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Naomi Klein takes the boycott to Israel
07-19-2009, 09:29 AM,
Naomi Klein takes the boycott to Israel
Quote:Naomi Klein, one of the foremost champions of the 'Boycott Israel' campaign, has just spent a week in Israel promoting her book The Shock Doctrine, to mark its recent publication in Hebrew.

One might wonder how someone who is promoting the economic and academic ostracising of Israel could justify visiting the country to break both the boycotts she is herself promoting?

The answer, according to Klein, is simple. By eschewing her share of profits from sales of the book in Israel, she is "boycotting the Israeli economy, but not Israelis". The same goes for her carefully-planned speaking tour around the country: she refuses to cooperate with Israeli state institutions, coordinating her engagements with organisations sympathetic to, and working to assist, the Palestinian cause.

‘Israeli culture is being co-opted by the state. To do nothing is to be complicit’

I heard her speak this weekend at the Arab-Hebrew Theatre in Jaffa, where she went down a storm with the vast majority of the 200-strong crowd. This kind of interaction was, she said, precisely what she hoped to achieve by supporting the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) campaign.

Those detractors who claimed a boycott stifled dialogue were wrong, she explained; instead, by forging links with like-minded BDS supporters in Israel, communication massively increased: "building a movement requires endless communicating". She wholeheartedly wants "more communication - just not through state-backed channels".

The Shock Doctrine was published in Arabic at the same time as the Hebrew edition, and Klein spent much of her trip in the West Bank and Gaza, including a visit to Ramallah, where she invoked the memory of the Holocaust as a reason to oppose oppressive Israeli policy towards the Palestinians: "[The question is], 'Never again' to anyone, or 'Never again' to us? [Some Jews] think we get a get-away-with-one-genocide-free card... there is another strain in the Jewish tradition that says 'Never again' to anyone."

In Jaffa, where the audience was made up almost entirely of Israeli Jews, she tailored her speech to implore them to pick up the baton of BDS from within Israel's borders. "It's crucial we have Israelis saying that this is a good idea," she declares. "We need to hear voices in support of BDS; right now, we only hear defensive voices, who accuse us of anti-Semitism - despite the call coming from Jewish people like me."

She maintains that there is a "moral responsibility" to respect the Palestinians' call for BDS as a form of non-violent resistance; "the only missing piece is Israeli Jews [joining the cause] who say 'we see this as solidarity, not as an attack'".

Klein believes it is incumbent on everyone, whether in Israel or abroad, to participate in BDS, as a way of "disrupting 'Brand Israel'" - a reference to the PR campaign embarked upon by Israeli officialdom to market Israel as a country as non-violent and normal as any other in the West. "The entire culture is being co-opted by the state," she says. "As artists, writers and intellectuals, doing nothing is to be complicit in the normalisation process."

The BDS church is a broad one, with some backers supporting a two-state solution, and others determined to usher in one-state as a way to solve the conflict. She accepts this, but sees no need for a consensus for an end goal beyond getting Israel to comply with international law.

"What is indisputable is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: total equality and no discrimination, whether in a one- or two-state solution. There was no consensus beyond ending apartheid [during] the boycott of South Africa; it's a distraction to say that we have to agree on our end goals before BDS can start."

Klein is strident in her assertion that progressives across the world have a responsibility to "move the centre" in relation to international political and economic strategy, especially in the wake of Obama's ascent to power in the US. "What's good about him is what's bad about him too," she remarks. "He's open to pressure, but the problem is that he's open to pressure from all sides. [When it comes to Israel] he's getting gloves-off pressure from the likes of AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee), whilst the left just applaud his ideas, which aren't even progressive."

Obama's stance on settlements is evidence of this, she says. All he is demanding is 'no new settlements', not 'no settlements'. As long as the left continue their unquestioning fawning over Obama and all the criticism comes from the right wing, she believes there is little chance of the President being forced to embrace the kind of progressive policies which would really effect change in the region. Moreover there is an increasing danger of Obama caving to the demands of hawks on the right.

Regarding the collective Israeli psyche, she sees no evidence of "Israel's sense of victimisation abating", despite the state being rewarded for its lawlessness. "Foreign trade has increased since the siege on Gaza, yet still Israel feels alienated and that a second Holocaust is about to happen."

Klein is a shrewd judge of the mood in Israel, and her goals of ending the state-sponsored racism and discrimination in the country and in the Occupied Territories are equally admirable.

However, it is arguable that just because the end is right, it doesn't necessarily follow that the means are as well. Some of those who believe that boycotting Israel isn't wrong in principle feel that it is ultimately a strategy that just won't work and other methods need to be used instead.

