Why the Cooperative is still right to boycott Israeli settler produce


2:11 pm - August 22nd 2012

by Ben White    


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Four months ago, a national supermarket chain with an admirable ‘Ethical Trading’ policy decided to cut ties with four suppliers whose sourcing decisions make them complicit in severe breaches of international law.

Nothing particularly extraordinary there, you might think, but since these were Israeli companies and the products come from illegal settlements in the West Bank, pro-Israel advocacy groups have been attacking the Co-Operative ever since.

Those criticising include Luke Akehurst, head of Israel advocacy group BICOM’s ‘We Believe in Israel’ initiative.

Akehurst made his case this week in a piece for Progress Online.

Here are four things wrong with his piece.

Misrepresenting the Co-Op decision
Akehurst claims that the Co-Op has been “dragged into the complex and fraught arena of the Middle East conflict” and has “take[n] sides in the complex Middle East conflict”. In fact, the supermarket chain simply took a decision according to procedure, based on its ‘Human Rights and Trade Policy’.

Unsurprisingly, Akehurst never quotes from or links to the Co-Op’s official statement on its decision, which reads:

This position is not a boycott of Israeli businesses, and we continue to have supply agreements with some twenty Israeli suppliers that do not source from the settlements, a number of which may benefit from a transfer of trade. We will also continue to actively work to increase trade links with Palestinian businesses in the Occupied Territories.

Disappearing the Palestinians
Tellingly, you could read Akehurst’s article and never know that the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) campaign was called for by Palestinians. In fact, the Palestinians – colonised, and under occupation – don’t get much of a look in at all.

While describing BDS as a “global…campaign by anti-Israel activists”, and attacking “campaigners in the UK”, Akehurst does not mention that Palestinian agricultural organisations and farmers unions issued a statement in which they “applaud the principled stance taken by the Co-Operative supermarket”.

Dismissing international law
Faced with the unfortunate fact that the West Bank is under occupation and the settlements are illegal, Akehurst blames “the viewpoint of the UN [General Assembly]” because it “has an entrenched anti-Israel majority”. But Akehurst has chosen to omit the position of, for example, the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

Playing the Nazi card
But perhaps the most shameful aspect of Akehurst’s pitch is the smearing of the Co-Op with the claim that the decision “carries echoes” of “the Nazi boycott of Jewish shops and businesses”.

The petition organised by his ‘We Believe in Israel’ group, and heavily promoted by the Board of Deputies of British Jews, also spoke of “the historical connotations with the Nazi boycott of Jewish businesses”.

Thus in the name of shielding Israel from the consequences of its routine violations of international law and human rights, Akehurst and BICOM are happy to compare a supermarket’s ethical sourcing policy to Hitler.

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About the author
This is a guest article. Ben White is a freelance journalist who has written for Guardian's CIF, Electronic Intifada and others. His book 'Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner's Guide' (Pluto Press), was published in 2009.
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Story Filed Under: Blog ,Foreign affairs ,Media ,Middle East

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Reader comments


If one takes a step back it’s plain how stupid positions like this are. It’s symptomatic of he entrenched tribalism that has developed in our politics. So Israel must be defended at all costs, or only Labour women can be feminists, , etc etc, the shibboleths they do abound.

These new righties mystify me as much as their long-lost twins in the SWP. They are all plain nuts.

The Cooperative will trade with Israeli companies that aren’t involved in squatting, terrorising and stealing in West Bank / Gaza Strip, the companies that are involved in that are bringing Israel into disrepute. I bet Akehurst has a problem with Palestine being represented at the Olympics too!

In other words, Palestine having any identity, and Palestinians having any rights is his biggest hate.

He is a shameful, hypocritical fiend of Israel and Israelis.

You can buy tons of shit from the Co-Op that has come from countries with very questionable human rights records indeed. Check their website and get very, very outraged. For a minute anyway. Then bang on about Israel again.

The usual one sided distorted nonsense we’ve come to expect from the anti Israel fanatics. Perish the thought that any consumer might make their own mind up about what they buy, no the self righteous, sanctimonious boycott junkies will do it for them, with the active support of a bunch of retail hypocrites.

Even by Ben White’s obsessive, one-tracked standards, this article is surprisingly omissive and misleading. (As is the Co-Op position.)

Good old Ben White.

Fruit and veg – boycott!

The leaders of suicide murderers like Hamas and Islamic Jihad – Come on it gentleman, we have much to discuss!

Luke Akehurst has since added these gems:

https://twitter.com/lukeakehurst/status/238287293100728320
of all the dozens of tactics you could use 2 express your problems with Israel, why pick the one w murkiest precedent?

https://twitter.com/lukeakehurst/status/238287566120570880
I can only assume BDS was designed to maximise distress, insult and anguish for the Jewish community

8. Chaise Guevara

@ 4 Thornavis

“The usual one sided distorted nonsense we’ve come to expect from the anti Israel fanatics.”

If you’re gonna complain about one-sided distortion, perhaps you shouldn’t brand people who are concerned about the treatment of Palestinians as “anti-Israel fanatics”. Just a thought.

“Perish the thought that any consumer might make their own mind up about what they buy, no the self righteous, sanctimonious boycott junkies will do it for them, with the active support of a bunch of retail hypocrites.”

Perish the thought that a company might make its own mind(s) up about what it wants to sell.

And for hypocrisy, see your opening sentence again.

9. Chaise Guevara

@ 3 Ted and 5 Janet

Can you give examples of what you’re talking about?

10. Shatterface

[deleted]

Yeah Tory, like the arch Israel hater Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who compared the treatment of Palestinians in general to the way he and other indiginous people of South Africa were treated under the Apartheid system imposed upon them by the descendants of Dutch squatters…

What was the propaganda used to justify Apartheid in SA by the way? aah yes the ANC were terrorists, the indiginous people were kaffirs etc!

By the way, Palestinians are the indiginous people of that region, they can trace their ancestry back thousands of years.

“Palestinians are the indiginous people of that region, they can trace their ancestry back thousands of years.”

Actually, this is very much disputed, as you I assume you know?

That said, you entirely miss the point on this one. Nothing in your comment seeks to explain or justify Mr. White’s support for the likes of Hamas and Islamic Jihad. That was the poiint I was making.

So again – why does he want to boycott fruit and veg (and Jewish students), but not suicide murderers?

13. Ben HamasWhite

Do you boycott Palestinians for electing racist Hamas terrorists?

Do you boycott any of the Arab countries that murder Jews/Christians?

Do you boycott any Islamic territories/states that discriminate against other Muslims and against everyone else?

Do you boycott companies that do business with China?

Do you boycott companies that do business with Russia?

OR, have ANTI-JEW, ANTI-ISRAEL BIGOTS worked hard to come up with DISHONEST excuses to, as usual, SINGLE JEWS/ISRAEL OUT and make LAME EXCUSES about discriminating against Jews/Israel using standards that you do not apply to anyone else? (YES, THIS.)

P.S. Ben White is a rabid hatemonger and a nut, and not a “progressive” peace activist in ANY way.

The irony is Palestinians are mostly Semites, just not Jewish. So why does practicing (or at least preaching) a specific faith make Israeli squatters sacrosanct in your eyes?

As for suicide murderers, their actions are stupid and deplorable, as they provide leverage for Israel’s apartheid propagandists. Almost like it was designed to drown out the voices of Israelis who deplore the actions of squatters, thieves and the ‘Jewish Supremacist’ apartheid regime.

As for Akehurst comparing critics of Israel with the Nazis, I think the regime in Israel learned a little bit too much from Hitlers tactics, since they seem to be copying them almost to the letter.

15. Chaise Guevara

@ 11 tory

“Actually, this is very much disputed, as you I assume you know?”

Really? Source?

“So again – why does he want to boycott fruit and veg (and Jewish students), but not suicide murderers?”

This is a ridiculous case of comparing apples with oranges, unless you’re claiming that either a) he objects to fruit and veg in and of itself, or b) people in the UK routinely go out shopping for a pack of toilet roll and a suicide murderer.

Would you like to rephrase your question like a grownup?

Do you boycott Palestinians for electing racist Hamas terrorists?

Answer – Ben White does not. Quite the opposite in fact…

Do you boycott any of the Arab countries that murder Jews/Christians?

Answer – Ben White does not.

Do you boycott any Islamic territories/states that discriminate against other Muslims and against everyone else?

Answer – Ben White does not.

Do you boycott companies that do business with China?

Answer – Ben White does not.

Do you boycott companies that do business with Russia?

Answer – Ben White does not.

New Question – Do you boycott fruit and veg made by Jews??????

ANSWER – Ben White DOES.

Well, that was easy.

I rest my case.

18. Ben Anti-Semite

So suicide-bombing terrorists should not be boycotted.

Crazy people who vote for suicide-bombing terrorists in elections should not be boycotted.

Arab countries that make war on Israel shouldn’t be boycotted.

Islamic countries that are rabidly discriminatory shouldn’t be boycotted.

But Jews who make a cream that clears up bad skin, they should be boycotted.

And we should be told this by guys like Ben White who openly call for the world’s only Jewish state to cease to exist and be merged into another Arab country.

Got it.

19. Reality Check

Valid criticism of Israel’s government, etc. is fine.

Taking the side of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, etc. and seeking to ERASE THE JEWISH STATE OF ISRAEL FROM EXISTENCE is not.

Anyone proposing one-state “SOLUTIONS” that are merely a “FINAL SOLUTION” in ending Israel’s existence is at best misguided and a nut, and at worst A BIGOT AND AN ANTI-SEMITE.

There’s one Jewish state, dozens of Arab states, dozens of Islamic states. Anyone seeking to turn the one tiny Jewish state into another Arab stat isn’t PROGRESSIVE, isn’t LIBERAL, they’re just a Jew-hating FREAK and a BIGOT.

20. Reality Check

The person “Dissident” above is insane.

Arabs having Arab states that favor Arabs is OK.
Muslims having Muslim states that favor Muslims is OK
The Japanese having Japan, which blatantly favors Japanese people over others, is OK
Homeland after homeland around the world that favors the main majority group over others is OK

Yet the very EXISTENCE of a Jewish state is… “Jewish supremacist?”

Even though the Jewish state actually treats its minority citizens MUCH better than minority citizens are treated in countless other countries around the world?

REALLY?!?

Again, valid criticism of Israel is fine, but DISHONEST ANTI-JEW BIGOTS have loudly stuck themselves into these discussions, and stuck themselves into “progressive/liberal” causes/websites and THEIR motives are fueled by anti-Jew bigotry, NOT of “progressiveness”

Chaise

How is it being hypocritical to condemn as one sided someone who is so one sided he gives bigotry a bad name ? Ben White is an anti Israel fanatic his views do not deserve any more considered response than the one I gave. People like you are so busy being even handed you don’t see where the real problem lies here, it isn’t with Israel it isn’t even with the Palestinians, although they have too often been the authors of their own troubles, it’s with the supporters of those who would end the Jewish state tomorrow if they could. The boycotters like to tell us they care about Palestinians they don’t, they want Israel erased from the map and no one who claims to care about peace justice and human right should give them houseroom, what happened to Sunny’s ‘no platform for racists’ policy ?

Chaise

On the question of the Co Ops right to decline to buy certain produce, I don’t deny that, although I very much resent companies displaying their moral smugness like this but correct me if I’m wrong I can’t recall off hand any other nations that they have done this with, are there any ? The whole boycotting of Israeli produce thing is part of the larger boycott movement which is blatantly racist, witness that disgraceful episode at the Wigmore Hall recital with the Jerusalem Quartet. Why does Israel get this sort of treatment ? Any injustice being meeted out to the Palestinians pales into insignificance compared with some other nations treatment of their minorities. Why was there no boycott Sri Lanka movement ?

@ Reality Check

i agree with everything you say but it’s better not to shout, it only gives the bigots and whataboutists a chance to dismiss your arguments.

Astoundingly, ‘Dissident’ said: “As for suicide murderers, their actions are stupid and deplorable, as they provide leverage for Israel’s apartheid propagandists.”

Wow. To ‘Dissident’, suicide bombers are deplorable not because they murder innocent people, but because they ‘provide leverage for Israel’s apartheid propagandists’.

How messed-up can someone get?

Reality Check

Not once have I denied the right of Israel to exist, just the behaviour of some Israelis is deplorable.

If anyone stole your land, buldozed your home (without caring if you was inside at the time), stole your drinking water to make a lush green lawn, put checkpoints manned with conscripted thugs outside your village, who from time to time drag you away for beatings, prevented you from receiving any kind of medical aid and used your children as target practice, and justified it by saying that they were superior to you, how would you feel?

When you try legitimate avenues to protest, you face even more of the same treatment, showing you that your voice has also been taken away from you..

Do you consider that kind of treatment benign? If not, would you join a group like Hamas? Even if that group was itself questionable in it’s own motives, but at least you have a chance of hitting back.

By the way, both before and during Hitler’s holocaust, there was a wide variety of resistance tactics used in the Ghettos of Europe…

“Do you boycott Palestinians for electing racist Hamas terrorists?”

Classic. We should boycott Palestinians en masse for exercising their democratic rights.

Israel is a terrorist state, root and branch. It wasn’t Hammas that used stolen UK passports to murder a political enemy, it was Mossad, part of the terrorist state of Israel.

@9

Chaise, of course I can give you lots and lots of examples, but why don’t you do the work? Chinese products are a good start. Or after the Iraq debacle, better send the old iPod back (Apple = ‘biggest’ company in the world now) rather than support a U.S. regime resonsible for the deaths of thousands?

34 miners shot dead in South Africa by British-owned Lonmin (or Lonrho as was, remember them?). Cyril Ramaphosa is even on the board. How things change…No more South African wine in the Coop?. Hey, no more buying British? After all, SA one of the most unequal countries in the world and inequality has even increased there since the end of ‘white rule’. But presumably you know all about these kind of hypocrisies and ridiculousness of continually singling out Israel for special treatment?

Ted

28. Reality Check

Clueless Andy, a few posts up, wrote: “We should boycott Palestinians en masse for exercising their democratic rights.”

No, you should boycott Palestinians not for exercising their democratic rights, but for using those rights to elect radical Hamas terrorists who think that blowing innocent Jewish people up in a bus is the most holy act a person can commit.

Or, you should not boycott Palestinians for electing terrorists who are as UN-PROGRESSIVE as imaginable, but then you certainly shouldn’t be boycotting some West Bank Jews for creating a damn facial cream.

29. Reality Check

Dissident wrote: “As for suicide murderers, their actions are stupid and deplorable, as they provide leverage for Israel’s apartheid propagandists.”

My response: The Hamas suicide-murderers’ actions are insane and deplorable, because they BLOW UP INNOCENT JEWISH PEOPLE.

And the Palestinians, knowing this, voted for Hamas in national elections.

‘Reality Check’, I suggest you change your name to ‘Flight from Reality’ as everything you say is the distilled essence of arse.

Israeli soldiers murder Palestinians on a daily, routing basis. Israel sees itself as having the right to kill people indiscriminately due to an imagined threat from a people with no resources, then goes on to steal what little they do have in terms of land and property.

You are an Islamophobe and you clearly support mass murder.

Neither would I Reality Check, but understand there are SOME Israelis who don’t want peace either. The idiots on both sides are controling the debate, or more accurately preventing it, for their own purposes, and have done so for decades.

