Latest | Recent Articles | Multimedia Page | TV | Search | Blog

Email this article | Print this article | Link to this Article

If you don't get MER, you just don't get it!
24 Sept 2004 - MiddleEast.Org - MER is Free
News, Views, & Analysis Governments, Lobbies, & the
Corporate Media Don't Want You To Know

The most honest, most comprehensive, and most mobilizing news and
analysis on the Middle East always comes from MER. It is indispensable!"
Robert Silverman - Salamanca, Spain

Comment on this and other MER articles in the MER FORUM

Upcoming this weekend from MER:
Telling Reality Maps of the Israeli-Palestine Conflict



CHURCH BOYCOTT OF ISRAEL CREEPING FORWARD

MIDDLEEAST.ORG - MER - Washington - 24 September: The Christian Churches in Europe and the United States have been amazingly acquiescent for so long when it comes to the Land of Christ which we have taken to calling the once Holy Land. And as the official mainstream Churches have held back from speaking up -- many feel betraying Christ's teachings and principles in the process -- the Christian Evangelical Zionist movement has pushed forward with growing messianic support for Israel, even though Christ and the second coming is so antithetical to Jewish theology.

A few months ago the American Presbyterians officially took the first major Church steps to sanction Israel, recalling how South Africa was treated in the days of Apartheid not that long ago. Now an influential Anglican group is pushing for a combination of boycott and divestment from Israel when their senior Church leaders next meet.

The Israelis and their many powerful friends and supporters are working hard to stem this Christian movement before it can gain significant traction and following. Their campaign to intimidate university professors and students groups that have called for similar policies has had considerable but not totally success, especially in the U.S. But in view of Israel's actual policies, the recent International Court of Justice decision, and the growing feelings among many that Israel has itself become a dangerous rogue State, what many Israelis and Jews have feared for a long time is beginning to happen.






Anglican group calls for Israel sanctions

Campaigners inspired by boycott of apartheid South Africa

Chris McGreal in Jerusalem

The Guardian - Friday September 24, 2004:
An influential Anglican group is to ask church leaders to impose a boycott of Israel and firms that do business there in protest at the occupation.

The call, by the Anglican Peace and Justice Network, comes amid growing concern in Israel at rising support among churches, universities and trade unions in the west for a divestment campaign modelled on the popular boycott of apartheid South Africa.

In July, the Presbyterian church in the US became the first major denomination to agree a formal boycott of Israel.

The network said it would press leaders of the 75 million Anglicans and Episcopalians worldwide to impose sanctions on Israel after an eight-day visit to the occupied territories.

The leader of the group, Jenny Te Paa, said the delegation from Anglican churches across the globe was so shocked by the plight of the Palestinians, including the construction of the concrete and steel barrier through the West Bank, that there was strong support for a boycott.

"There was no question that there has to be a very serious kind of sanction in order to get the world to see that at least one major church institution is taking very, very seriously its moral responsibility," she said.

"It happened in South Africa, and in South Africa the boycott had an effect. Everybody said it wouldn't work and it did work. So here we are taking on one of most wealthy and incredibly powerful nations, supported by the US. That's the Christian call."

The network is to recommend the boycott to the church's decision-making body, the Anglican consultative council, in Wales, in June. The group will also make the case that divestment is a "moral imperative" to a meeting of Anglican archbishops in London in February.

Ms Te Paa said the network had influence within the Anglican community and that she believed the consultative council would agree to a boycott of Israel.

In July, the general assembly of the Presbyterian church in the US, which has 3 million members, voted overwhelmingly for a boycott of Israel. Some Scandinavian churches are also pressing for a boycott of Israeli goods.

The Israeli government is increasingly concerned about the prospect of popular boycotts. It believes there is little prospect of the US or European governments endorsing sanctions, but it recognises growing support among some religious organisations, and in the academic world and trade unions, for organised action against the occupation.

A campaign by British academics for a boycott of Israeli universities drew a furious reaction, including accusations of anti-semitism.

Israeli universities have called it an "unwarranted attack on Israeli academic freedom".

Supporters of the protest say the Israeli occupation, including military checkpoints and curfews, places great restrictions on Palestinians' academic freedom.

