Sunday, June 27, 2010

Links and Rants

Jon Voight. Better known as the guy who gave his Y chromosome that begot the former sexy Angelina Jolie (for us, she lost her appeal after having/picking up so many babies). He's 71, white, male, loaded, and a northern American. His contacts may include Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh, and all the other racist Tea Party goers. He, as any other sane person, is not happy with Obama and the way the president is running the country. He, like any other sane person, wrote a letter to express his opinions and frustrations, addressing the problems that in his opinion Obama is responsible for. Fair enough, after all this is the President who has no problem in ordering the assassination of US citizens on foreign soil, denies habeas rights to suspected terrorists, and loves being an ass in general. But back to Voight's letter, of which the content is unsurprisingly insane and full of poppycock.

"You will be the first American president that lied to the Jewish people, and the American people as well, when you said that you would defend Israel, the only Democratic state in the Middle East, against all their enemies," Voight wailed. "You have done just the opposite. You have propagandized Israel, until they look like they are everyone's enemy-and it has resonated throughout the world. You are putting Israel in harm's way and you have promoted anti-Semitism throughout the world."

Hm, we remember Obama at the Cairo conference a couple years back vowing to uphold the Arab countries' interests and values while serving to improve relations with the US. So, yeah Obama is a certified liar, but that's just another term for a politician. Ok time to break it down.
"The only Democratic state in the Middle East." Bitch please. Refer back to the wonderfully insidious (ok, it's actually pretty docile) website . But then Voight can't have known about the fact that this Democratic state has no internationally recognized borders? And that it is an occupying force devastating the lives of millions of measly Palestinians? Or that it harbors nuclear power? And that it gives automatic citizenship based on Religion and religion only? And that it is a Jewish state whose rights are exclusive to Jews, and not say, Palestinian citizens of Israel? What a flawed concept hmm.
"You have propagandized Israel and they look like they are everyone's enemy..." How exactly? By exerting the minimal pressure regarding the on-going illegal settlement building in Jerusalem and the West Bank? Oh how can we say that, this minimal pressure is not at all standardized political hogwash, a poor pantomime for the world. This minimal pressure was the cause for US-Israeli relations to reach the lowest point ever! Perhaps, by this minimal pressure, the world got a glimpse of what Israeli claims itself to be and what it is in reality. Oh, the demonization!
Ok, we can't be bothered with the rest, but of course it is all Obama's fault for promoting Anti-Semitism when the world took to the streets protesting loudly at the Israeli attack and murder of civilians aboard a humanitarian ship 3 weeks ago. You know, sarcasm aside, it partly is his fault, after all his administration continues the American tradition of supplying Israel with 3 billion dollars in military aid. But then, Obama isn't the one that gave the order from Canada to go ahead with the flotilla attack. Nooooo that was someone called Netanyahu. Right, Jon Voight, you are a clueless deluded silly ignorant old man, and now we know the reason for Angelina estranging you. After Sean Penn's lauding of Hugo Chavez, the Conservatives sought to bring this upon us? Ha.

Gilad Shalit and Palestinian Prisoners. Shalit's parents started their march to Jerusalem on Friday commemorating their son's 4th year in captivity. They will stay at a protest tent erected a year ago and pressure the Israeli government to secure Shalit's release. This goes to show, more than anything, the incompetence and seemingly indifferent view of the Israeli government, who apparently are portraying that the release of Shalit is not in their best interests, in contrast to their repeated rhetoric and assurances. One soldier in return for the release of Palestinian women and children and 300 other detainees. No? Ok, no Gilad. This is the way it works. The torture and detainment of Palestinian children is of course illegal under international law, and when we hear that a child's testicles are being electrocuted by Israeli interrogators who sneer in the child's face "you will never be able to become a father" vitriolic rage renders us senseless. Dear oh dear, we wonder how that child's mother must feel? Aviva Shalit at least can be 'comforted' with the knowledge that her brave son was serving with the Lions and fulfilling his duty to his state, and not say, captured while loitering at some alley.

