Saturday, January 10, 2009

Protests worldwide at Gaza massacre

London protests intensify:

Tens of thousands of demonstrators marched through the streets of London today in the biggest public protest yet in Britain against the Israeli offensive in Gaza.

The march began in Hyde Park, where Speakers' Corner was turned into a sea of Palestinian flags and banners condemning Israel, before making its way to Kensington Gardens. There were scuffles outside the Israeli embassy as the march passed by the gates leading to its entrance.

Naomi Klein: Enough. It's time for a boycott:

It's time. Long past time. The best strategy to end the increasingly bloody occupation is for Israel to become the target of the kind of global movement that put an end to apartheid in South Africa. In July 2005 a huge coalition of Palestinian groups laid out plans to do just that. They called on "people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era". The campaign Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions was born.

Every day that Israel pounds Gaza brings more converts to the BDS cause - even among Israeli Jews. In the midst of the assault roughly 500 Israelis, dozens of them well-known artists and scholars, sent a letter to foreign ambassadors in Israel. It calls for "the adoption of immediate restrictive measures and sanctions" and draws a clear parallel with the anti-apartheid struggle. "The boycott on South Africa was effective, but Israel is handled with kid gloves ... This international backing must stop."

Yet even in the face of these clear calls, many of us still can't go there. The reasons are complex, emotional and understandable. But they simply aren't good enough. Economic sanctions are the most effective tool in the non-violent arsenal: surrendering them verges on active complicity.

Israeli basketball team booed off the court in Turkey:

Via Jews sans Frontieres:
"Israel's Bnei Hasharon basketball team departed from Turkey early on Wednesday after their game with Turk Telekom in Euro Cup was suspended on Tuesday due to heavy protest by audience."

Venezuela sends Israeli Ambassador packing:

Via Jews sans Frontieres:

Well done that man [Hugo Chavez]! The State of Israel's ambassador to Venezuela is being chucked out over the zionist assault on Gaza. Here's AP via google news:
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Protesters condemning Israel's offensive in the Gaza Strip sprayed graffiti and hurled shoes at the country's embassy in Venezuela on Thursday, backing President Hugo Chavez's decision to expel the Israeli ambassador.

Demonstrators waved Palestinian flags and chanted "Gaza, hold on! The world is rising up!" Journalists estimated the crowd at about 1,000.

Protesters broke windows as they threw shoes and firecrackers at the seven-story building housing the Embassy and spray-painted "Israel Get Out" and "Long live a free Palestine" on its storefronts.

Chavez has ordered Ambassador Shlomo Cohen to leave in protest over the attacks in Gaza. Israel says Cohen was given until Friday to depart, and the nation is considering expelling Venezuelan diplomats in response.

"We are leaving without hate or rancor. On the contrary, we have much fondness for the Venezuelan people," Cohen told The Associated Press on Thursday at a gathering at a Jewish community center in eastern Caracas.

More than 700 have been killed since Israel launched the offensive Dec. 27, aiming to halt Palestinian rocket attacks into southern Israel.

The protesters included Venezuelans of Arab descent and Chavez supporters with no links to the Middle East.

"I disagree with them killing all those people," said Robert Cardenas, a 43-year-old art museum employee.

Chavez has long been critical of Israel in its conflict with the Palestinians. He accuses the Israeli government of acting as an arm of Washington.

Jewish community leader Abraham Levy, president of the Venezuelan Confederation of Israelite Associations, has said the diplomatic break attempts to demonize Israel. Venezuela's Jewish community numbers nearly 15,000.

Hasta la vista excellency!

Protests in Switzerland:


At 7:18 PM, Blogger Emmanuel said...

Regarding the boycott: it won't work. It's counter productive. Instead of promoting peace it promotes Israeli defensiveness. It pisses the hell out of Israelis, even the peaceniks, who then spend more time working against a boycott than on pro-peace initiatives.

The more talk there is about a boycott of Israel, the less I feel like giving consessions to the Palestinians.

At 8:38 PM, Blogger Gert said...

Oh, a massive boycott will work, trust me, the PR impact alone makes it worth doing. See also SA. Without the SA boycott most westerners would still be wondering what the Afrikaner word apartheid actually means...

At 10:39 PM, Blogger Emmanuel said...

First of all, the PR comes before the boycott. People don't participate in a boycott without knowing what its goals are. The same resources required to create awareness of a boycott would be more wisely spent on co-existence projects, which are ultimately much more productive.

Second of all, it is debatable whether or not the boycott was what finally brought down apartheid.

Third of all, the Israeli-Palestinian case is much more complicated than the South African case. With apartheid, it was clear cut racism. In the Middle East, Israel has a point, too. A hasty withdrawal can be very dangerous for us if we do it without Palestinians first agreeing to stop fighting us. Because of this complexity, less people will be convinced a boycott is the right and moral thing to do.

In the end, only Arabs, Muslims and bleeding hearts will take part in boycotts against Israel. Others will realize it is the wrong and immoral thing to do.

At 12:03 PM, Blogger Gert said...

"In the end, only Arabs, Muslims and bleeding hearts will take part in boycotts against Israel, [...]"

Here you're overreaching: I know many non-Arabs, non-Muslims, non-bleeding hearts and quite few Jews that would take part.


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