Friday, April 13, 2018

Israeli forces must end the use of excessive force in response to “Great March of Return” protests

Dear friends,

As unarmed Palestinians once again staged protests in Gaza, Israel has once again opened fire on them.  As of today (14 April), 26 Palestinians have been murdered by Israel, including 3 children and Palestinian photojournalist Yasser Murtaja. An additional 3078 Palestinians have been injured.

Amnesty International has issued the following statement condemning Israel's actions.

Please support and join the Palestine solidarity actions in your city.

In solidarity, Kim

****

Israel/OPT: Israeli forces must end the use of excessive force in response to “Great March of Return” protests





The Israeli authorities must put an immediate end to the excessive and lethal force being used to suppress Palestinian demonstrations in Gaza, Amnesty International said as fresh protests have started today.

Following the deaths of 26 Palestinians, including three children and a photojournalist, Yasser Murtaja, and the injuring of around 3,078 others during protests on the past two Fridays, Amnesty International is renewing its call for independent and effective investigations into reports that Israeli soldiers unlawfully used firearms and other excessive force against unarmed protesters.
For the past two weeks, the world has watched in horror as Israeli forces unleashed excessive, deadly force against protesters, including children, who merely demand an end to Israel’s brutal policies towards Gaza and a life of dignity 

Magdalena Mughrabi, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.
“For the past two weeks, the world has watched in horror as Israeli forces unleashed excessive, deadly force against protesters, including children, who merely demand an end to Israel’s brutal policies towards Gaza and a life of dignity,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

“The Israeli authorities must urgently reverse their policies and abide by their international legal obligations. Their horrifying use of live ammunition against unarmed protesters, and the resultant deaths, must be investigated as possible unlawful killings.

“The Israeli authorities must respect the Palestinians’ right to peaceful protest and, in the event that there is violence, use only the force necessary to address it. Under international law, lethal force can only be used when unavoidable to protect against imminent threats to life.”

Eyewitness testimonies as well as videos and photographs taken during demonstrations point to evidence that, in some instances, unarmed Palestinian protesters were shot by Israeli snipers while waving the Palestinian flag or running away from the fence.
The Israeli authorities must urgently reverse their policies and abide by their international legal obligations. Their horrifying use of live ammunition against unarmed protesters, and the resultant deaths, must be investigated as possible unlawful killings. The Israeli authorities must respect the Palestinians’ right to peaceful protest and, in the event that there is violence, use only the force necessary to address it. 

Magdalena Mughrabi, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.
Among those injured since Friday 30 March, there were around 445 children, at least 21 members of the Palestinian Red Crescent’s emergency teams, and 15 journalists.

According to the Ministry of Health in Gaza, some 1,236 people have been hit by live ammunition. Others have been injured by rubber bullets or treated for tear gas inhalation dropped by drones. The World Health Organization expressed concern that nearly 350 of those injured may be temporarily or permanently disabled as a result of their injuries. So far, at least four people have had leg amputations.

On two consecutive Fridays, tens of thousands of Palestinians, including men, women and children, have gathered in five camps set up around 700 meters away from the fence that separates the Gaza Strip from Israel to reassert their right of return and demand an end to nearly 11 years of Israel’s blockade. While protests have been largely peaceful, a minority of protesters have thrown stones and, according to the Israeli army, Molotov cocktails in the direction of the fence. The Israeli forces claim that those killed were trying to cross the fence between Gaza and Israel or were “main instigators.”

There have been no Israeli casualties.

While the Israeli army indicated that it would investigate the conduct of its forces during the protests in Gaza, Israel’s investigations have consistently fallen short of international standards and hardly ever result in criminal prosecution. As a result, serious crimes against Palestinians routinely go unpunished.

In a statement made on 8 April, Fatou Ben Souda, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court expressed concern at the deaths and injuries of Palestinians by Israeli forces, reminding that the situation in Palestine was under preliminary examination by her office.

“Accountability is urgently needed not only for this latest spate of incidents where excessive and lethal force has been used by Israel but also for decades of potentially unlawful killings, including extrajudicial executions, and other crimes under international law.”

The protests were launched to coincide with Land Day, and are demanding the right of return for millions of refugees to villages and towns in what is now Israel.

The protests are expected to last until 15 May, when Palestinians commemorate the Nakba or “great catastrophe”. The day marks the displacement and dispossession of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in 1948-9 during the conflict following the creation of the state of Israel.

MELBOURNE SOLIDARITY RALLY WITH GAZA - 7 APRIL 2018


Dear friends,
my apologies for no posts for the last six week due to work, study and family taking up most of my time.  However, no doubt you all - like me - have been following what has been happening in Gaza.

Yesterday, Israel has once opened fire on unarmed Palestinians in Gaza.  As of today (14 April), 26 Palestinians have been murdered by Israel, including 3 children and Palestinian photojournalist Yasser Murtaja. An additional 3078 Palestinians have been injured.

Here in Melbourne, we organised and held a protest last weekend in opposition to Israel's murderous attacks on unarmed civilians in Gaza. I have included some photos below from the protest. Please get involved with helping to organise or please support the Palestine solidarity rallies happening in your city.

In solidarity, Kim
**

SOLIDARITY RALLY WITH GAZA - MELBOURNE, 7 APRIL 2017
(all photos are mine, so if you use them please credit: Live From Occupied Palestine and link to this blog) 




R from Gaza speaking about life in Gaza and Israel's attacks


Jewish activist, James Crafti, speaking in solidarity with Palestine

Nasser from Australians for Palestine









Zionist counter protest of about 40



Wednesday, February 28, 2018

AMIRA HASS: How the Israeli Army Got a Teen Who Was Shot in the Head to Say He Fell Off a Bike

Dear friends,
my apologies for not posting over the last seven or eight weeks, I have had pressing family and work issues. I hope to return to more posting more regularly over the coming weeks.

Over the last two months or so, a lot has been happening in particular in regard to the arrest of Ahed Tamimi, including the arrest and harassment of her family members.  Most recently, the IOF arrested Mohammed Tamimi, Ahed's cousin who was shot in the face by Israeli Occupation Forces.Leftwing Israeli political journal, +972 has documented the night raid and arrests here.

The IOF has  since coerced a statement out of Mohammed which claims that his injure was from a bike fall. This would be laughable if it wasn't so anger inducing. 

As Amira Hass notes in this article and she and many others have been noting for years. The IOF torture and coerce Palestinians into giving false statements. In particular, children are subject to this illegal behaviour.  When they are being "questioned" Palestinians, including children, are not allowed any legal representative to be present and children are not allowed to have a parent or guardian with them.

Beside the well document history of the IOF's torture and human rights abuses against Palestinian prisoners, including children - the shooting of Mohammed by the IOF is extremely well documents.  However, the main aim of the IOF is not to be factual or to tell the true, it is to to muddy the waters and to pander to the Israeli hard right as Sarit Michaeli from the Israeli human rights group, B'Tselem notes in her tweet on the issues. This is a standard trick used by the IOF and Zionists to call Palestinian testimony and actual facts into questions. It's very much an exercise in the promotion of "fake news".

