PalSol in Solidarity with Irish Academics taking a stance against Israeli apartheid and the complicity of universities

Sir, – As scholars associated with Irish institutions of higher education, north and south, we are deeply disturbed by Israel’s ongoing illegal occupation of Palestinian land, the intolerable human rights violations that it inflicts on all sections of the Palestinian people, and its apparent determination to resist any feasible settlement. We are also disturbed by the involvement of Israeli higher education institutions in Israel’s military and security industries, by EU institutional involvement in funding Israeli research, and by the research and development collaboration between Irish and Israeli higher-education institutions.

Responding to the appeal from Palestinian civil society, we therefore declare that we will not accept invitations to visit Israeli academic institutions; act as referees in any of their processes; participate in conferences funded, organised or sponsored by them, or otherwise co-operate with them.

We will, however, continue to work with our Israeli colleagues in their individual capacities and at the same time put in place strategies of political and practical support for Palestinian universities, academics and students.

We will maintain this position until the state of Israel complies with international law and respects universal principles of human rights. – Yours, etc,

Dr RONIT LENTIN,

(retired) TCD;

HARRY BROWNE,

Dublin Institute

of Technology;

Prof DES BELL,

National College

of Art and Design;

Prof SEAMUS DEANE,

Prof JOHN DOYLE,

Dublin City University;

Prof CONLETH D HUSSEY,

University of Limerick;

and Prof Gerry Kearns, Maynooth University Prof Kathleen Lynch, UCD Prof Damian McCormack, UCD Prof Terrence McDonough, NUIG Prof Karen McElrath, Fayetteville State University, USA Prof Cahal McLaughlin, Queen’s University Belfast Prof John Pinkerton, QUB Dr John Kelly, Emeritus Professor, UCD Prof Sam Porter, QUB Dr Helena Sheehan, Emeritus Professor, DCU John Waddell, Emeritus Professor, NUIG Eyad Abu-Khiran, University and College Union, QUB Dr Barbara Bradby (retired), TCD Elaine Bradley, PhD candidate, TCD Dr Audrey Bryan, St Patrick’s College, DCU Dr James Carr, UL Dr Michael Carr, DIT Dr Justin Carville, IADT Teresa Cash, St Mary’s University College, Belfast Dr Maurice Coakley, Griffith College Dublin Dr Steve Coleman, Maynooth University Dr Peter Collins, St Mary’s University College, Belfast Dr Eileen Connolly, DCU Dr Catherine Conlon, TCD Magdi Rashied, DIT Eddie Conlon, DIT Dr Ciaran Cosgrove (retired), TCD Dr Colin Coulter, Maynooth University Dr Laurence Cox, Maynooth University Deirdre Cree, St Mary’s University College, Belfast Ann Curran, DIT Dr Laurence Davis, UCC Dr Sharae Deckard, UCD Miriam Delaney, DIT Dr Kevin Farrell, IT Blanchardstown Dr Paul Farrell, IT Tallaght Gerry Farrelly, DIT Dr Brian Feeney, St Mary’s University College, Belfast Dr Jude Lal Fernando, TCD Dr Mikael Fernström, UL Dr Andrew Finlay, TCD Barry Finnegan, Griffith College Dublin Mike FitzGibbon, UCC Dr Camilla Fitzsimons, Maynooth University Richard Fitzsimons, DIT Dr Angela Flynn, UCC Dr Michael Foley, DIT Dr Oona Frawley, Maynooth University Dr Paul Michael Garrett, NUIG Dr Brian Hanley, Historian Martin Hanrahan, DIT Tony Hayes, DIT Dermot Healy (retired), DIT Roddy Hegarty, Library & Archive Director (Armagh) Goretti Horgan, Ulster University Dr David Hughes, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Dr Mariya Ivancheva, UCD Celia Keenan (retired), St Patrick’s College Drumcondra Dr Sinéad Kennedy, Maynooth University Ian Kilroy, DIT Dr Heather Laird, UCC Dr David Landy, TCD Dr John Lannon, UL Zoe Lawlor, UL Dr Luciana Lolich, UCD Madeleine Lombard, St Mary’s University College, Belfast Eibhlín Mhic Aoidh, St Mary’s University College, Belfast Dr Martin McCabe, DIT Dr Conor Mc Carthy, Maynooth University Dr Des McGuinness (retired), DCU Simon McGuinness, DIT Denise McKee, St Mary’s University College, Belfast Dr Elaine McLaughlin, St Mary’s University College, Belfast Brian McMahon, Cork IT Noirin MacNamara, PhD candidate, QUB Dr Bill McSweeney, TCD Dr Martin Maguire, Dundalk Institute of Technology Dr Martin Marjoram, IT Tallaght Dr Chandana Mathur, Maynooth University Dr Thomas Murray, UCD Dr Yoga Nathan, UL Maeve O’Brien, PhD Candidate, Ulster University Dr Eithne O’Connell, DCU David O’Connor, DIT Dr Maureen O’Connor, UCC Dr Tom O’Connor, Cork IT Tom O’Connor, DIT Dr Hugh O’Donnell, DIT Dr Micheal O’Flynn, UCD Dr Féilim Ó hAdhmaill, UCC Dr Theresa O’Keefe, UCD Daithí Ó Madáin, NUIG Dr Eoin O’Mahony, St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra Dr Jacqui O’Riordan, UCC Dr Sinead Pembroke, TCD Dr Michael Pierse, QUB Dr Susan Power, Griffith College Dublin John Rafferty, St Mary’s University College, Belfast Dr John Reynolds, Maynooth University Ellen Reynor, St. Patrick’s College, DCU Dr Paola Rivetti, DCU Jim Roche, DIT, Chair Academics for Palestine Maggie Ronayne, NUIG Dr Colin Sage, UCC Dr Birgit Schippers, St Mary’s University College, Belfast Paul Sheehan (retired), former Director of Library Services, DCU Dr Fintan Sheerin, TCD Domhnall Sheridan, DIT Ailbhe Smyth (retired), UCD Dr Robbie Smyth Griffith College Dublin Stephen Stewart, Mater Dei Inst./DCU Dr Andy Storey, UCD Peter Tansey, UCD Dr Gavan Titley, Maynooth University Dr Antonio Toral, DCU Theresa Urbainczyk, UCD Ciaran Walsh, St Mary’s University College, Belfast.

