"Boycott Israel"- An interesting article written by Israeli, Neve Gordon

Interesting article.
I unfortunatly find myself feeling alienated from the Israeli government, and am sad that the apathy of the Israeli government leaves Israelies, Palestinians and the international community no choice but to boycott.

I personally want to boycott items made in the Occupied Territories, but I understand why some would want to boycott all of goods made in Israel (since some products which are produced in the Occupied West Bank that are sold in the US and Europe will just say "made in Israel" instead of "made in the West Bank;" other friends and colleagues that I know want to boycott anything made in Israel-- regardless of whether it was made within the Green Line or the Occupied Territories, since they feel that they do not want to buy anything that will in turn support the Israeli government).

I understand that people here may disagree with me and/or this article, and that's fine.
Everyone is intitled to their own opinion, and should by no means, feel compelled to conform to other peopels' viewpoints.

"Boycott Israel"

An Israeli comes to the painful conclusion that it's the only way to save his country

by Neve Gordon

Israeli newspapers this summer are filled with angry articles about the push for an international boycott of Israel. Films have been withdrawn from Israeli film festivals, Leonard Cohen is under fire around the world for his decision to perform in Tel Aviv, and Oxfam has severed ties with a celebrity spokesperson, a British actress who also endorses cosmetics produced in the occupied territories. Clearly, the campaign to use the kind of tactics that helped put an end to the practice of apartheid in South Africa is gaining many followers around the world.

Not surprisingly, many Israelis -- even peaceniks -- aren't signing on. A global boycott can't help but contain echoes of anti-Semitism. It also brings up questions of a double standard (why not boycott China for its egregious violations of human rights?) and the seemingly contradictory position of approving a boycott of one's own nation.

It is indeed not a simple matter for me as an Israeli citizen to call on foreign governments, regional authorities, international social movements, faith-based organizations, unions and citizens to suspend cooperation with Israel. But today, as I watch my two boys playing in the yard, I am convinced that it is the only way that Israel can be saved from itself.

I say this because Israel has reached a historic crossroads, and times of crisis call for dramatic measures. 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.

The question that keeps me up at night, both as a parent and as a citizen, is how to ensure that my two children as well as the children of my Palestinian neighbors do not grow up in an apartheid regime.

There are only two moral ways of achieving this goal.

The first is the one-state solution: offering citizenship to all Palestinians and thus establishing a bi-national democracy within the entire area controlled by Israel. Given the demographics, this would amount to the demise of Israel as a Jewish state; for most Israeli Jews, it is anathema.

The second means of ending our apartheid is through the two-state solution, which entails Israel's withdrawal to the pre-1967 borders (with possible one-for-one land swaps), the division of Jerusalem, and a recognition of the Palestinian right of return with the stipulation that only a limited number of the 4.5 million Palestinian refugees would be allowed to return to Israel, while the rest can return to the new Palestinian state.

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.

So if the two-state solution is the way to stop the apartheid state, then how does one achieve this goal?

I am convinced that outside pressure is the only answer. Over the last three decades, Jewish settlers in the occupied territories have dramatically increased their numbers. The myth of the united Jerusalem has led to the creation of an apartheid city where Palestinians aren't citizens and lack basic services. The Israeli peace camp has gradually dwindled so that today it is almost nonexistent, and Israeli politics are moving more and more to the extreme right.

It is therefore clear to me that the only way to counter the apartheid trend in Israel is through massive international pressure. The words and condemnations from the Obama administration and the European Union have yielded no results, not even a settlement freeze, let alone a decision to withdraw from the occupied territories.

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 organizations from all over the world formulated the 10-point Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions 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 in order to draw attention to the occupation are welcome, while those who just want to perform are not.

Nothing else has worked. Putting massive international pressure on Israel is the only way to guarantee that the next generation of Israelis and Palestinians -- my two boys included -- does not grow up in an apartheid regime.

Neve Gordon is the author of "Israel's Occupation" and teaches politics at Ben-Gurion University in Beersheba, Israel.

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Hi Basil.

Thanks for your response.

I am interested to hear why you are against the boycott.
I find this interesting, since several Palestinian groups that I know are adamant towards boycotting Israel as whole (including musicians, singers, artists etc., just because they are from Israel, and thereby must be representing an apartheid state-- or at least want a boycott of the occupied Terrirtories, which I agree with, but I don't agree with a complete boycott Israel-- I feel that Israeli culture should not be confused with the crimes of the Israeli government, and those that are responsible for the oppression of the Palestinians).

However, your opinion tells me that not all Palestinians want a 100 % boycott of Israel, and that the viewpoints are very varied.

It shows that opinions on each side are not "black and white" as they say.
Also Basil, I find it interesting how you bring bring up the anti-semitism against the Palestinians. If you think about it, both Palestinians and Jews are semites, and in a nutshell, the conflict literally leads down to brothers killing brothers.

