Thursday, October 13, 2011

Israeli BDS

While our Israel lobbyists and their stooges in politics and the media outbid one another in smearing the boycott campaign against Max Brenner outlets as a recrudescence of Nazi-style anti-Semitism*, for Israelis, the boycott is as Israeli as the Uzi submachinegun and the Mossad death squad. And yes, Israelis are more than happy to boycott any among them who fail to toe the party line:

"As unemployment grew in the Zionist economy in Palestine in the 1920s, Histadrut [Israel's trade union federation] launched a campaign to promote Jewish labor (Avodat Ivrit) and Jewish produce (Totzeret Haaretz), which was essentially a boycott of Arab labor and produce. David HaCohen, former managing director of Solel Boneh, described what this meant: 'I had to fight my friends on the issue of Jewish socialism to defend the fact that I would not accept Arabs in my trade union, the Histadrut; to defend preaching to housewives that they should not buy at Arab stores; to defend the fact that we stood guard at orchards to prevent Arab workers from getting jobs there... to pour kerosene on Arab tomatoes; to attack Jewish housewives in the markets and smash Arab eggs they had bought... to buy dozens of dunums [of land] from an Arab is permitted but to sell God forbid one Jewish dunum to an Arab is prohibited; to take Rothschild the incarnation of capitalism as a socialist and to name him the 'benefactor' - to do all that was not easy'." (quoted in Histadrut: Israel's racist 'trade union', Tony Greenstein,, 9/3/09)

"To generations of Israeli fans, Yaffa Yarkoni has been 'the Singer of the Wars'. Whenever troops marched into battle, they could be sure Yarkoni would follow. Clad in fatigues, she raised spirits at the front with her rousing rendition of patriotic songs. So it seemed natural for Army Radio to interview the iconic singer in her home a few days before Israel's Independence Day this month. Once again, Israeli troops were at war, this time in the West Bank, where they were sweeping through Palestinian towns and refugee camps in Israel's largest military operation there since the 1967 Middle East War. But this time, Yarkoni offered no words of encouragement. Instead, she bitterly criticized the troops, the government and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in an anguished tirade that shocked her interviewer and enraged many Israelis. 'When I saw the Palestinians with their hands tied behind their backs, young men, I said, 'It is like what they did to us in the Holocaust. How are we capable of doing these things?' Her words were deemed so offensive that the union representing the nation's performing artists called off a planned tribute to Yarkoni that had been in the works for 2 years. The head of the unit said it was forced to make the move after members of the public flooded its offices with complaints and returned tickets purchased for the event, and after sponsors cancelled their financial support. Government ministers denounced Yarkoni. The town of Kfar Yona canceled her performance at a Memorial Day event to honor Israeli soldiers who have fallen in battle. Youth movements declared a boycott of her music. The septuagenarian received so many hate calls... that she is now too frightened to appear in public." (A venerable voice in Israel is muted after questioning army's actions, Mary Curtius, Los Angeles Times, 29/4/02)

[* See my 13/9/11 post Smear & Loathing.]

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