Amnesty International: State Department’s attack on the BDS movement violates freedom of expression and endangers human rights protection

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Amnesty: 19 November 2020, 15:49 UTC

Responding to the United States Department of State announcement designating the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement as antisemitic and planning to identify organizations supporting BDS with a view to reviewing and halting their funding, Bob Goodfellow, the Interim Executive Director of Amnesty International USA, issued the below statement:

“The Department of State’s targeting of groups advocating for using peaceful means, such as boycotts, to end human rights violations against Palestinians as antisemitic violates freedom of expression and is a gift to those who seek to silence, harass, intimidate and oppress those standing up for human rights around the world. This is simply the latest attack from a US government determined to undermine the universality of human rights and the global fight against racism and discrimination, including antisemitism.The Department of State’s targeting of groups advocating for using peaceful means, such as boycotts, to end human rights violations against Palestinians as antisemitic violates freedom of expression and is a gift to those who seek to silence, harass, intimidate and oppress those standing up for human rights around the world.Bob Goodfellow

“Advocating for boycotts, divestment and sanctions is a form of non-violent advocacy and of free expression that must be protected. Advocates of boycotts should be allowed to express their views freely and take forward their campaigns without harassment, threats of prosecution or criminalization, or other measures that violate the right to freedom of expression. Instead of attacking and restricting BDS activities the US should end such measures and instead ensure that BDS advocates are free to express their views and take forward their campaigns without harassment or threats of prosecution.”

“The US administration is following Israeli government’s approach in using false and politically motivated accusations of antisemitism to harm peaceful activists, including human rights defenders, and shield from accountability those responsible for illegal actions that harm people in Israel, in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and here at home. The process comes across as particularly hypocritical and deceitful coming from an administration that has emboldened neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other groups who advocate violence and discrimination, shown a callous disregard for international law, and favored Israeli policies that result in institutionalized discrimination and systematic human rights violations against millions of Palestinians.The US administration is following Israeli government’s approach in using false and politically motivated accusations of antisemitism to harm peaceful activists, including human rights defenders, and shield from accountability those responsible for illegal actions that harm people in Israel, in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and here at home.Bob Goodfellow

“This process also hurts Jewish people by equating Israel with Judaism and likening criticism of Israeli government policies and practices to antisemitism. It undermines our work in the Middle East and other regions to protect the rights of religious and other minorities.

“We will continue to support our Israeli and Palestinian colleagues, including BDS activists, who like human rights defenders around the world, speak up when justice, freedom, truth, and dignity are denied.”

Read more:

Pompeo announcement on Israeli settlements places occupied Palestinians at increased risk (November 18, 2019)

Criticism of Israeli Government’s Policies are Free Speech, Not Antisemitism (August 15, 2019)

This statement is available at: https://www.amnestyusa.org/press-releases/statedepartmentantisemiticprocess/

(Source / 20.11.2020)

State Department’s decision against BDS violates freedom of expression, said Amnesty

State Department’s decision against BDS violates freedom of expression, said Amnesty

In a joint press with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Thursday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued the US will label the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign as “anti-Semitic.”

“Today I want to make one announcement with respect to a decision by the State Department that we will regard the global anti-Israel BDS campaign as anti-Semitic,” he said.

Responding to the United States Department of State announcement, Amnesty issued a statement stating that such decision “violates freedom of expression and is a gift to those who seek to silence, harass, intimidate and oppress those standing up for human rights around the world.”

“This is simply the latest attack from a US government determined to undermine the universality of human rights and the global fight against racism and discrimination, including antisemitism,” saud Bob Goodfellow, the Interim Executive Director of Amnesty International USA.

Goodfellow also stated that “advocating for boycotts, divestment and sanctions is a form of non-violent advocacy and of free expression that must be protected.”

He also said that instead of taking such decisions and attacking BDS activities, the US should stop such measures and ensure that BDS advocates are free to “express their views and take forward their campaigns without harassment or threats of prosecution.”

In addition, Goodfellow declared that this decision also “hurts Jewish people by equating Israel with Judaism and likening criticism of Israeli government policies and practices to antisemitism. It undermines our work in the Middle East and other regions to protect the rights of religious and other minorities.”

