Christian groups join boycott on Israeli fruit

 A boycott of Israeli products and leisure tourism (not pilgrimages) was launched at the House of Commons on Wednesday night. Church leaders supporting the boycott include the Rev Garth Hewitt, Rev Steven Sizer and Rev Dr Michael Prior. The interdenominational Amos Trust, which supports Christian communities in the Holy Land, is one of 23 organisations that have signed up to the ban. Organisers say the boycott will send a message to the Israeli Government that British people are no longer prepared to indirectly fund Israel's war of aggression on the Palestinian people. They also ask the British government to stop condoning Israel's failure to implement United Nations resolutions on Palestine. The first target will be agricultural produce sold in the main supermarkets, such as tomatoes, Jaffa oranges, potatoes, avocados, fresh herbs and organic fruit and vegetables. The boycott will be lifted when Israel ends its illegal occupation, complies with UN resolutions and ceases human rights violations. "This is a non-violent way to raise public awareness," said Dr Lynn Jones MP. Prof. Moshe Machover said: "People ask whether the Palestinian economy will be damaged by a boycott. Such worries do not apply in this case. The Palestinian economy has been throttled by Israel." Michel Massih, the first Palestinian QC, told the meeting that every Jaffa orange sold contributes towards destroying the city of Jaffa. Poet and broadcaster Michael Rosen said he would have "no problem" supporting a cultural and academic boycott of Israel. "Just say no", he said. Members of Parliament supporting the campaign include John Austin, Bill Etherington and Neil Gerrard. The veteran parliamentarian, Tony Benn, is also a signatory along with Harold Pinter, Caryl Churchill, Emma Thompson, Tom Paulin, Benjamin Zephaniah, Leon Rosselson, and Alexei Sayle. Among academics supporting the boycott are Professors Steven and Hilary Rose. Lawyers are represented by Michael Mansfield QC, Imran Khan and Gareth Peirce.

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