Archive for September, 2015

The city of Reykjavík, Iceland’s capital, modified its position today on a boycott of Israel, deciding instead only to boycott products from the Occupied Territories.

Reykjavík

Reykjavík

That is a much more politically sensible decision and a smart one for Reykjavík. The initial boycott was going to complicate Iceland’s foreign policy, as it is not the national policy to boycott all of Israel. Indeed, Iceland has no specific policy about how to respond to the occupation, nor does it have one regarding economic actions against Israel.

The outcome, however, does have an unfortunate side effect: it will be perceived as a tacit acknowledgment that a boycott of Israel over the occupation is, indeed, an act of antisemitism. The hysterical reaction of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, and the entirely inappropriate call by the Simon Wiesenthal Center (an institution which shames Wiesenthal’s name on a daily basis with their consistent practice of labelling any and all criticism of Israel as antisemitism) for Jews not to go to Reykjavík, will now appear to have been effective. (more…)

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The Icelandic capital city of Reykjavik has declared a boycott of all Israeli goods. The measure is clearly symbolic, as the

Björk Vilhelmsdóttir, the Reykjavik official who brought the boycott motion

Björk Vilhelmsdóttir, the Reykjavik official who brought the boycott motion

city itself can’t do enough trade with Israel, or any other country, for such an action to have any impact. The responses to the action, however, are worth examining.

A retiring official, Björk Vilhelmsdóttir, of the Social Democratic Alliance, a center-left party, brought the motion for the boycott. The motion compels the city to boycott all Israeli products “as long as the occupation of Palestinian territories continues.” The memo that explains the reasoning behind what it terms a “symbolic” decision states that the city condemns “the Israeli policy of apartheid” in the Occupied Territories.  (more…)

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In the latest in a series of Issue Briefs at the FMEP web site, we look at the BDS movement. We examine how it is distinct from other economic actions aimed at the Israeli occupation, the ways it has been used as a mask for very troubling attempts at policy shifts and the misguided responses to it. Check out the Issue Brief at the FMEP web site.

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For Immediate Release: September 10, 2015

The Foundation for Middle East Peace (FMEP) released the following statement applauding the vote in the Senate today that upheld the deal between the P5+1 and Iran on the Iranian nuclear program.

“Today, we have seen the victory of diplomacy over war. This is an important day for American global leadership, and for the overwhelming majority of Americans who prefer global challenges to be addressed peacefully, rather than militarily,” said Matthew Duss, President of FMEP. “With this agreement, the Obama Administration has successfully blocked Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon. This is a very good deal for the United States, our allies in the Middle East, including Israel, and for the entire world.”

“We hope that, as time proves that diplomacy succeeded in preventing an Iranian nuclear bomb, that this agreement will create a new roadmap for solving problems in the Middle East,” said Mitchell Plitnick, FMEP’s Program Director. “Diplomacy and compromise have brought us here today. The same processes, with forceful political will of the United States and international community behind it, can work in the Israel-Palestine conflict and other difficult issues in the region.”

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The sense of victory, however, needs to be tempered. Anyone who believes that securing the Iran nuclear agreement in Congress might have an effect on United States policy and its potential actions regarding the ongoing Israeli occupation of the West Bank and blockade of the Gaza Strip needs to take a deep breath. Read more at TPM Cafe

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With even the Netanyahu government admitting that the so-called “price tag” settler attacks are acts of terrorism, it is time to examine the role the United States, and especially US citizens, plays in sustaining the settlement enterprise. One Israeli

"revenge"

“revenge”

group, Honenu, which has a fundraising arm in the US that enjoys tax-exempt status, has been revealed as aiding some of the most notorious terrorists on the West Bank.

The rabbinic human rights group, T’Ruah has filed a complaint in New York State calling for the revocation of Honenu’s tax-exempt status. In this issue brief, I explore the playing field for AMericans who wish to stop giving tax breaks to settlement supporters and what actions might credibly be taken in this vein. Read it here, on the FMEP web site.

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