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September 23, 2014 / 28 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Boycott’

PA Arabs May Have to Go Hungry and Naked to Boycott Israel

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

Israel’s Fox clothing store chain plans to open a branch in Ramallah, the heart of the Palestinian Authority, may put a feather in the cap of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s economic hopes for the PA but also may unwittingly kill Kerry’s “peace process” efforts.

It also might bring Arabs and Jews closer to peace.

As reported on Monday, Palestinian Authority activists are outraged over the idea of Fox moving into Ramallah because it has committed the ultimate sin of operating stores in Jewish areas in Judea and Samaria.

Fox spokesperson Merav Stav said that the Ramallah store will be run by a PA franchise owner, but that does not calm those who want a boycott of any Israeli firm that deals with Jews in Judea and Samaria.

“The public rejects the opening of the Zionist clothing chain in Ramallah,” wrote one activist on an Internet site.

The news of Fox’s expansion into Ramallah has reached around the world, from Europe to China as well as the United States.

Fox runs 135 stores in Israel and another 245 outside the country, and CEO Harel Wizel plans another 60 branches in two years.

Large billboards already are posted in Ramallah to advertise the new store to be opened later this year.

Fox’s plans are an untended slap in the face of the European Union, which last week declared a boycott of any firm that has operations in Judea and Samaria, the Golan Heights and areas of Jerusalem that were occupied by Jordan before 1967.

Now we will see if the EU is prepared to put an “x” on Fox’s stores in Europe.

The world already has learned that boycotting all of Israel does not work, unless the idealists want to give up their computers with made-in-Israel Intel chips, generic drugs and the Copaxone drug against Muscular Sclerosis made by Teva Pharmaceuticals, Waze, and all sorts of high-tech gadgets.

But there is a bigger problem for Arabs in the Palestinian Authority who promote the boycott of “anyone who deals with “settlers,” except, perhaps, terrorists who do their best to end the need for a boycott by trying to put an end to Jews living there.

There are businesses besides Fox that serve Arabs in the Palestinian Authority, even if not in Arab-dominated cities.

Rami Levi’s supermarkets chains employ hundreds of Arabs and serves thousands of them in his stores in Judea and Samaria as well as in areas of Jerusalem claimed by chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

And Israel’s Burger Ranch franchise owner Eli Orgad already has announced he will open a branch in Ariel, in central Samaria, next year, where nearby Arabs undoubtedly will be shopping.

The mall is being developed by none other than Rami Levy.

Jobs and comfortable shipping are not worth the misery of having to enjoy a decent life that also helps the profits of Israelis “supporting the occupation.” In the blind eyes of hard-core activists.

It “inconceivable that while the Europeans have decided to boycott settler products, Palestinians are helping an Israeli company do business in Ramallah,” Palestinian Authority activist Zeid al-Shuaibi told the Jerusalem Post this week.

Without the Jews, either by war or through Kerry’s peace process, the PA would be left without the economic engine that has kept the Palestinian Authority alive.

If the boycotters want to be honest, they should be avoiding Osem cookies, Elite chocolates and coffee, Tnuva milk products and Strauss ice cream, because all of those products are sold in stores operated by those pesky “settlers.”

With Fox’s entry into Ramallah, PA activists, the International Solidarity Movement’s paid protesters living in Judea and Samaria, and European Union officials are welcome to stand fast and back the boycott, do without Fox clothes and stick to a diet of Arab-made pita.

Fox, Rami Levi and Orgad are making mincemeat out of the idea of the PA ideology of an Arab apartheid state.

When Kerry eventually realizes that the Arab leaders are not interested in any peace process, the Palestinian Authority likely will return to where it was before the days of the Intifada in the late 1980s, when Jews shopped freely in Gaza and hired Arabs, when Jews toured and shopped in Arab villages in Judea and Samaria, and when peace never was closer.