On both sides, innocents have been murdered, by now thousands of them. Whenever anyone moderte comes along, they always seem to be eliminated and any movement towards peace derailed in favour of more of the current insanity.

The problem with suicide murder is the bad PR?

hmm..ok.

Tory the problem is that bad PR prevents both sides from ever having peac

34. andrew adams

Arabs having Arab states that favor Arabs is OK.
Muslims having Muslim states that favor Muslims is OK
The Japanese having Japan, which blatantly favors Japanese people over others, is OK
Homeland after homeland around the world that favors the main majority group over others is OK

Actually it’s not OK, not in my book anyway.

35. andrew adams

As for suicide murderers, their actions are stupid and deplorable, as they provide leverage for Israel’s apartheid propagandists.

Well there is the murdering innocent people aspect as well.

36. Chaise Guevara

@ Thornavis

“How is it being hypocritical to condemn as one sided someone who is so one sided he gives bigotry a bad name ? Ben White is an anti Israel fanatic his views do not deserve any more considered response than the one I gave. ”

Fair enough. Your comment looked like a kneejerk response to anything vaguely pro-Palestine, so I responded in a, well, kneejerk way.

“People like you are so busy being even handed you don’t see where the real problem lies here, it isn’t with Israel it isn’t even with the Palestinians, although they have too often been the authors of their own troubles, it’s with the supporters of those who would end the Jewish state tomorrow if they could.”

I’m not big on being even-handed. I’m big on considering both sides of the argument, but that’s a different thing. However, in this case I’d say that there’s so much fault on both sides that cheering and whooping for one or the other is unreasonable. So no, I don’t agree that we can dump all the blame on the antisemitic extremists.

“The boycotters like to tell us they care about Palestinians they don’t, they want Israel erased from the map and no one who claims to care about peace justice and human right should give them houseroom”

Who are you talking about here? Because at the moment this seems like mindreading pyschobabble aimed at a group. If you’re thinking of more specific people then fair enough, but then you probably shouldn’t just say “the boycotters”.

“what happened to Sunny’s ‘no platform for racists’ policy ?”

That’s for actual racism, not perceived racism. And frankly it’s a stupid policy anyway.

“On the question of the Co Ops right to decline to buy certain produce, I don’t deny that, although I very much resent companies displaying their moral smugness like this”

You sorta have to display it if you’re going for the “ethical” niche. Don’t blame you for being irritated, but don’t blame them for promoting it either.

“but correct me if I’m wrong I can’t recall off hand any other nations that they have done this with, are there any ? [and rest of post]”

They’re not boycotting Israel. In the OP it specifically says that they still deal with some Israelis, just not these ones.

37. Chaise Guevara

@ 27 Ted Maul

“Chaise, of course I can give you lots and lots of examples, but why don’t you do the work?”

Because if people are basing their claims on evidence they can presumably provide said evidence, rather than sending questioners off on wild goose chases.

Thanks for providing examples, but the analogy breaks down where you say that Co-op should boycott either whole countries, or specific companies based on their country’s behaviour rather than their own. Both of those, while possibly a good idea, could be called brush-tarring.

Hear hear Chaise, back to the fact that it is NOT Israel that’s boycotted, just companies involved with West Bank / Gaza Strip squatters!

39. Rick Worth

I see this has brought out the usual fanatics on both sides generating much more heat than light. Personally I find it a bit of stretch to condemn the Co-op when it has specifically stated that it will continue to do business with Israeli companies. Not exactly an indication of an anti-Israeli bias, now is it?

And please give over with the “whataboutery”. It’s completely vapid.

40. Reality Check

Why is apartheid from Arabs against Jews considered acceptable by some misguided people?

41. Reality Check

Insane Andy (@NCCLols) said: Israeli soldiers murder Palestinians on a daily, routing basis

My response: This is false. You’re literally making that up.

Insane Andy (@NCCLols) said: Israel sees itself as having the right to kill people indiscriminately

My response: No, Israel does not claim to have that right at all. And Israel does not kill “indiscriminately.” They target terrorist organization members.

Insane Andy (@NCCLols) said: due to an imagined threat

My response: Israel is not “imaginaging” a threat. Israel has been the victim of thousands of terrorist attacks and multiple wars against it. It’s not “imagined.”

Insane Andy (@NCCLols) said: You are an Islamophobe

My response: Insane, absurd accusation.

Insane Andy (@NCCLols) said: you clearly support mass murder

My response: Andy, like many anti-semitic maniacs who are trying to sabotage progressive/liberal causes, is out of his mind.

42. Reality Check

Andy (@NCCLols) said: Israeli soldiers murder Palestinians on a daily, routing basis

My response: This is false. You’re literally making that up.

Andy (@NCCLols) said: Israel sees itself as having the right to kill people indiscriminately

My response: No, Israel does not claim to have that right at all. And Israel does not kill “indiscriminately.” They target terrorist organization members.

Andy (@NCCLols) said: due to an imagined threat

My response: Israel is not “imaginaging” a threat. Israel has been the victim of thousands of terrorist attacks and multiple wars against it. It’s not “imagined.”

Andy (@NCCLols) said: You are an Islamophobe

My response: Andy thinks that if you don’t like Hamas terrorists blowing up Jewish people, you are an “Islamophobe.”

Andy (@NCCLols) said: you clearly support mass murder

My response: Andy thinks that if you want peace between Jews and Palestinians, and don’t want the Jews wiped out, you “support mass murder.”

People like Andy, Ben White, etc. are bigots and a problem, not a solution.

Reality Check

All kinds of apartheid are wrong, whichever country indulges in it. There is nothing to stop you from posting your own OP about it, as far as I am aware.

Why do all Israel terror apologists have ridiculous names like ‘Reality Check’ and ‘Truthhurtseh’? It’s like they’re sub-consciously fighting against the knowledge that everything they say is BS.

45. Chaise Guevara

@ Cherub

“I rest my case.”

Game, set and match.

46. Charlieman

Impressive. Godwin’s law was delivered in the final word of the OP.

I’d like to know a bit more about the wholesalers who are blocked from selling to the Co-op. My understanding is that they sold fruit and veg grown on the West Bank of the Jordan River, in addition to food grown elsewhere.

Why are they forbidden to sell food to the Co-op from crops in Israel? Why are they forbidden to sell food produced on the West Bank by Palestinian farmers? Why are they forbidden to sell food produced on the West Bank by Jewish farmers who live on land that their predecessors cultivated before Israel existed?

I’ll consider a ban on produce from particular farms, but not a blanket ban.

@27

’34 miners shot dead in South Africa by British-owned Lonmin (or Lonrho as was, remember them?’

I think you’ll find it was the police wot dun it? Still never mind.

Charlieman

Read the co-op statement. A total of 4 suppliers on the West Bank, based in illegal settlements. They continue to source from 20 other suppliers who are not based on the West Bank, and may increase their orders with some of those other suppliers to compensate. That doesn’t exactly sound anti Israeli, does it?

They have also suspended suppliers from illegal Morrocan settlements in Western Sahara. I guess I should have read that earlier, and so should others on this OP, instead of the kneejerking we have all been guilty of!

Ben White – Thank you for this contribution. Your points are well made. In particular, the tactic of trying to equate the Coop’s ethical sourcing policy to the actions of the Nazis disgusts me. That sort of rubbish will convince next to no-one, but it does reveal a great deal about the mindset of those who make such specious claims.

From long personal experience of online debates, any criticism of the Israeli state is instantly dubbed antisemitic and pro-Nazi. Nothing changes.

51. Reality Check

[deleted]

Wrote Ben White:

‘The comparison to the Nazis is absurd and disgraceful’

You and the Nazis share the desire to deconstruct the state of the largest Jewish community in the world, for their alleged crimes against humanity (with which endeavour not a few Palestinian and other Arab Christian or Muslim/Islamist nationalists were sympathetic, as they are today).

More locally, you desire to dissolve the one Jewish state in the world for qualities allegedly apartheid which every Arab, Islamic state or society in existence, including the Palestinian, has or has had with regard to Jews, at least, for the last 100 years, or more.

In other words, you would dissolve the one Jewish state in the world for crimes, sins and misdemeanours you overlook in her Arab Christian and Muslim enemies.

And, like the Nazis, you do so in the name of ‘justice’.

53. Reality Check

[deleted]

54. Charlieman

@26. Andy (@NCCLols): “Israel is a terrorist state, root and branch. It wasn’t Hammas that used stolen UK passports to murder a political enemy, it was Mossad, part of the terrorist state of Israel.”

Mossad used modified passports to conduct an assassination, by government agents, of identified individuals. Assassination. Identified individuals.

The exercise was completely illegal by any law, but it was not terrorism. By national law it was murder — Israeli agents killed people. By international consideration, it cannot be terrorism; terrorism is about unidentified target violence.

55. naomi woodspring

Thank you for your clear and cogent statement.

Truth be told, I am less concerned about Coop than I am about Ben White and the BDS movement generally.

It isn’t very clear what its precise goals are, but Norman Finkelstein clarified, critically, that logically they end in ultimately no-more-Israel.

I don’t think that is a very realistic outcome, though Ben White’s kind of anti-Zionist ideology-driven-zealotry, which can brook no compromise with the (anti-Christian) evil he sees as ‘Zionism’, can only likely exacerbate the conflict.

That kind of faith-based nuttiness, which works hand-in-glove with Islamist-eliminationists like Hamas or Hizbullah (or indeed Ahmadinejad of Iran, whom Ben White began his illustrious career defending) is a kind of modern useful/useless idiocy, even as Ben White’s ‘Zionism is Racism’ is a legacy of old school Soviet state sponsored anti-Zionism/antisemitism.

Reality Check

Instead of knee jerk attacking of Ben White, write an OP about the various other forms of apartheid around the world, there are many to choose from

Islamic Apartheid, 65 countries where non Islamic people are marginalised.

Global Apartheid, where the rich western nations make all the decisions and control the majority of the worlds resources.

Environmental Apartheid, where poor tropical countries face expanding deserts and resource/water wars etc while most rich western countries (for now) escape the worst effects of climate change.

Ecenomic Apartheid, where the 1% control the wealth of our civilisation.

All are pernicious, all cause injustice, and all can be solved or at least debated.

@48. Dissident: “Read the co-op statement.”

A hand please, Dissident? Which link?

@59. Dissident:

Ta.

I’m still amused (luckily I’m cynical enough to be amused by bad things these days) that people go around calling the Israeli occupation a “complex issue”. It’s not complex at all! Israel has been occupying the Palestinian territories for 45 fucking years – that’s completely indefensible and frankly, anyone who tries to defend it is a knave or an idiot. I can see how Tories would defend Israel – they’ll defend anything, but members of the Labour Party ought to be standing up for human rights and democracy, not the suppression of those things by Israel.

Writes Ben White:

‘I can only assume BDS was designed to maximise distress, insult and anguish for the Jewish community’

Well, it is intended (as you formulate it, anyway, and as Norman Finkelstein criticises it) to deconstruct the state of the second or largest community of Jews that survived the deconstruction of the state of European and Arab Jews, the Jews of Old World Christendom and Islam, during the 19th and 20th centuries.

You do come across, Ben, as being a bit spectacularly ignorant of the history of all of this.

[deleted]

[deleted]

[deleted]

[deleted]

Sorry, duplicated a post, as I couldn’t see it go through, and I assumed I had been banned.

nice to see constructive comments DT! do you have anything useful to add?

[deleted]

[deleted]

71. Chaise Guevara

Could one of you lot who don’t like Ben White enlighten me as to why, with supporting links? Genuine question: I don’t know the guy and have no idea whether he’s being smeared or rightly condemned.

no Zkharya, nothing you written is bannable, and you have, especially in that last post given food for thought. It helps in understanding why Israel is automatically defensive. Unfortunately, perceived fears can, without wisdom lead to hatred, and from there to, well, the bloodstained history of our species. Nothing happening in Israel now is particularly out of the ordinary in that sense. Unfortunately.

What I want to see is an end to the various forms of injustice. This OP just happened to be about Israeli illegal settlements losing a fleabite of trade because of their own dubious behaviour (and some policies of Israel making it worse) As far as I am concerned, no one group of people are sacrosanct.

I meant your comments @70…

Dissident,

if the goal of BDS were somewhat less than the dissolution of the Jewish state, the ending of a Jewish right of return and the implementing of a Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian one, rather encouraging Israel to make more moves to a Geneva Accord type of settlement, I’d have little to no problem with it.

Of course Olmert did offer a Geneva Accord deal in 2007 at Annapolis, and Abbas didn’t reply. Netanyahu also froze settlement building for 10 months in 2010, also without reciprocal gestures from Abbas. That’s why the U.S. isn’t pushing Israel very hard: Obama doesn’t think the P.A. wants such a deal any more.

Abbas sees the global BDS movement, as well as Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood/Arab Spring snapping at his heels, and looks like he is gambling that a universal siege of Israel by anti-Zionist fanatics like Ben White will bring Israel down and bring him all he wants without conceding anything.

I don’t think it will, but he is entitled to try. But a siege is likely to turn Israel even more nationalist and less likely to concede anything in turn. And I very much want to see a Geneva Accord type settlement: 2 states for 2 peoples, division of Jerusalem, old and new, borders on the 67 lines or with territorial swap.

One day, when both peoples have matured sufficiently to see themselves in the other, we could talk of 1 state, with 2 rights of return etc. But that doesn’t seem a likely prospect for now, and it certainly is not what Ben White wants.

Anti-Zionist evangelicals like Ben White are not really in the business of negotiations between two competing rights or justices. They see the world/the issue in black and white, good and evil, a racist/religious cartoon. They aren’t sophisticated enough intellectually. Evangelicals rarely are. Ideas are more important to them than people.

[deleted]

Akehurst should also read up on Godwin’s law

Zkharya @74

Israel & Palestine will get a bit crowded with the right to return! Both states will need to do that carefully. It is solvable however, with 21st century skyscrapers, kilometres tall. Both states would end up dependent on other countries for food, unless a lot of floorspace in those skyscrapers is given over to food production! The natural biome of the region is Mediterranean and deserts, which will get worse in the coming decades. I hope both peoples don’t end up destroying what they are fighting over. Whether you would want to live in a skyscraper kilometres tall is another issue…

78. Reality Check

So, any boycott movements aimed at any of the MASSIVE Arab/Muslim-controlled territories/countries?

Oh, no? Just the tiny sliver of land Jews control?

Interesting.

And, to Chaise Guevara: Ben White openly calls for Israel to cease to exist. And like other antisemites, he makes up every excuse in the world as to why it’s “justice” that the 20+ Arab states get another Arab state, and the Jews lose their one and only tiny state.

your hypocrisy is pathetic ben, he didn’t play the Nazi card,just made a point this form the boke who said I can understand why some people are anti semetic.

80. flyingrodent

You know, Israel’s online fanbase used to arrive here, pussyfoot around whatabouting every other godawful regime in the world, drop a few sly insinuations of racism, then spend ages withdrawing and reposting those insinuations. That’s how it used to go for a hundred comments, and then everyone got bored.

I see that times have moved on, and that OMG YOU ARE A GENOCIDAL NAZI is now the first resort. This isn’t indicative of a political tendency that has much courage in its own convictions, I suspect, and little wonder.

Why, when Palestinians are Semites, do you insist on calling Ben White antisemitic? That is a genuine question that hasn’t been adequately answered.

