I’ve removed 50 lines of instant rebuttal. Go there if you care – RB
MK Ghattas calls for Israel boycott at far-left Montreal conference
JPost, Aug 14 2016
Ghattas has called on the world to boycott and sanction Israel, repeatedly comparing the Jewish state to apartheid South Africa, in a recording obtained by the JPost. Ghattas made the statements last week at the World Social Forum in Montreal, which is meant to be a far left alternative to the annual World Economic Forum in Davos. The Canadian federal government revoked its partnership with the forum because of anti-Semitic content, policies and promotional materials, as well as the exclusion of Jewish Israelis and supporters of Israel. One session blamed worldwide terrorism and imperialism on Zionists, which was promoted with a caricature featuring classic anti-Semitic imagery of a hook-nosed man with forelocks, a beard, and a black hat controlling Uncle Sam. The session was later canceled, and the caricature removed from the website. Ghattas spoke at multiple events at the conference, which was sponsored by Canadian Friends of Sabeel, an organization whose goal is to convince churches to divest from Israel. B’nai Brith Canada sent an observer to the WSF, who recorded Ghattas’s speeches, among others. The MK from Balad, one of the parties making up the Joint List, called Israel an oppressive, racist and apartheid state, saying he is pessimistic that there will be peace soon, and international sanctions were the most effective way to combat Israel. He said:
The only way for this society to change is the way of South Africa… international pressure, international sanctions, saying one basic elementary thing: Justice for Palestine. Without boycotts and sanctions, Israel will not do and comply with international law. (BDS) is the only mechanism Israel is afraid of, to force Israel to comply with international law. I can promise you one thing, that it will not take time like in South Africa for Israel to change. Israelis are very connected to the world and very sensitive to the world, and once serious action is taken by the international community, Israel will obey… BDS and popular movements are the major and the most elementary step that have to be taken in order to make governments and international bodies held accountable.
The Joint List MK argued that the “occupation” is not only of the West Bank, but that all of Israel is “settler colonialism” and an “apartheid regime.” He said:
When we say colonial settlers… this is the right description for Israel as a whole, Israel dominating what was called Israel in the 1967 borders and all the other areas that were in the 1967 war occupied by Israel. We, as Palestinian citizens that have Israeli citizenship after 1948, are still victims of this colonial settler regime. .. The apartheid regime, the differentiation inside 1967 borders, this differentiation does not exist, actually. Perhaps in some aspects the level … of the racism or apartheid is different, but the same colonial settler apartheid reality is all over Palestine.
All of Israel, Ghattas argued, has been taken over by “settlers.” He claimed that a third of Israel’s ministers live in settlements. In fact, only four out of 29 ministers and deputy ministers do. Ghattas discussed his and fellow Balad MKs’ Haneen Zoabi and Jamal Zahalka’s visit earlier this year with the families of
terrorists martyrs whose bodies were being held by Israel, saying:
We met with Palestinian families in Jerusalem that lost their sons in the last uprising, intifada, that the bodies of their sons are not released up to today to bury them, and we just went to hear their stories and follow up with the government… From Bibi Netanyahu to the last Israel minister incited against us, that we went to terrorists’ families and we encourage, embolden terrorism… Israel kept saying we are the only democracy in the Middle East, a villa in the jungle. The Expulsion Law makes my service in parliament under question.
Ghattas threatened to stop participating in Israeli politics because of its undemocratic nature, saying:
We still think politically that it is a wise thing to do. Going to the Knesset is like going to the battle. We go there in order to protect our rights, in order to do our case, in order to unveil the mask of Israeli democracy and try to minimize and oppose the continuous attempt of the Israeli right-wing, and most of the time the Israeli Jewish consensus of creating almost on a daily basis racist legislation. This is not going to continue for a long time, because the margins of Israeli democracy, which we decided to use, are getting narrower all the time. We are in the years before getting to the decision to decide not to participate in this game…We decided to play the game, the Israeli democratic election and parliamentary game, but we are discovering that you are changing the rules… It’s our choice to decide whether to continue or not.
Instead, Ghattas posited, Israeli Arabs are likely to form their own representative body, outside of the Knesset.