Open Letter: All We Want for Christmas is an End to Your Lies

Memo to Sabeel: All We Want for Christmas Is an End to Your Lies

December 15, 2010

On November 26, Sabeel issued a letter stating that all they want for Christmas is an end to Apartheid.

In it, they call for the boycott of 14 major Israeli and Israel affiliated American companies.

Click here to read their letter.

Below is our response.

Please read and forward.

AN OPEN LETTER TO SABEEL, THE PALESTINIAN LIBERATION THEOLOGY CENTER

Your November 26 circular, “All I want for Christmas is an End to Apartheid,” shatters the spirit of the season by urging shoppers to boycott 14 major Israeli and Israel-affiliated American companies.

We, too, have a holiday wish. All we and other fair-minded people want this holiday season is an end to your lies, hatred, extremism, and calls for destructive actions.

You know that apartheid South Africa and Israel are polar opposites, so why do you bear false witness by equating them? Israel is a free society whose political and legal system enforce equality for all races, religions, and ethnic groups, while South Africa was not free, and its legal system enforced segregation and oppression based on race.

You know Israel’s freedom firsthand. You preach hostility to Israel from your Sabeel Center in Jerusalem, but Israeli authorities have never tried to silence you.

You know there was freedom of movement between the West Bank and Israel for decades, that Israel built the security barrier to separate only two kinds of people—terrorists and their innocent Israeli targets. Yet you persist in calling it an “apartheid wall.”

You know that Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza are not and do not want to be Israeli citizens and are self-governing under the Palestinian Authority. They have created their own national movement and are negotiating to establish their own state, yet you falsely label this separation of foreign groups “apartheid.”

In this season of good will, we want you to publicly retract your lies and mobilize a movement to end apartheid where it really exists—in the Middle Eastern countries where political repression and gender, religious, ethnic, and sexual apartheid are rampant.

Your choice of 14 companies to boycott reveals your extremism and hatred for the existence of the Jewish state in any borders. In what resembles a tantrum of rage, you target these companies because you seem to be embittered by everything Israeli companies have built by themselves and in cooperation with other corporate giants. You seem to want revenge for Israel’s successful self-defense in 1948 and for its economic, technological, and political achievements.

You target L’Oreal, even though it is located in pre-1967 Israel in what has become known as the Israeli Silicon Valley, claiming it was built on the remains of an Arab village that was “ethnically cleansed in 1948.” But scholars such as Benny Morris document that Arab leaders urged these villagers to leave and that Arab troops used the village to mount attacks against the establishment of the Jewish state within the 1947 UN-recommended boundaries.

You target Ahava products, claiming the company “steals” Dead Sea minerals, even though pre-1967 Israel included half of the Dead Sea’s western shoreline. You target Teva, a company established in Jerusalem in 1901, 47 years before the reestablishment of Israel, only because today it is one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies.

You target Delta Galil Industries, located in pre-1967 Israel, and two associated companies, Sara Lee and Victoria’s Secret, only because Delta Galil is Israel’s largest textile manufacturer. You add, apparently for good measure, that Delta Galil’s chairman is a “close associate” of former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, whom you mistakenly identify as a former Israeli president, as though this is incriminating. But it was Barak who offered a two-state solution at Camp David in 2000.

You target Sabra, the Strauss Group subsidiary, only because it is Israel’s second-largest food company and supplies food for Israel’s citizen army, the IDF. And you target Intel, as you pointed out, because its first development center outside the U.S. was in Israel, it employs thousands of Israelis, and its exports from Israel total over $1 billion a year.

Your vendetta trumps praising and encouraging productive cooperation between Israeli and Palestinians, like Ahava achieved. It trumps your alleged environmental concerns: You call for boycotting Better Place because it is an Israeli company, yet Better Place is introducing electric car systems to protect the environment and end dependence on oil.

Your vendetta trumps improving the lives of people in the region and around the world. Intel in Israel is on the cutting edge of high-tech innovation and produced the Windows NT operating system (probably used by the 20 percent of Gaza residents who own personal computers). Motorola Israel developed the cell phone, and Israeli high-tech companies in the Israeli Silicon Valley developed the first PC anti-virus software, voice mail technology, electro-optic chips, and nanotechnology. Teva’s research and development has produced medications that treat some of humanity’s most intractable diseases.

Instead of celebrating and building on these valuable contributions or seeking ways for Palestinians to cooperate with Israel and make Palestinian society equally productive, you want to destroy them. The hate that drives your campaign has warped your judgment, vision, and all other values.

Your selfish vendetta trumps the search for peace and prosperity. Calling for a revival of the Nazi and Arab boycotts against Jews, first instituted in the 1930s and then in 1945, will rouse Israeli distrust and hostility, not reconciliation. Undermining Israel’s economic success will hurt, not help, Israeli-Arabs who benefit from that success. It will also hurt, not help, Palestinians who could benefit from it, and it will not encourage Palestinians to focus on their own lives and develop the infrastructure for a future state and viable economy.

All we want for Christmas is for you to overcome your enmity, bitterness, and vengeance against Israel and seek ways of reconciliation and peace. Above all, what we want for Christmas is an end to your boycott campaign because of how destructive it is. What we want this Christmas is for you to commit to constructive, not destructive, actions, to be true to the Christian precepts you espouse, and to rise above the failures of the past to join hands with Israelis and build a better future.

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