Professor Haim Bresheeth is an Israeli BDS activist who teaches film at SOAS University of London. Even by his own admission, he is a "filmmaker, photographer, film studies scholar, activist”.
Recently, Bresheeth has published a call to the British Labor Party: "My life’s work as an anti-racist and anti-Zionist activist makes me an antisemite according to Labour," because he is "an ex-Israeli Jew who has been active for over five decades as a socialist, anti-Zionist and anti-racist activist." After detailing his biography as an activist, he admitted, "It is evident that my background qualifies me as an antisemite according to the Labour coda."
The Bresheeth list of “in your face” anti-Israel activities is long. Earlier in life Bresheeth was an activist with the radical leftist group Matzpen.
In 2003, Bresheeth was among the founders of Jews Against Zionism, an organization of "Jews and others opposed to the Zionist movement and ideology, and to its impact on both Palestinians and Jews. We believe that the conflict in Palestine cannot be resolved without a return of Palestinian refugees and dismantlement of the Zionist structure of the state of Israel; and that this is impossible in the context of 'two states' and a re-partition of Palestine."
In 2006, Bresheeth published a letter defending an anti-Israel activist, Ghazi Walid Falah, a professor of Geography at Akron, Ohio, who was detained in Israel during a family visit on the eve of the Second Lebanon War. According to the police, he allegedly took pictures of an antenna near Kibbutz Adamit close to the border with Lebanon. Since Falah was a regular visitor to Iran and Syria he was detained for a longer investigation. Falah used his case during a session at the annual American Geographical Association gathering claiming he was kidnapped without trial. Bresheeth wrote in his support, “I may be eligible for years in jail... I have been an anti-Zionist for 3 decades"
As a member of the British Committee for Universities of Palestine (BRICUP), Bresheeth has participated at the First Palestinian Conference for the Boycott of Israel (BDS) in Al-Bireh, Ramallah in 2007. The meeting attracted some 300 activists from all round the world. In his speech, Bresheeth compared the South African apartheid and Israel's "Zionist regime” which is “unable to provide solutions to Jews, to the Palestinian people, or to the people in the region."
As an anti-Israel activist at the University of East London he was hosting the Nakba Day Events.
In an interview in 2012, Bresheeth claimed that “the end of racist and unjust, brutal practices and policies of Zionism will not come from within... without an end to this colonial project, there can be no just peace for anyone, and no just resolution of the Palestinian question, created by Zionism and its western allies in crime. As long as the Zionist state stays intact, we have a situation reminiscent of South Africa under apartheid" Bresheeth continued, "This neo-colonial enterprise, serving the aims of western capitalism, has not only caused the Palestine continued Nakba, but has also poisoned middle- Eastern politics with anti-Arab, Islamophobic attitudes and positions which have fed the right in Europe, North America and elsewhere."
He was among the signatories, as IAM reported, of a call to boycott a congress of the Federation of the European Biochemical Societies promoting biochemistry, molecular biology, cell biology, molecular biophysics, and other related research, in Israel in 2017.
As a non-historian, Bresheeth has written books about various historical topics. In a book about the Palestinian Nakba, Bresheeth’s chapter discussed how "Israel managed to capitalize on the few important acts of armed resistance by Jews in Nazi-controlled Europe, and to make them, ipso facto, a justification and raison d'etre for its own actions in 1948 and afterwards"; his book The Gulf War and the New World Order, was described by one reviewer, it "has the advantage of revealing the dilemmas faced by the Marxist Left;" his book Introducing the Holocaust: A Graphic Guide, argues "that the Nazis did not intend to physically destroy the European Jewish population but did so only because Hitler was unable to expel all the Jews because Western nations refused to accept the Jewish refugees", the book was described by a reviewer as "Horrific descriptions of the organized and 'efficient' murder of Jews"; his forthcoming book, An Army Like No Other: How the Israel Defense Forces Made a Nation, is "an unflinching exploration of the war-driven origins of the Israeli state as well as the on-going story of Israeli militarism.”
