2. Give Another Israel A Try
Written by Barry Brown & Henry Lawes
Performed by Barry Brown
12’’ single (Greensleeves, UK 1981)



Give another Israel a try
Give another Israel a try
Give another Israel a try
Let them make it if they try

Give another Israel a try
Give another Israel a try
Give another Israel a try
Let them make it if they try

Some don’t know the man
Some only hear of the man
Some only block off the man
But some know the man

And I know my brothers
And I know my sisters
I never
I never do nothing wrong

[Repeat chorus]

I know my brethren
So long I’ve been trying on my own
But some don’t want to accept me
But I know Jah love me
 ‘Cause I’ve been sent here
From ancient time ago
And Jah sent I to teach them
The right on the righteous man

So give Jah Jah children a try
So give Jah Jah children a try
Give another Israel a bly
Make them make it if them try

Some don’t know the man
Some only block off the man
Some don’t know the man
Some only hear of the man

I have to trod desolate places
To achieve my achieveity
And can’t you see
Just originally
And that’s my policy

So give another Israel a try
Give another Israel a try

Give another Israel a try
Give another Israel a try

You know
You know what I mean
You see
You see it clearly
Give another Israel a try

You know

You know what I mean

You see
You see it clearly
Give another Israel a try


The Children of Israel in Jamaica: Part One

Barry Brown [1962 – 2004] was among the last great vocalists of the roots rock reggae era of Jamaican popular music, recording a body of work whose most passionately expressed theme is that of the plight of the poor and dispossessed.

Brown began recording in the late 1970s and had found fame by 1980, the year of the most violent election in Jamaica’s history. In the busy streets of Kingston, by day and by night, an estimate 800 people were killed in the run up to the election in shoot-outs between rival supporters. Barry Brown’s songs of this period are all the more vivid for the immediacy of his delivery and the often personal nature of his song-writing. In Big Big Pollution Brown gives an account of the effect of the violence on his family:

My little brother Jack get shot

My little sister Maud get cut

My daddy  have to run to the back
Killing and shooting and robbing
It can never stop
All I can see is my brother them dying
All I can see is my sister them crying [1]

Politicians’, he sings, on the seething song of the same name, are ‘the cause of confusion’, before placing responsibility for the bloodshed at the doors of those in power who pay their followers to maintain the state of chaos with no concern for them once they end up behind bars:

Some ah shoot down them brother
For a ten dollar
Some ah burn down houses and a buss up people them fi nothing at all


Some man can’t stop fire gun
Some man can’t stop shoot and loot
Some man can’t cross over so

Some man can’t come over so

While some man
locked up in jail and can’t get no bail [2]

Barry Brown was at ease with the demotic – more so than his contemporaries Johnny Clarke and Linval Thompson he favoured the cadences and rhythms of the language of the Kingston ghettoes over the universal language of African American pop. Like Justin Hines before him, Brown also had a preacher’s ease with the hieratic, a storefront liberation theologian’s intimacy with the vernacular of his congregation’s suffering. In Lead Us Jah Jah you can hear him weaving Biblical imagery into African struggles against Apartheid and connecting the plight of the Jamaican poor with the oppression faced by those in the land of their ancestors: ‘Remember in Egypt we were in bondage’, he tells his audience,

Pharaoh and his people would not let us go
Jah sent his son to free black people
To lead them out of bondage
Jah lead us
Jah lead us
To the Promised Land
Jah lead us
Jah lead us
To righteousness

Jah lead us

Jah lead us
To our own land

Like we are fighting in Angola
Fighting with Jah by our side
Equal rights, that’s what we must get Lord
That’s what we all been fighting for [3]

Give Another Israel A Try was one of a number of songs Brown recorded between the end of Michael Manley’s experiment with democratic socialism and the election of opposition leader Edward Seaga. The song is a plea to those in power, an address to the government of Edward Seaga.

To illustrate just how bad things are for the poor, Brown performs a textual inversion. While most Rastafarian hymnody identifies with and speaks from the position of the divine elect, with Give Another Israel A Try, Brown speaks from the perspective of one who is condemned as an enemy of Biblical Israel by none other than King David himself.

