Have you heard that anthroposophical medical rememdies, biodynamic products, and Waldorf education, indeed, all the things out of anthropsophy that we love and hold dear are in danger, because the European Union does not recognize the validity of the products and services that are based on a spiritual view of the human being? Do you know that the EU is making laws that will make these products and services illegal? (For instance, the new EU guidelines mandate that ALL baby food must have synthetic vitamins added, even though the Demeter baby foods don’t need them because their own NATURAL vitamin content has been proven to be equivalent. And Hauschka sun screen will not longer be manufactured because it doesn’t have the particular CHEMICAL ingredients that the EU requires.) Just today we learned that now in Holland the anthroposophical medicines that are not classified as “homeopathic” are no longer legal.
The freedom of the consumer is being curtailed through these laws. And what happens in Europe could easily and predictably also happen here.
Our friends in Europe have been told that if they can gather 1,000,000 signatures (by Dec. 31, 2008), they will establish their identity as an interest/consumer group, and be guaranteed a positive review of their products under EU laws. Signatures gathered in North America will also be accepted, in the spirit of international commerce. We thus far have 630,000 signatures — a good start, but still less than 2/3 of the way there!
Therefore, PLEASE JOIN ME in supporting this movement, by going to the website listed below and signing this signature. AND PLEASE also forward this email — with my text if you like — to 3, or 5, or 10 of your friends this week, and urging them to get on board as well.
Director, Eurythmy training program
Rudolf Steiner College
Dear supporters of the ELIANT campaign
One alone does not help, but
rather whoever unites with
many others at the right time.
We’d like to thank you very warmly for your online signatures for the ELIANT campaign. We have now received over 630,000 signatures, which encourages us to ask you for a one-off Christmas gift to ELIANT:
Would it be possible for you to send this email to 3 friends or acquaintances and ask them to sign online? If so, we could achieve one million signatures by Christmas!
In this way you will be helping to secure legal safeguards in Europe for DEMETER quality baby and infant foods without artificial vitamin supplementation, freedom of choice in education and full and free availability of anthroposophic medicines!
Your friends and acquaintances can sign online here: www.eliant.eu
And >here< you can print out a signature list and send it out with your Christmas post
With very warm thanks
and best wishes for Advent and Christmas
for the ELIANT Alliance sponsor group
Initial signatory of ELIANT Charter
International Federation of
of Anthroposophic Medical Associations / IVAA
press / publicity officer
Dr. jur. Jürgen Erdmenger
Institut anthroposophique Rudolf Steiner
Dr. med. Michaela Glöckler
for Anthroposophic Medicine
Health | Tags: Demeter, Doctor of Medicine, EU, European Union, Medicine, North America, Rudolf Steiner, Waldorf education | Comment (0)
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