Friday, June 17, 2011

Photo of the Day, Israeli boycotts and Rachel Corrie

I took this picture last weekend at a stall on Shop Street in Galway City center.

I oppose boycotts of Israel for several reasons. Firstly, Israels treatment of the Palestinians while at times unjust, pales in comparison to the treatment of scores of other regimes of their own minorities who never have to worry about boycotts. The Iraqi, Iranian, Syrian and Turkish treatment of the Kurds comes to mind straight away but there are countless other examples. Secondly, boycotts will only hurt Israeli workers and the workers of the boycotting nation. Israel has many international backers whose financial clout and ability to counter the boycotts renders any attempt at damaging the Israeli economy useless. But most importantly I simply think that boycotting Israel is wrong. Israel is a democratic state, with a non sectarian constitution, free media and an independent judiciary. It is in an exceptionally difficult situation with enemies on all fronts that are fanatically committed to its destruction. It has been in a virtual state of war since 1948. Despite this it has always stuck to its democratic principles and its civilian government has always exercised complete control over its military. Israel should be greatly admired for these reasons. A misguided belief exists among many people with good intentions that if Israel were confronted by the western world and forced to make peace with the Palestinians then militant Islam would be satisfied and hatred of the west would disappear along with the occupation. This is fundamentally flawed because militant Islam has consistently demonstrated that it will only be satisfied when every land where Muslims are a majority is transformed into a Sharia compliant land. This leaves no room whatsoever for Israel in the holy Land.

Rachel Corrie
Rachel Corrie was an American peace activist who was killed in 2003 by an Israeli bulldozer in Gaza while acting as a human shield for a Palestinian home that was about to be destroyed. The 24 year old suffered a horrible death. The Rachel Corrie case has disturbed me for a long time. I have nothing against people who support the Palestinians because there is a legitimate Palestinian cause. What I object to is demonising or de-legitimising Israel. What I especially object to is western liberals acting more Palestinian than the Palestinians by calling for a one state solution to the conflict or through similar hard line rhetoric. But people of good will are in my opinion entitled to take peaceful action to highlight the agenda of some Israeli hawks, which is to undermine the future viability of a Palestinian state by making it smaller. Such people deserve the protection of the international community.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think the only reason Europeans support Isreal is because they don't want Jews in their lands, there really isn't any other compelling reason.

Ted Leddy said...

Anonymous

I disagree. I think European nations support Israel because they recognise that it is holding the front line against militant Islam which would destroy western civilisation if it got its way.

thesystemworks said...

There are plenty of overlooked aspects of boycotts directed at Israel. One is the fact that the Israelis are very aware of being singled out, which increases the popularity of the right-wing and more nationalists parties who present themselves as better protectors of the nation. Thanks, Western leftists!

Looking at the statistics, it seems the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign hasn't actually had an effect. Israeli exports are going strong, and stronger every year. Its the boycotters themselves who have gotten poorer by depriving themselves of alternate voices, for instance in the ban on speakers who defend Israel in many European universities.

Anonymous said...

Now there's an anachronism if ever I saw one. The so-called spectre of militant Islam is a direct result of the formation of the illigitimate Jewish statelet. Another case of Gubu cart before the horse reasoning.

Ted Leddy said...

TSW

Good points.

I believe the Middle East needs an inclusive peace process, just like the one in Northern Ireland. To constantly single out one side is counterproductive as it will, as you say, only harden Israeli opinion. As for the ban on Israeli speakers in universities. It is utterly mind boggeling.

Ted Leddy said...

Anonymous

You raise an interesting "Chicken or the egg point".

But I disagree that "The so-called spectre of militant Islam is a direct result of the formation of the illigitimate Jewish statelet".


Personally, I don't believe that Islamic extremism in places like Nigeria, Indonesia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia or Iran can in any remote way be blamed on Israel.

thesystemworks said...

Bans like that have created a vicious spiral, as European young people (and many older ones) are sinking more and more into the propaganda of leftism and the jihad, with no alternative voices being heard. Its truly a horrible situation.

Ted Leddy said...

TSW

This is why I believe it is essential that those with a more favourable view of Israel do not withdraw from the debate due to bitternes.

thesystemworks said...

