Daniel Levy seems to favor boycott to ‘draw a red line at the Green Line’

on 20 Comments

I said that J Street will have to come ’round to boycott inevitably, and yesterday one of J Street’s guiding spirits, Daniel Levy, came pretty close at the Middle East Institute. I just caught some of the panel on C-Span. [Update: here is the link.]

Angered by the failure of Obama to insist on a settlement freeze, Levy said, "Let’s draw a red line at the Green Line." The European Union should look at its trade agreements with Israel and refuse to trade goods that are produced in the Occupied West Bank. Sounds like a boycott to me! And Levy condemned the Mets for allowing the Hebron Fund to have a tax-deductible fundraiser at Citi Field. Good for him.

The picture of Hebron at left is by Stephen Lassiter. Another below. What follows is Lassiter’s letter to the Mets. Great letter.

To: The New York Mets

Attn: Paul Asencio, Senior Vice President, Corporate Sales and Partnerships; Jay Horwitz, Vice President for Media Relations; Heather Collamore, Director of Hospitality and Catering Events
Re: The Hebron Fund Dinner
November 11, 2009
Mr. Asencio, Mr. Horwitz, and Ms. Collamore:
I write with grave concerns regarding the Hebron Fund dinner planned for Nov. 21 at Citi Field.

For two years I taught at a private Palestinian high school in the West Bank city of Ramallah, just an hour’s drive north of Hebron. During my time in the West Bank I visited Hebron no fewer than four times and regularly took other Americans on tours of the city — including the Israeli settlements there. These are the settlements the Hebron Fund — and by extension, the Mets — supports.

While all Israeli settlements are illegal under internationally law, the ones in Hebron are the most disgraceful. The Israeli army has evicted dozens of Palestinian families from their long-owned homes in Hebron so that Israeli settlers can move in and control parts of the city — they believe God told them to. The settlers’ self-proclaimed goal is to take and control as much Palestinian land as possible. 
As harsh as it may sound, this is the modern-day colonization of the Palestinian Territories — and it is incredible that the Mets are aiding the Hebron Fund in this endeavor. I don’t need to remind you that it is also diametrically opposed to current U.S. policy in the Middle East.
I want to show you exactly what you’re supporting. Attached are pictures I took in Hebron. They depict a Palestinian market at the street level, and homes above formerly owned by Palestinian families but now occupied by the Israeli settlers that the Hebron Fund supports. Above the Palestinian market you’ll see an Israeli army tower and steel grates with debris on top of them. This is the debris — stones, bricks and human waste — that Israeli settlers regularly throw down at the Palestinian shoppers beneath them.
This is what you will be supporting if you do not cancel the Hebron Fund dinner on Nov. 21.
I implore you to cancel the dinner. Please do not taint the Mets’ good name by facilitating the Hebron Fund’s efforts.
Stephen Lassiter


20 Responses

  1. Chaos4700
    November 11, 2009, 5:56 pm

    Would it be vulgar of me to bask in the total absence of Witty, foaming at the mouth (oh, politely, of course) in response to yet more evidence that the BDS movement is gaining momentum and he’s on the wrong side of it? Assuming he was telling the truth about being absent, of course.

    • VR
      November 11, 2009, 7:00 pm

      Oh, is he gone, I haven’t noticed…

    • yonira
      November 12, 2009, 8:08 am

      I am down for a total boycott of all goods made in the West Bank, BDS is a boycott of all Israeli products? or not?

      • Chaos4700
        November 12, 2009, 8:31 am

        Can you maybe rephrase that in an English grammatical structure that’s coherent?

  2. Nolan
    November 11, 2009, 7:00 pm

    Goods produced in the West Bank by whom, by Palestinians?

    Anyway, boycotting Israeli goods produced in the West Bank is not the same as boycotting companies that invest in the West Bank.

    Comparing Israeli goods produced in the West Bank to companies that invest in the infrastructure of the occupation is like comparing a mole hill to a mountain.

    That’s a token “gesture” by J Street. It doesn’t even begin to address the multi-billion industry that feeds into the West Bank colonies.

  3. VR
    November 11, 2009, 9:45 pm

    Do you want to target who invests in the occupation?


