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Anti-war group calls for boycott of Israeli goods

category national | anti-war / imperialism | other press author Thursday August 10, 2006 12:14author by Anti-War Irelandauthor email info at antiwarireland dot org Report this post to the editors

Call for workers' action in solidarity with Lebanese and Palestinian people

Anti-War Ireland has reiterated its call for a boycott and workers' 'blacking' of Israeli goods in solidarity with the people of Lebanon and Palestine.

See the following in today's Irish Examiner:



Related Link: http://www.antiwarireland.org
author by moipublication date Thu Aug 10, 2006 12:25Report this post to the editors

This is a good idea. Have the unions ever done anything like this? There was the Dunnes strike against apartheid, I suppose.

author by guydebordisdeadpublication date Thu Aug 10, 2006 12:33Report this post to the editors

I'm not so sure that this is a good idea. Who does a boycott of israeli goods punish other than the israeli working class? It seems to the me that for lack of anything better to do people have turned to the boycott, one of the left's array of useless weapons alongside marching up and down. A better course of action would surely be to support progressive elements within Israeli society like anarchists against the wall and the many socialists and cross community initiatives.

author by surferpublication date Thu Aug 10, 2006 13:17Report this post to the editors

And the Israeli police and military are 'workers in uniform'.

I know what you're getting at but it's assuming a dichotomy. Why can't we isolate the israeli state and at the same time reach out to progressive elements in Israeli society? How can we accept 'business as usual' with an apartheid state that oppresses and kills its Arab inhabitants and neighbours?

Palestinian groups have consistently called for Israel to be treated like apartheid South Africa. I think we should follow this advice while at the same time building links with progressive groups and individuals in Israeli society.

By the way, would you buy an Israeli orange yourself?

author by Boycotterpublication date Thu Aug 10, 2006 14:00Report this post to the editors

There is another group in Isreal who are usually opposed to boycotts because it only affects the Israeli working class. No mention that a lot of the fruit/veg/herbs are grown on disputed land and/or thanks to redirected water from such land. I'm sure you would call them progressive but I've looked at their website and lo and behold according to them nothing has being happening in that part of the world since last December. Funny if it weren't so sad.

Related Link: http://www.maavak.org.il/maavak/index.php
author by Svenpublication date Thu Aug 10, 2006 14:21Report this post to the editors

Collective punishment. The last refuge of the morally vapid.

author by anonpublication date Thu Aug 10, 2006 14:59Report this post to the editors

Guy, What about the Palestinian working class? And the Lebanese working class?

The Labour movement in Israel is deeply compromised. Of course we should support progressive elements in Israeli society but are we supposed to wait until such forces become dominant??? We could be waiting a long, long time! And meanwhile the massacres continue.

Support the economic isolation of the Israeli rogue state and support the progressive forces!

author by Antiwar Irelanderpublication date Thu Aug 10, 2006 15:46Report this post to the editors

A more detailed AWI statement is published in today's Village magazine.

author by guydebordisdeadpublication date Thu Aug 10, 2006 16:06Report this post to the editors

I don't think it's me providing the false dichotomy here when you are putting the needs of one working class above another. If there are no progressive israeli movements then surely we should focus on nurturing them rather than trying to enforce a boycott which will have very little effect on israels political policies.

author by MichaelY - iawmpublication date Thu Aug 10, 2006 16:22Report this post to the editors

Tucked away in an obscure corner of the Irish Times today :
Council cancels Israeli sponsorship for festival

The Festival of World Cultures in Dun Laoghaire has cancelled sponsorship of €1,500 from the Israeli embassy.

The grant was meant to fund travel expenses between Tel Aviv and Dublin for Israeli musicians Avshalom Farjun and Avi Agababa, who will be performing as Toy Vivo Duo at the festival on August 26th. In a meeting on July 31st, Dϊn Laoghaire-Rathdown county councillors and the festival organisers decided that retaining the embassy's sponsorship could invite protests at the performance and create a public safety issue.

The organisers then raised the issue with the county manager, Owen Keegan, who decided with the cathaoirleach, Eugene Regan (FG), to decline the funding on the grounds that to accept it would "politicise the event", according to a spokeswoman for the local authority.

Before the meetings, the chairman of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Raymond Deane, had lobbied county councillors and the festival organisers. The IPSC regularly protests against Israel-sponsored cultural events and favours a general boycott against Israeli goods.

The Israeli embassy, which was notified of the Dϊn Laoghaire funding refusal by e-mail last Thursday, expressed disappointment over the action. Poor things!

