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March 8, 2013 1

Anti-Israel Activity Reached Fever Pitch This Week

Anti-Israel activists took a multi-faceted approach to attack­ing Israel in the pub­lic sphere this week. In the span of 7 days, divest­ment res­o­lu­tions were con­sid­ered at three col­lege cam­puses, ten anti-Israel bill­boards were put up in Atlanta, over 30 col­lege cam­puses hosted Israeli Apartheid Week pro­grams and two day­long BDS con­fer­ences were scheduled.

These ini­tia­tives are for­mally or infor­mally part of a global effort to advance the Boy­cott, Divest­ment and Sanc­tions (BDS) move­ment against Israel. They demon­strate the anti-Israel movement’s com­mit­ment to employ­ing mul­ti­ple tac­tics and cam­paigns to attract sup­port for its positions.

A flyer adver­tis­ing the first pub­lic dis­cus­sion on the divest­ment res­o­lu­tion at UCSD

Here’s a closer look at what’s taken place this week:

  • Cam­pus Divest­ment Res­o­lu­tions: Stu­dent gov­ern­ments at Stan­ford Uni­ver­sity, the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia (UC), River­side, and UC San Diego con­sid­ered divest­ment res­o­lu­tions tar­get­ing multi­na­tional com­pa­nies that work with Israel like Cater­pil­lar, Gen­eral Elec­tric and Northrup Grum­man. The results were mixed: the res­o­lu­tion at Stan­ford was voted down; UC San Diego did not vote on its res­o­lu­tion (after a dis­cus­sion that lasted until 2am) and will resume dis­cussing it next week, while UC River­side passed its res­o­lu­tion in a stealth man­ner rem­i­nis­cent of the recent res­o­lu­tion at UC Irvine. The divest­ment res­o­lu­tion at River­side was intro­duced with­out advance notice and seems to be part of an effort to ensure that pro-Israel stu­dents are left in the dark and are there­fore not present at the pub­lic dis­cus­sion to voice their per­spec­tive and advo­cate against the bill.
  • Israeli Apartheid Week: At least 35 col­lege cam­puses in the U.S. are par­tic­i­pat­ing in IAW this year, the ninth con­sec­u­tive year that the pro­gram has been held in cities around the world. Most of the events in the U.S. were for­mally sched­uled to take place March 4–8 but some are stretch­ing into next week as well (due to var­i­ous university-related sched­ul­ing con­flicts). IAW events this year have pri­mar­ily included anti-Israel speak­ers, mock “apartheid walls” and check­point dis­plays on cam­pus, and screen­ings of two crit­i­cal of Israel films,  the Oscar award-nominated “5 Bro­ken Cam­eras” and a more extreme film called “Roadmap to Apartheid.” “Roadmap to Apartheid” is nar­rated by The Color Pur­ple author Alice Walker and analo­gizes Pales­tin­ian refugees to Jews in the War­saw Ghetto and par­tially con­dones ter­ror­ism as a “symp­tom” of the conflict.
  • BDS Con­fer­ences: This past Sat­ur­day the Uni­ver­sity of Texas, Austin, hosted a day­long “BDS Con­fer­ence” that fea­tured extreme speeches by Nada Elia, a fac­ulty mem­ber at Anti­och Uni­ver­sity in Seat­tle, and Sherry Wolf, a Jew­ish social­ist and activist. Elia avowed that she would not reject Pales­tin­ian extrem­ism because Pales­tini­ans “have a right to resist” and com­pared Israelis to Amer­i­can slave-owners. Wolf used the plat­form to claim that the notion that Israel is the Jew­ish people’s home­land is “bulls–t” and accused Israel of “ter­ror­ism” and insti­tu­tion­al­ized racism against the Pales­tini­ans. She fur­ther described Zion­ist Jews as “white suprema­cist racist[s].” On Sat­ur­day, March 9, a sim­i­lar con­fer­ence will take place on the Auraria cam­pus in Den­ver. Par­tic­i­pants will “learn about the his­tory of both Pales­tine and the global BDS move­ment, hear what coali­tion groups are work­ing on, and par­tic­i­pate in BDS and coalition-building train­ing,” accord­ing to the event flier.
  • Anti-Israel Bill­boards: The Coun­cil for the National Inter­est, an anti-U.S. aid to Israel group based in DC, recently started a cam­paign called “Stop the Blank Check to Israel” which hopes to place bill­boards in cities across the coun­try. Ten such ads, which read, “$8 Mil­lion a day to Israel just doesn’t make sense! STOP The Blank,” have recently been erected in Atlanta. Ads with sim­i­lar mes­sages have appeared in the past year in Den­ver, Detroit, Los Ange­les, Chapel Hill and New York.

