liveblogging from the allied media conference: boycott, divest and sanction session

i will liveblog this session until it’s time for us (ruckus and yesmen) to consult on actions that could support the efforts of folks working!

the brilliant nada is breaking down, to start off, the way israel’s image has been built up vs the way palestine’s image has been built up. israel’s european roots allow it to tell a story that appeals to international economic leaders. the cultural boycott is to start to expose that there is another story, a story of apartheid, a reason to withhold support.

an example of cultural boycott – the yes men, two jewish activist-trouble makers – withdrew their film from the jerusalem film festival because they said, how could they show it there when the movie is about justice, and some people wouldn’t have access to it?

now learning from tom about the similarity of policies of south african apartheid and modern-day israel, and the use of sanctions.

a learning: boycotts do not in and of themselves do not bring a company or country to their knees, and generally that is not the purpose or strategy. the purpose is to “raise consciousness and build a multinational awareness to bring pressure.”

a learning: the one country that continued to defy the arms embargo during the movement to shift south africa from apartheid was israel.

nadine is up talking about how having the critique is not enough, even sharing what is actually happening is not enough cuz folks have so much going on. she’s asking how u.s. communities of color are impacted by militarism, and how it’s connected to israeli militarism. $21 billion is coming from our communities and goes into the u.s. military.

her question: what about israeli military members have worked within the prison system in the u.s.?
–> answer: israeli military trains correction officers in practices in at least 9 major cities, and are known to engage in racial profiling! in abu ghraib, israeli military officers were engaging in the forms of interrogation. also cia death squads (teams sent to pull off high level assassinations in other countries to create chaos and shift things that benefit the u.s.) have been trained by israeli military. finally, hurricane katrina is another example. blackwater showed up there to benefit from the disaster capitalism in effect, and blackwater’s shareholders include several israeli companies.

dang she’s reading a list of social movements that were targeted and spied on by pro-zionist forces in the 1990s, including NAACP, Mother Jones, Jews for Jesus, and many more.

nadia is making the comment that bloggers, particularly those that identify as palestinian, can get targeted on their blogs by commenters, and that some radical bloggers have come together to ban folks who are targeting them.

tom is making the comment that the helicopters that were able to hit people before they could even hear it – the apache helicopters – were integral to the occupation.

nada is clarifying that this panel is about the cultural boycott, but if folks want info about the corporations to boycott go to http://www.endtheoccupation.org

now wes taylor and invincible from emergence (a fair trade hip-hop company). their brand new emerging media creation is a travel agency. emergence travel agency (ETA)…they are developing it so that their education website will be the first thing that comes up when people search for, say, “israel travel”. the website functions as a travel brochure with videos and information.

now they are showing the world premiere of the docu-music video for “people not places,” by invincible, directed by al iqaa the olive tone (joe namy). invincible is sharing that as someone who is half-israeli and (though born here) was raised there till she was 7. when she was older and had been living in michigan for years, she asked her mother if she missed israel/palestine, and her mother said, “i miss people, not places.” the song “people not places” is born out of a response to the idea that someone could be so privileged as to not miss a place that people are dying to have the right to return to and live in. joe is explaining the process of shooting the video in like 8 different places and piecing it together into a complete piece.

wow this is my first time seeing the video with all the interviews, animation – it’s amazing already, split screen and all. it’s amazing!

on the site people can watch ‘people not places’ and then there is a video to show folks what to do, showing invincible at the blockade of the israeli consulate in january cut over a song she wrote about the gaza massacre. wes and maha explaining the video creation process of using the footage and trying to keep the live energy from the event in the video to inspire people to the call in the chorus, “boycott, divest and sanction!”

now nada breaking down what you can do – stickering in stores that sell israeli goods for instance. removing israeli frozen foods or feta cheese and putting them in other parts of the store or opening it. there are small acts and large ones. one way to deshelve a product is to get the store not to carry it, a second way is to ruin the product in the store so that it’s technically not selling so the company stops selling it there.

just did a little ruckus consultation to generate ideas. to come up with goo action plans in a nutshell you need a long-term vision, mobilizing message, know your action capacity, determine your greatest possible local impact and create an action plan! here’s some of what we came up with:

– use zionist graphics but spread pro-palestinian message
– fashion show in front of a place that sells zionist shoes to say “put yourself in palestinian shoes”
– a pledge for folks to sign!
– informative bookmark slipped into israel travel guides (like fodors, lonely planet)
– DIY stickers
– hand-outs in front of stores like trader joe’s and whole foods to educate folks and ask for deshelving of israeli products
– thumbtacks strategically stuck into products like feta cheese to let the air out
– moving frozen foods to other parts of the store where they will melt
– bring it back to your organization and community and educate everyone you know
– build with unlikely allies (with healthcare organizers that hospitals are being bombed with your tax money, education organizers to understand that money is being redirected from us schools to bomb palestinian schools)
– get people of influence to speak out
– have professor reeducation day where professors don’t sign on but do commit to spending a portion of class educating about palestine
– deshelving in bookstores (moving books around, hiding behind shelves)
– creating a how-to BDS video
removing the shelf tags after removing products in store so folks don’t notice as quickly that it’s missing
– watch videos by max blumenthal
– organize boycott of zionist artists’ shows
– artists refuse to share stages with zionist artists and publicize why
– dress up as birthright tourguides and the teach palestinian freedom info!

hope to do more ruckus training with BDS on how to actually pull off these actions.

everyone in the room committed to doing an action!