At a time when Palestinians are rising up against Israeli apartheid, ranting about a trans-Atlantic trade accord might seem off-topic. Yet a protest camp held in Brussels this week illustrated how to blend a fight against corporate power and the expression of solidarity with an oppressed people.
As well as trying to shut down a European Union summit, participants in the camp joined a demonstration against a football match between Belgium and Israel. Inevitably, that sparked some questions about how a sporting event was relevant to plans for a gigantic EU-US “free trade” zone, the protest camp’s main focus.
The connection, as it happens, has been made by the Israel lobby. Its most powerful group, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), is following closely the proposed Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
In June, President Barack Obama signed a demand by the Israel lobby for how the TTIP negotiations should be conducted into US law. Because of clauses inserted into the “fast-track” legislation, the US team in the TTIP talks has been instructed that one of its main objectives is to protect Israel’s interests.
The legislation explicitly says…