The economic and cultural boycott of the State of Israel actually predates the creation of the State itself. From the 1920s onwards, a movement to boycott the Jewish community in Mandate Palestine emerged in the Arab world. This movement was formalised by the Arab League Council in 1945, which declared a boycott of "Jewish" and "Zionist" goods.
In 1948, the Arab League launched a separate office based in
From its inception, then, the Arab League boycott was a form of economic warfare against the Jewish state. Its purpose was to suffocate and isolate
Check the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Index for 2007-08 and you'll find that
One should avoid being overly glib about
Still, the overriding point remains that
All of which is very upsetting to a group in
According to a spokesman for Anti-Normalizers, Abdulla Abdulmalik, closing the boycott office means the following:
"Israeli products won't rush into the country as soon as the office is shut, but closing it is the first step in building Zionist trade and diplomatic relations and soon we'll see Israelis living among us…The Bahraini public is trying its best to fight this Zionist cancer, but our weak Arab governments are caving in to America's requests and agreeing to its every demand."
Revolting as Abdulmalik's sentiments are, we should be grateful to him for providing clarity on exactly the point where his mealy-mouthed equivalents in the west equivocate. This is the purpose of boycotting: to make the boycotter feel clean. The fact that Abdulmalik expresses himself in terms that would be familiar to a Nazi rag - we don't want them living among us, they are a cancer - merely underlines his honesty.
Which brings me to
Let me conclude with a quote from Eve Garrard, in her Z Word essay on the academic boycott. Because this says it all:
"Any boycott is a call for ostracism, exclusion and punishment. The boycott proposal encouraged antisemitic views and attitudes partly because this content - the demand for ostracism and exclusion - mapped so neatly onto traditional antisemitic goals and practices. (And here, perhaps, we do find some truth in the claim that
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