News comes from the Alternative Information Centre in Jerusalem that the Knesset is to hold its first discussion of the cultural boycott. The wave of boycotts by artists – from Santana to Elvis Costello – Israelis are beginning to get the message that the civilised world doesn’t agree with the settlers theft of Palestinian land and resources in the West Bank nor the racism against Israeli Arabs – who are treated as tolerated guests at best – in Israel itself.
All the talking, agonising, breast beating and diplomacy has achieved absolutely nothing. Indeed the only ‘achievement’ of the diplomatic process, the Oslo Accords, which all these witterers praised to the heavens in 1993, has been to set back the struggle immensely. Its only creation is the Palestinian Authority, the bastard fruit of Oslo, which has created a Palestinian Police State before the State itself came into existence.
As some members of the blog will know, I and several others resigned from PSC in 1993 after an Emergency General Meeting voted to support Oslo by a 2/3 majority. Prime amongst those supporting Oslo was unfortunately Uri Davies, an Israeli who today is a member of Fateh, another unfortunate political choice. Uri’s undoubted erudition is in stark contrast to this political stupidity. In 2005 I was enticed to rejoin PSC by none other than Betty Hunter, who told me that everything had changed! Unfortunately it hadn’t, or at least not for the better.
Boycott however is something new, that has developed as a result of the successful experience of the Anti-Apartheid Struggle. As Apartheid in South Africa was coming to an end that in Israel was being entrenched. As South Africa abandoned the Homelands policy of creating Bantustans, in Israel Apartheid was being strengthened, with the creation of a watered down version of a Bantustan (or as Moshe Machover has described it, the equivalent of an Indian Reservation).
But now that Israeli politicians have woken up to the ‘danger’ of Boycott we must do our best to ensure that Boycott is indeed a danger to Zionism and Israeli Apartheid.
BDS Success: First Ever Knesset Discussion on Combating Cultural Boycott of Israel
Wednesday, 02 February 2011 16:26 Alternative Information Center (AIC)
The power of the Palestinian-led movement to boycott, divest and sanction Israel (BDS) has resulted in yet another first – a discussion of the cultural boycott on 1 February by the Education and Culture Committee of the Knesset.
Attended by representatives of the Ministries of Education and Culture, together with Israeli entertainment producers who have been financially harmed by the cultural boycott of Israel, the Education and Culture Committee discussed the topic of the boycott of Israel by international artists.
The chairperson of the committee, MK Alex Miller, of the ultra-right wing Zionist party Yisrael Beitenu, called on the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Culture and Finance to establish an inter-ministerial committee to examine how to protect producers who are harmed by artists who cancel their appearances in Israel for ideological reasons.
The discussion came in response to a wave of artist boycotts in recent months, among them Elvis Costello, Vanessa Paradis, Johnny Depp, Dustin Hoffman, and the Pixies.
The organization Boycott from Within has played a large role in encouraging artists to follow their conscience and not perform in Israel.
“BDS's non-violent and human rights based campaign urges artists not to put their stamp of approval on Israel's system of often murderous ethnic discrimination. As such, an international performance in Israel is understood amongst the Israeli public as condoning this reality and making a statement against the necessity to change it,” the group wrote in a letter to singer Macy Gray, explaining the importance of the BDS movement.
“Coming to perform in Israel has become a political act, a statement of support for the state of Israel's ongoing crimes and human rights violations. It is also an act against a rapidly growing non-violent human-rights based civil society Palestinian movement. The question remains: is this a political act you wish to take part in?” the letter said.
MK Miller announced at the meeting that he, together with MK Ronit Tirosh, of the right-wing Likud party, will be drafting legislation that provides compensation to producers. He also called on the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Culture to construct a joint strategy to deal with the phenomenon of the delegitimisation of Israel in the world of culture.
Eran Sheishon, head of the political-security team of the Reut Institute, said that campaigns must be conducted to encourage consumption of boycotted products by Jewish communities and supporters of Israel – Buycott and not Boycott, reported YNet News.