Tag Archives: Boycott Israeli Apartheid

Should local Israel boycott arrestees face wrongful charges alone, without your support or media scrutiny?

COLORADO SPRINGS- There’s a plan tomorrow, Thursday Jan 6 at 1:30, for the first court appearance of BDS activists Cyndy Kulp and Ted Nace, arrested in November at a local shopping center, and charged with trespass to curtail their free speech. THE PLAN is for the two Middle East Peace Project activists to follow legal procedures unobtrusively, no press, no statements, no calling attention to the Israeli war crime they were protesting, or now the patently unconstitutional abridgment of their civil liberties. Self-censorship does seem odd when the original goal was to raise public outcry about injustice in Palestine. Isn’t media scrutiny otherwise the only opportunity which knocks when you’re gagged by wrongful arrest? Not much of a plan. Are veteran BDS campaigners Coloradans For Peace going to disrupt tomorrow’s agenda to sweep BDS/Free-Speech under the rug? HELL YES.

A strategy of keeping your head low, of tempering your message to avoid offense, of your sponsors and allies disassociating themselves from you, is a plan for mice not men.

While it might feel unseemly to call attention to yourself, even as a victim of injustice, that’s the same inhibition that keeps so-called advocates for social reform from protesting in public in the first place. Standing on the sidewalk, holding a sign is about trying to draw attention.

Long time peace activists Kulp and Nace need not check their outspoken humanitarian compulsions at the door tomorrow. Please turn up at 1PM tomorrow outside the Municipal Courthouse to show your support and help the two raise their voices to further the message about which they feel so passionately.

COLORADANS FOR PEACE is scheduling a press conference tomorrow at 1PM to object to the city’s recently unveiled policy of enforcing severe limitations on rights guaranteed by the First Amendment. In the past this harassment has been aimed at antiwar protest, now it is being used to silence critics of Israeli Apartheid and the illegal subjugation of the Palestinian people. If either of these issues is important to you, please come lend your voice.

Below is the policy which the City of Colorado Springs is seeking to enforce:

COLORADO SPRINGS POLICE DEPARTMENT BULLETIN

ORIGINATED BY: COMMANDER BRIAN GRADY
APPROVED BY: DC PETER CAREY
DATE ISSUED: 05-17-10
GENERAL TOPIC: FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS
SERIAL NO: 013-10(P)

The legal counsel for some large business owners has contacted the City Attorney’s Office to request that the Police Department enforce trespassing laws against individuals circulating petitions or otherwise expressing free speech views on their private property. Senior Attorney Will Bain has communicated with the attorneys and has done legal research to determine the current law regarding free speech on private property. Senior Attorney Bain advised that the private rights of the business owner outweigh the free speech rights of the individual.

Additionally, the research by the City Attorney’s Office indicates that at this time the Citadel Mall, Chapel Hills Mall, the First and Main Shopping Center, the World Arena, and University Village can be interpreted to be public areas due to their size, number of stores, and past court rulings. While the malls and shopping center can still impose time, place, and manner restrictions, the charge of trespass will not be appropriate for these five locations in Colorado Springs when addressing free speech rights. BOLOs have been placed on these addresses as a reminder.

All sergeants and officers shall review the additional changes and detailed procedures to be followed in these type cases, which are outlines in General Order 701, dated 01/13/10.

Here is the Coloradans For Peace press release:

Coloradans For Peace and its social justice allies unequivocally reject the City of Colorado Springs assertion to limit free speech rights on public or private property. We reject the conclusion alleged by the City Attorney that current law allows for initiating trespassing charges to curtail individuals “expressing free speech views.”

Whether against antiwar protesters, or activists boycotting Israeli goods stolen from occupied people in violation of international law, we feel that municipal policies should seek to defend, not inhibit, the First Amendment rights of its residents and citizens.

CFP objects to the attempt to set precedent whereby private property landowners operating facilities open to the public can dictate what civil liberties they will allow or disallow. And we certainly oppose law enforcement behavior which takes it upon itself to enforce trespassing charges without being summoned by the traditional complaints to warrant legitimate intervention by police officers.

Israeli Apartheid Week, March 1-13

Boycott Divestment and SanctionsUniversity campuses across N. America are marking the 6th annual Israeli Apartheid Week to raise awareness of the international BDS movement (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) against Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. Thanks to western pressure, Jerusalem’s mayor Nir Barkat announced a delay in the demolition of “dozens” of homes —actually 88— Palestinian homes for the construction of an Israeli tourism park.

Pro-Israel groups have answered the BDS surge with a curious non sequitur, a double-entendre ad campaign which emphasizes that SIZE DOESN”T MATTER, suggesting that Israel’s preeminence is not related to its diminutive size –no mention that Israel is the largest recipient of US foreign aid. Basically the ad inadvertently makes the argument that Zionism is a phallic surrogate for small penises, and cooperation with Israel is a coerced blow job.

