Civil society critics argue the proposal threatens “freedom of expression, and the ability of public bodies and democratic institutions to spend, invest, and trade ethically in line with international law and human rights.”
Advocacy organizations raised the alarm on Monday as a bill to ban local councils and universities in the United Kingdom from boycotting Israel over human rights abuses was introduced in the U.K. Parliament.
The Economic Activity of Public Bodies (Overseas Matters) Bill—tabled by Michael Gove, the Conservative secretary of state for leveling up, housing, and communities—aims to “prevent public bodies from being influenced by political or moral disapproval of foreign states when taking certain economic decisions, subject to certain exceptions.”
A federal court ruling allowing Arkansas to penalize government contractors that support boycotts of the Israeli government was decried as “dangerous” and a threat to First Amendment rights on Wednesday, as civil liberties defenders vowed to appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that an Arkansas law does not violate Americans’ constitutional rights by requiring state contractors with contracts of $1,000 or more to reduce their fees by 20% if they refuse to sign a pledge saying they won’t support the Boycott, Divest, and Sanction movement (BDS). Continue reading →
One critic called the proposal, which describes green investment policies as a form of “energy discrimination,” a “desperate attempt by fossil fuel companies and their lobbyists to maintain their profits.”
Marathon Petroleum’s Los Angeles Refinery in Carson, California, Photo: Marathon Petroleum
Progressives are sounding the alarm about a recently launched right-wing campaign that seeks to preempt green investment policies throughout the United States by portraying the financial sector’s potential turn toward clean energy as discriminatory—and introducing legislation that would punish banks and asset managers for divesting from fossil fuels.
Pictured left is a photo of Rumshiskaya taken for an IDF promotional campaign, and right, a photo of Nafal
A Palestinian-American activist has vowed to continue fighting Apartheid after winning a court case brought against her in the U.S. by a former Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) soldier. Suhair Nafal was facing a defamation suit over a 2018 Facebook post condemning the murder that summer of Palestinian nurse Razan al-Najjar during the Great March of Return. The case was brought by Israeli-American Rebecca Rumshiskaya, who was seeking $6 million in damages after Nafal described her as “evil” for joining the Israeli military.
Bizarrely, Rumshiskaya was also attempting to convince the California court to try Nafal under Israeli law. The attempt backfired, however, as Orange County Superior Court Judge Craig Griffin rejected the suit, even ordering Rumshiskaya to pay Nafal’s legal costs under anti-SLAPP laws, effectively deeming it an attempt to intimidate Nafal into silence. Continue reading →
Palestinian workers queue up along the separation barrier often called the apartheid wall by critics as they wait to clear an Israeli military checkpoint. (Photo: delayed gratification/Flickr/cc)
The prominent Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem on Monday defiantly defended its position that Israel is an apartheid state after the country’s education minister banned members of groups that call the Jewish state “false, derogatory names” from entering its schools.
Last week, B’Tselem published a position paper that cited “a wide array of Israeli policies” it said are “advancing and perpetuating the supremacy of one group—Jews—over another—Palestinians” before concluding that “we must look at the full picture and see it for what it is: apartheid.” Continue reading →
Mike Pompeo at the Psagot Winery—located on stolen Palestinian land in the illegal Israeli settler colony of Psagot. Photo: Secretary Pompeo/Twitter
Palestinian officials and international peace activists condemned a Trump administration order that went into effect earlier this week requiring goods produced in a large portion of the illegally occupied West Bank of Palestine to be labeled “Made in Israel.”
U.S. Customs and Border Patrol on Wednesday announced that “for country of origin marking purposes, imported goods produced in the West Bank, specifically in Area C under the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement… must be marked to indicate their origin as ‘Israel,’ ‘Product of Israel,’ or ‘Made in Israel.'” Continue reading →
Texas officials are facing an onslaught of criticism after a speech pathologist lost her job at an elementary school for refusing to sign a pro-Israel pledge mandated by state law—a case that has cast a spotlight on efforts to neutralize the global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which opposes Israel’s oppression and slaughter of Palestinians.
According to a database maintained by a U.S.-based pro-Israel group, through executive orders and state-level legislation, elected officials in 26 states have imposed restrictions on people who wish to back BDS—a movement that was inspired by the 1980s initiative that helped force an end to racial apartheid in South Africa. Continue reading →
In bill author Clemmons’ view, discussing the military occupation of the West Bank, a reality recognized even by Israel’s Supreme Court, would be considered anti-Semitic under the new South Carolina law.
Rep. Alan Clemmons delivers an address from the steps of the South Carolina Statehouse in a speech given via satellite to the Restoring Courage rally in Jerusalem in 2011.
The state of South Carolina will become the first state in the nation to legislate a definition of anti-Semitism that considers certain criticisms of the Israeli government to be hate speech. The language, which was inserted into the state’s recently passed $8 billion budget, offers a much more vague definition of anti-Semitism that some suggest specifically targets the presence of the global boycott, divestment and sanctions, or BDS, movement on state college campuses. The law requires that all state institutions, including state universities, apply the revised definition when deciding whether an act violates anti-discrimination policies.
Once it is reconciled with an appropriations bill previously passed by the state House, the measure will become law and take effect this July. However, the law will last only until the next budget is passed, meaning that the new legal definition of anti-Semitism must be renewed on a yearly basis unless new legislation making the language permanent is passed in the future. Continue reading →
“JVP members are now joining Palestinians as well as Muslims from around the world, people of color, and other activists who are often barred from entry,” said Jewish Voice for Peace executive director Rebecca Vilkomerson. (Photo: Alisdare Hickson/flickr/cc)
Advocacy groups vowed to continue their fight for peace and justice on Sunday after the Israeli government announced they are banned from the country for their support of the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement known as BDS.
“By banning the leaders of peace organizations like CODEPINK, Israel is isolating itself even further as an apartheid state,” said Ariel Gold, national director of CODEPINK. “Their BDS blacklist is contrary to democratic principles and Jewish values. As an American Jew, I am proud of my work to challenge Israel’s policies of repression. I will not give up the fight.” Continue reading →
Dickinson, TX — Government suppression of free speech can take many forms. It’s not always censorship in the media or storm troopers in the streets bashing in the heads of protesters. For proof of this, one need look no further than Dickinson, Texas.
The small coastal town southeast of Houston took some of the worst Hurricane Harvey had to offer, with almost 7,400 homes damaged — many of them beyond repair. In response, the city council decided to set up a relief fund. People can donate to the city, and then a committee distributes the money to residents on a case-by-case basis. Continue reading →