Monthly Archives: February 2008

Human Rights Groups ask the Beatles to boycott Israel’s Anniversary (PACBI)


Press Release | February 8, 2008

Human Rights Groups ask the Beatles to boycott Israel’s Anniversary

Over 40 Human Rights organisations from around the world who campaign for peace and justice for the Palestinian people are today sending an open letter to the surviving Beatles, Ringo Starr and Sir Paul McCartney, and to the families of George Harrison and John Lennon, asking them not to accept any invitation to join in this year’s 60th Anniversary celebration of the birth of the state of Israel. An invitation was delivered last week by the Israeli ambassador to Britain, Ron Prosor, during a visit to the Beatles Museum in Liverpool.The letter describes what happened in 1948. This was not a peaceful legally conducted creation of a safe haven for Jews escaping Europe but a brutal ethnic cleansing and massacre of Palestinians and theft of their land. The Zionist movement had set out to claim the whole of Palestine for the creation of a Jewish state long before the Nazi atrocities had occurred. In 1948 they took 78% of the land and brutally exiled or killed 750,000 Palestinians and destroyed over 400 villages- policies and actions that would never have had the support of the Beatles while they were together singing ‘all you need is Love’ and ‘give peace a chance’.

Professor Steven and Hilary Rose, founder members of Bricup (The British Committee for Universities in Palestine) say ‘We are asking the Beatles to boycott these events because they are a celebration of the denial of the human rights of the Palestinian people- inalienable rights established in the 1948 UN Declaration. These were enacted on the wave of revulsion at the Nazi Holocaust and the other atrocities of the Second World War. It is to our shame that the West does not insist that the Declaration really is universal and is enforced in The Palestinian Territories occupied by Israel. Human rights apply to all governments, and not only to those that lack the powerful friends that Israel has. This cuts in to the heart of International Law which underpins all our rights and freedoms.’

For more information please contact:

Prof Steven and Hilary Rose: [email][/email]

PSC 02077006313 or email: [email][/email]


Further Information

Copy of the letter

Open Letter to the Beatles

To Paul, Ringo and the families of John and George

Dear all

We are writing to you to ask you to decline the invitation to join the celebrations marking the birth of the state of Israel in 1948.

What happened was not the peaceful creation of a safe haven for Jews escaping from Europe; it was the brutal ethnic cleansing and massacre of the Palestinians and the theft of their land. The United Nations decision in 1947 to partition Palestine allocated 55% of
the Palestinian land for a Jewish state and 45 % for a Palestinian state. But even that gross settlement was not good enough for the Zionists who had targeted the whole of Palestine for the creation of a Jewish State – long before the Nazi atrocities. So, the Zionists took 78% of the land, brutally exiled or killed over 750,000 Arab Palestinians and destroyed over 400 of their villages in an ethnic cleansing operation that was driven by brutal terrorism.

Palestine/Israel is about the size of Wales. Can you imagine what the Welsh would have felt and done if the UN had decided to partition Wales and incomers had ethnically cleansed and massacred Welsh villages? It is not only the Palestinians who remember these days of horror as the Nakba; Israeli historians themselves have documented these events in all their bloody detail. And little has changed since in 1967 Israel seized the remaining Palestinian territory (the West Bank and Gaza) and the brutal occupation continues.

The Beatles sang “All you need is love” but Israel believes that all it needs is racism and an army. Is this a policy that would have commanded their support when they were singing together? We don’t think so. The prospect of the surviving Beatles celebrating the Zionist theft of Palestinian land in 1948 is obscene, both for the suffering Palestinian people and for the growing number of British people who support their call for justice. As John put it, it is time to give peace a chance, not to celebrate oppression.

Signed by:

BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights

Ittijah – Union of Arab Community Based Associations

The Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign

Alternative Information Center – Palestine/Israel

Rima AWAD – Arab Counseling Centre for Education – Palestine

Yehya Hijazi – Al Mirsat Organization –– Palestine

Sana Shehadeh – Palestinian Counseling Centre – Palestine

Caritas Jerusalem

Palestine Solidarity Campaign UK (PSC)

British Committee for Universities of Palestine (BRICUP)

British Muslim Initiative (BMI)

Friends of Al-Aqsa UK

The Peace Cycle

Architects & Planners for Justice in Palestine

Raymond Deane -Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Comité de Soutien au Peuple Palestinien – Belgique