Courtesy: http://www.irishtimes.com/

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Palestinian Women from Occupied East Jerusalem Calling for Protection

Screenshot from 2015-11-04 15:30:34

We women of occupied East Jerusalem call for immediate protection as we witness and suffer the widespread and serious violations of Palestinian human rights, including physical attacks and injuries, severe psychological threats, and persecution by the Israeli settler-colonial state and settler entities.

We urge the international community to act and defend the rights of Palestinian children, women, and men, including the right to a safe life amidst the constant attacks, excessive and indiscriminate use of force used by the Israeli oppressive apparatus, acts of violence and daily terror committed by Israeli Jewish civilians, including settlers. This brutality is intimidating our lives, provoking our youth, willfully causing death and bodily and psychological harm, and disabling and injuring of our community members.

We, a group of Palestinian women, mothers, sisters, daughters and youth—and in the name of the “Jerusalemite Women’s Coalition”—call upon the international community to protect our families, community, and children. We are calling for the protection of our bodily safety and security when in our homes, walking in our neighborhood, reaching schools, clinics, work places, and worships venues.

We are calling for protection, for we feel displaced even at home, as the Israeli soldiers, armed settlers, border patrol, and police invade our homes, attack our families, strip search our bodies, and terrorize us all.

We women of occupied East Jerusalem feel as if we are orphans, without any protection from the Palestinian Authority or the international community, as the Israeli state terrorizes our homes, educational institutions, and public spaces. The state’s imposition of collective punishment and sanctions invade not only our physical spaces and bodies, but also our psyches. We live in a state of fear and horror, not knowing how to face the omnipotent power of the highly technologized settler colonial entity, and militarized Israeli state that regularly executes Palestinians in the streets. Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem have been abandoned, subject to the discriminatory policies of a violent state and its security and police apparatus.

The current political violence and the lack of any protection, as the Israeli security apparatus is protecting Jews only, jeopardizes women’s safety and her economic, social, psychological, and bodily rights, as well as children’s and men’s safety and security. We call for protection, and the implementation of Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace, and security, and urge human rights defenders to protect our community from the Israeli machinery of oppression. Our children must be allowed to reach their schools in peace, and our parents and elderly must be able to reach their work places, health institutions and welfare services with safety. We request that we are able to walk in the streets without fearing the attacks of the Israeli security apparatus and its armed settlers.

