Were boycotts, divestment, and sanctions effective against apartheid?

Were boycotts, divestment, and sanctions effective against apartheid?

In the 1980s there was a movement to use boycotts, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) to apply pressure on the apartheid regime in South Africa. These efforts included sports boycotts, refusal of some countries to allow direct airplane flights to and from South Africa, and divestment of universities' pension portfolios from corporations doing business in South Africa.

Does the historical evidence allow us to say anything objective about how effective a contribution BDS made to the end of apartheid? Can it be quantified in economic terms, or was it more a question of psychological pressure? Can we tell from historical records whether, for example, the masters of the apartheid system saw BDS as a source of concern?


BDS itself had limited economic effects, according to a study of South African financial markets:

Abstract: We study the most important legislative and shareholder boycott to date, the boycott of South Africa's apartheid regime, and find that corporate involvement with South Africa was so small that the announcement of legislative/shareholder pressure or voluntary corporate divestment from South Africa had little discernible effect either on the valuation of banks and corporations with South African operations or on the South African financial markets. There is weak evidence that institutional shareholdings increased when corporations divested. In sum, despite the publicity of the boycott and the multitude of divesting companies, political pressure had little visible effect on the financial markets.

That might lead us to think that the effects of BDS were largely non-economic. However, let me pull a line out of that abstract:

corporate involvement with South Africa was so small that [shareholder activism] had little discernible effect either on the valuation of banks and corporations with South African operations or on the South African financial markets

BDS couldn't have much of an effect on South Africa because South Africa was already pretty isolated from the world economy. After apartheid, foreign direct investment increased dramatically (though erratically):

The intensity of BDS could still have helped some South Africans to realize that their economic isolation was (in part) due to global perceptions of their social policies, and that ending apartheid would allow them to integrate more fully into the world economy. If so, BDS was strangely more effective as an economic carrot than stick.


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Britain’s opposition to sanctions on Israel exposes its support for the occupation and its crimes – Middle East Monitor

The British government’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office has issued a statement in response to a petition calling for sanctions to be imposed on Israel. The statement ignores the fact that Israel is an occupying power and the people of Palestine are living under that occupation. It is worth looking at in detail.

“The UK is firmly opposed to boycotts or sanctions against Israel. Our close and varied relationship means we are able to express clearly when we disagree.”

Friends, of course, disagree all the time but real friends would take Israel to one side and say, “You know what? You’re out of order. We can’t offer this unconditional support if you keep breaking international law.” It is outrageous to suggest that having a “close and varied relationship” with Britain somehow makes Israel immune from accountability.

The Palestine Mission in London posted a statement on its website in April in which it said: “It is clear that the UK now believes Israel is above the law. There is no other interpretation of a statement [by Prime Minister Boris Johnson] that gives carte blanche to Israel to continue its illegal settlement project in occupied territory, and signals to Israel that no matter its actions vis-à-vis the Palestinian people in occupied territory, it will not be held to account… because it is a ‘friend and an ally’ of the UK.”

“HM Government has made its position on sanctions clear. While we do not hesitate to express disagreement with Israel whenever we feel it necessary, we are firmly opposed to boycotts or sanctions. We believe that open and honest discussions, rather than the imposition of sanctions or supporting anti-Israeli boycotts, best supports our efforts to help progress the peace process and achieve a negotiated solution.”

The government mentions “the peace process”. What peace process? That series of “negotiations” which bought Israel more time to extend its colonial settlements across occupied Palestinian land, creating “facts on the ground”? The FCDO knows full well that the process is effectively dead in the water, and has been for years. Officials must have noticed that concessions after concessions are wrung out of the Palestinians, with nothing ever given in return by the occupation state of Israel.

“HM Government takes its export control responsibilities very seriously and operates one of the most robust arms export control regimes in the world. We consider all export applications thoroughly against a strict risk assessment framework. We continue to monitor the situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories and keep all licences under careful and continual review as standard.”

HM Government’s “export control responsibilities” are meant to ensure that arms and other items sold to foreign countries aren’t used to commit serious human rights violations and alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity. Is that what the FCDO means when it says that it takes these “responsibilities… very seriously and operates one of the most robust arms export control regimes in the world”? Is that really the case? If Britain is monitoring the situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories what is the FCDO not seeing that the rest of the world can see very clearly? A brutal military occupation, for example military offensives against civilian areas the abuse of worshippers in a mosque by police attacks on Palestinians in their homes and streets by illegal settlers the dispossession of Palestinians. And that’s just in a few days last month. Israeli policy was described in 2008, as “ethnic cleansing by stealth”. It still is.

“The UK welcomed the recent announcement of a ceasefire in Israel and Gaza on 20 May, which is an important step to ending the cycle of violence and loss of civilian life. During the Foreign Secretary’s visit to the region on 26 May he reiterated the UK’s firm commitment to the two-state solution as the best way to permanently end the occupation, deliver Palestinian self-determination and preserve Israel’s security and democratic identity.”

In the meantime, Britain will sit back and watch while Israel expands its colonial settlements and dispossesses more Palestinians on a daily basis. The two-state solution has been moribund for years. Neither Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu nor the leaders of the proposed new “government for change” in Israel support the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, so why does the international community, including Britain, pretend that “two states” is a viable solution?

The growth of Israel’s illegal settlements on Palestinian land, and the land taken to build the Apartheid Wall and settler-only roads, means that the land available for a Palestinian state is non-contiguous, and a land bridge between the West Bank and Gaza is likely to be unsustainable. The Israeli government is unwilling to rein-in its aggressive, illegal settlers now what would it be like if Palestinians had to cross Israel to get from one part of Palestine — the Gaza Strip — to another, the West Bank? It doesn’t bear thinking about.

“Israel is an important strategic partner for the UK and we collaborate on issues of defence and security. Our commitment to Israel’s security is unwavering. The UK unequivocally condemns the firing of rockets at Jerusalem and locations within Israel. We strongly condemn these acts of terrorism by Hamas and other terrorist groups, who must permanently end their incitement and rocket fire against Israel. We are also concerned by reports that Hamas is again using civilian infrastructure and populations as cover for its military operations.”

#ShutDownElbit – Protesters in the UK for closure of arms factory exported to Israel on 8 October 2018 [Twitter]

Why is the government’s commitment to Israel’s security “unwavering”? It could be something to do with what looks like a requirement for every leader of a major political party in Britain to pledge support for Israel almost before doing anything else.

Even if we take the occupation of Palestine, which actually started in 1948, to date from 1967, that was 20 years before Hamas was formed. The issue is not about Hamas and Palestinian resistance to the occupation. It’s about the occupation itself. Cause and effect: what came first, the occupation, or legitimate resistance to the occupation? People living under military occupation have a legal right to resist that occupation using whatever means at their disposal.

As Richard Falk, the former UN Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights and professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University wrote in International Law and the Al-Aqsa Intifada (2000): “Though the Israeli government and the US media persist in describing the second Palestinian intifada as a security crisis or a disruption to the ‘peace process’, in international law, Palestinian resistance to occupation is a legally protected right… Israel’s failures to abide by international law, as a belligerent occupant, amounted to a fundamental denial of the right of self-determination, and more generally of respect for the framework of belligerent occupation — giving rise to a Palestinian right of resistance.”

Moreover, UN Resolution 3246 dated 29 November 1974 “strongly condemns” all governments which do not recognise “the right to self-determination and independence of peoples under colonial and foreign domination and alien subjugation, notably the peoples of Africa and the Palestinian people.” The same resolution “[r]eaffirms the legitimacy of the peoples’ struggle for liberation from colonial and foreign domination and alien subjugation by all available means, including armed struggle.” (Emphasis added)

It is, therefore, erroneous to call Hamas a “terrorist” organisation and its legitimate resistance “terrorism”. The British government has adopted the Zionist narrative and is misleading the British public. Moreover, the “human shield” argument is an old one for which no evidence is ever produced. However, the investigation by the International Criminal Court will determine if this and other war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed in the occupied Palestinian territories. Interestingly, Israel rejects the ICC move, while the Palestinian factions have welcomed it. The latter are aware that charges may be laid at their own door, but accept the probe nonetheless.

Furthermore, as Dr Martin Cohen wrote in a letter to the Guardian in 2002 (this is not a new discussion, by any means): “The tactics of the Israeli occupying forces thus far have been systematic brutalisation and frequent killings of unarmed civilians and feebly armed protesters. That such immoral and illegal ‘policing’ tactics have not thus far concerned the west indicates only the flexible application of our moral codes where Israel is concerned,” said the then editor of The Philosopher.

He wrote his letter in 2002 in response to the then British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw who had “pleaded for greater public sympathy for Israel’s position in its conflict with the Palestinians.” Our politicians appear to have learned nothing in the intervening years, and are doggedly sticking to the “Israel, right or wrong” brief, trampling over international laws and conventions in the process.

“We are clear that all countries, including Israel, have a legitimate right to self-defence, and the right to defend their citizens from attack. In doing so, it is vital that all actions are proportionate, in line with International Humanitarian Law, and are calibrated to avoid civilian casualties.”

It is important to note that not all countries impose apartheid on their own citizens and a people under occupation, so Israel is not like other countries. Israeli apartheid was recognised as long ago as 1961, when on 23 November Hendrik Verwoerd, the then Prime Minister of South Africa — whose party introduced the apartheid regime in Pretoria — wrote in the Rand Daily Mail, “[The Jews] took Israel from the Arabs after the Arabs had lived there for a thousand years… Israel, like South Africa, is an apartheid state.”

It is ironic that the FCDO mentions International Humanitarian Law. Israel breaches international laws and conventions every single day, with impunity because of friends like the British government. And when did Israel ever worry about civilian casualties? It targets civilians very deliberately, as has been seen very recently in Gaza, and in 2018/19 during the Great March of Return protests when even medics were shot and killed — 21-year-old Razan Al-Najjar, for example, on 1 June 2018 — as well as journalists such as Yaser Murtaja going about their lawful work. During the recent assault on the Gaza Strip, 66 children and 39 women were among the 248 Palestinians killed by Israel. Indeed Israel has killed a Palestinian child on average every three days for 20 years.

To quote Cohen’s letter again: “The right of self-defence is used to justify actions in the occupied territories… There is no right of self-defence for an occupying force. Clearly, actions taken by the Palestinian people, in land internationally recognised as illegally occupied by Israel, are legitimate acts of resistance, subject only to the rules of war…”

Fast forward to May this year, and journalist C J Werleman made the same point: “What [UN State Department Spokesperson Ned] Price and the Biden administration also know is that under international law, it’s the Palestinians who have the right to self-defence in the context of the Israel-Palestinian conflict, and it’s Israel that does not.”

“The UK is strongly opposed to the Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions Movement against Israel, just as we oppose any calls for boycotts which divide people and reduce understanding.”

This is probably because BDS, an entirely peaceful movement, is effective and Israel knows it. Those who are old enough to remember the anti-South African Apartheid Movement know that the British government also opposed sanctions against the racist regime in Pretoria. Britain stands to be on the wrong side of history again.

“The UK position on evictions, demolitions, and settlements is longstanding and clear. We oppose these activities. We urge the Government of Israel to cease its policies related to settlement expansion immediately, and instead work towards a two state solution. Settlements are illegal under international law, and present an obstacle to peace. We want to see a contiguous West Bank, including East Jerusalem, as part of a viable and sovereign Palestinian state, based on 1967 borders. Our position was reflected in our support for UN Security Council Resolution 2334 and we continue to urge Israel at the highest level to halt settlement expansion immediately.”

Urging Israel does nothing Israel ignores even its “friends”, because it is pulling some very powerful strings in Washington, London and other world capital. The US has used its veto in the UN Security Council on dozens of occasions to prevent sanctions being imposed on Israel. Last month, the veto was even used to block a resolution calling for a ceasefire in occupied Palestine. Those powerful strings were pulled yet again.

“We advise British businesses to bear in mind the British Government’s view on the illegality of settlements under international law when considering their investments and activities in the region. Ultimately, it will be the decision of an individual or company whether to operate in settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, but the British Government would neither encourage nor offer support to such activity.”

Basically, the British government is willing to let businesses profit from settlements which are not only illegal, as the government admits, but are also part of a process which amounts to a war crime. In the meantime, the government is seeking to make it illegal for local councils in Britain to boycott Israel and/or its illegal settlements in their procurement and investment policies.

“We have also made clear our concerns about the increasing rate of demolitions and evictions of Palestinians. The UK is focused on preventing demolitions and evictions from happening in the first place through our legal aid programme, which supports Palestinians facing demolition or home eviction.”

Legal aid is useful, but it’s too little too late. Demolition notices shouldn’t be issued in the first place. The government should be doing more than express “concerns” by letting Israel know that demolitions and evictions — part of the ethnic cleansing process — will carry a cost in terms of sanctions.

“As a strong friend of Israel, and one which has stood up for Israel when it faces bias and unreasonable criticism, we are continuing to urge Israel to not take steps such as these, which move us away from our shared goals of peace and security.”

Peace and security are not Israel’s goal. Expansion of the territory it controls is: “To maintain the status quo will not do,” wrote David Ben-Gurion in Rebirth and Destiny of Israel (1954, p419). “We have to set up a dynamic state, bent upon creation and reform, building and expansion.”

The creation of “Greater Israel” requires the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their land. “Israel should have exploited the repression of the demonstrations in China, when world attention focused on that country, to carry out mass expulsions among the Arabs of the territories,” said Benjamin Netanyahu when he was Deputy Foreign Minister speaking to students at Bar Ilan University. (Quoted in the Israeli journal Hotam, 24 November, 1989)

That’s the reality of Zionism, which the British government is appeasing.