Amnesty has also confirmed its continued support to its “Israeli and Palestinian colleagues, including BDS activists, who like human rights defenders around the world, speak up when justice, freedom, truth, and dignity are denied.”

(Source / 20.11.2020)

Pompeo: BDS movement to be branded ‘anti-Semitic’

‘We want to stand with all other nations that recognise the BDS movement for the cancer that it is,’ Pompeo said

The US will brand the pro-Palestine rights Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement as anti-Semitic, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared on Thursday.

Pompeo termed the movement, a non-violent Palestinian led global initiative to protest Israel’s military occupation, “a cancer,” Agence France Presse reported.

He added that Washington “will regard the global anti-Israel BDS campaign as anti-Semitic… We want to stand with all other nations that recognise the BDS movement for the cancer that it is.”

Pompeo made the comments during a joint appearance with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who interrupted the US diplomat’s speech to tell him the announcement “sounds simply wonderful”.

The US Secretary of State is in Israel preparing to visit Israeli settlements in the West Bank, which are considered illegal under international law.

Pompeo is also expected to breach diplomatic protocol by visiting the Syrian Golan Heights, which has been occupied by Israeli since the 1967 War of Attrition.

The territory was unilaterally recognised as part of Israel by the US last year.

During his trip, Pompeo is expected a visit Psagot, an illegal Israeli settlement near Ramallah and the site of a winery that has produced a label carrying his name.

The company was recently ordered by the European Union’s top court to label products it sells in the EU as being produced in the illegal West Bank settlements.

US regulations have also stipulated that products produced in illegal Israeli settlements should be labelled as “Made in the West Bank” since the Oslo Accords in 1995, but these regulations are rarely enforced.

(Source / 19.11.2020)

Racist comments by Nas Daily attacking Arabs and calling them “enemies of success”

Following BDS calls against the program for promoting normalization, Nas Daily issued racist remarks calling Arabs enemies of success and blaming them for being part of the third world

Occupied Palestine (QNN)- Nuseir Yassin, a Palestinian-Israeli blogger, who created Nas Daily, produced a new video in Arabic only, attacking Arabs and calling them enemies of success.

The video, titled “Beware of loser Arabs”, starts with Yassin repeating the sentence “beware of Arabs”, then talking about his achievements visiting several countries around the world and showing their positive aspects.

“After four years, 30 million people decided to follow me and I decided to show those people the positive aspect of the Arab world”, Yassin says.

“How Morocco is a beautiful country, how Arabs are among the most generous people in the world, how Egyptians love life, how Jordanians are generous, how Palestinians are smart and we have to give them a chance to succeed.”

Yassin goes on to respond to accusations that have been allegedly made against him, including being an Israeli agent, admiring the Israeli government, and having an Israeli passport.

However, he never responds to the movement’s accusations against him of promoting normalization with the occupation state of ‘Israel’ through his Nas Academy project and whitewashing Israeli crimes by presenting the occupation state as a normal country.

Instead, he blames Arabs for belonging to third-world countries, which has become an arena for settling scores between developed countries. “Beware of loser Arabs because they will try hard to make you a loser as well”, he says.

“This problem is in our Arabic culture. If you have a look at Arab countries, all of them have problems, wars, ISIS, murder, poverty, why? I’ve never seen such a culture. I’ve lived in the Asian, American, and European cultures, but there is nothing like this culture”.

The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement in Palestine had called on content creators and influencers in the Arabic region to boycott Nas Daily for its efforts to drag content creators to normalization and cover up Israeli crimes.

“While authoritarian Arabic regimes, such like those in the UAE and Bahrain, race to have normalization deals with the Israeli enemy, the later is trying to hack the consciousness of the Arab peoples, which believe that its freedom, development, and struggle for justice are linked to the freedom of the Palestinian people and the right of return”, the movement said.

“Israel is allocating enormous sums of money for misleading normalization media campaigns that present non-political content, which shows Israel as a normal developed country that may help its Arab neighbors, ignoring all its crimes against the Palestinian people and the Arabs and the historic hostility with it as a colonization and racist regime.”

