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Dear Friends,

 

The quote above is in item 2.  If it is correct, that adds a new dimension to Khader Adnan’s detention.  Right or not, I am glad that he is no longer starving to death.

 

Nonetheless,  Mairav Zonszeins attitude in item 1 pretty much expresses my feelings, too.  Khader Adnan’s struggle was against the military denying him due process, and also against the  mistreatment he received during interrogation, not to mention his being chained to the bed during the entire time he was in the hospital.  I have seen this some years ago on a different prisoner, one who was in better physical condition than Adnan was.  It’s awful.  Why, if there are 2 guards in the room, if the patient is never alone, why also chain him to the bed?  Why deny him family visits—yes, his wife and daughters and father were allowed to see him 3 times during the nearly 70 days that he was chained to the bed, but mainly because the authorities hoped the family would convince him to end his hunger strike.  We can only hope that his struggle was not in vain.

 

6 items in this message.

 

Items 1 and 2 are about Khader Adnan.  The Israeli media was almost silent on him today.  I haven’t checked the international media, but would expect mostly the same.  Let us hope that he will regain his health.

 

Item 3 is a novel attitude expressed by Zvi Bar’el towards Iran.  Indeed, it’s Israel’s leaders that are always bombing or threatening to bomb nuclear facilities of other countries—Iraq and Syria for a start, and now Iran.  Israel is the danger, not Iran.  Granted that Iran’s present leaders appear to be somewhat nutty, but then do Israel’s leaders strike you as sane?

In item 4 Anshel Pfeffer discusses the bds movement, not exactly with disdain, but with obvious dislike.  His stand that it has not achieved its main aim—that of economic pressure—does not mean that it won’t.  Moreover, am not sure that this is necessarily the main aim.  Boycott and Divestment and Sanctions are 3 different means of pressuring the Israeli government, and the fact that Israel is now sending out its ‘troops’ to counter the bds movement shows that something is working.

 

Item 5 suggests that eventually bds movements might be less necessary.  Carlo Strenger discusses German attitudes towards Israel.  If Germany is questioning, other countries will follow.

 

Item 6 is a handbook for bds beginners.  Pfeffer mentions it, but at this site you can either download it or order it.  I have read portions of it.  It’s worth thumbing through for ideas and information.

 

That’s it for tonight friends.

All the best,

 

Dorothy

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1 Wednesday, February 22 2012

Independent commentary and news from Israel & Palestine

http://972mag.com/bad-guy-or-not-adnan-hunger-strike-was-about-israeli-due-process/36092/

|Mairav Zonszein

‘Bad guy’ or not, Adnan hunger strike was about due process

As Khader Adnan’s case took over the news cycle this week, I noticed comments by thoughtful readers, generally on my Facebook feed, pointing out Adnan’s association with terror. They have circulated a video in which Adnan asks who the next suicide bomber will be, pointed to his affiliation with Islamic Jihad, and  asked: How can you root for a terrorist? How can supposed progressives like us rally around him?

(I would have posted the video but YouTube has blocked it in recent hours, claiming it violates its content standards. Note: Adnan does not make an explicit call for suicide bombing in the video but he does seem to call for violence and certainly it does not show him in a “Gandhist” light)

I do not know Adnan and did not know of his existence until recently. I cannot vouch for his character and do not know what he has or has not done. He may seek to cause me harm without even knowing me. He may be a really bad guy who just wants to kill Jews.

But his behavior and possible crimes are not at issue – and have not been demonstrated. How the state treats him is. The man has been held in prison by the government to which I pay taxes without charge, due to an unethical and longstanding practice used by Israel to punish and deter all kinds of acts of resistance. And no one can argue that it is okay just because administrative detention falls under Israeli law. The documentary The Law in These Partseffectively displays the ways in which an entire system of Israeli law and justice has been built to fit a specific political agenda.

