#BDS The Talk israel Tried to Censor at the European Parliament

The Talk Israel Tried to Censor at the European Parliament

Despite Israel’s efforts to censor it, Omar Barghouti gave this talk at the “Israeli Settlements in Palestine and the European Union” conference held at the European Parliament on February 28, 2018. It was organized by MEP Ana Gomes of Portugal. Omar is a Palestinian human rights defender and co-founder of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.


Omar Barghouti addresses conference at European Parliament

Towards Ending EU Complicity in Maintaining Israel’s Illegal Settlements and Other Serious Human Rights Violations

Despite Israel’s descent into unmasked, right-wing extremism, particularly with the current escalation of its brutal military occupation and repression, and its rhetoric notwithstanding, the European Union (EU) has failed to uphold its legal obligations under international law vs. Israel’s settlement enterprise and remains largely complicit in enabling and maintaining Israel’s occupation and violations of Palestinian rights. Only effective European civil society pressure can bring this EU complicity to an end, thus contributing significantly to the pursuit of a just and comprehensive peace in our region.

Israel’s serious breaches of international law trigger legal obligations for the EU, Israel’s largest trade partner, and to its member states. As reiterated in the 2004 decision by the International Court of Justice, to ensure respect for international humanitarian law and for the right of the Palestinian people to exercise self-determination, states must refrain from any act that would entail recognition of Israel’s settlement enterprise and from providing any form of assistance to maintaining the illegal situation arising from it.

By trading with Israel’s illegal settlements and supporting companies that are involved in the settlement enterprise, as defined by the OHCHR, the EU is violating both obligations of non-recognition and non-assistance.

The EU maintains a web of military relations, weapons research, banking transactions and settlement trade with Israeli companies, banks and institutions that are deeply implicated in human rights violations.

For instance, the EU imports goods from the Israeli settlements at an estimated annual value of $300 million. This is more than 17 times the average annual value of Palestinian goods imported by the EU between 2004 and 2014.

Through its Horizon 2020 research program the EU has approved more than 200 projects with Israeli companies, such as Elbit Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries, that are accused of deep complicity in Israel’s war crimes and possible crimes against humanity. Another Israeli beneficiary of EU funding is Technion University, a main hub for developing Israeli weapon systems used to perpetrate crimes against Palestinian civilians.

European banks continue their business relations with Israeli banks, despite the latter’s pivotal role in financing, providing services to, or otherwise supporting Israel’s illegal settlements. A recent report by Human Rights Watch concludes that “businesses cannot fulfill their human rights responsibilities if they continue carrying out activities inside or for the benefit of settlements.”

Despite pressure by hundreds of European civil society unions and NGOs and more than 60 MEPs, the EU has obstinately refused to enforce the human rights clause in its Association Agreement with Israel. This has continued even after a legal report published last year by a UN agency found that Israel has established a regime of apartheid against the entire Palestinian people. Apartheid is the second most serious crime against humanity in international law, it is worth mentioning.

If Palestinian rights are seen today as the “litmus test for human rights,” as described by John Dugard, the prominent South African jurist, the EU has failed this test. Merely labeling some of the illegal products of Israeli colonies instead of banning them all is considered by Palestinians as yet another EU failure to uphold European and international law.

Although the EU still votes as a bloc in support of UN resolutions upholding basic Palestinian rights, including the right of return for Palestine refugees, and still condemns Israel’s settlements as illegal, these positions have not been translated into any effective measures of accountability against Israel.

In contrast, the EU swiftly adopted sanctions against Russia after its takeover of the Crimea, which pales in comparison to Israel’s 50-year-old military occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Nothing can justify this hypocrisy.
Israel’s Far-Right Government Drops the Mask

As Israel’s regime becomes more overtly associated with the global far-right, including white supremacist and anti-Semitic groups in the United States and Europe, and as it becomes the model for Trump’s xenophobic policies of ethnic profiling, refugee and Muslim ban, and the racist wall with Mexico, its popularity is sinking. A recent BBC poll shows that Israel has the fourth lowest popularity rating among many countries, with over 60% of the public in the UK, France and Spain viewing it negatively.

