MENAFN - Jordan Times
(MENAFN - Jordan Times) Should Israel be worried? Very much so for, the age of total impunity is coming to an end. Critical voices of the Israeli occupation and mistreatment of Palestinians are rising - not only within civil society circles, but among world governments as well.
The picture may seem grim if seen through the prism of the recent US Republican and Democratic national conventions. But the world is not the United States' government, which is defined by self-serving politics and quisling corporate media that often place Israeli interests above those of the US itself.
With the decline of the US as an economic superpower, and as other countries and regional blocs jockey for an advanced position in the new world order, Israel is sure to suffer further isolation in coming years.
Almost daily, new evidence is emerging to demonstrate this increasingly stark reality. Israel's friends are fully aware of this, as are Israeli politicians. The new realisation is that money and power are rarely enough to buy legitimacy. South Africa is, expectedly, leading the way towards that new global paradigm shift, and others countries are following suit.
Recently, South Africa's Cabinet passed a decision requiring Israel to distinguish between products made in Israel and those made in illegal Jewish colonies in the West Bank. The decision was both politically sound and morally consistent with the country's anti-apartheid legacy. It was also a natural progression of South Africa's policies, which have reflected impatience with Israel through the years.
It is clear that Israel has chosen the apartheid option, not just as a de facto outcome of its military policies, but through a decided legal and political pattern.
South Africa's decision was not motivated just by political necessity. Veterans of the anti-apartheid struggle have had numerous influences on the country's civil society. Even the new generation is imbued with a freedom discourse that unites most sectors of society.
"Freedom for Palestine" was a natural fit in that powerful discourse and no amount of Israeli propaganda has been enough to deter South Africans from standing in solidarity with Palestinians.
The total Israeli trade with South Africa was modest to begin with. Since 2009, the trade volume dipped significantly and political ties became colder than ever. This had much to do with the Israel war on Gaza (2008-09) and what was seen as an act of Israeli piracy against the Turkish ship, Mavi Marmara, in May 31, 2011.
South Africa, along with few other countries, withdrew its ambassador from Israel in protest against the deadly raid which killed nine peace activists.
The matter is of greater significance than dollars and cents. These will become a major factor when a global boycott reaches a critical mass. The real danger is the precedence that South Africa continues to set, which will provide other countries with legal and political references.
Soon after South Africa's decision - which came after remarks made by various officials discouraging their nationals from visiting Israel and was followed by another major university voting for divestment and boycott - pro-Israel officials have tried to mobilise.
Denis McShane, British MP and Policy Council member for "Labour Friends of Israel", reacted by making dismaying and historically inconsistent parallels between South Africa and Nazi Germany. Writing in the Jewish Chronicle on September 6, Moira Schneider said that MacShane "likened the boycott of Israeli products to the kauf nicht bei Juden imperative of Nazi Germany".
"Criticism of Israel is perfectly legitimate, but we have to be clear that the new anti-semitic trope is beyond the pale of legitimate criticism," he was quoted as saying.
"The notion of Israel as an apartheid state is deliberately promoted because an apartheid state cannot exist."
While the flawed logic has been uttered numerous times in the past, MacShane's alarm now can be explained outside the political context of South Africa, and rather in terms of what is happening in his own country.
Indeed, there has been a string of statements pointing at efforts under way in several European countries to enact laws relevant to the illegality of the Jewish settlements.
Some recent statements include British Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt "dropp(ing) the strongest hint yet that the UK may be moving towards a ban on goods from illegal Israeli settlements". (The Electronic Intifada, July 5, 2012).
Towards the end of last year, Ireland's minister of foreign affairs and trade renewed his country's commitment to exclude settlement products from the EU. More recently, on September 5, Israel's daily Haaretz reported on the Norwegian foreign minister's comments regarding the import of goods produced in the settlements, "which we consider illegal according to international law".