Don’t Palestinians have the right to live in their own homelands too? or is the fact that they are not Zionist a reason to at the very least delegitamise them in your own eyes? If that is the case then would you would want any Israeli who is not a Zionist to be lumped in with the Palestinians too?

Please explain to me how that is any different from Islamic and Christian fundamentalists dehumanising non beleivers too?

What I have noticed – over the history of all 3 religions – is their tendency to behave monstrously with each other and, frankly everyone else who isn’t of that faith. Crusaders, Jihadists, Zionists, the behaviour of all three is repugnant to me, and all three have used perceived victimhood of themselves as the justification for their own actions. With all three, there can be no peace.

I have also heard that Zionists really want Israel to cover the whole of the middle east, all the way to the Persian Gulf, irrespective of the wishes of Semites who are not Zionist. Is that true, or a slur?

‘Israel & Palestine will get a bit crowded with the right to return!’

Hi, Dissident.

Well, Res. 181 assumes the Jewish state provided for has some kind of Jewish right of return, something Ben White has +never+ acknowledged as legitimate, quite the opposite. Palestinian and other Arab Muslim/Islamist and Christian nationalsts resisted Jews living in above the tiny numbers that traditional imperial Christian and Islamic apartheid decreed as Jews’ proper lot for their rejection of Jesus and the prophets (as a professed evangelical Anglican Christian, Ben White’s ‘forgetting’ of that fact is one of his more culpable sins of omission).

However, in the war for their preservation, (some) Palestinan-then-Israeli Jews did commit acts of ethnic cleansing, What Ben White won’t tell you is that the same or worse was threatened against Palestinian-then-Israeli Jews, and had been, and periodically executed, from early in Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian nationalism’s history: Jews were expelled from Hebron and East Jerusalem from 1929 on, for instance.

So, both states would require some kind of right of return. For Ben, however, abolishing a Jewish right of return, which he has never allowed was legitimate, and implementing a Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian one, is paramount in whatever arrangement arises.

As for the ‘Palestinians are semites, so how could Ben be antisemitic?’ question: ‘antisemitic’ was co-coined by Wilhelm Marr in 1879, when it meant specifically ‘anti-Jewish’. The Nazis could exterminate Jews, but make common cause with Arab nationalists. and give refuge to the most widely recognised leader of Palestinian Arab Muslim (and some Christian) nationalists, in Berlin, from 1941-1945, whence he broadcast in Arabic his exhortations to expel or exterminate the Jews from both Palestine and the middle east generally (and, post-war, they were largely expelled, mostly to Israel).

Ben White is very clever. He rarely makes explicit old school types of paleo-antisemitic remark, though he began his career with ‘I do not consider myself to be an antisemite, but I can understand why some are’, which is an odd thing for a professed ‘anti-racist’ to say, and if said about any other kind of racism, would be loudly condemned in the social media. And he keeps doing odd things, like twittering ‘If anyone needs another reason to boycott Israel, I present a massive picture of Howard Jacobson’s face’ (he hates, but also, I think, envies, Howard Jacobson: a Jew who eloquently writes in a generally sympathetic, albeit critical, vein about Israel, but who is also a talented novelist: Ben White’s degree was English Literature, and I think that is his first love).

But Ben White’s chief sin is omission: while he adduces every crime, sin or misdemeanour, past and present, of Zionist, Palestinian or Israeli Jews he can, he tends to ignore, excise or omit to mention those equivalent or analogous of Palestinian or other Arab Muslim and Christian nationalists. It is almost as though he conceives of the I-P conflict as a kind of crucifixion, with Palestinian Arab Muslims and Christians as a kind of Jesus Christ in national incarnation, crucified/colonised anew by alien Zionist Jewish interlopers.

By blackening the Jews, and whitening the Christians and Muslims, concerned, Ben White’s tendency, unconscious or not, is to depict a kind of Passion. He regularly participates in a conference called ‘Christ at the checkpoint’, which really means ‘Palestinian Arab Christians and Muslims at the Checkpoint’, after all.

But it is chiefly this sin of omission, whereby he effectively forgives the Muslims and Christians everything, the Jews concerned nothing, that constitutes the major way injustice or discrimination is practiced against Jews today. All or chief justification for Israel’s birth and actions is quietly excised from the historical record, and the Jews concerned are left without excuse in the dock of History.

Seeking to dissolve the one Jewish state in the world for qualities allegedly apartheid, which pretty much every Arab, Islamic state or society, including the Palestinian, has or has had with regard to Jews, or worse, for the last 100 years or more i.e. all Israel’s enemies is not just, as Ben White often proclaims. It is unjust.

It is also to effectively side with those enemies, and aid their 100 year old war/struggle against the Jews of Palestine/Israel, even if one professes ‘non-violence’, just as George Orwell said a British pacifist was de facto an ally of Nazi Germany in 1939.

E.g. Ben White calls Israel’s Jewish right of return racist, because it only allows ror to Jews, even though the whole conflict has arisen because Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian nationalists resisted Jews living in the land in, as I said, above the tiny number imperial Christian and Islamic apartheid decreed as punishment for Jews’ rejection of Jesus and the prophets. If Jews wished to live in the land in above those tiny numbers, they had no choice but to resist the resistance.

Ben White seems unable to conceive that two resistances, two legitimate national liberation movements, could be in conflict here, necessitating compromise and negotiation. He seems ideologically incapable of allowing for a conflict between two rights, as the Israeli novelist Amos Oz, has said. Unfortunately Ben White seems to have cast the conflict in terms of absolute right and wrong, good and evil, a fact not entirely coincidental, I believe, with his evangelical, Anglican Christian background.

‘I have also heard that Zionists really want Israel to cover the whole of the middle east, all the way to the Persian Gulf, irrespective of the wishes of Semites who are not Zionist. Is that true, or a slur?’

That is an allegation, entirely false, that was a staple of Palestinian Arab Muslim/Islamist and some Christian nationalists from early on, whence it spread so widely that, clearly, it is being repeated to concerned Britons such as yourself, today. They claimed ‘the Jews’ (their most common term for ‘Zionists’, then and today) had designs not only on Jerusalem, but Makkah and Madinah, too.

It was one of the lies that the Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian nationalist leader, Haj Amin Al Husseini, broadcast widely from Berlin during the war. It is now ubiquitous Q.E.D.

It is absolute rubbish. But it is the kind of antisemitic poison to which Ben White routinely turns a blind eye.

I seem to have acquired a stalker…

On a more serious note, despite the flurry of comments along the lines of flyingrodent’s amusing summary, no one has actually been able to explain why the Co-Op *shouldn’t* have followed it’s own ethical sourcing guidelines in the case of the four Israeli companies.

‘I seem to have acquired a stalker…’

Is that your usual term for someone who turns up under your threads and criticises what you say and have said in the past?

You must have a lot of those..

‘On a more serious note, despite the flurry of comments along the lines of flyingrodent’s amusing summary, no one has actually been able to explain why the Co-Op *shouldn’t* have followed it’s own ethical sourcing guidelines in the case of the four Israeli companies.’

a) the Co-op can do what it likes

b) my chief concern is what, precisely, is the goal of Co-op’s BDS, particularly, and your kind of BDS, generally?

The former’s is a bit vague, but can hardly be deduced without reference your i.e. Ben White’s type of BDS goal, which, as Norman Finkelstein has said, is tantamount to ‘no more Israel’, since that is the logical conclusion of the implementing of all your i.e. Ben White’s BDS stipulations.

I don’t see how one can address the goals of Co-op’s BDS without reference to the movement that encouraged it, or those of the author of the piece in question i.e. you, Ben White.

If that is ‘stalking’, so be it.

As I said, you must get a lot of that.

And it is typical of Ben White to resort to accusations of ‘stalking’ rather than actually addressing the substance of what is actually said.

I’ve done a short post on my EI blog about Luke Akehurst’s ridiculous comments on Twitter.

Head of UK Israel lobby initiative: BDS designed to “distress” Jews
http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ben-white/head-uk-israel-lobby-initiative-bds-designed-distress-jews

88. john P Ried

the usual the Irsraelli occupation of Palestine, twaddle, ben White has really shot himself in the foot and the Nazi comparisons with their boycott of Jewish goods when this is what started the Anti semeticism in the 30’s is comparable and You’ve done your self no favours with your phoney outrage, and it’s easy to see why judging by your past views, it was a Good article by Luke

‘On a more serious note, despite the flurry of comments along the lines of flyingrodent’s amusing summary, no one has actually been able to explain why the Co-Op *shouldn’t* have followed it’s own ethical sourcing guidelines in the case of the four Israeli companies.’

While still allowing the Co-op can do what it likes, the issue of the settlements, which is the one stressed, can only be decided by direct negotiations, for the simple reason that, by 1988, when the P.L.O. first decided to accept international law, the clock couldn’t return to 1947 or 1967. All developments subsequent, including the settlements, had to be negotiated.

That was the purpose of Oslo, Camp David II, the Geneva Accord and Annapolis.

Most pundits, e.g. Jonathan Freedland of the Guardian, see the final status agreement as something like the Geneva Accord: some settlements will go, some, the largest, remain, in exchange for territory from elsewhere.

Even Noam Chomsky recommended the Geneva Accord.

The Co-op can campaign for Israel’s withdrawal to the exact 1967 lines, the right of return of all Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian refugees, the dissolution of the Jewish state (which, if I am right, is your minimal demand, no, Ben?), but I doubt it will succeed. It is not what the Americans or even Europeans are demanding.

But people like you, Ben, I think I am correct in saying, are not interested in agreements like the Geneva Accord. You can call me a stalker for saying that, Ben. It doesn’t make it any less true.

‘I’ve done a short post on my EI blog about Luke Akehurst’s ridiculous comments on Twitter.

Head of UK Israel lobby initiative: BDS designed to “distress” Jews
http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ben-white/head-uk-israel-lobby-initiative-bds-designed-distress-jews

And, typically, where no comments allowed.

As I have said, Ben, you can hardly complain that the issue of distress to Jews arises when it is the intention of your kind of BDS (and it is suspected, that of Co-op) to deconstruct the state of the second or largest community of Jews that survived the deconstruction of the state of European and Arab Jews, the Jews of Old World Christendom and Islam, during the 19th and 20th centuries.

You do have something in common with the Nazis, Ben: a wish to deconstruct the state of Jews.

From Ben White’s latest EI piece:

‘Most tellingly, however, and in a move characteristic of much opposition to BDS by Israel’s apologists, Akehurst actually makes no mention of the Palestinians’ call for the international community to adopt boycott as a strategic element in their struggle for basic rights.’

Yeah, what Ben doesn’t tell you is that the goal/logical conclusion of BDS, as he formulates it, is implementing a Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian right of return, ending a Jewish one, turning Israel eventually into a Palestinian Arab Majority state (or ending a Jewish right of return when that happens), and thence no more Israel, as Norman Finkelstein has said.

I doubt besieging Israel with BDS will persuade or compel Israeli Jews to dissolve their state, or become less nationalist, let alone become a Jewish minority in another Arab Muslim and Christian majority state, given the fate of pretty much all Jewish minorities in the Arab, Islamic world in the 20th century.

I do wonder whether advocating and pursuing this goal will, ultimately, prove counter-productive, at best. Norman Finkelstein says that it ultimately betrays the Palestinians, because it is so easy for the pro-Israeli side to say, ‘Look, read the fine print of the BDSers’ intentions: they ultimately want or seek no-more-Israel’.

As I said: Ben White is an ideologue, and everything, it seems, is to be sacrificed to the idea.

In the UN debate in November 1947 on the future of Britain’s Palestine mandate from the League of Nations, the representative of the UK government at the time warned that partition of Palestine would lead to continuing conflict, a prediction that has indisputably been proved to be true. The truth of the matter is that Israeli jews are unable to live at peace with their neighbours. For a history of the Palestine conflict, try Avi Shlaim: The Iron Wall (Penguin Books)

BobB re comment 92:

“The truth of the matter is that Israeli jews are unable to live at peace with their neighbours”

Nice one – so revealing. You just showed us your belief that it isn’t about the actions of Israel but the Jews who live there.

Muslim Israelis = good guys
Druze Israelis = good guys
Christian Israelis = good guys
Jewish Israelis = bad guys (of course stupid!)

As for your reference to the views of the Mandate there were plenty of similar views expressed in 1947 about India and Pakistan. The issue here is that unlike Pakistan and India the Palestinians did not seek to have a state of their own if it meant accepting Israel’s right to exist as well. They played a high stakes game and lost it and we are all left with the consequences of their decision.

93

About “Israeli jews unable to live at peace with their neighbours, ” try this account of events on the night of 14-15 October 1953 in Avi Shlaim: The Iron Wall (Penguin Books 2001) p. 91:

“. . Unit 101 was commanded by an aggressive and ambitious young major named Ariel Sharon. Sharon’s order was to penetrate Qibya, blow up houses, and inflict heavy casualties on its inhabitants. His success in carrying out this order surpassed all expectations. The full and macabre story of what happened at Qibya was revealed only during the morning after the attack. The village had been reduced to a pile of rubble: forty-five houses had been blown up, and sixty-nine civiliains, two-thirds of them women and children, had been killed. Sharon and his men claimed that they had no idea that anyone was hiding in the houses. The UN observer who inspected the reached a different conclusion: ‘One story was repeated time after time: the bullet splintered door, the body sprawled across the threshold, indicating that the inhabitants had been forced by heavy fire to stay inside until their homes were blown up over them.’”
Source: Avi Shlaim: The Iron Wall (Penguin Books, 2001), p.91.

Try, also, Gerald Kaufman’s speech in January 2009, made in Parliament, on: “Israel acting like Nazis in Gaza”, as shown on YouTube.

95. margin4error

I tend not to care about the middle east. It’s a terrible part of the world for a lot of reasons and there seems very little I can do about it or influence on it. It also tends to bring out the worst in a lot of people when they discuss it – which boggles my mind as there are so many more important things in life to be irked by.

But I do quite care about the co-op. And I don’t like seeing ignorant tripe being published about a very sound ethical corporate policy from the Co-Op.

This chap Akehurst presumably has no particular bias about the co-op. So what is his motive? Does he work for one of the companies, or otherwise take money from one of the companies that breaks international law and is losing money by losing its contract with the co-op?

Or is he just stirring up trouble because he’s actuall as myopic as to think that a supermarket that sources a great many goods from israel is anti-semitic for doing so – despite it dealing with other idraeli companies just fine, and despite it hiring jewish staff and selling to jewish customers without any discrimination?

Obviously lobbyists put pressure on governments and companies for lots of reasons – but it would be interesting to know his reasons.

Wasn’t Jesus a Jew too?

It is strange that evangelical Christian fundamentalists choose to forget that, when they worship him as the ‘son of God’. Moslems also see him as a prophet.

What really riled Jesus was organised religion, yet that is what happened with his own teachings. Does anyone think that Jesus would accept what has been done in his name since, after all, Jewish people have been persecuted for most of the past 2,000 years.

97. margin4error

OK – bit of digging – it seems the founder of BICOM Poju Zabludowicz – and he’s still one of four directors – has a rather large business empire including property holdings in occupied parts of the west bank.

This may explain why Akehurst, working for BICOM and thus for Poju Zabludowicz, might want to pretend that companies breaking international law through their activities on the west bank are the same as entirely legitimate israeli companies.

