Sunday, May 29, 2016

"We Don't Get Into Politics" Say Empire's Citizens Choosing To Ignore The Dangerous Path They Travel

Boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) are efforts to bring pressure on the state of Israel to stop occupying Palestinian land, stop bulldozing Palestinian homes, and stop building apartheid walls and roads that cut Palestinians off from their agricultural land.

Here in Maine a coalition of activists -- most of whom have visited occupied Palestine and observed these human rights violations in person -- joined an international effort to put pressure on the real estate company RE/MAX LLC.   Below you can read the letter and information currently going out to many RE/MAX offices and agents around our state. 

Our assumption was that it would be unfair to target RE/MAX in Maine without giving agents information they may be lacking. 

Here is the response we received from one of the RE/MAX agents in Maine:
"We make people happy selling houses and do not get into politics."
One can only imagine the happiness of a Palestinian family evicted from their home watching it be sold to ultra-right Zionist settlers.  

The agent's response exemplifies the know-nothing mentality of today's citizens of the empire that rules the globe. In the information blackout masquerading as 24/7 "news," most hard working business women and men are indeed ignorant of the violence and human rights violations they fund as taxpayers. 
Source: Electronic Intifada, "Why Obama's military aid to Israel is breaking all records" by Ali Abunimah
They "do not get into politics" as their government sends the very wealthy state of Israel $3 billion a year in military aid

They "do not get into politics" as their government maintains more than 800 military bases in other people's countries, and drops tens of thousands of bombs per year on civilians in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia. 
Image source: Organizing Notes, "My View from Ukraine" by Bruce Gagnon
They "do not get into politics as the U.S. (and NATO) menace Russia by supporting neo-Nazi militias in Ukraine and installing missiles aimed directly at Moscow from sites in Europe.

Real estate agents may not have studied much history when they were in school. Or maybe they did and then forgot most of it in the subsequent barrage of messaging about how exceptional "Americans" and their global empire are. 

Really, we are not that exceptional. We are just the latest in a long list of empires that overspent on their military, over reached in their expansion, and crumbled into dust after a bloody period of disintegration. 

Think Ottoman Empire here if you don't want to go any further back in history than the 20th century. 

Ok, so not everyone thinks about the big picture. Here, then, are the nitty gritty details of RE/MAX's Palestine problem:

Dear Maine RE/MAX realtor,

RE/MAX’s good name is at risk, but you can take action to protect it. Here's how.

You may not be aware that RE/MAX profits from the sale of homes in illegal Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine. While we recognize that your office promotes the sale of local homes here in Maine, we ask that you, as a RE/MAX agent, consider the effect of being associated with a brand that participates in apartheid and human rights violations. RE/MAX is facing scrutiny from the United Nations and human rights groups around the world. For example, a recent report from Human Rights Watch entitled “Occupation, Inc.: How Settlement Businesses Contribute to Israel’s Violations of Palestinian Rights” directly indicts RE/MAX LLC. Many world leaders, including Secretary of State Kerry, have named the rapid expansion of Israeli settlements as a serious obstacle to peace in the region.

Please consider sending a message to your corporate headquarters letting them know that you do not wish to be associated with RE/MAX Israel’s illegal activities. Pasted in below is the text of a “realtor of conscience” letter you may use for this purpose.

If you have questions about this matter or would like to discuss it, we would be glad to speak with you or meet with you in person.


"The Humanitarian Impact of Israeli Settlement Colonies" United Nations report
"The Occupation of the American Mind, Documented" Mondoweiss article
"Israeli Settlements Explained" video, Institute for Middle East Understanding 

Dear RE/MAX International,
As agents currently employed by a RE/MAX franchise, we have recently had it drawn to our attention that several national organizations are organizing a boycott campaign against RE/MAX. We are deeply concerned about RE/MAX operations in Israel/Palestine and how a boycott of this scale could impact our business and thus our livelihood.
RE/MAX is a corporate leader in the real estate market with a presence in over ninety countries totaling more than 7,000 offices and 100,000 agents. With its status as a corporate leader, RE/MAX is in a unique position to set an example of ethical business practices worldwide. Yet our current operations in the occupied territories of the West Bank violate fundamental human rights and international law.
RE/MAX Israel has a commanding presence in the Israeli real estate market, referring to itself as “the number one company in Israel.” Disturbingly, RE/MAX is also the leader in selling land in the occupied Palestinian West Bank to Israeli settlers and operating in settlements condemned by international law and human rights organizations. As licensed realtors employed by RE/MAX, we have found that our customers are deeply opposed to these operations. We ask you to address the issues brought up by the boycott campaign before it grows and impacts our business.
We urge you to take action to demonstrate RE/MAX’s commitment to ethical business practices worldwide by ending RE/MAX Israel’s illegal and unethical practices in Israel/Palestine.

(Your name here)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

No excuses for most of those who claim they are not political. If they don't know the truth, it is mostly because they don't want to know the truth. Not to sound too "X-file" but "the truth is out there". Pete Sirois