Dora McPhee (VIC) responds to Sawyer’s “Why Elvis Costello is wrong to boycott Israel” The Age, 26May10 May 26, 2010

The Age: “Why Elvis Costello is wrong to boycott Israel” by Mark Sawyer,  26 May 2010

Mark Sawyer’s exposition “Why Elvis Costello is wrong to boycott Israel” fails to convince. The circumstances of Israel’s birth are precisely the reason why Israel’s subsequent behaviour compounds and perpetuates the original injustice of ethnically cleansing three quarters of the Palestinian population from their homeland. Israel has never acknowledged the wrong done in dispossessing the Palestinians to establish a Jewish state that left them a fragmented people: second class citizens discriminated in Israel; occupied people daily seeing their land and resources stolen by a state that colonises them; imprisoned, besieged, blockaded and periodically bombarded in the largest concentration camp of Gaza; or denied their inalienable right of return for six decades.

Yes, Israel has the veneer of democracy as Sawyer states for allowing dissident voices was a necessary ploy to paint Israel as a vibrant democracy – one the state could afford to tolerate given it held overwhelming power over the Palestinians with the full backing of the West when it needed to crack down hard if things got out of hand.  Sawyer does not speak of the 10,000 plus Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, the arrests of those leading peaceful protest movements against the occupation and the fact that multiple written reports of Israel’s human rights violations have been ignored over the years together with the scores of binding UN resolutions outright ignored by this “vibrant democracy”. With complicit Western governments and a craven Western media the only peaceful means the Palestinians have in their struggle for freedom is the boycott movement Sawyer  seeks to discredit.

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