Arab Knesset member calls for Israel boycott at Palestine Expo

“As long as Israel and Israelis are not punished and don’t pay for the occupation, for the crimes, don’t expect any change. It will not come from Israel.”

Yousef Jabareen (Joint List) debating the Nation-State bill, July 10, 2018. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Yousef Jabareen (Joint List) debating the Nation-State bill, July 10, 2018.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Arab-Israeli Member of Knesset Yousef Jabareen called for a boycott of Israel while speaking at the Palestine Expo conference over the weekend.
The London-based conference that took place over Saturday and Sunday was the largest of its kind in Europe, focusing on Palestinian culture, history and arts, according to its website.
"The international community has all the tools to deal with war crimes – to boycott settlers, to boycott settlement products, to boycott international companies," said Jabareen at the conference, which was recorded by Kan.
"There needs to a more mass mobilization of our people on the ground, in Gaza but also in the West Bank," continued Jabareen.  "[Israel] is exactly like the South African Bantustan. And it's a combination of apartheid and occupation."
Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan (Likud) tried to prevent Jabareen from participating in the conference, because his funding came from an organization with ties to BDS, the Middle East Monitor. Ultimately, Erdan was unsuccessful.
Friends of Al Aqsa, the organizer of the event, is also a supporter of boycotting Israel.
Im Tirtzu’s legal division tried to sanction Jabareen and MK Ahmed Tibi, who was also scheduled to attend, for their participation in the conference, by sending a letter to the Knesset Speaker, Yuli Edelstein.
"This is a black day for the Knesset," said Im Tirtzu's Director of Policy, Alon Schvartzer. "Arab MKs are exploiting their positions to participate in pro-BDS conferences and spew lies and hatred against Israel."
According to the schedule the agenda was inundated with politics including sessions called, "BDS," and "Nation Law: Israeli Apartheid State" and "Understanding Israeli Apartheid."
Zwelivelile Mandela, the grandson of South African anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela, attended as well and condemned the alleged existence of “Israel apartheid,” alongside other major pro-Palestinian activists.
In response to Israel’s passing of the Nation-State Law last year, declaring Israel the homeland of the Jewish people, Mandela said this “confirmed what we have always known to be the true character and reality of Israel: Israel is an apartheid state,” Al-Jazeera reported, and that the passing of the law has given the apartheid a “constitutional status.”
Mandela also compared the apartheid sentiment to the apartheid black South Africans experienced.
Israel “renders non-Jews as second-class citizens, alternately as foreigners in the land of their birth,” he said addressing the audience.
Left-wing Israeli Journalist Gideon Levy was also present at the event. He recently criticized the economic plan for resolving the Israel-Palestine conflict proposed by the United States.
“As long as Israel and Israelis are not punished and don’t pay for the occupation, for the crimes, don’t expect any change. It will not come from Israel,” Al-Jazeera reported him saying.
Levy also discussed the role Western media takes in labeling criticism of Israel as antisemitic. To him, the formula is “formalized and very efficient.”
“You dare to criticize Israel? You dare to speak about justice? You know what you are: you are an antisemite. This paralyses everybody,” he said.
Al Jazeera also reported on Ilan Pappe, director of the European Centre for Palestinian Studies and University of Exeter professor, who said the mainstream media’s coverage of Israel are concealed by fabricated “institutional antisemitism”
Pappe also criticized mainstream media for not covering Gaza or failing to mention the Gaza Strip. “They mention every word that they think attests to institutional antisemitism in the Labour Party, but they would not mention what happened yesterday when 49 young Palestinians were shot by Israeli snipers. Neither did they mention the 52 who were shot last week.”
Hebron-based human rights activist Issa Amro was also covered, saying Palestinian land became the “micro-center of apartheid, discrimination, and segregation.”
Amro said the election of US President Donald Trump has led to increased demolitions of Palestinian homes. Director of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions UK, Daphna Baram, said 201 Palestinian structures were demolished in June.
“This is the daily grind of the occupation that is turning the life of the Palestinians impossible,” she said. “This is making the lives of Palestinians impossible by design.”
Ramzy Baroud, a Palestinian journalist who recently returned from a solidarity tour in Kenya, encouraged Palestinian activity to be aimed at the developing world.
“Israel has rediscovered the global south and they have penetrated Africa and South America and other places,” Baroud was reported as saying. “We need to go back there and we need to resurrect their solidarity.”
Baroud was also critical of antisemitism accusations, and that such accusations are “not even on the agenda.”
“One thing about Africa that I noticed is that we don’t have to content with the tiny little bits of the discourse,” Al-Jazeera reported Baroud's comments. “Nobody accuses you of antisemitism. What they [African audiences] talk about there is national liberation.”
The Palestine Expo is an annual event designed to showcase Palestinian history and culture. In its 2017 debut, it attracted over 15,000 visitors, according to their website.