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There appears to be a problem with the Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement currently called against the state of Israel: while on principle a good idea it also exposes itself to a charge of hypocrisy which could easily be construed by its opponents as antisemitism. The reasoning goes: why do people around the world are so adamant to ask for a boycott of Israel yet do not ask for a boycott of what Martin Luther King described as "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today," i.e. the United States? The crimes against humanity of the US government are far greater and pernicious than those of the state of Israel and yet they don't seem to arouse a similar response. Why not? Why Israel then? Because of apartheid in South Africa?

Well, there is a major difference between Israel and South Africa at least vis a vis the United States – and generally today, as unfortunate as this may be, what the United States government says goes. Apartheid was directed at black Africans, someone who black Americans of African descent could easily emphasize with especially given their recent history in the United States. But those African Americans are not necessarily going to empathize just as easily to the plight of the Palestinians. So who would be the likely target for the comparison to hold, Palestinian-Americans? Otherwise, if the target is Jewish-Americans it would be as if one had tried to end apartheid by appealing primarily to white Southafrican-Americans. And while there are surely many Jewish-Americans who will sympathize with the cause it is a somewhat mute point since these same people can easily be dismissed as traitors or "self hating jews" – a charge which has cleverly been designed to quickly dismiss any type of Jewish self-criticism – by those who hold the propaganda megaphone in the mainstream media.

In conclusion, unless a massive education campaign about the issue is implemented, BDS will easily be defeated by AIPAC by simply raising the antisemitism charge – and we know, at least here in the US, how easily it can be to be charged with that. The main reason being that many Jewish-Americans, particularly those of liberal persuasion, will have a hard time understanding why the state of Israel is targeted with sanctions – that's what a boycott is – while the United States government is allowed to commit fare more atrocious crimes without a similar boycott campaign being called against it.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I agree. There are many people in Israel who (0+ / 0-)

    also oppose the Natanyahu government's treatment of the Palestinians. BDS isolates them and puts them in an impossible position.

    Find out about my next big thing by reading my blog. Link is here: http://bettysrants.wordpress.com

    by Kimball Cross on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 07:26:39 AM PDT

  •  So in other words... (0+ / 0-)

    We're #1 !!!!

  •  How does an American (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ExpatGirl, SCFrog, skohayes, poco

    boycott the United States?  It's several hundred miles from my home to the next country.  Hard to imagine buying groceries that way.

    AIPAC types have been screaming "anti-Semite!!1!!" at non-anti-Semites for decades.  Why should they care what AIPAC thinks?

    Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

    by corvo on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 07:38:58 AM PDT

    •  Good point (0+ / 0-)

      Perhaps one could boycott companies which do business with the Defense Department, for example.

      •  In the US (0+ / 0-)

        there are socially responsible mutual funds that divest from arms and munitions companies.

        •  I believe the diarist was talking about (0+ / 0-)

          boycotting an entire country, not selected interests within same.

          Which of course reduces the entire premise of the diary to absurdity, but what the heck. :-)

          Oh, and I avoid SRIs as well.  Some of them avoid war corps, it's true, then turn around and dump money into hundreds of thousands of shares of McDonalds, Big Pharma, etc.  

          I almost prefer Pluto's approach: Invest in the most loathsome corps imaginable -- Big Oil, Big MIC, and the others that will always profit -- and donate some of the proceeds to causes that oppose them.  But not having much money to invest in the first place does have its advantages. :-)

          Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

          by corvo on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 08:09:17 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  How do you exactly boycott a country? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bananapouch1

            Of course you boycott entities within a country whatever that may be. That's what's known as sanctions.

            •  That's what I'm asking *you*. (0+ / 0-)

              It's your proposal I'm responding to.

              Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

              by corvo on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 08:14:56 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Did you read the actual comment? n/t (0+ / 0-)
                •  yes, I did. At no time did you refer (0+ / 0-)

                  to boycotting specific entities within a state or associated with a state; you referred exclusively to boycotting the state.

                  Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

                  by corvo on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 08:30:11 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  A red herring (0+ / 0-)

                    Sanctions against this and that state is regularly used and its implications are abundantly clear for those who are not looking for red herrings.

                    •  The red herring is all yours. :-) (0+ / 0-)

                      A boycott against Israel may be targeted to specific companies, or it may be directed against everything up to and including academic, athletic, and artistic collaborations.  There are historical precedents for both.