Responding to former Huffington Post and VICE journalist Ahmed Shihab-Eldin on Twitter, Nuseir Yassin repeated his argument, attacking Shihab-Eldin and calling him “the worst, most state-run propaganda Journalist” but rejecting to respond to his accusation of defending the Israeli occupation during clashes at Al Aqsa mosque.


Ahmed Shihab-Eldin@ASE
·Sep 16, 2020

I once met @nasdailyvideos in Jerusalem after reporting on clashes at Al Aqsa & being beaten by an Israeli soldier.

It was a shitty day made shittier after having to endure his repeated unsolicited lectures about my “scripts” & how the occupation really isn’t that bad.

Nas Daily@nasdailyvideos

Omg. I literally was thinking yesterday of who the worst, most state-run propaganda Journalists I met in my life were. And your name was on TOP of the list. What a coincidence. Good to hear from you again. Aren’t you glad Nas Daily succeeded?

8:03 PM · Sep 16, 2020

(Source / 18.09.2020)

BDS calls to boycott Nas Daily over efforts to promote normalization

Ramallah (QNN)- The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement in Palestine called on content creators and influencers in the Arabic region to boycott Nas Daily for its efforts to drag content creators to normalization and cover up Israeli crimes.

The movement said the program adopts projects that aim at promoting the colonization of Arabs’ minds and the Israeli colonization as a de facto status, and whitewashing Israeli crimes and apartheid against the Palestinian people.

“While authoritarian Arabic regimes, such like those in the UAE and Bahrain, race to have normalization deals with the Israeli enemy, the later is trying to hack the consciousness of the Arab peoples, which believe that its freedom, development, and struggle for justice are linked to the freedom of the Palestinian people and the right of return”, the movement said.

“Israel is allocating enormous sums of money for misleading normalization media campaigns that present non-political content, which shows Israel as a normal developed country that may help its Arab neighbors, ignoring all its crimes against the Palestinian people and the Arabs and the historic hostility with it as a colonization and racist regime.”

The movement added that Nas Daily aims at training eight content creators in its academy, which is headed by an Israeli settler and funded by an Emarati company that was founded only two months ago.

The movement noted that Nas Daily has been trying to show the Palestinian-Israeli conflict as a conflict between two powers of equal weight, ignoring the rights of the indigenous Palestinian people and the right of return and blaming Palestinians for not accepting “peace” as ‘Israel’ and the US present it.

(Source / 15.09.2020)

Pro-BDS Palestinian doctor arrested over fabricated links to New IRA

The lawyer of Issam Hijjawi stressed that his client was entrapped by an M15 agent

Belfast (QNN)- A Palestinian doctor, also former chairman of the Association of Palestine Communities in Scotland, was arrested and charged over fabricated links to the New IRA.

Doctor Issam Hijjawi -Bassalat has been arrested at Heathrow Airport two weeks ago over alleged acts of terrorism in connection with a meeting in Omagh in July.

He appeared in court alongside David Jordan, who is accused of directing terrorism, belonging to a proscribed organization and two counts of preparatory acts of terrorism.

Dr Bassalat’s lawyer, Gavin Booth, told QNN that his client is in good spirits and that “faces a single count of preparatory acts of terrorism in connection with the alleged meeting in Co Tyrone”, stressing that he was entrapped by an agent who lured him to a meeting under false pretences and that the defence intend to fight the case fully.

“Mr Basslats case is that he was entrapped by a now exposed MI5 agent who asked that he come to Belfast to address a public meeting”, Booth said.

“Mr Bassalat initially refused to come to Belfast and was pestered by this person named as Dennis McFadden to come on numerous occasions”, he added. “When in Belfast this alleged agent drove him to the public meeting miles away from Belfast and when there Mr Basslat spoke about politics and the situation in Palestine.”

Dr. Bassalat used to chair the Palestinian Society in Scotland, a peaceful and democratic organization, which aims at raising awareness of the Palestinian cause.

According to The Irish News, McFadden is believed to have been an MI5 agent for over a decade. Saoradh party said that he has been in constant contact with his family and that “under the direction of his MI5 superiors, [he] set out to entrap republicans at the behest of the British government”.

