Fighting BDS – Bibi Bashes BDS at AIPAC

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Today’s Top BDS Stories:

Netanyahu-quote1. Netanyahu takes on BDS Movement in AIPAC speech.

Most people in the BDS movement don’t seek a solution of two states for two peoples. On the contrary, they openly admit that they seek the dissolution of the only state for the Jewish people. They’re not seeking peace, they’re not seeking reconciliation. But some of their gullible fellow travelers actually do believe that BDS advances peace.

Well, the opposite is true. BDS sets back peace because it hardens Palestinian positions and it makes mutual compromise less likely.

Bibi’s speach, however, did not pass without criticism. Anti-Zionist commentator Philip Weiss, of Mondoweiss, noted that Netanyahu used the word BDS 18 times in the speech.

By taking on BDS so directly and insistently, Netanyahu has elevated the movement to new heights of importance, and will force American media to discuss the movement’s goals openly.

Talking about the movements goals openly would be a good thing if done honestly, because the movement has no interest in peace or reconciliation.

Haaretz reporter Barak Ravid also opined that Netanyahu had provided the BDS movement with too much oxygen:

Netanyahu vehemently criticized those calling to boycott Israel as a whole, accusing them of anti-Semitism – and thus provided an incredible service to that same group of extremists that opposes the two-state solution. For them, it was a public relations coup that topped anything that could have been delivered from anyone else in the world. The prime minister stated several times that the BDS movement would fail, but the more he elaborated on the issue, the more he revealed just how worried he is that these activists will actually succeed in their efforts to isolate Israel and portray it as an apartheid state.

The Financial Times also covered Netanyahu’s comments about BDS and included a rebuttal from Rafeef Ziadah, a spokeswoman for the Palestinian BDS National Committee:

 “The BDS movement is opposed, as a matter of principle, to all forms of discrimination, including anti-Semitism and Islamophobia,” Ms Ziadah said in a statement. “The world is growing increasingly weary of Israel’s attempts to conflate criticism of its violations of international law with anti-Semitism.”

2. How successful is Israel Apartheid Week? A lot less successful than organizers would have you believe, according to The Commentator.

The IAW website claims that 135 cities in 29 countries are taking part this year. Impressive – until you find out that only 13 of the countries listed were actually showing any events at all.

Of the countries that are advertising IAW events, nine are in the EU (not in the least surprising) with the UK and US holding the majority of events. But the only two countries outside of ‘the West’ showing any interest appear to be Brazil and Morocco (one event each). Not quite ‘global’, then.

With no events at all being held in Palestinian territories, supposedly the focus of the entire campaign, this just reinforces what we already knew: the BDS campaign has become a Western political aberration, in place solely to hammer Israel at any opportunity. After all, even a significant number of Palestinians don’t want Israeli goods boycotted and 70-80 percent of Palestinian imports come from Israel.

3. Nora Gold looks at the problem posed by Israel Apartheid Week to people who are pro-Israel but anti-occupation. Partial boycotts, like those that target only the settlements, inevitably have lead to unintended consequences, she writes.

It comes down to context. Many non-Jews in the Diaspora (the majority of whom, I’ve discovered, can’t even draw the Green Line on a map of Israel), don’t know the difference between Ariel and Ashdod, so if they are advised to engage in partial boycotts, they (unable to deal with the complexity of the situation) simply boycott Israel altogether. I’ve seen this time and time again with progressive people in Toronto.

Other BDS-Related Content:

* What’s wrong with the ASA holding a closed BDS conference on the NYU campus? It goes against the concept of the academy and the pursuit of knowledge to shut out opposing viewpoints:

Because any attempt to seriously study human conduct is likely to stir up emotions and give rise to ideological barricades, our best universities have come up with policies to safeguard that sanctity of academic freedom in their midst. Title I of NYU’s own poignant faculty handbook puts it elegantly when it states that professors “should not introduce into their teaching controversial matter that has no relation to their subject,” and should at all times “exercise appropriate restraint” as well as “show respect for the opinions of others.”

The recent conference’s organizers did none of that. Forgoing any semblance of serious study, viable research, or honest attempts to understand the intricacies of the subject at hand, they turned their classroom into a seminary designed exclusively to cultivate hatred for one particular nation state and fashion this animosity into ruinous political action.

Lisa Duggan, head of the ASA and conference organizer, left a comment denying that there was anything unusual about the way the conference was handled. Elder of Ziyon, who broke the original story about the secretive nature of the conference, analyzed her response.

* In response to an earlier article in the Jewish Daily Forward, Jay Michaelson lists five reason why it’s good to talk to BDS supporters.

* Dan Diker, a research fellow at the International Institute for Counter Terrorism at the IDC Herzliya, looks at the links between BDS and Hamas.

See yesterday’s Fighting BDS Roundup.


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