In all other contexts, the Jewish people have demonstrated that we understand boycotts, divestments, and sanctions to be effective, non-violent tools for political change. So why do we deem them violent and illegitimate when it comes to Israel? By Alice Mishkin My introduction to divestment as a tool for activism came in 2005. I was a staff member at the Save Darfur Coalition (SDC) from 2005-2006, during the peak of the movement. With the help of our board members who represented organizations like the Jewish Council on Public Affairs, the Religious Action Center, American Jewish World Service, the United States…Read More... | 25 Comments
Few of the people accused of boycotting Israel actually advocate or adhere to the central demands of the Palestinian boycott call. Ironically, those same people may be in the best position to help end the occupation. By Ran Greenstein Opposition to the BDS movement has become a crucial test of loyalty to the pro-Israel cause in the U.S. Jewish community in recent months. It has not replaced the Iranian nuclear program as the most prominent cause for alarm raised by the Israel lobby and its allies, but it is moving in that direction. Naturally enough, this heightened publicity is being…Read More... | 18 Comments
Four notes on what could be tipping points for -- or against -- the boycott movement. A week without a major boycott development in Israel is beginning to seem like a rarity. With a string of celebrity, corporate, cultural and professional threats or actions, the atmosphere is jittery; minor rumors like boycott pressure on Beyoncé are making momentary headlines in Israeli news. The hot question is what impact will all this have? The peace and anti-occupation camp wonders if such actions will break Israel’s stubborn commitment to its policies (even if many don’t support BDS themselves). Pro-occupation* figures believe the boycott…Read More... | 20 Comments
By stating that the illegality of settlements is 'very easily debatable' and that there is no 'right or wrong side,' the actress has proven she is not naive at all - but is rather choosing money over humanitarian concerns. By default, she is enabling the occupation. In her first explicit response since the Sodastream-Oxfam controversy, actress Scarlett Johansson told The Guardian Sunday that she stands by her decision to sign as brand ambassador with the Israeli company that has a factory in a West Bank settlement, stating, "I was aware of that particular factory before I signed it." Reiterating her original defense…Read More... | 42 Comments
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
SUBSCRIBE TO OUR WEEKLY NEWSLETTERSubmit
A look into the daily life of African refugees living in an 'open' detention center.
Kerry's peace process
Full coverage, commentary and analysis of the latest round of peace talks.
Plan to displace Bedouin
Will tens of thousands of Israeli citizens be evicted from their homes?
A series of striking infographics.
- MOST READMOST COMMENTED24 HOURS|WEEK|MONTH
An updated list of Israeli demands from Mahmoud Abbas [satire] http://t.co/BSUHZrFWDC
PHOTOS: On #Easter, Palestinians resurrect their destroyed village http://t.co/gvmBIw5ZyQ by @activestills http://t.co/Bs1uBZbcgs
Getting the facts straight on law enforcement in the West Bank http://t.co/wZRi89FaWD by @RoiMaor
PHOTOS: Easter brings the Palestinians of Iqrit back to their village, destroyed by Israeli forces in 1948 http://t.co/gvmBIw5ZyQ
What more could Israel possibly want from Mahmoud Abbas? [satire] http://t.co/cq0aEKUQre
Law enforcement in the W. Bank is complex. Those who attempt to analyze it better get the facts right: http://t.co/wZRi89FaWD
@mattduss @RoiMaor Thanks Matt!