As mentioned, Amira Hass outlines exactly how the IOF would have got Mohammed to saying something which can clearly be proven to be a lie.

in solidarity, Kim


****

COGAT chief Yoav Mordechai wants us to believe that friends, relatives, doctors and left-wing activists cooked up a huge lie about Mohammed Tamimi. But he was just telling investigators what they wanted to hear.
Amira Hass Feb 28, 2018 Haaretz

Mohammed Tamimi, at home in Nabi Saleh, January 2018.\ Alex Levac

Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, the coordinator of government activities in the territories, expects us to believe that tens of Palestinians and a few Israelis conspired to concoct a huge lie in order to slander the Israel Defense Forces.

According to him, the liar is not only 15-year-old Mohammed Tamimi. The liars are also his parents, members of his extended family in the village of Nabi Saleh, and friends – including Israeli leftist activist Jonathan Pollak. The latter were with Tamimi when he climbed a ladder on December 15 to see what the soldiers, ensconced in an empty house in his village, were up to. The teen was shot in the head and fell to the ground in a puddle of his own blood.In his Facebook post on Tuesday, Mordechai claims, in effect, that the Palestinians are stupid because so many of them collaborated in creating a lie that is so very easy to expose. If indeed there was a lie.

Israel Defense Forces Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, 
the coordinator of government activities in the territories, in 2016.

He is relying on things Tamimi told his police interrogators on Monday, just hours after a large military force burst into Nabi Saleh and into his home, before dawn, rousing him from his sleep and arresting him. Five other minors and five adults were arrested along with him, under similar conditions.

Still in the dark, half asleep and shaken, surrounded by rifles pointing at him, with air reeking of tear gas and the disgusting smell of the skunk-water sprayed by the troops – Mohammed Tamimi was taken in for interrogation. It is easy to guess what went through the mind of the wounded boy, who is slated to undergo yet another operation to reconstruct his skull in the coming weeks.


He must have been thinking: Perhaps I'll be held under arrest for many weeks. Perhaps my medical condition will get worse. Perhaps I won't even be released before going into surgery.

Tamimi told the investigators and representatives of the Civil Administration Coordination and Liaison Office, who for some reason made a point of being present, what they wanted to hear: that he was injured when he fell off his bike.

The security forces carry out hundreds of arrests and interrogations every week in Jerusalem and the West Bank. No one disputes the fact that one of their aims is to expose those who plan or carry out armed attacks. A second aim is to gather information, even of the most innocent sort, about as many people as possible and about social and political activities. Very banal, sometimes even embarrassing, information is extracted – even years later and under unexpected circumstances: when a person travels abroad, or when someone applies for an entry permit into Israel or for a residency permit for non-Palestinian spouse.

A third aim (though not necessarily the third most important) is to quash popular activity against the occupation, of which the village of Nabi Saleh has become a symbol. Palestinians are forbidden to demonstrate their resistance to the occupation, in any manner.




One of the ways of deterring individuals who may be potential participants in popular struggles is to wreak serious harm on people who are already taking part in them – by means ranging from injuring to killing; to detention under conditions harsher than those encountered by graft suspect Nir Hefetz; sleep deprivation; painful handcuffing; humiliating interrogations; ridiculous accusations like those based on "evidence" like empty tear-gas cannisters or visits to book exhibitions; administrative detentions (arrest without charges being filed); arrest until the conclusion of proceedings; and exorbitant fines.

Mass arrests, interrogations and collecting of information – these are an integral part of the control Israel wields over the Palestinians. Many of the arrests are another means whereby Israel attempts, systematically, to undermine and unravel the Palestinian social fabric in order to weaken its ability to withstand and defy the occupation.

When the detainees are minors, their jailers have a greater ability – with the help of a few slaps, painful positions during questioning and psychological pressure – to extract false incriminations and exaggerated, boastful descriptions of events from them. It is easy to manipulate and break them.

Among themselves the Palestinians are debating participation of minors in protest activities against the occupation. The ethos of the struggle is dear to them, and the loathing of the occupation runs too deep for this debate to be conducted in public, but the high price that is being paid by minors and their families is clear to everyone.

It is too early to say if a post like Yoav Mordechai’s will encourage the debate and whether it will be taken into the public domain or strengthen the position of those who say that Israel stops at nothing in order to oppress and therefore youngsters should not be denied their right to revolt.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Interview with Ahed Tamimi's lawyer, Gaby Lasky: Her case is making people see the occupation again


Dear friends,
please find below an interview with Ahed Tamimi's lawyer, Gaby Lasky.

In solidarity, Kim
************ 

Ahed Tamimi's Lawyer: Her case is making people see the occupation again

Gaby Lasky, the human rights attorney representing Ahed Tamimi and her mother Nariman, talks to +972 about what it means for a Palestinian to be put on trial in the occupier’s military courts, and some of the dangerous precedents being set.
 
By Joshua Leifer 

Israeli lawyer Gaby Lasky (C-L) speaks with her client sixteen-years-old Ahed Tamimi (2R) before she stands for a hearing in the military court at Ofer military prison near the West Bank of Ramallah, January 1, 2018. (Activestills)

The video of 16-year-old Ahed Tamimi confronting two Israeli soldiers outside of her home in the village of Nabi Saleh has become ubiquitous, broadcast across every media platform for weeks. So have the pictures of Ahed, handcuffed and surrounded by guards in court. Posters of Ahed have even appeared on bus stops in London. What those images often fail to properly convey is that Ahed is being detained in a military prison and being tried in a military court, and how that differs from the way a minor would be treated in an Israeli civilian court.

Attorney Gaby Lasky represents Ahed Tamimi and her mother, Nariman. Lasky, a former secretary general of Peace Now and a member of the Tel Aviv-Jaffa City Council for the left-wing Meretz party, has spent much of the last decade defending Palestinians, many of them involved in the popular struggle against the occupation.

I spoke with Lasky on Thursday about the challenges of working in Israeli military court, where 99.7 percent of Palestinian suspects are convicted; about the cases against Ahed Tamimi and her mother, Nariman; and about the structural injustices built into the Israeli legal system in the occupied territories.

The difficulty of Ahed’s case goes beyond the legal challenges Palestinians living under occupation face when arrested by the Israeli army, Lasky told me. “The video shows the essence of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians,” she stressed. Depending on where you stand, and perhaps who you are, watching the 16-year-old girl face down two heavily armed Israeli soldiers can reinforce either the Palestinian and Israeli narrative.

The following has been edited for length. 

What does it mean that the judge is wearing the same uniform as the prosecution?

The military court is not a court of justice in the regular sense; it’s an organ of the occupation. It perpetuates the occupation. Both the judge and the prosecution are wearing the same uniform, and are part of the same system, and the defense is not.

What are some of the obstacles in a case like Ahed’s that would be different if she were being tried in a civilian court?

First, it would be much, much easier to get her released from detention. I brought to court a lot of examples of adults who were released in cases where their offenses were greater than hers. [Civilian] courts in Israel do tend to release [suspects on bail]. Her being a minor would have made things even easier in an Israeli court. Cases in military court are more difficult from the get-go much because the laws are stricter, the charges are heavier, and rights are only partially protected.

But the difficulty with Ahed’s case is not only that we’re facing a military court; it’s the fact that the video shows the essence of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Someone can see the narrative of the Palestinians in that video, and on the other side, Israelis can see the narrative of Israel in that video.

