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FEMALE HEART ATTACKS–important to know

November 30th, 2008

 

Subject: FEMALE HEART ATTACKS

 
 

  NURSE’S  HEART ATTACK EXPERIENCE

I  am an ER nurse and this is the best description of this event that I have ever  heard. Please read, pay attention, and send it on!

FEMALE  HEART ATTACKS

I  was aware that female heart attacks are different, but this is the best  description I’ve ever read.

Women  and heart attacks (Myocardial infarction). Did you know that women rarely have  the same dramatic symptoms that men have when experiencing heart attack ..

you  know, the sudden stabbing pain in the chest, the cold sweat, grabbing the  chest & dropping to the floor that we see in the movies. Here is the story  of one woman’s   experience  with a heart attack.

‘I  had a heart attack at about 10 :30 PM with NO prior exertion, NO prior  emotional trauma that one would suspect might have brought it on. I was  sitting all snugly & warm on a cold evening, with my purring cat in my  lap, reading an interesting story my friend had sent me, and actually  thinking, ‘A-A-h, this is the life, all cozy and warm in my soft, cushy Lazy  Boy with my feet propped up.

A  moment later, I felt that awful sensation of indigestion, when you’ve been in  a hurry and grabbed a bite of sandwich and washed it down with a dash of  water, and that hurried bite seems to feel like you’ve swallowed a golf ball  going down the esophagus in slow motion and it is most uncomfortable. You  realize you shouldn’t have gulped it down so fast and needed to chew it more  thoroughly and this time drink a glass of water to hasten its progress down to  the stomach. This was my initial sensation—the only trouble was   that  I hadn’t taken a bite of anything since about 5:00 p.m.

After  it seemed to subside, the next sensation was like little squeezing motions  that seemed to be racing up my SPINE   (hind-sight,  it was probably my aorta spasms), gaining speed as they continued racing up  and under my sternum (breast bone, where one presses rhythmically when  ministering CPR).

This  fascinating process continued on into my throat and branched out into both  jaws. ‘AHA!! NOW I stopped puzzling about what was happening — we all have  read and/or heard about pain in the jaws being one of the signals of an MI  happening, haven’t we? I said aloud to myself and the cat,   Dear  God, I think I’m having a heart attack!

I  lowered the foot rest dumping the cat from my lap, started to take a step and  fell on the floor instead. I thought to myself, If this is a heart attack, I  shouldn’t be walking into the next room where the phone is or anywhere else  … but, on the other hand, if I don’t, nobody will know that I need help, and  if I wait any longer I may not be able to get up in a moment.

I  pulled myself up with the arms of the chair, walked slowly into the next room  and dialed the Paramedics … I told her I thought I was having a heart attack  due to the pressure building under the sternum and radiating into my jaws. I  didn’t feel hysterical or afraid, just stating the facts. She said she   was  sending the Paramedics over immediately, asked if the front door was near to  me, and if so, to un-bolt the door and then lie down on the floor where they  could see me when they came in.

I  unlocked the door and then laid down on the floor as instructed and lost  consciousness, as I don’t remember the medics coming in, their examination,  lifting me onto a gurney or getting me into their ambulance, or hearing the  call they made to St. Jude ER on the way, but I did briefly awaken when we  arrived and saw that the radiologist was already there in his surgical blues  and cap, helping the medics pull my stretcher out of the ambulance. He was  bending over me asking questions (probably something like ‘Have you taken any  medications?’) but I couldn’t make my mind interpret what he was saying, or  form an answer, and nodded off again, not waking up until the Cardiologist and   partner had already threaded the teeny angiogram balloon up my femoral  artery into the aorta and into my   heart  where they installed 2 side by side stints to hold open my right coronary  artery.
‘I  know it sounds like all my thinking and actions at home must have taken at  least 20-30 minutes before calling the paramedics, but actually it took  perhaps 4-5 minutes before the call, and both the fire station and St. Jude  are only minutes away from my home, and my Cardiologist was already to go to  the OR in his scrubs and get going on restarting my heart (which had stopped  somewhere between my arrival and the procedure) and installing the stints.

‘Why  have I written all of this to you with so much detail? Because I want all of  you who are so important in my life to know what I learned first hand.’

