Boycott Apartheid Israel! February 12, 2009Posted by rogerhollander in War.
Tags: bds, boycott israel, cosatu, derek summerfield, doctors interrogation, doctors torture, gaza, geneva conventions, human rights, israel apartheid, Israeli Medical Association, israeli occupation, israeli settlements, israeli torture, Maritime Union of Australia, Palestine, roger hollander, separation wall, Steven and Hilary Rose, west bank, Yoram Blachar
by Derek Summerfield – England
“People First,” International Health Workers for People Over Profit (IHWPOP)
The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against apartheid Israel has been gathering steam on several continents over the past few years. The campaign seeks to apply the same principled methods of direct action that were so successful against apartheid South Africa in the 1970s and 1980s.
One part of this broad front is the academic boycott campaign that was launched in Britain following a call in 2002 from two well-known Jewish professors, Steven and Hilary Rose. This led to the setting up of the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (BRICUP).
The academic boycott campaign was recently taken up in the United States in response to Israel’s barbaric war against Gaza’s besieged population.
The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) announced a week of action against apartheid Israel to begin on February 6. In one action, dock workers belonging to the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) refused to offload a ship bringing Israeli goods to South Africa.
The Western Australian branch of the Maritime Union of Australia have endorsed the BDS campaign and have called for a boycott of all Israeli vessels and all vessels bearing goods arriving from or going to Israel.
It’s not easy to estimate what impact to date the boycott campaign has had in concrete terms. What is clear is that the campaign is educating people who were unaware of the brutal reality of the Israeli occupation: the relentless settlement-building on Palestinian land, the Separation Wall, and the ruthless disregard for human rights and basic needs.
The university and college lecturers’ union in Britain (UCU) has been so successful in promoting the academic boycott that it has provoked an anti-boycott backlash.
A well-funded pro-Israel lobby is trying to discredit and stigmatise individual boycott activists, as was done in the United States (albeit much more blatantly there, with loss of university tenure in some cases).
The growth of the boycott campaign has so rattled the Israeli establishment, that the Israeli Premier has addressed the matter with Britain’s Prime Minister.
The Corruption of Medicine
As a physician, my role has been to press for an academic boycott of the Israeli Medical Association (IMA) for their longstanding collusion with the practice of torture as state policy in
Israel and the institutionalised involvement of doctors serving in interrogation units where torture is commonplace. These facts have been confirmed repeatedly by international and regional human rights’ organisations.
The IMA has also been silent, over many years, about the systematic violations by Israeli military forces of the Fourth Geneva Convention protocols that guarantee civilians unhindered access to services vital to life, including medical services, and confer immunity from military action on health professionals, clinics, ambulances, etc.
The Boycott the IMA campaign is currently circulating a draft petition, to be signed by doctors worldwide, to the World Medical Association (WMA), the official body overseeing medical ethics worldwide. We are protesting the appointment of Yoram Blachar, longstanding President of the IMA, as WMA President. This is like appointing ex-Bush Attorney General Gonzales (“the Geneva Convention is quaint”) to be the new head of Amnesty International!
We have been driven to take direct action by the manifest failure of so-called normal channels (direct appeals to the IMA, WMA etc, providing a mountain of evidence) to address these issues in any way.
World-wide, Israel’s medical friends play a considerable role in corrupting the medical profession. This morally tainted status quo will prevail if we don’t support and build the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign.
More information about the boycott can be found at Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel and the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, or email Derek Summerfield
Derek Summerfield is a London-based Consultant Psychiatrist. View his address, “Medical Ethics in Conflict Zones.”