Bob B re comment 94:

Where in the passage of The Iron Wall you quoted does it mention Israeli Jews? It doesn’t.
Israeli Jews is a distinction you made.
Please explain why did you make it?

margin4error re comment 97:

Bravo!
I hereby award you the Woodward and Bernstein Supersleuth Online Award for uncovering information recorded at Companies House and developing it into such a robust conspiracy theory.

98

“Israeli Jews is a distinction you made. Please explain why did you make it?”

A minority of the population of Israel are not jews although Israeli jews have dominated successive governments of Israel since independence in 1948. Presumably, the jews of Israel are therefore accountable for the actions of what is termed the Israel Defence Force (IDF) and the continued illegal settlement of occupied territories conquered in the war of 1967.

Worldwide, many jews living outside Israel have long made it clear that they don’t endorse or approve of many actions of Israeli governments, hence the quotes @94 and organisations such as: Jews For Justice For Palestinians.

101. Dissident

haha Kojak & Margin4error!

So all the posturing of Akehurst boils down to just a few Shekels more! d’oh…

‘This may explain why Akehurst, working for BICOM and thus for Poju Zabludowicz, might want to pretend that companies breaking international law through their activities on the west bank are the same as entirely legitimate israeli companies.’

Well, you speak as though all Israeli Jewish activity and occupation across the Green Line is illegal or illegitimate. That’s not what the major powerbroker-mediator, the U.S., thinks.

The fact is that most occurred when most of Israel’s neighbours, including the Palestinians, were in a state of eliminationist war against her. The P.L.O. only accepted the principle of partition and international in 1988, they or their national movement having fought it for 40 years.

You can’t fight international law for 40 years and expect the clock to go back to the last, best opportunity you missed. It is only by occupying land that Israel forced her enemies to recognise and negotiate with her. Land for peace.

Oslo, Camp David II, the Geneva Accord and Annapolis all recognise that some settlements will be ceded by Israel, others annexed by her, in return for territory from elsewhere, including, originally, a highway that would bisect Israel from the West Bank to Gaza.

If Ben White expects Israel to surrender the Jewish Quarter in the Old City, or the Western Wall, for instance, when the Arabs who occupied it expelled all its Jews, he is not being very realistic.

Likewise the Jewish suburbs of East Jerusalem, reoccupied after Jews were effectively driven out in the 1930s, will be annexed to Israel. The Geneva Accord envisages a Jerusalem, Old and New, divided.

The U.S. and Europe does not see those settlements close to the Green Line, such as those suburbs of East Jerusalem, which probably constitute the bulk of ‘settlers’, as illegitimate in the sense that Israel will expected to cede them in any final status agreement. The U.S.-Europe consensus is probably best encapsulated in the Geneva Accord

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geneva_Accord

http://www.geneva-accord.org/

The issue of the settlements is complicated because the West Bank was conquered by Israel when pretty much all her neighbours, including the Palestinian Arab national movement, such as it existed, was still formally sworn to her destruction. Israel offered to return the West Bank and Gaza to their previous occupiers, Jordan and Egypt, in return for recognition. The Arab League responded in 1967 with the Three Nos of Cairo.

If the Palestinians are serious about getting the exact Green Line, they are going to have to offer rather more, such as, for instance, formally recognising some kind of legitimacy to Zionism, the Jewish national liberation movement, or some measure of injustice to trying to continue to largely keep Jews out, which is unlikely to happen.

Re. the Geneva Accord, if you think I am BSing you:

‘Yasser Arafat praised the “brave initiative that opens the door to peace”.[6] It was reported by Palestinian sources that Arafat and Ahmed Qurei had approved the Geneva initiative in principle but not the details, and sent official representatives to the launching ceremony.[7]‘

This was in 2003, at the height of the 2nd Intifada. Likewise Jonathan Freedland promoted it in a Guardian editorial:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2003/nov/05/comment.jonathanfreedland

If the Co-op’s boycott at least had the objective of such an agreement, I wouldn’t object, necessarily. I don’t think Netanyahu has done enough to make clear that Israel would be prepared to accept such a deal, even if I think Abbas has hitherto rejected such offers or invitations, in no small part encouraged, I think, by all-or-nothing, zero-sum zealots like Ben White. I would hope that the Co-op would encourage the pro-Palestinian side to adopt such a goal, too.

The Geneva Accord is a tangible possibility, in the real world, the closest to a final status agreement yet worked on, precise even down, in some cases, to the very streets.

104. margin4error

Kojak

Only took five minutes too. Though presumably his israeli companies are not listed at company house, what with them being israeli companies rather than british ones.

It is as plasuible an explanation as to why he is conflating those companies that break international law with those that don’t. Doesn’t seem to have any obvious cause to discredit the co-op. Presumably isn’t stupid enough to think operating a policy that is transparently not anti-semitic is akin to the Nazis closing Jewish shops. The financial link to his boss seems about the best explanation available, thus, for such a decietful rant.

Open to other offers of course.

‘Presumably isn’t stupid enough to think operating a policy that is transparently not anti-semitic is akin to the Nazis closing Jewish shops.’

It depends what the ultimate goal of that policy is. Palestinian and other Arab nationalists have been boycotting Palestinian then Israeli Jews since the early 20th century, and did so in concert with Nazis, in their time. Their goal was then ultimately expulsionist or eliminationist.

After the war, the Soviet Union took over as the champion of the Palestinian and other Arab national cause. It was they who promoted the UN resolution, ‘Zionsm is Racism’, in 1975, to which, to all intents and purposes, Ben White seems to still subscribe.

The goal of the BDS movement in general, if not the Co-op’s in particular (it isn’t actually very clear), and certainly Ben White’s, is the end of a Jewish state, the end of a Jewish right of return, the implementing of a Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian one, which would end in no-more-Israel in the short-, medium- or long-term.

That desire to deconstruct the state of contemporary Jews mayn’t be the same as that of the Nazis. But it is not altogether unrelated, either. There is, in fact, a continuity of boycott, and a continuity of deconstructionism, or desire to dissolve.

106. Dissident

@104 Zkharya

After reading the coop’s actual statement regarding this, I find it very hard to see a suspicious agenda on their part. Especially when they state that they will continue trading or even increase trade with Israeli companies not in the West Bank.

I can be suspicious of Ben White, but then I am suspicious of religious people anyway, as I see religion as ideology, which then gets twisted into any shape it’s adherents want. Usually a shape that makes them the chosen ones while everyone else is beneath them.

I am also suspicious of Akehurst. As Margin4error helpfully dug around and posted an all too plausible explenation for his motives, basically profit for his employer who happens to use West Bank land – er – acquired from Palestinians for his business empire, which may be in breach of the Geneva Accord you keep stating. If that is the case, then he and his employer have cheapened what 6 million people faced last century.

I hope your suspicion of a ‘thin end of the wedge’ is unfounded. Such a thing would be very bad for everyone in Israel and Palestine, and incidentally the rest of the world, as we are too interconnected in the 21st century to see any region as far away nothings.

The only future down that route is a poisoned radioactive wasteland, where potentially beautiful countries are now.

Hi Dissident,

thank you for your reasonably toned and phrased responses. I hope you think the same of me.

My chief concern with Co-op (and, again, I stress, they can adopt pretty much whatever policies they please) is precisely its vagueness. I think it is safe to say that those who brought or promoted it are generally in tune with the goals of the BDS movement globally, including Ben White. I think this was a kind of hijack, a bit like the AUT/UCU by the SWP. And I think it is reasonable to ask what precisely must Israel do to end a boycott: a withdrawal to the exact 1967 lines, conceding a Palestinian Arab right of return and all of the Old City and holy places is not an option. And to insist that Israel comply with the impossible is to encourage Palestinian Arab Muslims and Christians to hope or work for the same. Which, long term, is not a recipe for peace.

It’s not so much a concern with a thin end of the wedge as, unless a clear goal or set of conditions for ending the boycott is set, the default position must be assumed to be that of the BDS movement generally.

But, as I said, they can do what they please.

As for Ben White’s complaint about the ‘Nazi’ association, the fact is that there is an historical continuity, as I have said, in boycotting Palestinian, Israeli and other Jews, beginning with early Palestinian and other Arab Muslim and Christian nationalists, allied with the Nazis, then with the Arab League, allied with the Soviet Union. With the fall of the USSR, it has spread/returned to the West. Ben White mayn’t know it, but he stands, in descent, as an inheritor of that Soviet anti-Zionist/antisemitic tradition. He doesn’t know it, for ‘It is a wise man who knows his own father’.

That doesn’t mean I think the Co-op are Nazis, or that some people there may be perfectly well-intentioned. But I think some are not, and too many whose ignorance and prejudice leads them to ahistorical and unjust positions. In which category I definitely put Ben White.

But, as I said, they can do as they please, pretty much.

108. Dissident

Zkharya

You should read what I sometimes write about climate change deniers or 1%ers then. I am a lot less measured and reasonable with them…

[This may explain why Akehurst, working for BICOM and thus for Poju Zabludowicz, might want to pretend that companies breaking international law through their activities on the west bank are the same as entirely legitimate israeli companies]

All I have heard is that Poju Zabludowicz, who founded and is chairperson of BICOM, has a stake in a shopping centre in Ma’ale Adumim, one of the four largest Jewish settlements over the Green Line. In the Clinton Proposal and the Geneva Initiative, Ma’ale Adumim was to be ceded to Israel in a small ‘bubble’, connected by a road to Israeli Jerusalem:

http://peacenow.org.il/eng/content/maale-adumim

And BICOM supports the Geneva Initiative, and the Israeli Peace Initiative, which is based on it:

http://www.bicom.org.uk/analysis-article/bicom-briefing-the-israeli-peace-initiative/

http://www.geneva-accord.org/mainmenu/october-2009-bicom-briefing

Further, if Israel decided to cede Maale Adumim, I doubt Zabludowicz would contest their decision, since he would be compensated, along with all the other relocated inhabitants.

110. margin4error

zkharya

Thanks for the response. I do get that the boycotting of jewish companies can indeed be an extremely hostile and anti-semitic act. And by extention I can see how boycotting israeli companies can be something of a cover for such anti-semitic actions. But with the boycotting of just two israeli companies, on the grounds of those companies’ actions in the west bank, suggests no terrible anti-semitism at stake for several reasons.

One is that it is just two companies, not all israeli companies. And the co-op does use other israeli companies. This suggests that it is neither that they are israeli or jewish (and I don’t even know if they are jewish companies – Israel has many non-jews living there, many of whom own or run companies).

Another is that the co-op refuses dealings with a lot of companies and organisations it deems unethical. Many of these are expressedly not Jewish, including the Christian Voice quite famously (it closed the group’s banking with Co-op bank over its homophobic position).

Another reason is the lack of any link between the co-op and antisemitism in other forms. It has not at any stage closed its doors to Jewish customers, nor discriminated against jewish applicants for jobs.

So all in all – it is hard to see much here other than an ethical stance (whether one agrees with it or not) to refuse to trade with two companies it deems unethical because of their actions in occupied parts of the west bank.

margin4error re comment 103,

Rather than expend all that effort in 5 minutes (indeed 5 minutes is a great deal, so I tell my wife) you could always subscribe to the Jewish Chronicle and read the same info on a Friday morning.

I recall an article about a year ago – an interview I think – with Poju Zabludowicz which mentioned the contentious West Bank shopping centre which his company co-owns. So no need to dig-around and join up all the dots revealing how those pesky Jews follow the money.

I’ve attached the link below to give you a head start:
http://website.thejc.com/subscriptions/subscribe.aspx

112. margin4error

Kojak

I don’t really pay for news. T’internet has made so much of it free and my company pays for a number of newspapers as well.

But hey, five minutes online compared to stumping up cold hard cash – I’d choose the five minutes online. It showed the same thing – that the boss owns companies that operate in the west bank.

And the result is the same – one possible motivation for his group pretending that a refusal to deal with Israeli companies that operate on the west bank is an attack on israeli companies as a whole – not just those who do something possibly quite illegal.

113. Dissident

Kojak

You’ve walked into this, if 5 short minutes is a lot of effort, I hate to say it (obviously) but I feel sorry for your wife!

114. Reality Check

Ben White seeks Israel’s destruction.

He openly admits this. He seeks to destroy the Jewish state of Israel.

He doesn’t call it “destroy,” of course, because Jew-hating bigots who are trying to make a living destroying Israel need to tone it down a bit. So he instead yells “justice” about a million times and calls for “one state solutions” that erase Israel as a Jewish state.

He’s an obsessed anti-Israel bigot who seeks to erase the place from the map.

Listening to him talk about Israel is like listening to Ku Klux Klan members talk about black people.

margin4error re comment 110,

Luckily for you schnorrers can look at the JC online if they’d rather not subscribe:
http://www.thejc.com/

With all the digging and interpreting you forgot to credit the man with having an opinion which he might genuinely believe. If you were to take the long view and consider this boycott to be the thin edge of the wedge it makes sense.

Back in 1989 I was ashamed to see the Satanic Verses burned in the streets of Bradford and last year I felt ashamed that an Israeli cosmetics shop was forced to close last year because of street demonstrations outside it’s door in Covent Garden. Both campaigns were carried out by people who tried to delegitimise the subject of their attention. In both cases they thought they had right on their side.

116. Reality Check

Not only is Ben White an obsessed anti-Israel and anti-semitic bigot, he’s a SNIDE, OBNOXIOUS, SARCASTIC one.

He’s like a sniveling nazi who pretends to not be a nazi. It’s sickening.

He calls for a “one-state solution” that ends the existence of the world’s only Jewish state, and then has the repulsive nerve to pretend he does so in the name of “justice.”

Margin,

thanks for your response.

Like I said, the chief issue for me is: What precisely has Israel to do to lift this boycott?

If it is to dismantle all settlements, withdraw to the exact 1967 lines, cede the Jewish Quarter and holy places in the Old City, concede a Palestinian right of return, it is extremely unlikely (to say the least) to happen. It also encourages, directly or indirectly, the Palestinian leadership not to concede anything that would bring about a negotiated settlement like the Geneva Accord, since a worldwide siege/boycott of Israel intends to furnish that and more, without any Palestinian concessions. In which case both parties will entrench: Israel will de facto annex all settlements, fix the barrier as a permanent border, while the P.A and Hamas will struggle or fight to reverse it. In which case Israel will entrench further, seeing that she can concede nothing to bring about a Geneva Initiative type settlement. She will become Fortress Israel. Which may, at some level, be what Ben White wants. Perhaps he wants something to storm. He can try.

With all due respect, you do not seem to understand that the absolutist position that the BDS movement holds, that everything Israeli over the Green Line is fundamentally illegitimate or illegal, is one highly unlikely that Israel will ever concede. And no one, really, neither the U.S. nor Europe is pressuring Israel to do so, since they know the long and complex history.

The BDS movement is premised on a simplistic narrative whereby the only aggressor has ever been Israel, and the Arabs generally and the Palestinians in particular only defenseless, innocuous victims. Thus 1967 is cast as solely a groundless, ex nihilo act of Israeli aggression and conquest, where the U.S. and Europe, at the time, saw it as an act of defensive war against enemies who had continually threatened or promised to ultimately destroy her. And, indeed, it is only conquest of territory that has allowed Israel to force her enemies to negotiate. The other myth is that eliminationist or expulsionist Arab nationalist hostility against Israel only began in 1967, when it had a long pedigree before that.

