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Sun Feb 21 2016 (Updated 05/03/16)
Anti-BDS Bills Introduced in California Legislature
Israel’s defenders in the U.S. have intensified their efforts to stifle criticism of Israeli government policies with new bills and laws seeking to censor or punish advocacy in support of Palestinian rights. In California, two anti-BDS bills were introduced by Assembly member Travis Allen. AB 1551, the “California Israel Commerce Protection Act”, would prohibit the state from investing in businesses and institutions that comply with boycotts against Israel or Israeli-controlled territories. AB 1552 would prohibit the state from contracting with entities that engage in what he calls “boycotts due to discrimination and bigotry.”
On September 17, the first move-in day for Fall quarter at UC Santa Cruz, students and community members at the main entrance of campus displayed signs opposing Senate Concurrent Resolution 35 (SCR 35), which was introduced this year in the California Senate. On its surface SCR 35 is legislation that addresses anti-Semitism on the University of California campuses, but critics caution the measure has the potential to limit the free speech activities of those seeking justice for Palestine.
On the grassy lawn in front of Hewlett Packard headquarters, demonstrators held a "virtual" meeting dubbed "The People's Shareholders Meeting" on March 18. Board members in silk-screened HP insignia ties joined a Meg Whitman character in blonde wig. CEO Whitman fielded questions about the company's complicity in Israel's oppression of Palestine from a group on lawn chairs portraying shareholders. Testifiers, including two Israeli citizens, spoke to the shareholders from a mock podium.
On February 8, the University of California Student Association, the independent official voice of 240,000 UC students, passed two advisory resolutions: Resolution Calling for the UC Regents to Divest from Corporations Violating Palestinian Human Rights and Resolution Toward Socially Responsible Investment at the University of California by an 9-1 vote, with 5 abstentions.
On November 12, activists with the Bay Area Rasmea Defense Committee chained themselves to doors of the Ronald V. Dellums Federal Building in Oakland to protest the conviction and imprisonment of 67-year-old Palestinian community organizer Rasmea Odeh. Odeh was convicted on Monday, November 10th in a Detroit federal court of knowingly lying on her immigration application. Hundreds were present in court to support Odeh over the course of her trial in Detroit and across the country solidarity demonstrations have been held demanding that she be freed.
Sat Nov 1 2014 (Updated 11/02/14)
SodaStream to Close Factory in Occupied West Bank
For several years, Boycott, Divest, and Sanction (BDS) activists in Northern California and across the globe have pressured retailers to stop selling SodaStream products in their stores. On October 29, amid ongoing boycott pressure from the international community, Israeli beverage firm SodaStream announced that it was closing a controversial factory located in an occupied West Bank settlement. SodaStream said that it would relocate the factory by the end of 2015.
UPDATE 10/27: After successful blockades of Zim Line ships at the Port of Oakland in August and September, a third blockade was set to target the Zim ship Beijing on Saturday, October 25. The Beijing was rescheduled to dock Sunday, October 26, and then delayed indefinitely. Organizers — remaining vigilant for a potential docking at any time during the week — called for a solidarity march from West Oakland BART station on the afternoon of Sunday 26th, as a show of force to let Zim know that activists would be ready should the Beijing attempt to unload cargo in Oakland. The Beijing never docked at the port of Oakland and instead headed for other ports.
Palestine: 1