PACBI Newsletter

Newsletter Archive:

  February   2013

Stephane Hessel: Palestine will miss you!

 The BDS National Committee (BNC) mourns the tragic loss of our comrade, partner, and dear friend Stephane Hessel.

 A thoughtful and principled supporter of the global, Palestinian civil society-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, Stephane Hessel exuded hope and inspiration.

 As a participant in the process of producing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, he deeply appreciated the necessity of advocating for equal rights for all humans, regardless of identity. This and the fact that he is a Holocaust survivor were crucial factors behind his endorsement of BDS despite the high price he had to pay. He wrote:

“[BDS] campaigns around the world present the most promising way to overcome the failure of world governments to stand up to Israel’s intransigence and lawless behavior.”

  Israel and its well-funded lobby groups vilified him, applied pressure on universities to censor him and did everything possible to silence his unique moral voice. His thought and principles, after all, negated their brutal occupation, colonialism and apartheid. Palestinians will dearly miss Stephane.


Statement of the Second African Heritage Delegation

Because of our lived experience of living with and fighting racism, exploitation, and other oppressions in the United States, we are united in our support for civil and human rights of all peoples of the world. … We endorse BDS against Israel in support of Palestinian freedom, justice and equality.




Shuggie Otis cancels gig in apartheid Israel

 Auris Media reported that Shuggie Otis cancelled his gig in Israel planned for May 1, 2013.  Boycott activists had contacted the legendary musician best known for "Strawberry Letter 23."  Otis has not made a statement as of yet regarding his decision. 


: Israeli racist repression on the rise against Palestinian students

 This past academic year saw more aggressive Israeli oppression of the freedom of expression and organization of cultural and political activities by Arab students, and increased evidence of a militarization of these institutions in addition to institutionalized racist and discriminatory policies.



Brooklyn College, BDS and Palestinian Rights


Earlier in February, a panel held at Brooklyn College on the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel was subjected to relentless vilification, bullying and unfounded allegations. The campaign against Brooklyn College was so intense that even the New York Times and the mayor of New York intervened to express their support for academic freedom by urging the event to go ahead as scheduled.  PACBI … watched as media coverage of the Brooklyn College controversy suppressed Palestinian voices, those that can best explain why Palestinian civil society has embarked on this non-violent, rights-based struggle for Palestinian rights and how it is deeply inspired by the South African anti-apartheid and the U.S. civil rights movements.


Yet, despite this, we stood strong with admiration as our supporters around the US pushed back and rallied to ensure not only that the event took place, but also that the movement’s principles were communicated with clarity and articulated with patience.


At PACBI, we feel it is necessary to offer a few words as we move forward, building from all the momentum that this episode has brought to the movement.  In the case of the accusations of our adversaries from the far right and center left, Professor Judith Butler has already addressed these with eloquence in her comments at the Brooklyn College event.  We would like, here, to deal with two specific issues that continue to be raised, unfortunately, by some supposedly well-read supporters of Palestinian rights, as we feel these are important issues to respond to as we build the movement, even if we have done so elsewhere over the years.  … The first is that BDS does not take a position on a one or two state solution, and really just seeks to destroy Israel.  The second is that BDS targets Israeli academics and is thus against academic freedom, and worse, is racist.  

Peled: Biased new US-funded study skirts around racism in Israeli curricula

A new report on Palestinian and Israeli schoolbooks has elicited much debate. Such a study cannot be symmetrical, for it examines two education systems, one of which is entirely subjugated to the other.

Alicia Keys: Apartheid Must End in Our Lifetime, Cancel Israel

Understanding that the picket line has clearly been marked and that you cannot avoid taking a political stand on this matter, we are now asking you to take a moral stand against Apartheid Israel.

White: Racism and the hypocrisy of Israel's advocates

Several incidents this month shine a spotlight on the way in which the vital fight against one form of racism - anti-Semitism - is cynically abused in order to defend Israel's institutionalised racism.



  Risala in Arabic means mission, message or letter