The present generation seems to have forgotten or worse never known this, so it is easy for characters like Ben White to plug this alternative history, unchallenged.

118. Reality Check

Nobody calls Ben White a Jew-hating bigot because he criticizes Israel.

Valid criticism of Israel’s government, etc. is fine.

Ben White gets labeled a Jew-hating, dishonest bigot because he:

1) Seeks to erase the Jewish state from existence and calls for actions that would make Israel an Arab country. All the Jew-haters out there support this.

2) Takes valid criticism of Israel, then twists it in as evil direction as possible, and then exaggerates it by a billion.

3) Never, ever places Israel’s actions in PROPER HONEST CONTEXT.

4) He never criticizes Palestinian terrorism against Israel (because he supports it).

5) He never criticizes anti-semitic hate against Jews/Israel (because he supports it)

6) He never mentions what Arab countries did to Jews (causing almost one million Jews to flee and become refugees) – because he supports it

7) he never mentions that Palestinians kept trying to destroy Israel, and that’s why the occupation didn’t end

He’s a bigot, and a hatemonger. His opinions on Israel are TRASH and DISHONEST.

119. margin4error

Kojak

I credited him with the possibility that he actually believes what he wrote only so far as to do so would make him rather stupid (since so much of what he wrote was so clearly not true.) The things he says about the co-op decision is largely just not true and demonstrably so.

As such he is either not very bright – or he has some reason for being decietful. The one bias I can reasonably identify that may motivate such deciet is that his boss runs a company with activities in the west bank – and so trying to pretend such companies are the same as all israeli companies makes sense, because it sure beats explaining to a wider public why it is OK to do something that apears rather illegal.

Disident re comment 111:

Ever heard of self deprecating humour?

Abit like this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8XUYjOYAEcg&feature=relmfu

121. Dissident

Yup I have Kojak, just thought I’d egg it on a bit! This blog stream needs a bit of light releif, as well as important discussions. Even if it is a tad off subject…

By the way, logged onto Jewish chronicle, only scanned the headlines so far, but apparently there is some crowing about the co-op facing a drop in profits! Now i think I will have a read of those articles…

122. margin4error

zkharya

Thing is – whether Israel is likely to ever withdraw to the 67 lines (am I right in thinking that’s roughly what the UN and the quadrapartite group have been seeking for years) as part of a two state solution is a bit irrelevent.

It is irrelevent because the co-op doesn’t seem to have asked Israel to do any such thing. So even if Israel were to do such a thing it may make no difference to the co-op.

The co-op – so far as I can find – has not done anything to Israel or asked anything of israel and is not punishing Israel in any way. It has only done something to some israeli companies (not all israeli companies). And those israeli companies can choose to change what are deemed illegal and/or immorral practices – or they can not trade with the co-op.

The co-op does this all over the world. Take Bolivia for example, no one accuses the co-op of anti-bolivian sentiment just because it only buys fair trade produce from Bolivian companies – and so refuses goods from non-fair trade companies in Bolivia.

Is the co-op thus demanding Bolivia to bring in a law making all production meet fair trade standards? No. Is there a boycott of Bolivian business? No. There is just an ethical policy at work that has consequences for suppliers the co-op doesn’t deem ethical.

As I say – it is the pretence that this is an attack on Israeli business as a whole that makes the article decietful. The co-op trades with several israeli companies and sells products produced in Israel. It just doesn’t stock produce from what is effectively usurped land in the west bank because it deems that unethical.

Now I don’t much care for the Midle East. Its politics are beligerant and violent and not very much to do with me. I have little interest or opinion on which side is right or wrong.

I just care about the co-op in this discussion. And the idea that it is on some sort of anti-israel or anti-semitic bender is just not true.

Hence my pondering what the chap who wrote he article was motivated about to pen such a decietful article. If he’s just a lobbyist for the companies the co-op has stopped trading with – well fair enough – cold hard cash is his motivation. If he didn’t realise who decietful he was being – then fine, stupidity is the explanation.

I want to hope most people are smart enough to take in actual facts rather than believe such deciet however it is motivated.

123. Dissident

Didn’t take long to read, about as much depth as an average Daily Star front page, Kojak. Minus the obligatory celeb T&A ogle (sorry)

‘I just care about the co-op in this discussion. And the idea that it is on some sort of anti-israel or anti-semitic bender is just not true.’

I’m not saying that either.

At the risk of causing offence, I think you are being a little bit naive: the boycott has to have some kind of goal or stipulation, else it is not really a boycott. If it is unstated or vague, I am not sure how it could be de facto anything other than the default BDS position.

If it says the settlements are illegal, and any Israeli company implicated with them are off limits, it kind of is implying/insisting that only their removal will do. And that certainly is likely the message the Palestinian leadership(s) will infer, and the BDS movement generally. Which is the problem: it prejudges any final status agreement.

As to your attributing the basest possible motives to Akehurst, well, I’m not sure how you could show that without evidence. I think there is at least the possibility that Akehurst wrote the piece because he believes it to be true, and that he took the job because it chimes with what he also believes to be true. And tell me how many people work for nothing, even those who work for charities?

Zabludowicz’s fortune does not depend on that one shopping mall in Maale Adumim. His billions do not derive from the occupation. Losing one shopping mall will not destroy him, nor will it put BICOM or Akehurst out of commission.

In the event of a peace agreement, BICOM would likely flourish all the more.

‘he’s just a lobbyist for the companies the co-op has stopped trading with’

Er, did you provide any evidence for that? I didn’t see any.

126. marcea colley

It isnt anti Israel or anti Jewish to stand up against International Law breaking- this is illegal settlement goods- not legal Israel land produce- its like saying if the victim becomes a bully it is improper to state the fact- The Emperor Has No Clothes! comes to mind… I applaud the Coops ethical stance

127. margin4error

Zkharya
I didn’t assert that he was a lobbyist for those companies. Just that it was one relevant possibility and a simplified summary of the fact that he works for a man (founder and director of his campaign group)whose business, like those two, operates in the occupied parts of the west bank.

And my accusations about his motives stem from his deceitful article. He may believe Israel has every right to exploit the lands it has conquered. Nations have, after all, done that for thousands of years and still do. But can’t believe there is no distinction in the co op’s position between that and Israeli firms that don’t do so, or that a firm with such a good record of equality in all other regard to Jews is behaving on motives or in a fashion like the Nazi closure of Jewish shops. Unless he’s stupid. And in fairness I left that option open and stated it as an option. Just an unlikely one.

In terms of a boycott, has the co op called it that? Also, christian groups boycott shows on tv. Their target is not federal or state governments or laws. Their target is the network whose behaviour in showing certain types of shows they seek to change. The co op is only “boycotting” firms that produce in the occupied west bank, much as they “boycott” non fair trade produce. The influence is on the companies, they are the target. Not Israel. Nothing naive about that. Economic and consumer influence is a powerful tool to target companies with.

‘And my accusations about his motives stem from his deceitful article. He may believe Israel has every right to exploit the lands it has conquered. Nations have, after all, done that for thousands of years and still do. ‘

I think that’s a bit simplistic. Israel didn’t suddenly wake up in 1967 and think, Let’s conquer and exploit these lands. All those occupying these lands professed Israel’s end as their ultimate goal, or allied themselves with those that did.

Occupying those lands is the only way Israel brought them to disavow those threats, and bring them to any kind of recognition. But, over time, the simplest and most effective way to occupy land is to occupy it. But that comes at a cost: while it can spur your enemy to negotiate, since the more time he does not, the more he has to lose, it also makes it harder to surrender those lands in return for peace.

But, as I said, the Geneva Accord and the U.S.-Europe consensus is that the four major settlement blocs, mostly suburbs of Jerusalem. And these people have to live, and companies form part of that.

If boycotting those settlements encourages Israel to make more of an effort to come to such an agreement, I don’t necessarily have a problem with that. The problem is that the BDS movement as a whole conversely encourages the Palestinian leadership +that they don’t have to come to such an agreement+, that they will get all they want without having to concede Israel anything.

So, in the end, the more extreme parties on both sides are confirmed in their belief that no negotiated peace is necessary or possible.

The history of Israeli atrocities goes back a long way

– Sinking of SS Patria in Haifa harbour in November 1940
– Terrorist bombing of the King David Hotel, Jerusalem in July 1946 by Irgun
– Deir Yassin massacre April 1948
– Qibya massacre October 1953
– Massacres at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps September 1982
– Khiam Prison in South Lebanon 1985-2000
– the findings in 2000 of the Physicians for Human Rights on the suppression of the Intifada by the IDF which: “used live ammunition and rubber bullets excessively and inappropriately to control demonstrators, and that based on the high number of documented injuries to the head and thighs, soldiers appear to be shooting to inflict harm, rather than solely in self-defense. . . ”
– “Israel acting like Nazis in Gaza” according to Gerald Kaufman

BobB re comment 127:

Your list of ‘atrocities’ is like a haul of debris dredged from a canal – full of of old stuff that shouldn’t be there.

“Massacres at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps September 1982″……. this old chestnut, surely not?
If you can rely on memory rather than cut and paste you might recall thathat the attacks on these two camps by Levanese Christian Phalangists occured During the Lebanese Civil War on the day after Bashir (I think) Gemayal the leader of the Phalangists had been assassinated by people they (the Phalangists) suspected were in the camps. It was a case of absolutely dreadful revenge killings carried out a but not by the Israelis.

Without wishing to state the obvious Israel has peace agreements with Jordan and Egypt and is in a state of war with it’s other neighbours until they see fit to stop posturing and allow a Palestinian State to be formed.

131. Chaise Guevara

[LC is playing silly buggers; apologies if this is a repost]

@ 116 Reality Check

“Ben White gets labeled a Jew-hating, dishonest bigot because he [..]”

Firstly, none of that is cited. I asked awhile ago for the people who hate White to provide good reasons, and all I’m seeing is the same unsourced claims.

Secondly, only one of them, if true, would be proof of antisemitism:
“5) He never criticizes anti-semitic hate against Jews/Israel (because he supports it)” Note that the bit in brackets would have to be true as well.

All the rest would be evidence of dishonestly and strong anti-Israel bias, but that’s not the same thing. To be honest, the fact that you keep combining the two by writing “Jews/Israel” does suggest that you’re trying to conflate anti-Israel attitudes into antisemitism.

I wonder if Reality Check is an illegal settler, I also wonder if in real life that blogger says ‘dirty Arab’ whenever a Palestinian is in sight, like far too many illegal settlers do. What is the significance of that phrase?

133. margin4error

zkharia

I don’t really disagree with much of what you have just said. Actually the best way to occupy land, when there are current owners, is to exterminate the current owners. That has worked well in past centuries – but maybe Israel’s slower form of colonisation is more appropriate in modern times – and may well better secure israel’s existence than just having troops patrolling the areas while leaving hostile palestinians on their land.

But remember – I made my post in criticism of the guy who wrote the article. He may believe everything you just wrote. But he didn’t write that. He offered no justification for the acts of two companies that the co-op is “boycotting”. He offered no explanation that their actions help secure the lives of Israel’s people. He just lied about the co-op – lied about it all being an attack in israel as a whole – and lies about it having deeply anti-semitic roots.

Which is where I entered this conversation. I don’t give a monkeys about any of the people of the middle east. I don’t like its extremist politics and its violent outlook. I do care though, about the co-op. And this chap was either intensely dumb for thinking the things he wrote – since they are demonstrably not true – or he is lying, and thus some sinister motive is at work.

I suspect the latter. I suspect he wants to present the co-op’s position as an attack on jews and on israel as a whole to rally support and muddy the waters – not because it is true. And I suspect he wants to rally support and muddy the waters because of his organisation’s financial interests in companies that operate (possibly illegally under international law) in the west bank.

128

The persistent denials and downplaying of Israeli atrocities are entirely predictable but all the atrocities are well documented just as was the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995 for his efforts to develop the peace process with the Palestinians.

The basic trouble is that it’s impossible to negotiate with folk who really believe they have an absolute divine right to settle the territories conquered in the 1967 war.

Try this for the Israeli settler perspective:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ALiyDNwgUGY

As the Romans used to say: In vino veritas

It’s a real pain boycotting Israeli products. Often you have to read the packaging very closely, speak to an assistant or even come armed with info from the internet in order to identify Israeli products. I’d be very much in favour of supermarkets etc helping me to make my choice by the simple addition of a visible marker or sticker somewhere on the packet. A yellow star or something similar perhaps?

Margin, thanks for your response.

‘I don’t really disagree with much of what you have just said. Actually the best way to occupy land, when there are current owners, is to exterminate the current owners.’

I should have clarified what I meant. Israel conquered these territories when her neighbours had publicly declared their intention to ultimately end or destroy her. Jordan hadn’t done that, but when Israel launched a pre-emptive strike on Egypt and Syria, she ignored Israel’s request that she stay out of the conflict and sent her tanks and forces across the border into Israel. So Israel responded and drove Jordanian forces back across the Jordan. She also conquered the Old City, and enabled Jews to enter it for the first time since 1948.

What I meant was, given none of her enemies accepted her offer to return said territories in return for recognition, Israel had little choice but to hold on to them. And holding on to/occupying land, by military means alone, is not so easy. It’s expensive in energy, time, material and personnel. Which is why, when some Israeli Jews started refounding villages and towns lost or destroyed by the Arabs in 1948, or returning to Hebron, whence Jews had been driven out since 1929, the then Labour government turned a blind eye. It was Israeli Jewish settlers that started inhabiting the rocky spine of the West Bank, where few lived hitherto, and began digging deep wells, to tap the mountain aquifer, probably for the first time in its history. Israel also offered to connect any West Banker to the Israeli water system who wanted, though only about half took up this offer.

The point I am making is that Israel had to hold on to that territory, somehow, until such a time as her enemies, including the Palestinians, were prepared to accept it in lieu of recognition and peace e.g. Sinai went back to Egypt in 1979. She didn’t want Gaza back.

Israel is only a small country. It is not a god-like superpower, as often maintained. She has a relatively small population, and she is an extremely hostile neighbourhood, so she has to be on her guard, whatever anti-Zionist/anti-Israel propagandists may say. The fact is that Israeli Jewish settlers in key spots made the West Bank and Jerusalem easier to guard.

Some may say Israel had no business to do that, but I would say that Israel has little reason to trust her neighbours, especially with regard to Jerusalem, from which, under Arab rule, all Jews were expelled. Jerusalem is the Jewish capital, and this the first time in 2000 years when Jews have not been either expelled entirely, or only permitted to live there in small, highly discriminated against numbers.

Some may not think such history is important: it is at the back of the mind of every Israeli Jew when they look at their situation and neighbours/enemies.

When the P.L.O. finally accepted Res. 181 in 1988, the clock couldn’t go back to 1947 or 1967. All developments subsequent, including the settlements, had to be negotiated. Which is why the peace process, from Oslo to Annapolis, envisaged the larger blocs (and, actually, the area they comprise of the whole West Bank is very small: less than 2% of the whole) being annexed to Israel in return for land from Israel proper.

I appreciate I may be going over old ground, and you probably think this dreary. Worse, we may be speaking at cross purposes. I repeat that Co-op may do what it wishes, and that doubtless many do so from the best of intentions.

