Posted by: sphr | June 5, 2010

PACBI Applaudes UCU’s Historic BDS Resolution

Posted by RORCoalition on Mon, 05/31/2010 – 10:00

30 May 2010 – The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) expresses its profound appreciation for the courageous positions in support of Palestinian rights taken by the membership of the University and College Union (UCU) at its Congress today in Manchester.

The UCU has again firmly and decisively established its unwavering commitment to the Palestinian civil society’s campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with its obligations under international law and recognizes the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. Making history in the international trade union movement in the West, UCU’s Congress also voted with an overwhelming majority to “sever all relations with Histadrut, and to urge other trade unions and bodies to do likewise.” The UCU has today confirmed its established position that it is legitimate to denounce Israel’s oppressive policies and to hold the state and its complicit institutions accountable for human rights abuses, war crimes and ethnic cleansing.

(read the rest here)

Posted by: sphr | June 5, 2010

UK union UNITE endorses BDS

Unite votes to boycott Israel

By Jonathan Kalmus, June 4, 2010

Britain’s largest union, Unite, has unanimously passed a motion to boycott Israeli companies at its first policy conference in Manchester on Wednesday.

The motion, which passed unanimously, called the union “to vigorously promote a policy of divestment from Israeli companies”, while a boycott of Israeli goods and services will be “similar to the boycott of South African goods during the era of apartheid”.

Reflecting the University and College Union’s call at their Manchester conference earlier in the week, Unite will similarly host a “Palestine conference” to support trade union action against Israel.

But at odds with the UCU’s call to sever links with Israel’s trade union movement Histadrut, Unite delegates voted to keep solidarity links. Stephen Scott, director of Trade Union Friends of Israel, said that indicates a split within the pro-boycott movement, many of whom realise such a call “is all very dangerous stuff.

“It would be huge for another trade union movement to expel them even when they are a democratic organisation and pass all the criteria of being a member of the international trade unions.”

Nevertheless, Mr Scott added: “All round, you now have a major player supporting the boycott and the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, and there is no resistance.”

article found here.

Posted by TESCDivest

The Resolutions

Resolution #1: We, the student body of The Evergreen State College, call on The Evergreen State College Foundation to instate a socially responsible investment policy. To this end, we ask them to divest from companies that profit from Israel’s occupation of Palestine. As members of the Evergreen community, we stand with conscientious Palestinians, Israelis, and other international figures such as South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu to endorse the non-violent tactic of boycott, divestment, and sanctions for a peaceful and just resolution to the Israel/Palestine conflict. Do you support this resolution?

Passed by 79.5% of the student vote!

Resolution #2: In 2003, Evergreen student Rachel Corrie was killed by a weaponized Caterpillar bulldozer while non-violently protecting the home of a Palestinian family in Rafah, Palestine. Numerous Palestinian civilians have been killed by militarized Caterpillar bulldozers, as well. Caterpillar, Inc. knowingly sells bulldozers to Israel for military purposes in violation of international law and the US Arms Export Control Act, despite on-going pressure from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch that they desist. Their equipment is used to demolish Palestinian homes, wells, olive trees, orchards, farmland, and other infrastructure as well as to build Israel’s Annexation Wall, which was declared illegal by the International Court of Justice in 2004. Therefore, we, the student body, demand that The Evergreen State College declare a CAT-Free Campus and instate the following policies:

  1. Refuse to allow Caterpillar equipment to be used for maintenance and upkeep of campus facilities.
  2. Include stipulations in all construction agreements that no Caterpillar equipment will be used for any contracted services with the college.

These policies will remain in effect until Caterpillar, Inc. ends its complicity in human rights violations. Do you support this resolution?

Passed by 71.8% of the student vote!

The final Student Union resolution:

Whereas the passage by student vote of the Divestment and CAT-free Campus Resolutions demonstrates an unambiguous mandate; and

Whereas the Geoduck Student Union is the elected representative of the student body;

We, the Geoduck Student Union, demand:

That The Evergreen State College and The Evergreen State College Foundation instate a socially responsible investment policy and to this end divest from companies that profit off of Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine. This divestment policy will remain in effect until such time as Israel abides by all applicable international law and ceases to illegally occupy and blockade the indigenous Palestinian land of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

And that The Evergreen State College declare a CAT-Free Campus and instate the following policies:

Refuse to allow Caterpillar equipment to be used for maintenance and upkeep of campus facilities.

