Outraged at apartheid Israel’s crimes against Palestinians? Here are 5 things you can do.

In many countries, governments and corporations are deeply complicit with Israel’s decades-old regime of military occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid, just as they were complicit in the apartheid regime in South Africa. Israel can only sustain this regime of oppression with international complicity. 

Here are the 5 most effective things YOU can do to challenge this complicity and support the Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice and equality:

  1. Work with progressive networks to pressure parliament and government to (a) end all military-security cooperation and trade (military funding in the US case) with apartheid Israel and similarly criminal regimes of oppression worldwide, (b) ban all goods/services of companies operating in Israel’s illegal colonial settlements; and (c) demand a UN investigation of Israeli apartheid.

  2. Mobilize pressure in your community, trade union, association, church, social network, student government/union, city council, cultural center, or other organization to declare it an Apartheid Free Zone (AFZ), ending all relations with apartheid Israel and companies that are complicit in its system of oppression.

  3. Boycott products/services of, and/or mobilize institutional pressure to divest from, Israeli and international companies and banks that are complicit in Israeli war crimes and crimes against humanity. This includes all Israeli banks (Leumi, Hapoalim, etc.) and major multinationals such as: Elbit Systems, HP, G4S/Allied Universal, AXA, CAF, PUMA, Caterpillar, General Mills/Pillsbury, Hyundai Heavy Industries, JCB, Volvo, Barclays Bank, Alstom, Motorola Solutions, and CEMEX.

  4. Cancel all academic, cultural, sports, and tourism engagements in Israel or supported/sponsored by Israel (or its lobby groups and complicit institutions).

  5. Join a BDS campaign or a strategic Palestine solidarity group near you to act collectively and effectively.

Channel your anger and mobilize to dismantle apartheid and all forms of racism and oppression.

In the News
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Western Authors Take Stand in Israel/Palestine Conflict by Refusing to Be Published in Israel

Renowned authors have refused to have their works distributed by Israeli publishers in a stand for Palestinian rights.

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Kamila Shamsie among authors refusing to have their works distributed by Israeli publishers
Award-winning British novelist Kamila Shamsie: "I do not want to cross the picket line formed by Palestinian civil society." Photo: Sarah Lee

An Israeli publisher is finding it increasingly difficult to acquire translation rights to some of the year’s most important novels, mostly due to the reinvigorated support many writers are feeling for Palestine and the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) Movement. Haaretz contributor Gili Izikovich reports on the matter.

While many authors from around the world have spoken out against Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, a few renowned writers—like Henning Mankell, China Miéville, and most recently Kamila Shamsie—are refusing to have their works translated into Hebrew and distributed by Israeli publishers.

Shamsie, an award-winning British novelist of Pakistani descent, clarified in an email to an Israel publisher why she would not accept a contract:

“I would be very happy to be published in Hebrew, but I don’t know of any (fiction) publisher of Hebrew who is not Israeli, and I understand that there is no Israeli publisher who is completely unentangled from the state. I do not want to cross the picket line formed by Palestinian civil society, which has asked everyone who wants to change the situation to not cooperate with organizations that are in any way complicit with the Israeli state.”

It’s important to distinguish here that Shamsie’s real issue is with the Israeli state, and companies that benefit, however indirectly, from the occupation, and not the Hebrew language.

Izikovich spoke with Ornit Cohen-Barak, an editor at the successful literary and commercial hosue Modan Publishers. For Cohen-Barak, this refusal to work with Israeli publishers is not new — and it’s changed how she works with authors. After a few book deals came apart, she says, “whenever people recommend writers from Arab countries I try to ascertain with them that they’re willing to be published in Israel, because I don’t have time to read books and arrange contracts that won’t happen.”

Izikovich also interviewed Ziv Lewis, who is in charge of translation rights for the publisher Kinneret Zmora Bitan. He mentions at least one workaround he’s found for an international writer resistant to Israeli publishing: by partnering with a foreign house that also puts out books in Hebrew.

Authors who refuse to be translated into Hebrew, or published by Modan in Israel, aren’t just concerned with the country’s human rights record. Many authors from Arab countries, says Cohen-Barak, are afraid for their own safety.

The number of Western writers refusing to be published in Israel was once small, but it’s growing. Cohen-Barak notes, “It’s existed since I’ve been in the field. But in cases of a Western writer who’s unwilling to be translated into Hebrew, I think that here it comes from a lack of understanding. After all, culture is the place that can bridge gaps, so what good are they doing by refusing?”

Today, many of us are reevaluating our roles in these larger conflicts. It’s no longer as simple as having the conversations or representing your ideals through your work — authors feel encouraged to become active in the distribution and representation of that work. Cohen-Barak is right that translated fiction can help bridge gaps, but what is the cost when nothing changes?


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