Tag Archives: Israel

Former Mossad Chief: For the first time, I fear for the future of Zionism (Haaretz)

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The nation of Israel is galloping blindly toward Bar Kochba’s war on the Roman Empire. The result of that conflict was 2,000 years of exile.

By Shabtai Shavit

Haaretz — Nov. 24, 2014

From the beginning of Zionism in the late 19th century, the Jewish nation in the Land of Israel has been growing stronger in terms of demography and territory, despite the ongoing conflict with the Palestinians. We have succeeded in doing so because we have acted with wisdom and stratagem rather than engaging in a foolish attempt to convince our foes that we were in the right.

Today, for the first time since I began forming my own opinions, I am truly concerned about the future of the Zionist project. I am concerned about the critical mass of the threats against us on the one hand, and the government’s blindness and political and strategic paralysis on the other. Although the State of Israel is dependent upon the United States, the relationship between the two countries has reached an unprecedented low point. Europe, our biggest market, has grown tired of us and is heading toward imposing sanctions on us. For China, Israel is an attractive high-tech project, and we are selling them our national assets for the sake of profit. Russia is gradually turning against us and supporting and assisting our enemies.

Anti-Semitism and hatred of Israel have reached dimensions unknown since before World War II. Our public diplomacy and public relations have failed dismally, while those of the Palestinians have garnered many important accomplishments in the world. University campuses in the West, particularly in the U.S., are hothouses for the future leadership of their countries.

We are losing the fight for support for Israel in the academic world. An increasing number of Jewish students are turning away from Israel. The global BDS movement (boycott, divestment, sanctions) against Israel, which works for Israel’s delegitimization, has grown, and quite a few Jews are members.

In this age of asymmetrical warfare we are not using all our force, and this has a detrimental effect on our deterrent power.

The debate over the price of Milky pudding snacks and its centrality in public discourse demonstrate an erosion of the solidarity that is a necessary condition for our continued existence here. Israelis’ rush to acquire a foreign passport, based as it is on the yearning for foreign citizenship, indicates that people’s feeling of security has begun to crack.

I am concerned that for the first time, I am seeing haughtiness and arrogance, together with more than a bit of the messianic thinking that rushes to turn the conflict into a holy war. If this has been, so far, a local political conflict that two small nations have been waging over a small and defined piece of territory, major forces in the religious Zionist movement are foolishly doing everything they can to turn it into the most horrific of wars, in which the entire Muslim world will stand against us.

I also see, to the same extent, detachment and lack of understanding of international processes and their significance for us. This right wing, in its blindness and stupidity, is pushing the nation of Israel into the dishonorable position of “the nation shall dwell alone and not be reckoned among the nations” (Numbers 23:9).

I am concerned because I see history repeating itself. The nation of Israel is galloping blindly in a time tunnel to the age of Bar Kochba and his war on the Roman Empire. The result of that conflict was several centuries of national existence in the Land of Israel followed by 2,000 years of exile.

I am concerned because as I understand matters, exile is truly frightening only to the state’s secular sector, whose world view is located on the political center and left. That is the sane and liberal sector that knows that for it, exile symbolizes the destruction of the Jewish people. The Haredi sector lives in Israel only for reasons of convenience. In terms of territory, Israel and Brooklyn are the same to them; they will continue living as Jews in exile, and wait patiently for the arrival of the Messiah.

The religious Zionist movement, by comparison, believes the Jews are “God’s chosen.” This movement, which sanctifies territory beyond any other value, is prepared to sacrifice everything, even at the price of failure and danger to the Third Commonwealth. If destruction should take place, they will explain it in terms of faith, saying that we failed because “We sinned against God.” Therefore, they will say, it is not the end of the world. We will go into exile, preserve our Judaism and wait patiently for the next opportunity.

I recall Menachem Begin, one of the fathers of the vision of Greater Israel. He fought all his life for the fulfillment of that dream. And then, when the gate opened for peace with Egypt, the greatest of our enemies, he gave up Sinai – Egyptian territory three times larger than Israel’s territory inside the Green Line – for the sake of peace. In other words, some values are more sacred than land. Peace, which is the life and soul of true democracy, is more important than land.

I am concerned that large segments of the nation of Israel have forgotten, or put aside, the original vision of Zionism: to establish a Jewish and democratic state for the Jewish people in the Land of Israel. No borders were defined in that vision, and the current defiant policy is working against it.

