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Using Palestinians as a human shield against BDS

In response to the Reykjavik City Council’s — since reversed — decision to boycott Israeli goods until the occupation is ended, Israeli politician Yair Lapid wrote an open letter to the Icelandic people titled ‘The Hypocrisy of Boycott.’ In his oped, Lapid argued that Israel should not be boycotted because doing so would harm its Arab citizens. One of those citizens responds.

(Translated by Ofer Neiman)

Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid (Photo by Activestills.org)

Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid (Photo by Activestills.org)

Dear Yair,

What is Israeli to you?[1] Actually, no need to answer. The time has come for you to hear what Israeli is to me. So what is Israeli to me? You are. I am referring to the hypocrisy and condescension that accompanies every step you take. What else is Israeli to me? The herd of racists following you, unable to see that the emperor has no clothes, no ideas of substance and nothing of the “new discourse” you claim to have brought into Israel politics.

You begin your article against the boycott, which you published in Iceland after the Reykjavik City Council decided to boycott products from Israel, with an impressive sequence of questions regarding Palestinians living in Israel. “Does the boycott include products made by Israel’s Arab minority which is 20 percent of the population? Does the boycott include the 14 Arab Israeli parliamentarians who sit beside me in Israel’s parliament?” You ask these questions as if you were the champion of protecting our rights. I am baffled as to the source of your insolence and audacity.

Aren’t you ashamed? You embarrass yourself with your cynical use of Israel’s Palestinian citizens as a human shield against the boycott.

What have you ever done for us, Palestinian citizens of Israel? As finance minister you tried to lower housing prices in a populist move by slashing VAT to zero — but only for military veterans. And what about those who did not serve in the army — i.e., Arabs? In their case, you wanted the law to apply only when purchasing an apartment under NIS 600,000 ($150,000). That means you wanted to encourage Arabs to continue living in poverty stricken neighborhoods. As far as you are concerned, if there is no loyalty[2], there should be no reasonably priced housing for Arabs.

What plans have you or your party promoted for the well being of those [Palestinian] residents behind whom you are now trying to hide? You mention in your article the products produced by Arab citizens, as if we were a real factor in the Israeli economy. Meanwhile, the Ashkenazi elite to which you belong does all it can to prevent Arab communities from establishing and developing industrial zones, thus preventing them from achieving economic autonomy and keeping them poor and dependent on favors from the likes of you.

Don’t run away, as you would say. I have more questions.

And how dare you exploit the Palestinian members of Knesset? You choose to ignore the fact that MKs from the Joint List do support a boycott of Israel, as do many of the 20 percent, including myself, whose economic security and well-being you are so concerned about. Just to remind you, you stated quite clearly that under no circumstances would you sit in the same governing coalition with the Arabs, thus treating them all as one uniform group, in a racist move. As if they were dying to sit with you in an oppressive Zionist government. I believe the precise term you coined for them is “The Zoabis“, right?

Let me tell you a little secret. As a child I used to read your weekly column in Maariv with great pleasure. But that didn’t last very long because pretty soon I figured out the tricks of your populist writing. The pinnacle, for me, was when I realized that you were using the Holocaust discourse to make the occupation kosher.

I would like to believe that in your article addressing the people of Iceland you did not mention the Holocaust because you are tired of tarnishing the memory of its victims. But we both know the reason you left it out is simply because you’ve found another human shield to wield, and a more suitable one in this case.

Apart from hiding behind our backs like a coward, you also touted Israel’s accomplishments, which according to you have a positive impact on the whole world. But let’s say a few words about what you didn’t write, Yair.

Interestingly, you do not mention the Israeli arms industry. Aren’t you proud of this homegrown industry’s involvement in every bloody conflict on the face of the earth, almost always by supporting and selling arms to the more aggressive and violent side? Does the fact that Israel is involved in the death of innocent women and children in any conflict not suffice for it to be boycotted? Aren’t you proud of how this industry uses us Palestinians, who “are not interested in peace,” as a lab for testing its innovative new weapons?

You also forgot to tell the people of Iceland about the house demolitions and land expropriation that targets us Arabs, on both sides of the Green Line, so that you can have neighborhoods in which we will never be able to reside, and factories in which we will only be able to work as laborers, not as managers. And instead of confusing the poor people of Iceland with stats and figures, you could have simply mentioned the fact that Israel kills a Palestinian minor every three days. You forgot to talk about the checkpoints, the arrests, the raids, and you also failed to mention the Dawabsha family from Duma, burned alive. Here too, the details are too great to list.

Yair, I have no expectations from you — not due to political disagreement but simply because there is nothing to you. The sad thing about this whole story is the unbearable number of Israelis buying your slogans, which you wrap in kitsch and in baseless assertions.

And to be honest, it’s good to have people like you campaigning against the boycott. It will only do good things for the BDS movement.