When you talk about an offense in a regular court, you can always talk about the circumstances of the incident. In this case, the circumstances are a 16-year-old girl who was born into occupation. The military court doesn’t take those things into consideration. It’s not an issue that is brought to the table. It’s a given. But if you want to see the whole picture, you have to talk about these things.

What is the case against Ahed?

The most serious charges against her are the ones regarding the video incident. She has 12 different charges in her indictment regarding five different incidents. Regarding the video, she’s charged with assault of a soldier, disrupting the work of a soldier, and incitement.




She has other charges regarding stone-throwing but they are old — one of them is almost two years old. Nobody thought to report it or arrest her or question her at the time. The evidence against her regarding all of the other incidents was produced only after she was arrested and they found old pictures of Ahed [on her mother’s Facebook].

But it was only after her arrest that soldiers were asked to come and give testimony regarding what they saw two years ago. They were presented with these pictures after she was in every newspaper or television program, and then asked if they could identify her in a photo line-up. That’s how they obtained all of the evidence against her.

What is the case against Nariman, Ahed’s mother, who was arrested hours after her daughter? Would a civilian court ever consider live-streaming on Facebook as a form of incitement?

It’s really dangerous that the prosecution is implying that live-streaming is the worst form of incitement. It would mean that a reporter doing a live report at a demonstration where someone says, “come join us in the demonstration,” would constitute incitement in the eyes of the prosecution. What the prosecution is trying to do is very dangerous for freedom of the press.

Ahed’s case has been all over the news, getting a lot attention for a case in Israeli military court. But what aren’t we hearing about? What’s not getting out to the public?

Most people don’t know that the occupier has courts that put on trial people living under occupation just because they don’t follow the rules of the occupier. The Israeli public doesn’t want to hear about the occupation, and it’s the same for the court of the occupation.

It is amazing that a 16-year-old youngster has forced everyone to have an opinion about the occupation, to have to deal with the fact that people are born into occupation, that their rights are infringed upon, and that they’re taken to prison when they’re 16 years old for offenses that don’t merit detention in Israel.

Some in the Israeli public think the soldiers behaved as they should, others say they were humiliated. It was this humiliation that brought about Ahed’s arrest. But even so, everyone now has to deal with the occupation and what it does to the soldiers and to the people who live under occupation. Even without wanting to, Ahed’s case opened a door that has been closed for a long time for most of the public in Israel.

Bassem Tamimi speaks to Gabi Lasky during the court of his daughter Palestinian Ahed Tamimi, in military court at the Israeli-run Ofer prison in the West Bank near the West Bank city of Ramallah, December 20, 2017. (Activestills/Oren Ziv)Bassem Tamimi speaks to Gabi Lasky during the trial of his daughter Ahed Tamimi, in military court at the Israeli-run Ofer prison in the West Bank, near the West Bank city of Ramallah, December 20, 2017. (Activestills/Oren Ziv)




Thursday, January 4, 2018

APARTHEID ISRAEL: What Happened When A Jewish Settler Slapped an Israeli Soldier

Dear friends,
in the last few days, numerous Palestinian solidarity activists have been pointing out the treatment of Palestinian teenager, Ahed Tamimi is at complete odds with the way in which Israeli settlers have been treated when they have similarly "slapped" an Israeli occupation soldier. Yesterday, Haaretz published an article also drawing attention to this fact.  The arrested of Ahed and Nour Tamimi is the latest incident to expose Israel's apartheid regime to the world.

Please find the text of the Haaretz article below.

In solidarity, Kim

*****
https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.832939
What happened when a Jewish settler slapped an Israeli soldier

Both Ahed Tamimi and Yifat Alkobi were questioned for slapping a soldier in the West Bank, but little else about their cases are similar — simply because one is Jewish, the other Palestinian



Noa Osterreicher Jan 04, 2018/Haaretz

This slap didn’t lead the nightly news. This slap, which landed on the cheek of a Nahal soldier in Hebron, did not lead to an indictment. The assailant, who slapped a soldier who was trying to stop her from throwing stones, was taken in for questioning but released on bail the same day and allowed to return home.

Prior to this incident, she had been convicted five times — for throwing rocks, for assaulting a police officer and for disorderly conduct, but was not jailed even once.

In one instance, she was sentenced to probation, and in the rest to a month of community service and practically a token fine, as compensation to the injured parties. The accused systematically failed to heed summonses for questioning or for legal proceedings, but soldiers did not come to drag her out of bed in the middle of the night, nor were any of her relatives arrested. Aside from a brief report by Chaim Levinson about the incident, on July 2, 2010, there were hardly any repercussions to the slap and scratches inflicted by Yifat Alkobi on the face of a soldier who caught her hurling rocks a Palestinians.

The Israel Defense Forces Spokesperson’s Unit said at the time that the army “takes a grave view of any incidence of violence toward security forces,” and yet the assailant goes on living peacefully at home. The education minister didn’t demand that she sit in prison, social media have not exploded with calls for her to be raped or murdered, and columnist Ben Caspit didn’t recommend that she punished to the full extent of the law “in a dark place, without cameras.”

Like Ahed Tamimi, Alkobi has been known for years to the military and police forces that surround her place of residence, and both are considered a nuisance and even a danger. The main difference between them is that Tamimi assaulted a soldier who was sent by a hostile government that does not recognize her existence, steals her land and kills and wounds her relatives, while Alkobi, a serial criminal, assaulted a soldier from her own people and her religion, who was sent by her nation to protect her, a nation in which she is a citizen with special privileges.

Jewish violence against soldiers in the territories has been a matter of routine for years. But even when it seems like there’s no point asking that soldiers in the territories protect Palestinians from physical harassment and vandalism of their property by settlers, it’s hard to understand why the authorities continue to turn a blind eye, to cover up and close cases or not even open them, when the violators are Jews. There is plenty of evidence, some of it recorded on camera. And yet the offenders still sleep at home in their beds, emboldened by divine command and amply funded by organizations that receive state support.

In the winter it’s nice to get warm and cozy under these double standards, but there’s one question that every Israeli should be asking himself: Tamimi and Alkobi committed the same offense. The punishment (or lack thereof) should be the same. If the choice is between freeing Tamimi or jailing Alkobi, which would you choose?

Tamimi is to remain in custody for the duration of the proceedings — trial in a hostile military court — and is expected to receive a prison sentence. Alkobi, who was not prosecuted for this offense, and was tried in a civilian court for much more serious offenses, lived at home for the duration of the proceedings. She was represented by a lawyer who did not have to wait at a checkpoint in order to serve his client and her only punishment was community service.

The Likud and Habayit Hayehudi cabinet ministers have no reason to rush to pass a law that would apply Israeli law in the territories. Even without it, the only thing that matters is if you were born Jewish. Everything else is irrelevant.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Bassem Tamimi: Ahed is only 16 yrs old, and there's no father more proud of his daughter than I am

Dear friends,
as you will be aware, 16 year old Ahed Tamimi was arrested by the Israeli military last week because she had the temerity to stand up to an Israeli occupation soldier attempting to enter her house. Ahed, along with her cousin Nour confronted the soldiers and physically stopped them from illegally entering Ahed's family home, just 30 minutes after Ahed and Nour's cousin had been shot in the face by another Israeli occupation soldier.