Last week the Irish Film Institute also cancelled sponsorship from the embassy for an Israeli film in the Dublin Gay and Lesbian Film Festival.

author by old timerpublication date Thu Aug 10, 2006 17:05Report this post to the editors

The oppression and disgraceful treatment of Palestinians by Israel has been in progress since as long as I can remember. In the late 1960s and in the 1970s there was also talk of 'nurturing' the progressive elements in Israeli society. I agreed and still do. Look at the refuseniks and those people who bravely marched in Israel against the war in recent weeks.

However, 30 odd years later these progressive forces remain small and Palestinians continue to suffer the most vile oppression. Indeed they are now being corraled on a giant reservation. Do we wait another 30 years for a large progressive movement to emerge in Israeli society? How long must the Palestinians wait?

Action must be taken by the working class movement worldwide and that should include a blacking of Israeli goods. This does NOT mean that we ignore progressive forces in Israel, but it does mean that we do not RELY on them to be the saviours of the Arab peoples. How long must the oppressed wait before Israeli society fits into some theoretican's dream?

author by d'otherpublication date Thu Aug 10, 2006 17:35Report this post to the editors

This is a rather complicated one. Those questioning the pertinence of urging boycotts in this scenario are raising a valid point. The left is obviously in a state of severe disrepair and is both theoretically and strategically lethargic. This is reflected in the ludicrous uncritical support given by sections of it here and in the UK to a generic and undifferentiated 'resistance' in Iraq and elsewhere, regardless of its composition and political leanings.

This echoes through with the calls for a boycott in solidarity with the Palestinian and Lebanese populations without specifying the popular organisations calling for such action. It leads to clouding of rather important issues, does little to encourage an analysis of the situation that goes beyond simple counter rethoric to the mainstream media and leaves politics to be played out by caricitured oppositions and powers with none of the complexities that these situations hinge on coming through.

As with Iraq I think the role of the left here should be to highlight what is going on in a manner that goes beyond the simple oppositions summoned by the media, building links with secular and progressive resistance forces in the middle east and highlighting their demands and struggles. In the case of the Coke boycott, it raised the profile of progressive unions in Colombia, the complexities of the left there and the relationship between right wing political parties, corporations and paramilitaries. A call for a boycott in solidarity with 'the people' really doesn't do it for me and does little to advance my understanding of what is going on. On the other hand solidarity actions with actually existing popular organisations does.

Equally, I think there is a huge amount of disjointed thinking going on when an organisation calls on the trade union movement to black Israeli goods, given the overall weakness of the left within the unions and its current passivity in opposing a new social partnership agreement this is clearly nothing more than a symbolic strategy to end Israel's slaughter and will have no effect.

The revolutionary left here is really going to have to stare itself in the face and realise that shouting over the parapet isn't going to advance our strategies. This is amplified when many of these strategies are hap hazardly applied from an era where they may have been workable given a numerical strenght in the union movement and communities, a strenght that now is clearly in decline.


author by old timerpublication date Thu Aug 10, 2006 17:49Report this post to the editors

Beautiful logic. We're fucked, so let's do nothing till we regroup.

Look, the call for a boycott doesn't emanate from Antiwar Ireland or the IPSC, it comes from Palestine and has been urged over and over again. Will it be effective? Who knows? It is true that the left is very weak in the contemporary Irish trade union movement, but does that mean that the left should stop arguing for progressive action? If so, no organisation should spill any ink calling for an end to social partnership. To do so in the current climate would be pointless because the forces don't exist to win the day within the union movement. So why shout over that parapet? Because it's about consistently arguing for progressive politics, preparing the groundwork for a change in the balance of forces, when we will be able to influence the trade union rank and file and win them to proactive acts of solidarity.

To shrug one's shoulders is to give in to pessimism. Yes, we do need to be realistic about what's achieveable, but sometimes in struggle our negative expectations are confounded and we move on further than we believed possible. Is a full-scale boycott by Irish unions really a possibility? I don't know. On balance, I'm doubtful. However, it's a worthy objective and would send a powerful signal if it did happen.

author by LOLpublication date Thu Aug 10, 2006 17:51Report this post to the editors

when we will be able to influence the trade union rank and file and win them to proactive acts of solidarity

Thats the funniest thing ive heard in years

author by bricolagepublication date Thu Aug 10, 2006 20:04Report this post to the editors