The fact is that the man went on a hunger strike that lasted over two months and severely endangered his health. He had to risk his life in order to get the state to reach the logical conclusion that the military court must release him if it cannot provide evidence against him within an allotted period of time. But this is how the practice should always be. Even in exceptional cases, in which is it acceptable under international law to detain someone without trial due to security concerns, there is a period of time by which the person must either be tried or released. Yes, even if that person is a terrorist. And if that suspect is indeed a future murderer, then the law has failed humanity – this has happened many times in the world and unfortunately will continue to happen. It is a price that is paid in societies where people are innocent till proven guilty, and not the other way around.

I wasn’t rooting for Khader Adnan the individual, and those that believe that us “radical lefties,” “so-called peace-loving progressives” are celebrating a terrorist are simply missing the issue at hand.  As Mitchell Plitnick poignantly just expressed it:

I am delighted that Khader Adnan will not starve to death. I only wish that the eyes of the world had enough scope to focus not only on his effort, but also on this abhorrent practice that is a stain on the admittedly tattered honor of not only Israel, but also the United States.

My opposition to this Israeli policy (a policy rampant in plenty other countries, east and west, more democratic and less) does not translate into cheering for Palestinians. I was not rooting for Adnan so much as I was lamenting the fact that in the country I live in, a person must starve himself in order to receive basic fair treatment. While the deal is a step in the right direction, unless it leads to fundamental revamping of policy, I fear it will have merely been a way for Israel to continue administrative detention under the guise of a morality check.

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2 Ynetnews

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

 

Victory?

 

Ahmad Tibi Photo: Avihu Shapira

 

Poster calling for Adnan’s release Photo: EPA

 

Mohammad Barakeh Photo: Avihu Shapira

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4193088,00.html

 

MK Tibi: Adnan came out a winner

MK Ahmad Tibi says Palestinian detainee’s imprisonment was unjust, lauds deal that brought end to Adnan’s hunger strike

 

Elior Levy Published:  02.22.12, 00:09 / Israel News

Knesset Member Ahmad Tibi (United Arab List-Ta’al) said Tuesday that Palestinian administrative detainee Khader Adnan has “come out a winner” after the State announced he is to be released next month.

 

The Islamic Jihad operative, who has been held in Israel without charge since December, ended a 65-day hunger strike earlier Tuesday when the State Prosecutor’s Office said it will not pursue the renewal of his administrative detention.

 

Tibi and MK Mohammad Barakeh (Hadash) made the remark during a ceremony that took place at Adnan’s hometown of Arraba in celebration of the prisoner’s impending freedom. The event was also attended by senior officials from the Palestinian Prisoner Affairs Ministry.

 

Tibi at Arraba ceremony (Photo: Reuters)

 

The High Court of Justice was set to convene over Adnan’s case on Tuesday, but the hearing was cancelled when the Justice Ministry announced it had reached a deal with Adnan, establishing that he is to be freed on April 17.

 

“This is a worthy agreement that is saving Adnan’s life,” Tibi said.

 

‘World was on his side’

The lawmaker spoke out against the State’s use of administrative detention, and called Adnan’s imprisonment “unjustified.”

 

“The hunger strike was his only means of voicing his opposition to the detention,” Tibi said. “The whole world was on his side. I’m glad the affair has concluded in a way that prevented a great tragedy.”

 

Tibi postulated that Adnan’s death would have caused an escalation in the region.

 

Randa Adnan: Khader’s not terrorist (Photo: AFP)

 

Adnan’s wife, Randa, told Ynet that his whole family gathered to celebrate the news. She said that she still does not understand the reason behind his arrest, asserting that he does not partake in terrorist activity.

 

“It’s true that he was the Islamic Jihad’s spokesman during the intifada, but over the past four years he had nothing to do with it,” she said. “He hadn’t talked to anyone from the Islamic Jihad. He left that activity altogether.”

 

Randa said that her husband has turned into a symbol for the Palestinian people.

 

“He has achieved his goal,” she said. “It’s a victory not only for him but for all of the Palestinian prisoners who are held in Israel, and especially for the administrative detainees.”

 

Adnan’s release, which coincides with “Palestinian Prisoners’ Day,” is to be celebrated with a welcome ceremony in Arraba.

