Israel is concerned about potential EU court’s ruling to label settlement products

A tourist photographs a sign painted on a wall in the West Bank biblical town of Bethlehem on June 5, 2015, calling to boycott Israeli products coming from Jewish settlements [THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images]

A tourist photographs a sign painted on a wall in the West Bank town of Bethlehem on 5 June 2015, calling to boycott Israeli products coming from Jewish settlements

Israel is worried about the potential European Court of Justice’s (ECJ) binding ruling to label products of illegal Israeli settlements built in the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem and Golan HeightsIsrael Hayom reported on Friday.

According to the Israeli newspaper, the ECJ is expected to issue its final ruling on a request from France’s top tribunal on the issue, on 12 November.

The Israeli newspaper disclosed that the ECJ is likely to rule that goods imported from Israeli settlements must be labelled as such, noting that the ruling would be non-appealable and would be legally binding for all EU member states.

In order to fight this measure, the newspaper reported officials from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs stating that it had ordered Israeli diplomats in Europe to increase their diplomatic efforts against this potential ruling.

According to an Israeli official, “this ruling will be a boon for BDS. We know that they are following this with great interest.”

Meanwhile, the newspaper revealed that the Israeli ambassadors and consuls were asked to reiterate that labelling settlement goods “will do nothing to promote the Israeli-Palestinian peace process,”  and is a move likely to encourage consumer boycotts.

While, the Israeli Foreign Ministry sent a memo to its diplomats in Europe, stating that “any ECJ ruling to that effect will be morally and ethically wrong.”

The memo also stressed that a ruling of this kind “would undermine the EU’s own policy that only direct negotiations [between Israel and the Palestinians] will lead to a mutually agreed and viable solution.”

It warned that this ruling would “encourage those who are undermining Israel’s legitimacy and promoting boycotts against it,” adding that implementing this ruling “will have a negative effect on Israel’s relations with the EU and its member states.”

The newspaper also reported an Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs source stating that Israel is waiting for the final decision “because the wording itself could have serious and important implications.”

“If it has a general wording that does not specify exactly how the product labelling directive should be enforced, then we will have some leeway,” the source affirmed. “If the guidelines are detailed, this will be a serious blow as all EU member-states are bound by it,” he explained.

(Source / 09.11.2019) 

Israel allocates $575,000 to organisations fighting BDS

This is part of initiative launched last year by the ministry to donate NIS6 million ($1,719,789) to fight BDS all over the world

Israeli ministry for strategic affairs announced on Wednesday it would allocate NIS2 million ($575,000) to fund organisations active in the fight against BDS.

The funds will be used to produce and promote viral videos on social media to help increase familiarity with the Israeli occupation state, defame the BDS and mobilise other pro-Israel activists to fight those who boycott it.

According to Israeli media, the videos will be produced in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, German and several other languages.

“This is another important step to assist Israeli advocacy in the world,” Minister for Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan said in a statement.

“We will continue to present the just truth about Israel, and fight the lies and incitement of BDS organisations,” Erdan added.

The move is part of an initiative launched last year by the ministry of strategic affairs to donate NIS 6 million ($1,719,789) to pro-Israel organisations which fight BDS all over the world.

(Source / 07.11.2019) 

ISRAELI TOP COURT ORDERS EXPULSION OF HRW OFFICIAL OVER BDS SUPPORT

Occupied Palestine (QNN)- The Israeli Supreme Court upheld the expulsion of Human Rights Watch representative in the occupation state and Palestine, Omar Shakir, accused by the Israelis of supporting the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, on Tuesday.

The unanimous three-judge decision supporting the Israeli government’s move ruled that the interior minister did not err in deciding not to renew the activist’s residency.

It will now be up to the Israeli government whether to follow through and deport Shakir, who brands the move a bid by ‘Israel’ to silence and delegitimise critics of its treatment of Palestinians.

“If it proceeds, I have 20 days to leave and it’ll join ranks of Iran, North Korea & Egypt in blocking access for HRW official,” Shakir tweeted after the decision was announced, referring to ‘Israel’, which has sought to expel him for more than a year.

