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10 Reasons for an Academic Boycott of Israel

June 23, 2013 § Leave a Comment

My article for the “10 Reasons for a Cultural Boycott of Israel” campaign has prompted requests for a similar article about the academic boycott.  So without further ado: 10 reasons for an academic boycott of Israel.

  1. Israel systematically destroys the education opportunities in the territories under its occupation by military means: From demolishing universities, schools and kindergartens; through the apartheid wall and checkpoints, separating children and teachers from the schools; to the arrests of students and professors; to the stopping of school supplies from entering Gaza and the bombing of its infrastructures.
  2. Academic institutions are not separate from the economic realities they exist in. Academia is- as any other institution- unfortunately, powered by money.
  3. Academia in Israel is subsidized (with little gain for the public) by the state.
  4. The aforementioned economic hurdles discriminate towards an intentionally impoverished Palestinian population within the 1948 armistice line, who are also citizens of Israel. A recent report indicates that only 11% of the Palestinian population of Israel is accepted to college. Although Palestinian citizens of Israel are a quarter of the college-age population, they comprise only 8% of the students attending Israeli universities. In 2009 half of this quarter- about 5,400 – chose to study abroad, mainly in neighboring Jordan, because of the difficulties they faced in Israel.
  5. While discrimination is practiced against Palestinian students, ex-military personnel are simultaneously favored. Further straining not only the economic gaps, but also the militarizing phenomena in Israel, in which one type of citizen is “acceptable” and the other is a “security threat”.
  6. These policies of discrimination within the university are directly linked with the Israeli government policies of ethnic cleansing: “Far-right leaders have suggested in the past that the Arab minority can be encouraged to emigrate by restricting access to higher education. Benny Elon, a former cabinet minister, notoriously summed up the policy as: “I will close the universities to you, I will make your lives difficult, until you want to leave.”” (The ministers are referring to the population which Israel refers to as “Israeli Arabs”-it’s own citizens.)
  7. All universities in Israel and many private academic institutions have some form of “security studies”, in which occupation-army uniform-clad students and “professors” exchange ideas about how to more efficiently kill and control the Palestinian population.
  8. While there’s also room for significant criticism of the regime in Israel’s academia, it is the allowance of this criticism that is used as a fig leaf by the institutions and the state for a pretense of democracy, as if they are not themselves condoning, promoting, and developing the weapons, policies, and moral justifications to the apartheid military regime, while themselves practicing discrimination.
  9. While criticism exists in the academy, it’s speakers pay heavy personal and professional prices, once they’ve “gone too far” in the eyes of the academy. Usually calling for boycott is this imaginary red line. Meanwhile the Ministry of Hasbara commissions academics to speak favorably about Israel abroad. (also furthering the divide between “legitimate” and “illegitimate” citizens.)
  10. Non-participation in oppressive systems is fueled by information sharing. The key to any grassroots movement is education on the issues. When the BDS movement asks that academic institutions be boycotted, the only way to achieve participation is explain why. Thus BDS further’s freedom of speech in the Israeli academy and abroad.

Relevant links:

Security studies in Israel’s universities and colleges: 

Bono must ditch Belgian maker of warplane parts for Israel

Wissam Nassar


Maan Images

Submitted by david on Sun, 11/27/2011 – 12:28

“Die-in” protest against arms sales to Israel held in Brussels yesterday.

Belgium’s links to Israel’s war industry appear to be getting stronger.

At least, that is what I learned from a recent briefing by arms trade monitor Thierry de Lannoy.

He cited data indicating that Belgium is the fourth largest provider of weapons to Israel in the European Union. As the top three — France, Germany and Britain — are much larger countries hosting some of the world’s leading “defense” companies, that ranking alone appears significant for a relative minnow like Belgium. At €14 million ($18.5 million), the volume of arms contracts approved by the Belgian authorities to Israel was particularly high in 2005, the year before Israel killed 1,200 people, mostly civilians, in Lebanon.

“Made in Belgium” components are essential to some of the most sophisticated and lethal instruments in Israel’s arsenal, as de Lannoy explained.

