Chris McGreal | The Guardian | 28 novembre 2012 |
Letter with 52 signatories including artists and activists also denounces US and EU ‘complicity’ through weapons sales.
A group of Nobel peace prize-winners, prominent artists and activists have issued a call for an international military boycott of Israel following its assault on the Gaza Strip this month.
The letter also denounces the US, EU and several developing countries for what it describes as their « complicity » through weapons sales and other military support in the attack that killed 160 Palestinians, many of them civilians, including about 35 children.
The 52 signatories include the Nobel peace laureates Mairead Maguire and Adolfo Pérez Esquivel; the film directors Mike Leigh and Ken Loach; the author Alice Walker; the US academic Noam Chomsky; Roger Waters of Pink Floyd; and Stéphane Hessel, a former French diplomat and Holocaust survivor who was co-author of the universal declaration of human rights.
« Horrified at the latest round of Israeli aggression against the 1.5 million Palestinians in the besieged and occupied Gaza Strip and conscious of the impunity that has enabled this new chapter in Israel’s decades-old violations of international law and Palestinian rights, we believe there is an urgent need for international action towards a mandatory, comprehensive military embargo against Israel, » the letter says.
« Such a measure has been subject to several UN resolutions and is similar to the arms embargo imposed against apartheid South Africa in the past. »
The letter accuses several countries of providing important military support that facilitated the assault on Gaza. « While the United States has been the largest sponsor of Israel, supplying billions of dollars of advanced military hardware every year, the role of the European Union must not go unnoticed, in particular its hefty subsidies to Israel’s military complex through its research programmes.
« Similarly, the growing military ties between Israel and the emerging economies of Brazil, India and South Korea are unconscionable given their nominal support for Palestinian freedom, » it says.
The letter opens with a quote from Nelson Mandela: « For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others. »
The other signatories include John Dugard, a South African jurist and former UN special rapporteur in the occupied territories; Luisa Morgantini, former president of the European parliament; Cynthia McKinney, a former member of the US Congress; Ronnie Kasrils, a South African former cabinet minister; and the dramatist Caryl Churchill.
Now is the time for a military embargo on Israel!
“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” –Nelson Mandela
Horrified at the latest round of Israeli aggression against the 1.5 million Palestinians in the besieged and occupied Gaza Strip and conscious of the impunity that has enabled this new chapter in Israel’s decades-old violations of international law and Palestinian rights, we believe there is an urgent need for international action towards a mandatory, comprehensive military embargo against Israel. Such a measure has been subject to several UN resolutions  and is similar to the arms embargo imposed against apartheid South Africa in the past.
Israel’s unchecked belligerence and persistent denial of basic human rights and self-determination to the Palestinian people call for a concerted effort by international civil society to force world governments to end the links of complicity. This impunity has allowed Israel to continue its occupation, colonization and denial of Palestinian refugees their UN-sanctioned rights.
While the United States has been the largest sponsor of Israel, supplying billions of dollars of advanced military hardware every year, the role of the European Union must not go unnoticed, in particular its hefty subsidies to Israel’s military complex through its research programs. Similarly, the growing military ties between Israel and the emerging economies of Brazil, India and South Korea are unconscionable given their nominal support for Palestinian freedom.
Military ties with Israel have fueled relentless acts of aggression. Israel continues to entrench its subjugation of Palestinians while provoking or initiating armed conflict with its neighbors in the region.
Israel’s attempt to justify this kind of illegal use of belligerent and disproportionate military force as “self-defence” does not stand up to legal — or moral — scrutiny, as states cannot invoke self-defence for acts that serve to defend an unlawful situation which they have created in the first place .
We therefore support the call from Palestinian civil society for an urgent and comprehensive military embargo on Israel as an effective, non-violent measure to stop Israel’s wars and repression and to bring about Israel’s compliance with its obligations under international law. This is now a moral and legal imperative to achieve a just and comprehensive peace.
 See, for example UN General Assembly Resolution 3414 (1975): « [the UNGA] Requests all states to desist from supplying Israel with any military or economic aid as long as it continues to occupy Arab territories and deny the inalienable national rights of the Palestinian people ». http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=43376#.UKEIxYdyGSo
 According to the basic tenet of international law, ex injuria non oritur ius (a legal right or entitlement cannot arise from an unlawful act ) http://www.definitions.uslegal.com/e/ex-injuria-jus-non-oritur/
Initial List of Signatories (alphabetical order):
Udi Aloni, filmmaker, Israel
Anthony Arnove, editor and writer, US
Etienne Balibar, academic, France
Robert Ballagh, artist and president of the Ireland Institute for Historical and Cultural Studies, Ireland
Walden Bello, academic, author and member of Senate, Philippines
Shyam Benegal, director and screenwriter, India
John Berger, author, critic, UK
Howard Brenton, playwright and screenwriter, UK
Judith Butler, academic, United States
Clayborne Carson, Director, Martin Luther King, Jr. Research & Education Institute, Stanford University, USA
Noam Chomsky, academic, USA
Caryl Churchill, dramatist, UK
Angela Davis, scholar and author, US
Raymond Deane, composer, Ireland
Danilo Dolci, sociologist, Italy
John Dugard, professor of international law, South Africa
Felim Egan, artist, Ireland
Adolfo Perez Esquível, Nobel Peace Laureate 1980, Argentina
Dror Feiler, musician and artist, Sweden
Don Andrea Gallo, presbyter, Italy
Charles Glass, journalist, US
Margherita Hack, astrophysicist, Italy
Denis J. Halliday, former UN Assistant Secretary-General (1994-98), Ireland
Stéphane Hessel, diplomat, Holocaust survivor and co-author of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights, France
Tor B Jørgensen, Bishop, Norway
Christian Juhl, member of Parliament, Denmark
Ronnie Kasrils, politician, South Africa
Aki Kaurismäki, screenwriter and film director, Finland
Marcel Khalife, musician, Lebanon
Naomi Klein, writer and activist, Canada
Paul Laverty, filmmaker, UK
Taeho Lee, Secretary General, People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy, South Korea
Ken Loach, filmmaker, UK
Vibeke Løkkeberg, actress and director, Norway
Mike Leigh OBE, Director, UK (Palm D’Or 1996)
Jean-Marc Levy-Leblond, academic, France
Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate 1976, Ireland
Michael Mansfield, lawyer, UK
Miriam Margolyes, actress, UK
Cynthia McKinney, politician, United States
Saeed Mirza, filmmaker, India
Luisa Morgantini, former president of the European Parliament
Bjørnar Moxnes, member of Oslo city council
Suzanne Osten, writer and director, Sweden
Nurit Peled, professor of language, Israel
John Pilger, journalist, author, filmmaker, Australia
Ahdaf Soueif, writer, Egypt/UK
Alice Walker, author, US
Roger Waters, musician, UK
John Williams, musician, UK
Vincenzo Vita, senator, Italy
Slavoj Zizek, philosopher, Slovenia