The Three Camps of Ethnic Cleansing in the BDS Movement

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) of Israel movement seeks to use global pressure on Israel force it to change its policies towards Palestinian Arabs. The pressure includes economic and cultural boycotts of Israel and denying any normalization of relations with the Jewish State.

The backers of BDS fall into three general camps. Those that seek to:

  1. Dismantle the Jewish State
  2. Remove all Jews from the West Bank
  3. Remove all Jews from historic Palestine

The first group wants to change the character of Israel by cleansing its ethnicity, while both the second and third groups promote ethnic cleansing the land of Jews themselves.

Dismantling the Jewish State

Many of the founders of the BDS movement despise the nature of the “Jewish State.” They find a system of Jewish preferences (such as automatic citizenship for Jews around the world) and Jewish symbols in the flag and national anthem as the antithesis of democracy and a burden for Israeli Arabs. Their goal is rid Israel of its “Jewishness.”

Some of the prominent supporters of BDS seek to accomplish this goal by forming a single state from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. They seek the “right of return” of millions of Arabs to the region and the removal of all Jewish symbols and privileges in the state. Their goal is to turn Jews into a minority in the country, and to dismantle the Zionist Project.

As stated by Omar Barghouti, co-founder of the BDS movement:

  • “I am completely and categorically against binationalism because it assumes that there are two nations with equal moral claims to the land.”
  • “A Jewish state in Palestine in any shape or form cannot but contravene the basic rights of the indigenous Palestinian population and perpetuate a system of racial discrimination that ought to be opposed categorically….Definitely, most definitely we oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine. No Palestinian, rational Palestinian, not a sell-out Palestinian, will ever accept a Jewish state in Palestine.”
  • “(The one state solution means) a unitary state, where, by definition, Jews will be a minority.”

There are Jewish anti-Zionist groups that also support this vision including the New Israel Fund. Norman Finkelstein, a Jewish professor and loud Israel-basher has called out his fellow BDS supporters for masking their desire to end the Jewish State, as opposed to their publicly-stated goals of ending the “occupation” of the West Bank.

“I mean we have to be honest, and I loathe the disingenuousness. They don’t want Israel. They think they are being very clever; they call it their three tier. We want the end of the occupation, the right of return, and we want equal rights for Arabs in Israel. And they think they are very clever because they know the result of implementing all three is what, what is the result? You know and I know what the result is. There’s no Israel!”

Some pro-Zionists like Caroline Glick also support a one state solution (without Gaza). They do not believe the predictions of Jews becoming a minority in a state without Gaza and without permitting millions of descendants of Palestinian Arabs to move to Israel. The roughly 1.8 million Arabs living in Israel today plus the 2.5 million Arabs in the West Bank would be 2 million people fewer than the 6.5 million Jews living in the region. Israel would remain a democratic and Jewish State.

Removing Jews from the West Bank

A significant portion of the western world considers the goal of removing all Jews from the “West Bank,” a noble goal. They have advanced a notion at the United Nations Security Council (with the approval of the US Obama administration) that “Israel’s Settlements Have No Legal Validity, Constitute Flagrant Violation of International Law.” With such passage, they have opened legal venues for countries to advance boycotts of products made in the settlements.

The measure unfortunately ignores several important matters:

  • Jews have a legal basis for living east of the Green Line in international law. The 1920 San Remo Agreement and 1922 Mandate of Palestine clearly laid out the rights of Jews to live throughout Palestine. There was no such thing as a “West Bank” which was an artifice of the 1948-9 Israel war of independence. The arbitrary line (which Israel and the Arab states all agreed was NOT a border) has no bearing on where Jews can and cannot live.
  • There is no basis in law for “occupying” disputed territory. While the UN General Assembly voted to partition Palestine in 1947, the vote did not create the two states. Further, the Arabs rejected the partition, as they sought the entirety of the land. The land east of the Green Line (EGL) remains disputed and subject to various agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, including Oslo II (1995). International law uses the term “occupation” only in relation to a foreign force taking over another country, not disputed land. Lastly, international law forbids seizing additional territory in an offensive action, not as a matter of defense as was the case of Israel defending itself from Jordanian attack in 1967.

Jews have historically lived in the currently disputed lands for thousands of years. The ethnic cleansing of Jews from the region by Jordanian and Palestinian Arabs in 1948-9, and the Arabs subsequent refusal to grant any Jew in the region citizenship or visitation rights to their holy land, does not make such actions either legal or worthy of repetition.

Yet this is the publicly “accepted” face of the BDS movement, backed by the acting President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas.

Abbas adds fuel to the fire by stating that Israel is a “colonial occupier” that advances an “apartheid regime” in an effort to “ethnically cleanse” the area of Palestinians. All are inflammatory terms to paint Israel as an evil and malicious invader which should be expelled.

Removing Jews from Historic Palestine

For many Arabs and anti-Zionists, the term “colonial occupier” means the entirety of pre-Mandate Palestine, not just the West Bank and Gaza. They view the 1920 and 1922 international laws as fundamentally invalid, as they were made by foreign powers without input from the local Palestinians. As such, Abbas has demanded an apology from the British government for issuing the Balfour Declaration in 1917, which served as a basis for the international laws allowing Jews to reestablish a homeland in Palestine.

