BDS : “Anti-Semitic blackmailing no longer works”
The Jewish BDS militant, Jean-Guy Greilsamer refuses that the boycott movement profits from a special protection and he sounds the alarm regarding the french policies towards Israel.
An active member of the French Jewish Union for Peace (UJFP), which states in its charter that “the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians could only be solved by putting an end to the domination of one nation by another, and through the implementation of the right to self-determination for the Palestinian people, including the right to create their own independent state,” Jean-Guy Greilsamer also advocates for the BDS (Boycott Divestment Sanctions) movement. He updates us on both of his activities…
TheMuslimPost: Can you tell us more about the Union Juive Française pour la Paix (UJFP)?
Jean-Guy Greilsamer: It is a Jewish organisation for peace in the Near East that also fights racism in France. It was created in 1994, around the same time as the Oslo Peace Accords, when the hope of peace was seen. However, the situation continued to deteriorate. During the second Intifada and as Sharon held the political power, a lot of new militants joined us, because Israel emphasised its repressive policies “in the name of Jewish people around the world” and we did not accept that. Later on, in France the situation started to worsen as well, so we engaged ourselves in the fight against racism, we fought Islamophobia and racism against Roma people which is still state racism, unlike anti-Semitism which is no longer considered a state racism since the World War two. However, Zionist lobbies are still manipulating the memory of Jewish genocide to conceal Israel’s apartheid policy.
“In Israel we are seen as traitors”
You were quite active in the BDS campaign. Why did you make this choice?
BDS holds universal values, along with supporting a threatened nation. It’s a non-violent, anti-racist civil movement. Although the majority of the Jewish population around the world is certainly Zionist, the BDS has a significant number of Jewish people. This makes Israel very uncomfortable and unable to speak in the name of all the Jewish people around the world. We are considered traitors -as Jews who hate themselves. However, anti-Semitic blackmailing no longer works.
Despite the negative judgement against BDS, are you satisfied with the outcome?
Yes, and that’s why we are attacked. We obtained, with the participation of American and British BDS movements, the withdrawal of Veolia from Israel. We also had a victory with Orange as it ended its ties with the Israeli company, Partners communications, which operates in colonies.
The law says that BDS is illegal. However, you are saying the opposite, it’s the products originating from the colonies, that are illegal…
Zionist lobbies pretend that it is illegal but the law does not prohibit it. It is simply the Alliot-Marie Circular. Out of the hundreds of complaints, the majority were dismissed. Most trials have been dismissed, only two ended in convictions, but that is not enough for jurisprudence. Calling for a boycott, is a freedom of expression! The other boycotts, of South Africa, China, Iran and even Russia by the French state itself, have never been challenged by the government. The Alliot-Marie Circular puts israel aside, which is a racist scope. Regarding the illegal products that originated from colonies, it is necessary to know that the Israeli policy flouts a large number of international resolutions, namely in regards to the colonization and the prohibition of the right to return. This right is enshrined in the 194 U.N. resolution. The BDS campaign serves three purposes : Fight against occupation and colonisation, gain equal rights for Palestinians in Israel -who are considered as second class citizens- and allow the right to return.
“The harassment of Manuel Valls is shocking”
Do you find economical pressure, like BDS, as the most effective solution ?
It is important, but it is not sufficient. There are other boycotts: sports, academics, union… and in my opinion the cultural boycott is really important. It is not about boycotting individuals, it is about boycotting Israel. The cultural boycott makes it possible to shed light on the Israeli policy, since Israel likes to make use of artists. The rejection of an Israeli official invitation, by public figures, is quite a significant move.
During the CRIF diner, Manuel Valls stated that “anti-Zionism is the synonym of anti-Semitism.” What do you think ?
The harassment is quite shocking, in this context. Zionism is the name used for Israeli colonialism. And it is serious to say that BDS is anti-Semitic.
In Israel, the Haaretz Journal is pushing for a withdrawal from the occupied lands and for the preservation of the Palestinians’ rights… is this a widespread mindset in Israel ?
There is certainly an anti-colonialist pole in Israel, but it is not that significant. There is a regular citizen outrage and even a BDS Boycott within the country and that is bringing a valuable support.
What do you think about French policy in regards of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? What is the 5-year assessment of François Hollande ?
It became even worse. Sarkozy is already a supporter of Israel, and Hollande followed in his footsteps. In Summer 2014, during the events in Gaza, France dared to say that Israel had the right to defend itself. Valls defends Israel with great virulence. Despite some carried measures, European Union remains quite reticent.
However, the E.U. has suggested to label the products that come from colonies …
It can be seen as a progress, but we are demanding the simple and pure removal of these products. Besides, labeling was not even carried, especially that Israel is diverting the origin of these products by relying on other commercial companies outside of the colonies.