Fighting the BDS in the UK

by Mona Young

Before Sussex Friends of Israel was created, the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement was well-known in Brighton UK. They had been protesting against Israeli goods for years, targeting different shops – from supermarkets to smaller stores.
When Ecostream, a “Green”/Refill/Ecologically-friendly shop, (part of Sodastream, an Israeli-based company) opened in September 2012, it was met with a picket by BDS activists, shouting, and screeching through a megaphone. It was the noise being made, that drew two men, (Simon Cobbs, – a Jewish man, and Daniel Laurence a Christian) to the shop to see what was happening. Not being able to believe the hatred and bigotry directed at one shop, especially antiIsrael lies expressed so viciously, Cobbs and Laurence went back to their own communities and told them what was going on down at Ecostream, both resolving to do something.
The following week, both men went to Ecostream again, each with a group of friends, and the group that became known as Sussex Friends of Israel quickly began to grow. People of all ages: Jewish, Christian, and other, and members of the LGBT community started to turn out in support started to turn out in support, and pro-Israel leaflets were distributed. Sussex Friends of Israel was “officially” born in January 2013, becoming a registered organisation, with a director and “board” of both Jewish and Christian members. Locally, SFI goes to anti-Israel seminars at universities and speaks up for Israel as much as possible. SFI has also presented a petition to the UK store Co-op which boycotts settlement products.
In July and September, “Bagels against Bigotry” Street Party was launched in response to the BDS march/demonstration called “National Day of Action/Day of Rage” against Ecostream.
Bagels against Bigotry included a huge array of smoked salmon bagels, cakes, Israeli food, and Jewish cuisine. The public enjoyed themselves, and when the BDS march arrived at Ecostream, the police prevented them from standing outside, and soon after, directed them to the opposite side of the road. Meanwhile, Ecostream reported it had broken its record for a day’s trading since the shop opened!
In December, Cakes against Hate was launched, a belated “Chanukah and Christmas” themed street party with cake and biscuits, Father Christmas and street music. It certainly was a festive occasion!
When SFI Facebook was revamped in September 2013, within 4 months, our following increased from 252 to over 3,000 Likes. So far, 50 countries have responded to SFI in support in various ways, and our average audience is approximately 50,000 a week, with a picture of one of our supporters once reaching 140,000 views. The Israeli Knesset gave moral support, as did 12 other Israeli Embassies in various other countries.
In January 2014, when a replica of Israel’s security barrier was erected around St. James’ Church in Piccadilly, London UK, in what many have called “an anti-Israel stunt” the majority of SFI got on the train to London after the usual Ecostream demonstration, to stand with the other pro-Israel organisations, with flags and leaflets, and countered a simultaneous anti-Israel protest.
What is incredible with SFI is that none of us have been activists before! We were simply residents of Sussex who had enough of hatred toward Israel.
We at SFI literally have no idea what will happen in 2014. Last year was a non-stop rollercoaster of a ride – defying self- expectations and our opponent’s expectations! We hope 2014 will do the same!

Is Your Alma Mater Complicit in ASA’s Israel Boycott?

— by Ronit Treatman

This week, the American Studies Association (ASA) voted to endorse an academic boycott of Israel. A Cornell University professor, William Jacobson, is leading an effort to encourage universities to disassociate themselves from the ASA.

As of this writing, Brandeis University, Penn State University Harrisburg and Willamette University have disassociated themselves with the ASA, and Northwestern University heavily criticized the boycott, but the ASA still has many members.

I have sent an email to the president of Temple University — my alma mater — Neil D. Theobald, inquiring about Temple’s position on this matter. I pointed out that Temple is a member of the ASA, and as such supports it financially.  

Please use the contact information after the jump to contact the president of your university and share your thoughts, and use the link at the end to share a link to this article with your friends and family so that they can do the same.

As alumni, donors, and parents of potential future students, we have the right to know where our schools and their American studies departments stand.

Is the college you attended a member of the ASA? Contact information after the jump.
Remaining Members of the American Studies Association

List current as of publication. Please send updates or corrections.

Alabama

Alberta: See Canada.

Arkansas

California

  • California State University, Fullerton
    • Mildred García, Office of the President, 800 N. State College Blvd.,  CP-1000, Fullerton, CA 92834, 657-278-3456, [email protected]  
    • Chair of the Board of Trustees: Bob Linscheid, c/o Trustee Secretariat [email protected], 401 Golden Shore, Suite 620, Long Beach, CA 90802, (562) 951-4020  
    • Chancellor: Timothy P. White, [email protected], Office of Public Affairs, 401 Golden Shore, 6th Floor, Long Beach, CA 90802-4210, Phone: (562) 951-4800, Fax: (562) 951-4861

