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BDS Campaign Update (April-July 2008)

Written by  BADIL Staff

Scottish PSC successfully campaign to cancel Israel flag raising ceremony

8 May 2008 - Zionists organizations in Scotland held an Israel at 60 celebration event in East Renfrewshire, Scotland. For three Saturdays running up to the event, the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign organized stalls in the area, which is also the location of the Israeli Information Office and KKL-JNF Scotland offices, and launched a popular campaign opposing the event. The Council bent under pressure from Scottish PSC and other pro-Palestine groups in Scotland such as Scottish Friends of Palestine and the Glasgow Palestine Human Rights Campaign, as well as individual constituents, and refused to allow the Israeli flag to run up the Council flagpole. The Provost of East Renfrewshire Council, Liberal Democrat Alex Mackie, however, allowed the celebration event to take place, and attended it. The Council denied they were financially supporting the event, however after the event The Jewish Chronicle reported that East Renfrewshire Council donated £500 to buy the celebration's fireworks.

  Protesters Disrupt Israeli Ambassador to Canada's Speech

9 April 2008 - Protesters successfully disrupted a lunch-in sponsored by the Quebec-Israel Committee, marking “60 years of relationship” between Canada and Israel. After effectively evading hotel security and the Montreal police, social justice activists burst into the appointed conference room, abruptly bringing to a halt the pro-apartheid discourse of Israel's ambassador to Canada. More at 
http://tadamon.resist.ca

 Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) Vote to Join BDS Campaign

13-17 April 2008 - At its annual convention, CUPW became the first country-wide workers' union in North America to join the BDS campaign. Resolution 338/9 that passed with a very strong majority commits the union to “[s]upport the international campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions until Israel meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people's inalienable right to self- determination and fully complies with the precepts of international law including the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.” CUPW played a very important role in supporting the boycott of the South African Apartheid regime, famously refusing to handle all mail going to or coming from the apartheid state.

 Renowned Novelist Russel Banks Boycotts International Writers' Festival in Occupied Jerusalem

April 2008 - While having accepted the invitation to attend the festival, Banks realized that his presence would be an endorsement of Israel's racist policies that he had been an outspoken critic of in the past. An open letter to Banks from the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (BRICUP) stated: “In March 2002 you were in Gaza City with the International Parliament of Writers, of which you were then president. You are reported to have told the Palestinians, 'You are not alone.' But you are about to take part in an event which is substantially funded by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This action will speak louder than any of the words you have previously spoken.” The full BRICUP letter can be found at www.bricup.org.uk/documents/OpenLettertoRussellBanks.pdf

 PACBI Slams Nadine Gordimer for Participation in International Writers' Festival during Israel-60 Celebrations

28 April 2008 - In an open letter penned by Omar Barghouti and Dr. Haidar Eid, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) strongly criticized South African author Nadine Gordimer for ignoring calls to boycott the Israeli-hosted International Writers' Festival. The letter states “Imagine what your reaction would have been if a liberal international writer, of your stature, had accepted an invitation by some group of Afrikaner writers -- most of whom not opposing apartheid itself, but only supporting of a subset of rights for blacks under apartheid -- to a festival in apartheid South Africa that took no public position against the system of racial discrimination there... we are utterly disappointed and saddened by your insulting attempt to “balance” your act of complicity by promising to visit a Palestinian university or some venue in Ramallah! Was visiting a Bantustan ever a moral or rational excuse for participating in a largely pro-apartheid gathering in South Africa?” The full text of the letter can be seen at www.pacbi.org/letters_more.php?id=725_0_3_0_C

 Opposition in Egypt attacks energy deal with Israel

Early May 2008 - Egyptian opposition parliamentarians publicly denounced an Egyptian-Israeli natural gas deal. The agreement, signed in 2005, calls for Egyptian natural-gas consortium EMG to supply Israel Electric with 1.7 billion cubic meters annually over a period of 15 years, with an option to increase the amount by 25 percent and to extend the length of the contract an additional five years. The deal is said to be worth $2.5 billion. The first shipment of Egyptian natural-gas arrived on 1 May 2008, and the opposition parliamentarians held a special meeting to protest the deal on May 11. In the latest development, the Popular Campaign for Stopping the Export and Egyptian Natural Gas to Israel has sued the Mubarak government in an effort to raise public awareness about the agreement, and has launched a broader campaign that is to include a petition drive, mock trials of government officials as well as calls for religious leaders to condemn the sale of natural gas to Israel.

