Sunday, June 04, 2006

Boycott not Anti-Semitism

The recent call to boycott the State of Israel by the Ontario leg of the Canadian Union of Public Employees has been called an act of anti-Semitism. Critics of the boycott include the Anti Defamation League and other Jewish organizations, while the official arguments state that Israel has the right to defend itself against the attacks from Palestinian extremists. The only problem with that is that it doesn�t differentiate between defending against an attack and an active policy of apartheid (CBC article here).

Why is it seemingly impossible for Israel to exist in peace with a citizenship of mixed peoples? Could it be possible for people from diverse faiths to live side by side without going to war? It isn�t as though this doesn�t already happen, in the country that is making the headlines. Here in Canada you can walk through any city and see people from Somalia, Egypt, Italy, and a dozen other countries, all living and working together - in peace. Why is that such a difficult thing to duplicate? Is the idea of respecting others, giving people the dignity that we all desire to receive something so difficult to comprehend that we are willing to die in ignorance, watching our friends and family die because of a hate that is older than memory itself?

Apparently some people are. Some people would rather see their world destroyed rather than share it with their enemy. They would rather die than share the land that has been �given to them�, not to share, but to hold onto themselves - even if it costs them their very lives, or the lives of their families. We must ask ourselves the question then, is land worth so much that it is worth giving up countless lives? Is the idea of retaliation becoming such that if one side kills one the other side must kill ten, and destroy the neighbourhood where the enemy came from?

That is not retaliation, it is escalation. The present state of Israeli policy towards the Palestinians treats them no better than the way the minority whites in South Africa treated their black neighbours under the system of apartheid. Is it any wonder that Israel was one of the supporters of the apartheid state? Their visions for the internal pacification of any troublemakers was remarkably similar.

That the call for a boycott of Israel could be called anti-Semitic is laughable when you consider the single most abhorrent move by the State of Israel in recent memory: the wall. During the second world war the Nazis made the Jews of Warsaw build a wall around the ghetto that they had been forced to move into. This intensely despised wall was a focal point for an oppressed population that eventually found the courage to oppose their enemy. Even though their cause was hopeless and there were very few survivours, the lessons should have been universal: it is wrong to imprison a population within a ghetto.

Segregation is wrong. Racism is wrong.

To boycott Israel is to say that you disagree with their actions, not that you are an anti-Semite. To condemn Israel is to condemn the nation, not the people. Just as we know that not every German that lived during the time of the second world war was a Nazi, not every Jewish person is a Zionist. Jews were exterminated regardless of whether or not they went to Synagogue, or kept Kosher: for the Nazis, Jews were defined by the blood that ran through their veins, not only their outward appearances.

After facing annihilation wouldn�t you think that it would be virtually impossible for Jews to have anything to do with racism and racist state policies? I have never understood how we, as a people, could ever consider accepting the way non-Jews are treated in Israel as something even remotely approaching fair. How is it fair that people who work in Jerusalem sometimes cannot get to their places of employment because they aren�t Jewish? People who have to live in certain areas because of their ethnic background - when has that ever been something that is even remotely acceptable in an enlightened society?

If being critical of the way Israel treats the Palestinians is anti-Semitic, then there are going to be plenty of anti-Semitic Jews out there - which just shows how foolish the argument is. By not opposing the actions of the new Apartheid State we share in the complicity of their crimes, as surely as though we had helped build the wall with our own hands.

To tear down the wall, to send a message for peace, we can show Israel that the world is watching and willing to withhold the financial supports that have allowed Israel to become the flower blooming in the desert.

Enough blood has been spilled in the desert, for all generations.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Brilliant thread my Son... now, the same idiots that call criticism against Istael as anti-Semitic are sayin that peace itself is anti Israeli. Go to my blog to see details.