More and more people of conscience around the world — including taxpayers in states that continue to arm Israel, such as the US, Germany, UK, Italy and France — are recognizing and acting on their moral duty to end their governments’ respective complicity in Israel’s crimes.

Crucially, support for holding Israel to account is growing among Jewish Americans and the broader US public. A 2014 poll by J Street showed that 46 percent of non-Orthodox Jewish American men under forty support a full boycott of Israel to end its occupation, while a 2016 Brookings Institution survey reveals that almost half of all Americans support imposing sanctions on Israel to stop its illegal settlements.

With the unparalleled loyalty to its fanatic policies in the Trump White House and in Congress, Israel’s regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid has become so drunk with power that it is dropping its thin, worn-out mask of democracy, shedding the veneer of supporting a “two-state solution” and cheering Trump’s rise to power as a rare opportunity to bury the Palestinian right to self-determination.

Israel’s government, the “most racist” in its history, is perpetrating serious crimes against the indigenous people of Palestine with unprecedented hubris and impunity, alienating the liberal western mainstream, which has for decades formed the backbone of its support base in the West shielding it from accountability to international law.

Israel is intensifying its land-grabbing construction of its illegal settlements and wall in the occupied West Bank, especially in East Jerusalem.

It is tightening its fatal, decade-long siege of two million Palestinians s in Gaza, denying them basic necessities, even crayons and musical instruments, while counting the per-capita calories that are allowed in to keep them at the edge of starvation, or to put them “on a diet,” as a senior Israeli official once admitted. As a result, the UN predicts that Gaza will be unlivable by 2020.

It is entrenching what even the US Department of State once characterized as a system of “institutional, legal, and societal discrimination” against Palestinian citizens of present-day Israel, enforced by more than sixty five racist laws. Last year, Israeli armed forces demolished the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran in the Naqab (Negev) to build on its ruins a new, Jewish-only settlement, eerily called “Hiran.”

It also continues to deny the internationally-recognized rights of Palestinians in exile, predominantly refugees, who account for 50 percent of all Palestinians.

In light of this ongoing Nakba, and given the failure of the international community under the US-EU hegemony to uphold Palestinian rights under international law, the BDS movement for Palestinian rights was launched in 2005 by the broadest coalition in Palestinian civil society. It calls for ending Israel’s 1967 occupation, ending its system of legalized racial discrimination, and upholding the UN-stipulated right of Palestinian refugees to return to the homes and lands from which they were uprooted and dispossessed since the 1948 Nakba.

These three basic rights correspond to the three main components of the Palestinian people: those in the occupied Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem (38 percent of the Palestinian people, according to 2016 statistics); Palestinian citizens of Israel (12%); and those in exile (50%). More than two thirds of Palestinians are refugees or internally displaced persons.

Anchored in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, BDS has consistently and categorically opposed all forms of racism and racial discrimination, including anti-Semitism, anti-Black racism and Islamophobia. One’s identity, the movement upholds, should never diminish one’s entitlement to rights. BDS, as a result, targets complicity, not identity.

Arguing that boycotting Israel is intrinsically anti-Jewish is not only false, but it also presumes that Israel and “the Jews” are one and the same. This is as absurd and bigoted as claiming that a boycott of a self-defined Islamic state like Saudi Arabia, say, because of its horrific human rights record, its legalized discrimination against women, or its war crimes in Yemen, would of necessity be Islamophobic.

Since there is nothing Jewish about Israel’s regime of siege, ethnic cleansing and oppression, there is nothing inherently anti-Jewish, then, about a nonviolent, morally consistent human rights struggle to end this system of injustice. Support for BDS is growing substantially among Jewish millennials worldwide, in fact, with Jewish-Israeli BDS activists playing an increasingly significant role in the movement.

BDS draws a lot of inspiration from intersectional relations with movements defending the rights of refugees, immigrants, women, workers, Blacks, Muslims, indigenous nations and the LGBTQI communities as well as with the climate justice movement.

The BDS movement is supported by a near consensus in Palestinian society. Last month, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the sole, legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, declared its support for BDS and called for sanctions against Israel.


Impact of BDS

The strategic impact of the nonviolent BDS movement for Palestinian rights is now well recognized by the Israeli establishment.

