Monday, July 11, 2011

“Don’t Buy Golan Wines…and Sue Me”

When I was growing up in the 1960s, opponents of the Vietnam War would always ask each other, "What year did you come out against the war?" Higher status was always accorded to the early-birds. After all, by the 1970s, who wasn't against the war? As I write these lines, the Knesset is debating the anti-boycott law. Not to be outdone, Peace Now has already opened a Facebook page entitled, "Sue Me – I Boycott Settlement Products." Please go there, click the like button, and leave a comment. Note that they don't really call for a boycott; they just say that they themselves boycott. You can't get sued for that under the new law.

Would it be totally self-absorbed of me to point out that when the bill was first proposed a year ago, I published a post entitled "Don't Buy Golan Wines…and Sue Me". Now I have two posts with the same name.

This just in….the bill passed. So I am posting this to be one of the first up there to call for a boycott of Golan wines. (I think the law is retroactive, so I really was one of the first after the bill was proposed) I am not asking you just to boycott Golan Wines, since there is a lot of wine made on the West Bank by settlers, some pretty good (I am told), some pretty crappy.. But I picked Golan wines because, let's face it, they are pretty popular among kosher wines, and some are really good.

Full disclosure. When somebody brings me some good Golan wines for Shabbat, I don't throw it away, I drink it. I know, I know, such a bleeding heart hypocrite… But what do I know from wine? I just drink the Kosher stuff. The worst is when you find out that a wine you like may actually be made in the West Bank, despite what's on the label. It's not fair. Read the report here. In fact, according to that report, I may not be able to drink a lot of Israeli wine. I should stop reading those reports

But I wander.

Anyway, I don't want to give the impression that I am violating the new law. As I argued in my previous post, I don't want you not to buy Golan wines because they are made in the Golan. No, I want you not to buy Golan wines, because Israel has no right to have industry in occupied territories that does not benefit the population of the occupied territories, and I don't mean the Israeli settlers who are illegal there. I pick the Golan precisely because most Israelis don't see it as "occupied," the Syrian regime is horrendous, and wine is the sort of thing that, you know, comes and goes.

All right, all right, buy Golan wine if you want….how about those mushrooms from Tekoa? I mean, what's the deal with them? Do you really need to eat those mushrooms, you know, the fancy kind whose name I forget? What's wrong with normal mushrooms?

And while we are on the subject, don't buy Soda Stream. I mean, have you ever tasted the seltzer it makes? I got one of those things for my wedding years ago. Buying the cartridges drive you nuts. They tell you it saves you money; I don't believe it. Has anybody ever made good homemade cola with them? Even if it weren't manufactured on the West Bank, you shouldn't buy it….

Mei Eden bottled water. All right, I confess, I buy it occasionally. Cesar Chavez, please forgive me for the grapes I ate in college.

No seriously, the bill passed; that wasn't a joke….uh, oh….well, anyway, please pass around this call. Don't drink the Golan wine stuff (unless a guest brings it for Shabbat, in which case it is not nice to get rid of it.) There are a zillion Facebook groups out there for boycotting; I couldn't find any one with more than a couple hundred people, but you can join them.

Check out the JVP divestment campaign here. Gush Shalom has taken down its list of settlement products to boycott. Here is a list that the PA gave out to Palestinians last year. It's been downloading for the last ten minutes. That must be one big list. Viva the global BDS movement!

And if I start getting sued by any of the companies out there, I may actually have to figure out how I can ask for donations for my legal fund on my blog.

Did I mention that I have Paypal?


Dan Kelso said...

Proof Golan is historically Israels. Brilliant article.

Syria controlled the Golan for only 21years, half the period it has been under Israeli rule. Almost half of the Golan had been purchased by Rothschild in the late 1800s and later robbed by the Syrian government in 1946. All the Jews were expelled and massacred in 46 by the Arabs.

The Golan Heights was part of the British Mandate borders of 1917 that was supposed to go to Israel. .
The Golan was never part of Syria before 1946.

