“The chairs outside the cafes are taken by Western tourists. . .” (Samih Mohsen)

BDS Movement co-founder Omar Barghouti in Brussels, April 30, 2015.
BDS Movement co-founder Omar Barghouti in Brussels, April 30, 2015.

(A special post about the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement.)

From MONDOWEISS
THE UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST AND DIVESTMENT
Marc H. Ellis
June 16, 2015
In less than two weeks the General Synod of the United Church of Christ will be meeting in Cleveland, Ohio. Among the resolutions includes a divestment resolution regarding Israel-Palestine: “A Call for the United Church of Christ to Take Actions Toward a Just Peace in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.”
____The resolution and the accompanying theological justification for it is quite interesting on a variety of levels. In many ways the resolution and theological justification is revolutionary. The advance is clear and substantive. Yet there are areas that warrant further attention. The question the resolution poses is important: Whether the UCC wants to remain where it has been, a liberal light that is also a minor bench player, or a trailblazer that might change the internal and public church debate on Israel-Palestine.
(More. . .)
The Accompanying Theological Statement

From MONDOWEISS
TUTU ENDORSES UCC DIVESTMENT: ‘IT IS UNCONSCIONABLE TO REMAIN SILENT’
Mondoweiss Editors
June 17, 2015
Today Archbishop emeritus Desmond Tutu issued a statement supporting the resolution [calling for the UCC to divest funds from Israel].
My dear sisters and brothers in the United Church of Christ,
____Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ, through whom we share work and witness on behalf of God’s love and God’s justice.
____I write to endorse, “A Call for the United Church of Christ to Take Actions Toward a Just Peace in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict”, Resolution #4, which will be put to the vote at your 30th General Synod later this month in Cleveland, Ohio.
____We grieve over Israel’s decades long oppression of Palestine and Palestinians. . .
(More. . .)

Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Archbishop Desmond Tutu

From +972 MAGAZINE
INTERVIEW: THE MAN BEHIND THE BDS MOVEMENT
Rami Younis
June 14, 2015
Omar Barghouti is one of the most infamous names in pro-Israel and Israeli government circles at the moment. Officials have portrayed this Palestinian human rights activist and leader of the BDS movement — which he co-founded a decade ago and now leads — as a threat to the State of Israel. How big of a threat? Well, just last week the country’s best-selling newspaper, Yedioth Ahronot, featured a front-page story about him, dubbing him “Explosive Omar.” And if he and his boycott movement are giving both Zionist officials and their media a panic attack, one can only assume he is doing something right.
(More. . .)

❹ From HAARETZ.COM (the online edition of Haaretz Newspaper in Israel)
AVOIDING WEST BANK SETTLEMENT GOODS ISN’T BOYCOTT – IT’S THE LAW
According to int’l law – by which the State of Israel was established and recognized – the settlements are stolen lands, which is a war crime, and abetting war criminals, such as by financing them, is a crime, too.
By B. Michael
Jun. 10, 2015
The boycott issue is once again in the headlines, and I wish to make a confession: I don’t buy products made in the settlements. This isn’t, heaven forbid, a boycott, and it obviously isn’t a call to others to boycott. It’s forbidden to boycott. There’s a law. And I’m a law-abiding citizen. Always. Even when I don’t like the laws.
____And that’s precisely why I don’t buy products made over the Green Line: the law. Because in my view, international law is also law.
(More. . .)

From +972 MAGAZINE
WHY NOT BOYCOTT IRAN?
Haggai Matar
June 15, 2015
The fact that there are human rights abusers worse than Israel should not obscure the fact that the Palestinian-led BDS movement is asking for one thing: solidarity.
____One of the most common claims one hears against the BDS movement is that it is hypocritical. “Why don’t they boycott Iran/Syria/Hamas/ISIS?” is a question that comes up quite often.
(More. . .)