Hitting Back: Israel Threatens EU Prestige and Success with Pullout

Thursday, July 18th, 2013

In response to the EU directive that attacked Israel’s sovereign rights and claims over the land of Israel, Israel has taken its first retaliatory step.

According to a report in Ma’ariv, Israel has threatened to pull out of the EU’s massive science and technology project, “Horizon 2020″.

Israel is the only non-European full partner in the project, and is supposed to invest 600 million Euro (785 million US dollars) in the project over 7 years.

Besides the financial hit the EU project would take as a result, the move would be a serious blow to the project’s prestige and success. Israel is a central partner in the projects that Horizon 2020 undertakes, and part of these project’s successes are dependent on Israeli human resources and research.

When announcing their anti-Israeli directive, the EU thought they had Israel over the barrel, but the EU overestimated their power, as Israel clearly has plenty of powerful ammunition it can fire back in return.


How the EU Will Reverse Itself, in Three Easy Steps

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

Yesterday’s announcement by the European Union, to block funding to any organization that has direct or indirect ties over the Green Line (Jerusalem, Golan, Judea and Samaria), unless they are a leftwing organization, has shocked Israel.

The overt anti-Semitism, the transparent politicization, and the blatant chutzpa took Israel by surprise. Worse, at first it felt as if Israel were trapped in a corner with no options to respond.

But reality is different.

The EU is in bad shape. It has economic problems, social problems, and credibility problems.

With its most recent action, the EU overplayed its hand, not considering the backlash the decision could cause.

Some responses Israel may choose would hurt the EU quite a bit.

THE PEACE PROCESS

In March 2012, following a UN attack on Israel that went too far, Israel announced a boycott of the UN Human Rights Council, declaring it a “superfluous and extravagant body” that Israel would have no connection to anymore.

This caused an earthquake in the UN, and it still threatens to destroy the credibility and legitimacy of the council.

Most importantly, Israel’s declaration has forced the HRC to take clear steps to correct itself.

The first action Israel must take here as well is the most obvious one: the EU craves legitimacy on the international stage. With wildcat strikes hitting Greece, Spain, and Portugal, to name but three ailing EU members, the organization must prove it is relevant and credible.

Israel should expel the EU from the Peace Process.

Israel should declare—something Prime Minister Netanyahu was hinting at in his Tuesday night statement—that the EU and all its member states will no longer be considered honest brokers, and no Israeli official will meet with them on any issue related to the Peace Process. It only takes a simple statement, and it will be enough to cause them to capitulate.

Any member state wishing to be included in the peace process must sign a statement that the territories of east Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and the Golan Heights are in dispute and their fate will be determined through direct negotiations. It must also commit to disregarding the EU directive regarding those same territories.

Be firm and consistent – they will fold.

Israel is an important trade partner with Europe, and its third largest trade partner in the region following the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Israel buys from Europe more than it sells. A retaliatory trade war and boycott in response to their expulsion from the Peace Process would hurt the already flailing European economy, it’s the last thing they want, and not a step they would take in response.

DIVIDE AND CONQUOR

Next Israel must immediately pass the Foreign Agents Act, with an additional stipulation.

As the EU’s declaration makes it clear that they will now only be financially supporting NGOs on the far left, Israel must make it clear that any NGOs receiving EU funding are de facto foreign agents. These NGOs fund raising will be curtailed, their access to Israeli government officials would be restricted, and their entry into the Knesset will be forbidden.

Watch the left wing NGOs quietly pressuring the EU to back off their directive.

All it takes is a firm conviction on our part.

REPLACEMENT THERAPY

The third step is financial.

The EU invested close to 1 billion dollars in research grants and investments, some of which could now be lost.

Israel should approach private, patriotic wealthy Jews — Sheldon Adelson, who put his money where his mouth was this past U.S. election, comes to mind — to pick up the slack. In return, those who invest in Israeli research will reap the benefits in royalties, shared patent ownership and so on. They could stand to make a lot of money.

Stand your ground, don’t blink, they’ll blink first.

