The letter from Israeli tour guide Judy Auerbach illustrates why there is a need a comprehensive boycott of the state of Israel and its institutions. Like the Israeli Tourist Board she fails to make any distinction between Palestinian land illegally occupied by Israel and the area within the green line, that is the internationally recognised border. Israel denies basic human rights to the Palestinian people and their movement within the West Bank is restricted by over 500 checkpoints and barriers. Palestinians are unable to profit from many of the tourist sites within the West Bank e.g. Qumran or the Dead Sea. The situation in occupied East Jerusalem is one where the interests of Israel dominate those of the Palestinians. A recent article in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz explains that there is a move to ban East Jerusalem Arabs from even working as tourist guides. http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/mks-seek-ban-on-east-jerusalem-arabs-guiding-in-the-city-1.319890.
Judy Auerbach is right to say that Israelis and Palestinians need to work together but not in the situation whereby one group is dominating the other. Palestinian civil society has called for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions on Israel until it abides by international law and ends its occupation. Supporting this call for non-violent action is a small contribution we can make in solidarity with the Palestinian people. It is true that a boycott is a blunt instrument which can have unintended consequences but overall the potential of boycott for bringing about positive change is great. It is time that Palestinians, Muslim and Christian, had the right to live normal lives with equality.