Author Archives: Harris

US Jews to Hollywood stars: Boycott Israel celebration!

The following has been sent as an open letter to Jason Alexander, Heidi Klum, Debi Mazar, Kevin Spacey, Oliver Stone, Kiefer Sutherland, and all other confirmed attendees of the September 18 celebration of Israel at Paramount Studios.

It has also been sent to unconfirmed guests Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, and Adam Sandler.

Stay tuned for any updates or action announcements!


Update: We received an email from Ixtlan Productions — Oliver Stone’s management — who confirmed that Oliver Stone did not, and was not planning to, attend the September 18 event.  The email did not state a reason or respond to the call for boycott.


September 12, 2008

We write to you with sadness and outrage as we learn that you plan to attend the September 18 event “From Vision to Reality,” a Hollywood celebration of sixty years since the establishment of the state of
Israel. The vision that led to the reality of the Israeli state is one of systematic and ongoing ethnic and religious discrimination against the Palestinian people. This does not deserve to be celebrated.

Sixty years ago, Zionist groups destroyed over 500 Palestinian villages and made more than 800,000 Palestinian people refugees in order to create a Jewish state in a land where the majority was not Jewish. This has come to be known by Palestinians as the Nakba, or “catastrophe,” and this Nakba continues today. Inside of the 1948 borders of Israel, Palestinian citizens are denied equal rights to Jews under the law. Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem are denied access to land,  water, healthcare, and other basic resources. Today there are more than 7 million Palestinian refugees throughout the world, all of whom are denied their internationally recognized right to return to their homes and land simply because they are not Jewish.

As Jewish North Americans, we are outraged at the policies the state of Israel has implemented in our names and with our government’s financial support for more than sixty years.  At the same time, we are inspired by the ongoing creative resistance of the Palestinian people, and most recently the unified civil society call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions against Israel until it complies with international law.  We ask you to heed this call.  Boycott is a nonviolent tool that has been used by ordinary people  countless times to hold countries responsible for atrocities when our governments fail to do so.  In South Africa, the boycott movement helped bring about an end to the apartheid system.  In the case of Israel/Palestine, it can do the same.

Whether you attend or not, you are making a statement.  If you attend, you indicate that you support the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people (now millions) and ongoing policies of ethnic cleansing of an indigenous population from their land.  If you cancel your attendance, you indicate that you will not turn a blind eye to both the suffering and the call to action of millions of Palestinian people.

With stature comes responsibility, and we hope you do not take yours lightly.

Sincerely,

The No Time To Celebrate Campaign
a campaign organized and implemented by thousands of Jewish people in the US and Canada this year to protest Israeli Independence Day activities, to commemorate the Nakba, and to honor the Palestinian
call for boycott against Israel

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Open Letter to Paul McCartney: Do Not Perform in Israel

The No Time To Celebrate Campaign has joined the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) and other allies in issuing an open letter to Paul McCartney asking that he cancel a scheduled concert in Israel in late September.  More information is available from PACBI and the BIG Campaign (Boycott Israeli Goods) in the UK.


Sir Paul McCartney,

We write to you with sadness and urgency as we hear that you are preparing to perform in Israel at the end of this month, and we ask that you cancel this performance. As Jewish North Americans, we are outraged at the policies the state of Israel has implemented in our names and with our government’s financial support for more than sixty years. Palestinian people in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem live under occupation and siege; Palestinian citizens of Israel have fewer rights than Jewish citizens of Israel; and Palestinian refugees, who make up two thirds of the Palestinian population, have been denied their internationally recognized right to return to their lands and their homes since 1948.

At the same time, we write to you with hope that you will heed the unified Palestinian civil society call for boycott against Israel until it complies with international law.  Boycott is a nonviolent tool that has been used by ordinary people countless times to hold countries responsible for atrocities when our governments fail to do so.  In South Africa, the boycott movement helped bring about an end to the apartheid system.  The boycott is both collective and individual.  In this case, we call on you as an individual to take a stand against Israeli apartheid and cancel your performance.

Whether you perform or not, you are making a statement.  If you perform this month, at a time when Israel is celebrating sixty years of existence, you indicate that you support the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people (now millions) and the ongoing policies of ethnic cleansing of an indigenous population from their land.  If you cancel your performance, you indicate that you will not, in the name of profit, turn a blind eye to both the suffering and the call to action of millions of Palestinian people.

With stature comes responsibility, and we hope you do not take yours lightly.

Sincerely,

The No Time To Celebrate Campaign
a campaign organized and implemented by thousands of Jewish people in the US and Canada this past spring to protest Israeli Independence Day activities and to commemorate the Nakba (1948 displacement of Palestinian people)

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Heating Up: The Battle for the Jewish voice and the Jewish soul

An article by David Mandelzys, reposted from (Cult)ure, a Canadian blog:

These are the four questions we were thinking of:

1) Why, on this night we dedicate to remembering our own history as an oppressed people, do we justify Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians?

