October 19, 2017 — The upscale Mitsukoshi department store in the Ginza district of Tokyo has withdrawn Israeli settlement products. Earlier this month, the store was scheduled to host an event featuring Israeli wines, including wines made in illegal Israeli settlements built on stolen land. But after Japanese civil society raised concerns, Mitsukoshi shortened the event and removed all wines which Japanese BDS activists indicated were made in Israeli settlements.
It is fascinating to watch some US senators tripping over themselves as they attempt to defend their support for or opposition to proposed legislation that would make it a federal crime to support the international campaign to Boycott, Divest, or Sanction (BDS) Israel for its continued occupation of Palestinian lands. What ties these officials up in knots are their efforts to square the circle of their “love of Israel”, their opposition to BDS, their support for a “two-state solution”, and their commitment to free speech.
Some members of Congress are trying to criminalize support for the campaign to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel for its occupation of Palestinian territories. The U.S.’s new premiere left-wing organization, however, is moving the other way, undaunted by the threat of legislation against the BDS movement, as it is known.
The European Union has admitted that it cannot monitor whether producers working from Israel’s settlements in the occupied West Bank are fraudulently taking advantage of trade privileges. Since 2000, the EU has allowed most Israeli goods to enter its markets without incurring taxes or customs duties.
The UN's Human Rights Commissioner began sending letters two weeks ago to 150 companies in Israel and around the world, warning them that they are about to be added to a database of companies doing business in Israeli settlements in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem, senior Israeli officials and Western diplomats involved in the matter told Haaretz.
In his article in Haaretz, Uri Avnery responds to what I said at my 80th birthday party. “Some of my friends believe the fight is lost, that it’s no longer possible to change Israel ‘from within,’ that only outside pressure can help and that the external pressure that is capable of doing this is the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. One of these friends is Dr. Ruchama Marton,” he writes.
The First Amendment squarely protects the right to boycott. Lately, though, a legislative assault on that right has been spreading through the United States – designed to stamp out constitutionally protected boycotts of Israel.
October 16, 2017 — More than three-fourths of students at the University of Chile’s Faculty of Medicine voted to break institutional ties with Israeli universities in a student referendum held last month. They also voted against Israeli government sponsorship or attendance of events at their university.
For years, people promoting the mantras of ‘constructive engagement’ and ‘bridge-building’ with Israel have cited Professor Noam Chomsky in their defence. He is alleged to oppose the campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) launched by Palestinian civil society in 2005. Artists for Palestine UK contacted Professor Chomsky to ask him to clarify his position. He has given us this statement:
October 12, 2017 — In an open letter, prominent chefs from Palestine and nine other countries called on their colleagues to withdraw from the upcoming Round Tables culinary festival in Tel Aviv. This festival is sponsored by the Israeli government and is in partnership with Dan Hotels, which has a hotel built in an illegal settlement on stolen Palestinian land in occupied East Jerusalem.
As Palestinian and international chefs, we call on our colleagues not to participate in the annual Round Tables culinary festival in Israel, and urge those already confirmed to withdraw their restaurants and personal participation.
October 9, 2017 —The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC), the largest Palestinian civil society coalition and the leadership of the global BDS movement, calls for intensifying solidarity between Palestinians and the peoples and social movements across Africa still struggling to defeat colonialism, racism and apartheid.