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Please Send Letters of support for BDS at KPFT Houston to the Pacifica National Board
Support the call for Boycott Divestment and Sanctions of Israel at KPFT and in the Pacifica network.
Please address your emails to: pnb [at] pacifica.org and remember to add your name and information at the bottom. You may also, of course, write your own letter or edit and add in your own thoughts to this letter.
Pacifica National Board,
Starting on Dec. 14, KPFT 90.1fm began airing during the Open Journal time slot, a regular bi-weekly program called "Voice of Peace," produced by the Israeli Consulate of Houston. The name was taken from a pirate radio show created by an Israeli dissident who opposed settlements and occupation, and was himself oppressed by the Israeli government. KPFT management's decision to give this show free reign for a half an hour every two weeks on KPFT assisted the Israeli Consulate in a co-optation of this legacy.
Peace and justice activists in Houston were shocked and deeply concerned. Many began organizing, emailing, circulating petitions, calling the station, and meeting with management to insist that KPFT must not give open airtime to an official voice of the Israeli government under the auspices of the far-right Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs, Avigdor Lieberman, especially during a time of an active illegal military occupation and bombing. One of the groups that responded began organizing for KPFT to sign on to the BDS campaign, so that situations like this would not occur in the future. The group drafted a BDS statement as follows:
In light of the escalation of human rights violations in the Occupied Territories of Palestine, and until the end of the Israeli military occupation, Palestinians achieve the right of return, and equal rights are achieved for all Israeli Arabs, Pacifica agrees to support the call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions put forth by Palestinian academics and intellectuals by refraining from partnerships with Israeli institutions unless they are specifically anti-occupation.
The management of KPFT next moved to modify the program. Duane Bradley, the station manager announced that the program would no longer be produced by the consulate, and a new producer would be found. The KPFT listeners organizing against the consulate show hoped the new producer or producers would have strong peace and justice qualifications, but that's not what happened. Management replaced the consulate with a series of individuals who each used the show to promote Israel, including Bridge Houston, a group that routinely calls any protest of Israel "anti-Semitic."
KPFT runs shows like Arab Voices and Al Jazeera that are critical of Israel, but of course never support brutality or war-crimes, nor lavish praise on armed parties to hostilities. Programs promoting Israel are doing just that on Pacifica's airwaves. Instead of giving airtime to such programs, management could choose from the many Jewish groups that share a similar mission with Pacifica, such as Jewish Voices for Peace, Rabbis for Human Rights, The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, Anarchists Against the Wall, Women in Black, Gush Shalom, and the Jewish Antizionist Network.
Recently, in La Plata, Argentina, the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC) joined the BDS movement, making their own detailed BDS statement (http://usacbi.wordpress.com/2011/01/22/amarc-world-association-of-community-radio-broadcasters-joins-bds-movement). Instead of leading the way on a crucial human rights issue, Pacifica in Houston is moving in the opposite direction.
Decisions made by KPFT management have allowed several months of bi-weekly Pacfica airtime to be given to pro-Israel propaganda. The management and program director have not moved to correct the error, and the public has not received an apology. We request your help in moving forward a comprehensive BDS statement in the Pacifica network, as we perceive this as the fullest action to address the current situation and prevent pro-colonial propaganda in the future.