Hi folks, I’m back in the saddle, from a long earned holiday, and (thankfully) not in the Middle East – not wanting to offend, but I enjoy eating pork more than Muslims, Jews, or a number of my fellow Green Party members would find acceptable (although do try to source organic when possible).
REPLY FROM MIKE TREEN, GPJA
Hi Yael, The decision to support the international call to boycott Israel completely was not an easy one. We are aware of the impact of such boycotts on individuals – academics, sportspeople, businesses – some of who may oppose the policies of their government.
It grows out of a recognition that six decades after the establishment of the state of Israel the right of return of the refuges guaranteed by the United nations has not been achieved.
It is recognition that 4 decades after the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza they remain imprisoned territories without self-determination.
The Israeli state completely controls all movement into and out of these territories as well as movement within them. It assassinates whoever it decides is guilty. It imprisons thousands without trial. Two generations of Palestinian have grown up in these conditions. Israel refuses to give up control. It continues to build settlements on the West Bank. It is building a so-called separation wall imprisoning Palestinians and preventing movement. Settlers have their own roads. Water and electricity is controlled for their benefit.
Even inside Israel the discrimination against Palestinian citizens is flagrant. Spending on Jewish Israeli education per head is six times that for Palestinian Israeli’s.
This reality, in Israel and the greater Israel incorporating the occupied territories and Gaza, is what makes the Israeli state an apartheid state. That was not true in 1948. It wasn’t true in 1967. But it is true today. All adult Jewish Israeli citizens serve in the military and directly or indirectly take responsibility for ensuring that this occupation continues.
The body politic has moved progressively to the right and the official discourse in the state of Israel is now whether its own Palestinian citizens should be encouraged to leave. “I will also be able to approach the Palestinian residents of Israel, those whom we call Israeli Arabs, and tell them, ‘Your national solution lies elsewhere,’” says the so-called moderate Kadima leader Tzipi Livni.
There is no solution available within an Israeli-Palestinian dialogue alone. The relationship of forces is simply too disproportionate. Most importantly Israel has had an effective international impunity. This has allowed it to defy the UN resolutions to allow the refugees to return and withdraw from the occupied territories.
That impunity has to end with the people of the world saying we will isolate everything to do with Israel until there is not one soldier or settler forcibly occupying Palestinian land and the refugees have the right to return.
For New Zealand that means not welcoming sportspeople. It means Auckland University ending its partnership ties with Technion, an Israeli University. It means stopping Rakon from sending components used in all Israeli smart bombs. It means getting the NZ Super fund to stop investing in Israeli companies. It means cancelling Veolia’s train contract until it stops building train networks from Israel to illegal settlements.
It is a sad a regrettable fact that we have come to this position. Many people will be hurt. But nothing that happens to the official or unofficial representatives of the apartheid state can compare to the imprisonment and destruction of the Palestinian people by the Israeli state.
I think Mike is spot-on in his analysis of what is happening in Palestine-Israel. The term “apartheid” is not one to be lightly used, and I don’t want to start this thread off by Godwinning it, but the facts remain that Palestinian citizens of Israel enjoy far fewer rights than Jewish citizens, and that essentially mimics the apartheid regime in South Africa a few decades ago.
I’m not so sure about the protest against the Israeli tennis player though. I was very active in protests against the 1991 Springbok tour, and sunsequent actions in support of the economic, sporting, and cultural boycott of the apatheid regime. That was because that boycott was universally endorsed bt the South African liberation movements.
I don’t see the same happening in the Palestine-Israeili conflict. Although I think the Palestinians have just cause to call for a sporting, economic and cultural boycott of Israel, I haven’t heard it from them yet.
So sorry, I didnt turn up at the protest – not because I didn’t support its purpose, but because I was not sure it had the endorsement of the legitimately representative (various factions of) Palestinan liberation groups.
Sorry, Mike T, John M, and others from GPJA. But I really think you need to argue the tactics and the rationale for them better on this one.