What can and ought to be done? We need to create an Archimedean lever that will stop the current deterioration and reverse today’s reality at once. I propose creating that lever by using the Arab League’s proposal from 2002, which was partly created by Saudi Arabia. The government must make a decision that the proposal will be the basis of talks with the moderate Arab states, led by Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

The government should do three things as preparation for this announcement: 1) It should define a future negotiating strategy for itself, together with its position on each of the topics included in the Arab League’s proposal. 2) It should open a secret channel of dialogue with the United States to examine the idea, and agree in advance concerning our red lines and about the input that the U.S. will be willing to invest in such a process. 3) It should open a secret American-Israeli channel of dialogue with Saudi Arabia in order to reach agreements with it in advance on the boundaries of the topics that will be raised in the talks and coordinate expectations. Once the secret processes are completed, Israel will announce publicly that it is willing to begin talks on the basis of the Arab League’s document.

I have no doubt that the United States and Saudi Arabia, each for its own reasons, will respond positively to the Israeli initiative, and the initiative will be the lever that leads to a dramatic change in the situation. With all the criticism I have for the Oslo process, it cannot be denied that for the first time in the conflict’s history, immediately after the Oslo Accords were signed, almost every Arab country started talking with us, opened its gates to us and began engaging in unprecedented cooperative ventures in economic and other fields.

Although I am not so naïve as to think that such a process will bring the longed-for peace, I am certain that this kind of process, long and fatiguing as it will be, could yield confidence-building measures at first and, later on, security agreements that both sides in the conflict will be willing to live with. The progress of the talks will, of course, be conditional upon calm in the security sphere, which both sides will be committed to maintaining. It may happen that as things progress, both sides will agree to look into mutual compromises that will promote the idea of coexisting alongside one another. If mutual trust should develop – and the chances of that happening under American and Saudi Arabian auspices are fairly high – it will be possible to begin talks for the conflict’s full resolution as well.

An initiative of this kind requires true and courageous leadership, which is hard to identify at the moment. But if the prime minister should internalize the severity of the mass of threats against us at this time, the folly of the current policy, the fact that this policy’s creators are significant elements in the religious Zionist movement and on the far right, and its devastating results – up to the destruction of the Zionist vision – then perhaps he will find the courage and determination to carry out the proposed action.

I wrote the above statements because I feel that I owe them to my parents, who devoted their lives to the fulfillment of Zionism; to my children, my grandchildren and to the nation of Israel, which I served for decades.

The author is a former director general of the Mossad.  SOURCE  http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.628038

#BDS is tragedy turned into action. #Boycott #Israel

Scattered boycott efforts with no coordinated campaign efforts may not have the numbers needed to create a successful outcome.  On the one hand, it may make me feel good to displace Israeli apartheid cheese into the diaper aisle, confounding the store workers when they have to restock the item.  But on the other hand, joining in national and even international efforts for a boycott has big advantages.  One such international boycott effort is of Israeli “AHAVA” cosmetics made from stolen minerals in the Dead Sea.  AHAVA products are on sale at huge chains such as Bed, Bath & Beyond, ULTA Beauty Shops and Macy’s Dept. Stores as well as stores in Europe.  Boycott efforts have been in progress for years now.   The SODASTREAM boycott is another example, with highly publicized efforts in the press.  The BDS Movement states:

Trying to boycott the products of every single company that participates in Israeli apartheid is a daunting task that has a slim change of having a concrete impact.

It makes more sense to focus on optimal targets that are being targeted as part of national or international campaigns. Consumer boycotts are most effective when part of a broader campaign against a particular product or aiming to pressure a retailer to stop selling a particular Israeli product.

To join in campaigns that are focused, navigate through these websites:

http://www.bdsmovement.net/get-involved

http://www.endtheoccupation.org/section.php?id=203

http://www.pacbi.org/

AHAVA boycott

AHAVA boycott

In the UK, National Union of Teachers Pass Milestone Boycott of Israel Resolution

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The British teachers’ union (National Union of Teachers – NUT) of over 300,000 members has shown strong support for the academic boycott of Israel.  NUT recently passed a BDS (Boycott, Divest and Sanctions) resolution (see http://www.teachers.org.uk/files/nut-final-agenda.pdf  pp. 45-46), that not only condemns Israel’s violations of international law in the Naqab (Negev), but also condemns Israel’s discrimination against Palestinian students and teachers who are citizens of Israel.  Pictures of the conference can be seen at https://www.flickr.com/photos/palestinesolidaritycampaign/sets/72157644194877606/  .  The text:

PALESTINE MOTION 31 (East London) to move,

(Croydon) to second:

Conference welcomes the visit to the Occupied Palestinian Territory by a delegation of Executive and non-Executive members in October 2013, and the strengthening of links between the National Union of Teachers and the General Union of Palestinian Teachers.

Conference notes the ongoing oppressive and unjust regime imposed by the state of Israel on the Palestinian people and is especially concerned at the impact on young people and their families.

