Sunday, December 20, 2015

Dark Money: A Look at the MN State Board of Investments

On June 3, the Minnesota State Board of Investment voted unanimously to end consideration of human rights in their investment decisions.

The State Board of Investment (SBI) manages $80 billion in assets used to pay for state pensions and other trusts. In 2014, SBI saw an 18.6 percent yield, with an annualized return over the last 10 years of 8.4 percent.

SBI’s authority rests in four officers outlined by the state constitution—the attorney general (currently Lori Swanson), the secretary of state (currently Steve Simon), the state auditor (currently Rebecca Otto), and the governor (currently Mark Dayton) as chair. The officers supervise a staff headed by Executive Director Mansco Perry.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Jettisoning complicity with Israel's apartheid policies

The ironclad US-Israel alliance is the stuff of legend.  And no wonder.  For the US, Israel is a military platform in the Mid-East.  In exchange, Israel uses US money, weapons and political cover to continue its occupation and colonization activities with impunity.

Undeterred, Palestinians requested that the UN Security Council support a one-year deadline for a two-state settlement.  US representative Samantha Power claims that the US, too, yearns for a two-state solution but nevertheless orchestrated a defeat of the proposal in favor of more negotiations, during which time ever more Jewish only settlements will be built and ever more Palestinian homes will be demolished.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

MN Must Get Rid Of Israel Bonds

The ironclad US-Israel alliance is the stuff of legend.  And no wonder.  For the US, Israel is a military platform in the Mid-East.  In exchange, Israel uses US money, weapons and political cover to continue its occupation and colonization activities with impunity.

Undeterred, Palestinians requested that the UN Security Council support a one-year deadline for a two-state settlement.  US representative Samantha Power claims that the US, too, yearns for a two-state solution but nevertheless orchestrated a defeat of the proposal in favor of more negotiations, during which time ever more Jewish only settlements will be built and ever more Palestinian homes will be demolished.

Open letter to Minnesota’s Congressional Delegation:

Open letter to Minnesota’s Congressional Delegation:
Senators Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar,
Representatives Keith Ellison, Betty McCollum, Tim Walz, John Kline, Erik Paulsen, Collin Peterson, Richard Nolan and Tom Emmer

The undersigned individuals and organizations, all based in Minnesota, express our resolute concern that Congress has taken imprudent steps to punish Palestinians for seeking legal redress from the international community for the serious war crimes that Israel, with extreme impunity, has committed and continues to commit against them.  Congress is also seeking to punish Palestinians for showing maturity and diplomacy in signing more than 20 international treaties.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Boycott Sodastream Protests in Duluth

On December 6 a group of local Palestine solidarity activists from the Break the Bonds Campaign held a protest calling on people to boycott Sodastream.  Sodastream is an Israeli beverage company whose factory is built on stolen Palestinian land in the West Bank. 

The protesters picketed Central Entrance, and hit local stores like Target to hand out fliers to customers and to blow bubbles. Below are several photos and a video clip of the actions:

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sign Petition to End Minnesota Ownership of Israel Bonds

On July 1, 2015 Israel bonds purchased by the State of Minnesota with public retirement funds will mature. This unrestricted money is used by the  government of Israel for illegal settlements, electronic surveillance, apartheid separation barriers and offensive military hardware.  By signing this petition you are telling Minnesota's State Board of Investments that you want to end the state's complicity in these violations of Palestinian human rights.

We also need folks to circulate the petition among their friends and co-workers.  Email to get a petition sent to you.  Filled out forms should be mailed to me at: Bob Kosuth,
1224 E. 11th Street, Duluth, MN 55805.  We can gather petition signatures until next spring (see below).

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Presbyterian Church Votes for Divestmnet

I am overjoyed to report that just moments ago, the Presbyterian Church (USA) just voted to divest $21 million from Hewlett-Packard, Motorola Solutions, and Caterpillar – three companies whose profits from the ongoing Israeli occupation have been extensively documented.

This is an unbelievably fantastic - and brave -  decision, grounded in the Presbyterians' deep sense of justice and commitment to human rights.

And, having been here for the last week with our huge team of interfaith partners, I can guarantee you that the backlash is going to be intense.

Please click here to sign a Thank You Card
 so we can make sure the entire church also sees how many people support their courageous work to align their investments and values.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Israel/Palestine Film Series @ the Zinema!

Inside Israel/Palestine:

Scenes You Won't Find in the Mainstream Media

All films are on Mondays at 7 p.m.  Discussion afterwards.  Admission is $6.

