What Is Behind Salam Fayyad’s Call for "Economic Intifada"?

December 21, 2012
Khaled Abu Toameh

Instead of seeking way to solve the financial crisis, Fayyad chose to call on Palestinians to boycott all Israeli goods. He is hoping that by calling for an economic intifada, he will succeed in diverting the anger and frustration on the Palestinian street outward to Israel. This has always been the Palestinian Authority’s way of avoiding responsibility for anything that goes wrong — by putting all the blame on Israel.

Salam Fayyad, the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, this week called for an economic intifada against Israel.
Fayyad, whose government is facing a severe financial crisis, wants Palestinians to boycott all Israeli goods in response to Israel’s decision to seize tax revenues belonging to the Palestinian Authority.
The revenues were seized and transferred to the Israel Electric Company to cover Palestinians’ debts to the firm.

Fayyad is angry because the Israel Electric Company finally collected its debts from Palestinian consumers. Speaking to Palestinian reporters in Ramallah, he denounced the transfer of the funds to the company as “illegal and immoral.”
Fayyad knows better than anyone else that, for various reasons, many Palestinians have not been paying their electricity bills.
Many Palestinians refuse to pay water, electricity and other bills because they believe the international community, primarily the Americans and Europeans, should be covering all their expenses. Others refuse to pay because they believe the money eventually falls into the hands of corrupt Palestinian Authority officials.
Earlier this year, the Palestinian Authority announced a series of measures to persuade Palestinian consumers to pay their electricity bills, but to no avail. The Palestinian Authority even announced a new law that allows it to imprison any Palestinian who is caught practicing the widespread phenomenon of “electricity theft.”
Because of the financial crisis, Fayyad’s government has also failed to pay full salaries to its employees, sparking a two-day general strike of the public sector in the West Bank.
The transfer of funds to the Israel Electric Company, and the Arab world’s failure to fulfill promises to support the Palestinian Authority financially, have created a severe financial crisis in the Palestinian Authority.
This is not the first time that Arab countries lie to Palestinians. Over the past two decades, Arab nations have promised the Palestinians billions of dollars in aid. But, according to officials in Ramallah, the Palestinians have received less than 10% of what they had been promised.
Instead of seeking ways to solve the crisis, however, Fayyad chose to call on Palestinians to boycott all Israeli goods. How does that help solve the financial crisis? Fayyad did not have an answer. He just wants to punish Israel for collecting on the debt for the electricity bills.
He is hoping that by calling for an economic intifada, he will succeed in diverting growing anger and frustration on the Palestinian street towards the Israelis. This has always been the Palestinian Authority’s way of avoiding responsibility for anything that goes wrong — by putting all the blame on Israel.
Fayyad wants Palestinians to boycott Israel, but at the same time is unable to provide them with better alternatives. Does he really think that Palestinians will stop buying Israeli-manufactured medicine, for example?
As one Palestinian public servant asked, “How can our prime minister ask us to boycott Israeli goods when we can’t even afford to purchase Palestinian goods because he’s not paying us our salaries?”
Added another Palestinian who has been working as a school teacher for 25 years: “If Fayyad wants us to boycott Israel, why doesn’t he himself set an example? Why is he living in Jerusalem, under Israeli rule, and enjoying, together with his family, most privileges offered to Israeli citizens? Today, I’m ready to go and work in an Israeli settlement to feed my children and I don’t care whether Fayyad likes it or not.”


The European boycott of the ‘settlements’ and the Nazi boycott of Jews

December 7, 2012

Giulio Meotti points out some very scary parallels between the Nazi boycott of Jewish businesses in Germany in the 1930’s and the European boycott of ‘settlement goods’ in our own time.

We obtained a copy of the document just released by the Europen Union with a list of the Israeli locations beyond the Green Line.
The document is meant to support “the exclusion of settlement goods from preferential treatment”. It’s a very detailed list of all the Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria which must be isolated, targeted and boycotted, including the postal code and the name of the city, village or industrial zone where production conferring status has taken place appear on all proofs of preferential origin issued or made out in Israel.
A note clearly states: “Operators are advised to consult the list before lodging a customs declaration for releasing goods for free circulation in support of which they intend to provide proof of preferential origin issued or made out in Israel. If they find the postal code appearing on the proof of origin in their possession in the list of non-eligible locations, they should refrain from claiming preference”. The communities listed are non eligible for duty-free status under the 1995 EU-Israel Free Trade Agreement.
There is also the correct spelling in Hebrew, from Merom Golan to Beit El, Sha’arei Tikva and Elkana, Alfei Menashe and Bracha, Halamish (“also named Neve Tzuf”) and Kiryat Arba, Psagot and Ofra.
This boycott blacklist not only violates international free trade, it is an obstacle to Mideast coexistence and constitutes the revival of racism.

The EU boycott is reminiscent of the 1933 first Nazi boycott of Jews, in which youth held posters in German and English urging the boycott: “Germans, defend yourselves against Jewish atrocity propaganda.”

