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Boycott Israeli spuds
dublin | anti-war / imperialism | news report Friday July 20, 2007 17:24 by David L - IPSC
IPSC Picket at Dunnes
On Thursday evening, IPSC took to the streets again in our boycott Israeli potatoes campaign. This time the target was Dunnes Stores on George’s St, where we handed out over 500 leaflets in an hour, informing people about the presence of Israeli potatoes on Irish shelves, and why they should join the boycott campaign.
Shoppers and passers-by were interested – often wondering: ‘Why Israeli spuds?’ Answer: they’re often grown on Palestinian land using water stolen from West Bank aquifers. Also, there’s an international boycott campaign against Israel until they abide by international law and end their apartheid rule over Palestinians.
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I was going to start a new thread with this piece but I think its better to post it here and let it enhance the thread.
A just boycott
by George Bisharat
When does a citizen-led boycott of a state become morally justified?
That question is raised by an expanding academic, cultural and economic boycott of Israel. The movement joins churches, unions, professional societies and other groups based in the United States, Canada, Europe and South Africa. It has elicited dramatic reactions from Israel's supporters. US labor leaders have condemned British unions, representing millions of workers, for supporting the Israel boycott. American academics have been frantically gathering signatures against the boycott, and have mounted a prominent advertising campaign in American newspapers -- unwittingly elevating the controversy further in the public eye.
Israel's defenders have protested that Israel is not the worst human rights offender in the world, and singling it out is hypocrisy, or even anti-Semitism. Rhetorically, this shifts focus from Israel's human rights record to the imagined motives of its critics.
But "the worst first" has never been the rule for whom to boycott. Had it been, the Pol Pot regime, not apartheid South Africa, would have been targeted in the past. It was not -- Cambodia's ties to the West were insufficient to make any embargo effective. Boycotting North Korea today would be similarly futile. Should every other quest for justice be put on hold as a result?
Full article at link.
Gaza, thanks to Hamas, is now effectively boycotted by much of the world.
But, come the day that Dunnes Stores sells potatoes from Gaza that are of better quality and cheaper price than Israeli potatoes, I will be in the queue to buy them.
A "tiny country" with a huge arsenal of nuclear weapons, by far the most powerful army in the region (indeed, one of the most powerful in the world), surrounded mainly by friendly pro-western governments that couldn't give a shit about the Palestinians (Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon) - let's put the "poor little Israel" line in perspective.
By the way John HM - the AWL and their guru Sean Mantgamna are notorious charlatans, despised and distrusted by everyone else on the Left for their habit of telling blatant lies and supporting imperialism. They support the occupation of Iraq, so why shouldn't they condemn critics of Israel? Trying to pass them off as "real socialists" is hysterical, really it is - don't imagine you're making anyone feel awkward
See what real socialists think --I think this is very eye opening - perhaps some conclusions for todays situation and 60 years of lost opportunities
UK: email@example.com | P.O. Box 823, London SE15 4NA | Phone 020 7207 3997
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Trotskyists and the creation of Israel: Introduction
Most “Trotskyists” today are, everywhere, agitators and propagandists against the Jewish state of Israel. Not agitators for the view that Israel should change its relationship with the Palestinians, or that it should help set up an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel. No. The agitation and propaganda centres on the “demand” that Israel should cease to exist.
In war they have sided with the Arab states — Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Jordan —in the hope and expectation that, victorious, they would put an end to Israel. At the start of the 21st century they back the medieval-minded forces of Arab and Islamic clerical fascism — the Muslim Brotherhood and its off-shoots, and Hezbollah, Hamas and the jihadists in Iraq. Rejecting a two-state solution, these mystics of “anti-Imperialism” back the Muslim mystics who would recreate the Caliphate — the pre-World War I Turkish empire, against Israel. This “left” is mainly, in Britain, centred on the SWP-Respect.
What do they propose to put in place of Israel? It used to be a “secular democratic state” covering all of pre-1948 Palestinian. In this, the Jews who survived the necessary conquest by Arab armies would be offered religious, but not national, rights. The now all-determining alliance with Islamic clerical fascists, such as the Muslim Brotherhoods British offshoot, the Muslim Association of Britain, has knocked the “secular” out of that formula. The fact of all-pervasive dictatorship in the Arab states, with the flickering exception of Lebanon, had always begged the question about the “democratic” part of it. What is left now? “Marxist” support for the conquest of Israel by Hamas-Hesbullah-like jihadists!