A boycott of Israeli goods is a blunt tool which, if successful, would effect all elements of the Israeli working class including progressive and Arab sections which are opposed to Israeli state policy. In South Africa mass organisations called for a boycott. I'm not aware of any Israeli or Palestinian mass organisations calling for such a boycott in Israel.

author by eastern eyepublication date Fri Aug 11, 2006 00:01Report this post to the editors

In fact, much has changed, only they didn't updated the English section. The Hebrew site is changed all the time, since the last post there is from 18/7, and relates to the war. I assume they need volunteers to translate the articles into other languages. Note that the Arabic and Russian sections are behind date as well.

author by Joe Kingpublication date Fri Aug 11, 2006 02:09Report this post to the editors

The Irish Palestine Solidarity Campaign calls for a boycott of Israeli goods, also of cultural and academic exchanges. Anti-War Ireland has joined the call for a boycott. At the recent Dublin protest against the attack on Lebanon the SWP’s Kieran Allen posed the boycott as some sort of test of the sincerity of socialists.

Yet there has been little or no discussion about this call. We are simply told it was legitimate when we supported the struggle against the apartheid regime in South Africa, so why would it not be legitimate when the Israeli regime is also racist, brutal and murderous?

We start with the best objective, to do whatever we can to help those resisting injustice, and what the Israeli government is doing is truly horrific.

How we do this is informed by our politics. We should not see working people as mere pawns to be used in political struggles (no matter how justifiable that struggle may be). We should try to do things WITH people, not FOR them.


In South Africa the mass organisations (ANC, the mainly black trade unions, the United Democratic Front, etc.) all supported the call for a boycott. They took the position that, yes, they would suffer from its implementation but that was a price they were willing to pay.

The majority of Palestinians may be in favour of a boycott, I have not heard of any sizeable Palestinian organisation arguing against it. But what about the Israeli working class?


I’ve heard two cases made for not considering their views. The first is that Israel is a settler state existing on stolen land. That could have been said about the first generation of Zionists who migrated to Palestine and moved on to land that had been taken by force.

But today the majority of Israelis are people who were born there. Are the children to be punished for the crimes of their parents? And the grandchildren?

Is the answer to expel them all from their homes? If so, where would that leave the position that people should be allowed to live where they wish (and that includes the right of all Palestinians to return)? Has the enemy become the entire Jewish population of Israel?

How would that translate into the Irish situation, should the Unionists with their settler heritage be expelled? This way leads to right wing nationalism and racism.


The second case made is that Israel is a ‘democracy’, that the Israelis elect their government and therefore have to take responsibility for its actions. Is this not the ‘logic’ that saw the Provisional IRA bomb civilian targets in Britain, especially during the 1970s. Birmingham, the tube bombs, etc.

What both of these cases do is to deny the class divisions in society and lump everyone into one ‘nation’ or another. They offer no way forward, instead they push people further into ‘us’ and ‘them’ camps which make the divisions in our class all the harder to heal.

I don't want to be negative, so I'll throw in one idea for developing solidarity. A small (but achievable) alternative would involve us getting our union branches to make contact with unions covering similar occupations in Palestine. A regular exchange of information, fundraising for specific projects, maybe fact finding visits and reports back to the membership.

I'm sure others have good ideas for bringing real pressure to bear, we could start by looking at Cement Roadstone's involvement in building the 'separation wall'.

author by mepublication date Fri Aug 11, 2006 10:35Report this post to the editors

"The majority of Palestinians may be in favour of a boycott, I have not heard of any sizeable Palestinian organisation arguing against it."

Well, you haven't been listening then. The Palestinian trade unions have repeatedly called for the international implementation of a boycott. They have called for workers solidarity in opposition to the Israeli state. The Israeli trade union movement? It's not an independent trade union movement in any real sense - it's an arm of the state. This isn't rhetoric; it's a fact. Check it out.

A boycott is not going to affect the living standards of the Israeli working class (unless the US stops pumping money into the country). However, that's not the point. The issue is to delegitimise the Israeli state and to make its racist behaviour an international talking point. Imagine if we persuaded the Irish labour movement to actively black Israeli goods. The impact on the Israeli people would be zero, but the message it sends about the Israeli state would be massive. It would be a powerful act of solidarity.

This is about the international working class, through their labour movements, going beyond motion-passing to actually taking action against the Israeli state. The politicising effect in Irish trade union circles would be significant and it would glavanize opposition here to the Israeli regime.

