Wednesday, July 20, 2011

It sure looks and smells like apartheid

By Rami G. Khouri
The Daily Star

"....The various boycotts of Israel have not hurt it very much in material or political terms. They have been symbolic acts that Israel has seemed able to withstand quite easily. So why have Israelis reacted so fiercely, and with such official parliamentary zealotry, through this anti-boycott law? I suspect it is because the sustained boycott effort threatens to place Israel dangerously close to the singularly distasteful place in modern history once occupied by apartheid-era South Africa. When American mainstream churches, British academics, European labor movements, Norwegian investment funds and other respectable institutions around the world formally boycott Israel because of its apartheid-like policies in the occupied Arab territories, and some Israeli officials think twice about traveling abroad for fear of being indicted, a boycott suddenly takes on a much more menacing tone.

Israel is responding with hysterical overkill as it finds itself increasingly assaulted politically by boycott pressures because of the deeper moral challenge that boycotts represent: the de-legitimization of the Israeli state that modern Zionism has created.....

If the Israeli parliament takes such actions that rekindle the Zionism-is-racism debate, which is precisely what is happening, then one has to add sheer stupidity to Israel’s catalogue of shortcomings....."

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