This political attitude to Israel-Palestine is a long way from the politics of the international Trotskyist movement on this question in the 1920s, ‘30s and ‘40s — when Israel was established — as the documents assembled here, mainly from the late 1940s, show. Looking back you can see some of the roots of what exists now, but you also see a great deal more. What changed in the ‘60s and early ‘70s, obviously, was Israel’s victory over the Arab states in the Six-Day War of 1967, and its occupation of the whole of pre-1948 Palestine.
The UN partition plan of 1947, under which Israel came into existence, had provided for two states in Palestine, one for the Arabs. The territory of that projected Palestinian state was taken by Egypt, Jordan, and, marginally, Israel, in 1948-9. After June 1967 Israel controlled it all, and for forty years now has been the brutal colonial master of the Palestinian people.
The rectification of this terrible situation calls for the realisation, even 60 years too late, of the UN’s 1947 resolution - two states for the two peoples. It is the rational response to the oppression of the Palestinians, as well as being the only remotely practicable one, and the only way to do something like justice to both the Palestinian and Jewish peoples. You may think that. Most reasonable people do. Not the kitsch left! While trading , in its agitation and propaganda, on justified humanitarian outrage at the suffering of the Palestinians, it rejects the only policy that could bring relief to the Palestinians! Maximum outrage combines here with maximum indifference to the Palestinian people
Before and after World War I, revolutionary socialists opposed the Zionist project, but they did not side with the reactionaries, still less with the then equivalent of today’s clerical fascists, of the Arab world, against the Zionists. They defended the right of Jews to go to Palestine, as to anywhere else (see the 1929 article by Max Shachtman in this collection).
Then, in 1929-30, the Communist International, which at first had characterised the Arab pogroms against Jews in Palestine as... pogroms, switched their “line” and decided, that since this was a period, the “Third Period”, where everywhere capitalism was giving way to revolution, the pogroms must be part of the world-wide anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist upsurge.They came out unrestrainedly for the “anti-Imperialist” pogromists. It was the start of what is today the “anti-Zionist” “Anti-Imperialism” held to by most “Trotskyists”.
It was tragically reminiscent of the response of the heroic Russian terrorists of the Narodnaya Volya, who had just assassinated the Tsar, to the anti-Semitic pogroms of 1881. They had hoped by their spectacular assassination to detonate the people against the aristocracy — and lo, here the people were rising. The pogroms were therefore welcome evidence that “the people” were responding to the Narodniks. They were honest, though very confused, people. The Stalinists were cynical manipulators who, in the 1930s,’40s and ‘50s — with a short break in the late 1940s, when they backed the formation of Israel, in order to make trouble for the British Empire — would fill the labour movement with their own poisonous brand of anti-Semitic “anti-Zionism. What is now “Trotskyism” on the Israeli-Arab conflict.
The most striking thing about the late 1940s documents of the “Orthodox Trotskyists” collected here is that in the 1948 war — in which Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq and others greeted the declaration of Israel by a full scale invasion — they do not support the Arabs. They tell the truth about the political nature of the Arab forces: they consider that a matter of consequence in shaping their attitude towards the war. Political fantasy did not lead them to see in Arab feudalists, still less in clerical fascists such as the Muslim Brotherhood, “objectively” anti-imperialist revolutionaries.
The “Heterodox Trotskyists” - those like Max Shachtman, Albert Glotzer and Hal Draper, who had fallen out with Trotsky in 1939-40 over Russia’s invasion of Finland - denounced Zionism but supported Israel’s right to exist and to defend itself. Some other Trotskyists in Europe had supported Irgun’s guerrilla war against the British.
Even so, you can see some of the roots of later developments in the Trotskyist attitude of 1948. The Jews supported the partition of Palestine. The Orthodox Trotskyists’ refusal to endorse their right to self-determination, was in this situation, though none of them backed the Arab states, a pro-Arab attitude. (Curiously, it parallels the implicitly anti-Palestinian position now of those “anti-Zionists” who reject the two state solution). Why they did this was spelled out in a polemical article of 1946, by Tony Cliff, the late founder of the British SWP. Arguing in an internal bulletin of the US organisation, he wrote: “we are sure that acceptance by the SWP (of anything less than stark hostility to Israel) will do infinite harm to the cause of the Fourth International in all the Arab countries and may even bring about a cleavage between the colonial sections and the SWP”.
The “line” was to be determined not by political right and wrong, not by basic working class socialist politics, but by the consideration of how it would “play” in the Arab countries. In effect he says that the Trotskyists dare not recognise national rights for the Jewish Palestinians. That approach then inhibited logical support for Jewish national rights. Today, the same approach has eaten away the political brain and backbone of those “Trotskyists” who, in the name of “anti-Imperialism”, ally with some of the most reactionary forces on the planet. We publish these documents to help young people miseducated by the kitsch-Trotskyists get their political bearings.
