Settlements Opponent Challenges Israel
by Stephen Lendman
Israeli ruthlessness harms Jews and non-Jews alike. The late Palestinian/American scholar/activist Edward Said once called its agenda “refined viciousness” against Occupied Palestine and Arab Israeli citizens.
Its sordid history reflects a pattern of appalling high crimes – why BDS activism flourishes, important resistance against what’s too intolerable to ignore.
On March 6, Israeli legislation banned foreign BDS supporters from entering its territory and areas it controls.
US-based Jewish Voices for Peace executive director Rebecca Vilkomerson issued a strong statement, saying:
“On the same day as the Trump administration signed the second version of an unconstitutional and discriminatory executive order barring visitors from specific Muslim countries, Israel just passed its own discriminatory travel ban barring supporters of nonviolent tactics to end Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights.”
“My grandparents are buried in Israel, my husband and kids are citizens, and I lived there for three years, but this bill would bar me from visiting because of my work in support of Palestinian rights.”
The new law also bans supporters involved in advocating boycotts of settlement products – produced on stolen Palestinian land.
Australian settlements opponent Judy Bamberger defied Israeli authorities to arrest her on arrival at Ben Gurion airport last week.
They didn’t. Her publicized challenge perhaps gave them pause about highlighting the deplorable legislation.
In a letter to the Canberra Times, published by Haaretz, she wrote:
“I’m Jewish, American, Australian.
I urge those able to boycott all things economic, cultural, and academic originating from all Israeli settlements in West Bank and East Jerusalem (to do so).
From 1973, I volunteered in Israel; beginning 2001, I volunteered in Palestine.
From Israeli kibbutzim to Palestinian villages, I work with moms, dads, kids helping them survive wars, incursions, rockets, occupation. Now a ‘sister’ and ‘auntie’ to many on the West Bank, I know they want the same things you and I want: security, safety, stability, hope, a decent life and a future for their next generations.
Settlements and the occupation deny these things to Palestinians and Israelis both. Financial, social, economic, cultural, psychological damage devastates both occupy-er and occupy-ee.
I write this fully ‘aware of (the) possibility’ that my call has a reasonable possibility of leading to the imposition of a boycott.
I arrive (at) Ben Gurion Airport on Tuesday, 21 March, UA954. Arrest me.”
Haaretz sent a journalist and photographer to meet her on arrival. The broadsheet cited her saying if she had been detained or deported, it would have been worth it.
“I’m hoping more people will push against this law. I’m hoping more people will have the courage and capacity to do civil disobedience, to bring to light discriminatory laws,” she said.
“(I)f I shine enough of a light on myself when I do this, hopefully I won’t get harassed. And if I do get harassed even with the light shining, well, then I get the opportunity to tell a story. And it’s the story that’s important, not me.”
Anti-BDS legislation is one of numerous Israeli laws, revealing contempt for equity and justice – enacted with full US support and encouragement.
A groundswell of domestic and foreign activists like Bamberger are needed to challenge what’s too intolerable to accept.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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