Issued July 2007
*** ACTION ALERT ***
STOP APARTHEID ISRAEL FROM JOINING THE OECD!
Israel is attempting to join the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD).This organization offers its members significant economic benefits, closer trade links and greater financial stability. A first decision has already been made, yet Israel’s entry will not be finally ratified for at least a year. We call upon activists and organizations to join this effort to stop Israel from gaining further profits from international cooperation.
Israel’s cynical use of economic power over the Palestinian population in Gaza and the West Bank is now more evident than ever before.
For over a year an economic siege has been placed on the Palestinian people to undo the democratically elected government or better any semblance of a united leadership, however convened. Palestinian money is withheld or released, the apartheid gates that allow the West Bank and Gaza access to the outside world and necessary goods are opened and closed according to the degree Palestinian leadership pleases the interests of the Occupation. The current starvation and stranglehold is only a part of the economic policies that bolster Israeli occupation and apartheid and that are grounded in strategic de-development and destruction of Palestinian economic infrastructure since the inception of the Occupation.
Israel is engaging in one of the most criminal economic warfares against an entire population. Israel uses all its economic leverage over the occupied Palestinian people as a devastating weapon of mass impoverishment and starvation in order to achieve the surrender of the Palestinian people and to produce a Palestinian leadership according to Israeli interests. But Israel is not alone. The international community continuously backs up the Occupation’s economic policies and crimes, furthering Palestinian internal divides.
Now more than ever it is time to step up our efforts to Isolate Apartheid Israel.
We have to say NO! to international support of its colonial politics of occupation, apartheid and economic siege.
No to OECD membership for Apartheid Israel!
Solidarity activists and social justice organizations have to engage in coordinated efforts to mobilize public opinion and build up pressure from the ground in order to make this campaign successful.
We provide you here with a general overview on the issue and some activist material to get starting and ask you to take up the call and work together with us to stop this further support the world gives to Israeli occupation and apartheid.
Click here to download a longer briefing which will go into more detail about the OECD, Israel’s application and the arguments we can use to lobby against Israel joining.
Click here to download the logo “No to Apartheid Israel in the OECD” in three different versions. It can help you to design, stickers, posters and other info and activist material.
Click here to download a pro-forma letter that can help you to address your representatives at the OECD and in parliament.
State of Affairs: Israel was invited to join the OECD and enter into the Accession Process on 16th May 2007
Timeline for the Campaign: There is no set time for how long the Accession Process takes – it may be one to two years, or as long as seven (although it is highly unlikely it would take this long)
The decision makers: The OECD Council has to take a unanimous decision. This council is made up of permanent representatives (usually ambassadors) from member states, and each country has one vote. In exceptional cases ministers from each state will make decisions at their yearly meeting, although we can assume ministers will have an input, via the ambassadors, in most decisions.
Precedents: Israel would be the first country that has not been granted membership once the accession process has been started.
The OECD itself is born as part of the Cold War instruments to facilitate economic integration of Western industrialized countries and prides itself on lofty ideas about social improvement and freedom through economics. The main advantage of membership in what many call “a rich white man’s club” is that recommendations, statistics and analysis as well as a series of agreements negotiated among the OECD members are generally accepted as given wisdom and duly followed.
At the time of its founding, the OECD comprised more than three-quarters of global GDP and as much as 90 percent of world trade. Over the years its membership has only slowly grown and their share in the global economy is gradually declining. Facing, additionally, growing trends towards independent development and regional alliances in the Global South, the OECD decided to invite new members to guarantee continuing global hegemony.
It is not astonishing that Israel is among the first applicants that have been invited to the Accession process, it rather confirms:
a) how the high-sounding founding principles of the OECD can readily be pushed aside when economic and power interests are at stake
b) Israel’s role in facilitating the grip of the West not only in the Arab world but globally.
It is now time that campaigners call upon the OECD to live up to its words and, more than that, shows accountability to the needs and demands of the people.
There are a number of points, inherent to the agreements and stipulations of the OECD itself that help to argue why the OECD should not let Israel join:
• The main point we can argue on is that in the Accession Process a country must demonstrate a “respect for human rights”. Obviously, we can draw on a number of examples where Israel is in daily violation of Palestinian human rights, specifically in an economic context. The list of violations of human rights is long and includes the majority of rights embodied in the UN covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, ratified by Israel. For example, why should Israel gain more economic bonuses when they deprive Palestinian farmers of their right to earn a living by confiscating farmland to build the illegal Apartheid Wall? How can it be politically acceptable to facilitate Israel’s trade relations while it destroys Palestinian trade even of the most needed goods by completely isolating the Palestinian population behind walls, gates and terminals that are arbitrarily closed?
• The Convention (which a country has to sign-up to once it has successfully completed the Accession Process) states that members consider economic strength key to achieving the Purposes of the United Nations. Yet Israel has demonstrated complete disregard for these Purposes. The occupation and system of apartheid installed by Israel are in fact based, both politically and economically, on policies which directly go against these Purposes. Israel is further in breach of hundreds of UN resolutions and in open defiance of the decision of the International Court of Justice, endorsed by the UN General Assembly.
• The Convention states that members are “convinced that broader co-operation will make a vital contribution to peaceful and harmonious relations among peoples of the world”. Israel ‘s repeated commitment to broader co-operation is a cynical attempt to overcome the boycott of the Muslim and Arab world as a vital contribution not to peace but to the sustainability and profitability of its occupation and apartheid regime.
For almost 60 years Israel has been in clear breach of UN resolutions: it is responsible for the creation of the world’s most long standing and largest refugee population – 6 million Palestinians that are struggling for their right of Return -; it is 40 years since it expanded its occupation to the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights and illegally annexed Jerusalem; it is 5 years since Israel, in addition to transforming Gaza into an open-air prison, began building an Apartheid Wall within the West Bank to ghettoize and dispossess the Palestinian population; for 60 years the world has continued broad cooperation with Israel without ever achieving any step towards peace and harmonious relations in Palestine and the Middle East. It is time for the world to refuse to engage with and support the continuous crimes of Israeli occupation.
• The Convention states that members “believe that the economically more advanced nations should co-operate in assisting to the best of their ability the countries in the process of economic development”. The reality of Israel’s actions proves the contrary. Palestinian economy has been systematically crippled, Palestinian livelihoods stolen, trade rendered impossible via isolation of the population, tax incomes stolen, banks robbed, factories bombed and markets destroyed.