The occupation is evil. It exacts a terrible toll, not just on the Palestinians, but also on the Israelis that have to execute it.

But Israel cannot return to the exact 1967 lines, nor surrender the Jewish parts of the Old City. And if that is the global call, which BDS endorses, then, while it may tighten the siege on Israel, it will also, I think, entail Israel’s striking back, especially if attacked on many fronts, against those that try to storm her, as, for instance, Ben White has made clear he would like millions of Palestinian Arab refugees to do. Israeli Jews will become more nationalist, and, if there is civil war within Israel, between Israeli Jews and Arabs, it will likely get very ugly.

BDS is about ratcheting up the siege against Israel, usually by people who deeply hate her, and wish to see her end, people like Ben White, for instance. In which case Israeli Jews will likely hate back.

137. Dissident

@ Zkharya
I do have a question for you, which I am curious about. Where does the pseudonym you are using on here come from, and what meaning does it have for you? I would appreciate knowing.

138. margin4error

zhkarya

I completely understand that Israel feels very isolated as the only jewish nation the middle east – and as a nation that many neighbours refuse to recognise. I also understand that the occupation of the west bank was not an aim in itself, though I guess I think allowing settlement to happen has probably, in the long run, turned out to be a mistake by making peace and stability harder to achieve – even though in the mean time it was probably easier than patrolling with the army and otherwise leaving the land to its previous inhabitants. That is of course a rather vaguely held opinion since I tend to think none of the sides really want peace and are generally quite happy with the status quo, given the rhetoric and voting results in the region, as it allows for them all to justify some pretty wretched views and activities.

I don’t quite get why Israel feels so under seige from the wider world though – given that it trades quite freely with the wider world and faces no arms embargos from places like the USA or Britain, let along other forms of trade embargos. The western world has been very supportive of its right to exist and its economic development through generations now.

And as you recognise – the stuff this chap claimed about the co-op is just ludicrous and decietful. And that bothers me. You have made a perfectly rational and reasonable case for why Israel is where it is and does the things it does. Of course others would argue differently and fair enough – that’s the nature of democracy and debate. So it annoys me to see such lies and ignorance used against the co-op – and thus undermine a rational understanding of what is happening in the middle east.

I also tink the conflating of israeli companies in israel with those in the west bank is very dangerous ground partly because it hints that all israeli companies are active in the west bank – which is just not true – but which could be damaging to their trade and demand for their goods and services. But then, I suspect those companies are not the ones the chap is motivated to support.

139. Dissident

@Margin4error & Zkharya

With your discussion on here, I am learning much more about Israel. Most of my knowledge before came from the news, and John Pilger’s Freedom Next Time. I think it is wise to learn much more, for all concerned. Any recommendations, in addition to the book (the Iron Wall) mentioned earlier in this OP?

140. Chaise Guevara

@ 35 Ted Maul

“A yellow star or something similar perhaps?”

Ha ha, yes! Because boycotting goods from a country whose policies you disapprove of is EXACTLY like Nazi oppression and murder! What an insightful comment! I’m glad you’re here: it’s thoughful and considered contributions like this that prevent Israel/Palestine discussions from turning into flame wars!

136: “I should have clarified what I meant. Israel conquered these territories when her neighbours had publicly declared their intention to ultimately end or destroy her.”

Israel was created through atrocities and terrorism such as those listed @129, which are well documented in web sources.

Constructive negotiations are impossible with those who believe they have a divine right to take your land and live on as well as the right to kill you and your neighbours if that right is disputed.

139 Dissident: Avi Shlaim, author of The Iron Wall (Penguin Books), has joint Israeli-British citizenship. He is professor of international relations at St Anthony’s College, Oxford.

The book is worth reading because it relates some of the real background to jews settling in Palestine and the subsequent continuing conflict. Try this for a review of the “new hostorians” who sought to question the promoted Zionist message of Israel as the perpetual victim.
http://www.history.ac.uk/reviews/review/219

It’s worth reading the current Israel press for insights. Try this:

A woman passenger on a public bus from Ashdod to Jerusalem Friday was told by an ultra-Orthodox male passenger to move to the back of the bus. The man held the door of the bus open and would not allow it to move for approximately 30 minutes.

When other passengers began to complain about the delay, the driver called the police. The policeman who arrived on the scene spoke with the man and then also asked the woman, Tanya Rosenblit, to move to the back of the bus. When she refused, the man who had been holding the door alighted and the bus continued on its way. [Source: Haaretz 24 August 2012]

What are the chances of constructive negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians when Netanyahu’s coalition government in Israel is dependent on support from the religious parties in the coalition? Most of us thought forcing women to ride in the back of buses went out with the civil rights movement in the southern stats of America in the 1960s.

142. Dissident

@Bob B

I am going to read the Iron Wall, I want additional literature too. Have you read all my comments in this thread? I already know a bit, clearly not enough. What you describe on that bus is a shocking example of how regressive religious fundamentalists can be, although it is far from the worst action a JudeoChrIslamic fundamentalist is capable of… (the similarities between all 3 religions far outweigh the differences, when you look at their origins and outlook)

Dissident

I must confess that I’ve not read all through this thread – but I have been debating online since December 1995 and this territory is pretty familiar by now, which is one reason for not being optimistic about the likelihood of progress in negotiations over Palestine any time soon. Predictably, that is played by the Israeli machine as all due to the unreasonable Arabs and Palestinians.

Avi Shlaim’s book shows why that is not so and how Israel has rejected negotiations or made negotiations impossible. YouTube is a rich source of video clips on Israeli settlers and Gerald Kaufman in his speech in Parliament on: Israel acting like Nazis, in Gaza can hardly be dismissed as just another “antisemitic” rant.

144. Dissident

Bob B

since 1995? I have only rececently, under the pseudonym dissident. I get the feeling it is a bit like ‘how many Angels can fit on a pin’ at the moment, with ideologically entrenced positions. Unfortunately, on both sides, people will continue to die horribly.

Chaise @140

Cheers brother. I aim to please. Good to know it’s working. I can only hope that one day my contributions come as close to sorting out the Israel issue as yours do. If only the world would listen to us internet commentors…

I didn’t realise that my idea of a yellow star had been tried before. How well did it work?

Dissident

Israel has a powerful and capable official media machine and the US is a permanent ally.

It was only with the analytical approach of the “New Historians”, like Avi Shlaim, and because jews like Gerald Kaufman and Jews for Justice for Palestinians started to speak out that we on the outside got a clearer glimpse of the realities.

Sadly, the Palestinian leadership, tied of being persistently overlooked and lied about, resorted to terrorism on the grounds that since the Israelis had gained so much through terrorism, the Palestinians might as well have a go too.

Try this to better understand why progress in the Palestine peace process is so unlikely as long as Israel has a coalition government dependent on support from the religious parties:

Israel’s increasingly intolerant and violent ultra-Orthodox minority is “tightening [its] grip in Israel” in a “chilling parallel to the escalating fundamentalist tendencies within Islam,” writes Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus. [8 August 2012]
http://www.thejewishweek.com/blogs/political-insider/ultra-orthodox-tighten-their-grip-israel

It’s good to know the Co-op is also boycotting Syrian products and refuses to buy oil from Saudi.

What? They aren’t? And they sell Saudi petrol though their Texaco garages?

Blimey, where should a boy buy his fuel? They could put those big shiny swords they use to cut heads off on the top of their garages so I know not to give my money to the Co-op now, as well as the Israelis.

148. Dissident

I have been told in the past that the real reason USA is a permanent ally as you state is because it’s own evangelicals want to usher in the second coming, where Jews would be laid low, convoluted logic true, but arming Israel to the teeth, while flooding the rest of the middle east with arms, combined with the constant scuppering of negotiated settlements, like the Geneva Accords can look like that. (yes, US arms are not the only ones in the region, there are also Russian and British)

Here are Israelis claiming that they have a divine right to Palestine – it’s all because of the Bible, never mind how many centuries Palestinians Arabs have lived on their land:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bbIHsvouXXY&feature=related

It’s unsurprising that US Evangelicals back that story. Only Israel has more resident jews than the state of New York. With that kind of potential support for Israel, a US politician seeking votes in an election is predictably likely to declare support for Israel regardless or face losing the election.

There are many video clips on YouTube showing violence by Israeli settlers – no wonder they don’t like having cameras around to gather evidence.

150. Dissident

So the only claim is a single book, thousands of years old? Worse, a single sentence in said book? That is the justification for both sides murdering each other? How stupid is that? Instead of living in peace, and both sides building a wonderful place that could be a jewel on the earth, they choose the route that leads to a radiation scarred wasteland?

Why are both sides choosing that route? or more accurately letting fundamentalists decide that route for them?

“How stupid is that?”

There is no scope for rational discussion with fundamentalists.

Recap: the ultra-orthodox believe that women should sit at the back of buses. There was a lively debate recently in Israel about the ultra-orthodox not working, living off welfare benefits and being exempt from military conscription to serve in the IDF. They are disproportionately active in the settler movement and have a relatively high birth rate.

There is little that Netanyahu’s coalition government can do about any of that because the government is dependent on the votes of the religious parties to stay in power. Even a new election may bring little change to the situation.

FWIW my view is that there is little chance of change unless Israel is made a pariah state by the international community and treated in the way that apartheit South Africa was treated.

152. Dissident

Are you hoping that pariah status would help decent Israelis and Palestinians to reject the fundamentalist doctrine? It is too blunt an instrument, and plays into the hands of those in power, or hold the balance of power. Other countries have been made pariahs, and they are worse now than before, because it plays into an idiots (or a power hungry psychopaths) hands. It is easier to peddle fundamentalist or tribalistic propaganda then. SA was an exeption, not a norm.

Zkharya touched on that earlier too. With the existing propaganda, it will be ‘see I told you so…’

I can’t see anything short of pariah status for Israel getting the peace process going again.

This American documentary about Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank shows why the Israelis think procrastination and delay will help to boost their strategic advantage in retaining control over the West Bank even though the official international view is that the settlement of occupied land is illegal:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EjoeY3YrIiY

Of course, that doesn’t matter to any who think that Israel has a divine right to the West Bank.

In the documentary, BBC is commended for its relatively objective news reports on the situation – the documentary includedes clips of BBCTV news. That could be a powerful argument for retaining the licence fee. Under commercial pressures, it is doubtful whether the BBC could afford to be so objective.

one word, Liebensraum.

It happened in this country post Roman Empire (why Britain is considered anglo saxon, not ‘welsh’, What is now Australia, USA etc…

As I stated earlier in this thread, nothing out of the ordinary. Unfortunately.

apologies for the poor grammatical structure there. I hope what I mean is clear.

“Lebensraum”

The was a perverted economic rational for the Nazi lebensraum doctrine in the 1930s. With the depth of the depression in Germany at the time and the continuing shortage of small holdings to farm, the notion had an obvious populist appeal. The prospect of enslaving inferior races in neighbouring countries added seasoning but the Nazis weren’t claiming all that as a divine right.

By way of a rational, the Nazis could only invoke the vision in Mein Kampf by the Fuhrer. It went wrong with the Nazi blitzkrieg attack on Soviet territory in June 1941. Historians report that the invading Nazi army was initially welcomed in Belrus and the Ukraine. But the welcome parties were regarded as inferiors by the invaders and so they threw away the advantage which could have been gained from local popular opposition to the Soviet government in lands badly traumatised by the experience of the famine of 1932/33, created by the collectivisation of agriculure, which killed an estimated 7 million.

As we can see from the video clips on YouTube, Israeli settlers in the West Bank are claiming that they have a divine right to the land there because the land was given to their ancestors by their ethnic god in a covenant with his chosen people. Methinks we have there reflections of the Master Race syndrome.

divine right to territory is logically the same thing in my eyes. As I stated earlier, any religious or ideological group see themselves as somehow superior, just because they are part of that group, and everyone else is below them.

Which is why I used the word tribalistic. All of us either are, or can be guilty of that, because it shorts out the wider implications of empathy.

Imagine for (in this particular case) yourself as either an Israeli or a Palestinian, you are hardwired to identify with ‘your’ tribe by a gazillion different reasons, mostly evolution and propaganda, and it is ever so helpfully provided to yourself reason ‘A’ or ‘B’ is a danger to your perceived tribe. How would you behave? It is easy to judge outside that, and easy to react inside. What is hard to do, is to understand, on a deep level, that the ‘other’ is no different to you.

158. Chaise Guevara

@ 145 Ted Maul

“I didn’t realise that my idea of a yellow star had been tried before. How well did it work?”

Very badly. It appears that you aren’t very good at coming up with suggestions.

very, very badly!

Dissident

By long standing habit, I’ve been a floating voter having variously voted Conservative, Labour, LibDem, and Social Democrat. You could say that by instinct I’m anti-tribalist and I come from a career background with a tradition of speaking truth unto power.

My early instincts, years ago, were pro-Israeli until I started to read more of the history of Palestine and the background to the conflict. What rather confirmed my changing mind was when any online criticism of the Israeli state was greeted by claims that I was anti-semitic, pro-Nazi or a “friend of David Irving” when many friends and girl-friends in my youthful days were (secular) jews. I’ve been taken as a jew on several occasions and took no offence at that. Why should I be offended lacking confident knowledge about my ancestry.

A trawl through YouTube video clips about Israeli settlers on occupied territories in Palestine confirms my apprehensions about the religious motivation for the conflict and the poor prospects of progressing any peace process. Coming to know about the serial Israeli atrocities in Palestine illuminates Arab-Palestinian terrorism.

Yes, Ben I agree, who cares about ancestry, or an out of date book. So far, I haven’t been accused of that! Place your bets…

Hi Dissident,

my name is my Hebrew name. The English would be Zachary, or Zachariah.

I really wouldn’t pay much attention to Bob B: he is both rather ignorant and rather bigoted. Such as he tend to put Zionist claims and Israel’s arguments and policies in as racist or unconvincing a way as possible, to justify his a priori agenda.

The main justification for Zionism (= Jewish nationalism) is simply the fact that for more of (Palestinian) Christian and Islamic history, Jews have been regarded and treated as an ethno-national group, exiled and disposessed for their rejection of Jesus and the prophets. This led to their mostly being driven out or alienated from Old World Christendom and Islam, in the 19th and 20th centuries, before 1914, mostly to America; after 1914 mostly to Palestine or what became Israel, which is why America and Israel have the two largest Jewish communities today, and why Europe has only a fraction of its former community. I actually wrote a lengthy response to an earlier comment of yours, I will post it immediately below this one, if you like.

Bob B gives you detailed list of Zionist Jewish atrocities (I haven’t paid close attention, it is a standard anti-Zionist rant), but omits to mention the Arab Muslim ones, or the Arab Muslim or Christian nationalist anti-Jewish exclusivism, expulsionism or eliminationism. Ben White has a similar polemical tendency: blacken by adduction your enemies; whiten your charges by omission.

Dear Margin.

Israel is regionally under siege, as have been Palestinian Jews for most of the last 100 years, the British their only protection during the Mandate period. The Arab Jews were mostly effectively expelled, mostly to Israel. It is not a Jew-friendly environment. Egypt and Jordan made formal peace treaties with her in the late 20th century, but now the Egyptian is looking shaky. Egypt has already stopped selling Israel gas, which was stipulated by said treaty, so Israel has now to provide it herself from her Mediterranean finds, which Hizbullah, sworn to Israel’s destruction, and ally of Iran, has threatened to attack. Jordan’s is holding, so far, but if it goes Muslim Brotherhood, like Egypt, that could change.

