News from BRICUP
Letter to Federica Mogherini re Lars Faaborg-Andersen's attendance at Stop th4e Boycott
Ms Federica Mogherini
High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
Rue de la Loi/Wetstraat 200
1049 1049 Brussels
Dear Ms Mogherini
The participation of Mr Lars Faaborg-Andersen, head of the EU delegation to Israel, in the “Stop the Boycott” Conference in Jerusalem on 28 March has had very unfortunate consequences which you should be aware of.
In the first place, it has raised serious doubts about your commitment to a just settlement of the Israel-Palestine conflict. Yedioth Ahronoth, the main sponsor of the conference, is well known for its opposition to Palestinian political and civil rights in Israel and the occupied territories. Mr Faaborg-Andersen spoke alongside Dani Dayan, a leader of the settler movement who advocates expansion of the same settlements that the EU declares to be illegal. Mr Faaborg-Andersen himself is reported to have stated that “settlement products are welcome on the EU market”. We fail to see how this can be reconciled with the EU’s claim that the settlements are illegal or your support for a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders.
Secondly, Mr Faaborg-Andersen’s explicit opposition to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement aligns you with a regime in flagrant breech of international law and against the civil liberties of EU citizens and all those who engage in non-violent protest against Israel’s manifestly illegal settlement building and its suppression of Palestinian political and civil rights. As you will recall, the nineteen members of the European Eminent Persons Group wrote to you on 11 May last to warn that “conditions in the Occupied Territories remain high on the list of the world’s worst crises in terms … of the denial of international justice, human rights and humanitarian standards”; that “[s]tandards of living and human rights in both [Gaza and the Occupied West Bank] have sunk shockingly low”; that “[i]t is no longer possible for the EU to allow these conditions to continue without grave risk to its international reputation and to its long-term interest in the stability of its neighbourhood”; that “[h]iding behind American leadership on the politics of the dispute is unedifying and unproductive”; and that among other initiatives aimed at reining in Israel’s lawbreaking you should introduce “tougher measures to contain settlement expansion and steps to operationalise the EU’s policy of non-recognition of Israeli sovereignty beyond the 1967 borders across the full range of EU-Israeli relations”. Not only have you not heeded their advice, you have, through Mr Faaborg-Andersen, publicly denounced the non-violent and entirely legal efforts of EU citizens to promote these same objectives.
Thirdly, Mr Faaborg-Andersen’s involvement in the conference has put at risk Palestinian advocates of civil, political and human rights. Their security in Israel and in the occupied territories has always been precarious, but never more so than now, when Israeli forces and vigilantes engage almost daily in murderous attacks on Palestinians. Threats were issued at the conference itself against Omar Barghouti, head of the Palestinian boycott movement. The day following the conference, Ysrael Katz, Israeli minister of transportation, intelligence and atomic energy, declared his intention to pursue "civil targeted killing" of Palestinian civil rights champions such as Mr Barghouti; an ambiguous phrase that Israeli extremists are likely to take as a call to violence. Mr Faaborg-Andersen’s alignment with Israeli law breakers in present circumstances was extraordinarily ill-judged and at the very least amounted to a reckless indifference to the fate of Palestinians who seek to highlight their illegal activities
Ms Mogherini, it is imperative that you limit the damage caused by Mr Faaborg-Andersen’s participation in the conference. We call on you to repudiate his “welcome” to products from the illegal settlements, affirm the right of European citizens to pursue boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel and other forms of non-violent protest, reassert the EU’s opposition to existing and prospective Israeli settlements in the illegally occupied territories, and above all warn the Israeli government against attacks on Omar Barghouti and other Palestinian civil rights activists.
Jonathan Rosenhead, President, British Committee for Universities of Palestine (BRICUP - http://www.bricup.org.uk/)
Ivar Ekeland, President, Association des Universitaires pour le Respect du Droit International en Palestine (AURDIP - http://www.aurdip.fr/)
Herman De Ley, Steering Committee, Belgian Campaign for an Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (BACBI - http://www.bacbi.be/)