Friday, October 2, 2009

Boycott Britain

Anyone who knows me knows I like tea. I drink a lot of it. I always buy loose leaf tea of all sorts. One of the least expensive brands of loose leaf tea, and one that sells excellent English and Irish Breakfast Tea blends, is Twinings, a British company. Today I went shopping and walked right past the Twinings tea. I am buying tea from American companies, imported Chinese tea, anything but British. Today I started my personal boycott of all things British and I urge everyone who supports Israel to join me.

In case you haven't following the news the British are increasingly boycotting Israeli goods and services. Major British trade unions have been boycotting Israel since 2007. AISH has published an alarming report about the rise of anti-Semitism, not just anti-Zionism, in the UK and how it is no longer taboo to express hate and loatihing for the Jewish people in Britain. Even the BBC, which has repeatedly stoked the flames of anti-Semitism with its strong anti-Israel bias, reported a record rise in UK anti-Semitism in the first half of this year. In the spring of last year Hebrew University historian Robert S. Wistrich, who was himself educated at Cambridge Univesity stated, ”Britain has become the center for the meeting of anti-Semitic trends in Europe.” The sharp rise in anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic attacks in Britain has been reported every year since 2005.

So.. if the British hate me and my family just because we are Jewish why should I support them, their businesses and their economy? If the British hate Israel, where much of my family lives, with a passion, why on earth would I want to send my hard earned money to that dispicable country? I'd rather buy American or Israeli products. When it comes to products that aren't made or grown in the U.S. Or Israel, like tea, then I'll support almost anybody else before I'll support the UK. I'm enjoying a wonderful cup of Blooming apricot flavored black tea from China right now.

Please follow the links I've provided and read up on this for yourself. If you're Jewish, a supporter of Israel, or just plain think that anti-Semitism is as disgusting as any other form of ethnic or religious intolerance or racism, please join me in this boycott.


Grant Rogers said...

Ms Martin,

Having just read your most interesting review for Slackware 13 on distrowatch, I thought I would have a look at your blog to see what else you may have reviewed.

Having read your treatise on anti-semitism in the UK, perhaps you should stick with matters of IT.

Firstly, as a resident of Scotland, I find these "recent trends" you speak of to be somewhat bemusing...I have had a number of Jewish friends for years and never have they talked of prejudice against them...this is a highly secular society with a *very* small Jewish community (compared to USA) and I think your allowing these "statistics" from peer groups to influence the reality of the situation.

Either way, whether there truly exists strong anti-semitic feelings or otherwise, is not why I felt compelled to comment.

Your call to boycott British products smacks of the immaturity and malevolence shown by the American people during the Iraq War (freedom fries anyone?) and more recently during the Lockerbie fiasco.

Boycotting a countries produce does nothing except punish the ordinary working class for decisions that were not theirs to begin with. The whole concept rings like suicide bombings; causing suffering to innocent people in the name of whichever cause they use to justify it.

There are MANY ways to make your political views heard and noticed.

Inducing unemployment to those that are simply to try feed themselves and their families is NOT one of the ways.

As for whether "Britain" is doing the same thing...I can only speak for my country, and I can assure you no such boycott exists up here.

Even if they were, that does not make it right, and it certainly does not make doing the SAME THING any less wrong.

Caitlyn said...

Mr. Rogers: I won't be sticking with IT. I'm an Israeli-American and I have a separate blog devoted to Zionism and Israel, an issue which is far more near and dear to my heart than computing. I'm also the daughter of two Holocaust survivors and, as the AISH report indicates, there is an alarming similarity with what is being seen in much of the UK today and what was seen in Germany between the wars. I won't stop speaking out about it.

Please note the sources I used: the BBC and the Guardian are not exactly supportive of Israel. I believe they help fan the flames of anti-Semitism and yet even they report that the rapid and alarming rise of anti-Semitism in the UK is real.

As far as boycotts are concerned, those poor working folks who are being hurt are the same folks who make up the trade unions doing the boycotts in the first place. It seems to me they are the proper target for retaliatory action.

