Remember Captain Boycott – Boycott Israel.Baghcatáil Israel - Boycott Israel
A chairde, mo leathbhádóirí, comrades, friends, even if you don’t have time or the inclination to read the rest of this article, please join the BOYCOTT, DIVESTMENT AND SANCTIONS movement. It will make a difference – scaip an scéal- spread the word. Go to –
Má thaispeánann achan nduine a léann an t-alt seo do cúigear Gael eile agus ar aghaidh mar sin, tá gluaiseacht againn.
If every person who reads this article shows it to five others and gives the same message, we have a movement.
DEPARTING US PRESIDENT GEORGE W BUSH GETS IN HIS RETALIATION ON THE WOMEN AND CHILDREN OF GAZA BEFORE LEAVING OFFICE
(50.000 Gaza children suffered malnutrition from Israeli blockade BEFORE Israeli attack – UN Report.)
One of my first resolutions for 2009 was to write a blog about the beauty of grammar (yes I know sad isn’t it – but wait till you see the article!). There were also a number of other topics close to my heart, all of which I wanted to share with you before the end of January. Then, with mounting dread, I watched the build up and final Israeli troop invasion of the Gaza strip and I was left paralysed, unable even to think properly never mind write. As the illegal and indiscriminate phosphorous bombs drizzled lazily over the population areas of Gaza and F16 fighter planes (provided by the West) screamed over quaking, impoverished Arabs before dropping their high grade explosives, I simply could not speak. However, the picture you see above of George Bush awarding a peace prize to Tony Blair was not only something that made me feel physically sick but also galvanised my brain to actually set my thoughts and my anger down on paper. We must right now, from this very minute, and regardless of any short term lull in Israeli aggression, subject Israel to an economic and cultural boycott. Because of our huge numbers, Irish people the world over can play a huge part in relieving the suffering of the Palestinian people if we adopt the boycott strategy en masse.
The state of Israel.
Just like the Unionists in the North of Ireland (who have always professed their admiration of Israel), Jews in Greater Palestine have a right, I believe, to profess their faith and identity. However, they do not have the right to oppress and subjugate those people who share that same territory and have an equal claim (and in certain areas a far more valid claim) to its resources. They do not have the right to play the role of a latter day redneck law maker in the middle east.
Anti Semitism is usually defined as hostility towards Jews or their religion. Is it always an anti Semitic act to criticise Israel? The answer is of course no, but because of the horrors of the holocaust, where we saw for the first time the conscious attempt to exterminate a whole race via a factory conveyor belt method, many people, myself included, are understandably wary of criticising the Jewish race. I was once a very active anti Nazi and anti fascist campaigner, partly for the very reason that I could not stand idly by and watch Nazism re-emerge after the holocaust. I believed, and still believe, that Nazis should be physically opposed in the streets if the state is not willing to carry out its responsibilities in that regard, so spare me the lecture about my lack of concern about the holocaust.
THE ARGUMENTS FOR A BOYCOTT
I reached my conclusion about a boycott before reading Naomi Klein’s article calling for the very same thing in the Guardian last week (10th Jan 2009) see –
Naomi Klein (she of No Logo fame) points out that all reasonable measures have been tried in efforts, firstly, to get Israel to observe international law and secondly to secure the most basic rights and protection for Palestinians living under Israeli occupation. Despite these efforts, however, Israel has pushed ahead not only with a long term policy of aggression right across the region (against Lebanon and Iran for example) but also with illegal land appropriations and settlements in Palestine, an outrageous blockade of one of the most impoverished places on the planet (the Gaza strip) and finally a brutal assault on that same area. This latest assault has little to do with the firing of rockets into Israel from the Gaza side and much more to do with an approaching election in Israel and the underlying fear that a brutal occupier will always have of the people it is subjugating. The fact is that the illegal blockade of Gaza has gone on for years and was openly acknowledged by Israel as a collective punishment on the people of Gaza for having the audacity to oust the corrupt Fatah led Palestinian Authority and replace it with the militant and Hizbollah linked Hamas in June 2007. One other important factor, is that the Israeli government probably assumed that if it wanted to hand further punishment to the people of the Gaza strip, it needed to do so before Barack Obama took office. Obama’s room for manoeuvre has already been tied by Israel’s actions.
Israel’s ever tightening blockade stopped all but the most basic of foodstuffs and commercial items from entering Gaza and whilst the implications for malnutrition are obvious it is also clear that this policy had the effect of strangling any business life, or potential for commercial growth, in the Gaza strip. An Israeli military official described this policy as “No Progress, No Development and No Humanitarian Crisis”. Well, if that last point ever stood up to scrutiny it certainly does not now. Israel’s policy has been to encircle Gaza’s major population areas and then bombard alleged Hamas positions in those densely populated areas, with the added factor that the residents under siege have nowhere else to go. They are right in the line of fire, which is why a large number of those being killed are women, children and babies. Irish and British newspapers have understandably reacted with emotion when reporting IRA operations which have led to civilian deaths. Where is that emotion now, when we are witnessing a much worse and clearly deliberate onslaught night after night?
From what I have read so far, the best piece to read on the invasion and its background is Eric S Margolis’s syndicated article which I first saw on Al Jazeera’s website. This article, whilst putting the Israeli case quite well, demolishes that same case with devastating clarity. The only quibble I would have with Margolis’s argument is where he says that Hamas seeks to establish a secular authority in Palestine, although I stand to be corrected on that issue.
You can read his piece at
Very briefly, whilst condemning the firing of feeble rockets into Israel, Margolis points out that the massively disproportionate Israeli response is like “shooting fish in a barrel”. The biblical image of David with his sling fighting against Goliath also comes to mind and ironically it is the Jewish state that has created this image with Hamas playing the role of David. However, Israel will not care about this image and the widespread public anger as long as they get the backing of western governments. Naomi Klein shows exactly how well Israel has been supported during the time of the blockade with all the weaponry it says it needs and an annual $3Bn subvention from the USA being augmented by finance and trade agreements with a host of other countries. To illustrate further Israel’s privileged status whilst it has pursued a policy of mass starvation in the Gaza strip, as recently as last month, December 08, the EU upgraded its diplomatic relations with the Jewish state, although this decision may now be vetoed. So there is basically no pressure on Israel to change its disastrous policies and if that is the case it is down to ordinary people to create that pressure. In my view, the Irish can be particularly influential in that regard. Scaip an Scéal - Spread the word!
THE MECHANICS OF A BOYCOTT
As most of you will know, the word boycott took on its present meaning from the context of Ireland's struggle against occupation. In that sense it is an Irish word see -
It is extremely important that we explain the derivation of this word whilst taking part in this campaign; one, because it reminds us and the international community of our own history and how closely we sit in historical terms with the Palestinians, and two because the story of what happened to Captain Boycott is a perfect example of how Israel should be treated.
Captain Boycott, an estate manager for a very wealthy absentee landlord in Ireland, refused to charge lower rents as demanded by Parnell’s Land League and ejected his tenants . At this point, Boycott and his family found themselves completely ostracised, without servants, farmhands, service in stores, or mail delivery. Boycott's name was quickly adopted as the term for this treatment, not just in English but in other languages such as French, Dutch, German, and Russian.
As Irish citizens expressing an understanding of our own history, we in our millions across the world need to act now. Remember Captain Boycott – Boycott Israel.