Not surprisingly, Bresheeth likes to collaborate with the Iranians. In 2018, Bresheeth took part in the making of the Iranian Press TV series "Israel From Inside.” The program has taken a "critical look at developments within Israel, whether political, economic or social.” Bresheeth talks to experts familiar with Israeli internal affairs, discussing issues such as "discrimination and government corruption in Israel."
In striking contrast to his loathsome for Israel, something that repeats in his writing is the hope for Israel as "a democratic, autonomous political and cultural entity twinned with a similar Palestinian entity." While Israel is achieving this goal, nothing, in reality, should prevent the Palestinians from fulfilling this dream. Yet in the eyes of the anti-Israel activist, Israel can do no right and the Palestinians can do no wrong.
British universities have been home to too many anti-Israel propagandists. Of course, criticism of Israel is acceptable but espousing lies isn't. There is no question whether people who admit opposing Zionism, who believe in the "dismantlement of the Zionist structure of the state of Israel," are anti-Semites, whether Jews or non-Jews. After the adoption of the global definition of anti-Semitism, the time has come to end such unacademic practices and to hold those people to account.
April 21, 2018
Press TV deals with Israel with a different plan
Press TV deals with issues within the Israeli regime with a new and different program, "Israel From Within".
Israel Inside is the title of a series of programs aimed at examining the characteristics of the Israeli regime and its internal system on Press TV.
Produced by Aparat Company in 13 25-minute episodes in London, the program discusses issues such as discrimination and government corruption in Israel.
Israel from within includes items such as expert dialogue, reporting, short documentary, analysis of news on Israeli media and social media, during which university lecturer
Haim Bresheeth talks to experts familiar with Israeli internal affairs.
Production of two parts of Israel's Inner Combination program began with the themes of "cutting off the survivors of World War II" and "Haredis" (orthodox Jews opposed to the Zionist regime inside Israel) and the subject of other parts in the planning phase.
The program, which takes a critical look at developments within Israel, whether political, economic or social, and will benefit from the presence of leading analysts in the field, is produced in the UK in 20 minutes. Press TV will begin broadcasting this series in the near future.
به گزارش «خبربان» و به نقل از خبرگزاری دانشجو
۱ اردیبهشت ۱۳۹۷
پرس تی وی با برنامهای متفاوت به اسرائیل میپردازد
رس تی وی با برنامه جدید و متفاوت «اسرائیل از درون»، به سراغ موضوعاتی در داخل رژیم اسراییل میرود.
به گزارش گروه فرهنگی خبرگزاری دانشجو، «اسرائیل از درون» (Israel Inside) عنوان مجموعه برنامهای است که با هدف بررسی ویژگیهای رژیم اسرائیل و سیستم داخلی آن در شبکه پرس تی وی در دست تولید است.
این برنامه به تهیهکنندگی شرکت آپارات در 13 قسمت 25 دقیقهای در لندن تولید میشود و مسائلی همچون تبعیضنژادی و فساد حکومتی را در اسرائیل مورد بحث و بررسی قرار میدهد.
آیا مدارس تهران فردا یکشنبه ۴ اسفند تعطیل است؟
«اسرائیل از درون» شامل آیتمهایی مانند گفتوگوی کارشناسی، گزارش، مستند کوتاه، تحلیل انعکاس اخبار در رسانههای اسرائیلی و شبکههای اجتماعی است و طی آن حییم برشیث (Haim Bresheeth) مدرس دانشگاه به عنوان مجری با کارشناسان آشنا با مسایل داخلی اسرئیل به گفتوگو مینشیند.
تولید دو قسمت از برنامه ترکیبی « اسرائیل از درون» با موضوعات «قطع مستمری بازماندگان جنگ جهانی دوم» و «هردی ها» (یهودی های ارتودوکس مخالف رژیم صهیونیستی در داخل اسراییل) شروع شده و موضوع سایر قسمت های آن در مرحله طرح و بررسی قرار دارد.
این برنامه که نگاهی نقادانه به تحولات درون اسرائیل اعم از سیاسی، اقتصادی و اجتماعی داشته و از حضور تحلیلگران برجسته این حوزه بهره خواهد برد،با مدت زمان 20 دقیقه در انگلیس تولید میشود. پرس تی وی پخش این مجموعه را در آینده نزدیک آغاز میکند.