Gaza Electricity Blackout. Again and again and again, the only power plant in Gaza has ran out of fuel to operate and the tiny coastal strip is plunged into darkness once again. Gazans will now have to go 15 hours a day without electricity and depend on Israel and Egypt for some. Imagine going 15 hours a day with no TV, computers, telephones, refrigerators, hot water, etc. An EU contribution to fuel shipments to Gaza was transferred (intercepted more like) by the rotten PA, who cited budget constraints. How much more do they have to bend over backwards for Israel?

World Cup Ponderings. Why do people support the teams they do? Political motivation is the main reason according to our parents and their generation. Brazilian flags are seen everywhere, rippling from windows and cars and stores, and all because Brazil kicked out its Israeli ambassador. We won't lie, if Turkey had qualified we would have been behind them religiously. But you see...Spain does have delectable players who can actually play, and Argentina...well it's Argentina for God's sake! We were so happy USA got knocked out by Ghana, before a snapshot of a memory caused us to pause. Back in 2006, after Ghana had beaten some team, one team member celebrated by waving the Israeli flag in front of cameras. What a blow. We wish we had selective retainment dammit. Anyhoo, it seems only fair that the other colonialist power in the world should be defeated, so England, we are humbly awaiting your exit. To show our good sportsmanship, we won't delight at your red sun burned skin or your tears, because your poor judgement clouds the inevitable i.e. you should have had it coming. England winning the world cup? What next, elephants flying to the moon? Teehee!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Normalization is B.A.D

B: Brainwashing people and warping their minds.
A: Assuming that the two sides, Palestinians and Israelis are equal in this conflict.
D: Derogatory, Detrimental, Down-right Disgusting. Dung-head Dragon-breath Dog-face.
(We've been rereading Harry Potter for the 2948th time, can you tell?)

It makes us

B: Ballistic.
A: Antagonized.
D: Deleterious.

We want it to

B: Break down, bleed, burst into maggots.
A: Abrogate, asphyxiate, annihilate itself.
D: Deliquesce, decimate, disappear.

We would do this to Palestinians engaging in Normalization:

B: Bludgeon and Brown beat them with all of our Bestiality.
A: Abuse and Agonize them with Accuracy.
D: Deform and Disfigure them with Dedication.

How dare anyone that calls him/herself a Palestinian be a part of this farcical, propagandist spewing Hasbara-cranked filthy falsehood? It is Dishonest, a huge Detraction from the truth, a Subterfuge, a Distortion of reality. Dialogue with Israelis can only be made once they recognize and admit to the Palestinian subjugation, suffering, oppression, and occupation at their own hands. Forget their cutesy Biblical self-portrayal as David and we monstrous beasts who will stop at nothing to -drive-them-to-the-seas as the mighty Goliath. Once they can recognize that their state is illegal, born with the help of European Imperialism and at the expense of the native people who were subjected to despicable policies of racism early on as well as massacres and forced expulsion, culminating in over 4 million refugees currently, once they recognize the Right of Return, that there can be no such thing as an exclusively Jewish state, and that equality and justice are not just for the Ashkenazi, then we might be tempted to spill a few words. But to sit at a table, engage in mundane activities together, all at the pretense that 'yes, what we do have in common is the need for peace, and yes, I admit that the Palestinians too are to blame, goddamn suicide bombers, and the Wall needs to come down, but they are afraid for their security if it does, and that's our fault' then guess what? These ignorant imbeciles need to go impale themselves slowly, unless they're willing to see the light. The problem is, generally speaking, Palestinians are not well aware of their history. They are not taught about it in schools from an early age, as opposed to the troll-feeding that goes on in the Kibbutz's child-friendly classrooms. As a result, they (Palestinians) are unable to counter properly and within academic reason the arguments made against them. There are people in this sorry world who don't believe that "Palestinians" existed, that the term is now used after the establishment of Israel as a form of labeling for the dirty peasant Arabs who much to these people's despair, were not totally eradicated. How are you supposed to counter that when the history of your country is unbeknown to you? The Israelis, on the other hand, are well prepared at a young age and have all the lies and falsifications and propaganda and justifications and their HISTORY drilled into their heads. This is why Normalization is dangerous; it is used as a means of exploiting the emotional Palestinian mind and promoting the "symmetry" between the two sides. Eff that!

