: 29 Apr 2010 07:33 PM PDT

Were you scared by the recent poll finding that the majority of Israeli Jews have profoundly anti-democratic attitudes and support restricting human rights groups, punishing Israeli citizens who call for boycotting the country, and punishing journalists who expose news that expose immoral actions by the military? Well then get all the way underneath your covers.
Those sentiments may be made the law of the land soon if a centrist coalition has its way and the Knesset passes a bill concerning non-governmental organizations. According to Adalah: The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, the proposed bill would prevent “the registration of a non-governmental organization (NGO) or would shut down an existing NGO, ‘if there is a reasonable basis to conclude that the organization is providing information to foreign bodies or is involved in lawsuits abroad against senior officials in the government in Israel and/or officers in the Isareli army regarding war crimes.’” 
Is that Israel’s way of saying, yes we commit war crimes, but we don’t want anyone to know about it?
The bill is being spearheaded by Ronit Tirosh of the Kadima Party, the supposedly “centrist” opposition party, and has the support of 19 members of the Knesset, according to Adalah.
The Guardian’s Rory McCarthy has more:

Israeli human rights groups say they are deeply concerned about a newly proposed bill that could shut down any organisation that investigates and mounts legal challenges to abuses by the military.
The bill was introduced in the Israeli parliament, or Knesset, yesterday with the support of at least 17 MPs from different parties. If it became law it would prevent any organisation from being registered, or would close down existing groups if they were found to be passing information “to foreign entities” or were “involved in legal proceedings abroad against senior Israeli government officials or IDF officers for war crimes”.
In a joint statement today, 10 Israeli human rights groups said the bill would “trample” democratic values. “Instead of defending democracy, the sponsors of this bill prefer to reduce it to ashes,” they said. “This bill is the direct result of irresponsible leadership that is doing all it can to undermine democratic values and the institutions that are the backbone of a democracy: the supreme court, a free press and human rights organisations.”
The groups included B’Tselem, Gisha, Adalah, the Association of Civil Rights in Israel and Rabbis for Human Rights. Adalah, which works on Arab minority rights within Israel, said the bill was “a dangerous step” against human rights groups. The bill “seeks to restrict the freedom of expression and freedom of association of these organisations”, it said.

However, the bill already has significant cross-party support. “The bill will put an end to the rampage by NPOs [non-profit organisations] who are trying to subvert the state under the guise of human rights,” Ronit Tirosh, an MP from the centrist opposition Kadima party, told the Ma’ariv newspaper.

The claim that Israel is a democracy that shares the values of the United States is becoming more farcical by the day.

AIPAC would marry apartheid
Posted: 29 Apr 2010 07:17 PM PDT

Henry Siegman, at Foreign Policy, imagines the inevitable result of the current policies in Israel that Obama has done little to buck– apartheid– and wonders what a president would do then:

Most of the political parties that comprise Netanyahu’s government, including Yisrael Beiteinu, led by Avigdor Lieberman, Netanyahu’s Foreign Minister, and Shas, have left no doubt that if forced to choose between democracy and the state’s Jewish identity, they would opt without the slightest hesitation to end Israel’s democracy.
What exactly would an American president do when confronted with such a new reality, which undoubtedly would again produce a spate of full-page advertisements and AIPAC resolutions in the U.S. Congress stressing the Jewish people’s biblical attachment to the land and demanding that we stand by our traditional ally? How would a less than forthright U.S. response to such a situation play in the rest of the world? Isn’t it in America’s national interest-not to speak of the interests of the State of Israel and its people and of the Palestinian people-for an American president to exert every effort to prevent such a likely deterioration that would force our policymakers to make the most agonizing and fateful decisions?

Joseph Massad reads from the Zionist dictionary
Posted: 29 Apr 2010 07:07 PM PDT

The patent absurdity of much of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict begs for a satirical treatment. On Wednesday night at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs, Professor Joseph Massad answered the call with an incisive and funny lecture on “the language of Zionism.”
No one will be be surprised by the overarching theme of his talk — Israel as a colonial state, etc. But students told me they were surprised by Massad’s approach, a marked contrast, they said, from his normally buttoned-down manner in lecturing.
Sponsored by the Columbia Students for Justice in Palestine, the speech gave an abridged version of the dictionary according to Zionism, backing it up with scholarly facts and quotes galore (always book-ended by the spoken “quote… unquote”). Throughout the speech, Massad built upon his dictionary until he ended with this brief statement of Zionist language:

Colonialism is peace, is security.
Anti-colonialism is war, is terrorism.
The West Bank is half the West Bank. 

A Bantustan is a sovereign, independent state.

The Pragmatist is someone who accepts all the above.
The Extremist is someone who rejects it. 

