LONDON, 5th July 2001
A boycott of Israeli products and leisure tourism was launched at the House of Commons last night. A packed meeting heard Members of Parliament Lynn Jones and George Galloway pledge their support for the boycott called by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and 22 other organizations.
Organisers say the boycott will send a message to the Israeli Government that British people are no longer prepared to indirectly fund Israel's war of aggression on the Palestinian people. They also ask the British government to stop condoning Israel's failure to implement United Nations resolutions on Palestine.
The first target will be agricultural produce sold in the main supermarkets, such as tomatoes, Jaffa oranges, potatoes, avocados, fresh herbs and organic fruit and vegetables. The boycott will be lifted when Israel ends its illegal occupation, complies with UN resolutions and ceases human rights violations.
"This is a non-violent way to raise public awareness...", said Dr Lynn Jones MP.
George Galloway MP spoke out against the welcome to Downing Street given to Ariel Sharon last week. "This war criminal is given the red carpet treatment everywhere he goes instead of being locked up for human rights abuses."
Prof. Moshe Machover said: "People ask whether the Palestinian economy will be damaged by a boycott. Such worries do not apply in this case. The Palestinian economy has been throttled by Israel." He accused Israel of "smuggling contraband", evading customs and excise regulations as they re-export goods produced on illegal settlements in the West Bank and Gaza.
Michel Massih, the first Palestinian QC, told the meeting that every Jaffa orange sold contributes towards destroying the city of Jaffa.
Poet and broadcaster Michael Rosen said he would have "no problem" supporting a cultural and academic boycott of Israel. "Just say no", he said.
Members of Parliament supporting the campaign include John Austin,
Bill Etherington and Neil Gerrard. The veteran parliamentarian, Tony
Benn, is also a signatory along with Harold Pinter, Caryl Churchill,
Emma Thompson, Tom Paulin, Benjamin Zephaniah, Leon Rosselson, and
Alexei Sayle. Among academics supporting the boycott are Professors
Steven and Hilary Rose. Lawyers are represented by Michael Mansfield
QC, Imran Khan and Gareth Peirce. Church leaders for the boycott
include the Rev. Garth Hewitt, Rev Steven Sizer and Rev. Dr. Michael