Made in Palestine

It has been quite a while since I last contributed to Palestine 101 and I’ve only just realized why. I arrived back in the States a month ago and since then I’ve been seeing friends, family and living the comfortable life I have always lived.

If I am going to be honest with myself, I really just forgot. I left Palestine, I left the Middle East and I forgot. I forgot about everything; the occupation, the poverty, the poor living conditions, the weapons and the struggle of the Palestinians. It’s amazing how quickly I reverted back to my luxurious Western lifestyle and without even realizing, lost the inspiration and drive I felt to help the Palestinian struggle.

In all fairness, I guess you could say how could I be expected not to forget? When you have the gift of freedom and are able to live peacefully in a country where your rights as a citizen are safeguarded, how can you still remember the Palestinians?

For those that haven’t read my previous article on Palestine 101 ‘Palestinian or non-Palestinian’, I thought I’d give you a little background on me. My dad is American and my mom is Iraqi, but I was born and raised in New York.

Anyway a few days ago, I went out with my mom to buy some groceries. She always likes to shop in KNS Glatt Farm Inc, which is in Lawrence, New York. You can find pitta bread, vine leaves and chickpeas in the market – absolute essentials for Arab-style cooking!

I should probably mention this suburb of Long Island is also home to many Orthodox Jews. To think an Arab would travel from their own hometown to a Jewish market in order to buy food used in traditional Arabic dishes — a little ironic, huh? (Let’s leave that discussion for its own article).

So while I was at the grocers, I picked up a jar of olives to see how they had been made and I saw plastered in big, black letters:

PRODUCT OF ISRAEL

It didn’t take more than a second for all the memories to flood back and I was reminded of my experiences in Palestine and the injustice of it all. Now some of you might be thinking, ‘but this is just a simple package stamp? Who really cares?

For me, it was much more than that. This ordinary stamp is just another attempt at erasing the identity of the Palestinians. Israel has robbed them of their land and robbed them of their homes and now they’re trying to rob them of their cultural food, too? Since when did Israel start growing olives?

photo (1) olives israel

This is a strategy used all over America to deny the Palestinians of their rights. It is a strategy used to lie to American generations about the history of the Palestinians. It is a way of covering up the truth and creating a false sense of connection with Israelis, who have kindly provided us with olives from their land. Wow have they thought this one through.

I for one refuse to be lied to.

Did you know buying a made in Israel product not only directly finances the occupation but also funds the racist, Zionist movement that wants to get rid of all the non-Jews from the region? I decided to do a little more research on the whole situation and ask around how much people knew and you would not believe what I found out.

Did you know all goods exported out of Palestine with a made in Palestine label are denied export by the Israeli forces? That’s why we don’t ever see them. These goods are only sold within the Palestinian borders and can’t be exported out.

It’s the exact same tactic used to cover up the realities of the occupation. The unlawful treatment of Palestinians is not broadcasted internationally because that kind of information would be detrimental to Israel’s public image (and subsequently its biggest supporter – the US). They have done the same thing by denying anything made in Palestine from being shipped. They just don’t want people to know.

So the next time you see a made in Israel label, take a step back and remind yourself of what it really means; it is a small but very significant example of the systematic and ongoing oppression of the Palestinian people.

It is so much more than just a label.

(Contributor 714)

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4 thoughts on “Made in Palestine

  1. As an Arab I fully support the existence of Palestine and their right to live in peace in a free land. For your information they can do that, in the bicommunal land that has been given the name Israel. Im sure you are not aware that, or chose to ignore, the fact that hundreds of thousands of Palestinians and Arabs (Jew, Muslim or Christian) live a normal life and practice their religion and culture with no reprocussions. Yes it’s unfair that it has to be shared but the land is not one person’s or race.

    On a serious note boycotting a race and nation for some people’a action is bullying. Why not stop buying anything American for their controversial way of I forcing “democracy” in countries? Or stop buying labneh from lebanon because of what some people did during the civil war? I dare you to stop typing on the laptop that was creating and made possible by the nation you hate and refuse to acknowledge. How are you going to live? So stop typing insignificant articles dipicting a one sided biased view on a multifacitaded conflict and write to promote and raise awereness to work towards a peaceful and humanitarian solution.