2) Why, on this night when Israelis are free to celebrate, are the Palestinians locked down under curfew – as is done on most Jewish holidays?

3) Why, here in Canada, where we are a minority amongst a Christian majority, do we advocate for and support a ‘Jewish State’ in the Middle East, where the non-Jewish minority are treated as second class citizens?

4) Why should anyone think that just because we say ‘next year in Jerusalem’ at the end of our Seder, that we had a right to kick others out of their homes so that we could live there?

Read the full article here.

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France: Anti-Zionist Jews Hang Palestinian Flag on Eiffel Tower

(click images to enlarge)

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Seattle Jews confront American Jewish Committee and Honor Palestinian Resistance

May 7th: On May 7th the American Jewish Committee held a celebration of the 60th anniversary of Israel’s founding, at the large and sumptuous Benaroya Hall in downtown Seattle. Outside, al-Nakba Coalition, a network of Middle East peace and justice organizations, held a protest and commemoration of 60 years of Nakba. We started by marching from Westlake Park, carrying banners and coffins with the names of Palestinian villages destroyed in 1948, and wearing masks. We arrived shortly at the concert hall, put down our coffins, and interacted with rush-hour passersby, police, and some celebrants. Some of our people wrote slogans and names of destroyed villages on the sidewalk around the entire building. There were around 100 of us, and there had been coverage of our work that day in both main Seattle newspapers.

Click here for more images from the May 7 demonstrations.

May 10th: We also had an event on May 10th, titled “Celebrate Palestine: 60 years of Resistance.” This was a positive, pro-active cultural event to recognize and honor the steadfastness of the Palestinians in the face of a 60-year Israeli attempt to dislocate and exile the native population of Palestine. Palestinian refugees from 1948 and 1967 spoke, giving moving personal testimony about their life and their experiences. A youth folklore ensemble performed; information tables were present; traditional handicrafts were displayed, and Palestinian food was provided. The event was held at the Seattle Central Community College, organized by al-Nakba Coalition, and at least 100 people attended.


May 28th: The AJC hosted another event, a high-ticket reception and dinner, celebrating Israel in a fancy restaurant on the waterfront. Around 30 of us held a vigil outside, passing out leaflets, writing in chalk on the sidewalk, and reading appropriate poetry and other writings into a small p.a. system.

Click here for more images from the May 28 demonstrations.

For more information about al-Nakba Coalition, see http://nakba60th-seattle.org/

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Philadelphia: Banners Remember the Nakba

PHILADELPHIA, PA — On the mornings of May 18 and 20, 2008, Philadelphia drivers found messages hanging from several bridges leading into the city. Banners read, “Jews remember the Nakba,” “Ethnic cleansing is not a Jewish value,” “U.S. Jews mourn the Palestinian lives and land lost in 1948,” and “Jews say Israeli ‘independence’ = Palestinian dispossession.”

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Philadelphia Jews Say Israel’s 60th is No Time to Celebrate

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sCRmASPfis&hl=en

Organizers Commemorate Palestinian Displacement at “Israel 60″ Parade and Festival

PHILADELPHIA, PA — On Sunday, May 18, 2008, anti-zionist Jews from across the Philadelphia area protested the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia’s “Israel 60 Parade and Festival” under the banner of “No Time to Celebrate.” Activists wore all black and held signs reading “60 years of Ethnic Cleansing – No Time to Celebrate” and “Philadelphia’s Jews Remember the Nakba.”

Activists lined the Israel 60 parade route and demonstrated their position of dissent from within the Jewish community. In addition to holding signs and chanting, the activists also held the image of Handala – the character created by Palestinian artist Naji Al-Ali who represents the struggle of Palestinian refugees. Protester Hannah Mermelstein explained, “The Nakba that began in 1948 continues today. Even thought the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia claims “one city, one celebration”, we are here to let participants and organizers of the Israel 60 Parade and Festival know that there has never been Jewish consensus around Israel. We support Palestinian people’s right to return, individually and collectively, to the homes they lost in 1948 and in the violent decades since then.”

The protestors brought attention to the history of Palestinian dispossession. While many in the world celebrate Israel 60, Palestinians around the world mourn 60 years since the Nakba – Arabic for “catastrophe” – of 1948. Sixty years ago, Zionist militias destroyed over 500 Palestinian villages and made more than 800,000 Palestinian people refugees in order to create a Jewish state in a land where the majority was not Jewish.

According to Israeli Human Rights organization B’Tselem, Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem are denied access to land, water, healthcare, and other basic resources. Palestinians throughout historic Palestine experience international isolation, economic devastation aided by the erection of a 730-kilometer wall, and continued closures and invasions including the siege of Gaza.

Another protester Adam Horowitz noted, “The Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia does not speak for the entire Jewish community. We imagine “independence” and “freedom” outside the bounds of a state based on ethnic exclusivity and dispossession. This is no time to celebrate.

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