This is about workers solidarity, not about attacking Israeli workers.

author by Boycotterpublication date Fri Aug 11, 2006 11:54Report this post to the editors

Good article by Norman G. Finkelstein

Related Link: http://www.normanfinkelstein.com/article.php?pg=11&ar=130
author by Mini-Mepublication date Fri Aug 11, 2006 12:07Report this post to the editors

"me" accuses the previous poster of not listening. Try reading what he actually said, i.e. that there is no significant opposition among Palestinians to the boycott.

As for the Israeli trade unions being "an arm of the state", like all organisations they tend to reflect the ideas of their members. One question is what can change those ideas for the better?

If the impact inside Israel of a boycott would be zero, how does that translate into a "massive message"?

Many of us can get quite emotional about the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians to allow the formation of Israel, about Israel's racist basis, about the slaughter in Gaza and the Lebanon - but we also need to keep a level head when it comes to debating strategies which might actually help Palestinian workers.

author by mepublication date Fri Aug 11, 2006 12:20Report this post to the editors

Mini-me is confused about my statement that the Israeli trade union movement is an arm of the state. I didn't mean this as rhetoric. The official trade union movement is linked to the state in way that's remarkably similar to the way unions used to operate in the USSR and East Germany. As I said, check it out. The Israeli Labour Party is an appalling organisation that has adopted an aggressive anti-Palestinian stance.

And again, 'mini-me' asks what the point of a boycott is if it has no economic impact on Israel. I thought I explained this. It's about delegitimising the Israeli state and indicating international working class solidarity with those seeking progressive change and an end to the oppression of the Palestinians and the mass murder of the Lebanese.

Solidarity is not some etheral being. It has an impact. Instead of calling on this thing called the 'international community', let's look to the international working class to oppose the Israeli state. It's called workers solidarity.

author by M.J.Costellopublication date Sat Aug 12, 2006 03:10Report this post to the editors

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Tear gas products and tear gas ejector system; fiber optics security systems Ispra
Technical publications to US and other military industrial standards; production of video films for Technical Writing
TENS Pain Reliever Agar
Tensimeters Mottes
Textile process controls for wet finishing & dyeing Arel
Threading tools, carbide inserts for threading, deburring tools Vargus
Tires for Vehicles Alliance Tires
Transformers Oram
Transformers, design and mfg of electro-magnetic components Ram
Transtelephonic heart monitoring systems Card Guard
Trapper Person Locator; Civil defense search and rescue equipment; hand-held metal detectors Elpam Electronics Ltd.
Trimming microwave porcelain Microelectronics
Vehicle tracking and navigation systems, automatic vehicle location systems (AVLS), moving map syste XI
Verterac-ambulatory lumbar traction device Meditrac
Vinyl coated nylon tarp; roofing awnings, air structure, green housing Erez
Water filters Arkal
Water filtration system and chemical injection Amiad
Water meters Arad Dalia
Welding cables Dash
Welding electrodes, cables, accessories & equipment; grinding wheels Zika
Wheelchair lifters for cars Gottlieb
X20-Lasers, Opthalic lasers Laser Industries
Zinc & magnesium die castings Ortal
Zinc plated steel and stainless steel casters Galilee Casters & Wheels

author by good friend to israel - n/apublication date Mon Jun 16, 2008 20:57Report this post to the editors

people like you are all nazis, after the war south eire help the nazis, like ss to live in south eire free. when this men killed jewish child, woman, men...so people like you are just like the ss solder how just wante to killed jewish people.....

author by Scepticpublication date Mon Jun 16, 2008 21:47Report this post to the editors

There are several inaccurate claims in this thread. Israeli trade unions are not an emanation of the State – they are as free as Irish or British unions. US aid to Israel is now almost exclusively in the form of credits for military purchases which don’t have a profound economic effect. Israeli economic success has been remarkable in recent years due to its high tech sector. The provocative comparisons with the South African situation is entirely invalid – there is no legislation prohibiting interracial marriage or racial separateness in Israel – it is a racially integrated society with people of African origin for instance enjoying equal rights and opportunities.

Rather than wrecking or attempting to wreck the Israeli economy people should be asking what it is that makes so successful compared to its Arab neighbours. The lesson to the Palestinians should be clear – it is possible for a small state in this troubled region to become prosperous and enjoy an EU-15 level standard of living that is among the highest in the world. If it were emulated instead of being envied and boycotted the people in the region generally might be better off. Note also the article by Thomas Friedman on Warren Buffet’s recent vote of confidence in the Israeli economy.

Related Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/08/opinion/08friedman.ht...login
author by Pat Mustardpublication date Tue Jun 17, 2008 00:28Report this post to the editors

To the good friend to israel - please take your misinformed, incoherent gibberish somewhere else.

