Pig featuring Star of David at Rogers Walters concert
Pig featuring Star of David at Rogers Walters concert

The call for a cultural boycott of Israel being championed by the likes of Roger Waters is a nonsensical approach, that will only drive people further apart and hinder the prospects of attaining peace.

Those who are concerned for the future of Israelis and Palestinians, should focus their efforts on productive campaigns, and ignore the venom that emanates from the boycotters. Peace is best served by concentrating on projects that strive to improve the general atmosphere, making it more conducive to dialogue and reconciliation.

These goals of reconciliation and dialogue lie in stark contrast to the aims and objectives of boycotting Israel. The boycott movement's activities do not stem from concern for the Palestinian people, but rather from hatred of Israel. This is demonstrated by the movement's decision purposely to ignore the reality that both sides hold powerful arguments - both are aggrieved and both have suffered.

Moreover, the singling out of Israel proves an obstacle to one of the most basic imperatives for achieving a lasting peace: The need for each side to seek reconciliation in order to work towards a better future.

A further worrisome aspect of the boycott campaign is the use of highly emotive accusations, that are frequently levelled at Israel. Comments made by the likes of Roger Walters, are skewed and inadvertently highlight the true intentions of the boycott campaign.

Terms used to describe the Israel- Palestine situation, such as apartheid and ethnic cleansing are linguistic tools that attempt strike at the very legitimacy of the state of Israel, but do not offer an accurate reflection of the situation. Palestinians, do indeed suffer, and the situation is not at all tolerable for either side, but the use of such loaded terms as espoused by Waters, are offensive to those who have fallen victim to such regimes.

Lying in contrast to the boycott movement are countless initiatives that bring Palestinians and Israelis together. It is these creative projects that require support and attention.

An example is Massachusetts Institute of Technology's 'M.E.E.T' programme, which is an education initiative that fosters positive relations between young Israeli and Palestinian students, encouraging them to work and learn together, with the hope of achieving economic and political change.

Additionally, there are numerous cultural initiatives such as the Peres Foundations' "Coexistence Project" which sees Israeli and Palestinian children taught the values of respect and tolerance through visual art displays. A further example of a constructive programme is the "Parents Circle". This is a group of Israelis and Palestinians that have lost an immediate family member through the conflict who, remarkably, come together and run educational seminars advocating the need for peace, and the importance of each side not demonising the other.

With so many truly extraordinary projects and with the resumption of peace talks, it is sad to see that some prefer to further fuel the destructive boycott campaign.

Ultimately, it is my hope that people see through the emotive language, and flawed goals, of the boycott movement, and invest their time and efforts in the positive, collaborative projects that tangibly benefit both people.


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The writer is Public Affairs Officer International, for the Board of Deputies of British Jews, which exists to promote and defend the religious rights and civil liberties of British Jewry