As BDS Rises, Anti-BDS Rhetoric Falters
In the fallout from the Scarlett Johansson imbroglio, there are lessons to be learned. First, that money trumps principles almost always. Johansson proved that. I’m not foolish enough to believe that a brilliant actress is a great humanitarian or lives her life by consistent values, but we all would like to think so, wouldn’t we? This scandal proves we are wrong. Johansson is human and frail as most of the rest of us. Unfortunately for her, she got herself enmeshed in a political controversy which will likely affect her career for years to come. I have seen her act so poignantly in so many films. But I can’t do it again. Nor will others, though I don’t know how many that will be. If BDS becomes as powerful an anti-Occupation weapon as it promises to be, there may be many of us.
Another lesson is that BDS has become a powerful political tool in the struggle against Israeli oppression. In following the history of the BDS movement and the various Israeli responses to it, it’s followed something like the five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance) though I’ll change the terms slightly: first there is denial. But unlike in facing death, denial takes the form of derision and dismissal. Israel apologists first believed BDS was preposterous. They dismissed it as a vacant threat, something dreamed up by the ultra-left.
Then there were tiny acts of bravery that gave BDS small initial amounts of traction. First, Neve Gordon published his op-ed in the Los Angeles Times personally endorsing BDS. His gesture led to the second stage of Israeli response to BDS: anger. The president of Ben Gurion University tried to persuade Neve’s department to sidetrack his appointment as chair of his academic department. She publicly said she wanted him to quit and wished she could fire him. But she couldn’t.
Like Gordon, members of an Israeli theater group protested their engagement in the Ariel settlement. Though the performance went forward, a number of prominent artists refused to join. Then New York artists signed a petition supporting them which caused the incident to enter the American Jewish debate.
Though BDS had existed several years before this incident, it was the first time I recalled that Israelis as a group joined in a boycott. This gradually gave permission to foreign artists to take a stand themselves. This led to Roger Waters endorsement of BDS and refusal to perform. Of course, artists still agree to appear in Israel. And Israel’s champions trumpet every one as if it’s a piece of gold bullion that proves Israel is just. But there is a tide that is rolling in and it’s carrying more and more power with it as it reaches shore.
The latest Sodastream fiasco has taken BDS to a new level. Now, Israel’s supporters don’t snigger as if it’s a silly game. They don’t like it, but they can’t dismiss it. You simply can’t argue with every major media outlet in the world running a story on the prominent actress’ dismissal (essentially, what it was) from her role as Oxfam’s Global Ambassador. BDS is now a major story.
Of course, those fighting against the movement are hoping it is a fad. They’re waiting for the furor to die down so they can return to business as usual. And for a time they can. The struggle against the Occupation isn’t linear. It’s doesn’t run inexorably toward peace and justice. It meanders through history. It takes one step forward and a half-step back.
But the Johansson story was the crossing of a political Rubicon. Proof of that may be seen in the first-ever Israel cabinet meeting devoted solely to BDS. At this meeting, none of the ministers could coalesce around a single plan to combat it. Haaretz reports that Minister for Strategic Planning (that’s the portfolio that encompasses existential threats like “delegitimization”) proposed a $30-million plan to amplify Israel opposition to BDS. This presumably would involve what they’re already doing, except on a much more intense level.
Examples of this are the Olympia Food Coop lawsuit, which was dismissed by a Washington State court as a SLAPP (nuisance) case. During the deliberations, a Israel TV journalist interviewing deputy foreign minister Danny Ayalon, elicited the official’s boast that the government was directly involved in, and approved the lawsuit. He didn’t specify whether it was providing funding or other more specific types of support in this campaign.
Electronic Intifada reported recently on the deliberate infiltration of a campus human rights group by a pro-Israel spy who reported on the political views of individual participants. Israel may be planning a Zionist version of J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI. Agents and spies will fan out and identify targets and report back either to domestic pro-Isrel groups like StandWithUs, The Israel Project, or directly to their handlers in Israel. Some may scoff at this. But as EI reported, the ADL did precisely the same thing in the 1980s. Though presumably the ADL effort hasn’t been restarted, it has created a template for what can be done.