Definition from the BNC's 2007 conference: to participate in any project or initiative or activity, local or international, specifically designed for gathering (either directly or indirectly) Palestinians (and/or Arabs) and Israelis whether individuals or institutions, that does not explicitly aim to expose and resist the occupation and all forms of discrimination and oppression against the Palestinian people.

Such projects include: Seeds of Peace, OneVoice, Breaking Barriers, and The Peace Computer Centers Program, the last being developed from the Peres Peace Center. Ohh there goes our bile.

Good day. We shall now dunk our heads in an aloe vera scented ice bucket.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Saturday, June 12, 2010

This Past Week

Monday: Our last day of freedom, of laziness, of unprecedented lie-ins. 17 hours is our record. We spent that day trying hard not to mope about the dawning summer classes, heart to heart talks up on the rooftop, stuffing our faces, and clinging sloth-like to whatever comfortable furniture in our way.
News that Iran is to send humanitarian aid ships with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard escorting them makes our hearts flutter a bit. Could this be if it were indeed carried out the catalyst for World War III? Neocons and Zionuts certainly need no rational reason to wage war. If the Mavi Marmara flotilla carried terrorists affiliated with Hezbollah and Al-Qaeda who were armed with butter knives then God knows what these Iranian aid ships might have on board...Hitler's spawn and nails yanked out of planks. Now naturally, we believe that any country has the right to send whatever kind of humanitarian aid it can supply to break an immoral and illegal siege that has devastated the lives of 1.5 million civilians trapped on a tiny strip of land. If the U.S and Israel want to seize this act as a pretext to decimate Iran because of the threat it imposes with its nuclear power (completely glossing over the fact that Israel has nuclear power as well) then this calls for a specialized team of Bristows and Vaugns to perform a top notch secret operation that involves tightening the screws and possibly using injections of brain intelligence delivered to the white folks that run this earth. We did not sound like conspiracy theorists there at all. So far, numerous countries have announced that they are putting together another flotilla, bigger and better than before, with 50 ships and more than 4 thousand volunteers signed up so far. Haitham Sabbah, editor of Palestine Think Tank published this somewhat controversial piece stating his firm opinion that Iran is only using this situation where international outcry at Israel's terrorist actions on the flotilla is loud and ringing for its own propagandist reasons, and that these reasons might come at the expense of the Gazan civilians. Make what you want of that.

Tuesday: 1st day of summer classes. Naturally we didn't go, preferring sleep and our mental health.

Wednesday: Enough faffing about, we rose like Shaun of the Dead and made our way back to the university, only to sit around doing nothing as 1 in 3 teachers showed up. Helen Thomas, the longest serving White House correspondent, stated that Israelis should "get the hell out of Palestine...They should go home. To Germany, Poland, America and everywhere else." Naturally, the 89 year old has been slaughtered with vitriolic self-righteous Zionist words, being called everything from an anti-Semite (big surprise) to a blundering old fool (unfair) to a xenophobic (never side with the brown people) to an infiltrator terrorist (we bet) to a sandnigger sympathizer (we know) to a Mujahida (we did not see that one). Never mind we made up the last three accusations, they have been made and we don't need credible sources to cite from. She was pressured to resign, after 50 years on the job. Freedom of speech once again, prepare to get slandered!