On  20 December, the Israeli military court has extend Ahed's detention by 5 days (read here) and on December 28 it once again extended both Ahed and her mother Nariman's detention again for 5 days (read here).  Nour was suppose to be released, but her release has also been delayed 48 hours. In addition, they have arrested Ahed's aunt, Manal Tamimi during the protest outside of Ofer court in support of Ahed, Nariman and Nour (read here).

Despite the arrest, the Tamimi family and the village of Nabi Saleh remain defiant. On Friday, Ahed's father issued a very moving and powerful statement about his daughter's activism and courage, which was published in Haaretz. 

Please share widely with your networks and on social media.

In solidarity, Kim

*****

Opinion My Daughter, These Are Tears of Struggle

Ahed Tamimi's father: I'm proud of my daughter. She is a freedom fighter who, in the coming years, will lead the resistance to Israeli rule

 Ahed Tamimi appears at a military court at the Israeli-run Ofer Prison in the West Bank village of Betunia on December 28, 2017. Credit: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP

Bassem Tamimi, Dec 29, 2017  Haaretz

This night too, like all the nights since dozens of soldiers raided our home in the middle of the night, my wife Nariman, my 16-year-old daughter Ahed and Ahed’s cousin Nur will spend behind bars. Although it is Ahed’s first arrest, she is no stranger to your prisons. My daughter has spent her whole life under the heavy shadow of the Israeli prison — from my lengthy incarcerations throughout her childhood, to the repeated arrests of her mother, brother and friends, to the covert-overt threat implied by your soldiers’ ongoing presence in our lives. So her own arrest was just a matter of time. An inevitable tragedy waiting to happen.


Several months ago, on a trip to South Africa, we screened for an audience a video documenting the struggle of our village, Nabi Saleh, against Israel’s forced rule. When the lights came back on, Ahed stood up to thank the people for their support. When she noticed that some of the audience members had tears in their eyes, she said to them: “We may be victims of the Israeli regime, but we are just as proud of our choice to fight for our cause, despite the known cost. We knew where this path would lead us, but our identity, as a people and as individuals, is planted in the struggle, and draws its inspiration from there. Beyond the suffering and daily oppression of the prisoners, the wounded and the killed, we also know the tremendous power that comes from belonging to a resistance movement; the dedication, the love, the small sublime moments that come from the choice to shatter the invisible walls of passivity.

“I don’t want to be perceived as a victim, and I won’t give their actions the power to define who I am and what I’ll be. I choose to decide for myself how you will see me. We don’t want you to support us because of some photogenic tears, but because we chose the struggle and our struggle is just. This is the only way that we’ll be able to stop crying one day.”

Months after that event in South Africa, when she challenged the soldiers, who were armed from head to toe, it wasn’t sudden anger at the grave wounding of 15-year-old Mohammed Tamimi not long before that, just meters away, that motivated her. Nor was it the provocation of those soldiers entering our home. No. These soldiers, or others who are identical in their action and their role, have been unwanted and uninvited guests in our home ever since Ahed was born. No. She stood there before them because this is our way, because freedom isn’t given as charity, and because despite the heavy price, we are ready to pay it.

My daughter is just 16 years old. In another world, in your world, her life would look completely different. In our world, Ahed is a representative of a new generation of our people, of young freedom fighters. This generation has to wage its struggle on two fronts. On the one hand, they have the duty, of course, to keep on challenging and fighting the Israeli colonialism into which they were born, until the day it collapses. On the other hand, they have to boldly face the political stagnation and degeneration that has spread among us. They have to become the living artery that will revive our revolution and bring it back from the death entailed in a growing culture of passivity that has arisen from decades of political inactivity.

Ahed is one of many young women who in the coming years will lead the resistance to Israeli rule. She is not interested in the spotlight currently being aimed at her due to her arrest, but in genuine change. She is not the product of one of the old parties or movements, and in her actions she is sending a message: In order to survive, we must candidly face our weaknesses and vanquish our fears.

In this situation, the greatest duty of me and my generation is to support her and to make way; to restrain ourselves and not to try to corrupt and imprison this young generation in the old culture and ideologies in which we grew up.

Ahed, no parent in the world yearns to see his daughter spending her days in a detention cell. However, Ahed, no one could be prouder than I am of you. You and your generation are courageous enough, at last, to win. Your actions and courage fill me with awe and bring tears to my eyes. But in accordance with your request, these are not tears of sadness or regret, but rather tears of struggle.

Bassem Tamimi is a Palestinian activist.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

NZ Herald Editorial: Lorde's stand on Israel does her credit


Dear friends,
Since New Zealand singer Lorde announced that she would respect the Palestinian BDS call and no play Israel, there has been hundreds/thousands of comments by Zionist organisations and individual Zionists attempting to discredit her.  However, the New Zealand Herald has come out in support of Lorde and her decision, writing an editorial that you would NEVER see written by Murdoch papers such as The Australia, Daily Telegraph or Herald Sun etc, here in Australia.

While the editorial holds on to the delusion that a two state solution is still possible, it still makes numerous good points about not only Israel's human rights abuses and violation of international law and it makes a point that boycotts are a time honoured and legitimate form of protest. No doubt, this is informed by New Zealand's political history in regard to protests against South Africa's apartheid regime (which is also briefly noted in the editorial). 

In particular, the editorial notes in response to the standard Zionist talking point which try to whitewash Israel's human rights abuses and tries to paint BDS and any supporters of BDS as anti-semitic, that:
What rubbish. It is perfectly possible to oppose Jewish settlements on the West Bank, as indeed many Jews do, in Israel and outside, without being guilty of bigotry and prejudice.
The suggestion Israel should not be singled out when countries such as Russia are guilty of something similar is an argument New Zealanders often heard from defenders of South Africa in the apartheid era. It is the weakest argument a nation's defenders can make.
If you have time, please thank Lorde for her stand in support of Palestinian human rights.

In solidarity, Kim
****

Editorial: Lorde's stand on Israel does her credit

28 Dec, 2017 New Zealand Herald Editorial
 

 Lorde may have been young when she first scaled the heights of popular music — and she still is — but as her songs demonstrate, she can think. To suggest that in cancelling a concert in Israel she has "caved into pressure", as the Zionist Federation of New Zealand put it, does her an injustice.

She may now wish Tel Aviv had never been included in her world tour next year but, once it was, she could not escape criticism. The easier course for her would have been to ignore the critics and keep her schedule. She could have insisted she was simply an entertainer innocent of politics and world affairs. The criticism, largely confined to social media, would have subsided in a day or two.

But by reflecting on the issues and deciding to remove the concert from her itinerary, she has exposed herself to wider attack and more unpleasant insinuations from some of Israel's defenders.

The Zionist Federation accused her of succumbing to pressure "from those who wish to see the destruction of Israel" and added, "If Lorde is cancelling her Tel Aviv concert due to a political reason, then we assume she will soon be announcing the cancellation of her Russian concerts due to Russia's occupation of the Crimea, its support of Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria and other human rights abuses. Not doing so would reek of bigotry and prejudice against the Jewish State."