The fight against BDS will take many forms: the government will confront it both head-on and in surreptitious ways. But liberal Zionists and pro-Israel intellectuals and journalists will address BDS in more sophisticated ways. We can see examples of this just in recent days in the American media. As Mondoweiss reports, Hirsh Goodman, the Jerusalem Post’s former security reporter (and husband of NY Times Israel reporter, Isabel Kershner) has penned an attack on BDS in the Times (accompanied by an op-ed favorable to the movement by none other than its founder, Omar Barghouti). Jane Eisner in The Forward, makes another rather feeble attempt to discredit BDS. Max Fisher in the Washington Post too takes on the subject. And finally, Mira Sucharov attempted to poke holes in BDS in Haaretz.
All of these attempted critiques of BDS contain remarkably similar arguments, many of which are either flat-out wrong or distortions. Fisher, for example, says that BDS calls for a boycott of “all Israel.” BDS actually calls for a boycott of Israeli state institutions especially those which serve or maintain the Occupation.
Another argument is that BDS will only antagonize Israelis, rather than persuade them that the Occupation is wrong and has to be ended. I’m afraid we’re far beyond that place. Only the most naive believe that any Israeli, even those on the center-left, can be convinced through moral suasion that the Occupation must end and a Palestinian state must be created immediately.
The Right of Return is another bone of contention. Opponents argue that Israel will be so inundated with Palestinian refugees it will either be destroyed or lose whatever Jewish character it has. This is a patently false argument since a report commissioned by the Knesset (pg. 7) which cited a Khalil Shikaki survey, found that less than 400,000 refugees wanted to return to Israel. Many of these preferred to do so only if they did not have to take Israeli citizenship. Therefore, even that number might shrink (unless there could be a form of citizenship for Israeli Jewish settlers and Palestinian refugees whereby the former were Israeli citizens, while the latter were Palestinians, even though they didn’t live in the country of which they were citizens). During multiple negotiations going all the way back to 1949, Israel offered to resettle 100,000 refugees, making 400,000 seem not an unreasonable figure today.
Part of the reason that not all refugees might choose to return is that they will be offered compensation for their suffering and lost property. This would enable them to make a free choice where to reside. Some may choose to remain where they are, some may settle in Palestine, if such a state is ever created; and some may return to Israel. At any rate, there is absolutely no possibility Israel will lose its Jewish majority anytime soon. Unless of course, it refuses to create a Palestinian state and the only remaining option is a single state. Then, in fact, Jews would be in a minority and have to learn to fend for themselves within a democratic country in which they did not have supremacy.
Sucharov’s column is a rather representative piece of anti-BDS rhetoric couched in terms slightly more sophisticated than the average diatribe. So let’s address some of her claims. First she claims to want to undo some of the “confusion” surrounding BDS. Undoubtedly when an opponent makes such a claim it is they who are either confused or seek to introduce confusion that doesn’t exist.
She begins by comparing the two Intifadas as forms of violent resistance, with BDS, which is non-violent. Then she adds this odd claim:
But if the means — non-violent, economic pressure — are more moderate than what had come before it [the Intifadas], in some ways the goals are more extreme. Since the peace process began over two decades ago, the conventional wisdom has been that a two-state solution will be the result.
Her historical error is in characterizing the Intifada as a Palestinian battle for a two-state solution. Certainly, there were some Palestinians for whom that may’ve been the goal. But the vast majority of Palestinians simply were expressing their resistance to Occupation. It was a spontaneous political expression, not a planned strategy. So to say its goal was two-states is simply false. Not to mention, that even if this claim was true then, it’s been rendered obsolete by Israeli-generated facts on the ground.
Most importantly, Sucharov falsely argues here that BDS’ goals are “more extreme.” By this she means the following:
…By demanding the full return of Palestinian refugees into Israel and demanding that Israel give up its core identity of being a Jewish state, the BDS movement is out of step with the most likely outcome — and, from the point of view of overlapping needs and desires, probably the best one, too.
As is common with such arguments, Sucharov sets up a strawman and then knocks him down. She defines the “full return of Palestinian refugees” to mean that every single refugee eligible to return will do so. This is a false argument and Sucharov knows it, is as I’ve noted above. Even in the unlikely event that 1-million refguees resettle themselves in Israel, this is no more than the number of Soviet Jews who make aliyah to Israel in the 1980s and 1990s. Given the far more generous funding that will be available to resettle Palestinian refugees from states which will contribute billions for this purpose, the process of return should be no more complex or traumatic than it was for Soviet Jewry.