Israel, in the song, isn’t a place, it’s a person, the child of the poor, the child of God, the Rastafarian, Brown himself, reduced, by the brutal nature of the events that have passed and the dark days looming on the horizon, to the very condition to which King David implores God to reduce the enemies of Israel – to search in vain to realise their aspirations in the gloom of devastation, degraded and dispossessed: a line in the song, ‘I have to trod despolate [desolate] places to achieve my achievety’ leads us to the Old Testament, to the text of Psalm 109 which, Wikipedia’s anonymous authors informs us, contains the most severe curses in the Bible:

1. Hold not thy peace, O God of my praise;
2. For the mouth of the wicked and the mouth of the deceitful are opened against me: they have spoken against me with a lying tongue.
3. They compass me about also with words of hatred; and fought against me without a cause.
4. For my love they are my adversary: but I give myself unto prayer.
5. And they have rewarded me evil for good, and hatred for my love.
6. Set thou a wicked man over him: and let Satan sit at his right hand.
7. When he shall be judged, let him be condemned: and let his prayer become sin.
8. Let his days be few; and let another take his office.
9. Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow.
10. Let his children be continually vagabonds, and beg: let them seek their bread also out of their desolate places.’ [4]

The release year on the British pressing of Give Another Israel A Try is 1981, a year or so after the Jamaican election. Violence and privation was on the verge a massive acceleration: armed violence, up until then an effect of inter political conflict, was about to enter a new phase driven by the incursion of the international cocaine trade and organised crime into the Jamaican landscape. The island was about to enter what Anthony Harriott called ‘the most rapid escalation in social violence since Independence.’ Between 1983 and 1997 there would be a 245% rise in the island’s murder rate. [5]

Let his children be continually vagabonds, and beg: let them seek their bread also out of their desolate places.’ As if to confer literal weight on Brown’s poetic inversion of King David’s prayer, things were about to become much harder for the most vulnerable sections of the poor. Over the next few years the value of the Jamaican dollar would plummet, food prices would soar, living standards, especially those of the working poor and the unemployed would hit a new low, with the effect that malnutrition among children was about to hit a steep upward curve. [6] A loan from the IMF with added austerity measures left the country with a huge debt and an interest rate of over 25% a year, guaranteeing that Jamaica’s fiscal and social crisis would deepen in the coming years. [7]


The Children of Israel in Jamaica: Part Two

Of course Barry Brown wasn’t alone in his use of biblical passages in his song writing. It was and remains standard practice in roots reggae. Thinking of the sheer size of a possible inventory of such songs was enough to make us also wonder what Jamaica’s other children of Israel made of these descendants of slaves for whom Africa in general and Ethiopia in particular was the promised land, their Israel.

European Jews had lived in Jamaica since 1530, when, so we read in Ariel Scheib’s text on Jamaica in the Virtual Jewish History Tour, the first shiploads of Jews arrived on the island’s sandy shores and made their way across the sun kissed beach and ventured inland.

They settled in Spanish Town, the only operating town at that time. Many of the Jews that arrived were Conversos, fleeing Europe to openly practice Judaism. After the British gained control of the island, Jews were permitted to worship in public. In 1660, Jews were granted citizenship by King Charles. Shortly thereafter, in 1662, Jews arrived from Brazil, England (1663), British Guiana (1664), and Surinam (1673). Jewish communities began establishing synagogues, schools, Jewish markets and shops. Most of these immigrants were Sephardim. […]

In 1671, the citizens of Jamaica petitioned the British officials to expel the Jewish community from the island, but Governor Lynch opposed this request and it was not enacted. In 1693, however, a special tax was imposed on the Jews. By 1700, Jews were considered second-class citizens because of their religion. In 1703, Jews were forbidden from using Christian servants. Finally, in 1783, Jews were prohibited from holding public office, they were required to work on the Sabbath, and again had to pay extra taxes.

