Thursday, July 2, 2015

Obama Just Made Israeli Settlement Boycotts Kosher

AIPAC successfully pushed to include language directing the U.S. Trade Representative to "discourage" boycotting "Israel or Israeli-controlled territories". Though the Trade Promotion Authority includes that provision, the effect is, ironically, to have pushed the Obama administration to distinguish between Israel and the settlements in the occupied territories. State Department spokesman John Kirby said:
“The U.S. government has never defended or supported Israeli settlements and activity associated with them and, by extension, does not pursue policies or activities that would legitimize them...We will also continue to uphold policies integral to preserving the prospect of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
The effect is to legitimize boycotts of companies doing business in the occupied territories of the West Bank and Gaza. - gwc
  Obama Just Made Israeli Settlement Boycotts Kosher
by Mitchell Plitnick (Program Director, Foundation for Middle East Peace)

***Now, the Obama Administration is telling us in no uncertain terms that boycotts of settlements are perfectly kosher. It is time to make the call loud and clear: The settlements are illegal. They are not Israel and are not entitled to the same legitimacy that Israel is rightly due. They are, in fact, a serious threat to Israel’s future even as they undermine its moral foundations in the present. The best way to defend Israel against attempts to de-legitimize it is to affirm the illegitimacy of the settlements and thereby strengthen Israel’s legitimacy within its internationally recognized borders. Those who are interested in a better future for both Israel and the Palestinians can accomplish this by simultaneously boycotting settlements and supporting businesses in Israel that do not cross the Green Line into the West Bank.

Strengthen Israel by weakening the settlements that divert enormous resources from the country that needs them. Strengthen it by proclaiming loudly that the occupation that undermines Israel’s security and that provides fodder for its enemies is unjust and must end. Strengthen it by naming the settlements the illegal and provocative enterprise they are and by demonstrating with dollars, not just words, our opposition to them. Once that is done, negotiations to make Israel’s borders permanent, with whatever mutually agreeable adjustments need to be made, alongside a Palestinian state become a much more realistic possibility.

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