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"Boycott from Within" making international waves

Boycott From Within is taking credit for the recent cancellation of  French pop star Vanessa Paradis’s visit to Israel. The group, made up of Israeli citizens who advocate the Palestinian call for international boycott, divestment and sanction (BDS) of Israel, believes that their efforts helped persuade Paradis to cancel her March performance in Tel Aviv.  Officially, her concert was canceled for ‘professional reasons’ but those close to singer believe that she was motivated by calls for boycott.

Boycott From Within sent Paradis the following letter as well as individual letters urging her to cancel her visit:

We are Israeli citizens. It has come to our attention that Ms. Paradis is planning on performing in Israel in March 2011, and that you are both expected to meet Israeli President Shimon Peres. You may not be aware, but there is an ongoing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel, due to its policies of apartheid and occupation. We, as Israeli citizens endorse this boycott, and we are urging you to take this opportunity to take a stand on an issue crucial to human rights and as such, to human lives as well.

You may be asking yourself what all this means and what it has to do with you. Indeed, you may feel you are being thrust into a situation which you had no interest in entering in the first place. However, we hope that we can help the both of you overcome your feelings of disconnect, outline the realities of the grim world you have entered, and give you the opportunity to choose to make a difference. Make no mistake; Because of your celebrity status, the choice you make will have an instant effect on the lives of millions of children, women and men.

Palestinians are living under a brutal military regime which practices policies of apartheid in what is known as Israel and the Occupied Territories. The army that controls everyday Palestinian life, at the barrel of a gun, is Israel’s army. This means that Palestinians depend on the mercy of this army, controlled by the Israeli government, which for over 60 years, has been murdering, maiming, arresting civilians, all the while stealing their lands by extreme and brutal force. While illegal Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian Territories flourish, under the guise of “natural growth“, Palestinian land is being robbed, homes are being demolished, whole communities left homeless, in the occupied territories as well as inside Israel.

There is no way your presence here can escape being interpreted as a political act. It will therefore not be about the sheer joy of your music and films. Instead, it will have the effect of contributing to Israel’s image of normality, to its government as well as to the rest of the world. We, therefore, ask you to reconsider. Please do not allow the state of Israel to use your reputation to whitewash its crimes!

Boycott From Within is now targeting British Telecom for its business dealings with the Israeli telecommunications company Bezeq. According to the open letter to BT, “by partnering with Bezeq, BT is supporting the infrastructure which enables illegal Israeli settlements, built in violation of international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, to exist.”

The existence of an Israeli group calling for BDS reflects a new strategy in the radical left in Israel. Frustrated with an Israeli public that is unwilling to listen, those few citizens who are fighting for an end to the occupation are now focusing on the international community to bring about change on the ground. While the numbers are small, Boycott From Within is having a major impact on the ability of Israel to maintain an illegal occupation while being accepted as a member of the international community. However, politicians in Knesset are aware of the danger that BDS poses to the maintenance of the occupation and parliamentary bills are currently being designed to punish Israelis openly engaged in any BDS activity. Should a democracy allow its citizens the freedom to openly call for a boycott of the country in order to end illegal practices of the government? Whatever the answer, BDS is a new force confronting Israel’s occupation which is gaining momentum throughout the world and inside Israel.

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    COMMENTS

    1. Old Jewish Lady

      Oy vey, the ribcage on that girl. Looks like she’s boycotting food as well.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Majid Jamali Fashi

      Despite the fact that you zionists regularly revile Ahmadinejad, he is more of a statesman than anyone in your history. BDS is necessary to correct the mistake of 1948

      Reply to Comment
    3. Steve Cartwright

      So on 972 comments like Majid’s are allowed? It is ok on this site to call the foundation of Israel a mistake?

      Good to know…

      Reply to Comment
      • The comments are hard to control. I think that this comment should be removed because I will not tolerate this language on my page. However, because of the conversation, I am going to leave it so that people reading the thread will understand what is being discussed. More comments like this will be deleted.

        Reply to Comment
    4. Lisa Goldman

      Steve, we don’t always see comments right away. Sometimes they just slip through, which is what happened in the case of Majid. But reading over his comment, I have say that the guy is just an idiot. Who cares what he writes? At least he’s not using vermin/maggot terminology. If Joseph wants to erase the comment, he can do that. It’s his page.

      Reply to Comment
    5. BlightUntoNations

      ………………………………………………………What are you talking about? Majid can’t express an opinion? The entire world is duty bound to declare that the formation of a Jewish state on someone else’s land by means of terror and expulsion must be defended unequivocally or the post is deleted? What kind of nonsense it this? The guy didn’t call for annihilation of Israel, He merely called for BDS, which most of you claim to support.

      Reply to Comment
    6. richard Allen

      No one bothered to respond because it is idiotic, and MOST of the commenters and journalists on this page wish to engage in fruitful discussion, not debate ad nauseam with someone who invokes Ahmadinejad after an article that has absolutely nothing to do with him, and then calls him a statesman. Clearly, Majid doesn’t know what that word even means, so why argue with someone who is having an entirely different argument than you? However, I would leave the comment anyway, because it’s funny.

