yes, boycott works.

i often feel annoyed when i get certain responses to the boycott campaign. here are a few such typical responses:

1. it’s too hard, there are too many companies to boycott (the whiney response)

2. i cannot give up my (insert your favorite product here, e.g., coca-cola) (the lazy response)

3. it doesn’t work, it has no effect (the pessimistic response)

of course we know that it does work. it worked in south africa on many levels as the amazing bill fletcher laid out last week in an interview on radio intifada. his life-long work in labor, anti-racist, and anti-apartheid organizing as well as palestinian liberation organizing is discussed in this interview, which gives us a sense of the possible and the probable.

but there is also increasing, tangible evidence of the fact that it is indeed working as in rachel shabi’s report in the guardian this week:

Israeli companies are feeling the impact of boycott moves in Europe, according to surveys, amid growing concern within the Israeli business sector over organised campaigns following the recent attack on Gaza.

Last week, the Israel Manufacturers Association reported that 21% of 90 local exporters who were questioned had felt a drop in demand due to boycotts, mostly from the UK and Scandinavian countries. Last month, a report from the Israel Export Institute reported that 10% of 400 polled exporters received order cancellation notices this year, because of Israel’s assault on Gaza.

“There is no doubt that a red light has been switched on,” Dan Katrivas, head of the foreign trade department at the Israel Manufacturers Association, told Maariv newspaper this week. “We are closely following what’s happening with exporters who are running into problems with boycotts.” He added that in Britain there exists “a special problem regarding the export of agricultural produce from Israel”.

in london, in particular, the boycott movement is getting rather creative as in this story from indymedia about their economic boycott israeli apartheid campaign:

Londoners converged towards Tesco supermarkets in West London in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.

Avocados, pomellos, cherry tomatoes, herbs and dates grown in Israel and on illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian West Bank were trapped in baskets and trolleys in order to disrupt the sale of such produce and symbolise the need for clear international action against illegal Israeli settlements and Israeli war crimes in the region. Leaflets were placed on the empty shelves explaining the role of Israeli goods in funding Israeli settler colonialism and state violence.

Tesco, and most supermarkets in Britain, stock and sell Israeli goods including produce from illegal Israeli settlements implanted in the occupied Palestinian West Bank. Some of this settlement product is misleadingly labelled ‘West Bank’ leading many customers to believe they are buying Palestinian produce, while some is labelled ‘made in Israel’ even though the settlements are clearly colonial entities outside of Israel’s internationally recognized borders.

criminal-israeli-goods

but here in the above boycott action i continue to be frustrated by these western acts of solidarity that define palestine as only the west bank and gaza. this is a very small fraction of palestine. there are many israeli colonial companies occupying the land of destroyed palestinian villages and that profit off of this land theft and ethnic cleansing. these companies must be boycotted as well–and this includes those american and european companies doing the same thing here. all of this is occupied land. all of these companies must be boycotted.

there is also excellent news coming from the u.s. campaign to end the occupation in the monthly review zine about success with the boycott motorola campaign:

The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation and allied organizations participating in a national boycott campaign against Motorola welcomed news that Motorola Israel Ltd. has sold its Government Electronics Department, which made several products that enable Israel’s military occupation of and human rights abuses against Palestinians.

The reported sale of the Motorola Israel department occurred just two days after a globally-coordinated day of action to promote campaigns of boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel and corporations that profit from its human rights abuses of Palestinians. This day of action and the growing global BDS movement were inspired by the 2005 call from Palestinian civil society for BDS campaigns targeting Israel, similar to campaigns targeting South Africa’s apartheid regime during the 1970s and 1980s.

this is excellent progress and needs to continue to build momentum because while people around the world are actively working to pressure the zionist entity in order to turn it into a pariah state, its partners in crime, mainly the united states, continue to support israeli terrorism as can be gleaned from this amnesty international report:

A massive consignment of US munitions was delivered to Israel in recent weeks, according to information revealed by Amnesty International. The organization received information that the Wehr Elbe, a German cargo ship, chartered and controlled by US Military Sealift Command, docked and unloaded its cargo of reportedly over 300 containers at the Israeli port of Ashdod, just 40km north of Gaza by road on 22 March.

The German ship left the USA for Israel on 20 December, one week before the start of Israeli attacks on Gaza. It was carrying 989 containers of munitions, each of them 20 feet long with a total estimated net weight of 14,000 tons.

Asked about the Wehr Elbe, a Pentagon spokesperson confirmed to Amnesty International that “the unloading of the entire US munitions shipment was successfully completed at Ashdod [Israel] on 22 March”. The spokesperson said that the shipment was destined for a US pre-positioned ammunition stockpile in Israel. Under a US-Israel agreement, munitions from this stockpile may be transferred for Israeli use if necessary.

clearly the u.s. and the zionist entity alike have a history of violating international law as george bisharat makes clear in this electronic intifada article:

Israel’s campaign to rewrite international law to its advantage is deliberate and knowing. As the former head of Israel’s 20-lawyer International Law Division in the Military Advocate General’s office, Daniel Reisner, recently stated: “If you do something for long enough, the world will accept it. The whole of international law is now based on the notion that an act that is forbidden today becomes permissible if executed by enough countries … International law progresses through violations. We invented the targeted assassination thesis and we had to push it. At first there were protrusions that made it hard to insert easily into the legal molds. Eight years later, it is in the center of the bounds of legitimacy.”

