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:
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)