Why we should boycott Israel now

You may think why another BDS article? Haven’t we said everything about boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS)? Haven’t we discussed all the pros and cons by now? BDS has been around since 2006, so why do we still need to talk about it?

The answer is: Now, it’s the time more than ever before to talk about BDS. Not only talk about it, but act upon it.
Many times we’ve been told that BDS is useless, that it doesn’t actually make a difference; that, not buying products from the Jordan valley which has been occupied by Israeli settlements to 86 %; and boycotting companies like Hewlett Packard which supplies software for the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) does not have any impact. People have told us to stop pushing for boycott, whichever kind of boycott we were promoting: academic, business or political organisations (to just name a few of the channels of boycott). To stop promoting boycott because there was no difference and the impact we were making was minimal.

However, is that really the case? Is the impact of BDS minimal?

Let’s assume, if the impact of BDS was minimal, would the Israeli government be concerned enough to invest $26 million in a cyber attack on BDS? Would Israel lobby for anti-boycott legislation all over the world, namely the US, UK, France and Canada? Would there be fierce debate over academic boycott of Israeli institutions such as Hebrew University, which “along with most other Israeli universities, fully supported Israel’s summer assault on Gaza [2014] that killed more than 2,200 people, more than 500 of them children”, if boycott was meaningless?

No, there wouldn’t be any of these things. All of the before mentioned facts prove that BDS affects Israel and is an effective tool, as it was in bringing an end to South Africa’s apartheid.
Therefore, we have to support BDS even more now than ever before. Israel’s efforts to work against it prove that it is effective. It’s time to end Israel’s apartheid measures. It’s time to make Israel comply with international law.

It’s a myth that the state of Israel was founded on the basis of international law. As Jeremy R. Hammond argues in his essay, “the popular belief that Israel was established by the United Nations is rooted in falsehood and prejudice against the rights of the Palestinians.”
However, wrongs from the past can hardly be turned into rights in the present. What can be done and needs to be done is that Israel is held accountable for its action and that it complies with international law. Furthermore, its apartheid regime towards the Palestinians has to end. Palestinians, like any other people, have the right to self-determination that Israel has taken from them a long time ago.

Past wrongs are difficult to correct. Which makes it only more important to prevent more wrongs from happening in the present or future. We have to boycott Israel until Israel complies with international law and starts treating Palestinians as people with rights. Israel is an occupying power and has to accept the responsibilities that come with it.

Instead Israel uses food and water in its battle against the Palestinian people. With Benyamin Netanyahu as Prime Minister who ascertains that there will be no Palestinian state under him and Ayelet Shaked as Minister of Justice who has been called “neo-Nazi scum” by professors of Hebrew University, we will not see justice for Palestinians coming from within the Israeli political system. Therefore, we have to support BDS to support the rights of the Palestinian people. If people like David Petraeus see BDS as a strategic threat to Israel, coming from a perspective that has only ever supported Israel without pushing for any sort of recognition of the rights of Palestinians, proves that BDS works and has an effect. Now it’s important for us to even increase our support for BDS to make this effect stronger and use the power of boycott to bring justice to the Palestinian people!

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Young Women of Kurdistan- The change maker series, part IV: Meet Beri!

My Nest in Kurdistan

Hellooo Loyal Readers,

I’m back with another inspiring young Kurdistani woman. I have been lucky enough to briefly meet Beri once or twice, but her work speaks loudly, and I have always been a fan. Some people, you watch their work from far, and you applaud what they do, and how they do it. I honestly can’t think of anyone else who in 140 characters (or less) melts your heart away. She comes through as a humble, kind human being, who in her world of filmmaking, writing and photography is being a voice to Kurds and Kurdistan. Often described as “an award winning writer and filmmaker” Beri is just that, award winning! And how amazing it is to see a fellow young Kurdish woman be recognized not just within Kurdistan but also outside for the work she does in a field that men often find it difficult to succeed in.