We are calling to protect women and girls, who are particularly vulnerable to various forms of state violence and mass atrocities. The economic strangulation of Palestinians by the Israeli settler-colonial powers, that have thus far resulted in the total dependency on the Israeli entity, further traps the lives of Palestinians. The feminization of poverty and the economic strangulation of Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem enslave Palestinians. The feminization of slavery in the colony is apparent when watching Palestinian women turn into domestic workers humiliated, controlled, and oppressed in Israeli public and private entities.

We are aware that humanitarian law attempts to challenge the inherent inhumanity of wars and colonial criminality by requiring international actors to protect civilians. International humanitarian law suggests moral boundaries of the exercise of power in situations of mass violence. International humanitarian law’s main object is primarily to protect and aid victims of violence.

We, the women of occupied East Jerusalem,are politically orphaned. We are victims without protection, as the Palestinian Authority has no right to protect us in our city, and the Israeli state treats us as terrorists that should be humiliated, attacked, violated, and controlled. The guerrilla state style tactics used in occupied East Jerusalem, be it the attacks on Palestinians in the streets, the beating of the young and old, the attacks on children going to and from school, the invasion of violent settlers to our neighborhoods and homes, the control of our life, water, cell phones, internet, mobility, health, economy, and accessibility to other resources, have situated us in human cages—segregated, restrained by Israeli laws and security theology, unable to know what to anticipate and what will come next.

Having to endure all the above difficulties, which have been escalated by Israeli cabinet resolutions and otherwise ignored due to global amnesia, WE ARE CALLING FOR PROTECTION AND URGENT ACTIONS TO PREVENT FURTHER AGONIES, UPROOTING, DEMONIZATION,AND SUFFERING.

Signed by Jerusalemite Women’s Coalition /Al-tajamo’ Al-nasawiy Almaqdasy.

The Coalition includes a group of Women NGOs and Jerusalemite feminists from all segments of society

Jerusalem 24.10.2015

Palestine 101 workshop talks boycott, divestment, and sanctions

McGill student solidarity group focuses conversation on human rights

On October 28, Students in Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR) McGill presented a workshop entitled “Palestine 101: Intro to Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions.” The event was organized as part of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Week at Concordia, and was the only event held by SPHR McGill.

The speakers were Melis Çagan, Ralph Haddad (former Daily editor and current director on the Board of the Daily Publications Society), and Michael McCauley, three members of SPHR McGill.

The workshop began with a brief overview of the occupation and the plight of Palestinians living in Israel, Gaza, the West Bank, and the diaspora, respectively. The overview, presented by McCauley and Haddad, described the blockade and military assaults on the Gaza Strip, instances of police brutality against Palestinians, and the Israeli West Bank Barrier, also known as the Wall.

This blockade of the Strip has prevented the reconstruction of homes that have been demolished in previous military assaults against the region, and have also virtually destroyed the Gaza economy,” McCauley said. “There is […] a 43 per cent unemployment rate in the Strip – that is the result of both the blockade and these repeated military assaults.”

There is […] a 43 per cent unemployment rate in the Strip – that is the result of both the blockade and these repeated military assaults.”

The presentation included footage showing Palestinian refugee camps being demolished by the Israeli state, as well as analysis of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, with a focus on the 1993 and 1995 Oslo Accords, and the 2000 Camp David negotiations.

The problem with these peace talks [is] that they’re very asymmetrical. They lean more toward Israel’s side than the Palestinian side,” said Haddad. “They also assume that both parties are equal and they have the same to bring to the negotiation table, which is inherently wrong. You can’t sit down at a table with your oppressor and talk about an equal exchange that will happen between you.”

The visual presentation displayed the three demands of the BDS call: “Ending [the Israeli state’s] occupation and colonization of all Arab lands [occupied in June 1967] and dismantling the Wall; recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and respecting, protecting, and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties, as stipulated in [United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194].”

Because there is no constant stance in Palestine about a one-state or two-state solution, by focusing BDS on having [human] rights, [since] there’s a general consensus on what rights people should have […] it’s easier for people from different political views to take part in it,” noted Çagan.