Thursday: Back in it again, this time some improvement seeing as 2 out of 3 teachers showed up. We got invited to the Youth Boycott Movement in the beautiful village of Jifna, but after reading more about it and discovering that the boycott movement is for the settlement products only, we tossed our heads and gave a derisive snort. When will they ever learn...there is no difference between Israeli settlement products and Israeli products..key word ISRAELI. The Karama (Dignity) Pledge is an insult, but then again it was devised by the Palestinian Authority so that explains it. See the farcical connection here or do we have to elaborate more..well why not. The rotten PA has taken it upon themselves to expel any settlement products from the areas it controls and to fine/imprison anybody selling them. It's a LAW now, something to make them feel a tad more pretentious. They devised this great big thing called the Karama Pledge which people sign their names onto a piece of paper, affirming that from now on they won't buy said sordid products. A campaign ripped off of Intajuna called Min Beit la Beit (From House to House) has 3000 volunteers going around houses and educating the inhabitants on the detrimental results of buying settlement goods. They also distribute a list of settlement products/companies and the alternatives that can be bought instead. Don't get us wrong, we're glad that some form of political group has finally undertaken the initiative of boycotting, but limiting this boycott to settlements only is so wrong. The impression people get is that boycotting settlement products is now a must but Israeli products can still be bought and consumed. Hypocrisy at its slinkiest best, and if we see one more Goddamn yellow sticker declaring YOU AND YOUR CONSCIENCE we'll do more than scream like raving lunatics in the middle of the street. We might resort to running around naked. We might.

Friday: The 11th of June!!!!!!!!!!!!!Can only mean one thing!!!!!!!!!! WORLD CUP 2010!!!!!!!!!! We've been waiting YEARS for this (specifically, 4) and we gobbled up every moment of the opening ceremony. Favorite part hands down? Archbishop Desmond Tutu getting his groove on complete with scarf and hat. We would like to pinch his cheeks for this, how adorable was that? We figured that a snapshot of this would go viral, yet our search engines have come up with nothing. We'll keeping searching, someone must have it...Our teams of choice? Argentina and Spain. It would be hilarious of Argentina won, imagine Maradona's inflatable ego soaring past the seven heavens all the while giving the finger to everyone who mocked and denounced his skills as a manager and a recovering crack addict. But we shouldn't get ahead of ourselves with such fantasies. To be honest with ourselves though...we expected a whole lot more from the opening ceremony. There were parts we didn't get (what's up with that giant beetle?) and we needed more joyous singing and dancing. And we couldn't believe that there were hundreds of empty seats in the stadium! Possibly reserved for us and our extended families.

One last thing, just to bring people's attention to this. Translated video of what went down in the Knesset when MK Hanin Zoabi tried to speak. The only democracy in the middle east harasses and name calls and accuses and slanders a fellow MK for trying to speak the truth, that Israel is a terrorist bigoted arrogant militaristic state.

Ms Zoabi, we have immense respect for you. Plus you're hot, with those good old Palestinian looks. Love.

Monday, June 7, 2010

40 Hours for THIS?

Grainy image of graduates

Being the potential felons we and the rest of the students are, we must serve 120 community service hours in order to graduate, 80 of which are school related, and 40 outside the university domain. News of how to get these hours are mostly found on Birzeit's academic portal, Ritaj. As is custom with 80 percent of the students, they usually leave all 120 hours until after they graduate, meaning their diplomas will be under a closely guarded underground vault until they stop being so lazy and complete their hours. We honestly thought we'd be the same, because really, community service does not sound fun at all. Yet we proudly announce that so far, we each have 20 hours under our belts. There are opportunities of getting a huge number of hours just doing one thing, and though these are rare, we still like to capitalize on them. One such opportunity is volunteering for the graduation. There are some issues concerning this particular volunteering. We both hold opposite views on the issue that non-hijabis are favored over hijabis. Depending on our beliefs, it's either some silly rumor that has been circulated widely, or a legitimate case based on personal experiences and testimonies garnered from a number of girls. Anyhoo, we both applied for the volunteering and only one of us got accepted. The graduation is spread out over two days: the first day for the Science, IT, Engineering, and Law majors; the second day for the Business and Arts majors. Here's what happened:

