6 thoughts on “BDS and the Nature of the Future Israeli State – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. This is a huge essay and a huge problem. You write “a radical transformation of Israel into a state which embraces the linguistic, cultural and religious heritages of all its citizens.”

    OK, but who are the citizens? Certainly the Jews who’ve been brought in from everywhere, many of them newcomers. Certainly the old-timer Arabs who remained after 1948. But the refugees from 1948 (including most Gazans and many West Bankers) would and should have been citizens, and should still be able to return to their homeland.

    While the term “citizen” is thus flexible, the term “homeland” may also be flexible both because a new Palestine might be acceptable as a homeland to refugees but also because the boundaries of Israel might shift (in my imagination if in no-one else’s) to create a smaller Israel and a larger Palestine, and the term “homeland” used with reference to UNGA-194 means a return to the land the refugee once lived on (or his ancestors did), and many refugees from 1948 came from land set forth in UNGA-181 FOR an Arab state in Palestine, so that some “return” to the refugees’ homeland could — in principle — not be a return to (a smaller) Israel.

  2. Richard hi,

    Thanks for a very brave post.

    I have encountered the same problem. The considerable successes of BDS have awakened an “end-of-days” Messianism in the extreme fringes of a large and diverse anti-Occupation coalition.

    Unfortunately, these fringes are extremely vocal and verbally aggressive. They see BDS almost as a religion, rather than (as its charter *very* clearly indicates) a legitimate and pragmatic tool to fight an oppressive system.

    I’ve confronted such voices numerous times, and will continue to do so in the future. But some of them are so dogmatic, and have become so irrationally exuberant due to the successes (which, although considerable, are still far from decisive) – that you just cannot get through to them.

    Of course, one immediate damage they do is make it so easy for mainstream Israel to demonize BDS. All the latter need to do, is point out to things people actually wrote. The fact that this BDS pop-religion is contradictory to the BDS stated mandate and mission, is very hard to argue against such evidence.

    Thanks again for raising this on your blog.

  3. It seems incomprehensible to me that anyone could think a two state solution is still possible. People who believe this must to be in some kind of time warp. There was a time, many years ago, when this could have worked, but unless Israel agrees to give up every single illegal settlement in the West Bank there is literally nothing there from which the Palestinians could form a state. Land swaps as suggested by Israel is the kind of vague rhetoric we’ve heard for years, but unless Israel is willing to give up Tel Aviv or something similar it’s a non starter. During the settlement freeze Israel continued expanding some settlement areas (claiming they was exempt from the freeze because permits had already been issued) on the basis that this was “natural growth.” With all these settlements experiencing “natural growth” how long will it take before all the Palestinian areas between settlements will be swallowed up by the expanding settlements? Just like any city which begins with a central community, plus smaller communities spread out some distance away, natural growth eventually turns it into one large community. Where are all the Palestinians who now live between and around the settlements supposed to disappear to? What about their natural growth. In my opinion it is disingenuous to suggest anything other than a single state. Israel already controls all of Palestine and it’s time for Israel to take responsibility for all its people too, by annexing the West Bank and ultimately Gaza. Anything else will never bring peace for either side.

    1. You know if Israel annexes all that territory it will not offer the Palestinian residents full citizenship. Therefore a true one state solution as you envision won’t happen unless there is a gradual dissolution of Jewish control of the state over time or all at once in an Arab Spring situation. The prospect of Israel becoming even more like apartheid South Africa than it already is frightens & nauseates me.

      1. Richard, I completely agree with you, but I feel it’s still the best option now that there is virtually nothing left of Palestine for the creation of a Palestinian state. It’s inevitable there will be bloodshed, mostly Palestinian blood. And of course the Israelis will be overwhelming resistant to a single state, in great part because Israel has ruled its citizens by making them deathly afraid of Palestinians, or Arabs as most people think of them. And of course if it should come to a single state it will be an apartheid state, more so than Israel is now. My hope is that in the end Israel won’t be able to maintain control its non-Jewish population through apartheid. Surely the world will not allow that kind of oppression in a single state, supposedly for all the people. I think the world has evolved to the point it will not tolerate Israel’s behavior much longer, especially if it annexes Palestine. It won’t be easy because when the world was punishing South Africa there weren’t any White South Africa lobbies operating in the U.S. and other parts of the world. South Africa’s white leaders also weren’t able to portray themselves as victims, something that has worked so well for Israel whenever anyone has challenged its criminal behavior. But call me Pollyanna (you won’t be the first) if I say I think Israel’s victimhood is wearing a bit thin in many areas, and after Lebanon, Cast Lead and the Mavi Marmara it’s become more difficult for Israel to continue claiming it’s a tiny defenseless peace-loving state surrounded by enemies who want to drive all the Jews into the sea.

        Something has to happen, and soon. Even with a Palestinian state, its people will continue to be controlled by Israel if it continues to block all the borders. Unless the settlements are removed there will always be settler roads and IDF supposedly to protect the settlers. What kind of a state could that be?

        I just believe it’s past the time for talk. The U.S. and Israel will never give the Palestinian people a state. So my impression is that Palestinians don’t really see how things could be worse for them, as their hopes have been raised and dashed again and again. The very fact that Israel is so frightened of either two states or one state tells me Israel is feeling itself backed into a corner.

  4. For those of us, like me, not totally into this, BDS needs to be explained. Boycott Divest, Sanction, I discovered. You know more, consider explaining more. (only an extra sentence and hot link required).

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