 US Green Party Endorses Seattle Municipal Divestment Campaign

5 May 2008 - At its April general membership meeting, the Green Party of Seattle voted almost unanimously to endorse Seattle ballot initiative 97, titled “Seattle Divest from War and Occupation,” which, if adopted by Seattle voters, would restrict the City of Seattle Employees' Retirement Fund from investing in companies that directly participate in, or directly profit from, the U.S. occupation of Iraq and corporations that provide material support for Israeli government activities, or do business within Israeli settlements, in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Thousands Protest Turin Bookfair Celebration of Israel

10 May 2008 - Over 8000 protesters took to the streets of Turin, Italy to express the popular outrage that the annual bookfair, one of Italy's premier cultural events, included a celebration of Israel at 60. The protest was a culmination of a series of mobilization and advocacy actions across Europe to drop the celebration of an apartheid state from the event; initiatives that brought about a boycott of the event by prominent authors such as Tariq Ali and Aharon Shabtai.

 Intifada Association (Greece) Disrupt Israeli Ambassador Speech

14 May 2008 - The Intifada Association, a group of activists from student organizations and various political groups, interrupted Israel's Ambassador to Greece, Ali Yahya, as he spoke at a day-long conference on Greek-Israeli relations organized by the International Economic Relations Institute. The activists unfurled a banner that stated “Boycott Israeli apartheid” and chanted slogans against the occupation of the Palestinian territories and the strangulation of Gaza, before being attacked by private security guards.

 American University of Cairo Senate calls for BDS

14 May 2008 - The American University in Cairo (AUC) decried occupation policies targeting Palestinian students and called for the university to adopt certain aspects of the BDS. The senate of the university stated that “...given the role of the Senate as a collective conscience of AUC, expressed in the many resolutions adopted over the years denouncing Israeli brutality and systematic racist policies against Palestinians and their basic rights, we [support] the growing voices of global civil society organizations, and prominent individuals, calling for various forms of boycott of Israel... [and call] for AUC faculty, staff, and students to refrain from dealings with Israeli Academia within the AUC environment, and consider divestment of the AUC endowment from all companies investing in Israel.”

 Court Victory for Seattle Divestment Campaign

15 May 2008 - In the campaign to bring the divestment resolution (Bill I-97) to a vote by Seattle's residents, campaigners must collect 17,968 signatures on a petition form. Zionist organizations took the campaigners to court charging that the forms were misleading. On 15 May, Washington Superior Court judge Steven Gonzalez refused to accept the biased language that the plaintiffs wished to insert into the petition form. Ballot Initiative 97, the Seattle Divest from War and Occupation campaign, is a citizen initiative to divest public monies from illegal war and occupation in Iraq and Palestine. I-97, if adopted, would require the Seattle Employees' Retirement System to divest from any company that (1) participates directly in the occupation of Iraq; (2) is profiting from privatization of Iraqi state resources; (3) provides direct material support to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem, and Golan Heights; and (4) has a direct presence in Israeli settlements in the occupied territories listed above. It would also require divestment from Israeli government bonds if Israel carries out a military attack on Iran without UN authorization. For more visit: www.divestfromwar.org

 $2.3 billion arms deal between India and Israel derailed

Mid May 2008 - The Barak missile systems deal, potentially biggest deal between Israel and India, stalled as the corruption scandals surrounding the Israeli Aircraft Industry deals with India, and implicating an ex-navy commander and the defense minister, grew. BDS campaigners in India and their allies took up the issue in a joint press conference questioning the new deal with the Israeli military that would have provided Israel with a foothold in the air defense systems sector. The pressure lead the Indian government to decide to put the project on hold “for political reasons.”
The Israeli - Indian arms trade has come under heavy criticism from Indian political parties and civil society since the beginning of 2007 after the parties issued a call to completely cut Indian military ties with Israel at the height Israel's siege on Gaza. While the current project has been halted, other military deals continue. Israel is still bidding for at least 18 different military projects with India, including a massive jet fighter deal.