Omar Shakir @OmarSShakir  

Breaking: Israeli Supreme Court upholds my deportation over my rights advocacy. Decision now shifts back to Israeli gov; if it proceeds, I have 20 days to leave & it’ll join ranks of Iran, N Korea & Egypt in blocking access for @hrw official. We wont stop. And we wont be the last https://twitter.com/hrw/status/1176210875444846594 …Human Rights Watch @hrw 

Countries like Sudan, Iran, North Korea, and Egypt have barred @HRW. Is this a club that Israel wants to join?

Former Israeli diplomats, rabbis, activists, and members of Congress have asked Israel not to deport @omarsshakir http://hrw.org/news/2019/07/24/israel-court-delays-hearing-deport-rights-activist … #DeportingRights

Embedded video

77210:50 AM – Nov 5, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy

Michael Sfard, one of Shakir’s attorneys, said of the decision: “Today, the State of Israel joined the list of countries like Syria, Iran and North Korea, which have expelled Human Rights Watch representatives in an attempt to silence criticism of human rights violations taking place within their borders.”

The Israeli Interior Minister Arye Dery, for his part, said he welcomed the court’s decision, saying that “anyone who works against the state should know that we will not allow him to live or work here.”

The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor condemned the decision and the Israeli policy targeting human rights activists and organizations

Euro-Med Monitor @EuroMedHR  

Moments ago, Israel’s Supreme Court decided to uphold the deportation of @OmarSShakir, @HRW‘s Israel and Palestine Director.

We strongly condemn #Israel‘s systematic policy of cracking down on Human Right’s activists and institutions whose vital role should rather be commended.

View image on Twitter

812:04 PM – Nov 5, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy

This would be the first expulsion of its kind under a 2017 law allowing the deportation of foreigners who support boycotting Israel, though there have been cases of people being denied entry under the measure.

The BDS movement – Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions – calls for a boycott of Israel over its treatment of Palestinians.

‘Israel’ sees the movement as a strategic threat as it supports Palestinian refugees’ right to go back to their homeland, which the occupation state deems an existential threat.

(Source / 05.11.2019) 

Norway’s capital Oslo bans Israel settlement goods, services

Oslo City Council building

Oslo’s newly installed City Council is banning Israeli settlement goods and services from public contracts, reported the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) National Committee.

Norway’s capital and largest city has become the sixth Norwegian municipality to ban settlement goods and services, along with one county council.

In their 2019-2023 plan, the Socialist Left, Green and Labour parties commit to ensuring that public procurement does not include “goods and services produced on territory occupied in violation of international law by companies operating under the permission of the occupying power.”

The ban on settlement products and services does not distinguish between Israeli and international corporations that operate in Israel’s illegal settlements.

The resolution called on Israel to “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Ease Jerusalem, and that it fully respects all of its legal obligations in this regard.”

READ: Israel’s top court rejects petition seeking disclosure over government’s anti-BDS efforts

Israel captured the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip in the Six-Day War in 1967.

Last week, the UN independent expert on human rights in the Palestinian territories, Michael Lynk, called for an international ban on all Israeli settlement products, as a step towards ending Israel’s 52-year-old illegal occupation.

Sunniva Eidsvoll, leader of the Oslo chapter of the Socialist Left Party, said: “The Palestinian people, who have to deal with the illegal occupation of their territory every single day, deserve international attention and support.”

“It is a shared global responsibility to help ensure that human rights and international law are not violated. I am proud that the Oslo City Council is now taking steps to prevent goods and services purchased by the city from supporting an illegal occupation of Palestine or other territories.”

The Socialist Left Party of Norway has been a long-time supporter of the BDS movement.

The recent ban on Israeli settlement products came with a declaration by the Oslo City Council that it is committed to “investigating the scope of action in the procurement regulations to not trade goods and services produces on territory occupied in violation of international law by companies operating under the permission of the occupying power.”