An Army Like No Other
HOW THE ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES MADE A NATION
By HAIM BRESHEETH-ZABNER
May 19, 2020 | ISBN 9781788737845
ABOUT AN ARMY LIKE NO OTHER
A history of the IDF that argues that Israel is a nation formed by its army.
The Israeli army, officially named the Israel Defence Forces (IDF), was established in 1948 by David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, who believed that ‘the whole nation is the army’. In his mind, the IDF was to be an army like no other. It was the instrument that might transform a diverse population into a new people. Since the foundation of Israel, therefore, the IDF has been the largest, richest and most influential institution in Israel’s Jewish society and is the nursery of its social, economic and political ruling class.
In this fascinating history, Bresheeth charts the evolution of the IDF from the Nakba to the continued assaults upon Gaza, and shows that the state of Israel has been formed out of its wars. He also gives an account of his own experiences as a young conscript during the 1967 war. He argues that the army is embedded in all aspects of daily life and identity. And that we should not merely see it as a fighting force enjoying an international reputation, but as the central ideological, political and financial institution of Israeli society. As a consequence, we have to reconsider our assumptions on what any kind of peace might look like.
“Israel’s drive to become a modern-day nuclear Sparta could only be ensured by An Army Like No Other—an army at the centre of illegal occupation, the creation of settler-colonial facts on the ground and Israeli identity self-fashioning. Thoroughly researched and painstakingly documented, this book is a must for those seeking to understand the centrality of the most powerful institution of Israel and for those who wish to see a just and lasting solution in Palestine–Israel.”
—Nur Masahla, author of Palestine: A Four Thousand Year History
“Israeli left-wing critics of the Zionist state have long described it as ‘an army with a state, instead of a state with an army.’ And yet they have produced very few studies of the Israeli military-industrial complex over the years. In helping to fill this gap, Haim Bre-sheeth makes a crucial contribution to the critical study of the Zionist enterprise.”
—Gilbert Achcar, author of The Arabs and the Holocaust
“Bresheeth—one of the most important anti-colonial intellectuals of our era—takes the Israeli army as an entry point to undertake a deep analysis of Jewish-Israeli society. The original contribution of the book lies in its ambitions and scope: Bresheeth brilliantly describes the way an army whose ethos is rooted in Jewish historical trauma, has grown to become the occupation arm of zionism, the motor of its settler-colonial domination and the basis of its politics of separation.”
—Eyal Weizman, author of Hollow Land
“This book places the Israeli army under an uncompromising lens. It reveals a yawning gap between the propaganda about ‘the most moral army in the world’ and the dark reality. Through a wide-ranging historical survey, studded with little known facts, it exposes the army for what it really is: a brutal police force of a brutal settler-colonial state. Essential for understanding the political sociology of Israel today and the reasons for the impasse in the Israeli–Palestinian so-called ‘peace process.’”
—Avi Shlaim, author of The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World.
My life’s work as an anti-racist and anti-Zionist activist makes me an antisemite according to Labour
Haim Bresheeth on February 14, 2020
The Labour Party
105 Victoria Street
London SW1E 6QT
Dear Jennie Formby,
I am writing you in the wake of recent events – the expulsion of Jo Bird and the excellent letter by Natalie Strecker, as I would like to ask you to kindly refer me to the Compliance Unit, for ‘antisemitism’ – for the reasons I detail below.
I would like to tell you about my background, in order to support my request. I am an academic, author and filmmaker, an ex-Israeli Jew who has been active for over five decades as a socialist, anti-Zionist and anti-racist activist. My parents were Polish Jews, survivors of Auschwitz and other camps. They ended forced onto death marches to the Third Reich after the Auschwitz camp was vacated by the SS in Mid-January 1945. My mother was freed by the British forces in Bergen-Belsen, and my father was freed by the US forces in Mauthausen. I was born in a Displaced Persons Camp in Italy, and arrived in Israel as a baby, during June 1948, as no European country would then accept Holocaust survivors.