Include stipulations in all construction agreements that no Caterpillar equipment be used for any contracted services with the college.

These policies will remain in effect until Caterpillar, Inc. ends its complicity in human rights violations.

The GSU stands with conscientious Palestinians, Israelis, and other international figures such as South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu to endorse the non-violent tactic of boycott, divestment, and sanctions for a peaceful and just resolution to the Israel/Palestine conflict.

By the beginning of the academic year 2010-2011 we insist on full disclosure of all corporations, including those held through mutual funds, in which The Evergreen State College Foundation and The Evergreen State College are invested.

Further we insist that the Board of Trustees and the Board of Governors make public a plan of action for divestment from companies that profit from the occupation of Palestine. In addition, we insist that The Evergreen State College initiates the above CAT-Free Campus policies.

We join with campuses around the world in building a movement for human rights and dignity by working to end the occupation of Palestine. We look to other campuses to join us in our common effort for justice and peace in the Middle East.

Passed unanimously!

Posted by: sphr | June 5, 2010

Nicaragua suspends diplomatic ties with Israel

AFP [YNet] 2 June 2010 – Managua slams ‘illegal nature of attack on Gaza aid flotilla, reiterates support for Palestinians

Nicaragua suspended diplomatic ties with Israel on Tuesday in protest at Israel’s raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla that killed nine people, President Daniel Ortega’s office said.

“Nicaragua suspends from today its diplomatic relations with the government of Israel,” communications chief Rosario Murillo said in a statement read on Radio Ya.

Managua “underscored the illegal nature of the attack on a humanitarian mission in clear violation of international and humanitarian law,” added Murillo, who doubles as poetess and first lady.

Nicaragua reiterated its support for the Palestinian people and urged an end to the blockade on the Gaza Strip.

US President Barack Obama spoke with Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday to express his condolences for those killed in an Israeli raid on a Turkish aid ship bound for Gaza, the White House said.

Turkey, a key ally of the United States, has reacted angrily to Monday’s raid in which nine people were killed when Israeli commandos stormed the ship. It had been trying to break an Israeli blockade on Gaza.

The White House said in his telephone call with Erdogan, Obama had reiterated the United States’ support for “a credible, impartial, and transparent investigation of the facts surrounding this tragedy.”

“The president affirmed the importance of finding better ways to provide humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza without undermining Israel’s security,” the White House said in a statement.

Reuters contributed to the report

BNC, 1 June 2010 – Palestinian civil society calls for intensifying boycott and sanctions as Israel massacres humanitarian relief workers and international solidarity activists

Occupied Palestine, 1 June 2010 – The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) strongly condemns last night’s fatal attack by the Israeli navy on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla carrying humanitarian aid to the occupied and besieged Gaza Strip. The BNC conveys Palestinian civil society’s condolences to the families and friends of those killed by the Israeli assault and warmly salutes the principled solidarity and moral commitment of all those involved in the Gaza Freedom Flotilla.

In response, the BNC calls on international civil society to:

  • Mobilize for an emergency Global BDS Day of Action on Saturday 5 June 2010 — the 43rd anniversary of the Israeli occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem
  • Pressure governments to start implementing trade sanctions and arms embargos
  • We call specifically on transport and dock workers and unions around the globe to: Refuse to load/offload Israeli ships and airplanes, following the historic example set by the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) in Durban in February 2009 and endorsed by the Maritime Union of Australia (Western Australia).

The Flotilla, which was attacked in international waters in violation of international law, was carrying relief supplies that Israel has persistently prevented from entering Gaza, including medical supplies, cement and food. Israel’s siege is considered a form of collective punishment, a war crime under Article 33 of the Geneva Convention. All of the relief workers and activists on board the Gaza Flotilla ships were unarmed. In legal terms, Israel’s military assault against the Flotilla is an act of aggression against the countries whose flags the ships were carrying; politically, it is an assault against human decency and all people of conscience around the world who support freedom and justice.