READ: Episcopal Church in America boycotts pro-Israeli companies

(Source / 29.10.2019) 

ISRAEL’S ONGOING WAR AGAINST HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS

By Ben Jamal

Recently, Israel announced that it intends to revoke the residency rights of Omar Barghouti – a Palestinian human rights defender and co-founder of the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. The lack of international response speaks to the extent to which Israel’s violation of fundamental democratic norms has become normalised and not led to any re-evaluation of its standard characterisation as a functioning liberal democracy.

Omar Barghouti has enjoyed permanent residency status in Israel since 1993. Since he came to prominence in 2005 as a co-founder of the BDS movement he has had his rights and freedoms routinely denied. In 2016 Israel’s intelligence minister threatened him with “targeted civil elimination”, a statement described by Amnesty International as alarming. Since then he has been subjected to regular restrictions to his freedom of movement including in Autumn 2018 when he was denied permission to travel to Amman to attend his late mother’s funeral.

These attacks are just one manifestation of Israel’s intensifying war on BDS. The BDS movement seeks to apply non-violent tactics against the Israeli state until it complies with international law by ending the occupation, recognising the rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel and upholding Palestinian refugees’ fundamental right to return to the homes from which they were expelled. Ever since its inception, the Israeli state has sought to delegitimise and even criminalise the movement.

Internally, this has meant the passing of Israel’s “Anti-Boycott Law” in 2011, which means that individuals or organisations who endorse a call to use BDS tactics against Israel are liable to have legal action brought against them. It also stipulates that Israeli businesses that publicly choose not to purchase goods from occupied Palestinian land are liable to have their state-sponsored benefits revoked.

In 2015 the Israeli government branded BDS a “strategic threat” to the state, and appointed Gilad Erdan as Minister of Strategic Affairs with a brief to coordinate global efforts to oppose BDS. Since then, the Netanyahu regime has significantly ramped up its attempts to suppress the movement. This has included passing a law in 2017 barring supporters of BDS from entering the country, with Palestine Solidarity Campaign’s then chair Hugh Lanning being the first to be denied entry under the legislation. The law was controversially used against US Congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib in August of this year.

On top of a repressive domestic agenda, Israel has invested resources into developing “lawfare” strategy whereby global allies can be persuaded to introduce repressive anti BDS laws. More than 20 US states have passed bills and orders that penalise support for BDS. In France in 2010 the Justice Minister issued an instruction to state authorities to consider calls for boycott illegal, citing an obscure law passed in 1881. This has led to more than 30 activists being charged with criminal activity for participating in BDS actions. Here in the UK in 2017 the UK government passed regulations that prevented Local Government Pension Schemes from divesting from companies complicit in Israel’s human rights abuses; regulations that Palestine Solidarity Campaign has challenged in the courts with a final determination to be reached by the Supreme Court in November.

A key tactic in this global campaign has been to seek to define BDS as an inherently antisemitic enterprise. Earlier this year, the German Parliament passed a resolution defining BDS in this way, a move which was applauded by the UK’s Foreign Secretary. Citing the resolution, the German city of Dortmund a few weeks ago withdrew its decision to award Pakistani British author Kamila Shamsie a literature prize, after finding out that the writer has supported BDS – a move which drew outrage and condemnation across the world.

Israel’s use of antidemocratic measures to silence dissent is not only directed at those advocating BDS. It has more broadly targeted human rights defenders; restricting their freedom of movement and deploying tactics of violence and intimidation.

A recent UN survey of global treatment of human rights defenders found that Israel “regularly bars activists, journalists, and protestors from travelling into Israel and the OPT, limiting the ability of local defenders from participating in the global discussion of human rights. The administrative detention that is often associated with restricting (and ultimately deporting) defenders has been described by defenders as amounting to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment”. Both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have had staff refused entry or ordered to leave Israel in the past two years. Last month staff at the Palestinian NGO Addameer, which advocates for Palestinian prisoners, were subjected to an unannounced overnight office raid by Israeli forces, described by Amnesty International as “chilling” and a demonstration of Israel’s “determination to crush peaceful activism”.