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Saudi Barbaria ~ by Anthony Cartalucci

Saudi Barbaria and ‘Chop-Chop-Square’

The Wall Will Fall

The Arabian Peninsula has been trapped in a time warp for nearly a century, thanks to the House of Saud and indomitable Western support.  Some may find it curious, browsing the US State Department’s National Endowment for Democracy (NED) website, reviewing the unending lists of faux-NGOs special interests in the West have propped up across the planet to project influence and political meddling into every corner of the planet under the pretense of supporting “freedom and democracy,” to discover this meddling extends to nearly all nations except a select few.

One of these blind spots includes Saudi Arabia. In fact, under the category “Middle East and North Africa” (MENA), Saudi Arabia isn’t even listed. NED-funded NGOs attempt to leverage every noble cause conceived by human empathy, from representative governance, to the rights of women and children, from behind which to hide their true agenda of political meddling…

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Saudi Agenda in Yemen

The Wall Will Fall

The war in Yemen has one local winner, Al Qaeda. The Saudis seem oddly unconcerned.

Since early April, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has controlled Yemen’s fifth largest city, Mukkalla, and much of the surrounding governorate of Hadramawt. The Hadramawt is Yemen’s largest governorate and home of about one-third of Yemen’s oil production before the war. Mukkalla is the country’s second largest port on the Indian Ocean after Aden. Hundreds of AQAP supporters have gone to Mukkalla after jail breaks in other parts of Yemen since the start of the war.

AQAP rules Mukkalla in association with other local Salafist groups. Initially, it avoided imposing strict Islamic law to keep public support. It officially banned qat chewing, the drug enjoyed by most Yemenis, but enforcement was apparently nominal at first. Now, AQAP is becoming more rigorous — religious police enforce strict rules on behavior, Sufi religious sites have been…

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Hezbollah in Syria: a game of high stakes


By Kitty Veress:

000_Nic6455785-e1432745822842-635x357 Hezbollah members mourn during the funeral of a comrade who was killed in combat alongside Syrian government forces in the Qalamoun region. Photo: Times of Israel (published under fair use policy for intellectual non-commercial purposes)

The Western world has been quick to label Hezbollah’s involvement in Syria and Iraq as nefarious and threatening while failing to consider the wider strategic implications. A more comprehensive perspective is needed to evaluate the risks and opportunities the extremist Shi’ite group faces in its support of the Syrian regime. The potential benefit of establishing itself as a regional power and battle-hardening its troops needs to be weighed against Hezbollah’s risk of physical and ideological overexpansion that might expose the group’s vulnerabilities and ultimately endanger Lebanon’s defence capabilities.


Created in 1982, Hezbollah was originally a resistance group against the Israeli occupation in Lebanon. Since then it has become a prolific global…

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On returning from Palestine – by Omar Robert Hamilton


At the border it is always the same questions. Do you have another name? Do you have another passport? What is your father’s name? What is his father’s name? Have you ever been to Syria? Lebanon? Morocco? What are you doing here?

I used to feel sick for days before coming to Palestine. Would rehearse my answers, shut down my Twitter page, print off hotel reservations, eject SIM cards. I spent four years’ worth of interrogations claiming to be making a film about the restoration of a church in Nazareth. This time, I would think each time, they will Google me. This time, the Israelis will turn me away.

For eight years, we’ve been bringing people to the Palestine Festival of Literature. International authors, artists, publishers arrive in late spring, put on a festival in English and Arabic with their Palestinian counterparts, and leave having understood what decades of spin and lies and obfuscation have worked so hard to hide. They leave understanding how simple it is, what’s happening here.

For eight years, the visiting authors’ first experience of apartheid is at the border. White faces and Northern names cruise through with welcomes and visas, strange Southern names and un-white faces sit and wait and answer questions about their lineage, are led through interrogations probing for an inconsistency, a nervousness, a reason to turn you away. Every year, without exception. You can call it security if it makes you feel better, but I won’t.

Eight years I’ve been doing it, and it is always the same. So much has happened in the world, but the border stays the same. When they ask what I have come to do, I say words like “arts,” “culture” and “workshop” in a variety of floral combinations. Words that sound harmless to these men with guns.

