A Blog devoted to progressive politics, environmental issues, LGBT issues, social justice, workers' rights, womens' rights, and, most importantly, Cats.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

World: Enough!

Image from AliyaAllZionists

Enough of what's going on in the Gaza strip. For all of you upset by the Israeli military action against the mostly civilian population of Gaza, we have to come up with something to do. It's useless wringing our hands and moaning and mourning. Israel has gone too far, this time.

Today, the Israeli military bombed the UN headquarters in the Gaza strip,
[...] engulfing the compound and a warehouse in fire and destroying thousands of pounds of food and humanitarian supplies intended for Palestinian refugees.
It was bad enough that, after the ceasefire ended in late December of 2008, Israel attacked Gaza which has suffered for nearly two years under an Israeli embargo that has prevented basic supplies like fuel, food, water, medicine, even concrete for the burial of bodies, from reaching the Palestinians of Gaza.

Despite the fact that the so-called "free and fair" elections held in Palestine resulted in the election of Hamas, Israel and its supporter and military paymaster the United States have refused to recognize Hamas as legitimately elected political leaders of Palestine. Had the US not pressed for the elections at the time that they were held, it is quite possible that Hamas would have lost the elections. However, once they were held, Hamas became the legitimately elected government and, as such, should have been accorded the basic courtesy extended to every elected government.

Why is it that we are willing to sit down with murderous dictators like Mugabe and Ferdinand "we love your adherence to democratic principles" Marcos, but refuse to negotiate with a fairly elected democratic government just because we don't like them?

For the record, I know quite well that Hamas once held the view that the State of Israel had no right to exist. But that State of Israel is long since gone, having gorged and bloated itself on Palestinian territory and squeezing the Palestinians into two tiny corners of what was once their land. At this point, Hamas is not capable of wiping out the State of Israel, and the more pragmatic among their leaders recognize that fact. These people SHOULD be courted and given a seat at the table while all the countries of that region sit down with the funders of this ludicrous and soul-destroying conflict to determine how to best effect a peace. There is no question of being unable to do this because the alternative is to murder every Palestinian alive no matter where they are to be found, and that is not a viable course of action.

Regardless of the willingness of Israel to engage in such acts, we can no longer afford to, financially, morally, intellectually, or socially, support such acts. Firstly, we don't have the money to keep paying the Israelis billions every year in social welfare and military supplies. Israel cannot survive without American taxpayer dollars at this point because a wartime economy does not thrive. The state of Israel needs to find a peacetime footing in which currency can be stabilized, economic prospects realized, jobs created, and monies exchanged. Then it can safely get off the American dole because heaven knows, Americans need their money to start repairing the damage that has been done to their own country. We would like, for example, to have a health care system just like Israel's. But we can't afford it because a lot of our money is paying for Israel's excellent medical system. Which I don't begrudge, unless it's at our expense.

Worse yet, our dollars are paying for bombs that blow up Palestinian babies, guns to shoot them, concrete walls and armed soldiers that forbid humanitarian assistance to them, checkpoints that harass and humiliate them multiple times daily as they walk to work or school. Jobs don't exist any more in Gaza. If we were to stop paying for these murderous crimes, we would have more money to repair our broken bridges and roads and give our own children health care. The Israelis could then be forced to negotiate with the Palestinians. Instead of financing the building of luxury homes for Israelis in land unlawfully seized from Palestinians, we could finance our own homeowners who are losing their homes.

We could make aid to Palestine and Israel conditional upon a peace settlement, a two-state solution, acceptance by Israel of multiple world court decisions that were preceded by free and fair trials and findings of fact and that have found against Israel and for the Palestinians. It is not too much to ask that Israel be a law-abiding member of the international community instead of a gangster, thug, and murderer that only gets away with these horrible crimes because we are playing their bully enforcer.

The process has begun in the EU. The EU is Israel's largest trading partner, and activists in European nations are calling upon their governments to suspend the EU-Israel Association Agreement (petition here). We here in the US can do the same.

Please take a moment or more to write, call, email, or fax your Congresscritters, both in the House and in the Senate, and tell them that you want them to ensure that your tax dollars do not go to Israel until Israel agrees to abide by the law and ceases bombing civilians, the UN, the Red Cross, schools housing only refugees, humanitarian aid stockpiles, ambulances, and the like.

Here is a list, compiled by activists in the UK, of brands that are either made in Israel or made by companies that unquestioningly supply Israel. Here is another that appears to focus on American companies and brands. Adbusters is calling on citizens and consumers to join in the boycott, pointing to the ever-inspiring Naomi Klein's call as a fine example. Professor Ilan Pappe has also said that the only way to stop this humanitarian crisis is to impose financial sanctions on the Israeli State. If anyone knows of any other information that should be widely distributed, please, pass it on to us and one of us will try to spread it around on this blog and in other fora.

