Dickinson Texas Partially Rescinds ‘No-Israel-Boycott’ Demands

[ Ed. note – A small victory against the anti-BDS juggernaut that is sweeping the country…the city of Dickinson, Texas–obviously responding to widespread criticism–has partially reversed its policy on extracting pledges not to boycott Israel from victims of Hurricane Harvey. The Dickinson City Council has voted to absolve individual homeowners from signing contracts stating they do not support a boycott. However, according to the report below, business owners seeking relief assistance are still required to adhere to the condition. ]

Jesse Rubin | Mondoweiss

The city of Dickinson, Texas, will no longer require private citizens affected by Hurricane Harvey to sign a pledge guaranteeing they do not and will not boycott Israel as a condition to receiving help.

After a closed meeting with city attorney David Olson, the city council passed a motion to remove a clause that conditions disaster relief aid on an applicant’s political views.

While a clear victory for residents of Dickinson — if perhaps bittersweet because the storm-struck are simply back to where the application process should have begun — the amendment only applies to private homeowners.

“The council voted to strike the language related to the pledge not to boycott Israel for residential applicants for the grants,” city management assistant Bryan Milward told Mondoweiss. However, Milward confirmed, “the language is still in for businesses.”

City businesses damaged by the storm are still prohibited from engaging in any boycott of Israel if they are to receive relief funding. According to the city police department, the hurricane seriously damaged 88 businesses, ten of which are closing down indefinitely.

Councilman Walter Wilson, who brought the issue up for a vote after reconvening, noted that the move “really doesn’t change the application itself…we’ll remove that clause when we’re entering into that agreement with an individual homeowner.”

But when it comes to businesses– boycotting Israel is verboten.

“Whenever [the city] is dealing with companies,” Wilson said, which he noted are more broadly defined, “we will continue to maintain [the no-Israel-boycott pledge] until we receive guidance from a higher court or a state agency issuing an opinion.”

Continued here

Advertisements

Pandering to israel Has Got to Stop

shutterstock_131500409

 

Most Americans have no idea of just how powerful Israeli and Jewish interests are. Two recent stories out of Kansas and Texas illustrate exactly how supporters of Israel in the United States are ready, willing and able to subvert the existing constitutional and legal protections that uphold the right to fair and impartial treatment for all American citizens.

The friends of Israel appear to believe that anyone who is unwilling to do business with Israel or even with the territories that it has illegally occupied should not be allowed to do business in any capacity with federal, state or even local governments. Constitutional guarantees of freedom of association for every American are apparently not valid if one particular highly favored foreign country is involved.

Maryland became the most recent state to jump on the Israel bandwagon last week. Currently twenty-two state legislatures have passed various laws confronting boycotts of Israel because of its human rights abuses, in many cases initiating economic penalties on those organizations and individuals or denying state funds to colleges and universities that allow boycott advocates to operate freely on campus.

When governor of South Carolina, current United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, an ardent supporter of Israel, signed the first state law attacking those who support boycotting or sanctioning the Israeli government, the country’s state institutions and its businesses. Haley, who is supposed to be defending American interests, has also stated her priority focus will be opposing “the UN’s…bias against our close ally Israel.”

Both the recent cases in Kansas and Texas involve state mandates regarding Israel. Both states are, one might note, part of the Bible belt. The anti-boycott legislation was sponsored by powerful Christian Zionist constituencies and passed through the respective legislatures with little debate. In Kansas, Esther Koontz, a Mennonite curriculum coach was fired by the State Department of Education as a teacher trainer because she would not certify in writing that she does not boycott Israel. Koontz’s church had passed a resolution in July seeking peace in the Middle East which specifically opposed purchasing products associated with Israel’s “military occupation” of Palestine. With the assistance of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Koontz is contesting the Kansas government position.

In Dickinson, Texas, in a case which actually made national news, if only briefly, the city is requiring anyone who applies for disaster relief to sign a document that reads “Verification not to Boycott Israel: By executing this Agreement below, the Applicant verifies that the Applicant: (1) does not boycott Israel; and (2) will not boycott Israel during the term of this Agreement.” Dickinson was half destroyed by hurricane Harvey last month and urgently needs assistance, but, in the opinion of Texas lawmakers and local officials, deference to Israel comes first. The ACLU is also contesting the Texas legislation.