"it is a racially integrated society with people of African origin for instance enjoying equal rights and opportunities."

Were you able to type that with a straight face? If so, congratulations.

By the way, is that the same Thomas Friedman who said that the US entered Iraq "with the sole intention of liberating its people"? Yes? I'll give his article a miss so.

author by Fred Johnstonpublication date Tue Jun 17, 2008 01:29Report this post to the editors

The Irish government has purchased some drone aircraft from the Israelis, so our government's commitment to a settlement in the Mid-east seems to depend on economics.

author by Scepticpublication date Tue Jun 17, 2008 15:55Report this post to the editors

African people in Israel:
Jewish people of Ethiopian origin for one thing enjoy fully equal rights in Israel. I am not aware of that quote from Friedman if it is a quote (reference, context). He has been very critical of the administration on Iraq and advised his readers not to support Bush in the 2004 election. He has also been very critical of Israeli policy on settlements in the occupied areas. Maybe you should read him more rather than dismissing him as you might learn something. A closed mind is hardly a sign of enlightenment. There is no contradiction between admiring the economic success of Israel and also being critical of aspects of policy of the years.

In fairness to "Good Friend of Israel" you don’t have to be so dismissive of someone not writing in their own language. The meaning is clear and he is right that certain high up Nazis were to be found living well in the Irish jurisdiction after the war (eg. Peter Menten who lived in Waterford for years.). Also the Irish record on admittance of Jewish refuges during the war was woeful. Even Joyce’s friend in Paris – Paul Leon – was refused admittance as a refugee as an exceptional measure. He was gassed by the Nazis subsequently.

Related Link: http://blog.holocaustresearchproject.org/2008/05/13/the....aspx
author by indyjournopublication date Wed Jun 18, 2008 12:45Report this post to the editors

Thanks Sceptic for pure propaganda. Thomas Friedman is a terribly biased columnist and arguably even worse than Kevin Myers. He is fancies himself as an heir to the Chicago boys. Nice man indeed.

"In this page I suggest that Friedman's understanding of globalization is in fact extremely narrow, one-sided and misleading. His frequent and vociferous denunciations of those protesting against neoliberal globalization, and the arguments which Friedman advances in his book, are singularly ill-informed, poorly reasoned and, in a number of cases, demonstrably false"

"Friedman made his reputation and received two of his Pulitzers for his reporting on the Middle East. Given the U.S. policy of underwriting Israeli ethnic cleansing over a half century and, adding to this the consistently strong NYT support of that policy, Friedman has necessarily followed an Israel-apologetic course. For Friedman, Israel only retaliates whereas the Palestinians engage in terror, which is the causal force in the conflict-not Israel's "redeeming the land" and ethnic cleansing, nor its occupation policies in general, which have been in gross violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention (which he never discusses). Just a few months after Arafat called for mutual recognition and negotiations with Israel in 1984, Friedman wrote, "By refusing to recognize Israel and negotiate with it directly, the Arabs have only strengthened Israel fanatics..."

"Friedman ends with the typical globalizer's warning that, "it's a bad time for France and friends to lose their appetite for hard work," or they will lose their jobs to Indians and Chinese willing to work for noodles. What Friedman means is that the French should give up their taste for old age pensions, universal health care, top-quality public education, protection of their skies and waters and all those things we used to call advances but now, according to the Friedman world order, stand in the way of progress."

And as for him writing an article on Warren Buffet!!!!!!!!!!! who will you quote next?
"Buffett, a well known critic of executive perks, has been particularly hard on CEOs who use private jets — that is, until he had his company buy one. At least he had the good humor to name it "The Indefensible."

Buffet likes to invest in dubious regimes
"Shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway decisively rejected a proposal that would have required the company to sell its $US3.3 billion ($4 billion) stake in PetroChina, a subsidiary of a Chinese government company that is the largest player in Sudan's oil industry.
Berkshire chairman Warren Buffett, who owns about one-third of his company's shares, advised against the proposal, which received less than 2 per cent of votes cast here at Berkshire's annual meeting."

When Buffet did sell it wasn't because of human rights it was because of a shed load of cash
"He's selling into strength. He's taking his chips off the table slowly. PetroChina isn't a growth story anymore. A lot has been priced in already."

