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Monday, August 01, 2011

Europe's BDS targets Palestinian Arab farmers!

Israel's only agricultural exporter, Agrexco, has been in some financial difficulty as it has tried to transition to a private company earlier this year. It is now facing bankruptcy.

Smelling blood, BDSers in Europe are calling again for a total boycott of all Agrexco goods:
We, Palestinian and Europeans together, affirm our determination to put an end to Agrexco’s presence in Europe. Our actions are taking place within the framework of the Palestinian-led global Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

We have established a European wide coalition of organisations committed to coordinating our boycott campaigns and court actions against Agrexco. Secondly, we are calling for a European day of action against Agrexco on Saturday 26 November 2011.

We aim to build the widest possible alliance of individuals and organisations across Europe concerned with international law and refusing to be complicit in the violations of the rights of the Palestinian people perpetrated by Agrexco.

Agrexco is dedicated to exporting agricultural products. Sold under brand names such as Carmel, Coral, Biotop, Eco-Fresh, etc. these products embody Palestinian suffering: grown on stolen land with stolen water, produced through the exploitation of Palestinian labour – including child labour – they are part and parcel of a policy of colonisation, dispossession and apartheid carried out by Israel in Palestine. Agro-industrial corporation turned towards exportation, Agrexco is developing an industrial agriculture which harms the environment and destroys peasant agriculture in Palestine as well as in Europe.
There are a couple of things to note in this letter.

First is that, even though they claim to be a coalition of "Palestinians and Europeans together," there is not a single Palestinian Arab signatory.

Second is that the BDS movement is apparently not as confident that hating Israel is enough to get them support so they are adding charges about the environment, child labor and how somehow Agrexco's existence is threatening "peasant agriculture" in Europe. It sounds like the same argument could be made against most importers of produce in Europe.

The most interesting part, though, is that this group is explicitly boycotting Coral. Coral is the brand name of Palestinian Arab agricultural products sold in Europe. In order to be certified for export, they agree to be exported through Agrexco under that brand name, and if you want to buy produce from Palestinian Arab farmers, that is the brand name you must look for. Gaza bell peppers and strawberries are likewise sold under the Coral brand.

BDSers are going out of their way to destroy the only non-domestic market available for Palestinian Arab farmers.


Right now, as the Palestinian Authority is suffering from a huge budget crisis, the most important private industry in the territories is agriculture. The supposed friends of Palestinian Arabs are working overtime to destroy the livelihoods of thousands of Palestinian  Arab farmers and workers.

As usual, BDS has exposed itself as not caring at all about Palestinian Arabs. This letter shows that their supposed interest in "peasant agriculture" is a sham. They could not get a single Palestinian Arab farmer group so sign on to this letter, because it represents further misery for the people they are claiming to help.

It would have been very easy for them to exclude Coral from this boycott call out of consideration for the livelihoods of Palestinian Arab farmers. At the very least, they could have acknowledged that this boycott call might hurt the ones they pretend to help, but it is a necessary evil. Yet they lump in Coral with the other Agrexco brands.

All this proves again that  BDS movement is motivated not by love of Palestinian Arabs but hate for Israeli Jews. That hate is so potent that they don't give a damn if they destroy the lives of Palestinian Arabs along the way.

These smug Europeans pretend that  they know what's best for Palestinian Arabs, even better than the Arabs themselves, and won't even ask the victims what they think.

Sounds a bit like colonialism, doesn't it?