How the internet “punishes” Palestinians

(photo: Mauritz Antin / EPA)

PayPal, Google, and Airbnb have all been accused of limiting services to Palestinians in the occupied territories.

By Ylenia Gostoli | Al Jazeera | Feb 2, 2018

PayPal, which operates in 202 countries including war-torn Yemen, doesn’t offer its services to Palestinians in Gaza or the West Bank — while making them available to Israeli settlers living in the same territory and using the same currency.

Google Maps brings [Palestinians] to settler roads, even putting them in danger by taking them to the entrance of a settlement. It’s an apartheid reality that you have streets for settlers only, and Google Maps functions to serve the Israelis and Israeli needs.

As governments across the globe increasingly use the internet to crack down on dissent, manipulate information and control access, the idea of the web as a space of democracy and freedom has all but withered.

In the past two years, Palestinians launched several campaigns accusing tech companies of discrimination and bias, with hashtags such as #FBCensorsPalestine and #PayPalForPalestine going viral.

Multinational tech companies such as Google, Facebook and PayPal have also been accused of complicity in rights violations for controlling how knowledge and services are provided, and who can access them.

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Israel issuing deportation notices to asylum seekers

An asylum seeker holding up a deportation notice on Feb 4, 2018. (photo: Meged Gozani / Haaretz)

The first round of notices to about 20,000 people asylum seekers from Eritrea and Sudan.

By Ilan Lior | Haaretz | Feb 4, 2018

“I don’t want to go to Rwanda. I’m from Eritrea, and I don’t want to return to Eritrea. I’m going to jail, without fear.”
— Dabsai, a 47-year-old Eritrean resident of Netanya

The Population, Immigration and Border Authority will begin issuing deportation notices on Sunday to asylum seekers from Eritrea and Sudan who are not held in the Holot detention facility.

In the first stage the notices will be issued to men without children who come to renew their residence visa. Citizens of Eritrea and Sudan are required to renew their visas every two months at the authority’s office in Bnei Brak. They will receive their last two-month visa, along with a letter stating that during this period they are expected to leave the country, otherwise they will be forbidden to work and can expect to be incarcerated indefinitely. Authority personnel will suggest that they leave for either Rwanda or their native countries. . . .

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Jewish leaders: You fought for the right to boycott — now let people use it

Ultra-orthodox Jews of the Naturei Kartra movement during a protest outside the Capitol Hill where Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed a joint session of Congress in Washington, DC, on Mar 3, 2015. (photo: Getty Images)

Have your feelings about BDS, but respect the constitutional right to boycott that you so proudly fought for during the Civil Rights Movement.

By Elias Newman | Forward | Feb 5, 2018

[The] right to boycott went all the way to the Supreme Court during the Civil Rights Era, when a judge in Mississippi ordered an NAACP chapter to pay damages to white shop-owners after the chapter ran a successful boycott campaign. The NAACP appealed the decision to the Supreme Court, asking how their actions were any different from the the American colonists who refused to buy English-made goods during the American Revolution. A unanimous court overturned the Mississippi ruling, solidifying non-violent boycotts as “speech, assembly, association, and petition” protected by the First Amendment.

If you’ve ever been to a synagogue around MLK Day, you probably heard about the role Jews played in the Civil Rights Movement. Don’t get me wrong; I’m proud that white Jews joined Freedom Rides and marched with MLK, and I have deep respect for Rabbis in the South who risked their jobs to support bus boycotters.

The hypocrisy in all of this current celebration, however, is that Jewish leaders are taking credit for Civil Rights work while simultaneously mounting an assault on the American right to boycott — a constitutional freedom fought for during the Civil Rights movement by Blacks and their Jewish allies. Boycotts are protected under the First Amendment and were vital to ending segregation, forcing politicians and shop owners to integrate or go bankrupt. Yet today, when boycotts in the U.S. increasingly target Israeli human rights abuses, Jewish leaders have no problem unraveling Civil Rights protections by leading the political movement to boycott all boycotts.

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A Webinar for Lent


Please join our brothers and sisters at Friends of Sabeel North America for this important webinar.

Date: Thursday, Feb 8, 2018
Time: 10:00 – 11:00 am PST
Registration: Sign up here

Event Details

Join Rev. Dr. Naim Ateek, Dr. Monica Burnett and FOSNA Executive Director Tarek Abuata, for this Lenten webinar. Speakers will address issues on the ground in Palestine, introduce a new educational Biblical resource for congregations, and provide ideas for advocacy stemming from Palestinian Liberation Theology.

BDS nominated for 2018 Nobel Peace Prize


The human rights movement is currently the subject of anti-boycott laws in Israel, the US, and elsewhere.