> January 27:  Budrus
Budrus is about the non-violent demonstrations in 2000 conducted by the residents of the Palestinian town of Budrus against the building of the Israeli separation wall inside the village causing the loss of 300 acres of land and 3,000 olive trees.  Several turns of events including the active participation of Israeli peace activists bring about an unexpected outcome.

> February 3:  The Gatekeepers
The Gatekeepers brings together six former heads of Israel's internal security agency, the Shin Bet, who detail their methods against Palestinian militants and civilians in the Occupied Territories, including targeted killings, torture, recruiting informants, and the suppression of mass protests during two intifadas.

> February 10:  Man From Plains
President Jimmy Carter ignites a firestorm of controversy when he tours the country to promote "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid," his book which theorizes a Middle East peace solution and asserts that Israel's staunch stance has negatively affected the region.

> February 17:  Five Broken Cameras
Five Broken Cameras, nominated for an Oscar in the category of Best Documentary Film, tells the story of non-violent resistance in the village of Bilin to the building of a the Annexation Wall and expansion of nearby Jewish only settlements.  It is told through the experience of Palestinian villager Emad Burnat, who filmed the majority of the documentary.  The IDF, unhappy that their actions were being documented, broke five of his cameras and committed many other acts of violence against the demonstrators, at least two of whom died of their injuries.

Julia Bacha on Budris & Palestinian Non-Violence

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Liberation Through Boycott and Divestment from Cape Town to Gaza

Since his death, Nelson Mandela has been rightfully praised for his leading role in the ending of apartheid in South Africa.  No less important were the many thousands of activists in the struggle as well as the millions around the world who participated in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS)  movement against the notorious all white regime. 

Boycott by Academic Group Is a Symbolic Sting to Israel

An American organization of professors on Monday announced a boycott of Israeli academic institutions to protest Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, signaling that a movement to isolate and pressure Israel that is gaining ground in Europe has begun to make strides in the United States.

Members of the American Studies Association voted by a ratio of more than two to one to endorse the boycott in online balloting that concluded Sunday night, the group said.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

BBC Forum on Palestinians & Native Americans

Native American and Palestinian Commonalities



-Reyna Crow of Idle No More and the Northwoods Wolf Alliance

-Karen Redleaf of MN Advocates for Peace & Justice in the MIddle East.

You're invited to presentation on colonization as experienced by both Native Americans and Palestinians.  Both peoples have been victims of ethnic cleaning, colonization and settler colonialism. Tragically, both peoples are far too familiar with war, death, occupation and bogus peace processes and negotiations that have only resulted in the loss of more of their land.  Come learn and discuss the ongoing injustices perpetuated against Native & Palestinian peoples, and what you can do to help the struggle for justice.  This event is free and open to the public. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Film Trailer for "My Neighborhood"

To view the full film click here.

Israel/Palestine Films at Zinema2--We Need Your Help!

Since spring we've been trying to find ways to fund a series of 3 or 4 documentary films on the Israel-Palestine conflict at the Zinema2. We expect the documentaries to be challenging yet hopeful (for example, Budrus, Five Broken Cameras, The Gatekeepers, etc.) about the prospects for justice and peace in the region. Zinema2 does not need us to foot the entire cost but we need about half of the maximum of $1000 to get the project off the ground. Other funds will come from ticket sales and fundraisers during the fall of 2013. We expect the film series to take place in early 2014. Can you help us with a gift of $10, $25, $50 or $100?

Since we don't have a bank account, it will be necessary to send money (cash or personal check to Robert Kosuth) to Robert Kosuth, 1224 E. 11th Street, Duluth 55805. You can also bring a donation to our next meeting at Bixby's Cafe (1808 Woodland) between 3-4 p.m. Sunday, November 2.

20 Years of Failure: MN State Board of Investment's Neglect of Human Rights

On September 11, 2013, members of MN BBC personally delivered a comprehensive report to Governor Mark Dayton at the quarterly State Board of Investment meeting documenting the SBI’s twenty year failure to follow its own international human rights investment guidelines. MN BBC prepared the report following a two year examination of internal SBI documents. Those documents revealed that the SBI’s human rights guidelines, adopted in 1992 by a task force led by then State Auditor Dayton following pressure from Minnesota’s two largest labor unions, have failed to prevent the SBI from investing in countries, like Israel, that are documented human rights violators. According to the the report, the guidelines have received little more than lip service from the SBI’s investment managers, exposing the State of Minnesota to accusations of financial complicity in international human rights violations. The report concludes with recommendations that would immediately bring the SBI into compliance, if adopted. Click MNBBC-White Paper to see the full report.