Furthermore, in 2016 Israel introduced the controversial “NGO Transparency Law”. This law requires NGOs registered in Israel that receive 50% or more of their funding from foreign government entities to report to the NGO registrar and to mention such funding in all their official letters and publications, with failure to do so resulting in large fines. The International Federation for Human Rights argued at the time that this law would “in effect discriminatingly target non-governmental organisations (NGOs) critical of government policy and in particular human rights NGOs, which receive a majority of their funding from foreign governments”.

By all of these measures Israel fails crucial tests of a liberal democracy. The call for BDS is at its core a response to this reality that Israel, far from being a state upholding liberal democratic norms, is a state employing increasingly repressive laws within the context of an institutionalised system of discrimination.

Such states must be held to account – not enabled – by the international community, yet the UK government is in fact lending its support to the crackdown on human rights campaigners. Last month, UK Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick wrote that he would not tolerate local authority approved BDS campaigns in the UK. Just a few days later, it was reported that the UK Home Office had unjustifiably delayed Omar Barghouti’s travel visa to the UK, thus preventing him from speaking at fringe events of Labour Party Conference.

Omar Barghouti has now belatedly been granted his visa, and Palestine Solidarity Campaign will host him in the New Year including at meetings in the UK Parliament. His key message will be that which is at the heart of the BDS call – that it is incumbent upon international bodies, including governments, not to be complicit in supporting Israel’s ongoing denial of Palestinian collective rights. These include the right to bring the facts of their oppression into the public domain and to campaign for non violent resistance to the injustices to which they are subject.

Israel’s war against BDS and all of those defending Palestinian rights draws upon a strategy of delegitimisation. Israel believes it can persuade the world that the BDS movement is an attempt to undermine a liberal democracy from motivations rooted in bigotry. To win this argument it needs to persuade progressive world opinion of its own democratic credentials. But given its authoritarian approach to those who seek to reveal its human rights abuses, it will and must ultimately fail.

(Source / 29.10.2019) 

BDS ACTIVIST APPEARS AFTER 20 DAYS OF FORCED DISAPPEARANCE IN EGYPT

Cairo (QNN)- The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement in Egypt said today that activist Muhammad Jaber Masri, who has been forcibly disappeared for 20 days, appeared among dozens of journalists and political activists before the Egyptian Public Prosecutor, who accused him of publishing false News.

Masri was kidnapped from his workplace following anti-regime protests last month. He was forcibly hidden in violation of the Egyptian and international laws.

The BDS movement in Egypt called on the Egyptian authorities to immediately release Masri and drop all the groundless charges, which were fabricated for him.

“We hold the Ministry of Interior responsible for the safety of Muhammad Masri, who has been defending the Palestinian cause and his beliefs with all his might”.

Masri is the second BDS activist to be arrested by the Sisi regime. In last June, the Egyptian authorities kidnapped Rami Shaath, BDS coordinator, from his house in Cairo without any legal document or charges.

Shaath’s wife, French national, was deported from the country while the authorities continue to hold Shaath without any charges.

(Source / 28.10.219) 

UN EXPERT CALLS FOR BAN ON ISRAELI SETTLEMENTS PRODUCTS

United Nations (QNN)- The UN independent expert on human rights in the Palestinian territories has called for an international ban on all products made in Israeli settlements as a step to potentially ending Israel’s illegal occupation.

Michael Lynk told the General Assembly’s human rights committee that the international community should also issue a “clarion call to the United Nations” to complete and release a database “on businesses engaged in activities related to the illegal settlements.”

The Israeli Foreign Ministry declined to comment.

Lynk said the international community has a responsibility and a legal obligation to compel Israel to completely end its occupation and remove barriers to self-determination for the Palestinians.

Israel opposes the Palestinian-led international boycott movement, which it views as an attack on its existence.

Supporters of the boycott say it is a non-violent way of protesting against Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.

