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John Passant

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September 2009



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The truth about Israel is getting harder to hide

In an important step forward for the international Palestine solidarity campaign, the British Trade Union Congress (equivalent of the ACTU) has voted to back a boycott of Israeli goods.

After a heated debate at its national conference, the TUC General Council passed a motion calling on the British Government to condemn the Israeli military aggression and the continuing blockade of Gaza, end arms sales to Israel which reached a value of £18.8 million in 2008, and seek EU agreement to impose a ban on the importing of goods produced in the illegal settlements.

Their statement went on: “To increase the pressure for an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian Territories, and the removal of the separation wall and the illegal settlements, we will support a boycott…of those goods and agricultural products that originate in illegal settlements – through developing an effective, targeted consumer-led boycott campaign working closely with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign – and campaign for disinvestment by companies associated with the occupation as well as engaged in building the separation wall.”

The TUC statement was far from perfect – the final motion was a compromise between left and right – but it is nonetheless highly significant that Britain’s peak union body would align itself so clearly with the Palestinian cause, and with the growing international boycott campaign.

This is just the latest indicator that an increasing number of organisations and individuals are prepared to take a stand against Israel.

For example the September 25 Palestine protest in Australia was endorsed by the Victorian Trades Hall Council, which passed a motion stating that “VTHC stands in solidarity with the people of Palestine on this day and their continuing struggle for freedom and human rights.”

And in the same week as the TUC Congress, hundreds of artists and activists put their names to an open letter to the Toronto International Film Festival objecting to Tel Aviv being chosen as the first of its “city to city” showcases.

The letter said that to celebrate Tel Aviv without talking about occupation or this year’s bloody attack on Gaza is “like rhapsodising about the beauty and elegant lifestyles in white-only Cape Town or Johannesburg during apartheid without acknowledging the corresponding black townships of Khayelitsha and Soweto.

“In the wake of this year’s brutal assault on Gaza, we object to the use of such an important festival to stage a propaganda campaign on behalf of what South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former US president Jimmy Carter, and UN General Assembly president Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann have all characterised as an apartheid regime.”

The fact that more and more people are gaining the courage to take a stand indicates that since the Gaza war, the ideological defences of Israel are starting to crack open.

While the apologists for Zionism still hurl accusations of anti-Semitism at anyone who dares to criticise Israel’s crimes, the baseless nature of such charges is increasingly clear.

The claim that Israel is the victim, or even that blame for the conflict should be shared by both sides, has become untenable in the wake of the Gaza war, a one-sided bloodbath that sickened millions around the world, including in the usually indifferent West.

Support for Israel is increasingly associated (correctly) with foul war-mongering and anti-Muslim racism. It is indicative that skinhead fascist demonstrators in Britain, protesting to kick Muslims out of the country, now carry Israeli flags on their marches.

But while the truth about Israel is becoming clearer to ever wider layers of people, it remains the case that Western governments – in particular the US and Australia – stand shoulder to shoulder with Israel no matter how odious the crimes it carries out.

If anything, the Australian government is even more pro-Israel than the US. It even went so far in September as to ban SBS from referring to the occupied territories as Palestinian land – a stance that aligns them with the extreme right-wing fringe of Zionism.

On the university campuses, students campaigning for Palestine have met with numerous attempts to stop them from speaking out. And the mainstream media in Australia is still relentlessly pro-Israel.

This indicates the vital importance of building an ongoing solidarity movement that can combat the right-wing pro-Israel arguments, and establish that solidarity with Palestine is as necessary and as justifiable as it was to oppose the Iraq war, or the apartheid regime in South Africa.

This article, by Corey Oakley, first appeared in Socialist Alternative.



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Time September 28, 2009 at 11:57 pm

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Comment from eliran, israel
Time September 29, 2009 at 10:30 am

you should come to Israel in order to understand a little bit about the reality we cope with. you’re really invited to visit..

Comment from psych37
Time September 29, 2009 at 10:53 am

Dear Sir, How can someone so intelligent believe what you are spouting forth? If you would just read your Bible in Gen 15:18-21, you would see that the land was given to the Jews thousands of years before any Palestinians arrived there. The land is in a covenant that will never change! Deal with it! Oh, you don’t believe in the Bible? That’s your choice, and also your loss! I’m not a “hater.” Just frustrated that people seem to ignore the Sceiptures that make it all so simple/clear. Sincerely, Psych37

Comment from Arjay
Time September 29, 2009 at 9:04 pm

I like that psych37.Yahweh has ordained that a special chosen people should come back thousands of yrs a later and disposess people who you see as being inferior. Sounds like to me, the Jews have become like their Nazi masters of WW2.

Jewish people must have superior genes that make them special,or have they some pre-ordained manifest destiny that allows special priviledges? I dislike the totalitarian faith of Islam,but Jewish faith it seems,is not much better.

Are Palestinians diposessing Jewish people of their land?

Comment from John
Time September 30, 2009 at 5:08 am

eliran, you miss the point. You are ‘putting up with’ the response of a people zionism is committing genocide against.

The Gaza invasion, the expansion of the settlements, the blockade, the Occupation – all are the slow burn of genocide.

Strange people those Palestinians for resiting that genocide, aren’t they?

The argument you put used to be made by white South Africans in defence of apartheid – come over and you will see what it is really like.

I will not be visiting Israel. I am joining the growing movement to boycott Israel for its genocide against Palestinians.

To my mind a rainbow nation – a democratic and secular Palestine where all who want to can live – is the only realistic solution and one that will eventually arise.

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