An economic, cultural and academic BDS program felled the racist divisions of South Africa. Israel Apartheid must go.

Boycott Divestment and Sanctions

Solidarity with Palestinian Human Rights

Chapel Hills Mall boycott DAY 4 update

chapel hills mallCHAPEL HILLS MALL- Security visited the CFP picket on Wednesday. They’d observed us the past three days via video surveillance, but apparently their camera angles recorded only the backs of our signs, general slogans about Israel, Gaza, and the Gaza Freedom March, which did not adequately explain the inquiries they received about shoppers being asked to boycott VICTORIA’S SECRET and BATH & BODY WORKS. We were eager to explain. As usual, the critical question was how long we planned to be there.

Our answer was tentative: Until more than 87 delegates from the Gaza Freedom March to join Gaza demonstrators demanding an end to the Siege of Gaza. Solidarity protests and pickets are being staged worldwide. It’s up to the US and Israel, through their proxy in Egypt. Who knows if the Limited, parent company of the the aforementioned retail stores, can exert its influence? GFM would-be participant Sam Husseini reports international delegates left behind are being blocked from leaving their hotels. Mohammed Said el-Naidi reports and has picture.

A deal was brokered yesterday by which 100 peace delegates, one per nationality, could proceed by bus to Rafah. Many activists refused, choosing to demonstrate with the hundreds to be left behind. Organizers Code Pink had originally vowed to march on December 31st, regardless if permission is granted by Egyptian authorities, but now are declaring the brokered deal a victory… As a collective, the organizers forming the FGM rejected the offer, but a group left nonetheless.

The final 87 include many journalists who intended to cover the march and Palestinians hoping to be reunited with family members. No word yet whether Colorado Springs representatives are on the two buses headed to Gaza.

To support the GFM efforts, contact the Egyptian Embassy, 202-895-5400 and ask for Omar Youssef or email omaryoussef@hotmail.com with an email like the following:

I am writing/calling to express my full support for the December 31, 2009 Gaza Freedom March. I urge the Egyptian government to allow the 1,300 international delegates to enter the Gaza Strip through Egypt.
 
The aim of the march is to call on Israel to lift the siege. The delegates will also take in badly needed medical aid, as well as school supplies and winter jackets for the children of Gaza.
 
Please, let this historic March proceed.
 
Thank you.

Gaza Freedom March update

free PalestineGFM activists still prevented from leaving Cairo spoiling Rafah rendezvous with demonstrators in Gaza; American citizens undertaking hunger strike after being blocked from the US embassy; the siege of the UN offices has been called off; and the Viva Palestina convoy in Jordan has taken an alternative route. Follow Electronic Intifada’s Ali Abunimah and Institute for Public Accuracy’s Sam Husseini for minute by minute updates. Official reports from GFM. Photos by Antony Loewenstein. Solidarity actions continue worldwide, including Colorado Springs.

Abunimah reports after delegation of three activists were permitted to meet with US embassy staff:

USG supports the siege of Gaza, offers excuses & stonewalling. During meeting political officer Greg Logrefo confirmed that US Army Corps of Engineers is providing technical assistance to build underground wall.

Is it really illegal to boycott Israel?

boycott-israeli-goods-end-apartheidIt is not illegal for US consumers to boycott anyone’s products. But the business decisions of companies affiliated with Israel do enjoy some curious protective constraints…
 
It’s ironic that as the US enforces rigid sanctions against international companies which violate its embargo against Cuba, the US has enacted laws simultaneously which prohibit its companies from complying with trade restrictions called by others.

As a further embarrassment, the antiboycotting measure specifies just one boycott, literally: the League of Arab Nations boycott of Israel.

So while American consumers are free to make the buying decisions they wish, it is illegal for an American business to adjust its business practices to boycott Israel.

In other words, as much as social justice activists might like to ask a department store not to carry Ahava beauty products taken from Occupied Territory shores, the store would be prohibited by US law to do so as an act of compliance. ahava-stolen-beauty-occupation For another example, fashion labels such as DKNY and cK could decide to discontinue carrying undergarments manufactured by Delta Galil from settler farms in Palestine, but they couldn’t do it because of someone’s boycott.

(Delta Galil supplies clothing to the Gap, Banana Republic, Structure, J-Crew, JC Penny, Pryca, Lindex, DIM, Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren, Playtex, Calvin Klein, and Hugo Boss.)

This law makes a commercial boycott impossible to resolve between customer and business, but ultimately results in more pressure being applied to the source cause, which are the policies of Israel.

