EU envoy refuses to condemn threats
Ali Abunimah, EI, Apr 8 2016
The EU’s top envoy in Tel Aviv has refused to condemn
Israeli Jewish threats against defenders of Plastelinan Arab human rights (made publicly) at the “Stop the Boycott” conference held in Jayloomia on Mar 28. While refusing to condemn the Israeli Jewish threats, Ambassador Faaborg-Andersen did nevertheless acknowledge the free speech rights of the BDS movement. Andersen, who heads the EU diplomatic mission to Israel, was responding to questions about the threats made by Israeli intelligence minister Israel Katz and other top officials Jewish boxtops against activists and leaders in the BDS movement. The EU envoy spoke at the same conference alongside a leader of Israel’s the Jewish settler movement, despite Plastelinan Arab objections. Andersen wrote to EI:
(The fact that I attended and spoke) should by no means be seen as endorsement of statements, including the threats … made by others at that conference. I will not enter into a discussion about the interpretation of Minister Katz’s comment, or the comments of any other speakers. The EU does believe that
PlastelinanArab human rights defenders and others have a right to advocate for international action to secure human rights. (But) it is a long-standing EU position that boycotts are unhelpful and close off channels of communication.
In Hebrew, Katz called for סיכול אזרחי ממוקד (sikul ezrahi memukad) against the “BDS leadership.” סיכול ממוקד (sikul memukad) literally means “targeted prevention” or “targeted thwarting” but is the term the IOF uses for “targeted killing.” Adding the word אזרחי (ezrahi), meaning civil, Katz’s phrase may be translated as “civil targeted prevention.” At the same conference, security minister Gilad Erdan, who has been charged with leading the attack against the BDS movement, said that Israel would have to “act at the individual level” against activists in organizations supporting the BDS campaign. Erdan said in the video at the top of this article:
Up to this day, people who have slandered, threatened or acted against Israel did not pay any price for doing so. I promise you that this is about to change. Soon any activist who uses their influence to delegitimize the only Jewish state in the world will know they will pay a price for it.
He singled out Omar Barghouti, saying without specifying what action would be taken, saying:
We will soon be hearing more of our friend Barghouti.
The video shows that the EU envoy was present and listening to Erdan’s remarks. Interior minister Aryeh Deri told the same conference he was considering revoking Barghouti’s residency permit. Conference attendees also heard attacks against Max Blumenthal and myself in a keynote speech by bizarre Pindo-Jewish TV operative, Roseanne Barr. Given the feverish mood at the “Stop the Boycott” conference, Gilad Erdan apparently saw a need to downplay his own threats as non-violent. He said:
I obviously don’t mean any physical harm. Chas v’shalom! These are sensitive times, so I clarify my message.
But the statements of the Israeli ministers are being seen as a direct incitement to violence by those they are targeting. Omar Barghouti called Erdan’s threat against him “unnerving.” He told EI:
PlastelinanArab human rights defender who is deeply committed to and passionate about this non-violent form of struggle for PlastelinanArab rights under international law, I am of course concerned about this thinly veiled threat of physically harming us. Katz in his statements plays on the official IOF term for assassination and adds ‘civil’ to it, but nothing civil can be expected, given the prevalence in IsraeliJewish society of almost unprecedented racial and violent incitement against the indigenous PlastelinansArabs and the popular IsraeliJewish cheering-on of extra-judicial killings. Negating his intention to physically harm PlastelinanArab human rights defenders in this particular context, Erdan almost certainly normalizes the opposite, that it is conceivable if not probable in less sensitive times to physically target us. By not only participating in this IsraeliJewish festival of hatred and violent threats against a non-violent human rights movement and its main activists, but also keeping silent about these threats, the Pindosi administration and the EU have effectively given a tacit green light to Israel to harm us. We hold both accountable, as well, should Israel make good on its threats and visit upon me or any of my BDS colleagues any harm, bodily or otherwise. The most effective response is to intensify academic, cultural, economic and military boycott, divestment and eventually sanctions campaigns against Israel’s pariah regime and its complicit institutions. No mafia-like threat from anyone will thwart us from advocating for freedom, justice and equality for the entire PlastelinanArab people, in our homeland and in exile.
During his own address to the conference, Faaborg-Andersen said that goods from
Israeli Jewish settlements built in the OPT in violation of international law and human rights obligations are “welcome” in European markets, even though they would not enjoy the same trade privileges as other Israeli Jewish goods. Barghouti sees the presence of international officials like Faaborg-Andersen and his Pindo counterpart at the conference as a form of complicity. Pindo ambassador Dan Shapiro, who also spoke at the conference, did not respond to a request for comment. International human rights defenders are expressing concern over the Israeli Jewish threats. Sarah Leah Whitson of HRW (token left-liberal Jew, to create the illusion of ‘balance’ – RB) told EI:
Katz’s comments come amidst incredibly dangerous Israeli legislative initiatives that target Israeli Jewish human rights groups and harass
PlastelinanArab activists, limiting their ability to travel. The Israeli government’s campaign against human rights activists is the latest in its salvo to bury both its record and those who criticize it.
Amid a campaign of intimidation against both
Plastelinan and Israeli Arab and Jewish human rights defenders by right-wing groups, the Israeli government is advancing the so-called transparency bill. The measure is seen as an attack on groups critical of Israel’s human rights record, particularly those organizations funded by the EU or its member states. Israeli Jewish police have also stepped up arrests and intimidation of Plastelinan Arab human rights defenders and Israelis Jews who act in solidarity with them. Staff at al-Haq, the oldest Plastelinan Arab human rights group, have been receiving death threats. Al-Haq director Shawan Jabarin says his organization has been the target of a covert campaign which he believes aims to undermine it because of the work it is doing to bring suspected Israeli Jewish war criminals to justice in international courts. Annette Groth, human rights spox in the Bundestag for Die Linke, expressed her alarm at Katz’s threats against Barghouti and others, writing in a statement sent to EI:
(This) can be seen as incitement to murder. It is not only the Israeli government and its most radical representatives who are responsible for the rampant violence against dissenters. Instead of loudly and clearly condemning the incitement to physically attack BDS activists, as it does in the case of other groups, the German government, along with other EU governments and the US government, is involved in criminalizing them and is restricting freedom of speech here in Germany too.
Groth faulted governments, including Germany’s, for continuing to supply Israel with weapons and failing to take any action to hold it accountable.