Saturday, July 9th, 2016
Yedioth Ahronoth’ daily, one of the most important and widely-circulated Israeli newspapers, has organized a conference for fighting the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign (BDS). The conference was attended by a notably large number of diplomats and politicians, such as the EU ambassador to Israel, Lars Faaborg-Andersen
The English translation for the article published in Bukra website by Reem Amer, co-coordinator of Coalition of Women for Peace can be found in PDF version here
Monday, January 25th, 2016
Sunday, November 18th, 2012
Coalition of Women for Peace invites you to a conference marking
The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women
Monday, December 3rd, 16:00 – 21:00, Na laga’at Center, Jaffa
With Hebrew-Arabic-English translation
In the program:
16:00 – 16:30 Registration
16:00 – 16:35 Opening – Aliyah Strauss, Coalition of Women for Peace
16:35 – 17:30 Home, Violence: From House Demolitions to Domestic Violence
Farida Shaaban, active in the struggle to end house demolitions in the unrecognized village Dahamash
Atidal Abu Aeesh, Maan – Forum of Negev Arab-Bedouin Women’s Organizations
Nabila Espanioly, Director of Al’Tufula Center in Nazareth, 5th candidate on the list of Hadash to the Knesset
Ragda Elnabilsy, doctoral candidate in the School of Social Work, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Moderator: Yael Ben Yefet, Director of the Mizrahi Democratic Rainbow, active in Hithabrut-Tarabut movement
17:45-19:15 Policies of Political Persecution and Violence Against Women Human Rights Defenders
Orna Kohn, Adv. , Adalah – the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel
Zabib Sultan, founder of the Community Center for Eritrean Women in the south of Tel Aviv
Zahava Greenfeld, active in the struggle for public housing and the Palestinian popular struggle
MK Haneen Zuaby – Balad Party
Moderator: Vered Lee, journalist
19:15 – 19:45 Dinner
9:45 – 21:00 Video Workshop and Discussion Tables
Video workshop (Claudia Levin); Women in the Negev (Muna Alhablin); Experiences of Activists (Esther Rapoport); Women and the Struggle in Jaffa (Sahar Saada); Women and Arms (Rela Mazali – project “Guns on the Kitchen Table”); Economic Violence (Asma Aghbariya Zahalka – Daam Party); Violence and Gender Difference; Women and the South of Tel Aviv (Shula Keshet); English-language discussion table on women’s rights in Israel – between international image and reality; Open-space
Monday, June 27th, 2011
A new article was introduced in the Knesset committee hearing today denying public and non-profit tax status to organizations who “call for boycott”
Knesset committee approved bill including new article for final vote
Members of Kadima party who supported the bill withdrew their support
The bill was heavily criticized by government officials present at the hearing
Eilat Maoz, CWP, to committee members: “We are honored to inform you that even if you pass the bill, we will continue calling on Israelis to boycott the occupation”
Highlights from today’s hearing:
MK Taleb Assana: “what about the fact that the bill breaches international law creating de Jure unification of Israel and the OPT?”MK David Rotem (Chairman of Knesset Committee): “International Law is none of my interest”
MK Yohanan Plesner (Kadima): “people who advance this delirious bill are mindless about the efforts to maintain Israel’s position in the world. You are robbing Israel of its greatest PR asset, its democracy.”
State attorney’s office: “the bill is shaky and borders illegality”
Foreign Office representative: “the bill might cause serious diplomatic damage and encourage boycotts”
The bill aims at preventing citizens of Israel from protesting against the occupation by means of initiating or calling for a boycott. It passed first reading in the Knesset plenum on March 7, 2011 and has been deliberated today in preparation for a final vote. The bill defines a call for boycott as a tort, for which the court may rule compensation without obligation to prove damage. The bill further authorizes the Minister of Finance to limit the participation of companies that have committed themselves not to work in illegal settlements in the OPT in state tenders. The bill is one of the most dangerous anti-democratic laws promoted in this current Knesset. It criminalizes non-violent, legal and legitimate means to promote social and political aims that are protected in civil rights of freedom of expression, opinion and assembly. Leading civil society organizations have joined CWP’s campaign against the bill.