                      You didn't even attempt to outline what it might possibly mean for an American (that's what most of us are on this site . . . right?) might mean to boycott America.

                      Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

                      by corvo on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 09:03:24 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

          •  That's my problem with BDS (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bananapouch1

            It's stated goals lack the kind of precision I would prefer.  It has the whiff of punitive acts for past conduct, rather than constructive efforts to resolve the problem.  It lacks conditions upon which the BDS actions would be lifted.  

            And boycotts, divestments and sanctions are discrete things, undertaken by discrete actors.

            Boycotts are decisions by individuals to not patronize certain suppliers.
            Divestments are decisions by social institutions to not invest, or cease investing in certain entities.
            Sanctions are imposed by states.

    •  Well, how does someone do BDS (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JNEREBEL, JayinPortland

      (1) while attending Tel Aviv University?
      (2) while using a computer with an Intel chip?
      (3) while using Google?
      (4) while using a Mac?
      (5) while using instant messaging?
      (6) while using a cellphone?

  •  There are movements (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SCFrog, tgrshark13, BelgianBastard

    within Israel in support of BDS as a means to achieve the goal of resolving the crisis.

    http://boycottisrael.info/...

  •  Consider some other problems with BDS (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FG, JayinPortland, livosh1, JNEREBEL

    1.  It's supporters seem unable to agree on when the sanctions would end.  Most people in the US prefer the idea of "two states for two peoples," but BDS's most active proponents advocate for a "right of return" and other ideas that would destroy Israel as a Jewish homeland.

    2.  BDS supporters seem to act as if the problem is entirely the failure of Israel to compromise, while ignoring Palestinian intransigence.  We'll see in the next few days, but I'm betting that Abbas will say "no" to our President's proposed framework agreement.

    3.  BDS supporters seem to completely ignore the very real security issues that Israel faces.  For example, Islamic Jihad has launched more than 150 rockets from Gaza in the last week.  These missles target civilians, or at best are completely reckless as to whether they hit civilians.  Islamic Jihad and other Islamic groups likely will be dedicated to Israel's destruction even if Israel gives Abbas everything he asks for.

    4.  Israel is simply nothing like South Africa.  Where are the signs in restaurants that say "Jews only"?  they don't exist.  

    5.  In the lands that are part of Israel, Arabs and Muslims have more freedom than in any other part of the Mideast.  For example, there are literally hundreds of web sites in Israel that criticize the Israeli government.  Can you point out even one Palestinian version of Daily Kos?

    •  answers (5+ / 0-)

      1. I don't see how a BDS movement could sustain itself if a mutually acceptable agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians were reached.

      2. Well, if it's intransigence to insist on one's own air space and water, and the full spectrum of rights and privileges ensured states and peoples under international law, then yes, I suppose the Palestinian position is intransigent.

      3. Last I checked, the PA had no control over Gaza.  This is of course a natural result of Ariel Sharon's leaving Gaza without ensuring even a shred of stability in its wake.  The fact that there are de facto two bitterly opposed Palestinian "authorities" on two territorially noncontiguous OTs renders any peace agreement impossible and any negotiations pointless, especially seeing as Israel and the USA insist that one agreement be reached between Israel and one Palestinian negotiating partner.  Hamas, as we all know, isn't being asked to the negotiating table by anyone.  (Not that it would likely consent to negotiations, of course, but that's another matter.)

      4. In 1967 Israel, of course not.  The WB is quite another matter.

      5. Very true, but not exactly relevant to the issue of whether the Palestinians merit a state.  

      Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

      by corvo on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 08:36:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Your points are good ones, and (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        livosh1

        they help explain why BDS has not caught on in the US.

        I support a Palestinian state.  I also support Israel as a Jewish homeland.  

        More important, I support a lasting peace deal that brings peace and security to both sides and ends the conflict forever.

        I hope our President is able to convince Abbas and the Palestinian people to support the framework agreement.

        •  Without Gaza (0+ / 0-)

          all bets are off, and all negotiations pointless.  Abbas can do nothing to save Israelis from the occasional Gaza-launched scud.  And Israeli security and territorial demands are what the "negotiations" are all about: that's why in no iteration of any agreement proposal are the Palestinians allowed armed forces of their own, and why Israel considers most of its settlements non-negotiable.

          Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

          by corvo on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 08:52:14 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Is Gaza really a necessary part of this? (0+ / 0-)

            If so, do you think there's any real chance of the Hamas leadership agreeing to a permanent Jewish homeland in Israel?

            If so, isn't the whole peace process a joke at this time?

            •  To answer your first question: (0+ / 0-)

              Ask Kerry; ask Bibi.

              To answer your last question: As if you had to ask?

              To answer your middle question: Highly unlikely; but then, nobody's offering Hamas a carrot along with the stick, so why should they bother?

              Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

              by corvo on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 12:08:44 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Hamas did say (0+ / 0-)

              they would submit to the will of the Palestinian people in a referendum on peace process.  

              •  Really? (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                JNEREBEL, livosh1

                That seems inconsistent with Hamas's leader's statements on Saturday:

                Hamas head Khaled Mashaal said on Saturday that there is no solution to the Palestinian problem, except through renewal of the spirit of jihad and self-sacrifice for Allah. He stressed that this would happen “soon.”

                ...

                Mashaal noted that the residents of Gaza, the “West Bank,” the “1948 areas,” Jerusalem and the diaspora are one nation with a single common strategy, which is jihad and struggle. Hamas and the rest of the organizations are preparing to renew the jihad, he said, because the Palestinian people has not gotten tired and has not abandoned the path of jihad and struggle in the liberation of all of “Palestine,” from the Jordan river to the Mediterranean sea.

                Mashaal emphasized the importance of instilling the value of dying for Allah, in children from infancy. From the first moment after a son is born, he said, the Palestinian fathers say “This son of mine is a sacrifice for Palestine,” and they wish for him to become a shaeed, and that Allah will bless him with a martyr's death.

                Who are we to believe about Hamas, the leader of Hamas, or "whizdom"?
    •  98% of all stateless persons (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tgrshark13

      in the world are Palestinians.  

  •  BDS lacks coherence. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FG

    Its goals are vague, but they spell an end to Israel as a majority-Jewish state. Its opposition to the occupation extends to all of Israel, and the movement has repeatedly refused to accept a two state solution.

    At the same time, if Israel can't bring itself to stopping the construction of settlements, BDS-like movements will only get stronger.

  •  BDS is a thoroughly dishonest campaign (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Al Abama, JNEREBEL

    As even notorious Israel-hater Norman Finkelstein admits:

    •  I saw part of a Noam Chompsky saying a different (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      politicjock

      version of Right of Return being impossible, except symbolically.

      I think what's happening is that there are a lot of Palestinian families that want the right to return. Although in other cases expelled peoples have found homes elsewhere I don't think that necessarily means that the international community of first world nations can insist that certain countries take certain refugees in. That's like saying a powerful enough thief is above the law and can steal your house and your neighbors are obligated to give you room. It's nice if they do, but if they don't I think the moral wrong is with the thief, not the neighbor.

      My position, as a USA taxpayer, has always been that I don't want so much of USA taxmoney going for land and water thieving and children in military prisons, etc. I don't support USA Imperialism. The MIC and other usual suspects act as if Israel Military is an integral part of the imperialism project, which is a further reason not to support USA taxmoney going to Israel. I wish there wasn't bipartisan support of USA Imperialism in Congress.

      Budget priorities need a lot of fixing!

      I relate both Finkelstein and Chomsky relate to because a lot of how they frame their arguments sounds to me like someone who’s defending capitalism as obviously the only possible system. F says it’s not going to work, stop pretending. C says if a group asks for help he first will look at a situation and decide if what the group wants is something that will benefit and not make things worse.

      Both attitudes seem to be presuming to know better, that the other people or groups should do what F or C think is better. But there have been a lot of successes where the 1% have clawed back and keep their power. In USA, the gains of civil rights movement have been taken back by the drug war and incarceration explosion. South Africa still has the 1% in charge, with a few new faces. Many other examples. I think Palestinians are trying to find a path that doesn't include being co-opted.

      Anyone who was born in Israel or brought there are a child, that’s their home. Palestinians who are there and being forced out of their houses, that should stop. If there wasn't USA money and the 1% trying to retain their perks, I think a solution is possible for them to work out.

      The boss needs you, you don't need him. -- France general strike, May 1968

      by stargaze on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 02:08:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That really doesn't answer anything (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Al Abama

        Finkelstein says above. He calls out BDS as being dishonest. And he is correct.  