U2 hire military firm

Barco, a firm registered in the Dutch-speaking city of Kortrijk, is a provider of graphic screens to the pilotless drones — or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) — that Israel used to attack Gaza in late 2008 and 2009. The same firm’s brochures, incidentally, brag of how it provided screen and lighting technology to the Irish rock band U2 for its latest world tour. Considering how Bono, the band’s singer, used that technology to declare support for human rights, pressure should be put on him and other musicians to cease doing business with Barco.

De Lannoy also drew attention to how Israel’s top weapons producer, Elbit, is now in charge of a few Belgian companies. In 2003, an Elbit subsidiary El-Op Industries bought Optronics Instruments and Products (OIP) in Oudenaarde, a town in Flanders. OIP, which makes sensors and detection equipment for military clients, went on to buy Sabiex, a tank distributor headquartered in Braine l’Alleud, a French-speaking part of Belgium, last year.

The campaign group Intal yesterday held a “die-in” protest at the central train station in Brussels to raise awareness about Belgian cooperation with Israel’s war industry. As I was one of those who lay on the ground as part of the action, it was difficult for me to gauge how it was received among the public. Fellow protesters who handed out flyers, however, reported that the response was generally positive, with many passersby expressing an interesting in learning more about the topic.

Arms cooperation with Israel is almost certainly illegal. Since 2008, all of the EU’s countries have been bound by a code of conduct on arms exports, which says that weapons should not be sold to countries where they are likely to be used for repression or where they are likely to contribute to aggravating tensions among neighbors. If the EU showed any respect for its own laws, then it wouldn’t be trading a single bullet with Israel.

Federations, JCPA teaming to fight delegitimization of Israel

By Jacob Berkman · October 24, 2010

NEW YORK (JTA) — The Jewish Federations of North America and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs are launching a multimillion-dollar joint initiative to combat anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions campaigns.

The JFNA and the rest of the Jewish federation system have agreed to invest $6 million over the next three years in the new initiative, which is being called the Israel Action Network. The federations will be working in conjunction with JCPA, an umbrella organization bringing together local Jewish community relations councils across North America.

The network is expected to serve as a rapid-response team charged with countering the growing campaign to isolate Israel as a rogue state akin to apartheid-era South Africa – a campaign that the Israeli government and Jewish groups see as an existential threat to the Jewish state. In fighting back against anti-Israel forces, the network will seek to capitalize on the reach of North America’s 157 federations, 125 local Jewish community relations councils and nearly 400 communities under the federation system.

“There is a very, very high sense of urgency in [fighting] the delegitimizing of the State of Israel,” the JFNA’s president and CEO, Jerry Silverman, told The Fundermentalist. “There is no question that it is among the most critical challenges facing the state today.”

In fact, Silverman added, Israeli leaders identify this as the second most dangerous threat to Israel, after Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.

Under a plan approved in late September during a special conference call of the JFNA’s board of trustees, the JCPA’s senior vice president, Martin Raffel, will oversee the new network. He will be working in concert with the head of the JFNA’s Washington office, William Daroff. Over the next several months, Raffel will be putting together his team, including six people in New York, one in Israel and one in Washington.

The network will monitor the delegitimization movement worldwide and create a strategic plan to counter it wherever it crops up. It will work with local federations and community relations councils to enlist the help of key leaders at churches, labor unions and cultural institutions to fight anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions campaigns.

Organizers of the network are looking at the response to an attempted boycott of the Toronto International Film Festival last year as a model for how the system could potentially work.

When the festival organizers decided to focus on filmmakers from Tel Aviv, more than 1,000 prominent actors and filmmakers signed a statement saying that the organizers had become part of Israel’s propaganda machine, and they threatened to boycott the event. In response, the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto and the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles worked together to come up with a counter statement supporting the festival. The counter statement won the signatures of even more prominent Hollywood figures, including Jerry Seinfeld, Natalie Portman, Sacha Baron Cohen, Lisa Kudrow, Jason Alexander and Lenny Kravitz.

“The partnership started last year around the Toronto international film festival,” said Ted Sokolsky, president of the Toronto federation. “We jointly produced an ad saying that we don’t need another blacklist.”

Sokolsky went on to say, “I spoke to Jay [Sanderson, the CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles] and said, ‘Here, there are a lot of prominent Hollywood types on the delegitimization protest. Can you reach out to the Hollywood community and find some pro-Israel leadership?’ He reached out to some key leadership in Hollywood. And it was like waking up a sleeping giant. Then we realized we can’t all fight this alone.”