I'd note that these same people aren't boycotting or divesting from Sudan, a nation where the charge of genocide has been leveled from both the U.N. and the U.S. and whose President stands indicted of war crimes. They aren't taking any action against Congo either. are they? Myanmar? Nope. Just Israel and the Jewish people.

There has to be a price imposed on anti-Semitism and, indeed, all forms of hatred like this. That is the purpose of the boycott, one I will continue to encourage.

Grant Rogers said...

Ms Martin,

Kudos for an intelligent reply and not merely removing the comment...

I certainly never suggested that you censor yourself or your blog. You are, of course, free to express you political opinions as you see fit.

I really dont want to start an argument over the validity of the claims that anti-semitism is on the rise, though I consider citing this "report" from J Rosenblaum as somehow an objective investigation as laughable.

All media outlets have their own agenda, and considering the author and source of the aforementioned "report", its difficult to take completely seriously.

Factually, there HAS been a rise in violent crime against Jewish people, in conjuction with attacks against Muslims, Pakistanis, Black People, the list goes on.

You may have read the rise in power of the far-right parties of Europe this year.

Not that I am for one second condoning the activities of those who commit hate crime, nevertheless the recent economic turmoil has caused untold pressure and strain on an already bulging global population. In such times, many fearful and ignorant people will turn to violence and hatred as a way to make sense of the hardships in their lives.

I think perhaps your taking it all a bit personally...77 physical attacks on Jews in the UK in 2008? how many "normal" people died in a car crash, or were mugged in the street the same year?

Anyone can manipulate statistics to reinforce an idea, and clearly there is an agenda to promote the OPINION that the uk is suddenly "alarmingly similar" to Nazi Germany. A ridiculously simplistic and obviously headline grabbing claim.

I would be the first to list the problems we face in this country, but I think you would find that if you took a sample of say 5000 people off the street of Britain, few would even be able to articulate their feelings over Israel, much less show hostility to the Semitic community.

The people who vote for BNP, the people who organise boycotts, the people who attack others unprovoked in the street are a MINORITY and treating it as otherwise in simply naive.

I find it somewhat staggering to say that "these people" are the same as those who make and export British produce...

The acts of our Government do NOT reflect the minds of the people...As an American who suffered 8 years under the Bush administration, I would hope we can at least agree on that.

The British people are NOT your enemy.

At least spend some time here before you launch your on personal Yihad against us.


Caitlyn said...

A personal Jihad? Over the top, aren't we? I personally think that you, like many people, are a bit blind to what does not touch you personally. The reports of the rise of British anti-Semitism over the past six years aren't based om one report you disagree with. Below I'll provide links from British and American sources, from the political left, center and right. From the Telegraph, Guardian, BBC, Times, etc... All document the same thing.

77 instances of physical violence against Jews just because they happen to be Jewish over the past six months is not trivial. It is many, many times what we have in the U.S., a much larger and more populous country. What about the hundreds of other anti-Semitic incidents, like spraying swastikas on synagogues?

You've ignored a Cambridge educated history professory's claim the the U.K. is the nexus of anti-Semitism in Europe as well.

You made the assumption that I have never visited the U.K. You're wrong about that. I have family in England on my mother's side; family who settled there after fleeing France and the Nazis during World War II. It would be ironic indeed if they now have to flee the U.K.

There's a man I lost contact with but we were friends for some time. He was born in Glasgow but moved to London when he was young and he is Jewish. He would frequently say of the British that "a British gentleman is only as anti-Semitic as is absolutely necessary." That sardonic comment implied that the anti-Semitism was always there under the surface. Was he right? I don't know but he isn't the only one I've heard expressing such sentiments. The AISH report you wish to dismiss claims it's no longer under the surface.

Yes, the far right, the BNP, are anti-Semitic. The problem isn't the tiny far right fringe. The problem is now on the left, in mainstream universities and trade unions. That is far more worrisome to me.

