Highlights of 2014
LEV LEVIEV – Adalah-NY continued its campaign, begun in 2007, against the Israeli diamond magnate and settlement builder Lev Leviev. This campaign has had a number of successes, with governments, investment banks, celebrities, and international aid agencies distancing themselves from Leviev and his company Africa Israel. In 2014, we continued to put pressure on Leviev to end his settlement construction activities in the occupied West Bank:
February 19, 2014: issued a press release after confirming that City Harvest received no funding from Lev Leviev during the July 2011- June 2013 financial cycle despite media reports to the contrary. In November 2012, Adalah-NY carried out a campaign calling on City Harvest to reject funds from and publicly disavow Leviev due to his settlement activities.
December 21, 2014: protested at Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev’s flagship Madison Avenue diamond store for the 8th Annual Anti-Apartheid Holiday Caroling, singing parody carols opposing Leviev’s companies’ construction of Israeli settlements on Palestinian land in violation of international law. Much to the protesters surprise, the store was closed and the display cases completely emptied of all merchandise during the busiest shopping period of the year. (PHOTOS).In another unexpected twist, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, who calls himself “America’s Rabbi” and boasts of friendships with Sheldon Adelson and the like, arrived just as the protest was ending and began yelling at protesters.
SODASTREAM - Adalah-NY maintained focus on SodaStream, an Israeli company that manufactures and distributes home carbonation devices and flavoring for soft drinks. SodaStream’s main production site is in Mishor Edumim, the industrial park of Ma’aleh Adumim, an illegal Israeli settlement in the West Bank. In 2014, Adalah-NY worked with Jewish Voice for Peace New York City Chapter (JVP-NY), Jews Say No!, and Park Slope Food Coop Members for BDS to create the NYC Coalition Against SodaStream. The Coalition carried out a number of actions calling on NYC businesses to de-shelve SodaStream.
April 2014: carried out a series of events and petition gathering actions calling on Zabars to stop selling SodaStream including:
Handing out postcards and collecting petition signatures on April 6 and April 13
Earth Day Protest on April 22, 2014
October, 2014: produced a downloadable fact sheet about SodaStream, including information about the company’s pending move to a plant in the Negev/Naqab, to be used by BDS activists in the US and around the world.
October 26, 2014: visited fifteen stores in the Union Square area with a letter asking store managers to stop selling SodaStream
December 13, 2014: participated in Jewish Voice for Peace-NYC’s protest at Zabar’s, giving the store management a Hanukkah gift - petitions with more than 1,200 signatures asking them to stop selling SodaStream.
CULTURAL AND ACADEMIC BOYCOTT –
The cultural boycott against Israel aims to counteract Israel’s use of cultural works and events to normalize its illegal occupation of Palestine and whitewash its violations of international law and Palestinian human rights. As part of this movement, Adalah-NY has participated in a number of actions aimed at isolating Israeli cultural institutions complicit in their government’s actions.
The academic boycott of Israel is based on the fact that except for a handful of principled academics, the Israeli academy is profoundly implicated in supporting and perpetuating Israel’s systematic denial of Palestinian rights and is complicit in the Israeli system of oppression that has denied Palestinians those basic rights guaranteed by international law, including academic freedom and the right to education.
June 18, 2014: at the NBC Today Show in Rockefeller Center, organized a protest calling on NBC to stop filming its new archeological drama DIG in Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem with support and funding from the Israeli government.
September, 2014: released an open letter and petition denouncing Israeli government co-financing of a panel at the Brooklyn Book Festival as a violation of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) call. 300 writers signed, among them 18 past and present Brooklyn Book Festival participants, along with editors at Verso and Haymarket Books.
November 4, 2014: coordinated a public letter with over 4000 individuals and 50 groups from around the world calling for the New York-based World Music Institute (WMI) to cancel their presentation of a concert by Israeli musician Idan Raichel on November 18 at New York City’s Symphony Space due to Raichel’s role as a cultural ambassador for Israel and uncritical support for the Israeli military and government.
November 12, 2014: organized an action outside the Brooklyn Academy of Music to protest Batsheva Dance Company's performances at BAM as part of the “Brand Israel” initiative designed to distract from Israel’s ongoing occupation and colonization of Palestinian land, and its denial of rights to Palestinians the world over. Performers included the Freedom Dabke Group and the Columbia Dabke Dancers, the Rude Mechanical Orchestra, Cetiliztli Nauhcampa Quetzalcoatl, a Mexican danza group, and Adalah-NY’s own BDS choir.
