Friday, May 25, 2012
BOYCOTT BRITISH BANGERS
(Originally published in The Times Of Israel)
I've decided to boycott the British. It is fairly difficult to actually think of anything useful or attractive that the British make, but I am going to give it my best shot.
Why the boycott? I've just had enough of the British. They have become annoying and irritating. And they've got chutzpa. They are a hateful bunch, unfairly anti-Israel, and the Jew-hatred tradition that was such an integral part of their elite society for many years, and that was somewhat pushed below the surface in the post-WWII era, seems to have burst back up with enthusiasm.
For the last decade, British university union activists and academics have repeatedly called for academic and cultural boycotts of Israeli universities and individual academics, regardless of their politics or beliefs.
Why? They happen to disagree with Israel's policies on the West Bank, just like they probably disagree with the policies of many countries in the world. But they have decided that only the culture and academics--primarily Jews-- of the only country in the world with a majority of Jews is deserving of a boycott.
The largest food co-op chain in England has decided to boycott the products made by Jewish-owned companies in the territories captured in the 1967 war--territories conquered in a defensive war, territories that Israel offered in exchange for peace several times and that Israel has repeatedly said would be the subject of negotiations if the Palestinians would return to the negotiating table.
I am sure that there are policies of other countries, including policies relating to borders, with which members of England's co-op disagree. But they only want to boycott products made by communities of Jews--many employing Palestinians at excellent wages--in disputed territories controlled by the only country in the world with a majority of Jews.
A group of about three dozen British actors and artists, led by Emma Thompson, recently called for rescinding an invitation to Tel Aviv's Habimah Theater to perform at the Shakespeare Globe-to-Globe Festival in England because Habimah performed in Ariel, a community of around 20,000 Jews in the West Bank.
Ms. Thompson and her merry band apparently had no problems with performances by groups from such human rights stars as Pakistan, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, China, Russia, and the Palestinian Authority. They only called for a boycott from a company representing the only country in the world with a majority of--you guessed it--Jews.
The Guardian newspaper recently referred in a photo caption to Jerusalem as Israel's capital. It subsequently issued a "correction" and asserted that Tel Aviv rather than Jerusalem is Israel's capital. When an objection to this absurd designation of Tel Aviv as Israel's capital was brought before the United Kingdom's Press Complaints Commission, the Commission ruled that The Guardian did not breach the Commission's Code.
The Guardian's designation of Tel Aviv as Israel's capital is totally false. It is true that other nations do not recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital because they contend that the status of Jerusalem is currently undetermined. However, it is also true that many governmental bodies, including the UK's Foreign Office, recognize that Israel claims Jerusalem as its capital.
The Israeli government does not consider Tel Aviv the capital of Israel. Despite the fact that countries do not recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, no other country contends that Tel Aviv is Israel's capital.
The UK Press Complaints Commission's Code states that newspapers “must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information”, and further states that “a significant inaccuracy, misleading statement or distortion once recognised must be corrected promptly and with due prominence."
So, according to the UK Press Complaints Commission, stating that Tel Aviv, a city no one in the world thinks is Israel's capital, is Israel's capital was not a breach of its Code,, but stating that Jerusalem is the capital, as designated by Israel, was an error that justified a "clarification," even though the clarification is nonsense.
The UK Press Complaints Commission could give Lewis Carroll a run for his money.
This from the country that occupies Northern Ireland, Gibraltar, the Falklands, the British Virgin Islands, Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, The Turks and Caicos Islands, an assortment of other holdings throughout the globe, and, according to some, Wales and Scotland.
This from the people who brought the world the British Empire, which at one time controlled more real estate and subjugated more people, and often left more carnage and waste, than virtually any other occupier in history.
This from the Empire that, through oppression, lies, and duplicity, was largely responsible for millions of lives lost and displaced when the Empire left the Indian subcontinent and the Middle East, leaving depleted and ill-equipped territory and populations to try to make viable nations out of the often ill-defined and historically incoherent "nations" that they had robbed for years.
The International Olympic Committee has rejected a call for a moment of silence during the opening of the 2012 London Olympic games to mark the 40th anniversary of the massacre of Israeli--Jews-- athletes at the hands of Palestinian terrorists.
The Brits do not control the IOC. However, it is likely that strong support for a moment of silence from the host city and government would have been given substantial deference by the IOC. It is doubtful there was such support. Indeed, one could probably safely bet a fair amount of sterling that the British were quite happy with the IOC's decision.
This refusal by the IOC to memorialize Israeli athletes at the London Games, and the repeated call by significant persons and groups for using economic, cultural, and academic boycotts--a signature tool in the Nazis campaigns to dehumanize and then annihilate Jews--has, to put it mildly, not made me feel too warm about either the Olympic Games or England and especially about the Olympic Games in England.
As a Jew and an American-Israeli, I just don't feel that either the Olympics or the British want me or my money. In fact, I think it would be the height of chutzpa for them to ask me for my money, and it would be the height of stupidity for me to give it to them. In short, I can take a hint.
Now the problem. What do the British actually make that I have an interest in? Despite the chuckle I enjoy from the alliteration of "Boycott British Bangers," I cannot say I have actually eaten one in the last last 30 years or so.
There is oatmeal. The stores we shop at here in Israel generally carry two brands of oatmeal, one British and one American. We've been buying the British one because it is a few shekels less. Well, this issue is so irritating to me that it will be worth a few more shekels every few weeks to Buy American.
I've always had a love for British cars. Sculptures on wheels. But the British don't make British cars anymore, which explains why they have become much more reliable and comfortable.
I won't be going to the Olympics, and I won't be visiting Great Britain anytime soon. And, if I do find myself passing through Heathrow, I will not buy any cold toast.
The bottom line is that it is hard to boycott the British because they make virtually nothing attractive or necessary. Even so, my boycott is on. They deserve it.