Look, I know I'm not going to change your mind. All I ask is that you research this for yourself rather than just dismissing it out of hand. Too many disparate media outlets and too much of the Jewish community, the community that is most important to me, see this as a major issue.

Follow the links in my post to the articles from the BBC and the Guardian. Here are a few more, citing everything from British parliamentary unquiry to independent studies:

I could provide many, many more links.

You say the British are not my enemy, Well... they certainly don't seem to be my friend, either, and I'd rather spend my hard earned money to benefit my friends.

OH, and while I generally disagreed with the Bush administration I don't feel like I "suffered" much, if at all.

James said...

Having some anti-Israeli feelings is NOT the same thing as being anti-Jewish.

Personally I don't feel one way or the other about the Jewish religion/people. They are just people, why would I have a problem with them.

That said, the Israeli government has been completely unfair with its treatment of the Palestinian civilian population. How can you blame an impoverished, un-empowered, people for having an uncontrollable militant minority, which hits back at the perceived cause of their hardship. Treat people like terrorists and that is exactly what you get...

The recent Gaza campaign left some 3000 Palestinians dead, mostly civilians (including many children). I think the Israeli causality count was about 14, mostly military, including the immediate lead up to the conflict.

One more point of note, you constantly reference YOUR community, the Jewish community, as being of greater interest to you than other groups of people. I'm what you would call a standard issue "white British" person, but I don't give "white" people either individually or as a group any special interest or attention. I'm a human and I inhabit the same planet as everyone else. That is something that I think people in general should try to remember. Whatever our differences, the similarities far out-weigh them.

As far as boycotting British products, knock yourself out, I assure you no-one will notice here.

Caitlyn said...

@James: I never claimed that "some anti-Israel feelings" equates to anti-Semitism. However, if you read the articles I linked to, which are primarily from the British press, you'll see we are talking about things like synagogues defaced with swastikas, Jewish cemeteries being desecrated, and attacks on people just because they are Jewish. This is unquestionably anti-Semitism and nothing Israel does or does not do can justify it. The fact that the British media reports about this problem year in and year out and that things only get worse is undeniable.

Your complete mischaraterization of Israel and its actions and policies is almost frightening. I'll put it down to the well documented anti-Israel bias at BBC News (which was censured by its own Board of Governors) and by other British media outlets like The Guardian and The Scotsman newspapers as well as the gross academic bias at many British universities.

Where on earth did you get your numbers for Gaza? Electronic intifada. Most media, quoting both Israeli and Palestinian sources put the death toll between 1100 and 1500. See: Doctors in Gaza disputed that number and claimed the real casualty count was 500-600. See: (Note that Haaretz is a leftist Israeli newspaper which is not prone to defending the Israeli government reflexively.)

In any case Hamas, not Israel, can be blamed for most of the casualties under international law if it is applied fairly. The testimony of a British commander, Col. Richard Kemp, at the UN is particularly on point. See: Regarding international law, see my article and the links in it: Fatah, at the time, also blamed Hamas. See:

FWIW, the casualty figures also include Fatah and other opposition groups who were purged during the conflict by Hamas and not killed by Israel.

Regarding your claim that the Palestinians have an "uncontrollable militant minority", well, perhaps so, but somebody has to stop them from killing Israeli civilians. Every nation has a right to self-defense.

As far as the Palestinians being "un-empowered", they have had every opportunity for peace and independence and have turned each and every opportunity down. Right now President Abbas refuses to even negotiate unless Israel all but surrenders first. You can't blame Israel for that.

As far as your idea that I should embrace my greater humanity and forget about the Jewish community, well... once the world stops persecuting Jews for our nationality and beliefs I might be willing to consider such an idea. Until then, no, sorry.

Nobody in Britain will notice a boycott? If the idea caught on with the Jewish community in the U.S. and Israel and with Christian supporters of Israel in the U.S. I guarantee you that it would be noticed. Israel enjoys support from roughly two thirds of the American population in case you didn't know.