Nobel laureates join call for Israeli boycott
Israel’s claim to “victimhood” is no longer automatically accepted. The latest challenge to this narrative that is so eagerly peddled by an army of zionist supporters in western governments and the media came from a group of Nobel peace prize-winners, academics, prominent artists and activists.For from accepting Israel as the victim, they see it as the aggressor in its latest assault on Gaza and have issued a call for an international military boycott. The eight-day Israeli onslaught on Gaza killed 161 Palestinians, the vast majority of them civilians including 35 children, and left another 1,350 injured. Again, as in 2008-2009, a large swath of Gaza’s infrastructure was destroyed. There were five Israelis killed during the same period. Palestinian casualties were 32 time more than Israel’s.The letter calling for boycott of Israel is signed by 52 prominent personalities that include Nobel peace laureates, academics, politicians, parliamentarians, judges, artists and film directors.The signatories include Nobel laureates Mairead Maguire and Adolfo Pérez Esquivel; US academic Prof. Noam Chomsky of MIT; Cynthia McKinney, a former member of the US Congress and Green Party presidential candidate in 2008; and Luisa Morgantini, former president of the European parliament.Stéphane Hessel, a former French diplomat and Holocaust survivor who was co-author of the universal declaration of human rights, also added his signature to the boycott call.The other signatories include John Dugard, a South African jurist and former UN special rapporteur in the occupied territories; Ronnie Kasrils, a former cabinet minister of South Africa; the dramatist Caryl Churchill; film directors Mike Leigh and Ken Loach; the author Alice Walker; and Roger Waters of Pink Floyd.The letter opens with a quote from the international icon of freedom struggle, Nelson Mandela who spent 27 years in jail for opposing apartheid in South Africa: "For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others." Now the signatories are calling for a boycot of Israeli apartheid.Mincing no words, the letter spells out what the signatories consider to be Israel’s egregious crimes. "Horrified at the latest round of Israeli aggression against the 1.5 million Palestinians in the besieged and occupied Gaza Strip and conscious of the impunity that has enabled this new chapter in Israel's decades-old violations of international law and Palestinian rights, we believe there is an urgent need for international action towards a mandatory, comprehensive military embargo against Israel."Making direct connection with the apartheid regime of South Africa, the letter goes on to say: "Such a measure has been subject to several UN resolutions and is similar to the arms embargo imposed against apartheid South Africa in the past." Israeli apologists will seek refuge behind the claim of “anti-Semitism” but this will not wash. The signatories include a number of academics, jurists and political figures that are of Jewish origin.Aware that Israel is able to carry out such crimes because of the support it receives from the US, EU and several developing countries, the letter describes what it calls as their "complicity" through weapons sales and other military support in Israel’s repeated assaults o Gaza and the Palestinians."While the United States has been the largest sponsor of Israel, supplying billions of dollars of advanced military hardware every year, the role of the European Union must not go unnoticed, in particular its hefty subsidies to Israel's military complex through its research programmes."Similarly, the growing military ties between Israel and the emerging economies of Brazil, India and South Korea are unconscionable given their nominal support for Palestinian freedom," the letter says. It is important that Nobel laureates and academics have realized India’s growing role in supporting Israeli apartheid on one hand and trying to present itself as a friend of the Palestinians on the other.
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