Anyone with an ounce of human decency must support Oxfam's mission "to respond to the suffering of people without regard to race, religion or ethnicity." Even the most ardent Israeli hawk would have a hard time decrying Oxfam's commitment to be "pro-peace and pro-rights for both Israelis and Palestinians." However, last year Oxfam International announced a boycott of Israeli goods grown or manufactured in what its literature refers to as the "occupied territories." According to chairman, Ian Anderson, the boycott is "against certain actual policies of the Israeli government. It is not against the Israeli or Jewish people." To advance the boycott, Oxfam's Belgian affiliate, Oxfam-Solidarité, produced a poster image linked to its web page, which depicted an orange dripping blood with the text: "Israeli fruit is bitter."
There was considerable international outcry against the crude and viscerally evocative nature of the web site image. So the Belgian office amended the campaign page of its website and removed the link to the poster image. However, the boycott and the advertisements, with references to "occupied territories," "illegal occupation," and Israel's "perpetrating prejudice, discrimination, and violence against Palestinians," demonstrate that Oxfam has accepted the rhetoric of Palestinian propaganda, while ignoring the history of the conflict, the Arab revisionism of that history, and the role of Palestinian terrorism. Despite Mr. Anderson's disclaimer, Oxfam has taken sides.
Oxfam's anti-Israel discrimination can be seen in the following:
1.) Oxfam's condemnation of Israel's "occupation" reflects its bias. One does not need to be an expert in international law to know that the decades-old fiction of Israel's "illegal occupation" perpetrated by Arab propaganda is just that: a fiction. Jurists of international stature have demonstrated that these are "disputed territories" rather than "occupied territories." Moreover, in the absence of a peace treaty between belligerents, Israel's retained sovereignty over these territories is completely legal according to international law and the 4th Geneva Convention. If a country has legal sovereignty over a territory, then by definition it is not an "occupying power."
When one further considers that Israel offered to return these territories in exchange for peace with Jordan a few weeks after the Six Day War (June 1967), it becomes abundantly clear that Israel did not conquer these territories with the intent to occupy them. When Jordan, and the rest of the Arab world, turned down Israel's offers for "a piece of land for a piece of peace" (Khartoum, 8/67), Israel was left with no choice but to retain its control over the area, awaiting an Arab world that would be willing to negotiate.
A condemnation of Israel's presence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip ignores the obvious: Israel's continued presence there is a function solely of Arab obduracy and the commitment of Arab leaders to their genocidal war.
2.) Oxfam's boycott targets the victims of a terror onslaught, rather than the perpetrators of prejudice, discrimination and violence. Even if one does decide to use of the term "occupation," as did PM Sharon last month for political reasons, this "occupation" began its staged termination in 1994, pursuant to the Oslo Accords. But instead of building his state as Israel evacuated the territories, Arafat began a relentless reign of terror.
Rejecting Ehud Barak's offer ( Camp David II, 6/2000), Arafat brought his terror war to unprecedented heights when he launched the 2nd intifada on 9/28/2000. He made it clear that his goal was the destruction of Israel and the creation of a Palestinian state from the Jordan to the Mediterranean.
Israel's response was further attempts at reconciliation (the Clinton plan, 12/2000). Arafat rejected this as well, despite Prince Bandar es-Sultan's assessment that it was the best offer he could ever expect (cf. Elsa Walsh, "The Prince," in New Yorker, 3/24/03).
Only after the Passover massacre of March 2002, did Israel re-occupy the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Military re-occupation was the only way that Israel could put a stop to the relentless and remorseless terrorism that began immediately after Arafat had agreed to settle all differences through negotiations. (c. 18,500 terror attacks, almost 1,250 Israeli dead, more than 6,000 wounded or maimed for life since the Oslo Accords, 9/13/93). If it were true to its mission, Oxfam would be boycotting the perpetrators of terror, and their supporters elsewhere in the Arab world.
3.) Declaring Israel's restrained defensive measures to be "violence against Palestinians" confuses the firefighter with the arsonist. Israel's military re-occupation, in addition to being an act of self-defense, was restrained and measured, targeting terrorists even when doing so put Israeli personnel at great risk and caused avoidable casualties among the armed forces. Tragically, Palestinian civilians have been killed as well, in large part because the terrorists' modus operandi is to hide behind civilians, knowing that such tactics create a conundrum for the IDF.
4.) Palestinian terror war is not a war of liberation. Even the most superficial review of history shows that since 1937 the Palestinian leadership has been offered a total of 12 opportunities to create their own state alongside of Israel. They have rejected every opportunity and responded with war, terror, violence and murder. They have each time unabashedly and vociferously adumbrated their objection: no state alongside of Israel, only instead of Israel.
This is what they are doing now. If all they wanted were an end to Israeli military presence and a state of their own on the West Bank and Gaza Strip, they could have achieved that and much more a dozen times in the last 65 years, via negotiations with Israel. Their war is a war of genocide against Israel. And Israel's "violence" is the same defensive measures that any country would take to protect its citizens and preserve its existence.
