Focus: Spanish NGOs Join Palestinians and AIC in Boycott conference
On October 29-30, 2008, The Bilboa Initiative – a “civil society assembly” organized by the Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO), Ittijah, the Alternative Information Center (AIC), and MEWANDO (supported by the Basque government) – held a conference in Spain to discuss “effective coordination tool[s] for practical campaigning in solidarity for Palestine and for a just peace. ” Speakers included representatives from: the Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Coalition (PGAAWC), Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott to Israel (PACBI), Zochrot, AIC, BADIL, Addameer, and NIF–funded Ahali Center for Community Development (combined grants of $280,000 in 2006-7). The agenda included implementing boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaigns; and lectures on “Israel: Between colonialism and institutionalized racism,” and the “right of return. “
MEWANDO (Middle East Without Wars and Oppression Network) is a coalition of Spanish NGOs, which recognizes “the return of all [Palestinian] refugees” and “the liberation of all prisoners. ” It accuses Israel of a “Zionist campaign of ethnic cleansing in Palestine [which] has evolved and perfected itself without interruption since 1948” and promotes the “boycott of the Israeli apartheid state. ” MEWANDO is supported by the Department of Housing and Social Affairs of the Basque Government.