“Since the entrapment case occurred this MI5 agent has contacted his family to admit what he is, sent his handlers to their doors and MI5 even attempted to kidnap them into ‘protective custody’ – which they resisted and refused”, revealed Saoradh.

Quoting District Judge Peter Magill, The BBC reported that the charges in the case, in which doctor Bassalat as well as IRA members were arrested, are very serious and that “there are indications of connections with Middle Eastern organizations also, exploration of joint ventures and exploration of attracting finance and training.

“There are also discussions in respect of discipline within the organization (and) there are discussions of terrorist acts in furtherance of the aims of at least one Middle Eastern organization.”

When asked about the Judge’s statement, Booth said that “the links are claimed to be between the PLFP and the New IRA.”

Doctor Bassalat is originally from the West Bank in Palestine. He is a well-known advocate for Palestinian rights, often speaking at public meetings and protests.

(Source / 06.09.2020)

Israel approves funds for ‘anti-Muslim hate group’ to fight BDS

Activists stage a rally condemning the Israeli violence at the Gaza Strip’s eastern border in Brooklyn, New York, United States on 14 May, 2018 [Mohammed Elshamy/Anadolu Agency]
Activists in New York stage a rally condemning Israel’s attack on Palestinians on 14 May, 2018 

Casting further light on the nexus between Zionism and the rise of the Islamophobia industry, the Israeli government has approved a grant to an American “anti-Muslim hate group”.

Documents obtained by Jewish-American magazine, Forward, through a Freedom of Information Act request, revealed that Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs, transferred $40,000 to a Tennessee-based Christian Zionist organisation which is on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLT) watch list of hate groups.

SPLT, an American non-profit legal advocacy organisation specialising in civil rights and public interest litigation, has compiled an extensive list of anti-Muslim hate groups, many of whom are staunch advocates of the state of Israel. According to SPLT, “these groups frequently traffic in conspiracy theories involving the infiltration of the government by Islamist extremists, warn that the US legal system is being subverted by Shariah law and portray Muslims in general as potential terrorist threats”.

The American Christian Zionist group, Proclaiming Justice to the Nations (PJTN) is named amongst the 40 or so anti-Muslim hate groups. PJTN lobbies against the teaching of Islam in American schools, claiming that children were being indoctrinated into the religion. It is a petition on its website protesting against what it calls the “Access Islam curriculum in US schools.”

The Israeli government approved funds for PJTN for its lobbying of US lawmakers to proscribe state agencies from working with groups that support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. It’s also thought that PJTN was rewarded for mobilising Christian Zionists in South Africa, which is said to be a prime target of Israel’s public-diplomacy efforts.

READ: Israel is frustrated at the failure to tackle the BDS movement

Forward reported that the grant to PJTN was part of a broader push by the ministry to support pro-Israel groups fighting BDS in the United States, which has raised questions about whether those groups properly disclosed the support they received from foreign entities.

The Israeli government’s approval of funds to PJTN highlights the nexus between pro-Israel groups and the global rise in anti-Muslim hatred over the past two decades. Often described as the “Islamophobia industry”, the number of groups peddling hatred for Muslims and Islam has risen exponentially since the 2001 terror attack in New York.

A 2015 paper by Dr Hilary Aked concluded that there exists an “undeniable overlap” between right-wing Zionism and Islamophobia. The paper sought to identify the source of rising anti-Muslim hatred and found Israel related funding from Islamophobia industry donors to be a contributing factor.

(Source / 03.09.2020)

“The European Court recognition of the freedom of boycott is one step forward, we will build on it”


Henri Eichholtzer, one of twelve BDS activists who won historical case in the European Court of Human Rights speaks to Quds News Network

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Last June, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) gave a major blow to the pro-Israeli propaganda, which has for decades associated the Palestinian struggle and international solidarity with Palestine, to antisemitism. The court ruled in favor of twelve French Palestine solidarity activists from the Alsace branch of the France- Palestine Solidarity Association.