Israel’s impunity is the direct result of the international community’s failure to hold it accountable for its ongoing occupation, colonization and apartheid against the Palestinian people. Israel’s most recent war crimes committed in Gaza and documented in the Goldstone report as well as crimes committed in 2006 against the Lebanese people did not trigger any UN or official sanctions, entrenching Israel’s feeling of being above the law. In fact, Israel’s grave violation of international law was recently rewarded when the OECD voted unanimously to accept its membership. The BNC urges international civil society to end this deep and fatal complicity.

The BNC also welcomes and affirms the call of the UN expert on human rights Prof. Richard Falk who stated, “It is time to insist on the end of the blockade of Gaza. The worldwide campaign of boycott, divestment, and sanctions against Israel is now a moral and political imperative, and needs to be supported and strengthened everywhere.”[1]

The UN Security Council has, unsurprisingly, failed to hold Israel accountable for its aggression against the Gaza Freedom Flotilla.[2] The BNC calls upon the UN General Assembly, the European Union, the Arab League and their member states to undertake practical measures which will end Israel’s impunity for its massive and systematic violation of international law, including by:

  • Immediately ending all collusion with Israel’s unlawful blockade of the Gaza Strip and pressuring Israel’s to guarantee unrestricted humanitarian access and freedom of movement of people and products into and out of the Gaza Strip;
  • Bringing to justice all Israeli officials and military personnel who took the decision and/or implemented this latest massacre as well as earlier war crimes;
  • Pressuring your government to immediately suspend arms trade with Israel, and to implement trade sanctions and arms embargos against Israel.
  • In particular, we call on the EU to suspend the EU-Israel Association Agreement, the Mercosur to suspend the FTA, India to reverse decision to hold negotiations around an India-Israel FTA and to stop arms deals with Israel, and Turkey to impose an arms embargo on Israel.

The BNC also calls on people of conscience and citizen groups all over the world to intensify BDS campaigns against Israel as the most effective means of holding it accountable to international law and ending its fatal impunity.

For action ideas and updates, please see:

For more information and coordination of action, please contact:

Ziyaad Lunat (Europe)


Michael Deas (Europe)

[1] For the full statement of Prof. Richard Falk, see:

[2] SC/9940 of 31 May 2010, UN Security Council, Presidential Statement S/PRST/2010/9

May 23, 2010

For the first time in its 30-year history, Pride Toronto has banned an LGBT community group from the parade. The board of directors voted on Friday to ban the words ‘Israeli Apartheid’ from any Pride events, including the Pride parade, dyke march, and trans march – directly targeting the group Queers Against Israeli Apartheid.

This follows a year of intense pressure from Toronto City Hall (one of Pride’s main funders) and Israel lobbyists, who claim that criticisms of the Israeli government amount to hate and discrimination. By caving to their demands, Pride Toronto has not only silenced the voices of queer Palestinians and human rights activists —they have set a dangerous precedent for free expression in our community.

Whatever your politics, send a message to Pride Toronto that ALL communities deserve to be heard in our Pride.

Call their offices to tell them no censorship at Toronto Pride:

Executive Director Tracey Sandilands: 416 927 7433 ext 222
Director of Sponsorship & Grants Ryan Lester: 416 927 7433 ext 230

Margaret Ngai:
Genevieve D’Iorio:
Board member Mark Singh:

Sample Email

Dear Pride Toronto,

I am shocked by your reckless decision to censor free speech at Pride. This year is meant to celebrate 30 years of resistance and instead you have decided to make a mockery of our hard-won rights by banning an LGBT human rights group.

The ‘privilege’ to pick and choose who gets into the club is what denied us our rights for much too long.

My Pride is political! I know how I got here and I will not allow you to silence anyone. We are loud, proud and inclusive! That is what  makes our community strong and vibrant.


War Criminals Not Welcome Here!

Mark 62 Years of Nakba – Stand with Palestine!

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is kicking off UJA’s annual Walk
with Israel on Sunday, May 30th. He will be delivering a live address at the
CNE Direct Energy Center. A coalition of community and human rights
organizations is calling on all to protest the representative of Apartheid
Israel coming to whitewash Israeli human rights violations against the
Palestinian people.

Exact location for the protest will be announced shortly (we will be meeting at
9:00 am).

