July 15, 2010
Real News Network’s senior editor Paul Jay interviews economist Shir Hever on the growing and increasingly effective boycott movement.
Shir Hever: Basically, it’s a movement that comes from people who support it not because they love Palestinians. It’s not because they feel a special affinity with the Palestinian people in particular — although that also exists of course — but mostly because these people feel that there is a connection between what happens in Palestine, what happens in the Middle East, and their own lives. Because… Israel is a kind of factory for repression and mechanisms of repression that are being sold to other countries in the world, and mechanisms that are used against Palestinians are often replicated and used against citizens of other countries by their governments because they have already been tested on Palestinians as kind of guinea pigs, if you want. And so the boycott movement is also a way for people to voice their dissatisfaction with their governments. Why are their governments enabling Israel, allowing Israel, to continue to violate international law, to develop and create weapons of mass destruction illegally, to deny Palestinians citizenship and democracy and to incarcerate a million and a half people in the Gaza Strip in conditions of utter poverty where their only means of sustenance is aid from the international community? Why should the international community allow this?…
Paul Jay: So far, the boycott movement, what effect is it having on the Israeli economy?
Hever: The effect is hidden by the Israeli various bureaus of statistics and the manufacturers association for example. There was one survey for example that showed 21% of Israeli exporters reported on average 10% loss of income because of the boycott which was related specifically to the attack on Gaza in 2008-2009. But this report was censored. This report was removed from… was never published, was only leaked to the media once and it’s impossible to get it because the manufacturers association know if that information reaches people who support the boycott movement, that will empower them and give them more confidence to continue their efforts.
Hebron: Israeli forces fired percussion grenades directly at two journalists on Saturday, hitting them in the face and back during a Beit Ummar protest against continued land confiscations by a nearby Israeli settlement.
A third photojournalist was physically assaulted by armed Israeli personnel, and was taken to hospital for treatment by Red Crescent Paramedics.
Medics said Reuters photojournalist Abed Khweisa was treated checked for facial bone fractures after a sound bomb hit him in the cheek, while DPA photographer Abdul-Hafidh Hashlamoun was treated for bruises on his back after being struck by a second canister shot from a high-velocity launcher.
Hazim Badr, medics said, was beaten by soldiers and treated for bruises. All three said they were covering the protest when they were targeted.
One protester was reported injured, identified as 43-year-old Ahmad Khalil Abu Hashim, secretary-general of the local anti-land confiscation committee.
An Israeli military spokesman said soldiers were dispatched to the area when the protesters approached the perimeter fence surrounding the illegal Karmi Tzur settlement, and “responded with riot dispersal means when protesters began hurling rocks” at the soldiers.
Addressing a question about the targeting of members of the press, the spokesman said “anyone who chooses to be present at violent riots … does so at their own risk.”
In a swiftly-issued condemnation of the assault, the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate released a statement saying (PJS) a fourth journalist, Eyad Hamad with the AP, was detained “for few hours,” and said soldiers had damaged his camera.
The military spokesman confirmed that one “civilian who stood with the rioters” was taken in for questioning and released.
The society said it “condemns this attack and urges local, regional and international advocates of press freedom and human rights to pressure Israel to stop its attacks on Palestinian journalists.”
Hebron: Israeli border police demolished a rainwater cistern and removed irrigation pipes from several Palestinian fields in Al Beqa’a Valley just east of Hebron on July 14, 2010, the second day of incidents in the area this month.
When international peace activists from Christian Peacemaker Teams arrived in the area at 9:30am, the large bagger that had been used to break up the concrete of the cistern was just leaving the site. The driver of a large tractor lifted scoops full of rocks and dumped them into the demolished cistern. Also, workers cut and disposed of irrigation pipes laid in two fields. The fields each measured 10 dunams (approximately 40 acres). One was a field of grape vines and the other field had tomatoes planted under grape vines. In addition to dismantling the irrigation pipes, the workers also cut the twines that were holding up tomato plants. At least seven families will be affected by this destruction, in total about 50 people.
A Palestinian friend of CPT who lives in Al Beqa’a Valley explained the difficulties residents have in accessing water. A water line has been install by the Palestinian Authority from a nearby village; however, there is no water in the line. There is a large aquiver of water in the Hebron region, and Mekorot, the Israeli water company, has a well along the Israeli bypass road Route 60 in Al Beqa’a Valley which draws from this aquiver (in Area C, which is under full Israeli military control). Palestinian residents in Al Beqa’a Valley had made arrangements to purchase water from Mekorot. However, they never received as much water as they paid for. With the demolition of several rainwater cisterns in the valley in the past year, the Palestinian residents felt that they had no other option but to tap into the Mekorot water line at the well site.
Palestinians alleged that some of the Israelis that were with the border police and DCO on July 14th were from the Mekorot Company. Rather than preventing Palestinians from taping into the well at the source, the Israeli authorities destroyed the irrigation pipes in the fields of several families. Each 200m roll of irrigation drip pipe costs about 370NIS (~100$US), and the connection piping costs about 2.5NIS for each inch. For each dunam of vegetables it takes about 2-3 days to put the irrigation drip piping in place. The cost of the materials and time that goes into growing produce is high. Rather than prevent the ‘theft’ of water (which is ironically from an aquiver under Palestine) earlier in the season, the Israeli authorities instead waited until crops were almost ready for market. Therefore this destruction is not meant to stop the ‘theft’ of water but to cause the highest impact on farmers in the region.