The activists were sued in French courts for charges of antisemitism and incitation to racial hatred, after they performed a public call for the boycott of Israeli products in the French city of Mulhouse, in the Alsace, in 2009. After years of judicial battling in French courts, the ECRH acquitted the twelve activists and recognized the boycott of Israeli products as a legitimate form of freedom of speech. The court decision sets a judicial precedent in Europe, at a time in which the Palestine solidarity movement faces attempts of delegitimization, and at a time in which the occupation state makes all efforts to normalize its relations with the Arab states.

Quds News Network met Henri Eichholtzer, one of the twelve activists acquitted by the ECHR, in an exclusive interview. He spoke of the ECHR ruling and its importance, of the Palestine solidarity movement in France and the challenges it faces, of the pro-Israeli groups’ use of antisemitism to repress the solidarity speech, and of the relation between the Palestinian people’s struggle and the international solidarity movement. Following is his full dialogue with our correspondent, Qassam Muaddi:

Did you expect, when you were first accused, that your case will bring about a European judicial precedent, establishing the boycott of ‘Israel’ as freedom of speech? How did it happen?

No, we didn’t. It all started in 2009, when about fifteen of us, all belonging to the France-Palestine Solidarity Asociation (AFPS) were holding a peaceful activity in a supermarket in Mulhouse, Eastern France. We placed some Israeli products in a shopping cart and made a public statement about it, demanding the supermarket to remove the products from their shelves because they fund occupation in Palestine. Next thing we knew we had a law-suit against us filed by a pro-Israeli group for antisemitism and incitation to racial discrimination.

First, the court of Mulhouse acquitted us, but then the pro-Israeli group appealed in front of the court of Colmar, and then we were sentenced to a heavy fee. We took it to the last instance of French justice, the court of cassation, which confirmed the sentence against us.

What was your reaction?

It was a shock. A hard blow to us and to the Palestine solidarity movement. It was then that we decided to go to the European Court of Human Rights -ECHR. We were confident of our case, and we were not willing to give up. Eventually, as we expected, the ECHR acquitted us and recognized the boycott of ‘Israel’ as a form of freedom of expression.

Although your activities focused on the boycott of commercial products, you were sued for racial incitation and antisemitism. What is the connection?

I would like to know that too, we should ask the pro-Israeli groups in France. In fact, these groups usually can’t face our message on Palestinian rights, which is why they evoke antisemitism and slander us. Many of these groups make part of the ‘CRIF’ (The representative council of Jewish institutions in France), whose direction is usually close to the Israeli government policies. In 2009, when our case started, the French minister of interior at the time, Michelle Alliot-Marie, had promised the CRIF in one of its PR dinners to block all anti-Israel boycott speech as a form of antisemitism.

We should note that not all the Jewish community in France has the same attitude. Many Jews supported us during our case and many Jews support the Palestinian cause as well. We also recognize that antisemitism does exist in France, but some politicians deliberately use the accusation to slander the Palestine solidarity movement and delegitimize it.

In 2017 French President Emmanuel Macron declared that anti-Zionism was a form of antisemitism. Before him, former Prime Minister Manuel Valls said that both terms were synonyms. Why do you think that French politicians take this position? And how does it affect the Palestine solidarity movement?

They do it because antisemitism is an easy accusation to make in France. It works very well in silencing people, and many politicians are personally close to pro-Israeli groups, who use the antisemitism card to silence us. These groups are very influential and many of them are connected to the Israeli government.

Our mission is to counter this influence, to clarify facts and explain to both our politicians and our society, that our solidarity of Palestine is a legitimate support of a just cause. It’s a difficult task that requires a lot of work and patience, but things are slowly advancing.

Why are they advancing so slowly?

Because there is a big amount of disinformation. People in France get their information from the same places. People from the older generation, like myself, read a specific newspaper that they trust or are used to and watch a TV channel that they prefer. Younger people get their information from the internet, which is more open and diverse, but nevertheless overwhelmed with superficial information and propaganda.

The pro-Israeli groups and ‘Israel’ itself invests heavily in white-washing its own image. A recent example is the Tour de France bike competitions, that were postponed to the end of this month of August. ‘Israel’ managed to get an Israeli team in the competitions, promoting it massively. We are currently engaging the organizers and the public, to explain that this is an attempt to present ‘Israel’ as a normal, liberal state, hiding its true face of occupation and war crimes.