Last December, Lorde, the famous New Zealand singer, cancelled a scheduled gig in Tel Aviv, becoming the most prominent and courageous artist of her generation to respect the Palestinian cultural boycott picket line. In response to an ugly smear campaign against her by Israel lobby figures in the US, over one hundred prominent artists, including Hollywood stars, signed a letter in the Guardian supporting her.

Of the twenty-six Oscar nominees in 2016 who were offered expensive propaganda trips paid by the Israeli government none has taken the offer to date.

Some of the largest churches in the US, including the United Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church and the United Church of Christ, have divested from Israeli banks or complicit international corporations, like Caterpillar, HP, and G4S, because of their involvement in the Israeli occupation.

Even before the UN publishes its list of companies involved in Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise, major multinational corporations, like Veolia, Orange, CRH and G4S, have suffered major financial and/or reputational losses in the last few years, due to effective BDS campaigning across Europe, the US, the Arab world, or Latin America. As a result, they have ended all or most of their involvement in Israel’s violations of international law. Hewlett Packard (HP) is facing a snowballing global BDS campaign, with many US churches and the National Union of Teachers (NUT) in the UK announcing themselves HP-free.

Leading global investment funds in Norway, the Netherlands, Denmark and elsewhere have withdrawn their investments from Israeli banks or international corporations implicated in Israel’s human rights violations.

The municipality of Barcelona announced in 2017 measures to end complicity in Israel’s occupation, following dozens of local councils across the Spanish state that have declared themselves “Israeli Apartheid Free Zones” in the last two years.

Major international trade union federations, like the Norwegian LO, joined the BDS movement in 2017.

Academic associations and tens of student governments in the U.S., UK, Chile, South Africa, Canada, among others, have voted for various BDS measures.

The prestigious Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium has recently announced its withdrawal from Law Train, a particularly disturbing EU-funded research project aimed at developing common prisoner interrogation techniques with the partnership of the Israeli police and the Israeli Ministry of Public Security. Both Israeli entities have been accused by human rights advocates of deep involvement in extrajudicial killings and the torture of Palestinian prisoners, including children, among other serious violations of international law.

The Portuguese Justice Ministry was the first to withdraw from this project in July 2016. Twenty five prominent legal scholars have published a legal opinion confirming the illegality of the Law Train project due to the Israeli entities’ involvement in serious violations of international law.


Israel’s New McCarthyism

Having lost many battles for the hearts and minds at the grassroots level, Israel adopted a new top-down strategy in 2014 to fight BDS, replacing its previous, unsuccessful strategy of fighting the movement through “branding” and extensive propaganda alone.

Evoking memories of McCarthyism, the new Israeli strategy employs legal warfare and espionage with massive budgets to undermine, or even outlaw, peaceful BDS advocacy. Israel has even hired a large law firm to intimidate and silence BDS activists in North America, Europe and beyond, crossing “criminal lines,” as a whistleblowing Israeli lawyer has warned.”

A desperate Israeli government minister has established a “tarnishing unit” to smear Palestinian, Israeli and international human rights defenders in the BDS movement, while another has publicly threatened us with “targeted civil assassination.” Amnesty International has condemned these threats.

An Israeli anti-BDS law now denies entry to organizations that endorse BDS or merely advocate for selective boycotts targeting Israeli settlements. The anti-BDS Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs is working on a “blacklist” of Israelis who are active in any form of BDS activity.

Glenn Greenwald has described attempts by Israel and its lobby groups to criminalize Palestine solidarity, especially in the most effective form of BDS, as “the greatest threat to free speech in the West.”

The BDS movement is winning some remarkable battles against this Israeli McCarthyism, however. The European Union, the governments of Sweden, Ireland and Netherlands, the parliaments of Switzerland and Spain, Amnesty International, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), Human Rights Watch, the Socialist International, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), among others, have all defended the right to boycott Israel as a matter of freedom of speech.

ACLU, which has condemned the application of anti-BDS legislation in Texas as “an egregious violation of the First Amendment [of the US Constitution], reminiscent of McCarthy-era loyalty oaths,” has recently scored a precedent-setting legal victory in a federal court against the Kansas state’s anti-BDS legislation.