  4. Taxi
    November 11, 2009, 11:27 pm

    Why if my ‘neighbors’ kept throwing all their trash on my property, I’d surely have to kick the b-moses out of them!

    • yonira
      November 12, 2009, 8:06 am

      what happens if you can’t kick you neighbors ass?

      • Chaos4700
        November 12, 2009, 8:32 am

        Then your neighbors put you into large open air prisons. Just ask the survivors of both Warsaw and Gaza.

  5. Taxi
    November 11, 2009, 11:35 pm

    Oh, give me land,
    Lots of land under starry skies above,
    Don’t fence me in,
    Let me ride thru
    The wide open country that I love,
    Don’t fence me in.
    Let me be by myself
    In the evening breeze,
    Listen to the murmur
    Of the cottonwood trees,
    Send me off forever,
    But I ask you please,
    Don’t fence me in.
    Just turn me loose,
    Let me straddle my old saddle
    Underneath the western skies,
    On my cay-use
    Let me wander over yonder
    Till I see the mountains rise.
    I want to ride to the ridge
    Where the West commences,
    Gaze at the moon
    Till I lose my senses;
    Can’t look at hobbles
    And I can’t stand fences,
    Don’t fence me in.

    Tralala lalala dududu tralala

    • Taxi
      November 12, 2009, 4:07 am

      sorry folks I meant to post that song on another article post!

  6. Shmuel
    November 12, 2009, 4:44 am

    A boycott of Israeli goods produced in the OT has been going on for years in Israel (initiated by Gush Shalom) and in Europe, and the EU has been enforcing (more or less) its policies in the matter , including going after Israeli companies for false or misleading labelling. Levy’s admonition to the EU is nice (they could do better), but would be much more to the point directed at US policy and consumer practices. Of course, if we are talking about trying to actually change Israeli policies, a boycott that stops at the Green Line is no boycott at all. BDS needs far more courage than that. Well done on the Mets though.

    • aparisian
      November 12, 2009, 6:27 am

      In France in many supermarkets you can find products Made in Middle east, i asked the supermarket the other day where abouts in the Middle east at the beginning they said we don’t know sir, I insisted then the manager came to me and he said they are made somewhere in Israel. I wrote a letter to the head quarter reminding the laws.

      Concerning the academic boycott, University of Paris Marie curie (Paris 6), number 1 in the universities rankings in France boycott from 2006 the Universities in Israel. If you ever go to a French university you can read posters everywhere against the Israeli Apartheid, you can see the Palestinian flag everywhere. Most of Jewish students are protesting against what they call the anti-Semitism of their schools.

      • aparisian
        November 12, 2009, 6:32 am
      • Colin Murray
        November 13, 2009, 10:01 am

        Labeling products by region seems a strange practice to me. Is there any country but Israel which labels its export products ‘Made in the Middle East’?

      • Shmuel
        November 13, 2009, 10:24 am

        That “Middle East” label is kind of strange. In Italy, Israeli products (including fresh produce) are all clearly labelled “Israel”. For those who make such distinctions, trying to figure out exactly which side of the Green Line is often difficult, if not impossible (not least as a result of Israel’s own export strategies and dirty tricks). Even in Israel itself, it is really hard to boycott produce from the settlements – especially if you’re buying organic. I have yet to see items marked “made in Palestine”, outside of fair trade shops.

  7. Richard Parker
    November 12, 2009, 5:14 am

    These photos of Hebron remind me of the situation in the Old City of Jerusalem in 1995, where the Palestinian streets were closed in from above, so that the occupiers could spit down, but the ‘Pals’ couldn’t spit up.

    Great imagery from one of the strongest Palestinian cities.

    • yonira
      November 12, 2009, 8:03 am

      I am sure that is exactly why the streets were closed from the top. That comment was so stupid it made me spit up. Now i’ll need to change my shirt.

      • Chaos4700
        November 12, 2009, 8:34 am

        So how come the Arab population gets caged, yonira, and the Jewish population isn’t? Jewish neighborhoods aren’t given that delightful feature, are they?

        You might want to change your pants, too. You might not have noticed. Just saying.

      • potsherd
        November 12, 2009, 8:51 am

        Better put on a modest shirt if you’re going into those neighborhoods, or they’ll spit in your face.

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