Uniforms consisted of a white shirt and black pants. How hard is it to shop in Ramallah for a simple white shirt? Well I had to tackle at least 7 stores before I found one. The volunteers are split into two major groups. There are the ushers, who must stay outside the whole time, and the outfitters, whose fingers and hands are kept busy by dressing the graduates and faculty members in their robes and pinning the hats on their heads. Ushers were divided up into small groups located around many stations. I was in the group that had to help the graduates line up in the small basketball court before they were to enter the track field. The graduation starts at 5, yet all volunteers were required to arrive at 1. These four hours in between proved to be a colossal waste of time, since I realized that my help wasn't needed, and that there was simply nothing for me to do. That was how the first day was anyway. There was no way I was allowed into any building for shade and respite. My supervisor arrives late on purpose. I went to the basketball court at 4 to "line up the graduates" and found that the supervisor, armed with a loudspeaker, had them all lined up within ten minutes. I had such such immense fun standing like a log not doing anything, smiling inanely. Before I was at another station, which was against the rules, welcoming families by pointing them in the right direction. Those hard lined middle aged women had some serious problems, gawking at us long after they had passed. Children are forbidden from the graduation, yet whole armies of them were marching on. Little girls were dressed in white dresses complete with veils. For some families, graduations are like weddings, but not in the literal sense. I guess these families misread the memo or something. Little boys were dressed in suits and ties. It was pretty amusing, to say the least. Another amusing thing was how the wind would sweep all those summer dresses and skirts up so that an abundance of fleshy/skinny/cellulite thighs were on display. A woman heavily pregnant with twins refused to enter through the normal gate. Her royal highness wanted to enter through the VIP entrance because she was scared her twins would pop out. These women I would like to shake by the hair, because they have no reason coming to graduations when they're in that kind of situation. Palestine's high birth rate was exhibited as well. I counted way too many women who held their two year old son's hand, carried their one year old daughter, and walking solidly pregnant with their third child.The graduation itself was a snoozefest, with long-winded speeches droning on and on. I got home just before the people and vehicle traffic started. After hours standing on my feet under the sun, my face resembled that of a baboon's backside. Speaking of which, why is Rafiki's butt blue?
I woke up the second day at 12:45. I purposely took my time eating breakfast, and when I finally left the house, there were no empty BZU-bound taxis. I finally took a normal taxi and the idiot driver ripped me off, but my head wasn't with me so I didn't bother harassing him. The day proceeded in much as the same way as the first day. Boredom. Listless. Useless. Hot. Annoyance. Families were pouring in since 2 pm, those weirdos. A good time to come would be between 3:45 and 4. The gates close at 4:30, so all the late arriving families are held back. Held back by whom...yes, poor unsuspecting me. Along with 50 other volunteers but this wasn't my job. Forming a human wall, we kept back a pulsating angry mob. I had women yelling at me, women telling me their life stories, women pointing to their babies as a means of exploitation so that they could get in. The truth was, there were no empty seats. So even if this mob got in, which by the way they could do so but only after the graduates walked in, they would still be standing. A woman was telling me how her feet hurt in her heels, and that she normally didn't wear heels, but today she gave up her comfortable sneakers for heels, and that these heels cause her so much pain, and because of the pain, she had to take an injection to her feet. Another woman was saying that she had to sit down because of her 2 month old baby, to which I muttered under my breath, Well you shouldn't have brought him with you then. A man suddenly erupted and wreaked havoc when he threw up his hands and screamed MY DAUGHTERS ARE GRADUATING LET ME IN YOU FOOLS! I was also violated, because a little boy kept pushing his head up my bottom. Another woman forcibly knocked my head to the side and kept it there while she aimed her camera at the graduates. I accidentally on purpose stepped back hard on her toes. Keeping the mob at bay wasn't that easy. They kept trying to surge forward, and it felt like the I had the whole human race breathing and sweating on my back. As soon as the faculty members finished walking in, a stampede followed, and I was passed around from one body to another until finally, miraculously, my survival instincts kicked in and I got away. Conclusion? 40 hours are definitely not worth this hassle. No food, no shade, not even the nerdy feeling of having accomplished something worthwhile and helpful. Eh, you live and you learn.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Flotilla Compendium