Coalition of Women for Peace: “Right to Resist” Campaign
CWP was present at the Knesset hearing and sent live twitter and facebook updates as part of its campaign against the bill. CWP is now launching the second phase of the “Right to Resist” campaign. The campaign consists of four videos starring some of Israel’s popular artists and cultural figures: singer-songwriter Rona Kenan, filmmakers Eitan Fox and Gal Ochovsky, the poet Meit Wizeltir, actress Einat Weizman, and cultural figure Muhammed Jabali.
Bill for prevention of damage to the State of Israel through boycott – 2011
1. In this law, “boycott of the State of Israel” – deliberate avoidance of economic, cultural or academic ties with a person or other party, solely for reason of his/her/its relation to the state of Israel, to any of its institutions or to any area under its control, which could cause them economic, cultural or academic harm.
Boycott – a civil wrong
2. (a) Anyone who publishes a public call for a boycott of the state of Israel, and its content and circumstances may reasonably be expected to lead to a boycott, and the publisher is aware of this possibility – is committing a civil wrong and the law of Tort [new version] shall apply to him/her.
(b) Regarding Section 62a of the law of Tort [new version] causing breach of contract by calling for a boycott of the state of Israel shall not be seen as sufficient justification.
(c ) If a court finds that a wrong has been committed under this law, it shall be permitted to order the party committing the wrong to pay compensation independently of actual damage done (exemplary damage). When determining the sum of compensation the court shall take into account the circumstances of the wrong, its severity and its scope.
Regulations regarding restrictions on participation in a tender
3. The Minister of Finance is permitted, pending authorization by the Constitutional Committee of the Knesset, to set regulations regarding restrictions on participation in a public tender, due to undertakings made by a party making an offer to participate in a boycott of the state of Israel, including undertakings not to purchase products or services produced or provided in the state of Israel, in any of its institutions or in an area under its control.
Regulations regarding withholding of benefits
4. (a) The Minister of Finance, with the agreement of the Minister of Justice, is permitted to decide with regard to any party who knowingly publishes a public call to impose a boycott on the State of Israel or regarding any party who agreed to participate in a boycott [in special cases], that –
(1) The party shall not be considered a public institution (charity) for purposes of Section 9(2) of the Income Tax Ordinance;
(2) The party shall not be eligible to receive funding from the council for regulation of sports gambling according to Section 9 of the law for regulation of sports gambling 1967;
(3) The party shall not be considered a public institution (charity) for purposes of receiving support according to Section 3a of the Budget procedures law 1985;
(4) The provisions of the state guarantees law 1958 shall not apply to the party;
(5) The party shall not be eligible for benefits under the law for promotion of capital investments 1959 and under the law for promotion of research, development and industry 1984.
(b) The enforcement of the authority of the Minister of Finance in accordance with subsection (a)(2) shall be done with the agreement of the Minister of Sport, and the enforcement of his authority in accordance with subsection (a)(3) shall be done with the agreement of the Minister appointed by the government to be responsible for the budget section, as defined in para (2) of the definition ‘responsible for the budget section’ in the Budget law 1985. The enforcement of his authority in accordance with subsection (a)(5) shall be done with the agreement of the Minister of Industry, Trade and Employment.
4[sic]. The Minister of Justice is appointed to implement this law.
Sunday, June 19th, 2011
Monday, June 27, the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee will deliberate the “Damage to the State of Israel by Means of Boycott- 2011” bill. The bill was proposed in the Knesset on July 2010 by head of the coalition, MK Ze’ev Elkin (Likud) and other MK’s. The bill is focused on preventing citizens of Israel from protesting against the occupation by means of initiating a boycott. The bill passed first reading in the Knesset plenum on March 7, 2011, despite severe criticism from governmental ministries and leading civil society organizations.
The bill defines a call for boycott as a tort, for which the court may rule compensation without obligation to prove damage. The bill further authorizes the Minister of Finance to limit the participation of companies that have committed themselves not to work within settlements beyond the “Green Line”, in state tenders. (‘Rawabi Clause’)
In prior deliberations in the Knesset, the bill was met with harsh resistance of the government offices. The legal advisor of the Ministry of Justice staunchly criticized the bill for use of generalized and vague language. This was answered by the Committee Chairman, David Rotem (Yisrael Beitenu): “The private positions of the Ministry of Justice have long ceased to interests this committee.” Representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed his concern that contrary to the intent of its initiators, the law will actually harm Israel’s image and international relations. Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor representative added within the deliberations that “salving Israel’s problems by creating international crisis is not a good idea.”