“The occupation will not end and peace will not be achieved by symbolic measures, but by real movement towards renewed peace negotiations which create a viable Palestinian state, living in peace and security side-by-side with Israel. We will continue to press Israel and the Palestinians strongly on the need to refrain from taking actions, which make peace more difficult. And will continue to encourage further confidence building steps towards meaningful bilateral peace negotiations between the parties.”

The both sides argument — “We will continue to press Israel and the Palestinians strongly on the need to refrain from taking actions, which make peace more difficult” — ignores the reality that this is about a settler-colonial state on one side — a nuclear armed settler-colonial state — and the people whose land is being colonised on the other. It’s about the oppressor Apartheid state and the oppressed. It is about occupiers and the occupied. It is an asymmetric conflict. For the British government to pretend otherwise exposes its support for the occupation regime and its crimes.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.


10 thoughts on &ldquo Can Zionists Support BDS? &rdquo

This article starts with the dishonest comparison of BDS to Apartheid South Africa. What this leaves out is the complete difference between Israel and South Africa. South Africa was a completely segregated state where a tiny White minority ruled every aspect of the majority Black population’s lives, where there were segregated entrances to hospitals and segregated wings of hospitals and just about everything was segregated as the ideology itself was White supremacism.

Compare this to Israel where Jews are the majority, there is not segregated hospitals nor segregated entrances to hospitals, Arabs reach the supreme court and knesset and have always had full and complete civil rights, they simply suffer the struggle of minorities around the world: to not be discriminated against, assimilate their culture, etc. The founding document of Israel reaffirms equality and brotherhood and cannot at all be compared to Apartheid South Africa.

The only comparison which can be used is the situation in the territories of the “Hafrada” security arrangement which after countless terrorist acts, Israel has implemented in order to make it’s security burden easier. This is the result of Palestinian terrorism, not Israeli supremacism and the result of the fact Palestinians are not Israelis and are in fact supposed to be citizens of another country which has yet to emerge.

Therefore they are not treated the same as Israelis because they aren’t and they aren’t by choice. The “surrounding Arab lands” the article refers to is in fact land from the mandate of Palestine which was illegally occupied by Jordan and Egypt and liberated by Israel in a defensive war, whereupon Israel becomes the legal occupier of it. This land is land which Jews have had more than 3000 years of continued presence in and only recently were Jews expelled from these lands by force.

I oppose this charade of continuing to support a Palestinian state in Gaza, Judea and Samaria when they themselves have rejected it over and over in more than 24 serious offers. They have made it clear they are not interested in a state unless they get all of east Jerusalem, including the Western Wall, something unacceptable to most Jewish people. Israel’s Arabs do have equality but of course combating discrimination they face is a noble battle, not one which deserves boycott and sanction, though.

The Palestinian Right of Return is a just cause, except for the fact most of the refugees have made it clear they want to do harm to Israel and Israelis and destroy the state. Given this intent, regardless of how nice it would be for Arabs in diaspora to return, unless they change their violent attitude doing so is a deathwish for Israel:

Palestinian Center for Political Research (2015) : 74% of Palestinians support Hamas terror attacks.

Pew Global (2010) : 51% of Palestinians support Osama bin Laden

Pew Global : 68% of Palestinian Muslims say suicide attacks against civilians in defense of Islam are justified

Pew Poll (2013) : 51% of Palestinians support (a single interpretation of) sharia law

As far as boycotts of settlement goods having no success, simply look at SodaStream, which was forced to move to the Negev and fire their over 80% Arab workforce for a more Jewish workforce. Success! Right? Now a bunch of Arabs in an impoverished third world economy who were well paid well above average are now unemployed. Congrats! This is why Abbas as well as Arab-Israeli parties oppose BDS, it will simply hurt their economy while changing nothing on the ground since it will not change the Palestinian intransigence which grips the Palestinian leadership, it will simply reinforce it.

With the modern withdrawal from Gaza and the over 10,000 rockets and shells fired as a result, we see now that a sudden withdrawal from Samaria would be deadly for the citizens of Tel Aviv considering the dominance of Hamas within the Palestinian Street. Pretending otherwise is willful ignorance, something the Israelis themselves, can’t afford.

As far Einstein’s unhappiness with Israeli not joining the “Non-Aligned Movement”, thank goodness he didn’t become President as he should’ve known this was not Israel’s fault but the fault of Gamel Abdel-Nasser and Tito, the cofounders of the N-AM who, in Nasser’s case, opposed Israel from the start and in Tito’s case, was convinced to turn on Israel after allowing flights of Czech arms in the Arab-Israeli war to refuel in Yugoslavia. The N-AM did, in practice, side with Soviet Union.

This was not Israel’s fault, they sided with France because they needed someone to sell them complicated arms like Jets when the Soviet Union told Czechoslovakia to stop selling them to Israel and begin selling them to Egypt. Blaming a small, poor, post-colonial subject for who they were forced into siding with in the Cold War is obviously not fair as Israel had the opportunity to flawedly take aid from France or simply die because of Soviet boycott. So they did what they needed to do.

This is really the essence of Left Wing Antisemitism: “blame the Jews for being flawed survivors and not perfect corpses”. in 2014 the attack on Gaza was not “unprovoked”… It was in response to Hamas rockets. This is a simply false statement. Israel is the only country in the world expected to not respond when attacked. This whole article is completely one-sided and places the microscope on Israel while not holding Arabs responsible for any of their wrongdoing.

This article is simply rhetorical, dishonest and false. Israel is not perfect and should be criticized but claiming it has done anything worthy of Boycott and Sanction is delusional. It faces so much terrorism, hostile neighbors, invasion after invasion, Palestinian rejectionism, rockets, stabbings, car rammings and the constant threat of terror and if anything, Democratic Socialists should be signalling their solidarity with one of the few Social Democracies in the region.

Instead they endorse Arab terrorism by siding with it’s aims and grievances while ignoring it’s oppression of Israelis. How “Zionists” could not see this as a blatantly Antisemitic attack is beyond me. Witness the DSA’s recent resolution passed on a Saturday so as to purposefully exclude Jews like many BDS votes thus far held on Saturday (Shabbat) and Jewish Holy Days.

Israel has faced incredible challenges so comparing them to perfect is simply ignorant or siding with the skewed perspective Arab colonialists have infected the left with. Arabs are settler colonists outside of Arabia, Jews are the indigenous people of the land. Side with the indigneous people in their struggle against colonialism, not vice-versa like the left does in most places around the world.

The whole notion of trying to create a state run by and for Jews in a land where non-Jewish people were the majority was bound to create apartheid right from the beginning. The expulsion of entire village of Palestinian families from their homes is completely inconsistent with the Jewish morality in which I was brought up. Palestinian families today do not enjoy equal rights in Israel (if you aren’t familiar with “internally displaced” refugees, that alone shows that Palestinian families do not enjoy equal rights), much less the hundreds of thousands who were made and kept refugees from their homes. I can understand that different people will have different perspectives on what is apartheid, but from my thoroughly Jewish perspective, one rooted in Rabbi Hillel’s “don’t do to others what you don’t want done to you,” Israel is an apartheid state. That will end when we admit it was wrong to expel Palestinian families from their homes, when we welcome them to return, and when we agree to live together in peace, when we decide that living in concert with our moral values is more important than having a Jewish majority.

How did the land become that way? If Native Americans attempt to regain sovereignty and self determination on their land, even though they are a minority, does that make it apartheid? Arabs were expelled for launching attacks on Jews, notice the towns which didn’t attack Jews were not expelled?

I’d agree living in peace, acknowledging wrongs by Israel and one state is preferable, except the Palestinian leadership and the majority of Palestinian-Arabs polled are not willing to accept Jewish rights. Many of the people they’ve been fighting, fought with the Nazis and on their side in the 30s and 40s. You find it so easy to boycott the one country that will take you because you’re not in danger and are not taking into account the immense danger Israel has always been in.

I agree we should criticize Israel and it is not perfect but Boycott and Sanction absolutely is not going to help anything as the Palestinian leadership have made it clear they do not support one state and continue to launch terror attacks on Israel. To weaken them when facing so much threat is simply irresponsible and spiteful.

Just as not every capitalist society is exactly alike, not every apartheid country is exactly alike. The US also had its apartheid era, but it was called Jim Crow. But, at least South Africa did not have segregated water fountains or did not mandate that black people ride in the back of the bus, so, using your logic, you would object to the apartheid label being applied to the US. This would place you in conflict with every African-American who remember those times, not to mention those who have been members of Social Democrats USA.

Israel is currently occupying the West Bank, and many of the conditions that applied to South Africa also apply there. The Jewish settlers and Palestinian Arabs who live there use segregated roads, for example. The settlers get to vote in Israeli elections the Palestinians don’t even though they live under Israeli authority. Where conditions on the West Bank differ from South Africa, it is because they are worse in the former than the latter, according to leading black South African figures who support the BDS movement against Israel.

You approve of Israel’s occupation – your use of the term “Samaria” for the West Bank is a dead giveaway for your Likudnik bias – on the grounds that: “ Palestinians are not Israelis and are in fact supposed to be citizens of another country which has yet to emerge.” With the singular exception of Yitzhak Rabin, no Israeli prime minister has wanted another country to emerge. Netanyahu is more honest than most in his opposition to the two-state solution, an opposition that you share. Social Democrats USA and the Israeli peace movement has stood steadfast in its support for a two-state solution because the recognition of both people’s right to national determination is not a charade but a matter of life and death.

As far as Israel “proper” (the land behind the June 4, 1967 borders) is concerned, its Palestinian citizens as well as the rest of its Gentile citizens do not enjoy full civil rights precisely because they are systematically discriminated against through dozens of laws. Minorities struggle against discrimination because they do NOT enjoy full civil rights, no matter what a piece of paper says. You state, “The founding document of Israel reaffirms equality and brotherhood and cannot at all be compared to Apartheid South Africa.” If you read the text of my speech more carefully, you would have seen that I was the one who brought this up in the first place, and I quoted from it extensively. However, documents do not create reality government do, even as they ignore the documents in question.

Palestinian refugees live in miserable conditions and have to contend with an Israel whose government has no intention of seeking peace, let alone justice, and whose Justice Minister is bent on their physical annihilation. So what should their attitude be toward Israel – hearts and flowers? What would your attitude be if you were stuck in that rut? The attitudes of Palestinians toward Israel were far more positive when Rabin gave them hope.

About BDS’s successful boycott of Sodastream, you write: “Now a bunch of Arabs in an impoverished third world economy who were well paid well above average are now unemployed. Congrats!” In apartheid South Africa, black workers were sometimes laid off because the employers were hit hard by the BDS movement of those days. But, those workers approved of BDS they had long ago resolved to endure short-term pain for long-term gain. So, even if the Palestinian workers at Sodastream lost their jobs due to BDS, they’d still be OK with it.

However, that’s not what happened with Sodastream. After BDS forced Sodastream out of the West Bank and to the Negev region of Israel proper, Sodastream’s chairman Daniel Birnbaum wanted none of his staff to be laid off. In order for the Palestinian sector of his workforce to be able to work in the Negev, they needed to get visas from the Israeli government. But, that government only gave Birnbaum 74 visas, leaving him no choice but to lay off the rest. And Abbas aside, many in Israel who otherwise would openly support BDS, Jew or Gentile, are reluctant to do so because Israel recently passed a law against the advocacy of BDS.

“With the modern withdrawal from Gaza and the over 10,000 rockets and shells fired as a result…” Rockets and shells were fired for two reasons: 1) the withdrawal happened without any input from the Palestinians living there, so there was no negotiated quid pro quo governing their conduct, and 2) the withdrawal transformed the occupation of Gaza from an internal one to an external one where Israel imposed an on-going blockade through land, sea and air, and can choke off the food supply at will. Whenever the Gazans respond with rockets, the Israeli government claims it imposed the blockade because of the rockets!

Israel’s “Operation Protective Edge” in 2014 was not provoked by Hamas rockets. Netanyahu was freaked out by the prospect of the Palestinians calling his bluff about requiring a united Palestinian leadership with which to negotiate a two-state solution. Concrete plans were made by the Palestinians for a joint leadership, whereby Abbas would be the President of both the West Bank Palestinian Authority and Gaza two Hamas leaders would be his Vice-Presidents. That’s what triggered Israel’s assault.

Israel today is no social democracy it is neo-liberal and on the verge of open fascism, a fascism that would be gleefully supported by the likes of those who demonize the Palestinians as “Arab colonialists” who “infect” the Left.

CORRECTION: In my talk, I erroneously conflated what Dr. Otto Nathan related to me about Einstein not wanting Israel to align with either East or West with joining the Non-Aligned Movement, which was formed six years after Einstein’s death. Nonetheless, Israel staying non-aligned during the latter days of Einstein’s lifetime was a workable option. In any case, contrary to Mr. Sand’s assertions, Tito turned against Israel in 1956 when Israel joined with Britain and France to invade Egypt.

But why is there segregated roads? Is it because of racism against Arabs when Israeli Arabs can and do live in “settlements”? The apartheid government of South Africa was based in White supremacy. The Israeli hafrada security arrangement is the result of so many terror attacks, which continue to this day. It’s not because of hatred or bigotry, it’s the result of constant terrorism committed by Palestinians. Ignoring that difference I think is crucial in trying to draw an equivalence on the basis of appearances but not essence.

It is not the same and Israel has not done so to oppress Palestinians but to defend it’s own citizens. The settlers are Israelis so they participate in elections… the Palestinians are not, by choice, even the Arabs of east Jerusalem who reject citizenship and don’t vote in local elections out of loyalty to Palestinian nationalism. Again, this is not Israel’s fault. Black South Africans have gone to Israel and were convinced the comparison was completely inaccurate and were offended by it.