I served in the Israeli Army (IDF) as a junior infantry officer, and took part in two wars, in 1967 and 1973, after which I turned into a committed pacifist. I came to study in Britain in 1972, and a short while afterwards I have learnt much about Zionism which I did not while in Israel, thus becoming an ardent supporter of Palestinian rights, and an anti-Zionist activist. I was an active supporter of the Anti-Apartheid Movement as a Labour member in the 1970s and acted against racist organisations throughout my life. My films, books and articles reflect the same political views outlined here; these include a popular book on the Holocaust (Introduction to the Holocaust, with Stuart Hood, 1994, 2001 2014), among others, a BBC documentary film (State of Danger, with Jenny Morgan, BBC2, March 1988) about the first Intifada, and a forthcoming volume on the Israeli Army (An Army Like No Other, May 2020) . I have re-joined the Labour Party after decades, when Jeremy Corbyn was elected to the leadership, as I regained hope in promoting a progressive agenda for the party, after years of Blairism.
It is evident that my background qualifies me as an antisemite according to the Labour coda based on the flawed IHRA ‘definition’ of antisemitism, or rather, the weaponised version of Zionist propaganda aimed against supporters of the human and political rights of Palestinians. But I would like to add some more damning evidence, so as to make the case watertight, if I may.
Over the decades, I took part in hundreds of demonstrations against Israeli brutalities and acted against the atrocities committed by of the military occupation, in various countries – Israel, in Europe and the US. I have published articles, made films and contributed to many books and have spoken widely in a number of countries against the Israeli militarised colonisation of Palestine, the denial of any rights to most Palestinians, the severe violations of human and political rights of the Palestinian citizens of Israel, and the brutalizing impact of the IDF on Jewish Israeli society. I have also analysed the false nature of the IHRA campaign in a recent article, written from an anti-Zionist, human rights perspective. I am active in a number of political groups affiliated or close to the Labour Party, who support Palestinian rights – Jewish Voice for Labour, and Jewish Network for Palestine, of which I am a founder member.
I am aware that according to the Labour Party rules, all the above constitute what you define as antisemitism.
Personally, it is clear to me that such accusations are false and sickening, but no one asked the members on the adoption of the IHRA definition and its examples. The adopted definition makes Israel the only state in the world which one may not criticise, unless they wish to court accusations of antisemitism. To criticise the British Empire, for example, is not anti-British, and, as we speak, still allowed by Labour Party rules. To criticise the US government for its attacks on Iraq in 1991 and 2003 is not anti-American, and still allowed by US regulations. To criticise Israeli apartheid colonialism is not anti-Israeli, neither is it antisemitic, of course. What is antisemitic and racist are the current regulations of the party, and until they are changed, Jews and others who support Palestine have no reason to support a party which treats them in this way.
The Labour Party regulations are what they are; However, I have no intention of stopping my activities, toning them down, or abandoning my principles in order to satisfy the twisted logic of the Labour Party. I insist on my right, indeed, on my duty as an ex-Israeli, as a Jew, as a citizen, as a socialist and last but not least, as a human being, to openly act against and criticise Israeli Apartheid and injustices, for as long as I am able to. I also believe that as a party member of what I believed to have turned into a progressive political organisation, this should be my right and duty; but I realise that my activities are against Labour Party dogma, regulation and current interests, so am accusing myself openly through this letter, and asking you to refer me to the Compliance Unit, so that justice may be done, and that I would be treated equally to my many friends who found themselves in the same predicament – Prof. Moshe Machover, Jackie Walker, Elleanne Green, Tony Greenstein, Glyn Secker, and many others faced with the Stalinist inquisitorial system developed by the Labour Party. If you are to separate the ‘good Jews’ from the ‘bad ‘ones, please include me in the latter group, as nothing in my academic output, teaching history, publication record, or political activity can support the claim that I am not an antisemite according to your rules. I demand that justice be done.
I trust that my request will be taken seriously and acted upon, with the same combination of dispatch, bigotry and prejudice showed towards other members already accused of this offence. Failure to do so will be tantamount to evidence that the criteria for judging the existence of antisemitism are not uniformly applied.
