Breaking: Knesset outlaws political boycott

The Knesset has just passed into law the anti-boycott initiative bill of MK Ze’ev Elkin (Likud), by a majority of 47 to 38. A lot of members, including Shas, top Likud members and all of Atzmaut (Ehud Barak’s faction) were absent. Netanyahu was absent from the vote. We hope to have the names of the MKs for you and for posterity soon.

As Roi Maor wrote here earlier,

….the law seeks to penalize those who call for boycotting Israel, the settlements, or anyone related to the occupation. If a person, for example, calls for a boycott of academic institutions that participate in the occupation, he could be sued in civil court, and ordered to pay compensation. If a company agrees not to purchase products manufactured in the settlements, it could be barred from government contracts. If an NGO joins the global BDS call, it could be stripped of its non-profit status, and compelled to pay taxes as if it was a commercial firm.

The legal advisor of the Knesset already voiced grave warnings regarding the constitutionality of law, and Adalah and Association for Civil Rights Israel  already announced they will petition the Supreme Court to strike down the law. Their petitions are expected to be filed in the coming days. Attorney General of Israel, Yehuda Weinstein, has let the Israeli government know he is willing to defend the law at the High Court.

The vote was preceded by a heated debate, with opposition members accusing the coalition of an attack on Israeli democracy. “I know of nothing that causes more de-legitimization for Israel abroad than these acts of legislation,” said MK Ilan Gilon of Meretz. MK Nino Abessadze (Kadima) accused the government of taking Israel back to the Stalinist Bolshevism of the 1930’s. Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz (Likud) defended the law in the name of Netanyahu’s government, claiming that boycott in itself is an undemocratic act:

“It’s a principle of democracy that you don’t shun a public you disagree with by harming their livelihood. A boycott on a certain sector is not the proper manifestation of freedom of expression. It is an aggressive move meant to force a sector that thinks a different way to capitulate. Boycotts are aggressive and wrong.”

Yet it is important to note that Israel didn’t ban all boycotts tonight – just those directed against the country’s 44 years of occupation.

I would add two observations: One, this law will obviously do more to “de-legitimize” Israel as a “normal” western-style democracy than any action by the BDS movement could ever dream to. Two: This is the first of an entire barrage of anti-democratic bills being pushed for legislation that actually went through. Tonight may be the night when the coalition, up to and including its wackiest members, will finally realize it is in power, it is in control – and the parliamentary left can do very little to stop them. Unless the Supreme Court strikes it down – and the Court has been very cautious in recent years, knowing full well it’s also being targeted for crippling and/or decommission – we should brace ourselves for more laws like that, coming fast and furious over the next few months.

Read more on the boycott law:

What is the anti-boycott law? Who does it affect?

Roger Waters speaks against boycott bill, endorses BDS

Boycott bill: A way to persecute the Israeli left

Boycott: No longer taboo in progressive pro-Israel circles

(972mag.com / 11.07.2011)

Utrechts raadslid zit nacht en dag vast in Israëlische cel

Het Utrechtse PvdA-gemeenteraadslid Gadiza Bouazani heeft 24 uur in een Israëlische cel doorgebracht. Dat bevestigt fractiegenoot Sytse Koopmans vanavond.

Volgens Koopmans is Bouazani, die onderweg was om vrijwilligerswerk te doen in Palestijns gebied, er ‘in alle hectiek daar’ tijdens een controle in Israël uitgepikt. Waar Bouazani op dit moment is weet Koopmans niet.

Of Bouazani werd aangezien voor een van de activisten van de Gazavloot, zoals andere media melden, weet de fractiegenoot niet. Volgens RTV Utrecht werd het raadslid gearresteerd omdat ze een Arabische achternaam heeft en er in haar vliegtuig ook Palestijnse activisten zaten. Ze zou samen met 22 vrouwen zijn opgepakt en in een zwaarbeveiligde politiebus naar een gevangenis in Tel Aviv zijn gebracht.

