August 2016 — Thank you for the giant leap forward that you have taken in successfully developing, articulating, and publicly releasing the policy platform of the Movement for Black Lives. We, who work for the liberation and justice of all people and see the interrelationships among struggles of all oppressed peoples, are all the better for this ambitious undertaking. The Philadelphia Coalition for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against Israel (Philly BDS) endorses without reservation the policy platform from the Movement for Black Lives in its entirety.
By Susan Landau http://youtu.be/JSMfHRtisKk As yet another horrific Israeli military offensive escalates in Gaza, human rights activists advocating for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) of Israel stay the course. It is not only the Israeli airstrikes on Gaza that are killing Palestinians. Routinely the unjust, indiscriminate, and systemic Israeli policies of military occupation and apartheid destroy Palestinian lives. The lure of jobs in illegal Israeli industrial zones, intended to support the economic base of Israeli settlements, is a case in point. Palestinians provide a captive workforce with few employment alternatives to the factory jobs such as in the settlement Ma’aleh Adumim where Sodastream products are made. Low wages and the absence of worker’s rights eviscerate any possibility for the development of a viable Palestinian economy and a just peace. Today’s release of “Recycle, Hack, Destroy” by The Philadelphia Coalition for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (Philly BDS) is part of the planned national week of actions by “We Divest” and supports the local Philadelphia chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP-Philly). In the tradition of Code Pink’s mock weddings and the US Campaign to End the Occupation’s petitions, demonstrations, and spoof ads, “Recycle, Hack, Destroy” is the latest in an alternative stream – creative protests staged by BDS activists to “burst the (Sodastream) bubble.” Black clouds have no silver linings. The Palestinian call in 2005 to the international community to develop campaigns of boycott, divestment, and sanctions until Israel complies with international law offers a nonviolent response to egregious Israeli crimes against humanity. Because the Israeli government provides economic incentives, including tax deductions, for businesses operating in West Bank settlements, BDS activists have made Sodastream a target of an international consumer boycott. Once again Israel claims “All options are on the table,” including the call up of
The international boycott campaign against SodaStream came to the streets of Philadelphia on June 14, 2014 as Philly BDS and their allies protested stores in center city that stock SodaStream products. Upwards of a dozen spirited protestors gathered at the flagship Macy’s store located at 13th and Market Streets for two hours of in-store and on-the-street actions. With signs and informational postcards that read “Occupation isn’t green. Boycott Sodastream,” activists explained to passers-by that Sodastream is profiting from the theft of Palestinian resources and exploitation of Palestinian labor.
The 18th annual Israeli Film Festival, which is being sponsored by the Consulate General of Israel, is currently screening films at the International House in Philadelphia. The film festival, which runs from March 8th until April 6th, claims to be a celebration of Israeli culture aimed at enriching the American vision of Israeli society. Despite its self-portrayal as a purely cultural event, however, the Film Festival—which receives financial support from Israel—is helping to whitewash Israel’s appalling human rights record towards the Palestinian people. On March 9th, the festival screened Sharon—An Inner Journey from War to Peace. This film, which focuses on Ariel Sharon’s ostensible journey from a military man to a peacemaker, transforms the late leader into a likeable and relatable Israeli nationalist hero. For many Palestinians, however, Sharon is remembered as a war criminal. During his long tenure in the Israeli military and government, he oversaw the bulldozing of homes and the massacre of Palestinian civilians in Jordan, Lebanon, and the occupied territories; helped to instigate the second Intifada; and spearheaded the Israeli settlement drive and the construction of the apartheid wall in Gaza and the West Bank. To counter the Israeli Film Festival’s attempt to rewrite history, the Philadelphia Coalition for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) and their allies held a demonstration outside of International House on the day of the Sharon film’s screening. Protesters held signs that read “Free Palestine,” “Sabra,” “Shatila,” and “We will never forget,” and a banner that read “Boycott Israeli Apartheid.” Information was distributed enumerating Ariel Sharon’s history of war crimes against Palestinians. Prior to the protest, Philly BDS sent a letter to the International House asking them not to screen Sharon, for which we received no response. The International House, however, did not advertise for the film festival nor did International House