        •  By your and his definition (0+ / 0-)

          When I read of various civil rights problems with how Israel government and policy is written and applied I think Israels' supporters are being dishonest or in denial if describe Israel as being a robust democracy.

          That's a difference of opinion.

          I think the human rights problems, the occupation, the refusal to let families return is a larger problem, and that's a problem I would like the people there to solve. Hopefully without USA taxpayer money.

          The boss needs you, you don't need him. -- France general strike, May 1968

          by stargaze on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 03:22:13 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You're still dancing around the issue (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JNEREBEL, Al Abama

            BDS seeks an end to Israel. They should at least be direct and honest about their objective, because . . . really . . . they're not fooling anyone with their dishonesty.

            •  wanting rights is "an end to Israel"? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              politicjock

              What BDS seeks is reasonable: end to occupation, families to return to homes from which they were expelled; civil and human rights.

              If making reasonable demands equates to"an end to Israel, that shows to me that there are problems much deeper than whether or not BDS people are being dishonest in how they ask for civil and human rights to be respected.

              Giving birth (giving life) should be a gift not an obligation or women and poor people are 2nd class by definition

              by julifolo on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 08:54:42 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  You're being cute (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                JNEREBEL, Al Abama

                The so-called right of return as envisioned by BDS means an end to Israel as a Jewish state. If that's what you want, then say so directly. Otherwise your position is disingenuous.

                •  A "Jewish state" is code for theocracy (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  julifolo

                  Is that what we are really asking for in the 21st century? While I agree that the rights of Jewish people in Israel should be protected so should be the rights of those people who already live in Israel and happen not to be Jewish. As a matter of fact, the most persuasive arguments made by those who want to preserve Israel's Jewish majority is the quick implementation of the two state solution before demographic changes on the ground will turn Israel into an de facto theocracy.

                  •  Israel is not a theocracy (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    livosh1, JayinPortland

                    Aren't you being a little dishonest?

                    •  Definition of Theocracy (0+ / 0-)

                      A form of government in which a deity is officially recognized as the civil Ruler and official policy is governed by officials regarded as divinely guided, or is pursuant to the doctrine of a particular religion or religious group.

                      http://en.wikipedia.org/...

                      •  I accept that definition of "theocracy" (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        JayinPortland

                        So now please explain how does Israel, which has defined itself as a "Jewish State" for 65 years, fit that definition of "theocracy"?

                        Are you suggesting that Benjamin Netanyahu claims to have devine powers?  

                        How do you explain the presence of Muslim parties in Israel's parliament?  

                        How do you explain that there is an Arab judge on Israel's Supreme Court?  

                        How do you explain that Mujalli Wahabi, a Druze, is a former deputy speaker of Israel's parliament and was the acting President of Israel in 2007?

                        Israel is simply not a theocracy, no matter how much hatred you have for Israel.

                        •  Criticism is not an expression of hatred (0+ / 0-)

                          You should try to moderate your language. You ascribe feelings that you know nothing about. As you may know, in Israel there are two class of citizens: Jews and everybody else. Government officials can tell if one is a Jew or not by looking at someone's id cards. That, in itself is discriminatory as it leads to all kinds of discriminations. As a matter of fact diaspora Jews have more say in the Israeli government than Arab Israelis.

            •  You're dancing around the civil/human rights viola (0+ / 0-)

              tions that BDS is organizing to have stopped.

              The boss needs you, you don't need him. -- France general strike, May 1968

              by stargaze on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 11:03:48 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Good points in your quote (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JayinPortland
        My position, as a USA taxpayer, has always been that I don't want so much of USA taxmoney going for land and water thieving and children in military prisons, etc. I don't support USA Imperialism. The MIC and other usual suspects act as if Israel Military is an integral part of the imperialism project, which is a further reason not to support USA taxmoney going to Israel. I wish there wasn't bipartisan support of USA Imperialism in Congress.
        As a USA taxpayer, how do you feel about your tax dollars going to the Palestinian Authority to pay the salaries of suicide bombers and their families?
        •  USA sends more taxmoney to IDF than PA (0+ / 0-)

          I don't want any more "defense" money spent in the cause of imperialism. USA should fix it's budget priorities so it actually helps people.

          The boss needs you, you don't need him. -- France general strike, May 1968

          by stargaze on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 11:01:00 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  "Self-hating Jew" and its variants at work on dk (0+ / 0-)

      with "Israel hater" being one of those variants.

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