 Quebec-wide Student Federation Joins BDS Campaign

May 2008 - L'Association pour une Solidarit--- Syndicale ƒtudiante (ASSƒ), an important Quebec-wide student federation representing over 42,000 students, voted to support the international campaign against Israeli apartheid on a Quebec-wide level. The resolution was adopted after several local assemblies at university and Cegep campuses across the province voted at a local level within general student assemblies to support the boycott campaign. ASSƒ's boycott resolution marks the first time that a major student union in Quebec or Canada has voted to support the international boycott campaign opposing Israeli apartheid and adopting the BDS campaign. For more information visit: http://tadamon.resist.ca

Leviev Campaign

 Lev Leviev, one of Israel's wealthiest businessmen, is building the Matityahu East settlement on the lands of the village of Bil'in with partner Shaya Boymelgreen, the Zufim settlement on the lands of the village of Jayyous, and the strategic West Bank settlements of Har Homa and Ma'ale Adumim around Jerusalem which divide the northern West Bank from the southern West Bank. In Bil'in and Jayyous, Boymelgreen and Leviev are building settlements on village land despite intensive nonviolent protest campaigns mounted by the two Palestinian villages against the construction.

 Leviev, a major diamond trader who mines diamonds in Africa and polishes them in Israel, uses some of these profits to help finance his illegal settlement construction. Shaya Boymelgreen, until recently Leviev's partner in real estate development in New York City and still his partner in building Matityahu East, has angered many community members in New York City with his abusive developments that he has become the target of local anti-gentrification campaigns.

 Spearheaded by Adalah-New York: The Coalition for Justice in the Middle East, this campaign has been one of the most vibrant and successful in the past few months. Here are some of the recent highlights:

 10 April 2008 - The BNC issued a statement calling upon UNICEF to refrain from accepting any contributions from Mr. Lev Leviev, Israeli diamond tycoon and developer of illegal Israeli settlements. The statement argued that “[j]ust as in the case of South African apartheid, the Palestinian BDS Campaign urges the UN and its leading organs to play a decisive role in imposing sanctions against Israel's own version of apartheid. This is the only way left to enhance the chances for a just peace based on international law and universal human rights.”

 10 May 2008 - During the run-up to Mother's Day in the US, and in an initiative spearheaded by Adalah-NY, over 100 women from around the world sign a call for Mother's Day boycott of Leviev's diamonds, because his companies are destroying the lives of Palestinian mothers. Mother's Day, on May 11, is the third biggest shopping period for jewelry in the US. Women gave out fliers on Saturday May 3 at Leviev's Madison Avenue store, asking shoppers to honor the boycott call. The boycott letter included testimonies from Palestinian mothers Halima Husain from Jayyous and M'azuza Abu Rahmeh from Bil'in, two West Bank villages where Leviev's companies have recently built homes in expanding Israeli settlements on Palestinian land.

 M'azuza Abu Rahmeh from Bil'in explains, “I hope that on this important day for mothers that no women in the world will have to live through this type of experience and that instead they will live with their families and homes, in security and peace.” Halima Husain from Jayyous, adds, “I hope that free people around the world will boycott Israel's occupation and will not support businesses of wealthy Israelis like Leviev who is building the settlement of Zufim, and that they will stand with us to lift this shadow and darkness that hangs over the Palestinian people.”