Still more, on September 7, The Jerusalem Post reported that "the European Union is considering instituting a ban on imports of products made in Israeli settlements, a Greek foreign ministry official was quoted as saying to a group of Israeli and Palestinian journalists in Athens..."
Such a shift in language would never have been achieved without the civil society mobilisation that occurred in several countries.
As in South Africa, governments are being held accountable by vigilant and tireless groups, collectively pushing for boycotts, divestment and sanctions. They will not reduce their efforts until Israel changes course, respects international law and frees Palestinians from decades-long military bondage.
Unable to fathom the global paradigm shift, Israeli politicians are responding with an incoherent strategy. Israeli foreign ministry spokesman, Yigal Palmor, accused the government of South Africa of "exclusion and discrimination". The Israeli government decried the "blatant discrimination", claiming it was "based on national and political distinction".
Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon went even further, accusing South Africa of exactly that which was alleged of Israel.
"Unfortunately it turns out that the changes that took place in South Africa over the years have not brought about basic changes in the country, and it remains an apartheid state," Ayalon was quoted as saying in Jerusalem Post on August 23.
The world is changing. Israel, however, is digressing into a dark corner where racism and apartheid are still applied with impunity. Many Israelis are refusing to attest to their country's fall into the abyss. A wakeup call can only arrive when the world treats the Israeli government the same way the South Africa's apartheid regime was once treated.
The writer (www.ramzybaroud.net) is an internationally syndicated columnist and the editor of PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is "My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza's Untold Story" (Pluto Press, London). He contributed this article to The Jordan Times.
MENA News Headlines
|Dec 18 2013||Dutch retailer signs deal for Oman supermarkets ,MENAFN|
|(MENAFN) Nine new Spar supermarkets will be opened in Oman by 2016 under an agreement between Spar International and Khimji Ramdas, Arabian Business reported.
The agreement is the latest deal for ...|
|Dec 18 2013||MAF plans more ski resorts in ME ,MENAFN|
|(MENAFN) Dubai-based Majid Al Futtaim Group is planning for more ski resorts across the Middle East, Arabian Business reported.
MAF's Arabian city, a tourist attraction in Dubai, includes an ...|
|Dec 18 2013||Dubai increase public employees pay by up to 100 percent ,MENAFN|
|(MENAFN) The government in Dubai decided to increase salaries for public employee by up to 100 percent, Arabian Business reported.
Government staff in 32 departments will benefit from the raise, ...|
|Dec 18 2013||Oman rebuffs imposing tax on expat remittances ,MENAFN|
|(MENAFN) The State Council in Oman rebuffed plans to tax expatriate's remittances, Arabian Business reported.
The economic and financial committee of the Shura Council recommended imposing a two ...|
|Dec 18 2013||Alwaleed-partly owned amusement park signs worker agreement ,MENAFN|
|(MENAFN) Disneyland Paris, in which Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud owns a 10 percent sake, has signed a groundbreaking worker deal to hire youths and seniors to help combat France"s growing ...|
|Dec 18 2013||Kuwait - Man Who Robbed US Citizen Caught ,Qatar News Agency|
|(MENAFN - Qatar News Agency) police have arrested an unidentified person who had allegedly broken into the home of an American two months ago and stolen jewelry and expensive watches and his car, ...|
|Dec 18 2013||Kuwait - Pesterer Stabbed By Girl Again And Again ,Qatar News Agency|