The intention of BDS, as a movement, is to besiege Israel as apartheid South Africa, as so bring it down. But this would inevitably work hand in glove, whether by intention or coincidence, with the more local political and military siege.

Israel is strong, for now, relatively speaking, but if she were not strong, she wouldn’t exist. And now there is a Muslim Brotherhood run Egypt (Hamas is an evolution of the Palestinian chapter of the Muslim Brotherhood), armed with the very latest American military equipment, supplied Egypt when she agreed to make peace with Israel in 1979.

The Irish politician, Conor Cruise O’Brien, wrote a history of Israel in 1986 (so a bit out of date, but Dissident might find it interesting) called The Siege.

There are all kinds of reasons why Israel is not like apartheid South Africa, and all kinds of reasons why BDS of her would not work in the same way, but they are a bit involved for one post, perhaps in a later one.

I apologise for the lengthy posts I always write, Margin, but, as I am sure you would agree, it is a big subject.

Dear Dissident,

I post below a comment I wrote in response to an earlier remark you made, but decided not to paste.

‘What really riled Jesus was organised religion, yet that is what happened with his own teachings. Does anyone think that Jesus would accept what has been done in his name since, after all, Jewish people have been persecuted for most of the past 2,000 years.’

My own area of expertise is the ancient and early church fathers, all of whom, pretty much, subscribed to a notion that God the Father had exiled or dispossessed the Jews for crucifying Jesus Christ God the Son. And this was/has been normative Christian belief for most of Christian history.

The first Christian (indeed person) in history to define his place of origin as ‘Palestine’ is a 2nd century Father called Justin Martyr. He writes to the emperor Antoninus Pius that it is his duty to continue to guard Jerusalem from the Jews, and that their land be consumed by strangers, to fulfil biblical prophecy. He also lectures a Jewish/Judean refugee, Trypho, that his exile was punishment for rejecting Christ, and that Greco-Romans inherit the land in their place, paving the way for a gentile-Christian possession at the end of history. Justin was himself the son of Greco-Roman citizens of a colony, Flavia Neapolis, that the emperor Vespasian established as a ring of colonies, intended to ensure that the suppression of the (first) Jewish revolt stayed permanent. This paved the way for the outbreak and suppression of the 2nd revolt, which in turn birth the province of Palestine, in place of Judea, intended to alienate Jews from their patria, forever.

Ben attends an annual conference called ‘Christ at the Checkpoint’. Ironically, the birth of a specifically Palestinian Christianity entailed the birth of a Christ who actually +was+ a checkpoint, intended to bar the way of Jews to Jerusalem and, in large part, the land, forever.

That belief was to some extent adopted in Islam, except for the fact that Jesus, while miraculously, virginally conceived, was not the Son of God nor was he himself crucified, but a phantom in his place. Caliph Umar allowed a limited Jewish habitation of Jerusalem, but never so many as to match, never mind outnumber, the Christians.

By ‘belief’, I mean also +Palestinian+ Christian and Islamic history and belief. In fact, in the earliest Palestinian Arab Christian and Muslim nationalist literature, that the Jews are a people dispossessed for their sins, and, conversely, Palestinian Arab Muslims and Christians possessed of the land for their respective superior virtue, is an absolute assumption and given.

Palestinian Arab Christians have grown a bit more sophisticated in recent years, especially for western audience for whom the more traditional Christian beliefs about Jews have become less palatable (though it still creeps out, here and there, even among Ben’s western friends, such as the Rev. Stephen Sizer). Among the Palestinian Arab Islamists, such as Hamas, the more traditional beliefs, usually expressed in Arabic, combined with more modern European, post-Christian strains of antisemitism, still occur, not infrequently.

Ben White chooses to ignore most of it, of course (recently in Raed Salah), preferring to characterise Israeli Jewish society as intrinsically or structurally racist, Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian society merely +incidentally+ so.

For my part, I think we need to arrive at a situation of 2 states, for 2 peoples, with 2 rights of return, division of Jerusalem, old and new, borders on the 67 lines, or with territorial compensation.

Then, when both peoples have matured sufficiently, to see their narrative and history in terms of the other’s, we could perhaps speak of one state. But not for a while, I think.

Dissident,

you asked for some book suggestions.

The best history of modern, political Zionism, I think, is Walter Laqueur’s A history of Zionism.

You get it from Amazon second hand quite cheaply

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/offer-listing/0030916143/ref=sr_1_2_up_1_har_olp?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1345869133&sr=1-2&condition=used

Also Colin Shindler’s What Zionists believe, which is much shorter, and still very cheap second hand

http://www.amazon.co.uk/What-Do-Zionists-Believe-We/dp/186207836X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1345869256&sr=1-1

As to a history of Israel, I’d say Benny Morris’ Righteous Victims, for an overall history. His more recent 1948 only addresses the Mandate period and the 1947-49 war. He pulls no punches about Zionist Jewish atrocities or acts of expulsion, but he does the same for the Arab side, too. His chief thesis is that Zionist expulsionism was driven by Arab nationalist expulsionism.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/offer-listing/0679744754/ref=sr_1_1_up_1_main_olp?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1345869603&sr=1-1&condition=used

However Morris isn’t the best writer, at least from an English perspective, and his style and narrative are a bit heavy, or relentless. You might prefer Colin Shindler (who is current Israel studies Professor at SOAS) and his A Modern History of Israel. I have only begun reading it, but it is still available quite cheaply, second hand. Shindler is an excellent writer, which helps.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/offer-listing/0521615380/ref=tmm_pap_used_olp_sr?ie=UTF8&condition=used

Conor Cruise O’Brien’s The Siege covers issues up to 1986, quite well, and he is an +excellent+ writer, bringing an Irish literary flair to the subject

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/offer-listing/0671633104/ref=sr_1_2_up_1_pap_olp?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1345869756&sr=1-2&condition=used

Likewise Martin Gilbert’s Israel: a history, is a good overview, again well written +and+ up to date. The trouble is the 2012 version is a bit more expensive than the 2006. I’d personally go for the 2006. It still covers much of the basic stuff you need.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=martin+gilber+israel&x=0&y=0

Martin Gilbert is especially good with maps, and I’d say his Atlas of the Arab-Israeli conflict is indispensable. Fortunately the 2010 edition is cheaper 2nd hand than the 2008:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=martin+gilber+israel+atlas&rh=n%3A266239%2Ck%3Amartin+gilber+israel+atlas&ajr=0

Also Benny Morris’s One state, Two states is a good political analysis of the one state v. two states debate:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/One-State-Two-States-Resolving/dp/0300164440/ref=sr_1_cc_2?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1345870259&sr=1-2-catcorr

Dear Margin,

I have to say I think Akehurst’s piece was written in too blunt and ill-considered a way, adducing the ‘Nazi’ theme with insufficient explanation.

The fact is then, perhaps unbeknownst to most Co-op, there is a history of boycotting Palestinian and Israeli Jews, that goes back right to the early 20th century, first in concert with the Nazis, under the British Mandate, then with the U.S.S.R. under the Arab League, post-war, after the birth of Israel. I think a lot of modern western European anti-Zionism actually descends in no small part from the Soviet, before the end of the Cold War. As I said, the Soviets sponsored the original U.N. resolution, ‘Zionism is racism’, to which many BDSers still subscribe, though the resolution was itself rescinded in 1991.

The current BDS attempt to equate apartheid South Africa with Israel derives from the same period, when the U.S.S.R. also sponsored a resolution on the crime of apartheid in 1973. Ben White, for instance, attempts to use this to charge Israel with the same. The way the U.N. generally works, it is relatively easy for the Organization of Islamic Countries, which often worked in concert with the U.S.S.R., to build a passing majority, which is why there are so many resolutions against Israel, and so few against Arab or Islamic countries, or their records of human rights.

*The way the U.N. general ASSEMBLY works

zkharya: “I really wouldn’t pay much attention to Bob B: he is both rather ignorant and rather bigoted.”

That’s the predictable sweeping denial, regardless of the evidence, with personal abuse from an Israel cheerleader. Israeli atrocities as @129 are well-documented on the web for any who care to do the googling. For example, try this on Khiam prison from the BBC website:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/766746.stm

I’ve cited Avi Shlaim’s book: The Iron Wall as a history source for the Palestine conflict and posted YouTube links to Israeli settlers. How is that ignorant and bigoted? Shlaim’s book is especially illuminating on the beginnings of the Zionist settlement of Palestine.

The by now familiar fact is that Israeli activists and cheerleaders don’t want the truth about the Palestine conflict known. I doubt that there will be any progress in Palestine peace negotiations short of international sanctions on Israel. The Palestinians have made it clear that they won’t participate in peace negotiations so long as illegal Israeli settlement building continues on occupied Palestinian lands. The result is that the Israeli government allows settlement building to continue. Hence, no negotiations. Recap that American documentary linked @153. Israel has a vested interest in continued procrastination.

Zhkarya, many thanks for explaining your pseudonym on here.

Please understand I prefer to be even handed in my outlook on Israel, It is not ignorant or bigoted to show evidence of how badly some Israelis behave, or their own justifications. Israelis do commit atrocities of their own. How can, say for example Ariel Sharon justify killing children in the 1967 war?
Is that in any way honourable or courageous? Or the behaviour of Israeli settlers in West Bank and Gaza Strip? Is the Israeli historian Avi Shlaim ignorant and bigoted when he writes about Israel? Are the many Jewish people who objtect to the behaviour of some Israelis towards Palestinians ignorant and bigoted too? Or is the ignorance and bigotry in the hearts of the Israelis who choose to behave in a despicable way?

I understand that some Palestinians etc also behave in a despicable way, brainwashing young people who already know how they are been treated on a daily basis into suicide bombers for example, yet it is their constant mistreatment at checkpoints etc that makes anti Israeli propaganda so easy for them to swallow. They have direct experience of mistreatment at the hands of settlers and IDF conscripts.

Please re read what I wrote at 157. It applies to all human beings, regardless of ethnicity or creed.

‘Please understand I prefer to be even handed in my outlook on Israel, It is not ignorant or bigoted to show evidence of how badly some Israelis behave, or their own justifications. Israelis do commit atrocities of their own.’

Didn’t I just acknowledge that? That’s why I recommended Benny Morris. It’s just that even-handedness recognises the other side, as well.

‘How can, say for example Ariel Sharon justify killing children in the 1967 war?’

I don’t recall when he did. He was responsible for the murder of Arab civilians in his Unit 101, which responded to Fadayin attacks in the 1950s.

I don’t justify that. But it shouldn’t blind one to murderousness, including towards Palestinian, Israeli and sometimes other Jewish civilians, including sometimes children, on the other side, and from of old. This began in the Mandate period in 1919, when Bedouin attacked and killed Jewish settlers in the Galilee, at which point, for the first time, Palestinian Jews organised a self-defence force, the first time in Palestinian Jewish history since Roman times, the bearing of arms being forbidden Jews under Islamic rule until the Ottoman Capitulations in the late 19th century (and effectively rescinded during WWI), to which Palestinian Arab Muslims took vigorous exception.

‘Is that in any way honourable or courageous? Or the behaviour of Israeli settlers in West Bank and Gaza Strip? Is the Israeli historian Avi Shlaim ignorant and bigoted when he writes about Israel?’

Not necessarily. But he has an agenda of his own too, which is chiefly, I think, to perpetuate his career as an Oxford academic, who has lived over 40 of his 60 odd years in Britain, in England; who is as distant from the Anglo-Jewish community as he is from the Israeli. He probably has more contact with the Oxford Arabist academic establishment than any other. He has a constituency to please too.

Shlaim’s chief sin, if he has any, is omission. That is the commonest sin of historians. Which is why it is necessary to read a wide range of them (and I have given you only an Israeli side). You might be interested in this critique of Shlaim by Benny Morris (who nevertheless called The Iron Wall ‘the best +diplomatic+ history’ of the period, at the time, as I recall):

http://www.tnr.com/print/article/books-and-arts/derisionist-history

Shlaim has little or no stake in the Israeli society in which he has not lived for over 2/3 of his life. Which does not mean he shouldn’t write histories about it. It just means that his is not the only view you should take, I think.

‘Are the many Jewish people who objtect to the behaviour of some Israelis towards Palestinians ignorant and bigoted too?’

Again, not necessarily, and often not.

‘Or is the ignorance and bigotry in the hearts of the Israelis who choose to behave in a despicable way?’

+Some+ of it might well be. But +not all+ of it. About half, I’d say. Which is my point.

‘Zhkarya, many thanks for explaining your pseudonym on here.’

It’s not a pseudonym.

‘I understand that some Palestinians etc also behave in a despicable way, brainwashing young people who already know how they are been treated on a daily basis into suicide bombers for example, yet it is their constant mistreatment at checkpoints etc that makes anti Israeli propaganda so easy for them to swallow.’

I agree with that. Which is why I want a Geneva Accord type settlement.

Without that, Israel will set the barrier as a permanent border, the eastern wall of Fortress Israel.

172. Chaise Guevara

@ 144 Dissident

“I get the feeling it is a bit like ‘how many Angels can fit on a pin’ at the moment, with ideologically entrenced positions.”

Agreed. I think Israel/Palestine is the most irreversibly entrenched debate I’ve come across, with the possible exception of pro-life/pro-choice. A lot of people come with a batch of epithets ready to throw at anyone who disagrees with them – antisemite, Islamophobe, pro-oppression, pro-terrorist, Nazi – and even the more mature commenters inevitably get bogged down in a game of Your Atrocities Are Worse Than Ours.

That, along with acknowledged ignorance on my part, is why I tend to stay out of such conversations, although I’ll occasionally step in with a middle-road view, or to troll trolls like our friend Ted Maul above. The problem is that there’s so much anger and so much sin on both sides, it’s ridiculously easy to compile a list of reasons that the other side are a bunch of bastards. It’s like Confirmation Bias 101.

173. Dissident

Thanks Zkharya for answering my questions. It is a good idea to read from more than one source! (another book to buy, gonna need a mansion eventually, unless I get a Kindle!)

Your real name? Ok.

174. Chaise Guevara

@ Zhkarya

“It’s not a pseudonym.”

I think Dissident’s just mixed up “pseudonym” and “screen name”. They do tend to be used interchangeably online.

175. Dissident

I noticed the troll Ted Maul, not the worst one on this thread Chaise, Sunny deleted another who came on and spouted vile racist insults!

‘divine right to territory is logically the same thing in my eyes. As I stated earlier, any religious or ideological group see themselves as somehow superior, just because they are part of that group, and everyone else is below them.’

I’m sorry, Diss, but is not the fundamental Zionist position, and, if you think it is, you are labouring under a misapprehension.

A Jewish right of return, or belief in such, is predicated on an historical belief/self-definition of Jews as a people exiled and dispossessed, a belief that has been confirmed by 2000 years of Christian and Islamic definition, and treatment, of Jew as the same, resulting in, or contributing towards, the effective expelling or alienating of most of the Jews of Old World Christendom and Islam, half to America, half to Israel/Palestine.

