Thursday, January 15, 2009

Please people, a bit of objectivity here !

I want to make a point, not like me I know. In Ireland right now there are numerous organisations calling for a boycott of Israel and for relations between Dublin and Tel Aviv to be severed. Let me explain why this is silly. Severing relations makes no sense unless you are first willing to call for an end to relations with the half a dozen far worst countries we have relations with such as Sudan and Uganda. I am also against the boycott. In particular I find it genuinely incomprehensible that the Irish Anti War Movement, the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Socialist Worker Party, Labour Party and Siptu are calling for an academic boycott of Israel. Many prominent personalities in these organisations actually want to ban, yes prevent by law Israeli academics from working or speaking in Irish universities. I normally get upset when Israelis cry anti Semitism upon hearing criticism of Israel but in this instance they may have a case.

I am also opposed to conventional boycotts of Israeli goods because they will simply never work because of the following reality. There are powerful pro Israeli organisations, mainly Christian Zionists in southern USA who believe that they were put of this earth to make the holy land safe for the Jews. These people have large funds set aside which were created specifically to counter boycotts aimed at Israel and with all due respect to all concerned, these Zionist organisation have more financial clout than the IAWM or IPSC will ever have. All a boycott will do is hurt Irish and Israeli workers.

Boycotts being ineffectual is not why I oppose them. I do in fact think they have the potential to worsen the situation. Allow me to make a complicated issue even more brain damaging. The purpose of Boycotts is to show disapproval of a nations actions with the ultimate aspiration of reversing that nations policies. This will never ever under any circumstances succeed with Israel. To know why this is so requires an understanding of Israel and the concept behind the creation of the Jewish state. Israel is a Zionist country. It was set up in 1948 so Jews would no longer have to fear persecution in foreign lands. The Jews of Israel are the first Jews in history that are no longer living in fear that the dominant majority will one day turn on them. They now have a country that they can call their own and they are going to defend it like a tiger defending her cubs.

Let me explain a simple fact. There is absolutely no conceivable way that Israel will hand total control of land over to a neighbour like Hamas as things stand. To do so would be asking Israel to rely on the good will of Hamas not to attack it. If Israel were to allow Hamas complete control of the Gaza strip it would put the Jewish state in a much more vulnerable position militarily, no reasonable person can deny this. Since Hamas's goals and actions appear to desire the destruction of Israel, this is a security risk that Israel will not accept under any, and I mean any circumstances. No state, would hand an advantage over to an enemy that wants to destroy it. No amount of boycotts, divestment, expulsions of ambassadors or mass protests will change this fundamental fact. If an Israeli missile were to land in an orphanage in Gaza tomorrow and kill 100 children it would not change this fact. This is why I say if you really want to see a permanent end to violence in the Middle East you must first appreciate this reality.

Boycotts only achieve two things. They make Israelis more bitter if that's possible. It plays into the hands of Israeli right wingers who say that Europeans are all secret Jew haters masquerading as anti Zionists. How else can you explain why a small peaceful democratic country like Ireland is willing to Boycott Israel but gives Sudan a pass. Secondly Boycotts in Ireland have the potential to radicalise Palestinians. I have seen this personally in the last two weeks. Arabs living in Ireland that may have been on the verge of taking a more rational and moderate stance see the Irish left's obsession with Israel and they naturally conclude, well if the peace loving Irish think Israel is an apartheid state that should be boycotted then surely I should be even more emphatic in my disdain for the Jewish state. This should not be the Irish way. We overcame a painstakingly difficult conflict. The do's and do not's of the Northern Ireland peace process should be our main export to the Middle East. Not badly informed highly opinionated Israel bashing. As I keep maintaining on Gubu World we should avoid repeating the behaviour of Irish Americans in New York and Boston during the troubles who were accused of behaving more Irish than the Irish themselves. Except in this case the crime of many Irish leftists is that they are behaving more Palestinian that the Palestinians themselves.


Annie said...

Point well made Ted, i don't agree with the boycotts and demonstrations in Dublin myself. I can't help but think just because Israel is the more powerful, well equipped and well prepared that they are seen as the bad guys. I don't know who is the bad guy, but it takes two to tango, and it worries me that Hamas are likely to be gaining support as a result.

Ted Leddy said...

Thanks Annie

You make a very good point. The weaker one in war is not automatically the right one.

Mark said...

The weaker one may not be right, but what is not right is dropping bombs on UN compounds with kids inside.

Simply fact is all this war will have done will have radicalised an already livid populace.

Result: More hatred on both sides.

Perhaps Obama the Great can work some magic.

Here's hoping he's better than Ted's cousin in Alexander the Great!

Ted Leddy said...


Of course its not right. But in a war like the one we have just seen its almost unavoidable.

I was pleased today to find out that on his first day in office Obama phoned all the major players in the Middle East. Both Clinton and Bush only made serious efforts in the region in their last year in office. Also Obama is a probably the most popular man in the world today. All sides in the process will be keen to be on his good side. Nobody cared about pleasing Bush because he was hated globally. power and politics is about your ability to persuade people to do what you want them to do. Bush was utterly useless at this. Obama I predict will be exceptionally good such is his ability to communicate his message.