Conference endorses the following demands and calls on the British Government to actively pursue these objectives:

1. The dismantling of the 700 Kilometre long Wall condemned by the International Court of Justice in July 2004;

2. The ending of all illegal settlements which now control 42.7% of the West Bank (UN figures);

3. The ending of all moves to cut East Jerusalem off from the West Bank​ through a process of settlement expansion and the demolition of Palestinian homes;

4. The support for the UN call for the end of the blockade of Gaza;

5. The dismantling of the Israeli army’s 532 Checkpoints (UN figures);

6. The ending of the inhuman treatment of Palestinian Child Prisoners as documented by Defence for Children International/Palestine Section;

7. The rescinding of the Government’s Prawer Plan to destroy Bedouin villages inside Israel and forceably transfer the people out of their established villages; and

8. The right of the Palestinians inside Israel to develop a curriculum which preserves their heritage and ends discrimination in education.

Conference reaffirms its commitment to campaigning in solidarity with the Palestinians in their struggle for peace and justice and calls on the Executive to distribute the report of the 2013 delegation as widely as possible publicising it through the Teacher and all appropriate Union channels.

Conference instructs the Executive to:

i. Support TUC policy, to “boycott the goods of, companies who profit from illegal settlements, the Occupation and the construction of the Wall”;

ii. Pressure the UK Government to call on the Israeli Government to comply with international law and human rights treaties;

iii. Work to win the backing of Education International and the ETUC(E) for these policies and to seek to collaborate with like minded unions internationally;

iv. Convey these views to the Israeli Teachers Union;

v. Express our solidarity with the GUPT for its objectives for education and discuss with them ways to develop this solidarity;

vi. Call for an end to the discrimination against Palestinian students and teachers within Israel;

vii. Encourage divisions to make links with Palestinian teachers and schools including organising delegation exchanges;

viii. Encourage Associations, Schools and Divisions to publicise the report of the delegation to members; invite speakers to their meetings and encourage active membership participation in work on this issue;

ix. Organise a special meeting for Division representatives and International Solidarity Officers to present the report, explain Union policy, outlining ways to develop the work and incorporate regular updates in Divisional Secretaries briefings and school representatives training; and

x. Continue to campaign for the rights of Palestinian children including child prisoners and work to engage all members in this campaign encouraging individual membership of and affiliation to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and support for Action for Palestinian Children Prisoners.

Amendments

31.1  (Buckinghamshire) to move,

​ ​(Kirklees) to second:

Conference instructs the Executive:

Add new point:

xi. Educate the membership through publications, divisions and international solidarity officers of the ‘Pinkwashing’ propaganda used by Israel to make their citizens and the wider world believe that they are progressive in respect of LGBT rights, while distracting attention away from the human rights abuses they have instigated by their occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

Peter Tatchell protests Israel’s pinkwashing and endorses the boycott of Israel

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Peter Tatchell added his name to a letter supporting boycott, divestment and sanctions against the State of Israel and protesting Israel’s PR tactic of “pinkwashing”, ie, presenting itself as a progressive democratic state on account of supposedly gay-friendly policies.  This is a re-blog of the letter, as it was published originally in February, 2012.  
Dear Editor,
February brings events marking Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender History Month, and London will host this summer’s WorldPride Festival, four decades on from the Gay Liberation Front’s first Gay Pride events. Simultaneous and overlapping with the civil rights, anti-apartheid and Women’s Liberation movements, GLF also drew inspiration from the national liberation struggles of people freeing themselves from colonialism. The LGBT rights we now celebrate originate in the groundbreaking work of that era.
How ironic it would be if, in an attempt to gain a veneer of respectability by promoting itself as a liberal, tolerant haven for gay people and a prime gay holiday destination, an oppressive regime which routinely violates human rights, practises institutional racism and dispossesses an indigenous population tried to co-opt that progress.
As long-term advocates of LGBT and women’s rights, some of whom created the first Gay Pride events, we wish to express our concern at the cynical hijacking of those rights by Israel’s ‘pinkwashing’ PR campaign. The specious freedoms enjoyed by some Israeli gay people and visitors to Tel Aviv’s nightclubs bear no more relation to real equality than did the privileges accorded white people during South African apartheid. Pinkwashing tries to divert attention from the untold suffering caused by Israel’s subjection of the Palestinians to siege, bombardment, military occupation, ethnic cleansing, land theft, settler violence, killings (180 in 2011 alone), imprisonment, forced exile, the crushing of economic, educational and social infrastructure and denial of legitimate aspirations to self-determination.
We write in solidarity with Palestinian LGBT and civil society organisations who initiated the burgeoning global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement to bring pressure to bear upon Israel until it complies with international law, and endorse their insistence on the universality of human rights. We invite all who share our abhorrence of Israel’s persecution of the Palestinians to observe the boycott of Israeli tourism and goods, and hope that LGBT people encountering pinkwashing will take pride in remembering the roots of our campaigning history and support the Palestinian quest for justice.
Sincerely,
Frankie Green, Mary McIntosh, Peter Tatchell, Stuart Feather, Miriam Margolyes O.B.E., Pratibha Parmar, Linda Bellos O.B.E., Rumana Hashem, Jane Lane, Sarah Colborne, Director, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Professor Oishik Sircar