Despite all of these restrictions, the Jewish community continued to grow and prosper. During the 17th and 18th centuries, Jews were very involved in sugar and vanilla industries of the island. As early as 1530, the Jews had introduced sugar cultivation to the island. They were also leaders in the island’s international trade and shipping companies.’ [8]

That last paragraph made us wonder whether (or in what way) Jamaica’s Jewish community’s involvement in the island’s sugar cultivation and manufacture extended into the slave trade. Here are a few paragraphs from Rabbi Marc Lee Raphael from his 1983 book Jews and Judaism in the United States – A Documentary History:

During the sixteenth century, exiled from their Spanish homeland and hard-pressed to escape the clutches of the Inquisition, Spanish and Portuguese Jews fled to the Netherlands; the Dutch enthusiastically welcomed these talented, skilled businessmen. Jews also took an active part in the Dutch colonial slave trade; indeed, the bylaws of the Recife and Mauricia congregations (1648) included an imposta (Jewish tax) of five soldos for each Negro slave a Brazilian Jew purchased from the West Indies Company. Slave auctions were postponed if they fell on a Jewish holiday. In Curacao in the seventeenth century, as well as in the British colonies of Barbados and Jamaica in the eighteenth century, Jewish merchants played a major role in the slave trade. In fact, in all the American colonies, whether French (Martinique), British, or Dutch, Jewish merchants frequently dominated.

This was no less true on the North American mainland, where during the eighteenth century Jews participated in the ‘triangular trade’ that brought slaves from Africa to the West Indies and there exchanged them for molasses, which in turn was taken to New England and converted into rum for sale in Africa. Isaac Da Costa of Charleston in the 1750s, David Franks of Philadelphia in the 1760s, and Aaron Lopez of Newport in the late 1760s and early 1770s dominated Jewish slave trading on the American continent.

While thriving in Amsterdam – where they became the hub of a unique urban Jewish universe and attained status that anticipated Jewish emancipation in the West by over a century-they began in the 1500s and 1600s to establish themselves in the Dutch and English colonies in the New World. These included Curacao, Surinam, Recife, and New Amsterdam (Dutch) as well as Barbados, Jamaica, Newport, and Savannah (English). In these European outposts the Jews, with their years of mercantile experience and networks of friends and family providing market reports of great use, played a significant role in the merchant capitalism, commercial revolution, and territorial expansion that developed the New World and established the colonial economies. The Jewish-Caribbean nexus provided Jews with the opportunity to claim a disproportionate influence in seventeenth and eighteenth century New World commerce, and enabled West Indian Jewry-far outnumbering its coreligionists further north-to enjoy a centrality which North American Jewry would not achieve for a long time to come.’ [9]

On Another Israel: a two party state


We’re not sure when exactly he was writing, but Ariel Scheib numbered the recent (circa 2010) population of Jews living in Jamaica at around two hundred, based mostly around Kingston. We wonder whether any of them frequented the numerous open-air sound system sessions popular on the island in the early 1980s and what they would have made of Give Another Israel A Try, considering what had recently taken place in Israel. This is an extract from Arab Media Watch’s Chronology of Israeli attacks, raids & invasions of Lebanon 1980s-1990s:

28 May 1980: Israel began an unprovoked bombing campaign of southern Lebanon, hitting PLO bases.

19 July 1981: Israel bombed areas of Beirut, killing 100 people, 30 of them militants. Over 600 people were injured. PLO retaliation led to further Israeli attacks, forcing once more the flight of people from southern Lebanon.

Operation Peace for Galilee. On 31 June 1981, under Menachem Begin’s government, Ariel Sharon joins the Israeli cabinet as defence minister. His main aim is the full-scale invasion of Lebanon: ‘Quiet on the West Bank requires the destruction of the PLO in Lebanon.’ Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir says: ‘The defence of the West Bank starts in West Beirut.’’ [10]

This is from Noam Chomsky:

ln July 1981, Israel once again violated a cease-fire, attacking civilian targets in Lebanon. Palestinian retaliation elicited heavy Israeli bombing. Some 450 Arabs — nearly all Lebanese civilians — were reported killed, along with six Jews.