 

Moran Azulay contributed to the report

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3  Haaretz

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Iran’s real weapon

 

As things stand, Iran has achieved its goals without needing to stockpile nuclear bombs in its arsenal.

 

http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/iran-s-real-weapon-1.414054

 

By Zvi Bar’el

 

How many centrifuges does North Korea have? How much enriched uranium does Pakistan have? What nuclear fuels are in Israel’s possession?

 

Even if someone does have the answers to these questions, it’s not because these countries have volunteered the information − far from it. But Iran, on the other hand, won’t shut its mouth for a second.

 

We don’t know everything about Iran’s nuclear capabilities, but recall how Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stood in front of television cameras and peeled the plastic wrapping off the country’s centrifuge rods. He doesn’t conceal the fact that he has enriched uranium at levels of 3.5 percent and 20 percent. Iran also readily discloses how many new centrifuges it has in its possession and when they were assembled.

 

Yet more surprising is Ahmadinejad’s public declarations about precisely what he intends to develop, assemble and enrich, and when. It’s as though he’s producing television promos. One might wonder why Iran is so public about its nuclear program. Why, for instance, does it not adopt Israel’s policy of nuclear ambiguity?

The answer is that Iran simply does not want to do so.

 

There is a consensus in the West, and also in Israel, that Iran has not yet decided whether to develop a nuclear weapon. But why hasn’t it decided? If it has no intention of producing such a weapon, then what’s all the fuss about? And if Iran does really want to develop a nuclear weapon, why is it waiting?

 

If sanctions imposed by Europe and the United States are truly stifling Iran’s decision-making process, then there’s no obvious reason to attack its nuclear facilities. Keeping the sanctions in place permanently should be enough to preserve peace. The sanctions might even be lifted at some point, so long as the West threatens to reinstate them should Iran risk a change in policy.

 

Yet the answers to all these questions appear to be deeper than we might initially think. It’s hard not to be astounded by Iran’s diplomatic successes over the past decade. Thanks to America’s occupation of Iraq, Iran managed to come across as Iraq’s patron. It also functions as Syria’s strategic backer; and via Hezbollah, Tehran controls Lebanon’s domestic affairs. It invests considerable funds in Afghanistan, and helps Pakistan manage wide-ranging affairs with India. This week it offered to help Egypt bolster its economy, should the United States decide to freeze aid to Cairo; in Egypt, there is vocal support for such a relationship with Iran.

 

Iran also maintains close relations with Turkey, Qatar and several North African countries.

 

And it isn’t very fastidious about an ally’s Sunni or secular character, either. Tehran is not motivated by the creation of Shi’ite coalitions or by Islamic revolutions. The Iranians are aware that Sunni states are wary of dealing with Shi’ites, and also that Sunni Islamic thinkers and leaders loathe the Shi’ite movement, which is regarded by many of them as outright apostasy. Iran’s calculations are not spiritual; they are strategic and rational. Many observers, including the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, are certain of this fact.

 

Iran also is not content with strengthening its regional status. Its major success involves the way it manipulates Western powers’ foreign policy with regard to Eastern powers − China and Russia. Iran stirs up disputes between Israel and the United States, which opposes an attack on Iran. And it has been able to forestall attacks on Syria. No country or coalition from the West wants to put Iran to the test, particularly not at a time when the overriding goal is to engage in a nuclear dialogue with Tehran.

 

In this way, the West has shown Iran that it has no need for a nuclear bomb. It has been enough for Iran to simply demonstrate its capacity to develop unconventional weapons. Such a threat has transformed Iran into a superpower able to manipulate the positions of countries around the world. Iran isn’t in a hurry to cross the line between having the potential to manufacture a bomb and actually producing such a weapon. It might never cross that line. Why should it furnish the West with a pretext to attack or impose more sanctions against it?

 

As things stand, Iran has achieved its goals without needing to stockpile nuclear bombs in its arsenal. Which is ideal, as far as Tehran is concerned. Iran has attained optimal deterrent power. The gist is this: Tell your friends what you’re capable of doing to them, should you choose to do so, and wait for them to embrace you. Wait a second, that’s Israel’s policy, isn’t it?