I am ready to provide all evidence which may be required by the investigators of the Compliance Unit, to prove my guilt. Please do not hesitate to ask for assistance on points which remain unclear.
Prof. Haim Bresheeth
Prof. Haim Bresheeth is a Professorial Research Associate in the SOAS School of Interdisciplinary Studies and Director of Camera Obscura Films.
BDS and the Israeli Left
September 16, 2009
BRICUP Newsletter #20
The recent declaration by Neve Gordon, an Israeli academic at Ben-Gurion University, in support of BDS  has generated a great deal of commentary and controversy, ranging from demands that he be dismissed from the university to a celebration of Israeli democracy and the upholding of academic freedom. Here, PACBI takes a sober look at Israeli support for BDS and comments on its potentials and pitfalls.
Israeli support for BDS, and in particular academic and cultural boycott of Israel, is to be welcomed. Long before Gordon’s statement supporting BDS, staunch Israeli supporters of Palestinian rights such as Rachel Giora, Ilan Pappe, Haim Bresheeth, Oren Ben-Dor and Tanya Reinhart had embraced boycott and defended it against Israeli critics particularly leftists in the academy . Israeli artists’ and academics’ endorsement of concrete boycott actions called for by international academics and artists in the past few years is well known. The recent formation of the group Boycott! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within  is particularly noteworthy, as it unconditionally accepts BDS as defined and guided by the Palestinian BDS National Committee, BNC, unlike some “BDS supporters” in Israel who are trying to set their own, restrictive parameters for the campaign or qualifying their support for it to serve their political agendas.
PACBI believes that increasing Israeli support for BDS or a recognition of its inevitability as a strategy in the struggle against Israeli colonialism and apartheid is an indicator of the growing legitimacy, moral superiority and success of the Palestinian-initiated and led BDS campaign. It shows that persistent and effective pressure on Israel, particularly in the form of BDS, has a real potential for generating political change within Israel, beginning with academics, artists, and other public figures. However, it is important to distinguish among different variants of such support or recognition, particularly insofar as they relate to the Palestinian call for BDS, including the PACBI call for academic and cultural boycott of Israel.
First, it should be noted that some Israeli supporters of BDS studiously avoid the political framework set by the Palestinian BDS movement by casting their support for BDS as a strategy to end only the 42-year military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. For example, while some Israelis do employ the term colonialism or apartheid, they limit these terms’ application to the Palestinian territory occupied in 1967, not to historic Palestine which now encompasses the state of Israel. Such a formulation sidesteps the issue of the right of return of Palestinian refugees, as well as that of the legalized and institutionalized system of racism and discrimination against the Palestinian citizens of the Israel It thus not only fails to adhere to the comprehensive rights-based approach adopted in the 2005 Palestinian Civil Society Call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel, but also ignores the UN-sanctioned rights of the great majority of the indigenous people of Palestine. The Palestinian call advocates nonviolent punitive measures to be maintained until Israel meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people's inalienable right to selfdetermination and fully complies with the precepts of international law by ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands 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 UN resolution 194 .
This raises an important issue concerning the leadership of the BDS movement. Palestinians assert their right to set the parameters and overall strategy of the BDS movement and to remain at the forefront of the movement as its legitimate frame of reference and its anchor. Some Israeli attempts to restrict the scope of BDS, whether in geopolitical or tactical terms, can only be seen as an instance of the well-known Israeli “Zionistleft” penchant for defining the terms of the struggle and authorizing appropriate solidarity actions to bring about an end to Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people, as they define it, irrespective of the aspirations and needs of the Palestinians themselves. We reiterate the need to keep this a Palestinian-centered movement in terms of basic principles and overall strategy, supported by the international BDS movement whose diverse, context-sensitive and often creative actions and tactics are critical to the success of the overall BDS strategy, as well as being valued as a form of principled solidarity with the Palestinian people.