He added that “It was a great lesson and set a template on how to respond because clearly, the other side is running a linked campaign with international funding and global strategy but local implementation.”

When similar delegitimizing attempts erupt, leaders of the new network plan to respond early, according to Silverman.

“If the community in Chattanooga all of a sudden is faced with [a boycott of] Israeli products in the mall, they should be able to call the [Israel] Action Network and have response and implementation within 12 hours, and not spend time thinking about how to do it,” he said. “We should be able to do that in every community.”

Toronto and Los Angeles are two of the largest federations in the JFNA system, but the smaller federations feel that the network will benefit them as well.

Michael Papo, executive vice president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis, said that Indiana has not yet witnessed a full-fledged anti-Israel boycott campaign.

“But it could happen,” he said. “It could happen quickly. It could happen on our college campuses, and it would be helpful to have that national network to call for help.”

Papo said he sees the network as being able to provide guidance when his federation has to face situations such as the one it faced several years ago, when the Presbyterian Church (USA) pursued a divestment strategy against Israel. At that time, he and his colleagues were able to influence local Presbyterian churches in Indiana to vote against the divestment campaign at their national convention.

“As a Jewish community, we have a huge range of contacts in the general community,” he said. “We are connected politically, culturally, socially, academically and in the business world — anyplace we work and live, we have connections with neighbors. …  If and when we need support, we are quite capable.”

Steven Nasatir, president of the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, said that federations and their local partners are uniquely positioned to take on delegitimization campaigns against Israel.

“A top-down approach cannot fully comprehend or appreciate local nuance, and after each and every incident, when the headlines recede, it is the local community that is in the best position to strengthen the community for the future,” Nasatir said in an e-mailed statement. “Over the past few years, active local Federations have countered the boycott of Israeli products by buyout of those same products. They have demanded that university institutions require civility from anti-Israel protestors trying to drown out Israeli speakers. And, through ongoing contact with local elected leaders, they have sensitized public officials and institutions to the need for fairness, civility and appropriate monitoring of anti-Israel thuggery.”

While other groups, including the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the Zionist Organization of America and J Street, focus primarily on influencing the political arena, and others, such as the Israel Project and CAMERA (the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America), key in on the media, the new network will aim to influence civic leaders.

The Jewish federations have agreed to give the JFNA $1.6 million to fund the project fully in its first year. In the two subsequent years, the federations will split the cost 50-50 with JFNA.

“Israel’s government has been advocating for this, especially over the past six months or eight months,” Silverman said. “It has been in dialogue within our federation movement for a while, especially following the Toronto incident and the incident in San Francisco with the film festival, and divestment movements in the Protestant and Presbyterian churches. This idea was born out of the large city executives meeting that said, ‘It is time. And time is running out.’ We have to do this quickly and we have to be armed in our community and be offensive, not defensive.”

Silverman said that he expects the Israel Action Network to be fully staffed and up and running by Jan. 1.


Global boycott movement claims victories, arrests

Report, The Electronic Intifada, 24 August 2010

New York City activists have kept the pressure on settlement financier Lev Leviev. (Flickr)

This week, the Norwegian government announced that it has divested from two major Israeli companies involved in settlement construction and land theft in the occupied West Bank. Both companies, Africa Israel Investments and its subsidiary, Danya Cebus, are owned by Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev, and have been at the center of a widespread boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign since 2009.

Along with solidarity groups, Palestinians from the villages of Bilin and Jayyous — where land has been confiscated for ongoing settlement construction by another Leviev-owned company — steadily pressured the Norwegian government to divest from the two Israeli companies.

In a press release from Adalah-NY, the solidarity group that has been instrumental in organizing boycott campaigns against Leviev companies, Sharif Omar of the Palestinian village of Jayyous’ Land Defense Committee stated: “we welcome this decision by the Norwegian government to divest from some of Leviev’s companies. But another Leviev company, Leader Management and Development, continues today to build settlements on Jayyous’ land. We call for additional international action to pressure these companies and the Israeli government to end construction and return our stolen farmland.”

The Norwegian government’s landmark decision comes as the global boycott, divestment and sanctions movement is gaining ground. In recent months, internationally-renowned musicians, including Elvis Costello, Gil Scott-Heron and Carlos Santana, have canceled their scheduled shows in Israel in protest of the state’s ongoing violations of human rights and international law. Last month a food co-operative in Olympia, Washington, became the first US grocery store to refuse to shelve Israeli products.