According to the US Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security, Office of Antiboycott Compliance, in the 1970s two laws were enacted “to counteract the participation of U.S. citizens in other nation’s economic boycotts or embargoes. These ‘antiboycott’ laws are the 1977 amendments to the Export Administration Act (EAA) and the Ribicoff Amendment to the 1976 Tax Reform Act (TRA). While these laws share a common purpose, there are distinctions in their administration.”

Antiboycott Compliance

The Bureau is charged with administering and enforcing the Antiboycott Laws under the Export Administration Act. Those laws discourage, and in some circumstances, prohibit U.S. companies from furthering or supporting the boycott of Israel sponsored by the Arab League, and certain Moslem countries, including complying with certain requests for information designed to verify compliance with the boycott. Compliance with such requests may be prohibited by the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and may be reportable to the Bureau.

The law specifies boycotts called by foreign nations, leaving the possibility that US citizens can declare themselves the originators of a boycott. However other language makes clear that no boycott is to contravene the US government’s declared trade policy with Israel. To elaborate on the EAR:

Objectives:
The antiboycott laws were adopted to encourage, and in specified cases, require U.S. firms to refuse to participate in foreign boycotts that the United States does not sanction. They have the effect of preventing U.S. firms from being used to implement foreign policies of other nations which run counter to U.S. policy.

Primary Impact:
The Arab League boycott of Israel is the principal foreign economic boycott that U.S. companies must be concerned with today. The antiboycott laws, however, apply to all boycotts imposed by foreign countries that are unsanctioned by the United States.

Who Is Covered by the Laws?
The antiboycott provisions of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) apply to the activities of U.S. persons in the interstate or foreign commerce of the United States. The term “U.S. person” includes all individuals, corporations and unincorporated associations resident in the United States, including the permanent domestic affiliates of foreign concerns. U.S. persons also include U.S. citizens abroad (except when they reside abroad and are employed by non-U.S. persons) and the controlled in fact affiliates of domestic concerns. The test for “controlled in fact” is the ability to establish the general policies or to control the day to day operations of the foreign affiliate.

The scope of the EAR, as defined by Section 8 of the EAA, is limited to actions taken with intent to comply with, further, or support an unsanctioned foreign boycott.

These amendments are examples of Israel’s stranglehold on US legislation. Anti-Israel voices like to paint the picture that as a result, American citizens have been denied the freedom to vote with their pocketbooks where it comes to opposing the policies of Israel. Likewise, pro-Israel groups are content to leave the issue ambiguous. But clearly US individuals are free to make consumer choices and encourage others as they wish.

The function of the TRA further explains its business-limited scope:

What do the Laws Prohibit?

Conduct that may be penalized under the TRA and/or prohibited under the EAR includes:

• Agreements to refuse or actual refusal to do business with or in Israel or with blacklisted companies.

• Agreements to discriminate or actual discrimination against other persons based on race, religion, sex, national origin or nationality.

• Agreements to furnish or actual furnishing of information about business relationships with or in Israel or with blacklisted companies.

• Agreements to furnish or actual furnishing of information about the race, religion, sex, or national origin of another person.

Implementing letters of credit containing prohibited boycott terms or conditions.

The TRA does not “prohibit” conduct, but denies tax benefits (“penalizes”) for certain types of boycott-related agreements.

Boycott Israel Apartheid this Christmas

Boycott Divestment and Sanctions of Israel to end Palestinian OccupationIn solidarity with the ONE MILE MARCH to free Gaza, on the one year anniversary of Israel’s genocidal incursion into Gaza, let’s kick start a Colorado Springs effort to support the Global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement against Israel, to end apartheid and free Palestine. There are many US/Israeli companies who promote or profit from the illegal occupation of Palestine. On December 28, let’s target those in the Chapel Hills Mall!
L’Oreal, Revlon, Estee Lauder, Ahava, Hanes, Timberland, Teva, Victoria’s Secret, and Bath & Body Works.

American citizens can feel a vague sense of disconnectedness with respect to US business ties with Israel, or we can trace the responsibility for the injustices suffered in Palestine directly to retailers in our neighborhoods. Let’s let these local outlets know we will not tolerate their companies’ agenda in Palestine.

These are just among the consumer products and retailers which actively support Israel’s illegal actions in Palestine. Others you can boycott in town include Home Depot, Starbucks, McDonalds, Coca-Cola, Sara Lee, Danon, Nestle, Johnson & Johnson, Kimberly Clarke, AOL Time Warner, [Fox] News Corp, IBM, Intel, Nokia, Motorola and Caterpillar.

The BDS movement against Israel is attempting to recreate the same pressures which ultimately brought down apartheid in South Africa. Academic, cultural and business boycotts are targeted against US and Israeli companies which participate in the settlement industry, the economic exploitation of Palestine and Palestinians, and control of the population.