 27 May 2008 - representatives from Adalah-NY and Jews Against the Occupation (JATO) met with representatives from the United Arab Emirates UN Mission. They presented the UAE representatives with a letter from students from Jayyous calling on Dubai to boycott Israeli settlement-builder Lev Leviev. Adalah-NY and JATO also gave the UAE representatives photos showing that Leviev's jewelry is being advertised and sold by his Palestinian/Moroccan partner Arif Ben Khadra in Dubai. In their letter, the Jayyous students explained:

Leviev's money and investments are destroying the olive groves that have sustained our village for centuries. Many of our families are barred by the occupation forces from working our own lands that have been stolen by the Apartheid Wall for the 'Zufim' settlement. Mr. Leviev has heavily invested in this settlement and as such is funding the continuing dispossession of our people in Jayyous... Every Leviev diamond bought in Dubai pays for our oppression and dispossession. Give our proud village the chance to feed itself and grow again -- boycott Mr. Lev Leviev, in Dubai and all over the world.

 23 June 2008 - UNICEF announced that it has cut ties with diamond magnate Lev Leviev on account of his involvement in settlement construction in Palestine, particularly on land belonging to the villages of Jayyous and Bil'in. The UNICEF decision comes after pressure on the agency from within Palestine as well as internationally. Previously, Leviev had attempted to deflect criticism by pointing to his charitable gifts to Oxfam. However, when contacted by Adalah-NY, Oxfam issued a public statement denying that it had received any contributions from Leviev and declared that it would refuse to take any in the future on account of his involvement with settlement construction.

 2 July 2008 - Seven diverse organizations call on Susan Sarandon to follow UNICEF's lead and publicly cut ties with Lev Leviev. The statement reads: “Like UNICEF, which did not know until we informed them, we understand that when you attended the November 13, 2007 gala opening of Leviev's Madison Avenue jewelry store, as Adalah-NY protested outside, you were unaware of Leviev's record of human rights abuses in Palestine, Angola and beyond. However, as a popular and respected human rights advocate and a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, not publicly severing ties with Leviev has sent and will continue to send a message to the world that you support Leviev's highly unethical business activities which result in grave human rights abuses in Palestine.”

The signatories included the West Bank Villages of Bil'in and Jayyous; Defence for Children International - Palestine Section; Steering Committee of the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee; Jewish Voice for Peace (representing 23,000 Jews and allies who “yearn and work for a just peace for Palestinians and Israelis”); The Coalition of Women for Peace, Israel (representing ten Israeli women's organizations).

 3 July 2008 - The Arab League announced that it is considering blacklisting companies belonging to Israeli businessman Lev Leviev and that of his agent in the UAE, the pan-Arab body said just days after UNICEF severed ties with the billionaire jeweler.

 For more information visit http://adalahny.org

 Dr. Uri Davis Puts Forward BDS Motion at Israeli Anthropological Society Annual Conference

21-22 May 2008 - Anthropologist and anti-apartheid activist Dr. Uri Davis presented a draft resolution calling for the Israeli Anthropological Society to endorse the BDS campaign at its 36th Annual Conference held at Beit Berl (Katznelson). The proposal specifically called for the society to “endorse the local, regional and international mobilization known as BDS, namely, boycott of Israeli industrial, cultural, academic and scientific institutions (including our own Association), divestment in Israel, and imposing UN sanctions against the rogue Government of the State of Israel.

We support BDS as above until such time as the Government of the State of Israel implements the right of all 1948 Palestine refugees and their descendants to return and to the repossession of the titles to their properties inside the State of Israel, pointing out that our said endorsement refers to BDS against Israeli institutions - not individuals.” The draft resolution also called for the boycott of Israeli individuals who would not sign a statement clarifying their commitment to human rights, particularly the Palestinian refugees' right to return, and recommended that the Association “call upon the relevant authorities of this campus to consider removing the name of the criminal apartheid political-Zionist ideologue Berl Kazenelson from this institution where we are convened and rename this academic college after the late Warsaw Ghetto survivor and human rights defender Professor Israel Shahak.”