On Israel’s President’s Conference

Sunday, June 9th, 2013

 I would, in retaliation, host Saudi Arabia, Iran and Pakistan “Apartheid Weeks.” Stephen Hawking has, apparently, no issues speaking in China and Iran, two countries with appalling human rights records. No one speaks about BDS of Saudi Arabia, where the list of human rights violations is endless. Where were their voices? Or Pakistan, with religious minorities facing persecution and violence against women? No one asked me to cancel my trip to Pakistan.

Recently I received an email from “a Palestinian in Vancouver,” in Canada, asking me to boycott Israel’s annual Presidential Conference, “Facing Tomorrow,” soon in Jerusalem, where I have been invited to speak.

The request for my boycott citied as reasons Israel’s human rights violations and mentioned that as Stephen Hawking boycotted the conference, perhaps I should, as well.

My response to my Palestinian friend is that the first time I was invited to speak at this conference three years ago, I went, hesitantly, not knowing what it was all about. I was so enthused by both my visit to Israel and the conference that I wrote extensively about the experience on my blog, and later named my own Not-for-Profit Organization “Muslims Facing Tomorrow” with an idea that one day, I would host a similar conference about ideas and a vision for a better tomorrow.

Upon my return, I praised the country and the people, but many of my Muslim friends were not interested in knowing these details. They only asked, “Were there any Palestinians at the conference and was the Israel-Palestinian issue discussed?” I was happy to respond that yes, there were Palestinians at the conference; I had even brought home a book on Islam from one of the Palestinian speakers there.

About human rights violations: granted that Israel, like every other country, has violations — but far fewer than those of the countries surrounding it. Israel is still the only liberal democracy in the area where one can find gender equality and freedom for its citizens. During my visits to Israel, I have, in fact, questioned Israeli Arabs and found that they are loath to leave the country where they enjoy freedom and human rights.

As I am accredited to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, where I attend its sessions twice a year, I have a close connection with human rights. At the UNHRC, I hear a lot about humanitarian crises, and these do not include Israel. The OIC (Organization of Islamic Co-operation), for instance, – a group of 57 Arab and Muslim States which has a permanent delegation to the United Nations and is the largest international organization outside the United Nations — continuously slams and blames Israel for everything happening in the Arab and Muslim world and beyond. This incrimination of Israel has become the norm, and can be seen as a ruse to deflect or move focus away from the real problems besetting the Arab world.

BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) against Israel is also not a new movement, but has taken on a life of its own at academic institutions all over North America. This movement has led to “Israel Apartheid Week” events, ugly and nonsensical, at many universities. If I were a student, I would, in retaliation, host Saudi Arabia, Iran and Pakistan “Apartheid Weeks.” But I know that is not the solution to the problems besetting these countries, and the crux of the issue is how freedom of speech can become the fine line between hate mongering and truth.

This incrimination also highlights the double standards held by academics such as Stephen Hawking: he had no issues, apparently, speaking in China and Iran, two countries that have appalling human rights records. But that is his problem.

My problem is that I am from Pakistan, a country where the word human rights has no meaning or recognition whatsoever. According to the Human Rights Watch World Report on Pakistan for 2012, Pakistan had a disastrous year — including increasing attacks on civilians by militant groups, religious minorities facing unprecedented insecurity and persecution, and where freedom of belief and expression are coming under severe threat as the presence of Islamists has grown by leaps and bounds. This does not even begin to address violations against women. The Aurat Foundation, a local women’s rights group in Pakistan, says the number of incidents of violence against women in Pakistan has increased at least seven percent over the past year.

Germany in Lockstep with EU on Labeling ‘Settlement’ Imports

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

The deputy prime minister and foreign affairs minister of the Republic of Ireland Eamon Gilmore declared in early May that goods from “Israeli settlements in the West Bank” should be treated as illegal. The Labor Party politician declared that Ireland would strongly support a European Union initiative to label exports from Israeli producers in the Palestinian state to give consumers the choice of whether they want to buy them. He said this was “in effect” like boycotting the goods.