Neutrality in this case means complicity with the oppressor, and I think this attitude needs to change if we are ever to make any strides in standing in solidarity with the liberation struggles of [the Palestinian] people.”

Çagan concluded the presentation by discussing the relative success of international calls for BDS, which began in 2004 with a Palestinian campaign for academic boycott. Recent successes of the BDS movement worldwide include the French multinational infrastructure company Veolia selling its shares in the consortium that runs Jerusalem Light Rail as well as the global mobilization to divest from G4S, a British multinational security company that provides security equipment and supplies to Israeli prisons in the West Bank.

Following the presentation, participants brought up questions comparing boycott and divestment tactics used to end South African apartheid in the 1980s and 1990s and BDS against Israeli apartheid today. Discussion also centered on McGill’s role in the BDS movement. McGill has investments in G4S as well as Re/Max, a real estate company that sells properties in Israeli settlements.

Liza Riitters, a U1 Political Science student who attended the workshop, noted that while many students she knew were in support of the Palestinian cause, many others at McGill did not support divestment. “I was here last year when they were trying to [divest from the occupation of Palestinian territory], and so many people were saying ‘Oh, the university shouldn’t have an opinion,’” said Riitters.

Ayesha Talreja, a U3 International Development student and member of SPHR McGill said, “Neutrality in this case means complicity with the oppressor, and I think this attitude needs to change if we are ever to make any strides in standing in solidarity with the liberation struggles of [the Palestinian] people.”

Courtesy: http://www.mcgilldaily.com/

Ben Rivers Speaks on ‘Playback Theater and Popular Struggle in Occupied Palestine,’ at an event in Delhi

The Palestine Solidarity Committee in India and and The Indian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (InCACBI) conducted a talk by Ben Rivers on the topic ‘Playback Theatre and Popular Struggle in Occupied Palestine,’ at the May Day Bookstore and Cafe, New Delhi, on 8 January 2014.

Ben Rivers is an educator and cultural activist based in the Middle East. He specializes in the use of applied theatre for community mobilization and is a co-founder of The Freedom Theatre’s Freedom Bus initiative (www.freedombus.ps).

Since December 2011, The Freedom Theatre’s Freedom Bus has engaged thousands of Palestinians and people from abroad in cultural actions that address Israel’s practice of settler colonialism, military occupation and structural apartheid. The Freedom Bus partners with village cooperatives, popular struggle committees and grassroots organizations to hold multi-day “solidarity stays” and “freedom rides” in villages, towns, refugee camps and Bedouin communities throughout the occupied West Bank. These events involve community visits, interactive seminars, guided walks, Hakawati (traditional storytelling), building construction, and protective presence activity.

A central feature of Freedom Bus events is the use of Playback Theatre. Through this method, a troupe of Palestinian actors and musicians invite stories from the audience and subsequently transform each account into a piece of improvised theatre. By sharing stories about the realities of life under colonization and apartheid, community members aim to mobilize audience members in the broader struggle for freedom and equality in historic Palestine.

Endorsers of the Freedom Bus include Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Alice Walker, Angela Davis, Judith Butler, Maya Angelou, Noam Chomsky, Omar Barghouti and Peter Brook. The Freedom Bus is also endorsed by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) and the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI).
Using stories, photographs and video, Ben Rivers will speak about the Freedom Bus initiative and its role within the popular struggle movement.

Magid Shihade and Sunaina Maira Speak on “India-Palestine and the Future of Decolonization”

Palestine Solidarity Committee in India, organized a talk by Magid Shihade, a faculty member at the Abu-Lughod Institute of International Studies at Birzeit University, Birzeit, Palestine; and Sunaina Maira, a Professor of Asian American Studies at the University of California, Davis, on the topic “On Solidarity: India-Palestine and the Future of Decolonization,” in New Delhi at the India International Center on Thursday Dec. 27, 2012.

In their presentation, Magid Shihade and Sunaina Maira focused on the question of Palestine, through a discussion of the Israeli settler colony and its impact on native Palestinians, neighbouring Arabs, and the ramifications for Asia and Africa. The need for Third World unity to counter this Western colonial structure was examined, as was the growing Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement around the world. The talk also touched on Indian-Zionist alliances in the US as well as the involvement of diasporic South Asians in the Palestine solidarity movement.

The video is brought to you by Newsclick.in, and is about an hour long.