On the Proposed EU Boycott of the Yesha
May 22, 2012 6 Comments
Israeli settlements are one of those things considered beyond respectability by international community and foreign observers. Even most of Israel’s supporters will issue condemnations of the enterprise, or at least the extent of them. Settlements are seen as an ogre, a villainous enterprise, as beloved as the Child Catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
I have respectable acquaintances that boycott goods produced by settlers, some of whom I would describe as in no way anti-Zionist or anti-Jewish. They may not be reflective of the type of people that generally boycott such goods, but I actually respect their decision. I don’t want Israel to continue ruling over a people that don’t want them there, a situation that has brought out the worst in some Israelis and is a massive burden on the populace (let alone the legitimate grievances this situation creates for the Arabs).
I don’t support efforts by anyone who boycotts anything Israeli or tries to blacklist the country. I believe its fair to say that the majority of those who do so are utter swine; the sinister scum of the earth, whether they be misguided Communists or demented Islamists. Firstly, and most importantly, a peace process needs to be inclusive, not focused on demonizing one side. Then there are plenty of other overlooked aspects of boycotts directed at Israel. Israelis are very aware of being singled out, which increases the popularity of the right-wing and more nationalists parties who present themselves as better protectors of the nation. Thanks, Western leftists! Looking at the statistics, it seems the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign hasn’t much of an effect either way. Israeli exports are going strong, and stronger every year. Its the boycotters themselves who have gotten poorer by depriving themselves of alternate voices; for instance, from the ban on speakers who defend Israel in many European universities.
Now, on May 15th of this year Eamon Gilmore, the Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs, suggested he may lobby for an EU-wide ban of Israeli settlement goods. While I may not have a problem with reasonable individuals with decent intentions boycotting settlement goods, for a number of reasons I do not support this state effort. As a libertarian, I don’t want any government making demands on another unless the countries in question are in an actual conflict with each other. Governments also shouldn’t be deciding what I can or cannot buy in stores or import from elsewhere. This is particularly true when there is no such boycott directed against other countries with similar problems, from Turkish-occupied Cyprus, Western Sahara, Tibet and China or West Papua New Guinea. Justice cannot be administered in a checkerboard manner.
It must also be said that the situation with settlements is not as black and white as some make it out to be. There are areas within the territories captured by Israel in 1967 that make far more sense to be in the Jewish State, such as the Western Wall, Mount Scopus (the original home of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem) and the Jewish Quarter of the Old City. Mount Scopus was actually agreed to be Israeli territory in the 1949 Armistice Agreement, but was cut off from Israel by the Jordanians contrary to the deal. UN officers and Israeli police were fired upon and killed trying to reach it. There are Jewish holy sites in the region that are in serious danger without Israeli or some other kind of supervision. Joseph’s Tomb has been set on fire by Arab mobs, and Jewish worshipers have been shot by Palestinian police there in recent years. There may need to be an area of Hevron set aside for Jewish pilgrims no matter what kind of peace settlement occurs. The idea of land swaps between Israel and a future Palestinian state have been agreed upon by all sides already. This would incorporate some settlement blocs into Israel, such as Gush Etzion (which existed prior to 1848) in exchange for predominantly Arab areas of Israel.
Withdrawal from the territories may be desirable, but it cannot be done in a way that will require Israeli incursion there in the future, should it become a base for missile attacks against vulnerable targets within Israel; particularly the Gush Dan region and Ben Gurion Airport.
Thus, for the sake of small, unintrusive government and a sensible peace process, I heartily recommend signing the below petition against this proposed boycott. This is a recently-started second petition, to replace one that passed 1000 signatures in the last few days but was removed for reasons not yet known.
UPDATE (May 23rd): It appears that Avaaz, the site that hosted the original petition before it was removed, is part of the Soros Shadow Empire and should not be confused with normal petition sites that host grassroots demands for change.