Sunday, January 25, 2009

Boycott Israel goods

Sorry! I have deleted the page of logos derived from the boycottisraelnow site. It carried a health warning from me because of intemperate language about zionism on the site, and they do not make clear whether or not they are Single Statists, but then some Green Party members seem to adhere to that interesting but problematical option also.

I supported the economic boycott of Israel in order to bring about a better balance between the Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams when they finally do start talking, but we have to admit that untargeted economic boycotts are dodgy because they hurt the people. It would be better to go for sanctions targeted on the Israeli (and also Hamas) regimes and supported in the UN, but that would take years to come about.

I had a lot of stick about the link to the BoycottIsraelNow site, and have now removed it because a group of Greens have agreed to work on supporting a big water project in the Land.

Here is an introduction to the Water Project.


Anonymous said...

why just a boycott on Israel?

it looks kind of, er, dodgy

ya know?

Anonymous said...

very useful

and while you're at, it spray a yellow star on the door so we all know which shops to avoid.

DocRichard said...

Hi Anonymous

If you click on the Israel label, you will find that both of these questions have already been addressed here.

There is a difference between bringing economic pressure on a regime that is behaving in a foolish and inhuman way, and being anti-semitic. The boycott on Israeli goods is necessary to re-balance the power equation, in order to get a reasonable negotiation process going.

I am not pro-Israeli or pro-Hamas, I am for peace, for justice, for the real needs of the people in both communities, which must be addressed in a huge investment in the water infrastructure in the whole region.

Thanks for commenting.

Anonymous said...

Hi Richard

I've read the link but it doesn't explain why the only boycott is of Israel?

Do you think Hamas' position on the existance of Israel and the Jews is 'negotiable'?

all the best

DocRichard said...

Hi Anonymous

That would be because it is a website focused on the boycott of Israel.

Hamas, in common with every other political party that exists, has a spectrum of opinion within it, from the Hamas Declaration fundamentalists right through to people you would be happy to sit down and have a meal with in better circumstances. Not that I wouldn't sit down with fundamentalists, I would, but I wouldn't have such a happy time).

I am sure there are decent people in Hamas who just want peace, justice and well-being for the Palestinians. I am sure that many of them are embarrassed by the wilder sections of the Hamas Charter, but they lack the political clout to challenge that in the party. Rewriting a manifesto is not the first priority when your town has been reduced to rubble. I am sure that Israel should, and indeed, probably is, be sitting down and talking with these Hamas moderates. I hope they include water on the agenda.

Anonymous said...

Hi Richard

I think language like 'wilder elements' is a bit of a cop out. These people are outright fascists and deeply unpleasant. Some of the Nazis were 'decent people' too, and I expect they had a range of opinion in the party. I think the overriding ethos of both movements, however, negated/negates any point in discussion, currently at least. And when those attitudes are also mired in what I would call extreme religious beliefs, I find it hard to see any way forward.

Maybe one day 'Islamists' will reign in the overt (and hopefully) covert desire to wipe out the jews. This would be the single biggest step in my opinion. I'm sure the rank and file are just like you and me and would like those who hold sway over them gone, paving the way for a more moderate, prosperous and peaceful future, living side by side.

btw I do get the point why only an Isreal boycott is on the website but why is the green party only boycotting Israel at the moment? Seems rather strange given a lot of world events.

Have a good day tomorrow.

DocRichard said...

Hi Anonymous

OK, 'wilder elements' is a euphemism for absolutist fundamentalist militarist Islamo-fascists. Will that do?

It is easy to apply labels, but the real political work to be done is rather more difficult: it is the task of negotiating conditions where two societies can win a sustainable living in an arid land. It can be done, but
it will take a paradigm shift in our thinking.
To be continued...

DocRichard said...


We can compare Hamas with the Nazis. It is also possible to make comparisons between the actions of Olmert's regime and the Nazis: Pushing the Palestinians into a ghetto, herding women and children into a school, then bombing it, burning living people with white phosphorus, ethnic cleansing. The case can be made, but this kind name calling and labeling is intellectual posturing, is not helpful, and it is not our politics.

In terms of intellectual discussion, there is almost no point of commonality between the Hamas Charter and the Israeli state. On the other hand, in terms of the real human needs of both communities, there is every point in sitting down and talking. We can be pretty sure that talks are indeed taking place secretly, and will shortly be taking place openly. Preconditions (cessation of violence, acceptance of the right of Israel to exist) will be put forward and argued over, but the talks will happen, and really, this is a waste of time, since they should be the outcome, not the preconditions.