Earlier this month, Irish artists signed onto a broad-based boycott initiative, pledging to refuse to perform or exhibit their work in Israel and to refuse to accept donations or grant funding from Israeli institutions, becoming participants in the first nation-wide cultural boycott campaign.

Localized direct actions related to the global boycott movement are making an impact as well.

Chicago activist arrested

In a demonstration organized by the Palestine Solidarity Group-Chicago on 23 August, more than two dozen activists converged on downtown Millennium Park to call on city leaders to sever ties with Israel and drop Petach Tikva, Israel from the Chicago Sister Cities program. During the annual Chicago Sister Cities’ International Festival, protesters rallied outside — and later, inside — the venue. One activist was arrested and released later that day.

“Petach Tikva — an officially segregated city, the first Jewish-only settlement in historic Palestine and the site of the primary detention center where Israeli forces abuse and torture Palestinian political prisoners — has been dubbed by rights group Amnesty International as ‘Israel’s Guantanamo,'” PSG stated in a press release (“Chicago arrested calling for boycott of Israel’s Guantanamo,” 23 August 2010).

“Upholding the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions measures on apartheid Israel, PSG and its allies object to business-as-usual with Israel. Under the false premise of promoting culture and education, Petach Tikva’s inclusion in Chicago Sister Cities promotes Israel-US business ties while it whitewashes Israel’s occupation and human rights abuses,” the statement added.

During the protest activists entered the festival venue and chanted “Drop Petach Tikva!” Activists reported that a pianist who was performing in the hall at the time “stood at attention out of respect once he heard the protesters’ message.”

“The PSG and allies were compelled to bring the message directly into the festival because for the last year and a half, the Chicago Sister Cities International has refused to meet with PSG and members of the community to hear about Petach Tikva’s special role in Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people,” PSG stated.

The group said it plans to keep up the pressure on city officials until the Chicago’s Sister Cities program drops its partnership with Petach Tikva.

Charges dropped against British activists

In related news, four British activists were recently acquitted of all charges related to their direct action protests against the Israeli cosmetics company Ahava. On 10 August, a British court ruled the activists not guilty of “aggravated trespass” for their involvement in two separate actions inside an Ahava store in London’s Covent Gardens neighborhood in September and December 2009.

In the actions, the four campaigners rolled barrels inside an Ahava beauty products store, locked themselves inside and forced the store to close “while police came to cut open the barrels and arrest the activists,” as reported by the International Middle East Media Center (“Four British Activists Acquitted In Anti-Ahava Action,” 22 August 2010).

All cosmetics on sale at the Ahava store originate from Mitzpe Shalem, an Israeli settlement colony in the occupied West Bank. IMEMC added that Ahava’s products are also unlawfully labeled “made in Israel” despite being manufactured in the settlement. The products are also made with Palestinian natural resources without the permission of, or compensation for, Palestinians on whose land the settlements occupy.

Using the court ruling as a precedent, activists say that they intend to continue the campaign against Ahava. Speaking to the International Solidarity Movement, the acquitted activists said that they will “continue to challenge corporate complicity in the occupation and Israel’s impunity on the international stage” (“,” 11 August 2010).

One of the campaigners added: “The message is clear. If your company is involved in apartheid and war crimes and occupying Palestinian land, people will occupy your shop.”

Additionally, in Ireland this week, the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) announced they will stage a demonstration to protest the Ireland-Israel match during a FIFA Women’s World Cup Qualifier on 25 August.

“In line with the wishes of Palestinian civil society, the protest will call for a sporting boycott of Israel due to the racist and apartheid nature of the Israeli state,” IPSC stated in a press release (“Protest at Ireland v Israel women’s football match …”). “This is in support of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) who have confirmed this match falls under their boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) guidelines.”

Organizers say the theme of the protest will be “Love Football, Hate Apartheid.” IPSC national chairwoman Freda Hughes said: “While some may suggest that sports and politics shouldn’t mix, we believe there is no place in sport for racism or teams who act as ambassadors for racist or apartheid states.”