The Texas law was signed earlier this year and took effect on September 1st. In January 2016, Governor Greg Abbott met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who urged Texas to push through the legislation. Abbott responded, and, when signing the bill, commented that “any anti-Israel policy is an ‘anti-Texas policy.’” Abbot is reportedly also considering Israeli endorsed legislation that would ban all business dealings on the part of Texas companies with Iran.

One particular pending piece of federal legislation that is also currently making its way through the Senate would far exceed what is happening at the state level and would set a new standard for deference to Israeli interests on the part of the national government. It would criminalize any U.S. citizen “engaged in interstate or foreign commerce” who supports a boycott of Israel or who even goes about “requesting the furnishing of information” regarding it, with penalties enforced through amendments of two existing laws, the Export Administration Act of 1979 and the Export-Import Act of 1945, that include potential fines of between $250,000 and $1 million and up to 20 years in prison

According to the Jewish Telegraph Agency, the Senate bill was drafted with the assistance of AIPAC. The legislation, which would almost certainly be overturned as unconstitutional if it ever does in fact become law, is particularly dangerous and goes well beyond any previous pro-Israeli legislation as it essentially denies free of expression when the subject is Israel.

The movement that is being particularly targeted by the bills at both the state level and also within the federal government is referred to by its acronym as BDS, which is an acronym for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. It is a non-violent reaction to the Israeli military occupation of Palestinian land on the West Bank and the continued building of Jewish-only settlements. BDS has been targeted both by the Israeli government and by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). The AIPAC website under its lobbying agenda includes the promotion of the Israel Anti-Boycott Act as a top priority.

The Israeli government and its American supporters particularly fear BDS because it has become quite popular, particularly on university campuses, where administrative steps have frequently been taken to suppress it. The denial of free speech on campus when it relates to Israel has sometimes been referred to as the “Palestinian exception.” Nevertheless, the message continues to resonate, due both to its non- violence its and human rights appeal. It challenges Israel’s arbitrary military rule over three million Palestinians on the West Bank who have onerous restrictions placed on nearly every aspect of their daily lives. And its underlying message is that Israel is a rogue state engaging in actions that are widely considered to be both illegal and immoral, which the Israeli government rightly sees as potentially delegitimizing.

It is disheartening to realize that a clear majority of state legislators and congressmen thinks it is perfectly acceptable to deny all Americans the right to free political expression in order to defend an internationally acknowledged illegal occupation being carried out by a foreign country. Those co-sponsoring the bills include Democrats, Republicans, progressives and conservatives. Deference to Israeli interests is bi-partisan and crosses ideological lines. Glenn Greenwald and Ryan Grim, writing at The Intercept, observe that “…the very mention of the word ‘Israel’ causes most members of both parties to quickly snap into line in a show of unanimity that would make the regime of North Korea blush with envy.”

Would that the anti BDS activity were the only examples of pro-Israeli legislation, but there is, unfortunately more. Another bill that might actually have been written by AIPAC is called Senate 722, Countering Iran’s Destabilizing Activities Act of 2017. The bill mandates that “Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, and every 2 years thereafter, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of the Treasury, and the Director of National Intelligence shall jointly develop and submit to the appropriate congressional committees a strategy for deterring conventional and asymmetric Iranian activities and threats that directly threaten the United States and key allies in the Middle East, North Africa, and beyond.”

Senate bill 722 combined with recent de-certification of Iran by the White House is a formula for war and a gift to Israel. And there’s more. A bill has surfaced in the House of Representatives that will require the United States to “consult” with Israel regarding any prospective arms sales to Arab countries in the Middle East. In other words, Israel will have a say, backed up undoubtedly by Congress and the media, over what the United States does in terms of its weapons sales abroad. The sponsors of the bill, want “closer scrutiny of future military arms sales” to maintain the “qualitative military edge” that Israel currently enjoys.

And there’s still more. The most recent trade bill with Europe, signed by President Barack Obama, includes language requiring the European blocking of “politically motivated” efforts to boycott Israel as a factor in bilateral trade agreements, so U.S. business interests will become subordinated to how foreign governments regard Israel. How does all this play out in practice? A Jewish group in New Jersey is seeking to blacklist with the state pension investment fund a Danish bank that has refused to provide loans to two Israeli defense contractors. The bank has argued that it has turned down loans to many companies in many countries for sound business reasons, but that common sense argument apparently is unacceptable to the NJ State Association of Jewish Federations.