What rubbish. It is perfectly possible to oppose Jewish settlements on the West Bank, as indeed many Jews do, in Israel and outside, without being guilty of bigotry and prejudice.
The suggestion Israel should not be singled out when countries such as Russia are guilty of something similar is an argument New Zealanders often heard from defenders of South Africa in the apartheid era. It is the weakest argument a nation's defenders can make. It says the nation is guilty, but so are others. It is an admission Israel's settlements are wrong. Not even the Israeli Government endorses them, though it does little to stop them. The further the settlements go and the more entrenched they become, the more difficult a two-state solution will be.

Sporting and cultural boycotts and campaigns for business disinvestment and international sanctions against Israel are a way of reminding public opinion in Israel the world needs Israel to keep striving for peace in its region.

Peace almost certainly requires a Palestinian state on the West Bank of the Jordan — one that acknowledges Israel's right to exist. The alternative is for Israel to survive in a permanent state of siege, a prospect which perhaps too many Israelis now find preferable to a Palestinian state they would not trust. Hence the settlements.

But unresolved tensions in the Middle East are not simply Israel's concern. Such tensions impose themselves on the world through wars, threats to oil supplies, nuclear ambitions and terrorism.

No peace is imaginable without Palestinians being treated fairly, not driven from their homes by bulldozers. Cultural figures such as Lorde are in a privileged position to give that message and New Zealand can be proud of her for doing so.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Thank You Lorde, For Standing Up for Palestinian Human Rights

Dear friends,
hopefully you will have heard the good news that award winning, internationally renown New Zealand singer, Lorde has recently cancelled her concert in Israel after hearing from fans calling on her to respected the Palestinian BDS campaign. In  the wake of her decision, one of the Jewish activists who campaigned in support of BDS and sent a letter to Lorde to not play Israeli apartheid has been severely harassed and received numerous threats (see:

The following article by Yousef Munayyer, explains in detail why Lorde's decision was not only morally correct but necessary. In particular Munayyer notes the recent arrest of Ahed Tamimi, along with her mother Nariman and cousin Nour.

In solidarity, Kim

**********
THANK YOU LORDE, FOR STANDING UP FOR PALESTINIAN HUMAN RIGHTS

By Yousef Munayyer, 26 December 2017: The Forward


New Zealand Singer: Lorde

When I heard that the internationally acclaimed singer, songwriter and record producer Lorde was reconsidering a decision to play in Israel I had a gut feeling that she would cancel the show. This weekend, she did just that. “[I]’ve received an overwhelming number of messages and letters and have had a lot of discussions with people holding many views, and i think the right decision at this time is to cancel the show,” she said in a statement.
I believe history will look back at her decision as an important step on the path to freedom, justice and equality in Palestine/Israel.

Palestinian rights activists were quick to show their support. But not everyone agrees with Lorde’s decision, and a glance at social media reveals the beginnings of the backlash that has already begun from Israel supporters. Roseanne Barr called Lorde a “bigot”, while others have slammed her for giving in to BDS “pressure” — curious language given she responded to a letter from fans and decided to forgo what would have surely been a lucrative concert.

If anything, the incentives were structured very heavily in favor of her playing Tel Aviv, as they are for every artist facing the decision to forego a lucrative opportunity. Any pressure she faced came only from her own conscience after learning, weighing and discussing the issue carefully. Lorde also seems to have taken into consideration the requests of fans, like an open letter by Jewish and Palestinian New Zealander fans of hers requesting she cancel her show, which is well worth reading.

Still, many have questioned her decision. One of her Israeli concert producers found a way to insult her in the process of explaining her decision, saying he was “naive to think a singer of her age could handle the pressure.” Keep in mind, Lorde is 21, and in Israeli society, 18-year-olds are conscripted and deemed perfectly capable of handling the responsibility of making life and death decisions while armed with heavy machine guns frequently directed toward Palestinian children. Not only is Lorde an adult fully capable of making her own decisions, she made the right one and a much wiser one than some other artists who have regrettably failed to heed the boycott call.

I believe that all artists should make the same decision Lorde did. And it has never been more urgent for them to do so than now.

Let’s take a moment to review the context in which Lorde’s decision took place. In the days and weeks ahead of this decision, President Trump made his Jerusalem declaration. The Israeli response to ensuing Palestinian protests have been typical of its brutal military occupation.

A few cases in particular are worth reflecting on. Take the murder of Ibrahim Abu Thuraya for example. A double amputee, Abu Thuraya had lost both legs in an Israeli airstrike a decade prior. Last week, he was shot by an Israeli sniper in the head while protesting inside the encaged Gaza Strip.

It should go without saying that there is no reason whatsoever to use lethal force against an unarmed double amputee. It should go without saying that his murder should shock the public conscience. But it didn’t. As per usual, the Israeli military investigation found no wrongdoing and Israeli society didn’t even blink. Some have even claimed Abu Thuraya was a terrorist; a wheelchair-bound man who provided for his family by washing cars and was known for climbing a power tower to display the Palestinian flag on high during protests really just had it coming to him.

Next, consider the case of Ahed Tamimi, also developing while Lorde was weighing this decision. Ahed, a girl of 16 from the village of Nabi Saleh, has been part of a family that has been at the forefront of protests against the Israeli occupation. For years, their village has protested the encroachment of an expanding illegal Israeli colony onto their land and Israeli soldiers, the henchmen of occupation, routinely use violence to repress the villagers on a weekly basis. Ahed has watched several of her family members die at the hands of this violent Israeli repression over the years and watched others get dragged away to Israeli prisons.

Last week, a video of Ahed slapping an Israeli soldier in front of her house went viral. Shortly before that recorded moment, Israeli soldiers had fired a rubber coated bullet into the face of one of her younger cousins, 14 year old Mohamed. The bullet was fired at a close enough range to shatter Mohamed’s jaw, leaving blood pouring from his face and resulting in emergency surgery to reconstruct his jaw and a medically induced coma. After the video of Ahed hitting the soldiers went viral, Ahed, her cousin and mother were arrested and are being held, for days now, without charge.

Meanwhile, what was the response in Israeli society to video of a girl who has lost so much putting her life on the line before a soldier, who could take it in an instant? It was not to ask “How dare we?” but rather “How dare she!”

Israel’s Defense Minister, a settler himself, declared “Everyone involved, not only the girl but also her parents and those around them will not escape from what they deserve.” Israel’s Education Minister Naftali Bennett, the guy responsible for educating Israel’s children, said this Palestinian child should spend the rest of her days in prison. This is the same Minister who said that an Israeli soldier, Elor Azaria, who committed cold-blooded murder captured on video, should not serve a “single day in prison”. But that wasn’t even the worst of it. Michael Oren, a Knesset member and former American and Ambassador to the US questioned whether the Tamimis were even a real family, and focused on Ahed’s suspicious American clothes. Apparently, Palestinians that don’t fit neatly into the racist stereotypes in Oren’s mind must be mythical.

Judging by the words of their leaders and the press, Israelis by and large were unable to see this moment in Nabi Saleh for what it was: an instance of a brutal military occupation. Instead, they saw an unarmed 16 year old girl as the aggressor, and the heavily armed agent of occupation, whose army kills and arrests her family members and facilitates the theft of her land, as, somehow, the victim. “When I watched that, I felt humiliated, I felt crushed,” said Miri Regev, an Israeli Cabinet minister and former military spokeswoman, who called the episode “damaging to the honor of the military and the state of Israel.” Think about that for a moment. Israelis, with the world’s largest per capita nuclear arsenal and one of the most capable and powerful militaries in the world that wields its advanced planes, tanks and ships against stateless Palestinians, was left dishonored, crushed and humiliated, not by another army but by the empty palms of a 16 year old girl.