In 2016, Federica Mogherini, the chief of EU diplomacy, said:

The EU stands firm in protecting freedom of expression and freedom of association in line with the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, which is applicable on EU Member States’ territory, including with regard to BDS actions carried out on this territory.

In the same vein, the Dutch government confirmed that BDS advocacy is protected free speech, “enshrined in the Dutch Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights.” It also rejected calls for punishing BDS on the grounds that it involved “discrimination” against Israel, affirming that “human rights, including the prohibition of discrimination, aim to explicitly protect individuals [and] groups of individuals. On the basis of freedom of speech it is allowed to call on a government to take sanctions against another country.”

Also in 2016, in a major blow to Israel’s repressive legal war on the BDS movement, a groundbreaking statement by more than 200 legal scholars from 15 European countries, including former international courts’ judges, defended the right to BDS saying:

States that outlaw BDS are undermining this basic human right and threatening the credibility of human rights by exempting a particular state from the advocacy of peaceful measures designed to achieve its compliance with international law.


While Palestinians appreciate European support for our steadfastness in our homeland, Palestinians do not seek charity but solidarity. At the very least, we expect the EU to do no harm.

The average of 300 million euros that the EU gives to the Palestinians annually largely subsidize the Israeli occupation and serves to cover up the EU’s ongoing complicity in maintaining it. Furthermore, it pales in comparison to the occupation’s cost for the Palestinian economy, which in 2010 alone reached approximately $7 billion − almost 85% of the total estimated Palestinian GDP.

Palestinians are calling on progressive members of the European Parliament as well as national parliaments across Europe and European civil society to intensify pressure on the EU to fulfill its obligations under international law vs. the Palestinian people by, at the very least:

  1. Banning the import of products of Israeli and other companies that illegally operate in the occupied territories.
  2. Suspending the EU-Israel Association Agreement until Israel abides by its second clause which requires respect for human rights.
  3. Implementing the recommendation of the European Council on Foreign Relations to halt all financial transactions with Israeli banks that finance Israel’s occupation, including the wall and settlements.
  4. Stop considering the import of Israeli natural gas or electric power given Israel’s pillage of Palestinian energy resources and the serious legal, financial and security risks involved in such an undertaking.
  5. Imposing a two-way military embargo on Israel, as was done against apartheid South Africa, including cutting funding to all Israeli companies and universities involved in military research that enables the commission of Israel’s war crimes.

Former South African anti-apartheid leader Archbishop Desmond Tutu once said, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” Far from being “neutral,” the EU is enabling the oppressor to carry on its injustices. It is high time to end that complicity to keep our hope alive that one day we can live in dignity, freedom, justice and true peace.

* Omar Barghouti is a Palestinian human rights defender and co-founder of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. He is a co-recipient of the 2017 Gandhi Peace Award.


#BDS Co-Founder Addresses EU amid Failed Pro-Israel Lobbying

BDS Co-Founder Addresses EU amid Failed Pro-Israel Lobbying

Omar Barghouti talking about the impact of illegal Israeli settlements and EU passivity. (Photo: Margrete Auken, Twitter)

Omar Barghouti, one of the founders of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against the Israeli occupation of Palestine, was invited to address the European Parliament (EP) during an event on Palestine despite opposition from pro-Israeli groups.

On a Feb. 28 panel at the EP, Barghouti criticized the EU’s contradictory policies towards the Israel amid its increasing right-wing extremism and “occupation and oppression against the Palestinian people.”

The BDS activist was invited to the European Parliament as a guest speaker for a panel event called “The Israeli Settlements in Palestine and the European Union,” organized by Portuguese Member of the European Parliament Ana Gomes, who is part of the Socialists and Democracts Group at the EP.


But the main focus was the passive international reaction towards Israel illegal policies, noting that the EU has “failed to uphold its legal obligations” regarding the Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

“Therefore, the EU remains largely complicit enabling and maintaning Israel’s occupation and violation of Palestinian rights,” he said, adding that “only effective European civil society pressure can bring this EU complicity to an end.”

Barghouti also highlighted the success of the BDS movement in convincing many companies of pulling out from Israel and its occupied territories.

As expected the decision to invite Barghouti was fiercely opposed by pro-Israeli advocacy groups, but that didn’t prevent him from addressing the EP. Pro-Israeli groups sent a letter to EP President Antonio Tajani accusing Barghouti and the BDS movement of antisemitism.