|(MENAFN - Qatar News Agency) A young Kuwaiti woman who is said to have stabbed an unidentified youth in the stomach, shoulder and chest, has been arrested by the police, reports Al-Watan Arabic ...|
|Dec 18 2013||Kuwaiti footballer sues daily ,Qatar News Agency|
|(MENAFN - Qatar News Agency) Lawyer Turki Al-Dhafiri representing professional Kuwaiti footballer Hussein Fadhel who plays for the Al-Wihada Club in the United Arab Emirates has filed a complaint ...|
|Dec 18 2013||Kuwait - Teen Nabbed For Seducing 30-Yr-Old Compatriot Woman ,Qatar News Agency|
|(MENAFN - Qatar News Agency) 18-year old citizen tried to incite a 30-year old female compatriot to commit immoral acts via mobile. The woman told officers in Nugra police station that the suspect ...|
|Dec 18 2013||Kuwait - 4+1 in flesh trade ,Qatar News Agency|
|(MENAFN - Qatar News Agency) The Vice Squad affiliated to the Criminal Investigation Department of the Ministry of Interior have arrested four Chinese prostitutes and referred them to the concerned ...|
|Dec 18 2013||Kuwait - Four Chinese, One Spanish Woman Held For Flesh Trade ,Qatar News Agency|
|(MENAFN - Qatar News Agency) An 18-year-old Syrian expatriate died when a piece of iron fell on his head at a carpentry shop in Abasiya. Father of the victim notified the Operations Room that his son ...|
|Dec 18 2013||Kuwait - Nepali Mother, Baby Await Their Fate Behind Bars ,Qatar News Agency|
|(MENAFN - Qatar News Agency) In another touching incident, a baby is behind bars in Taima Police Station with his Nepalese mother who gave birth to the baby out of wedlock three months ago, reports ...|
|Dec 18 2013||Kuwait - Govt Expected To Sign Free Trade Agreement With GCC In 2014 ,Qatar News Agency|
|(MENAFN - Qatar News Agency) The Ambassador of Switzerland in Kuwait, HE E. ThÃˆvoz recently hosted a business luncheon at the Swiss Residence to present on behalf of the Switzerland Global ...|
|Dec 18 2013||GCC States Continue To Post Steady Growth Of About 5% ,Qatar News Agency|
|(MENAFN - Qatar News Agency) Equity markets in advance economies are poised to close 2013 with an excellent performance, up over 20%, and led by the US and Japan. The Dow Jones Industrials at about ...|
|Dec 18 2013||Kuwait Bourse Resumes Slide Sheds 46.99 Pts ,Qatar News Agency|
|(MENAFN - Qatar News Agency) Kuwait stocks retreated on Tuesday after eking modest rebound in the previous session. The index dropped 46.99 pts in choppy trade to close at 7,609.17 pts as sentiment ...|
|Dec 18 2013||Qatar - Real Estate Transactions Worth over QR877 Million Last Week ,Qatar News Agency|
|(MENAFN - Qatar News Agency) Real estate transactions between December 8 and 12 for the real estate sales contracts registered at the Ministry of justice are worth QR877,248,97. The real estate ...|
|Dec 18 2013||Qatar Exchange Announces Wednesday and Thursday Official Holidays ,Qatar News Agency|
|(MENAFN - Qatar News Agency) Qatar Exchange has announced Tomorrow (Wednesday) and after tomorrow (Thursday) 18 and 19.12.2013 an official holiday on the occasion of Qatar National Day.
Work will ...|
|Dec 18 2013||Dubai to Host Global Iraq Finance Conference For First Time ,Qatar News Agency|
|(MENAFN - Qatar News Agency) Dubai will host the second annual Iraq Finance Conference on 27 and 28 January 2014 under the patronage of the Central Bank of Iraq.
The Conference will bring ...|
|Dec 18 2013||Muntajat Celebrates Qatar National Day ,Qatar News Agency|
|(MENAFN - Qatar News Agency) Qatar Chemical and Petrochemical Marketing and Distribution Company (Muntajat) Q.J.S.C.
celebrated its first Qatar National Day at a company-organized event held here ...|
|Dec 18 2013||RasGas Celebrates Qatar National Day ,Qatar News Agency|
|(MENAFN - Qatar News Agency) RasGas Company Limited (RasGas) celebrated Qatar National Day with their employees in Doha, Ras Laffan, offshore and at its offices in South Korea and Japan, under the ...|