Hulpvloot

Vorige week keerde een Nederlandse delegatie die mee wilde varen met het hulpkonvooi naar de Gazastrook nog terug uit Corfu. Het lukte de twaalf Nederlanders niet de zee op te komen. Vorig jaar ging een gelijksoortige hulpvloot op weg naar de Gazastrook. Negen Turkse activisten kwamen om het leven toen Israëlische commando’s hun schip enterden.

(www.parool.nl / 11.07.2011)

One Third of Germans Prefer a “Germany without Islam”

CAIRO – Well-qualified, ambitious and skilled Germen Muslims are complaining of growing discrimination against them in the job market, especially veiled women, who are taking the full brunt for their dress.

“Society is not open enough to let us work,” Erika Theissen, managing director of the Muslim Women’s Center for Encounters and Further Education (BFmF) in Cologne, told Deutsche Welle on Sunday, July 10.

Converting to Islam in the 1980s, she dons a carefully matched pastel blue headscarf to the rest of her outfit.

Noticing the changing work atmosphere in Germany, accompanied by exclusion of many Muslim women from work, Theissen established her BFmF center which employs over 50 Muslim women, some of them highly qualified.

In Dusseldorf, the North Rhine-Westphalian capital, she currently organizes a conference gathering about 80 people including scientists, politicians, activists and Muslim social workers to discuss discrimination against Muslim women in the workplace.

“People think the Muslim community doesn’t want Muslim women to work. But most Muslim women are not discriminated against by the Muslim community, but by society,” she added.

Theissen is not the only Muslim to face job market discrimination.

Collecting about 30 rejection letters, Ismahen Dabbach is a best example on the growing job discrimination in Germany.

“My name is Ismahen Dabbach, I am 26 years old, I was born in Germany and I am a trained office clerk. I am very flexible, independent and open to everything that carries me further forward in life,” the ambitious young woman used to say during job interviews. Yet, rejection was also the expected reply.

Dabbach, whose parents are Tunisians, feels that since she decided to wear hijab four months ago, her search for a job has become extremely difficult.

“They put you on a waiting list, then they invite you and tell you that they will call you, but after three days you get a rejection letter,” Dabbach asks.

“So you start asking yourself: did I make a mistake or is it the company’s fault?”

Germany has between 3.8 and 4.3 million Muslims, making up some 5 percent of the total 82 million population, according to government-commissioned studies.

Stereotyping

Social analysts agree that German Muslim, especially veiled women, have hardly any chance of getting a job.

Such a trend, according to Mario Peucker, a social scientist at the University of Melbourne, is apparent in medium-sized German companies which show clear anti-Muslim tendencies.

“Even if they don’t have personal resentments, they may think that their customers or their staff might have a negative image of Muslims and this becomes their reason for not employing Muslim men or women,” he says.

Germans have grown hostile to the Muslim presence recently, with a heated debate on the Muslim immigration into the country.

A recent poll by the Munster University found that Germans view Muslims more negatively than their European neighbors.

Germany’s daily Der Spiegel had warned last August that the country is becoming intolerant towards its Muslim minority.

According to a 2010 nationwide poll by the research institute Infratest-dimap, more than one third of the respondents would prefer “a Germany without Islam.”

Denouncing the growing prejudice, which a 2006 anti-discrimination law could not end, Peucker called for offering employers anonymous applications so they would not see a name or photo on the applicant’s resume.

But Erika Theissen thinks it’s not enough.

“I think the government must be a role model for those people who have the possibility to give jobs and then I hope, other people will think: ok, I can take a woman with a headscarf, it will not cause a big problem for my business,” she said.

Living the current tragedy, Dabbach only dreams of a normal eight-hour job in her home country Germany.

“I want to have a normal eight-hour-job, from eight to five, five days a week, where I can wear my headscarf, like an ordinary citizen,” she says.

To turn the dream into a reality, she started searching the internet for jobs offered by Muslim companies. She got a job outside Germany after only three days of search.