The American Jewish Committee Transatlantic Institute (AJC) tweeted that Barghouti’s remarks accusing Israel of apartheid were “outrageous.” Nevertheless members of the group still attended the event.

According to the AJC, the BDS movement qualifies as antisemitic because under the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition, it is “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination,” an accusation that the BDS has denied.


But Barghouti’s presence was mostly welcomed by MEPs. Danish Margrete Auken tweeted that the “EU must act in respect to international law,” regarding Barghouti’s remarks about “the impact of illegal Israeli settlements and EU passivity.”

Dublin’s MEP Lynn Boylan met with Barghouti before his speech at the EP and expressed her support for the BDS movement. Boylan said that,

“it is unacceptable that the EU has done nothing to prevent Israel from continuing to displace Palestinians from their homes and to profit from stolen Palestinian resources.”

Boylan also called the BDS campaign a “means to challenge and end Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights and international law.”


The BDS movement has been nominated to the Nobel Peace Prize for its peaceful efforts in stopping a brutal occupation and what is called by many an apartheid regime.

(teleSUR, PC, Social Media)

Fueling impunity: israel’s (stolen, the gas belongs to Palestine) gas exports to Europe #BDS

Fueling impunity: Israel’s gas exports to Europe

Ongoing talks on the possibility of EU purchases of Israel’s natural gas put into question the EU’s commitment to Palestinian rights under international law.

Gas israel

The EU has made a strong commitment towards energy transition to renewable sources and has developed an ambitious strategy to meet Paris Agreement climate change targets. At the same time the EU has spent millions in the recent years on new gas infrastructure projects and billions of euros more are expected for 104 new gas projects included in the third list of Projects of Common Interest (PCI) published by the Commission.

Natural gas is a fossil fuel composed of methane, which is 86 times more potent as a heat-trapping gas than CO2. With this massive investment, the EU is locking its dependence on fossil fuel for decades to come. As a recent report has shown, the gas corporate lobby is entrenching Europe’s addiction to fossil fuels. In 2016 alone, “gas corporations and their lobby groups spent over €100 million on influencing EU [energy] policy, with more than 1,000 lobbyists on their payroll. … By comparison, public interest groups lobbying against new gas infrastructure managed to mobilise just 3% of industry’s spending.”

This not only puts into question the EU’s ability to meet climate change targets but also give rise to serious human rights concerns and the adverse social impact on communities where the pipelines are expected to cross.

Ongoing talks on the possibility of EU purchases of Israel’s natural gas put into question the EU’s commitment to Palestinian rights under international law. As this briefing by the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) explains, by purchasing gas from Israel, whether directly or indirectly, the EU would become complicit in Israel’s illegal annexation of the occupied Palestinian territory, its illegal settlements and the war crime of pillage of Palestinian natural resources – all in contravention of the EU’s international commitments and legal obligations.

#BDS Boycotting israel Is the Right Thing to Do

Boycotting Israel Is the Right Thing to Do

Israel’s war on free speech continues

Tracking the consequences of Israel’s apparent conviction that it should never be bound by the rules and conventions that constrain the behavior of other countries sometimes leads one into dark places. The daily torments inflicted on the Palestinians is increasingly a horrific tale that has no apparent end, while Benjamin Netanyahu struts and boasts of his power to do more and even worse, openly calling for war with Lebanon, Syria and Iran on a world stage where no one seems willing to confront him

I have chronicled how Israel does terrible damage to the United States, through inciting war, its financial demands, and its unparalleled ability to make Washington complicit in its war crimes and general inhumanity. But, as bad as it is, in some areas the worst is yet to come, as Israel and its hubristic leaders know no limits and fear no consequences, thanks to the uncritical support from the American Establishment, a large percentage of which is Jewish, that is unwilling to take a strong stand against Netanyahu and all his works.

Israel has been particularly successful at promoting its preferred narrative, together with sanctions for those who do not concur, in the English language speaking world and also in France, which has the largest Jewish population in Europe. The sanctions generally consist of legal penalties for those criticizing Israel or questioning the accuracy of the accepted holocaust narrative, i.e. disputing that “6 million died.”

