Saturday, November 26, 2011

An Open Letter to Bob Brown

Dear Bob,

You'll recall that back in September you placed a series of questions on notice in the Senate. These were based on the premise that, with respect to the import into Australia of Israeli products, it was meaningful to distinguish between those originating in Israel's West Bank settlements (which could conceivably be boycotted) and the rest.

After becoming aware of these questions, I wrote a post - Does Bob Brown Believe in the Tooth Fairy? (15/10/11) - taking issue with that premise.

I draw your attention, therefore, to the following Haaretz news report, which simply confirms the point I made in that post, namely that there is no point whatever in such a distinction, and that all Israeli products should be the subject of a boycott campaign:

"An interesting document has recently found its way to several right-wing members of Knesset. Produced by the rightist NGO Mattot Arim, the survey rates MKs and cabinet ministers according to the aid they provided to the settlement movement and to the 'national camp' as a whole... Published every 6 months... the Mattot Arim report breaks down the legislative, lobbying, and media activity of the MKs - from bills preventing the boycott of products made in the settlements, to media interviews. In addition, ministers are lauded for harnessing their ministries for pro-settlement development, such as improving the internet and cellular networks in the West Bank... The latest survey... [listed] 100 parliamentary achievements attributed to the various MKs, and revealed the often unpublicized activities taking place on the ground to advance West Bank settlements and the rightist patina of the 18th Knesset. In one example, the report noted that the Knesset's Foreign Affairs & Defense Committee approved the transfer of NIS 10 million to emergency services in the West Bank. The Knesset's Finance Committee also approved NIS 2 million to improve cellphone reception. Moreover, gun laws were amended in a way that makes it easier to acquire weapons for self defense. In addition, the report cites the activity of government ministries to cancel out radio interference originating from the Palestinian Authority and the erection of permanent transmission sites for regional radio stations. Digital television transmission was also improved. More than half of the settlements were plugged into Bezeq's advanced internet networks, and the Israel Postal Company launched new gun-proof delivery vehicles which would allow for regular service to threatened settlements..." (Right-wing NGO exposes extent of Israel's support of West Bank settlements, Jonathan Lis, Haaretz, 24/11/11)

You'll be interested to note, Bob, that of the top 10 MKs who get ticks from Mattot Arim for their "activity of a national character," 7 come from the ruling Likud Party of Benjamin Netanyahu.

Interesting, eh?



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