16 September 2015

#46 Friends Let Friends Break the Law

Almost since its inception and, yes, following wars it did not start but were foisted upon it by neighbouring states, Israel has occupied territories that were designated for the creation of a Palestinian state. It certainly isn’t the fighting back that I would object to, but various strategies and tactics used in the “management” of the occupied territories effectively under its control would make the Israeli state a war criminal in a world without Security Council vetoes.

Nobody wants the Palestinian resistance to be violent. What do you do when faced with things like collective punishment (destroy the homes of families of suspected terrorists, no matter who is living there), authorize and subsidize the building of illegal settlements on occupied lands, carve up the territory into small pieces, with secure highways for your illegal settlers and endless checkpoints for the occupied population and a wall built on their land to keep them out of yours. And that’s a short list that could expand to itemize many other things that Israel should not be doing.

So short of armed struggle, what does one do? There is growing support of the BDS (boycott, divest, sanctions) movement, a peaceful way to tell the occupying power that it is doing wrong. Entirely peaceful, and easy enough to end if and when the harm ends. Western European countries have insisted that goods manufactured in the illegal settlements on the West Bank be identified distinctly from products of Israel. Students are demanding that their universities divest themselves of holdings in companies that profit from the occupation. Don’t agree, don’t boycott, right?

Not so fast. Our outgoing government has decided that the BDS movement is hate speech and ought to be prosecuted as such. But I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that they feel threatened by a peaceful response to anything, right?

Further reading here

Bombs we understand
But combatting injustice
by boycott? Hate speech!

1 comment:

bweston said...

Excellent post. I've a minor quibble with, "wars it did not start but were foisted upon it by neighbouring states". Not so. A careful reading of the history suggests it is mere mythic propaganda, I found.
For example, the war in '67, most serious observers now agree, was not only started by Israel but this was a calculated move based on its military advantage, and not to preempt an anticipated attack. The CIA and White House knew: "[T]he Israelis — contrary to their claims — had fired first . . . President Johnson was gratified that because of CIA analyses and Helms's tip, he could inform congressional leaders later in the day that he had been expecting Israel's move." (1)
Yitzhak Rabin, before he became PM, told Le Monde the year after the ’67 war, “I do not think Nasser wanted war. The two divisions which he sent to the Sinai, on May 14, would not have been sufficient to start an offensive against Israel. He knew it and we knew it.”
Such aggression was the norm, not an exception to the rule. Similarly, Israeli PM Menachem Begin allowed in 1982 that (after '47-'49's founding Nakba ethnic cleansing & war of independence), '73's was the sole war not chosen by Israel. “Our other wars were not without an alternative. In November 1956 we had a choice. The [stated] reason for going to war then was the need to destroy the fedayeen, who did not represent a danger to the existence of the state . . . [but actually] We are going to meet the enemy before it absorbs the Soviet weapons which began to flow to it from Czechoslovakia in 1955. I said: 'We shall stand together, with no reservations. This is a holy war.'" (2)