Swedish Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, Newsletter No 30, 17 June 2014
This newsletter is published by the Action Group at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) for Boycott of Israel in collaboration with the network Isolera Israel. Find old issues of the newsletter here, and in Swedish here.
■ Stockholm meeting to preserve Palestinian identity of Jerusalem
At the beginning of May a Nordic conference was arranged in Stockholm by the Swedish Jerusalem Committee, which works against Israel’s war crimes and against the sale of goods from the illegal settlements. Main speaker Hannan Ashrawi said among other things that Jerusalem embodies Palestinian identity and therefore Israel wants to destroy all traces of Palestinian culture. She questioned the statement that peace talks are to address security for Israel but not for Palestine. A most interesting analysis was made by Dr Jad Isaac of the Applied Research Institute in Bethlehem. With vivid examples he showed how Jerusalem systematically Judaifies Jerusalem. The conference attracted 90 persons from Palestine and the Nordic countries, read more.. . An MP of the pro-Israeli ruling Moderate party, Michael Svensson, said in his address to the conference that he was angry about the injustices levelled at the Palestinians, which he witnessed at a visit in the area recently, read more in Swedish.
■ Manifestation in Stockholm on the occasion of the Nakbah Day
On the 15th of May the memory of the 1948 Nakbah (“disaster”) was celebrated at Sergels Torg in central Stockholm. The manifestation was arranged by the Social-Democratic Youth, Jews for Israeli-Palestinian Peace, the PGS solidarity organisation and several others, read more in Swedish.
■ Repeal decision to award Bill Gates the title of Honorary Doctorate
When informed that Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation had purchased $172m worth of shares in G4S the Action Group at KTH for Boycott of Israel wrote a letter to the Board of the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) asking it to repeal its decision of 2002 about an Honorary Doctorate to Bill Gates, read more..
■ Gates Foundation Sells Stake in U.K. Prison Operator G4S
The Gates Foundation Asset Trust has liquidated its entire stake in G4S, the world’s biggest security-services provider. The company has attracted criticism for its contracts with the Israeli prison system. The Guardian wrote that G4S should “end the corporation’s participation in Israel’s brutal occupation” in the West Bank, read more.
■ G4S to pull out of Israeli prisons?
On the 6th of June Financial Times reported that G4S will pull out of Israeli prisons. Referring to misleading statements in the past campaigners cautioned that pressure on the company must continue until the abuses end, read more..
■ Germany cancels military subsidy deal with Israel
Germany has provided billions of euros of military aid to Israel, but will now stop paying for new gun boats for the Israeli navy over anger about continued Israeli violations of international law, read more..
■ UK’s Black Students conference endorses BDS
On the 19th of May the NUS Black Students conference endorsed the Palestinian call for BDS at their national conference, read more..
■ EU bans poultry export from illegal settlements
The EU has informed Israel that it cannot accept the Israeli Agriculture Ministry’s authority to certify products in Israeli settlements, which are illegally built in the occupied Palestinian territory, and therefore Israel is not allowed to export poultry and eggs from these settlements to Europe. The decision is an implementation of the EU’s July 2013 commitment not to recognise Israeli sovereignty over occupied Palestinian territory that came about following grassroots campaigning, read more..
■ Boston subway ads against Israel apartheid
At the beginning of June travellers in Boston could check out posters by Ads Against Apartheid. The posters displayed texts such as:
– Israel has built 150 Jewish-only cities inside Palestine, using U.S. tax dollars. Does Israel want peace…or land?
– Since September, 2000 Israel’s military has killed one Palestinian child every four days, using U.S. tax dollars.
– Israel has destroyed 25,000 Palestinian homes, and created thousands of homeless families, using U.S. tax dollars, read more.
■ Israel has no right to be an apartheid state, says Boycott From Within founder
In 2011 the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) passed a law enabling the prosecution of Israelis who urge a boycott of Israeli goods or institutions. Ronnie Barkan is an activist targeted by that law. He is a founding member of Boycott from Within, an Israeli group that actively supports the Palestinian call for BDS. In an interview he said: “We focus on the cultural boycott. Israeli artists will be boycotted if they act as ambassadors for Israel or help whitewashing Israeli apartheid”, read more.
■ Name Israel an “apartheid state” and divest, Tutu tells US Presbyterians
For the US Presbyterian Church assembly in Detroit in the middle of June, Archbishop Desmond Tutu of Cape Town has issued a call on delegates to vote in favour of divestment from companies that assist “apartheid” Israel’s occupation Palestine, read more.
■ UC Santa Cruz’s students passed divestment resolution
At the end of May the Board of the University of California at Santa Cruz voted for divestment. This was the fifth undergraduate campus to pass such a resolution in California, read more.
■ International scholars withdraw from Israeli conferences
BDS activities recently made leading academics withdraw from participating in the June 7-9 Oral History Conference at the Hebrew University and the June 8-11 Film and Television Studies Colloquium at Tel Aviv, read more.
■ Academic boycott grows around the world
In its 27th newsletter the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (Bricup) reports that student councils in US, Britain, Ireland, Spain, Norway, South Africa, and other countries, have passed BDS-resolutions.