"I find it hard to see any way forward".

What about the Water Project?

"I do get the point why only an Israel boycott is on the website but why is the green party only boycotting Israel at the moment?"

I am not sure that the boycott of Israel is official Green Party policy?

It is more of a popular reaction to Olmert's savagery. I am getting loads of hits from Google searches "boycott Israel goods".

For me, the rationale is this: Conflict always results in negotiations, and the terms of the negotiations depend on the relative strengths of the sides. Israel at the moment is in a strong position militarily and economically. There is a need to weaken the Israeli position.

Yes, there are loads of other oppressive and immoral regimes in the world who deserve to be sanctioned. It would be far better if the UN applied targeted sanctions to regimes in proportion to specific misdeeds, but in the absence of such, we have to ride the wave of popular feeling.

I must say that I find it very saddening to have to be discussing these things on Holocaust Day.

Best wishes


Anonymous said...

yes, it is very sad discussing this on such a day.

my father fought the Nazis in 44 and 45 and went through a concentration camp briefly. He used to say every day should be Holocaust Memorial Day. I find it very grim that there are still large groups of people who want to exterminate the jews and deny the Holocaust etc and the Israeli reaction in context is understandable to me but perhaps not to others.

Anyway, you make several good points that I have taken on board. Been nice talking to you. You're a nice chap indeed. I'll leave it here but enjoy yourself and be happy.

DocRichard said...

Hi Anonymous

Many thanks for your comment. The Israeli reaction is indeed understandable in view of the Holocaust, understandable but ultimately the violence it has used is a mighty boomerang.

Although I am pretty much a pacifist, I often take the opportunity to thank WWII veterans that I meet in my work, and apologise for the fact that the world is still infected with the ideas that they fought against.

weggis said...

You will find a link to FoEME on Greens Engage.

Mira said...

Dear oh dear. The brands in your boycott montage won't be getting any less custom from me - cos I don't buy that stuff already. Well, I would entertain the idea of Tchibo.

I doubt those companies have much to do with Israel - they're just top multinationals. Or have you posted factsheets elsewhere that I missed?

You know what the above post looks like? One of those environmentalist-types casting around for excuses to warn the rest of us off stuff he himself never touches with a bargepole anyway. Too bad.

My intuition, for what it's worth - if the environmentalist ethic didn't kick in already with regards to those brands, the internationalist ethic isn't going to either. Although it might well stimulate the antisemitic ethic, which I know you agree would be a bad eventuality.

DocRichard said...

Dear Mira
Thanks for commenting. There is another post about this topic, which gives the link, which carries the background research. (Click on the Israel label).

You're right, I do not buy much of this stuff anyway. However, this page is getting a lot of hits from people googling "Boycott Israeli goods", so it is serving a purpose.

I have promised to take the link down when the green party starts to put its weight behind the Water Project, but so far, there is total silence on that positive way forward.

Mira said...

Right I see. You're using an hateful, inaccurate and embarrassingly poor-quality site as a bargaining chip to get support for a project proposal of yours. And you have had no luck as yet. OK.

And when people who search for "boycott Israeli goods" come to your blog, they will find that you approve of a site which calls Israel as "the cancerous zionist entity [which] has got its tentacles hooked into numerous markets and economies - sucking each one to nourish itself".

And the brighter ones will quickly notice that along with being based on hatred, the whole inminds site is a pile of unsubstantiated ranting, fatwas for pete's sake, and undated 'factsheets' with information (some approaching a decade old) culled from - fancy that - other boycotters, and think somewhat less of Green politics than they did before. The haters will like it though.

Have you the faintest clue how all this comes across?

That link needs to go.

DocRichard said...

Hi Mira
The link has gone, as you say, because it has been superseded by our collective work on the Water Project, and for the other reasons given in the post.

So let's get to work on the Water Project as a positive move for peace in the ME and the world.


weggis said...

I offered you support on and do support your water initiative because I think it has merit and potential - NOT as a bargaining chip for any other personal aim.

Raphael said...

What Weggis said.

And you have NOT removed the link, only pointed to a different page.


DocRichard said...

Weggis I promised a while back that I would remove the link when there was a movement in the Green Party to back the water project. There is, so I have. The link is gone. No link. Link no work.

Raphael, if you object to my naming the site that had the link, I'm sorry, but I experience that as an attempt at censorship.

Now can we get on with the water project?