Thursday, December 10, 2009

Britain Encouraging Boycott of Israeli Goods

The British Department of Environment, Food & Rural Affairs has put forward new guidelines to merchants to distinguish goods imported from the West Bank.

Merchants are being encouraged to distinguish goods bought from Palestinians and goods bought from Jewish settlements. This is tantamount to a boycott. The British Foreign Office, of course, denies it:

"This is emphatically not about calling for a boycott of Israel," a Foreign Office spokesman said. "We believe that would do nothing to advance the peace process. We oppose any such boycott of Israel. We believe consumers should be able to choose for themselves what produce they buy. We have been very clear both in public and in private that settlements are illegal and an obstacle to peace."

But if it is Britain's position that Israeli settlements are "illegal and an obstacle to peace," then isn't the British government giving businesses and by extension consumers to greenlight boycott goods made in Jewish settlements? Britain's position also has the effect of singling out Jews. Somehow I don't think any such guidelines are in place for goods produced in Kashmir for instance.

It is also worth noting that Britain strongly supported Sweden's push for the EU to recognize East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state. Israel strongly protested and the EU backed down. I suppose this is one way Britain can get back at Israel.

I was quite amused at this quote from Barbara Stocking, the Director of Oxfam Great Britain. Stocking said, "Profiting from the goods produced in the illegal settlements is contrary to international law and they should be banned from sale in the European Union, as they are in Palestine."

So the law in "Palestine" should be a guide for the law in Europe? Homosexuality is illegal in the Palestinian Authority. Somehow I doubt Ms. Stocking believes homosexuality should be outlawed in Europe.

But the statement of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign is even more priceless than that of Ms. Stocking:

Particularly following Israel's massacre in Gaza, consumers have been shocked at Israel's war crimes and want to take action. They do not want to feel complicit in Israel's occupation by buying stolen goods.

I'm surprised the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign didn't accuse Israel of sucking the blood of Palestinian children and putting it into Purim pastries.

Since Britain wishes to single out Israel in this way, I don't think I will buy bottles of Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce anymore. A little less flavor in my soup is a small price to pay to stand up to anti-Semitism.

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