And there’s bill HR 672 Combating European Anti-Semitism Act of 2017, which was passed unanimously by the House of Representatives on June 14th. Yes, “unanimously.” The bill requires the State Department to monitor what European nations and their police forces are doing about anti-Semitism and encourages them to adopt “a uniform definition of anti-Semitism.” That means that criticism of Israel must be considered anti-Semitism and will therefore be a hate crime and prosecutable, a status that is already de facto true in Britain and France. If the Europeans don’t play ball, there is the possibility of still more repercussions in trade negotiations. The bill was co-sponsored by Ileana Ros-Lehtinen from Florida and Nita Lowey of New York, both of whom are Jewish.

There is also a Senate companion bill on offer in the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Act of 2017. The bill will make the Anti-Semitism Envoy a full American Ambassador and will empower him or her with a full staff and a budget permitting meddling worldwide. There is also a Special Advisor for Holocaust Issues. There are no comparable positions at the State Department specifically monitoring anti-Christian or Muslim activity or for dealing with historic events like the Armenian genocide.

Anyone who thinks that the government in the United States at all levels does not consistently and almost obsessively defer to Israeli and Jewish interests has been asleep. The requirement to sign a document relating to one views of any foreign government to obtain a job or disaster relief is an abomination. Protecting Israel and going on a worldwide search for anti-Semitism or Holocaust deniers are not the responsibility of the American government and they are not what state legislators and congressmen are supposed to be doing to serve the public interest.

Israel is sometimes referred to as the “51st State,” but that is hardly true as it contributes nothing to the United States, collects billions of dollars a year from the U.S. Treasury and is totally unaccountable in terms of the actual damage it does to American interests. The American people are being hoodwinked by their own elected leaders and laws are being passed to make it impossible for them to even complain. Well, enough is enough. It is past time to shut the door on the Israeli influence machine and take back what remains of truly responsive and representational government.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is http://www.councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org

#BDS From HP to Ahava: The UN Blacklist of Companies Doing Business in israeli Settlements

From HP to Ahava: The UN Blacklist of Companies Doing Business in Israeli Settlements

https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.819171

Settlement blacklist of 25 firms published by Israeli paper includes Israel Aerospace Industries, telecom giants, international tech firms, banks, and even cafes

UN sent warning letter to 150 companies for doing business in Israeli settlements

An Israeli newspaper has revealed the names of 25 companies who could find themselves on a UN blacklist of firms doing business in Israeli settlements in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem.

The list includes Israel Aerospace Industries, the Israeli branches of Motorola and HP, the Dead Sea cosmetics firm Ahava, as well as other firms like Israel’s Bank Leumi or gas supplier Paz.

In the past, Haaretz reported that about 150 companies in Israel and around the world had received letters from the UN human rights commission warning them that they are about to be added to the database, senior Israeli officials and Western diplomats involved in the matter told Haaretz’s Barak Ravid at the time.

The Israeli official, who requested to stay anonymous due to the sensitivity of the issue, noted that the letters sent by Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said these firms were doing business in the “occupied Palestinian territories” and could thus find themselves on the UN blacklist for companies acting in violation of “internal law and UN decisions.”

 Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, shakes hand with delegates before the opening of the 36th session of the Human Rights Council, at the European headquarters of the United Nations, UN, in Geneva, Monday, Sept. 11, 2017.
Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, shakes hand with delegates before the opening of the 36th session of the Human Rights Council, at the European headquarters of the UnitedLaurent Gillieron/AP

>> Israel secretly using U.S. law firm to fight BDS activists in Europe, North America <<

The Washington Post reported in August that among American companies that received letters were Caterpillar, Priceline.com, TripAdvisor and Airbnb. According to the same report, the Trump administration is trying to work with the UN Commission on Human Rights to prevent the list’s publication.

