Friday, 19 July 2013


Israel. It's an easy thing to argue against - or even for. Polarised generally to extremes of love or hate.

So yesterday evening, I was offered a 'hand me down' gift from a friend. This gift was a set of hand cream and nail repair/maintenance stuff.

On further examination of this 'gift', I discovered that it was 'Made in Israel'. At which point I put it down for a moment and pondered the moral implications of using, rather than purchasing, a product with the made in israel statement.

Now I have issues with Israel. Not of its existence. It was made for a reason and that reason still remains, whether we like it or not. Genocide is still in common usage and a nation without a state is a uniquely vulnerable entity. A bit like the Kurds. Kurd Genocide anyone? Possibility it could happen again? Far higher than the possibility it could happen to the Jews now that they have their own territory and big guns.

Nor even, surprisingly, on its right to determine its religious base. This used to bother me as well, but then I realised that actually, loads and loads of countries have a defined and rigidly enforced religious policy. Whether that be islamic nations refusing to acknowledge the existence of other religions (Saudi Arabia), to nations only recognising some religions, to non-islamic nations with a specific bent and focus: England - Church of England (with the Queen its head); France - special concessions to catholicism; Spain and Portugal and their links to Catholicism, the USA and the strong focus on Anglicanism, Sweden and its links to protestantism etc etc. It's not difficult to find numerous examples. I was actually, subconsciously, holding to western driven imperialism - the one that says that the way your place does it is ok, but anyone who goes their own direction is clearly suspect.

You see, all of these states have a single focus of religious preference, just as the Jew state does. This focus may be enshrined in law, or be of a 'common law' variety, but they still have that focus and yet no one is calling for the dismantelling of the state because its religious essence.

What does kinda bother me is not that Israel is a jewish nation, it is that it is determined to remain a jewish nation. It refuses to allow the naturally greater population growth from the muslim side to slowly outnumber the jewish people (which is clearly a far greater threat than invasion - they've done very well for themselves militarily so far), and so the right of return is used to ensure Jews are able to keep their population high, and the right of non-return of the indigenous inhabitants who left in 1945 or 1967 or at any point before or after - and the law is shaped such that 'Arabs' are not endless owners of their property but jews are (it's in apostrophies because the definition seems arbitrary. Both Jews and Arabs are Semites, yet to me their defining difference it their religion, not which branch of Semite they fit into.) - i.e. a Jew can leave and return to his property, but an Arab will lose his property, which will be claimed by the state and inevitably given another Jew. Coupled with this is the clearly documented two tier system used by the state and the individual to advantage the Jew over the Arab. It happens with education, funding, supplies, developments, demolitions and so on. Basically, they have a lesser form of apartheid in use within the state that favours but does not completely exclude the Arab from the decision making of the state. A bit like the reality for women in a male dominated society. In effect then, it is NOT apartheid (who's whole purpose was to exclude entirely a majority population under minority rule).

So anyway, there was me looking at this 'gift', pondering the importance and distinction of being a second-hand gift - and thus not the reason for the purpose and creation of this item, along with the links.

Another thought occured to me as well: where was it actually made? In Israel itself, or in an occupied territory that Israel has claimed, maybe? Was this product made on what used to be an Arab olive grove?

This econd-hand gift was a moral quandry. If it had been a gift, then anyone who knew me well enough to buy me an expensive gift would know that I have a very distinct policy when it comes to purchased goods: If I can get it from the UK (and can afford it), then I get it from there. If not, I get it from Europe, and only if it is completely unavailable from Europe will I purchase from elsewhere. I do allow exceptions, obviously - northern Africa is much closer than southern Africa. The East Coast of the US much closer than the West Coast etc. So it being second hand was very thoughtful from someone who knows me less well... so do I accept or decline?

I thought about it for about half an hour last night before coming to the conclusion that whilst this form of institutional racism and religious persecution exists (which I hold to be a more accurate viewing of it than 'Apartheid'), I cannot use, purchase or promote products who's origin is within Israel.

It is not that Israel is a jewish nation. A majority population has the right, in so far as they do not take from the minority their right to follow different religions and to not be persecuted for such, to decide what religious affiliation to follow and to what principles and values as whole the nation aspires to. This is no different to any christian, islamic, buddhist or whatever religion. It is that the minority population face systematic and state sponsored low-level persecution and disenfranchisement.

It should be noted that this is, generally speaking, also the view of the courts of Israel, who have on many occasions ruled against the actions of the government (only to be entirely ignored) on issues such as illegal settlement development, the demolition of Arab buildings for redevelopment for Jewish purposes, the permanent claiming of Arab territory for 'security purposes', the creation of illegal walls blocking access to arabs etc. This is also the view of the majority of the members of the United Nations (with the notable exception of South Africa prior to the ending of Apartheid, and the USA).

So I left the gift behind and used a product that was made in the USA instead.... *sigh*

Thursday, 18 July 2013

My first blog

Right then. I've finally gotten around to creating my own blog - and here it is.

If any of you are interested in the following subjects:

International Relation
Climate Change/The Environment

Then feel free to follow this blog (however you do this, I'm not sure but I'm fairly certain that it's pretty easy).