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Posts Tagged ‘Anti Semitic’

The Real Purpose of Boycotts

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

Is the purpose of the calls for boycotts against Israel and its citizens a concern for the human rights or welfare of Palestinians, or actually a call ultimately to eliminate the state of Israel? If there were a real concern for the human rights of Palestinians, why are there not calls for a free Palestinian press, or for the release of journalists from Palestinian prisons, or for an end to the corruption in the Palestinian leadership?

Instead, these calls for boycott look suspiciously like a racist response to the existence of a Jewish state — as if most of its citizens were wearing a yellow Star-of-David in Nazi-like fashion, and deserved to be punished or eliminated. Even Noam Chomsky and Norman Finkelstein, well-known critics of Israel and pro-Palestinian activists, have characterized the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement against Israel as “hypocritical,” and run by individuals who falsely claim to represent the Palestinian people.

Whether the calls for boycott are the product of leftist anti-nationalist posturing, antisemitism, or simple ignorance, is a matter of judgment. In their disingenuous nature they are simplistic responses to complex, unresolved problems that ignore the distinctions between diverse kinds of activities and issues, such as the different territories and populations, or how “appropriately” to defend oneself in the face of continued aggression. If the advocates for boycott do wish for peace, what they are proposing is actually counterproductive: they create an atmosphere in which calls for boycott have been, and are, an obstacle to the start of negotiations between the parties, and in which adversarial positions only become hardened even further as threats are seen to increase. There seems to be a cognitive dissonance, an inability among the boycotters, to distinguish between facts and the spun perception of them; or perhaps there is an indifference to facts, or perhaps there is a reluctance to place any facts at all in the context of the real, ongoing relationship between the disputing parties.

Boycotts of Jews and Jewish interests by Arab groups go back almost a hundred years, and have become more prominent with the declaration in December, 1945, of the newly formed Arab League Council of 23 countries. The declaration stated that, “Jewish products and manufactured goods shall be considered undesirable to the Arab countries.” Hypocrisy was present from the start. The Arab states were less interested in helping Palestinian Arabs than in preventing Jewish products from entering their own countries and competing with them.

This boycott, administered by the Central Boycott Office in Damascus, attempted to isolate Israel economically as well as diplomatically, and did administer some temporary harm to the economy of Israel after the state was established in 1948. In addition to the Arab states, some non-Arab businesses, among them Pepsi, McDonald’s and most Japanese car companies, abided by the boycott, but it was more honored in the breach than in the observance.

Since the 1980s a number of Arab states, starting with Egypt, and with the exception of Syria, have abandoned the boycott, wholly or in part, unable to ignore the new world of globalization, international trade, and binding international trade agreements, particularly that of the World Trade Organization. As a result, Arab countries, both through legal channels and clandestinely through third parties, have been trading with Israeli companies in a considerable fashion, including in irrigation, security systems, and high-tech components, and have accepted Israeli investment.

The boycott is still technically in force by Arab countries, though often bypassed, ineffective and negligible. Its intended impact is now less in economic affairs than in becoming a major polemical weapon in the hands of those non-Arabs who are critical of, or want to condemn, Israel — purportedly because of their opposition of Israeli settlements and their unwillingness to believe that, to the adversaries of Israel, it is regarded as one big settlement.

People can understand the politically motivated logic of Arabs, inside Israel as well as outside, calling for a ban on products made in Israeli settlements, including Ahava Dead Sea health products, Beigel and Beigel pretzels, Super Drink soft drinks, Oppenheimer chocolates, fruits, vegetables, computers, and many other products. It is an illustration of democracy in Israel — and revealing about those who do not wish Israel well — that a major advocate of the boycott is Ahmad Tibi, the Arab-Israeli deputy speaker of the Knesset.

Meretz Chief’s Anti-Semitic, Anti-Brooklyn Slur Gets Pass from Media, ‘Anglos’ Are Enraged

Friday, April 20th, 2012

Earlier this week, Meretz Chairperson MK Zahava Gal-On had a severe case of hoof and mouth disease when, while speaking to the Army Radio, she said it would be intolerable for Israel’s future to be decided by a bunch of “Yehudonim from Brooklyn.”

“Yehudon” was accepted by early 20th Century Hebrew translators as a proper literary substitute for the Polish slur “Zhid.” Over the years, as the culture expanded and Palestinian and later Israeli Jews wished to express contempt for Diaspora Jews, “Yehudon” took its place in the living language in the context of a court Jew, a weakling Jew, a money-grubbing Jew – but from a very particular, Sabra, point of view.

Over time, the left in Israel began to use the term “Yehudon” to express their loathing for the ultra-Orthodox (settlers have been dubbed “Mitnachlon”), reawakening the original, anti-Semitic roots of the word.