Those attacking Israeli government policies can be found guilty of antisemitism, which is now considered a hate crime in Britain. Under the new law, passed in December 2016, Britain became one of the first countries to use the definition of antisemitism agreed upon earlier in the year at a conference of the Berlin-based International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).

A statement from British Prime Minister Teresa May’s office explained that the intention of the new definition was to “insure that culprits will not be able to get away with being antisemitic because the term is ill-defined, or because different organizations or bodies have different interpretations of it”.

May went on to elaborate how the law“…means there will be one definition of antisemitism – in essence, language or behavior that displays hatred towards Jews because they are Jews – and anyone guilty of that will be called out on it.” The Guardian, in covering the story, added that “Police forces already use a version of the IHRA definition to help officers decide what could be considered antisemitism.”

The British government’s own definition relies on guidance provided by the IHRA, which asserts that “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews” and elaborated that it could be considered antisemitic to accuse Jews of being “more loyal to Israel or their religion than to their own nations, or to say the existence of Israel is intrinsically racist.” In other words, even if many Jews are more loyal to Israel than to the countries they live in and even though Israel is intrinsically racist, it is now illegal to say so in Great Britain.

The British government’s subservience to Jewish and Israeli interests is nearly as enthusiastic as in the United States, though it is driven by the same sorts of things – Jewish money and Jewish power, particularly in the media. A majority of Conservative Party members of parliament have joined Conservative Friends of Israel and the Labour counterpart is also a force to be reckoned with on the political left.

Last November there was a major scandal when Britain’s Overseas Development Minister Priti Patel was forced to resign after she held 14 “unofficial” meetings with Israeli government officials, including Netanyahu. The meetings were during a “vacation trip” in Israel arranged by a British Jew with the improbable name Lord Polak who functions as a lobbyist for the Jewish state. During her visit, Patel visited an Israeli military hospital in the occupied Golan Heights. When she returned to Britain, she began to work on the feasibility of sending U.K. aid money to the Israeli Army for its alleged humanitarian work. None of the meetings were reported to the British Foreign Ministry.

Here in the United States, the friends of Israel appear to believe that anyone who is unwilling to do business with Israel or even with the territories that it has illegally occupied should not be allowed to do business in any capacity with federal, state or even local governments. Constitutional guarantees of freedom of association for every American are apparently not valid if one particular highly favored foreign country is involved.

Twenty-four states now have legislation sanctioning those who criticize or boycott Israel. And one particular pending piece of federal legislation that is also continuing to make its way through the Senate would far exceed what is happening at the state level and would set a new standard for deference to Israeli interests on the part of the national government. It would criminalize any U.S. citizen “engaged in interstate or foreign commerce” who supports a boycott of Israel or who even goes about “requesting the furnishing of information” regarding it, with penalties enforced through amendments of two existing laws, the Export Administration Act of 1979 and the Export-Import Act of 1945, that include potential fines of between $250,000 and $1 million and up to 20 years in prison

According to the Jewish Telegraph Agency, the Senate bill was drafted with the assistance of AIPAC. The legislation, which would almost certainly be overturned as unconstitutional if it ever does in fact become law, is particularly dangerous and goes well beyond any previous pro-Israeli legislation as it essentially denies free of expression when the subject is Israel.

Israel is particularly fearful of the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions movement because its non-violence is attractive to college students, including many young Jews, who would not otherwise get involved on the issue. Benjamin Netanyahu and his government clearly understand, correctly, that BDS can do more damage than any number of terrorist attacks, as it challenges the actual legitimacy of the Israeli government and its colonizing activity in Palestine.

Israel has recently passed legislation criminalizing anyone who supports BDS and has set up a semi-clandestine group called Kella Shlomo to counteract its message. The country’s education minister has called BDS supporters “enemy soldiers” and has compared them to Nazis. Netanyahu has also backed up the new law with a restriction on foreigners who support the BDS entering the country. This has included a number of American Jews who have been critical of Netanyahu, bringing home to them for the first time just how totalitarian “the Middle East’s only democracy” has actually become.