Comparison of Israel to S. Africa
"Israel's one million Arab citizens are on a firmer footing. They can vote - the primary evidence, for many angered by the apartheid analogy, that Israel is not the old South Africa - at least, within Israel's recognised borders. But the Jewish state has long viewed its remaining Arab population with suspicion and hostility, and even as the enemy within, through the country's wars for survival against hostile neighbours and in the competition for land"

Discrimination in Israel
"Adalah - The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel - emphasized numerous discriminatory laws and state practices faced by Arab citizens, which violate Israel’s obligations under the ICERD: institutionalised discrimination in land and housing policies, discrimination resulting from the granting of military service benefits, a harsh new criminal procedure law for detainees suspected of security offences, impunity in cases of excessive use of force by the police against Arab citizens, including the October 2000 killings; a law banning family unification with Palestinians from the Occupied Territories based solely on national origin, unequal state funding of Arab towns and villages and the lack of participation of Arab citizens in the planning process, displacement and dispossession of Arab Bedouin citizens from the unrecognised villages in the Naqab, discriminatory resources allocated to and limitations on access to education for Arab students, discrimination in state support for Arab cultural institutions, and the lack of recognition for Muslim holy sites in Israel, among others."

From South Africa itself
"We note how the Israeli state rests on overt repression, a system of structural violence and institutionalised discrimination that dehumanises one group to the advantage of another. Apartheid Israel has developed an elaborate system of racial discrimination, embedded in its legal system-even surpassing Apartheid South Africa’s laws. These laws include the Law of Entry, the Law of Return, Citizenship Law, legally sanctioned discriminatory rabbinical rulings and the Military Service Law. Palestinians are denied various welfare benefits, access to many jobs, and the leasing of homes and land controlled by government bodies. We realise that while Palestinians within the ’48 borders may vote, they face these discriminatory laws and are treated like third class citizens"

author by Scepticpublication date Wed Jun 18, 2008 22:02Report this post to the editors

Do you have a response to the points Friedman makes in his article as opposed to (fallacious) ad hominem attacks on him, mostly from dubious sources?

Also a link concerning the African Jews who enjoy full rights in Israel. Apartheid it is not - this is just a decrying mechanism.

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beta_Israel#Prominent_Isra...round
author by awi'erpublication date Wed Jun 18, 2008 23:11Report this post to the editors

This is very, very straightforward: Israel is a sectarian, apartheid state (much worse than Norn Iron in that regard) and it was built on the ethnic cleansing of the local Arab population. At the moment, backed up by US money and weapons, it has its foot on the neck of the Palestinian people to whom it denies the right to self-determination. Of course they should be boycotted!!

Anybody that is doubtful about the power imbalance and vicious treatment of the Palestinians should do as I did - visit the Israeli state and then visit the Palestinian enclaves.

Boycott Israeli goods! It is an apartheid state.

author by indyjournopublication date Thu Jun 19, 2008 11:11Report this post to the editors

Sceptic get real Greg Palast is a journalist with the BBC to call him dubious shows a moronic interpretaion of media in the world. Newsnight is a respected news programme where Thomas Friedman and his newspaper and the vast majority of American media are renowned for biased reporting and in many cases of spreading out and out lies. Your inability to deal with the criticisms and instead pathetically attempt to balnket deny them shows that you are not interested in debating any political point, it is just a desire to spread as much bullshit as possible.

Also your link is a rather poor attempt to prove any point you are trying to make. Ethiopian Jews will of course be treated very different from the Palestinians. What a terrible point for you to make, why waste anybodys time here with that?

author by Scepticpublication date Fri Jun 20, 2008 13:46Report this post to the editors

Greg Palast also writes for the New York Times which you decry and he produces commentary for the BBC not journalism. People of Palestinian Arab origin are not a separate race from the Jewish Israelis whilst Ethiopians surely are. So if one is making out that Israel is a racist State as implied by the pejorative term "Apartheid" that does not stand up.

I only linked to Friedman to illustrate that Israel has enjoyed enormous economic success in recent years not to get into a slanging match about his credentials which in any case are beyond reproach though of course his conclusions might be debated.

The Israeli economy has been lauded by the OECD among others though I suppose you will find some reason to invalidate the OECD as well.

My main point was this: its more economic growth and development we need in the middle east to secure its children's future and well being - not the undermining of the one highly successful economy in the Jordan Valley region and one that provides a model. Before the endless knee jerk calls for boycott, condemnation etc consider that.

It is easy to condemn, call for boycotts etc - less easy to build because it needs patience, routine and a successful civic society to do that. What you seem to want is an equality of impoverishment, moreover based on a wholly false analogy with South Africa.

