BDS: Criticisms of Israel not anti-Semitic

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Letters published in the Yorkshire Evening Post in response to the Leeds PSC picket at Johnny Rotten’s concert:

IN response to Kevin Hartley’s letter (below), 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 (Published Date: 05 August 2010)

in response to:

Further to your report of July 22 regarding the Palestinian supporters’ campaign to boycott Israel and urge entertainers like rocker John Lydon not to perform, this is saddening.

Israel is not an “apartheid” state as was suggested; all of its citizens have equal rights under the law regardless of race or religion despite what these misguided campaigners say.

Israel’s situation is totally unique and her need for security is paramount.

The attempt by these campaigners to demonise Israel and portray it as malign is an obvious form of distasteful anti-semitism which we can do without.

I suggest these campaigners turn their attention and efforts to far more worthwhile causes, such as the real poverty and injustices that exist right here in the UK.

Kevin Hartley, by email (Published Date: 28 July 2010)

Original July 22 YEP report on the planned protest.



One Response (Add Your Comment)

  1. Another letter in Yorkshire Evening Post

    “Apartheid claim over Palestinians”

    http://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/letters/Apartheid-claim-over-Palestinians.6467975.jp

    I feel disheartened to read recent letters in YEP, especially where Mr Hartley cries “anti-Semitism” at the recent protest against John Lydon.
    Archbishop Tutu, after seeing conditions in Palestine said it describes conditions in South Africa under apartheid.

    The inhuman acts committed against the Palestinians fall into the UN description of apartheid. A South African professor of international law said, “the South African apartheid state and the Zionist state share other similarities: settling in an ‘alien’ land; claiming biblical justification for occupation and racial segregation; systematic violation of international law”

    A Jew born in the UK can emigrate to Israel and be given automatic citizenship under the Law of Return. Non-Jews, including native-born Palestinians, must prove residency and pass other tests; citizenship is granted at the discretion of the Minister of the Interior. The Palestinians are calling for a cultural boycott of Israel just like the sports and cultural boycott of South Africa.

    I am a big fan of UB40 and remember them boycotting and only playing in South Africa after the end of apartheid. Elvis Costello, Carlos Santana, The Pixies, Gil Scott-Heron and others had the conscience to boycott apartheid Israel.

    Samuel Agustus, Beeston

    More letters at: http://www.leedspsc.org.uk/?p=5415

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