Things like the reactions of Israelis to Ahed Tamimi or their lack of response to the killing of Abu Thuraya demonstrate how the Israeli conscience, when it comes to the Palestinians it controls, has withered, rotted and died.

And it is moments like this that demonstrate exactly why the decision Lorde made is so important and justified.

Israeli leaders argue to their people that their policies and behavior toward the Palestinians are justified. They are aided and abetted in this enterprise by an international community that instead of sanctioning Israel has trade relations with them, and by a United States which instead of holding Israel accountable for its violations, continues to send $3.8 billion in aid year after year.

In other words, Israeli society is being told both internally and externally that their brutal oppression of Palestinians is A-OK. If Israelis are ever going to end their oppression of Palestinians, it needs to start with dramatic wake up call to Israeli society, leading to a realization that there are costs to denying freedom and equality to millions of Palestinian human beings. Palestinian civil society has embraced non-violent economic action in the form of BDS as tactics to convey this message and calls for international solidarity in doing so.

Lorde’s choice to heed this call helps send Israel the message that this situation is not normal and cannot be normalized, and that they cannot continue to ignore the injustices that they visit upon Palestinians. She joins a growing list of artists and performers who have made the same decision, and many more will follow in her footsteps.

Just as in the case of South Africa, artists have an important role to play in the quest for peace and justice. And, just as in the case of South Africa, some of the same arguments that defenders of Apartheid South Africa used unsuccessfully against BDS efforts then are being recycled today to defend Israel’s apartheid policies in the West Bank. These efforts, too, will be unsuccessful.

One of those arguments deployed against Lorde’s decision has come from the “Whataboutist” camp. On Twitter, opponents were quick to point out that the singer is canceling her concert in Israel but not in Russia, also guilty of human rights abuses, and thus her boycott efforts and those of BDS more generally are hypocritical. This too is recycled South African Apartheid regime propaganda. In those days, anti-boycott advocates would point to other countries in Africa and Asia with poor human rights records, just as Israel defenders engage in whataboutery today to displace responsibility for the denial of Palestinian rights. The truth is, Apartheid South Africa did not have the worst human rights record in history, but it was the worst human rights abuser of native South African blacks. Likewise, Israel may not be the worst or only human rights abuser in the world today, but it is the worst human rights abuser of Palestinians.

Tactics like boycotts are specific to the context and are deployed for their utility. These tactics were embraced by Palestinian civil society, and increasingly international civil society, because the international state system has failed to hold Israel accountable for its violations. Unlike Russia or other states like North Korea, Myanmar or others where the US and others have deployed economic sanctions, Israel receives billions in weapons from Washington and receives blanket protection at the United Nations. With that said, should an oppressed population anywhere in the world organize a call for international solidarity against their oppressors who are flouting international law and have nonetheless found a way to evade any accountability from the state system, like sanctions or arms embargoes, then cultural icons should heed their call, just as they did for South Africans and just as they should for Palestinians.

One day, freedom, justice and equality will finally reign for Israelis and Palestinians alike. Then we can all sing and dance without a backdrop of racism, discrimination and brutality. I dream of the first concert in my homeland after freedom, when all the artists who boycotted can finally come back and play. I look forward to seeing Lorde there as part of a historic line up alongside Roger Waters, Lauryn Hill and many, many more.

This freedom concert will be well worth waiting for precisely because freedom is something well worth fighting for.

Yousef Munayyer, a political analyst and writer, is Executive Director of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights.
When I heard that the internationally acclaimed singer, songwriter and record producer Lorde was reconsidering a decision to play in Israel I had a gut feeling that she would cancel the show. This weekend, she did just that. “[I]’ve received an overwhelming number of messages and letters and have had a lot of discussions with people holding many views, and i think the right decision at this time is to cancel the show,” she said in a statement.
I believe history will look back at her decision as an important step on the path to freedom, justice and equality in Palestine/Israel.

Palestinian rights activists were quick to show their support. But not everyone agrees with Lorde’s decision, and a glance at social media reveals the beginnings of the backlash that has already begun from Israel supporters. Roseanne Barr called Lorde a “bigot”, while others have slammed her for giving in to BDS “pressure” — curious language given she responded to a letter from fans and decided to forgo what would have surely been a lucrative concert.
If anything, the incentives were structured very heavily in favor of her playing Tel Aviv, as they are for every artist facing the decision to forego a lucrative opportunity. Any pressure she faced came only from her own conscience after learning, weighing and discussing the issue carefully. Lorde also seems to have taken into consideration the requests of fans, like an open letter by Jewish and Palestinian New Zealander fans of hers requesting she cancel her show, which is well worth reading.
Still, many have questioned her decision. One of her Israeli concert producers found a way to insult her in the process of explaining her decision, saying he was “naive to think a singer of her age could handle the pressure.” Keep in mind, Lorde is 21, and in Israeli society, 18-year-olds are conscripted and deemed perfectly capable of handling the responsibility of making life and death decisions while armed with heavy machine guns frequently directed toward Palestinian children. Not only is Lorde an adult fully capable of making her own decisions, she made the right one and a much wiser one than some other artists who have regrettably failed to heed the boycott call.
I believe that all artists should make the same decision Lorde did. And it has never been more urgent for them to do so than now.
Let’s take a moment to review the context in which Lorde’s decision took place. In the days and weeks ahead of this decision, President Trump made his Jerusalem declaration. The Israeli response to ensuing Palestinian protests have been typical of its brutal military occupation.
A few cases in particular are worth reflecting on. Take the murder of Ibrahim Abu Thuraya for example. A double amputee, Abu Thuraya had lost both legs in an Israeli airstrike a decade prior. Last week, he was shot by an Israeli sniper in the head while protesting inside the encaged Gaza Strip.
It should go without saying that there is no reason whatsoever to use lethal force against an unarmed double amputee. It should go without saying that his murder should shock the public conscience. But it didn’t. As per usual, the Israeli military investigation found no wrongdoing and Israeli society didn’t even blink. Some have even claimed Abu Thuraya was a terrorist; a wheelchair-bound man who provided for his family by washing cars and was known for climbing a power tower to display the Palestinian flag on high during protests really just had it coming to him.

Next, consider the case of Ahed Tamimi, also developing while Lorde was weighing this decision. Ahed, a girl of 16 from the village of Nabi Saleh, has been part of a family that has been at the forefront of protests against the Israeli occupation. For years, their village has protested the encroachment of an expanding illegal Israeli colony onto their land and Israeli soldiers, the henchmen of occupation, routinely use violence to repress the villagers on a weekly basis. Ahed has watched several of her family members die at the hands of this violent Israeli repression over the years and watched others get dragged away to Israeli prisons.
Last week, a video of Ahed slapping an Israeli soldier in front of her house went viral. Shortly before that recorded moment, Israeli soldiers had fired a rubber coated bullet into the face of one of her younger cousins, 14 year old Mohamed. The bullet was fired at a close enough range to shatter Mohamed’s jaw, leaving blood pouring from his face and resulting in emergency surgery to reconstruct his jaw and a medically induced coma. After the video of Ahed hitting the soldiers went viral, Ahed, her cousin and mother were arrested and are being held, for days now, without charge.
Meanwhile, what was the response in Israeli society to video of a girl who has lost so much putting her life on the line before a soldier, who could take it in an instant? It was not to ask “How dare we?” but rather “How dare she!”

