Friday, July 13, 2007

"Calls grow for boycott of Israel"

by Ed O'Loughlin

July 14, 2007

THE AGE (Australian daily)

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THE Dutch Government has warned a Rotterdam company to stop supplying construction equipment for Israel's 700-kilometre Palestinian separation barrier, a new turn in the international campaign to boycott Israel.

According to news reports, the Dutch Foreign Minister, Maxime Verhagen, recently told the company that its contract to supply cranes was "undesirable", in light of the International Court of Justice's ruling, three years ago this month, that the project broke international law.

This warning, from a government normally considered friendly to Israel, comes amid a mounting international campaign to boycott Israel because of its occupation of Arab territories seized 40 years ago.

This week the US Congress unanimously passed a resolution condemning as "anti-Semitic" the proposed boycott of Israel by a British academics' union.

"When Israel comes under attack from hatemongers, it is American values that are also under attack," the resolution's main sponsor, Congressman Patrick Murphy, said.

Last week, the British Transport and General Workers Union joined Unison, Britain's largest union with 1.3 million members, in voting for a boycott of Israeli goods and sporting contacts, similar to that imposed on apartheid South Africa in the 1980s.

In South Africa, the trade union congress COSATU is spearheading its own campaign.

In the US, the family of the slain peace activist Rachel Corrie this week revived attempts to sue the huge Caterpillar Corporation for supplying the Israeli army with the armoured bulldozer that crushed their daughter in Gaza in March 2003.

The calls for boycotts and divestment have so far had no practical impact on Israeli trade, academia or policies, but they have sparked a bitter counter-campaign from Israel and its supporters abroad....


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