For now – please support us in spreading the word and posting this callout as
far and wide as possible.

As we mark 62 years of Nakba, the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1948 when
more than 750,000 indigenous Palestinians were expelled and 500 villages
destroyed, we will be protesting the ongoing Nakba that war criminal Netanyahu
is overseeing. We will protest the ongoing colonization of Palestine, the
military occupation, the settlement expansion, the apartheid wall and the
brutal siege of Gaza.

Unfortunately, representatives of a state that carries out blatant apartheid
policies are being welcomed in Canada and supported by the Harper government.
We will be protesting to also send a clear message to Harper that his
government’s uncritical support for Israel must stop.

Spread the word – save the date – and come out to protest the Prime
Minister of Apartheid Israel.

Organized by:

Palestine House Community Center

Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid (CAIA)

Independent Jewish Voices

Not in our Name (Jews Opposing Zionism)

Women in Solidarity with Palestine

Toronto Coalition to Stop the War

Canadian Peace Alliance

*  For organizational endorsements of this protest please send an email to:

*  We are raising funds for placards, banners and buses for this protest.
Your donation will go a long way to get the largest number of people out.
Please mail cheques to: 3195 Erindale Station Road Mississauga, ON L5C 1Y5
(with Netanyahu protest in the memo line).

Posted by: sphr | May 20, 2010

Elvis Costello cancels show in Israel!

It Is After Considerable Contemplation….

It is after considerable contemplation that I have lately arrived at the decision that I must withdraw from the two performances scheduled in Israel on the 30th of June and the 1st of July.

One lives in hope that music is more than mere noise, filling up idle time, whether intending to elate or lament.

Then there are occasions when merely having your name added to a concert schedule may be interpreted as a political act that resonates more than anything that might be sung and it may be assumed that one has no mind for the suffering of the innocent.

I must believe that the audience for the coming concerts would have contained many people who question the policies of their government on settlement and deplore conditions that visit intimidation, humiliation or much worse on Palestinian civilians in the name of national security.

I am also keenly aware of the sensitivity of these themes in the wake of so many despicable acts of violence perpetrated in the name of liberation.

Some will regard all of this an unknowable without personal experience but if these subjects are actually too grave and complex to be addressed in a concert, then it is also quite impossible to simply look the other way.

I offer my sincere apologies for any disappointment to the advance ticket holders as well as to the organizers.

My thanks also go to the members of the Israeli media with whom I had most rewarding and illuminating conversations. They may regard these exchanges as a waste of their time but they were of great value and help to me in gaining an appreciation of the cultural scene.

I hope it is possible to understand that I am not taking this decision lightly or so I may stand beneath any banner, nor is it one in which I imagine myself to possess any unique or eternal truth.

It is a matter of instinct and conscience.

It has been necessary to dial out the falsehoods of propaganda, the double game and hysterical language of politics, the vanity and self-righteousness of public communiqués from cranks in order to eventually sift through my own conflicted thoughts.

I have come to the following conclusions.

One must at least consider any rational argument that comes before the appeal of more desperate means.

Sometimes a silence in music is better than adding to the static and so an end to it.

I cannot imagine receiving another invitation to perform in Israel, which is a matter of regret but I can imagine a better time when I would not be writing this.

With the hope for peace and understanding. Elvis Costello

Remember what happened in 1948?

Tune-in for Radio Free Palestine 2010 or 90.3fm (Montreal)
7am-2pm & 5-6pm on Thursday, May 13th

Radio Free Palestine is presented by the IMEMC (in Beit Sahour) and
CKUT Radio (in Montreal) in commemoration of the 62nd anniversary of
the Palestinian Nakba or catastrophe, marked this year on May 15th,

In 1948, eighty-five percent of the Palestinians living in the areas
that became the state of Israel became refugees. More than 500
Palestinian villages were depopulated and later destroyed to prevent
the return of the refugees. Today there are a total of 7 million
Palestinian refugees, dispersed throughout the world – the largest and
longest running refugee problem yet unresolved.

62-years later, Israel continues to occupy and colonize Palestinian
land through the construction of Jewish only settlements and the Wall
in the West Bank. The Gaza Strip has been turned into one large
prison. Israel violates international law and commits ongoing war
crimes and crimes against humanity. And Palestinians abroad are the
world’s oldest refugee population, making-up more than one fourth of
all refugees.