TO ALL PEOPLE OF CONSCIENCE: PROTEST THE FRIENDS OF THE ISRAELI DEFENSE FORCES JOIN PHILLY BDS on NOVEMBER 18TH at 6 PM at 600 N BROAD ST NO FUNDRAISING FOR ISRAELI WAR CRIMINALS IN PHILLY!!! On Monday, Nov. 18th, the Pennsylvania and South NJ branch of the Friends of the IDF [Israeli Defense Forces] will hold their third annual fundraising gala at Vie restaurant at 600 N Broad St. in Philly. Friends of the IDF support the men and women who serve in the Israel Defense Forces. Former Chief of the IDF General Staff General (Res.) Gabi Ashkenazi, who was the head of the Israel Defense Forces from 2007-11, will deliver the keynote speech at the Gala. Ashkenazi’s forty year military career included serving as Commander of the Golani Brigade. Under Ashkenazi’s command, the Israel Defense Forces invaded Gaza and massacred over 1400 Palestinians during Operation Cast Lead over a three week period from December, 2008 –January, 2009. The United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, known as the Goldstone Report, concluded war crimes were committed by the IDF. Its conclusion was that Israel had engaged in a “deliberately disproportionate attack to punish, humiliate, and terrorize a civilian population.” The documented war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Operation Cast Lead, emblematic of the Israel Defense Forces, remain uninvestigated. Today, the Israel Defense Forces continue to implement policies of occupation that include a system of apartheid that discriminates against Palestinians, depriving refugees and non-Jewish residents of Israel and the Occupied Territories rights guaranteed under international law. The number of children injured by the Israelis since the start of the Second Intifada against Israel’s occupation has now reached 6,000. 1,518 Palestinian children were killed by Israel’s occupation forces from the outbreak of the second Intifada in September 2000
Americans regularly hear and read commentary about the state of Israel. Yet the word “Nakba” is largely unfamiliar. Nakba means “Catastrophe” in Arabic. It refers to the destruction of Palestinian society in 1948 when approximately 750,000 Palestinians were forced into exile by Zionist troops. The indigenous Palestinian population presented an obstacle to the creation of a Jewish state. The Catastrophe refers to their experience of dispossession, expulsion, massacre, and transfer from their villages on their land that in 1948 became the Jewish state of Israel. A Philadelphia coalition, “Remember the Nakba”- consisting of individuals and groups who focus on justice in Israel-Palestine, is seeking to bring the Nakba into conversations about Israel past and present. Through a full scheduled weekend of vigils, a film screening event, talks, and actions from May 17-19, the coalition has tasked itself with strategically planning events to coincide with the Sunday, May 19 city-wide Israel 65 Parade on the Parkway and Festival at the Convention Center. “More than 450 Palestinian villages were de-populated in order to create the state of Israel. This history cannot be erased. Land confiscation continues to this day. Remembering the Nakba is essential for all people who care about human rights and international law,” says Nathaniel Miller, longtime Palestine solidarity activist and educator with Philly BDS. The Palestinian refugee and displaced population numbers approximately 7.1 million persons, made up of 6.6 million refugees and 427,000 persons internally displaced within Israel. Most of them live in refugee camps in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, or in neighboring countries, often only a few miles away from the homes and lands from which they were expelled.  Two Vigils will be held on Friday, May 17th outside the Israeli Consulate, corner of 19th St. and JFK Blvd. A Peace Vigil from noon to
“Ethnic cleansing is a crime – justice now in Palestine!” Chanting with great energy and exuberance, the Philadelphia Coalition for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against Israel (Philly BDS) was once again a colorful and vocal presence in protest at the annual local fundraiser for The Jewish National Fund. This year’s JNF fundraiser, “March Madness Poker Tournament” was held in Manayunk on Thursday, March 21. Under the banner “STOP THE JNF’s APARTHEID ROYALE,” members of Philly BDS and allies costumed themselves as playing cards bearing the words “Stop the JNF!” Carrying signs reinforcing their message “Land Theft is not Charity,” protesters positioned themselves strategically on both sides of the driveway entrance to the event. Informational postcards and conversation were available to attendees and passers-by. Each year, the JNF raises over $60 million in the United States alone. The demonstration aimed to call attention to the human rights abuses against Palestinians by the Jewish National Fund and to encourage activists to work to revoke its tax-exempt charitable status. Founded in 1901 for the purpose of acquiring land in Palestine for Jewish settlement, the JNF has provided the infrastructure for the historic and ongoing ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. The organization’s mandate is the acquisition of land and property rights for the exclusive use of Jews and its charter stipulates that only Jews can buy or lease its land. After 1948, the JNF was re-branded as an environmental organization focused on forestation. One of its major projects was to plant forests over Palestinian villages destroyed in the Nakba, in an attempt to erase any sign of a Palestinian presence in the land. Now, the JNF is the main driver of Israel’s “Greenwashing” campaign to disguise its crimes as progressive environmentalist policies. The JNF claims to be working in the interests of Bedouin living in the Negev, when in
