Consumers choose and hope grows

Hope grows, as we begin to gather on a common path…

Parallels are being made increasingly between global responses in the 1970s and 1980s to South African apartheid and how the world might respond to the Israeli government’s apartheid. With thanks to Maxine Kaufman-Lacusta for sharing the link from Sid Shniad,  here is an excerpt from an article by Chemi Shalev in Haaretz on 11 Dec. 2013 (here):

“Israel inches closer to ‘tipping point’ of South Africa-style boycott campaign”

“This has happened in recent days: The Dutch water company Vitens severed its ties with Israeli counterpart Mekorot; Canada’s largest Protestant church decided to boycott three Israeli companies [Sherry Ann’s note: This appears to refer to the United Church of Canada’s campaign, Unsettling Goods: Choose Peace in Palestine and Israel – an economic action in support of clear labelling of goods produced in the illegal Israeli settlements – click here]; the Romanian government refused to send any more construction workers; and American Studies Association academics are voting on a measure to sever links with Israeli universities.

Coming so shortly after the Israeli government effectively succumbed to a boycott of settlements in order to be eligible for the EU’s Horizon 2020 scientific cooperation agreement, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement is picking up speed. And the writing on the wall, if anyone missed it, only got clearer and sharper in the wake of the death of Nelson Mandela.

… When the United Nations passed its first non-binding resolution calling for a boycott of South Africa in 1962, it was staunchly opposed by a bloc of Western countries, led by Britain and the United States. But the grassroots campaign that had started with academic boycotts in the late 1950s gradually moved on to sports and entertainment and went on from there to institutional boycotts and divestment. Along the way, the anti-apartheid movement swept up larger and larger swaths of Western public opinion, eventually forcing even the most reluctant of governments, including Israel and the U.S., to join the international sanctions regime.

In a 1998 article entitled “International Norms, Dynamics and Political Change,” political scientists Martha Finnemore, now of George Washington University, and Kathryn Sikking of the University of Minnesota laid out the foundations of the “life cycle” by which certain norms develop to shape the behavior of states and then of the international community as a whole. The first step, they claim, is “norm emergence,” when a new norm is championed by NGO’s and “norm entrepreneurs.” The second stage is a “norms cascade,” when states fall into line to embrace the new norm. And a prerequisite for evolution from the first to the second stages is a “tipping point” that occurs when a critical mass of events and opinions converge to create the norms cascade.

In the case of South Africa, the first “tipping point” probably came in the Soweto riots of 1976, which sparked the protest and disinvestment campaigns that ultimately swept American universities, pension funds and multinational corporations. The second “tipping point” came after the black South African rebellion against the racist 1983 constitution and the imposition of a permanent State of Emergency in 1984-1985, which brought the rest of the world into line.

…  the only thing that may be keeping Israel from crossing the threshold and “going over the cliff” in the international arena is Kerry’s much-maligned peace process, which is holding public opinion and foreign governments at bay and preventing a “tipping point” that would dramatically escalate the anti-Israeli boycott campaign.

Which only strengthens Jeffrey Goldberg’s argument in a Bloomberg article on Wednesday that Kerry is “Israel’s best friend.” It also highlights, once again, how narrow-minded, shortsighted and dangerously delusional Kerry’s critics, peace process opponents and settlement champions really are (though you can rest assured that if and when the peace process collapses and Israel is plunged into South African isolation, they will be pointing their fingers in every direction but themselves.)”

To learn how you might choose to participate in the Unsettling Goods campaign:

Information about the campaign (here)
Choose how to participate (here)

Fact sheets regarding the three manufacturers (here): (i) Ahava; (ii) Keter Plastic; (iii) SodaStream

Letters for four Canadian retailers carrying the products of these three manufacturers (here): (a) Canadian Tire; (b) The Bay; (c) Home Depot; (d) Walmart Canada.

Map showing settlements, from Peace Now (here)

Information about the Israeli settlements (here)

Zatoun – Learn about fair trade olive oil and other products, in support of the Palestinian economy (here).