On Thursday, Yedioth Aharonoth revealed the names of some 25 of these Israeli firms, which it said is based on a partial list the paper obtained. The companies on the list range from bakeries to financial institutions to local energy suppliers and cosmetics:

1. Ahava
2. Dor Alon
3. Amisragas
4. Angel Bakeries
5. Arison Investments
6. Ashdar
7. Cafe Cafe
8. Clal Industries
9. Cellcom
10. Danya Cebus
11. Electra
12. HP
13. HOT
14. Israel Aerospace Industries
15. Matrix systems
16. Motorola
17. Nesher
18. Partner
19. Paz
20. Rami Levy
21. Remax
22. Shikun & Binui (Housing & Construction Holding Company)
23. Shufersal
24. Bank Leumi
25. Sonol

Israel’s Channel 2 reported in the past that the list includes some of the biggest companies in Israel, such as Teva, Bank Hapoalim, Bezeq, Elbit, Coca-Cola Israel, Africa-Israel, IDB, Egged, Mekorot and Netafim.

A Western diplomat, who also requested to remain anonymous, told Haaretz at the time that out of the 150 companies, some 30 were American and a number are from countries such as Germany, South Korea and Norway. The remaining half are Israeli companies.

Senior Israeli officials said the Israeli fear of divestment or scaled-down business due to the blacklist is already becoming a reality. The Economy Ministry’s Office of Strategic Affairs, they said, has already received information that a number of letter-receiving companies have responded to the human rights commissioner by saying they do not intend to renew contracts or sign new ones in Israel.

“These companies just can’t make the distinction between Israel and the settlements and are ending their operations all together,” the senior Israeli official said. “Foreign companies will not invest in something that reeks of political problems – this could snowball.”

As part of an attempt to minimize its potential damage, Israel was attempting to reach out and hold talks with the foreign companies named on the list, stressing that it is non-binding and insignificant. It is also reaching out to foreign governments saying the list is tantamount to cooperating with a boycott of Israel.

U.K. officials said Thursday that the U.K. strongly opposed this provision and considered that it went beyond the competence of the Human Rights Council. “Human rights obligations are directed at states, and not individuals or businesses, who must determine their trading relationships for themselves; as such, we have no plans to set up an equivalent database. Ultimately it is the decision of an individual or company whether to operate in settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The British Government neither encourages nor offers support to such activity,” they said.

In March 2017, the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva voted for the resolution being pushed by the Palestinian Authority and Arab nations, according to which the commission would formulate a database of Israeli and international firms directly or indirectly doing business in the West Bank, East Jerusalem or the Golan Heights. The decision passed despite massive pressure by the U.S. to soften the resolution’s wording. Even an attempt by the U.K. and the EU to reach a deal with the Palestinians to drop the clause from the resolution stipulating the blacklist’s formulation, in return for the support of European nations for the rest of its articles, failed.

Barak Ravid contributed background to this report

US Gets Increasingly Isolated Internationally

Source

By Alex GORKA | Strategic Culture Foundation | 22.10.2017

Economic sanctions are an instrument of coercion used to make one state comply with another’s wishes. The United States is by far the largest implementer of economic sanctions in the world. It is virtually the only country that imposes unilateral sanctions, certainly the only one that does so with any regularity. The US has imposed more sanctions than the other countries/entities put together. Washington sees restrictions as a low-cost method to accomplish foreign policy goals, despite the fact that the measures affect common people. The policy damages international relations and backfires exacting a high price in terms of lost jobs and trade opportunities.

The US sanctions policy came under sharp criticism in the United Nations. Addressing the UN General Assembly on October 18, United Nations Human Rights Council’s Special Rapporteur Idriss Jazairy said “Damaging a country’s economy with sanctions usually leads to violations of the rights of ordinary people. Sanctions are disruptive for any State, and can have a particularly devastating impact on the citizens of developing countries when they impair the economy.” He expressed concern about sanctions which had an impact outside the territory being targeted. “It is well established that sanctions which apply to parties outside of the dispute are illegal, but sanctions which lead to human rights violations also create an obligation on the imposing state to take measures to repair the harm they have caused,” the expert noted.

Reporting on his visit to Russia in April, Jazairy said sanctions had not achieved the desired effect but had damaged others. “It appears that sanctions have not changed Russia’s position, but instead have caused economic losses for agricultural producers in both the EU and Russia,” he noted, adding “Serious, credible dialogue and negotiations are needed to resolve political issues, without creating additional harm for farmers.”

Jazairy urged the UN member states to adopt a Declaration on Unilateral Coercive Measures and the Rule of Law, which would set out shared principles on the use of sanctions and international law, renewing the call for a registry of sanctions, to bring greater transparency to the practice. “A registry would allow States, civil society and any other interested parties to know at all times what sanctions are in place, helping companies to conduct their businesses, and ensuring the sanctions meet human rights standards,” he said.

