27 June 2010
The U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI)
endorses and supports the call for Boycott of Arizona on account of its
manifestly racist laws, HB1070 and SB 2281.
SB1070 calls for police officers to require documentation from people to
establish resident status. The law essentially requires police to engage in
racial profiling and discrimination on the basis of appearance.1 SB 2281
outlaws the teaching of ethnic studies in Arizona schools. It builds a
pretext for the censorship of books and suppression of historical texts
which are perceived by the state as political literature.2
USACBI calls attention to the similar plight of Palestinians in occupied
Palestine.3 Analogous to Arizona’s policies, Palestinian narratives are
suppressed by the state of Israel, including a new piece of legislation
outlawing the commemoration of an nakba, the ethnic cleansing of Palestine
in 1948.4 Israel also requires identification papers of Palestinians in
order to engage in routine and essential daily tasks. These ID cards, which
not all Palestinians are granted, forces many Palestinians from the diaspora
to be foreigners in their own land and often denies them entry into their
own country or results in expulsion from it.5
Palestinians, like many Mexicans and Mexican Americans, are forced to resist
borders that were imposed on them by foreign powers. In this context we also
call attention to stark similarities between Israel’s Apartheid Wall and the
U.S. Apartheid Wall.6 Israel’s Apartheid Wall confiscates Palestinian water
and land for the sole benefit of illegal Israeli settlements, and strangles
the lives and livelihoods of Palestinians.7
The two walls have much in common – not only because both are built on land
that was occupied by conquest, that displace indigenous people, and that
separate families, but also because these walls are built by the same
colonial forces. The Israeli firm, Elbit Systems, played a leading role in
the construction of both walls.8 Naomi Klein warned that the U.S. Apartheid
Wall (which the U.S., like Israel, calls a “fence”) will have similar
consequences to the one on Palestinian land:
In April 2007, special immigration agents with the U.S. Department of
Homeland Security, working along the Mexican border, went through an
intensive eight-day training course put on by the Golan Group. The Golan
Group was founded by ex-Israeli Special Forces officers and boasts more than
3,500 employees in seven countries. “Essentially we put an Israeli security
spin on our procedures,” Thomas Pearson, the company’s head of operations,
explained of the training course, which covered everything from hand-to-hand
combat to target practice to “getting proactive with their SUV.” The Golan
Group, now based in Florida but still marketing its Israeli advantage, also
produces X-ray machines, metal detectors, and rifles. In addition to many
governments and celebrities, its clients include ExxonMobil, Shell, Texaco,
Levi’s, Sony, Citigroup, and Pizza Hut.”9
The U.S. Wall will further segregate border communities, break families
apart, and increase the number of deaths on the border as migrant workers
are pushed deeper into the desert.
Both walls protect imperial interests, not those of indigenous people whose
rights are violated by these states and their structures. Like Israeli
settlers, militia organizations like the Minute Men have found legitimacy
for attacking economic refugees crossing the border. These armed, racist
groups find their counterparts in groups of Israeli settlers shooting at
Palestinian farmers attempting to access their own land, visit families, or
travel between home and work.
USACBI expresses its solidarity with organizations that strive for equality
and justice of oppressed indigenous peoples, particularly the move to
boycott Arizona until it reverses these racist laws. We call on others to
join us in the boycott of Arizona10 and to build divestment campaigns
targeting companies like Elbit that profit from the oppression of indigenous
people on stolen land whether in the U.S. or Palestine.11
1 Guy Adams, “Arizona boycotted over ‘Nazi’ purge of migrants.” The
Independent. 14 May 2010.
2 Jessica Calefati, “Arizona Bans Ethnic Studies.” Mother Jones. 12 May
3 “Solidarity Letter from Mexico to the Palestinian People.” Palestine
Monitor. 20 April 2008.
6 “Death on the U.S.-Mexico Border.” Socialist Worker. 7 March 2009.
http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/art.php?id=17252 and Jimmy Johnson,
“Palestine-Mexico Border.” Tadamon. 3 May 2010.
9 Naomi Klein, *The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism*. (New
York: Metropolitan Books, 2007), 438.
10 Dave Zirin, “Who’s afraid of a boycott?” Socialist Worker. 12 May 2010.
Michaels, “Rage Against the Machine Lead Arizona Boycott.” Common Dreams 27
May 2010. http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/05/27-3.
11 Adri Nieuwhof, “Scandanavian financial institutions drop Elbit due to BDS
pressure.” The Electronic Intifada. 19 February 2010.