At the same time, there have been references – especially in stormy online forums – where the right has been naming Israeli leftists “Yehudonim,” depicting them as gutless servants of the EU. The somewhat pathetic members of the Neturei Karta sect serving the Palestinian cause have been getting the Y-bomb from both sides.

Gal-on’s unfortunate use of the Y-word came during a discussion of new pending legislation, which the right is hoping to use in restraining Israel’s hyperactive high court. The current version requires a majority of 65 members of Knesset to overturn a Supreme Court decision. Gal-On was outraged.

First, on the eve of Yom HaShoah, she equated the possibility of a future right-wing majority overturning a Supreme Court decision with the Nazis’ method of wielding a thin, but oppressive parliamentary majority to enforce mob rule.

Then she really stepped in it.

“If 10 Knesset seats are enough to change how Israel decides whether to go to war with Iran or not, organized groups will come from Brooklyn and get the right to vote. All the decisions about life and death here, whether to evacuate the territories, whether to authorize outposts, those people sitting in New York or Brooklyn will decide for us?”

And here is where she kind of lost it: “Groups of Yehudonim…” and a quick fix, no apology: “Yehudim, organized in the Diaspora, will decide how we live here?” Gal-On proceeded, perhaps concerned that whatever she had said that day, right or wrong, would be ignored to make media room for the faux pas.

Israel’s mainstream media didn’t make much of the incident. Perhaps they were too busy destroying the career of an IDF officer who was caught on YouTube restraining a crowd of pro-Palestinian trespassers.

The Meretz MK was quick to come up with the conditional apology, the modern politician’s way of saying she did nothing wrong, but if anyone decides to feel hurt, she’s sorry for them. “I don’t know how it happened, and I corrected myself immediately,” she stated. “If somebody was hurt, I apologize. Don’t analyze this or start to give it any hidden meanings.”

A spokesperson for Yisrael Beytenu Anglos – supporters of Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman’s party – told The Jewish Press that it actually makes sense to try and assess those hidden meanings, because, as that renowned ‘Zhid’ psychiatrist Freud said, there’s no such thing as a coincidence.

“As Anglos in Israel we are outraged by Gal-On’s disgraceful comments. These type of comments should not pass without strong condemnation and we call for a complete retraction and full apology, especially when our friends and relatives in the Diaspora are disparaged in such an ugly manner. Furthermore, the lack of outrage by Gal-On’s ideological compatriots demonstrates the abject hypocrisy of those who constantly try and stifle the Nationalist Camp’s freedom of expression while ignoring the incitement amongst their own.

“In addition, her invocation of the Holocaust for political point-scoring is unacceptable and should not be part of acceptable discourse. These comments, taken as a whole, reflect very badly on Gal-On and her party and should be remedied immediately.”

Nevertheless, we hardly believe Gal-On’s poor offensive words would cost her even one vote among the readers of this website…

Yisrael Beytenu Anglos is the division of the Yisrael Beytenu party for the English-speaking community in Israel. Their Facebook page is www.facebook.com/beytenuenglish

It’s My Opinion: Protests And P.C.

Monday, December 5th, 2011

I am shocked by the response to the “Occupy” movements in cities all over the United States. “Occupy Miami” recently joined what seems to be a loosely connected fellowship, improvising a day-to-day agenda promoting negativity. The only unifying goal seems to be a hatred of America, work and soap.

Protestors come to a city. They pitch tents. They refuse to leave. They have relieved themselves on American flags and police cars. There are reports of rapes, theft and assaults. Anti-Semitic placards and diatribes have been seen and heard. And yet the group is treated with a strange deference, posing as heroes of free speech.

Contributions of food and money are sent to their camps. Astonishingly, they are treated by many as feisty freedom fighters. Our president speaks favorably about them.

Yes, our great country provides its citizens with freedom of expression. However, much of what is happening is not within the perimeters of legal activity. When defiance of police creates a standoff, the dissidents are shocked there is any repercussion. Their sense of entitlement is immense.

I am contrast my own experience as a Jewish activist with the seeming free reign of this group. The rallies and demonstrations that required a permit were very specific. The area we could occupy and the time we were allotted were spelled out. There was no leeway. We were aware that all other activities, including peaceful civil disobedience, would result in arrest.

The Tea Party is another example of an apparent double standard. It seems the movement has been saddled with a reputation that would be better put on the shoulders of a group that truly deserves it.

Not all protests are sincere attempts at justice. The “Occupiers” are not a righteous cause and their actions demean legitimate protest. America seems to have lost its common sense in an attempt at political correctness.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/community/south-florida/its-my-opinion-protests-and-p-c/2011/12/05/

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