I do not “approve” of the occupation, I wish for it to end like most people but not with the mass expulsion of Jews or with exposing Israel to a weakened security position. Samaria and Judea are the high ground and from which the hills could rain missiles down on Tel Aviv and the surround area. The example of Gaza and dominance of Hamas leaves ending the occupation right now not possible, this is simply a political fact whether or not I like it.

I call it Samaria because that is the historical name for the land. Jordanian imperialists invented “West Bank” in the 20th century, who would I use the Jordanian term for it? Secondly, you have no right to speak for the workers of Judea and do not in this instance, the workers at SodaStream were not OK with losing their jobs or the plant moving and knew Palestinian independence was a long way off but wanted to keep their high paying jobs.

They were forced to lose their jobs and BDS will not change any negotiations or gridlock on the ground because the Palestinian position is impossible for any Israeli leadership to agree to. Your posts are riddled with factual misinformation. Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert offered several generous offers for a Palestinian state to the Palestinian leadership and they rejected every single offer…. I believe Rabin realize Oslo was a mistake and was trying to slow it down and steer it off later on as Netanyahu did as it was a “death process” not a “peace process”.

If Palestinians loved Israel so much during Rabin, why did they increase terrorism during his Prime Ministership and afterwards? Arab aggression has always been the heart of the problem. You leftist Zionists are such hypocrites. You call for an end to the occupation even though no diplomatic/political deal can be reached. Well this happened in Gaza and then you use it as an excuse for rockets and mortars? Seriously? It shows nothing satisfies your impossibly high expectations which are not possible in a reality defined by Palestinian rejectionism.

The blockade was in fact implemented because of Palestinian rockets…. Hamas was talking about making a concession that they were willing to acknowledge Israel as a state and in response their younger members revolted by kidnapping the three Jews in the West Bank who were kidnapped and killed to show they would not accept negotiations or concessions.

We die because of the fact so many of them cannot accept us there then you blame us for defending ourselves against the people who want to kill us, what is so embarrassing about that? When they try to kill us we should defend ourselves. This idea Israel shouldn’t defend itself or be “proportional” is ridiculous. The US was not “proportional” to the USSR in the Cold War because they were interested in victory and didn’t have this bullshit moral limit placed on them.

Defending ourselves when attacked is not shameful and should be done unproportionally. We should obliterate the enemy. This whole bullshit about Israel is “fascist” is just nonsense hyperbole. It’s still a Social Democracy, talk to the people who live there. They face an amazingly difficult security situation, this should be sympathized with not chastised while criticized for things we disagree with like discrimination or this or that. They are not perfect but don’t deserve to be boycotted and sanctioned….

This is simply what the Arab world has always done which they are now getting leftist westerners to support. The boycott is not a new tactic and what leftist orgs should do is stand with Israel not backseat drive while not considering the security dilemma they are in to begin with. The land is not Arab. It is Jewish. They colonized it and have human and national rights but not the right to overrule indigenous rights of indigenous Jews and Samaritans.

Notice there is no call to boycott China for occupying Tibet or Indonesia for occupying West Papua when both those conflicts have a higher death toll and have gone on for longer? That’s because BDS is a racist effort to single out the only Jewish state because it is Jewish. The “BDS Call” is inherently dishonest and must be rejected.

I’ve been debating with myself whether to respond to this ultra-rightwing troll who, contrary to his rhetoric, has not shown any of my statements to be factually incorrect and is more than happy to invent fake news to maintain his position. He has revealed his open, venomous anti-Arab racism from prior posts, and now he writes “We should obliterate the enemy.” That’s how the Nazis talked about Jews and Communists, for example. And it is how Israel’s Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, has talked about Palestinian Arabs, whom she wants exterminated. In all the ways that matter, “Grey Sand” is no different than his fellow “White Zionist”, Richard Spencer, who has become widely known due to the murderous violence used by his friends in Charlottesville, Virginia. However, out of respect for the moderator, I’ll unpack his propaganda one more time:

1) Segregated roads do not exist for security reasons. They exist to make the privileged lives of the Jewish settlers more convenient (easier access to critical resources) and the lives of the Palestinians more deeply entrenched in poverty. If security against terrorists were a factor, then the only Jews Israel would allow in the Occupied Territories would be soldiers, not settlers.

2) The claim that West Bank Palestinians have refused to vote in Israel elections is only true if Israel sincerely offered them the franchise and they rejected it. This has not happened.

3) If Israel had withdrawn unilaterally from Sinai in the 1970s, leaving it to Egypt, there would have been no political restraint on Egypt to continue aggressive military action against Israel. That’s why there was a peace treaty called the Camp David Treaty, compelling both countries to act within civilized norms. The treaty has been successful largely for that reason. On the other hand, Ariel Sharon had Israel withdraw unilaterally from Gaza, refusing to negotiate with the authorities there. No “diplomatic/political deal” was reached. As a result, the Gazans had a much lesser incentive to “be nice.” Even so, the Gazans did not strike the first blow after Israel’s withdrawal.

4) The usage of the historical place names “Judea” and “Samaria” is not innocent. Again, only right-wing Zionists who reject the two-state solution go on and on about this to justify the Occupation, an Occupation whose end they will accept only if the Palestinians just decide to drop dead. So what if “Jordanian imperialists” invented the term “West Bank”? It was the anti-Semite, Wilhelm Marr, who invented the term “anti-Semitism”, and still, we Jews accepted it.

5) The Palestinian employees of Sodastream never considered themselves to be “workers of Judea”, only annexationist-minded right-wingers do. Palestinians would only refer to themselves as “Judeans” at gunpoint. Of course, the ex-employees of Sodastream would blame Netanyahu, not BDS, for their jobs being lost, since he denied them visas to work in the Negev.

6) The two Ehud’s offers to the Palestinians were fraudulent. Each failed to offer the Palestinians contiguous territory within which they could at least get around normally each maintained the segregated road system.

7) Wishful thinking about Rabin is no substitute for historical analysis. It also makes no sense: if Rabin were moving closer to the Right, why would a right-winger assassinate him?

8) “The Palestinians” did not increase terrorism during Rabin’s tenure. First of all, the implication that Palestinians as a group were in on the violence is untrue and racist. Hamas, which was then a small faction, claimed responsibility for the suicide bombings, which began in 1989. Secondly, Palestinian violence of all kinds were at a record-high during the First Intifada, which occurred during the tenure of Rabin’s predecessor, Yitzhak Shamir. It was Rabin, together with Arafat, who brought that violence down with the Oslo Accords. After Rabin’s assassination, suicide bombings continued and increased, hitting a high of 47 in 2002.

9) Israelis place themselves in danger because they refuse to remove their boots off the necks of the Palestinians that they occupy either internally (West Bank) or externally (Gaza). Any person suffering like that will want those boots removed, by any means necessary. The BDS movement offers a non-violent means.

10) Israel’s days of social democracy are long gone. Why else would Bernie Sanders point to the Scandinavian countries as examples to be emulated, but not Israel? According to Israelis that I do talk to, such as Larry Derfner of the newspaper Ha’aretz and Hillel Schenker of the Meretz party, Israel is governed by a neo-liberal regime. There was an uprising by Israel’s urban poor – the Tel-Aviv tent-city movement in 2011 – to protest the government’s cruelty in allowing housing prices to skyrocket. Derfner has himself witnessed how, unlike in this country, the anti-fascist demonstrators are outnumbered by the fascists who own the Israeli streets within the Green Line.

11) Why should Palestinians call for a BDS movement against China or Indonesia? Neither China nor Indonesia is oppressing the Palestinians or occupying their territory. By the way, a similar argument was made in the 1980s against the BDS movement against South Africa, i.e. why doesn’t the ANC call for a boycott against other African countries governed by dictators?

In closing, I hope that when Social Democrats, USA considers what policies it should endorse about the Israel/Palestine conflict, that it not be intimidated by those who believe that they can win an argument by screaming the loudest. It should be persuaded by those fact-based policies that best resonate with our vision of Social Democracy.

Since its beginning the BDS movement has been against the two state solution. This has been documented over and over again. It certainly has no respect for Zionism, even liberal Zionism.
http://m.jpost.com/Blogs/2nd-Thoughts/BDS-opposes-the-two-state-solution-of-the-Arab-Israel-conflict-364648
https://electronicintifada.net/content/boycotts-work-interview-omar-barghouti/8263

The first link you cite is an opinion piece, not a documented study. But even there, Omar Barghouti disputes fellow Palestinian Sari Nusseibah. Both of part of the BDS movement. Barghouti supports one state, Nusseibah supports two. When Barghouti speaks as a representative of BDS, he does not speak of one or two states he sticks to the consensus of those Palestinian NGOs that formed the BDS movement back in 2005.

The BDS Statement of Principles mentions Israel by name, without scarequotes. There is no mention of “Zionist entity” or “Jewish presence”, as Hamas and Arab rejectionists have done in the past. (Of course, BDS does not recognize Israel as a Jewish state the way Bibi wants everyone to). Also, the Statement refers to Israel needing to comply with international law or face pressure to do so, which presupposes recognition: https://bdsmovement.net/what-is-bds

In the latest survey I’ve seen of the Palestinian NGOs that formed the BDS movement back in 2005, 2/3rds of them support a two-state solution, and the rest a one-state solution. But because the Statement doesn’t favor any preference, this is interpreted by BDS opponents as non-recognition, all the aforementioned evidence to the contrary notwithstanding.

Correction: Sari Nusseibah is opposed to the BDS academic boycott of Israel, so he is not part of that movement. This has been a source of some confusion, since he supports the rest of the BDS demands.


Power and Politics in Today's World Part 2

Introduction to Part 2  Two big trends o Disappearance of Communism as a viable alternative  Both in practice and in political thinking o Declining power of organized labor (vis a vis capital) in most if not all of the western democracies.  These two factors enhanced the prestige of Neoliberalism abroad and the Washington consensus at home. o Resulted in Privatization, private money in politics, and the erosion of the social democratic consensus in Europe and the Great Society programs in the US.  Now, we will refocus on the global order and the ideas that gained currency after the USSR's collapse - - the idea that there would be a new global order o Spread of democracy within countries (lectures 12 & 13) o Reshaping of global international institutions. (lectures 14 & 15)

Democratic “Waves” as an idea  Came into literature in a book by Samuel Huntington called "The Third Wave"  First wave: countries that democratized very slowly over the course of the 19th and early 20th centuries  Second wave: democracies that emerged in the era of decolonization (Africa and Asia following WWII)  He argued that the third wave of democracy was coming now o Can be credited to the Portuguese revolution of 1974: led to democratization of former Portuguese colonies and democratization elsewhere o Also democratization in eastern Europe in 1989. but most of what happened in those countries and in South Africa happened after he wrote his book.  Since the collapse of the USSR, there has been lots of speculation about a 4th wave that would incorporate the South African transition, the Arab Spring.  Is a fourth wave underway or likely? o Consider the conditions for the creation and survival of democracy o How should we think about the various efforts to democratize (some were successful and some not) South African Transition  Highly improbable outcome o Nobody expected this o In the 1970's, it was a very common observation to say that some of the political conflicts in the world were so difficult that they would never be solved. The political basket cases of the world.  The conflicts were too entrenched, possibility of successful outcomes too elusive, and we just have to to grips with the fact that there are some political conflicts that just cant be resolved. o The three examples often used  Northern Ireland - Troubles  Israel/Palestine

 South Africa - Apartheid Regime came to power in 1948 but replaced a previous government that had been heavily racist. o Most said that SA was the most intractable of the intractable conflicts.  Very hard to split the difference because its about race  "Identity politics tends to be about indivisible goods, not divisible goods"  Unlike the divide a dollar game - you can allocate parts of a dollar different ways.  A small white minority (<20%) of the population was in power  In control of the largest military in Africa  Widely known to have nuclear weapons, which they eventually gave up  It did not seem like they would give up without a fight  Many people thought the system was unstable, but they thought it was much more likely to end in a civil war or a bloodbath  Wired into the Cold War. SA seen as staunchly anticommunist, so supported by the west  There was a huge fight about sanctioning SA during Reagan admin --> sanctions eventually passed over Reagan's veto.  In the 1980's, the support for SA regime was hemorrhaging in the advanced democracies.  SA didn’t come under great pressure until after this cold war consideration went away. o February 2, 1990: world was shocked to see the following video:  Vid: end of Apartheid o DeClarke: everything he said, he followed through on  Released all ptx prisoners, including Mandela  Declared ANC to be legal!  Unbans all illegal ptx organizations  Negotiates a settlement and gives up power  Elections follow ever 4 years since  SA has not passed a "two turnover test" - when the same party gets voted out of office twice and returns to power twice. (this is a test to see what they will do the second time - if they will give up power easily).  We don’t know what the ANC would do if it lost an election, so in that sense its not a consolidated or established democracy  But we HAVE had turnover in leadership  Not like Mugabe in Zimbabwe - he had to be dragged out of there.  The ANC has also become accustomed to losing elections and power (at least in recent local elections). In recent elections, they have lost major cities like Praetoria, Johannesburg, etc. to opposition parties. o Many corruption problems (will discuss next lecture)  But they still have most indicators of free democracies  Operating legal system  Freedom of association, of the press, etc. Getting and Keeping Democracy  (will revisit some themes of Modernization theory in the China Lecture)  Three waves of democracy o First wave: late 18th to early 20th century  Women's suffrage (1920's)

 But you CAN determine how likely a new democracy is to survive and thrive based on several factors. o Two important components of democratization  Survival  The Economy, Stupid!  Per Capita income is super important. If a country is already a democracy and has a PCI of $14,300 or above, it's pretty safe. If it falls below this, the further it falls the more precarious the democracy is.  Note: this says nothing about inequality, which is likely high.  Diversification of the economy is essential as well.  Oil curse is bad - if the whole economy is dominated by one sector that is run by the government, then people will be very reluctant to give up power, because it's the only way to get advancement or success. And they will be very eager to grab power.  Countries that discovered oil after they diversified (like Norway), will be OK.  In the early American Republic, the capital was not a place that elites wanted to be. Money was to be made on the farms in Virginia. Power was not desirable both Washington and Jefferson had to be persuaded to run again.  Alternation predicts alternation, coups predict coups  If you get one or two turnovers of power, you're still precarious. But if you have 3 turnovers you're probably safe  And remember - countries that are diversified will have politicians w/ less incentive to hold onto power longer than they're supposed to  Countries with a history of military intervention in politics do not typically fare too well, democratically speaking.  Downward mobility and loss aversion are more important than people give them credit for  Most causes for tumult in a democracy is not poor people or people complaining about inequality - its people in the middle class who experience higher prices and lower quality of life over the course of their lives.  This turns out to be much more important than inequality  This is largely an interest-based story.  Common fallacy: political culture - but this isn't that predictive of success.  Other answers (from audience)  Educated population  Strong judicial system  Rule of law  All actors in the system have to believe that they can win more from working within the system than in trying to overthrow it.  Transition  Mug's game: we can't predict transitions  But we can learn some things about the conditions that make these transitions successful.