Now, according to Israel’s Army Radio, Germany, too, has thrown its support in favor of the labeling plan. An official German government document states that “products should be labeled ‘Made in Israel’ only if they are manufactured within the 1967 borders.”

Deputy Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin, who’s the de facto foreign minister until MK Avigdor Liberman is done with his court case, told the Army radio: “We will fight. We will deal with this phenomenon,” reminding listeners that “at one time, the UN decided that Zionism is racism — but we didn’t say that that was a lost cause.”

This might mean that Elkin already knows it’s a done deal, and that everything coming out of Judea and Samaria will be receiving the seal of condemnation.

Goods produced in Judea and Samaria are not eligible for the same preferential tariffs enjoyed by Israeli exports to the EU. According to 2012 World Bank figures, the EU imports $300 million worth of goods a year from Israeli settlements, roughly 15 times more than from the Palestinians. But that’s where things become interesting:

It turns out the goods coming out of Jewish settlements, provide wages to local Arabs, who earn more working for the “damnable” Jews than they could average working for an Arab business.

The Israel-based corporation SodaStream, which produces a home beverage carbonation system, has 13 production facilities worldwide, three of which are located in Israel and the dreaded “West Bank,” employing 1,100 people as of 2012.

SodaStream’s principal manufacturing facility is located in Mishor Adumim – the industrial area of the Judea town of Maale Adumim. This factory employs some 900 Arabs, half of whom live in the Palestinian Authority, from Jericho to Ramallah, the other half are residents of annexed East Jerusalem.

So that, when the EU, in its attempt to help the Arabs living in the PA, is making it tougher for SodaStream products to sell in Europe – who suffers? That’s right, the Arabs living in the PA.

Would Hawking Meet Paraplegic Arab Saved by Israel?

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

Columnist David Suissa, the founder of OLAM magazine, has challenged theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking to visit a three-year old Gaza paraplegic who is being cared for by Israel.

Hawking shocked the entire Israel political spectrum, from left to right, by his boycotting President Shimon Peres annual “Presidential Conference’ because of the “occupation.”

Hawking who is severely handicapped by a deteriorating disease and is confined to a wheelchair, is able to communicate through a device that is run by a computer chip designed and developed in Israel.

“Instead of getting upset at Hawking, I would rather we invite him to visit the Edmond and Lily Safra Children’s Hospital, part of the Tel HaShomer complex in the Israeli city of Ramat Gan, Suissa wrote in the Los Angeles Jewish Journal.

There, he would meet a three-year-old Arab toddler with no arms and no legs, named Mohammed al-Farra.

“Mohammed was born in Gaza with a rare genetic disease. His parents abandoned him, and the Palestinian government refused to pay for his care.

“As soon as he was born, he was rushed to Israel for emergency treatment. As reported in Huffpost, his genetic disorder left him with a weakened immune system and crippled his bowels, and an infection destroyed his hands and feet, requiring them to be amputated.

“Since then, he has spent his days and nights in an Israeli hospital undergoing treatment and learning how to use prosthetic limbs. His grandfather lives with him. Mohammed has been warmly embraced and cared for by his Israeli doctors, who have arranged for him and his grandfather to live in the sunny pediatric ward.”

Suissa asked, “I wonder what kind of boycott Hawking would have in mind after meeting little Mohammed, and after learning about the thousands of other Arab children from the West Bank and Gaza who are routinely cared for in Israeli hospitals?

“Well, I can think of at least one: It would be a boycott of every country in the world that neglects to care for disabled children like Steven Hawking and Mohammed al-Farra.”

Hawking Rejects the Zionism of Einstein

Monday, May 13th, 2013

Has Stephen Hawking really left the company of Albert Einstein, an avowed Zionist who worked to create the State of Israel, and replaced him with the august company of Elvis Costello and other Israel boycotters?