The bill is one of the most dangerous anti-democratic laws promoted in this current Knesset. Boycott is a non-violent, legal and legitimate means to promote social and political aims that is protected in civil rights of freedom of expression, opinion and assembly. The bill constitutes a fatal blow to all these civil rights.
In Israel, as well as in the rest of the world there is extensive use of boycott as a means to achieving social and consumer ends. The proposed law is targeting only a very specific form of calls to boycott, of groups and movements of the opposition, who resist the occupation and consist, today, of the political minority in Israel. As such, the proposed law tramples upon civil rights and basic democratic norms and has a “chilling effect” on civil society.
Many states have opted not to promote legislation that directly prohibits boycotting. Even states which did do so- such as the USA and Germany- don’t restrict individuals and civil society organizations in actualizing boycotts. This results from an understanding that it would be a severe violation of the freedom of expression. Contrary to the explanation clause in the proposed bill, the legislation in the USA only refers to boycotts that have been announced by states and applies to corporations and not to individuals or political groups.
Monday, May 23rd, 2011
CWP to New Israel Fund: ‘our most important asset is the solidarity and commitment to shared values of freedom of expression and association’
On May 16, 2011, the New Israel Fund (NIF) informed the Coalition of Women for Peace that it would no longer act as its fiscal sponsor for donor-advised donations. While CWP is not a direct grantee of NIF, individuals from the US, Europe and Australia could decide to allocate their contribution to CWP via NIF. Until now.
This decision comes after NIF has come under attack from extremist right-wing groups and Knesset members. This attack specifically focuses on targeting sources of funding of peace and human rights NGOs. We regret that NIF yielded to this pressure by dissociating from CWP due to our work to end the occupation and our clear stand for accountability and adherence to international law and human rights.
Facing a climate of political persecution of peace and human rights defenders, it is our strong belief that our most important asset is the solidarity among activists and civil society organizations and our commitment to shared values of freedom of expression and association. We find that the decision of NIF is a dangerous precedent undermining solidarity and commitment to democratic values.
Will the right-wing attempt to undermine the anti-occupation struggle by threatening the financial survival of organizations succeed? That is up to each and every one of us to determine.
Please support the Coalition of Women for Peace today – your solidarity is needed now more than ever:
– Write a check to “Coalition of Women for Peace” and mail it to P.O.Box 29214 Tel Aviv-Jaffa 61292, Israel
– Make a wire-transfer directly to our bank account: Israeli Discount Bank, Hamoshava Branch #062, 21 Emek Refaim St., Jerusalem, Israel. Account number: 967017-512400, Swift Code: IDBLILIT XXX, Account name “Coalition of Women for Peace”
Monday, April 4th, 2011
Please Welcome the first video is a series of clips that CWP produced as part of our campaign against the Prohibition of Boycott Bill, which is currently promoted in the Knesset
Find us on Facebook
According to the original version of this bill, persons who initiate, promote, or publish material that might serve as grounds for imposing a boycott are committing a crime may be ordered to compensate parties economically affected by that boycott, including fixed reparations of 30,000 shekels, without an obligation of the plaintiffs to prove damages. If the felon is a foreign citizen, he may be banned from entering for a period of 10 years or from doing business in Israel; and if it is a foreign state, Israel may not repay the debts it owes that state, and use the money to compensate offended parties; that state may additionally be banned from conducting business affairs in Israel. The measures shall apply one year retroactively.
The narrow version which eventually passed the first reading does not include clauses pertaining to foreign citizens and states. It also does not include anyone who provided information but rather anyone who actively partakes in a boycott.
The Ministerial Committee on Legislation rejected the chapters pertaining to foreign citizens and states, probably out of consideration for Israel’s foreign relations, and also rejected the retroactive clause.
On March 7 2011 the bill passed its first reading in the plenum. Will be further discussed in the Constitution Committee and prepared for its second-third (final) vote in the plenum.
Thursday, March 10th, 2011
Yuval Ben Ami, City Mouse Online
It’s not only the right to boycott that artists in israel fight for, but for the right to support those who want to boycott. Yuval Ben Ami sat in front of Romi Abulaffia’s Camera and refused to be silent.
