first_imgBefore marching in the annual “Celebrate Israel” parade in Manhattan on June 5, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order requiring public agencies controlled by his executive branch to divest from companies and institutions that “participate in boycott, divestment, or sanctions activity targeting Israel.”The order, announced to a beaming crowd of Zionist leaders and business executives at the elite Harvard Club, also requires the commissioner of the Office of General Services to compile and maintain a list of targeted entities.“Cuomo’s action has the ugliest attributes of McCarthyism: identifying organizations that engage in speech we dislike and ‘Let’s blacklist them,’” Baher Azmy, executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, told the Associated Press. “This is a well­-orchestrated, well­-funded, organized strategy to disproportionately punish U.S.-based activists. Really ugly.” (AP, June 5)The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, launched by Palestinian organizations in 2005, continues to expand in its tenth year, driving corporate giants like Veolia, Orange, CHR International and G4S from the Israeli market; pushing Israeli enterprises, including SodaStream and Ahava, out of the occupied West Bank; and winning campaign victories.The BDS movement demands that Israel end its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantle the “Apartheid Wall” in the West Bank, extend full equality to its own minority of Palestinian citizens and allow the return of Palestinian refugees ethnically cleansed from their homes.Announcing his broadside, Cuomo peppered his speech with predictable bluster: “If you boycott against Israel, New York will boycott you. If you divert revenues from Israel, New York will divert revenues from you. If you sanction Israel, New York will sanction you.”But it is not immediately clear who his order, which mentions only public investments in entities that support BDS, might actually affect. None of the companies that have changed their policies following massive campaigns have acknowledged the role of BDS, much less endorsed it.Gilad Erdan, Israeli public security and strategic affairs minister, railed that “BDS was a factor in the decision of security company G4S to sell their operations in Israel.” However, the British-Danish security conglomerate, a contractor with Israeli prisons and occupation forces, demurred, preferring to cite “strategic and commercial grounds” for its decision.The company’s claim has an element of truth. BDS has always sought to impact its commercial targets by impacting negatively on their bottom lines, that is, lowering their profits, rather than through moral appeals. And organizations whose support it has sought and won, like the United Church of Christ and the United Electrical Workers, have no stock to buy or sell.While time will tell, Cuomo’s order reads as if it had been carefully drafted to avoid any practical consequence, including an inevitable legal challenge on constitutional grounds.But political grandstanding or not, Cuomo’s action joins a growing raft of measures by Israel and its allies to repress a global surge of solidarity with Palestinians.French courts have convicted a series of BDS activists on grounds of “discrimination,” with four in the city of Toulouse currently facing charges for distributing flyers encouraging the boycott of Israeli goods.While Cuomo snickered on Sunday that passing legislation can “often be a tedious affair,” nine states, as well as Nassau County, New York, have enacted anti­-BDS bills over the past year. These measures range from rhetorical denunciations of the movement to attempts to impose policies against it like Cuomo’s, with similarly unclear results.Last month, BDS co-­founder Omar Barghouti announced that Israel had refused to renew his travel document, imposing an effective travel ban on him.“Having lost many battles for hearts and minds at the grassroots level, Israel has adopted since 2014 a new strategy to criminalize support for BDS from the top,” Barghouti told the New York Times June 5 after Cuomo’s announcement.And over recent months, the movement’s website, bdsmovement.net, was hit with a series of Distributed Denial of Service attacks that online security firm eQualit.ie described as having “a level of sophistication and commitment not generally seen.”“These latest cyber­attacks against BDS seem to be part of a full-­fledged Israeli war on the movement that includes McCarthyite legal repression, use of intelligence services and yet more funding for ‘brand Israel’ propaganda,” Mahmoud Nawajaa, general coordinator of the Palestinian BDS National Committee, said in a statement on June 2.Catron is a member of Al-Awda New York: The Palestine Right to Return Coalition and an organizer with Samidoun: Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

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first_imgOn the eve of his 96th birthday May 19, the great Black revolutionary, Malcolm X, will always be remembered for the quote: “By any means necessary.” He used this phrase to justify Black people having the right to defend themselves from all forms of white-supremacist violence, including by use of arms.  Just a week before his assassination in 1965, Malcolm X stated, “We are today seeing a global rebellion of the oppressed against the oppressor, the exploited against the exploiter.”  Both of these powerful statements are applicable to the genocidal terror currently happening in Gaza. Workers World Party defends the the right of the Palestinian people, as an oppressed and exploited people, to rebel against the racist Zionist regime of Israel “by any means necessary.” Our view has not wavered one iota since the Party held its first pro-Palestine demonstration in 1967.    This self-determination includes the Palestinian masses having their choice of political representation — which in Gaza has been Hamas since 2006. For decades,  Palestinians have faced two oppressors — the fascistic Israeli occupiers who violently displaced them from their homeland May 15, 1948, with horrific massacre — and the top backer of Israel, U.S. imperialism.  Yes, it is the duty for anyone who considers themself to be a revolutionary and socialist inside any superrich capitalist countries to demand that all aid be severed from propping up Israeli apartheid in Palestine. That is an important step towards building anti-imperialist solidarity.  This garrison state could not exist for one day if it weren’t for the $10 million the U.S. administration provides daily, amounting to almost $4 billion annually. This support reflects why Israel has been an illegitimate state since its inception. It uses a false cover of being a “Jewish state,” but in reality it is a Zionist state built on the blood, sweat and tears of the Palestinian people.  Zionism is a white-supremacist ideology used to dehumanize Palestinians and all Arab peoples. This racist, white, settler state was codified with the Balfour Declaration by British colonialist settlers on Nov. 2, 1917. Malcolm X equated Zionism with colonialism in September 1964.  Palestinian solidarity protest in Philadelphia, May 15Land theft, Columbus to ZionismWhat has happened to the displaced Palestinian people — be they in the Occupied Territorities of Gaza and the West Bank or throughout the diaspora — can be compared to what happened to the thousands of original nations in this hemisphere during the wholesale theft of Indigenous lands starting with Christopher Columbus. The difference is that Britain’s genocidal theft of North America led to the establishment of the world’s most powerful imperialist country, which today profits from the oil-rich region in East Asia or the “Middle East.”To be anti-Zionist is NOT the same as being antisemitic. The U.S. government’s support of Israel is not based on genuine support for Jewish people. In fact, antisemitic attacks are everyday occurrences in the U.S. and included the closing of its borders to a certain number of Jewish people attempting to escape the Holocaust during, and before, World War II. This imperialist maneuver was an effort to divert Jewish people to settle Palestine — to turn them into occupiers before 1948.  The Palestinian people have had no other choice but to fight back against their oppressors, using everything at their disposal — from slingshots to rockets against the Israeli Defense Forces, which are trained and armed with the most sophisticated weaponry supplied by the U.S. Defense Department.  The heroic resistance shown by the Palestinians has helped to further isolate the already ostracized Israeli regime — especially since the first Intifada or uprising that began in 1987, followed by the second Intifada in 2000. This is why it is critical for movements to demand an immediate end to the bombing of Gaza and ending all U.S. aid to Israel — and to defend the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people to win their liberation “by any means necessary” — which will weaken imperialism everywhere. Workers World Party salutes the heroism of the Palestinian people. Make Israel Palestine again! FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

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