November 18, 2014: presented a concert of culture for freedom and liberation to protest the apartheid- supporting culture of Israeli “Brand Israel” spokesman Idan Raichel, in front of Symphony Space on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Performers included rappers Prince Akeem and Division X, pianist Albert Marquès, the Columbia Dabke Dancers, singer Ellen Davidson, and Adalah-NY’s own poetry readers and BDS Choir,
OTHER BDS ACTIONS -
March 8, 2014: organized BDS on Broadway: An Anti-Apartheid Musical Walking Tour, where protesters, accompanied by the Rude Mechanical Orchestra, stopped to sing boycott songs at Ricky’s, Best Buy, Crate and Barrel and Staples, to demand they stop selling Israeli settlement products Ahava and SodaStream, and at Israeli-owned businesses Aroma Espresso Bar and Max Brenner, both of which have ties to Israel's military occupation. This demonstration in the streets of NYC was Adalah-NY’s contribution to Israeli Apartheid Week for 2014.
May 1, 2014: participated in Mayday protests, highlighting worker actions at worksites in lower Manhattan, including Staples, where local postal workers spoke out against the USPS contracting postal worker work to Staples employees and Adalah-NY spoke out to protest Staples selling SodaStream.
October 7, 2014: endorsed and participated in a demonstration at the Brooklyn Nets - Maccabi Tel Aviv game protesting the Nets' hosting of 12 Israel Defense Forces members who participated in this summer's military attack on Gaza. Adalah-NY joined with Jewish Voice for Peace - NYC, Direct Action Front for Palestine, and others in the protest at the Barclay’s Center.
BDS MOVEMENT BUILDING – Adalah-NY organized panels, took part in a number of conferences and events, and carried out workshops to present our work and participated in an ongoing discussions to further develop the BDS movement in the United States and internationally, including:
January 19, 2014: interview with Adalah-NY member Hannah Mermelstein on Voice of Palestine.
January 29, 2014: on-line training - “Mobilizing the Grassroots: The BDS Campaign and You”, Interfaith Peace-Builders
March 28 - 29, 2014: presentation of workshop “BDS: Getting Informed, Getting Involved” to increase capacity in US BDS campaigns at the Friends of Sabeel North America Conference “The Role of the US in Israel/Palestine: Current Realities and Creative Responses”.
July 2, 2014: presentation for Philly BDS “Being Proactive in the Face of Israeli Aggression: The Palestinian BDS Call”
September 22, 2014: participation in panel “CUNY Stands For Justice: From Ferguson to Palestine”, CUNY Graduate Center.
October 20, 2014: participation in panel on “Cultural Production During BDS” (Boycott, Divestment and Sanction Against Israel), Vera List Center for Art and Politics, New School University
November 6, 2014: presentation of workshop “BDS: Getting Informed, Getting Involved” for Network of Arab-American Professionals New York (NAAP-NY).
SOCIAL MEDIA – This year Adalah-NY maintained a dedicated social media team to amplify our presence on Facebook and Twitter. Over the course of the year we saw our Facebook page grow from 1,200 LIKES to 2,100 (April, ‘15), and our Twitter following grew from almost 2,000 to 4,887 (April, ‘15).
EMERGENCY RESPONSE -
Adalah-NY and its members participated and helped organize many emergency protests throughout the seven weeks of Israel’s assault on Gaza including:
July 7, 2014: organized a protest with more than 100 human rights activists near New York City’s iconic Brooklyn Bridge to mark the 9th anniversary of the July 9, 2005 Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel. At that point, 40 Palestinians including 13 children had been killed.
July 14, 2014: joined other groups to protest New York City Hall during a "NY Stands with Israel" press conference with chants of “shame on you, City Council” and signs stating “This New Yorker doesn’t stand with bombing Palestinians” unfurled at the press conference. The Press Conference was organized by the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York and the United Jewish Appeal Federation of New York to give New York City legislators the opportunity to justify Israel’s week-long bombing campaign of Gaza.
July 24, 2014: organized and participated in protest with close to two thousand New Yorkers against Israel’s military assault on Gaza in a rally at Foley Square as part of a National Day of Protest for Gaza. The crowd read aloud the names and ages of the over 170 Palestinian children killed in Israel’s assault as of that date. They then marched through lower Manhattan carrying Palestinian flags and signs demanding an end to the US government’s and New York City elected officials’ support for Israel’s massacre in Gaza and ongoing occupation and colonization of Palestine.
August 14, 2014: participated in panel “Stop Israel’s Ongoing War Crimes Against the People of Gaza”.
August 21, 2014: participated in rally and march across the Brooklyn Bridge with thousands of NYC human rights activists to protest Israel’s attack on Gaza during which Palestinian supporters unfurled a Palestinian flag calling for BDS from the Manhattan Bridge.
Donations from individuals: $2,415
Total 2014 revenue: $2,415
Web site hosting, design, and maintenance: $1,350
Email services: $16
Meetings and conferences: $325
Support for allied organizations (contributions, benefit program ads): $450
Organizational dues: $200
Educational materials (printing and postage): $2,541
Administrative fees: $191
Total 2014 expenditures: $6,731