Her other straw argument is that BDS demands that Israel give up its identity as a Jewish state. Actually, BDS makes no such demand. It only demands justice and defines this as allowing refugees to return. BDS demands that Jews give up supremacy and transform Israel into a truly democratic state. Even this doesn’t preclude Israeli Jews from honoring their traditions within such a nation (nor does it preclude Palestinians from doing the same). My strongest objection to such arguments is that they project a settlement between Israel and Palestinians as a zero-sum game. Either one group wins or the other. There is no scenario by which both win. This is a fatally flawed concept.
The most comical claim above is that BDS is “out of step” with “the most likely outcome” and “best one.” An aspect of the hasbara debates seen in comment threads here is that readers substitute their opinion for facts or evidence. Here Sucharov has substituted her own prejudices, her own preconceived ideas, for reality. They become the most likely and best outcome because she can’t stretch her mind to consider any other. That’s simply not what academics, scholars and analysts do. Their careers, if successful, are based on considering many different possibilities and scenarios. She clearly has only considered the ones she prefers. If she has considered any other, she certainly hasn’t given it serious thought.
In fact, the two state solution, abrogation of the Right of Return, and the supremacy of Jews in Israel are neither the most likely or best outcomes. In fact, Israel in future will most likely be much different from Sucharov’s conception. It may even be different from mine, but it will be far closer to mine than hers because mine encompasses the interests and aspirations of both sides, while hers only admits of the interests of one side.
The Canadian-Jewish academic continues her disingenuous analysis of BDS with this:
Maybe, then, we should assume that the goal of those who support BDS is not a two-state solution at all, but is indeed a “one-state solution,” whereby Israel ceases to be a Jewish state in any meaningful way, and all refugees are granted return.
In the very first phrase of this passage Sucharov “assumes” a fact concerning BDS that isn’t the case. As a number of prior analysts have noted, BDS doesn’t posit any particular plan for Israel-Palestine. There are of course many BDS supporters who support a one-state solution (largely because Israel itself has foreclosed other options). There are others who support two-states.
Also note the claim that BDS would preclude Israel being a “Jewish state in any meaningful way.” This depends on how you define your terms. By Jewish state, do we mean that Jews should have a monopoly on political power as they do now? Or do we mean that Israel would be a state in which Jews would find a homeland and self-determination as a people (with another people, the Palestinians, offered the same rights)? If the former, then BDS is arguing against Jewish supremacism. But it is not arguing against Israel as place in which Jewish traditions, culture and religion underpin the state (just as Palestinian ones would).
Sucharov rather naïvely argues that rejecting a Sodastream factory in the West Bank is counter-productive, because it is just such economic development that will be necessary if Palestine is to succeed economically. There are so many fallacious assumptions here it’s hard to know where to begin. But first let’s hear her argument:
Such a company would continue to employ the 500 Palestinian workers it currently employs, while also paying taxes to the Palestinian government. The company’s CEO has even explicitly stated his willingness to do this in such a post-two-state scenario.
Sodastream is located in the Territories for one reason–well, two reasons: first Palestinians are so desperate for work due to Israel’s strangulation of their economy that they’ll work for a pittance compared to Israelis. This keeps wages down. Second, Israel provides massive subsidies for enterprises that locate beyond the Green Line. As soon as that subsidy ends (as it would after a peace agreement), Sodastream will hightail it back to Israel.
Further, in a future Palestine it should not be the responsibility of Israelis to develop the Palestinian economy. That is the role of Palestinians themselves. If Palestine determines such a factory is beneficial then it should exist if the CEO is willing to do business there. But if Palestine determines it has other economic priorities, then it shouldn’t. In short, this isn’t a game of noblesse oblige in which Israeli entrepreneurs are doing Palestinian a big favor by giving them business.
The Haaretz blogger concludes with yet another unreasonable demand she makes of the Palestinian justice movement:
..If it’s [BDS] meant as a coherent, causal-chain form of political action, then BDS supporters also need to be clearer on what the intended endgame is for any given act of protest.