  • California State University, Long Beach  
    • Donald J. Para, Interim President, California State University, Long Beach, Office of the President, Brotman Hall BH-300, 1250 Bellflower Blvd., Long Beach, CA 90840-0115, 562/985-4121, [email protected]  
    • Chair of the Board of Trustees: Bob Linscheid, c/o Trustee Secretariat [email protected], 401 Golden Shore, Suite 620, Long Beach, CA 90802, (562) 951-4020  
    • Chancellor: Timothy P. White, [email protected], Office of Public Affairs, 401 Golden Shore, 6th Floor, Long Beach, CA 90802-4210, Phone: (562) 951-4800, Fax: (562) 951-4861

  • University of California, San Diego  
    • Janet Napolitano, University of California, Office of the President, 1111 Franklin Street, 12th floor, Oakland, CA 94607, Media office: (510) 987-9200, [email protected]  
    • Board of Regents, Office of the Secretary and Chief of Staff to the Regents, 1111 Franklin St.,12th floor, Oakland, CA 94607, fax: (510) 987-9224, [email protected]  
    • Pradeep K. Khosla, Office of the Chancellor, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive # 0005, La Jolla, California 92093-0005, (858) 534-3135, [email protected]  
    • Peter King, Public Affairs Executive Director, Phone: (510) 987-0279  
    • Daniel M. Dooley, External relations – Senior Vice President, Phone: (510) 987-0060  
    • Charles F. Robinson, General Counsel and Vice President – Legal Affairs, Phone: (510) 987-9800

  • Stanford University

  • University of Southern California  
    • C. L. Max Nikias, USC Office of the President, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089-4019, Phone: (213) 740-2111, Fax: (213) 821-1342  
    • Chair of the Board of Trustees, Edward P. Roski Jr.   USC Alumni Association, Epstein Family Alumni Center, 3607 Trousdale Parkway, TCC 305, Los Angeles, CA 90089-3106, (213) 740-2300

Connecticut

Delaware

District of Columbia

Florida

Georgia

Hawaii

  • University of Hawaii  
    • David Lassner, University of Hawaii, Office of the President, 2444 Dole Street, Bachman 202, Honolulu, HI 96822, [email protected], tel (808) 956-8207, fax (808) 956-5286

Illinois

  • DePaul University
    • Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, C.M., Ed.D., Office of the President, 1 East Jackson Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60604-2287, 312-362-8850, [email protected]  
    • American Studies Department, Allison McCracken, Director, Schmitt Academic Center, 5th floor, Room 560, 2320 N. Kenmore Avenue, Chicago, IL 60614, 773-325-7194, [email protected]
    • Tracy Krahl – Assistant Vice President, Alumni Engagement, Alumni Center, 2400 N. Sheffield Ave., Suite 150, Chicago, IL 60614, 312-362-5577, [email protected]
    • Board of Trustees, Secretary of the University, Edward R. Udovic, C.M., 312-362-8042, Fax: 312-362-6606, [email protected]
    • Chancellor, Rev. John T. Richardson, C.M., 773-325-8712, [email protected]

  • Northwestern University, Contact information needed.

Indiana

Iowa

Maryland

Massachusetts

Michigan

Minnesota

Mississippi

Missouri

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York

North Carolina

Ohio

  • Kenyon College, Contact information needed.
  • Youngstown State University
    • Dr. Randy J. Dunn, President, One University Plaza, Youngstown, Ohio 44555, [email protected], 330.941.3101  
    • Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, Tod Hall, Room 203, Youngstown State University, One University Plaza, Youngstown, Ohio 44555, Phone: (330) 941 3370, Fax: (330) 941 3108
    • Dr. Sylvia J. Imler, Chief Diversity Officer/Interim Director, [email protected]
    • YSU Board of Trustees Chair: Sudershan K. Garg, M.D., Chairman, c/o YSU Office of the President, One University Plaza Youngstown, Ohio 44555, (330) 941-3101

Oklahoma

Ontario: See Canada.

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island

Tennessee

Texas

Utah

Vermont

Virginia

Washington DC: See District of Columbia.

Washington State

Wyoming

Canada

Japan

United Kingdom

Source: American Quarterly, September 2013, Volume 65, Number 3.

 

Britain’s Cooperative Group Embraces The Boycott Against Israel

— By Eric Lee

On 28 April, the fifth largest supermarket chain in Britain, the Co-operative Group, voted to stop trading with Israeli companies that source some of their products from Jewish settlements in the West Bank.  It is the first British supermarket chain to do so.

For those of us who oppose boycotts targetting the Jewish state, it is easy to dismiss this as irrelevant.  After all, it’s not like the Co-op voted to ban all Israeli products.  In fact the Co-op went out of their way to say precisely that.  They’re not boycotting Israel, they said.  They’re just boycotting “companies that profit from the occupation”.

More after the jump.
The decision comes despite the Co-op’s already having taken care of the problem last year.  According to their “Human rights and trade policy” report from 2011, “Significant time and resource is dedicated to safeguarding our Policy.  For example, to ensure that none of our produce originates from the illegal Israeli settlements, we use a robust policing system of grower codes, map grid references and spot check audits on our complete supply chain. In this way we can guarantee that none of our produce comes from these settlements.”

Despite that guarantee, the Co-op felt it had to go one step further. Apparently, it was not enough to guarantee that no produce from the Jewish settlements.  They’ve gone one step further.