Some of the Israeli discourse about BDS betrays a related attribute of the Zionist left’s political discourse, which is its Israel-centered rationale for supporting BDS. In this view, the underlying principle and main justification for calling for BDS is to "save Israel from itself," out of a concern for the country's future, including the prospects of normalizing Israel’s presence in the Arab world. Such an overriding concern for guaranteeing Israel’s future, without questioning its apartheid and racist character, reveals that not all members of the Israeli left or “peace camp” can be counted on as solid allies of the Palestinian and international BDS movement. However, we believe that the formulation of the need for BDS in these terms vindicates one aspect of the logic of the BDS movement, which is to make Israelis realize that nothing short of sustained pressure on Israel will bring about a change in the political status quo. Whether out of Israeli self-interest or based upon a principled commitment to comprehensive Palestinian rights, such Israeli support for BDS cannot be ignored and is to be welcomed.
 See, for example, Tanya Reinhart’s 2002 letter to Israeli academic Baruch Kimmerling at http://www.mediamonitors.net/tanya13.html
First Palestinian Conference For The Boycott Of Israel (BDS)
Palestinian Grassroots Anti-apartheid Wall Campaign
Sunday November 18, 2007
First Palestinian Conference for the Boycott of Israel (BDS)
22 November 2007
“The Campaign for the Boycott of Israel will re-vitalize popular resistance and restore dignity to the Palestinian people”
An important mile-stone in building the global BDS campaign was achieved in Ramallah on 22 November 2007. Some 300 activists, members of unions, associations and NGOs in towns, villages and refugee camps of the occupied West Bank, with monitors from the global solidarity movement in Britain, Canada, Norway, Spain and South Africa, convened for a day of discussion and debate about ways to promote all forms of boycott against Israel among Palestinian community organizations, unions, as well as political, academic and cultural institutions. Organizers and participants left the conference with a sense of accomplishment: practical recommendations are in place for building the popular Palestinian BDS campaign as a strategic form of civil resistance in the long struggle ahead against Israel's regime of apartheid over the Palestinian people.
The conference was opened by Dr. Gabi Baramki (PACBI) who reminded participants of the fact that boycott has been a tool of the Palestinian struggle since the 1920s. He stated that the power of popular boycott derived from international law and universal ethical principles, and emphasized the timeliness of a Palestinian popular boycott movement, especially now, when isolation and fragmentation are imposed more than ever on the Palestinian people, in order to bring about loss of hope, dignity and surrender. Boycott and popular struggle contributed to the liberation of India and South Africa, he stated, adding that, while it is true that the challenge for Palestinians is bigger, because South Africa never enjoyed the level of support Israel has from the United States and Europe, the Palestinian boycott campaign can be effective because of Israel’s ultimate dependence, politically, diplomatically and economically, on the West.
Representing PNGO, Dr. Allam Jarrar then summarized the need for boycott in the current political context, asserting that “The Palestinian struggle is a struggle against the systematic effort by Israel to replace one people in the country by another.” He affirmed that the conference was a historic event, “because 60 years into the Palestinian Nakba, we are beginning to revise the strategy of our struggle for the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, foremost among them our rights to self-determination, independence and return [for refugees]. The boycott campaign will re-vitalize popular resistance and restore dignity.” He presented several motivating factors for the BDS campaign:
- it dispels the myth that negotiations with Israel are the only form of struggle that Palestinians can engage in;
- as a non-violent tool, it is a form of popular resistance that can appeal to all Palestinians, in the homeland and exile, as well as to global supporters;
- it is a tool for rebuilding collective struggle and unity;
- it revives national culture and identity, and can give hope and inspiration to the young generation;
- it challenges the current balance of power through applying sustained and effective pressure on Israel.
The first session included presentations – followed by discussion - by two guest speakers. Virginia Setshedi, from the Palestine Solidarity Committee in South Africa, reminded the audience of the fact that Apartheid is a crime against humanity, and explained that the new, post-Apartheid South African social movement understands the struggle of the Palestinian people. At the time of the 2001 World Conference Against Racism in Durban, a commitment was made to support the Palestinian struggle to isolate Apartheid Israel, she said. The social movement in South Africa, which welcomed the 2005 Palestinian civil society BDS call as an appeal by the Palestinian people to launch this joint struggle, has worked ever since on building the BDS movement in South Africa -- shaming the South African government and pressuring it to rescind normal relations with Israel, and boycotting Israeli consumer products. She emphasized the importance of solidarity to be mutual and encouraged Palestinians to express their support for the people's struggle in post-Apartheid South Africa for economic and social justice.