West Bank boycott campaign impacting settlement economy

Palestinians in the occupied West Bank city of Qalqiliya call for a boycott of Israeli goods. (Khaleel Reash/MaanImages)

Report, The Electronic Intifada, 19 August 2010

Grassroots Palestinian boycott campaigns across the occupied West Bank to take Israeli settlement products off the shelves of local stores have made an impact on the Israeli settlement economy, to the unease of the Israeli government, noted the Israeli daily Haaretz this week (“Palestinians ‘adamant about continuing boycott on settlement goods’,” 8 August 2010).

From the tightly-packed communities in refugee camps, to the sprawling urban areas in major cities, to the rural countryside, Palestinians have galvanized around campaigns to promote locally-made products and locally-harvested food instead of a myriad of items made in illegal settlement colonies on occupied Palestinian land in the West Bank.

The Palestinian Authority (PA), for its part, has produced pamphlets listing Israeli settlement-made products and delivered them to thousands of homes across the West Bank, urging Palestinians to buy Palestinian products and warning that trading of settlement products risks legal prosecution. But grassroots, local community initiatives have been working independent of the PA for years as activists have organized to educate and support business owners in making responsible choices in purchasing and selling merchandise.

Haaretz reports that the Israeli Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor has asked the PA to cancel the boycott, citing supposed violations of international trade rules and feigning concern for Palestinian laborers who work in the settlements.

International trade laws do not apply to consumer boycotts, however, and the Israeli settlements themselves are entirely illegal under international law, including Articles 46 and 55 of the Hague Convention; Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and UN Security Council Resolution 465. The illegality of Israel’s settlements was reaffirmed in the 2004 ruling of the International Court of Justice at the Hague (“Israeli settlements fact sheet,” Palestine Monitor, 15 March 2010).

Irish artists pledge to boycott Israel

In international boycott news, more than 150 Irish artists helped to launch a broad-based boycott of Israel, pledging on 13 August to refuse to perform or exhibit their work in Israel, and to refuse to accept funding or grants from institutions connected to the Israeli government. Through this campaign, Ireland has become the first country to enact a nation-wide cultural boycott movement against Israeli apartheid.

In a joint action with the Irish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC), artists drafted a statement, published on the IPSC website, that “commits signatories to boycotting the Israeli state until it respects international law” and notes that the artists are responding to a call from Palestinian civil society for a cultural boycott of Israel (“Dublin concert sees launch of ‘Irish Cultural Boycott of Israel’ pledge,” 13 August 2010).

Musician Eoin Dillon was amongst the Irish artists who signed the pledge. IPSC states that his brother was on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla in May of this year, and was kidnapped and arrested when Israeli commandos attacked the ships, killing nine and wounding dozens.

Dillon told IPSC, “I encourage all Irish artists to take this pledge and thereby honor not only their own dignity but more importantly, the dignity of the Palestinian people.”

The pledge was recognized by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), which remarked in a statement on 11 August — anticipating the artists’ boycott action — that this represents a “groundbreaking strategy in supporting the Palestinian struggle for freedom and justice” (“Irish artists make BDS history …”).

“In the last few years, many international cultural figures have come out in support of the cultural boycott of Israel,” PACBI added. “A statement authored by John Berger in support of the boycott gathered dozens of signatures, including some celebrities. Montreal, Canada, witnessed a most impressive initiative in this respect, where 500 artists issued a statement this last February committing themselves to ‘fighting against [Israeli] apartheid’ and calling upon ‘all artists and cultural producers across the country and around the world to adopt a similar position in this global struggle’ for Palestinian rights. Yet, the Irish artists have raised the bar of solidarity by pioneering the first nation-wide cultural stance in support of the boycott of Israel.”

This cultural boycott initiative comes on the heels of last month’s consumer boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign by the IPSC to deliver more than 6,000 signatures to a national supermarket chain, as customers demanded that the Dunnes markets stop selling Israeli-made products. Trade union officials, Sinn Fein activists and members of the Palestinian and South African communities in Ireland presented the petitions to the Dunnes stores in multiple locations across the country.

IPSC says that this campaign only took two weeks to gather signatures, and “comes a quarter-century after Dunnes was at the center of a bitter two-year campaign of boycott and pickets, when it sacked a group of workers who refused to handle South African goods” (“Petition: Thousands demand that Dunnes stop stocking Israeli goods,” 29 July 2010).

