Criticisms of Israel not anti-Semitic

Published Date: 05 August 2010

IN response to Kevin Hartley’s letter, Palestine solidarity supporters do not demonise Israel – there is much that Israelis should be duly proud of. This does not mean there are not criticisms of Israel and that these are anti-Semitic.

The criticisms are that Israel violates international law and human rights as recognised by the UN – by continued expansion of its settlements in the Palestinian West Bank (as commented on by Barak Obama re: East Jerusalem), the blockade on Gaza (which even David Cameron described as a prison) and the system of check points, lack of freedom of movement and the apartheid wall that makes Palestinians’ lives and livelihoods acutely difficult in the West Bank and in Israel.

Many of the most active Palestine campaigners in the UK are Jewish and we are clear that it is the Israeli State (and not Jews) that we are critical of.

This anti-apartheid boycott campaign is the peaceful one, in which we can all take part, to collectively pressurise Israel to stop the above violations and to start a peace process with Palestine.

Whilst John Lydon may or may not boycott Israel, many other artists have (Carlos Santana, Elvis Costello, Ian Banks etc).

For Mr Hartley’s information, I do campaign and support campaigns against injustice and poverty here and abroad and don’t just boycott Israeli goods. I also promote fairtrade and buy fairtrade products, including Zaytoun Palestinian olive oil. I believe we can use our consumer power by supporting and boycotting and hope others will consider doing the same.

C MacDonald, Leeds

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