Middle East

So said a Holocaust survivor and anti-apartheid activist about his trip to Jackson, Mississippi in 1961. The same impulse inspires BDS activists from all walks of life today, says Eric Walberg

International boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) activities got a boost at the founding conference of the Palestinian Trade Union Coalition for BDS in Ramallah on 30 April. It called on trade unions around the world to sever all links with the Israel labour federation Histadrut. Histadrut protects illegal Israeli workers in the settlements and doesn’t protect the legal Palestinian workers there, having withheld almost $2.5 billion of their wages over the years, deducted for “social and other trade union benefits” that they have never received.

There was good and bad news on the political front in the past month. Scottish voters rejected the pro-war, pro-Israel Labour Party and elected the Scottish Nationalist Party, whose leader leader Alex Salmond supports sanctions against Israel.

Osama bin Laden was born 10 March 1957 in Riyad to Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden, a Yemeni-born Saudi construction billionaire with close ties to the Saudi royal family, and was killed in Abbottabad, Pakistan 2 May 2011 in a CIA-directed targeted assassination.

The upcoming flotilla to break the Gaza siege is gathering steam from a flood of innovative Boycott, Divest and Sanctions activities around the world, says Eric Walberg

From 7-20 March, more than 75 university groups on six continents held their seventh annual Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW). According to Palestinian activist Omar Barghouti, “Our South Africa moment has finally arrived.” “ Israel’s version of apartheid is more sophisticated than South Africa’s was. It’s an evolved form,” explains Barghouti in his hot-off-the-press BDS: The Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights. “In South Africa, the overall plan was to exploit blacks, not throw them out.”

The revolution and the turmoil in the Arab world have their origins in the tortuous history of British and American domination of the Middle East. Eric Walberg looks at the implications for Egypt of its colonial past

Turkey’s decision to take the lead in the NATO mission against Libya is a bold example of its determination to play the leading role in the region – and within NATO itself, says Eric Walberg

Turkey continues its struggle to rein in the trigger-happy Franco-Anglo-American coalition intent on invading Libya. From the start, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan dismissed the idea of a no-fly-zone as “such nonsense. What does NATO have to do with Libya?” But his NATO colleagues pushed ahead and achieved UN Security Council Resolution 1973 on 17 March, authorising “all necessary measures” against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and the establishment of a no-fly zone.

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Canadian Eric Walberg is known worldwide as a journalist specializing in the Middle East, Central Asia and Russia. A graduate of University of Toronto and Cambridge in economics, he has been writing on East-West relations since the 1980s.

He has lived in both the Soviet Union and Russia, and then Uzbekistan, as a UN adviser, writer, translator and lecturer. Presently a writer for the foremost Cairo newspaper, Al Ahram, he is also a regular contributor to Counterpunch, Dissident Voice, Global Research, Al-Jazeerah and Turkish Weekly, and is a commentator on Voice of the Cape radio.

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Eric's latest book The Canada Israel Nexus is available here http://www.claritypress.com/WalbergIV.html