For this job, Dabbach, who lives in the western German town of Gütersloh, would move outside Germany.

“What should I do now?” Dabbach asked helplessly.

“I am at home in Germany, my family and friends are here. Should I just leave them? I am really torn.”

(www.loonwatch.com / 11.07.2011)

Israeli Municipality of Jerusalem Hands Demolition Order to Elderly Palestinian Woman in Jerusalem

JERUSALEM, July 10, 2011 (WAFA)- The Israeli municipality of Jerusalem Sunday handed an elderly Palestinian woman, Khadija Abdul Razeq, 67, a demolition order of her house, where she lives with 10 of her children and grandchildren, under the pretext of ‘building without a license’, according to witnesses.

Abdul Razeq’s son, Hamoudeh, said that employees from the municipality, accompanied by reinforced forces of soldiers and police surrounded the house and posted an administrative demolition order on its wall, and then asked them to appear at the inspection department of the municipality .
(english.wafa.ps / 11.07.2011)

After banning international activists from West Bank, Israel tries to do same with Israelis

 

One day after the “air flotilla” landed in Tel Aviv, Palestinian and Israeli activists held a demonstration in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh just west of Ramallah. The village’s agricultural spring was taken over by Jewish settlers in the nearby settlement of Halamish over two years ago. Every Friday since, villagers and their Israeli and international supporters have been holding weekly unarmed demonstrations in protest of the takeover. Yesterday saw a similar protest but for the first time in months, Palestinians were able to get close to the spring itself. Normally, the army blocks demonstrators while still inside the village but yesterday they were seemingly caught off guard.

 

In the course of the demonstration yesterday, three Israeli activists were arrested by soldiers. The Israeli media reported that these activists were actually part of the ‘Welcome to Palestine’ campaign although they were unable to provide concrete facts to support their claim. The Israeli activists were charged with assaulting officers and transferred to the Russian compound jail in Jerusalem. This afternoon, the activists were brought before a judge as the state sought the unusually harsh punishment of six months banishment from the West Bank and one month of house arrest. In the end, they were given one month banishment from Ni’ilin, Bil’in and Nabi Saleh. In other words, their punishment was that they can’t participate in the demonstrations for one month.

 

The punishment which Israel sought against these activists from Tel Aviv seems to be proof that after preventing internationals from joining unarmed protests in West Bank, Israel is trying to do the same thing to Israeli activists. Barring activists, whether European or Israeli, from the West Bank is one of Israel’s only concrete responses to Palestinian nonviolence. Naturally, Palestinian nonviolent leaders like Nabi Saleh’s Bassem Tamimi or Bil’in’s Abdallah abu Rahmah face long jail sentences in Israeli prisons on trumped up charges of ‘incitement’ and ‘illegal protest’ for unarmed resistance to Israeli occupation of the West Bank. That Israel is desperately trying to ban Israeli and international activists from demonstrations reflects how seriously military planners are approaching these isolated outbreaks of nonviolent resistance. In the age of new media, foreign activists armed with video cameras and smartphones attending a nonviolent demonstration in Nabi Saleh pose a clear and present danger to Israel’s continued occupation of the West Bank.

 

However, the question remains. What is the best Israeli strategy against Palestinian nonviolent resistance to occupation? Perhaps the worst strategy is about to unfold tomorrow when the Israeli Knesset passes a law which will criminalize Israeli support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) campaign. When the bill becomes law, Israeli citizens that support this nonviolent Palestinian initiative will be subject to grave fines and possible imprisonment for their exercise of freedom of speech. Barring activists from the West Bank and criminalizing support for BDS are the two concrete responses which Israel has chosen to combat the recent wave of Palestinian nonviolent resistance. As nonviolent efforts like the ‘air flotilla’ continue to gain momentum, Israel will surly have to chart a new course in order to maintain its occupation and its standing in the international community.

(www.uruknet.info / 11.07.2011)

 

Bring Israeli war criminals to justice!

