Portland’s ‘friendliest’ markets refused to meet boycott advocates, and stocked many Israeli brands, and so–
Jun 11, 2011
Check this out, everything about this sends chills down my spine. New Seasons Grocery stores markets themselves as local and socially conscious.
We’re passionate about the community where we all live. That’s one of the reasons we give first preference to local growers, fishers, farmers and ranchers. New Seasons Market is proud to donate 10 percent of our after-tax profits to nonprofit (501 c3) organizations in the Portland area. Greatest attention is given to organizations dedicated to feeding the hungry, educating our youth and improving our environment. A common theme running through many of us is our enthusiasm for giving back to our neighborhoods.
Yeah, well giving back to your neighbors while profiting off apartheid isn’t cool. This is cool and one of the best BDS flashmobs I’ve ever seen:
“New Seasons cannot claim to be friendly and local while it continues to stock products made by Israel, a gross violator of international law,” said Wael Elasady, member of Students United for Palestinian Equal Rights and flashmob participant. “There’s a glaring discrepancy between their ethical image and the products they profit from.”
Jun 11, 2011
I’m nearing the end of my vacation from work (I’m a graphic designer) and an article MJ Rosenberg wrote (“Congress to Palestinians: Drop Dead”) has stuck in my head. He wrote something along the lines of: Do the standing ovations afforded to Netanyahu at his recent speech before Congress mean that Congress agrees with his policies?
Well, it made me wonder do Americans agree with Israel’s policies? In particular, those policies that discriminate. I don’t know if this has been done before, but I imagined a rally of white pro-Palestinian Americans holding up the attached placards (but with absolutely no Palestinian paraphernalia in site).
I think such a rally would be good to educate Americans. The campaign’s message deliberately avoids mentioning Palestinians and refers to Israelis as friends (the logo reinforces this message) in order to confuse Zionists: Is this a pro-Palestinian rally? Is it a pro-Israeli rally? At the same time, the in-your-face headlines educate Americans in bite-sized chunks (less is more). Shock and awe people, shock and awe.
I would be over the moon to get feedback from readers. And I’d die and go to heaven if a rally actually materialises from this!
A young American Jew describes being arrested for standing in opposition to the Jerusalem Day parade
Jun 11, 2011
The young man being arrested in the video above is Lucas Koerner, and he was a member of the delegation that I recently co-led to Israel/Palestine. Below is Lucas’s account of what took place in Jerusalem, which he originally posted on his blog.
Returning from Hebron Wednesday afternoon, I glanced outside my window, only to see miles and miles of blue and white. Today was Jerusalem Day, and a parade of thousands marched through the streets celebrating, as if in an orgy of nationalistic fervor, the 44th anniversary of the Israeli conquest of East Jerusalem. What shocked me initially was how eerily monolithic the procession was: it seemed as though the ocean of Israeli flags was meant to blur all distinctions between old and young, boss and worker, women and men, settler and 48er. In light of the events of recent days, I sensed a strong political undertone beneath the cheers and yells of the ecstatic crowds. Coming on the heels of Netanyahu’s defiant speech before Congress, it appeared to me that the marchers streaming down Sultan Suleiman St. that evening sought to echo their PM’s bold remarks, that all of Jerusalem was “theirs” forever. Indeed, it seemed that this display of triumphal nostalgia concealed a deeper, far weaker emotion, a lurking fear of a future in which nothing between the river and the sea would be exclusively “theirs” but would have to be shared with the other.
After witnessing first hand, over the past week and a half, the many horrors the occupation has inflicted on the Palestinian people, my fellow delegates and I trembled with indignation at the chutzpah of these Israeli marchers as they boisterously paraded through East Jerusalem, brandishing their flags of conquest. Prompted by the traffic to walk the rest of the way to our hotel, we were inspired to launch an impromptu parade of our own. Donning our keffiyehs we had purchased at the Hebron Keffiyeh factory and our small Palestinian flags, we we’re met by spit, aluminum cans, and pure, unadulterated hatred. Police instantly set upon us, accosting me, demanding that I put away my 3 by 5 inch Palestinian flag. It was remarkable how so much as giving voice to the other, the “Arab”, the Palestinian, in 3 by 5 form in E. Jerusalem no less could ignite such visceral fear and hatred.
Upon returning to the Holy Land Hotel, my comrades (Haneen, Amanda, Peter, Lydia, Tammy & Tiffany) and I decided that we would go back to the parade merely to hang out and observe, this time without our small Palestinian flags. In order to avoid any provocations, we simply posted up on the side walk, and, still wearing our keffiyehs, we proceeded to wave and make peace sign gestures to the paraders, who marched on the other side of the street, separated from us by a high gate. The initial reaction of the marchers was a combination of shock and disbelief. I myself had elected to wear, along with my keffiyeh, a kippah adorned with a small Palestinian flag. This last article of clothing on my head contributed, I believe, more than anything else to the climate of collective bewilderment, especially among the youth. For them, Judaism and its physical symbol, the kippah, were inseparably bound up with the particular strain of ethno-religious nationalism associated with the state of Israel. It simply never occurred to them that a Jewish person would, in the name of Jewish ethics, stand in solidarity with the oppressed Palestinian people in their struggle for freedom. I feel that it was precisely this cognitive dissonance on a societal level that formed the motivation for my arrest.