Prof. Haim Bresheeth, of the British Committee for Universities of Palestine (BRICUP), gave a personal account of how a state visit to Israel in 1972 by the prime minister of the South African regime made him aware of the affinity between Apartheid and Israel's Zionist regime. He emphasized the need for a profound analysis not only of Zionist Israel's strengths, but also of the failures of Israel's regime, as a system that can cause massive destruction but is unable to provide solutions to Jews, to the Palestinian people, or to the people in the region.
Speakers in the second session set the agenda for the subsequent discussions in the workshops, examining how to promote boycott as a key component in the struggle by all sectors of Palestinian civil society and the criteria, programs and mechanisms needed to guide the Palestinian and global boycott campaign. Based on a review of joint Israeli-Palestinian civil society projects (“people to people” projects) in the fields of gender, youth and efforts at “building a joint historical narrative,” Dr. Islah Jad of PACBI showed how such projects have undermined Palestinian identity and struggle for freedom by giving the false impression of “balance” and of the possibility of reaching a “middle-ground” between the oppressor and the oppressed, rather than ending oppression altogether. As western donors continue to encourage such projects, she said, every Palestinian is responsible to undertake, before engagement, a close examination based on the criteria developed by the BDS campaign.
Adnan Ateyah, speaking for OPGAI, explained the criteria for the BDS campaign and emphasized the strategic character of this campaign which aims not only to end the military occupation in place since 1967, but also to challenge Israel's ideology, Zionism, and its international relations. Jamal Jum’a of the Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign pointed out that boycott is an effective tool in supporting Palestinian farmers and the building of a Palestinian economy of steadfastness on the land as opposed to grandiose “development projects” that effectively entrench dependency on the occupation. He stressed the need to unify the political analysis, terminology and campaigns, and to promote the BDS campaign at a national level. Opposition to normalization has to be a crucial element of the campaign, he stated, in order to strengthen Palestinian cohesion and give a signal to the people and the leadership. Globally, Jum’a added, the BDS movement has become today so widespread and diversified that it is beyond the capacity of the Zionist lobby to destroy it; only Palestinian normalization can do so.
Recommendations (from the three, parallel workshops)
There was consensus among participants that building civil resistance is a priority in the current era. Work on the Palestinian BDS Campaign should be seen in this context and lead to the formation of an inclusive Steering Committee for the Campaign.
Additional recommendations included:
1. For the local Palestinian BDS Campaign
General: Palestinian employment in Jewish settlements and Israel is to be excluded from the boycott, because it is a source of necessary income that has no current substitute.
• Study Israeli products in the Palestinian market: What are they? Where are they distributed? How do they enter?
• Identify products which have Palestinian (or other) alternatives and mobilize for massive consumer boycotts against them;
• Mobilize pressure to prevent entry of Israeli products (e.g. put up boxes for public complaints) where local alternatives exist;
• Start dialogue with Palestinian companies about ways to support Palestinian national products and expand employment of the Palestinian work force.
• Undertake a review of the Palestinian curriculum to ensure historical accuracy;
• Raise awareness and work with students at schools and universities to spread the culture of boycott;
• Request from the Ministry of Education to urge private schools to stop selling Israeli products (in the cafeterias) and not to engage in normalization projects with Israeli organizations.
Media and Public Awareness-Raising
• Pressure Palestinian media to halt all advertisement of Israeli products;
• Organize public awareness campaigns (posters, stickers, etc.) about boycott, and request support from the local media.
Mechanisms for Campaign Building and Promotion
• Form popular boycott committees in all regions and sectors in order to: build public awareness about the importance of the campaign and the criteria for boycott and anti-normalization; initiate action and build a popular culture of boycott; and develop a response to those insisting on normalization;
• Build pressure on PA officials for ending normalization with Israel (end security coordination, rescind Paris Protocol on economic cooperation, etc.);
• Express Palestinian support for struggles in the “global south” (e.g., Africa, South America, Asia), in order to build mutual support.