5.) Oxfam's concern about Palestinian suffering fails to answer the question: where do you want the casualties? Oxfam speaks for many when expressing consternation about Palestinians suffering curfews, road blocks, ambulances detained for hours. But somehow that consternation ignores the painful question that the terrorists force Israel to answer: Where do you want the casualties?
If Israel maintains the curfews and road blocks, and detains the ambulances, then many Palestinians will suffer delays, embarrassment, perhaps even aggravated illness or death. They, through their suffering, are the casualties of the terror war.
When, on the other hand, Israel has lifted those curfews, removed the road blocks, and let the ambulances and produce trucks and professional vans ride unchecked, then the casualties are hundreds of Israeli dead and thousands wounded, as terrorists roam unchecked to detonate themselves on buses, in restaurants, and at parties.
As long as the terrorists violate international law by commandeering ambulances and private vehicles for the perpetration of terror attacks, Israel has no choice but to retain its road blocks. It seems clear therefore, that if Oxfam were really concerned about Palestinian suffering, it would be protesting the bitterness of Palestinian terrorism, not the taste of Jaffa oranges.
By condemning Israel's preventative tactics Oxfam has tacitly answered the question, in favor of the terrorists.
6.) Educating children into hatred is child abuse raised to the level of public policy. Oxfam seems unaware of the baleful Jew-hating diatribe generated by Palestinian TV, newspapers, radio, mosque sermons, elementary school classrooms, and political pronouncements. TV ads regularly play songs and show videos that quite literally urge children to kill Jews, and remind all Moslems that Mohammed enjoined all those who profess loyalty to Islam to consider it a holy duty to kill Jews (Ahadith, Hadith Muslim, inter alia).
Despite the PA's acceptance of the Road Map with its demand that incitement cease, incitement continues. Since Arafat still controls the salaries of the preachers, teachers and newspaper editors, the fact that incitement has not ceased is a clear attestation to his continued commitment to maintain a genocidal terror war against Israel and to educate the next generation into hatred and violence.
7.) Oxfam's focus on the settlements as thought they were the core problem is attestation to the victory of Arab propaganda and historical revisionism. In 1964, the PLO declared that its sole raison d'etre was the destruction of Israel and the end to Jewish settlements on Arab land. At that time there were no Jewish settlements in the West Bank or Gaza Strip.
The settlements they were talking about then were Tel Aviv and Haifa, and the "Arab land" was pre-1967 Israel. Their mantra has not changed. The media of incitement noted above unequivocally claims all of Israel as Moslem Waqf and all Israelis as legitimate targets. It is obvious, therefore, that the existence of Israel is the real problem. The settlements in the territories merely provide a foil behind which to hide the true intentions of the Palestinian leadership.
Moreover, Israel has already dismantled some settlements, and has made the commitment to dismantle more in the context of negotiations (just as they did in 1979-82 in Sinai when Israel and Egypt made peace). Therefore it is obvious that the Palestinian leadership could achieve in negotiation exactly what it claims it is trying to achieve by terrorism.
8.) Oxfam's concern for the suffering of ALL people ANYWHERE raises the question: why such a disproportionate focus on Israel? What of Oxfam's energies are devoted to the suffering of:
a.) Millions that have died in the brutal 19-year civil war in Sudan
b.) Hundreds of thousands murdered in the brutal 10-year civil war in Algeria
c.) Millions made homeless in that same Algerian conflict
d.) Tens of thousands of slaves that languish in legal bondage in Mauritania
e.) Hundreds of homosexuals routinely imprisoned and tortured in Egypt
f.) Hundreds of thousands of Shi'i annihilated by the Wahhabi of Arabia
g.) Millions of Tibetans under Chinese 50-year brutal occupation
h.) Millions of Lebanese oppressed by the 27-year brutal Syrian occupation
i.) Victims of Syrian support for c. 63 terror training camps in that country
j.) c. 95,000 Christian Lebanese killed by the PLO from 1970-1982
k.) Victims of Sadaam Hussein's 30-year brutal reign of terror..and
l.) Victims of Arafat's reign of terror against his own people. Since taking power in 1994 he has murdered hundreds and imprisoned thousands more in his repressive and totalitarian rule. His despotism violates international law, destroys any semblance of civil rights, and generates a mafia-like web of corruption, intimidation, and murder. Moreover, he was elected to a five-year term of office in January, 1996. That term expired in January, 2001. He has maintained his position of power illegally for 2.5 years.
Like any nation, Israel must stop those who are trying to blow up, immolate, shoot, stab, and kidnap its civilians. Palestinian leaders have chosen terrorism because they do not want to "end the occupation." Their offer is not: "want security, just end the occupation." They want the destruction of Israel and the genocide of its Jews.Genocide and the destruction of a sovereign state are war crimes. If the terrorists would lay down their weapons, there would be no violence. If Israel would lay down its weapons, there would be no Israel. Why then does Oxfam boycott Israel, which is defending itself against the perpetrators of war crimes and terrorism?