Israel's accession to the OECD
Scritto da Jaap Hamburger
Palestinians cannot move a single sack of rice from one place to another without permission from Israel, the "free economy" champion.
30 october 2008
Dear readers of COHRE and ACJC,
We in Holland –by ‘we’ is meant: A Different Jewish Voice, Amsterdam- read about the laudable call by twenty two human rights, humanitarian and peace organizations upon the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to place human rights conditionalities on Israel within the framework of Israel's accession to the OECD.
We would like hereby to ask your attention for another important and wholly independent argument concerning the matter of Israel’s admittance to the OECD that we missed it in the arguments already put forward.
It is about mentioning the fact that Israel is breaching each and every principle of "free market" economy in the OT – and this is what the OECD is supposed to promote.
It was the Israeli academic Ran HaCohen from Tel Aviv University who succinctly pointed to this argument in his article Keep Israel out of elite economic club The Electronic Intifada, 17 June 2008
Just to sum up his conclusions from the above mentioned article::
A better question for the OECD should be whether Israel can be classified as a free market economy. The answer is: clearly not. If the OECD takes Israel in as a member country, it would prove its commitment to free market economy to be nothing but a joke.
The misconception is anchored in an optical fallacy that seeks to separate "smaller Israel" from the Occupied Palestinian Territories. If we could imagine "smaller Israel" as an economic unit, one could perhaps claim it was a free economy. However, there is no "smaller Israel," just as there is no economic unit called "smaller Israel."
In fact, Palestinians cannot move a single sack of rice from one place to another without permission from Israel, the "free economy" champion.
All this has far-reaching implications for Israel's supposedly "free" and "open" economy. In complete contradiction to the very basics of free economy, Israel holds the Palestinians as a captive market. Since the Palestinians cannot import freely, Israel forces them to buy Israeli goods. >From fruit and vegetables to plumbing equipment and cement, the Palestinians serve as a dumping market for Israeli goods (often second-class), thus ensuring that Israeli producers have captive consumers, just like in the days of 19th century colonialism. Israel's economy would have looked totally different if an Israeli dairy giant, or any other Israeli business, did not have seven million Israeli customers, as well as a captive market of 3.5 million Palestinians.
The OECD would therefore make a mockery of its own principles if it allows Israel to join. However, the real issue is not the OECD, but the people of Israel/Palestine. If Israel is allowed to join the OECD, it would be a precious reward for the very elite that runs the political, military and economic occupation of the Palestinian territories: their 19th century-stile colonialist practices would get the stamp of 21st century "free market economy." If, on the other hand, the OECD turns Israel down, it would be a clear signal that occupation and colonialism cannot go hand-in-hand with free market and with international prestige; and that if Israel wants to join the prestigious club of nations, it should end the occupation first. Therefore everyone committed to peace in the Middle East -- from law experts and economists to private citizens and non-governmental organizations -- should put pressure on the OECD to keep Israel out until it ends the occupation.
We would appreciate if this important argument -about ‘free economy’ made a farce by Israel in its treatment of Palestinian territory, society and economy- could be added to your campaign.
He is informed that we bring this to your attention.
We would appreciate your reaction.
Jaap Hamburger, chairman A Different Jewish Voice, Amsterdam