Norway’s YMCA-YWCA Supports Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions of Israel

The Norwegian YMCA-YWCA and YMCA-YWCA Global  hope this non-violent instrument can contribute to a solution with a just peace for both parties. God created all people in his image, equal in dignity – and that human dignity is violated now daily in the Palestinian territories.

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Jesus said blessed are the peacemakers – and we must try to help – with the non-violent means available. The peace movement on both sides need our active solidarity.

Tung. Debate about Israel and Palestine experienced in many Christian organizations and churches as heavy and difficult. Many people choose to leave it. Secretary General of the Association of YWCA (World YWCA) reminded us recently that “Silence is also a statement.” To let the debate remain basically means accepting the status quo.

We will not accept the status quo in Palestine and Israel. Both Israelis and Palestinians have a right to self-determination within internationally recognized borders, in recognition of its elected leadership and just peace with security for the civilian population.

Israel’s rights must be maintained, but the occupation of Palestine is unacceptable.  Because a long series of UN resolutions and negotiations for decades have not yielded results, we believe it is now appropriate to initiate economic boycott of Israel to put increased pressure on the authorities to follow up UN resolutions to end the occupation.

We encourage broad economic boycott of products from Israel, Israeli settlements and from companies that actively participate in the occupation.

Non-violence. YMCA-YWCA Global has over the last 40 years working closely with the YMCA and YWCA of Palestine. YWCA and YMCA are important community of Christian Palestinians, they have a heavy social commitment and strengthens young people in struggle and faith in justice and peace – only using non-violent means.

We are distressed when we see how the Palestinians constantly subjected to undignified treatment. We understand that they get angry when they lose access to the land they cultivate, as they struggle with water shortages while settlers on the hill have more than enough, when children must be accompanied by companions to school to be protected from harassment, when soldiers suddenly close all the checkpoint and many youth loses a teaching or a doctor’s appointment. Or if they encounter a wall growing up in the neighborhood and they do not know whether their house will stand.

Rights on the Israeli side also violated as a result of the conflict. We understand that Israeli families are weary and despairing of living in fear of rockets and suicide bombs. We understand that they seek to create security for themselves and their families.

Sin. We are humble when we see the YWCA and YMCA youth searching for ways to achieve justice and equal living conditions, without resorting to violence. We want to strengthen and support their involvement.

In 2009, we faced a challenge from church leaders and laity in Bethlehem authored “A Moment of Truth – Kairos Palestine”. The authors declare clearly that the military occupation is a sin against God and man, and express strongly that a theology which defends the occupation is far from Christian teachings.

They believe true Christian theology challenge to solidarity with the oppressed, and the love that is reflected in action. They defend the Palestinians’ right and duty to participate in non-violent resistance to injustice they suffer from. Specifically, we were on a theological basis, encouraged to join the creative and non-violent resistance, specified as involvement in economic boycott of everything produced as part of the occupation and withdrawal of investments in such purposes.

Wide boycott.  We advocate a broad economic boycott both because it is impossible for consumers to know if a product is manufactured in the occupied territories or not, and because the purchase of Israeli products or investments in Israeli companies contribute financially to the occupation that Israel is responsible for .

It is important to recognize that a conflict has multiple pages. As a church we are challenged to take sides with those who suffer most and who do we speak for yourselves.  The Israeli government has a superior military force and is occupying. Palestinian authorities and the civilian population carries a variety of offending and violent acts, but they are currently the weakest party. This gives Israel the primary responsibility to end the occupation and restore justice and peace.

Legally. Whilst negotiations are attempted for many laps, Israel’s position has become stronger. An economic boycott is a strong but legal and non-violent means. We encourage organizations, churches and individuals to support our position. This position is really held in love, both for Israelis and Palestinians.

Authors:  Øystein Magelssen, Styreleder Norwegian YMCA-YWCA, Adelheid Firing Hvambsa, General of the Norwegian YMCA-YWCA, Sunniva Gylver, Chairman YMCA-YWCA Global, and Fredrik Glad-Gjernes,  Foreign Head of YMCA-YWCA Global

FIRST PUBLISHED IN OUR COUNTRY 21 February 2014 see http://www.verdidebatt.no/debatt/cat1/subcat4/thread11477785/#cxrecs_s