As we walked up and down the sidewalk, waving our peace signs, many Palestinians of all ages approached to join us. With twenty or thirty people now gathered on the sidewalk facing the parade, we turned over leadership of what had become a demonstration to Palestinian activists, and we happily clapped and danced to their songs and chants. Standing on two feet high pylons, we tried to maintain our visibility as internationals in order to confer as much protection as possible to the Palestinians. The demonstration remained totally peaceful – just singing, whistling, and clapping. In fact, much to the chagrin of the paraders, we often danced to their music. Many Palestinians, fascinated with my kippah, approached me and exclaimed, “I love you”. For a moment, a space was opened for Palestinians to freely gather in their own streets and protest, peacefully demanding their basic rights. We were soon to learn just how brief that moment would be.
Suddenly, the police moved in without warning of any kind. Officers on horseback came so close to the sidewalk, nearly hitting some of the demonstrators. I stepped down from the pylon. In that instant, my impulse to flee was counteracted by the firm realization that, standing on a sidewalk waving a peace sign, I had every right to be there, and if I fled, who would stand with the Palestinians? I stepped back up on the pylon. Moments later, an Israeli police officer ran up, seized me, and dragged me to the other side of the street. He then punched me in the face, put me in a choke hold, and with four other officers, slammed me to the ground. I was eventually handcuffed and carried to the car; I allowed my body to go limp and refused to walk on my own in a gesture of nonviolent defiance. Throughout the whole affair, the only thing audible coming from the policemen was a constant stream of curses words, “motherfucker”, “piece of shit”, etc., which was to me a ringing confirmation of how infuriated and threatened they were by a 19-year old wearing a kippah and a keffiyeh standing with the Palestinians.
To be continued in the next post: “In Israeli Jail”
Jun 11, 2011
Henry Siegman at Foreign Policy:
Bottom line, Obama is wrong in his assertion that the U.N. can never bring about a Palestinian state and that only a resumed Israeli-Palestinian peace process can. The precise opposite is true. Direct negotiations, even if begun at the 1967 lines and based on land swaps, will never produce a Palestinian state. A long and unbroken history of failed direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and failed American mediation attest to that truth. Only the U.N. can produce a Palestinian state — provided, of course, that Obama does not veto the effort.
There is a controlled anger under this that is extremely impressive. Siegman favors U.N. approval of a Palestinian declaration of statehood. He cites the case of Israel itself as precedent and argues that the land grabs by Netanyahu are in flagrant violation of UN resolutions 242 and 338. He thinks such a declaration the only conceivable way to a two-state solution, now that Obama and Netanyahu between them have scuttled further negotiations. (Siegman hopes otherwise but I don’t think there’s a chance Obama will fail to use the U.S. veto. He would see such defiance of Israel as one of the few acts that could bring about his defeat in 2012.)
Jun 11, 2011
Inside Israel there is a growing war against Netanyahu. Here is Zeev Sternhell in Haaretz trying to save the two-state solution. I think he is too late, but there is an important theme here, which the American press has failed to reflect: that the ideology of the settlers, having devoured Israeli politics, has thereby exposed the foundational ideas of Zionism as racist and expansionist; and Sternhell and other liberal Zionists mean to rescue the founders from that shadow. (As a Jew, I do see some of the idealism that propelled the early Zionists, the messianic response to conditions in Europe, but anyone who has seen the occupation can’t read these sorts of arguments without having the feeling that they evade the essential issue, human-rights atrocities.) Sternhell:
[I]f we see the establishment of the state as a watershed event in Jewish national history – both because it engendered a new political and legal concept in the history of Zionism, that of citizenship, and because geopolitical borders were assigned to the new entity for the first time – then the enterprise of conquering the land has ended. And that, in the eyes of the right wing, is the real existential danger.
Indeed, the right wing considers recognition of the reality created in 1949 to be the chief enemy of Zionism…
[T]he question of borders is only one aspect of the failure to recognize the War of Independence as a fundamental turning point; it also has a civic angle. The anti-democratic legislation that the Knesset has enacted over the past year, which targets basic civic equality and which borders on racism even if it is not actually racist, is a way of declaring that the essence of the state is that it belongs to Jews alone. At bottom, this view stems from seeing Jews as the sole owners of the Land of Israel. This means the state doesn’t exist to guarantee democracy, equality, human rights or even a decent life to all; it exists to guarantee Jewish rule over the Land of Israel and to make sure no additional political entity is established here. Everything is deemed permissible to reach that end, and no price is considered too high