The popular Palestinian party Hamas, which was elected to 58% of the Palestinian parliament, is defined as a terrorist group by much of the world. Its charter calls for the complete destruction of Israel, as the success of Zionism undermines the supremacy of Islam.

The more “moderate” (only on a relative basis) Palestinian party Fatah also called for a complete destruction of the Jewish state in its constitution until August 2007, when it modified some of its official positions. It did this, as it prepared to launch the global BDS movement in November 2007 to appear as a more reasonable fight against the Jewish state.

Ethnic Cleansing

Ethnic cleansing is not a distinct crime under international law, and there is no precise definition. The United Nations took steps to define “ethnic cleansing” in the aftermath of the war in Yugoslavia in the 1990s. In its interim report it used a definition:

 “… rendering an area ethnically homogeneous by using force or intimidation to remove persons of given groups from the area.

The final report was more stringent, and limited the term to the use of violence to achieve its goals:

a purposeful policy designed by one ethnic or religious group to remove by violent and terror-inspiring means the civilian population of another ethnic or religious group from certain geographic areas.

The BDS actions of the past decade are the latest manifestation of anti-Zionists attempting to destroy the Jewish State after decades of failing to do so militarily, in actions that would clearly have fallen under “ethnic cleansing.”

Today’s BDS movement is attempting to use “force and intimidation” to ethnically cleanse all-or-part of the holy land of Jews, and to cleanse Israel of its Jewish ethnicity.


Related First.One.Through articles:

“Ethnic Cleansing” in Israel and the Israeli Territories

What’s “Outrageous” for the United Nations

Regime Reactions to Israel’s “Apartheid” and “Genocide”

The Israeli Peace Process versus the Palestinian Divorce Proceedings

The Cancer in the Arab-Israeli Conflict

Israel was never a British Colony; Judea and Samaria are not Israeli Colonies

J Street: Going Bigger and Bolder than BDS

Liberals’ Biggest Enemies of 2015

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The EU’s Choice of Labels: “Made in West Bank” and “Anti-Semite”

The European Union has taken upon itself to challenge the labelling of products that are made east of the Green Line as “Made in Israel”.   They should consider international norms and the Oslo Accords between Israel and the Palestinians before doing so.

“Made in USA” in US Territories

It is common practice for countries that have territories that are not incorporated into the country, to label products produced in those locations as being made in the country. For example, products produced in American Samoa (say for Sears Department stores) sport the “Made in USA” label even though the products were produced thousands of miles away from US shores on an island that was never part of the country by non-US citizens.

“Made in Israel” in Israeli Territory

Similarly, Israeli law allows products made in Israeli territory to carry the “Made in Israel” label.  The differences between the US and Israeli polices are that the products made in Area C of the West Bank are made by Israeli citizens, and many countries consider the Israeli territory to not be Israeli at all.

The claim that Area C is not Israeli is peculiar, since the land is specifically designated as Israeli territory by the 1993 Oslo II Accords that were agreed to and signed by Israel and the Palestinian Authority. That agreement laid out that Israel continues to have both civil and security control of Area C.  The final determination of control of the area will be decided in a final status agreement, which has not yet occurred. Until that time, the area remains Israeli territory (as opposed to Area A which is Palestinian Authority Territory).

Reasons behind Labelling

The labeling of products is meant to do two main things: inform a consumer about the origins of a product; and distinguish items as they relate to taxes and tariffs.

In the United States, labelling a product from American Samoa as being “Made in USA” may be misleading to consumers about the true origin of the item, but it is consistent as it relates to tariffs. The same holds true for Israeli policy towards items from Area C.

From the EU’s perspective, not only does it seek to inform European consumers about the precise location of origin of foreign products, it wishes to uniquely harm Israel as it disputes the Israeli claim over Area C (despite the Israel-Palestinian Authority agreement noted above). It is therefore requiring a change of labels from “Made in Israel” to “Made in the West Bank” for items produced east of the Green Line.

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Dates in London, England labelled “West Bank”
(photo: Friends of Al Aqsa London)

Israel has attempted to stop the European Union from embarking on this policy. It fears that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement will hurt its economy by not only not purchasing Israeli products, but by trying to ban the items from store shelves. Some argue that providing a distinct label for products from the settlements would actually help Israel as there are people in Europe who only seek to avoid products from the settlements, but would gladly purchase items from within Israel’s 1949 Armistice Lines. The reality is that many organizations that are promoting the EU policy for distinct labelling of Israel vs. “West Bank” seek to boycott and harm all of Israel. For example, Friends of Al Aqsa (FOA) prints advertisements that call for boycotting all products from anywhere in Israel and its territory.

label Israel
Ad by FOA calling for Boycott of products from “Israel, West Bank (Settlements) & Jordan Valley”

As it relates to taxes and tariffs, the European Union established a framework of trading with Israel in the EU-Israel Association Agreement (1995) which took effect in June 2000. The language in the agreement repeatedly refers to “countries and territories” which can be interpreted broadly to include territories of both European member states as well as Israel.