Independent Jewish Voices Canada (here)

Learn about other companies that are profiting from the Israeli government’s occupation of Palestine (here)

US Campaign to End the Occupation (here)

Canada Park – And a double standard

Interested in learning more about the history of Canada Park, built in the occupied West Bank on demolished Palestinian villages? (click here) (see my previous posting here)

Interested in hearing about “…the double standards within Canada on these issues where it’s okay to support Israeli charities even if they’re doing things contrary to international law but on the other hand it’s illegal or not allowed to support Palestinian charities”? -Yves Engler in the video, Canadian Jews oppose the Jewish National Fund (JNF) (click here)

Consider signing the following petition as circulated by Independent Jewish Voices – Canada which is “a national human rights organization whose mandate is to promote a just resolution to the dispute in Israel and Palestine through the application of international law and respect for the human rights of all parties” (from here).

Here is an excerpt of the text of the petition (here):

“The JNF is a registered charity in Canada, subsidized by Canadian taxpayers. I do not support giving tax exemptions to organizations that practice racial discrimination, and that are complicit in war crimes.

Based on the following facts, I am calling on the Minister of National Revenue to initiate the revocation of the JNF’s charitable status. JNF activities are not charitable, and its policies and actions run contrary to the Canadian Human Rights Act, Canada Revenue Agency Policy Statement CPS-021 concerning Registering Charities that Promote Racial Equality, and international law.

·         The JNF’s projects of displacement and forestation continue, particularly in the Naqab (Negev) and the Galilee. In these areas, “development” projects in which the JNF plays a central role aim to continue the forced displacement of Palestinian citizens of Israel to make way for exclusively Jewish settlements and JNF parks and forests [5]. I am appalled by the ongoing displacement of the indigenous inhabitants of the land.

In the interests of peace and justice—which have been denied the people of the region for far too long— I kindly request that the Minister of National Revenue swiftly initiate the revocation of the JNF’s charitable status.”

The IJV petition offers these additional resources:
Israel’s Discriminatory Land Policies by Stephen Lendman (2009) (click here)

-Dossier on Canada Park (click here)

-CBC’s documentary ‘A Park with No Peace: Canada Park’ (1991) (click here)

The JNF: Planting Trees or Uprooting Families? by Moriel Rothman (2011) (click here)

[5]  –Some Things Never Change: The Prawer Plan and the Legacy of the Nakba (2013) by Rabbi Alissa Wise (click here)

I choose a just peace for all on Earth, on Human Rights Day (10 Dec. 2013).

I feel sick. I have just learned about a new example of the Canadian government’s complicity in the Israeli government’s illegal occupation of Palestine. The Canadian group, Independent Jewish Voices (IJV) (click here), reports the following:

“Harper will be the first sitting Prime Minister in Canadian history to be honoured by the JNF [Jewish National Fund] at one of their fundraising galas [on 1 Dec. 2013]. A bird sanctuary—the Stephen J. Harper Hula Valley Bird Sanctuary Visitor and Education Centre—is a new JNF project that sits over the lands belonging to dispossessed Palestinian fishermen and their families, who are banned from ever returning.

‘It’s ironic that Harper is being honoured with a bird sanctuary in his name, while his government has one of the worst environmental records of any in Canadian history,’ says [Tyler] Levitan. “Does Harper care more about the Hula Valley in Israel than the Athabasca watershed in his home province of Alberta, and the enormous ecological destruction—poisoning wildlife and First Nations communities—caused by the bituminous sands?’   -For further information contact: Tyler Levitan, Campaigns Coordinator for Independent Jewish Voices – Canada, (613) 400-2550,”

As I wrote on 25 June 2011 (click here), “Lake Hula used to serve as a natural filter of [several] rivers into the Sea of Galilee (Tiberias Lake). But Lake Hula has shrunk considerably as a result of water-intensive agriculture and military (nuclear) purposes in Israel.”

On 31 March 2012 (click here), I wrote: “As a Canadian, I am embarrassed that a place (that is part of the story of the expulsion of Palestinians) in the occupied West Bank would be named Canada Park. I am moved to think about Canada’s own colonial history. I choose to listen and learn and join the global movement for justice for all….”

How will you mark Human Rights Day on 10 Dec. 2013, as a Canadian? As a global citizen?  (click here)

Why not write to Prime Minister Harper, or the Minister of Foreign Affairs, John Baird? Ask them to take a stance against the Prawer-Begin Bill that ‘promises’ to displace Bedouin citizens living in the Naqab (Negev) desert in the south of Israel. If enacted into law and implemented, the bill would result in the destruction of 35 “unrecognized” Bedouin villages in the Naqab and the forced displacement of up to 70,000 Bedouin citizens of Israel from their land and homes. To learn more, click here and here.