USC Students for Justice in Palestine

history, analysis, news, and event updates on the struggle for justice in palestine

Archive for February, 2009

Obama to Sanction Israel?

Posted by uscsjp on February 23, 2009

US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation: President Obama to Sanction Israel?

“Tomorrow, President Obama is expected to address a joint session of Congress and deliver a ‘blueprint’ for his FY2010 budget.

According to the terms of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between the United States and Israel in 2007 and made public by the US Campaign, the President is expected to request $2.775 billion in military aid to Israel in FY2010.

However, there are growing indications that the Obama Administration is considering sanctioning Israel. According to a senior Israeli security official in a Feb. 17 article in Ma’ariv, Israel fears that Special Envoy George Mitchell will convince the White House to cut military aid as a response to Israel’s ongoing settlement activities in the occupied West Bank. A Feb. 15 Ha’aretz article speculated that amounts available for U.S. loan guarantees to Israel would be cut for the same reason…”

–US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, 23 February, 2009

See Also These Recent Headlines from Democracy Now!:

Netanyahu to Become Israeli PM

“In Israel and the Occupied Territories, Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu appears to have locked up the Prime Minister’s office after winning support from another right-wing politician. On Thursday, Avigdor Lieberman said he would join a Netanyahu coalition government, giving Netanyahu a large advantage over Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, whose Kadima Party narrowly edged Likud in elections earlier this month. Meanwhile, Livini has ruled out joining Netanyahu’s coalition over his opposition to peace talks with Palestinian leaders in the West Bank.

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni: ‘Sixty-five members of parliament decided to say to the Israeli president that they prefer Bibi Netanyahu as their prime minister. So this is a coalition that I cannot be part of, since I know that I believe in a peace process. I believe that any peace process should be based on two states for two peoples.’

Although Livni disagrees with Netanyahu on holding peace talks, she’s promised to seek ‘maximum’ Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank under any peace deal.

Kerry, Congress Members Tour Gaza

Meanwhile, three US lawmakers have visited the Gaza Strip in the most high-level American contact with the coastal strip in over eight years. On Thursday, Democratic Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, as well Congress members Keith Ellison of Minnesota and Brian Baird of Washington, toured Gaza on separate trips. The lawmakers refused to meet Hamas leaders but were shown some of the destruction from the three-week Israeli assault that ended last month. Kerry said US policy won’t change from insisting Hamas renounce violence, recognize Israel and respect previous agreements signed by the Palestinian Authority.

Sen. John Kerry: ‘None of us have any illusions that there is a place for terrorists at the table. People need to change their attitude. People need to change their approach. And we’re hopeful that this new opportunity will provide us with a chance to explore the possibilities of real peace.’

The US position has been criticized because it refuses to demand the same conditions on Israel. The Israeli government has refused to renounce violence, recognize previous agreements, and recognize a Palestinian state, which it continues to prevent through settlement construction in the West Bank and the ongoing siege of Gaza. After their tour, Congress members Ellison and Baird expressed sympathy for Palestinians in Gaza. In a statement, Baird called the human suffering in Gaza ‘shocking and troubling beyond words.’ Ellison said, ‘People, innocent children, women and non-combatants, are going without water, food and sanitation, while the things they so desperately need are sitting in trucks at the border, being denied permission to go in.’

Aid Convoy Heads to Gaza from Europe

A 100-vehicle, mile-long aid convoy is making its way through Europe with a stated final destination of the Gaza Strip. The group ‘Viva Palestina’ set off from London on Saturday. Organizers plan to gather more participants as the convoy passes through France, Spain, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt, where they hope to cross the Rafah border into Gaza. The vehicles include a fire engine and ambulances. They’re carrying goods including clothes, blankets and children’s toys.

Report: Covert Israeli Program Targets Iran Nuclear Officials

The Telegraph of London has revealed new details on covert Israeli operations inside Iran. Intelligence sources say Israel has established a ‘decapitation’ program to assassinate Iranian officials involved in nuclear activities. Israel has been linked to the deaths of several figures in Iran’s nuclear program, including a scientist who died under mysterious circumstances in 2007…

Other Recent Articles of Interest:

Israel’s Eurovision team: An Arab who looks Jewish and a Jew who looks Arab

Ha’aretz, 21 February, 2009

Netanyahu, put your money where your mouth is

–Gideon Levy, 19 February, 2009

Did Egypt sabotage deal over Gaza, Shalit?

–Amal Ghazal, The Electronic Intifada, 18 February 2009

Always on the side of the egg

–Haruki Murakami, Ha’aretz, 17 February, 2009

Obama on Israel-Palestine

–Noam Chomsky, 24 January, 2009

The Facts About Hamas and the War on Gaza

–Norman Finkelstein, Counterpunch 13 January, 2009

And finally, an old, but still relevant, piece

What’s So Bad About Israel?

