26 June 2009
Bestselling author Naomi Klein on Friday took her call for a boycott of Israel to the occupied West Bank village of Bilin, where she witnessed Israeli forces clashing with protesters.
“It’s a boycott of Israeli institutions, it’s a boycott of the Israeli economy,” the Canadian writer told journalists as she joined a weekly demonstration against Israel’s controversial separation wall.
“Boycott is a tactic … we’re trying to create a dynamic which was the dynamic that ultimately ended apartheid in South Africa,” said Klein, the author of “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism.”
“It’s an extraordinarily important part of Israel’s identity to be able to have the illusion of Western normalcy,” the Canadian writer and activist said.
“When that is threatened, when the rock concerts don’t come, when the symphonies don’t come, when a film you really want to see doesn’t play at the Jerusalem film festival… then it starts to threaten the very idea of what the Israeli state is.”
She briefly joined about 200 villagers and foreign activists protesting the barrier which Israel says it needs to prevent attacks, but which Palestinians say aims at grabbing their land and undermining the viability of their promised state.
She then watched from a safe distance as the protesters reached the fence, where Israeli forces fired teargas and some youths responded by throwing stones at the army.
“This apartheid, this is absolutely a system of segregation,” Klein said adding that Israeli troops would never crack down as violently against Jewish protesters.
She pointed out that her visit coincided with court hearings in Quebec in a case where the villagers of Bilin are suing two Canadian companies, accusing them of illegally building and selling homes to Israelis on land that belongs to the village.
The plaintiffs claim that by building in the Jewish settlement of Modiin Illit, near Bilin, Green Park International and Green Mount International are in violation of international laws that prohibit an occupying power from transferring some of its population to the lands it occupies.
“I’m hoping and praying that Canadian courts will bring some justice to the people of Bilin,” Klein said.
Her visit was also part of a promotional tour in Israel and the West Bank for “The Shock Doctrine” which has recently been translated into Hebrew and Arabic. Klein said she would get no royalties from sales of the Hebrew version and that the proceeds would go instead to an activist group.