Transitions to democracy (4 types) 1. Interventions (from outside) o Two notable success stories: Japan, West Germany o Lots of speculation about why this was successful:  Allies stayed there for decades  Marshall plan and funds pouring into rebuilding Japan  NATO protection  Both countries had a previous history of democracy before WWII o Crash and burn stories  Afghanistan  Iraq 2. Revolution (from below) o Replacement of person in power by opposition groups  USA  Portugal  Romania (one of the 1989 transitions) o Failures  Russia 1917: if the Mensheviks were stronger than the Bolsheviks, there might have been a democratic revolution instead  Libya: speculation that there was going to be a democratic transition after fall of dictator. But not so much. 3. Transformation (by elites in power) o When the leadership decides to give up power - typically the military  This usually happens with pressure from below, but the key component is that elites are willing to give up power.  Successes: Spain, Brazil o Failures:  Egypt -> military supports the initial transition of power, but then a year later they take over. 4. Transplacement o Swarovski calls this extrication. o A negotiated transition from authoritarianism to democracy  South Africa  Poland (the closest of the European transitions)  Started in the early 1980's o Failures  Israel/Palestine  Northern Ireland o Academics focus most of their interest on this last category  b/c the other three really depend on several contingencies: you cant really predict that an invading country will be willing to make the type of investment that the US made in Europe and Japan after WWII. You cant really predict if a revolution from below will be won by pro-democratic forces or not (like the Russia example 1917). You also cant know if a transformation from power from above will be successful long-term - success will usually depend on unpredictable conflicts from elites.

 From below - social movements  The real answer is BOTH ARE NEEDED  Some people having democracy doesn’t exclude others from having it - so democracy is a public good. Public goods are notoriously hard to provide democratically.  Elites have to do all the work and most people do nothing and get all the reward. Evaluation of success, failure, and inclusiveness: South Africa (success), Israel/Palestine (failure), and Northern Ireland (complicated)  South Africa v. Middle East o Luck (threading the needle)  Decaying status quo  Generational change -  children of blacks were becomign more violent. Burning things, not going to schoool, etc.  Children of whites didn’t want to go to military anymore  Elites feel the sand shifting under their feet  Bankruptcy:  City Bank wont bankroll the govt.  Collapse of USSR  For whites this is a good thing - means communism is not a viable alternative  ANC loses funding from USSR.  This makes the opposition much less threatening to whites. o Leadership (risk, judgement, & Empathy)  This is what sets apart SA and Israel. Very similar conditions. During Oslo accords, many people believe that there will finally be a settlement (especially in 2004-5). Arafat moved to the middle, recognized Israel's right to exist, and took a bunch of preconditions off of the table, Rabin seemed to be more receptive, lots of people respected him, but then: Rabin was assassinated by right-wing Israeli.  Perez came to power, moved to the right. Arafat was calling him 3x/week, but Perez cut off the talks. Arafat was cornered - his move to the middle allowed Hamas to pop up on his right flank, they seized all of the symbols of Palestinian nationalism to mobilize people.  Counterfactualism: What if De Klerk was murdered in 1992, Rabin survived in 1995  De Klerk came out and said that there would be a referendum deciding wether or not to engage in negotiations with the ANC.  If he had been assassinated before he announced the referendum, nobody would've been in a position to do it, and even if they wanted to do it, its not something a new president does without first estabolishing support.  Everyone else in his party wouldve hated the idea if he discussed it with them.  He was burning bridges with the far right in his party - makes his future depend on successful negotiations with the ANC. This builds trust among ANC skeptics, (lets him coopt the radicals int the opposition) o Legitimacy

 Must convince, coopt, or marginalize opposition  Clinton decides on his way out that the last thing he's gonna do is solve the middle east before he leaves office  But both sides say no. there was no support in either community in the summer of 2000 for a negotiated settlement.  Even though it was the same deal as 5 years before, there was no support from it in the constituency.  So the support from below is just as vital as support form above.  We cant predict transitions, but we can say what makes them more and less likely o Predicting failure:  Northern Ireland 1983  But at this time Tories are reliant on the Northern Ireland govt. for their parliamentary coalition, so there's no way there's gonna be any sort of agreement with the IRA.  But when Tony Blaire comes into power, the Libs don’t need o Empathy and strategic judgement  Difference between SA and Israel  There were no preconditions to the South African agreement  No need to recognize legitimacy, etc..  But the implicit precondition was that if there is no delivery on promises before a certain time had passed, it would all fall apart.  This allowed for more room to maneuvers, and it means that the spoilers in either side will not be able to spoil it.  "if you say that talks will go on as long as there are no rockets, then there will be rockets".  Give people what they need  Power-sharing in the interim constitution  April 1993 election timing agreement --> a time restriction enabled Mandela and the ANC to unite the opposition and get things done - window of opportunity was closing. o Exit options  People in power need to have viable alternatives to power if you want them to leave.  South Africa amnesty process and civil service jobs.  Remember the USSR collapse - there were places for elites to go.  Importance for the Arab spring.

Lecture 12: Business and Democratic Reform – South Africa Case Study

Some Housekeeping Info 3 SOM Cases are password protected - Yale students can enter. Trucking in Afghanistan, Business in South Africa, and Israel/Palestine. Lots of video interviews w/ principles that were involved.

Background  Business backstory behind South African transition. We've already spoken about the declining power of labor since the collapse of communism, but we havent spoken about business  Power of business has been growing

 A month before the election, everything came to a head in one of the "homelands" - o"Bantustans" - the nominally sovereign small states under the apartheid systems. o Inkatha made a move to try to trigger a military coup and get the military to shut down the election. o At this point, it seemed like the world was going up in smoke o Rwandan genocide going on to South Africa's North o The idea that there could be a horrific bloodbath in South Africa was a very real threat. o Three weeks before the election, Inkatha tries to attack business district of Johannesburg, and tries to storm ANC headquarters. o At this point, Henry Kissinger came in to try to mediate a solution - stayed for 2 days, gave up and left. o Zulu militias were preparing to perpetuate the civil war o But then - surprise o Buthelezi comes out to say talks have gone quite well - apparently they were letting the Inkathas into the election. They didn’t boycott the election, it occurred as planned. o ANC wins 62.5% of vote o National party (de Klerk) wins 20% o Inkatha Freedom Party wins 10% of vote, and gains 3 seats in cabinet.

Business and the back story of the South African Transition  There were many ways for this transition to have crashed and burned --- Business had a great deal to do with why the transition didn’t fall apart.  To be clear: business did not cause the transition from Apartheid in south africa. o Business, however, did have a great deal to do with the transition being substantially peaceful and that it ended up in a democracy. o It was clear that Apartheid's days were numbered - the status quo of SA in the '80s was not going to survive. But this didn’t mean democracy was inevitable. There could've been a massive crackdown by the state, a military coup, or a civil war.  Four areas where business had an impact o Getting the negotiations started  By the time that Mandela started negotiating with De Klerk, certain talks had already been going on. o Brokering deals o Managing potential spoilers to avoid catastrophe  (people on the fringes (neither govt reformers nor reformist opposition) need to be convinced, coopted, or marginalized) o Fourth?

1) Getting Negotiations Started  Why did business want talks to occur? o During the 60's, there were forced removals of blacks from city centers, sent to these "homelands" and forced to work as laborers. There was little opposition by the 70's. At this point, white big business wanted to start talking to the leadership of the liberation movement –to militant black leaders during apartheid. o WHY?  Business might have a bigger market if they can access the other 80% of the people in the country. There was a view that Apartheid produces inefficient labor markets.

 This is unusual though - typically in authoritarian systems, businesses do not get involved in politics. They might go to court over business issues, but they keep their heads down in politics. In an authoritarian setting, business will resist democratization unless they think they can leave with their capital and assets--> If businesses think that voters will tax them exorbitantly once they get their representatives in power, then they will oppose democratization. This is why it seems counterintuitive for business to favor an opening towards the liberation movement.  This is called high asset specificity - you cant take your assets with you.  In south Africa, there was high asset specificity - lots of diamond and gold mines cannot be moved!.  So, there must have been sticks and carrots - o Why do sticks matter?

 Business will not push for change unless they feel that the status quo is changing in a way that will not benefit them.  In South Africa, there were boycotts, divestment, and sanctions, etc. there were boycotts passed over Regans veto at this time.  But industrial sanctions don’t work - Kodak left, but another replaced it. Ford left, but Toyota replaced it. So industrial sanctions didn’t really make any difference.  The main stick here was that SA had illegal black trade unions under Apartheid. This didn’t matter much to business because there was almost no industrial action until the early 70's - there were no strikes, high labor quiescense.  But then in the 70's, there were big outbreaks of strikes -- the mine owners didn’t know who was running them. They wanted to know so that they could negotiate with them. Business wanted unions to be legalized so they could be negotiated with. Govt. didn’t like this, because they knew that the unions would become a locus for political action if they were legalized. But the businesses finally beat the government into submission. o Effects of sticks:  This created one of the most powerful union movements in the world. -- turned out to be super important for the transition  This also led to close ties between business leaders and leaders that would eventually be key parts of the liberation movement. o Another stick: Chase bank would not bankroll SA's debt.

 Leads to huge capital outflows  SA responds by bringing business people into the country to convince them that SA was worth investing in. Govt also tolerates letting business leaders meet with opposition. This ended up failing to bring in investment or to stop outflows, but allowed for personal relationships to be formed between business leaders and the leaders of the liberation movement. o Why do carrots matter?  Because even if people think the SQ is not an option anymore, they may nevertheless dig in their heels -- remember in the 1960's in Rhodesia => the white farmers didn’t see any good outcome so they backed the white government with all their might.  Same with Israeli businessmen --> they say the SQ is terrible, but the alternatives are all worse.

 Government was furious, but couldn’t stop him. They threatened do imprison church groups that wanted to do the same thing though.  1986-88: Anglo-American subsidiaries arrange informal talks with the United Democratic Front (which was represented the ANC).  This is something you could be imprisoned for without trial - this was a huge risk.  1988: Creation of Consultative Business Movement - they were the first group of white elites to say that they favored majority rule democracy for SA - "one person one vote"  All of the white parties until then had been talking about power-sharing deals, veto's for minority groups, educational qualifications for the franchise, etc.  This solved their credibility problem - they didn’t say they were neutral - they said they were committed to democratic transition and wanted to bring it about.  This made them the only credible brokers of peace - all church groups were politically aligned to one side or another. 2) Brokering the Settlement  Fishing story - the tale of the trout hook o Business elites were facilitating personal interaction between the govt. and the ANC. o The Consultative Business Movement became the one to set up CODESA. And when it collapsed, the CBM people were the ones to scramble to get CODESA 2 set up. And when CODESA 2 collapsed, it was the CBM who became the backchannel that kept the conversation going. 3) Managing Spoilers  CBM organized the Kissinger Carrington visit and their effort to solve the problem  Crisis management and shuttle diplomacy o It was the CBM people that decided they had to act to pick up the pieces of the transition. o They negotiated settlements for the Zulu King, etc. o They dealt with the massive problems of election mechanics  Remember - Inkatha wasn’t going to participate in the election, and ballots had already been printed. But when the government agreed to most of Inkatha's demands. There were tons of problems with putting Inkatha on the ballot - the national party had to be convinced to give up its spot on the bottom of the ballot - even though their slogan had been "vote the bottom line". Inkatha had to concede not to have a delay of the election - because they hadn't been campaigning. o Business played a big role in mediating all of this.  Results of the election (widely declared to be free and fair) o Sneaky suspicion that Inkatha's winning of it's particular region was negotiated before the election. 4) Building civil Society support  When the ANC came to power, they still espoused a pretty socialist economic doctrine. o Mandela's first international visit when he came to power was to Cuba. o But within months of coming into power, the ANC had repudiated its RDP (reconstruction and development plan).

 Instead, the ANC endorsed a shift to the Washington Consensus. It put off massive transformations to the economy (nationalizing many industries, etc. )  Business created an election fund, made sure that elections were free and fair, etc.