Association Belgo-Palestinienne – Belgique

Comité pour une Paix Juste au Proche Orient – Luxembourg

Sonja Zimmermann- Netherlands Palestine Committee NPK

Aktionsbuendnis fuer einen gerechten Frieden in Palaestina, Germany

Jüdische Stimme für gerechten Frieden in Nahost – Austria

Fritz Edlinger, Secretary General – Society for Austro-Arab Relations SAAR

Association France Palestine Solidarité (AFPS)

Women in Black – Strasbourg,

Collectif Judeo-Arabe et Citoyen pour la Paix Strasbourg – France

Handicap Solidarité – France
Association Farrah-France

Association Internationale de Préservation du Patrimoine Palestinien AIPPP

Civimed Initiatives – France

Amis du Monde Diplomatique 67

Magda Zenon – Hands Across the Divide (Cyprus)

CADTM – Commité pour l’Annulation de la Dette du Tiers Monde

Solidaridad para el Desarrollo y la Paz – SODEPAZ Spain

Palestine Solidarity Committee of South Africa

Women in Solidarity with Palestine, Toronto

NION (Not In Our Name) Toronto

Creative Response, Toronto

New York City Labor Against the War – USA

Americans United for Palestinian Human Rights

Women in Black Los Angeles

Boston Coalition for Palestinian Rights – USA

Posted on 09-02-2008

Democratic Suspicion (Haaretz)


Democratic Suspicion

A Palestinian public sector strike, such as the one that began yesterday and is expected to continue today, is the type of news that here is considered a purely “internal Palestinian matter,” lacking any media importance.

Amira Hass Feb 06, 2008 12:00 AM

A Palestinian public sector strike, such as the one that began yesterday and is expected to continue today, is the type of news that here is considered a purely “internal Palestinian matter,” lacking any media importance. But beyond the basic fact that the modest wage demands are a direct result of the policy of closure and economic attrition on the part of the true sovereign – Israel – the strike presents a genuine challenge to the stability and strength of Salam Fayyad’s government, and demonstrates the erosion of its public credibility.

The public sector has been the traditional pillar of the Palestinian Authority. Many of its West Bank employees are Fatah supporters, as are their representatives in the trade unions. While the rift between the Ramallah government and the Gaza government has improved the PA’s prestige among western countries, the dispute between the public sector and the Ramallah government reduces the PA’s ability to meet its commitments to the donor countries, and to the World Bank in particular.

These commitments include inter alia: reducing the wage component in its budget (by means of dismissals or salary reductions) and forcing residents to pay their debts to the municipalities for electricity and water. In other words, the challenge presented by the workers’ struggle – employees on whom Salam Fayyad’s government depends in order to be considered legitimate – is liable to reduce the appraisals his government receives from representatives of the global economy.

The workers have three main demands: adjusting wages to match the steep increase in the cost of living; a realistic addition to the “travel expenses” component of salaries (which has not risen since 1999, in spite of the doubling and tripling of the cost of travel because of roadblocks and the increase in fuel prices), and overturning a new regulation that demands every resident procure a certificate of honesty based on “confirmation of debt payment.”

The government decided to condition the provision of civil services, beginning this month, on presentation of this certificate from the municipalities or the electricity and water companies. It affects all basic services, such as the issuing of ID cards, passports, driver’s licenses and permits for buying and selling, but does not include the receipt of travel permits from the Israeli civil administration.

The government also planned to subtract debts directly from the salaries of public sector employees. Not surprisingly, this reminded trade union representatives of the methods of the Israeli occupation, which conditioned the issuing of traffic and construction permits or the installation of telephone lines on the payment of various debts. But their opposition is not only for symbolic reasons. The unions claim that the very setting of such conditions is illegal, and that it turns every citizen into a person presumed guilty who must prove his or her innocence.
According to World Bank figures, the residents and local councils only began to accumulate debts from 2002 onward due to the non-payment of water and electricity bills. By 2007, these debts had reached an estimated $512 million. Israel, the main supplier of electricity and water, subtracts these debts from the Palestinian taxes and customs it collects within its borders and ports, before their transfer to the PA treasury. This fact is sufficient, in Fayyad’s opinion, for the government to intervene in the debts to the local authorities.