 Egyptian Diplomats Boycott Italian Football Tournament for Celebrating Israel

24 May 2008 - An Egyptian football team including Egyptian embassy workers in Rome quit an international tournament upon learning that they would be playing against an Israeli team which also included Israeli embassy workers. The Israeli team was explicitly formed as part of the Israel at 60 anniversary celebrations at the initiative of the Israeli ambassador in Italy.

UCU Votes in Favor of Considering Boycott

28 May 2008 - The motion committed the union to providing information on the occupation to members, drawn from the testimonies of UCU members who visited Palestine, and the Palestinian colleagues who recently visited the UK to tour campuses on the invitation of the UCU. It also resolved to initiate an international greylisting investigation into Ariel College which has been designated as a university and constitutes the educational arm of the colonization of the West Bank. The union will now have to pursue these issues through its normal procedures.

 Jean-Luc Godard boycotts Israeli film festival

Late May 2008 - Swiss-French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard canceled his participation in the Tel Aviv International Student Film Festival stating “circumstances beyond his control.” The cancellation came after the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) and others urged him to boycott the event. PACBI's open letter to Godard, entitled “Le petit soldat dancing on Palestinian graves” - a reference to Godard's 1963 film, urged Godard to “take a courageous stand and cancel your trip to Israel... Did you ever go to an Afrikaner film festival in apartheid South Africa? Why Israel, then?”

 Bahrainis Push for Reopening Israel Boycott Office

Late May 2008 - The Bahrain Society against Normalization with the Zionist Enemy began collecting petitions to reopen the Israel Boycott office in their country. The office was opened in 1963 to monitor goods coming into the country with the aim of keeping out Israeli products, and was shut down in 2004 when the Bahraini government signed a free trade agreement with the US that stipulated the closing down of the office - a pattern that has been repeated in several Arab states. This petition comes as the parliament awaits the government's response for a parliamentary bill calling for the reopening of the boycott office.

British Rugby Fans Call for a Cancellation of their Team's Caterpillar Sponsorship

30 May 2008 - Caterpillar and the Leicester Tigers announced a five-year multi-million pound sponsorship deal, believed to be the biggest in rugby history. Activists from the UK's Palestine Solidarity Campaign joined the fans of the team in publicly challenging the deal, arousing a controversy in local media that highlighted Caterpillar's role in supplying the Israeli military with machinery used in the violation of Palestinian human rights

 COSATU condemns alleged awarding of tender to an Israeli company

6 June 2008 - Orsus Solutions Israel Ltd. was awarded a contract estimated at more than $5 million to work with Transnet Freight Rail, an international rail operator based in South Africa. Upon learning about this deal, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) immediately issued a public statement condemning the transaction. In the statement, the Congress argues that: “we need to take drastic action to disrupt this transaction, which is an attack on the noble struggle of the oppressed Palestinian people... We call on the world community of progressive peoples to do all within their power to mobilize for intensified action and the isolation of Israel at all levels. We are also aware that Israel supported with arms and helped the brutal Apartheid regime to murder and kill political activists on our own soil, so we have reason to share in the pains and suffering of the Palestinian people at this hour of need... South Africa must send the Israeli ambassador in our country back home. In this way, we shall be giving a practical signal of solidarity with our comrades in the occupied territories. The time has come and we must act and act now.”

BDS Activists in Vancouver (Canada) Picket Sales of Israeli Wines

7 June 2008 - Local activists gathered for a spirited picket on June 7 in front of the BC Liquor Store on one of the busiest streets in the city to protest the distribution of wines under the Israeli label. The picket was full of diverse touches, including a bagpiper, homemade cookies for picketers and the participation of visiting Jewish American singer David Rovics. The picket itself reflected the broad support the campaign has received so far, with activists from many sectors (Palestinian support groups, progressive Jewish groups, war resisters) joining in to say that “Vancouver does not want to Drink with Apartheid.” An aggressive attempt at harassing the picket by Zionist fanatics (some of whom were openly racist) failed and actually motivated many of the picketers to rededicate their commitment to the campaign, which is already planning future activities. The BC Liquor Board has introduced three brands of Israeli wines, two of which are already confirmed to be directly from the spoils of Israeli occupation on Arab land, in this case the occupied Golan Heights. The campaign is also asking people in Canada to consider joining the global BDS movement, which is the most effective non-violent means of bringing pressure on the Israeli government as it continues to flout all international norms.