Dozens of professors at prestigious American universities, including Princeton and Harvard, have signed a petition calling for an end to US military aid to Israel and for their universities to divest from firms doing business there.

Among the targets would be Israeli products such as fruit, shops that do business there and companies such as Caterpillar, which sells the bulldozers used by the army to destroy Palestinian homes.

"I hope that even by mentioning that we could call for this it would serve as an invitation for dialogue with the Israeli government," said Ms Te Paa.

"If it doesn't happen I think divestment can mean anything from having the list of stores [to boycott] to very significant withdrawal of investment from Israel."

Three Israeli soldiers were killed in a Palestinian attack on an army outpost protecting the tiny Jewish settlement of Morag in the Gaza Strip yesterday.

Troops then killed three of the Palestinian fighters.

A Palestinian umbrella group, the Popular Resistance Committees, claimed responsibility for the raid, in which the gunmen infiltrated the post under cover of heavy fog.

The attack is likely to strengthen public support for Ariel Sharon's plan to withdraw all settlers and soldiers.



Boycott call strikes a responsive chord

By Laila El-Haddad in Gaza

ICJ's ruling in July strengthened the case for sanctions on Israel

Whether it is the UN General Assembly or the Non-Aligned Movement, resolutions condemning Israel are one thing, implementation is quite another. None the less, many believe international boycott is an idea whose time has come.

In July the International Court of Justice, in a landmark ruling, declared the West Bank separation barrier illegal and urged Israel to demolish the structure as well as pay compensation to Palestinians affected by its construction.

This decision of the UN's top court, although non-binding, cleared the decks for sanctions in the event of non-compliance by the Jewish state.

It was on the basis of this World Court ruling that the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) voted last month for a partial boycott of Israel, asking the 115 member-nations to ban Israeli settlers from visiting their countries and to boycott companies that work on the separation barrier.

Not unnoticed

While the result of the NAM vote is awaited (India is said to have expressed its official disapproval of the document at the UN this week), the development did not go unnoticed in Tel Aviv.

It was enough to get Shraga Brosh, chairman of Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute, talking about potential losses to the economy and damage to exports.

The wall has made Palestinians
prisoners in their own country

Three decades are not such a long time in world history. A 1971 World Court verdict against South Africa's occupation of Namibia eventually led to sanctions against that country and the fall of the apartheid regime. Many in Israel fear that a similar fate awaits them.

"This is the marker that grants legitimacy to economic and commercial sanctions, which could endanger our future and security," commented Haifa University professor Nitza Nahmias in the Maariv daily.

But other analysts beg to differ. "It's a long way from a declaratory action by the Non-Aligned Movement to serious enactments by western European or North American governments. I don't see sanctions on the horizon," Hebrew University political science professor Ira Sharkansky told Aljazeera.net.

"I wouldn't count on the Non-Aligned Movement. With all the proclamations of NAM forums, plus $2 or $3, you can buy a cup of Starbucks."

New dynamic

Rather than a literal reading of the NAM resolution, Israeli analyst Yossi Alpher sees it and other boycott efforts like it as part of a "genuine new dynamic" developing in the international community with regard to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.

"It's what I call the 'South Africanisation' of the conflict," Alpher said.

"We are seeing a very new international dynamic that seeks to relate to the issue of the territories, in ways similar to South Africa"

Yossi Alpher, Israeli political analyst

"We are seeing a very new international dynamic that seeks to relate to the issue of the territories, in ways similar to South Africa, and the international community is reacting to that."

He says here is a growing awareness in Israel of the need to respect the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling, and sees this "awakening" as the main motivation behind the disengagement movement, regardless of what people think about it.

"Certainly Sharon's disengagement plan represents his ability to predict this dynamic. We are liable to find ourselves branded like South Africa."

South African law professor John Dugard, who is currently serving as the special rapporteur for the United Nations on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories, confirmed this trend.

In a report to the to the UN General Assembly early last month, Dugard said there is "an apartheid regime" in the territories "worse than the one that existed in South Africa".

Dugard was a member of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission at the end of the apartheid regime. In May, he called for an arms embargo against Israel similar to the one imposed on South Africa in 1977.

Boycott revisited

This is not the first time that a boycott has been attempted against Israel of course. The NAM decision brings to mind a decades-long Arab boycott of the state of Israel that was for the most part dormant and largely ineffective.

