Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Got Dates?

The head of CIJA--that's the new CJC minus the "tikkun olam" but with the addition of the advocacy role that used to be performed by the Canada Israel Committee--doesn't think we should "punish" ordinary Iranians by boycotting their products. He wants us to boycott the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) instead:
Avoiding Iranian goods, such as dates or carpets, would only hurt average Iranians. “Our grievance is not with the Iranian people, so we should have caution that sanctions not have an impact and cause more difficulties for people living under a brutal regime,” said CIJA CEO Shimon Fogel. “Sanctions have to target the perpetrators.”
Fogel noted that many expatriate Iranians hold a favourable view of Israel. “There was a time that a progressive and highly educated population had relations with Israel, so it’s not entirely outside the realm of their experience to see Israel as something other than the little Satan,” he said.
About two weeks ago, Ottawa announced a new round of sanctions that “prohibit financial transactions with Iran, expand the list of prohibited goods to include additional items that could be used in Iran’s nuclear program and add[ed] new individuals and entities to the list of designated persons [that present a proliferation concern].
But John Thompson, who--sorry, Shimon--is a lot more on the ball than Official Jewry, explains why "boycotting" the IIRG is a definite non-starter:
John Thompson, executive director of the Mackenzie Institute, a foreign policy and security think-tank, said it would be difficult to target the Revolutionary Guards and avoid affecting ordinary Iranians. “No one has any desire to punish the ordinary people of Iran,” he said. But the Revolutionary Guards run the bonyads, corrupt and inefficient charitable entities that control much of the Iranian economy, including exports. “It is kind of hard to separate the ordinary Iranian from the regime,” he said. “It [the regime] is trying to control every avenue of their lives.”
Rather like the Nazis did in Germany. Question: had CIJA been around back then, would it have called for a boycott of the Nazis but not of the "nice" German people? (It is somewhat comical that Fogel is basing his assessment on Iranian expats who like Israel. Clearly, he hasn't factored the kooky, clocky CASMO Khomeinists--who are also Iranian expats, and who loathe the Jewish state to the core of their being--into the equation.)

Update: Some (quite a lot, in fact) Iranian expats celebrate Ashura in Toronto (via BCF). It all seems very homoerotic and atavistic to me, and I suspect these are not the folks Fogel had in mind when he made his comments about "progressive," pro-Israel Iranians.

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