Lynk also pointed to the severe humanitarian crisis in Gaza, which he called “a human-made catastrophe” and “an injustice that should be near the top of the world’s agenda to end”.

Lynk said the economic situation there “continues to move from dire to acute to unimaginable”, with over half of Gaza’s population “food insecure”, the unemployment rate over 50 percent, and 70 percent of Gazans younger than 30 without work.

He also noted that hundreds of Palestinian peaceful protesters were killed while 33,000 were wounded in the weekly protests. Even so, the occupation state continues to kill and maim Palestinians due to the lack of accountability.

“Israel has demonstrated virtually no accountability to address these actions,” Lynk said.

Lynk, who is a Canadian law professor, said Israel’s occupation of territory the Palestinians want for their own state has been characterised by numerous and serious violations of international law, but “the international community has displayed great unwillingness to impose any meaningful accountability on Israel”.

“No occupation in the modern world,” Lnyk said, “has been conducted with the international community so alert to its many grave breaches of international law, so knowledgeable about the occupier’s obvious and well-signalled intent to annex and establish permanent sovereignty, so well-informed about the scale of suffering and dispossession endured by the protected population under occupation, and yet so unwilling to act upon the overwhelming evidence before it to employ the tangible and plentiful legal and political tools at its disposal to end the injustice.”

He called for “bold measures and the determination to enforce accountability,” starting with an international agreement on “a complete ban on the export of all products made in the illegal Israeli settlements in the world market”.

“Accountability is the key to unlocking the titanium cage that is the endless occupation,” he said. “Now is the time for the international community to turn the key,” he added.

(Source / 26.10.2019) 

‘Boycott Puma’ BDS posters removed from London trains

Posters on the London underground urges commuters to boycott sports brand Puma because of its sponsorship of the Israeli Football Association (IFA) which has teams in illegal settlements

Posters on the London underground urges commuters to boycott sports brand Puma because of its sponsorship of the Israeli Football Association (IFA) which has teams in illegal settlements, 25 October 2019

Transport for London (TfL), the transport network for the UK’s capital, on Wednesday stated that it would immediately remove numerous posters which urged commuters to boycott international sports brand Puma because of its sponsorship of the Israeli Football Association (IFA) which has teams in illegal settlements.

The posters, apparently part of efforts by the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, display the logo of the sportswear company Puma alongside the words “Boycott – Give Puma the boot,” with a picture of Israeli occupation soldiers arresting Palestinian youths, a regular occurrence seen on the streets of the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem. The words at the bottom of the poster refer to Puma as “proud sponsors of Israeli apartheid.”

READ: Anti-Palestinianism is the modern day McCarthyism

TfL described the incident as vandalism, and set to removing them from its trains on the Northern and Bakerloo Lines. A spokesman for the TfL told the UK-based pro-Israeli newspaper the Jewish Chronicle that “these adverts are absolutely not authorised by TfL or our advertising agent Global. It is fly posting and therefore an act of vandalism which we take extremely seriously. We have instructed our contractors to remove any of these posters found on our network immediately.”

On Twitter the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) described Puma as “the main sponsor of the Israeli Football Association (IFA) who have teams in illegal settlements, based on stolen Palestinian land.”

PACBI @PACBI  

#BoycottPuma subvertising on the London Tube!@PUMA sponsors the Israel Football Association, which includes teams in illegal Israeli settlements on stolen Palestinian land.

Global Day of Action, Oct 26. 50+ actions in 20 countries. https://buff.ly/2UtiWay 

via @SpecialPatrols

View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter

10815:43 – 23 Oct 2019Twitter Ads information and privacy

PACBI urged people to rise up and join the second “global day of action” against Puma tomorrow. Protests will be held outside Puma stores and offices as part of the civic movement.

READ: US diplomats pressure Europe lawmakers to oppose BDS

The BDS movement has been and is targeted by a huge campaign of suppression by a variety of organisations, lobbying groups and countries. The US is among the most prominent of those aiming to quash the movement, with at least 27 of its states having passed some laws limiting or outright banning the boycott of Israel and blacklisting any company or business which participates in it. In Europe, Germany has been the most recent country to take measures against the movement, labelling it anti-Semitic in May.