From these events, all that remains in historical memory in the US is the scene of Jewish civilians huddling in bomb shelters under attack from PLO terrorists and their Katyushas.

The US mediated a cease-fire, ‘and after mid-1981 the Lebanese-Israeli border was quiet,’ William Quandt — a well-known Middle East expert and NSC staffer during the Nixon and Carter administrations — writes in his history of the ‘peace process.’ Quandt’s version is the standard one. The ‘border was quiet’ in the sense that the PLO adhered to the cease-fire rigorously while Israel continued its violations: bombing and killing civilians, sinking fishing boats, violating Lebanese air space thousands of times, and carrying out other provocations designed to elicit some PLO reaction that could be used as a pretext for the planned invasion. The border was ‘quiet’ because the cross border terror was all Israeli, and only Arabs were being killed.’ [11]

And here is some background information, an outline of an attempt at another Israel, a two party state, again by Chomsky, but this time via journalist David Green writing for Counterpunch.com:

The Palestinian Question:

Palestinian refugees have resided in Lebanon since the 1948 war. After the 1967 war, Israel continued bombing refugee camps in southern Lebanon. Ron David (Arabs and Israel for Beginners) quotes London Guardian correspondent Irene Beeson (writing in 1978) that ‘150 or more towns and villages in South Lebanon . . . have been repeatedly savaged by the Israeli armed forces since 1968.’ In 1970, PLO leadership was driven from Jordan to Lebanon. After the 1973 war, Yasser Arafat began to signal that he would accept a two-state solution to the Palestinian problem, building on an interpretation of UN resolution 242 that called for the formation of a Palestinian state comprising the West Bank and Gaza. According to Noam Chomsky (Middle East Illusions):

‘The issue reached the UN Security Council in January 1976, with a resolution incorporating the language of UN 242 but abandoning its rejectionism, now calling for a Palestinian state alongside Israel. The resolution was supported by virtually the entire world, including the major Arab states, the PLO, Europe, the non-aligned countries, and the Soviet Union, which was in the mainstream of international diplomacy throughout.’

‘Israel refused to attend the UN session. Instead, it bombed Lebanon once again, killing more than 50 villagers in what it called a ‘preventive’ strike, presumably retaliation against U.N. diplomacy . . . The United States vetoed the resolution, as it did again in 1980.’’ [12]

Listening to Barry Brown. Part One: The World News Network


One of the many places on the internet where you can listen to the full length, six minute version of Give Another Israel A Try, complete with its dub by mixing engineer and dub maestro Overton ‘Scientist’ Brown, is on the news website worldnewsnetwork.com. The song is on a list of sixteen audio and video clips, sourced from YouTube, which feature the name Brown in relation to Israel. The list includes Tony Benn on Gordon Brown in Israel, The Stranglers – Golden Brown (Live in Israel), and The Book Report – You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown (this being The Book Report – (Peter Rabbit) from You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown performed by the West Jordan High School Spot Light Players). Barry Brown – Give Another Israel A Try is the third item. The page also features the following news fragment:

U.S Senator Brown of Massachusetts: Israel no liability to U.S;
The Guardian 07 06 2010:

BOSTON (AP) — U.S. Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts says Americans should stand together in ‘unwavering commitment’ to Israel in the wake of a deadly commando raid on ships taking aid to the Gaza Strip. The Republican Brown was the keynote speaker Sunday night at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee leadership dinner in Boston. He says he was disappointed that so many condemned Israel […]’ [13]

Two days earlier we bought the Saturday edition of the Guardian, whose headline, Gaza activists shot in head at close range, shed new light on the events of the ‘deadly commando raid’. The Guardian had an exclusive: Autopsies reveal total of thirty bullets in bodies of nine protesters. Here is an extract of the report, by Robert Booth:

Israel was last night under pressure to allow an independent inquiry into its assaults on the Gaza aid flotilla after autopsy results on the bodies of those killed, obtained by the Guardian, revealed they were peppered with 9mm bullets, many fired at close range.