Achievements  Business does not usually act this way  They avoided catastrophe.  Helped abolish apartheid peacefully  Ended pariah status  Economic resurgence of SA --> BRIC countries became BRICS because SA had a massive economic resurgence. o Black middle class and elite grew rapidly o From 95 to 2009 -- creation of black middle class 533 billion Rand transferred from white to black business sector. Challenging Legacies  Limited democracy - single-party dominance tends to be very corrupt o SA is not unique in this - Russia, Mexico, India (until recently).  Politically entrenched labor movement has been very costly for the country over time o High wage economy in the formal sector o But massive youth unemployment o Massive hemorrhaging of textile jobs to Lesotho and to China. o Persistent inequality and labor aristocracy: Marikana  Massive strikes organized against unions, 34 people shot dead by police (many in the back).  This made it very hard for ANC in 2012/6 because Markiana leadership was in the ANC.  Business has disengaged - there is no longer a K group because business has diversified. o South Africa Lorenz curve -- in the first decade and a half after Apartheid, overall inequality in the economy did not change. o South Africa is one of the most unequal countries today - its got the highest Gini Coefficient for the places we have data for in the world (.7). Even more unequal than countries like Columbia, Brazil, Mexico. o Unemployment by race:  1/3 of black population unemployed  1/2 of black youth unemployed o Poverty -  1/2 of black population living in poverty o Education  15% of black population has HS education or higher o Health  10% of black population has healthcare o Plumbing  1/3 of black population does not have indoor plumbing --> richest country in africa. o Conclusion: not all good things come. Disillusionment as prosperity slows.  Cyril Ramaphosa story personifies the mutual dependence of Business and Politics in SA over time. o Began as an ANC activist o Becomes head of national union of mine workers in Kasathu

o Better to force them to cooperate to agree before any international action is taken. o And when any international action is taken, it is always done so under the same term of art: to restore international peace and security.  Main goal: to prevent any power from grabbing up global real estate. o Remember - UN was structured as a treaty. Kind of similar to the EU.  If you want to change it, you'd have to negotiate a new treaty.  Can the structure of the UN be changed, and if so, HOW? o The ICC and the Right to Protect are "common law" attempts to change the basic structure of the UN - makes the UN act as more of an authorizer of intervention for the R2P. The ICC and R2P begin to challenge the doctrine of non-intervention

What are the ICC and the Right to Protect (R2P)  Previous tribunals were ad-hoc: o International Military Tribunal (IMT, aka Nuremburg Trials) o IMTFE: Tokyo trials o Eichmann Trial 1961 in Jerusalem. o ICTY - International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia: 1993  Trying war criminals from the Yugoslav conflict o ICTR (Rwanda)  Basically, the winning side would hold trials for people from the defeated side. There was no real international body that would engage in these trials.  ICC initiated by the Rome Treaty. o (signed by 120 states in 1998, finally ratified by 60 states in 2002) o The UN couldn’t create a court without going back to the signatories of the treaty, but they had a strong interest in trying to create some sort of permanent international legal tribunal --> so they commissioned a group of Lawyers (International Legal council (or committee, not sure)). Lawyers appointed by UN general assembly - and they asked them to draft a basis for a UN criminal court. This led to a conference which eventually led to the Rome treaty. o The ILC and many NGO's pushed for this to become a reality. o ICC came into operation in 2002 when 60 states signed it. And today, 129 states are signatories of the multilateral treaty that created the ICC.  Its independent from the UN - it technically has a separate treaty as its foundation o Jurisdiction:  Can prosecute war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, and aggression.  Typically, countries refer cases to the ICC themselves (usually after a transition, when there is limited ability for the country to prosecute severe crimes themselves).  Territorial and personal jurisdiction ***** o 18 judges in 3 chambers elected by the Assembly of State Parties o The UN security council has begun to refer cases to the ICC -  But after Darfur referral in 2011, the US and china abstained.  Hypocritical attitude of the US towards the ICC: we have not signed the treaty, and refuse to be subject to foreign jurisdiction. And in peacekeeping operations, the US requires that during peacekeeping operations its soldiers are not subject to the ICC when conducting peacekeeping operations.  Yet at the same time the US participates in referring others to the ICC -- like Ghaddafi in 2011.

 ICC Legitimacy o As of 2019:  21 proceedings completed  6 convictions,  4 finished serving sentences, 2 in prison  These are tiny numbers! o ICC has long been criticized in the global south as being heavily biased against African Countries.  All of the people ever prosecuted were from Africa. o Departures from ICC  In 2016, Burundi, SA, and Gambia all said they would leave the ICC.  But then in an election Gambia changed leaders and reversed decision.  In SA, they decided to leave, but their constitutional court ruled that it would be illegal for SA to leave  But the Philippines - during Duterte's anti-drug effort, experienced referrals to the ICC, and decided to leave. But incidentally it does not immunize the Philippines from crimes committed while they are during the ICC. o Withdrawals from ICC  Israel, Sudan, the US, and Russia have withdrawn signatures. o US position on ICC  US statement when signing the Rome Treaty:  Clinton punted the question to the Bush Admin: didn’t like it, but wouldn’t commit the US to it either.  After 9/11, US withdrew signature  Obama - increased US engagement with ICC, but even OB showed no interest in having the US sign, mostly because the US would be involved in peacekeeping operations, and this would make US soldiers vulnerable to prosecution.  Trump - no change.  Is the ICC a good or bad thing? o Metrics:  Would it be a deterrent? - if that's a metric, not sure if it would be a good/bad thing. o Good:  Provide infrastructure for international justice where there otherwise would not be.  There's a chance that if you violate some international norms you'll get prosecuted. o Norm Cascades?  Small scale -->  In 2016, when african countries were threatening to leave, there were predictions of a massive African exodus -- but this didn’t happen.  Norm entrepreneurs (ideas) are trying to get African countries involved in the process -- to try to get the ICC embedded and get people to comply. o Deterrent Effect?  Not really - most people who murder people are not deterred by the death penalty. Most murderers are driven by passion, etc.  Would it deter others? (general deterrent) - hard to say  Nobody has really thought through this doctrine.

How radical a refashioning the international political & legal order  Sometimes better to ask for forgiveness than for permission o The ends justify the means o If you know that you can stop some horrific thing, and that if you ask for permission it will be denied, then maybe you should just do it. o Some things are so egregiously bad and frightening that if the legal order will not permit it, then too bad for the legal order. -- this seems to be the thinking behind the idea of "Illegal but Legitimate"  But how can you institutionalize the idea that its OK to ask for forgiveness rather than permission o How can you turn this into a rule? o It's pretty hard - the whole idea is to be able to go against existing institutions if needed. o NOT universal agreement/consensus  In Global south, this was seen as a pretextfor further intervention. They did NOT want Kosovo to become a precedent.  South Africa and India amplify criticism  Mandela: When two nations take it upon themselves to police the world, this can lead to another world war.  Unilateral intervention, no matter the pretext, is never acceptable.  India: flagrant violation of UN charter - direct and unprovoked aggression. o International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (2000)  Gareth Evans, Mohamed Sahnoun, Michael Ignatieff suggested the term "Responsibility to Protect".  R2P o What it DOESN’T say is also very important:  there is no RIGHT or OBLIGATION to demand intervention, or to intervene, but it does suggest some kind of imperative for action. o This was not welcomed in the Global South  African Union says if the UN will authorize intervention, so will we  They asserted their ability to intervene in a member state in grave circumstances.  No mention of African Union's security council, even though the UN charter gives the UNSC a monopoly on non-defensive use of force. o 2005 - UN general assembly debated the UN World Summit Outcome Doctrine.  Accepting the responsibility to protect  On a case-by-case basis  Only if peaceful means fail  Only in cooperation with relevant regional organizations  In sum: there is a responsibility to protect, and it falls on governments, if they fail to do so the UN will authorize regional players to intervene. o The UN has no army - their peacekeepers only get involved when peace is established. They don’t get involved in peace-MAKING, only in peace KEEPING. o Restrictions on R2P  Binging on signatories and on non-signatories alike  Restricted to four things: genocide, Crimes against Humanity, War Crimes, and Ethnic Cleansing.

 Although the original authors wanted more included, the UN realized that support would be strongest for only the most egregious of crimes.  Domestic focus seems to contradict UN Charter - its OK for the UNSC to intervene in the domestic affairs of another country if one of the four things addressed is happening.  Gives wide latitude to UNSC to intervene - its not binding. There is no RIGHT of oppressed people to UN intervention. Nothing in the R2P says that the UN MUST intervene in any conflict.  The non-Aligned movement (group of middle-income countries around the world) did not like this - they "sounded an early alarm in 2005", and this was a portent for things to come.  This is a much larger change to the world order than the ICC o Not just prosecuting crimes after the fact - this is asserting the UN's right to intervene DURING, and to use force to stop bad shit going down. o Re-writing the rules governing UN intervention. -- this ends up being very expensive lol  Is this a good doctrine? Let's look at some early tests of the doctrine o Sudan 2004 o Kenya 2008: post-election violence, the French call for R2P. Some argue that it is the threat of possible intervention that allowed for a negotiation of the conflict, less violence. o Guinea 2008: attempted coup. Ban Ki-moon was UN Sec. General, raises possibility of R2P, and US and EU suspend assistance. o Libya 2011: UNSC unanimously calls for an arms embargo and refers Ghaddafi to the ICC, and during that referral they talk about the R2P. They were hinting already at potential intervention  Disputed claims about imminent slaughter in Benghazi  First real test: Libya 2014. The three "I" words: Roles played by interests, ideas, and institutions Lecture 14: 9/11 and the Global War on Terror

Introduction  Donald Rumsfeld - Defense Secretary o Speech in the pentagon on Sept. 10th, 2001  He's got no idea about what's about to hit the country.  He comes into the pentagon with a mandate to reorganize it to private-sector logic. o Pentagon Bureaucracy is the new bastion of central planning - and therefore the new enemy o Save the Pentagon from itself --> revolution in management, tech, and business practices.  Leaner businesses, less hierarchy --> must be nimble in the face of radical change, or they die. The fact that businesses can fail and die provides the incentive to adapt.  But government cant fail and die. So we need other incentives.  Cutting redundant things, making realistic budgets, etc. o Outsourcing to private sector. Seek suppliers to provide non-core activities efficiently and effectively.  "what you measure improves"  Bush address to Joint Session of Congress, Sept 20th, 2001


Re: Britain’s opposition to sanctions on Israel exposes its support for the occupation and its crimes

The British government’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office has issued a statement in response to a petition calling for sanctions to be imposed on Israel. The statement ignores the fact that Israel is an occupying power and the people of Palestine are living under that occupation. It is worth looking at in detail.

“The UK is firmly opposed to boycotts or sanctions against Israel. Our close and varied relationship means we are able to express clearly when we disagree.”

Friends, of course, disagree all the time but real friends would take Israel to one side and say, “You know what? You’re out of order. We can’t offer this unconditional support if you keep breaking international law.” It is outrageous to suggest that having a “close and varied relationship” with Britain somehow makes Israel immune from accountability.

The Palestine Mission in London posted a statement on its website in April in which it said: “It is clear that the UK now believes Israel is above the law. There is no other interpretation of a statement [by Prime Minister Boris Johnson] that gives carte blanche to Israel to continue its illegal settlement project in occupied territory, and signals to Israel that no matter its actions vis-à-vis the Palestinian people in occupied territory, it will not be held to account… because it is a ‘friend and an ally’ of the UK.”

“HM Government has made its position on sanctions clear. While we do not hesitate to express disagreement with Israel whenever we feel it necessary, we are firmly opposed to boycotts or sanctions. We believe that open and honest discussions, rather than the imposition of sanctions or supporting anti-Israeli boycotts, best supports our efforts to help progress the peace process and achieve a negotiated solution.”

The government mentions “the peace process”. What peace process? That series of “negotiations” which bought Israel more time to extend its colonial settlements across occupied Palestinian land, creating “facts on the ground”? The FCDO knows full well that the process is effectively dead in the water, and has been for years. Officials must have noticed that concessions after concessions are wrung out of the Palestinians, with nothing ever given in return by the occupation state of Israel.

“HM Government takes its export control responsibilities very seriously and operates one of the most robust arms export control regimes in the world. We consider all export applications thoroughly against a strict risk assessment framework. We continue to monitor the situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories and keep all licences under careful and continual review as standard.”

HM Government’s “export control responsibilities” are meant to ensure that arms and other items sold to foreign countries aren’t used to commit serious human rights violations and alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity. Is that what the FCDO means when it says that it takes these “responsibilities… very seriously and operates one of the most robust arms export control regimes in the world”? Is that really the case? If Britain is monitoring the situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories what is the FCDO not seeing that the rest of the world can see very clearly? A brutal military occupation, for example military offensives against civilian areas the abuse of worshippers in a mosque by police attacks on Palestinians in their homes and streets by illegal settlers the dispossession of Palestinians. And that’s just in a few days last month. Israeli policy was described in 2008, as “ethnic cleansing by stealth”. It still is.

“The UK welcomed the recent announcement of a ceasefire in Israel and Gaza on 20 May, which is an important step to ending the cycle of violence and loss of civilian life. During the Foreign Secretary’s visit to the region on 26 May he reiterated the UK’s firm commitment to the two-state solution as the best way to permanently end the occupation, deliver Palestinian self-determination and preserve Israel’s security and democratic identity.”

In the meantime, Britain will sit back and watch while Israel expands its colonial settlements and dispossesses more Palestinians on a daily basis. The two-state solution has been moribund for years. Neither Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu nor the leaders of the proposed new “government for change” in Israel support the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, so why does the international community, including Britain, pretend that “two states” is a viable solution?