Friday, February 6, 2009 – 11:00

“The choice facing Israel in eight days time concerns peace, and the country can say yes to peace or no to peace … A dove of peace is sitting on the window ledge, and we can decide to open the window and let it in, with all the apprehension, or slam the window shut”, Kadima party electoral candidate and current Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni told an international media conference on February 2.

It was a rare moment of misplaced truth for Livni, who has played a central part in justifying Israel’s Gaza massacre to the world — a war that has continued despite claims of a “ceasefire”.

On February 3, Al Jazeera reported further military attacks on Gaza by Israeli forces. Israel’s attacks have targeted the border tunnels between Gaza and Egypt and other undisclosed locations.

Israel continues to blame “Hamas rockets” for their swift and brutal attacks on the territory.

Israeli defence minister and Labor party aligned electoral candidate, Ehud Barak, was quoted by AFP on February 4 as stating, “I suggest Hamas doesn’t fool around with us”.

“The air force is operating in Gaza as we speak. We promised calm in the south and we will keep our promise.”

With Israel set to go to the polls this week, Israeli voters are faced with a choice of frontrunners outbidding each other in their support for the ongoing bludgeoning of Gaza and a furthering of Israel’s apartheid project being committed against the Palestinian people.

It is a horrific picture. The same people who approved and directed the murdering rampage committed by the Israeli Defence Forces are now trying to champion this fact to win voters.

But while Livni and Barack are seeing a growth in their own popularity, the far-right Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu looks the likely victor.

He has set the agenda with firey calls for a toppling of Hamas and an attack on Iran, which he claims is leading a proxy war against Israel through Hamas.

Even the extreme right, such as the Yisrael Beteinu (Israel Our Home) party, which includes many previous members of the mainstream Zionist parties, are gaining new found support.

The world has seen more clearly than ever before the brutality of the Israeli state. But the ongoing apartheid nature of the state of Israel remains beneath the surface, unseen by many who rely on corporate media for their news feed.

It is this unspoken system that has been systematically built to see the rights of Israeli Jews prevail over all others in what was once Palestine.

Under this system, Palestinians witness their rights destroyed in the name of a state allegedly based on edicts passed down thousands of years ago.

Despite this, the potential for change exists just beneath the surface. As protests of tens of thousands within Israel have shown, a growing number of Israeli’s are questioning their government’s actions.

But like in any authoritarian society, this view is sidelined by the prevailing institutions and its proponents are ridiculed, slandered and persecuted.

The left-wing joint Palestinian-Jewish party, Hadash, will run alongside the Palestinian-Arab parties as lone voices of peace and justice in Israeli elections.

On January 21, the Israeli Supreme Court overturned a Central Electoral Committee (CEC) ruling that would have eliminated the democratic right of Arab parties to run in the Israeli elections. The legislation claimed that the Arab parties did not recognise Israel’s right to exist and therefore should not be eligible for election.

Hadash are set to propose legislation that would ban the CEC from banning parties.

The fact that the CEC passed the ruling banning Arab parties proposed by the Yisrael Beteinu, showed the influence of the extreme right over Israeli politics.

United Arab List-Ta’al Knesset (parliament) member Ahmad Tibi welcomed the decision to overturn the ban, according to a January 21 Ynet.co.il article. He stated: “We have beaten fascism. This fight is over but the battle is not. Racism has become a trend in Israel …”

Balad chairperson and Knesset member Jamal Zahalka also explained: “This decision is a blow to Lieberman [of Yisrael Beteinu] and the fascist Right, as well as to Kadima, the Likud and Labor, which stood by the disqualification.

“Balad stands by its platform. The court’s decision is a victory to the Arab public and to anyone who seeks democracy … we call on everyone to back the notion of ‘a people’s state’ and a life of equality and no discrimination.”

As a Hadash party spokesperson told Ha’aretz on February 3, many leftist voters, especially the young, are fed up with parties like Labor and Meretz that claim they are the “peace camp” while supporting further attacks on Palestinians.

