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MARIN COUNTY'S NEWS MONTHLY - FREE PRESS
(415)868-1600 - (415)868-0502(fax) - P.O. Box 31, Bolinas, CA, 94924

February, 2009


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PAJU (Palestinian and Jewish Unity
'It's Time To Boycott Israel'

Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions:
The best way to end decades of Israeli apartheid
It is time for the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era. A new campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) is needed because economic sanctions are the most effective tool in the non-violent arsenal.
The world has tried "constructive engagement" with Israel and failed utterly.

Since 2006 Israel has steadily escalated its criminality: expanding settlements, launching an outrageous war against Lebanon, and imposing collective punishment on Gaza through a brutal blockade. Worse, it has now embarked on a savage, all-out assault on Gaza.

Israel must be stopped and it can be stopped.

South Africa proved that boycotts can end apartheid, and - let us be clear - there are strong echoes of apartheid in the way Israel controls the occupied territories. In fact, Ronnie Kasrils, a prominent South African politician, said that what he saw in the West Bank and Gaza was "infinitely worse than apartheid". Kasrils said that in 2007, before Israel launched its full-scale war against the open-air prison that is Gaza.

Why, you ask, single out Israel for boycott? Because boycott is not a dogma; it is a tactic. The reason the strategy should be tried is practical: in a country as small and trade-dependent as Israel, boycott can actually work.

Consider the leading British telecom company that recently announced it would no longer use Israeli suppliers because it "could not afford to lose any customers". Its decision, it said, was "purely commercially defensive".

This kind of cold business calculation led many companies to pull out of South Africa two decades ago. Indeed, it is precisely this kind of calculation that makes boycotts work: Companies respond to boycotts. That is why boycott is our best hope for bringing justice, so long denied, to Palestine.

Adapted from "Enough. It's time for a boycott" by internationally acclaimed Canadian author Naomi Klein, printed in Britain's The Guardian, on Jan. 10, 2009.


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