Israel’s Defense Minister, a settler himself, declared “Everyone involved, not only the girl but also her parents and those around them will not escape from what they deserve.” Israel’s Education Minister Naftali Bennett, the guy responsible for educating Israel’s children, said this Palestinian child should spend the rest of her days in prison. This is the same Minister who said that an Israeli soldier, Elor Azaria, who committed cold-blooded murder captured on video, should not serve a “single day in prison”. But that wasn’t even the worst of it. Michael Oren, a Knesset member and former American and Ambassador to the US questioned whether the Tamimis were even a real family, and focused on Ahed’s suspicious American clothes. Apparently, Palestinians that don’t fit neatly into the racist stereotypes in Oren’s mind must be mythical.
Judging by the words of their leaders and the press, Israelis by and large were unable to see this moment in Nabi Saleh for what it was: an instance of a brutal military occupation. Instead, they saw an unarmed 16 year old girl as the aggressor, and the heavily armed agent of occupation, whose army kills and arrests her family members and facilitates the theft of her land, as, somehow, the victim. “When I watched that, I felt humiliated, I felt crushed,” said Miri Regev, an Israeli Cabinet minister and former military spokeswoman, who called the episode “damaging to the honor of the military and the state of Israel.” Think about that for a moment. Israelis, with the world’s largest per capita nuclear arsenal and one of the most capable and powerful militaries in the world that wields its advanced planes, tanks and ships against stateless Palestinians, was left dishonored, crushed and humiliated, not by another army but by the empty palms of a 16 year old girl.
Things like the reactions of Israelis to Ahed Tamimi or their lack of response to the killing of Abu Thuraya demonstrate how the Israeli conscience, when it comes to the Palestinians it controls, has withered, rotted and died.
And it is moments like this that demonstrate exactly why the decision Lorde made is so important and justified.
Israeli leaders argue to their people that their policies and behavior toward the Palestinians are justified. They are aided and abetted in this enterprise by an international community that instead of sanctioning Israel has trade relations with them, and by a United States which instead of holding Israel accountable for its violations, continues to send $3.8 billion in aid year after year.
In other words, Israeli society is being told both internally and externally that their brutal oppression of Palestinians is A-OK. If Israelis are ever going to end their oppression of Palestinians, it needs to start with dramatic wake up call to Israeli society, leading to a realization that there are costs to denying freedom and equality to millions of Palestinian human beings. Palestinian civil society has embraced non-violent economic action in the form of BDS as tactics to convey this message and calls for international solidarity in doing so.

Lorde’s choice to heed this call helps send Israel the message that this situation is not normal and cannot be normalized, and that they cannot continue to ignore the injustices that they visit upon Palestinians. She joins a growing list of artists and performers who have made the same decision, and many more will follow in her footsteps.
Just as in the case of South Africa, artists have an important role to play in the quest for peace and justice. And, just as in the case of South Africa, some of the same arguments that defenders of Apartheid South Africa used unsuccessfully against BDS efforts then are being recycled today to defend Israel’s apartheid policies in the West Bank. These efforts, too, will be unsuccessful.
One of those arguments deployed against Lorde’s decision has come from the “Whataboutist” camp. On Twitter, opponents were quick to point out that the singer is canceling her concert in Israel but not in Russia, also guilty of human rights abuses, and thus her boycott efforts and those of BDS more generally are hypocritical. This too is recycled South African Apartheid regime propaganda. In those days, anti-boycott advocates would point to other countries in Africa and Asia with poor human rights records, just as Israel defenders engage in whataboutery today to displace responsibility for the denial of Palestinian rights. The truth is, Apartheid South Africa did not have the worst human rights record in history, but it was the worst human rights abuser of native South African blacks. Likewise, Israel may not be the worst or only human rights abuser in the world today, but it is the worst human rights abuser of Palestinians.
Tactics like boycotts are specific to the context and are deployed for their utility. These tactics were embraced by Palestinian civil society, and increasingly international civil society, because the international state system has failed to hold Israel accountable for its violations. Unlike Russia or other states like North Korea, Myanmar or others where the US and others have deployed economic sanctions, Israel receives billions in weapons from Washington and receives blanket protection at the United Nations. With that said, should an oppressed population anywhere in the world organize a call for international solidarity against their oppressors who are flouting international law and have nonetheless found a way to evade any accountability from the state system, like sanctions or arms embargoes, then cultural icons should heed their call, just as they did for South Africans and just as they should for Palestinians.
One day, freedom, justice and equality will finally reign for Israelis and Palestinians alike. Then we can all sing and dance without a backdrop of racism, discrimination and brutality. I dream of the first concert in my homeland after freedom, when all the artists who boycotted can finally come back and play. I look forward to seeing Lorde there as part of a historic line up alongside Roger Waters, Lauryn Hill and many, many more.
This freedom concert will be well worth waiting for precisely because freedom is something well worth fighting for.
Yousef Munayyer, a political analyst and writer, is Executive Director of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forward.
Read more: https://forward.com/opinion/390845/thank-you-lorde-for-standing-up-for-palestinian-human-rights/


Thank You, Lorde, For Standing Up For Palestinian Human Rights

When I heard that the internationally acclaimed singer, songwriter and record producer Lorde was reconsidering a decision to play in Israel I had a gut feeling that she would cancel the show. This weekend, she did just that. “[I]’ve received an overwhelming number of messages and letters and have had a lot of discussions with people holding many views, and i think the right decision at this time is to cancel the show,” she said in a statement.
I believe history will look back at her decision as an important step on the path to freedom, justice and equality in Palestine/Israel.

Palestinian rights activists were quick to show their support. But not everyone agrees with Lorde’s decision, and a glance at social media reveals the beginnings of the backlash that has already begun from Israel supporters. Roseanne Barr called Lorde a “bigot”, while others have slammed her for giving in to BDS “pressure” — curious language given she responded to a letter from fans and decided to forgo what would have surely been a lucrative concert.
If anything, the incentives were structured very heavily in favor of her playing Tel Aviv, as they are for every artist facing the decision to forego a lucrative opportunity. Any pressure she faced came only from her own conscience after learning, weighing and discussing the issue carefully. Lorde also seems to have taken into consideration the requests of fans, like an open letter by Jewish and Palestinian New Zealander fans of hers requesting she cancel her show, which is well worth reading.
Still, many have questioned her decision. One of her Israeli concert producers found a way to insult her in the process of explaining her decision, saying he was “naive to think a singer of her age could handle the pressure.” Keep in mind, Lorde is 21, and in Israeli society, 18-year-olds are conscripted and deemed perfectly capable of handling the responsibility of making life and death decisions while armed with heavy machine guns frequently directed toward Palestinian children. Not only is Lorde an adult fully capable of making her own decisions, she made the right one and a much wiser one than some other artists who have regrettably failed to heed the boycott call.
I believe that all artists should make the same decision Lorde did. And it has never been more urgent for them to do so than now.
Let’s take a moment to review the context in which Lorde’s decision took place. In the days and weeks ahead of this decision, President Trump made his Jerusalem declaration. The Israeli response to ensuing Palestinian protests have been typical of its brutal military occupation.
A few cases in particular are worth reflecting on. Take the murder of Ibrahim Abu Thuraya for example. A double amputee, Abu Thuraya had lost both legs in an Israeli airstrike a decade prior. Last week, he was shot by an Israeli sniper in the head while protesting inside the encaged Gaza Strip.
It should go without saying that there is no reason whatsoever to use lethal force against an unarmed double amputee. It should go without saying that his murder should shock the public conscience. But it didn’t. As per usual, the Israeli military investigation found no wrongdoing and Israeli society didn’t even blink. Some have even claimed Abu Thuraya was a terrorist; a wheelchair-bound man who provided for his family by washing cars and was known for climbing a power tower to display the Palestinian flag on high during protests really just had it coming to him.