Canadian union supports boat to Gaza

Meanwhile, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) officially called on Canadians to support the Canada Boat to Gaza project. The Canadian boat is to be included in a flotilla led by activists with international human rights organizations planning to deliver humanitarian aid to the beleaguered Gaza Strip in the coming months (“Postal Workers’ Union: Get Mail to Gaza on the Boat,” 12 August 2010).

The union has a long history of solidarity actions in support of justice for Palestinians, including drafting resolutions calling for an immediate end to the illegal occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

“Following an announcement by Canada Post that Israel Post has suspended mail delivery to Gaza, the union is encouraging people who wish to send mail to Gaza to get their mail onto the Canadian boat bound for the blockaded Palestinian territory,” CUPW stated.

The CUPW says that its support of the Canada Boat to Gaza was elevated when Israel Post recently informed Canada Post that Canadian mail would not be delivered to the Gaza Strip due to circumstances “beyond their control,” according to the Canadian daily Vancouver Sun (“Canadian postal workers put stamp of approval on bid to break Gaza blockade,” 12 August 2010).

Receiving mail in Gaza has been irregular for years, as Israel’s illegal blockade against the strip continues. But according to Gaza’s Director General of the Communications Ministry, Jalal Ismail, the mail delivery system has been delayed and government mail has remained undelivered for at least four months. Speaking to news agency The Media Line, Ismail said that mail disruptions “are not new” in Gaza. The Gaza-based Palestinian postal employee responsible for mail transfer in Gaza was arrested by Israeli forces, and Israel continues to stall in their “vetting” of a new postal liaison.

Israel has also blocked mail between Gaza and the West Bank, according to Maan News Agency (“Israel blocks mail between Gaza, West Bank,” 20 May 2010).

Denis Lemelin, the CUPW’s national president, explained the union’s move to back the Gaza-bound boat actions: “As postal workers, we know very well that cutting off mail creates suffering and hardship for people, who are isolated from their loved ones. How many more abuses will the people of Gaza have to endure?”

“We are heartened by the growing international response to Israel’s cruel treatment of the Palestinian people,” continued Lemelin. “We stand in solidarity with all efforts to break the blockade and end the indignities imposed on the Palestinian people by the state of Israel.”


Press release from The Swedish Dockworkers Union, section 4, Gothenburg.


The nation-wide blockade of all goods to and from Israel is under way.
– Tens of containers were put under blockade tonight.


By midnight at 00:00 on the 23rd June the Swedish Dock-workers union week-long blockade of goods to and from Israel started. The ongoing nation-wide blockade in Swedish harbors, that is based on the request of the united Palestinian union-movement, is The Swedish Dockworkers Union’s attempt to contribute to pressure Israel into:
1. Lifting the blockade on Gaza
2. Allowing an independent, international investigation of what happened at the Israeli boarding of the so called Freedom Flottilla when nine people were shot to death.

In the harbor of Gothenburg the blockade were initiated without any complications. About ten containers, both Israeli imports and exports were immediately identified in the container terminal. All of which have been separated and will stand untouched in the harbor of Gothenburg until the end of the blockade at 24:00 the 29th of June.

– Everything has passed very calmly and I believe it will continue to do so until next Wednesday, says Peter Annerback, chairperson of the Swedish Dockworkers Union section 4 (Hamn4an) and member of the unions executive committee in a late comment.

– Since we are not in a conflict with our employers a “conflict-contained” container that carries any medical equipment will be allowed exemption, continues Annerback.

– We have identified more goods on its way to or from Israel than we had expected. We thought the flow of goods would be much lower considering the blockade has been announced for twenty days, says Hamn4ans trustee Erik Helgeson.

– Our ambition is of course that our action can be one of many grassroots initiatives that will keep the eyes of the world focused on the 800.000 children that lives isolated in Gaza. The Palestinian civilian population must be allowed to rebuild their economy, their infrastructure and freely integrate with the rest of the world. The war on Gaza and Israel’s brutal blockade have made all this impossible for over three years now, Helgeson ends.