One of the consequences of the Arab-Israeli peace agreements, including the Oslo accords, was the unravelling of the boycott.

Humiliating checkpoints recall life
in South Africa during apartheid

Following the outbreak of the second intifada in September 2000, 18 of the 22 members of the Arab League agreed to "reactivate" the half-century-old ban on trade with Israel, with little to show for it so far.

A list of 15 firms to be blacklisted was drawn up, but the list has remained unpublished.

League members Egypt, Jordan and Mauritania - which maintain diplomatic ties with Israel - and Somalia did not attend the meeting.

The NAM resolution reintroduces the possibility, yet again, of an Arab boycott in view of the fact that many Arab countries are NAM members.

But according to the Palestinian Trade Centre's Gaza director, Hanan Taha, the goal of any boycott effort this time around would be the European market rather than the Arab one.

"NAM is trying to pressure other countries, mainly western ones, to take a similar decision. The EU is a huge trade market for Israel. This is more of a political move than an economic one. It's a sort of lobbying effort," Taha said.

"[Settlements' products] don't go to Arab markets anyway.And even if they do, it's hard to tell because they are re-exported in American or European packaging," Taha said, highlighting one of the main obstacles faced by the boycott movement.

Growing trade

Jamal Juma, coordinator of the Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, says Arabs should be the first to renew their diplomatic and economic boycott of Israel, but admits that this is unlikely to happen anytime soon - certainly not without a European lead.

"The EU is a huge
trade market for Israel. This is more of a political move than an economic one. It's a sort of lobbying effort"

Hanan Taha,
Director-Gaza,
Palestinian Trade Centre

"It's a tragedy and a disgrace. Arab states more than any others are called upon to boycott Israel, and instead they are increasing their trade ties with them," he said, noting that there are joint plans to expand oil pipelines between Israel and Jordan as well as a joint electricity grid along Highway 505.

When completed, the highway will stretch from Tel Aviv to the Jordan Valley, dividing the West Bank in half as it connects illegal Israeli colonies along the way.

Indeed, trade relations between Israel and Jordan have never been stronger. Israeli exports to the Hashemite kingdom increased by 50% last year, according to newly released Israeli economic data.

Juma believes that more pressure needs to be applied to force Israel to abide by international law, and that resolutions such as the one taken by NAM aren't nearly enough.

Global boycott

The Israeli Government is tightening its apartheid-like system like never before, with evidence on the ground to prove it, Juma says.

"There are metal doors at checkpoints and a matrix of administrative procedures to get through. Paths of travel are categorised into various permits and ways, and this is in addition to mass land confiscation that is going on," he said.

Palestinians need more than just
symbolic international support

"It's not time for a boycott of settlement products alone. We need a boycott on a global level of Israel as an apartheid system, as a state not abiding by international law. That's how it should be dealt with," Juma told Aljazeera.net.

"We have to ask ourselves: Who is behind settlements? Who is supporting it? Who is making it a reality in the West Bank? The Israeli Government. It must be a boycott of Israel and it must be made clear to them why."

Palestinian diplomatic sources say PLO representative to the UN Nasir al-Kidwa is planning to build on the international momentum generated by the ICJ ruling and the NAM vote by proposing a resolution of his own in the General Assembly this week.

The resolution will threaten Israel with sanctions if it continues to ignore the Hague-based court's ruling.

However, as far as tangible action is concerned, whether by way of NAM or the United Nations, Palestinians should not expected anything in the foreseeable future.



Please forward MER articles to others in their entirety with proper attribution.
Your comments and information and welcome in the new MER FORUM.
Make Sure You are Subscribed to receive MER - it's free, it's vital, it's exclusive


MID-EAST REALITIES - www.MiddleEast.Org
Phone: (202) 362-5266 Fax: (815) 366-0800
Email: MER@MiddleEast.Org
Copyright 2004 Mid-East Realities, All rights reserved

If you don't get MER, you just don't get it!
Click here to subscribe by email


September 2004


Magazine






Iran and Syria now Targeted
(September 30, 2004)
Now the Americans and Israelis have Iran and Syria in their sights.