Has there been any evolution in recent years on the level of information about Palestinian reality? How does your case impact such evolution?

Things advance slowly as I said, and again, require a lot of work. But Palestine solidarity is more present than before because the Palestinian cause has proved to be able to unite people from very different backgrounds. You can find far-left activists along-side Catholics and Muslims. Young people from the neighborhoods as well as retired citizens. Palestine as a cause can do that in France because everybody understands the essential values that the Palestinian cause stands for, namely Justice, freedom, and human rights.

As far as our case is concerned, the ruling of the ECHR is very important for freedom of expression. It guarantees our right to communicate, advocate, and inform about Palestine, not only in France but in Europe. At the same time, we have to be humble. Palestine is not on the top-list of public interest in France right now. Our victory in the ECHR had a limited impact on public opinion in France.

All solidarity groups celebrated it, whereas pro-Israeli groups attacked the ECHR, claiming that the ruling of the court will encourage, again, antisemitism. One of their websites called us, the activists acquitted by the court, “Islamo-leftists”. They have a strange way of making up names and slanders, but it doesn’t affect us. We will build on this victory and continue our work of solidarity for Palestine. The ruling of the ECHR is just one step forward.

How do you think the pro-Israeli lobby will respond to this ruling of the ECHR in favor of you and of the right to boycott ‘Israel’?

Normally, they can appeal until September. If they don’t, then the ruling becomes definitive. We don’t think though that they will appeal because the ruling is very solid. It came after a very long procedure and was pronounced by seven judges unanimously. There is no much of a chance to change the ruling, which is why we believe there will be no appeal.

It is a reality now, that the boycott of ‘Israel’ and calling to it is recognized as a right and a legitimate form of freedom of speech. This is not only a victory for the Palestine solidarity movement but rather a victory for freedom of speech in general.

What role do Palestinians have in your efforts in France and in the world?

Palestinians have the main role in continuing their resistance. We support their struggle, but it is their struggle. They also have an important role in acknowledging their cause and countering the false image that has been made of them and their cause.

We believe that it is very important to have a direct connection between the solidarity movement internationally and the Palestinian people in Palestine. We, in the French solidarity movement, have a direct connection with communities in Palestine. We make yearly visits to Palestine to strengthen these ties and get as many solidarity people in France to get in touch with Palestinian reality first-hand. We believe this to be very important because it is the Palestinian voice that we should communicate.

What message would you give to the Palestinian people in these moments, when some Arab states are normalizing relations with the occupation state?

We know that some Arab states are abandoning the Palestinian cause, but Palestinians can count on the solidarity of peoples all over the world. In France, we admire the energy and steadfastness of Palestinians. Your resistance and your determination are an inspiration to us. We know too well that the Palestinian people are not defeated or submitted, but rather the contrary, proud and strong people. We will continue to draw inspiration from your resistance and communicate it to the world.

(Source / 01.09.2020)

“Palestinians are not alone in their struggle, but they have to lead it”

Majed Abusalama from the Humboldt-3: “The German state has failed humanity on Palestine”

The Palestine solidarity movement around the world is growing. So is the pressure put against it by many lobby groups and pro-Israeli organizations, some sponsored by the Israeli government itself. In Europe, where the BDS movement has been facing serious attempts of delegitimization, the movement has been at the center of the public debate in recent years, especially in France and Germany, polarizing positions around the Palestinian question.

The judicial victory of the three BDS activists in German courts, two weeks ago, marked a precedent in this story. The Humboldt-3; Ronnie Barkan, Stavit Sinai, and Majed Abusalama, faced charges for protesting the visit of Israeli MK Aliza Lavie in Berlin in 2017 and the German court finally acquitted them while convicting Sinai for the minimal allegation. The case is especially important in Germany, a country that has close ties with the occupation state, and which parliament has condemned the BDS movement as a form of antisemitism.

Quds News Network interviewed Majed Abusalama who shared his views on the importance of the Humboldt-3 case, as well, some details of the trial, which became a story in itself when the activists used it to voice their message. He also shared his and his comrades’ views on the relationship between Germany and the occupation state, the battle for historical narrative, and the role of the Palestine solidarity movement in the present moment.