Nine Turkish men on board the Navi Marmara were shot a total of 30 times and five were killed with gunshot wounds to the head, according to the vice-chairman of the Turkish council of forensic medicine, which carried out the autopsies for the Turkish ministry of justice yesterday.
The results revealed that a 60-year-old man, Ibrahim Bilgen, was shot four times in the temple, chest, hip and back. A 19-year-old, named as Fulkan Dogan, who also has US citizenship, was shot five times from less that 45cm, in the face, in the back of the head, twice in the leg and once in the back. Two other men were shot four times, and five of the victims were shot either in the back of the head or in the back, said Yalcin Buyuk, vice-chairman of the council of forensic medicine.

The findings emerged as more survivors gave their accounts of the raids. Ismail Patel, the chairman of Leicester-based pro-Palestinian group Friends of al-Aqsa, who returned to Britain today, told how he witnessed some of the fatal shootings and claimed that Israel had operated a ‘shoot to kill policy’.

He calculated that during the bloodiest part of the assault, Israeli commandos shot one person every minute. One man was fatally shot in the back of the head just two feet in front him and another was shot once between the eyes. He added that as well as the fatally wounded, 48 others were suffering from gunshot wounds and six activists remained missing, suggesting the death toll may increase.

The new information about the manner and intensity of the killings undermines Israel’s insistence that its soldiers opened fire only in self defence and in response to attacks by the activists.

‘Given the very disturbing evidence which contradicts the line from the Israeli media and suggests that Israelis have been very selective in the way they have addressed this, there is now an overwhelming need for an international inquiry,’ said Andrew Slaughter MP, a member of the all party group on Britain and Palestine.’ [14]

The following day The Guardian reported that Israel had rejected a UN proposal for a multi national inquiry into the flotilla attack. On June 7 the newspaper reported that Israel would hold its own inquiry into the events. It also carried the story of Senator Brown’s call for ‘unwavering commitment’ to Israel in its complete form:
‘[Brown] says he was disappointed that so many condemned Israel after the raid without considering Israel is at war with Gaza. He says Israel is one of the United States’ greatest allies against jihad and says Israel is not a liability to America.

Israel raided an aid flotilla bound for the Gaza Strip last week. Eight Turks and an American were killed in the fighting.

President Barack Obama has called the raid ‘tragic’ but stopped short of condemning the actions of Israeli forces.’ [15]


Listening to Barry Brown. Part Two: ‘If you are a wicked man’

I’m a sufferer
Down in the ghetto

I live so long down in the ghetto

I know right from wrong
But every day Babylon
A fight against I man

Moving On To The Promised Land – Barry Brown, 1980 [16]

The presence of the word ‘Israel’ in Barry Brown’s body of work is enough to suggest that when he was singing about Israel and its dispossessed children he was referring to the children of the Israel of Jewish Zionism or of the State of Israel. Nonetheless, he sings to give voice – and image – to those at the bottom of Jamaican society.

In Peace and Love (c.1981) [17], his Rastafarian vision of civil society is a socially inclusive riposte to the island’s ongoing political violence, and to the racial discrimination that blighted England during the time of his visit to London:

How good and pleasant it is for us
To live in peace and love

Peace and love and unity

In all community


If you black and white
Don’t you fuss or fight
Jah Jah made the day and the night
So let us all unite

In Rasta: Man/Woman of Integrity (1982) [18] it is a vision governed by a concern with freedom of movement in public space:

I like to see
People can walk in the park late at night
Have nothing to worry

Have nothing to worry about in this time

In his music the promised land is a physical space founded on Biblical exegesis. It’s also an ethical space. In his music, its hymnody and protest, ethical conduct is the condition of entry into the Promised Land;

If you are a wicked man you cannot enter the kingdom of Zion, oh no

If you are an evil woman you cannot enter the Promised Land of Ethiopia, oh no [19]

Thinking about the possibilities of listening to Barry Brown’s music as if it were concerned with the State of Israel, thinking about relocating the location of his work in this Israel which is other than his, which seems to be the way of listening to and identifying with the song suggested by worldnewsnetwork.com’s re-contextualising of Give Another Israel A Try in a chain of Israeli related excerpts, we imagine that if you were – or indeed are – in Israel, and were one of the three thousand five hundred and seventy four people who listened to Give Another Israel A Try on YouTube (as posted by one Juweeltje) or indeed worldnewsnetwork.com, you might well have been inclined to consider, if only fleetingly, the application of Brown’s supplication to the ongoing crisis of the State of Israel.