–Michael Neumann, Counterpunch, 6 July, 2002


Posted in Activism/Divestment, Analysis, Blogroll, News, Opinion/Editorial | 1 Comment »

Israel’s Elections Promise To Bring More Hatred and Aggression

Posted by uscsjp on February 9, 2009

Israel’s elections and U.S. policy

“Israel is holding its national elections tomorrow. Not only is it virtually certain that the right-wing militarist Benjamin Netanyahu of the Likud Party will become the new Prime Minister, but it is highly likely that the ultra-right, anti-Arab nationalist and West Bank settler Avigdor Lieberman of the racist Yisrael Beitenu (Israel Our Home) Party will perform scandalously well.  Polls show Lieberman’s party winning between 15 to 20 of the 120 seats in the Knesset, perhaps even surpassing Israel’s Labour Party for third place and even an outside change for second place.  Lieberman’s party will form a vital component of Netanyahu’s ruling coalition and will secure a key Cabinet post for Lieberman himself.

So extreme and repugnant is Lieberman that even Marty Peretz’s New Republic this week called his party ‘an extremist right-wing party’ and said that Lieberman ‘has focused much of his campaign inciting public anger against Israel’s Arab minority.’  In that article — headlined:  ‘The alarming rise of radical nationalism in Israel’ — former IDF soldier Arik Ben-Zvi described just some of the disgraceful lowlights:

Under the catchy slogan ‘No citizenship without loyalty’ (it rhymes in Hebrew), Yisrael Beiteinu is pushing for a new law requiring all citizens to swear an ‘oath of loyalty’ to the state. Israeli-Arab citizens or others who refuse could have their citizenship stripped from them…”

–Glenn Greenwald,, 9 February, 2009

Democracy Now! Latest Headlines:

UN Halts Gaza Aid Delivery in Hamas Dispute

“In Israel and the Occupied Territories, the UN says it’s stopped aid deliveries into Gaza after Hamas forces seized a shipment for the second time. United Nations Relief and Works Agency spokesperson Christopher Gunness said Hamas seized ten trucks on Friday.

UNRWA spokesperson Christopher Gunness: ‘The people of Gaza have suffered enough. They have gone through twenty-two days of conflict, and now we have a situation where their aid is jeopardized because their aid is being confiscated. This is a situation which must end immediately. The aid must be given back by the Hamas government.’

Hamas called the incident a misunderstanding and said it won’t be repeated. Much of Gaza’s 1.5 million population depends on aid for survival. Meanwhile, Israel continues sporadic military attacks in Gaza. Earlier today, a Palestinian militant was killed near the town of Beit Hanoun when an Israeli tank fired from across the border…”

–Democracy Now!, 9 February, 2009

See Also the following video from the BBC:

Families destroyed by Gaza conflict

“Three weeks of conflict in Gaza inflicted devastating damage.

Jeremy Bowen met a brother and sister who have lost their family…”

–BBC News, 8 February, 2009

Daily Trojan Letter to the Editor

“I take offense at the publication of a previous letter that begins, ‘Israel justified in defending itself.’ A sentence later, this letter introduces two entirely false claims: that last Monday’s protest was ‘anti-Israel’ and that its participants ‘perpetrated untruthful information about the current situation in the Middle East concerning Israel and the Gaza territory.’

I must insist that vague, derogatory terms like ‘anti-Israel,’ are improperly directed at the three respectable student organizations involved in Monday’s ‘Let Gaza Live’ rally: the Muslim Student Union, Students for Justice in Palestine and Food Not Bombs. To suggest that the rally was ‘anti-Israel’ is a misleading libel. By description, our rally intended ‘to raise awareness of a new SJP campaign to ask for USC divestment from Israel, in hopes that by alienating the Israeli state and withdrawing our money we will be able to influence its actions and help lead to a peaceful and just resolution to the problem that allows both sides to live in peace.’ If the idea of a boycott seems unproductive to some, we kindly ask students across campus and within all campus organizations to help us come up with a more creative, effective alternative. What else could end the violence between the Israelis and Palestinians? What else will work to end the occupation? Until a legitimate alternative is raised, our effort to initiate divestment from Israel stands…”

–Marwa Katbi, Daily Trojan, 8 February, 2009

And Finally, from Ha’aretz:

Secret Israeli database reveals full extent of illegal settlement

“Just four years ago, the defense establishment decided to carry out a seemingly elementary task: establish a comprehensive database on the settlements. Brigadier General (res.) Baruch Spiegel, aide to then defense minister Shaul Mofaz, was put in charge of the project. For over two years, Spiegel and his staff, who all signed a special confidentiality agreement, went about systematically collecting data, primarily from the Civil Administration.

One of the main reasons for this effort was the need to have credible and accessible information at the ready to contend with legal actions brought by Palestinian residents, human rights organizations and leftist movements challenging the legality of construction in the settlements and the use of private lands to establish or expand them. The painstakingly amassed data was labeled political dynamite.

The defense establishment, led by Defense Minister Ehud Barak, steadfastly refused to publicize the figures, arguing, for one thing, that publication could endanger state security or harm Israel’s foreign relations. Someone who is liable to be particularly interested in the data collected by Spiegel is George Mitchell, President Barack Obama’s special envoy to the Middle East, who came to Israel this week for his first visit since his appointment. It was Mitchell who authored the 2001 report that led to the formulation of the road map, which established a parallel between halting terror and halting construction in the settlements.

