Posted by: Lister | August 24, 2009

Neve Gordon — Boycott Israel

An article at the Guardian’s comment is free:

I say this as a Jew who has chosen to raise his children in Israel, who has been a member of the Israeli peace camp for almost 30 years and who is deeply anxious about the country’s future.

The most accurate way to describe Israel today is as an apartheid state. For more than 42 years, Israel has controlled the land between the Jordan Valley and the Mediterranean sea. Within this region about 6 million Jews and close to 5 million Palestinians reside. Out of this population, 3.5 million Palestinians and almost half a million Jews live in the areas Israel occupied in 1967, and yet while these two groups live in the same area, they are subjected to totally different legal systems. The Palestinians are stateless and lack many of the most basic human rights. By sharp contrast, all Jews – whether they live in the occupied territories or in Israel – are citizens of the state of Israel.

Gordan puts forward two options: a one-state solution or a two-state solution.

Geographically, the one-state solution appears much more feasible because Jews and Palestinians are already totally enmeshed; indeed, “on the ground,” the one-state solution (in an apartheid manifestation) is a reality. Ideologically, the two-state solution is more realistic because fewer than 1% of Jews and only a minority of Palestinians support binationalism.

For now, despite the concrete difficulties, it makes more sense to alter the geographic realities than the ideological ones. If at some future date the two peoples decide to share a state, they can do so, but currently this is not something they want.

But, he says, outside pressure is the only way to achieve the two-state solution. Hence his call for a boycott.

I consequently have decided to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement that was launched by Palestinian activists in July 2005 and has since garnered widespread support around the globe. The objective is to ensure that Israel respects its obligations under international law and that Palestinians are granted the right to self-determination.

In Bilbao, Spain, in 2008, a coalition of organisations from all over the world formulated the 10-point campaign meant to pressure Israel in a “gradual, sustainable manner that is sensitive to context and capacity”. For example, the effort begins with sanctions on and divestment from Israeli firms operating in the occupied territories, followed by actions against those that help sustain and reinforce the occupation in a visible manner. Along similar lines, artists who come to Israel to draw attention to the occupation are welcome, while those who just want to perform are not.

I prefer to call what happens in Israel, especially between Israel and the Occupied Territories, Hafrada.

Hafrada is worse than apartheid.

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