Boycott

BDS victory in Brighton

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In a landmark victory for Palestinian rights campaigners SodaStream’s flagship Brighton EcoStream store was forced to close its doors.

The Israeli firm announced it had ceased trading on 1 July following two years of protests. The company is a target for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign (BDS) for its links to illegal settlements in the West Bank.

Strikes, soccer and sanctions: an interview with Mahmoud Sarsak

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Mahmoud Sarsak is a professional footballer who was arrested in 2009 and imprisoned in Israel for three years without charge. In April 2012 he joined the coordinated hunger strikes by Palestinian political prisoners. Riya Al'Sanah and Estelle Cooch interviewed him for Socialist Review.


Can you explain a bit about who you are and what you have been part of?

My name is Mahmoud Kemal Sarsak. I'm 26 years old and I was previously a player in the national Palestinian football team and I am now a released Palestinian prisoner. I was arrested on 22 July 2009 while travelling to join my new club at the time - Balata Youth in the West Bank. The Israeli secret services said they did not have enough evidence to send me to trial so I was held unlawfully for three years without charge.

Israel: the growing campaign for boycott

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Following Stephen Hawking's historic decision to boycott a conference in Israel, Tom Hickey looks at the growing campaign for BDS.

It has been an "annus horribilis" for Zionism and for Israel's apologists. The world's most famous physicist, Steven Hawking, joined the boycott of Israel. Noam Chomsky, long-time critic of Israel but opponent of the boycott, and the world's most famous philosopher of language, supported Hawking's decision. The Teachers' Union of Ireland (TUI) declared for an academic boycott. The Asia-America Studies Association (AASA) declared support for a boycott.

Remembering the Bristol bus boycott

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Fifty years ago this month a few committed activists from Bristol's 3,000-strong black community launched a remarkable and ultimately successful campaign. As in the rest of post-war Britain, housing was difficult to find. A "colour bar" existed in many places with signs in windows proclaiming "No Blacks or Irish". Young black men on a night out would run the gauntlet of "Teddy boys".

White women who befriended black men would often be shunned by their white friends, and even be labelled as prostitutes. The depth of this racism was a product of Britain's imperial past, whereby black and Asian people would be considered as uncivilised children, and portrayed as near savages in general public discourse. As in some other cities, such as Coventry and West Bromwich, the colour bar in Bristol extended to employment on the buses.

Don't dance with Israeli apartheid

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Cultural boycott of Israel

Edinburgh International Festival director Jonathan Mills refused to disinvite Israeli dance troupe Batsheva from this summer's festival. But he had to eat his words when Scotland's national poet, Liz Lochhead, joined Iain Banks and AL Kennedy in defending the cultural boycott of Israel because of its violations of Palestinian human rights.

Boycott, divestment, sanctions

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The flotilla attack sparked protests and solidarity worldwide. Phil Marfleet reports on the growing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which can offer a focus for solidarity with Gaza.

Gaza has been under occupation for over 40 years but international interest has seldom been as intense and international solidarity rarely as effective as since the recent killings at sea.

Eyewitness report: Israel's murder on the high seas

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On 31 May Israeli commandos attacked a flotilla of ships carrying aid to Gaza, killing nine people and injuring dozens more. Kevin Ovenden from Viva Palestina recounts the horror of the attack and gives his views on building a movement that can lift the siege of Gaza.

"All changed, changed utterly." So wrote the great poet William Butler Yeats after the execution by Britain of Irish freedom fighters following the 1916 Easter Rising in Dublin. Those words resonate today, following the massacre aboard the Mavi Marmara on bloody Monday - 31 May 2010. Now, a new phase of struggle is born in the movement to bring justice and freedom in Palestine. But it has come at a terrible price.

Building solidarity with Palestine

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Supporters of Israel want to undermine union support for the Palestinians. The left must be clear about imperialism's role in the region, and about how to maximise solidarity, writes Chris Harman.

A big debate has broken out after the annual congress of the lecturers' UCU union voted to hold discussions in branches around the country on how best to show solidarity with the Palestinian people. This has come just as the plight of the Palestinians has gone from bad to worse, with civil war between the elected Hamas administration which controls the Gaza Strip and the Fatah regime based in the West Bank.

Combatting the Strangulation of Palestine

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Western governments have so far refused to recognise the Palestinian Hamas government democratically elected in January 2006.

Economic aid to the Palestinian government was curtailed and Israel is unlawfully withholding tax and customs revenue due to the PA (£35 million per month). Likewise, foreign bank accounts and financial transactions by the Palestinian Authority have been frozen, and frequent blockades of border crossings between Egypt, Jordan and Israel are causing Palestinian trade to collapse, leaving the Palestinians without basic food and medicines.

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