Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search

 


Auckland & Wellington: Actions against Israeli whitewashing

Auckland & Wellington: Actions against Israeli whitewashing & pinkwashing

February 23, 2014
http://fightback.org.nz/2014/02/23/8735/

In solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for self-determination, Fightback (Aotearoa/NZ) endorses the Palestinian-led call for Boycotts, Divestments and Sanctions (BDS) on Israel.

Cultural boycotts are a part of BDS. These boycotts target cultural products & activities designed to promote Israel, and supported by Israeli institutions.

On the 22nd of February 2014, two actions in different cities in Aotearoa/NZ promoted the cultural boycott of Israel.

Wellington: Don’t dance with Israeli apartheid!
In the capital, Aotearoa BDS Network challenged a performance by Israeli dance troupe Batsheva (touring an event entitled Deca Dance as part of the NZ Festival). Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs describes Batsheva as “perhaps the best known global ambassador of Israeli culture,” and their performance in Aotearoa/NZ was sponsored by the Israeli embassy.

After letters to the NZ Festival and the Minister of Foreign Affairs curiously failed to produce results, Palestine solidarity activists organised an action outside the performance.

Chants of “Boycott Israel/Boycott Batsheva,” “Shame” and “Free Palestine” accompanied banners & placards including “Queers against Israeli apartheid” and “Jews for a free Palestine.” Demonstrators also handed out informational leaflets and discouraged patrons from attending.

Zionists mobilised a counter-demonstration to support Batsheva. This counter-demonstration appeared to be mainly stacked with evangelical Christians from out of town, although notable Wellington Zionists including David Zwartz were also in attendance.

Counter-demonstrators affirmed the message of Aotearoa BDS Network, that supporting Batsheva means supporting Israel. In 1981, the peak of the Aotearoa/NZ movement to “halt all racist tours” from apartheid South Africa, supporters of the Springbok tour called to separate sports from politics (impossible, as politics always shape sports). By contrast in 2014, evangelicals supporting Batsheva wielded placards declaring Israel “the only democracy in the Middle East.”

The combination of Christian Zionists on one side of the entrance, and Palestine solidarity activists opposite, certainly worked to disrupt the event.

On Facebook, a staff member at the venue commented:

“This is beyond stupid, they actually ended up obstructing the performance they’re trying to support, we had to send patrons down the disgusting fire escapes so they could leave the building.”

15 patrons decided to forego their tickets, to applause from demonstrators. The Aotearoa BDS Network will maintain the pressure discouraging NZ Festival, and other organisations, from supporting Israeli apartheid in future.

Auckland: Queers Against Israeli Apartheid
While protesters and counterprotesters clashed at the Batsheva Dance recital in Wellington, Israeli pinkwashers [1] tried to pull a fast one at the Auckland Pride Parade on Ponsonby Road.

The night before the parade, the Israeli embassy put out a bizarre, gloating press release announcing that they would have a float in the parade, “whilst BDS Campaigners have fled in their minivan to Wellington”.

This is all part of the “Brand Israel” campaign, aiming to portray Israel as a progressive, diverse Western democracy – and Palestinians and other Arabs as backwards, homophobic savages.

Thankfully, Queers against Israeli Apartheid weren’t going to let them get away with it. When the Israeli “float” – actually four men on a car with rainbow and Star of David flags – drove up Ponsonby Road, about 10 peaceful activists disrupted the parade to block them.

The activists unfurled banners and placards saying “No Rainbow Big Enough To Cover The Shame of Israeli Apartheid” and “Pride in Resistance, Not in Oppression”.

One Israeli participant ended up yelling at a protestor “You should go and live in Tel Aviv, it’s the gay capital of the Middle East”. The protestor she was yelling at was of Palestinian origin herself – the people who were cleared out of what is now the State of Israel in al-Nakba (the Catastrophe) of 1948.

After a few minutes, police and security dragged the protesters out of the way and let the Israeli float proceed. But hopefully this made enough of an impression that next year’s Pride organisers will think twice before letting “pinkwashers” use our parade for their propaganda.

[1] “Pinkwashing” means using an image of gay and lesbian rights to conceal abuses, such as the ongoing brutality of the Israeli occupation

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

David Swanson: Torture Is Mainstream Now

As Rebecca Gordon notes in her new book, Mainstreaming Torture, polls find greater support in the United States for torture now than when Bush was president. And it's not hard to see why that would be the case. More>>

Uri Avnery: In One Word: Poof!

Poor John Kerry. This week he emitted a sound that was more expressive than pages of diplomatic babble. In his testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations committee he explained how the actions of the Israeli government had torpedoed the “peace ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: The Poverty Incentive: Making The Poor Carry The Refugee Can

The poorer you are, the more likely you need to shoulder more. This axiomatic rule of social intercourse, engagement and daily living is simple and brutal enough: the poor shall hold, conserve, preserve. More>>

Nureddin Sabir: BBC Misreports John Kerry On Talks Failure

For once, US Secretary of State John Kerry was not mincing his words when he blamed Israel for the breakdown of talks with the Palestinians. But you would not have known this if you were following the story from the BBC News website. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Narendra Modi, And The Elections In India

On the upside, the gigantic election process that began yesterday in India is the largest exercise in democracy on the planet. Reportedly, a staggering five million people are employed, directly or indirectly, in the election process. The likely outcome is not quite so welcome... More>>

ALSO:

Ramzy Baroud: Kerry’s Looming Deadline And The Peace Process Industry

As the US-imposed April 29 deadline for a ‘framework’ agreement between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority looms, time is also running out for the American administration itself. More>>

Harvey Wasserman: Fighting Our Fossil-Nuke Extinction

The 25th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez disaster has brought critical new evidence that petro-pollution is destroying our global ecosystem. The third anniversary of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear meltdown in Japan confirms that radioactive reactor ... More>>

Shobha Shukla: Rise In Global Health Financing, But Funding Priorities Shift

A new research done by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), at the University of Washington, indicates that globally the total development assistance for health (DAH) hit an all-time high of $31.3 billion in 2013 (a year-over-year ... More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
TEDxAuckland
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news