Hi Mike, we’ll agree to differ, I guess. On the small but growing Jewish opposition to Israel in America – both from religious and secular Jews – Seth Farber’s ‘Radicals, Rabbis and Peacemakers’ and Yakov Rabkin’s ‘A Threat from Within’ are both worth a read.
On what’s happening to Gaza – while it’s customary (as this thread shows) for anti-Palestinians to blame the victim and assert that Palestinian misery has just nothing to do with Israel – the following short articles are useful.
Destroying a population
RICHARD FALK, IMEU, JUL 20, 2007 Recent developments in Gaza should be troubling to anyone with a common sense of humanity. It is particularly anguishing to me as an American Jew that the prolonged, systematic, and cruel abuse of Palestinians in Gaza risks becoming the world’s latest holocaust. http://imeu.net/news/article005866.shtml
Longing to go home
MONA EL-FARRA, IMEU, JUL 18, 2007
My mother is in her last moments and I cannot cross the border.
My mother is in the hospital at the moment. She is severely ill. She was admitted to the hospital 3 days ago. I cannot reach her. http://imeu.net/news/article005944.shtml
IPSC has a weekly bulletin of news'n'views from various media, if folks are interested in finding out more.
Gaza’s already weak economy could collapse unless its main commercial crossing with Israel is reopened, Gaza businessmen and United Nations officials warned on Wednesday. The Karni crossing has been shut since June 12 because the Palestinians who operated it were affiliated with Fatah and fled after Hamas took over Gaza in bloody fighting. But both Israel and the Fatah leader, President Mahmoud Abbas, have been in no hurry to help Hamas by working to regularize Gaza’s economic life. Karen AbuZayd, commissioner general of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which deals with Palestinian refugees, said in an interview, ‘Without Karni the Gaza economy will collapse unless it is opened for exports and not just for imports, so we don’t punish this whole people.’
But now look at this in Ha’aretz ( whose heart is never slow to bleed for the Palestinians)
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said Saturday his movement opposes opening the Israel-Gaza border crossing of Kerem Shalom. ‘This is a conspiracy against our people by Israel and the pro-American leadership in Ramallah,’ Barhoum said in a reference to Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Fayyad’s government. Also Saturday, about 1,500 Hamas supporters, most of them flag-waving school children, marched in Gaza City to protest the continued closure of the Rafah Egypt-Gaza border crossing.
Meanwhile, a UN report released Thursday said Israel is working with the PA and the United Nations to increase the capacity of the Kerem Shalom border crossing, which is meant to allow goods from Egypt to enter the Gaza Strip. The activity includes opening two conveyor belts and increasing the area for truck-transfer operations, which could increase the terminal’s capacity to a potential 150 trucks a day, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in its situation report. The Kerem Shalom crossing was scheduled to reopen Wednesday to thousands of Palestinians seeking to return home to the Gaza Strip, but technical problems on the Egyptian side of the border means it will remain closed.
And also this:
A senior Israel Defense Forces officer said Thursday Hamas has made a significant leap in the past two years in the level of sophistication of the arms it is smuggling into Gaza, which he said has reached ‘import’ dimensions. The officer said Hamas has been able to smuggle in a large quantity of weapons primarily because the border with Egypt has been completely porous following the militant group’s takeover of the Gaza Strip. ‘Hamas has jumped ‘light years in its capabilities since Israel withdrew from Gaza two years ago,’ the official said. ‘Now that Hamas controls Gaza, it is even easier for the group to smuggle weapons across the Egyptian border,’ he continued… According to the IDF officer commenting on Hamas’ evolving capabilities, the militant group recently smuggled 20 tons of explosives into the Gaza Strip in the span of one month. The IDF believes Hamas now possesses a small quantity of anti-aircraft missiles and anti-tank rockets, which are most likely Sagger guided missiles.
So while Gazans are reportedly starving in a humanitarian crisis (caused by the fact that they themselves are preventing the arrival of food and essential supplies) they are nevertheless managing to supply themselves at the same time with ‘import’ dimensions of weapons with which to murder Israelis (and each other). And how are they managing to do this, since the crossing point from Israel is shut? Why, across the other border with Egypt (despite the fact that that crossing point is also officially shut). So if they can import the means to kill people from Egypt, why can’t they import the means to feed them by the same route? Why aren’t Mr Erlanger, the York Times, the UN and all the rest of them demanding that Egypt ensure that essential supplies go through? Why isn’t Egypt being accused of turning Gaza into a ‘prison’?
