Boycotting Israel – why?

The following article was first published in Hebrew on 23.9.09. He was written by Joshua Sobol, one of Israel’s most popular playrights and long associated with left-wing issues.

The British trade unions decided last week to call for a boycott of Israeli goods produced beyond the Green Line.  They added, in the same decision, a call for a general boycott on the transportation and sale of Israeli products in Britain.  Likewise, they are calling to freeze contacts regarding the upgrading of Israel’s relations with the European Union until the Palestinians receive justice.

 

There is a reasonable chance that the decision to impose a boycott on Israel by British unions will achieve two results.  On the one hand, it will strengthen the Israeli Right, because the boycott will undoubtedly be perceived by the majority of Israelis as an expression of hate towards Israel by the European Left.  Thus, this pathetic boycott will award another merciful blow to what remains of the Israeli Left which, beaten and wounded, has been crawling towards the right since the Al-Aqsa intifada (which, actually, is the second Naqba that the Palestinians have brought upon themselves).

Additionally, this boycott will spur and develop the special Israeli talent to make the most out of pressured situations.  It already happened in the past when [French] President de Gaulle imposed a total embargo of weapons shipments to Israel as punishment for embarking on the Six Day War against his advice.  This same French embargo instigated the awesome development of Israel’s military and air force industries.  If Israel became a major power in the production of UAVs, anti-missile missiles and a wide ranging arsenal of the most sophisticated weapons of war, indeed it is thanks to the boycott which de Gaulle imposed on us.

Another fact, which until now has perhaps not been given sufficient exposure, is in connection to the contribution of the Arab boycott to the development of the Israel pharmaceutical industry.  I heard from a man who headed one of the flourishing medical industries, that after European pharmaceutical corporations capitulated to the Arab boycott in the first years after the establishment of Israel, the Israeli pharmaceutical industry had no alternative other than to expediently fill the shortage of medicines that was created as a result of the boycott.

Thus, the Arab League contributed to the establishment of Teva Pharmaceuticals, and it turned into a flourishing international giant, which competes globally and, with great success, crushes the same corporations that capitulated 50 years ago to the Arab boycott.

Jews have always been the target of boycotts, imposed on them from time to time by the hateful and the mighty.  It is no wonder, indeed, that we have learned how best to profit from malicious boycotts that have been imposed on us.  It is possible to say that an anti-Jewish boycott is Jewish oxygen.  Even the relationship between the Israeli people and their God is a relationship of uncountable shunnings and bans.

The bans which God imposed upon his people gave birth to two Jewish reactions to this divine ban: Orthodox Jewry repeatedly knocks every day of the year, but especially during the Days of Awe, on the gates of heaven requesting that the divine ban be repealed; whereas atheistic Jewry departed, sighing, from God and his bans, and decided to make the best possible advantage of this essential disadvantage.  From this position was born political Zionism.

Perhaps an intelligent Englishman will be found who, armed with these facts, will enlighten the heads of the British trade unions who rushed with elation in their hearts and pen in hand to sign this new boycott of theirs; perhaps someone will be found who will enlighten them as to the extent of the responsibility which they share for participating in the foiling of Obama’s initiative.  Because they, with their theatrical gesture, have succeeded once again to imbue the Palestinian leadership with the delusion that they have someone to count on in perfidious Albion, and as a result the Palestinians will harden their terms and torpedo the resumption of talks, to the delight of the Israeli Right, which can once again claim that there is no one to talk to.

Once again, the miserable Palestinians are paying the price for the empty gestures of the irresponsible European Left, which derives satisfaction from the very gestures it makes.

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