[Boycott - Cultural]
Small step towards a boycott of Israel
Iain Banks, letter to The Guardian
3 June 2010
Following the murderous attack on the Gaza-bound convoy, is it not time to revisit the idea of a full cultural and educational boycott of Israel (Report, 2 June)? The sports boycott of apartheid South Africa hit the Afrikaners where, arguably, they felt it most and helped them understand precisely how despicable their regime's policies were held to be by the rest of the world.
I've told my agent to turn down any further book translation deals with Israeli publishers. I would urge all writers, artists and others in the creative arts, as well as those academics engaging in joint educational projects with Israeli institutions, to consider doing everything they can to convince Israel of its moral degradation and ethical isolation, preferably by simply having nothing more to do with this outlaw state.
Writers and artists refusing to visit Israel, and the cutting off of as many other cultural and educational links with Israel as possible, might help Israelis understand how morally isolated they really are. It would be a form of collective punishment (albeit a mild one), and so in a way an act of hypocrisy for those of us who have criticised Israel for its treatment of the Palestinian people in general and those in Gaza in particular, but appeals to reason, international law, UN resolutions and simple human decency mean – it is now obvious – nothing to Israel, and for those of us not prepared to turn to violence, what else can we do? For the little it's worth, I've told my agent to turn down any further book translation deals with Israeli publishers. I would urge all writers, artists and others in the creative arts, as well as those academics engaging in joint educational projects with Israeli institutions, to consider doing everything they can to convince Israel of its moral degradation and ethical isolation, preferably by simply having nothing more to do with this outlaw state.
North Queensferry, Fife
Divide grows over Israel and Gaza
letters to The Guardian
4 June 2010
We applaud Iain Banks's decision to refuse book translation deals with Israeli publishers (Letters, 3 June). The mentality behind Israel's tortuous attempts to justify nine murders and many injuries on the Mavi Marmara was exposed for all to see outside the Israeli embassy in Kensington on Wednesday night.
Waving Israeli flags, bringing shame upon the Star of David that it carries, supporters of the Zionist Federation lined up alongside fascist hooligans from the English Defence League to praise the commando killers and damn the dead and injured. Like the rapist seeking justification for his crimes, Zionism blames its victims for "provocation".
Although we know that Palestinians who protest against Israel's apartheid system may face death at any moment, we did not at first believe reports of international activists being killed bringing aid to Gaza. It is now clear that their deaths fit the general pattern of Israel's contempt for human life, for international law and for world opinion.
This is unacceptable to us as Jews true to our traditional respect for equality and justice for all. A just peace for Israelis and Palestinians must begin with Israel ending its siege of Gaza, its illegal occupation and settlement of Palestinian land, its discrimination against non-Jewish citizens and its denial of the right of return to the hundreds of thousands it has expelled.
We have seen proof this week that Israel will not yield unless an international campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions obliges it to do so.
I agree with Iain Banks that it is time to revisit the idea of a full cultural and educational boycott of Israel. For over 15 years now I have made my protests at the behaviour of that repugnant regime by declining all request to referee scientific manuscripts from universities in Israel; I have refused to assess any grant application coming from Israeli or from Israeli/American grant-giving bodies; and on one occasion I turned down a request to adjudicate in the promotion of an Israeli scientist. In every case I have informed the journal editors, grant-giving bodies, and in the latter case the university in question, of my reasons. In like vein, my wife refuses to buy any foods at the local supermarket coming from Israel, and I hope many like-minded Guardian readers will do the same. I also hope that as many people as possible write to the chairman of each major supermarket asking that their companies do not buy from Israel.
Just so no one thinks I am just opposed to Israel, I have also made a stand against Libya. After the murder of WPC Yvonne Fletcher in 1984, I turned down all requests from Libyan postgraduates wishing to study in my department. I told them I would change my stance when the murderers had been brought to justice.
Professor Anthony Milton
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