1.  Be aware that something very different is happening in your body not the usual  men’s symptoms but inexplicable things happening (until my sternum and jaws  got into the act). It is said that many more women than men die of their first  (and last) MI because they didn’t know they were having one and commonly  mistake it as indigestion, take some Maalox or other anti-heartburn  preparation and go to bed, hoping they’ll feel better in the morning when they  wake up … which doesn’t happen. My female friends, your symptoms might not  be exactly like mine, so I advise you to call the Paramedics if ANYTHING is   unpleasantly  happening that you’ve not felt before.

It  is better to have a ‘false alarm’ visitation than to risk your life guessing  what it might be!

2.  Note that I said ‘Call the Paramedics.’ And if you can take an aspirin.  Ladies, TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE!   Do  NOT try to drive yourself to the ER – you are a hazard to others on the road.

Do  NOT have your panicked husband who will be speeding and looking anxiously at  what’s happening with you instead of the road.

Do  NOT call your doctor — he doesn’t know where you live and if it’s at night  you won’t reach him anyway, and if it’s daytime, his assistants (or answering  service) will tell you to call the Paramedics. He doesn’t carry the equipment  in his car that you need to be saved! The paramedics do, principally OXYGEN  that you need ASAP. Your Dr. will be notified later.

3.  Don’t assume it couldn’t be a heart attack because you have a normal  cholesterol count. Research has discovered that a   cholesterol  elevated reading is rarely the cause of an MI (unless it’s unbelievably high  and/or accompanied by high blood pressure). MIs are usually caused by  long-term stress and inflammation in the   body,  which dumps all sorts of deadly hormones into your system to sludge things up  in there.   Pain  in the jaw can wake you from a sound sleep.   Let’s  be careful and be aware. The more we know the better chance we could survive.

A  cardiologist says if everyone who gets this mail sends it to 10 people, you  can be sure that we’ll save at least one life.

**Please  be a true friend and send this article to all your friends (male & female)  you care about!**

 


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a moment for female beauty

November 30th, 2008

Take a break and watch this art morphing ditty

 

http://miraulam.multiply.com/video/item/38

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kitchen fires

November 30th, 2008

Very effective and informative!

This is something everyone needs to know!!!!

Kitchen Fire

I never realized that a wet dishcloth/towel can be a one-size-fits-all
lid to cover a fire in a pan!

This is a dramatic video (30-second, very short) about how to deal with
a common kitchen fire … oil in a frying pan. Read the following
introduction, then watch the show …. It’s a real eye -opener!!

At the Fire Fighting Training school they would demonstrate this with a
deep fat fryer set on the fire field. An instructor would don a fire
suit and using an 8 oz cup at the end of a 10 foot pole toss water onto
the grease fire. The results got the attention of the students.

The water, being heavier than oil, sinks to the bottom where it
instantly becomes superheated. The explosive force of the steam blows
the burning oil up and out. On the open field, it became a thirty foot
high fireball that resembled a nuclear blast. Inside the confines of a
kitchen, the fire ball hits the ceiling and fills the entire room.

Also, do not throw sugar or flour on a grease fire. One cup creates the
explosive force of two sticks of dynamite. This is a powerful
message—-watch the video and don’t forget what you see. Tell your
whole family about this video. Or better yet, send this to them.

See attached file: AKitchenOilFire.wmv or:

 

 

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Water movie–well done and informative

November 30th, 2008

 

When you can make the time ( 1hr. 20 min) enjoy this video about water…..

 

Here  a movie about recent scientific findings, confirming that man’s thought and action influences nature.  (about 80 min. long!)

 

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Water currents can power the world

November 30th, 2008

Ocean currents can power the world, say scientists A revolutionary device that can harness energy from slow-moving rivers and ocean currents could provide enough power for the entire world, scientists claim. ~~ This is a big deal.

http://tinyurl.com/6pcyvs

Depending on your email program, you may be able to click on the link in the email. Alternatively, you may have to open a web browser, such as Firefox or Internet Explorer, and copy the link over into the address bar. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/energy/renewableenergy/3535012/Ocean-currents-can-power-the-world-say-scientists.html

For the best content online, visit www.telegraph.co.uk http://tinyurl.com/6pcyvs

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speed of dolphins figured out

November 26th, 2008

 

The team tracked the bubbles around a dolphin. The more prominent the colour, the faster the water is moving.