The growth of Israel’s illegal settlements on Palestinian land, and the land taken to build the Apartheid Wall and settler-only roads, means that the land available for a Palestinian state is non-contiguous, and a land bridge between the West Bank and Gaza is likely to be unsustainable. The Israeli government is unwilling to rein-in its aggressive, illegal settlers now what would it be like if Palestinians had to cross Israel to get from one part of Palestine — the Gaza Strip — to another, the West Bank? It doesn’t bear thinking about.

“Israel is an important strategic partner for the UK and we collaborate on issues of defence and security. Our commitment to Israel’s security is unwavering. The UK unequivocally condemns the firing of rockets at Jerusalem and locations within Israel. We strongly condemn these acts of terrorism by Hamas and other terrorist groups, who must permanently end their incitement and rocket fire against Israel. We are also concerned by reports that Hamas is again using civilian infrastructure and populations as cover for its military operations.”

#ShutDownElbit – Protesters in the UK for closure of arms factory exported to Israel on 8 October 2018 [Twitter]

Why is the government’s commitment to Israel’s security “unwavering”? It could be something to do with what looks like a requirement for every leader of a major political party in Britain to pledge support for Israel almost before doing anything else.

Even if we take the occupation of Palestine, which actually started in 1948, to date from 1967, that was 20 years before Hamas was formed. The issue is not about Hamas and Palestinian resistance to the occupation. It’s about the occupation itself. Cause and effect: what came first, the occupation, or legitimate resistance to the occupation? People living under military occupation have a legal right to resist that occupation using whatever means at their disposal.

As Richard Falk, the former UN Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights and professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University wrote in International Law and the Al-Aqsa Intifada (2000): “Though the Israeli government and the US media persist in describing the second Palestinian intifada as a security crisis or a disruption to the ‘peace process’, in international law, Palestinian resistance to occupation is a legally protected right… Israel’s failures to abide by international law, as a belligerent occupant, amounted to a fundamental denial of the right of self-determination, and more generally of respect for the framework of belligerent occupation — giving rise to a Palestinian right of resistance.”

Moreover, UN Resolution 3246 dated 29 November 1974 “strongly condemns” all governments which do not recognise “the right to self-determination and independence of peoples under colonial and foreign domination and alien subjugation, notably the peoples of Africa and the Palestinian people.” The same resolution “[r]eaffirms the legitimacy of the peoples’ struggle for liberation from colonial and foreign domination and alien subjugation by all available means, including armed struggle.” (Emphasis added)

It is, therefore, erroneous to call Hamas a “terrorist” organisation and its legitimate resistance “terrorism”. The British government has adopted the Zionist narrative and is misleading the British public. Moreover, the “human shield” argument is an old one for which no evidence is ever produced. However, the investigation by the International Criminal Court will determine if this and other war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed in the occupied Palestinian territories. Interestingly, Israel rejects the ICC move, while the Palestinian factions have welcomed it. The latter are aware that charges may be laid at their own door, but accept the probe nonetheless.

Furthermore, as Dr Martin Cohen wrote in a letter to the Guardian in 2002 (this is not a new discussion, by any means): “The tactics of the Israeli occupying forces thus far have been systematic brutalisation and frequent killings of unarmed civilians and feebly armed protesters. That such immoral and illegal ‘policing’ tactics have not thus far concerned the west indicates only the flexible application of our moral codes where Israel is concerned,” said the then editor of The Philosopher.

He wrote his letter in 2002 in response to the then British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw who had “pleaded for greater public sympathy for Israel’s position in its conflict with the Palestinians.” Our politicians appear to have learned nothing in the intervening years, and are doggedly sticking to the “Israel, right or wrong” brief, trampling over international laws and conventions in the process.

“We are clear that all countries, including Israel, have a legitimate right to self-defence, and the right to defend their citizens from attack. In doing so, it is vital that all actions are proportionate, in line with International Humanitarian Law, and are calibrated to avoid civilian casualties.”

It is important to note that not all countries impose apartheid on their own citizens and a people under occupation, so Israel is not like other countries. Israeli apartheid was recognised as long ago as 1961, when on 23 November Hendrik Verwoerd, the then Prime Minister of South Africa — whose party introduced the apartheid regime in Pretoria — wrote in the Rand Daily Mail, “[The Jews] took Israel from the Arabs after the Arabs had lived there for a thousand years… Israel, like South Africa, is an apartheid state.”

It is ironic that the FCDO mentions International Humanitarian Law. Israel breaches international laws and conventions every single day, with impunity because of friends like the British government. And when did Israel ever worry about civilian casualties? It targets civilians very deliberately, as has been seen very recently in Gaza, and in 2018/19 during the Great March of Return protests when even medics were shot and killed — 21-year-old Razan Al-Najjar, for example, on 1 June 2018 — as well as journalists such as Yaser Murtaja going about their lawful work. During the recent assault on the Gaza Strip, 66 children and 39 women were among the 248 Palestinians killed by Israel. Indeed Israel has killed a Palestinian child on average every three days for 20 years.

To quote Cohen’s letter again: “The right of self-defence is used to justify actions in the occupied territories… There is no right of self-defence for an occupying force. Clearly, actions taken by the Palestinian people, in land internationally recognised as illegally occupied by Israel, are legitimate acts of resistance, subject only to the rules of war…”

Fast forward to May this year, and journalist C J Werleman made the same point: “What [UN State Department Spokesperson Ned] Price and the Biden administration also know is that under international law, it’s the Palestinians who have the right to self-defence in the context of the Israel-Palestinian conflict, and it’s Israel that does not.”

“The UK is strongly opposed to the Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions Movement against Israel, just as we oppose any calls for boycotts which divide people and reduce understanding.”

This is probably because BDS, an entirely peaceful movement, is effective and Israel knows it. Those who are old enough to remember the anti-South African Apartheid Movement know that the British government also opposed sanctions against the racist regime in Pretoria. Britain stands to be on the wrong side of history again.

“The UK position on evictions, demolitions, and settlements is longstanding and clear. We oppose these activities. We urge the Government of Israel to cease its policies related to settlement expansion immediately, and instead work towards a two state solution. Settlements are illegal under international law, and present an obstacle to peace. We want to see a contiguous West Bank, including East Jerusalem, as part of a viable and sovereign Palestinian state, based on 1967 borders. Our position was reflected in our support for UN Security Council Resolution 2334 and we continue to urge Israel at the highest level to halt settlement expansion immediately.”

Urging Israel does nothing Israel ignores even its “friends”, because it is pulling some very powerful strings in Washington, London and other world capital. The US has used its veto in the UN Security Council on dozens of occasions to prevent sanctions being imposed on Israel. Last month, the veto was even used to block a resolution calling for a ceasefire in occupied Palestine. Those powerful strings were pulled yet again.

“We advise British businesses to bear in mind the British Government’s view on the illegality of settlements under international law when considering their investments and activities in the region. Ultimately, it will be the decision of an individual or company whether to operate in settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, but the British Government would neither encourage nor offer support to such activity.”

Basically, the British government is willing to let businesses profit from settlements which are not only illegal, as the government admits, but are also part of a process which amounts to a war crime. In the meantime, the government is seeking to make it illegal for local councils in Britain to boycott Israel and/or its illegal settlements in their procurement and investment policies.

“We have also made clear our concerns about the increasing rate of demolitions and evictions of Palestinians. The UK is focused on preventing demolitions and evictions from happening in the first place through our legal aid programme, which supports Palestinians facing demolition or home eviction.”

Legal aid is useful, but it’s too little too late. Demolition notices shouldn’t be issued in the first place. The government should be doing more than express “concerns” by letting Israel know that demolitions and evictions — part of the ethnic cleansing process — will carry a cost in terms of sanctions.

“As a strong friend of Israel, and one which has stood up for Israel when it faces bias and unreasonable criticism, we are continuing to urge Israel to not take steps such as these, which move us away from our shared goals of peace and security.”

Peace and security are not Israel’s goal. Expansion of the territory it controls is: “To maintain the status quo will not do,” wrote David Ben-Gurion in Rebirth and Destiny of Israel (1954, p419). “We have to set up a dynamic state, bent upon creation and reform, building and expansion.”

The creation of “Greater Israel” requires the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their land. “Israel should have exploited the repression of the demonstrations in China, when world attention focused on that country, to carry out mass expulsions among the Arabs of the territories,” said Benjamin Netanyahu when he was Deputy Foreign Minister speaking to students at Bar Ilan University. (Quoted in the Israeli journal Hotam, 24 November, 1989)

That’s the reality of Zionism, which the British government is appeasing.

“The occupation will not end and peace will not be achieved by symbolic measures, but by real movement towards renewed peace negotiations which create a viable Palestinian state, living in peace and security side-by-side with Israel. We will continue to press Israel and the Palestinians strongly on the need to refrain from taking actions, which make peace more difficult. And will continue to encourage further confidence building steps towards meaningful bilateral peace negotiations between the parties.”

The both sides argument — “We will continue to press Israel and the Palestinians strongly on the need to refrain from taking actions, which make peace more difficult” — ignores the reality that this is about a settler-colonial state on one side — a nuclear armed settler-colonial state — and the people whose land is being colonised on the other. It’s about the oppressor Apartheid state and the oppressed. It is about occupiers and the occupied. It is an asymmetric conflict. For the British government to pretend otherwise exposes its support for the occupation regime and its crimes.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by WCT staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)


Counter boycotts

The tendency to resort to economic and political boycott has become a hallmark of the pro-Israel lobby in the US in recent years, where the slightest diversion from the Israeli government’s narrative has often provided cause to be labeled anti-Semitic.

When vacation rental company Airbnb delisted properties inside Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank in 2018, it faced pressure and restrictions from Israeli and US officials.

Airbnb’s “guilt” lay in aligning its policies with those of the United Nations and most countries around the world that consider Israeli settlements in the West Bank to be in violation of international law.

For complying with international law, Airbnb was slandered as “anti-Semitic bed and breakfast” according to a full one-page advertisement in The Washington Post paid for by anti-Palestinian campaigner Rabbi Shmuley Boteach.

US state officials condemned the company and vowed to punish it. Former US Vice President Mike Pence even asserted that Airbnb’s decision had “no place” in the market during a speech at the right-wing lobby group the Israeli American Council conference.

Airbnb eventually caved and reversed its decision.

In 2019, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for the boycott of Israel’s Channel 12 for producing HBO’s television series Our Boys, which depicted the kidnapping and murder of 16-year-old Muhammad Abu Khudair in 2014 by Israelis.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the series “anti-Semitic” and called for the boycott of the Israeli channel on which it aired.

After the United Nations Human Rights Office published last year a list of companies involved in Israel’s settlements in the occupied West Bank, Netanyahu ordered “the severing of ties” with it.

“Whoever boycotts us will be boycotted,” he added.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu:
Whoever boycotts us will be boycotted. The UN Human Rights Council is a biased body that is devoid of influence. Not for nothing have I already ordered the severing of ties with it.

&mdash PM of Israel (@IsraeliPM) February 12, 2020

Regardless of the justifications for these boycotts, they were declared and pursued without hesitation or fear of reprisals.


Answering critics of the boycott movement. By Sami Hermez

Via: The Electronic Intifada.

Over the last three years, the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel has been gaining stride. Individuals around the world have been joining this call, from organizing actions in supermarkets in France and Great Britain protesting Israeli products made in settlements, to filmmakers withdrawing movies from film festivals, to prominent Israelis making a public stand with the BDS movement. Only recently, a multi-billion dollar Norwegian wealth fund divested from the Israeli arms company Elbit, while other companies, like Veolia, a French conglomerate involved in building and managing the Jerusalem light-rail, have suffered setbacks due to the bad publicity the boycott movement has generated.

The list of successful BDS actions has now become too long to list, yet, there are still many out there who do not believe in this movement and have reservations on a number of grounds, offering two main concerns that are rarely tackled, and when they are it is only cursory. The first is the criticism of why a boycott movement against Israel and not countries like China, Sudan or the US. This claim often gets tagged on with the idea that this is due to an inherent anti-Semitism. The second concerns the argument that boycott is against dialogue, which often comes along with accusations that it promotes censorship and is a form of collective punishment.

Boycotting other countries

Two recent open statements on boycott over the summer, by Naomi Klein and Neve Gordon, both anticipated the first criticism, but neither went far enough in explaining why it is necessary to boycott Israel and why we don’t boycott other countries. Gordon asked the question only to almost completely ignore it, while Klein has provided two explanations that when combined begin to form a coherent response. In her article published by The Nation on 8 January 2009, in response to the question of why we do not boycott other western countries that are also human rights abusers, Klein wrote that “Boycott is not a dogma it is a tactic. The reason the BDS strategy should be tried against Israel is practical: in a country so small and trade-dependent, it could actually work.” While this is true it does not fully respond to the critics.

There are several other reasons why we do not boycott some of the other countries mentioned above. By far the most important of these, outlined by Klein in an interview with Cecille Surasky for Alternet on 1 September 2009, is that individuals around the world are not boycotting, but rather, they are responding to a call for boycott coming from Palestinian civil society. Klein is not the first to say this veterans of the South Africa anti-apartheid campaign who led a successful boycott have also stressed the need to stand with indigenous communities. Boycott is a move to heed the voice of an oppressed group and follow its lead. The idea is that there are no movements out of Tibet, in the case of Chinese oppression, or Iraq in the case of the American occupation, that are calling for boycott and for the international community to respond to that call. This is important! The BDS movement comes from within Palestinian society and it is this factor that makes it so powerful and effective. If there were calls for the boycott of places like the US, China or North Korea coming from those the governments oppress, then it would be worthwhile to listen to such calls.