Members of Philly Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) coalition arrived at 7:45 am on September 12, 2012 at the Philadelphia Convention Center, current site of the 58th annual seminar and expo by the ASIS International Foundation, a global organization formerly known as the American Society for Industrial Security. Philly BDS activists displayed a banner which read “G4S: Enforcing Israeli Apartheid” to protest and demand accountability from G4S, the world’s largest international security corporation, for its complicity with Israeli violations of international law. G 4S helps to maintain and profits from Israel’s prison system. Palestinian political prisoners face systematic torture and ill-treatment during their arrest and detention at the hands of the Israeli military. The severity of injustice and abuse suffered by Palestinian political prisoners has recently been the drive for many prisoners to use hunger strikes as a protest against harsh prison conditions, torture and ill treatment and Israel’s arbitrary use of administrative detention. Hunger strikes continue today, as Samer al Barq entered his 114th day of hunger strike, Hassan Safadi his 84th, and Ayman Sharawna his 74th. G4S’s involvement in Israeli apartheid and occupation goes beyond the prison walls. It has provided equipment and services to Israeli checkpoints in the West Bank that form part of the route of Israel’s illegal Wall and to the terminals isolating Gaza. G4S has also signed contracts for equipment and services for the West Bank Israeli Police headquarters and to private businesses based in illegal Israeli settlements. In response to pressure from Palestine solidarity activists, the European Union has announced that it has not renewed its contract for security services with G4S. Edinburgh University Student Association also blocked its contract with G4S. As part of the global movement for boycott, divestment, and sanctions against Israel until it complies with international law, Philly BDS
By Matt Graber On September 10 – 13, up to twenty-five thousand private security professionals will gather at the Philadelphia Convention Center for the 58th annual seminar and expo hosted by the ASIS International Foundation – a global organization formerly known as the American Society for Industrial Security.  The seminar brings together private security employees and employers offering surveillance systems and security operations internationally to police forces, militaries, and private corporations. It features more than 200 workshops for security professionals, and closed-door sessions between former government officials and Corporate Security Officers (CSOs). Muhammed El Baradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) from 1997 to 2009 will speak on Tuesday, and Robert Gates, former US Secretary of Defense from 2006 to 2011, and Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) from 1991 to 1993, will speak on Wednesday. * The lack of public awareness, scrutiny, and participation in the seminar, coupled with the proposed agenda, raises a number of compelling questions. Consider, for example, the workshops that make connections between social media, surveillance, and law enforcement. In this age of surveillance, Smart Phones function as tracking devices , the Patriot Act authorizes government surveillance without public scrutiny , and social media provides insight into the private details of our lives. With workshops such as, “Using Social Networking Sites, Search Engines, and Web 2.0 to Screen Applicants,” “Trends in Law Enforcement and Private Security Partnerships,” “New School Security Risks and Solutions,” and hundreds of others, what is the relationship between people, private security firms, corporations, and the government? As new social movements emerge world-wide such as the Occupy Movement, the Arab Spring, and the demonstrations across Europe, how will private security firms and corporations respond to social movements calling for a more equitable distribution of resources ? One
The Philadelphia Coalition for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel staged a creative protest outside the Jewish National Fund (JNF) Tree of Life fundraiser at Vie, 600 N Broad St., on Thursday, March 29th from 5pm-7pm. The gala honored David Cohen, the Executive Vice President of the Comcast Corporation and the chairman of the board of trustees of the University of Pennsylvania. Carrying signs reading “Land Theft is Not Charity,” about forty protesters, who included members of Philly BDS, students from both Temple Students for Justice in Palestine and Penn BDS, and other activists from the Philadelphia Palestine solidarity community chanted as part of a spirited picket of the event that included puppets and street theater. The protesters’ “Bulldozing homes, stealing land; it’s all part of the JNF plan!”, called attention to the past and present role of the Jewish National in the ethnic cleansing of indigenous Palestinians from Israel-Palestine. At issue is the fact that the JNF enjoys tax-exempt status as a charitable organization in the U.S. Founded in 1901, the Jewish National Fund originally collected money from Jews throughout the world to “redeem the land of Israel” by purchasing land in historic Palestine. Since the founding of the State of Israel in 1948, the JNF has raised tens of millions of dollars for planting JNF forests, many of which are built on top of former Palestinian Arab villages. Penn BDS stands with Philly BDS and Temple SJP, stating “We denounce the actions of the Jewish National Fund, which has been an integral part of the strategy of the State of Israel to evict Palestinian families from their homes, destroy Palestinian and Bedouin villages and remove traces of the Palestinian people. The Jewish National Fund is a full participant in Israel’s system of apartheid by restricting the use of