The Swedish Dockworkers Union have explained the motives behind the unions blockade of Israeli goods in two articles:

Dagens ETC:

New bill seeks to outlaw boycott – both of settlements and of Israel

Shamir hummus - reportedly a settlement product

If passed, the bill will lead to heavy sanctions on Palestinian authorities and individuals, as well as Israeli and foreign activists
By JNews

Monday, 21 June, 2010 – 22:26

A new bill (full translation below), the third in a series of proposed laws seeking to restrict the activities of peace activists and human rights organizations in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), has been proposed by a group of Members of Knesset.

The first bill, tabled in February and known as the “NGO Funding Bill”, seeks to limit foreign governmental funding of activist groups in Israel, by defining their activities as political and denying them charitable status.

The second bill, tabled in April, will close down and forbid registration of charities involved in or providing information for overseas law suits against Israeli officials suspected of war crimes. This bill is known as the “Universal Jurisdiction Bill.”

The third bill, submitted to the Knesset Law Committee for approval on 15 June by 24 Members of Knesset from both the coalition and the opposition, is more comprehensive, and seeks to outlaw any activities promoting any kind of boycott against Israeli organisations, individuals or products, whether in illegal settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) or in Israel proper.

The bill targets Israelis, the Palestinian Authority, Palestinians and foreign governments and individuals, and, if passed into law, will impose fines, economic sanctions and entry bans against initiators or supporters of boycott activities.

This bill was proposed after a decision was taken by the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank to cut all business ties with the illegal Israeli settlements and to boycott their produce.

If it becomes law, the bill will lead to the imposition of heavy financial and property-related sanctions on the Palestinian Authority (defined by Israel as “a foreign political entity”) and on individual Palestinians, and could reverse existing contracts and agreements with Israel.

All three proposals were tabled in the wake of incitement campaigns by right wing groups and agitators against Israeli human rights groups, peace activists, critical academics and liberal grant-givers (such as the New Israel Fund).

If passed, the laws will seriously damage the financial viability of NGOs and their ability to function legally in Israel and the OPT. They will criminalize some NGOs’ activities as well as those of volunteer peace activists and intellectuals who work together with groups overseas for human rights and social justice.

All the bills await further votes in the Knesset before they can pass into law.

Translation of the proposed bill, “Prohibition on imposing a boycott – 2010” (unofficial)

Eighteenth Knesset

Law proposal by MKs Zeev Elkin, Dalia Itzik, Arieh Eldad, Ophir Akonis, Tzahi Hanegbi, Moshe Gafni, David Rotem, David Azulai, Zevulun Orlev, Yariv Levin, Hayim Katz, Yoel Hasson, Tzipi Hotovely, Lia Shemtov, Robert Iltuv, Abraham Michaeli, Menachem Eliezer Mozes, Yaakov Katz, Ruchama Avraham-Balila, Magali Wahba, Karmel Shama, Danny Danon, Itzhak Vaknin, Uri Maklev

Proposed bill – Prohibition on imposing a boycott – 2010


1. “Person” – as defined in the Law of Interpretation 1981;

“Area under the control of the state of Israel” – including the areas of Judea and Samaria;

“Boycott” – demanding that others not maintain relations with a person;

“Boycott against the state of Israel” – boycott imposed on a person because of his relations with the state of Israel or with areas under the control of the state of Israel;

“Foreign political entity” – as defined in article 36a(a) of the Law of Associations 1980

Prohibition on boycott against the state of Israel:

2. It is prohibited to initiate a boycott against the state of Israel, to encourage participation in a boycott, or to provide assistance or information with the intention of promoting a boycott.

Boycott – a civil wrong:

3. An act of a citizen or resident of Israel in violation of Article 2 constitutes a civil wrong and the orders of tort law [new version] shall apply to it.


4. The court shall order damages for a civil injustice done as defined in this law in the following manner:

a) punitive damages of up to 30,000 NIS to the injured party, subject to evidence of injury done;

b) Additional damages in accordance with the scale of injury and subject to evidence of injury.


5. In addition to the provisions of Article 4, a resident or citizen of Israel who acts in violation of Article 2 shall pay a fine as defined in Article 61(a)(3) of the Penal Law 1977.

Those who are not residents or citizens of Israel:

6. A person who is not a resident or citizen of Israel and a Magistrates’ Court has defined at the request of the Minister of Interior that he has acted in violation of Article 2:

a) His right to enter Israel shall be revoked for ten years at least;

b) Until the end of the revocation of his right to enter Israel, he and his representatives shall be forbidden to carry out any action in Israeli bank accounts, in shares traded in Israel, in lands or in any other property demanding registration of transfer.