What is the importance of your victory to the Palestine solidarity movement in Europe and world-wide?

We should take into consideration that our case happened in a very complicated context, where the Zionist lobby tries all the time to make us, the Palestine solidarity movement, look as losers with no chance of winning any ground. We were able to prove that we are not. We did it in the most hostile environment, because Germany as a state, is extremely complicit with the Apartheid state of Israel.
Palestinians in Germany are the biggest Palestinian community in Europe, but we are suppressed. Our right to protest and express ourselves is stolen, always intimidated by the accusation of antisemitism, completely absenting and excluding our Palestinian narrative.

What exactly do you define as German complicity with the Apartheid state, and how do you explain it?

Germany is in the forefront of hiding Israel’s crimes against humanity. Through its leading role in the European Union, the German state imposes the suppression of the Palestine solidarity movement and its condemnation. Germany has even sold nuclear submarines and other heavy weapons to the Apartheid state.
It partially comes from the German sense of culpability towards the Second World War. But this use of culpability, in my opinion, is not based on human values. It is more an attempt by the German state to build a comfortable attitude towards Germany’s past, even if it is on the expense of the human rights discourse of the Palestinian people. I believe that this attitude, and the white washing of Israeli apartheid and crime against humanity that results from it tell a lot of how much this state has not learned the lesson of the Second World War. That lesson is not about protecting a specific group or a state, but rather about protecting human rights and human values. This is why we say that the German state has failed humanity on the question of Palestine.

Do you see any evolution in the German society in its stands towards the Palestinian cause?

Recent polls show that an increasing number of Germans are sympathetic to the Palestinian cause and I would say rather the majority support Palestine. This has increased after the 2nd Intifada and the Israeli siege and continuous aggression on Gaza. In addition, the German public could not remain blind to Israel’s attitude with human rights activists, like the deportation of Human Rights Watch local director in Palestine, Omar Shakir, last November. The flow of free information thanks to the internet has exposed too much for Germans to remain blind and indifferent.

How did the German public react to your case?

There was an overwhelming solidarity with us, in the court and outside of it. We turned our court into a court where we were the accusers, and we went with a message and the German public received it. Since we want to put the apartheid state on trial in a German court, we decided to use our own court to do that.
We focused on the Israeli MK Aliza Lavie. We were on trial for protesting against her visit to Berlin in 2017. Aliza Lavie was directly responsible for the attack on Gaza in 2014 because she participated in making the decision of that attack, which killed over 2000 Palestinians, including 500 children. She is also the chair of the anti-BDS lobby, promoting the suppression of BDS and any Palestine activists.
The Zionist lobby tried to manipulate the case as usual by twisting and fabricating the truth about us being violent, but this did not succeed. It was an attempt to shift our and the public’s attention, but we focused on our political and moral message. I told the judge that I am from Gaza and that Lavie had a criminal responsibility for killing my friends and my people back home, and that she was meters away from me. I challenged him on how he would feel if he was in my place. My comrades also challenged Lavie directly and told her that she is a criminal and belongs in the ICC jail. That was the entire discussion during the court. We did not deviate from it.

How was the court’s attitude to your message?

They found nothing and we were acquitted. But they fined Sinai for the minimal punishment of 450 euros because she banged on the door three times, trying to ask about the details of someone who assaulted her when we were pulled out. The decision of the court is ridiculous. It was just an attempt to save the court’s face in front of the Zionist lobby and Israel, and It tells how much the German institutions are captured by this lobby’s pressure, and even complicit with the occupation and apartheid state.

Some might say that it’s a hard accusation to the German institutions. Why, in your opinion, are they complicit?

The German parliament declared the BDS movement antisemitic against the German judicial system. Throughout Germany, many courts have declared the BDS movement as a legitimate form of freedom of expression and protesting, but the German parliament holds to its smearing accusation to us which shows that the BDS motion is only a political declaration. Now there is also a European judicial decision, after the European court of human rights ruled in favour of our comrades in France, who were also accused of antisemitism in the French courts. This complicity is political and on the highest levels.

What lessons are to be taken from your case?