New research has shown how dolphins achieve their blinding speeds.

Gray’s Paradox – named after British zoologist Sir James Gray – proposed that dolphins simply do not have the strength to swim so fast.

But researchers at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in the US have now studied the movement of water around dolphins as they swim.

The results show that dolphins can exert as much as 180kg (400lb) of force with their tails.

Gray had supposed they could produce less than a tenth of this amount, and imagined that something about the dolphins’ skin allowed them to overcome the force of drag in the water and reach high speeds.

“For the first time, I think we can safely say the puzzle is solved,” said Tim Wei, the Rensselaer scientist who led the study.

“The short answer is that dolphins are simply much stronger than Gray or many other people ever imagined.”

To determine this, Professor Wei used a new method of measuring the movement of water that he originally developed to track Olympic swimmers.

Dolphin and Cilla (BBC)

Keeping upright for Cilla Black requires a lot more force

The technique employs digital particle image velocimetry, which measures the speed of water movements around a swimming dolphin or human.

Retired US Navy dolphins Primo and Puka were filmed swimming through a tank filled with millions of tiny bubbles.

Software tracked the movement of individual bubbles, determining their speed and direction, and assigning them a colour.

Professor Wei then used force measurement concepts from aerospace research to translate those velocities into a force that the dolphins’ tails were producing – nearly 100kg (200lb) on average.

When “walking” – keeping upright mostly above water with powerful flips of their tails – the dolphins produced as much as 180kg of force.

Professor Wei will go on to study the motion and force generation of other sea animals

 

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Kudos to Chopra on Fox News

November 25th, 2008

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-q_8FjN6IQg&NR=1

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Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity insight on the war

November 25th, 2008

Robert Gates Wants to Keep His Pentagon Gig, so He’s Pandering to Obama’s Bad Ideas for Afghanistan

By Ray McGovern, Consortium News
Posted on November 24, 2008
http://www.alternet.org/story/108318/
It may become a biennial ritual. Every two years, if the commander-in-chief (or the commander-in-chief-elect) says he wants to throw more troops into an unwinnable war for no clear reason other than his political advantage, panderer-in-chief Robert Gates will shout “Outstanding!”

Never mind what the commanders in the field are saying — much less the troops who do the dying.

After meeting in Canada on Friday with counterparts from countries with troops in Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Gates emphasized to reporters there is a shared interest in “surging as many forces as we can” <http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-afghan24-2008nov24,0,5733953.story>  into Afghanistan before the elections there in late September 2009.

At the concluding news conference, Gates again drove home the point: “It’s important that we have a surge of forces.”

Basking in the alleged success of the Iraq “surge,” Gates knows a winning word when he hears one — whether the facts are with him or not. Although the conventional wisdom in Washington credits the “surge” with reducing violence in Iraq, military analysts point to other reasons — including Sunni tribes repudiating al-Qaeda extremists before the “surge” and the de facto ethnic cleansing of Sunni and Shiite neighborhoods.

In Washington political circles, there’s also little concern about the 1,000 additional U.S. soldiers who have died in Iraq since President George W. Bush started the “surge” early in 2007. The Americans killed during the “surge” represent roughly one-quarter of the total war dead whose numbers passed the 4,200 mark last week.

Nor is there much Washington commentary about what Bush’s grotesque expenditure in blood and treasure will mean in the long term, even as the Iraqis put the finishing touches on a security pact that sets a firm deadline for a complete U.S. military withdrawal by the end of 2011, wording that may be Arabic for “thanks, but no thanks.”

And most Americans do not know from reading the reports from their Fawning Corporate Media that the “surge” was such a “success” that the United States now has about 8,000 more troops in Iraq than were there before the “surge” rose and fell.

The real “success” of the Iraq “surge” is proving to be that it will let President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney leave office on Jan. 20, 2009, without having to admit that they were responsible for a strategic disaster. They can lay the blame for failure on their successors.

Gates a Winner?

Gates stands to be another beneficiary of the Iraq “surge.”

Already, he has the defense secretary job. In November 2006, he was plucked from the relative obscurity of his Texas A&M presidency and put back into the international spotlight that he has always craved, because he was willing to front for the “surge” when even Donald Rumsfeld was urging Bush to start a troop drawdown.