In the Gaza fighting, Israel has again tried to transform international law through violations. For example, its military lawyers authorized the bombing of a police cadet graduation ceremony, killing at least 63 young Palestinian men. Under international law, such deliberate killings of civilian police are war crimes. Yet Israel treats all employees of the Hamas-led government in the Gaza Strip as terrorists, and thus combatants. Secretaries, court clerks, housing officials, judges — all were, in Israeli eyes, legitimate targets for liquidation.

Israeli jurists also instructed military commanders that any Palestinian who failed to evacuate a building or area after warnings of an impending bombardment was a “voluntary human shield” and thus a participant in combat, subject to lawful attack. One method of warning employed by Israeli gunners, dubbed “knocking on the roof,” was to fire first at a building’s corner, then, a few minutes later, to strike more structurally vulnerable points. To imagine that Gazan civilians — penned into the tiny Gaza Strip by Israeli troops, and surrounded by the chaos of battle — understood this signal is fanciful at best.

Israel has a lengthy history of unpunished abuses of international law — among the most flagrant its decades-long colonization of the West Bank. To its credit, much of the world has refused to ratify Israel’s violations. Unfortunately, our government is an exception, having frequently provided diplomatic cover for Israel’s abuses. Our diplomats have vetoed 42 UN Security Council resolutions to shelter Israel from the consequences of its often illegal behavior.

there are so many ways in which the israeli terrorist state violates laws. not only by bombing and murdering palestinians, but also by the way it continues to steal land and destroy palestinian homes every day. a new report details this staggering history, though only in recent years, although this has gone on since the late 19th century:

At least 19,000 Palestinian homes have been destroyed by Israel, Limes magazine, the Italian geopolitical review publication, reported on Tuesday….

The article breaks down the numbers as follows:

In 5% of cases, demolition is defined as punitive, the magazine said.

In 35% of cases the demolitions were based on home owners lacking proper permits. The magazine reminds its reader, “is important to remember that very often the Palestinians have no other choice but to build illegally because obtaining permits has become almost impossible.” It also notes that 95% of permit applications made in 2000-20007 were denied.

According to the publication, 65% of the demolitions were described as “military,” defined as “homes razed to the ground by the Israeli army during military operations.”

For 2009 data, the magazine quotes the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, which puts the number of homes demolished since January at 32.

The article concludes that the issue of house demolitions is destined to become “An increasingly central issue not only within the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, but also in the international context and is likely to destabilize even the most solid alliances that Israel has with some long-time friends, first of which is the United States.”

these reports are often written by various international agencies and ngos, though they rarely amount to anything because there is not the pressure applied to the regime after the evidence is collected and documented. for instance a new report about the illegality of israeli colonies in al quds:

A confidential report from the European Union, dated March 7th, recently leaked to the media accuses Israel of “using settlement expansion, house demolitions, discriminatory housing policies and the West Bank Separation barrier to actively pursue the illegal annexation of East Jerusalem.”

Recently, Israeli officials announced plans to demolish over 2,000 Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem, an announcement that was met with anger and outrage from the Palestinian residents, many of whom have lived in East Jerusalem for scores of generations. The new report acknowledges the recent increase in settlement expansion and the plans of the newly-formed Israeli government for the destruction of whole neighborhoods of Palestinian homes at an even greater rate.

The new Jerusalem mayor has announced plans to destroy huge swathes of Palestinian homes and replace them with a Disney-like biblical theme park for tourists. Most affected are the Silwan and Sheikh Jarrah neighborhoods.

The EU report cites Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention that prohibits “Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory….” Neither shall “The Occupying Power….deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.” In addition, numerous UN resolutions established “no legal validity” for settlement building or for East Jerusalem’s annexation.

Yet settlement expansions continue at a “rapid pace” – in the past year alone plans for nearly 5500 new units have been submitted for public approval of which 3000 have already been approved.

The rapid takeover of Palestinian land in East Jerusalem has been taking place largely without international outcry, despite the illegality of the expansion under international law and the signed agreements between Israel and the Palestinians.

just as bisharat discusses in the article quoted above, the zionists always ignore such reports because they can: no one ever does anything to stop them from murdering and stealing and rendering palestinians homeless refugees. here, for example, is a colonial court ruling:

A petition presented by a Palestinian homeowner from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem was rejected by an Israeli court on Wednesday, a decision which will allow home demolitions to move forward.

The homeowner, Darwish Hijazi, presented his home ownership documents to the Israeli court, but the judge rejected the documents. Israeli settlers moved onto Hijazi’s property several years ago, and he was unable to get rid of them or stop them from taking over his land and moving into his home.