Meanwhile, the campaign for a war crimes tribunal at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague to bring Israeli leaders to justice for the crimes continues. The recent three-week long sustained military assault on Gaza killed more than 1300 including more than 400 children.

According to the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, 80% of those killed were civilians, with plenty of eyewitness accounts of Israeli forces deliberately targeting civilians.

Press TV reported on January 26: “The use of controversial chemical white phosphorous shells as well as indiscriminate firing during the offensive in the densely-populated coastal sliver are among accusations the Israeli military is facing.”

Although the ICC is a treaty-based organisation, and both the US and Israel have refused to sign on, any countries that are signatories to the Geneva Conventions are able to seek to prosecute any individuals deemed culpable for war crimes, such as occurred during Israel’s war on Gaza.

Governments in Bolivia, Venezuela and Iran, among others, are calling for those responsible to stand trial.

Even the US-sponsored West Bank Palestinian Authority government headed by Mahmoud Abbas has called for a war crimes tribunal, with justice minister Ali Khashan sending a brief letter on January 21 to the ICC requesting it to act.

But Israel has continued to deny the right of anyone to question their actions. An Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor told Associated Press on February 4: “The ICC charter is adhered to by sovereign states and the Palestinian Authority has not yet been recognized as one so it cannot be a member of the ICC.”

It was a blunt reminder that Israel views the Palestinian territories in the West Bank and Gaza not as “sovereign”, but outposts of Israeli colonial rule.

Press TV reported that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has responded to war crimes tribunal campaign by stating: “The commanders and soldiers that were sent on the task in Gaza should know that they are safe from any tribunal and that the State of Israel will assist them in this issue and protect them as they protected us with their bodies during the military operation in Gaza.”

The other option being considered by those in the legal community seeking justice for war crimes committed in Gaza is through the European Domestic Courts, which can use “universal jurisdiction” to charge alleged criminals with war crimes.

Israel was one of the first countries to invoke the principle of universal jurisdiction when its court system asserted its right to try Nazi chief Adolf Eichmann for crimes against humanity and war crimes during World War II.

Many in Israel consider the threat of such action as the most serious. As Daniel Reisner, the former head of the Israeli military’s international division told Christian Science Monitor on February 4: “The danger to Israel now are those countries that have extra territorial jurisdiction that don’t have a nationality requirement.

“The question is whether that is a major danger or a minor danger.”

Daniel Machover, an Israeli-born British lawyer who works in coordination with the Gaza-based Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, filed a warrant in 2005 with a British magistrates court for war crimes against Israeli reserve general Doron Almog in connection with the destruction of homes in Gaza.

Almog learned of this while on a plane that landed in London and escaped arrest by refusing to disembark.

Machover also helped bring before a Spanish court the case of the Israeli assassination of a Hamas military chief in 2002, carried out by a bombing that killed more than a dozen civilians in a Gaza neighbourhood.

In another case in 2001, former Israeli PM Ariel Sharon was charged with committing massacres during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982.

Israel has offered legal defence to any soldier or politician implicated in a case. Israel has also tried to keep the identities of soldiers secret to protect them.

Unsurprisingly, the US has failed to support the call for war crimes charges over the Gaza war, however in her debut address as US ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice asked Israel to investigate its own military for alleged war crimes.

But as the CSM explained, “an Israeli investigation is unlikely, given the conviction by most Israelis that the Israel military did its best to limit injury to civilians”.

The campaign to have those responsible for war crimes in Gaza brought to justice is crucial to end impunity for those that carry out state-sponsored mass murder. It is also a crucial component of the campaign for justice for Palestine.

It should be added to the campaign for boycott, divestments and sanctions as an important part of offering solidarity to the people of Palestine.

(www.greenleft.org.au / 11.07.2011)

Open Letter to Jose Manuel Barroso

Dear Mr. Barroso,

Squeezed between Scylla and Charybdis, the zionist state of Israel and the “democratic” Greece, our nutshell  JULIANO with citizens from the European Union (Sweden, Greece and Austria) on board still tries to gain international waters in order to fulfill its mission of peace and solidarity with the Palestinian people.