That's a fair point. I and many other friends of Israel quite openly resent Europe today. We resent a collective that has become increasingly hostile national sovereignty, that sees the idea of sovereignty of Jews in particular as an anachronism, and regards us tribalists as potential Hitlers. I laugh a little when I see that the euro is not going to hold, and that the domestic crisis of unemployed Muslims, who have not integrated into the European nations that house them, is accelerating (and the media are too afraid to address it). The ideals of the one-world bureaucrats and the Guardian readers will collapse, while the Jewish national project lives on. And thank God for that.

thesystemworks said...

I'll also say that I think people will stop whining about Jewish lobbyists when the Islamic community gains more political power.

Anonymous said...

I predict that the current economic crisis will have detrimental consequences for Jews, one need only look at history to see how the numerous pogroms against Jews began.

Ted Leddy said...

TSW

Israeli resentment toward Europe is understandable but I stand by my view that robust debate in defence of Israel is the way forward. Too many Israelis view Europe as already lost. This is a mistake. The pro Israeli lobby should not withdraw from the debate as many have done. Israel has more allies in Europe than it realises.

I wouldn't quite share your analysis of Europes view on sovereignty. There are 45 nations on the European continent. Curbing national sovereignty to a degree is a small price to pay in order to avoid conflict and war, and I say that as a proud nationalist.

I would not take any satisfaction at the demise of the Euro. I have never quite understood conservative hostility toward the European project. It is after all, probably the greatest free trade block in history.

The domestic crisis regarding Muslims that you referred to is worse in some countries than others. It is a reality that Europe has to deal with. But frankly, I just don't believe it is as serious as those on the right who say Islam is poised to take over Europe within 30 years. Immigration is a reality that has to be dealt with. But deal with it Europe will, as was evidenced recently by the referendum in Switzerland regarding Minarets and the banning of the burca in France.

thesystemworks said...

Free trade can easily be facilitated without a body like the EU. Look at EFTA for instance. There's no need for another layer of government, particularly one driven by post-nationalist ideology and dedicated to growing bigger and bigger.

thesystemworks said...

Also, while interdependence does lesson the likelihood of war, remember that Europe between 1870-1914 was largely at peace during the height of classical liberalism and laissez-faire. The First World War was has been dubbed a backlash against that liberalism (by Niall Ferguson, Von Mises, etc.)

Ted Leddy said...

TSW

"Free trade can easily be facilitated without a body like the EU".

Perhaps, but curbing sovereignty in Europe is also about harmonising the economies of the 27 member states in order to achieve greater economic stability (in theory). This is where the common agricultural and fishery polices come into play (among others). These bodies can be Bureaucratic and inefficient but I do think its a small price to pay for the benefits it produces.

Your point about peace in Europe 1870 - 1914 is interesting. True, there may not have been much war between nations during those years, but was this a result of liberalism and laissez-faire economics or was it because Europe was distracted conquering Asia and Africa.

Paul said...

'Perhaps, but curbing sovereignty in Europe is also about harmonising the economies of the 27 member states in order to achieve greater economic stability (in theory). This is where the common agricultural and fishery polices come into play (among others). These bodies can be Bureaucratic and inefficient but I do think it’s a small price to pay for the benefits it produces.'

Good heavens above Ted, what is the matter with you? Seriously have you been drinking, I hope you had a good night?

1. CAP - Derided as impractical and inefficient by just about everybody outside of Brussels. The only people who benefit are a few French Farmers. British Farmers get shafted by it and they are harder working and more productive. I don't know how Irish farmers do under it but it is a ridiculous system and one left and right have wanted rid of for decades.

2. Err greater economic stability? Where is that occurring? Spain no, Ireland I guess not, Portugal oh and lets ignore Greece. The latter countries are al effectively protectorates now under the EU. In spite of their being a well-developed and established democratic national tradition in them all. Soverignty = zero.

3. Fisheries policy? Well like Ireland we have a rich coastline and consequently an economically rich industry. That is until the EU ruined it and siphoned off national assets to redistribute them as they saw fit, i.e. giving Spain a vastly disproportionate share of Irish and British assets. Achieving in one foul swoop what the Armada so manifestly failed to achieve. At least the latter was an honest straight forward invasion. Instead of a cynical undemocratic and unmandated dragooning of national assets.

4. Finally in terms of maintaining the peace in Europe. Consistently the threat to European peace has been centralisation under an autocratic regime. Napoleon, Kaiser, Adolf, USSR etc. A few little Englanders or even Balkan visionaries with ideas above their station are no threat at all in comparison. Nationalism and sovereignty are good things when a democratic and pluralistic government is achieved. In this way oddly enough it means the likes of Nigel Farage have more in common with say many Irish historical nationalists than the current Irish leadership or even your own views as represented here Ted. Screw the EU, we do not need it and as a net contributor the UK certainly does not.

