Highlights of 2015
Cultural And Academic Boycott
The call for a cultural boycott of Israel issued by the Palestinian Campaign for Academic and Cultural Boycott (PACBI) in 2004 aims to counteract Israel’s use of cultural works and events to normalize its occupation of Palestine and whitewash its violations of international law and Palestinian human rights. In 2015, Adalah-NY decided to focus on promoting cultural boycott in New York City. We organized and participated in national and international actions asking artists to refrain from performing in Israel, and also protested events here in NYC. In addition, Adalah-NY began working on creating a community of artists in New York dedicated to upholding the Palestinian boycott call.
April 12, 2015: Organized a protest of Idan Raichel's performance at the Beacon Theatre due to the Israeli performer’s self-appointed role as a cultural ambassador for Israel and his outspoken and uncritical support of the Israeli army. Prior to the protest, Adalah-NY reached out to the Beacon Theater in an open letter asking that they not host a performer who is part of the Israeli government’s Brand Israel public relations campaign, which uses art and music to distract from Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights.
July 16, 2015: Organized an action outside the Brooklyn concert of Malian musician Vieux Farka Touré calling on the artist to to cancel his scheduled August 25 concert in Eilat, Israel. This was part of an international effort with Palestinian, Israeli, French and South African BDS activists.
October 17, 2015: Organized a protest attended by 60 New York human rights advocates on the sidewalk outside a solo concert by Israeli singer Idan Raichel at the City Winery in Manhattan (photos).
November 14, 2015: Organized “Palestine Calling: A Launch Party to Amplify the Cultural Boycott of Israel in NYC,” where nearly 400 New Yorkers packed the Verso Books Loft in DUMBO, Brooklyn, to capacity (photos). The event featured rousing musical performances by eclectic artists, including oud virtuoso Simon Shaheen, Suhel and Tamer Nafar of the Palestinian hip hop group DAM, Brooklyn vocalist and composer Tamar-kali, and Sonny Singh of Red Baraat. Eighty-eight artists and cultural workers at the event signed on to a New York City-focused pledge of support for the cultural boycott of Israel.
November 17, 2015: Released a video featuring eight leading artists stating “I endorse the cultural boycott of Israel.” The artists include Tony-nominated stage and television actress Kathleen Chalfant; musician Roger Waters, a founding member of Pink Floyd; musicians Kyp Malone and Tunde Adebimpe of TV on the Radio; musicians Kool A.D. and Tamar-kali; artist and author of Drawing Blood, Molly Crabapple; and visual artist Swoon. The Amplify Palestine event, video and pledge have received extensive coverage in local, national and international media.
In 2015 SodaStream, bowing to international pressure and protests, announced it is moving all production from the Occupied Palestinian Territories to within the internationally recognized borders of Israel. However, SodaStream continues to utilize land and resources stolen from Palestinians and exploits Palestinian workers. SodaStream depends on Israel's apartheid system, which limits Palestinian workers’ movement and protects the company's access to land and resources. Its newest production site will forcefully transfer Palestinian bedouins in the Naqab (Negev) from their lands and homes. Adalah-NY decided to maintain a low-scale campaign targeting SodaStream and raising awareness on its continued human rights abuses.
July 2015: Organized and released flashmob video carried out at Target department store in Brooklyn, NYC, asking them to de-shelve SodaStream on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the BDS movement.
September - October 2015: Organized a mini-campaign calling on the internationally renowned culinary school Le Cordon Bleu to end its partnership with SodaStream, including a letter signed by six national and international organizations and a petition signed by almost 5,000 individuals and organizations.
Adalah-NY continued its campaign, begun in 2007, for a boycott of 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 2015, we continued to put pressure on Leviev to end his settlement construction activities in the occupied West Bank:
May - August 2015: Organized an initiative asking Oprah Winfrey to publicly distance herself from the companies of Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev. The initiative included a letter signed by nine organizations and 34 individuals from the US, Palestine, Israel and South Africa that was privately emailed in May 2015 to O, The Oprah Winfrey Magazine and the Oprah Winfrey Network and then made public in July 2015 after receiving no response. Adalah-NY consequently issued an open letter that was signed by 5,600 people and attempted to hand deliver the letter to O headquarters at the Hearst Corporation’s office in Manhattan, where executives refused to receive the small delegation of human rights advocates.
September 29, 2015: Organized a letter signed by 7 organizations calling on Taylor Swift to commit to not wear Leviev diamonds again.
December 21, 2015: Organized a protest at Lev Leviev’s flagship Madison Avenue diamond store for the 9th 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, for the second year in a row, the store was closed and the display cases completely emptied of all merchandise during the busiest shopping period of the year. (Photos)
Other BDS Actions
March 10, 2015: Organized a picket line at a fundraising dinner at the Waldorf Astoria to protest the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces, where demonstrators demanded that FIDF be stripped of its current tax-exempt status, which allows it to raise funds used to subsidize the Israeli military at the American taxpayers’ expense.
BDS Movement Building
Adalah-NY participated in a number of conferences and events, carried out workshops and presentations in an ongoing effort to further develop the BDS movement in the United States and internationally, including:
April 5, 2015: Presentation "BDS: Getting Informed, Getting Involved," The Parking Lot: An Intersectional Gathering on Art and Social Change, New School, NY
May 31, 2015: Presentation "BDS: Getting Informed, Getting Involved," Upper Manhattan Neighbors for Peace and Justice, NY
August 6, 2015: Presentation: BDS in the United States for students and international faculty at participating in “I Know I Can” Summer Academies, Friends School, Ramallah
August 28 - 30 2015: Participation in BDS Activist Gathering – Pushing the Movement Forward, including presentation “BDS in Context: The state of the Palestine rights movement”, Chicago, Il.
September 27, 2015: Workshops “The Boycott Doesn’t End at the Green Line: Why Boycotting SodaStream Is More Important Than Ever” and “Protesting with Panache,” US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation 14th Annual National Conference, Atlanta, GA
September 28, 2015: Presentation on Cultural Boycott 101 for JVP-NY’s monthly meeting
October 13, 2015: Discussant, Film Screening of “The Wanted 18”, CUNY Grad Center
October 26, 2015: Workshop "BDS 101" at the "RU United for Solidarity Activism?" Students for Justice in Palestine, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ
November 12, 2015: Presentation "BDS: Getting Informed, Getting Involved," Peace Action Staten Island
December 5, 2015: Speech, International Front-Line Fighters, Annual Dinner, NY
Facebook page grew from 2,100 LIKES (April, 2015) to 3,703 (December 31, 2015),
Twitter following grew from 4,887 (April, 2015) to 5,579 (December 31, 2015).
Our cultural boycott video garnered over 130,000 views on Facebook and over 25,600 views on Youtube from its release on November 17, 2015, to December 31, 2015.
In 2015, WESPAC Foundation continued to act as our fiscal sponsor.
Donations from individuals: $4,785
Palestine Calling event (11/14/15) - tickets: $2,618
Palestine Calling event (11/14/15) - beverage and book sales: $534
Total 2015 revenue: $7,937
Web site hosting, design, maintenance, services; email services: $1,671
Demonstrations and actions: $623
Palestine Calling event (11/14/15): $2,776
Cultural boycott video production: $1,100
Meetings and conferences: $200Support for allied organizations (benefit program ads): $200
Organizational dues: $100
Educational materials (printing and postage): $1,613
Administrative fees: $626
Total 2015 expenditures: $8,909