A boycott imposed by a foreign political entity:

7. If a foreign political entity passed a law imposing boycott on the state of Israel, and so long as it has not canceled this law; or if the [Israeli] government has determined by a majority that a foreign political entity has violated Article 2, and so long as the government has reached no other decision:

a) The foreign political entity and its representatives shall be prohibited from carrying out any action in Israeli bank accounts, in shares traded in Israel, in land or in any other property requiring registration of transfer;

b) No sum of money or property shall be transferred by any organ of the state of Israel to the foreign political entity or its representatives, under laws, agreements or governmental decisions that were adopted prior to the definition according to Article 7 or to enactment of the law;

c) Israeli citizens or the state treasury, who are damaged by a boycott imposed by a foreign political entity, may sue for damages from the sum accumulated according to paragraph (a) under the provisions of Article 4 above and subject to necessary changes.


8. The Minister of Justice is appointed to set regulations for the implementation of this law, and he shall consult the Minister of Interior with regard to implementing the provisions of Article 6(a).


9. a) The law shall apply from the day of its publication;

b) Despite paragraph (a) above, anyone who has initiated a boycott or encouraged participation in boycott according to Article 2 in the year prior to the publication of the law, it shall be assumed that he is still initiating a boycott or calling for a boycott even after the publication of the law.


This law aims to protect the state of Israel in general and its citizens in particular from academic, economic and other boycotts, which are imposed as a result of any ties to the state of Israel.
In the USA there is a similar law that protects its friends from boycott by a third party, and the assumption is that a citizen or resident of the state shall not call for the imposition of a boycott on his own country or of its allies. This assumption has proved untrue with regard to the citizens and residents of Israel.

If the USA protects its friends through law, it should be self-evident that Israel has the duty and the right to protect itself and its citizens through law. The proposed bill distinguishes between three different types of boycott: a boycott imposed by a resident or citizen of Israel; a boycott imposed by a foreign citizen or resident; and a boycott imposed by a foreign political entity, according to the definition of the Israeli government or according to a law enacted by the foreign political entity.

The balance between public and state interests and individual liberties is expressed through the limitation of the law’s applicability to the initiation or promotion of a boycott, while abstaining from involvement in the personal decisions of individuals choosing a product or a service.


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PA boycott campaign gains momentum

Boycott taken a step further in West Bank's Salfit village (Photo: AP)

Palestinian governors urge citizens to cooperate with settlement product ban; activists distribute pamphlets listing banned items. ‘We can manage this economic system,’ says Palestinian-appointed Jerusalem governor


Hundreds of activists took to the streets of the West Bank on Tuesday and distributed brochures calling on the Palestinians to boycott settlement products.

The Palestinian Authority held a press conferences, briefings and ceremonies in which the local governors urged the public to cooperate with “you and your conscience” campaign – that is meant to reach every single household.

Closed Market

Yesha Council responds to new Palestinian campaign distributing list of banned Israeli companies, calls for ‘immediate response’. Prime Minister Netanyahu urged to refuse to take part in proximity talks

* See previous post for full list of banned products

Bethlehem Governor Abdul Fattah Hamayel said the campaign was a breakthrough in the Palestinian struggle, as part of “the open war against the occupation.

“Our goal is to cut off the settlements that harm us and steal our resources on a daily basis,” he said.

Nablus governor Jibreen al-Bakri said the boycott has led to the closure of 17 factories in the settlements thus far, and called on the Palestinian public – and especially the merchants – to honor the new law.

Palestinian activists were hopeful the campaign would lead to mass mobilization of the public, and help weaken the settlements, which will contribute to the success of negotiations. Most Palestinians view the settlements as the major impediment to a political arrangement with Israel.

The boycott campaign also reached the capital, and Palestinian-appointed governor of Jerusalem Adnan al-Husseini said it was important because it emphasizes the exploitation that the Palestinians are subjected to.

Speaking at a press conference in north-east of Jerusalem, al-Husseini said, “I call all the citizens worldwide to boycott the settlement products deemed illegal by the world. We can manage this economic system,” he said.

The press conference was also attended by the mufti of the Palestinian Authority and senior Palestinian officials in the Jerusalem area.

Great BDS video

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