Certainly, the quest for another Israel [a quest for Palestine], an alternative based on the end of the current state of governance, is at the heart of Jewish and Palestinian dissent. Here, for example, is an extract from The Future of Palestine – Righteous Jews vs. the New Afrikaners,an address given by Professor John J. Mearsheimer at the Palestine Centre /The Jerusalem Fund on April 29, 2010. Professor Mearsheimer is R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science and the co-director of the Programme on International Security Policy at the University of Chicago [20]:

There are three possible alternatives to a two-state solution, all of which involve creating a Greater Israel – an Israel that effectively controls the West Bank and Gaza. In the first scenario, Greater Israel would become a democratic bi-national state in which Palestinians and Jews enjoy equal political rights. This solution has been suggested by a handful of Jews and a growing number of Palestinians. However, it would mean abandoning the original Zionist vision of a Jewish state, since the Palestinians would eventually outnumber the Jews in Greater Israel.

Second, Israel could expel most of the Palestinians from Greater Israel, thereby preserving its Jewish character through an overt act of ethnic cleansing. This is what happened in 1948 when the Zionists drove roughly 700,000 Palestinians out of the territory that became the new state of Israel, and then prevented them from returning to their homes. Following the Six Day War in 1967, Israel expelled between 100,000 and 260,000 Palestinians from the newly conquered West Bank and drove 80,000 Syrians from the Golan Heights. The scale of the expulsion, however, would have to be even greater this time, because there are about 5.5 million Palestinians living between the Jordan and the Mediterranean.

The final alternative to a two-state solution is some form of apartheid, whereby Israel increases its control over the Occupied Territories, but allows the Palestinians to exercise limited autonomy in a set of disconnected and economically crippled enclaves.

The most likely outcome in the absence of a two-state solution is that Greater Israel will become a full-fledged apartheid state. As anyone who has spent time in the Occupied Territories knows, it is already an incipient apartheid state with separate laws, separate roads, and separate housing for Israelis and Palestinians, who are essentially confined to impoverished enclaves that they can leave and enter only with great difficulty.

Israelis and their American supporters invariably bristle at the comparison to white rule in South Africa, but that is their future if they create a Greater Israel while denying full political rights to an Arab population that will soon outnumber the Jewish population in the entirety of the land. Indeed, two former Israeli prime ministers have made this very point. Ehud Olmert, who was Netanyahu’s predecessor, said in late November 2007 that if ‘the two-state solution collapses,’ Israel will ‘face a South-African-style struggle.’ He went so far as to argue that, ‘as soon as that happens, the state of Israel is finished.’


In the long run […] Israel will not be able to maintain itself as an apartheid state. Like racist South Africa, it will eventually evolve into a democratic bi-national state whose politics will be dominated by the more numerous Palestinians. Of course, this means that Israel faces a bleak future as a Jewish state. Let me explain why. For starters, the discrimination and repression that is the essence of apartheid will be increasingly visible to people all around the world.’ [21]


For ‘another Israel ’: the Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanctions movement.

The idea of ‘another Israel’ informs the activism of Israelis and Palestinians involved in the Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanctions movement [BDS]. Here is an extract from an interview with one of the movement’s activists, Omar Barghouti, which describes the movement’s aims and objectives. The interview was conducted by Justin Podur for Z Net in April 2009.

Justin Podur: Perhaps we should start with an outline of the call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS), and the demands of the call.

