vrijdag 29 juni 2012

The Green Line and the Red Line

The Efrat wine we had with Passover was delicious, at least the red one from our Hema store. But I won’t buy it again. Because I do want to stimulate Israel’s economy, but only at the right side of the Green Line.

The problem is that with a lot of Israeli products you can not see whether they come from the occupied territories or not. But with this wine you can see it very well. Efrat is the name of a settlement on the West Bank. And I definitely do not want to sponsor that kind of settlements.

Is it really worth while to make a point of this question? Indeed, is not – unlike many Israel bashers dare to say aloud – the violence in all countries surrounding Israel raging on a much larger and horrible scale? Isn’t it peanuts what Israel is doing compared to that?

With former Knesset Chairman Avraham Burg I agree that you have to make a big point of it. If Israel claims to be ‘the only democracy in the Middle East’ and wants to uphold fundamental values such as democracy, equality, rule of law, secularism and modernity, then any encroachment on the land of another is in opposition to those claims.

He goes quite far, Burg, and he is tough like an Old Testament prophet. He argues that the occupation of Palestinian land across the Green Line brings out the worst from the Israelis: it generates fanatical, nationalist, fundamentalist and undemocratic forces that undermine the very foundations of Israeli society. I am afraid that Burg is right and that we should heed his words: respect the Green Line.

We are never going to be spotless, and probably the saying is true that every state is founded on a crime. Yet next year I prefer to drink Passover wine from Latrun, from the same Hema store. Strictly speaking that is wrong too because Latrun until 1967 fell under Jordanian control. But the boundary adjustment that took place there was too logical to object against, especially because the road between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem was frequently under Jordanian fire from Latrun.

If Abraham Burg says that also that case of transgressing the Green Line is not innocent, then so be it. I can reconcile that with mine and his Red Line, which is about decency and democracy. I do not want to cross that one.

Also see Lazy