I have a sympathy for people who boycott in Tel Aviv. In fact, Meir Viltir, Rona Keinan, David Tratcover, Alex Libak, Yossi Pollak and the rest of the artists joined the struggle against the Boycott Law, as far as I know, haven’t boycotted anyone, and didn’t even support the boycotters, al they did was rise up for our right to support boycotters. It’s a rather strange right, trivial on one hand, and on the other, roles of our tongue as a bitter joke. Maybe only artists have the sufficiently developed imagination to even deal with such a ridiculous trial as this.
Those who side with the law often explain that boycotting is a legitimate tool to solving problems. Only a few days ago the Minister of Education quoted his daughter,Daniela, in an article published on his website. “To boycott is to ignore,” said the daughter, “it obviously isn’t a way to solve things. It’s childish.” In the article Sa’ar explains that Daniela is someone who’s counter-boycotting Elvis Costello, who cancelled his performance in Israel this year, and refuses to listen to his music. How absurd.
Is Daniela’s boycott childish? Yes. Muzzling Israeli citizens is also childish. Moreover: The occupation, which the boycotters are opposing, in culture, education and trade, is completely childish. But for those who wish to protect it at any price, it’s easy to call those fighting it infantile, and to use this alleged infantilism as an excuse to legalize a severe sabotage to the freedom of speech.
This sabotage has already passed a first reading in the Knesset. It will hurt, among others, the Ariel Culture Center boycotters, Israelis who’ll take part in building the Palestinian city Rawabi who committed not to use settlement products- not Israeli products, settlement products. A state that prevents its citizens from legitimate, nonviolent protestation activities, is a state that demands rage and admonishment, silence towards it and loud criticism at it. It’s not childish, it’s maturity.
The artists rising up in the face of the Boycott Law aren’t buying cheap talk that’s meant to disorient the Israeli public and convince it that hurting its freedoms, serves it. This is why I joined them, not as an artist, but as an extra. Isat in from of Romi Abulaffia’s camera and said the words “yes, we’ll continue to resist occupation.” If I could have added a sentence, I would have said the words “thank you Elvise Costello, that you contributed to the creation of a discourse in Israel, we’ll continue and try to preserve it, even when it comes to our freedoms it will focus on the issue: The criminal and violent theft of another people’s freedom, that has yet to end after decades.”
In Ingmar Bergman’s film, Persona, an actress decides to stop her monologue, as she stands in front of her audience. She just comes to a silence, and it arouses a scandal. Artists have joined the campaign out of an understanding that non-creation has a power of its own, and that’s why boycotts are extremely valuable. Those who create hear, don’t have the ability to take a stand my coming to a silence, they are unable to boycott the Israeli audience, which is their audience. That’s why, when the silence is forced upon them with legal means, they know that we’re all in danger and that they must open their mouths.
Now is the time to really speak up, to combine the protest within the art-work, and to create fearlessly from within the rage, not “before it’s too late,” because it may just already be too late. It’s possible that Israel may be able to protect it’s democratic treasure and end the disgrace, but it’s also a possibility that the works we produce today will cost us dearly in a lower future. That is exactly why they must be created.
Tuesday, March 8th, 2011
Artists Against the Boycott Law: “This is Suicide”
A list of artists are joining the struggle against the Boycott Law that passed in the Knesset first reading. Among them Israel Prize laureate David Tratcover, singer Rona Keinan, poet Meir Vizltir and others. Keinan: “It’s scary, it’s dangerous and we can’t let this happen.” Author Seffi Richlevski: “Israel is criminal.”
Artists, creators and intellectuals join the struggle, organized by the Coalition of Women for Peace, against the Boycott Law. Likud MK Ze’ev Elkin and Yisrael Beitenu’s MK David Rotem’s bill proposal, that passed first reading yesterday (Mon) and was widely criticized, determines that those who hurt the state of Israel with boycott will be imposed with compensation fines.
The bill, say the people of human rights organizations active in Israel, is among others directed at those who call for a consumer boycott of settlement products, as well as actors who refused to performing Ariel. In a letter sent to head of Knesset and its members, 53 different organizations wrote: “Instead of conducting a democratic debate on the issues of the day in the Israeli public, this bill silences political opponents and blocks the option of public debate.”