+++++

 

4  Haaretz

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Near and Apparent

 

http://www.haaretz.com/blogs/near-and-apparent/the-boycott-israel-movement-s-small-victories-are-far-from-sweeping-success-1.414133

 

by Anshel Pfeffer

22.02.12

Tags: Palestinians anti-Israel Israel culture Israel boycott

 

The boycott Israel movement’s small victories are far from sweeping success

Although BDS activists have convinced many to cancel performances here, the movement has not been able to exert the economic pressure on Israel it wishes to achieve.

 

American jazz musician Cassandra Wilson who decided at the last minute to cancel her planned performance at the Holon Women’s Festival today joins a lengthening list of artists who have decided for political reasons to skip Israel in their concert tours. The BDS (Boycott Divestment and Sanctions) movement can chalk up another victory but while the cancellations have dismayed Israelis who hoped to see their favorite musicians perform live, the BDS central aim, to exert economic pressure on Israel, has so far not been achieved.

 

The BDS movement has improved its organization over the last year, with a close-knit network of dozens of local groups, from around the world, radical left circles and pro-Palestinian movements like The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel based in Ramallah, coordinating protests over the internet and social networks. Last month, a BDS “handbook” was published, titled “Targeting Israeli Apartheid,” which tracks international corporations trading with Israel and recommending ways that activists can pressure them to cease their Israeli operations. But while the movement has managed to mobilize thousands of supporters around the world to send online entreaties that convince performers, many of whom see themselves as human-rights activists, to avoid Israel, the corporations and some of the more famous performers who are less exposed to Facebook campaigns, have been impervious. Despite the support of some prominent figures such as Bishop Desmond Tutu, the movement has not succeeded in affecting governments to limit their countries’ commerce with Israel either.

An anti-Ahava activist in London’s Covent Garden.

 

Photo by: Activestills

 

The BDS strategy of targeting Israel as a whole, rather than just the settlements across the Green Line, has made it a divisive issue also within the normally pro-Palestinian left. The official demands of the movement refer to end to “colonization of all Arab lands” without distinction, “full equality” for Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel and the Right of Return for Palestinian refugees. Even the Palestinian Authority does not officially support BDS, focusing instead on the settlements.

 

In recent days, the movement is in uproar over a video interview with Professor Norman Finkelstein, a severe critic of Israeli policies, who seemed to be breaking with the BDS strategy, if not with its ideals. In the interview, Finkelstein described the movement’s rhetoric as disingenuousness, saying that “they don’t want Israel. They think they’re being very clever, they call it their three tiers – we want the end of the occupation, we want the right of return and we want equal rights for Arabs in Israel. And they think they’re very clever because they know the result of implementing all three is what? What’s the result? You know and I know, what’s the result? There’s no Israel.” Finkelstein said that he had no problem in principle with that position, but that it would never succeed in convincing large numbers. “If you want to eliminate Israel that’s your right but I don’t think you’re going to reach anybody. I think it’s a non-starter.”

 

Finkelstein said that to gain credibility, the BDS movement has to recognize Israel’s right to exist, but said that many of the activists wanted to “wipe out Israel” and such a move would split the movement, which he likened to “a cult.”

Following the interview, angry debates broke out on the dozens of websites devoted to BDS, with some admitting openly that they believed the movement’s principles were incompatible with the existence of Israel and others writing that they would accept “a different Israel.” The interviewer, a BDS supporter, initially posted the video on YouTube, but subsequently removed it on Finkelstein’s request. It was reposted and has since been circulated on pro-Israel websites.

 

Finkelstein and his interlocutors probably were not aware, but a similar debate on the efficacy of the BDS campaign has been going on for some time within the Israeli Foreign Ministry and pro-Israel advocacy groups. Israel Apartheid Week (IAW), a series of events around the world, mainly on university campuses, trying to draw attention to Israel’s “apartheid” policies and promote the cause of BDS kicks off next week and while in the past, Israel’s defenders have tried to counter these efforts, even coming up with Israel Peace Week as an antidote to Apartheid Week, there is a growing feeling that BDS and IAW events attract few who are not already committed hardcore activists, fail to interest large mainstream news organizations and their high-profile web-presence does not reflect a widespread grassroots movement. The conclusion that the ministry and organizations such as ADL are beginning to come around to is that the best defense to the BDS campaign, is not an attack that will simply draw more attention, but disengagement and pro-Israel activities which are not seen as a direct response.

