The US secretary of state became the first in his position to visit an Israeli settlement in the West Bank and Golan Heights when he toured the Psagot Winery and was hailed a hero by many Israelis for denouncing the BDS movement.
The last act of a desperate man is the only explanation for America’s spiteful attack on the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement.
Donald Trump’s loyal lieutenant Mike Pompeo brandished his claws on a visit to Israel. Standing side-by-side with another member of the Trump VIP Club, Benjamin Netanyahu, he branded BDS “a cancer” and professed that the USA is “committed to countering the Global BDS Campaign as a manifestation of anti-Semitism.” A giddy Netanyahu applauded and called it all “wonderful.”
The action behind the rhetoric will see America begin to identify any organisation linked to BDS and withdraw all support for them. Ironically, they are exiling a group whose aim is to help exiles. BDS is non-violent and the only meaningful check on Israel’s wanton abuse of Palestinian rights. This occurs namely through settlements, which are deemed illegal under international law, and which are basically Israel communities knowingly built on Palestinian land. They occur and thrive due to the power of Israel’s armed forces, whereas Palestine is impoverished and has nothing close to an equal security force to resist any such attempts.
It’s lambs to the slaughter.
On top of the continual land grabs, Israel restricts the flow of goods and services into Palestine including medicine, resulting in a nation of people who suffer deprivation and enjoy little freedom. That’s why there are more than five million Palestinian refugees in the world today and why youth unemployment is above 40 percent, which it was long before the effects of Covid were felt.
Pompeo’s high-profile intervention seeks to solidify this situation and give even more freedom to Israel’s government. He is concreting as much political capital as possible, as he and Trump both have a fetish for doing unchecked favours for America’s biggest ally. They previously recognised Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights contravening the UN Security Council and even moved the American embassy to Jerusalem, a city that both Israel and Palestine claim as sacred. It was a petty move with the sole intention to put down the Palestinian people – although Obama did the same in 2008 when he referred to the city as “Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided” before admitting regret at his choice of words.
Pompeo’s ploy is to tie the hands of likely incoming president Joe Biden, so if he attempts to reverse the stance on BDS then he will have to battle the pro-Israel lobby. They wield an exaggerated amount of influence in Washington and Biden doesn’t have the political capital to defy them. It would play badly with millions of patriotic Americans to see their new commander-in-chief undermining their sister nation and erstwhile colleagues.
The tripwire Pompeo laid was equating BDS with anti-Semitism, which is a dog-whistle for the masses, allowing an erroneous comparison to be implanted in their minds. Biden would have to really battle to change that narrative and because of the entrenchment that anything against Israel is an attack on Judaism, it’s not something he can realistically do. It seems simple, but one is a religion and the other is a country with a horrendous human rights record. One deserves to be respected and the other should be choked until it changes. That is what BDS does, it cuts off badly needed funds and raises a red flag to anyone who wants to see it.
It was inspired by the South African anti-apartheid struggle and defines itself by the simple principle… ”Palestinians are entitled to the same rights as the rest of humanity.” No one is interested in helping a bunch of poor, starving and shackled Arabs. The UN and EU both admit what Israel does is illegal, but there is no meaningful action. The other Arab nations, particularly the rich Gulf monarchies, do have leverage but they will never use it for fear that America or Britain will stop selling them fighter jets.
The resumption of diplomatic channels between Israel, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain proves that.
It’s a cosy club and the Palestinians aren’t part of it, but thankfully everyone can undermine Pompeo’s dastardly work.
BDS advises those who wish to protest to avoid buying Israeli fruit and vegetables, to dissociate from machinery firm Caterpillar as their bulldozers are used to sweep Palestinians from their land, to shun Hewlett Packard as they help run the ID system that Israel operates to restrict Palestinian movement and to turn away from sports giant Puma who sponsor Israel’s Football Association which has teams in the illegal settlements.
This is all encapsulated in the seemingly colourful and family friendly SodaStream, one of Israel’s biggest exports. The company realised the bad PR of having its main manufacturing plant in an illegal settlement, so it moved to a village inside Israel in 2015. It fired 500 Palestinians in the process, as their nationality meant they couldn’t get to their new place of work. BDS pressure on SodaStream also saw Hollywood actress Scarlett Johansson forced to resign as an Oxfam ambassador due to her commercial deal with the drinks firm.
All this proves that refusing to be silenced, avoiding violence and pursuing the issue commercially can work. The international community should double down politically on opposing Pompeo’s crude tactics – but it probably won’t. So individuals have to examine their own actions and decide, what type of world do they want to be part of.
I know my answer.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.