The poster of the boycott lobby now says: “Europeans, defend yourselves against Israeli atrocity propaganda.” Where is the difference?
There is also the same feeling of helplessness expressed by the great philolog Viktor Klemperer, a witness of the Nazi boycott: “The boycott begins tomorrow. Yellow placards, men on guard. Pressure to pay Christian employees two months salary, to dismiss Jewish ones. No reply to the impressive letter of the Jews to the President of the Reich and to the government. No one dares make a move”.

Replace placards with labels, Christian with European and Jewish with Israeli. No one dares make a move.


Another Upcoming South African Attack on Israel

September 4, 2012
(my right word) Following the labeling move of agricultural produce and manufactured goods from Yesha, South Africa moves yet to another front in the Cognitive Combat Campaign:

Call for Papers: Jews, Colonialism and Postcolonialism

University of Cape Town, 2-4 January 2013
This international and interdisciplinary Conference is jointly organised by the Isaac and Jessie Kaplan Centre for Jewish Studies and Research (University of Cape Town), the Parkes Institute for the Study of Jewish/non-Jewish Relations (University of Southampton), and the Department of Hebrew, Biblical and Jewish Studies (University of Sydney).

The conference seeks to explore the connections and intersections between Jews, colonialism, and postcolonialism. The existing scholarly literature, mainly following the work of Paul Gilroy, has begun to recognise this conjunction in a variety of ways whether in relation to ‘multidirectional memory’ (Michael Rothberg), ‘the crisis of postcolonial culture’ (Aamir Mufti), or the exclusions of ‘disciplinary thinking’ (Bryan Cheyette). But there is still a need to bring together these sometimes contradictory approaches and to begin to constitute this topic as a new field of comparative studies.

Proposals are welcome from those who want to promote theoretical engagement between Jewish and postcolonial studies as well as those providing more detailed case studies – including from all periods and all places – relating to the history, sociology, and anthropology of Jews (as both ‘white’ and ‘not quite’) in relation to colonialism and postcolonialism. This conference is part of a growing attempt to explore the substantial ways in which these fields inform each other. We welcome papers – theoretical and case studies – covering all chronologies and locations, including discussions of Jews in imperial contexts from antiquity to the present day. Papers are also welcome on how these tensions and intersections have been articulated in the cultural sphere, including, for example, art, film, literature, museums, music and television.

We have been warned


BDS organizers get sued by Lebanese businessman!

October 19, 2011
(h/t EOZ and Dan)FromAl Akhbar:Lebanese anti-Israel activists are being sued by a concert promoter for their boycott campaign against a popular British rock group. Samah Idriss, director of Dar al-Adab publishing house, received a court summons this Thursday from Beirut’s commerce court. Idriss is implicated in a lawsuit for his involvement in a Lebanese boycott campaign against the British rock group Placebo last year. Jihad el-Murr, who heads the company that organized the event, filed the suit on 10 July 2011. El-Murr is suing Idriss, as well as three other groups involved in the campaign: the Aidoun Refugee Rights Center, the Campaign to Boycott the Supporters of Israel in Lebanon, and the Global BDS Campaign in Lebanon. El-Murr, a self-described famous businessman from a prominent family, is demanding US$180,000 compensation for his company’s financial losses allegedly caused by the boycott campaign.Lebanese activists called for the boycott in protest of Placebo’s performance in Tel Aviv four days before their concert in Beirut, that was scheduled for 9 June 2010 at the Forum de Beirut. Only in July 2011, a year after the event took place, did el-Murr notice the ‘financial losses’ he claims were caused by the campaign. He called the campaign against cultural normalization with Israel both “malicious and deceptive.” El-Murr argues that the 1955 Lebanese law supporting a limited boycott of Israel does not apply to the Placebo concert. “The famous rock band does not even deal with politics,” he added.El Murr described the boycotts as “ridiculous” last year.Placebo played in Israel on June 5th, and they did play in Beirut on June 9
It does not appear that the boycott effort in Lebanon had any effect because the concert hall in Beirut looks pretty full to me:
Which is a win-win – the Lebanese roundly ignored the BDSers and the only way for the BDSers to counter the lawsuit would be for them to admit that their efforts were fruitless!
it’s funny… but I really could care less about any loss of money in Lebanon because of BDS.