Are they, in fact, harmless?

Maybe they are Googling me. Maybe they know the whole truth. I wish, sometimes, that they would turn me away.

They want to disappear Palestine. Keep people away. The old will die and the young will forget. And they think it is working, this disappearing of Palestine. There is no airport to fly to, no arrival stamp in your passport, no website with travel tips you can trust. Google Maps does not know the names of the streets in Ramallah or how to drive to Nablus, it will only direct you toward the settlement-cities and military prisons. Where is Palestine? How do you get there?

In this age of nation-states and easyjets, Israel works to fracture both the land and the idea. Palestine is the West Bank, Palestine is Area A, Palestine is not Gaza, Palestine never existed, Palestine is a confusion. You cannot understand it. You must forget it.

But it is the idea that is strongest. Palestine is every breath from the Galilee to the Naqab, Palestine is every child born in a refugee camp, Palestine is Ferguson, Baltimore, Tibet and Western Sahara. Is that a strength — being strongest in idea? Or is it the last breath before death?

The idea of the Apache, Inca, Arawak were strong once, too. Are strong today.

“Just go to Israel,” I could say, when people ask me how to get to Palestine. “Just go and talk to a Palestinian and you’ll be in Palestine.” But what would they see? If you drive north from Jerusalem to Haifa, you will see a rolling grassy hillock to your right. You would not know that the Wall runs underneath it. You would not know what it looks like from the other side.

Israel is a colonist’s exercise in landscaping on a national, messianic scale. And so the landscape has to be translated for the visitor. This, I would tell you, is a road that only settlers can drive on, these are rooftops from which Palestinian flags are banned, this is an olive grove burned by settlers, this is a well that has been filled with cement, this is my friend who cannot come with us for dinner in Jerusalem and these trees hide the ruins of a village taken in 1948, and there, on that hill, is an apricot farm and there, on the other side of the Wall, is where the farmer lives.

Driving through the West Bank I look up at the settlements, small cities coiled around the top of the hills, watching, waiting. Palestine is the topography of war, the exodus of people up the mountain, the valley a tank can’t cross, the coastal plain to flood people down. The land is defined by war and Israel shapes the land for the war to come. The settlements wait for the signal from their higher ground.

The watchful visitor will soon understand that every inch of the land is monitored, controlled, prepared for. Every dimension of life is mapped and manipulated. Air, water, electricity, money, food, movement, education, ideas, love — none are free. The occupation of both the present and the past is a complex operation.

But it is more complex to hide a simple truth: that one people are trying to wipe out another.

That, in the end, is all there is to it.

When you cross Qalandia checkpoint, all becomes clear. The first time for me was in 2008. I was stunned by its brutality, the explicitly dystopian design, the razor wire and metal runnels and video cameras. By the inescapability of it. Four tight metal corridors offer themselves to you, each leading to a revolving steel gate. The metal is close, pushes up to your shoulders. Two people cannot fit in this animal run. There’s no way back, no way sideways, no way to talk, just wait your turn, wait to see what lies beyond that steel gate. There is only you in the metal corral and your own existence between the bars that strip you of pride or philosophy and leave you only as a body, a body facing forward and being herded in toward a reckoning.

In an abattoir they don’t let the cows see what’s waiting for them. They don’t want to scare them. It’s bad for the meat. Not here. Here your humiliation is laid bare. You must all stand and watch each other, grow weaker through each other’s weakness. The metal gate at the end stays locked. You wait together for permission to move, for the green light to buzz, to step forward into the deeper bowels of this slaughterhouse of dignity.

I cried the first time I got through. I came out into the sunlight and broke into tears.

Qalandia hasn’t changed in eight years. But other things have. Gaza, BDS, Netanyahu, Obama. Years of Palestinian deaths and Israeli words and American excuses. Enough has changed to fill a book with words. And yet nothing has. One people are still trying to drive another out of existence.

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