In our struggle for the right of self-determination of the people of Gaza we had and still have to face sabotage and aggression from “unknown” agents of political crime as well as never ending bureaucratic obstacles from the Greek authorities. Being citizens of the EU, members of parliament and representatives of social movements and political parties, universities professors we are treated like outlaws and confined to the boarders of the EU as if they were prison-walls like the ones the people of Gaza are suffering every day.

Is this the freedom of the seas, the freedom of expression and the mandate of peace the constitutional treaty of the European Union has prescribed you to fulfill?

We consider it as a shame how the European Union as part of the Near East-Quartet has quite simply become a servant tool to an extra-European power like Israel helping to cover up its constant violations of Human Rights against the population of Palestine.

Is this the understanding of democracy the European Union has opted for in a time when millions of people in Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece and North Africa are protesting against the unjust measures it has imposed on them?

Every day that we are passing on the Mediterranean we get more and more convinced that you have the power, but we have the right and that the obstacles you impose will never discourage us from the pursuit of our just cause. Don’ t forget that history in the long run always has punished those who have allied themselves with the oppressors.

In the name of the same democratic order of the EU you are constantly referring to and in the name of another possible world of global peace and justice we therefore demand:

OUR RIGHT TO SAIL FREE IN THE MEDITERRANEAN SEA WHEREVER WE WANT !

 

on behalf of the passengers of the JULIANO:

 

Dr. Leo Gabriel

International Council of the World Social Forum

e-mail: lgabriel@gmx.net

 

Maria Pia Boethius

Writer from Sweden

maria-pia.boethius@etc.se

 

Jabar Amin

Member of Parliament from Sweden

mobile: +46-708250612

 

Stellan Vinthagen

Associate professor of sociology, Ship to Gaza – Sweden

stellan.vinthagen@gmail.com

 

Dr. Takis Politis

Ass. Professor, University of Thessaly, Greece

member of Executive Committee of Hellenic Federation of University Teachers Associations

 

Orestes Kolokouris

Member of the Greek Parliament

Livestream: www.freedomflotilla.eu

(www.freedomflotilla.eu / 11.07.2011)

Night Of Solidarity With The Oppressed

Tijd
vrijdag 15 juli om 21:30 – 16 juli om 0:30

Locatie
Idara-e-Jaaferiya

18 Church Lane,SW17 9PP
London, United Kingdom

Gemaakt door:

In the name of the Merciful

Dear Respected Brothers and Sisters

Assalamu ‘Alaykum

Idara Youth would like to invite you to a special event being held at Idara-e-Jaaferiya in association with London BDS (Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions) on Friday 15th of July at 9.45pm.

This event will look to highlight the importance and effects of standing up against oppression through various means specifically highlighting the need for boycotting companies which support Zionism. This program will look to understand the importance of social activism as a religious and humanitarian obligation.

To achieve this goal we will be blessed with a lecture by Shaikh. Shabbir Hassanally on the topic of “Social Activism: A Religious Duty” and this will be followed by a speech from the London BDS on the topic of “Who we are and How to get involved!”.

Please note that this event is the first of its kind to be taking place in an Islamic centre in London; although the mosques should be the pioneers of opposing injustice and standing for human rights, sadly we have found that this central aspect of Islam has been greatly neglected.

Now is the time for change. Please support us in this mission to raise awareness of our sociopolitical duties which stem from a love of Freedom and Justice.

We look forward to your attendance.

Idara Youth
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Address:
Idare-e-Jaaferiya
18 Church Lane
London
SW17 9PP

Nearest Tube Station:
Tooting Broadway
-Northern Line
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For more information, please feel free to contact:

Brother Haider
Mobile: 07944234606
Email: yahazratbaqiyyatullah@gmai​l.com

Brother Arham
Mobile: 07825611052
Email: arham110@gmail.com
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