Living Zionist-free is Tutu hard - The Punch - 7 June 2011 > Mitch Fifield, Liberal Senator for Victoria


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The Punch

Living Zionist-free is Tutu hard

So Archbishop Desmond Tutu has congratulated the Marrickville Council for their temporary boycott of Israeli products. But living a Zionist-free life is actually much harder than most people probably think. This fact finally dawned on the Council earlier this year, when they were forced to concede that their attempt to boycott Israel as part of the global Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions campaign was “impractical and untenable.”

Yet last week in the Federal Parliament, the Labor Party watered down a motion moved in the House of Representatives by Julie Bishop on the issue, voting to remove the condemnation of Marrickville Council contained in the original motion.

The reasoning behind Labor’s refusal to condemn Marrickville Council remains opaque. Perhaps some Labor MPs are sympathetic to the goal of removing Zionism in all its forms from their lives, or perhaps they are just afraid to incur the wrath of their Greens allies, some of whom - including Marrickville Mayor Fiona Byrne - still advocate for “in-principle” support of the boycott.

Indeed, last night on ABC’s Q&A program, Greens Senator-elect Lee Rhiannon referred to Israel as an “apartheid system” and smugly announced that Archbishop Desmond Tutu had written a letter to Marrickville Council congratulating them on their support for the boycott.

So, given the BDS campaign still seems to have support in some quarters, I thought it would be worthwhile putting together a handy guide to eliminating Zionist products and services from daily life, in case anyone is still interested in doing so.

Although I haven’t seen the exact list of products and services that Marrickville Council initially wanted to ban, a quick perusal of the BDS website allows us to start piecing together a list of the offending companies.

Perhaps you like to begin your day with a run. Make sure you throw away your Adidas shoes, given that Adidas is sponsoring the Jerusalem marathon this year.

When you get home and want to shower, make sure your bathroom is clear of anything branded Lynx, Dove, Lux, Ponds, Rexona, Sunsilk, Garnier, or Vaseline.

Ladies, before applying your make-up, go through your cosmetics drawer and get rid of anything produced by Revlon, Estee Lauder, L’Oreal, Maybelline, Lancome or The Body Shop.

Do you enjoy a hot cup of Milo or a Nescafe Blend 43 over breakfast? Too bad. Clear your kitchen of any Nestle products, and any Lipton or Bushell’s tea while you’re at it. Don’t go spreading Flora on your toast or cooking some Bertolli bacon, and don’t even think about popping in to Starbucks or Max Brenner on the way to work instead.

Live in Melbourne and take the train to work? Well, don’t. Many Melbourne trains were re-fitted by Alstom, and they’re on the BDS hit-list. And if you drive to work, make sure you don’t do so in a Volvo or a Holden.

Once you get to work, unplug your computer if it is an HP or if it uses any Intel software (approximately 80 per cent of PCs and laptops worldwide). Be aware that many computer companies, including Microsoft, have research and development facilities in Israel. And in 2006, Google bought a search algorithm from an Israeli student, so you may want to consider finding an alternative search engine, if you want to risk using a computer at all.

Need to make any phone calls? Throw away that Motorola mobile and destroy your Optus sim card. And don’t try to get in touch with your friends through instant messaging software instead, because Israelis invented that too.

Feeling like a sneaky mid-week cheeseburger for lunch from McDonalds? Don’t even think about it. Maggi two-minute noodles? No way. Uncle Toby’s muesli bar? You wish.

Need a mid-afternoon pick-me-up? Coca-cola and any of their brands like Sprite or Fanta are off the list. And if you’re considering a healthy alternative and want to pick up some bottled water instead, make sure it’s not Evian. Thinking about a delicious treat from Sara Lee? Some Allen’s lollies, maybe? Think again, mate.

What about dinner? Make sure you cross off any Continental products, or Raguletto pasta sauces. And Streets ice-creams are off the menu for good.

Perhaps your new Zionist-free diet won’t sit right with you, and you start to feel ill. If you need to go to the doctor, ensure that they don’t try to make you swallow the revolutionary Pill Cam that allows doctors to actually see what is going on inside your digestive tract. This was one of the many medical breakthroughs of Israeli medical scientists.

The fact is, much of the technology that we take for granted, and the brands we use every day, have some links to Israel. Israeli technological innovation is almost unrivalled across the world, and the inventions of Israeli scientists have delivered transformational change to the way we live.

You might wonder why so many of your favourite products are on the BDS hit-list. Apart from the impressive technologies Israelis have developed and sold around the world, many companies have major parts of their operations in Israel or do business with Israelis. And in the eyes of the myopic anti-Israel BDS crowd, that’s enough to earn them a spot on the black list. It’s a list that includes some of the largest consumer product manufacturers in the world, like Unilever.

Israel is a legitimate and democratic state. The Greens on Marrickville Council (and Senator-elect Lee Rhiannon, I might add) do not seem to understand that you can support rights for Palestinians, that you can support a two-state solution and peace in the Middle-East, without engaging in anti-Israel rhetoric and actions.

Thankfully, that position on Israel is way outside the political mainstream, and the various products I described above are not likely to go missing from Australian shelves any time soon. So feel free to go home and tuck in to a Milo and a Sara Lee apple pie, guilt free.