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Israel worried about impact of pro-Palestinie BDS campaign: Activist

A tourist photographs a sign painted on a wall in the occupied West Bank town of Bethlehem on June 5, 2015, calling to boycott Israeli products coming from illegal settlements. ©AFP

Press TV has interviewed Richard Becker, with the ANSWER Coalition from San Francisco, to get his take on a recent decision by the prominent American Anthropological Association to approve a motion aimed at boycotting Israeli academic institutions.

The following is a rough transcription of the interview.

Press TV: What do you actually think about this measure taken by the biggest academic institution to boycott Israel? And how do you think it will affect and stop the abuses that Israel is carrying out against Palestinians?

Becker: Well, it’s another very important step and we’re very glad to see it, we in the ANSWER Coalition.In the book that I wrote “Palestine, Israel and the US Empire” documented how people, African people, black people, who lived under apartheid for many many years, when they came to the West Bank and Gaza and inside Israel and looked at what was going on there they said -- these are prominent individuals -- they said it was worse than the apartheid system they have been forced to live under, which is a horrific system itself.

So the worldwide movement to boycott South Africa played an important part in bringing an end to apartheid. And the worldwide movement that is growing now to boycott Israel is very important in ending the apartheid system that exists there as well, and working for the right of Palestinian people at long last to have self-determination.

Press TV: We’re not seeing the United Nations take any action. We’ve seen all these activists actually coming and crying out for the Palestinians’ plight. What role do you think boycotts like this can play in pressuring Israel and pressuring governments in general to take note of the plight of the Palestinian people?

Becker: There are some governments that are not going to care at all, we know that but the Israeli government is very much afraid of the BDS movement. That’s the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement that has been working to get these kinds of resolutions passed by all different kinds of organizations in the United States.   

And we can tell that the Israelis are very worried about this by the fact that they’re spending tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars in PR campaigns particularly in this side, the United States, which is the most important country in the world to them, outside of their own, because the United States may be even more than their own. Because the United States provides such vast aid and assistance and military goods and also protects Israel inside..., shields them with an umbrella of its own power, so that Israel has largely been able to ignore the many many UN resolutions condemning its treatment of the Palestinians and its other actions against neighboring states.

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