MER Warned About Jewish Neocons and Israeli Lobby Years Ago
(September 30, 2004)
Think back now to the days before the Bush/Cheney regime took power in Washington, before the term 'neocon' and the policy of 'pre-emption' were in wide use, and to before 9/11 was even imagined by all but a very few. MER was already long ago raising the warning flags, explaining what was really happening in Washington as well as in the Middle East, previewing what has since come to be; all while so many others were proclaiming the 'peace process is irreversible' and Yasser Arafat was the most frequent foreign guest at the American White House!

MER Articles - Sept 1998
(September 30, 2004)


Intifada II Enters Year Five
(September 28, 2004)
The figures for the Intifada are brutal. Adjusted for the size of the U.S. population, that is if the Israeli occupation were taking place in the U.S., over 300,000 Americans would have been killed in just the past 4 years alone, well over a million seriously injured, many millions imprisoned and tortured, plus considerable land confiscated, homes destroyed, and occupying Jewish 'settlers' taking over.

MER Articles - September 1997
(September 28, 2004)
These MER Articles were published in September 1997. The perspective they offer on events since is crucial.

Maps tell the Real Story 'on the ground' where it counts
(September 26, 2004)
The Israelis now control all Palestinian areas through hundreds of military Checkpoints, No-go zones, By-pass 'Jews only' Roads, Settlements, Outposts, and in recent years Fences, Walls, and Electronic Monitoring systems throughout the West Bank similar to what was done in the past to Gaza. In addition all Palestinians must even receive Israeli military permission to travel from one city and village. The situation is today far worse than Apartheid was in South Africa. As a result, no real, contiguous, and even minimally sovereign Palestinian State is possible any longer in the area that was Palestine in 1947.

Anglican group calls for Israel sanctions
(September 24, 2004)
A few months ago the American Presbyterians officially took the first major Church steps to sanction Israel, recalling how South Africa was treated in the days of Apartheid not that long ago. Now an influential Anglican group is pushing for a combination of boycott and divestment from Israel when their senior Church leaders next meet.

USA at MOMENT of NATIONAL CRISIS
(September 24, 2004)
"Over the last three years, practicing a philosophy of deliberate deception, fear-mongering and abuse of authority, the Bush administration has done more to undermine the republic of Lincoln and Jefferson than the cells of al-Qaida. It has willfully ignored our fundamental laws and squandered the nation's wealth in bloody, open-ended pursuits.... We have arrived at a moment of national crisis."

Sy Hersh - Readers' Comments
(September 23, 2004)
Important articles and exclusive insights like this would not be easily available, or oftentimes available at all, but for MER. These Readers' Comments this week concern the recent MER article about Washington journalist Seymour Hersh and his recent interviews and talks about his new book Chain of Command:

ARAB AMERICANS - REALITIES NOT DECEPTIONS
(September 22, 2004)
The real message to the tough-minded politicos in Washington is this: There's nothing to worry about from Arab Americans...working overtime they can only mobilize quite few in numbers...they are not even protesting against the upcoming agreement itself likely to be soon signed across the street...they know nothing about the power of civil disobedience...they have no powerful or even significant allies...their leadership is naive and oftentimes foolish...and the Arab organizations we work with can be counted on to keep them under control come what may.

IRAN - The U.S. and Israel Prepare to Attack
(September 22, 2004)
The new massive arms sale of 'bunker busting' bombs to Israel has two major purposes at this point in addition to furthering the Bush/Cheney election campaign -- to prepare for real war with Iran sooner rather than later, while at the same time attempting to further intimidate one more time those in Tehran to 'comply, resistance is futile'.

About MER - Please Read and Contribute Today
(September 21, 2004)
Reorganizing and overcoming all the obstacles has come at a considerable price in time, effort, and funds. We have to appeal now for your substantial financial support; for a truly independent and hard-hitting organization must have truly independent funding or it cannot continue and have impact. Please contribute today to make MER possible and of growing impact. Thank you!

Sy Hersh - Israeli Disinformation and Cover-Up?
(September 21, 2004)
In fact, the more one thinks about this, the more one reaches the possible conclusion that while Hersh is on target (though incomplete) when it comes to the torture scandal, when it comes to the geostrategic, especially when it comes to matters relating to Israel, Hersh may well be being used for disinformation and continually engages in a kind of self-censorship and cover-up.