The British experience as well as a recent case involving New Zealand illustrate just how insensitive Israel is to the interests of other nations and should serve as a warning to Americans of how Netanyahu and company are heedless of fundamental rights like freedom of speech and association. A prominent New Zealand singer who goes by the name Lorde canceled a planned tour to Israel based on her concerns about the mistreatment of the Palestinians. End of story? No. She was promptly lambasted by the usual suspects including Howard Stern and “America’s Rabbi” Shmuley Boteach and was then punished by the Grammys ceremony in New York City on February 8th, where she was told that she would not be allowed to sing one of her own songs even though she was up for album of the year. She was the only finalist who was blocked in that fashion and no one in the media, predictably, linked the two events and recognized that she was almost certainly being punished for not performing in Israel.

Now Lorde is in the middle of a lawsuit initiated by the Israeli government supported lawfare organization called Shurat HaDin. In line with its own anti-boycott legislation, Israel now believes it has the right to sue anyone who supports BDS no matter what country they live in or where they indicated their support. In this case, Israel is intent on silencing New Zealanders who exercised their freedom of speech in New Zealand.

Shurat HaDin is no stranger to foreign courts, though it has lost more cases than it has won. In February 2015, a lawsuit initiated by it led to the conviction of the Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization of liability for terrorist attacks in Israel between 2000 and 2004 even though there was no evidence demonstrating that there had been any direct involvement by either body. A New York Federal jury and judge, always friendly to Israeli or Jewish litigants, awarded damages of $218.5 million, but under a special feature of the Anti-Terrorism Act the award was automatically tripled to $655.5 million. Shurat HaDin states that it is “bankrupting terror.”

In the New Zealand case two New Zealand women who used publicly accessible social media to convince Lorde to cancel her concert are being blamed by Shurat HaDin for the mental anguish of several Jewish concertgoers who apparently have been in a state of shock since the Lorde cancellation was confirmed. They are suing for “moral and emotional injury and the indignity” and also for the New Zealanders having violated the anti-BDS legislation “to give real consequences to those who selectively target Israel and seek to impose an unjust and illegal boycott against the Jewish state.”

Based on past experience, Shurat HaDin might even win the case inside Israel while finding that the ruling will not be accepted or enforceable in New Zealand as it is in violation of that country’s constitution. But the real intent is to intimidate critics and, as in some cases brought in the U.S., to force opponents to spend money on defense lawyers, making critics of Israel reluctant to go public or even willing to settle out of court. Friends of Israel make sure that any criticism of the country they love above all others becomes toxic. Florida State Senator Randy Fine is, for example, currently demanding that Tampa and Miami cancel upcoming April concerts by Lorde to punish her for her “anti-Semitic boycott” of Israel. He is abusing his position as an elected public official to silence someone he doesn’t agree without of deference to a racist foreign country that has nothing to do with the United States.

It is important for Americans to realize that Israel not only spies on the U.S., digs its paws deep into our Treasury, and perverts Washington’s Middle East policy, it is also attempting to dictate what we the people can and cannot say. And Congress and much of the media are fully on board. This is absolutely insufferable and must be stopped. Groups like Shurat HaDin flying into New York to exploit friendly Manhattan judges and juries to advance Israel’s toxic agendas should be told to go home upon arrival.

Israel’s complete hypocrisy was highly visible in yet another news story last week. The Polish government has passed controversial legislation, subject to judicial review, to criminalize any claims that Poles were responsible for the Second World War prison camps that the Germans set up in their country. This has been strongly and vociferously opposed by Netanyahu speaking for the Israeli government, which is apparently concerned that its claim on perpetual and universal victimhood is being challenged. Washington is also, to no one’s surprise, lining up with Israel, threatening that the new law might damage bilateral relations with Warsaw.

Characteristically, no one in the U.S. mainstream media, which is generally supportive of Bibi’s complaints, is noting that the proposed Polish legislation is not too dissimilar to any number of existing anti-free speech laws criminalizing holocaust denial in Europe or criticism of Israel in the United States. Nor is it different than some laws in Israel, including the criminalization of anyone who speaks or writes in support of BDS. As usual, there is one standard for Jewish issues and Israelis and a quite different standard for everyone else



January 31, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon


By Eve Mykytyn

The ever sycophantic Huffington Post in an article by Rebecca Shapiro blamed sexual discrimination and cited the ‘me too’ movement to explain why Lorde was the only singer nominated for Album of the year not invited to perform a solo at the Grammys. Perhaps Shapiro is correct. I offer an alternative explanation.