2. For the Campaign in the Arab World
• Seek cooperation and coordination with anti-normalization committees in the Arab world;
• Lobby for re-activation of the Arab-League boycott committee;
• Raise the profile of BDS in the mainstream Arab media;
• Encourage Arab investors to invest in the Palestinian economy;
• Promote Palestinian products in Arab countries.
3. For the International/Global Campaign
Strategy and Message
• Emphasize that the BDS campaign does not only target Israel's economy, but challenges Israel's legitimacy, being a colonial and apartheid state, as part of the international community. Therefore, efforts are needed not only to promote wide consumer boycotts, but also boycotts in the fields of academia, culture and sports;
• The Nakba-60 campaign in 2008 is a campaign for the boycott of Israel, including calling for a boycott of the “Israel at 60” celebrations.
• Select boycott targets that provide an opportunity for public education about Israel's apartheid regime.
As work with the major (potential) allies (e.g., unions, faith-based organizations/churches, political parties) continues, give special attention to:
• Palestinian and other Arab media correspondents in the respective countries: brief them about BDS initiatives and encourage them to report them to audiences in Palestine and the Arab world;
• Support other struggles in the “global south” and struggles of marginalized communities in the “north,” and encourage links with the global BDS campaign;
• For the time being, use existing websites (e.g. PACBI) and lists to update about and coordinate global activities and campaigns, until a centralized BDS website can take over that role;
• For the time being, the International Coordinating Network on Palestine (ICNP) serves as (symbolic, temporary) network for coordination of the global BDS campaign;
• Participants recommend a special BDS organizers conference to be held in November 2008, in order to formalize and improve the mechanism of global coordination.
The conference was convened by the Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO), the OPGAI-Coalition, PACBI and the Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign. The organizing committee expresses its special thanks to Muwatin, The Palestinian Institute for the Study of Democracy, OPGAI-Occupied Palestine and Golan Heights Advocacy Initiative, BADIL Resource Center, PMRS-Palestinian Medical Relief Society, UHWC-Union of Health Work Committees, UAWC-Union of Agricultural Relief Work Committees who made this conference possible. Thanks also go to Watan TV for coverage, media dissemination, and providing volunteers who assisted with logistics.
This report was prepared by the Conference Steering Committee.
For review and endorsement of the 2005 Palestinian BDS Call, see: www.bds-palestine.net
Haim Bresheeth brags about being Anti-Zionist on PLO web site
Date of issue: Monday, 2 October 2006
Dear Dr. Golan,
I do not know you, and I definitely do not wish to ever meet you or hear
from you, after reading your disturbing, ill-informed, racist, and
miss-spelt comments about another academic like yourself, which you thought
was reasonably arrested without charge for 23 days, because of his
anti-Zionist activities. Let me tell you that you may pass my details to the
Israeli security services, as I qualify for a much longer arrest under your
mad scheme. I have been an anti-Zionist for 3 decades, and have spoken on
numerous occasions against the continuation of the illegal occupation,
racism in Israel, and especially in Israeli universities, where people like
you are a blot on Jewish history, supporting and abetting the worst
atrocities, out of sheer hate of the Palestinian other. According to you, I
may be eligible for years in jail, for this specific crime: speaking against
the crimes of the Israeli regime. There are many like me, and our number
grows all the time, in direct response to actions such as your own. It
should come to you as no surprise then, that such words as you have written
help us to persuade people everywhere in the need of an academic boycott
against Israeli institutions which continue to support the occupation.
You may indeed, want to reflect about the wisdom of racist utterance: Not
everything which can be said in Israel, in Hebrew, between racists such as
yourself, is right for publication in English! You see, Dr. Golan, not
everyone is to be trusted with your deep racism! Next time, better shut up
You may not respond to this message, which is sent purely to let you know
that your words will be widely used to illustrate what Palestinians are
facing in Israeli universities, which is similar to what they face
elsewhere, from the checkpoints to the roads, to any contact with Israeli
Thank you for being unwittingly frank,
To read the letter by Dr. Arnon Golan