Journalists and Professors With Chilling Warnings
(September 20, 2004)
"Every generation has its test of principle in which people of good faith can no longer remain silent in the face of authoritarian ambition. If we cannot join together to fight the abomination of American camps, we have already lost what we are defending."

The 'Fucking' Crazy and Stupid Washington Neocons
(September 19, 2004)
Of course they only talk this way when they've really had it and when they think the befuddled largely ignorant general public won't hear. But the reality is these two top American Generals who have been saluting to power their whole lives, and who themselves are very much a part of the terrible corrupted system, are known to feel the senior neocons empowered by Bush and Cheney are out of control and sometimes a little fucking out of their minds!

Feith of Israel
(September 18, 2004)
MER 'Washington Scene'EXCLUSIVE: Click to Listen to Douglas Feith at an Israeli lobby White House rally while Bill Clinton was still President, Feith was not yet back in government, and more than a year before 9/11 was to happen. For some time in Washington Feith has been a prominent member of the extended Israeli-Jewish lobby speaking at times as harshly and unrelentingly as any Israeli propagandist. Persons in the media should contact MER for more extensive information and additional audio and video clips of Feith - 202 362-5266 and press@MiddleEast.Org

Crude Politics: How Bush's Oil Cronies Hijacked the War on Terrorism
(September 17, 2004)
But, when writing about the situation in Washington and the linkages between persons and groups that brought about the Iraqi invasion/occupation, Sperry makes significant contributions in his book Crude Policies that need to be understood.

Washington's Pathetic Arabist Hustlers - National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations
(September 16, 2004)
But the most tragic reality of all is that in the process of what they have done for themselves this pathetically incestuous Washington cabal of 'Arabists' has squandered crucial decades, all together more than a hundred million dollars, and even now with the Middle East on fire and Washington gripped by policy warfare very very few even want to bother to come and get their free lunch with them.

Iraqi Debacle, Iraqi Disaster
(September 16, 2004)
Most senior US military officers now believe the war on Iraq has turned into a disaster on an unprecedented scale

EYEWITNESS TO SLAUGHTER IN BAGHDAD
(September 15, 2004)
On Sunday as the details of this murderous U.S. attack on a Baghdad crowd were first being reported, MER asked an officer on Commanding U.S. General Abizaid's staff how could the U.S. be using attack helicopters to fire on crowds in Baghdad and still think Iraqis wouldn't hate the Americans. He suggested it must have been to protect troops still in the damaged vehicle. A few hours later when told that was not the case, that the troops had already been rescued, he suggested maybe there was a need to destroy the vehicle for 'intelligence' reasons. When told the vehicle was already destroyed and on fire he could only shrug... How telling... This unusually gripping first-hand report from the exploding streets of Baghdad:

Bin Laden More Popular Than Bush in Egypt
(September 14, 2004)
With Iraq exploding, the Americans attacking street crowds in Baghdad with bombs and missiles, and the U.S. military already stretched to the breaking point both in terms of manpower and credibility, Washington's propaganda machine is in overdrive both at home and abroad. Even so, even in long-time American ally Egypt, Osama Bin Laden and al-Qaeda are considerably more popular than George W. Bush and the U.S.

Iraq Exploding in Rebellion and Death
(September 12, 2004)
At least 37 people were killed in Baghdad alone. Many of them died when a U.S. helicopter fired on a disabled U.S. Bradley fighting vehicle as Iraqis swarmed around it, cheering, throwing stones and waving the black and yellow sunburst banner of Iraq's most-feared terror organization.

'Fucking Crazies' Powell Explodes - Withdraw from Iraq Financial Times Editorializes
(September 12, 2004)
The U.S. policy in the Middle East is already a disaster of historical proportions. In a new book being published in a few days no less an authority than U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell himself is quoted describing the top neo-conservatives in the Bush administration as 'fucking crazies' during the build-up to war in Iraq.

9/11 - 'War of the Worlds'
(September 11, 2004)
Immediately when 9/11 occurred the publisher of MER was asked to quickly write about it's meaning and ramifications for the about-to-be-published October issue of a European Edition of Playboy Magazine.