Lorde honoured the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement in support of the Palestinians and refused to perform in Israel. The ever vengeful financial chiefs of the disintegrating music industry were, perhaps, less than pleased.

“We can’t have a performance from every nominee,” Recording Academy President and United Jewish Appeal honoree Portnow said. “We have to create [a show] that has balance… and what you saw was our best judgment on how to do that.”

AIPAC producer Ken Ehrlich added, “”These shows are always a matter of choices. She had a great album, but there’s no way we can deal with everybody…. we do the best we can to make sure it’s a fair and balanced show,”

This might be credible if the 66 year old singer Sting had not appeared on air in two separate segments: first during a widely panned 19 minute sketch with emcee James Corden, and then to perform his 31 year old  hit “Englishman in New York” with Shaggy.  Sting performed in Israel in 2006 and has not indicated any public opinion with regard to BDS.

I can only speculate that Israel craves the legitimacy of a true rock and roll star ignoring the boycott. Perhaps the boost to Sting’s career offered by the Grammys was thought to offer a reward to Sting for his return to the Jewish State.

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement for Palestinian Rights (BDS) has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize 2018


The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement for Palestinian Rights (BDS) has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize 2018

 Bjørnar Moxnes, member of the Norwegian Parliament, Oct. 20, 2017

Bjørnar Moxnes, a member of the Norwegian Parliament, has nominated the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for this year’s Nobel Prize.

Press release
The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS)-movement for Palestinian rights was yesterday formally nominated for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize by the Norwegian MP Bjørnar Moxness (Rødt). This nomination reflects the growing international solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for justice, dignity and freedom from the Israeli occupation.
The BDS Campaign is a Palestinian-led, international non-violent movement for freedom, equality and a just peace for the Palestinian people:

  • BDS upholds that Palestinians are entitled to the same rights as the rest of humanity
  • Inspired by the South African non-violent anti-apartheid movement, the BDS call urges action to pressure Israel to comply with international law and human rights
  • BDS is a growing, vibrant global movement of unions, academic associations, churches and grassroots movements in about 50 countries. Eleven years since its launch, BDS has major impact and is effectively challenging international support for Israeli apartheid and settler-colonialism

The BDS-movement was started and is led by the Palestinian society with over 170 Palestinian organizations behind the call for peaceful action.

The nomination proves the increasing international support for the use of the peaceful, non-violent tools of economic boycott and international sanctions to force Israel to end occupation and the apartheid rule against the Palestinian people – and achieve just peace. The nomination also reflects the growing BDS-movement in Norway and is welcomed by the thousands of Norwegians who actively show solidarity for the Palestinian struggle for freedom, dignity and equal human rights for all people.

The toolbox of the BDS-movement is known, accepted and used with success against other occupying and racist regimes. As of January 2018, Norway has officially imposed sanctions and restrictions against 26 different states or regions due to breeches of international laws and human rights – but not against the state of Israel – despite Israeli occupation, annexation and collective punishment of the Palestinian people.

Awarding this year’s Nobel Peace Prize to the BDS movement would be a powerful signal, emphasizing the international community’s commitment to support a just peace for the Palestinian people and by that – for the Israeli people and all people in the Middle East – and the world at large.

We nominate the BDS movement and with them – their thousands of activists globally – as a humble but necessary step towards bringing forth a more dignified and beautiful future for all peoples.

Nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize can be made by several formal nominators, among them members of the Norwegian Parliament. The Party Red’s new MP Bjørnar Moxnes was elected last fall, and he is the formal nominator.

The nominators for The Nobel Peace prize are:

Members of national assemblies and governments and members of the Inter-Parliamentary Union
Members of the Permanent Court of Arbitration and the International Court of Justice at the Hague
Members of Institut de Droit International
University professors of history, social sciences, philosophy, law, and theology, university presidents, and directors of peace research and international affairs institutes
Former recipients, including board members of organizations that have previously received the prize
Present and past members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee
Former permanent advisers to the Norwegian Nobel Institute

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