CKUT, Montreal, QC
KBOO, Portland, OR
CKDU, Halifax, NS
CFRU, Guelph, ON
CFRC, Kingston, ON
“Radio Intifada” (KPFK/Pacifica fm radio, Los Angeles)
Blast Furnace Radio, Pittsburgh, PA

CKUT received the 2009 Community Radio Awards for Best Special
Programming for the Radio Free Palestine Broadcast held May 15th,
2008. The entirety of that broadcast is archived here:

Please contact Gretchen king ( / 514.448.4041 x6788) with
any questions.

May 26th – CAIA Province-wide Day of Action: Dalton McGuinty, Stop Doing Business with Israeli Apartheid!

The Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid (CAIA) is calling on our allies to join us in telling Premier Dalton McGuinty that Ontario should not be doing business with Israeli Apartheid.

This month, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty will be traveling to Israel (May 23 – 27, 2010). McGuinty’s trip is aimed at increasing Ontario’s trade relations with Israel. Trade between Ontario and Israel totaled over 1.1 billion dollars in 2008. In February 2010, The Toronto Stock Exchange signed a trade agreement with the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. More info

In 2008, Israel announced that it was launching a Rebranding Campaign aimed at promoting the ‘positive side’ of Israel in order to change its tarnished image. This campaign is intended to distract the world from its war crimes and violations of international law. McGuinty’s announcement of his trip to Israel is a page out of the Rebranding Campaign handbook – praising Israel’s technological and medical achievements, while ignoring its apartheid policies and crimes against the Palestinian people.

McGuinty is now selling his trip to Israel alongside his much criticized plan for recovery from the economic crisis. His “Open Ontario” plan threatens to make cuts to social assistance, public transit and the entire public sector. He wants Ontario to become more like Israel – a place where researchers and universities work hard to develop technology that is profitable for the military and big business. McGuinty is going to Israel to learn lessons from a country that has made billions from commercializing its research and technology. Israel is a world leader in profiting from selling the technologies of war and ‘homeland security’, and it is no secret that all major technology in Israel is made by or for the Israeli military.

CAIA is calling on our allies in Ontario to speak out against McGuinty’s trip to Israel and Ontario’s growing ties to Israeli Apartheid.

Participate in our May 26th Day of Action: Write, sign and deliver!

Step 1: Write a letter to Dalton McGuinty SAMPLE LETTER (,
“Tell McGuinty to “Stop Doing Business with Israeli Apartheid”.

Step 2: Gather more letters by May 26th – be creative!
• Give/send copies to your friends, neighbours, co-workers to sign and send
• Copies of the open letter and leaflet workplaces, community centres, a welfare office, public events, grocery stores

Step 3: Mail or Deliver your letter to your Member of Provincial Parliament on/by May 26
a. JOIN CAIA FOR A MASS LETTER DELIVERY AT QUEEN’S PARK (Toronto)Meet us in front of the legislature at Noon on May 26th!
b. MAIL IT! It’s free to send letters to your MPP. Find your MPP’s Address
c. DELIVER IT! Plan a delegation (small or large!) to hand deliver the letters to your Member of Provincial Parliament.

Step 4: Let us know about your action! E-mail us at

On Israel’s Rebranding campaign (video with Naomi Klein on rebranding and BDS):

On the dangers of the commercialization of research in Israel and Canada (University of Toronto President visits Israel in 2008):

“McGuinty Readies for his first trade mission to Israel” (Canadian Jewish News)

On budget cuts at universities: Why is Queen’s University Principal Daniel Woolf going to Israel with McGuinty?

On McGuinty government’s upcoming cuts to the Special Diet (social assistance) and Social programming in the province (Ontario Coalition Against Poverty)

On how cuts to social programming, wages and public sector hurts im/migrants and undocumented people:

On workers, jobs, unions and cuts to the public sector “Wage freeze bad for economy” (CUPE-Ontario’s Fred Hahn on Global)

“Open Letter to CUPE Ontario Members” on Ontario Provincial Budget (CUPE-Ontario)

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