[1] This question was often posed by Lapid as a journailst to his interviewees.

[2] “There is no citizenship without loyalty” – a popular slogan put forward by Yisrael Beitenu leader Avigdor Liberman.

Read this article in Hebrew on Local Call.

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    COMMENTS

    1. Ben

      Rami Younis nicely unwraps some of the layers of hypocrisy many Israelis are wrapping themselves in regarding boycott.

      Israel and its occupied territories indeed constitute an apartheid state. It meets the definition of an apartheid state enshrined in Article 7 of the Rome Statute of the ICC: a state that commits inhumane acts in the context of an “institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.”

      The mistake or the dodge many make is to say that there are differences between Greater Israel and Apartheid South Africa and to assume that that is decisive. But those differences, while they are real, are not defining, while the similarities *are* defining. The Rome Statute does not refer to South Africa in its definition of apartheid. South Africa was *an* example of apartheid, not the exclusive model of apartheid.

      Roy Isacowitz explains. See also the supporting opinion of Bradley Burston that Roy links to:
      http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/1.674291

      Apartheid policies put Israel on path to becoming failed state
      It is not right-wing governments that institutionalized racial domination here; the process started decades before they took power.

      Reply to Comment
      • BigCat

        Complete nonsense. Just another idiotic mumbo jumbo from “Ben” alias “Brian, alias “MuslimJew” alias “Bryan” alias “Bluto” alias etc. who is an unemployed foreign anti-Semitic madman with irrational fixation on- and compulsive obsession with Jews and Israel. Shouldn’t you be spending time on the affairs of your own country, Brian, and worrying about the very serious social quagmire that threatens the very existence of your own country and how to make your own country better? What exactly got you so hooked to Jews and Israel, Brian, that you even neglect yourself and won’t go find a job to support yourself, but instead depend on food-stamps provided by the United States government with my tax dollars to survive, while obsessing with- and “doing research” on Jews and Israel 24/7 and coming back her to paste the result of your “research” and ranting endlessly? You have a psychiatric problem that is destroying you, Brian. Time to seek professional help, you little moron.

        Reply to Comment
        • MuslimJew

          Complete nonsense. Just another idiotic mumbo jumbo from “BigCat” alias “Ginger Eis, alias “Merav” alias “ICat” alias “Hercules alias etc. who is an unemployed foreign anti-Semitic madwoman with an irrational fixation on and compulsive obsession with Jews and Israel. Shouldn’t you be spending time on the affairs of your own country, Ginger Eis, and worrying about the very serious social quagmire that threatens the very existence of your own country and how to make your own country better? What exactly got you so hooked to Jews and Israel, Ginger Eis, that you even neglect yourself and won’t go find a job to support yourself, but instead depend on food-stamps provided by the United States government with Ben’s tax dollars to survive, while obsessing with and “doing research” on Jews and Israel 24/7 and coming back her to paste the result of your “research” and ranting endlessly? You have a psychiatric problem that is destroying you, Ginger Eis. Time to seek professional help, you little moron.

          Reply to Comment
          • BigCat

            Ben alias MuslimJew, alias etc, are you whacking it again, while imagining Ginger Eis? It is apparent that Ginger Eis is ALWAYS on your mad mind, and occupies and rules your poor empty useless life. What a powerful impact lady Ginger Eis, who like many others is not posting here (anymore), must have made in your life even as she called you a pig and treated you like a pig. What did she do to have such a power over you that you are unable to put her out our your disturbed mind (I have seen where you even try to be her!!)? You are psychotic and very ill, Ben. Seek help!

            Reply to Comment
      • Gustav

        Racist anti Israel bigots like Benny have been working feverishly to smear Israel with that dog whistle word ‘APARTHEID’.

        It is an Afrikaans word which means apartapart + -heid -hood.

        Even though Benny claims that the word Apartheid need not refer to the South African context only, he knows very well the propaganda value of that word. It taps into a ready made market of disdain. If they succeed in their smear campaign, all they have to do is to sit back and their work would be done.

        Even Benny grudgingly has to admit that what is happening between Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs is nothing like what happened in South Africa. As for the West Bank Arabs? Well, again it has nothing to do with South Africa, the WB Arabs are under occupation, they commit terrorist acts and they refuse to even negotiate peace terms let alone sign peace terms because their plan is still to bring about the demise of the Jewish state. And that of course has consequences.

        Reply to Comment
    2. MuslimJew

      Kiwi/Tzutzik/Shmuel/Samuel/JohnW/Gustav/EuroFake, the psychotic Israel worshiping Jewpuppy, yap yap yapping and chasing his worthless tail again.

      Reply to Comment
      • Gustav

        Yep, as I was saying, Benny is a racist bigot. Now he is not even trying to hide his disdain for Jews.

        Jewpuppy, huh?

        Reply to Comment