The Golan Has Been Jewish for Centuries. These rotten Arab colonialists have stolen lands from Kurds, Berbers, Copts, Babylonians, Chaldeans and they want to steal Jewish lands as well. The Golan was part of ancient and modern Israel for centuries, while it was under Syrian occupation for a mere 21 years!! The archaeology of the Golan is proof that the Golan is Jewish. I personally helped dig up a Talmudic era synagogue in Katzrin which is now has a visitor centre. The only Arab land is (Saudi) Arabia. The Arabs can go back there!!

edwin said...

re paypall - just watch out about any close ties with wikileaks.

Dan Kelso said...

Any Israel-Syria deal must be based on Hatay Model.
Turkey won Hatay (Alexandretta) province back in 1939 in a war with Syria.
For those not familar with Hatay in Turkey. Read this article.
It shows how Turkey told Syria, the only peace your getting is peace for peace.,7340,L-3347015,00.html

Anonymous said...

Tekoa is out? Non-Zionist Rabbi Froman is persona non-grata? Too confusing?

Why Golan wines? What does that have to do with Palestinians?

Surely the occupation of the Golan is utterly insignificant compared to the occupation of the West Bank?

Good for you for confronting the law. But, again, the BDS movement is so damn arbitrary as to be utterly ineffective.

Jerry Haber said...

Dan, do me a favor; stop drinking the hasbara kool aid. Nobody in the world, including the current president of the state of Israel, thinks that the Israel should have permanent sovereignty over the Golan. Here's why.

1) Historical arguments of the sort brought in the ditsy article you call "brilliant" have been thoroughly rejected by the enlightened countries of the world, and that includes the Zionist historical claims to Palestine. No state bought it; the UN never bought it; just forget it. If everybody starts claiming territory on the basis of ancient and not-so-ancient history, all hell will break loose.

So what if there are synagogues discovered in the Golan? There are churches all through the Galilee. There are mosques everywhere, and if Israel was interested in anything but Jewish archaeology, they would be dug up by the score.

There is greater evidence of Jewish settlement in Iraq than there is in the Golan -- does that mean Israel gets Iraq? The synagogue remains in Rome predate those from Katrzin. So what? That fact that Jews/Christians/Pagans worshipped in Katrzin is as of much relevance as the possibility that their descendants, who had converted to Islam, built mosques there. None.

Fast forward to modern times. The article you mention says that the British had no right to give the Golan to Syria, but asserts that the same British had the right to promise the Jews a homeland, a promise which the same British considered fulfilled before the creation of the state, and which, in my mind, was violated by Israel when it refused to allow the Palestinians to return to their homes, in defiance of their civil rights (not their political rights), as stated in the Balfour Declaration.

The great principle that allowed the creation of the State of Israel and its recognition by the world, was that the self-determination of peoples trumps historical rights. Israel performed ethnic cleansing in the Golan Heights after 1967 by forcing Arabs out of their homes and taking them to the border. This was after many attempts before 1967 (see Avi Shlaim in the Iron Wall) to capture through provocations the heights, which Israel coveted for its natural resources, which it exploits till this day.

May I conclude by saying that considerably more people believe that Iraq has historical rights and security needs in annexing Kuwait, against the will of the Kuwaitis, than those who think that Israel has historical rights to the Golan. The only difference is that when Saddam Hussein was involved, the West drove him out.

I mean, for crying out loud, Bibi Netanyahu was willing to give the Golan Heights to Syria if they ceded their side of the Kinneret to Israel. You are trying to out-Zionist him?

Jerry Haber said...

richard, I am running out of patience with you. What does Rabbi Froman -- may he speedily be cured -- have to do with the illegal settlement in which he lives? Tekoa, which seems to expand daily -- now there are 4 settlements and a number of outposts -- is illegal, and much of it is built on Palestinian private land. But public or private, it is Palestinian land.

As for the Golan, read my response to Dan Kelso. And please show me where the Fourth Geneva Convention says that you are allowed to transfer your settlers to occupied territory if there are no Palestinians living there (by the way, there were Palestinians living in the Golan before 1967, but that's neither here nor there.)

Jerry Haber said...

Dan, remind me -- when was Hatay captured, and when was the Geneva Convention against the acquisition of territory by force signed?