(Source / 25.10.2019) 

Kamila Shamsie: Author Stripped Of Book Award Over Support For Israel Boycott

The German jury of the Nelly Sachs book prize has withdrawn its decision to honour Kamila Shamsie with the award, due to her ongoing support for the Boycott, Diverstment, Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.

Earlier this month, the panel had decided to crown the British-Pakistani writer as their latest winner, with praise for how her writing is “building bridges between societies”. However, when they discovered Shamsie supported the BDS movement, they opted to strip her of the accolade.

“With its vote for the British writer Kamila Shamsie… the jury honoured the author’s outstanding literary work,” they said.

“At that time, despite prior research, the members of the jury were not aware that the author has been participating in the boycott measures against the Israeli government for its Palestinian policies since 2014.”

The Nelly Sachs prize is worth €15,000 (£13,000) and champions tolerance, reconciliation and improving cultural relations, with Margaret Atwood among the previous winners.

“Shamsie’s political positioning to actively participate in the cultural boycott as part of the BDS campaign… is clearly in contradiction to the statutory objectives of the award,” said the jury.

“The cultural boycott does not transcend borders, but affects the whole of Israeli society regardless of its actual political and cultural heterogeneity. Kamila Shamsie’s work is also withheld from the Israeli population in this way. 

“This contrasts with the claim of the Nelly Sachs prize to proclaim and exemplify reconciliation among peoples and cultures. The jury regrets the situation in every respect.”

Earlier this year, the German parliament passed a motion deeming the BDS movement antisemitic, describing it as “reminiscent of the most terrible chapter in German history”. 

Shamsie called the removal of her award a “matter of outrage” on Twitter, adding that the boycott should not be “held up as something shameful and unjust”.

The former Women’s prize for fiction winner also said she will not allow her work to be published in Israel “on the basis that there is no Israeli publisher who is completely unentangled from the state”.

(Source / 05.10.2019) 

BDS founder unable to attend UK Labour event due to visa delay

Palestinian researcher, commentator, and human rights activist Omar Barghouti speaks during a conferenceat the ULB university in Brussels, on April 30, 2013

Co-founder of Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) will be unable to speak at an event at the UK Labour Party’s upcoming annual conference due to his visa request being delayed, according to Palestine Post 24

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), a pro-BDS group hosting the event on the sidelines of the Labour conference in Brighton, said on Friday that Omar Barghouti would instead address the gathering by video due to the UK government’s “unexplained, abnormal delay” in issuing him a visa.

“The unprecedented delay in processing Barghouti’s travel visa application by the British government is part and parcel of the growing efforts by Israel and its allies to suppress Palestinian voices and the movements for Palestinian rights,” PSC said in a statement.

Barghouti had been set to speak at the “Palestine in the age of Trump” event alongside Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott and Unite union chief Len McCluskey, both allies of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

“They fear our shining a light of truth that reveals their lies. They dread our tireless quest for freedom, justice and equality,” Barghouti said, according to the PSC statement.

READ: The Palestinian voice will be heard at the Labour conference

There was no immediate comment from the UK Home Office, which handles visa requests.

Earlier this year, Barghouti was denied entry to the US for a multi-city speaking tour.

The Arab American Institute said at the time that Barghouti, a resident of Acre who is married to an Arab Israeli and holds Israeli permanent resident status, was not provided an explanation for his denial of entry beyond being told it was an “immigration matter.”

James Zogby, the head of the Arab American Institute, called Barghouti’s ban an “arbitrary political decision,” and accused the Trump administration of working to “silence Palestinian voices.”

Israel has barred Barghouti from leaving the county a number of times in recent years by refusing to renew travel documents granted to Palestinian residents of Israel who do not have full citizenship.

The BDS campaign, a non-violent movement, advocates boycotts, divestment and sanctions against the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

(Source / 22.09.2019)