Hastily put together, with most of the sources coming from the British newspaper The Guardian's website.
First eye-witness accounts of what happened on the Mavi Marmara when the honorable IDF attacked. Please, feel free to discredit their testimonies. After all, these so-called activists are closely affiliated with Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups. So-called pacifists who hide behind a few European men, is what the Spanish Israeli ambassador growled.
A cat fight was narrowly avoided in the Knesset when Israeli Arab members denounced the attack on the flotilla. Hanin al-Zoubi, the only female Israeli Arab member, was on the flotilla. She got shouted down as she tried to speak by Zionuts, who take any criticism of Israel as an affront to their manhood. The only democracy in the Middle East tra la la laaa.
There are youtube videos of protests all over the world. Here's one from Ireland.

Our favorite two Brits, Lowkey and Jody McIntyre, displayed their eloquence at London protests. We adore them more and more.
Henning Mankell, well known Swedish author, was also on the flotilla. Here is his account, but beware, he's also an Israel-hater. Who hates Jews. And wants to promote an Islamist regime.
Joe Biden, self-proclaimed Israel lover, asks, What's the big deal over the flotilla attack? What we feel so sorry for American citizens to have such leaders. Oh wait, that includes one of us. Shit.
Israelis demonstrated in front of the Turkish embassy in Tel Aviv. They threw rocks and chanted that Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan is a terrorist. Stay classy folks. Classy and demented.

Good article on the low down of the flotilla attack and Israel's weird supremo-fascist propaganda.
The Rachael Corrie ship that set sail from Ireland is due to arrive at the Gaza port at 8 am on Saturday. Supplies include construction materials and wheelchairs. It was a brave decision by the crew to continue sailing on, but Netanyahu has vowed that the ship will not reach Gaza.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

2nd Annual BDS Conference

One of us braved the Saharan-like weather complete with murky sky and headed off to Nablus in the early morning of Monday. The second annual Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction conference was being held at the Hayat Hall, and since we have upcoming plans tucked up our sleeves concerning BDS at a student level, the conference was more than likely to benefit our sponging minds.
During the 45 minute taxi ride the radio brought the news that the flotilla was attacked and activists were killed dampened the mood, to say in the slightest. How many more reasons do we need in order to popularize BDS even more in this society? We won't generalize here, but it is safe to predict the majority of the reactions of normal Palestinian citizens when they are fronted with the BDS call:

"Boycott? There's a lot of time on your hands."
"What has boycott ever achieved? If we boycott Israeli product, then the occupation will end? Bah!"
"Boycott Israeli products? But they taste so much more better and are of much higher quality than Arab or local products!"

