Boycotts, Sanctions, and a Palestinian State: Who’s Winning & Who’s Losing?

December 16, 2014

4 min read

We are feeling a wave of resolutions, almost none of them binding on their governments, being taken by European parliaments, in favor of recognizing the State of Palestine.

Expressions from Irish leftists supporting their resolution ring like the most barbaric of anti-Semitism. They accuse Israel of slaughtering  and raping Palestinians since 1948, and the continued killing of Gazans unfortunate to be in Israel’s open-air jail. Several use the terms genocide and mass murder to describe Israeli actions, demand the imposition of sanctions and the destruction of the Israeli state for the sake of decency, justice, and Palestine.

It’s almost enough to make me swear off Guinness.

Other parliaments have enacted, or are likely to enact similar resolutions. The only European government to formally recognize a State of Palestine is Sweden, and that is of doubtful value given the government’s recent collapse

Israel’s official response is that such actions make an accommodation more distant.

The reasoning is that symbolic gifts  serve to weaken the resolve of any Palestinians who may think that compromise is the way to reach an agreement with Israel.

Bizarre rhetoric of the Irish variety may also help Bibi ride the wave of antagonism to another term in office, with all that means for Israel’s openness to the idea of a Palestinian state..

The Obama administration is considering something other than a veto against a Palestinian proposal to the UN Security Council demanding a state within two years, along with other things Israel considers unacceptable, i.e., a capital in Jerusalem, and withdrawal of Jews to the 1967 borders.

The White House may be thinking about nudging Israel toward the two-state solution, and the difficulty of supporting Israel in the context of efforts to enlist Arab governments in the United States campaign against ISIS.

There are also domestic US considerations, associated with anticipations of all those Israeli-loving Republicans who will be in Congress.

John Kerry is working with Europeans and talking to Netanyahu, in the hope of avoiding an increase in tensions surrounding whatever comes before the Security Council.

It’s not an easy task, with a number of European governments having their own domestic concerns shown by parliaments voting in favor of Palestine, and “a lot of different folks pushing in different directions.”

There are economic sanctions already in place, but nothing more than what is annoying. Left-leaning coops and some supermarkets have removed Israeli products from their shelves, and the longshorepersons of Oakland have refused to unload Israeli registered ships.

So far economic sanctions have focused on consumer goods, which are a small element in Israel’s exports. Perhaps not well known to the self-appointed worthies are a cluster of countries, from the Middle East and elsewhere, that quietly pay significant sums for Israeli technology in security and other fields.

Academic boycotts are getting considerable attention, and doing a bit of damage. Lots of my manuscripts have been rejected for appropriate reasons, but one rejection whose explanation was unconvincing came from an editor located at an unknown British institution, whose name I Googled and found to have written items that were extreme in their animosity toward Israel and the United States.

One of our PhDs, a Palestinian, serious Muslim, apolitical, a skilled researcher and analyst, was denied permission by his Palestinian university to present an academic paper at a conference hosted by the Hebrew University.

When a university of doubtful quality forbids its staff to participate with colleagues in a distinguished university, the boycotters lose more than the boycotted.

Students currently at my own distinguished alma mater in New England are paying nearly $50,000 per year to learn from a professor who has signed on to a proclamation that Israel’s treatment of Palestinians is  “one of the most massive, ethnocidal atrocities of modern times.”

Palestinians’ latest contribution to medical science is to ignore the findings of their own pathologist, and claim that a seriously ill politician who died of a predictable heart attack while participating in a demonstration was murdered by an Israeli police officer.

BIN-OpEd-Experts-300x250(1)Individuals from Fatah’s leadership are threatening, as a result of the imagined murder, to end the security cooperation with Israel.

If that is done, the damage will be greater to Palestine. They should expect a resurgence of Palestinian on Palestinian criminality, as well as Hamas attacks against Fatah activists.

Those who doubt Israel’s own capacity to deal with Hamas should take another look at the rubble in Gaza.

The world is dynamic, and not always just. Bad things have happened to good people at least since our ancestors created the Book of Job. Yet the bottom line is where we are, and what has happened to Palestinians who work harder to hurt us than to benefit their own people.

From the Holocaust, warfare, and a flood of the downtrodden from Europe and the Middle East, who traded their refugee status for citizenship upon arriving in Israel, Israel has become one of the world’s wealthiest countries, with medical services widely enough available to support one of the longest life spans. The Arab minority of Israel lives as long or longer, dependent on the statistics used, than the White majority of the United States, and considerably longer than American minorities.

Israel’s democracy may be imperfect, but not more than that of any other country with a credible claim of being democratic.

Palestinians have been promoting their distorted narrative of Israeli exploitation since 1948, without making an apparent contribution to their people’s quality of education, standards of living, or their acquisition in politics of anything more than limited autonomy in the West Bank and widespread misery in Gaza. They may dream of greater accomplishments being just around the corner, if they can find enough support outside of Palestine, but their dream depends on Israel.

Europeans and others who use terms like genocide, slaughter, and mass imprisonment for Israel’s efforts at self defense may think they are contributing to their own standing, but we know better.

Reprinted with author’s permission from The Jerusalem Post

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