      Reply to Comment
    7. blightUntoNations

      ………………………………………………..I see. It’s fine for the Israelis to “invoke Ahmadinejad” at every possible juncture, and employ every form of dishonest verbal acrobatics to try to convince the world he’s Satan and is planning a second Shaoh (an argument only a liar or a psychotic could possibly take seriously). It’s fine for them to work 24/7 to try to start another war in which god knows how many innocent people will be killed. Just don’t compare Iran with Israel, which has true “statesmen” of note, including internationally renowned terrorists like Begin, Barak, Rabin, ben Gurion, Netanyahu, Livni etc etc. Sorry, Majid’s post was in support of BDS–the topic of this forum. It’s YOUR post that is of no relevance to the discussion.

      Reply to Comment
    8. Majid Jamali Fashi

      I am gratified to see that neither Joseph or Lisa have responded to my or Blights comments. There are two possible reasons. Either they agree with us, or they cannot refute us

      Reply to Comment
    9. F

      I have no idea why joseoh thinks he is any different from majid. Joseph has called tel aviv israeli occupied territory. He said that racist rantingsv were the result of zionist indoctrination. He said his goal is to end zionism in jewish thought and jewish life. He had questioned the loyalty of american jews to america. He is facebook friends with antisemites like gilad atzmon. His friend and partner max blumenthal said that jews have as much connection to ancient israel as blumenthal has to aztec mexico. Joseph favors replacing the state of israel with jews living as a minority community in greater arab palestine.

      Reply to Comment
    10. F

      Therefore I think its disingenuous for him to pretend to be offenfed by majid.

      Reply to Comment
    11. Steve, what’s wrong with terming the creation of Israel as a mistake? I think it’s a pretty sure bet that had the (few) members of the UN known in November 1947 just how botched its creation would be, they would vote it down. The creation of Israel has caused untold suffering, to Jews, Palestinians and many others.

      Mistake or no, however, it exists. Now we have to make certain it causes as little pain as possible.

      Reply to Comment
    12. lili

      Why don’t you look up serious history books about Palestine? You will see that Palestine was never an Arab country. Israel did not take it away from the Palestinians who adopted the word Palestine only in 1964 in order to distort history.

      Still, even if Israel had expulsed the arabs that lived in Palestine (though not all of them, since they form today 20% of the population), it’s nothing compared to the expulsion of Jews from arab countries. They were almost one million, and I am one of them. Today, there are hardly any Jews in those countries. I am glad there was Israel to go to.

      Reply to Comment
    13. Lili: In most parts, Jews weren’t expelled from Arab countries. I don’t know where you got this from.

      Reply to Comment
    14. Israel did not take it away from the Palestinians who adopted the word Palestine only in 1964 in order to distort history

      Bullshit. “Palestine” is a term first used by the historian Herodotos in the 5th century BC, and was the name of the Roman province after 135. The British mandate ruled Palestine (hence “Mandatory Palestine”). Are you really that ignorant, or are you willingly and knowingly peddling Hasbara lies?

      Reply to Comment
    15. Lowlife Israeli, present.

      Reply to Comment
    16. Majid. Noam, Yuval, Yossi, Roi, Ami and Yossi are all native-born Israelis. Your comments are stupid and ignorant; your contributions are unwelcome and I request that you stop commenting in this forum.

      Reply to Comment
    17. Majid, when a person tells you that you are not welcome, the correct and courteous thing to do is to leave.

      Reply to Comment
    18. ilana sebba

      Yossi,
      1.who do you represent when you say the creation of Israel has caused untold suffering?
      What would the better alternative be? And let’s be a bit honest here; while I am in favour of a complete withdrawal from the territories and an independent state for the palestinian arabs; you cannot call the only democracy (imperfect as it is) in the middle east a mistake; is life in any of the arab countries so great for their citizens? Where in the Middle East could a nascent palestinian state look up to for help in creating a democratic, egalitarian infrastrucutre?

      Reply to Comment
    19. Ilana Sebba

      Re: Boycott from within – Alienating and demonizing your own country is not, in my opinion, something that will ever work; and is inherently wrong, it is like trying to teach your teenage to uphold your values and correct their mistakes by kicking him/her out of home, rather than attempting to love, educate? Sorry but it does not make any sense to me. As much as I support a full israeli withdrawal, this is really not the way to go about it. Also, please do not delude yourselves about your great influence; as an israeli living outside of Israel, and very involved with both the local jewish and israeli community, not only I don’t know anyone here who has any idea who you are, but know of no one either who would ever entertain any support for BDS or Boycott from within.

      Reply to Comment
    20. Robin

      One thing I never quite understood….how do people of the same religion equate that with being a nation/country? Judaism is a religion, not an ethnicity/nationality. I am not trying to foment…seriously asking.

      Reply to Comment
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