By Middle East Monitor | Feb 5, 2018

“We are well aware that the current right-wing government of Israel tends to try to criminalize any attempt to convince Israel to abide by international law and end the occupation and oppression of Palestine and the Palestinians.”
— Bjørnar Moxness, Norwegian Member of Parliament

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights has been nominated for the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize. Formal nomination for the prestigious award was made last week by the Norwegian MP and leader of the Red Party, Bjørnar Moxness.

In a statement announcing the nomination, the Parliamentary Group, which includes a number of left-wing parties, said that the selection of BDS for a Nobel Peace Prize reflected “the growing international solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for justice, dignity and freedom from the Israeli occupation.”

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Israel deports 14-year-old girl to Gaza, without telling her parents

An electric cart provides transportation through the 900-meter caged terminal spanning the restricted access zone at the Erez border crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip, Jul 2, 2012. (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler /

Ghada had spent her entire life in the West Bank, yet somehow found herself deported to the Gaza Strip after being arrested by Border Police officers.

By Edo Konrad | +972 Magazine | Jan 31, 2018

“It should be noted that the girl and her father are illegal immigrants in Israel, and therefore she was sent to Erez Crossing . . . entered the Gaza Strip.”
— Israel Prison Service statement

Israeli authorities deported a 14-year-old epileptic Palestinian girl from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip earlier this month, without notifying her parents, and despite the fact that she has never lived there a day in her life.

Ghada, who was born in Ramallah where she has lived much of her life, was arrested by Israeli Border Police officers on January 13 for being in Jerusalem without a military permit. She was traveling back to her home in a-Ram, just northeast of Jerusalem where she lives with her mother and siblings, from her aunt’s home in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya.

Her father, though originally from the Gaza Strip, currently lives in the West Bank as well, her mother told Israeli human rights group HaMoked, which is representing the family. When Ghada was born, Israeli authorities listed her address as Gaza for an unknown reason.

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Lend your support: Join church leaders in denouncing anti-BDS legislation

Rev. Dr. Naim Ateek is a Palestinian priest in the Anglican Church and founder of the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in Jerusalem

Download and print this letter signed by over 400 Christian leaders to illustrate that Christian clergy across the nation oppose Anti-BDS legislation.

By Friends of Sabeel North America

These bills attack a non-violent, time-tested, and constitutionally protected approach to achieving peace. The First Amendment protects more than “speech”: the Supreme Court has long recognized that it also protects expressive conduct.

“As Christian leaders we have long used the non-violent instruments of boycott and divestment in our work for justice and peace. These economic measures have proven to be powerful tools for social change, from strengthening labor rights for farmworkers to ending apartheid in South Africa. Observing the success of these efforts, Palestinian civil society issued a call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) in 2005 to advance Palestinians’ long-denied rights to freedom, justice, equality, and self-determination. In 2009, Palestinian Christians included a call for boycott and divestment in their landmark document, “Kairos Palestine: A Moment of Truth.” Christian denominations around the world have responded by divesting from companies that profit from Israel’s occupation and its persistent settlement expansion — both of which are illegal under international and U.S. law. . . .

Israeli governmental policy proponents, fearing the growing BDS movement, have launched a well-funded campaign to suppress BDS. During the last two years, “anti-BDS” bills have been introduced in the U.S. Congress and several state legislatures. Legislation introduced in New York, California, Florida, Iowa and other states would prohibit investing in or contracting with organizations that boycott Israel and “its territories.” These laws may threaten public funding for social services such as soup kitchens and homeless shelters provided by churches that have passed BDS resolutions. . . .

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Reading: Even in Victory


Please join our brothers and sisters at the Mideast Focus Ministry for this important event.

This staged reading by Palestine Up-Close explores the points of view held by “wounded warriors” who were soldiers for the Israeli Defense Forces in Palestine. We discover their struggles as they push for a way to come to terms with their own actions.

Date: Sunday, Mar 4, 2018
Time: 10:10 – 10:50 am
Location: Bloedel Hall
St. Mark’s Cathedral
1245 10th Ave E
Seattle, WA  98102
Information: Event website
Admission: Free

Event Details

Our concern is to help balance the limited and confusing media coverage of the Holy Land. We use compelling films as an entry point for reflection and discussion. As Christians, we respond to Christ’s call to seek justice and love the oppressed. As Americans, we ask: Can we reconcile this calling with our government’s massive financial support of Israeli military operations? We hope the time will come when Jews, Muslims and Christians will again come together in harmony in the Holy Land.

In this series, we see how people pushed to bring about a safe country for the Jewish people, and how today others are still push- ing for safety and change. Do our efforts for change lead to peace and justice . . . or not?

More information here →