Alon Liel, the former director of Israel’s Foreign Ministry is supporting the South African call for a boycott of the settlements. He even goes one step further and endorses the writer Alice Walker’s antisemitic boycott of the Hebrew language itself.
A former top Foreign Ministry official has endorsed South Africa’s plan to ban “Made in Israel” labels for imported products from the West Bank, protesting what he calls Israeli complacency about the occupation.
Liel said his stance, which includes supporting author Alice Walker’s refusal to have her book “The Color Purple” translated into Hebrew, also aims to call attention to the urgent need for Jerusalem to ensure the near future brings “Palestinian independence, not an Israeli apartheid state.”
On May 1, South African Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said he intended to issue an official notice “to require traders in South Africa not to incorrectly label products that originate from the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) as products of Israel.” Davies said that Pretoria recognized the State of Israel “only within the borders demarcated by the United Nations (UN) in 1948” and that these borders do not include territories occupied by Israel after 1967.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry slammed Davies’ plan, saying it “smacks of racism” as it singles out Israel while ignoring hundreds of territorial disputes across the globe.
“If nobody speaks about the [Israeli-Palestinian] conflict, nothing will happen. I think that such a move, boycotting products from Israeli factories in the settlements, is a kind of wake-up call,” Liel said. “For me, this wake-up call can come from any direction, but somebody has to wake up. If the wake-up call is in this form, fine with me. If there will be another wake-up call, also fine. But such a non-violent wake-up call is needed.”
Where on earth does Liel get the idea that “nobody speaks about the Israel-Palestinian conflict”? His thesis is beyond ridiculous. Why does he think that Israel needs a wake-up call? Does he address his wake-up call to the Palestinians too? Does he demand that they come to the negotiation table without preconditions? Does he require of them that they stop their terrorism and incitement of the next generation? Or is violence permitted as a one-way street only – a street directed towards Israel.
Liel continues with the following outrageous statement:
Liel also said he principally supported cultural boycotts of Israel, such as author Alice Walker’s recent refusal to allow a Hebrew translation of her bestseller “The Color Purple” in protest of Israel’s “persecution of the Palestinian people.” “I think it’s needed, yes,” he said. “Unfortunately, I don’t see Israeli politicians waking up from these calls. But it’s better than nothing.”
Mr. Liel – “persecution” does not mean what you think it means. The Palestinians in Israel and the West Bank are the best treated Arabs in the entire Middle East. Or have you not been watching your TV news or listening to the radio in the last few weeks?
Meanwhile the Foreign Ministry punctures his pompous balloon:
A diplomatic source said Liel’s opinions shouldn’t be given too much importance. While the 64-year-old is respected for being “dedicated and very intelligent,” he is considered a “lightweight” among Foreign Service veterans, the source said. “He was the foreign ministry’s director-general, that’s true, but only for a few months. He didn’t leave any real legacy behind, and so his opinion should be seen for what it’s worth.”
Carl in Jerusalem adds this very relevant information on Liel’s background:
Among other things in Liel’s past: Alon Liel tried to pretend that Israel bears no responsibility or obligation to Jonathan Pollard. Alon Liel tried to trick the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee into believing that Bashar al-Assad wants peace and it’s all our fault that we don’t have it. Alon Liel urged then-Education Minister Comrade Yuli Tamir to prevent Israeli students from hiking in the Golan. And now, Alon Liel, BDS supporter. What a shmuck.
UPDATE: Guess where the execrable Liel has chosen to publish his screed: The Guardian of course. Which other newspaper would publish him and his anti-Israel theories? What a revolting little man.
Another home-grown adversary is Weizmann Institute head Prof. Daniel Zajfman who has threatened to boycott Ariel University Center if it is transformed into a full-fledged university.
Ariel University Center of Samaria, located in the sprawling Ariel settlement, is due to receive the upgrade next month, a move which faces fierce opposition. The status of “university center” was a government compromise instituted five years ago, upgrading it from the College of Judea and Samaria.
Professor Daniel Zajfman declared at a gathering of university heads that he would cancel any academic or professional cooperation with the school, Maariv reported Wednesday.
“We will cut all ties if it is declared a university,” Zajfman said.
The Council for Higher Education is expected to decide in the next two weeks whether or not to approve the campus’s university status, completing a process that began in 2005.
University heads have opposed the move to grant it full status since doing so would divert funds from their institutions to Ariel. Other academics have also raised concerns over the fact that the school is tied to the Israel Defense Forces. Earlier this year, over 1,000 university faculty members signed a letter against upgrading its status.
Zajfman insisted that his objection is not political.
“There is no place for political debate here,” he said. “Is there a need for another university in Israel? That question has not been discussed in any forum. It will be interesting to see if adding a university will be met with an increased budget for higher education.”
Hebrew University President Menahem Ben-Sasson expressed his concerns that giving the settlement-based institute university status could have far-reaching consequences in the international community.
“It is a strategic threat to the State,” Ben-Sasson said. “We are putting the next Nobel Prize in danger.”
The Head of the Council for Higher Education, Prof. Manuel Trajtenberg, also opposed giving the Ariel college university status, as do most of the council members, Maariv reported.
In a statement to Maariv, the university said that a report commissioned by the Council for Higher Education itself found that the campus has reached and even surpassed all the requirements it needs to become a university.
“We hope the decisions that will be taken will be based on academic criteria alone and not on any external considerations,” the statement said.
Yisrael Hayom adds:
Ariel Mayor Ron Nachman attacked the opponents of the measure, saying they are “politically motivated.” He further accused the signatories of the letter of using their status to portray their campaign as academically oriented. “They are lying to the public and we will expose them,” he told Army Radio Sunday.
The academic chiefs have obviously never heard of the proverb from the Mishna:
אמר רבי אלעזר, אמר רבי חנינא: תלמידי חכמים מרבים שלום בעולם
Rabbi Eliezer said in the name of Rabbi Hanina: Wise men magnify peace in the world.
These academics claim to want peace. They also claim to be wise. Surely with more “wise men”, i.e. academics, there will be more peace. They should draw the right conclusions.
And may Heaven help us and save us from our ever so well-meaning diplomats and academics who only want to save us from ourselves.