Now, the perceived “success” of the “surge” is giving hawkish Washington Democrats an excuse to rally around Gates and urge President-elect Barack Obama to keep him on.

Ever an accomplished bureaucrat, Gates is doing what he can to strengthen his case.

On Friday, Gates seemed at pains to demonstrate that his approach to Afghanistan is identical to the one publicly espoused by his prospective new employer who is currently reviewing Gates’ job renewal application. And, as he did with the Iraq “surge” over the past two years, Gates now is talking up the prospects for an Afghan “surge.”

“The notion that things are out of control in Afghanistan or that we’re sliding toward a disaster, I think, is far too pessimistic,” Gates said. Yet the argument that Gates used to support his relative optimism makes us veteran intelligence officers gag — at least those who remember the U.S. in Vietnam in the 1960s, the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980s, and other failed counterinsurgencies.

“The Taliban holds no land in Afghanistan and loses every time it comes into contact with coalition forces,” Gates explained.

Our secretary of defense is insisting that U.S. troops have not lost one pitched battle with the Taliban or al-Qaeda. Engagements like the one on July 13, 2008, in which “insurgents” attacked an outpost in Konar province, killing nine U.S. soldiers and wounding 15 others, apparently do not qualify as “contact,” but are merely “incidents.”

Gates ought to read up on Vietnam, for his words evoke a similarly benighted comment by U.S. Army Col. Harry Summers after that war had been lost. In 1974, Summers was sent to Hanoi to try to resolve the status of Americans still listed as missing. To his North Vietnamese counterpart, Col. Tu, Summers made the mistake of bragging, “You know, you never beat us on the battlefield.” Colonel Tu responded, “That may be so, but it is also irrelevant.”

As Vietnamese Communist forces converged on Saigon in April 1975, the U.S. withdrew all remaining personnel. Summers was on the last Marine helicopter to fly off the roof of the American Embassy at 5:30 a.m. on April 30. As he later recalled, “I was the second-to-the-last Army guy out of Vietnam — quite a searing experience.”

More Vietnams?

Why is this relevant? Because if Obama repeats the mistakes of Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Gerald Ford, U.S. Marine choppers may be plucking folks not only off the U.S. embassy roof in Baghdad, but also from the mountains and valleys of Afghanistan. No ignoramus, Gates knows that his comments about the Taliban losing “every time” that there is contact with coalition forces is as irrelevant as those of Col. Summers 34 years ago.

Yet, it would be folly to expect Gates to give advice to a superior that challenges the policies that Gates thinks his superior favors. Gates has been the consummate career careerist, going back to his days as head of analysis at CIA in the 1980s when he fashioned intelligence reports that gave the policymakers what they wanted to hear. Instead of the old-fashioned “bark-on” intelligence, the Gates variety was “apple-polished” intelligence.

Time running out for Gates

He wants to stay on as Defense Secretary and apparently thinks that his lifelong strategy of telling his superiors what they want to hear will now work with Barack Obama. Gates is nearing the end of a highly sophisticated campaign to convince Obama and his advisers that the current defense secretary is just who they need at the Pentagon to execute Obama’s policies — and look really bipartisan to boot.

The president-elect’s position has long been that we need to send “at least two additional brigades” (about 7,000 troops) to Afghanistan. So the defense secretary would have us believe, as he said Friday, that “surging as many forces as we can” is an outstanding idea. And with troops having to leave Iraqi cities by next June, in the first stage of the U.S. withdrawal demanded by the draft status-of-forces agreement, there will be more soldiers available to send into the mountains of Afghanistan. Don’t you love it when a plan comes together?

Ironically, this resembles closely the proposed policy of Sen. John McCain, who argued during the debate with Obama on Sept. 26 that “the same [surge] strategy” that Gen. David Petraeus implemented in Iraq is “going to have to be employed in Afghanistan.” For good measure, Gov. Sarah Palin told Katie Couric “a surge in Afghanistan also will lead us to victory there, as it has proven to have done in Iraq.”