Ted Leddy said...

Paul

Sorry for the delayed response.

I had in fact been drinking on Sunday night. And I did in fact get drunk, but I do believe I am one of these people who can argue his point just as well when he is under the influence. So I stand by my points for the following reasons.

We all want free trade, but lets be real. Free Trade in Europe (even if among democratic nations) would be great for some countries but would totally screw others. This is why the EU has tried to harmonised its members economies as well as promoting free trade.

Is it perfect? Far from it. But compared to Europe 1914-45 or 1948-1989 we are living through a golden age. You would prefer the model of "Nationalism and sovereignty are good things when a democratic and pluralistic government is achieved". Sounds good but the likilihood of achieving it universally across the continent is zero. It's the problem with Libertarianism as I see it. It would be great if everyone was willing to take responsability for themselves but it does not take account of humanities many weaknesses.

Post 1991, you can be sure the majority of newly independent states would have become dictatorial if liberation meant poverty. Instead, the lure of economic prosperity in Europe drew them westward. Membership was only agreed if real deomcracy prevailed.

Again I am fully aware of its flaws. The Irish cannot fish their own waters, I have relatives in the west who cannot even cut turf out of their own land. I don't like the way the European comission works and I cannot stand beaurocracy. But I want the European project to survive. I have read enough about Europe's 50 million 20th century war dead to put things in perspective.

Another comment to follow later paul but I have to step out for a while.

Paul said...

'But I want the European project to survive. I have read enough about Europe's 50 million 20th century war dead to put things in perspective.'

Again wars caused by an attempt to centralise control through an authoritarian state. Your relatives in the west seem to have traded absentee Landlords for an unelected EU commission.

Ted Leddy said...

Paul

"Centralised control through an authoritarian state", yes but surely the expansionism of the kaiser and Hitler were driven by extreme nationalism. Historians often view the second world wars as conflict between fascism, communism and democracy. But in a practical sense it was often good old fashioned ethnic hatred and nationalism, Germanic V Slavic, French V German, Dutch V German or whomever.

European integration may have come too far, but it is still much less than between states in the US. The argument you are making about centralised power is one I suspect would be similar to that of the militias who train in forrests and hills in rural America while complaing about the tyranny of the federal government. Are they right?

On the sovereignty issue. I just hope this national humiliation of ours is over by 2016, the year the governmet plans to return to conventional borrowing and send the IMF packing.

Are we no longer sovereign? We have been here before Paul, I suppose not in the short term. Didn't Britain have to borrow from the IMF in the 1970s ? It can be reversed.

Paul said...

An overwhelming amount of historical evidence and research takes a contrary view to the one you have espoused Ted.

The reasons Germany started wars from 1870 - 1939 was principally due to need as they saw it to project power into neighbouring states. In simple terms establish a buffer into which they could secure access to the Atlantic (Norway/Denmark) or to remove a hostile power to their west (France and Belgium) or their east (Russia/USSR. Nationalism played a small role and was in the main limited to border conflicts with France and Poland. But it's not hard to see how the main raison D'etre was to establish a centralised Germanic control over Europe. Napoleon also falls into a similar category (notwithstanding his centralised power was French. As to the USSR, there was nothing nationalistic about that evil joke whatsoever.

Your earlier point about how the EU benevolently helped democracies emerge in the east is a stronger argument. However this is flawed also as there is no evidence democracy would not have emerged in say Poland anyway. The EU did nothing of course to enable former Latin American dictatorships to become democratic, but they did anyway. However we both know that with the EU the rule is anything but democratic. I mean it's a case of 'have a free vote so long as the answer is yes'. As we saw with the railroading of the Lisbon treaty for instance with Ireland.

Yes Ireland has no practical sovereignty and the UK's has been weakened by traitors such as Ted Heath and also Blair/Brown. The wheel may be turning in the other direction on that one for sure. Cameron manages an extremely Eurosceptic party and UKIP will continue to leach his party unless he gets a grip. As to the IMF, that was Harold Wilson in about '68 i believe. The UK did pay it back although the economy was severely curtailed pre-Thatcher as a result.

I have nothing whatsoever in common with fruit bat militias. For one thing I have no legal right to own firearms in any case thanks to the Blair tyranny. But i will concede a healthy respect for the tea party and their concerns, long live liberty.