Friday, September 18, 2015

Iceland Boycotts Israel

Iceland Boycotts Israel

by Stephen Lendman

The whole world needs to follow Iceland’s lead. Its capital City of Reykjavik no longer will buy products made in Israel.

Its city council voted for boycott as long as it continues occupying Palestinian territory - a bold act deserving high praise, perhaps inspiring greater numbers cities worldwide to follow suit, then maybe countries if enough effective popular resistance against its viciousness materializes.

Petitions in Britain and America to arrest Netanyahu attracted growing thousands of ordinary people - expressing justifiable anger against an apartheid state brutalizing Palestinians for not being Jewish.

Reykjavik Social Democratic Alliance councilwoman Bjork Vilhelmsdottir introduced the motion to boycott - her last action before retiring from politics, expressing support for long-suffering Palestinians, recognizing their self-determination right, free from Israeli oppression.

Left Green Alliance governing coalition member Soley Tomasdottir expressed hope Reykjavik’s action will be a step toward ending Israel’s illegal occupation. Boycotting other countries guilty of human rights abuses may follow, she said.

By acting, “we as a city council, even though we are a small city in the far north, are doing what we can to put pressure on the government of Israel to stop the occupation of Palestinian territory,” she told Icelandic public broadcaster RUV.

Israel reacted as expected. “A volcano of hatred is erupting in the Reykjavik city council,” blustered foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon.

“There is no reason or justification for this move, besides hate itself, which is being heard in the form of calls for a boycott against Israel, the Jewish state,” he added. 

“We hope that someone in Iceland will wake up and stop this blindness and one sidedness which is aimed against the only democracy in the Middle East, Israel.”

The move is largely symbolic, yet another BDS success. Its web site highlighted “a decade of effective solidarity with Palestinians,” citing the following:

A UN Conference on Trade and Development  (UNCTAD) report shows year-over-year direct foreign investment in Israel declined 46% in 2014.

UNCTAD’s Ronny Manos said “(w)e believe that what led to the drop in investment in Israel are Operation Protective Edge and the boycotts Israel is facing.”

French transnational company Veolia failed to win major contracts across Europe and in other countries because of its involvement in Israeli human rights abuses.

The University of Johannesburg cut ties to Israel’s Ben-Gurion University in response to boycott calls from 400 South African academics. Three-fourths of London’s SOAS University academics and students voted to back BDS.

Growing numbers of entertainers refuse to perform in Israel. Many academics decline to lecture there or participate in Israeli conferences. Thousands of professionals and activists support culturally boycotting Israel.

Over 30 US student associations and 11 in Canada voted to support BDS. Israel’s largest defense company Elbit Systems lost a major Brazilian contract. SodaStream closed its settlement factory.

The American Studies Association is the nation’s oldest and largest organization involved in the interdisciplinary study of US culture and history. It voted to boycott Israeli academic institutions.

Kuwait boycotted 50 companies profiting from Israel’s occupation. The African National Congress declared support for BDS. Sao Paulo Festival organizers ended a sponsorship arrangement with Israel.

Major European banks divested from Israeli companies. Community actions blocked Israeli ships from docking at world ports.

Israeli exporters are experiencing sales declines in Europe. Chile suspended a trade agreement with Israel following its summer 2014 Gaza aggression.

US churches are divesting from companies involved in Israel’s occupation. Its state owned Mekorot water company lost contracts in Argentina, Portugal and the Netherlands.

Over 500 European academics called for EU nations to boycott Israeli settlement products. Growing numbers of European city councils support BDS.

Citing Israeli “state terrorism,” Venezuela and Bolivia cut diplomatic ties. Norway refuses to sell it weapons. 

These and numerous other examples of BDS effectiveness show growing world outrage against daily Israeli crimes too horrific to ignore, including against young Palestinian children.

They’re terrorized, brutalized, or murdered in cold blood. Defense for Children International-Palestine (DCIP) reported around 2,000 Palestinian children killed by Israeli forces in the past 15 years.

It blamed Israel’s “hyper-militarized environment” - calling its summer 2014 Operation Protective Edge a war on Gazan children. Over 550 died - 68% under age 12.

It blasted Israel’s judicial system for denying Palestinian children basic rights. It said conditions won’t improve until occupation ends. 

Global BDS activism is the single most effective campaign against Israeli lawlessness. It hits hard where it hurts most - economically, as well as exposing its phony image as a democratic state. It highlights its apartheid viciousness.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

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