The language needs little explanation, save the third point, where Massad presented a critical look at the numbers on the West Bank — expanding settlements, the growth of annexed Jerusalem (which takes land from the West Bank), the wall, the Jewish-only roads. All this ends up, according to Massad, with the current Israeli/ U.S./ PA discourse on the Wes Bank actually referring to 49 to 53 percent of what was the Jordanian-annexed West Bank in 1950.
The lexicon frames the conflict and distinctions between players are made “between those who accept the language of Zionism and those who don’t.”
 Massad offered the Fatah’s PA as an example. PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad is fluent in the language. Despite this, Massad points out, the PA’s goal of a two-state solution remains an event of ever diminishing likelihood. “Even learning the language of Zionism and speaking it fluently,” he said, “it still has not happened.”
It was only one of the downers that Massad emphatically stated in his talk (“Unfortunately, there is no Palestinian civil society”). But Massad’s talk gave a fresh and engaging perspective to many of the facts, figures and themes of the conflict.
After he finished, the crowd, scattered thinly across SIPA’s large auditorium, showed Massad their appreciation with clamorous applause. As for Massad’s usual critics– they were there in the crowd, but none asked questions, perhaps because they did not want to open themselves up to charges of being anti-semantic.
[Editor’s note: Another friend of this site, Rick Congress, was also on hand last night, and filed a sharp report on the talk here.]

Passage of divestment by Berkeley students is ‘inevitable’
Posted: 29 Apr 2010 06:59 PM PDT

Haaretz publishes Berkeley student Matthew Taylor on the late divestment effort at the school:

[I]f history is any guide, Berkeley’s divestment measure could have a positive impact. In the 1980s, Berkeley’s student government was one of the first at any U.S. institution of higher learning to vote to recommend divestment from South Africa’s apartheid regime. The UC system’s board of regents initially resisted the divestment call, but student protests eventually led the regents to divest funds from companies with ties to South Africa. Eventually other campuses and local municipalities took similar actions.
The United States government, formerly one of the chief enablers of apartheid, followed the lead of the students, passing the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act in 1986….
“In South Africa, we could not have achieved our freedom and just peace without the help of people around the world, who through the use of nonviolent means, such as boycotts and divestments, encouraged their governments and other corporate actors to reverse decades-long support for the Apartheid regime. Students played a leading role in that struggle,” Nobel laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu wrote in a letter to Berkeley’s student government endorsing the current divestment bill…
..If more American college campuses and local agencies pass divestment measures, eventually members of U.S. Congress may come to see that they must listen to their pro-justice, pro-peace constituents and not only to AIPAC. If that happens, a U.S. anti-occupation act could become a possibility.
If the U.S. government were to seriously pressure Israel – for example, by conditioning $3 billion in annual aid on an end to the occupation and implementation of an equitable peace agreement – perhaps that would provide the incentive necessary to end the occupation.
Although the Berkeley student president subsequently vetoed the divestment bill, and AIPAC’s lobbying of student senators successfully prevented an override vote by the narrowest of margins, the proposal’s eventual passage seems inevitable. That will turn the spotlight onto the university regents, who will face protests if they don’t follow the divestment recommendation.
We who promoted and rallied for this bill are a remarkably diverse coalition of Jews, Christians and Muslims; Israelis and Palestinians; and Americans of all backgrounds. Prominent Jewish supporters included Ofra Ben Artzi, sister-in-law of Prime Minister Netanyahu, and Hedy Epstein, an 85-year-old Holocaust survivor.
We Jews who support the divestment bill are fed up with Israel’s violations of Palestinian human rights. We are unwilling to wait for political pressure to get Israel out of the territories to spring from the head of Zeus. And we believe that this move is in the best interests of the Israeli and Palestinian people.


  1. When Shakira stated “that I am pretty much undocumented” is absolutely ridiculous. She came to our country with documents. When entering into the United States legitimately you must show your passport, which Shakira certainly did. By challenging Arpaio to come and get her because she left her passport at her 5 star hotel clearly indicates Shakira does not understand the Arizona Senate Bill 1070. By Shakria not carrying her passport or identification does not mean she will be arrested. One must engage in illegal activity to be arrested and asked for identification, which most likely Shakira will not be engaging in illegal activity. For someone to rally other individuals without fully understanding the SB 1070 is irresponsible. People (including Shakira) need to take the time to fully understand the law before grand standing to an audience who expects her to be informed. Shakira should respect the United State’s freedom of speech and should be fully educated on the law before leading an emotional charged crowd. This law is not new, it is enforcing what is already in place by the Federal Government. It is a Federal crime to be an illegal alien thus the term “illegal alien.” Crime has become an increasing problem in Arizona. The law is designed to punish criminals for being criminals not for being illegal immigrants. Which all members of our community should embrace. If the Federal Government would take illegal immigration seriously there could be alternatives for this law. But the Federal Government ignored Arizona’s immigration problem and decided they could not rely on the Federal Government for help. Arizona’s actions are directed against the members of the immigrant community that are criminals. Anyone, citizen or non-citizen, should agree that the increased violence around our boarders needs to be addressed. Immigrants and citizens need to work together to reduce crime. Shame on you Shakria for further inflaming a passionate subject that should be addressed rationally. Shame on you everyone else for not educating yourself on the SB 1070. For those of you that want to be educated you can read the full law here

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