We want to make it clear that this story is not about us personally. It is the story of Palestine and the global solidarity with it. Our victory is a victory for the Palestinian struggle, which is the struggle of all men and women of conscience around the world.
Second, we want to empower our community, in Germany, Europe, all over the world and in Palestine. We are not alone. All those who stand against colonialism, human rights violations and apartheid world-wide are on the side of the Palestinian struggle.

What message does your victory send to the Palestinian people, at a time when some Arab states are normalizing their relations with the occupation state, especially after the Israeli-Emirati peace agreement?

Israel’s narrative held for so long because many people did not know the reality of our cause, but this Zionist narrative is falling apart and Israel can no longer hide its true criminal and apartheid face. This is the right moment for our people to become more self-sufficient and rely on themselves in their struggle.
We know too well that states will try to normalize, but we can rely on the grassroot movement of conscious people in the Arab countries and on all people of conscience in the world to continue challenging normalization, intensifying BDS and all forms of resistance to hold Israel accountable. The Palestinian cause will always be in the table to examine people’s conscience all over the world, and it is a global citizen movement that supports it.
But it is us, Palestinians, who need to lead this struggle. We, the Palestinian people, and Palestine are at the center of our struggle.

(Source / 24.08.2020)

BDS slams the UAE normalization with Israel

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement strongly slammed in a statement the recent normalization agreement between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel, calling on Emiratis to boycott any Israeli activity in the country.

“Palestinian civil society stands with the silenced majority in the United Arab Emirates and the Arab world in strongly condemning the agreement reached between the despotic rulers of the United Arab Emirates and Israel, with support from the Trump White House,” the statement said. “This is the UAE regime’s gravest betrayal of the struggle for Palestinian liberation and self-determination.”

The deal was announced as Israel was once again bombing the besieged and impoverished Gaza Strip and attacking Palestinians in the West Bank, signaling that it would do nothing to diminish Israel’s brutal assaults on the Palestinian people, said BDS.

Read More: Algerian Parties: UAE Betraying Palestinian Cause by Normalization of Ties with Israel

“The UAE regime’s claim that the price for its violation of the central principle among Arab peoples of commitment to the Palestinian cause was Israel’s freeze of its plans to formally annex parts of the occupied Palestinian territory is a lie. After the agreement had been reached, (Israeli Premier Benjamin) Netanyahu announced that the annexation plan is still alive but has been temporarily delayed to allow him to reach agreement with Trump on how best to implement it.”

BDS said the UAE claim is a sham. “Israel’s theft of Palestinian land and its illegal settlement enterprise are continuing unabated, entrenching its de facto annexation and apartheid regime.”

Read More: Kuwaiti NGOs: Israel-UAE deal is a ‘stab in back of Palestinians’

Israel’s regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid is celebrating this latest diplomatic breakthrough as badly needed cover for its ongoing war crimes and crimes against humanity against the Indigenous people of Palestine. These include massacres; ethnic cleansing, especially in Jerusalem, the Naqab and the Jordan Valley; the siege of Gaza; home demolitions; destruction of ancient olive groves; destruction or appropriation of cultural and archeological heritage; and denial of fundamental rights protected in international law, it said.

“The Palestinian people, supported by the absolute majority in the Arab world and by people of conscience globally, will continue to resist Israeli oppression and insist on our inalienable right to liberation, self-determination, freedom and dignity in our homeland. We call on people across the globe to escalate boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaigns against Israel’s ongoing annexation and apartheid,” said BDS, calling on Emiratis “to boycott any Israeli presence or activity in the country or elsewhere and to refuse to engage with the Israeli embassy or with entities partnering with them and with all complicit Israeli institutions.”

It also called on Arabs in general to continue to actively resist this abject normalization by:

Boycotting all activities, festivals and projects sponsored by the UAE regime, including the Dubai EXPO, the Dubai Shopping Festival, as well as sports, cultural and economic/financial festivals and conferences.

Boycotting and divesting from any Emirati or other corporation that becomes complicit in implementing this normalization agreement with Israel.

Refraining from travel to present-day Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including the Al-Aqsa Mosque, under this unethical agreement, and from participating in faith washing initiatives that underpin this so-called “Abraham Accord.”

(Source / 17.08.2020)