From HAARETZ.COM (the online edition of Haaretz Newspaper in Israel)
RIVLIN: ACADEMIC BOYCOTTS AGAINST ISRAEL ARE FIRST-RATE STRATEGIC THREAT
President meets with university heads to weigh the impact of the boycott movement and discuss strategies to fight it.
Jonathan Lis and Yarden Skop
May 28, 2015
President Reuven Rivlin yesterday described academic boycotts against Israel as a “strategic threat of the first order.”
____During a discussion of the issue at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem, the chairman of the Council of Presidents of Israeli Universities, Technion president Prof. Peretz Lavie, said it was still possible to stop the snowball effect of the movement, but warned that “we are at the 90th minute.” Lavie, who attended the meeting together with fellow university heads, called for “strategic action” to stop the boycott movement in Europe and the United States.
____“Anti-Israel student organizations were once very few; now they are at all the leading universities. We are appealing to you to place the issue on the agenda,” Lavie said, addressing Rivlin.
____During the meeting university heads noted a number of results of the boycott movement, including a significant decline in collaborative scientific research. . .
(More. . .)

From PALESTINE CHRONICLE
BIBI BOOSTS BDS – ISRAEL’S OPPOSITION PROVES IT IS NECESSARY
Ben White
Jun 14 2015
In his speech to AIPAC last year, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu referred 18 times to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign. A year on, and it is clear that for Bibi, BDS is the new public enemy number one. Denounced as an antisemitic “strategic threat,” the Palestinian-led, global campaign to pressure Israel into ending systematic rights violations is now very much in Tel Aviv’s cross-hairs.
____Ironically, it is during Netanyahu’s time in office that BDS has made considerable headway. His ambiguity over Palestinian statehood (in public, veering between rejection and unreliable endorsement) is exacerbated by the unambiguous views of his hard-right ministers and coalition partners. Then there was the unprecedented bombardment of Gaza, also under Bibi’s watch, and a slew of anti-democratic, hyper-nationalist legislative initiatives.
(More. . .)

From HAARETZ.COM (the online edition of Haaretz Newspaper in Israel)
IT’S ISRAELIS, NOT BDS, WHO MUST END THE OCCUPATION
If anything can be learned from the case of South Africa it’s that one cannot expect boycotts alone to change the situation.
Iris Leal
Jun. 16, 2015
It’s easy to give in to the sense that the increasing deterioration in Israel’s international standing is some kind of cosmic punishment being imposed on the right-wing government for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s electoral victory. Easy, but foolish. There clearly is a concerted boycott campaign against Israel, but if anything can be learned from the case of South Africa it’s that one cannot expect boycotts alone to change the situation.
(More. . .)

“LAMENTATION,” BY SAMIH MOHSEN

At Manger Square, at midday,
The chairs outside the cafes
Are taken by Western tourists, in September
They sip at their longing for God
The streets teem with passers-by
And foreign languages
We tread on the shadow
Of an old man stretched out on the pavement
With his arm and a tattered shoe for a pillow
His mattress was a story. . .
We pass by his wounds without seeing
Beer tickles our bellies to laughter
And telling inane anecdotes
We try to release the child within us
We stand in Manger Square
And mimic the dance-steps of Zorba the Greek
We step
We laugh
We step into the ring of lamentation.
–translated by Henry King

Samih Mohsen was born in the village of Naqour in Nablus, Palestine (Occupid Territories) in 1953, and has published two collections of poetry, _Exiting the Narrow Rooms_ and _Kingdoms & Peril_.
From a book review of A Bird is not a Stone: An Anthology of Contemporary Palestinian Palestinian Poetry in which this poem is published:
“It is poignant and grimly amusing to read of the Western tourists who ‘sip at their longing for God’ in Manger Square and ignore ‘an old man stretched out on the pavement’ (‘Lamentation’ by Samih Mohsen, trsl. Henry King). It is hard not to feel something of a tourist oneself when reading a book of poems like this written, as it were, from Emily Dickinson’s ‘great pain’. As Iain Crichton Smith wrote in his long essay about the Hebrides: ‘Real people in a real place’; the Palestinians are also real people in a real place. And the land itself which is the subject at the heart of most of these poems, guarding the bones of their relatives and ancestors, is sacred to them.” From the online magazine, “The Bottle Imp.”
boycott_divestment_sanctions_560

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