Before dismissing the Co-op’s decision as being no big deal, it’s worth having a look at what supporters of Hamas and the Islamic Jihad in the UK are saying.

The London-based Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), which supports a “one-state solution” which would effectively destroy Israel, is ecstatic about the Co-op decision.  “Fantastic news!” they declare on their website.  “This important development … shows yet again the growing movement for solidarity with Palestine is having a concrete impact.”  They are certain that other supermarkets will follow the Co-op lead.  And they encourage all their supporters to now sign up as members of the Co-op to show their support for the boycott decision.

In the eyes of the PSC, this is a massive win.  They’ve managed to extend the boycott of settlement goods to include produce grown inside of Israel proper.  And they’ve done this by tainting Israeli agricultural export companies as bodies which “profit from the occupation”.

This new concept allows one to call for boycotts of all kinds of Israeli companies and institutions not directly linked to the settlements.  In doing so, the boycotters are deliberately blurring the distinction between West Bank settlements and the rest of Israel. Theirs is a patient, one-step-at-a-time campaign aiming towards a complete boycott of the Jewish state.

The Guardian, a newspaper notoriously hostile to Israel, once again made no attempt at objectivity in its coverage.  Referring to the pro-Hamas PSC as “Palestinian human rights campaigners”, they noted that this was “the first time a supermarket anywhere in the west had taken such a position”.

After quoting from several supporters of the boycott (but no one from the Jewish community in Britain), they concluded their account with a sneering reference to official Israeli policy.   “Boycott campaigns against Israel are routinely denounced by Israeli officials as part of a drive to ‘delegitimise’ the Jewish state,” they wrote.

Routinely denounced.  Delegitimise —  in quotes.

British Jews are deeply worried by this development, saying that “the Co-op has not fully understood the Jewish community’s serious concerns with an ever-increasing slippery-slope boycott policy.”

They should not be alone in making this argument.  They need allies in Britain, elsewhere in Europe and around the globe.

One can oppose the policies of the Netanyahu-Mofaz government including opposing the building of Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

But to go from there to supporting a boycott of Israeli companies that may have “profited from the occupation” is a step too far.

The PSC’s strategy is absolutely clear and they’re not hiding it. They are taking this one step at a time.

First, persuade groups like the Co-op to boycott settlement goods. Few on the Left would speak out against that.

Second, ban goods from companies which source some of their products from the settlements.  Again, very few voices would be heard against that either.

The next step is to ban all Israeli products on the basis that the Israeli economy and society “profit from the occupation”.

British Jews are feeling very worried about these developments.

One might think that this sort of thing can’t happen in America.  But it can.  The same logic – first ban settlement goods, then ban goods from those who “profit from the occupation” may well resonate in the US as well.

But if it can be shown that the concept of “those who profit from the occupation” is actually a code word for Israelis (or even Jews), we can turn this around.

The pro-Hamas “Palestinian human rights campaigners” may have gone a step too far.

This is a fight that we can win.

UN Commemorates Racist Durban Racism Conference

— Sharon Bender

B’nai B’rith International condemns the United Nations General Assembly’s adoption of a resolution commemorating the 10th anniversary of the 2001 World Conference Against Racism. That event, in Durban, South Africa, was a forum overshadowed by rabid anti-Israel sentiment and deserves to be remembered as embodying the worst aspects of the United Nations.

The vote results included 104 nations in favor of the resolution, 22 against, and 33 abstentions.

B’nai B’rith International commends those nations voting against the commemoration: Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Netherlands, Palau, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Sweden, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Particularly disappointing was the near unanimous bloc of Latin American nations voting in favor of the resolution.

More after the jump.
The proposal to celebrate the original Durban conference has been championed by Arab and other largely non-democratic states, many with records characterized by mistreatment of minorities that have used their collective numbers to push through many anti-Israel resolutions at the world body. Though it is now only in its early planning stages, the Durban commemoration has been scheduled for a time when world leaders are expected in New York in September 2011, and just after the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

“It is tragic that more nations don’t publicly recognize and condemn Durban as the anti-Israel, anti-Jewish free-for-all it truly was,” B’nai B’rith International President Dennis W. Glick said. “Our delegates joined other non-governmental organizations in walking out of the conference in 2000 and again during Ahmadinejad’s anti-Israel diatribe during the 2009 Durban Review Conference in Geneva. The prospects for anything positive to take place at a 10-year commemoration are no better.”

The 2001 World Conference Against Racism, with its Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (DDPA), implied that Israel alone is a racist nation. Even worse than the U.N. proceedings were the NGO forum and street scenes that saw horrific expressions of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism.

“The original Durban conference attempted to validate the perverse theory that Zionism is racism,” B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin said. “Durban’s legacy of hate, intolerance, and double standards should never be forgotten, and should certainly never be celebrated.”

Following the proposal to commemorate Durban, Canada was the first country to unequivocally state it would not attend such an event. B’nai B’rith is calling on all countries not to participate in “Durban III.”