In a Sept. 24 letter, “‘Kosher’ boycotts,” Alan Jay Weisbard took issue with a previously published letter in which I expressed strong disagreement with the boycott of products produced by Israelis outside the 1949/1967 cease fire lines. My disagreement is based on the implication that the cease fire lines are boundaries of Palestinian land. If one starts with the fiction of Palestinian land belonging to a state which never existed, it is easy to condemn Israeli villagers as settlers occupying land whose products deserve to be boycotted.
Mr. Weisbard questions the Zionist narrative that Israeli attempts at peace have always been met by Palestinian and Arab rejection. Can one overlook the November 1947 Arab rejection of the UN Partition Plan; the 1967 Arab League’s Three No’s to peace with Israel: recognition of Israel and negotiations with Israel; the 2000 rejection by Arafat of Ehud Barak’s peace offer at Camp David; and the 2008 offer by Ehud Olmert of 100 percent of the West Bank (after land swaps) with concessions on other major issues, all of which were rejected.
Boycotting products from Israeli “settlements” are justified as a mechanism to encourage both parties to come to peace terms. But where is a mechanism for the Palestinian side? Is the cause of peace served by rejecting Jewish historical connections to the land? Does the incitement of hatred against Jews throughout Palestinian society serve the cause of peace? What is the chance for a future peace when Palestinian youth see murderers of Israeli Jews rewarded and glorified?
There is nothing kosher about a boycott of Israelis living beyond the 1949/1967 cease fire lines. These Israelis are not the obstacles to peace. One has only to read the translated speeches of Palestinian leaders and follow the polls of the Arab street to realize peace is not possible without fundamental and far reaching changes from the Palestinian side. The sooner this is recognized, the sooner steps can be taken to make peace possible.