A breakdown of recent statements by principal players in the Kerry-led peace process. The Israeli/Palestinian negotiations remind me of a volleyball court. With a lack of hard information available to the public, each player punts a ball into the air at regular intervals with identifying marks on it, to remind everyone that he or she is still there for ten seconds before the ball drops and another pops up. These blips sound like a standard shouting match on the surface. But their subtext can give a snapshot of the peace process at this moment – and reveal why it’s so…Read More... | 18 Comments
Civil rights organizations argue the 'anti-boycott law' has created a chilling effect, stifling debate on one of the most divisive issues facing Israeli society. If that's the case, the state counters, then how has BDS grown so much in recent years? In a hearing that felt at times like the political boycott itself was on trial, an extended panel of nine justices from Israel’s High Court of Justice heard arguments for and against legislation targeting calls to boycott Israel on Sunday. It was the second such session following petitions by civil rights groups asking the court to strike down the…Read More... | 16 Comments
It does not have to bring the Israeli economy to its knees, or even close, to force an end to the occupation. Now that it’s a very common, almost consensus view that Israel faces isolation and serious economic pain if it does not end the occupation, the skeptics are weighing in. They’re saying that the BDS movement, academic boycott and Europe’s anti-settlement policy toward Israeli businesses, even though they are intensifying, have hardly made a dent in this country’s material quality of life. (Here, here, here and here.) Deals are still being made, rock stars are still coming to perform,…Read More... | 38 Comments
Scarlett Johansson is apparently the new poster girl for Israel - or more accurately, for those who blindly cheer for it and have no criticism of the myriad human rights violations that come with its occupation. The over-exuberantly American "pro-Israel" advocacy group, The Israel Project, has appropriated the actress in its effort to advocate for Israel and combat any kind of boycott, BDS or not. As everyone must know by now, Johansson is no longer the global ambassador of Oxfam, choosing instead to stick with her new contract as the face of SodaStream, an Israeli company with a factory in…Read More... | 9 Comments
The Scarlett Johansson/Sodastream affair appears to be over. The American movie star left relief group Oxfam citing differences of opinion over boycott and will continue to represent Israeli company Sodastream, which has a factory in a West Bank settlement. The Israeli media declared victory with the weekend papers cheering Johansson’s decision to quit Oxfam. “Scarlett for Israel” was the headline in Yedioth Ahronoth, whose Friday edition is the most widely read paper in Israel. The editors placed the story on page 1, above the fold. International coverage of the affair, however, told a slightly different story, repeatedly referring to the settlements…Read More... | 23 Comments
Following Channel 2 News’ remarkable Saturday night prime-time feature on the boycott of Israel, 'Yedioth Ahronoth' delivers same warning in big, bold letters on Monday’s front page. “100 leaders of the economy warn of boycott on Israel,” reads the lead headline in Monday’s Yedioth Ahronoth. The sub-headline includes the quote, “The world is losing its patience and the threat of sanctions is increasing. We must reach an agreement with the Palestinians.” The commentary next to it by star columnist Sever Plocker is titled, “It’s the economy, Bibi.” Yedioth is almost as popular and influential an Israeli newspaper as Channel 2…Read More... | 27 Comments
The country’s number-one news show runs lengthy piece on the growing movement – and blames it not on anti-Semitism or Israel-bashing, but on settlements. On Saturday night the boycott of Israel gained an impressive new level of mainstream recognition in this country. Channel 2 News, easily the most watched, most influential news show here, ran a heavily-promoted, 16-minute piece on the boycott in its 8 p.m. prime-time program. The piece was remarkable not only for its length and prominence, but even more so because it did not demonize the boycott movement, it didn’t blame the boycott on anti-Semitism or Israel-bashing.…Read More... | 32 Comments
Earlier this month, the Ministerial Committee for Legislation approved the preparation of and support for a new ‘NGO law.’ The law would impose a 45 percent tax on donations to NGOs calling for a boycott of Israel, the prosecution IDF soldiers, that deny Israel’s state symbols. The NGO law is the latest of some 30 anti-democratic laws that have been put forth under Netanyahu’s last two terms. http://youtu.be/0AHhnIwyfA0 Related: Right-wing parties revive attack on left-wing NGOs Foreign influence, transparency problems of NGO MonitorRead More... | 6 Comments
There are some strong arguments against the ASA's recent decision to support an academic boycott of Israel. But are they adequate? Members of the American Studies Association (ASA) voted last week to endorse a resolution supporting an academic boycott of Israel, following a unanimous vote by the National Council of the ASA earlier this month. The global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement might have seemed extreme and marginal when it was established eight years ago. But what seems extreme has a way of becoming mainstream if doesn’t go away. The boycott idea became impossible to ignore as international stars such…Read More... | 33 Comments
On both sides of the Atlantic, the consensus on the need to avoid and resolve confrontations with Israel at all costs guarantees that diplomacy will not change the trends on the ground in the foreseeable future. There are more and more signs that Israel and the EU are about to resolve the mini-crisis created by the publication of a commission notice that would have limited EU loans to Israeli entities that operate beyond the Green Line and set stricter rules regarding the use of EU grants and prizes. Some initial media reports (including on this site) were not accurate in…Read More... | 18 Comments
It seems there's no custom more characteristic of the Jewish holidays than the shopping fever. We don't always know where are money goes and for which purpose, but now it appears that now there is a solution. A new app called Buycott - a combination of the words "buy" and "boycott" - lets consumers learn about companies and corporations that manufacture the products by scanning the barcode on the packaging. Users can define their purchasing preferences such as supporting certain companies, buying Israeli produce, boycotting or avoiding products manufactured in Israeli settlements in the West Bank, or produced while exploiting…Read More... | 1 Comment
The EU's settlement guidelines, if implemented, could be the first step in showing Israel that there are consequences for its occupation and illegal settlement building, and actually push both sides toward a resolution to the conflict. Since the EU announced new guidelines regarding its activity in settlements in July, Israel and most recently, the United States, have pushed back against their implementation. On Monday, a group of former senior European officials penned a letter to EU foreign ministers urging them to stand tough against the pressure and implement the regulations as planned. The regulations, which would limit the EU’s financial…Read More... | 7 Comments
Despite their intentions, the new EU guidelines may serve as a boost for an already growing industry of lies and deceit, meant to hide away settlement products and other forms of occupation profiteering. Judging by the front pages of all Israeli newspapers today (Wednesday), the new European Union guidelines have nearly put the country in a state of emergency. As Noam Sheizaf puts it, Europe has gotten our attention. The new guidelines for European grants, prizes and programs are a serious and positive step in the ongoing attempt to clarify for Israelis that settlements are not just regular Israeli towns and…Read More... | 10 Comments
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On the challenges facing a growing population of asylum seekers and refugees in Israel.
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Israeli teens tell #Netanyahu: We will not take part in occupation, by @edokonrad http://t.co/Rxuyi1HNYB