I sent this in to the Guardian letters as a response to Emily Thornbury.
Emily Thornbury in Thursday’s guardian called those of us who call for Boycott, Sanctions and disinvestment against Israel as supporting bigotry. When a politician is reduced to name calling her opponents rather than seriously discussing the issues, it belittles her and raises questions about the weakness of the case she is trying to put.
It is not an individual Israeli Government that we oppose. It is only those Governments which illegally confiscate Palestinian land, ignore UN resolutions and support ethnic cleansing, and the establishment of an Apartheid regime in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. (We could also add making Gaza into a huge prison camp, stealing Palestinian water and build weapons of mass destruction). That would seem to be every Israeli Government for at least the last fifty years.
For international comparisons Iraq was invaded for having stolen land from Kuwait. Sanctions were imposed on Iraq because it was accused (falsely) of building weapons of mass destruction. It was then invaded on the same false accusation.
Sanctions were placed on Russia because it was seen to be stealing Ukrainian land (the Crimea and Donetsk area). (The wishes of the locals have apparently no bearing on the issue.)
‘Tough even brutal’ sanctions were placed on Iran because it was thought to be developing nuclear weapons.
Israel has developed nuclear weapons. It has also stolen land. It has constantly defied the UN. Like South Africa is has established an Apartheid state (in East Jerusalem and the West Bank).
We do not advocate hatred. We do not advocate boycott of individual Israeli academics. We are simply responding to a call from hundreds of Palestinian organisations who ask us to help them get basic justice and an end to Israeli racism.
They asked us to do something non violent to help them get basic human rights. They asked us to boycott Israeli goods, disinvest in Israel, and impose sanctions.
When we respond to the call by a deeply oppressed people, we expect abuse from the Tories (who supported South African Apartheid). To be accused of bigotry by a senior member of the Labour Party is a poor reflection on that party.