ModernityBlog

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Archive for September 17th, 2009

Boycott The Planets.

with 6 comments

Not known for their love of all things Israeli, some pro-boycotters might want to ignore, forget or even destroy their pet telescopes as Israelis have discovered a new planet.

After which pro-boycotters might want to stop using Google (oh, yes, they use an Israeli developed algorithm), Intel based PCs, Windows XP, etc and a whole lot of useful medical technologies.

But then again that’s not going to happen, many pro-boycotters are happy to perform token gestures but much less likely to let the boycotting of Israelis have a detrimental effect on their own lives, and so it is with the proposed TUC motion.

It is another piece of gesture politics, doesn’t help anyone in the Middle East but it makes Westerners feel good about themselves. How typically indulgent and how quintessentially Western?

Update 1:
Jeffrey Goldberg nails Walt, Bin Laden and Mearsheimer.

Update 2:
Some of my newer readers are having a bit of difficulty understanding my arguments, above

I thought it was self-evident, but it seems I will have to belabour the point. Pity.

I’m not arguing that we don’t know where Israeli products come from.

My point is that most pro-boycotters will happily “boycott” the odd bagel or even some Dead Sea soap, but they won’t inconvenience themselves terribly.

Most pro-boycotters won’t put themselves out, genuinely, because if they were to do that, then they have to stop using so much technology and maybe even the Internet (as a lot of the routers were designed by Israelis).

There is no difficulty finding out what Israeli products are on the market, in fact there are no end of extremist web sites which publish this information.

Instead my point is that Westerners, nice cushy Westerners, should think that every day they make use of the product of Israeli labour, in terms of Google, Microsoft software, Intel chips and other numerous improvements to humanity.

I think pro-boycotters should stop being hypocrites.

But the pro-boycotters will rarely boycott those lovely items, because it would be far too inconvenient, which brings me to my second point that this boycott is largely a gesture, as it doesn’t achieve anything positive.

However, it certainly achieves something negative, which is to stir up hatred towards Israelis and onward towards Jews, but it doesn’t do anything positive for peace in the Middle East.

Thus, if it doesn’t do anything, apart from make people feel very smug then it is a gesture, a very poor gesture, but that’s what it is.

I do wish that Westerners would stop being so hypocritical in this matter, it would be far better to encourage links between Palestinian trade unionists and Israeli ones and build up solidarity between them, not the opposite.

(H/T: The Debate Link)

Written by modernityblog

17/09/2009 at 17:01

Oil Power And GBH.

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Imagine, hypothetically speaking, that you attacked 30 or 300 people caused them to be poisoned or the equivalent of GBH several times over and that you did this, knowing full well the consequences of your own actions.

What would happen to you? In all probability you would be locked up for 10 to 15 years at the minimum, maybe more.

Whatever happened, it would be a very serious case, involving injury to many people.

Then imagine, instead, that you are an oil trading company, and you do the same to 30,000 + people in the Ivory Coast, what then?

Not much, you pay out about $100 million and forget about it.

That $100 million would be less than a quarter of Trafigura’s profits last year, which was $440 million, and no one at Trafigura is being prosecuted for poisoning, GBH or even malicious damage.

One rule for individuals, another for oil traders.

Written by modernityblog

17/09/2009 at 00:48