++++++++

 

5  Haaretz

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

 

Estranged friends? A view on Israel from Western Europe

Is there a commonality of interest between Germany and Israel, or is Israel gradually turning into a liability for its Western friends?

 

http://www.haaretz.com/blogs/strenger-than-fiction/estranged-friends-a-view-on-israel-from-western-europe-1.414125

 

By Carlo Strenger

Tags: Europe EU Benjamin Netanyahu

 

AMSTERDAM – Last week I spent a few days in Berlin, primarily for a conference entitled: “Estranged Friends? Israeli and German Perceptions of State, Nation, Force” organized by the Heinrich Böll Foundation, a German foreign policy organizations allied with the left-leaning Green party.

 

I have met with members of the Green party and of the Heinrich Böll Foundation quite often, and I can say beyond doubt that many of its members are deeply engaged with and closely connected to Israel. Quite a number of them are true friends of, feel connected to and care for Israel. They know its political and social structure well, and are well informed about current affairs in Israel.

 

Germany’s relation to Israel has always been complex; overshadowed by the tragedy and horrors of the Holocaust. Support for Israel is a fixture of German politics, and Chancellor Merkel has gone as far to say that one of the Federal Republic’s raisons d’être is its commitment to Israel’s existential security.

 

It therefore took some courage for the Böll Foundation to formulate the conference’s guiding question: do Israel and Germany still share a true friendship, or has the estrangement become the dominant trait?

 

Israel was represented by a number of eloquent spokespeople, among them Shimon Stein, who served as Israel’s ambassador to Germany from 2001 to 2007. Stein made it clear that he no longer represents Israel’s government and that he chose early retirement from the Foreign Service due to difficulties of representing Israel’s current government.

 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (r) and German Chancellor Angela Merkel

 

Photo by: AP

 

Stein’s position was particularly interesting, because he is, by no means, a starry-eyed idealist: he belongs to the realist school in international relations that understands relations between countries as a function of national interests. For him, the notion of friendship between nations is rather vague, and he prefers looking at commonalities of interest.

 

But here, exactly was one of the themes that resurfaced, time and again. Is there, at this point, a commonality of interest between Germany and Israel, or is Israel gradually turning into a liability for its supposedly Western friends? After all for these, the tense relations with the Islamic world are a source of great concern; partially because of their dependence on Arab oil, but also because of their preoccupation with the evolving relations with their Muslim minorities. In this respect, Germany’s friendship with Israel is indeed about to turn into more of a problem for its long-term interests.

 

By and large I saw remarkable sympathy and understanding for Israel’s genuine concerns, not only with respect to the possibility of a nuclear Iran. Ralph Fuecks , co-Chair of the Böll Foundation, repeatedly quoted the Mufti’s recent statement that Jews were the descendants of apes and pigs to show that incitement against Israel is by no means a matter of the past.

 

There are three major points on which Israel is clearly moving away from the West, as represented by Germany. One is the rise of nationalist rhetoric and the tendency of the ruling coalition to speak of Jews’ eternal right to the greater land of Israel. German intellectuals and politicians are highly aware that German romanticism has been crucial in developing this kind of rhetoric in the nineteenth century with utterly disastrous consequences in the Nazi period, and they firmly reject such rhetoric wherever it is used.

 

The second, connected, issue is Israel’s increasing movement towards ethnocracy: many of the Netanyahu coalition’s legislative proposals differentiating between Jews and non-Jews run very deeply against the model of civic equality in the Free World.

 

The third is the great involvement of religion in Israeli politics in a variety of ways: most importantly in the fateful influence of the national-religious agenda on the colonization of the West Bank; through the fact that Israel’s Rabbinate is a state agency; and the fact that it is even possible for ultra-Orthodox and national-religious groupings to demand that women be excluded from certain public functions like singing.

