A “Correction” Obscuring Real BDS Goals

The Guardian, which has a history of dubious corrections, struck again this week. Referring to an article about the BDS pressure on Oxfam to drop Scarlett Johansson over ties to SodaStream, The Guardian issued the following correction:

In another story about the issue, which examined the relationship between Oxfam and Scarlett Johansson, we said that the charity was “under pressure from anti-Israel campaigners to sever ties” with the film star. It would be more accurate to describe the activists in the campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel as “opposed to settlements” (Oxfam under pressure to drop Johansson over Israeli ties, 30 January, page 23).

Actually, the original statement, which can be read to suggest BDSers target all of Israel in their boycott demands, was right on the money. The correction, which gives the impression the movement only targets companies with West Bank interests, distorts BDS goals. As the BDS Movement itself states:

Boycotts target products and companies (Israeli and international) that profit from the violation of Palestinian rights, as well as Israeli sporting, cultural and academic institutions. Anyone can boycott Israeli goods, simply by making sure that they don’t buy produce made in Israel or by Israeli companies. Campaigners and groups call on consumers not to buy Israeli goods and on businesses not to buy or sell them.

So why is The Guardian correcting information that was reported correctly in the original text? Is it better for the movement to be perceived as targeting just the West Bank rather than all of Israel, despite its true intentions? It might be a case of what the New Republic wrote this week explaining the BDS movement:

In practice, based both on the preferences of BDS supporters (including [Omar] Barghouti, a co-founder) and the movement’s tenets, BDS’s success is most likely to involve the end of the Zionist project. And what this means is that any BDS supporter effectively advocates a one-state solution, even if, should you put the question to him, he would tell you he would prefer two states.

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