Occasionally someone asks why I often carry on about Israel and America. My response: Israel continues to break all the rules of respectable national behaviour with unabashed US support.
The only way to stop that? Have truth reach enough people about American support for Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians and using American warmongers to advance Israel’s destructive goals.
The relationship between Israel and the US becomes more disgusting every day. That’s an opinion shared by scholars and commentators who are often ignored by the mainstream media.
According to Professor Norman Finklestein, “Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussing their countries’ foreign relations resembles two lovers discussing their future together.”
Founder and CEO of Main Street Advisors, Paul Wachter, reports that “A New York Times investigation revealed that the U.S. Treasury is helping to promote illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank by granting tax exemptions to U.S. groups that funnel money into them. These specific settlements aren’t only illegal under international law, but also under Israeli law.”
Who pays? The American taxpayer. Who suffers? America and the rest of the world.
Revealing the capacity of Zioncon propaganda to brainwash the American public, UPI reports, “One-third, 33 percent, say the seven-year war in Iraq has been a success, 36 percent say it is a failure and 31 percent are unsure.”
It’s now perfectly clear that Israel promoted the bombing, invasion and occupation of Iraq based on fraudulent intelligence. Despite that fact, one-third of Americans believe it has been a success.
Has the cost of more than a trillion dollars to American taxpayers been a successful part of the Iraq fiasco?
On another issue, the Obama administration makes it clear that they believe “Israel has the right to nuclear capability for deterrence purposes.”
Haaretz correspondent Barak Ravid writes, “”The president [Obama] told the prime minister [Netanyahu] he recognizes that Israel must always have the ability to defend itself, by itself, against any threat or possible combination of threats, and that only Israel can determine its security needs.”
When will the US learn that Israel’s “nuclear capacity” does not deter? It incites.
There’s no doubt that America has cooperated with Israel’s nuclear development, technically and financially. Israel has thumbed its nose at all requests that they sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.
Equally bad is the news that ‘Citizens Action to Dismantle Nuclear Weapons Completely’ has prepared a 33-page report showing the presence of tens of tons of depleted uranium in the Gaza Strip, where its insidious radiation has long-term effects.
TBR News has reported that Comverse Infosys, a subsidiary of an Israeli-run private telecommunications firm, has offices throughout the U.S. It provides wiretapping equipment for law enforcement.
TBR News says, “Investigative reports also indicate that these offices have been and are being used as bases for intelligence operations directed against the United States via the Mossad agents working in this country.”
Operatives from Israel’s spy agency Mossad operate freely in America as spies for Israel. When caught, they are quietly released and deported. Israelis have even operated freely in the Pentagon, headquarters of the U.S. Defence Department.
According to Karen Kwiatkowski, former Political-Military Affairs Officer at the Pentagon, “high clearances were granted to Israelis and Likudniks who would march through the halls of the Pentagon.”
What about the leaders? Professor Adel Safty pinpoints “the changing nature of the relationship between Netanyahu and Obama from public confrontation to cordiality, public praise, and various demonstrations of American support for Israel…”
Will the public ever tire of the sick US-Israel love affair?
Paul J. Balles is a retired American university professor and freelance writer who has lived in the Middle East for many years. For more information, see http://www.pballes.com.
Here’s a particularly illustrative example of how The New York Times‘ editorial policy — it cannot be “torture” if the United States does it — obfuscates the truth and actively bolsters government propaganda. There are countless examples like this, but this one is unusually stark, especially since these two episodes occur within one day of each other:
A former Bush Justice Department official who approved brutal interrogation methods by the C.I.A. has told Congress that he never authorized several other rough tactics reportedly inflicted on terrorism suspects — including prolonged shackling to a ceiling and repeated beatings.
So in NYT World, even shackling helpless detainees to the ceiling for prolonged periods and repeatedly beating them is not “torture,” but are rather merely “rough tactics” or “brutal interrogation methods” . . . if it’s high-level U.S. government officials who have authorized them. But, from a NYT article yesterday:
[A] federal appeals court last week ordered the United States to provide a haven for a woman facing the likelihood of torture in China. . . . Others named in the same warrant and caught by the Chinese police had described beatings, suffocation, electric shocks, sleep deprivation and other forms of torture to get them to disclose details about the human rights group to which they all belonged.
Many of the same tactics used by the U.S. are magically transformed into unambiguous “torture” when used by China, notwithstanding the categorical denials by the Chinese Government that the tactics they use ever rise to the level of “torture”. Torture, by definition, is something U.S. officials do not authorize; it’s only what those Evil Other Governments do. That’s the propagandistic message delivered over and over to Americans not only by the government officials who did it, but by The New York Times as well. Meanwhile, Bill Keller — the editor responsible for these nationalistic editorial double standards, as well as for the strained, government-pleasing euphemisms he forces on his reporters (“rough tactics”) — accuses anyone who objects (rather than himself) of “tendentious political correctness.” Isn’t it classic propaganda to use one set of words for what Other Countries do, but completely different words for what your own country does?