EU Action Only for Israel

The European Union distinction of strictly labelling products to exclude Israeli territory is unique for Israel.  The EU makes no distinctions for countries where it does not challenge the legal authority (like the US with American Samoa), AND for other countries where it disagrees with the claim on disputed land. Some examples:

  • In 1974, Turkey illegally seized one-third of the Cyprus and declared the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, an entity which is not recognized by any country in the world other than Turkey. Yet the EU avoids heated discussions with Turkey over the labelling of products from TRNC such as its famous halloumi cheese.
  • When it comes to China, the EU trips over itself to facilitate trade. As stated on the EU website on trade: “China is the EU’s biggest source of imports by far, and has also become one of the EU’s fastest growing export markets. The EU has also become China’s biggest source of imports. China and Europe now trade well over €1 billion a day.” Trade includes items made in Tibet, and the EU has not addressed any specific “Made in Tibet” labelling. This is despite China occupying Tibet and transferring 7.5 million Chinese into the territory, counter to the Fourth Geneva Convention.
  • India has a long running dispute with Pakistan over Kashmir. The EU stated that it is “committed to further increase their trade flows in both goods and services as well as bilateral investment and access to public procurement through the Free Trade Agreement negotiations that were launched in 2007.” No specific labelling program has been discussed for items coming from Kashmir.

The European Union has shown a unique fascination with Israeli territories.

  • It makes no labelling distinction for other disputed territories such as Tibet and Kashmir to assist consumers
  • It does not dispute the tariff system that countries use for its territories like the United States with American Samoa
  • The EU ignores the Oslo II agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority which specifically segment the Israeli settlements in Area C as Israeli territory
  • It ignores its own trade agreement with Israel

And the EU does all of these things knowing full well of the intention of the BDS movement to leverage their actions to harm the Jewish State.

Double standards and unique critical attention for Israel is considered anti-Semitism, even by US President Barack Obama who said “[if] you acknowledge the active presence of anti-Semitism—that it’s not just something in the past, but it is current—if you acknowledge that there are people and nations that, if convenient, would do the Jewish people harm because of a warped ideology… you should be able to align yourself with Israel when it comes to making sure that it is not held to a double standard in international fora, you should align yourself with Israel when it comes to making sure that it is not isolated.”

It would appear that many Europeans would choose to wear the “Anti-Semitism” label with honor.


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Names and Narrative: Palestinian Territories/ Israeli Territories

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An Easy Boycott: Al Jazeera (Qatar)

People often complain that they would love to boycott one of the many countries with horrible human rights, but cannot do so as those countries do not make or export anything of value. Well, here’s the good news: Qatar brings Al Jazeera direct to many homes in your country.

Human Rights Abuse in Qatar

Qatar is a very small country in the Arabian Peninsula. The total country population of 2 million only consists of 10% Qatari nationals; roughly 90% of the balance are migrant workers who experience a variety of abuses according to Human Rights Watch. The abuses for these workers include:

qatar death
Preparing funeral rights for Nepalese worker killed in Qatar

The country abuses many citizens in addition to the migrant workers:

Seemingly unsatisfied with brutalized its own population, Qatar also funds terrorists in Gaza (Hamas) and in Libya.

These facts may get lost on the general American public, as the Obama administration commends its own negotiation prowess and Qatar’s joining the coalition fighting ISIS.

Al Jazeera

Qatar is a very wealthy nation thanks to its location atop various oil fields. It has used its considerable wealth to buy and build various properties around the world.  These include Harrod’s, the swanky department store in London as well as The Shard and 1 Hyde Park, expensive buildings in London. It was also able to win the competition to host the World Cup global soccer tournament in 2022. (Here is a funny video by HBO’s John Oliver about FIFA and Qatar).

Qatar also owns a large media company called Al Jazeera. It entered the United States market by buying former Vice President Al Gore’s CurrentTV for about $500 million in 2013. It has since rebranded that channel Al Jazeera America.  It is now available in many US households.

aljazeera

Al Jazeera is not simply owned by a country that supports terrorism. The channel itself is a mouthpiece for terrorism.

In 2014, the channel gave special airtime to various members of the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas. The main media channel, Al Jazeera Arabic, routinely posts anti-US and anti-Semitic pieces. But those posts are beyond the capabilities and reach of most Americans, so they believe that watching Al Jazeera America is simply watching a news channel that represents an Arab point of view.  In truth, they are supporting a media company that broadcasts propaganda for terrorists, which is owned by a government that funds those same terrorists.

For those looking for a BDS (boycott, divestment and sanction) of their own. there is an opportunity right in your home.



Related First.One.Through articles:

Apostasy: https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2015/01/13/apostasy/

Murderous governments of the Middle East: https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2014/08/01/murderous-governments-of-the-middle-east/

Dancing with the Asteroids: https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2014/11/14/dancing-with-the-asteroids/