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March 5, 2012 2

A Round-Up of Israeli Apartheid Week Events

With Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) draw­ing to a close in cities around the United States, here is a sam­pling of what took place on col­lege cam­puses and else­where this past week:

  • Bran­deis Uni­ver­sity: Ali Abunimah deliv­ered a talk in which he dis­cussed his sup­port for a one-state solu­tion and described Israel as a “sec­tar­ian gov­ern­ment.” Abunimah was quoted say­ing: “The claim that Israel should be a Jew­ish state can be asserted, not defended—not legally, polit­i­cally or ethically…Israel has reached a moral, polit­i­cal and eth­i­cal dead-end. The notion that Israel can be both Jew­ish and demo­c­ra­tic vio­lates the rights of Pales­tini­ans, which is fine if you don’t see Pales­tini­ans as humans, but, if you do, it is wrong.” He also offen­sively com­pared the Holo­caust to the “Nakba,” a term Pales­tini­ans use to describe the 1948 War of Inde­pen­dence and the estab­lish­ment of the state of Israel. He said, “We must con­demn Nakba denial as strongly as we must con­demn Holo­caust denial.”
  • George Wash­ing­ton Uni­ver­sity: Mem­bers of the Stu­dents for Jus­tice in Pales­tine (SJP) chap­ter tried to dis­rupt an event orga­nized by GW’s pro-Israel orga­ni­za­tion MEOR. The event hosted a for­mer Israel Defense Forces (IDF) sol­dier, Sergeant Ben­jamin Anthony.
  • Colum­bia Uni­ver­sity: Mem­bers of SJP staged a “house demo­li­tion act” that was intended to mimic Israel’s demo­li­tion of ille­gal Pales­tin­ian homes. One of the activists argued that these demo­li­tions are made pos­si­ble by U.S. tax dol­lars and Colum­bia University’s invest­ments, which fund “spe­cial Cater­pil­lar bull­doz­ers for Israel to demol­ish Pales­tin­ian homes.”

  • New York City: Approx­i­mately 100 mem­bers of Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QAIA) gath­ered in the lobby of the LGBT Cen­ter to protest the Center’s deci­sion not to host events related to the Israeli-Palestinian con­flict. [In March 2011, the Cen­ter had decided not to host an IAW event.] Pro­test­ers held signs that read “Stop Pinkwash­ing Israeli Apartheid” and “End Israeli Apartheid,” and accused the cen­ter of “suc­cumb­ing to the out­spo­ken in power” and “betray[ing] its his­toric mis­sion.” After an hour indoors, the protest moved out­side to the sidewalk.

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February 29, 2012 2

Mock “Apartheid” Wall Kicks off Palestine Awareness Week at UCLA

Mon­day, Feb­ru­ary 27, marked the start of Pales­tine Aware­ness Week at the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia — Los Ange­les. The week­long event, timed to coin­cide with the Israeli Apartheid Week is spon­sored by the university’s chap­ter of Stu­dents for Jus­tice in Pales­tine (SJP), the pri­mary orga­nizer of anti-Israel activ­ity on campus.

A large out­door “apartheid wall” con­tain­ing extreme anti-Israel imagery and text has been erected at the university’s cen­tral pub­lic gath­er­ing space, Bruin Plaza.Texts on the pan­els include accu­sa­tions that Israel is an apartheid state that per­se­cutes and deprives Pales­tini­ans of their fun­da­men­tal rights.

“Apartheid Wall” at UCLA

There are also Holo­caust analo­gies com­par­ing the Nazi ghet­tos of Europe with con­di­tions fac­ing Pales­tini­ans in Gaza. Com­par­isons to the Holo­caust are dis­played under the ban­ner of “Never Again? His­tory Repeats Itself.” The pan­els also fea­ture sta­tis­tics and “facts” por­tray­ing a skewed and inac­cu­rate image of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The “apartheid wall” has also been dis­played at a pub­lic area across the Stu­dent Activ­i­ties Cen­ter in Wil­son Plaza in order to more broadly reach the stu­dent public.

In addi­tion to the “apartheid wall,” SJP mem­bers gath­ered Tues­day evening to denounce Israel with dele­git­imiz­ing slo­gans like “Israel is a ter­ror­ist state.” Other events sched­uled for Pales­tine Aware­ness Week include a one-state solu­tion lec­ture by UCLA pro­fes­sor Sari Madi­son and a panel on Boy­cott, Divest­ment and Sanc­tions (BDS).

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