Maybe if Hamas paid as much attention to economic growth as they do to the symbol on their flag – a Kalashnikov - their people might be better of f in the long term.

Related Link: http://www.oecd.org/document/33/0,3343,fr_2649_201185_3...0.htm
author by indyjournopublication date Fri Jun 20, 2008 14:27Report this post to the editors

First of all Sceptic Firedmans credentials are not beyond reproach and it is totally intellectually dishonest to even claim that he is. As for Palast he is an investigative journalist and you've made another dubious claim to say that he only produces commentary, that is blatantly false and is merely an attempt to downplay effective investigative journalism which America totally lacks. Also perhaps you could link me to the Greg Palast articles in the New York Times because he doesn't write for the New York Times like you claim.

The fact that Israel has enjoyed economic success has nothing to do with the argument that it is an apartheid state. What you are attempting to say is that the treatment of the Palestinians is deserved because in Israel the economy is doing well. Therefore any level of atrocities can be permitted by richer countries against poorer ones sure they can just be told "it's the economy, stupid". I don't need to invalidate the OECD it doesn't have anything to do with this debate.

Your point about Ethiopian Jews are severely misguided as they are Jewish. You either have an extremely blinkered view of the world, an uninformed understanding of what racism is and its different forms or are just a totally immoral Israeli apologist.

author by Scepticpublication date Sat Jun 21, 2008 09:08Report this post to the editors

So far as I am aware Friedman is a renowned columnist and author but who
is direct. His is unsparing in his criticisms of Israeli foreign policy
and the Bush administration. But he attracts the ire of the certain
leftists because he is also blunt and direct about Arab failings and extremism.
That aside - what in the article I linked do you take issue
with? Many leftist agree with his criticisms of the US and Israel but
feel a veil should be drawn over any Arab failings. It is interesting
that the only reaction you have to personally attack Friedman and
Buffet. You are shooting the messenger.

It is not a question that economic success crowds out any notion that
there are injustices as regards the Palestinian - I never asserted that.
It's that rather than calling for a boycott of Israeli goods maybe it is timely to examine what makes Israel successful and the non-oil Arab states the converse? Is there a deeper lesson here about priorities, political freedom, the role of the private sector and
progressive economic and educational policy? If there was more hope and less poverty within the Arab states the region would be a lot less disturbed. More schools and trade – less rockets, AK 47s and suicide bombers would be a lot more beneficial for Palestinian young people than Dubliners avoiding Jaffa oranges in the marketplace or the like. In any case a boycott would be futile – the economy is too diverse and integrated.

The Ethiopian jews are still black Africans and enjoy equal rights - so do Israeli Palestinian citizens of Israel. There is no separation of the races there which is what apartheid is.

(I withdraw comment on Palast writing for the Times as I can't find a
link just now. However the fact that Palast took issue with Friedman
over something does not mean either that Freidman's writings are now all
invalidated or that Palast does not use overblown language routinely and
shoots from the hip quite often. But this is about the wisdom of
boycotting Israel, not the merits of reporters.)

Related Link: http://www.thomaslfriedman.com/
author by Susan Menton - Nonepublication date Sat Jun 21, 2008 15:53Report this post to the editors

Sceptic's claim :

" The Ethiopian jews are still black Africans and enjoy equal rights - so do Israeli Palestinian citizens of Israel. There is no separation of the races there which is what apartheid is. "

Then why are there two seperate school systems ? One for Israeli Jewish Children and the other for Israeli Arab Children. Why is the Israeli Jewish education System vastly better funded than the Arab Israeli System. ?

Why is there such a thing as Jewish only housing developments where Arabs are seperated out of the new developments and cant buy property under the Jewish only clause that effects 90% of the Land in Israel. ?

If there is no seperation then why do we see so much seperation ?

author by Staroprahapublication date Sat Jun 21, 2008 16:01Report this post to the editors

On a recent trio to Al Quds I noticed that the occupying Israeli local government does not provide the same standard of upkeep to the Muslim areas as it does for the Jewish areas.

I am told that they pay the same amount in council tax.

author by Mr Manpublication date Sat Jun 21, 2008 23:32Report this post to the editors

Susan Menton- Reference/link to source please?

In my opinion, a boycott of Israeli goods is futile. Primarily because in order to get the kind of scale needed to have a tangible impact on the Israeli economy (whereby politicians notice and care) is implausible as it just isn't that big of a deal in general society for it to be financially beneficial for sellers not to stock their produce. Further to this, the agriculture section of the Israeli economy is proportionally quite small, with the bulk of the economy coming from pharma, technology and business, things that are hard to boycott as there is no direct purchase by the public, only by companies/hospitals/government etc.

