Washington’s double standards

By Manuel E. Yepe

A CubaNews translation. Edited by Walter Lippmann

yepeThe United States, the only superpower on the planet after the Cold War; the superpower that for more than half a century has been blockading the development of its island neighbor Cuba, making unproven allegations of human rights violations, has in place a federal law according to which any US company or businessperson with interests in the country that supports boycotting Israel may be incarcerated or severely fined. 

In recent years, many human rights organizations and prominent social activists from all over the world –not excluding the United States – have condemned Tel Aviv for its cruel role in the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and the serious abuses against Palestinians throughout the region.

The issue gained visibility when, a few days ago, the famed British scientist Stephen Hawking, announced his decision to join a boycott against Israel called by Palestinians, and opted to withdraw from an upcoming international conference set to be hosted by Israeli President Shimon Peres.

Hawking is a physicist and cosmologist, universally renowned for his scientific contributions to many fields. He was the first to present a cosmology explained on the basis of the union of general relativity theory and quantum mechanics. He has received many awards from universities and research centers including from the United States. 

Hawking has earned great prestige for his systematic defense of just causes and enjoys great solidarity and sympathy because he fights a motor neuron disease linked to a sclerotic atrophy that generates an almost total paralysis and forces him to speak, with limitations, through a special electronic device.

After his protest against Israel’s actions against the Palestinians, a little-known and almost forgotten US law has come to light. The law essentially criminalizes promoting or supporting any boycott against Israel. These actions are thus considered federal crimes.

The objective of the law is to protect the view that the Israeli people unanimously support the genocidal policy of their government against the Palestinian nation.

The penalties imposed for violations of the prohibition to support a boycott against Israel can be fines up to $1 million dollars and up to 20 years imprisonment. 

This is why journalist Daniel Jackson in his May 11th article for digital publication Activist Post asked, “Would Stephen Hawking be fined or jailed for boycotting Israel if he ran a business in the United States?”

“Despite the numerous atrocities committed by the Israeli regime, we're now forced to buy their imports at the barrel of a gun,” said Jackson.

Washington's role as guardian angel of Tel Aviv’s top officials is in contrast with the role of fierce defender of its blockade –disguised as an embargo-against Cuba. It has been in place since 1962 when the US State Department guidelines of April 1960 were implemented. These were aimed at “defeating the Cuban Revolution by means of discouragement and frustration; dissatisfaction and economic difficulties denying them money and supplies to reduce real and monetary salaries to cause hunger, despair and the overthrowing of the Cuban Government.”  

As the United States policy of blockade against Cuba has increasingly lost international support, Israel has remained its only unwavering ally in an otherwise isolation in the yearly voting –which began in 1992-at the United Nations General Assembly

Only Israel and the United States vote against the resolution every year. They are accompanied in this systematic diplomatic defeat by one or another island nation in the Pacific that either votes with them or abstains due to their situation as virtual trusts under U.S. control. The number of UN member states who condemn the US blockade against Cuba has reached 188, that is, more than 97% of the total countries belonging to the world organization.

Another example of the duplicity of Washington’s foreign policy is the fact that, while it punishes any of its citizens that condemn Israel for not complying with the humanitarian duties approved by the United Nations, it cruelly represses those who do not accept its arbitrary boycott against Cuba, a nation that is a paradigm of respect for human rights, and its people an example of the well-known virtues of world solidarity.

May 2013.

Manuel E Yepe has been a lawyer, economist, diplomat, journalist and professor at the Higher Institute of International Relations in Havana, Cuba. He was the secretary of the Cuban Movement for the Peace and Sovereignty of the Peoples, and took part in the Cuban Revolution.

EDITOR'S NOTE:

The commentary by Daniel Jackson referred to by the author may be found:

http://www.activistpost.com/2013/05/us-business-owners-can-be-fined-and.html

The US legislation referred to by the author and by Daniel Jackson may be read:

http://www.bis.doc.gov/complianceandenforcement/antiboycottcompliance.htm

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