There is a fragile ceasefire in Lebanon, albeit daily violated by Israeli overflights. Meanwhile the day-to-day brutality of the Israeli army in Gaza and the West Bank continues. Ten Palestinians are killed for every Israeli death; more than 200, many of them children, have been killed since the summer. UN resolutions are flouted, human rights violated as Palestinian land is stolen, houses demolished and crops destroyed. For archbishop Desmond Tutu, as for the Jewish former ANC military commander now South African minister of security, Ronnie Kasrils, the situation of the Palestinians is worse than that of black South Africans under apartheid.See that last signature? Elia Suleiman. See this link, read the page and then scroll down a bit. Suleiman is the guy who withdrew his signature from a boycott call back in October 2006. So he's now back on board. It's funny how well publicised the withdrawal of his signature was. I haven't heard anything til now about him adding his signature to yet another boycott call. Perhaps he needs a crash course in PR.
Meanwhile, western governments refer to Israel's legitimate right of self-defence, and continue to supply weaponry. The challenge of apartheid was fought better. The non-violent international response to apartheid was a campaign of boycott, divestment and UN-imposed sanctions which enabled the regime to change without bloodshed.
Today, Palestinians teachers, writers, film-makers and non-governmental organisations have called for a comparable academic and cultural boycott of Israel as offering another path to a just peace. This call has been endorsed internationally by university teachers in many European countries, by film-makers and architects, and by some brave Israeli dissidents. It is now time for others to join the campaign - as Primo Levi asked: "If not now, when?" We call on creative writers and artists to support our Palestinian and Israeli colleagues by endorsing the boycott call. Read the Palestinian call pacbi.org.
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