The San Francisco Commonwealth Club hosted an event entitled "LGBT Rights in Israel: 25 Years of Progress and Challenges" on April 25 featuring Arthur Slepian, Executive Director and Founder of A Wider Bridge. Slepian's role is to go around promoting the idea that Israel is a progressive, democratic society because it has LGBT rights for Jewish citizens of Israel. Queer activists and Palestinian queers called it "pinkwashing".
Community members gathered in downtown Santa Cruz on Tax Day, April 15, to protest the U.S. government's military aid to Israel. According to If Americans Knew
, Israel has been the largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid since 1976, and in the last 20 years economic aid to that country has been slowly phased out in favor of military aid. Israel receives about $3 billion ($8 million a day) directly from the United States in military financing each year, which is about one-fifth of what is allocated for the entire foreign aid budget.
On March 19, a group of more than 60 protesters demonstrated at the Hewlett-Packard shareholders' meeting because of its business dealings with the Israeli military. They said HP is complicit in oppressing Palestine because it makes the technology for the biometric cards that contain large amounts of data on the card carrier. Those cards are used by Israel to segregate and discriminate against Palestinians.
Mazin Qumsiyeh writes:
Christmas 2013 in Bethlehem is still a very special and meaningful time even under the brutal Israeli apartheid occupation. Nowhere is there an exhibit of “Occupation Art” shown in a “Peace Center” in front of a large Christmas tree in front of one of the holiest places in Christianity.... It is also a time to reflect on the real message of Jesus.... It is still a message of hope, peace, joy, justice, love, and harmony.... [Yet] on Christmas eve, Israeli forces also bombed Gaza killing at least two including a 3-year old girl and injuring others in her family.
On the shopping "holiday" known as Black Friday, protesters positioned themselves in various locations at the Capitola Mall to raise awareness about SodaStream, a company with a factory built on illegal Israeli settlements located on occupied Indigenous Palestinian lands. Santa Cruz community members wore black and held large banners that read "Boycott SodaStream."
SodaStream, manufactured in an illegal Israeli settlement in the West Bank, is a popular home seltzer maker. The company markets its product as a green, clean alternative to buying soda in plastic bottles. But Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism (QUIT!) and others counter that stealing Palestinian land is not green or clean. As costume shoppers flocked to Cliff's Variety in the Castro on the Saturday before Halloween, Frankenstein and a gaggle of witches were on hand to educate customers about the impact of settlement industries on Palestinian life and alternatives to SodaStream.
On July 27, the Canaan protest village was built for the fifth time on annexed Palestinian land in the middle of the illegal Gosh Ezion Colonial block next to the illegal settler colony of Migdal Oz. The nonviolent protesters stayed in the tent on their land for around an hour and a half before the Israeli occupation soldiers tore it down, violently repressing the demonstration. The tent village was built to remember the right of Palestinians to their land and to express solidarity with hunger strikers imprisoned for fighting for the Palestinian struggle.