Derry Anti-War Activists Acquitted

11 June 2008 - The nine Irish activists - who occupied and closed down Raytheon offices at Springtown in Derry in a 9 August 2007 protest organized by the Derry Anti-War Coalition - were found 'not-guilty' by a unanimous Jury. The nine were charged under the Terrorism Act, which means that they could have faced lengthy jail sentences. Protests have been carried out in Derry since their arrests. Raytheon plays a key role in arming the Israeli military. Guided bombs produced by Raytheon were used to hit the city of Qana, resulting in one of the worst massacres of the Summer 2006 Israeli aggression against Lebanon. Raytheon also produces a number of different types of missiles, all of which are used against the Palestinian population, these days most frequently in Gaza. Addressing the crowd outside the courtroom after their release, the activists stated “We remain proud of the action we took and only wish that we could have done more to disrupt the 'kill chain' that Raytheon controls.” For more information visit www.raytheon9.org

Activists Picket and Disrupt Caterpillar Annual Shareholders Meeting

11 June 2008 - More than 50 Palestine solidarity activists from numerous organizations gathered to oppose Caterpillar Corporation's annual shareholders meeting. Caterpillar, an American company, is responsible for building and outfitting militarized bulldozers to sell to the Israeli army. Three activists with the International Solidarity Movement's Chicago chapter were able to get inside the meeting, making statements about the use of Caterpillar trucks in home demolition and ending their statements by chanting, “take responsibility and do the right thing!” as they were quickly surrounded and ejected from the meeting by security guards. Caterpillar Corporation will continue to be targeted for its support for the occupation and apartheid in Palestine until it agrees to end sales to the Israeli military.

British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (BRICUP) Send Open Letter to Branford Marsalis

17 June 2008 - BRICUP responded to information that African American Jazz great, Branford Marsalis, had accepted an invitation to perform in Israel in violation of the Boycott by issuing an open letter. The letter stated: “jazz is one of the most triumphant expressions of African-Americans' resistance to forced removal, ruthless suppression, and murderous racism. Yet you are reportedly going to play a concert in a country whose government and army are even now inflicting similar cruelties on another people. Is it possible that when you agreed to play in Tel Aviv on July 17, you did not think what message this would send to the indigenous inhabitants of Palestine, many of whom now live in refugee camps outside their homeland or in exile across the world? They were driven out en masse in 1948 and 1967, and no Israeli government has ever allowed them, their children, or their children's children, to return... If you stand up on that stage in the Tel Aviv opera house you'll be telling the Palestinians their suffering -- the product of colonialism and racism-- doesn't matter... Please don't go.” The full text of the letter can be seen at http://www.bricup.co.uk

ICTU Launches Senior Labor Delegation to Palestine Report

18 June 2008 - The Irish Congress of Trade Unions formally launched the report of a senior union delegation visit to Israel and Palestine which recommends support and promotion for a “boycott campaign of Israeli goods and services and a policy of disinvestment from Israeli companies” in order to encourage Israeli compliance with International Law and to cease its violation of the human rights of the Palestinian people. The report also calls for the Irish government to initiate change at the EU level, with regard to policy on Israel and Palestine. The November 2007 delegation visit, which comprised senior Congress officials and was led by the current President of Congress, followed the unanimous adoption by Congress, in July 2007, of two motions that specifically called for a boycott and a campaign of disinvestment. The full report is available at www.ictu.ie/download/pdf/palestine_final.pdf

Pressure on Veolia continues, Civic Coalition to Defend Jerusalem Launches Corporate Blacklist

June 2008 - Following the decision by SNS Bank's subsidiary ANS to divest from Veolia, activists approached SNS bank itself. This month, SNS has agreed that “the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory is not consistent with international law” but that “the bank does not consider the construction of the tramway as a direct, grave violation of human rights.” However, SNS has not yet ruled out divestment, which will depend on the future actions of Veolia. It has also been reported that Polar Investments, the largest stakeholder in the Jerusalem light rail, is planning to sell its shares in the project. This is on account of Polar's wish to focus on real estate as well as the problems that have plagued the construction of the rail system.