9/11 began a long time ago and for very real reasons
(September 11, 2004)
Those who were reading MER six years ago were giving a prescient foretaste of what has since come, and why. This MER article was originally published on 25 August 1998. Read it now keeping in mind that what has been happening since was being caused and was foreseeable then; just as what is being done now is creating the still bleaker future now ahead if today's course in Washington is not significantly altered...and soon.

Chechnya - Crucible for Hatred and Terrorism
(September 10, 2004)
It is a genocidal war Vladimir Putin is personally responsible for more than any other. But then neither the U.S. nor the European powers nor the U.N. for that matter have had the vision, the determination, and the courage to step in. And thus the fingers of responsibility and blame should be pointing in many simultaneous directions at this time.

Israeli Spying in USA Fox Series Spiked and Covered-Up
(September 10, 2004)
AIPAC and Israel's many official and unofficial lobbyists are now mounting a major campaign to bring the FBI investigation to an end with only minor charges involving 'mishandling' of classified documents. The pressures on everyone in Washington are no doubt intense; especially in this election year. And so what happened in November 2002 should be especially instructive; and in view of the most recent charges and investigations should be resurrected:

Chechnya - Crucible for Hatred and Terrorism
(September 8, 2004)
This look back on the terribly brutal Russian war in Chechnya to prevent Chechnyan independence must be understood to be the crucible in which the horrifying events of recent days were brewed. It is a genocidal war Vladimir Putin is personally responsible for more than any other; but then neither the U.S. nor the European powers nor the U.N. for that matter have had the vision, the determination, and the courage to step in. And thus the fingers of responsibility and blame should be pointing in many simultaneous directions.

Aljazeera Caves Again
(September 8, 2004)
Coerced self-censorship and forcing the media to constantly be wary of offending the powers that be is a long-time hallmark not only in the Middle East, Russia, and China, but also in the West and the United States. The techniques and methods are different, especially when it comes to the American scene, but in many cases the results are similar.

Chechnya, Palestine, Iraq, Kashmir - Occupations All
(September 7, 2004)
Brutal occupations all -- Palestine, Chechnya, Iraq, Kashmir. All examples of when overwhelming military force is used by a major power to put down popular resistance to historical subjugation and injustice.

IsraelGate +
(September 6, 2004)
Major efforts are now underway in Washington to head off, cover up, derail, what we earlier today for the first time called ISRAELGATE. IsraelGate is potentially the most significant scandal to rock relations between the U.S. and Israel ever -- since the Lavon Affair and 1956 war when President Eisenhower faced down the Israelis, then 1967 with the attack on the U.S.S. Liberty, and then the Pollard spy affair nearly twenty years ago now. But now the stakes are much much higher than ever for the following three reasons:

ISRAELGATE!
(September 5, 2004)
Now that the new Israeli spy scandal has broken into public view, the top-level connections between the Jewish neocons at the Pentagon and the National Security Council -- among them Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, and Elliott Abrams -- the following and associated stories first published earlier this year deserve much more than a second look. They should in fact be the basis for a full-fledged journalistic investigation into what could yet be called ISRAELGATE.

Israel, Neocons, Lobby, and Spying
(September 4, 2004)
For there are those in Washington and in the media who know very well that it was the Israelis and the Jewish neocons, working in tandem, who worked relentlessly to push the U.S. into the invasion and occupation of Iraq. And there are those who are well aware that the Israelis and the Jewish neocons are now working in tandem to push and cajole the U.S. to take on Iran, Syria, and all who stand in the way of their plans for the U.S. and Israel in partnership to control the Middle East strategically, politically, and economically.

Revered Muslim Cleric Calls On Muslims To Fight The U.S.Occupier
(September 3, 2004)
"Al-Qaradawi was one of 93 prominent Muslim figures who in August called on Muslims around the world to support resistance against US forces in Iraq and its apppointed interim Iraqi government."

Bush Speaks, Eocons (Christian Evangelicals + Jewish Neocons) Rule
(September 2, 2004)
As George W. Bush prepares to outline his 'vision' and 'agenda' to the American nation tonight from besieged New York City he today published the following appeal to American Jews in The Forward newspaper. Ironically, in the same issue of The Forward, the latest Israeli and Jewish Lobby spy scandal gets much play including the additional article below:




© 2004 Mid-East Realities, All rights reserved