In his report (A/HRC/33/48) issued in September, the rapporteur urged the Human Rights Council and the UN General Assembly, through a solemn Declaration, to reaffirm “the right of victims to an effective remedy, including appropriate and effective financial compensation, in all situations where their human rights are affected by unilateral coercive measures.” The report also highlighted the importance of setting up a consolidated central register within the UN system of all the international sanctions in force, adding that these findings should be made public. This mechanism, which would enhance transparency and accountability, could draw on the model of the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms set up in 1991.

A new research by the Austrian Institute of Economic Research (WIFO) suggests the EU’s economic sanctions against Russia introduced three years ago have cost European countries billions of euros. The survey, which was conducted at the request of the European Parliament, and published on October 6, showed that the EU has lost €30bn due to sanctions.

Unilateral sanctions are increasingly ineffective in a more globalized economy. The United States has imposed many different sanctions against Russia but there are many more nations ready to boost economic cooperation with Moscow. The US has got a reputation for imposing economic sanctions liberally making other nations reluctant to do business with it. European leaders and much of the rest of the world view economic sanctions as counterproductive and generally favor them only in extraordinary circumstances, such as war. In July, France’s foreign ministry said new US penalties against Iran and Russia appeared at odds with international law due to their extra-territorial reach.

From a legal point of view, only the UN Security Council has the right to impose sanctions against a state. Unilateral coercive measures violate the spirit and letter of the UN Charter, in particular its preamble and Articles 1 and 2. The organization rests on the principle of equality of all its member states. A state can resort to sanctions for self-defense purposes but Russia did not attack the United States. Thus, the United States is destroying the integrity of international organizations and agreements to which it is a party.

For instance, the policy of sanctions runs counter to the WTO fundamental principle of trade free of discrimination, which envisages respect for market principles and honest competition. Parties should maintain government restraints on the movement of goods at a minimum, and if changed, the restraints should be reduced, not increased. The conditions of trade, including the level of tariffs and other, must be discussed and agreed on within a multilateral framework.

In theory, a state complaint procedure of the UN Human Rights committee could be launched according to Article 41 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights – that way the UN would have to deal with the matter. The US has recently announced its intent to drop out from the United Nations Human Rights Council. This month it left UNESCO. No surprise as the idea to leave the United Nations has been floating in the US for some time. In January, 2017, Alabama congressman Mike Rogers sponsored the American Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2017, referred to the House, which calls to leave the United Nations. Utah state representative Don Bush, has claimed that many programs by the supranational entity have violated the US Constitution, such as the implementation of the International Court of Justice and the Law of the Sea Treaty, both of which the United States does not currently endorse. Much has been said in the United States about Russia’s international isolation. In practice, the United States, not Russia, is getting increasingly isolated internationally.

Unbelievable: Kansas Teacher Barred from Employment for Supporting #BDS

Kansas Teacher Barred from Employment for Supporting BDS

By Stephen Lendman | October 18, 2017

Barring longtime math teacher Esther Koontz from renewing her teaching contract, solely for her political beliefs, is a flagrant First Amendment violation.

She righteously supports BDS activism, wanting Israel held accountable for its high crimes against Palestinians.

Kansas House Bill 2409 prohibits state contracts with individuals critical of Israel’s agenda. In NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware Co. (1982), the Supreme Court unanimously ruled for the plaintiff against state authorities, cracking down on boycotts of white businesses, saying authority over economic relations doesn’t limit or deny political speech.

Koontz is a member of the Mennonite Church USA. In July, it voted to divest from US companies, profiting from Israel’s illegal occupation.

She supports Palestinian rights. Her employment papers require a declaration in writing of no support for BDS. She declined and was denied the right to train other teachers.

The Kansas law is unconstitutional. The ACLU supports Koontz. Last week on its web site, she headlined “Kansas Won’t Let Me Train Math Teachers Because I Boycott Israel,” saying:

“Because of my political views, the state of Kansas has decided that I can’t help it train other math teachers.”

“I was chosen last spring to participate in a program that trains public school math teachers all over Kansas. After completing a two-day preparation course in May, I was ready to take on the role.”