According to Globes, the other shareholders are Ashtrom Properites Ltd. (27.5%), Harel Insurance Investments and Financial Services Ltd. (20%), Alstom SA (20%), and Veolia unit Connex (5%).
In Palestine, the Civic Coalition to Defend Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem has launched the “Stop the Expulsion” campaign. The aim of the campaign is to uphold Palestinian residency rights in Jerusalem, which have been trampled by the occupation authorities. One goal of the campaign is to pressure international corporations and governments that are actively supporting the occupation and colonization of the Palestinian capital, partly through maintaining a blacklist of complicit corporations. Veolia is the first company to be blacklisted by the campaign for its involvement in the construction of the light rail system. More information at: www.ccdprj.ps/stopexpulsion

UK's Largest Public Sector Union Passes Boycott Resolution

22 June 2008 - Delegates at the 2008 UNISON Delegate Conference adopted a comprehensive policy on Palestine building on discussions and decisions made over the conferences held since 2005. Conference noted that 2008 marks the sixtieth anniversary of the “Nakba” which led to nearly 900,000 Palestinian refugees fleeing their homes. Many of them and their descendants still live in refugee camps and all are unable to return to their homes. Building on the Trades Union Congress 2006 adoption of a clear position in support of self-determination for the Palestinian people, Conference instructed the union's National Executive Council to, among other acts of solidarity and movement building, “[examine] the investments of their members' pension funds with a view to calling for disinvestment from companies such as Caterpillar, involved in the occupation, ... campaign to bring about a concrete change in the policies of the British government and the European Union, [particularly to work towards] an end to the arms trade between Israel and Britain and EU Member States leading to a mandatory United Nations Arms Embargo; suspension of the EU-Israel Association Agreement until Israel is in full compliance of its human rights clauses; a ban on imports of all goods, and especially agricultural produce, from the illegal Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories,” and also committed the union to “[e]nsure that the union divests itself of any holdings in companies responsible for maintaining the illegal Wall condemned by the International Court of Justice.”

PCHR Files Lawsuit against Israeli Military over Shehada Assassination

24 June 2008 - the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) filed a lawsuit at the National Court of Spain, the highest Spanish judicial council, against seven former senior Israeli military officials involved in the planning and execution of the “targeted assassination” of Salah Shehada. The July 2002 assassination of the Hamas commander in Gaza city involved the dropping of a 500kg bomb on his house killing him and seventeen others, including his wife, his daughter, his guard, eight children (including a 2-month infant), two elderly men, and two women. In addition, seventy-seven other people were injured, eleven houses were completely destroyed and thirty-two houses damaged. As an immediate response, the Occupation has ordered all the military officers implicated in the case not to enter Spain to avoid arrest and prosecution. More information at: www.pchrgaza.org

Israeli Ambassador Meeting with Welsh National Assembly Sparks Boycotts and Protests

25 June 2008 - The first Muslim member of the Welsh National Assembly, Mohammad Asghar, invited Ron Prosor, the Israeli Ambassador to the UK, to meet with the Assembly. The initial response to the meeting was the declaration of the Speaker of the Assembly, Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas, that he was “unwilling to accept the invitation to meet the ambassador, because of my objection to the failure of the State of Israel to meet its international obligations to the Palestinian people of the Holy Lands,” and inviting other Assembly Members to do the same. The June 25 meeting also met with grassroots protests from BDS activists in Wales, three of the protesters were arrested by South Wales police. Read the BNC statement of support for Lord Elis-Thomas at: www.bdsmovement.net/?q=node/153