To answer the first comment, we can just simply point to the fact that the BDS call was endorsed by a coalition of over 170 Palestinian civil society groups that represent three elemental parts of the Palestinian people: Palestinians in the diaspora (refugees), Palestinians living under occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and Palestinian citizens of Israel. Ever since the formation of BDS in July 2005 it has grown stronger and elicited support and responses internationally. This brings us to the second comment. What, indeed, has boycott ever achieved? In history, it brought up the end of Apartheid South Africa. In Palestine, there are the boycotts of 1936, 1986, and the boycott that took place during the first Intifada. In 1936, a 6 month industrial strike brought the economy to a halt in order to demand self-determinism. The boycott of 1986 was initiated by Hannah Sinoira, the editor of the East Jerusalem Arabic Daily, who advocated the boycott of Israeli-made cigarettes. This eventually led to an epic widespread boycott of all Israeli products, ranging from soap to clothes to food and water.
But what has BDS achieved? In 2009 alone, galvanized by Israel's assault on Gaza, organizations and groups all over the world heeded the BDS call as a means to end Israel's impunity. The following is just a few examples that are taken from PACBI's (Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel) 2009 newsletter:
  • The second largest Dutch pension fund-PZFW- divested from Africa-Israel, which has been targeted internationally for its investments in companies that support settlement activity.
  • The British Trades Union Congress (TUC), representing over 6 million workers, adopted a historic decision supporting a BDS motion put forth by the Fire Brigade Union (FBU).
  • The Scottish Trade Union voted overwhelmingly to commit to to boycott, divestment, and sanction against Israel.
  • The Boycott Motorola Campaign was launched in New York. Motorola provides equipment to the Israeli military which include bomb fuses and surveillance for the Apartheid Wall and settlements.
  • The Church of England divested from Caterpilla, a company whose bulldozers and heavy plant equipment have been used to destroy Palestinian homes by the Israeli military.
  • Hampshire College became the first college in the USA to divest from companies that profit from the Israeli occupation.
  • The Norwegian government decided to exclude the Israeli company Elbit Sustems Ltd. from the Government Pension Fund.
That is not forget the Academic boycott as well! There's a big debate on whether or not it is 'right' to boycott Israeli academics, and we have this to say: The Israeli academic institutions fully support the Israeli security forces and policies toward the Palestinians. A report carried out by the Palestine Society at SOAS at University of London have shown how Tel Aviv University's collaboration with the Israeli military provide crucial research and information fo the purpose of furthering the oppression of the Palestinians. Cultural boycotting this year and the last has made artists think twice about performing in Israel, and we applaud the correct choices of Carlos Santana, Gill Scott-Heron, and Elvis Costello. Recently, two major supermarket chains in Italy have decided to boycott all Israeli products from suppliers Carmel-Agrexco. Forza Italia! All over the world, from Norway to Ireland to the rest of Europe and beyond, conscientious people standing in solidarity with Palestinians are pushing for BDS in their communities. This is testament to the awareness of incalculable Palestinian suffering at the hands of the Israeli occupation. However, in Palestine itself, boycott has over the last year or two pushed itself to a higher platform, but the implementation, in the general sense, remains to be seen.

Hugh Lanning
The conference itself was enlightening. Various speakers gave their verdict/speeches in two different panels, Boycotting Israel Internationally and Boycotting Israel Nationally. At the end of each panel a 15 minute question and answer series followed. Lunch was provided, and after that workshops were set up until the conference ended. Hugh Lanning, the deputy general secretary for PCS-Palestine Solidarity Campaign-was present and gave a speech in which he asserted that the British trade unions are fully behind the BDS call, and mentioned five examples of how the unions disseminate hundreds of thousands of material and copies of BDS achievements to their members. These unions, FBU, PBS, UNITE, UNISON, and GNB all campaign for a nuclear free Middle East and work to unite and defend universal jurisdiction in Britain so that war criminals like Tzipi Livni are tried when they come to the country. Haidar Ibrahim, secretary general of GUPW reiterated that even though most of the Arab countries have cosy relationships with Israel, not one of the workers unions in those countries have succumbed to normalization nor do they have any plans to do so. The workshops consisted of seven different topics: Grassroots work, Civil Society Organizations, Public Sector, Private Sector, Palestinians in the Diaspora, Students, and International BDS. The turn out was very good, with Palestinians and foreigners (and a few Israeli activists) alike. Simultaneous translation was on the offering, but one translator was doing a pretty poor job. Overall, it was a good experience. Oh, and to answer the third comment, the products that Israel distributes to the Palestinian territories wouldn't even compete with consumer markets in western countries. That's how 'good' of a quality they really are. Another important point is that this nonsense about local products being inferior is all simply a matter of culture and stigma. Palestinians for some reason or another believe that Israeli products are better when that is far from the truth. One of the speakers on the panel gave an example. He worked in a factory for some years, putting pickles in cans. The cans that were distributed to Israel were stamped with Hebrew lettering, while the same cans distributed to the Palestinians were stamped with Arabic lettering. Israel sells the products Palestinians produced back to them, that's how twisted this concept is. One day this man saw another man in the supermarket buying the Hebrew-stamped can of pickles. The man asked him, why don't you just buy the Palestinian can, it's the same thing. The other man shook his head and said, are you crazy? This is Israeli, much better than the Palestinian!
If we have this distorted image of Israeli/Palestinian products, then yeah there's an uphill mountain to climb. But a project has already been working on changing the perception of Palestinian consumers to their local products. Salut Intajuna!