Lush Cosmetics: a Case Study in Hypocrisy

September 17, 2011
LUSH Staff Bare-All photo
….images from some Tree Hugger hypocrite…
LUSH Staff Bare-All photo
(Hudson-NY.org) The popular multinational handmade cosmetics company known as Lush loves to portray itself as an upstanding corporate citizen, allying itself with all sorts of feel-good causes and social movements. It boycotts Israel, supports extremist animal rights groups and now the latest: a campaign to attack Canada’s oil sands development, which Lush has labelled “the most destructive project on Earth.”You’re probably asking yourself – as I did – how a soap company has the authority to get involved in a Canadian energy project, particularly when it has no specific expertise in the field and no hard facts to support its public relations crusade. If you haven’t heard about Lush and its holier-than-thou moral crusades, you should – because a close examination of its record lays bare a stunning lack of consistency, and hypocrisy of the highest degree. Lush has no authority to give ethical lectures to anyone.
Aside from the boycott of Canadian oil, Lush has participated in the Palestinian Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions campaign against Israel for the past six years. The company said in July that it wanted “everyone in the country where we are trading to be on an equal footing as far as basic human rights go.” As noted by Shiraz Maher in an earlier article, this statement is false. Israel is unfairly categorized as an unequal state even though it is the only democracy in the Middle East.
And even if true, why has Lush opened stores in Saudi Arabia and Sri Lanka – two very “unequal” states with disastrous human rights records? Lush hasn’t attack Saudi Arabia for not letting women drive cars or for jailing homosexuals. Lush didn’t criticize Sri Lanka when the government ethnically cleansed about 20,000 Tamils, either. It is the same hypocrisy at play with their campaign against Canadian oil. The oil sands project is a concrete step toward reducing dependence on foreign oil from corrupt, oppressive regimes – a liberation from supporting tyrants that Americans need and want.
Canada currently provides 20% of America’s oil supply (nearly a million barrels a day) — and it could supply more from the oil sands going forward. Denigration of the project puts that hope at risk and merely helps continue the reliance on serial human rights violators such as Saudi Arabia, as Alykhan Velshi, founder of the Web site Ethicaloil.org, has pointed out. Similar to the folks at Amnesty International, Lush seems to attack Canada simply because it is open and transparent – in other words, an easy target.

tar sands canada photoLush knows that few people will speak out against what they are doing, and that nary a peep of pushback is likely to come from the Canadian government. As a result, Lush will continue to look good in the eyes of feel-good, save-the-planet-type consumers who feel they are buying from a benevolent organization rather than a giant, rich corporation. The outcome is more profits for Middle Easterm oligarchs as gullible customers flock to buy Lush products. Lush has to be held accountable and demand answers. When confronted with the EthicalOil.org charge of hypocrisy, Sean Gifford, Lush’s “campaign manager,” answered that the company is concerned about women’s rights in the Middle East but that it is prevented from speaking out because of the Kingdom’s restrictions on free speech. How principled. Whether intentional or not, Gifford exposed something important in that response: if a country has restrictions on free speech, Lush will not say a word. They will open stores anyway, so long as it is profitable. There is nothing wrong with a company trying to make more money, of course. But it is unacceptable when that same company is castigating Canada and Israel for being open and honest and at the same time, turning a blind eye to the Saudis and other human rights violators. The Lush hypocrisy doesn’t stop there. It also supports Plane Stupid, an anti-air travel group — yet Mark Constantine, the company’s co-founder and CEO, flies on planes and Lush has several stores in airport terminals. People of conscience who care about human rights and respect for women ought to do the exact opposite of what Lush preaches – support the development of the oil sands and, most importantly: stop buying their products.



Famous French luggage maker DELSEY excludes Israel from its Website

August 8, 2011

Similar situation with Nivea in Germany: Nivea website excludes Israel, includes “Palestine Territories”
A reader left this message on Philosémitisme:
“Hi, I came across a similar situation with the international Website of the French luggage-maker Delsey (http://www.delsey.com/stores/). After lodging a complaint and some adverse publicity, Israel was reintegrated (I believe I still have the e-mail with their apologies). It now seems that it was not enough because I have just checked their site and yet again Israel does not feature on their country list. […]”
Indeed, the famous French luggage creator Delsey sells its products in Israel (Delsey Israel/Facebook) but Israel is not on their list, which has many countries among which … Sudan, Libya, la Syria, Saudi Arabia etc (screenshots below). In spite of our reader’s complaint, Delsey who had put the State of Israel on their country list and offered apologies, has (probably under commercial pressure by you know which “lobby”) removed it again. Should we conclude that Delsey does not have a dealer in Israël but has one in a failed State like Sudan?
You can contact them (US/Canada offices): delseyusa@delseyluggage.net

time to send this company packing


Noam Sheizaf: Palestinian Arabs forced to buy Chanukah candy!

July 19, 2011
Noam Sheizaf said:
Back to planet Earth: Israel controls the economy of the West Bank and Gaza. Israel decides what goods are let in and out, just as it has most of the control over electric power and water in the territories. This is called “the occupation,” something that EOZ and the likes of him have yet to hear about.

If that is true, wouldn’t one expect to see a certain reluctance about selling Israeli goods in their supermarkets? Wouldn’t one expect that only Israeli staples would be sold, but unnecessary snack items would be eschewed? Wouldn’t one expect that outraged Palestinian Arabs would insist that non-essential items be – boycotted?
Yet in this Gaza supermarket, goods from Osem (for example) are not only sold – but the Hebrew logo is prominently displayed! It is almost as if the shopkeepers want to sell Israeli items to their poor, deprived Gaza customers!

The Israeli ice cream is not hidden by the embarrassed store owners in the back of the store. On the contrary, even the Hebrew display graphics are prominently featured:

And, yes, the Chanukah chocolate coins – complete with a menorah prominently stamped – are not being burned in a bonfire at a Gaza square, but are being sold to unsuspecting Arab victims of Israeli hegemony!