 

One of the participants, Prof. Michael Wolffsohn, a Jewish, Israeli-born historian at Munich University put the situation quite succinctly in one of the panels: he said that he can easily see how there could be an German-Meretz Friendship, but ever less a commonality between Germany and Israel. Because I’m quite sure that a number of readers will say ‘ah, another leftist’, it might be worth pointing out that Wolffsohn, who has served in the IDF, is considered a political conservative.

 

Wolffsohn’s statement highlights the growing chasm between Israel and Germany in particular, and the Free World in general. In terms of its core values, Israel has been moving away from the Free World, certainly during Netanyahu’s second tenure of the last three years.

 

I have, during these years, made great efforts to explain to European audiences what it is like to live under permanent existential threat, and I have tried to argue that at least certain aspects of Israel’s move to the right are the result of Israelis’ traumatization by the second Intifada and the shelling of southern Israel.

 

Nevertheless the conference, in my mind, has sharpened the question ‘quo vadis Israel?’ – where is the country headed? Are Israel’s growing nationalism and religiosity purely reactive, or do they reflect ethnic and religious identities that have become demographically more dominant?

 

I think that, certainly in German’s elites, there is still a strong will to maintain and develop friendship with Israel. This is certainly not reciprocated by Lieberman who continues to show nothing but disdain for Europe; judging from his actions, Netanyahu and most of his coalition partners seem not to care either.

 

In the foreseeable future such friendship will have to be nourished through the institutions of civil society – as for example the Böll Foundation’s conference in Berlin. For me, as for many in Israel for whom the ideals of liberty, human rights and equality are core values, friendship with Germany in particular and Europe in general is not purely instrumental: it reflects the ideals we share with a continent that has drawn important lessons from its tragic history.

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6 Hi Dorothy,

This book and book review might be of interest to you and your e-list. It is very long, but perhaps you would want to mention it somehow without sending the entire article.

 

Peace,

Wendy

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Dear all, Perhaps this handbook would be useful to those of you in the earlier stages of a BDS campaign.

Book identifies pressure points for boycott actions

________________________________________

The idea of boycotting Israel has gained more and more currency in the West over the last ten years or so, and one of the most frequent requests from new recruits to the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement is for a “boycott list.” Just tell us the companies to avoid, they say.

Long lists of companies with every conceivable link to Israel can be found on the Internet. But the effect of these bewilderingly long documents can be to leave the reader with a feeling of helplessness in the face of Israel’s extensive commercial links around the world.

 

However, tangible victories have been the key factor behind the growth of the Palestinian-led BDS movement since 2005. When a wave of musicians (including The Pixies and The Gorillaz) cancelled gigs in Israel in disgust at the lethal Israeli attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla in May 2010, that was a tangible victory. When settler cosmetics company Ahava was shut down in London’s prestigious Covent Garden after a sustained protest campaign against it, that was a tangible victory. And on it goes.

 

Without a stream of such solid victories making the headlines, and affecting Israeli bottom lines, boycotting would be in danger of becoming little more than a morality test, or a way to feel good about ourselves without concrete results.

 

It took a huge coalition of Palestinian civil society groups to lead the way with the 2005 BDS call to action, which set a series of solid political and moral principles that have been the guiding light of the movement ever since. The effect has been to transform a good idea into a strengthening global movement.

 

Now led by the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), the movement’s principles have been taken to heart by a team of dedicated researchers from the organization Corporate Watch who have produced the new self-published book, Targeting Israeli Apartheid: a Boycott Divestment and Sanctions Handbook.

It is based on years of first-hand research on the ground. The group has been publishing the results of their investigations on the excellent (and far-too-often overlooked) Corporate Occupation blog.

 

The authors draw on a large range of written sources (such as the essential whoprofits.org database) but more often than not their conclusions are based on first-hand observation. They take photos of factories in settlement industrial zones (95). They interview Palestinians working in Israeli settlements, suffering from bad conditions and underpayment: “Despite the fact that so many Palestinian workers are ‘employed’ in the settlements, most workers interviewed by Corporate Watch support a boycott of Israel and see it as the only way they can eventually regain control of their land” (235).