Naomi Klein’s original comment that BDS is not dogmatic but tactical is crucial, in that the movement does not claim that BDS can successfully be used in fighting all oppression wherever it is, but that in certain cases of apartheid and colonial oppression, this tool is highly effective. The case of Israel proves very salient here because it receives an almost surreal amount of aid and foreign investment from around the world, most notably the US, with which it enjoys a special status. This makes the daily operations of the Israeli state and its institutions far more accountable to the international community than a place like Sudan, frequently brought up by boycott critics because of the violence in Darfur. It also means, in the case of economic boycott and divestment, that the international community is withdrawing its gifts and support, rather than allowing it to enjoy its special status — hardly a punishment. It is the high level of support that Israel enjoys that makes it susceptible to BDS, whereas in some of the other countries that are often promoted in debates for boycott, as Klein says, “there are [already] very clear state sanctions against these countries.”

In the same September article, Yael Lerer, an Israeli publisher interviewed alongside Klein, echoed this position: “these countries don’t have these film festivals and Madonna is not going to have a concert in North Korea. The problem here is that the international community treats Israel like it was a normal, European, Western state. And this is the basis of the boycott call: the special relationship that Israeli universities have with European universities and with universities in the United States, which universities in Zimbabwe don’t have. I do believe that Israel could not continue the occupation for one single day without the support of the United States and the European Union.”

Critics of BDS must keep in mind the tactical aspect of the movement. We cannot boycott all countries in the world, but this does not mean that BDS against Israel cannot be applied as a tool to force a restructuring of relations between Palestinians and Israelis. This leads into the next criticism regarding boycott as being anti-dialogue.

Boycott is dialogue

Since the signing of the Oslo accords in 1994, many have walked down the path of dialogue — I tried it for several years — and found this to be a strategy to stall for time while the Israeli government was building facts on the ground. We saw dialogue become the slogan for former criminals to clean their bloody hands and appear as peaceful while they continued their strategies of oppression Israeli President Shimon Peres has been the master of such tactics. I found on college campuses in the US where I studied that dialogue was a way to neutralize confrontation and sanitize a dirty conflict. But avoiding confrontation favors the status quo, and the status quo has been, until BDS, in favor of occupation.

The boycott movement is, to be sure, against this dialogue, but not dialogue in an absolute sense. In fact, at its very core, BDS is a movement that is premised on dialogue and of re-appropriating the meaning of dialogue to its rightful place — one that sees a communication between two equal partners and not one where the occupier can force demands and dictate terms to the occupied. BDS is supposed to foster dialogue by locating those who are committed to real and consistent struggle against Zionism — and this is most appropriately seen not in economic forms of boycott but in cultural and academic boycott where artists, musicians, filmmakers, academics and other cultural figures are able to come together, converse and build networks in the face of oppressive institutions that are the real target of these boycotts. Where economic boycott creates economic pressure, cultural boycott fosters dialogue and communication precisely because it shames and shuns those that directly collaborate with the Israeli government and its institutions.

The power of all these forms of BDS is in their recognition that true justice can only be achieved when Israelis and Palestinians work together for a common cause, when they realize that their struggle is shared, and when Israelis understand that they must sacrifice alongside Palestinians if they want true peace. The power of BDS is that it offers an alternative to the national struggles of Hamas and Fatah, and calls on Israelis to join Palestinians in their struggle, and to move beyond the comfort zone of preaching peace, and into the realm of action that requires a “no business as usual” attitude. Indeed, BDS provides the means to generate a new movement that can respond to the main Palestinian political parties that have made a mockery of a people’s right to resist, despite their achievements of the past. A significant part of this is that BDS enables a discourse that moves beyond “ending the occupation” to place demands for the right of return and equal rights for Palestinians in Israel as top priorities.

If Israelis and Palestinians can build a movement together, can struggle together, then this movement will embody the world they wish to create, one that is shared. Thus, BDS is not a tactic for a national movement as it gains strength it will prove to have foes on both sides of the nationalist divide. Its power as a tactic lies in its ability to foster a movement that challenges nationalist discourse. It can create the conditions to make possible a movement that recognizes that while national self-determination remains a central element in a world ruled by antagonistic nationalisms, it should not be constrained by traditional notions of nationalism based on superiority and ethnic exclusion, or by the force of current political parties. In this way, BDS is not anti-dialogue, on the contrary, it is a call out to Israelis to be partners in struggle. It is a call out to Israelis to take a step forward towards envisioning collectively an alternative relationship in the land of Israel-Palestine.

It is time to step out of our comfort zones, to confront, to not be satisfied in talking about tolerance and dialogue for the sake of dialogue. It is time to realize that people already recognize the humanity of the other, but that politics intervene to ensure “we” do not grant “them” this humanity. It is time to realize that it is not the Israeli who is targeted by BDS, but the Israeli government and Israeli institutions that collaborate in the occupation of the Palestinians, and degrade and demonize them. Finally, it is time to realize that BDS is a winnable, nonviolent strategy precisely because it works on slowly changing attitudes and building bridges towards a common vision of justice and equality, and because it creates a real feeling of loss, therefore real pressure, on Israeli governments and institutions, that go beyond the lip service of the “peace process.”

Sami Hermez is a doctoral candidate of anthropology at Princeton University working on questions of violence and nonviolence.


Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions: The Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights

Omar Barghouti, Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions: The Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights (Haymarket 2011), 312pp.

A few days after Christmas, the Jerusalem municipality approved the construction of 130 homes in Gilo, to the east of the city. The news of this latest expansion of illegal Israeli settlements came ten days after Israel included areas near east Jerusalem in plans to build 600 new homes. Since the beginning of November, according to Al-Jazeera, Israel has issued announcements for 2,057 new homes in Arab east Jerusalem and 1,241 in the West Bank.

In the same week, the Israeli Defence Forces’ Chief of Staff, Benny Gantz, praised the attack on Gaza in 2008-9 as an ‘excellent’ operation. He was talking about the so-called Operation Cast Lead, in which over 1,400 people were killed, among them women and 300 children, and whole neighbourhoods were reduced to rubble. Amnesty International accused the Israeli forces of ‘war crimes and other serious breaches of international law’. Gantz threatened that another attack of this kind would be possible, and that it would be ‘swift and painful’ (ibid).

Israeli crimes of this kind do not occur in a vacuum, Barghouti writes in his recent book on the BDS campaign (boycott, divestment, sanctions) against Israel ‘they are the products of a culture of impunity, racism, and genocidal tendencies that has overtaken Israeli society, shaping its mainstream discourse and “common sense” approach to the “Palestinian problem”’ (p.40). The forcible displacement of Palestinians has been intensifying in recent years, and the ‘fragmentation of the Palestinian people in dozens of isolated communities to obliterate their national and social coherence and common identity is escalating’ (p.47). The international community, thanks in large part to a policy of obstruction that the United States pursues, seems unable to prevent these crimes: Israel is acting with impunity.

This is the context in which Barghouti calls for BDS against the Israeli state. ‘Palestinians cannot wait’, he writes, because ‘[Israel] has embarked on what seems to be its final effort to literally disappear the “Palestinian problem”’ (p.47). Taking inspiration from the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, the initiators of the campaign, Barghouti being one of them, call on civil society organisations all over the world to impose boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel. The aim of the campaign is threefold: ending the occupation of all Arab lands recognising the full rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes.

Barghouti carefully outlines the motivations behind the campaign, the way it has developed since its launch in 2005, and its various successes. Thus, he explains why it makes sense to adopt the South Africa strategy for Israel. The crimes of which the Israeli state is guilty may be even worse than apartheid, but it is beyond doubt that ‘its institutionalized and legalized system of racial discrimination, its denial of Palestinian refugee rights, and its two-tiered legal system in the occupied Palestinian territory constitute apartheid, among other serious crimes’ (p.64). What is remarkable about this is that, while these crimes go on, Israel seems to be able to project an image of enlightenment and democracy to the outside world.

Importantly, Barghouti tackles the key criticisms that have been directed at the BDS campaign, of which two should be mentioned here: the academic and the cultural boycott. In 2005, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) condemned the academic boycotts, the reason being that they ‘reject proposals that curtail the freedom of teachers and researchers to engage in work with academic colleagues’ (p.86). As Barghouti writes, this thinking is flawed. According to the UN, academic freedom includes ‘the liberty of individuals to express freely opinions about the institution or system in which they work … the enjoyment of academic freedom carries with it obligations, such as the duty to respect the academic freedom of others. ’ (p.88, Barghouti’s emphasis). When, therefore, scholars neglect such obligations, they can no longer claim their right to this freedom, and this kind of neglect is widespread in Israeli universities. Thus, David Bukay of Haifa University could write in a book: ‘among Arabs, you will not find the phenomenon so typical of Judeo-Christian culture: doubts, a sense of guilt, the self tormenting approach … There is no condemnation, no regret, no problem of conscience among Arabs and Muslims’ (p.89). In this case, the Israeli deputy attorney general later did order an investigation on suspicion of incitement to racism. However, Barghouti argues that by privileging academic freedom above all other freedoms, the AAUP’s notion contradicts the UN norm that all human rights are universal and indivisible.

Criticisms of the cultural boycott often rest on a misunderstanding of the campaign. Nobody, for example, calls for the boycott of individual Israeli academics, writers or artists the BDI initiative calls for an institutional boycott. And when critics say that cultural institutions will punish artists and academics who are progressive and in favour of Palestinian rights, they deflect attention from the fact that these institutions are a crucial component of the Israeli structure of oppression. ‘Not only do the oppressed lose nothing when people of conscience boycott institutions that are persistently complicit in the system of oppression’, Barghouti writes, ‘in fact, they gain enormously from the ultimate weakening of this complicity that results from an effective and sustained boycott’ (p.127). The book is both well-argued and well-written, and anybody concerned about the future of Palestine should take its lessons to heart.


Lessons of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions.

Established in 1989, the MA'AN Development Center is "an independent Palestinian development and training institution. work(ing) towards sustainable human development in Palestine" through its various programs. On October 31, it released a publication on the Palestinian BDS campaign titled, "Boycott, Divestment, & Sanctions: Lessons learned in effective solidarity."

It's another of the many BDS initiatives multiplying to support Palestine. In July 2005, a coalition of 171 Palestinian Civil Society organizations created the global movement for "Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel Until it Complies with International Law and Universal Principles of Human Rights" for Occupied Palestine, Israeli Arabs, and Palestinian diaspora refugees.

MA'AN covers BDS history and outlines current efforts and challenges to be overcome. Past Palestinian boycotts showed they work. The 1936 six-month strike against the British Mandate demanded a representative government in Palestine, prohibition of land sales to Jews, a cessation of Jewish immigration, and immediate elections. The strike brought the economy to a halt and got the Peel Royal Commission to recommend limited Jewish immigration and plans for eventual partition.

In 1948, the Arab League banned all commercial and financial transactions between Israel and League members.

In 1951, each nation set up a national boycott office, linked to the Damascus headquarters. It maintained a central blacklist of companies.

In 1973, OPEC embargoed oil to America and other countries that supported Israel in the October war.

In November 1975, UN General Assembly Resolution 3379 "determine(d) that Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination." Under pressure from GHW Bush and Israel as a condition of its Madrid Peace Conference participation, Resolution 46/86 revoked it (in December 1991) saying only that:

"The general assembly decides to revoke the determination contained in its resolution 3379 (XXX) of November 1975."

In 1977, Arab boycott efforts began when the Carter administration called them illegal for US companies. In 1978, the Camp David Accords began normalizing Israeli-Arab relations, effectively undermining boycott efforts.

The First Intifada (1987 - 1993) reactivated them, effectively in Beit Sahour where residents took control of public affairs. Underground schools were established. The community refused to pay taxes. Military ID cards were returned, and all Israeli products were boycotted. Beit Sahour got a 1990 Nobel Peace Prize nomination and continued resisting until the Palestinian Authority (PA) took over in 1995.

In 1993, the Oslo Accords and subsequent Paris Protocols generated immediate normalization. The 1995 Taba summit decelerated boycott efforts further. The outbreak of the 2000 Second Intifada failed to reactivate them. Today, grassroots efforts lead the global BDS movement.

As agreed on during the first Palestinian 2007 BDS Conference:

"Normalization means to participate in any project or initiative or activity, local or international, specifically designed for gathering (either directly or indirectly) Palestinians (and/or Arabs) and Israelis whether individuals or institutions that does not explicitly aim to expose and resist the occupation and all forms of discrimination and oppression against the Palestinian people."

Specifically, this includes projects:

-- not supporting Palestinian rights under international law

-- implying equal Israeli and Palestinian responsibility for the conflict

-- denying Palestinians are victims of Israel's colonial project

-- refusing Palestinian rights to self-determination and the right of return and compensation under UN Resolution 194 and

-- supported by or partnered with Israeli institutions not recognizing Palestinians' legitimate rights.

Boycott As a Grassroots Movement

South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu said "If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor," to wit: the Quartet (US, EU, Russia and UN), the Arab League, and most other nations with few exceptions. To achieve justice, global grassroots movements must pressure official bodies to change.

In August 2002, Palestinian civil society called for a global boycott Israel campaign:

"for the sake of freedom and justice in Palestine and the world. upon the solidarity movement, NGOs, academic and cultural institutions, business companies, political parties and unions, as well as concerned individuals to strengthen and broaden the global Israel Boycott Campaign."

The campaign against South African apartheid began in 1963 when 45 prominent British playwrights refused performing rights anywhere "where discrimination is made among audiences on grounds of colour." By the 1980s, it became a near-total cultural exchange ban.

In 1965, 496 UK academics protested South Africa's racial discrimination and pledged not to accept a position in the country. Other movements advocated against bank lending, South African products, and for divestment. In the mid-1980s, students demanded their universities divest from companies doing business in or having operations in the country. Hampshire College was the first success. Others followed until apartheid finally ended in 1994.

