The following quoted text is a e-mail response by Mike Treen from Global Peace and Justice Auckland to someone who was complaining about the campaign to boycott an Israeli tennis player.
Hopefully Mike won’t get too upset with me for giving this a wider airing. It appeared in the GPJA NEWSLETTER #269, January 8, 2009 that was forwarded to me. I’d link to it, but the site appears to be down or very busy. My opinion is at the bottom of the post, but Mike Treen says it much more clearly than my initial drafts.
There is a protest assembling at 12 noon Aotea Square Auckland, Saturday 10th January for a march to US consulate.
REPLY FROM MIKE TREEN, GPJA
Hi Yael, The decision to support the international call to boycott Israel completely was not an easy one. We are aware of the impact of such boycotts on individuals academics, sportspeople, businesses some of who may oppose the policies of their government.
It grows out of a recognition that six decades after the establishment of the state of Israel the right of return of the refuges guaranteed by the United nations has not been achieved.
It is recognition that 4 decades after the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza they remain imprisoned territories without self-determination.
The Israeli state completely controls all movement into and out of these territories as well as movement within them. It assassinates whoever it decides is guilty. It imprisons thousands without trial. Two generations of Palestinian have grown up in these conditions. Israel refuses to give up control. It continues to build settlements on the West Bank. It is building a so-called separation wall imprisoning Palestinians and preventing movement. Settlers have their own roads. Water and electricity is controlled for their benefit.
Even inside Israel the discrimination against Palestinian citizens is flagrant. Spending on Jewish Israeli education per head is six times that for Palestinian Israeli’s.
This reality, in Israel and the greater Israel incorporating the occupied territories and Gaza, is what makes the Israeli state an apartheid state. That was not true in 1948. It wasn’t true in 1967. But it is true today. All adult Jewish Israeli citizens serve in the military and directly or indirectly take responsibility for ensuring that this occupation continues.
The body politic has moved progressively to the right and the official discourse in the state of Israel is now whether its own Palestinian citizens should be encouraged to leave. “I will also be able to approach the Palestinian residents of Israel, those whom we call Israeli Arabs, and tell them, ‘Your national solution lies elsewhere,'” says the so-called moderate Kadima leader Tzipi Livni.
There is no solution available within an Israeli-Palestinian dialogue alone. The relationship of forces is simply too disproportionate. Most importantly Israel has had an effective international impunity. This has allowed it to defy the UN resolutions to allow the refugees to return and withdraw from the occupied territories.
That impunity has to end with the people of the world saying we will isolate everything to do with Israel until there is not one soldier or settler forcibly occupying Palestinian land and the refugees have the right to return.
For New Zealand that means not welcoming sportspeople. It means Auckland University ending its partnership ties with Technion, an Israeli University. It means stopping Rakon from sending components used in all Israeli smart bombs. It means getting the NZ Super fund to stop investing in Israeli companies. It means cancelling Veolia’s train contract until it stops building train networks from Israel to illegal settlements.
It is a sad a regrettable fact that we have come to this position. Many people will be hurt. But nothing that happens to the official or unofficial representatives of the apartheid state can compare to the imprisonment and destruction of the Palestinian people by the Israeli state.
This e-mail resonated with me because it describes almost perfectly my opinion of the Israeli state. It cannot be described as being democratic because it is not inclusive. It is steadily drowning in its own internal contradictions based on religion and race, and the internal political landscape is fracturing on those lines. It has a steadily increasing tolerance of attacking civilians with military force by politicians, civilians, and the military.
Where it does have some level of agreement with its opponents like Fatah, it simply views that as an opportunity to abuse its position, eg new settlements and the wall. That hardly gives any reason for anyone else to trust them.
These are all charactestics of an apartheid state. Like all such states it wants you to view its victims as being terrorists rather than civilians. It wants the collateral damage inflicted by their armed forces as justifiable rather than the result of incompetence of their military and symptomatic of a failing political system.
The citizens of Israel rein in their useless politicians and start doing something to rescue their state. This current outbreak of hostilities seems to be more related to politicians trying to show how hard line they are in the current elections in Israel, than a few rockets ineffectually fired across the border.
This appears to be a dominance display between Israeli politicians. Who cares how big a politicians balls are? They should confine their displays to something less destructive and fewer victims.