Monday, August 31, 2009

Israeli journalist Gideon Levy on Israeli reactions to boycott

Gideon Levy has a fascinating piece in Ha'aretz contrasting reactions to Israeli professor Gideon Levy's call for boycotts to pressure Israel to end its 42-year old occupation of Palestine, and the enthusiasm of the international community for boycotts in general:
"The timing of the mini-maelstrom over an opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times by Neve Gordon, who teaches politics and government at Be'er Sheva's Ben-Gurion University, calling for a boycott of Israel, was somewhat grotesque. Hardly have the throats dried of those calling for his dismissal, for his citizenship to be revoked, for his expulsion and, if all else fails, his stoning, when another petition has surfaced on the Internet, this one calling for a boycott of Ikea. A bad article on the back page of a Swedish tabloid is enough to produce a call here for a consumer boycott to which thousands sign their names. Turkey has barely recovered from the boycott that our package tourers imposed on it because its prime minister had the gall to attack our president, and already we are cruising toward our next boycott target. It's our right."
Levy also reflects on the historical development of boycott as an effective tool of civil resistance:
"Since the time of the ban imposed in the Jewish community by Rabbeinu Gershom at the turn of the first millennium, which applies to offenses of considerably less severity than mistreating 3.5 million people - namely, marrying more than one woman, divorcing a woman without her consent and reading private correspondence without the owner's consent - the boycott has been a just and appropriate civil weapon. And since the boycott of the apartheid regime in South Africa, the boycott has also been an effective weapon."
Click here to read the full article. Boycotts, divestment, and sanctions are appropriate and effective responses to human rights abuses and violations of international law. What's more, they are actions in which we can all participate. Click here to find out how.