Why boycott Israel

I am increasingly asked why people want to boycott Israel.

Ignoring outright anti-semites, what makes somebody deliberately want to isolate the sole proclaimed democracy in the Middle East? So I invite you to take a few minutes and join me in analysing the background and to come up with a solid intellectual argument.

Background:

Briefly, Arab countries have been demanding a boycott of Israel, even prior to its creation in 1948, at least 19 years before the issue of the West Bank cropped up. And this demand includes a wish to force non-Arab countries to comply with sanctions against Israel.

Skipping forward to the current decade, left-wing activists have taken the lead in calling for a boycott, primarily in Britain.

1)      Trades Unions have repeatedly called for universities not to employ Israeli academics, specifically if they do not comply with a set political point of view.

2)      NGOs have encouraged the British government to demand from retailers that all goods manufactured in Palestinian territories are clearly labeled, way beyond what the EU has agreed with Israel. (The government has reverted to the spin of saying it is responding to consumer pressure, although that abstract has never been proven).

3)      The influential Cooperative Movement in the UK, which sponsors several MPs, is under increasing pressure to boycott Israeli goods.

4)      Where the UK leads, Canada follows. There is a growing movement to launch an academic boycott and stop the import of Israeli wines.

5)      A few Australian professors have also felt a need to climb on to the bandwagon.

6)      In America, Motorola (Israel) sales have been plagued by Palestinian campaigners.

7)      You can search utube for films of how campaigners violently tear Israeli goods of the shelves of French supermarkets or terrorise vendors of Israeli products in UK shopping malls.

8)      The Dutch Labour Party is demanding that Israel talks to Hamas or face sanctions.

So Why Boycott:

Let’s look at 4 possible reasons.

1)      To promote human rights.

Well in that case, there would be calls to boycott 50% of the countries in the world, yes? Type the word “boycott” into google. Around 95 out of the first 100 entries refer to Israel – note “Israel” and not just a call to boycott goods made in the Palestinian territories alone.

It can be assumed that most of these activists are content to accept the repression in Zimbabwe, the slaughter of Christians in Sudan, the racism of Venezuela, or even the totalitarianism of several Islamic regimes including Hamas. For example, the Dutch Labour Party has made no equivalent demand on any Arab party in the conflict.

2)      To help Palestinians.

Israel’s trade union organization, the Histadrut, has a long and strong tradition of working with minority sectors, including Palestinians. They have estimated that a boycott of Israeli products manufactured in Palestinian territories will immediately affect approx 25,000 Palestinian workers.

·         This figure does not include dependants and family member, ensuring that the figure rises towards 150,000.

·         Behind the stat is the fact that these wages are relatively high for the Palestinian sector.

·         Threatened economic instability will threaten new investment.

·         And a boycott of Israel is likely to hit at those sectors that employ tens of thousands of Palestinians working within the pre-1967 armistice agreements.

 

3)      To stop Israel’s violence towards the Palestinians.

This is certainly a noble objective. However, the narrative ignores that fact that most of Israel’s policy in Gaza or elsewhere is based on response. For example, the military action in Gaza in January 09 followed a refusal by Hamas to renew a ceasefire and after 8,000 rockets had landed in Israel over 8 years.

Sanction supporters might have created some credence if they issued a similar demand to boycott Fatah, Hamas and Hizbollah for their violence against Israeli and local civilians. But that balance is consistently lacking in all the arguments.

4)      To help peace

Again highly praiseworthy: But we know that trade between nations and peoples helps to foster understanding and progress. A boycott seals off those very opportunities for all sides.

Boycott’s Raison d’Etre:

So, once you tear away the spin of all these excuses, what are you left with? I looked at the website of Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC). The senior team reads like a “who’s who” of participants of trendy causes since the early 1960s. With a couple of exceptions, I would not associate any of them with being anti-semitic. There are even some non-practicising Jews.

BUT, if you compare the language of the website, it reads strikingly similar to that of the Arab League of the 1940s. Then, these people called for: –

 “Jewish products and manufactured goods shall be considered undesirable..” thus declared the Arab League Council on December 2, 1945. All Arab “institutions, organizations, merchants, commission agents and individuals” were called upon “to refuse to deal in, distribute, or consume Zionist products or manufactured goods.”

 

And the difference with today’s cries against Israel? Very little, as PSC site describes. It is the same venomous hatred as 60+ years ago, except that the spin today is more subtle and comes from politically acceptable Western celebs.

History will judge any future boycott as a triumph of evil; a deliberately racist tool, based on a combination of misinformation, phobias and enmity.

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One Comment on “Why boycott Israel”

  1. Michael Horesh Says:

    And if you had wanted to boycott Israel, see what technlogies would not be available to you today.


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