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Monday December 03, 2012 10:39 by Justin Morahan
Calls for Boycott Divestment Sanctions
In a speech delivered in Belfast on 24 October 2012, Mairead Maguire declared that Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's Premier, is a war criminal. She also criticised Obama's stance on Israel, and the media's lies; and she called for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel
The following is the full text of the speech:
Netanyahu is a War Criminal says Nobel Peace Laureate
In a speech delivered in Belfast on 24 October 2012, Mairead Maguire declared that Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's Premier, is a war criminal.
"Hello Everybody, I would like to thank the Irish congress of Trade Unions and all the other organisations for inviting me to speak today and for organising this rally and I would like to thank each and every one of you for coming along today. We heard that the ceasefire has been declared but we know that this is not the end of the siege of Gaza or the occupation of the people of Palestine. We witnessed yet again on our television sets this week inhumanity that we cannot believe is allowed to exist. It was called 'self-defence'. But how can you call self-defence the massacre of women and children in Gaza and the destruction of their infrastructure, this is a war, these are crimes against humanity, we declare that Netanyahu is a war criminal and we can do something about this.
We can ensure that when any of the Israeli leaderships such as, Perez, Netanyahu and their military war executive, try to leave their country and come to any civilized country, we as the people will issue our own indictments of war crimes. We as the people have to stand up for human rights, for international law, for democracy, for a future for our world, because if we don't do this, our world will plunge into war and to destruction and to barbarity and we will not have such a thing as a civil or political or religious liberty or right. We elect politicians to serve the people, to stand up for our right to food, education, safety and security.
Obama's dismal failure
Our politicians are failing us dismally; we have no real political leadership with any moral courage in our world today. We supported Obama when he came in and said 'there is a new way'. President Obama stood in Burma this week and he said: ' There is no excuse for violence against innocent people', what was his message about the violence against the people of Gaza? What has his message been about the violence, occupation,destruction, persecution, apartheid regime against the Palestinian people for the last 60 years? His message was (and the minutes are available from the White house two weeks ago) ' We will uphold Israel’s right to self-defence and anybody who questions that, we will not accept'.
What kind of political leadership is that to our people in the world today? The biggest block to real change is not Israel but the United States of America continually vetoing and supporting the murder of children in Gaza and war against civilians.
What Israel is about
We have to know what Israel is about. Jimmy Carter gave an interview last week, and in this interview Jimmy Carter said the policy of the Israeli government is to confiscate Palestinian land. The policy of the Israeli government is to take more and more Palestinian land, they want a greater Israel and not only do they want a greater Israel, they want the 20% of the Arab people who live within Israel proper to acknowledge Israel as a 'Jewish state'. They want a Jewish state for a Jewish people. When do they think we're living? Do they think we're living in the dark ages? Every person has a right to their statehood. Every person has a right to their freedom, a right to dignity. But it's about the land stupid, it's about the land as Bill Clinton would say, it's about the territory stupid. Let's wake up, this is not about Hamas, this is not about the fact that Israel has no partner for peace. I sat with Yasser Arafat in his little compound before he was killed and he cried out for peace. I sat in Gaza with Hamas in 2008 and they cried out for peace. What was Israel's answer? Israel's answer was war against them, and not only dropping one or two bombs but the policy of the Israeli government, and look it up, is that when they go to war, they do the utmost damage. They don't kill one or two, they destroy a people.
There's a new concept available now, it's called 'Sociocide', you know our Philosophers and our Professors, too many of them who sit behind university walls, if it’s not going out to new links with other universities so they can get more money for military experiments. Sociocide means another country destroys a people’s whole ability to live - and this is what’s happening in Gaza. The Gazan people: their identities are being destroyed as Palestinians, their country is being destroyed as Palestine, their children are being killed, their spirit is being dampened, they're being demonised by the Israelis as if they were nothing. Who are the Palestinians? The Israelis created another lie in 1948 when they said they went to 'a land without people', they went to a land that was full of the very best of people, good people, kind people, people who opened their hearts to them coming in, in 1948, people who gave them homes and supported them and what did the Israelis do? What did the Zionists do? In 1948, they cleared over 400 Palestinian villages, putting the people out of their homes. The Palestinians had to flee their land, this was 'The Nakba' of the Palestinian people. It was genocide as important as the genocide of the Holocaust. I've been to Auschwitz, I am not an Anti-Semite. I've been to Auschwitz, I've seen the suffering and in Auschwitz I swore the next time I saw people suffering like this I would not remain silent and we must not remain silent.
We must stand up against Israeli aggression
It is a myth that The Nakba and the ethnic cleansing that went on in 1948 by the Israeli's is over. It's happening today as we stand. The Israelis are clearing villages in the Negev desert so they can take over the very best of Palestinian land. We must up stand up against this. This is not acceptable and we're not powerless. We're not powerless, the people of Northern Ireland, no they're not powerless because we know what it's like for bombings and shootings and killings and fear and division. And we stood up and we said this is not acceptable. So the people of Israel and Palestine together can stop this. They have to do it, because the world leaders are not going to do it. The people have to do it and do it together, because Israeli's too are suffering.
Boycott, Divest, Sanction
We must support the Israeli Peace Activists. They are on a hard road but their message is right. Their message is non-violence, dialogue and solving this problem. It's not who will start this problem; it's who will end it. Boycott all Israeli goods. Boycott Israel and the companies that trade with them. Divest from Israel and the countries that support Israel. We must applaud the Co-op, because the Co-op, one of the first retailers has come out with a very strong Boycott campaign and we send out from this platform our thanks to the Co-op and we implore more and more to follow their example. But, you know, also sanctions, sanctions against the arms that are flowing into Israel. We must say to America, you are breaking your own laws because every day you have 8 million dollars going to support the militarism of Israel. They are being used illegally by Israel and America has to stop this. Europe too has a lot of work, Europe funds Israel, Israel gets more money out of the European kitty - and that's our money - to do military research so it can remain a nuclear weapons country with the fourth biggest army in the world.
We're paying for that, so they use these to destroy a country and destroy the buildings that our tax money built in Gaza. This is not acceptable.
Lies from the Media
I thank you all for coming. We are powerful but the most important thing, our greatest enemy is cowardice, our greatest enemy are those who refuse to speak the truth because of their own fear. Our greatest enemies are people like the BBC and the media who tell lies about what is happening . Where are the media reporting exactly what is happening? We demand, we're paying tax, we're paying our license and we want the truth. Thank you very much for all you’re doing. There's great hope because I have met with the Israeli activists and I have met with the Palestinian people and witnessed their message of non-violence, Palestine has a great non-violence movement, tragically a lot of them are in Israeli prisons. So we together can solve this and help our Palestinian people. We did it in Northern Ireland and we are a model. People said it couldn't be done, we said it will not be done through militarism, arm struggle and violence. It will be done with truth and courage and love and forgiveness and we can do it. That's our message to the Israeli and Palestinian people. You can do it another way.''