The boycott of south african goods was a different affair due to the huge reliance on agriculture so a consumer-level boycott was effective.

I find it funny that some people are calling for a boycott of Israel while staying silent on Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Algeria, Sierra Leone, Egypt, North Korea, Sudan, Indonesia, Yugoslavia, Pakistan, China, Libya, Burma, Yemen and Chad who are recognised internationally as having the worst human rights records (observer human rights index/amnesty).

author by Tutupublication date Sun Jun 22, 2008 01:11Report this post to the editors

Yugoslavia? Have you seen a newspaper recently?

Anyway, people should boycoott israeli produce of whatever sort, as this IS likely to have an effect on popular opinion within Isreal, where many enlightened Israelis are working against their government's criminal policies.

Don't just pass by though, make sure the retailer knows you object. Just bring some Israeli goods up to customer services and leave them there, or if you're uncomfortable with that, print some labels on your home computer saying THIS PRODUCT SUPPORTS ISRAELI APARTHEID and stick them on the bag of potatoes or whatever.

Stay away from Marks and Spencer too, since they, unlike other retailers, directly support Israel by giving cash donations straight to the country.

NOTE: Some people refuse to touch Israeli agricultural produce on the grounds that the land it was grown on was stolen from the Palestinians, so if you buy it you are buying stolen goods. So even if you are not sure of the politics, use your moral sense and pass them by.

author by Mr Manpublication date Sun Jun 22, 2008 02:34Report this post to the editors

Ha, yeah sorry, I just copied and pasted from the Amnesty site, bit out of date. Point still stands though. People have disproportionate objections to Israel compared to many many other countries with far worse human rights records. Don't see much campaign for a boycott of Chinese goods. Pretty hard to do due to the saturation of the market.

And if you are serious about boycotting Israeli goods, better turn off your computer because theres a very high chance that the cpu was built in Israel along with many other components. As far as I'm aware, ALL intel chips since 1993 have been finalised in Israel.
"Boycott Israeli blood central processing units" doesn't quite have the same ring as the "blood diamonds" one.

author by Scepticpublication date Sun Jun 22, 2008 14:48Report this post to the editors

You do have to make some allowances for the fact that it is a homeland for jewish people and the society will reflect that to some extent. Moreover we have a separate schools for different faiths ourselves (not races mind - either here or in Israel). Equality before the law is guaranteed each citizen of Israel. That does not guarantee absolute equality in all things but its a long, long way from apartheid which was entire organizing of society along racial grounds. Take a walk through the Dizengof Shopping Mall in Tel Aviv for example. It is thronged with Jewish and Arab people equally prosperous, content and free and it can be hard to tell the differences between them sometimes. Certainly it is not apartheid - more like the opposite.

author by Titopublication date Sun Jun 22, 2008 18:08Report this post to the editors

Hmm.. obviously there are different views on whether Israel is practicing apartheid style politics. How could we figure out if they really are? Well, we could ask someone who experienced apartheid first hand.

"South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu has accused Israel of practising apartheid in its policies towards the Palestinians. The Nobel peace laureate said he was "very deeply distressed" by a visit to the Holy Land, adding that "it reminded me so much of what happened to us black people in South Africa".
BBC NEWS http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/1957644.stm

author by Scepticpublication date Sun Jun 22, 2008 22:35Report this post to the editors

As for the Nobel Peace prize it does not confer infallibility on its recipients. If you are lauding Tutu on this account you must also invest same in such men of “peace” as Henry Kissinger. Tutu is a fine man but excitable and hyperbolic at times. In any case I was writing about the Israel proper not the occupied areas. Of course there will be tension between the occupiers and the occupied. There usually will be. That does not justify the uncritical application of the label “apartheid” however.

author by balfourpublication date Mon Jun 23, 2008 00:21Report this post to the editors

So hang on, let's get this straight- you think you know more about Apartheid than Bishop Tutu?

I think I'd know who to trust the word of...

author by Mr Manpublication date Mon Jun 23, 2008 01:49Report this post to the editors

Skeptic was hardly claiming that he knew more than Tutu about apartheid. He was highlighting the fact that situations in occupied territories do not reflect a national system, thus labelling Israel an apartheid state in a short visit to be overblowing a massively complicated political and historic situation. In any case, in that article it does seem that Tutu was referring to the situation in the occupied territories, as opposed to Israel proper.

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