As a Mennonite Church USA member concerned about human rights, notably longstanding abusive Israeli practices against Palestinians, she won’t buy products made by Israeli companies or from businesses profiting from its ruthlessness.

She’s inspired by how activism helped end South African apartheid, wanting to help the Palestinian liberation struggle.

Last summer, a Kansas State Department of Education email said to participate in its math training program, she’s required “to sign a certification stating that I don’t boycott Israel,” she said.

She was “stunned,” refusing to sign “as a matter of conscience.” Asking if she could still participate in the state’s training program, she was told she could not.

She’s challenging the decision with ACLU help, a federal lawsuit filed on her behalf. A public school math teacher for nine years, she’s trained to teach others how to teach her discipline.

“The lawsuit argues that the Kansas law violates the First Amendment for several reasons,” said the ACLU:

“(I)t compels speech regarding protected political beliefs, associations, and expression; restricts the political expression and association of government contractors; and discriminates against protected expression based on its content and viewpoint.”

The suit calls for striking down the Kansas law and barring its Department of Education from requiring contractor/teachers like Koontz from certifying no support for BDS activism.

The First Amendment protects the right to boycott, upheld by Supreme Court rulings. American Revolution supporters boycotted British goods.

Colonists refused to obey the UK Stamp Act. They boycotted British goods in protest. Shop owners signed non-importation agreements. They rejected taxation without representation.

America’s first Supreme Court chief justice John Jay boycotted New York merchants engaged in the slave trade.

The mid-1950s Montgomery bus boycott was a major turning point in the struggle for civil rights. Nationwide anti-war protests in the 1960s and early 70s helped end the Vietnam war.

Boycotts and protests are an American tradition – at risk by extremist governance wanting them curtailed or abolished.

The First Amendment protects these rights. Denying them puts all others at risk.

No federal, state or local authority can legally curtail or prevent free expression in all its forms. Nor is requiring individuals indicate their political beliefs a prerequisite for employment.

If justice is to be served, Koontz will prevail in court, including the Supreme Court if her case goes that far, the unconstitutional Kansas law annulled.

Zionism: The Ideological Cover-Up to Jewish Supremacy

Zionism: The Ideological Cover-Up to Jewish Supremacy

(Photo: Anne Paq, ActiveStills.org, file)

The benign-sounding term “settler” or “settlement” is used so often in the news without reference to Jewish colonization of Palestine that the world often loses sight of the immoral nature of the Zionist project in Palestine. The term is used to describe Jews moving illegally to the West Bank, and commandeering land that belongs to Palestinians. Waves of Jews moving to Israel are no longer called colonists or even settlers in the news media, but rather immigrants.

Palestine is the only and last active act of settler colonialism. Since the creation of the UN, “more than 80 former colonies [including several in the Arab world] comprising some 750 million people have gained independence since the creation of the United Nations.”

Why the exception in the case of Palestine? Because the ideological driving force behind the process, Zionism, is the most virulently and insidiously powerful force on the planet. Over the course of the past one hundred years — i.e., since the Balfour Declaration, Zionism has successfully manipulated imperial powers, first Britain and now the United States, and also instrumentalized Christianity, as well as Judiasm, to serve its political purpose.

As John Berger put it: “Certain voices across the world are raised in protest [against the Jewish state]. But the governments of the rich, with their world media and their proud possession of nuclear weapons, reassure Israel that a blind eye will be cast on what its soldiers are perpetrating.”

Colonialism justifiably has a bad name. When Third World Quarterly published an article titled “The Case for Colonialism”, voices rose sharply demanding “retraction, to fire the journal editors, even to fire author and to revoke his PhD.” In that piece, Bruce Gilley argues controversially that Western colonialism was, “as a general rule, both objectively beneficial and subjectively legitimate in most of the places where it was found.”

Because of the moral questions raised by Western colonialism, the truth about the colonial nature of the Zionist project in Palestine has long been suppressed — consider, for example, the repulsion generated when a course was proposed at UC Berkeley titled “Palestine: A Settler Colonial Analysis”.

But despite the strong veil of Zionist hasbara that shielded the moral degeneracy of Zionism from view, the paradigm of Israel as a settler-colonial project did gain traction. When that happened, the attitude among pro-Israel and Zionist voices took on the same point of view as that expressed in the Third World Quarterly article.

