Monday, March 19, 2012

Just In Time For Passover Shopping:
Beinart Calls for Boycott of Settlement Products


Peter Beinart has an important article in today's NY Times, calling for Jews (and others) to boycott goods and services from the occupied territories. I could quibble with some of his points, (and I may do so later) but his gist, and the fact that it is published in the NY Times are important. Ken Yirbu.
In 2010, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel called the settlement of Ariel, which stretches deep into the West Bank, “the heart of our country.” Through its pro-settler policies, Israel is forging one political entity between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea — an entity of dubious democratic legitimacy, given that millions of West Bank Palestinians are barred from citizenship and the right to vote in the state that controls their lives.

In response, many Palestinians and their supporters have initiated a global campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (B.D.S.), which calls not only for boycotting all Israeli products and ending the occupation of the West Bank but also demands the right of millions of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes ....

The Israeli government and the B.D.S. movement are promoting radically different one-state visions, but together, they are sweeping the two-state solution into history’s dustbin.

It’s time for a counteroffensive — a campaign to fortify the boundary that keeps alive the hope of a Jewish democratic state alongside a Palestinian one. And that counteroffensive must begin with language.

Jewish hawks often refer to the territory beyond the green line by the biblical names Judea and Samaria, thereby suggesting that it was, and always will be, Jewish land. Almost everyone else, including this paper, calls it the West Bank.

But both names mislead. “Judea and Samaria” implies that the most important thing about the land is its biblical lineage; “West Bank” implies that the most important thing about the land is its relationship to the Kingdom of Jordan next door. ...

Instead, we should call the West Bank “nondemocratic Israel.” The phrase suggests that there are today two Israels: a flawed but genuine democracy within the green line and an ethnically-based nondemocracy beyond it. It counters efforts by Israel’s leaders to use the legitimacy of democratic Israel to legitimize the occupation and by Israel’s adversaries to use the illegitimacy of the occupation to delegitimize democratic Israel.

Having made that rhetorical distinction, American Jews should seek every opportunity to reinforce it. We should lobby to exclude settler-produced goods from America’s free-trade deal with Israel. We should push to end Internal Revenue Service policies that allow Americans to make tax-deductible gifts to settler charities. Every time an American newspaper calls Israel a democracy, we should urge it to include the caveat: only within the green line.

And I might add, Jews should not buy settlement produced goods for Passover - the holiday of freedom, after all. Passover wine from non-democratic Israel would be particularly inappropriate on Passover. See my previous post on boycotting such wine for details of what not to buy.

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