We are inspired now to put a halt to the arguments that call for a selective boycott of Israel, and to those voices which warn us Palestinians (and many internationalists, for that matter) who criticise Israel for fear of being labelled ‘anti-semites’ (although we are Semites). We challenge politicians who call for yet another round of talks (proximity or otherwise) on the Palestine/Israel question. Shall we count how many of these talks have we had in the last 62 years?
A boycott cannot be selective anymore. As Mr Kassis wrote: “The occupation is not a random onslaught of power, and it isn’t conducted on some remote soil: it is a complete matrix of control, a strategic, consistent, deliberate, historically constructed, externally condoned…” and, lest we forget, perpetrated on Palestinian land.
The point being missed by many calling for a selective boycott is that the decisions being made inside Israel, inside the OPT and throughout historic Palestine, are made by the Zionist leadership and its collaborators, whose aim is the total annexation, occupation and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian territories, not just post UNRES 181, not just post the Armistice Lines of 1949, not just post the 1967 conquests, but throughout historic Palestine.
The last 62 years of illegal Zionist conquest and occupation, cannot be swept aside by simply agreeing to a temporary status-quo pending final status agreements. Those painful 62 years cannot be parcelled into some kind of colonial areas called A, B, C, Gaza or Jerusalem. They cannot be relegated to the dustbin of history by a ceasefire, a checkpoint or an Apartheid Wall. As the occupation is total and illegal, then the boycott must be total and legal.
We should not only boycott the olive oil produced in the ‘West Bank’ because it is produced in an illegal settlement on the West Bank, but not boycott all products produced in all illegal settlements. We should not only boycott an academic institution involved in state financed military projects, but not boycott others involved in state financed cultural, scientific and academic activities. We should not only boycott an Israeli sports team playing internationally under the Israeli banner, but not boycott an Israeli dance or theatre company sent abroad to polish the fascist image of a cruel fascist State. We should not only boycott Caterpillar for demolishing homes and uprooting Palestinian olive groves, but not boycott those companies that supply the sand and cement which make up the Apartheid Wall.
We challenge those who call for a mild and selective boycott to identify any Israeli institution, may it be large or small, which is not part of this ‘matrix of control’ that suffocates our Palestinian nation.
As this occupation is total and unmerciful, so must our universal approach to fighting it and ending it be. As Israel’s occupation covers all of historic Palestine and not only selective parts of it, so must our call for a democratic state which includes all of historic Palestine. A Palestine for all its people: Jews, Muslims, Christians, Coptic, Atheists and non-Conformists.
In order to achieve this goal, we need a total boycott of the Zionist State. In order to achieve this aim, we need to identify that State. In order to identify that State, we need to untangle the politics of intrigue which produced the 181 UNRES which paved the way for the creation of that State. In order to untangle the tangled politics of that Resolution, we need to sit down, dust-off and read the official archives that go back to the 1917 Balfour Declaration. We need to dig deep into the dark politics and personalities that gave one nation, Palestine, away to one small foreign group against the will of over a million indigenous Palestinian people. We must go the full circle.
It is a trip which will take us full circle. We have come full circle now, so our boycott must be a full boycott.
Therefore, let us not read the pages of only one chapter of this saga and leave others unturned simply because it is easy to ‘let bygones be bygones’. Israel has never compromised its aims, its goals or its aggression against the Palestinian people. It has never compromised its defiance of international law. It has never compromised its arrogance towards its most powerful ally, the United States. It has never compromised its military campaigns against innocent civilians to achieve all its Zionist goals. The initial cure to all this is a total boycott.
Total boycott against a total occupation. Nothing less will do.
Antoine Raffoul, is a Palestinian architect working in London, and the co-Ordinator of 1948.Lest.We.Forget, a campaign group aiming at the roots of the Palestinian/Israeli problem.
1948: LEST WE FORGET