Government spokesmen, headed by Fayyad, have often spoken against a “culture of non-payment of bills,” thus portraying the general Palestinian public as prone to being debt offenders. By doing so, they only angered this public even more: After all, the PA itself has not paid all its debts to its employees, various institutions and private firms, and asks for consideration because of the “economic situation.” The sweeping statements ignore the years of economic crisis that caused a large percentage of Palestinian families to lose sources of income and savings.

Most of the political forces in the Palestinian Liberation Organization, including Fatah, have expressed their support for the workers’ demands and their opposition to the “debt-payment certificate.” Over the past two days the collective action against the government has begun to bear fruit: Somewhat vague official statements indicate that changes will be introduced into the regulation, so that it will be aimed at those prone to debt, and not the general public.

The strike, and all the public and internal discussions accompanying it, is a fascinating lesson of how Palestinians still acknowledge the power of the collective; how they oppose a liberal economic policy under occupation and colonization, and nurture a democratic suspicion as to the motives of the leading class.

read more:

Beatles, don’t let it be! Palestinian Dispossession and Israeli Apartheid are no Cause for Celebration (PACBI)


February 2, 2008

Beatles, don’t let it be! Palestinian Dispossession and Israeli Apartheid are no Cause for Celebration

Open Letter to the Beatles

Forty-three years ago, the government of Israel banned your performance in the country for fear you would corrupt the minds of Israeli youth. Now, Israel is extending an apology and an invitation to you, hoping you will forget the past and agree to help celebrate its 60th “birthday.” The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) urges you to say no to Israel, particularly since the creation of this state 60 years ago dispossessed and uprooted hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homes and lands, condemning them to a life of exile and destitution.There is no reason to celebrate! Israel at 60 is a state that is still denying Palestinian refugees their UN-sanctioned rights, simply because they are “non-Jews.” It is still illegally occupying Palestinian and other Arab lands, in violation of numerous UN resolutions. It is still persistently and grossly breaching international law and infringing fundamental human rights with impunity afforded to it through munificent US and European economic, diplomatic and political support. It is still treating its own Palestinian citizens with institutionalized discrimination.

Now, more than ever, Israel is committing horrific war crimes, especially in the occupied Gaza Strip, where its illegal and immoral policy of collective punishment — through a hermetic military siege and an almost complete blockage of fuel, electric power, and even food and medicine — is pushing 1.5 million Palestinian civilians to the brink of starvation. Without electricity, incubators are shutting down; hospitals are fast coming to a standstill; water is not being properly purified nor separated from raw sewage; whatever is left from the local economy is undergoing a meltdown; and the most vulnerable sectors of the population, the children, the elderly, and the acutely ill, are languishing under unspeakable hardships. Do you see any reason to celebrate?

Israel’s military occupation — the longest in modern history — is not an abstract notion to us. It manifests itself in wilful killings of civilians, particularly children; wanton demolition of homes and property; uprooting of more than a million fruitful trees; incessant theft of land and water resources; denial of freedom of movement to millions; and cutting up the occupied Palestinian territory into Bantustans, some entirely caged by walls, fences and hundreds of roadblocks.

In light of the above, performing in Israel at this time is morally equivalent to performing in South Africa at the height of the apartheid era. Indeed, Israel has created a worse system of apartheid than anything that ever existed in South Africa, according to Archbishop Desmond Tutu, UN Special Rapporteur on human rights Prof. John Dugard, and South African government minister Ronnie Kasrils, among others.

In 2005, inspired by the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa, Palestinian civil society called for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) [1] against Israel until it fully complies with international law and recognizes the fundamental human rights of the people of Palestine. A specific call for cultural boycott of Israel [2] was issued a year later, garnering wide support. Among the many groups and institutions that have heeded the Palestinian boycott calls and started to consider or apply diverse forms of effective pressure on Israel are the British University and College Union (UCU); the two largest trade unions in the UK; the Church of England; the Presbyterian Church (USA); prominent British architects; the British National Union of Journalists (NUJ); the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU); the South African Council of Churches; the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) in Ontario; Aosdana, the Irish state-sponsored academy of artists; celebrated authors, artists and intellectuals led by John Berger; and Palme d’Or winner director Ken Loach.

We strongly urge you to uphold the values of freedom, equality and just peace for all by joining this growing boycott against Israeli apartheid. Nothing less would do justice to the legendary legacy of the Beatles.




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[2] [url=][/url]

Posted on 02-02-2008