The official database, the most comprehensive one of its kind ever compiled in Israel about the territories, was recently obtained by Haaretz. Here, for the first time, information the state has been hiding for years is revealed. An analysis of the data reveals that, in the vast majority of the settlements – about 75 percent – construction, sometimes on a large scale, has been carried out without the appropriate permits or contrary to the permits that were issued. The database also shows that, in more than 30 settlements, extensive construction of buildings and infrastructure (roads, schools, synagogues, yeshivas and even police
stations) has been carried out on private lands belonging to Palestinian West Bank residents…”

–Uri Blau, Ha’aretz, 1 February, 2009

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60 Minutes Confronts Israeli Apartheid; BBC Continues to Refuse Palestine Charity Ad

Posted by uscsjp on February 1, 2009

Latest from Al Jazeera: Israeli jets bomb Gaza targets

“The Israeli military has bombed several targets in the Gaza Strip hours after the prime minister threatened to use a ‘disproportionate response’ to fresh rocket fire from the Palestinian territory…”

–Al Jazeera English, 2 February, 2009

J Street: 60 Minutes under attack

“This past Sunday, 60 Minutes aired a powerful and thoughtful report on the danger that Israeli settlements pose to the chances for Israeli-Palestinian peace. Watch the segment here.

Since the airing of the segment, 60 Minutes’ Bob Simon has been under attack for supposed ‘anti-Israel bias.’ CAMERA (the Orwellian-named Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America) alerted their activist network – flooding the 60 Minutes’ offices and their advertisers with angry phone calls charging media bias. Jewish community leader Abe Foxman fired off a letter calling the piece a ‘hatchet job on Israel.’ J Street members are writing letters of support to Bob Simon..”

–J Street, January, 2009

BBC halts inquiry into Gaza charity decision after legal challenge

“The BBC has been forced to halt an internal investigation into its decision not to broadcast an appeal for the aid effort in Gaza after being threatened with legal action.

The BBC Trust, the corporation’s internal regulator, has been examining 22,000 complaints against the decision by Mark Thompson, the Director-General, not to screen the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) appeal on the grounds that it would compromise the broadcaster’s impartiality.

The Trust has been forced to halt its deliberations after being served with a 23-page letter by Hickman & Rose, a North London firm of solicitors, that threatens to take the corporation to judicial review if the BBC does not screen the DEC appeal.

The legal letter, sent on behalf of two residents of Gaza and one British citizen, is understood to allege that the BBC’s decision was ‘irrational or unlawful’, is ‘offensive to public feeling’ and breaches Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights, regarding freedom of expression…”

–Patrick Foster, The Times Online, 30 January, 2009

(Socialist Worker)

The tale of two apartheids

“IN APRIL 1976, John Vorster, president of the then-racist apartheid regime of South Africa, paid an official state visit to Israel, where he was given the red-carpet treatment.

Israeli television showed him on his first day, visiting the Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem. At an official state banquet held for Vorster, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin toasted the ‘ideals shared by Israel and South Africa.’

Why was an outspoken member of a Nazi militia in South Africa during the Second World War and a leading member of the party that crafted official apartheid policies in South Africa being feted in Israel?

A statement in the South African government’s yearbook made two years after Vorster’s visit provides an answer: ‘Israel and South Africa have one thing above all else in common: they are both situated in a predominantly hostile world inhabited by dark peoples’…”

–Paul D’Amato, Socialist Worker, 29 January, 2009

USC professor helps boycott Israeli colleges

“As the conflict in Gaza rages on, professor David Lloyd has taken up his own fight here in the United States; along with 150 of his colleagues at other universities, Lloyd has joined the U.S. Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel in hopes of ending the violence in the area.

Lloyd, who teaches English, has been involved in several other divestment movements, including one to end apartheid in South Africa. His current campaign focuses on pressuring American colleges to refrain from establishing ties with Israeli universities until scholars in Israel speak out against their government’s policies in Gaza.

‘We are calling for the boycott because Israel has systematically denied the rights of Palestinians to get a full and proper access to education. It’s not just that they have bombed several educational institutions,’ he said. ‘They systematically interfere with access to education, whether it’s through the intricate network of checkpoints denying Gaza scholars the chance to take up their study in the U.S.’

The controversy surrounding this issue is not lost on Lloyd. He and his colleagues have received hate mail as a result of their involvement in the campaign, primarily because they have criticized the United States unwavering support of Israel and have accused Israel of failing to abide by international law, Lloyd said.

‘Up until this point, it has been virtually unspeakable in public to talk about boycotting Israel, and it produces a very hostile response. In the end, what we’re aiming at is a full boycott of Israel, both academic and economic,’ he said. ‘To circulate this idea as a possibility is of major importance. It’s part of a larger campaign to say Israel cannot be the exception. … All that we are asking is that the United States treat Israel the way it treats all other countries’…”

–Nicole Dailo, Daily Trojan, 30 January, 2009

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