Anti-Normalization Campaign in Jordan Challenges Film Festival

28 June 2008 - The campaign in the Hashemite Kingdom initially called for an artists' boycott of the Jordan Festival due to a perception that the French company 'Publicis' was contracted to organize the advertisements for the festival. The same company was responsible for publicity of the Israel at 60 celebrations. High profile Arab artists, including Omar al-Abdullat, Amr Diab, and Mohammad Hamaqi stated their non-participation. 3 July 2008 - The Jordan Artists Association (JAA) dropped its reservations over the Jordan Festival, giving the green light to Arab artists who had intended to boycott the event to change their mind. Shaher al-Hadid, President of the JAA stated that “[a]fter all ambiguities regarding the organizing firm were removed by His Majesty the King, we invite our Arab colleagues to go ahead with their plans to perform concerts.” The state-run Jordanian Tourist Board has categorically rejected that Publicis Groupe was involved in the organization of the festival, but the denial had failed to convince the JAA to change its stand. The reversal of the JAA's attitude came after remarks by King Abdullah II aimed at the event's “ignorant skeptics” stating they were following unfounded rumors.”

Palestinian Geographers Boycott International Conference due to Israeli Participation
1 July 2008 - The Palestinian Geographers Society informed the Tunisian Geographers Society that they will boycott the International Geographers Congress, due to be held in Tunis from August 12 to 14, because Israel is participating. Dr. Musalem Abu al-Helu, director of the Palestinian society stated Israeli representatives to the conference were “army officers who had committed war crimes against the Palestinians” as one of the main reasons behind his organization's boycott.

Bil'in Commences Legal Proceedings in Canada against Illegal Construction on their Land
8 July 2008 - The Palestinian village of Bil'in, in the occupied West Bank, announced that it has commenced legal proceedings in Canada against two Canadian Companies for committing war crimes. The case has been filed in the Quebec Superior Court sitting at Montreal, Canada. In the lawsuit, Bil'in alleges that Green Park International Inc. and Green Mount International Inc., both registered corporations in the Province of Quebec, acting as agents for Israel, are illegally constructing residential and other buildings on lands under the municipal jurisdiction of the Village and are marketing and selling condominium units to the civilian population of the State of Israel. Bil'in is seeking an immediate Order from the Canadian court stopping the illegal construction, punitive damages and other relief as set out in the claim. Upon obtaining such an Order in Canada, Bil'in intends to petition the Israeli Court to enforce the Canadian Court Order in Israel and the West Bank.

BNC Launches Global BDS Movement Website
9 July 2008 - The Palestinian BDS National Committee marked the third anniversary since the Unified Palestinian Civil Society Call for BDS by launching a new website for the global BDS movement. The website currently contains resources for BDS activists, news of the campaign in Palestine and around the world, regularly updated action-alerts, and profiles of complicit corporations and BDS campaigns around the world. The website is constantly being developed, and is scheduled to launch an Arabic version. Visit the site regularly at www.bdsmovement.net

Snoop Cancels Israel Gig

23 July 2008 - Citing technical reasons, the infamous and influential hip-hop celebrity Snoop Dogg (Calvin Broadus) heeded the calls of the BDS movement and canceled the Israel stop in his upcoming tour launching the new 'Ego Trippin' album.

US Campaign to End the Occupation to Escalate 'Hang Up on Motorolla' Campaign at National Conference

July 25-28 - Since its last national conference, the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation has begun a dialogue with Motorola and produced a factsheet and other campaign materials that can be used to inform others about Motorola's support for Israeli apartheid. The upcoming national conference will focus a great deal of discussion on developing the strategy for a systematic campaign targeting Motorolla's support for the Israeli military.

For more information visit: www.endtheoccupation.org

BADIL Staff

BADIL Staff

BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights is an independent, community-based non-profit organization mandated to defend and promote the rights of Palestinian refugees and IDPs. Our vision, missions, programs and relationships are defined by our Palestinian identity and the principles of international law, in particular international human rights law. We seek to advance the individual and collective rights of the Palestinian people on this basis.