 

Naming and shaming

The book’s structure is highly effective. Part one gives an overview of each sector of the Israeli economy. Companies are named and listed, human rights violations are highlighted and each company’s international links are outlined and detailed. Names are named and even business addresses are listed. This is a most thorough analysis, and an important and wide-ranging reference work. Sectors of the Israeli economy examined in detail include: telecoms, energy, high-tech, armaments, diamonds, pharmaceuticals, construction and even franchises (such as Ikea, Pizza Hut and KFC).

But this is no dry, theoretical examination of the Israeli economy. It is an entirely practical (and I’d even go so far as to say highly-readable) guide to the ins and outs of what is actually made in Israel and sold around the world. All the way through, the authors suggest good, practical targets for BDS campaigns. The team always has an eye out for companies that could be vulnerable to public and international pressure.

 

For example, along with naming UK bank Barclays as the “only British bank to own significant investment in Israeli companies” (9), the authors also list the Israeli companies Barclays invests in (291). Similarly, it is explained that Israeli bank Leumi has a small presence in the UK, which the authors recommend as a good target for concerted campaigning because it could be vulnerable to pressure (14-15).

 

Educational resource

I personally learned a lot from this book. For example, it drew my attention to the Yahav Bank for Government Employees. This institution is important for trade unionists campaigning for a boycott of the Histadrut, Israel’s general trade union, which owns 25 percent of this bank. Since Yahav provides loans and other services to illegal West Bank settlements, this means the Histadrut is directly complicit with and even directly profits from the ongoing Israeli colonization of the West Bank (13).

 

I was struck with the reality of the sheer, massive scale of international investment in Israel. On one hand, this is a sign that the BDS movement still has a long way to go. Take Intel, present in Israel — and with serious investments — since 1974. The computer chip maker has five facilities in the country, with even more investment planned for the future (155-6).

Vast opportunities to boycott

 

Yet reading about the scale of the problem still somehow gives you a sense of optimism. One reads the long lists of companies and their links to Israel and one cannot help but look at the situation in a glass-half-full kind of way. All those international links mean a lot of different opportunities for activists in countries around the world to try different BDS campaigns, and the authors are constantly suggesting good ideas, unexplored targets and potential strategies and tactics.

 

This sense of realistic optimism is also encouraged by the decision of the authors to include a “resistance” section at the end of many chapters. Here, they outline the record of Palestinian and international activism against each aspect of the Israeli economy: the victories and the limitations.

The only criticism of this book I have worth mentioning is the inconsistent approach to footnotes. While there is an admirable attempt to include a web address with every note, this is often at the expense of a proper reference. So article titles are not always included; you just get the web address. Besides the fact that URLs are often awkward and tedious to type in, many do not last in the long term, as they often change when websites are redesigned over the years (this happened a few years ago on the Haaretz website — all the old links were broken). A more consistent approach here would have been better. But this critique aside, the lengths to which the authors have gone to properly document and reference every claim is admirable.

Perhaps not a criticism as such, but there is a UK-specific focus in part three of the book that must be mentioned. Titled “Bringing the Fight Home,” it looks at what has been achieved in the UK and what still needs to be done. But most of the rest of the book is relevant globally. It is also published under a Creative Commons license, so there is scope here for other groups around the world to write their own local version of this chapter (though the exact terms of the license were not clear to me).

 

Overall, Targeting Israeli Apartheid is quite simply the essential reference work for any activist group serious about launching a new BDS campaign against companies involved in Israeli war crimes, apartheid and occupation. The Corporate Watch collective has even make the entire thing available to download for free on their website. Despite that, I still recommend buying a hard copy (available to order on their website for the very reasonable price of £9; $14). Not only is a hard copy easier to read, but financially supporting the book will hopefully encourage the group to continue its important research on Palestine.

 

Buy or download the book from www.corporatewatch.org.

Asa Winstanley is an investigative journalist with a focus on Palestine. His website is www.winstanleys.org.

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