If Assad's regime falls, and Syria emerges as something approximating a democracy (two big if's) the pressure on Israel will mount to give up the Golan.

Anonymous said...

From my understanding, Tekoa is an example of a settlement that is attempting to reconcile with its neighbors, and in some ways represents a post-Zionist settlement.

If that concept does not stimulate honest inquiry, what would?

Maybe I don't know Tekoa in fact. I only hear stories.

I find BDS against Israel to be literally dangerous, in the fascist sense, that it will and does provide a vehicle for organized orchestrated hatred of Jews.

The questions about your comments are substantive, whether you find them irritating or not.

You can address them as substantive.

Specifically, that for a boycott to be both effective and not devolve to organized shunning, it must be specific and relate directly and artfully to the particular objection.

That boycotting Golan wines does not relate to Palestinian condition, is too obvious for me to pass on.

From you, I'm looking for some statement of principles that you regard as appropriate criteria for political conclusion.

Also, you are welcome to post "irritating" comments on my blog, if you disagree with my views.

Jerry Haber said...

richard, let me think of an example. Say you happen to be a really nice guy that is interested in my car. But you don't have anything personal against me; you just like my car. Maybe you think you deserve it more than me. So after you steal the car, you have no problem with my using it occasionally. Heck, you are even willing to fill it up with gas on occasions. But it's not my car anymore in your eyes -- it's yours.

In point of fact, you have heard wrong about Tekoa. With the exception of one or two individuals, and after the Fogel murders, pressure was put on them to desist, the Tekoans are there because they think Eretz Yisrael belongs to them, and the Palestinians have no private or national ownership rights that supersede the settler's needs.

Havent you ever heard of generous, benevolent, colonialists? Read my post on Rabbi Riskin. They always want "neighborly" relations with the people whose land they occupy. (That, by the way, is the main motivation behind the Israeli desire for peace -- most Israelis simply can't understand why the Arabs are upset them with them. Hey, all we want is peace (after we have conquered the land, driven out many of its Arab inhabitants and controlled the others.) Hey, we let you use our hospitals...aren't we nice guys?

There are good reasons to be opposed to BDS.I assume you were also opposed to BDS against the apartheid regime, which was demonized, especially in the West, when there were a lot worse things happening in Africa that nobody cared about.

My point is that are you always opposed to sanctions? What about sanctions against Iran or Libya? What happens if people use that as a cover for their Islamophobia? Or are you just sensitive about the Israelis?

Would you prefer the Palestinians and their supporters start up with the suicide bombs? Kassam rockets? How many Israelis have been seriously hurt by BDS? Or do you sat that the Palestinians have no recourse but to engage in an endless peace process while Israel continues to steal its land and control its resources.

And your last question. BDS IS ALL ABOUT THE ENDING OF THE OCCUPATION -- occupied Syria, occupied Palestine, occupied whatever. We have to end the occupation rather than continue to exploit it for our own purposes.

That's the BDS that liberal Zionists have no problem, or should have no problem, accepting. The target is whoever profits from the occupation.

But the global BDS goes one steps further and calls for regime change in Israel that will enable it to be a liberal democracy of all its citizens. And it calls for implementation of resolution 194.

It's time for liberal Zionists to join the boycott of the occupied territories. Fortunately, in Israel, more are joining the struggle daily.

Anonymous said...

Your description still doesn't pass my discomfort test associated with boycotts.

That is to be effective, morally and politically, it must be specific and constructive.

So for you, the boycott is about ending the occupation of all 67 lands (is that correct)?

For others, the boycott is about ending the occupation of "Arab lands", and interpreted as any Israel.

You don't rationally find that confusing, dangerously so?

(Dangerous in that boycott can be an expression of fascism or an expression of liberation. It can only be an expression of liberation if there is a path to some live and let live. Do you see a path to live and let live?)

Your patronizing lecture, rather than definition of actual principles to apply, principles that you apply, is disappointing to me.

You didn't hear the "more power to you" comment on your personal actions?

Jerry Haber said...