As for when you say "People can talk about anti-Semitism until they are blue in the face," I am a little critical of this. Yes, I think it is ok to be critical of the Israeli government, and boycott and do whatever you like.
But there is a fine line that one crosses with the criticism of Israel crimes.
For example, during the war in Gaza last January, I knew this one girl who went to my school, went on vacation to Spain during the same time frame. She encountered several massive protests, and she said that there were several posters that had only the star of David (not the flag of Israel), and equating it to the Nazi symboL. As a Jewish person I find this to be offensive, and makes me feel intimidated about interacting in these activism activities, and it saddens me that this how people think.
A lot of my non-Jewish activist friends tell me "Don't worry. They're just confusing Zionism with all the Jews, and equate them to them." It's easier for my non-Jewish friends to say that, but as a Jew, this is something that I have to worry about, and a reality that I have to live by.
Hi Stephanie;

You wrote 'A lot of my non-Jewish activist friends tell me "Don't worry. They're just confusing Zionism with all the Jews, and equate them to them." It's easier for my non-Jewish friends to say that, but as a Jew, this is something that I have to worry about, and a reality that I have to live by.'

That in a nutshell is the issue why I think that the Muddle East is such a muddle. I think that some Muddle-East-related non-Jewish AND non-Palestinian ACTIVISTS are mainly just motivated latent or blatant Jew-hate.

And that is why I think that your "non-Jewish activist friends" are either misguided or are intellectually dishonest. Without knowing the people, I cannot assess their motives.

For me one sign of probable Jew-hate is when the person says (especially too often) something like "It is not antisemitic to recognise the plight of (and support) the Palestinian people". Now that simply is an obvious motherhood statement.

Some really cute ones add after that: "After all the Palestinians are Semites". Some such people really mean by that "I really hate Jews but not all Semitic people." This is their way of publicly acknowledging their Jew-hate without seeming to be doing so. I know several such people here in Sydney. I will of course not publish their names. :-)

My (motherhood) Facts:

  1. Anti-Zionism can be an ethical and moral philosophy that is not motivated by bigotry, though it often is motivated by bigotry.
  2. Recognising and feeling and demonstrating empathy or support for Palestinians can be and often is ethical and moral. Some people who do that though are simply motivated by Jew-hate.
Hi Paul.

So if I understand you correctly, you are saying that some people chose to be "anti-Israel" because they hate Jews, and this gives them a perfect oppurtunity to express it in what society calls a "socially acceptable" manner?

(I just want to make sure that I am interpreting you correctly. :) )
Yes! Especially the "the some of my best friends are Jewish" crowd.

Clearly, a person like you are, Stephanie, can readily be such a friend without intending to be such a friend..

There are not as many of those people as some Jews think, but far more such people than most people acknowledge.

There have been several and still are such people on this site too. That is a natural part of any dialogue process.
ok Awsome!
Glad that I understand where you are coming from! :)

I am really curious to know if the types of behaviors that I have mentioned are also prevalent in Australia.

I would be interested to know how people react when you openly tell them that you are Jewish

Stephanie asked "I would be interested to know how people react when you openly tell them that you are Jewish".

Eye, face, body, and spoken language responses vary.

  1. Those who are bigots often give some kind of sign. Some very naive ones have even responded saying something like: "Gee Paul! I did not know you were Jewish! If all Jews were like you, I'd like Jews!" The signs though are often more subtle: They range from patronising language to subtle displays of their discomfort.
  2. Those who are NOT bigots often just accept my being Jewish as just another fact.

Does the above tell you what you wanted to know?
is Israeli boycott on goods into Gaza helped?
Or was it strenghthening the extremists within Gaza?

I avoid product from Jewish WB settelments, but I do not boycott them. I do not seek to destroy this group, I wish Israel to make the decision to move them back home to within the territories of Israel enabling us to draw the needed border for the Palestinians state.

I do not think that israel is Aparthide state. Israel has issues with its Jewish centric identity as a democratic state, but Arabs freedom is highe and while force is used to control the Palestinians population in West Bank and Gaza there are no Aparthide laws.

I do not wish to paint our reality prityer then what it is, but this kind of actions just strengthen our extrmists and cause people of change and peace harder reality to work with. All this talk about Boycott is just a way to make a newsline, but in practice it do not serve the Arabs in Palestinine and in Israel.

I do not think that the Apartheid ended because of the Boycott, I see this as outcome of more complex power and development within the South Africa people.