“Settler colonialism conveys an unarguable sense of delegitimization, racial exclusion and financial exploitation”, wrote Arnon Degani in a September 2016 Haaretz opinion piece, titled: “Israel Is a Settler Colonial State — and That’s OK.”

“…arguing for the comparability of Israeli history to that of the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, pulls the rug from under the agenda of singling out Zionism and its deeds as particularly evil… Israel, though, is probably heading more towards an arrangement similar to that of South African settler colonialism: a consolidation into a democratic republic in which the Whites are recognized as sons of the land and yet still enjoy many of the privileges they accumulated during Apartheid. In Israel, from the left (Haaretz’s own Gideon Levy and Rogel Alpher) and right (President Reuven Rubi Rivilin, MK Yehuda Glick), there is growing sentiment in favor of pursuing this particular one state settler colonial road.”

The case being made here by Degani and his ilk is that Israeli Jews will still come out on top if Israel pursues the “one state settler colonial road”. They will be recognized as “sons of the land”, just as white settlers are in the US or Canada, etc. have been, and “yet still enjoy many of the privileges they accumulated during Apartheid.” Clearly, this is a contention filtered through a Jewish supremacist ideology that is dismissive of the human rights of non-Jews.

BDS, on the other hand, is aimed at ending the three-tiered regime of injustice that has ruined Palestinian society since the creation of the state of Israel in 1948: 1) the military occupation and colonization of the Palestinian — and other Arab — territory occupied by Israel in 1967; 2) the system of institutionalized and legalized racism within Israel against non-Jews, and 3) the persistent denial of the internationally-sanctioned rights of the Palestine refugees, especially their right to return to their homes of origin and to reparations.

As Omar Barghouti observes, “Moral reconciliation between conflicting communities is impossible if the essence of the oppressive relationship between them is sustained.” And, in the case of Palestine, not even recognized.

And as long as the fundamental racism and moral blindness of Zionism continues to be obscured – as in negative references to “right-wing Zionism” rather than to plain Zionism or Jewish supremacy – the monumental ideological cover-up to Israel’s crimes against Palestinians will endure.

 – Rima Najjar is a Palestinian whose father’s side of the family comes from the forcibly depopulated village of Lifta on the western outskirts of Jerusalem. She is an activist, researcher and retired professor of English literature, Al-Quds University, occupied West Bank. She contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com. 

Renowned Israeli Doctor, Ruchama Marton Backs #BDS

Renowned Israeli Doctor, Ruchama Marton Backs BDS

Dr. Ruchama Marton (Photo: via Twitter)

A renowned Israeli doctor and human rights activist has issued an impassioned defence of the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, saying a boycott is essential for confronting “occupation and apartheid”.

Writing in Israeli newspaper Haaretz on Tuesday, Dr. Ruchama Marton, the founder and president of Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, rebutted criticisms of BDS, which she defended as “the only nonviolent lever that can cause Jewish-Israeli society to feel the yoke and pain of the occupation”.

Rather than paying “lip service” to “peace” – something no one opposes – Marton argues that the “present question is the question of occupation and apartheid”, and “the correct struggle…is the anti-colonial and anti-apartheid struggle”.

She adds: “Whoever deludes themselves that they can win this battle without help from the outside holds a mistaken, dangerous illusion, based on Zionist-Israeli macho pride”.

In answer to the claim that boycotting Israel would “drive the entire Israeli public into the arms of the settlers”, Marton suggested a different analysis.

“If the occupation and apartheid lead to economic, cultural and diplomatic suffering because of an international boycott, it is very possible that a change will occur in Israel’s worldview, which is based on one hand on the enormous benefit to the country and its Jewish citizens from the occupation and separation, and on the other hand the cowardice of what is called the Israeli left, or peace camp”.

Marton served in the Israeli army’s Givati Brigade during the 1956 Sinai War, before going on to attend medical school. In her professional life, Marton has worked as a senior psychiatrist and taught at Tel Aviv University.

Marton compared Jewish Israelis who oppose BDS and “think it is possible to change from within” to “the parable of the rabbit who wanted to change the lion from within. So the lion ate him”.

“To change from within today is an illusion, the radical left cannot think and act in such a way”.

In 1988, Marton co-founded the Association of Israeli-Palestinian Physicians for Human Rights, now known as Physicians for Human Rights-Israel. She is also a co-founder of The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, as well as having been active in a number of other issues.

%d bloggers like this: