Posts Tagged boycott
Limmud Oz, the “festival of Jewish learning”, is taking place this weekend. As occurred last year, they are not permitting BDS-supporters to speak at the seminar.
AJDS have gotten on a high-horse as a result and are condemning the “censorship” taking place:
This culture of censorship within the Australian Jewish community is dangerous and only conveys the message that dissent will not be tolerated. This is a major freedom of speech issue for the Jewish community and the wider community concerned with a resolution of the Israel/Palestine conflict.”
For one thing, I think that there is a lot of merit in the argument that Limmud is doing AJDS’ job for them. Limmud works with Israelis and brings Israeli speakers to Australia, therefore technically the BDS supporters should not be participating anyway.
Of course that doesn’t stop them, because they only support boycotting Israel in its entirety when that doesn’t take away their soapbox.
Secondly, what is happening there is not censorship. Censorship is preventing someone from speaking or preventing a certain message from being heard. Not inviting someone to speak at your conference does not constitute “censoring” them.
AJDS are perfectly free to say whatever they want — in fact they do that, all the time.
It’s the same line of thinking used when people like AJDS complain that the mainstream media “censors” them. That is not the case — the reality of holding fringe views is that people probably will not want to listen to you. I sure as hell don’t, and I spend half of my life reading fringe views.
Crazies have a place, but that place is not in mainstream fora. Limmud is not censoring AJDS, it is exercising its discretion and determining that BDS not something that fits the Limmud mandate.
If AJDS are so upset, they should hold their own conference. Of course no one will go — but that’s kind of the point.
It goes something like this: “Jews boycotting other Jews is a disgrace! Jews who call for a boycott of settlements should not be welcomed into the Jewish community!” — ie, we should boycott them.
Apparently the internal inconsistency of this argument has not dawned on Mr Liebler.*
The editorial correctly expresses consternation that the South African government is creating an atmosphere in which bullying Israel is considered perfectly legitimate. Surely the Diaspora Jews who indulge in similar activities should likewise be fervently condemned for conducting hostile acts against their own kinsmen. The suggestion that the vast majority of committed Jews in the Diaspora, as well as Israelis, should welcome Jews calling for such boycotts into “the big tent” if their “motivation” is deemed to be “well intentioned,” is thus idiotic and unconscionable.
Friend of the blog Liam Getreu and I were having a private email conversation over Peter Beinart’s recent New York Times op-ed — and upcoming book — which calls for Jews to boycott West Bank settlements. The piece has been creating a huge stir on the old interwebs, with responses being thrown-around everywhere and a particularly amusing-yet-insightful Twitter debate going on between Beinart himself, Palestinian researcher Hussein Ibish and MK favourite Jeffrey Goldberg.
The conversation between me and Liam has partly gone public in a post on Liam’s blog. Naturally, I feel that I must also respond in public. Here goes nothing:
while Beinart’s suggestion of boycotts is, yes, aimed at changing settlers’ behaviour (which may have a degree of naivety, if we think it’s going to instantly deconstruct everything overnight), but it’s also about making a moral stand: I do not support the settlement enterprise, and I don’t want my money going to support it. That’s an entirely legitimate point of view.
… Of course a boycott isn’t going to end the occupation, but it will help to undermine the economy that many have going there. And Beinart’s suggestion, that the money you would otherwise spend on settlement products is instead spent on democratic Israel’s products (or, another suggestion, split between that and Palestinian businesses?), is a good one. Your purchasing behaviour may help change realities, in some small way.
Liam is correct in that boycotts can be a legitimate political tool and, for the record, I am also in favour of the Israeli government ending the ludicrous and counter-productive tax breaks and other incentives that it still gives to Israelis who move over the Green Line.
That said, the circumstances surrounding a boycott of West Bank settlements make it impossible to make the point that Beinart and Liam want to make through a boycott of them.
It is important to remember that, with a few fringe exceptions, Jewish communities worldwide (Liam and Beinart included) are completely opposed to the BDS movement. The movement is dishonest to its very core, it claims to be about “Palestinian rights” and that it takes no stance on a one or two state solution to the conflict, however its fundamental tenets effectively call for the destruction of Israel and reject the idea that Jews are entitled to nationhood or self-determination. Boycotts are particularly touchy for Jews as they bring back spectres of the Nazi boycott of Jewish businesses that served as a prelude to the Holocaust.
Beinart’s boycott idea is derived from Jews who are not comfortable supporting the BDS movement but still feel the need to “do something”; meaning that the West Bank boycott can never be wholly separated from the broader BDS movement. Indeed, as Omri Ceren observes, such initiatives regularly metastatise into full-blown BDS.
This is where Beinart’s thesis starts becoming increasingly problematic. Accepting a partial boycott of Israel is ostensibly akin to accepting some — if not all — of the BDS movement’s ideology. This leads to Read the rest of this entry »
An Israel Candid Camera-like show decided to test Israeli reactions to anti-Arab discrimination by filming in a store with two planted actors – one macho looking Israeli sales clerk and one Arab woman in a Hijab trying to buy coffee.
The reactions of the people in the store are all amazing to watch – all become outraged, most scream at the employee in typical Israeli fashion and one seems to be taking an “it’s none of my business” approach, but with a twist.
EDIT: the person that sent me this sent another video to qualify. This post is not to say that there is no racism in Israel – I have previously written about how, unfortunately, this is not entirely the case.
The above image is from Damien Murphy in today’s Sydney Morning Herald. NSW election is only one day away and the Greens look poised to take three lower house seats – Coogee, Marrickville and Balmain.
There was a great breakdown of why the Apartheid comparison is “nonsense” by Bruce Loudon in The Australian, a former international correspondent in both actual Apartheid South Africa and the Middle East:
FIONA Byrne, the Greens candidate who is favourite to win the seat of Marrickville, is being plain silly in trying to draw parallels between Israel and apartheid South Africa.
In a word, it’s nonsense. Anyone who knew South Africa in the bad old pre-1994 days of apartheid and is familiar with Israel and the Middle East knows that to be the case.
…Israel is a vibrant, fully functioning, hotly contested parliamentary democracy in which every citizen can play a part. It is the only such democracy in a Middle-Eastern sea of corrupt autocracies and dictatorships that are now being challenged by Arabs seeking freedom and a new course for their countries. A place where there is completely free political debate, a completely free press and a completely free judiciary.
Contrast Israel’s democracy with the situation in South Africa during the dark days of apartheid when a small elite of whites held virtually all the political and economic power and members of the numerically overwhelming black majority – 30 million to fewer than three million – were, simply because their skin was the wrong colour, discriminated against at every level and denied any role that didn’t involve servility and servitude.
“Whites Only” signs meant that blacks were excluded from park benches, couldn’t go to beaches, had to queue in different lines at post offices, couldn’t get hospital treatment, could mostly work only as menial labourers or domestic servants, had to ride in separate elevators, and had relationships across the colour bar only on pain of being hauled before the courts and imprisoned under the Immorality Act.
For a time, blacks were even barred from placing family funeral notices in newspapers. The right to mourn the loss of loved ones was segregated. That was the evil of racial discrimination.
This message, unfortunately, has been lost on our friend Mayor Fiona Byrne, although she does seem to have miraculously realised that maybe this whole BDS kerfuffle is damaging her reputation as a real politician. Australian reporter Imre Salusinszky noted today:
A GREENS candidate in the NSW election who denied she had ever “pushed” for a boycott of Israel was slated to speak at a public rally next week in support of such a boycott, and in protest against “Israeli apartheid”.
Fiona Byrne, the Greens candidate in the inner-western Sydney seat of Marrickville, initially denied to The Australian she had agreed to address the “Sing Out Against Apartheid: Boycott Divestment and Sanctions” rally outside Sydney’s Town Hall next Wednesday.
…It is the second time this week that Ms Byrne has been caught playing fast and loose with the facts about the extent of her involvement in the global movement to isolate Israel economically and culturally.
After she denied ever expressing an intention to introduce an Israel boycott into state parliament, The Australian revealed a tape of a press conference last month where she did so.
She’s already lying on the campaign trail, this doesn’t bode well for her seemingly impending election into State Parliament.
Speaking of which, the ALP has been panicking about losing Carmel Tebbutt to Byrn in Marrickville, so has been telling everyone who’ll listen how evil the Greens are and why Liberal voters need to preference the ALP over the Greens because it’s better to have anyone except The Wicked Witch of the (Inner) West. Fair enough, and you would struggle to find someone who could convincingly dispute that.
Only problem is that apparently this only applies in seats where Labor is threatened by the Greens and the Liberals can help. On the other hand, if it’s the Liberals threatening Labor, they are more than happy to “deal with the devil” and hang on to power.
In what is seen as a compromise, the Greens in Coogee will preference “progressive independents” before Labor, but Labor before Liberal. After informal talks with the Greens but no written agreement, the Labor Party will preference the Greens in Coogee.
This is a really worrying double standard. The Greens have only got where they are today because of Labor preferences (although Liberals helped Adam Bandt in his Melbourne bid) and even though the Greens are now posing a serious threat to Labor’s standing as the party of the mainstream Left, they still seem to be repeating the same mistakes.
I could compare it to fishers who fish all of the fish out the water until there are no fish left, only these fish never tasted any good in the first place.
Below are a couple of Israel boycott-inspired images. Feel free to distribute them, but please put a link to my blog somewhere when you do.
My first image is responding to this story. I figured that there was something to what old Iran was saying, so I decided to really give Iran something to boycott:
The second image was inspired by this VexNews story:
The NSW Greens party is in a state of panic about signs appearing throughout the Sydney state electorate of Marrickville highlighting their candidate Fiona Byrne’s involvement in supporting causes associated with Israel’s homophobic and racist enemies, including a notorious council boycott of the Jewish state.
One anonymous broomstick-wielding Greens party hack, described by onlookers as acting in a manner that was reminiscent to them of a witch, was seen near the Petersham train station this morning attempting to use her powers to dislodge the signs that were out of reach of mere mortals.
So I figured that it would be a good idea to make Fiona Byrne look like The Wicked Witch of The West from The Wizard of Oz, just to illustrate the effect that she’ll have on NSW if elected. Anyone in Marrickville not planing on voting for Carmel Tebbutt, please preference her above Byrne, we really don’t want this moron running our state.