martedì 29 settembre 2009

The mistake of boycotting Israel


The article [1] says that the Al-Ahram media group (the most powerful media group in Egypt, and therefore one of the most important in the Arab world) has decided to boycott all Israelis, whatever their position.

This means that no Israeli will be able to publish a word on Al-Ahram's media, be he Avigdor Lieberman (the hawkish Israel Foreign Minister) or Yariv Oppenheimer (the current Chairman of Peace Now), be he Dov Lior (the Qiryat Arba' rabbi, a shame to humankind, not just Judaism) or David Frumkin (Chairman of Rabbis for Human Rights), Yigal Amir (Yitzchaq Rabin's murderer) or a Holocaust survivor who can easily compare what (s)he had to undergo in his/her childhood and what is now being done to 1948 and 1967 Palestinians.

Boycotting all Israelis means refusing to distinguish between the righteous and the wicked, and preventing the former from ridding himself from the latter. A better boycott should be aimed to those who actually do evil - for example, boycotting the Israel Railways while they were trying to fire Arab employees, just because they weren't Jews, would have been well deserved (by the way, an Israeli court has eventually ruled that such a dismissal would be illegal, so the Israeli Railways had to keep these Arabs).

I know that Al-Ahram's boycott is in tune with what most Egyptians think and do, and they could also reply that Gaza's siege is a form of "collective punishment" as broad as theirs, and much bloodier, since many Gazans' lives are put in jeopardy by the Israeli Army, while refusing to talk to an Israeli doesn't harm him/her.

They're right, but two wrongs don't cancel each other, only reinforce each other. I don't see how Al-Ahram's boycott could improve the Palestinians' lot, or help topple one of the worst government in Israeli history.

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