Next, consider the case of Ahed Tamimi, also developing while Lorde was weighing this decision. Ahed, a girl of 16 from the village of Nabi Saleh, has been part of a family that has been at the forefront of protests against the Israeli occupation. For years, their village has protested the encroachment of an expanding illegal Israeli colony onto their land and Israeli soldiers, the henchmen of occupation, routinely use violence to repress the villagers on a weekly basis. Ahed has watched several of her family members die at the hands of this violent Israeli repression over the years and watched others get dragged away to Israeli prisons.
Last week, a video of Ahed slapping an Israeli soldier in front of her house went viral. Shortly before that recorded moment, Israeli soldiers had fired a rubber coated bullet into the face of one of her younger cousins, 14 year old Mohamed. The bullet was fired at a close enough range to shatter Mohamed’s jaw, leaving blood pouring from his face and resulting in emergency surgery to reconstruct his jaw and a medically induced coma. After the video of Ahed hitting the soldiers went viral, Ahed, her cousin and mother were arrested and are being held, for days now, without charge.
Meanwhile, what was the response in Israeli society to video of a girl who has lost so much putting her life on the line before a soldier, who could take it in an instant? It was not to ask “How dare we?” but rather “How dare she!”

Israel’s Defense Minister, a settler himself, declared “Everyone involved, not only the girl but also her parents and those around them will not escape from what they deserve.” Israel’s Education Minister Naftali Bennett, the guy responsible for educating Israel’s children, said this Palestinian child should spend the rest of her days in prison. This is the same Minister who said that an Israeli soldier, Elor Azaria, who committed cold-blooded murder captured on video, should not serve a “single day in prison”. But that wasn’t even the worst of it. Michael Oren, a Knesset member and former American and Ambassador to the US questioned whether the Tamimis were even a real family, and focused on Ahed’s suspicious American clothes. Apparently, Palestinians that don’t fit neatly into the racist stereotypes in Oren’s mind must be mythical.
Judging by the words of their leaders and the press, Israelis by and large were unable to see this moment in Nabi Saleh for what it was: an instance of a brutal military occupation. Instead, they saw an unarmed 16 year old girl as the aggressor, and the heavily armed agent of occupation, whose army kills and arrests her family members and facilitates the theft of her land, as, somehow, the victim. “When I watched that, I felt humiliated, I felt crushed,” said Miri Regev, an Israeli Cabinet minister and former military spokeswoman, who called the episode “damaging to the honor of the military and the state of Israel.” Think about that for a moment. Israelis, with the world’s largest per capita nuclear arsenal and one of the most capable and powerful militaries in the world that wields its advanced planes, tanks and ships against stateless Palestinians, was left dishonored, crushed and humiliated, not by another army but by the empty palms of a 16 year old girl.
Things like the reactions of Israelis to Ahed Tamimi or their lack of response to the killing of Abu Thuraya demonstrate how the Israeli conscience, when it comes to the Palestinians it controls, has withered, rotted and died.
And it is moments like this that demonstrate exactly why the decision Lorde made is so important and justified.
Israeli leaders argue to their people that their policies and behavior toward the Palestinians are justified. They are aided and abetted in this enterprise by an international community that instead of sanctioning Israel has trade relations with them, and by a United States which instead of holding Israel accountable for its violations, continues to send $3.8 billion in aid year after year.
In other words, Israeli society is being told both internally and externally that their brutal oppression of Palestinians is A-OK. If Israelis are ever going to end their oppression of Palestinians, it needs to start with dramatic wake up call to Israeli society, leading to a realization that there are costs to denying freedom and equality to millions of Palestinian human beings. Palestinian civil society has embraced non-violent economic action in the form of BDS as tactics to convey this message and calls for international solidarity in doing so.

Lorde’s choice to heed this call helps send Israel the message that this situation is not normal and cannot be normalized, and that they cannot continue to ignore the injustices that they visit upon Palestinians. She joins a growing list of artists and performers who have made the same decision, and many more will follow in her footsteps.
Just as in the case of South Africa, artists have an important role to play in the quest for peace and justice. And, just as in the case of South Africa, some of the same arguments that defenders of Apartheid South Africa used unsuccessfully against BDS efforts then are being recycled today to defend Israel’s apartheid policies in the West Bank. These efforts, too, will be unsuccessful.
One of those arguments deployed against Lorde’s decision has come from the “Whataboutist” camp. On Twitter, opponents were quick to point out that the singer is canceling her concert in Israel but not in Russia, also guilty of human rights abuses, and thus her boycott efforts and those of BDS more generally are hypocritical. This too is recycled South African Apartheid regime propaganda. In those days, anti-boycott advocates would point to other countries in Africa and Asia with poor human rights records, just as Israel defenders engage in whataboutery today to displace responsibility for the denial of Palestinian rights. The truth is, Apartheid South Africa did not have the worst human rights record in history, but it was the worst human rights abuser of native South African blacks. Likewise, Israel may not be the worst or only human rights abuser in the world today, but it is the worst human rights abuser of Palestinians.
Tactics like boycotts are specific to the context and are deployed for their utility. These tactics were embraced by Palestinian civil society, and increasingly international civil society, because the international state system has failed to hold Israel accountable for its violations. Unlike Russia or other states like North Korea, Myanmar or others where the US and others have deployed economic sanctions, Israel receives billions in weapons from Washington and receives blanket protection at the United Nations. With that said, should an oppressed population anywhere in the world organize a call for international solidarity against their oppressors who are flouting international law and have nonetheless found a way to evade any accountability from the state system, like sanctions or arms embargoes, then cultural icons should heed their call, just as they did for South Africans and just as they should for Palestinians.
One day, freedom, justice and equality will finally reign for Israelis and Palestinians alike. Then we can all sing and dance without a backdrop of racism, discrimination and brutality. I dream of the first concert in my homeland after freedom, when all the artists who boycotted can finally come back and play. I look forward to seeing Lorde there as part of a historic line up alongside Roger Waters, Lauryn Hill and many, many more.
This freedom concert will be well worth waiting for precisely because freedom is something well worth fighting for.
Yousef Munayyer, a political analyst and writer, is Executive Director of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights.
Read more: https://forward.com/opinion/390845/thank-you-lorde-for-standing-up-for-palestinian-human-rights/