Omar Barghouti: The BDS call is based on an analysis that the oppression of Palestinians has three basic forms. First, the occupation and colonisation of those lands occupied since 1967. Second, the denial of the right of return to Palestinian refugees forcibly displaced in 1948 and since. Third, the system of racial discrimination against the indigenous Palestinian citizens of Israel. The demand is to end these injustices: to end the occupation of the lands occupied in 1967, to allow the right of return to Palestinian refugees, and to end the apartheid system against Palestinian citizens of Israel. […] The BDS calls for institutional boycotts, divestment, and sanctions until Israel fully complies with international law and human rights principles.

An important part of the BDS call is that it adopts a rights-based, not a solutions-based approach. It does not endorse a one-state or two-state solution, only the accommodation of basic rights, without which there will never be a just and sustainable peace. […] Another aspect is that the BDS call appeals explicitly to conscientious Israelis to join us in the struggle to end injustice. It is non-violent, but it has the support, at least on paper, of the entire political spectrum of Palestinian parties.’ [22]

Barghouti was, Podur writes, a headline speaker during Israeli Apartheid Week in 2009. Barghouti’s advocacy may cost him: we recently came across an online petition seeking his dismissal from Tel Aviv University where, the petition claims, he was (is?) studying ethics.

Attempts by the Israeli government at silencing dissenting voices have increased in recent years. In spite of this the BDS movement appears to be gathering momentum. You can read a detailed timeline of events and activities of the movement in Milestones in the history of the Israeli BDS movement – a brief chronology, by Rachel Giora of the U.S Campaign for the Academic& Cultural Boycott of Israel, which can be accessed at www.israeli-occupation.org. To give you a sense of the kind of work the movement is doing, here are two examples drawn from Giora’s chronology. The first is the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions:

In January, 2005, the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) issued a statement supporting sanctions against Israel.

‘Since sanctions are a powerful, non-violent, popular means of resisting the Occupation, a campaign of sanctions seems to us the next logical step in international efforts to end the Occupation. While it will develop over time, ICAHD supports the following elements at this time:

‘Sales or transfer of arms to Israel conditional upon their use in ways that do not perpetuate the Occupation or violate human rights and international humanitarian law, violations that would end if governments enforced existing laws and regulations regarding the use of weapons in contravention of human rights;

‘Trade sanctions on Israel due to its violation of the ‘Association Agreements’ it has signed with the European Union that prohibit the sale of settlement products under the ‘Made in Israel’ label, as well as for violations of their human rights provisions;

‘Divestment from companies that profit from involvement in the Occupation. In this vein ICAHD supports initiatives like that of the Presbyterian Church of the US which targets companies contributing materially to the Occupation and certainly the campaign against Caterpillar whose bulldozers demolish thousands of Palestinian homes;

‘Boycott of settlement products and of companies that provide housing to the settlements or which play a major role in perpetuating the Occupation; and holding individuals, be they policy-makers, military personnel carrying out orders or others, personally accountable for human rights violations, including trial before international courts and bans on travel to other countries.

‘ICAHD calls on the international community – governments, trade unions, university communities, faith-based organisations as well as the broad civil society – to do all that is possible to hold Israel accountable for its Occupation policies and actions, thereby hastening the end of this tragedy. While we also call on the Palestinian Authority to adhere to human rights conventions, our support for selective sanctions against Israel’s Occupation policies focuses properly on Israel which alone has the power to end the Occupation and is alone the violator of international law regarding the responsibilities of an Occupying Power’.

The second example is an organisation called The Coalition of Women for Peace, with reference to their website, whoprofits.org:

In November 2009, The Coalition of Women for Peace passed a motion to join the BDS movement in Israel. It’s the first such endorsement by a major Israeli organisation, representing thousands of activists. This initiative has been preceded by a three year long project it had run (initiated in November 2006), titled Who Profits: Exposing the Israeli Occupation Industry, coordinated by Dr. Dalit Baum, Merav Amir and other members of the Coalition. Who Profits aims to expose Israeli and international corporations which are involved in the construction of Israeli colonies and infrastructure in the occupied territories, in the settlements’ economy, in building walls and checkpoints, and in the supply of specific equipment used in the control and repression of the civilian population under occupation.