The Global BDS Movement is calling on everyone to boycott, divest, and sanction Israel for its violations of human rights laws in Palestine. I believe firmly in wallet pains as an instructive action. People who don't give a fuck about human rights suddenly care a lot if they start losing money as a result. We managed to overcome apartheid in South Africa through a combination of boycott, divest, and sanction. We can bring peace to Palestine/Israel the same way. As a consumer, please boycott anything made in Israel, or by companies that have ties to Israel. Check with your local manufacturers whether they support Israel. Not Israel's right to exist, which we at this fine blog support wholeheartedly, but Israel's current and past violations of the precepts of international law and human rights.

Note: Look for the digits 729 at the beginning of the bar code on any products you buy. 729 indicates that the product was manufactured in Israel. Talk to your local grocery store or deli if they carry such products. Do not buy them and tell your store why you will not buy them. Tell your friends to look out for this barcode as well.

Here are many other sites involved in the boycott, with helpful hints about how to go about registering your feelings about the Gaza situation.

Once again, I want to say — no, not that some of my best friends are Jewish — that I have been pro-Israel all my life from the time I was a child, when I first heard about the Holocaust from my father, who told me that it was my moral obligation to ensure that such a thing would never happen again. I cannot support what Israel is doing to the Palestinians, but that does not change my support for the right to existence of the Israeli state. I cannot condone crimes against Israel or against Jews based on what the criminals in the IDF and the government of Israel are doing. Many Jews and many Israelis are also protesting and calling for a boycott. Please do not direct your anger at Jewish people, whether religious or secular. That helps no one, and especially not the Palestinians. What we need is to do something. We need to do it in a peaceable and law-abiding manner, but we also need to let the Israeli government and its puppets in the United States know that we are neither blind nor stupid and we want an end to the conflict in Gaza and to the flagrant murder of civilians.

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Stumble It!


At 9:09 PM, Blogger Pedro said...

I was an Israeli supporter untill...., Israel bombed Gaza in a cruel and brutal way.
Israeli backers keep saying that Israel had no alternative but to respond to the Qassams launched from Gaza.
This is not true.
Hamas proposed a truce that included the lift of the siege...., and Israel refused.
It was Israel who refused Hamas peace proposals.., not the other way around as Israeli backers claim.

Israeli backers claimed they value life and used to stress palestinians worship death.

Well..., it looks now Israel does not prize human life.
Israel has no problems blasting to pieces dozens of small children.

At 9:14 PM, Blogger nunya said...

Maps. Good.

At 9:39 PM, Blogger Michael Lotan said...

boycotting anything is not a good idea right now. The best thing to do is push for peace talks and a move towards cooperation. Israel does not want to be a murderer. There is no part of Jewish culture that would ever condone abusive action. I want peace more than anything else for Israel. I want to live with my family in the land of Israel/Palestine and be brothers with all of the arabs there

At 10:43 AM, Blogger ThePoliticalCat said...

I'm sorry to disagree, Michael, but with all due respect, boycotting, divesting, and sanctions is the only way to force Israel to the negotiating table. If the IDF do not want to be murderers, they need to explain why they have already killed over 1,000 people, mostly civilians, over half of them young children.

Jewish culture does not condone, and should not condone, such acts. The fact that the IDF is committing them needs to be pointed out by Jews, Israelis, and all righteous people everywhere. They are acting in defiance of the laws of man and God. They must not be permitted to do this.

I urge you to talk to your Rebbe, to your friends and family, and say to them that the world is losing patience and can no longer listen to Israel say one thing while its military does something else entirely. People all over the world are moving towards Boycott, Divest, Sanction. If Israel wants trade ties with the rest of the world, it must move towards a solution with the Palestinian neighbours whose land and water and homes, crops, farms, orchards, and lives it has taken by force.

Please, my brother, stand with us. Peace must come to Palestine/Israel, and soon. Not one more child should be murdered or injured in this despicable war.


At 9:33 PM, Blogger Michael Lotan said...

Shalom my friend,

So what can we do? If Israel gives up all of the land, where will the people be who have settled there? I really think that Israel has done everything it can short of evacuating. I think that the people who have lost their homes just have to accept the unjust fact that they are never going to get back what they used to own. Not in my wildest dreams do I imagine I have and entitlement to my grandparents childhood homes in Czechoslovakia and Romania. My parents and grandparents have done what they can to get by and I do believe that after two generations we have caught up. Imagine what the Palestinians could build if they decided to cooperate. As long as they call for Israel's eradication they have to expect war to be waged on them. Israel is not murdering innocent people for any reason apart from fighting against people who want it dead. With the pestering attacks - which could overnight develop into something much more daunting if the freedom fighters could just get some quality weapons, Israel must make tough moral decisions. Israel is putting all of it's citizens in jeopardy if they do not attack and disable Hamas.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home