This is not a matter of ‘divine right’. This is a matter of Jews being regarded as historical ‘Palestinians’, exiled or dispossessed, for most of Christian and Islamic history, including Palestinian Christian and Islamic history, with tangible consequences for Jews, even 2000 years later.

177. Chaise Guevara

@ 174 Dissident

Ah, looks like I was spared from reading the worst offender! BTW, buy a Kindle. If you read a lot you’ll get your money back soon enough, especially if you like classics, which tend to be free (I got the complete works of Shakespeare for 60p, and I think that was to cover the cost of organising the works). Plus it’s awesome to be able to go on holiday with a sizeable book collection in your coat pocket. And it’s cheaper than a mansion.

No problem, Diss.

I got a Kindle in the U.S. this Chrismukkah, and find it very useful (especially for Bible verses). I still prefer a book in my hands though for some things, and it still isn’t as cheap for second hand books. You can’t flick through a kindle and find your place as easily as a book, I find.

I was also going to suggest Sebag Montefiori’s Jerusalem, which at £5.99 inc. post from Amazon for near 1000 pages is excellent value. The modern section is in the later chapters, but it still has readable and concise information value.

179. Dissident

was ‘divine right to territory’ one of those easy soundbites that stick in peoples heads then Zkharya? (another book!!) yup Kindle it will be…

180. Charlieman

Just a quick hello to Dissident and Zkharya to thank them for their thoughtful contributions on this thread. As Chaise mentioned, this is an entrenched debate so different voices asking and answering different questions illuminate us all.

181. Dissident

I am more interested in understanding than posturing Charlieman! Thanks anyway.

182. Dissident

@ Zkharya

I have bought Simon Sebag Montefiore’s Jerusalem today, next month the other 2 recommended books, so any future discussions about Israel, I would have more knowledge to base my opinions on. I have read other books of his – Young Stalin and some of Stalin, The Court of the Red Tzar. I know he is right wing, but his books are far more moderate than OP’s he writes for this country’s Daily Mail (a newspaper infamous for a headline ‘hooray for the blackshirts’ as well as other dodgy stuff)

In the Soviet Union, after the times when shooting dissidents or sending them to the gulags attracted too much bad publicity in international media, the Soviet authorities took to consigning them to secure mental health institutions for treatment instead as any critics of Soviet socialism were bound to be insane. Critics of Israel OTOH, are instantly dubbed antisemitic, bigoted and ignorant – without, of course, showing where and why they are wrong because that would mean engaging in rational debate. Smearing is so much easier. Try this from the President of Harvard in September 2002:

“But where anti-Semitism and views that are profoundly anti-Israeli have traditionally been the primary preserve of poorly educated right-wing populists, profoundly anti-Israel views are increasingly finding support in progressive intellectual communities. Serious and thoughtful people are advocating and taking actions that are anti-Semitic in their effect if not their intent.”
http://president.harvard.edu/speeches/2002/morningprayers.html

Avi Shlaim in: The Iron Wall: “In 1897, under order of First Zionist Congress president Theodor Herzl, two Austrian rabbis traveled to Palestine to explore the possibility of locating a Jewish state there. The bride is beautiful, the rabbis cabled Herzl, but she is married to another man. That other man was the Palestinian Arab nation, long established in the region as a political entity. Undeterred, Herzl pressed on with his program of emigration, ignoring Palestines existing occupants and creating in the process what came to be known as the Arab question.”

184. Just Visiting

Bob B

> That other man was the Palestinian Arab nation, long established in the region as a political entity.

Not sure what ‘political entity’ means there – my history books don’t have a country called ‘Palestine Arab’ for 1897.

JV

That could just be because of the history books you choose to read.

Prior to the end of WW1, Palestine was part of the Ottoman Empire and settled by an indigenous people. Try the entry in Wikipedia for a brief history of the territory and the distant historic origins of the name. Few would want to dispute the documented facts that the Zionist movement encouraged jews from around the world to migrate to Palestine, supposedly because settlement there was their divine right in consequence of a covenant with their ethnic deity. The world is still troubled by the consequences of that migration.

186. Reality Check

Every country has the right to set their own immigration standards. But antisemites twist it into Israel-bashing hate.

No responsible website/outlet should give a scumbag like Ben White, who wants to see Israel erased from existence, a column about Israel.

187. Dissident

Yet the actual result ‘reality’ check, is at least one person, maybe more learning more about Israel, and although I personally treat with utter contempt the evil acts perpetrated by specific people on both sides, I am not even remotely anti semitic.

If Ben White was prevented from writing about this, in the way you want, there would have been no discussion between me and Zkharya in this thread, would they? Would you have wanted that instead? no debate, entrenched positions, and no hope of ever solving the obvious injustices, which have been happening for 2,000 years?

Do you want another 2,000 years of hatred and injustice? How many millions, or even billions would suffer then?

Your total lack of positive contribution makes me think that you are the bigot. Your outlook is just as damaging to Israel and Palestine as the actions of Sharon and Abbas.

Ben White makes a valid point. From personal experience of debating the Palestine Question online, the response of the extensive Israel cheerleading lobby is to dub critics of Israel as Nazis to avoid rational debate. The fact is that many critics of Israel and its governments – including jews – are not Nazis and never have been. It’s ludicrous to infer that Gerald Kaufman and Avi Shlaim are pro-Nazi because they criticise Israeli governments.

The sad insight is that any progress in the Palestine peace process is impossible with the present coalition government in Israel. What prospect is there of rational negotiations between the parties in the conflict over Palestine when the coalition depends on the support of people who believe they would be defiled if they were to travel on a bus where women are not obliged to sit at the back?

As the UK representive presciently predicted in the UN debate on the Palestine Mandate in November 1947, the partition of Palestine will lead to continuing conflict. Negotiations will fail so long as Israeli government perceive an advantage in delay to allow more illegal settlement building on occupied Palestinian territory.

189. John P Ried

ben, Poes law and godwins law all in one.

190. Chaise Guevara

@ 186

“Every country has the right to set their own immigration standards. But antisemites twist it into Israel-bashing hate.

No responsible website/outlet should give a scumbag like Ben White, who wants to see Israel erased from existence, a column about Israel.”

I find captcha tests very annoying, but I have to admit that, if this site had one, bots like Reality Check would no longer be able to spam the forums.

On the other hand, Reality Check, if you’re NOT a robot, why do you keep spamming the same accusations over and over, never really engaging with what anyone else says and never citing the “facts” that you claim to be true?

The Co-op is absoluately right to ban Israeli settlement goods:

1. The settlements are illegal under international law (all governments, apart from Israel, are unequivocal about this);

2. Goods made in illegal settlements are illegal;

3. The Coop (nor any other shop) should be allowed to sell Isreali settlement goods, or any other illegal goods (and if they do so they should be prosecuted).
_________________________________________________________

Israel’s settlement project is also an ethnic cleansing project. In the past few weeks, Israel has begun, inter alia:

A. The destruction of 8 Palestinian villages in the South Hebron hills, with the explusion of their 1,800 inhabitants:
http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/pyromania-in-the-hebron-hills-1.454262

B. The destruction of the homes of over 1,000 Palestinians in Silwan, East Jerusalem:
http://www.waronwant.org/campaigns/justice-for-palestine/save-silwan

Stopping sales of settlement products sends a clear signal to Israel that the civilised world will not tolerate this.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Luke Akehurst in Holocaust smear of Coop’s illegal Israeli settlement boycott | Left Futures

    [...] can make up their own minds about the merits of the case, and this article at Liberal Conspiracy presents the case against Luke’s arguments. The most remarkable aspect [...]

  2. Tom Burke

    my response to @lukeakehurst >>> RT @libcon Why the Cooperative is still right to boycott Israeli settler produce http://t.co/2yPMVrOC

  3. Tom Burke

    my response to @lukeakehurst >>> RT @libcon Why the Cooperative is still right to boycott Israeli settler produce http://t.co/2yPMVrOC

  4. LaZeeChap

    @lazeechap http://t.co/fCKmUt0j

  5. LaZeeChap

    @lazeechap http://t.co/fCKmUt0j

  6. blogscot

    'The Co-operative is still right to boycott Israeli settler produce' http://t.co/8qb4dUh6 says @benabyad

  7. blogscot

    'The Co-operative is still right to boycott Israeli settler produce' http://t.co/8qb4dUh6 says @benabyad

  8. Joe Catron

    Why the @CooperativeFood is still right to #boycott #Israel settler produce http://t.co/lpNw1iVJ via @libcon #BDS #Palestine

  9. Joe Catron

    Why the @CooperativeFood is still right to #boycott #Israel settler produce http://t.co/lpNw1iVJ via @libcon #BDS #Palestine

  10. riazbhatti

    'The Co-operative is still right to boycott Israeli settler produce' http://t.co/8qb4dUh6 says @benabyad

  11. riazbhatti

    'The Co-operative is still right to boycott Israeli settler produce' http://t.co/8qb4dUh6 says @benabyad

  12. Abu Sultan

    'The Co-operative is still right to boycott Israeli settler produce' http://t.co/8qb4dUh6 says @benabyad

  13. Abu Sultan

    'The Co-operative is still right to boycott Israeli settler produce' http://t.co/8qb4dUh6 says @benabyad

  14. Mohamed Awad

    Why the Cooperative is still right to boycott Israeli settler produce. #Israel http://t.co/pvxccQBo via @libcon

  15. Mohamed Awad

    Why the Cooperative is still right to boycott Israeli settler produce. #Israel http://t.co/pvxccQBo via @libcon

  16. shahab

    'The Co-operative is still right to boycott Israeli settler produce' http://t.co/8qb4dUh6 says @benabyad

  17. shahab

    'The Co-operative is still right to boycott Israeli settler produce' http://t.co/8qb4dUh6 says @benabyad

  18. Jack Berriault

    Why the Cooperative is still right to boycott Israeli settler produce by @Benabyad on @Libcon: http://t.co/WtVVdste

  19. Ben White

    "I see that times have moved on, and that OMG YOU ARE A GENOCIDAL NAZI is now the first resort." http://t.co/93XCWZlu #lol

  20. jontylangley

    "I see that times have moved on, and that OMG YOU ARE A GENOCIDAL NAZI is now the first resort." http://t.co/93XCWZlu #lol

  21. Ben White

    Why the Cooperative is still right to boycott Israeli settler produce http://t.co/DPglaXz2 via @libcon <<< my reply to BICOM's @lukeakehurst

  22. Emanuel Stoakes

    Why the Cooperative is still right to boycott Israeli settler produce http://t.co/DPglaXz2 via @libcon <<< my reply to BICOM's @lukeakehurst

  23. Wobin

    Why the Cooperative is still right to boycott Israeli settler produce http://t.co/DPglaXz2 via @libcon <<< my reply to BICOM's @lukeakehurst

  24. Leeds PSC

    Stand by http://t.co/aLvqTBHk @CooperativeGroup http://t.co/Ww3j77Gw over @ProgressOnLine @WeBelieveInIsrael http://t.co/rbbSm7pV @Benyabad

  25. Leeds PSC

    Stand by http://t.co/aLvqTBHk @TheCooperative http://t.co/Ww3j77Gw over @ProgressOnLine @WeBelieveInIsrael http://t.co/rbbSm7pV @Benyabad

  26. Leeds PSC

    Stand by http://t.co/aLvqTBHk @TheCooperative http://t.co/Ww3j77Gw over @ProgressOnLine @WeBelieveIsrael http://t.co/rbbSm7pV @Benyabad

  27. Rent Ethically

    Stand by http://t.co/aLvqTBHk @TheCooperative http://t.co/Ww3j77Gw over @ProgressOnLine @WeBelieveIsrael http://t.co/rbbSm7pV @Benyabad

  28. Aussie Oskar

    Why the Cooperative is still right to boycott Israeli settler produce http://t.co/DPglaXz2 via @libcon <<< my reply to BICOM's @lukeakehurst

  29. MPACUK

    My @libcon post on how the likes of @lukeakehurst & @BritainIsrael are happy to shield Israel by playing the Nazi card http://t.co/DPglaXz2

  30. RepStones

    My @libcon post on how the likes of @lukeakehurst & @BritainIsrael are happy to shield Israel by playing the Nazi card http://t.co/DPglaXz2

  31. RepStones

    In which @benabyad highlights the mendacity of @lukeakehurst & @britainisrael http://t.co/9GPB0oBz #BDS

  32. Bibi S Khan

    Why the Cooperative is still right to boycott Israeli settler produce | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/aF6E9hZR

  33. HMS tulta

    Not trading stolen goods from illegally occupied territories may seem sensible. But did you know that it is also Nazi? http://t.co/q8A9hdkL

  34. PalestineFrdmProject

    Why the Cooperative is still right to boycott Israeli settler produce, by @benabyad: http://t.co/24cjO1OK #BDS

  35. John Page

    Not trading stolen goods from illegally occupied territories may seem sensible. But did you know that it is also Nazi? http://t.co/q8A9hdkL

  36. bds tiplijn

    RT @PalFreedom: Why the Cooperative is still right to boycott Israeli settler produce, by @benabyad: http://t.co/Uuv4b2bc #BDS

  37. Finton Stack

    Not trading stolen goods from illegally occupied territories may seem sensible. But did you know that it is also Nazi? http://t.co/q8A9hdkL

  38. Helena

    RT @PalFreedom: Why the Cooperative is still right to boycott Israeli settler produce, by @benabyad: http://t.co/Uuv4b2bc #BDS

  39. Pucci D

    Why the Cooperative is still right to boycott Israeli settler produce, by @benabyad: http://t.co/24cjO1OK #BDS

  40. Katia Yadige

    Why the Cooperative is still right to boycott Israeli settler produce, by @benabyad: http://t.co/24cjO1OK #BDS

  41. scanner

    Not trading stolen goods from illegally occupied territories may seem sensible. But did you know that it is also Nazi? http://t.co/q8A9hdkL

  42. saoudina

    Why the Cooperative is still right to boycott Israeli settler produce | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/Ob5tvNPZ via @libcon

  43. Ben White

    Not trading stolen goods from illegally occupied territories may seem sensible. But did you know that it is also Nazi? http://t.co/q8A9hdkL

  44. Anna Tarah?

    Not trading stolen goods from illegally occupied territories may seem sensible. But did you know that it is also Nazi? http://t.co/q8A9hdkL

  45. ZJK

    Not trading stolen goods from illegally occupied territories may seem sensible. But did you know that it is also Nazi? http://t.co/q8A9hdkL

  46. BevR

    Why the Cooperative is still right to boycott Israeli settler produce | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/C9VGPuW8 via @libcon

  47. LONDON BDS

    Why the Co-Op is right to boycott Israeli settlement produce http://t.co/JR92kGRL #bds

  48. LONDON BDS

    Why the Co-op is right to boycott Israeli settlement produce http://t.co/JR92kGRL #bds

  49. loma é trustworthy

    rt @LondonBDS Why the Co-op is right to boycott Israeli settlement produce http://t.co/nQpYOPi3 #bds #singapore #london #qtr #malaysia #thai

  50. nordin pumbaya

    Why the Co-op is right to boycott Israeli settlement produce http://t.co/JR92kGRL #bds

  51. Col_Bogeys_Batman

    Why the Cooperative is still right to boycott Israeli settler produce | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/4uq4Rqzu via @libcon

  52. Gez Kirby

    Let's hear it for the Co-op! http://t.co/MqRRG9yO #fb





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