Reality bites

Oops! Within a week, Gen. David McKiernan, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, undercut McCain and Palin, insisting emphatically that no Iraq-style “surge” of forces will end the conflict in Afghanistan. Speaking in Washington on Oct. 1, McKiernan employed unusual candor in describing Afghanistan as “a far more complex environment than I ever found in Iraq.” The country’s mountainous terrain, rural population, poverty, illiteracy, 400 major tribal networks, and history of civil war make it a unique challenge, he said.

“The word I don’t use for Afghanistan is ‘surge,’” McKiernan continued, adding that what is required is a “sustained commitment” to a counterinsurgency effort that could last many years and would ultimately require a political, not military, solution. McKiernan added that he doubts that “another facet of the Iraq strategy” — the U.S. military’s programs to recruit tribes to oppose insurgents — can be duplicated in Afghanistan. “I don’t want the military to be engaging the tribes,” said McKiernan.

Recently, President-elect Obama has been relatively quiet on Afghanistan, and one lives in hope that, before he actually commits to sending more brigades to Afghanistan, he will assemble a group of people who know something about that country, the forces at play in the region, and insurgency. If he gathers the right people, and if he listens, it seems a good bet that his campaign rhetoric about Afghanistan being the good war will remain just that, rhetoric.

In any event, press reports suggest that Gates has only another week or so left to pretend to the president-elect that he thinks the ideas reflected in Obama’s rhetoric are outstanding. And, as Gates’ predecessor Rumsfeld might have put it, you have to go with the rhetoric you’ve got. Right now, the word “surge” brings nods of approval at influential dinner parties in Washington.

What does Gen. McKiernan know, anyway? Gates’ Pentagon says that McKiernan now has requested three additional brigade combat teams and additional aviation assets. And yet, he says he’s allergic to a “surge”?

If past is precedent, Gen. McKiernan already realizes he has little choice but to salute smartly, do what he is told, and not diverge from what inexperienced civilians like Gates are promoting. After all, didn’t McNamara know best in the early days of Vietnam and didn’t Rumsfeld know best at the start of the Iraq war?

As the saying goes, if you are a hammer, everything looks like a nail. If you are a general assigned a mission — though it appear to be Mission Impossible — you salute smartly and use those troops entrusted to you to do what armies do. At least that has been the tradition since Vietnam. Such behavior is a disgrace when generals know better.

Ambitious but empty suits

I’m all for civilian control of the military. But I see much more harm than good in political generals — like the anointed David Petraeus — who give ample evidence of being interested, first and foremost, in their own advancement. Why do I say that? Because Petraeus, like McKiernan, knows Afghanistan is another quagmire. But he won’t say it.

Rather than do the right thing and brief his superiors on the realities of Afghanistan, Petraeus and the generals he has promoted seem likely to follow the time-honored practice of going along to get along. After all, none of them get killed or wounded. Rather the vast majority get promoted, so long as they keep any dissenting thoughts to themselves.

It is the same pattern we witnessed regarding Vietnam. Although the most senior military brass knew, as the French learned before them, that the war/occupation could not be successful, no senior officer had the integrity and courage to speak out and try to halt the lunacy.

Are there Army generals with guts?

It will be interesting to see what McKiernan actually does if and when more troops are surged down his throat. If he has the courage of his convictions, maybe he’ll quit and perhaps even say something.

As a former Army officer, I would love to see an Army general display the courage that one saw in Admiral William Fallon, former commander of CENTCOM, who openly refused to “do Iran” on his watch, and got cashiered for it. Two years ago, Army Generals John Abizaid and George Casey, speaking on behalf of their senior commanders in the field, pushed back strongly against the idea of adding more U.S. troops to those already in Iraq. They finally succeeded in persuading former Defense Secretary Rumsfeld of the merits of their argument.

It was when Rumsfeld himself started to challenge the advice Bush was getting (to “surge” and thus not “lose” Iraq on his watch) that Robert Gates was brought in to replace Rumsfeld, relieve Abizaid and Casey from command, and help anoint Gen. Petraeus as surge-savior. (For details on Rumsfeld’s break with Bush, see Consortiumnews.com’s “Robert Gates: As Bad as Rumsfeld?”)

But rather than speak out, Abizaid folded his tent like an Arab and silently stole away. Casey accepted the sinecure of Army chief of staff as hush money. And a thousand more U.S. troops died. The temporary respite provided by the 29,000 troops who survived the surge helped achieve the administration’s main purpose — deferring the inevitable U.S. troop withdrawal (not in “victory” as Bush liked to say, but by demand of the Iraqi government) until Bush and Cheney were safely out of office.