I hosted Hawking for a lecture at Oxford in 1998 where I introduced him to 1000 Oxford students. He could not have been more humble and approachable. Aside from his lecture, delivered through his voice synthesizer, on string theory – little of which I understood but which my students assured me was “brilliant” – I remember his love of babies and practical jokes. Our daughter Rochel Leah had just been born and Hawking and his wife asked us if he could hold her. I can still picture in my mind how his wife took the baby, placed her on his lap, and then wrapped his enfeebled arms around the baby, which he stared at with a huge grin for minutes. He was enraptured.
After the lecture was over and as we walked Hawking to his car, he suddenly raced off in his wheelchair to Haagen-Dazs where he consumed an ice cream. His wife chuckled that he loved giving his hosts the slip as he indulged his childlike spirit.
All who heard and met him were deeply impressed with his humility and accessibility.
And now this, digging a knife publicly into Israel’s back.
Why would one of the world’s leading academic minds condemn the only democracy in the Middle East? Why would he attack a country, situated in a region of such deep misogyny, that celebrates women succeeding in every area of academic, professional, and political life? Why would Hawking pounce on a nation who, with neighbors like Hamas that routinely murder gays on false accusations of collaboration, grants homosexuals every equal right? And why would he condemn a country whose Arab citizens are the freest and least afraid in the entire Middle East?
Could it be because Israel has still not settled the status of the West Bank [Judea and Samaria -.ed]?
But if that is the case, surely Hawking knows that Israel has seen thousands of its citizens slaughtered in gruesome terror attacks ever since it granted autonomy to the Palestinian authority to control 97% of the Palestinian population?
Could it be because Israel has yet to facilitate the creation of a Palestinian state?
But then Hawking is a highly educated man and he knows that after Israel withdrew fully from Gaza – dismantling its communities and forcibly removing its settlers – that it lead to tens of thousands of rockets being fired at Israeli hospitals and schools. And besides, Israel has practically begged the Palestinians to come back to the negotiating table without any pre-conditions to discuss just that, the creation of a two-state solution, but the Palestinians have refused.
Perhaps its because Hawking believes the demonstrably false lie that Israel is an apartheid state. But then a scientist like Hawking would check facts before he would embrace such fraudulence and could easily discover that Arabs serve in the Israel Knesset – where they freely and regularly disagree with Israel – as well as the Israeli Supreme Court, the civil service, and every other area of Israeli life.
No, one must conclude that for all his academic brilliance Hawking might just be lacking in simple common sense.
In his statement embracing the boycott of the Jewish state, Hawking said, “I have received a number of emails from Palestinian academics. They are unanimous that I should respect the boycott. In view of this I must withdraw from the conference.”
One would think that Hawking’s response to these academics might be a call to, say, Hamas to start using the billions channeled to the Palestinians as the world’s largest per capita recipients of international foreign aid into building universities rather than buying bombs, or educating women rather than tacitly allowing the honor killings of young Palestinian women whose only crime is to have a boyfriend. No, Hawking decided instead to condemn the country whose scholars have won ten Nobel prizes, from a population of six million, while the entire Arab world, numbering in the hundreds of millions, have won two, outside the peace prize (another four).
Clearly, a knowledge of physics is no guarantor of a knowledge of foreign affairs.

Since Hawking is so often called the Einstein of his generation, it is worth reminding him that Einstein was a committed Zionist who traveled around the United States with Chain Weizmann to raise money for the creation of Hebrew University in Jerusalem, an institution that Hawking now refuses to even visit. In a 1921 letter to his friend Friedrich Zangger, Einstein wrote, “On Saturday I’m off to America – not to speak at universities (though there will probably be that, too, on the side) but rather to help in the founding of the Jewish University in Jerusalem. I feel an intense need to do something for this cause.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/america-rabbi-shmuley-boteach/hawking-rejects-the-zionism-of-einstein/2013/05/13/

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