Dan, I gave you space on my blog. You abused it by parroting hasbara nonsense. So, as a parting shot, here are my answers to such inanity.

Jerusalem is a holy city for Jews, Christians, and Muslims. That refers, of course, to certain areas of the Old City, and *maybe* some parts of Silwan. The rest of Jerusalem is not mentioned in the Bible because it did not exist. It ain't holy for anybody.

Since it is holy for all those religions, their representatives, I believe, should administer the holy sites. Since both the Jews, Muslims, and Christians have shown themselves incapable of allowing religious freedom of worship, the city should be internationalized or under some some of "sovereignty of God." You won't mind that, Dan, since God is obviously Jewish for you.

Before 1948 there was no Israeli sovereignty, and the Israeli people did not exist. The Jewish people did, but their right to self-determination doesn't mean they have a right to a Jewish ethnic state of the sort founded in 1948. Show me another state where one becomes a returning citizen by cutting off one's foreskin -- or by baptism in a mikveh -- and you will know one reason against such a definition of self-determination.

And, finally, Dan, you say that I ban rightwingers. I ban people who can't follow an argument. Y. Ben David and Yisrael Medad are intelligent rightwing folk who have contributed and are invited to contribute.

Have a good life. You are welcome to contribute when you rise above the level of Mitchell Bard.

Jerry Haber said...


I am sorry but one of the rules for my blog is that I don't do people's research. You have had ample time to go to the Global BDS Movement webpage to see what its foudning principles are. None of them include flooding Israel with millions of refugees. To say that is to appeal to the scare tactics which allows liberal Zionists to sleep at night in a warm country while Palestinian refugees, who were not allowed to return to their homes for three generations in violation of UN resolution 194, sleep in refugee camps or in their unwilling diaspora. I see no justice in making some people refugees in order to settle others.

But the Global BDS movement calls for giving refugees the choice of where they want to live. Many will live in Israel to be near their families, to return to their native land, and for employment. Many who are not in refugee camps -- according to polls -- prefer to stay where they are, or to be given the opportunity of living in other countries, for economic or family reasons.

No BDS movement has called for forcing the Palestinian refugees to come back to their homes.

But all that is relevant to the targeted BDS that many liberal Zionists have embraced. More and more liberal Zionists are jumping on the boycott bandwagon -- they are not boycotting all Israeli products but those from the occupied territories. In the coming weeks you will see more people joining the boycott movement, especially after the boycott bill passed. When Theodore Bikel backed the artistic boycott of Ariel, when Amos Oz backed the academic boycott of the West Bank institutions, this showed how moral liberal Zionists behave. They don't endorse the global BDS movement -- but they do endorse the tactics of targeted BDS.

The people who say, "I oppose the occupation but, unfortunately, it is necessary until a partner can be found among the Palestinians" are the ultimate anti-Zionists. Because if Zionism requires -- in order to be implemented -- the long term subjugation of another people, with or without their own state -- then only a mafia tribalist could support that kind of Zionism.

How many Jews fit into that category today?

Dan Kelso said...

Haber, the Palestinians are refugees cause the Arabs keep them as refugees. The 800,000 Jews forced from the Arab countries are not refugees.
Your trying to blame Israel for not allowing the Arabs to commit a Nakba against the Jews in 48.
As Benny Morris said, the Palestinian leaders and the Arab states openly threatened to destroy the newly founded State of Israel and massacre its population

Jerry Haber said...

Dan, here's the difference between the Zionist leadership and the Arab leadership in 1948.

The Zionists said that they would not harm the Arabs, and they did. They lied to the Arabs and to the world, as they wiped the Palestinian state that they "said" they had agreed to, off the map

The Arabs, by contrast, talked big and threatened to wipe the Jewish state off the map.

So, who's worse -- the guy who says he will cut your throat and doesn't. Or the one who says he won't, and didn't.

And, pray tell, what Arab leaders were responsible for Israel defying Resolution 194 and not allowing the refugees to return to their homes.

As for the Arab Jewish refugees urged by the Zionists to leave and to come to Israel, sometimes with the compliance of the Arab states -- that is another story altogether. I have written about that on my blog.