I think we know the answer.
But to the warped western mind, Hamas are the civic-minded people who have restored order to Gaza. Well, this is the ‘law and order’ that Hamas is imposing upon the Arabs who live there:
The body of a Palestinian man was delivered to a hospital Monday, a week after he was abducted by Hamas militants in what appeared to be a new case of vigilante justice by the Islamic group following its takeover of the Gaza Strip. Mahir Abu Dhalfa , 45, was nabbed last week by Hamas’ Executive Force in Gaza City. Early Monday, his body was brought to Shifa Hospital with signs of suffocation, Palestinian medical officials said… Abu Dhalfa is the second man to die in Hamas’ custody under suspicious circumstances. Last Tuesday, a 31-year-old man suspected of collaborating with Israel died in Gaza’s central prison, operated by Hamas. The prison said the man died of heart failure, but a hospital report said he was strangled. Earlier this month, The Associated Press documented the ill-treatment of four men who were taken into Hamas custody. One man was tortured, with nails banged into his legs; another two were blindfolded and beaten, to pressure them to provide information on Fatah loyalists; and another two were beaten in a police detention center following a family fight with a rival clan.
Maybe it’s no surprise therefore that despite the adulation of the west for Hamas, the Arabs of Gaza themselves seem to be rather less impressed:
The poll of Gaza residents shows a backlash. Hamas got only 23 percent support, down from 29 percent in the previous survey last month, while Fatah climbed from 31 percent to 43 percent. The poll, the first major survey since the Hamas takeover, also showed that 66 percent of Hamas supporters said they would vote Fatah if it undertook reforms. The poll, released by Near East Consulting, interviewed 450 residents of the Gaza Strip. It quoted a margin of error of 3.05 percentage points. ‘I was surprised,’ said Jamil Rabah, head of Near East Consulting.
Rabah said price hikes and food shortages along with a perception that Hamas was becoming increasingly authoritarian, contributed to its fall in support. Trust in the Gaza-based deposed Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas stood at 37 percent, compared to 63 percent for Abbas. Prime Minister Sallam Fayad got higher trust marks than Haniyeh, 62-38 percent. ‘A lot of people answering this question said we like Haniyeh more, but we want people who can really deliver,’ Rabah said. ‘People are becoming more realistic.’
I see Mr Landy 'thanks God'
Is this the same God that Jews all over the world will be praying to this Tuesday on the most solemn fast day of Tisha B'Av?
This day commemerates the destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans and subsequent expulsion of the Jews from their land - the land of Israel. This all happened long before any body else laid claim to that land.
This day is also notable because Jews pray to God to end 'Tzinas Hinnom' - Baseless Hatred of Jew against Jew. Yes even back then Jews hated each other. Hopefully this year the likes of Mr Landy will join us in our prayers culminating in a swift coming of the Messiah and the rebuilding of the temple inJerusalem
David L [andy ] who claims to be jewish because his father was , comes
out with the usual claim that not all Jews are in favour of Israel's actions .
What all the Jews I know say is that singling out the one Jewish state there is in the world for
constant demonisation is anti semitic . They also say that the Arabs have forced
Israel to take the actions it is now taking because of their intransigence over 60 years .
The vast majority of Jews who I know thoughout the World worry about Israel's future
and its security . They admire the technological and scientific advances which Israel
has made to the world as do most normal non Jews .
For example it has been well documented and reported that Jews and Arabs work
and are treated side by side in all Israeli Hospitals --did you not read in the I Times that
some of the victims of the recent Civil War in Gaza were sent to be treated in Israeli Hospitals ?
There have also been cases in the past of would be suicide bombers who injured
themselves trying to kill Israelis been treated side by side with their would be victims in Israeli
Thats worth boycotting - is nt it ?
I often get acused of "leaving out the steps in between"
The reason why my PREDICTION of what will result is different from yours is that you are misjudging what you can conclude from the fact that "not all Jews are behind Israel's crimes". Many are in fact quite critical of this or that particular Israeli action.
But if you imagine that this will translate into them "supporting the other side" or even "standing aside" IF the situation gets totally polarized (either the Palestinians survive or the Israelis survive) then you have your head in the sand. It is precisely that sort of polarization that I am saying will have consequences. And boycotts, especially European style boycotts (we here don't recognize "secondary" boycotts as legitimate) tend to escalate by their very nature.
Repeat -- I am NOT saying wrong to proceed. I am saying "there would likely be consequences". You are telling me that you don't believe that there would be. Fine. Maybe you are right. But if you proceed on that basis, again, don't complain if it turns out that you weren't. That's all that I am saying.
