Don’t buy arguments for not buying goods made in Israel

Even if they’re the arguments of a former Israeli ambassador, don’t buy them.

Alon Liel is an archetype figure spawned by an industry without parallel.        I mean that – industry.   Who would dispute the economic dimension to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, looking at the employment and income generated, the information fabricated, the rivalry for public support, the vying of entities, with ‘human rights’ in their name, for sources of funding. Indubitably economic interests beset the conflict, and who knows but we may find in them part explanation for why the conflict has stubbornly defied a solution. It’s a wealth accumulator, a reputation builder, a career for an army of people.

Only think what would be if peace broke out tomorrow. Thousands of UN staffers would be out of jobs, NGOs would be out of business and, not to be forgotten, activists, political leaders, correspondents and hacks would be casting about for a new scapegoat on which to heap the tinderbox condition of the Middle East.

“Don’t buy ‘Israeli’ goods made in Palestine” urged Alon Liel in a South African daily

Observe how by sleight of hand he contrives a radical inversion of the truth. Inverted commas turn ‘Israeli’ into ersatz people while Palestine, comma-free, is made real. The mark of a consummate salesman!

After that heading Liel’s beliefs go into overdrive.

Israelis have now come to the conclusion that they don’t need peace.”

Probably referring to the Peace Index from Israeli polls, Liel won’t let his people be human. Yes, the index has gone from a 60% range in the 1990s to a 40% range in 2012. Israelis, human after all, lost their faith in peace overtures. Two intifadas, thousands killed and injured, Hamas elected on a ticket of genocide, rocket bombardments from Gaza, and the PLO sticking to its guns not to accept a Jewish state made Israelis lose faith. They have chosen to get on with their lives. The hand of peace they held out got bitten.

But Palestinians must have feelings about peace. What has Liel to say about them? Nothing, for polling in Gaza and the West Bank is taboo. Even if Palestinians were in favour of peaceful co-existence with Israel, their leaders would never allow them to say it.

But Liel, with his ambassadorial instinct, doesn’t need polls to tell him. Palestinians have “freedom aspirations” he tells Joe public. We don’t rightly know that, but what their leaders want is a good enough guide. Would this be an expression of their freedom aspirations?

We demand of everyone to push ahead with reconciliation [between Fatah and Hamas] and to end the state of division, so that we will be able to stand against the occupation… and turn to the struggle for the liberation of Palestine – all of Palestine.  PA Minister of Social Affairs Al-Masri. [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, March 9, 2012]

Or this?

Mahmoud Abbas understands, we understand, and everyone knows that it’s impossible to realize the inspiring idea, or the great goal in one stroke. If Israel withdraws from Jerusalem, if Israel uproots the settlements, if Israel removes the (security) fence – what will be with Israel? Israel will come to an end. If I say that I want to remove it from existence, this will be great, great, but it’s hard. This is not a [stated] policy. You can’t say it to the world. But you can say it to yourself.

Fatah Central Committee member Abbas Zaki. [Al-Jazeera, Sept. 23, 2011]

Or this?

 The CIA [in a report] says: ‘If things continue as they are, we don’t think that Israel will continue to exist after the year 2022.  Journalist, Al-Bujayrami


By Allah, from your mouth to Allah!

[PA TV (Fatah), June 12, 2012]

And there’s the industry into which Liel has sunk his capital. It would be keeping Liel awake that the industry is kept afloat by two fairyland laws which stand between him and penury. They pop up in his lauding of the government of South Africa for its proposal to mark products as either ‘Made in Israel’ or ‘Made in Occupied Palestinian Territory’.

Now there’s the rub. Devastating as it may be for a man who has all his aspirations invested in the idea, but there is no Palestinian territory for Israel to occupy. The law is the rub, and even more so are the facts on the ground.

In Gaza the freely elected Hamas governs its  own people. In the West Bank, 60% of Palestinians, credit to Liel’s Oslo chums, freely elected the PLO to govern them. Not that the territory belongs to Palestinian people. If it belongs to any member of the United Nations, that would be Israel. However much Liel wants the Palestinians to have legal claims, international law is dead against him. And no honest lawman would tell him differently.

The other law pillar that keeps Liel’s industry afloat is equally shaky.

Settlements are a violation of international law and a tool in a project of de-facto annexation.

That would be true if he could reverse the events of 1947. If the Arabs had accepted the Plan of Partition, passed by the UN in 1947 Liel would be correct. Then the Arabs (not the Palestinians, mind) would have had a state. And Israel’s occupation of Judea and Samaria (Liel’s West Bank) would violate international law.  But the Arabs did not accept the Plan. Hence Jewish rights to settle there did not end, and no honest lawman would tell Liel differently.

Ah, we can hear the old ambassadorial breath. But the Oslo Accords have superseded all that. Now there are Palestinian rights. Remember the iconic photo with Clinton, Arafat and Rabin on the White House lawn?

But Liel and this notion will get no comfort from bosom chum and Oslo architect Yossi Beilin. The accords, Beilin would tell him wistfully, made no reference to a Palestinian state as the final goal. They provided for no more than some unspecified “outcome.” Hence Israel did not renounce any of its rights or claims to the disputed territories. Hard as it may be on Liel and his aspirations, but Jewish settlements violate no international law. And no upright wig and gown would tell him differently.

And that’s the house of cards into which Alon Liel and wife Rachel, have sunk their capital. A person of integrity would think he was duty-bound, when writing to support the boycott of Israeli goods, to disclose his family interest. The New Israel Fund headed by wife Rachel, funds pro-boycott NGOs.  From her multi-million dollar coffers. And that’s a solid truth.

About the Author
The writer is a prolific author of novels and non-fiction, essayist and commentator on ‘Enemies of Zion’ which happens also to be the title of his latest book. His works are The Paymaster, 1998; Hadrian’s Echo, 2012; Contributor to ‘War by other means: Israel and its detractors’, 2012; Enemies of Zion, (for publication 2017); and Balaam’s curse ( a novel in progress)