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divestment

  • The quieter, more dangerous boycott

    Three recent divestment cases indicate that even when there are no flashy headlines, maybe especially so, boycott and divestment efforts can have a major impact where it hurts. The largest supermarket chain in Luxembourg, Cactus, may be considering taking Israeli produce off its shelves unless suppliers can prove they do not come from occupied territory, Israeli news site Ynet reported this week. If the chain follows through, this would be the latest in a number of related incidents that show European companies' growing discomfort with contracts, holdings and investments in Israel. The discomfort appears rooted not in ideology or politics, but in…

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  • Casting Jewish-American boycott activists as hypocrites

    Israel's top weekend news show forgets about journalistic integrity when painting American Jewish supporters of the BDS movement as hypocritical, ungrateful and misinformed.  Last Friday, Channel 2's popular weekend news show, "Ulpan Shishi," ran a report by senior anchor Danny Kushmaro, who traveled to the United States to interview the Jews behind the boycott Israel movement [Hebrew]. Why Jews, specifically? Because Kushmaro believes Jews must have a special connection to Israel. [tmwinpost] In fact, the report also included interviews with Israel-loving Jews, as well as a reminder to the viewers that prominent American Jews donate money to NYU, which, of course,…

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  • Major U.S. church backs divestment from Israeli occupation

    In a landslide vote, the United Church of Christ passes a divestment and boycott resolution targeting 'companies profiting from, or complicit in, human rights violations arising from the occupation.' Text by: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org The United Church of Christ voted by an overwhelming margin Tuesday to divest from companies complicit in the Israeli occupation. The resolution, which passed by a 508 to 124 vote, also calls for a boycott of settlement products, congressional accountability regarding U.S. foreign military aid to Israel, and ongoing commitment to interfaith dialogue. [tmwinpost] According to a UCC news report, the resolution, which had initially been…

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  • Interview: Church-based BDS and the Jewish voices beside it

    As more U.S. churches vote on divestment, Jewish Voice for Peace aims to provide key support to a movement often accused of anti-Semitism. An interview with JVP's advocacy director Sydney Levy. By Ryan Rodrick Beiler / Activestills.org This week, three more U.S. churches are voting on resolutions to divest from companies complicit in the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory. A United Church of Christ (UCC) committee unanimously approved a divestment resolution Sunday night with a final vote by the church’s general assembly expected Tuesday in Cleveland, Ohio. [tmwinpost] The Episcopal Church is debating no fewer than seven resolutions related to…

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  • Church-based BDS does not unfairly ‘single out’ Israel [op-ed]

    Opponents of church-based boycott initiatives often accuse advocates of unfairly 'singling out' Israel while ignoring Islamist violence in Syria and elsewhere. Here's why they're wrong. Text and photos by Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org In the coming days, three more U.S. churches will consider resolutions to apply economic leverage against the Israeli occupation. The Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA), United Methodist Church (UMC), and various Quaker bodies have taken similar actions in previous years. Now, as the United Church of Christ (UCC), the Episcopal Church, and Mennonite Church USA (MCUSA) meet for national conventions, divestment activists say their case has never been clearer.…

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  • The Israeli government's election gift to West Bank settlers

    Netanyahu tells supporters at a settlement campaign event that Israel will continue to build in the West Bank, as his Likud party competes with more hawkish parties for settler votes. Erekat calls for boycott, divestment in response. Less than a month and a half before general elections, the Israeli government published tenders for 430 new settlement homes in the occupied West Bank on Friday. The move could be interpreted as a gift of sorts to the right-wing electorate as the ruling Likud party fights for votes with the further-right Jewish Home party headed by Naftali Bennett. While Netanyahu has ruled…

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  • Israelis know status quo is untenable, but there’s no alternative vision

    With three-quarters of Israelis saying they worry about international isolation and only 10 percent supporting the status quo, logic would hold that they might seek change. But don't expect it to happen anytime soon. The success of the Zionist project — from the pre-state era to Startup Nation — is often attributed to some combination of stubbornness and improvisation in the face of adversity. Those characteristics form the nexus of how Israelis see themselves. Another way of describing those same traits, however, is a lucky combination of recklessness and desperation. Israelis know how much they stand to lose by not…

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  • The bigoted rants of Shmuley Boteach, 'America’s rabbi'

    If any gentile in America wrote about Jews the way he just wrote about Presbyterians – for any reason – he or she would be ostracized from public life for good. So many pro-Israel Jews are coming down on the Presbyterians as anti-Semites because of their divestment vote, which is a slander. But why aren't any of them calling out Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, "America's rabbi," for the bigotry he has been spewing? From his Jerusalem Post column a few days ago: The rotting corpse of the Presbyterian Church got another nail in its coffin with the vote on Friday ... Now the…

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  • What’s the significance of a 'settlement-free Europe?'

    The direct effects of official sanctions against Israeli settlements are limited. But the momentum created by such moves inspires and pushes private actors to take their own steps in the same direction. France on Tuesday published a warning to its citizens against doing business in or with Israeli settlements in the West Bank, Golan Heights and East Jerusalem. The UK issued a similar official warning to its citizens late last year, and according to Haaretz’s Barak Ravid, Italy and Spain are expected to make similar announcements soon. There has been an open movement in the halls of European power in…

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  • Is Presbyterian divestment a BDS victory? Who cares

    Both BDS supporters and detractors are touting the Presbyterian Church's divestment vote as a BDS victory. But regardless, isn’t it a step in the direction every anti-occupation person ought to be rooting for? By A. Daniel Roth The Presbyterian Church U.S.A. (PCUSA) narrowly (310 to 303) voted late last week to divest some $21 million from Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard, and Motorola for profiting by selling goods which are used in the administration of the occupation and the destruction of Palestinian homes and property. The full text of the divestment resolution can be read here. Strangely enough, or perhaps quite expectedly, both BDS activists…

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  • The kidnapping is indefensible – but Israel helped provoke it

    The pain Israelis feel over the three missing boys must be respected, but the fight to end the occupation – including a major BDS effort in America this week – must not stop. The three boys kidnapped in the West Bank Thursday night are innocent victims. And given their youth (Naftali Frenkel and Gilad Shaer are both 16, Eyal Yifrah is 19), there’s absolutely no justifying this attack. Youngsters should never be targeted, no matter the political cause. But while the three boys are innocent and their kidnapping wrong, that doesn’t mean Israel is innocent or right in what it…

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  • BDS's Jewish roots: A lesson for Hillel

    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…

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  • A house divided: Campus divestment reveals cracks within the American Jewish establishment

    How can a community which so highly regards deliberation and dissent demand such unwavering unity on what is, perhaps, American Jewry’s most controversial issue? By Roi Bachmutsky Uproar recently broke out regarding world-renowned theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking’s recent decision to cancel his headline appearance at the fifth annual Facing Tomorrow Presidential Conference hosted by Israeli President Shimon Peres. Gil Troy penned an opinion piece in response, in which he argued that by boycotting the conference, “[Hawking] suggested that the dynamics of the conflict are mutually exclusive… to prove he is pro-Palestinian he had to act anti-Israeli.” My Facebook newsfeed is often filled…

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