An Arab Knesset member who accuses Israel of “apartheid” called for a mass boycott at a London festival of Palestinian culture.
Lawmaker Yousef Jabareen said states had “all the tools to deal with war crimes – to boycott settlers, to boycott settlement products, to boycott international companies”.
He was speaking at the Pal Expo event at London Olympia as a member of the left-wing Hadash Party, which in 2015 said boycotting “commercial enterprises involved in the occupation and in violation of the Palestinian people’s rights” was “a legitimate manner of civil resistance”.
The event was organised by UK-based Friends of Al-Aqsa, which also supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
Jabareen also urged “more mass mobilisation of our people on the ground, in Gaza but also in the West Bank”.
He received applause when he revealed that Israel’s Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan had tried and failed to have him banned from speaking at the Pal Expo.
Right-wing Israeli group Im Tirtzu urged Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein to sanction Jabareen, saying: “Arab MKs are exploiting their positions to participate in pro-BDS conferences and spew lies and hatred against Israel.”
Other speakers included Israeli journalist Gideon Levy and Nkosi Zwelivelile Mandela, the grandson of Nelson Mandela, who said: “We have a moral duty to support BDS and to support the Palestinian struggle.”
Outside the event there was a small counter-protest and a confrontation involving a pro-Israel blogger, who was filming people entering the venue. He later posted a video of a man with a Palestinian flag painted on his face, who appeared to throw water.
After sitting in on a debate, Elliot Keck of UK-Israel think-tank BICOM wrote: “One of the most ferocious attacks was on the prevalence of Jewish symbols and Jewish holidays in the State of Israel… an attack on the very Jewishness of the nation.”
- Read Elliot’s column in the Jewish News, here: OPINION: Dates with density: My day at the Palestine Expo 2019