As for Gates, what he does not know about Afghanistan and insurgency could fill a medium-sized library. So could what Gates does know about how to ingratiate himself with the next level up.

If it is true that serious consideration is being given to keeping Gates on past January, it will be interesting to see if the pandering padding of his resume eventually wins the day with the president-elect.

Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. 

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Happy Thanksgiving

November 25th, 2008

Carve a pumkin

http://www.coasttocoastam.com/timages/page/pumpkin_sim.html

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Apartheid in Israel

November 24th, 2008

 

While Pres-elect Barack Obama gave former president Jimmy Carter the snub, the Europeans are getting serious about boycotting Israeli industries much like they did So. Africa which led to the elimination of the Apartheid system, our country was slow to help there too.  If the Israelis did not control our media and our government, Americans might join in helping overturn the Apartheid system in the Israeli occupied territories of the Palestinians.  

Tactic vs. Strategy
Boycotting Israeli Settlement Products
By OMAR BARGHOUTI

A spate of recent news reports on international companies moving out of the occupied Palestinian territory (OPT) to locations inside pre-1967 Israeli borders gives the impression that boycotting products originating in illegal Israeli colonies is on its way to becoming mainstream, handing the growing boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement with a fresh, substantial victory. While this development should indeed be celebrated by all BDS activists anywhere, caution is called for in distinguishing between advocating such a targeted boycott as a tactic, leading to the ultimate goal of boycotting all Israeli goods and services, and as an end in itself. While the former may be necessary in some countries as a convenient tool of raising awareness and promoting debate about Israel’s colonial and apartheid regime, the latter, despite its lure, would be in direct contradiction with the stated objectives of the Palestinian boycott movement.

Most recently, the Swedish company, Assa Abloy, heeded appeals from the Church of Sweden and other prominent Swedish organizations and decided to move its Mul-T-Lock door factory from the industrial zone of the Barkan colony in the occupied West Bank to a yet-unannounced location inside Israel, following the lead of Barkan Wineries, a partially Dutch-owned company that had already left Barkan to Kibbutz Hulda. The fact that part of this kibbutz sits on top of an ethnically cleansed Palestinian village whose name, Khulda, the Kibbutz had – typically – appropriated was not viewed, apparently, as worthy enough to be mentioned in the documents accusing the wine maker of wrongdoing, according to international law.

Moreover, in a noteworthy precedent, The Independent reported last week that the British government has decided to “crack down on exports from Israeli settlements,” based on the fact that Israel has persistently violated its trade agreements with the EU which provide tariff exemptions only to goods produced within Israel, not in the occupied Palestinian territory (OPT). Conforming to United Nations resolutions and international law, the United Kingdom, its EU partners, along with almost the entire so-called international community, consider Israeli settlements illegal, even a war crime, according to the Fourth Geneva Convention, and therefore refuse to extend any tariff privileges to their products.

In reality, though, EU countries have for decades looked the other way while Israel exported its colonies’ products as produce of Israel.

According to an article in Haaretz on the background to this unfolding trade row between Israel and the UK – and potentially the whole EU – Israel had agreed, in past disputes with the EU, to indicate on its products exported to the EU countries the geographic origin of its goods. Britain, however, charges that “Israeli companies located in settlements try to get around the agreement by registering company offices within the Green Line,” effectively obfuscating the lines distinguishing settlement products from other Israeli products, thereby breaching clauses in its agreements with the EU that specifically target the former.

Following intensive pressure from British and Palestinian human rights groups as well as from a fast spreading-and quite promising-boycott campaign against Israel in the UK that reached the ivory tower of the academy as well as the largest trade unions, it seems that the British government is finally taking note of Israel’s most obvious and unmistakable illegal practices and trying to work with its partners to put an end to them.

This evolving, commendable British policy, actually a belated recognition of the need to respect and implement a long-approved European policy, shows that the position advocated by the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign to boycott all Israeli products is not only morally but also pragmatically sound. At a most basic level, one would expect the BDS campaign’s ceiling of demands to be rather higher than that of the British Government‘s.