Cultural and Academic Boycott

On April 6, 2002, UK professors Steven and Hilary Rose first presented the idea in an open letter to the London Guardian, saying:

"Despite widespread international condemnation for its policy of violent repression against the Palestinian people in the Occupied Territories, the Israeli government appears impervious to moral appeals from world leaders. (For its part, America) seems reluctant to act. However, there are ways of exerting pressure from within Europe. many national and European cultural and research institutions. regard Israel as a European state for the purposes of awarding grants and contracts. Would it not therefore be timely (for a pan-European moratorium of all further support) unless and until Israel abides by UN resolutions and opens serious peace negotiations with the Palestinians (along the lines of proposed) peace plans."

By July, 700 signatures were registered, including from 10 Israeli academics. Other initiatives followed despite start-and-stop efforts and enormous opposition. They remain viable and have spread globally.

On February 1, 2009 in Occupied Palestine, the Jerusalem-based Al-Quds University said it no longer would cooperate with Israeli academic institutions to:

"pressur(e) Israel to abide by a solution that ends the occupation, a solution that has been needed for far too long and that the international community has stopped demanding."

It followed Israel's Gaza attack and addressed decades of occupation and continued efforts to subvert peace and negotiations to achieve Palestinian self-determination.

Earlier in October 2003, Palestinian academics and intellectuals called on their colleagues in the international community to resist repression and injustice by boycotting Israeli academic institutions. In April 2004, the campaign was consolidated by PACBI's founding (the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel).

Palestinian academics and intellectuals launched it by "buil(ding) on the Palestinian call for a comprehensive economic, cultural and academic boycott of Israel issued in August 2002 (followed by further calls) in October 2003."

Its statement of principles read:

-- "to comprehensively and consistently boycott all Israeli academic and cultural institutions until Israel withdraws from all lands occupied in 1967, including East Jerusalem

-- removes all its colonies in those lands

-- agrees to United Nations resolutions relevant to the restitution of Palestinian refugee rights and

-- dismantles its system of apartheid."

PACBI's call got wide support from Palestinian academia and civil society.

Christian churches in America, the UK, Canada, and elsewhere have begun to call for boycotting and divesting from companies profiting from the Israeli occupation. Examples include:

-- in 2005, the United Church of Christ (UCC) endorsed divestment, not as yet implemented

-- in 2005, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) adopted a "positive investment" policy to foster regional peace and cooperation

-- in 2006, the United Church of Canada's Toronto branch began boycotting Israeli products and companies doing business with its military

-- in 2006, the US Presbyterian Church urged various companies, including Caterpillar, ITT, Motorola, and others to invest in West Bank and Gaza companies

-- in 2008, the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire passed a resolution for divesting in companies supporting and/or profiting from the Occupation and

-- in 2009, the Church of England divested from Caterpillar stocks, the company whose bulldozers and equipment is used to demolish Palestinian homes.

Students led international protests against Operation Cast Lead. On January 13, 2009, they occupied a University of London building, igniting student occupations at 29 US and UK universities in solidarity with Gaza. They called for:

-- divestment in companies doing business with Israel, especially ones providing military weapons, munitions, and equipment

-- sending computers and books to Gaza students and providing scholarships and

-- arranging lectures and debates about the Occupation.

Other civil society initiatives included participants at a July 2005 UN International Civil Society Conference in support of Middle East peace unanimously adopting the Palestinian Call for BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions). In November 2007, the first BDS conference was held, and the Boycott National Committee (BNC) formed in the same year to build and spread boycotts as a central form of resistance.

Targeting Israeli Companies with Colonial Operations

Agrexco is the most prominent, a 50% state owned company exporting fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs from Israel and its West Bank locations. It's one of the three largest Israeli companies exporting from Occupied Palestine while labeling their products "made in Israel."

The campaign began in 2005 when activists blockaded the company's depot in Middlesex, UK, stopping all deliveries for over eight hours. Other actions followed and continue. Protestors accuse Agrexco of complicity with crimes of war and against humanity and cite the destroyed Palestinian economy forcing West Bank workers, including children, to survive on 30 shekels a day with no unions or benefits.

Lev Leviev was also targeted, the Israeli diamond mogul and real estate baron who finances Israeli colonies in the West Bank. In November 2007, a surprise protest was held at his Manhattan boutique. Others followed in different countries against his real estate partner Shaya Boymelgreen's company Green Park, including a Bi'lin village $2 million suit for building and selling settlement housing on village land in violation of international law.

"Key to the success so far has been the level of coordination and the involvement of Palestinian villages and organizations in the campaign" to:

-- attract Hollywood celebrity endorsers

-- get the UK government to boycott Leviev over his West Bank construction

-- have UNICEF cut ties with him

-- Oxfam International and the US Carousel of Hope charity to refuse his donations

-- get the Arab League's Damascus Boycott Office to consider adding his companies to its boycott list and

-- have Dubai refuse to let him open new stores there under his name.

Western governments supported South African apartheid until civil society group actions got corporations to divest, paving the way for government boycotts and sanctions. "The timeline of action "during the Gaza massacre suggests a similar pattern:"

-- on January 13, 2009, the Greek government announced that a ship with munitions for Israel wasn't welcome students at 29 US and UK universities protested for divestment and severing cultural and academic ties with Israel

-- on January 14, Amnesty International (AI) called for a global arms embargo against Israel the EU and European Commission announced a freeze in upgrading relations with Israel

-- on January 16, Qatar closed Israel's trade office in Doha and gave Israeli officials a week to leave the country Mauritania suspended trade relations as well

-- on January 20, the Stockholm community council announced that the French company, Veolia, lost a future eight-year contract to build and maintain a railway through East Jerusalem that connects Israeli settlements in the West Bank

-- on February 1, Belgium ended arms exports to Israel

-- on February 5, South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) dockworkers refused to offfload a ship carrying Israeli goods

-- on February 9, 23 vicars encouraged the Church of England to divest

-- on February 12, Hampshire College became the first US university to divest from companies involved with the Occupation

-- on February 26, UK-based Cardiff University divested all shares from BAE Systems and GE's aerospace arm over their IDF dealings

-- on April 2, the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, the New York Campaign to Boycott Israel and others got Motorola to sell its Government Electronics Department, a unit that supplied military-related items to Israel

-- on April 13, the Dutch Labor Party sought sanctions against Israel

-- on April 14, French corporation Veolia's transportation branch lost a Bordeaux contract worth 750 million euros it's lost business now totals over $7.5 billion.

Israel's Tarnished Brand Name

When sustained with enough pressure, economic boycott works. In February 2009, the Israeli Export Institute reported that 10% of 400 exporters got order cancellations over Operation Cast Lead. In March, the Israel Manufacturers Association said 21% of 90 local exporters questioned reported a drop in demand due to boycotts, mostly in UK and Scandinavian counties.

In Europe, supermarkets are re-labeling Israeli products made in Cyprus or Spain because "made in Israel" no longer sells.

The Challenge of Dependency

Since 1967, Israel forced dependency on the Territories by controlling its ports, land crossings, and airports, compounded by hundreds of West Bank checkpoints and the Separation Wall. As a result around 90% of it is with Israel, while 75% of imported goods are Israeli-made. Conditions are especially acute in Gaza because of war and closure, meaning only Israeli-approved goods can enter, and too few of those under siege.

Just as civil society-led boycotts ended South African apartheid, so can they end decades of Israeli crimes of war and against humanity against Occupied Palestine. They work, more than ever after human rights reports on Operation Cast Lead documented what no longer can be tolerated. The task is to build global outrage to critical mass enough for change.

Organizations in 20 countries now participate under the banner of the International Coordinating Network on Palestine (ICNP). Formed in 2002, it calls itself "a body of civil society organizations. under the auspices of the United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People."

Its mission "is to strengthen the role of civil society in supporting and demanding, of governments and international institutions, the full implementation" of all Palestinian rights under international law, including to self-determination, national independence, and sovereignty.

ICNP coordinates global campaigns facilitates communication aids local organizations' plans civil society conferences and mobilizes global BDS support. It strives for representation on every continent in many more nations than the following now participating:

-- Australia -- Belgium -- Canada -- the autonomous Catalonian northeast Spanish community and its capital, Barcelona -- Denmark -- France Aa-- Egypt -- Greece -- Iceland -- Italy -- Netherlands -- Norway -- Scotland -- South Africa -- Spain -- the UK and -- US.

-- academic and cultural boycotts to tell Israel that its "occupation and discrimination against Palestinians is unacceptable" Israel practices militarized apartheid combined with religious fundamentalist bigotry non-Jewish voices are excluded Israeli children are taught to deny a Palestinian identity through close monitoring, Israel cracks down hard against non-compliers

-- consumer boycotts through bad publicity, building public awareness, pressuring stores to remove Israeli products, encouraging companies to stop buying Israeli technology, and overall creating an inhospitable climate for Israeli commerce

-- sports boycotts to highlight Israeli oppression and discrimination and stop its self-promotion as a "fair player" in bilateral and international competition at the same time to promote a Palestinian presence in these events to support their right to identity and self-determination

-- divestment/disinvestment in Israel and companies globally that support its occupation and oppression encourage and pressure individuals, businesses, organizations, universities, pension funds, and governments to shed their Israeli investments to exert pressure for change

-- sanctions, starting with open debate and raising awareness on applying them followed by implementing comprehensive economic, political, and military measures to isolate the Jewish state ending Israel's membership in economic and political bodies like the UN, WHO, Red Cross, WTO, and OECD

-- end cooperation agreements under which Israel gets preferential treatment on trade, joint research and development, and various other projects Israel's Export and International Cooperation Institute reported in 2006 that participation of its companies in global 2005 projects grew by 150% over 2004 - from $600 million in to $1.5 billion Israel is the only non-European country participating in the EU's Sixth Framework Programme for R & D and gets preferential treatment as a member many international agreements have clauses that bind participating countries to human rights, international law, and democratic standards Israel disdains them, and must be challenged and excluded as a result

-- efforts at the local, regional, and institutional levels to build greater individual awareness and support

-- ending military ties over Israel's role as a serial aggressor militarism and violence define its culture confrontation is practiced over diplomacy, and peaceful coexistence is a non-starter despite its own technology, it's heavily dependent on America and other nations for hardware and munitions supplies breaking that connection can curb its crimes of war and against humanity heightening public awareness is crucial to accomplishing this goal

-- involving faith-based bodies and institutions regarding moral and human rights issues, not religion and

-- working cooperatively with trade unions Palestinian ones faced Zionist attacks since the 1920s, especially from the Histadrut General Federation of Laborers in the Land of Israel it's replaced Arab workers with Jewish ones in 1965, the General Union of Palestinian Workers (GUPW) was founded to organize West Bank, Gaza, and diaspora labor in 1986, the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU) grew out of Occupied Palestine's labor movement today it's ineffective given condition under Occupation and Israeli discrimination against its Arab citizens, consigning them to low wage, few, or no benefit jobs Histadrut represents only Jews.

Boycotting Israeli products successfully needs a transition to Palestinian ones, but much work is needed to achieve it, including effective promotion. Several organizations doing it include:

-- PalTrade: an organization mandated to promote Palestinian products locally and internationally

-- Palestinian Federation of Industries (PFI) and "Watani:" they support local producers to upgrade quality and urge government and institutions to enact policies to back local production and

-- Intajuna: a three-year project to get Palestinians to prefer locally-produced products.

These initiatives along with a committed, grassroots global BDS movement is crucial to ending decades of subjugation under an oppressive occupier that won't quit until forced by committed pressure. BDS is the tool to do it.


Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions

This civic issue blog will focus on the campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (B.D.S) a global movement, that has attracted international recognition and attention. And has caused Israel to be more fearful than ever of the consequences of this movement on its economy. So what exactly is B.D.S, and why is it gaining so much attention?

Simply stated, B.D.S is a global campaign against Israel until it complies with international law and Palestinian rights. It was initiated by Palestinian civil society in 2005. It is a strategy that allows people of conscience to play and effective role in the Palestinian struggle for justice. It calls for the ending of Israel’s 1967 occupation, “recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality,” and the right of Palestinian refugees to return to the homes and lands from which they were disposed in 1948.

The B.D.S movement was a hopeful response to the disparity that Palestinians were faced with. No one seemed to stand a chance of pressuring Israel into adhering to international law. Rather, it seemed that they would time and time again breach international law, despite the United Nations urgings for Israel to comply with basic principles of human rights. The international community failed, in holding Israel accountable and enforcing consequences to their incompliance for the basic rights of Palestinians.

It took almost ten years for the movement to actually gain momentum in the international community, so that it now has become an issue not only to the Palestinians and Israelis, but the international community as a whole. The American Studies Association in December to support an academic boycott of Israel as well as the decision by the Association for Asian-American Studies, as well as “divestment votes” by several university student councils. This recognition in the United States have accelerated the movement and given it credibility it didn’t have before. Also the recent decision by the $200 billion Dutch pension fund PGGM to divest from the “five largest Israeli banks because of their involvement in occupied Palestinian territory have sent shock waves through the Israeli establishment.”

The extent of the movement was clearly shown as two congressmen, a Republican and Democrat, both from the state of Illinois are introducing a bill that would strip American academic institutions of funding if they choose to boycott Israel. The boycott is seen by many leaders around the world as an attempt to delegitimize Israel if the status quo remains unchanged. The reaction to the boycott, by Israel and many of its supporters is now one of fear. As the movement gains greater international recognition and support, Israel needs to step up in order to fight back. Initially, pushed aside as an unjustified anti-Semitic, image problem that could easily be solved.


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