The Boycott on south Africa harmed the black people as boycott on Israel harm Arab Israelis and palestinians. the people who seek boycott thinking to prove their claim that Israel treats Arabs as white Afrikaners treated blacks, which far from our reality,

Israeli settlement power come from the ethno-centric identity of the Jews, and from the threat people experience from the conflict. the more you attack Israel the more you strengthen the extremists settlers ... same as it work within the Palestinian society, you attack Gaza and all the WB is identify with Hamas.

from my experience from within, with many Arabs from different ages I know it is not South Africa nor it is South USA of the 50s. No Arab is asked to be separated on the bus no sign is up to say that this is Jew only or Arab only. The conflict influence all of us for sure, and it influence relationship, but I had Arab neighbors in the same building I live and this is not special case.

We need to recognize that there is a conflict, but Arabs are elected to the Kneset and politically organize themselves. we have some time violence, but it is not a KKK or that kind of organization.

This is a very lame excuse of an article by self hating people that cannot recognize others who think differently than they do. Frankly the easiest way is to just simply revoke their citizenship and send them to the countries that pay their way so that they can have a "moral position" on Israel. Israel, just like the USA is a Democracy that does not need pseudo Jews telling the majority their thought process,

Throughout history we had these. the Hellenists are a good example of what damage they can do to the Jewish people "Humanist" Jews are the cause of more Jewish people murdered than any other war or individual both in the Middle East and in Europe and I am including the Bolshevik Revolution and the Holocaust.

There are many sites that show who Neve Gordon really is.

"Who is Neve Gordon?

Neve Gordon is a radical Israeli professor at Ben Gurion University who has made a career out of vilifying Israel. Marginalized in Israel as an extremist, he peddles his biased anti-Israel ideology in such agenda-driven outlets as the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, Palestine Chronicle, and Counterpunch. He accuses Israel of being fascist, apartheid, and a terrorist state. On the other hand, while stopping short of condoning Palestinian terrorism against Israel, he justifies it as a reaction to Israel's "occupation."

At the height of the second Intifada, shortly after two reservists were brutally lynched by a Palestinian mob after unwittingly straying into Ramallah, Gordon (together with Yigal Bronner) wrote a letter to Ha'aretz blaming the failure of the Camp David negotiations — and the subsequent Palestinian violence — on Israel. Defending Arafat's rejection of Israel's vast concessions, the writers argued the Israeli government understands only force. And in March 2002, when Israel was suffering from a wave of Palestinian suicide attacks and unprecedented terrorism, Neve Gordon was working with Palestinians to dismantle Israeli roadblocks meant to keep attackers out of Israeli cities.

He supports and defends Holocaust minimizer and Hezbollah supporter Norman Finkelstein. "

Excellent rebuttals by the Education Minister. US Jews and the University.Jews are fighting back against this bigoted self hater

Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar on Sunday denounced an Israeli academic who published an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times in which he called for an boycott of Israel for being an "apartheid" state.

Sa'ar deemed the article by Dr. Neve Gordon, a political science lecturer from Ben-Gurion University, is "repugnant and deplorable."

Veteran left-wing activist Gordon wrote in the op-ed published on Friday that Israel today could most accurately be described as an "apartheid state."
"3.5 million Palestinians and almost half a million Jews live in the areas Israel occupied in 1967," Gordon wrote, "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."

"It is indeed not a simple matter for me as an Israeli citizen to call to suspend cooperation with Israel," he further wrote. "The words and condemnations from the Obama administration and the European Union have yielded no results, not even a settlement freeze, let alone a decision to withdraw from the occupied territories."

Gordon came to the public spotlight in 2002, during Israel's assault on the Palestinian Authority, as one of the Israelis who stayed with Yasser Arafat in his compound. In 2003, he was a vocal critic of Paratroopers Brigadier Col. Aviv Kochavi.

Israel's Consul-General in Los Angeles, Yaakov Dayan sent a letter of response to the president of Ben-Gurion University, Prof. Rivka Carmi, in which he said the statements made by Gordon could be potentially damaging to the university.

"Since the article was published, I've been contacted by people who care for Israel; some of them are benefactors of Ben-Gurion University," Dayan wrote. "They were unanimous in threatening to withhold their donations to your institution. My attempt to explain that one bad apple would affect hundreds of researchers turned out to be futile."

"I believe that the definitive answer to anti-Zionist lecturers like Gordon is to set up a center for Zionist studies, which unfortunately does not exist in Israeli academia," he continued. "This center would help dispel the lies disseminated by Gordon in the name of your university."

The Ben-Gurion University management in turn denounced Gordon's views.

"We are appalled by Dr. Neve Gordon's irresponsible remarks, that morally deserve to be completely and utterly condemned," Prof. Carmi said. "We disapprove of Gordon's disastrous views and reject his cynical exploitation of the freedom of speech in Israel and the university."

"This vile and audacious criticism of the state of Israel damages the excellent academic work being done in Israel and its universities," she also said. "Academics with such feelings about their country are welcome to look for another home, whether personal or professional."



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