In fact, while the Palestinian BDS movement has consistently expressed its deep appreciation of every effort to treat Israel as apartheid South Africa was, it views the whole approach of focusing on banning only settlement products as the ultimate goal, rather than as a first, more convenient step towards a general Israeli products boycott, as problematic, practically, politically and morally.   

At a practical level, as argued above, Israel has made it extremely difficult to differentiate between settlement and other Israeli products, simply because the majority of parent companies are based inside Israel. Most organic Israeli products, for instance, are produced in the illegal colonies in the OPT but are labelled as product of Israel since the actual companies that sell them are based inside Israel, and that’s where quite often the final packaging (the last phase of the production process) is done.  This type of deception is commonplace, especially since Israel is well aware that it is violating the EU-Israel trade agreement and is doing its best to get around the restrictions included in it.  The only reason Israel has managed to get away with such blatant violation for so long is not technical but political: shameful – and, unfortunately, quite typical – EU official complacency and treatment of Israel as a state above the law of nations.

Still, some genuine supporters of Palestinian rights may argue, it is much easier to continue to target settlement products with boycott as there is a consensus of sorts on the illegality of the settlements, whereas the same cannot be said about other Israeli injustices that may motivate a more comprehensive boycott, as urged in the Palestinian BDS Call and called for in the final declaration of the recently launched Bilbao Initiative of civil society in support of justice in Palestine. Even if one were to accept this pragmatic argument, the fact that Israel has failed to distinguish between settlement products and other Israeli products should justify — at a tactical level — advocating a boycott of all Israeli products and services at least until Israel adequately complies with the EU requirement of labelling settlement products clearly and accurately.

Politically speaking, though, and even if distinguishing between produce of settlements and produce of Israel were possible, activists who on principle – rather than out of convenience – advocate a boycott of only the former may indicate that they themselves are merely objecting to the Israeli military occupation and colonization of 1967 and have no problem whatsoever with Israel as a state that practices apartheid, or institutionalized racial discrimination, against its own “non-Jewish” citizens and that denies Palestinian refugee rights, sanctioned by the UN. Even if we ignore those other grave injustices committed by Israel, and irrespective of what solution to this entire oppression any of us may uphold, one cannot but recognize the inherent flaws in this argument.

When a state X occupies another “state” Y and persistently violates UN resolutions calling for an end to this occupation, the international community often punishes X and not some manifestation of X’s occupation! Governments aside, international civil society organizations have repeatedly boycotted entire states implicated in prolonged belligerent occupation, apartheid or other severe human rights violations, and not just parts of those states. Was there ever a movement calling for boycotting the bantustans alone in South Africa? Are there calls for boycotting only the Sudanese army and government officials present in Darfur today? Did any of the free-Tibet activists ever call for boycotting only those Chinese products made in Tibet?

Forgetting for the moment the fact that it was born out of ethnic cleansing and the destruction of the indigenous Palestinian society, Israel is the state that built and is fully responsible for maintaining the illegal Jewish colonies. Why should anyone punish the settlements and not Israel? This hardly makes any sense, politically speaking. Despite their noble intentions, people of conscience supporting peace and justice in Palestine who accept this distinction are effectively accommodating Israeli exceptionalism, or Israel’s status as a state above the law.

Finally, and most crucially, there is a moral problem that must be addressed in this approach. Ignoring Israel’s denial of refugee rights and its own system of racial discrimination against its “non-Jewish” citizens, the two other fundamental injustices listed in the BDS Call, is tantamount to accepting these two grave — certainly not any less evil — violations of human rights and international law as a given, or something that “we can live with.” Well, we cannot. Why should European civil society that fought apartheid in South Africa accept apartheid in Israel as normal, tolerable or unquestionable? Holocaust guilt cannot morally justify European complicity in prolonging the suffering, bloodshed and decades-old injustice that Israel has visited upon Palestinians and Arabs in general, using the Nazi genocide as pretext.

This whole paradigm needs to be challenged, not accepted as common wisdom.  

Therefore, wherever necessary in a particular context, advocating a boycott of settlement produce should be only a first, relatively easier, step towards a full boycott of all Israeli products. It cannot be the final goal of activists fighting Israeli apartheid.

Omar Barghouti is a founding member of the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign www.BDSmovement.net

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