To Mike. The boycott campaign, thank god, is not unique to Ireland but is part of an international campaign. After every boycott breakthrough – the Canadian public service unions voting for the boycott, the British Universities lecturers voting to discuss boycott at branch level, there has been a hysterical windbag reaction from Zionist organisations calling down boycotts on Britain, Canada, Norway and so on. This has come to nothing. I think we’ve nothing to fear on that front.
The reason why, is that these Zionist groups aren’t particularly representative. Jewish people worldwide aren’t 100% behind Israel’s crimes, as you seem to fear. Study after study has shown growing distance from Israel on both sides of the Atlantic. Growing numbers (though still a minority) are not only distant from Israel, but actively supporting Palestinian rights. Indeed in England there is even a group set up called J-BIG – Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods (slogan: It’s kosher to boycott Israel!), and in Israel too, some groups such as ICAHD support the boycott.
These are still a minority – but indicates that while we should be aware of the activities of Zionist groups, we shouldn’t paint them as all-powerful, or as representing anyone but themselves.
"To captain boycott, While I wouldn’t call Israel a fascist regime, the difference between it and the other cases, is that in Israel – like South Africa – the subjugated population have called for the boycott. The Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions have urged us to support a boycott. So have just about all the organs of civil society in Palestine – the professional bodies, NGOs etc.
I admit, we aren’t doing this for the good of our health. A boycott against the US or China won’t be effective, while the boycott against Israel has a high chance of working and changing the way Israel treats Palestinians. And the reason we’re involved in this campaign is because we want to change things, not just make ourselves feel good. And lastly, if you look at the horrific violence in Israel/Palestine, the boycott strategy offers an effective non-violent way of resistance to Israeli apartheid."
NOT telling you what to do, just suggesting you keep your eyes open and weigh costs.
Reasonable for the Palestinians to call for this -- they are committed in theis fight today, tomorrow, next year, next decade, etc. In other words, they have "flesh at stake".
Do you? Do you have that long term commitment and willingness to pay what ever "prices" are demanded?
LOOK at (and understand) why the similar campaign against the Afrikaners was relatively costless and why this campaign might not be. Repeat, I am NOT telling you how to choose, just suggesting that you do this with your eyes open and analyze for all the effects -- and don't bitch later "unfair -- we didn't know".
Unlike the Afrikaners, the Isrealis DO have an associated population around the world. IF you are successful (in getting a strong well publicized boycott going --- all Ireland boycotts Israel) then two things will likely happen.
1) This population will try to pick up the slack (intentionally buy up what from Israel what you aren't -- so those potatos, etc. won't rot unsold)
2) This population will stop buying anything Irish. And not for just a little while. Not for just as long as your campaign lasts. Like the Palestinians, they are in it for the long haul, feel they have "flesh at stake". So you should expect (or at least take into account) that a successful campaign means that YOU get boycotted by this population for the next few decades.
In other words, I am suggesting that you evaluate just how much Ireland now sells to American Jews (or via American Jews) and go into this campaign accepting that PROBABLY you could kiss those goodby. Go for it if you want, just don't bitch and moan "unfair" later because that's how the game "boycott" is played.
Fair dues David L. Plausible argument.
To captain boycott, While I wouldn’t call Israel a fascist regime, the difference between it and the other cases, is that in Israel – like South Africa – the subjugated population have called for the boycott. The Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions have urged us to support a boycott. So have just about all the organs of civil society in Palestine – the professional bodies, NGOs etc.
I admit, we aren’t doing this for the good of our health. A boycott against the US or China won’t be effective, while the boycott against Israel has a high chance of working and changing the way Israel treats Palestinians. And the reason we’re involved in this campaign is because we want to change things, not just make ourselves feel good. And lastly, if you look at the horrific violence in Israel/Palestine, the boycott strategy offers an effective non-violent way of resistance to Israeli apartheid.
Israel are repressing and killing Palestinians but likewise are the Yanks and Brits in their illegal war against the Iraqi people. The Russians against the Chechens, the Chinese similarly with Tibetans and their own slave labour, Colombians against their own as are the Pakistanis at the moment etc. We all know that we would have no jobs to go or tv to watch if we boycott all things American, no football to watch or gas or oil to consume with things British, no coke to sniff with Colombian goods or clothes to wear with Pakistan. Just being skeptical thats all but aren't we being just totally expedient in boycotting small fascists in Israel but knowing that boycotting the goods of the big fascists would have us starved, naked, immobile and just looking totally silly?
Good one! It's amazing how many people never check the origin of the produce they buy.