Among the list of artists that joined the public outcry today (Tue) are poet Meir Vizltir, musitian Rona Keinan, author Nili Landsman, Israel Prize laureate David Tratcover, actress Einat Weitzman, actor Yossi Pollak and author Seffi Richlevski. As part of the protest, the artists participated in short videos, directed by actress Romi Abulaffia, that will all be part of a campaign called “We’ll Continue Resisting Occupation.”
The Coalition of Women for Peace say that the goal of the campaign is to distribute it in social networks, explaining that anti-democratic laws won’t deter and won’t silence the rising resistance to the occupation. “We won’t obey to the attempt of coercing our cooperation with the anti-democratic and illegal control system that the Israeli government has created outside its borders, in the occupied territories.”
Keinan: “A Dangerous and Miserable Pattern”
Singer Rona Keinan that participated in the campaign today told Ynet: “SIlence is not an option anymore. We don’t have the option not to take a side. It’s scary, it’s dangerous, we can’t let this happen. I want to stay in this place and one day raise a family, and that’s why I can’t sit and do nothing. I must do my part in a small and symbolic attempt as it may be to change this miserable pattern that’s gone on for far to long under this government.”
“I know that even if this law falls through, others will come. It’s a dangerous pattern and as long as I have an option to speak out, I‘ll speak out and join those that speak out, I’ll shoulder the struggle and be in solidarity. I’ll do all I can with the limited tools at my disposal.”
The poet, Meir Vizeltar, who has avoided participating in rallies in the past few years, has also joined the campaign. “In the past years I don’t go to demonstrations and I don’t sign petitions because I’ve reached the conclusion that their role in Israeli culture is to give people that take part in them a feeling that they’re OK, that they’re enlightened. It’s whitewashing, and I don’t want to whitewash.”
“Since I don’t have the energy to participate in real political activity about the things I believe in, I take the role of that who stands on the balcony and watches Rome burn. But here, when I was approached, I decided to accede because sometimes you need to break principles.”
In the video, Vizeltar speaks about the law: “If this law passes and a few other paranoid laws that are being cooked up in Yisrael Beitenu and the Likud, then the state will become a true state of oppression. Not only to the occupied but to its own citizens and even its Tel Avivians. The current leadership likes to talk about the state as a “villa in the jungle”, but we’re being pushed to becoming much worse. A fortress on the seashore. A crusader’s fortress on the seashore, with the help of such laws.”
Richlevski: “This is Settlement Dictatorship Law”
Author Seffi Richlevski, also filmed for the campaign told Ynet: “This isn’t the boycott law, but the settlement dictatorship law. This bill demands, among other things, not to avoid cultural connection to an area under the control of Israel, when they mean the Territories. If I see 5 men raping a young woman and refuse to take part, I’m not boycotting them, I’m avoiding perpetrating a criminal offense.”
“the state of Israel, that builds out side its territory, has been a criminal state for years now. The government of Israel has turned insanity into its banner and now it’s saying that all those who won’t hold up this banner is a criminal. The situation is to the contrary. The anti-legal has turned into the normal, presumably. Forcing people to commit criminal offenses is loathsome and dictatorial and we only need look at what is happening around us. Libya also has laws and they aren’t democratic.”
“In a situation in which dictatorships of the area are collapsing one by one, those who think Israel will be allowed to continue with what it does in the Territories, is mistaken. Saying Hebron is “here” is a suicidal act. The fait of the colonial Israel is to disappear and those who claim the Territories and Israel are one in the same is giving up the continuation of Israel’s existence. It’s an existential question, not just a moral one. The occupation isn’t Israel, but its perversion. My patriotism is dedicated to the Israeli democracy and not to a dictatorial regime, and it’s against that that we should fight.”
The Coalition of Women for Peace stated today that the joining of the artists is especially significant and relevant, because the opening of the Ariel Culture Center and the artists’ letter that was exposed on Ynet are the main catalysts to the bill. “The artists’ letter reinvigorated the silenced discourse of the legitimacy of the occupation.”
The dramaturgist Vardit Shalfi, among the initiators of the artists’ letter, which created the storm, told Ynet: “Instead of debating the legitimacy of the settlements, the legitimacy of the people who protest the settlements is being debated. I’m happy that our protest, as expressed in the two artists’ letters, last summer, opened a public debate that destabilizes distorted views that some are asking to root as norm.”
Tuesday, February 15th, 2011