The ‘Palestine exemption’ to free speech

The BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) Movement has as its goal to “end international support for Israel’s oppression of Palestinians and pressure Israel to comply with international law.” An overview of its mission states:

Israel is occupying and colonising Palestinian land, discriminating against Palestinian citizens of Israel and denying Palestinian refugees the right to return to their homes. Inspired by the South African anti-apartheid movement, the BDS call urges action to pressure Israel to comply with international law.

BDS is now a vibrant global movement made up of unions, academic associations, churches and grassroots movements across the world. Eleven years since its launch, BDS is having a major impact and is effectively challenging international support for Israeli apartheid and settler-colonialism.

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Smearing Ahed Tamimi and her family

The 16-year old Palestinian girl Ahed Tamimi has become a cause celebre across the world after she slapped an Israeli soldier who had entered her family compound. This was after “an Israeli soldier shot Ahed’s 15-year-old cousin in the head with a rubber-coated metal bullet during a demonstration against the ongoing military occupation”. In retaliation, the Israeli authorities arrested her and she remains in custody.
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A breakthrough against Israeli apartheid at the New York Times

The growing worldwide support for the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) movement to pressure Israel over its treatment of Palestinians has led the Israeli government to ban 20 organizations that support BDS from entering Israel. The list includes Codepink, American Friends Service Committee, and Jewish Voice for Peace. The Israel lobby in the US has also used its clout to try and silence voices that support Palestinian rights and BDS.
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Much of the world views Donald Trump as a paper tiger

Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel catered to the wishes of the Israeli hardliners who have created an apartheid state against the Palestinians. It also pleased the evangelical extremists in the US, especially those eagerly awaiting he Rapture and the end of the world because this seems to fulfill one of the so-called prophecies that herald the second coming of Jesus.
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Israel destroys Palestinian children’s school

August 22 was to be the first day in a new school for Palestinian children who had previously had to walk a long distance to their old school, itself an overcrowded one in a converted car garage. But the night before opening day, as part of its ongoing US-supported efforts to make life hell for the Palestinians it rules over in its apartheid state, Israeli forces destroyed the children’s school so that when the children turned up, there was nothing there.

Israeli military jeeps came barreling down towards Jubbet al-Dhib’s first and only primary school late Tuesday night, terrifying locals who had been finishing preparations for the school’s grand opening set for the next morning. Soldiers shot tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets as they cleared the way for bulldozers and flatbed trucks brought in to take the school.
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How and why reporters self-censor when it comes to Israel

We have seen how the Israel lobby dominates the US government. The lobby is aided in this by the way that it can also intimidate journalists. Philip Weiss writes about how reporters from the major western press admit that they self-censor reports from Israel so as not to be ‘savagely targeted’ by both the Israeli government and the Israel lobby that exists not just in the US but in other countries like the UK and Australia a well.
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The Israel lobby seeks to criminalize criticisms

That Israel is on the road to becoming a rightwing theocracy should be no surprise to anyone following developments in that country. As part of that effort, Israel keeps making the plight of Palestinians worse by denying them the basic necessities of life. This atrocious inhumane treatment of Palestinians and other minority groups in Israel, Gaza and the Occupied West Bank has led to increased support for the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement.
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How permanent occupation is affecting attitudes in Israel

On a recent visit to Israel, Philip Weiss decided to look at how the prolonged occupation of the West Bank and the cruel treatment by the Israeli government of Palestinians who live in the occupied territories and the West Bank has affected Jews living in Israel and what he finds is not encouraging. It is a long piece that features the things he saw and the conversations he had.
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The phony ‘Middle East peace process’ gets a new lease of life

Like every new president before him, Barack Obama hoped to make some headway in resolving the bitter dispute between Israel and the Palestinians. But he and his secretary of state John Kerry eventually realized that Israeli intransigence was too strong especially since, thanks to the Israel lobby in the US has a lock on the US congress, they could not use as a bargaining chip the only real leverage they have, the massive amount of aid that the US gives that country. So they essentially gave up.
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Apartheid in Israel? It’s been there for ages

It was not that long ago that using the word ‘apartheid’ to describe the conditions of Palestinians in the Israeli occupied territories would arouse indignant responses and charges of anti-Semitism would be leveled against the speaker. But those days are long gone as the state of affairs has become more widely known and the realization has sunk in that the label accurately captures it. Even people like former president Jimmy Carter and South African archbishop Desmond Tutu and many others use the term.
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