The question Who Profits investigates is not the traditional complaint about the costs incurred by the occupation but the extent to which those involved in it benefit: Who profits from Control of Population, Economic Exploitation, and The Settlement Industry. The Who Profits data base has become a mainstay of the international BDS movement, providing much of the research and information that is vital for worldwide economic activism against companies and corporations benefiting directly from Israel’s occupation. [23].



[1] Big Big Pollution. Written and performed by Barry Brown, 1979. From the album Barry Brown @ King Tubby’s Studio, Attack Records UK 2007 AttackLP033

[2] Politician. Written and performed by Barry Brown, Jackpot 7’’ single, Jamaica c1980

[3] Lead Us Jah Jah. Written and performed by Barry Brown, 1980. From the album Barry Brown @ King Tubby’s Studio, Attack Records UK 2007 AttackLP033

[4] The Book of Psalms, Holy Bible, King James Version, Collins, 1957

[5] Social Identities and the Escalation of Homicidal Violence in Jamaica, by Anthony Harriott, Department of Government, UWI. Mona. Centre for Hemispheric Defence Studies. Research and Education in Defence and Security Studies (REDES 2002) August 7-10, 2002 in Brasilia, Brazil

[6] ‘Determinants of childhood malnutrition in Jamaica’, by Bendley Melville, Maureen Williams, Valerie Francis, Owen Lawrence, and Lee Collins, The United Nations University Press Food and Nutrition Bulletin Volume 10, Number 1, March 1988, United Nations University, Tokyo, Japan. http://www.unu.edu/unupress/food/8F101e/8F101E08.htm

[7] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jamaica

[8] The Virtual Jewish History Tour – Jamaica, by Ariel Scheib, Jewish Virtual Library – A Division of The American-Israeli Cooperation Enterprise

[9] Jews and Judaism in the United States – A Documentary History, by Rabbi Marc Lee Raphael, published by Behrman House, 1983

[10] ‘Chronology of Israeli attacks, raids & invasions of Lebanon 1980s-1990s’. Arab Media Watch 13 November 2006

[11] ‘Limited War’ in Lebanon, by Noam Chomsky, Z Magazine September, 1993

[12] ‘Historical Roots and Patterns of Conflict. The US, Israel and Lebanon’, by David Green, Counterpunch, October 7 / 8, 2006

[13] http://article.wn.com/view/2010/06/07/US_Sen_Brown_of_Mass_Israel_no_liability_to_US_p/

[14] ‘Gaza activists shot in head at close range’, by Robert Booth, the Guardian, June 4, 2010

[15] ‘US Sen. Brown of Mass.: Israel no liability to US’, by Associated Press, the Guardian, June 7, 2010

[16] Moving On To The Promised Land. Written and performed by Barry Brown.
From the LP Cool Pon Your Corner Trojan UK 1980 TRLS 191

[17] Peace And Love. Written and performed by Barry Brown, Midnight Rock 7’’ single, Jamaica c1981

[18] Rasta: Man/Woman of Dignity. Written and performed by Barry Brown, Mandingo 7’’ single, Jamaica 1982

[19] Fittest Of The Fittest, written and performed by Barry Brown.
From the album Barry Brown @ King Tubby’s Studio, Attack Records UK 2007 AttackLP033

[20] http://mearsheimer.uchicago.edu/biography.html

[21] ‘The Future of Palestine – Righteous Jews vs. the New Afrikaners’, by John J. Mearsheimer, Palestine Centre/The Jerusalem Fund – 29 April 2010
Edited Transcript of Remarks by Professor John J. Mearsheimer. Transcript 327 (29 April 2010) Sourced from

[22] Omar Barghouti: The South Africa Moment in Palestine. Justin Podur interviews Omar Barghouti, Z Net – 5 Apr 2009

Sourced from the Israel Occupation Archive.

[23] Milestones in the history of the Israeli BDS movement – a brief chronology, by Rachel Giora



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