Now, despite being the original homeowner and long-time resident, it is Hijazi who will be forced to move to allow the Israeli settlers, who took over parts of his home using violence and force, to remain.

whether it is their so-called “justice system” or the israeli colonists themselves, along with their terrorist army or police, they continue to terrorize palestinians attempting to provoke various methods of ethnic cleansing: just as in 1948 and every day since then. this is what happened in al quds this weekend:

Dozens of Israeli settlers backed by police took over a Palestinian house in the Old City of Jerusalem on Thursday morning.

Ma’an’s correspondent observed settlers raiding the house of Naser Jaber, in the As-Sa’diyeh neighborhood of the Old City. A scuffle took place between the owner and the settlers before police intervened, allowing the settlers to take control of the house and sending the owner away.

Israeli police then imposed a neighborhood lockdown, prohibiting residents from entering or leaving their homes. Several youth were seized during ensuing clashes in the tense half hour between the arrival of the settlers and the total closure of the area.

Jaber went immediately to the court to put forward his case, saying he was going to demand the removal of the settlers from his residence, which is home to eight. Jaber noted that the small area of the Old City is home to seven other families and said there had been a repeated settler presence in the area over the past months.

Also on Thursday the the Israeli-controlled Jerusalem Municipality demolished a shop near the Shmidt School, on Nablus road, just outside of the Old City. The municipality claimed that the shop was built without permits.

Separately, personnel from the Jerusalem Municipality went to the Jerusalem-area village of Al-Issawiya, and handed out several demolition warnings. The men surveyed the area in preparation for the demolitions.

in khalil they are doing the same thing:

Settlers in Hebron took over four shops on Ash-Shuhada Street in the Old City market in the area abutting the illegal Israeli settlement of Abraham Avinu.

Several Ash-Shuhada Street shops were ordered closed in 1994 following the Ibrahimi Mosque massacre. The street is a market road roughly parallel north of the Old City. Access to the street was totally restricted in 2000, so only residents of the area could enter the zone.

Recently pressure from locals and international NGOs have allowed some shops in the area to re-open, although the decision was met with anger and protests from Hebron’s 700-strong settler population, some who live in occupied homes and trailers just north of the street.

The shops occupied by the settlers Friday belong to Azzam E’wewi, Baha E’wewi, Hussam Bader and Muhammad Qawasmi. The shops have been closed since 1994.

and near where i live in nablus more land is set to be confiscated as well:

Israeli authorities issued orders to confiscate more than one thousand dunums of Palestinian lands of the village of Qaryut south of Nablus, head of the villages and municipal affairs office in Nablus Ghassan Daghlas said on Thursday.

On the land a road will be constructed linking the three illegal settlements, He noted that “this decision aims at to construct a three kilometer road to link the Israeli illegal settlement of Shilo, and the illegal settlement outposts of Hayovel and a second known locally as the “Qaryut” outpost.

Daghlas noted that Israeli bulldozers had been surveying the area for days, and that there seemed to be a coordinated effort between soldiers and settlers, who constructed a road barrier near the village of Der Sharaf, while military crews expanded the Yitzhar road after confiscating Palestinian lands adjacent to it.

The village representative also mentioned that several home demolition orders were served in the past weeks in the nearby villages of Tana and At-Tawila, both south of Nablus.

Head of the village council of Qaryot, Abed An-Naser Badawi, told Ma’an that “the settlers along with the soldiers blocked the southern entrance of the village and began to confiscate the land.” The day before he said settlers distributed written orders saying the land would be confiscated.

Qaryot village has a population of more than 2700 people is surrounded with a number of Israeli settlements.

and, of course, israeli terrorists do not only steal land; they steal people too. in khalil there is a new report on the numbers of palestinians kidnapped:

The Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) in Hebron district stated in its monthly report that the Israeli army have kidnapped more than 101 Palestinians in several invasions in the province since last March.

Amjad Najjar, head of the Hebron branch of the PPS said “Among the detainees, one woman, 11 patients, 4 children and 17 students, and 12 detainees had been transferred to administrative detention”.

Najjar added that the army kidnapped 361 residents in Hebron since the beginning of this year, including 91 who were kidnapped in February.

“Israeli soldiers committed during the arrests several illegal violations against the prisoners and their families. This included beating them with rifle-butts, vandalising and demolishing their homes, detaining family members in one room, looting money and confiscating documents, computer equipment and mobile phones.” Najjar stated.

Najjar called for human rights institutions and the international community to intervene for the protection of the Palestinian people from the illegal Israeli practices.

likewise in jenin there was an invasion yesterday in which several palestinians were kidnapped:

The Israeli military kidnapped Thursday morning 12 residents, including elders and children, in a village near Jenin, in the northern part of the West Bank.

Eyewitnesses reported that more than 20 military vehicles stormed the village at two after midnight on Thursday, surrounded a neighborhood after closing all entrances, and prevented people from leaving, and even barred from going to dawn prayers at the local mosque.

The residents said that soldiers raided homes, forced dozens out, searched the buildings and deliberately destroyed their contents.

A citizen said that the soldiers occupied his house for several hours, and after searching it they kidnapped his 15-year-old son and took him to unknown destination.

The resident added that soldiers took several young men to the main village square and interrogated them before kidnapping a number of residents.

these are just a few more reasons to continue and expand the boycott movement. do you really need that bottle of coca cola?

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