    Your articles are great and informative but what you have seen and heard is mostly filtered by anti-Semitic media and fundamentalists. Doing things to attempt to “eradicate” a race which is just as much of a part as the world as us is backwards and makes your points irrelevant.

    So stop buying anything that has “funded” Israel and try to enjoy your comfortable life. Goodluck.

    PS: factories built in “Palestinian” territories has nothing to do with the more extremist Jewish settlers that are responsible for the discarce you saw during your visits and research. They are actually awarded by NGOs and other charities for their work with both communities and being equal to either party.

    Many regards a fellow arab

    PPS: there is a lot more I wish to share and this was typed on the spot from a phone (which parts of we’re made in Israel) so it’s very rough. Apologies.

  2. Anon, thank you for your response. It is always refreshing to hear a different point of view. Having studied international relations, worked in an international law firm and dedicated much research into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at large, I would like to pick up on one thing that you said about boycotting a nation being an action of ‘bullying’.

    Boycotting, as defined by a UN Charter, is a “forcible measure for preserving peace other than the use of armed force.” Take a look at Article 41 of the Charter and you will see that boycotting is a form of retaliation against illegal actions on the part of a state.

    Needless to say, it is not an opinion but a point of fact that Israel has committed countless human rights abuses. The Human Rights Council has adopted more resolutions condemning the state of Israel alone, than it has all the other states combined and since 1948, it has violated over 75 UN resolutions as well as the fourth Geneva Convention that is a cornerstone of international humanitarian law.

    Unfortunately Israel is also unaccountable for it’s actions so yes, I do support the boycott movement as a means of supporting the Palestinian struggle against the occupation. I do not preach hate nor do I consider myself an anti-Semite. I have formed my opinion through research and seeing the facts on the ground of what goes on, not because I am fed information from ‘anti-Semitic fundamentalists’.

    In fact, I was born and raised around orthodox Jews in the US, Israel’s closest ally. So if I was to be fed information, don’t you think it’s more likely I would have turned out pro-Israeli?

    This is a fight for justice and a move towards a peaceful, humanitarian solution in the interest of BOTH the Palestinians and the Israelis.

    Best regards,
    A fellow Arab

  3. In FULL support of Anon.

    I make a distinction between the occupation of 1967 and the creation of the state in 1948. Calling for a boycott on an entire nation, ignoring the legality of its existence and calling for collective punishment is not okay (which you argue on your own side).

    There is also a difference between the ideology you refer to as Zionism and should be referred to as post-Zionism.

    Taking that into account, you do not call for a boycott of other nations or peoples associated with human rights abuses (not to repeat my Lebanese friends’ list). You are picking on one particular people. I ask why?

    Further, can you please explain to me the difference between boycotting what I refer to as real-Israel and lets say boycotting the produce of Palestinian farmers in Gaza because of the massive human rights abuses of its Hamas government, in the treatment of women, homosexuals, abuses in the freedom of press and the violent kidnapping of Israeli soldiers, holding them in abuse of Geneva Conventions.

    Israel may not be perfect. I personally (as an Israeli) boycott produce from the settlements. I stand against this cancerous ideology but this bullying must end. The original Zionism is only racist in that it seeks to provide a homeland for the Jewish people because history has taught us that we need it. You admit to believing the right of the Palestinian people to National Self-Determination, why not the Jews.

    You apply one morality to the Jewish nation which you don’t apply to any other, not even yourself. Thus my only conclusion is anti-Semitism. Start picking on other nations too, or crying out when Palestinians are murdered in refugee camps in Syria or in Jordan, then maybe there will be some truth to the fact that you claim to care about the Palestinian people.

  4. Ah and that was written as a masters student in international relations, with a keen specialism in Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and was based on plenty of research, including having been countless times to the territories as an activist and having lived in Israel.

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