As one audience member cynically put it, "BDS probably feels like an effective tool if you're a Danish citizen getting angry watching the news and wanting to do something." However, Israel's powerful army of supporters - made up of both individuals and governments - will always emerge victorious in any battle (economic or otherwise) in which they are pitted against the BDS forces.

Likewise, preaching to the converted in Jaffa is infinitely easier than convincing the average Israeli that hitting him in the pocket is an act of 'solidarity' rather than an all-out attack on Israeli society as a whole.

Many agree with Klein's call for the political centre to be moved leftwards in the US, Europe and elsewhere, seeing such a shift as key to pushing forward the progressive agenda. But whether calling explicitly for a total boycott of Israel will help or hinder a sea-change in Israeli policy is far less clear-cut, at least in the eyes of those on the Israeli street.,news,n...-shock-doctrine
The revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe. You have to make it fall. - Che Guevara

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07-11-2011, 08:05 AM,
RE: Naomi Klein takes the boycott to Israel
A good book in The Shock Doctrine but appears that she is attempting to at least use the peace movement via a one state solution against a common enemy in the threat of the man made impact weather aka Global Warming. Is she just using this to appeal to the demographic that is fearful of climate change to enact cooperation and peace; or is it more along the lines of universal values enforced through treaty? If so she is using her status to hijack support for global governance based, at least partially, on the common enemy of the Global Warming monster that threatens to put islands underwater.

So is it rising oceans or a sinking land masses (or maybe both?) perpetrating these eyewitness accounts?

Whatever the case it could go two ways. Cooperation is all fine and good. I'm all for peace but by way of what? It's clearly the oppositional values of sovereignty of individuals vs cooperation, which is being heavily advocated as global management.

A global threat to unite, real or imagined be it by climate, war, population, pollution, pandemic plague, famine, radiation, drought, economics, asteroids or aliens... or all of the above Shock the world to shift to global thinking to face global threats.

The solution is always sacrifice, submission over global citizens and centralized control under the guise of cooperation.

As an alternative to a global threat which has been muted is refugees. Humans are built to migrate but immigration has been overcomplicated and even demonized. If your island is going underwater the common sense choice would be to get off the island as opposed to making a guess as to what the cause is and taking global action to prevent it.

Another solution that is being frowned upon is foreign (or better yet personally initiated) assistance in times of dire need which preserves sovereignty and voluntarism. We have been witness to an outpouring of self initiated acts of empathy without the need for a global directorship to force an inherent human trait to activate.

As it is, there is enough centralized power. When a figure such as Naomi Klein advocates it, there should be considerate and thoughtful debate as to what solution she is prompting exactly. Then back what you infer is the best course of action to pursue.

Quote:Naomi Klein: How climate change should affect a N. American Jew’s view of Israel
by Philip Weiss on July 8, 2011

Great stuff happens and then goes by the boards, but below is an exchange from 6 weeks ago that I don't want to forget.

In May we (along with the Culture Project) staged a panel on the Goldstone Report with Naomi Klein among others on stage in New York, and at the end moderator Laura Flanders asked Klein a question about global warming as it touches on the Israel/Palestine issue. ...

Flanders: I do want to give Naomi a chance to say, to answer one other question. Because I hear solidarity I also want to hear, I believe real solidarity is based on self interest. We all share an interest in resolving this conflict, and our own conflicts we are responsible for, and our part of it. We also I think have a self interest in a climatic way, having to do with our climate, our planet, our future as a planet. You’re working on this; I don’t want you to spill the beans on your book and your movie. But you said behind, backstage that it’s not unrelated.

Klein: ...That's a really great last question. I was mentioning to Laura, I am working on a book about climate change, it isn’t about Israel Palestine. But I am really immersed in this issue, and have been now for three or so years. And I find myself in situations talking to groups of people whose countries are going to disappear under the waves. They are literally planning for the disappearance of their states. And this is the future we are headed to, I know this is a completely different topic, but obviously climate change is going to affect the region that we are talking about very strongly. Water wars are going to intensify. I think we can see a really bad outcome for how climate change would play out in Israel Palestine, particularly when it comes to water. But I have this other idea, about what could happen. Because, I really do think we are looking at a much less secure world where it’s only a matter of time before everybody is confronting these facts, that a great many people in the world are going to be looking at their states disappearing. We are going to be looking at a huge number of climate refugees because of our refusal to deal with climate change. When I think about that world of insecurity and I think about what that means to me as a North American Jew, and the fact that I have been told that I have a right to not just one state but two, two secure states, I actually think that climate change might be something of a game changer there. And my hope is that it may create an opening for North American Jews to think about what security really means; what real security means, that it’s not a fortress and that it is these universal values.

Ultimately it shouldn't matter what she thinks. Everyone should be doing their own thinking and take ownership and responsibility for their actions.
There are no others, there is only us.

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