Check out the BDS website, very informative, very important. We hope this will dynamize you to take action. Start small, work your way up. There's support everywhere. And that is what we are doing.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Never-ending Cycle of Israel's Impunity Has to Come to an End

Israel has for the countless time paraded its authentic barbaric face to the world by attacking and killing activists on board humanitarian ships carrying tons of aid that were heading for the Gaza Strip. The fact that the flotilla was in international waters (65 kilometers from the coast) only makes this deliberate senseless attack even more grave. If this is truly what Israel stands for then its path to self-destruction and world isolation is welcomed but not at the expense of the lives of innocent civilians. The worldwide repulsion and anger at this latest antic from the IDF is radiated from top government officials to ordinary citizens, the latter who have taken to the streets in their thousands to demand reparations and explanations for the unprovoked and illegal strike. However, this reaction is not unusual. It is part of a repetitive circle, of which the next stage of the cycle is well-known. The world demands justification for Israel's brazen dispensation of international law. The UN demands an explanation. Any kind of potential punitive measures will be automatically vetoed by the USA. Citizens of consciousness will continue to boil and then simmer down. Israel will continue to act with derisive unchecked exculpation. The victims of Israel will continue to suffer. All is right with the world again.

Israel's war with Lebanon, or more accurately, with the guerrilla group Hezbollah in 2006 left more than 2000 innocent people dead. The painful image of aid workers, in Qana especially, pulling out dusty child corpses, who were as limp as rag dolls, from the rubble was more than enough reason to punish Israel, after revelations were shown that the specific targets were civilians in their residences, some murdered as they acted on the IDF's orders to evacuate their homes. The usual moral uproar and political hullabaloo then commenced. The result has fashioned itself in the mocking ghost of Israeli accountability. The siege on Gaza received immense worldwide condemnation. Yet four years on, the siege is still there, ever prominent. The massacre of Gazan civilians in Israel's inhumane offensive sent millions around the world protesting loudly, vociferously, emphatically. The dead remained dead, with no justice brought to their souls whatsoever, and the Gaza Strip remained scarred with the devastating marks of a crumpled infrastructure. The UN proved once and for all to be farcical, with no actions undertaken to punish Israel for the on-going war crimes it perpetrates onto the civilian Palestinian population.

Governments who express their shock and condemn Israel's heinous attacks and policies demonstrate how effective their shock and condemnation really is a few weeks, months later by meeting with the Israeli government and resuming chummy relationships once again. People dared to hope that after Operation Cast Lead the international community would regain its senses and isolate Israel. So far, Mauritania and Venezuela are the only countries that transformed their scathing remarks into actions. Turkey, hopefully, is on the way to do so as well. The Arab countries that know no shame still maintain relations with Israel, both politically and economically. Shimon Peres, a certified war criminal, smiling and posing in Qatar. Lev Leveiv's jewelry store in Dubai never came to be thanks to the efforts of the BDS campaign. This is not to say that Arab countries should ban Jews from entering, far from it, but that they should turn its back on zionists, particularly those with a well-publicized agenda. The citizens of countries around the world, notably in Arab countries, do not reflect the thoughts and acts of their governments. Sadly, the same cannot be said for Israelis, as evidenced by the 93% approval rate they gave concerning Operation Cast Lead. No matter, they will surely come around.

The solution to this circle? How to make the circle a linear line with different points composing it, culminating in an end point that serves justice and peace? People of consciousness, rise up, and up, and up again. Promote the Palestinian call to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel. Isolate the racist pariah state! Congregate, organize, and take assertive action. Never forget, raise awareness, campaign, disseminate this stratagem to the masses. Your conviction will be strong enough to convert others, to get others involved, to push for a wider movement. Please, save the Allah Akbar's for another protest. This is not religious warfare, this is war executed by a state that has been allowed to contravene from responsibility, liability, and accountability. Ramallah, Nablus, Bethlehem, Jenin, Hebron, and the rest of the West Bank, do not be intimidated or give in to Abbas' censorship policy. Rise up and be heard. Take control of how you would want to see your community. This time, make it count.