What she’s done here is to conflate BDS with a peace agreement. BDS isn’t the Geneva Initiative. It isn’t envisioning the political future in specific detail. It’s laying out three basic principles that must undergird any future agreement. But aside from those three concepts the sky’s the limit. There may be one state or two. The beauty of BDS is in its flexibility. It is just such flexibility that unnerves liberal Zionists like Sucharov. For if BDS was more specific it would lose supporters and opponents would far more easily poke holes in its argument.
It’s important to acknowledge what BDS cannot do: it cannot single-handedly topple the Occupation, no more than sanctions against South Africa defeated apartheid. The international struggle against the Occupation must use many tools to convey its message and persuade the world and its leaders of the justice of its cause. BDS will be one of them.
As I’ve focussed in this post on the deficiencies of the anti-BDS argument, there are some powerful affirmations published recently as well. One of the best is this NY Times op-ed by Prof. Avi Shlaim. Among his most telling argument is this:
Israeli leaders have always underlined the vital importance of self-reliance when it comes to Israel’s security. But the simple truth is that Israel wouldn’t be able to survive for very long without American support. Since 1949, America’s economic aid to Israel amounts to a staggering $118 billion and America continues to subsidize the Jewish state to the tune of $3 billion annually. America is also Israel’s main arms supplier and the official guarantor of its “quantitative military edge” over all its Arab neighbors.
In the diplomatic arena, Israel relies on America to shield it from the consequences of its habitual violations of international law. The International Court of Justice pronounced the so-called “security barrier” that Israel is building on the West Bank to be illegal. All of Israel’s civilian settlements on the West Bank violate the Fourth Geneva Convention, but Israel continues to expand them.
Since 1978, when the Camp David Accords were brokered by President Jimmy Carter, the United States has used its veto power on the Security Council 42 times on behalf of Israel. The most shocking abuse of this power was to veto, in February 2011, a resolution condemning Israeli settlement expansion that had the support of the 14 other members of the Security Council.
Though neither Israel nor its advocates in this country foresee a time when American support will wane, neither did East Germans foresee the fall of the Berlin Wall and reunification of East and West Germany, Russians never believed Communism would self-destruct either. History has a way of making fools of those who believe the status quo can last forever. The harder we try to maintain it, the harder it tries to return to some form of social or political equilibrium. Eventually, this will happen to Israel too. It’s leaders and voters who elect them can continue to bury their heads in the sand and refuse to compromise. They will wake up one morning abandoned. Then their choices will be far more limited.
Yair Lapid seems to have advanced to the grief stage of bargaining. He understand the dollars and cents cost of BDS:
Yair Lapid, Israel’s centrist finance minister, warned this week, “If the negotiations with the Palestinians get stuck or break down and we enter a reality of a European boycott, even a very partial one, Israel’s economy will retreat.” Speaking at the annual conference of the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, he said that “every resident of Israel will get hit straight in the pocket.”
Moral suasion has failed. Political jawboning has failed. One of the only arrows left in the quiver is economic threat. The truth is that Israeli obduracy has made BDS successful rather than the other way around.
That doesn’t mean that Yair Lapid represents any sort of Israeli pragmatism. His offer to a Palestinian interlocutor would be little different than Bibi’s. Lapid merely favors a different arrangement of the deck chairs on the Titanic. He still has another level or two of BDS to work through before he gains ‘acceptance,’ the final one. But at least he understands the efficacy of BDS, which is more than you can say for most of the rest of the cabinet ministers.
F.W. DeKlerk had gone through all the levels of grief when he negotiated the end of apartheid. Whatever shortcomings he may’ve had, he was smart enough to understand that the white minority had little choice but to concede and reach a suitable compromise. Israel’s leaders have yet to get to this point, the final stage of grief: acceptance.
48 thoughts on “As BDS Rises, Anti-BDS Rhetoric Falters – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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Thank you for writing this piece, Richard. I have often thought but never expressed in writing the idea in your concluding paragraph: “P.W. Botha understood this [that the status quo cannot possibly last forever] when he negotiated the end of apartheid. Whatever shortcomings he may’ve had, he was smart enough to understand that the white minority had little choice but to concede and reach a suitable compromise. Israel’s leaders have yet to get to this point. That’s the final stage of grief: acceptance.”
Your extended analogy with the stages of mourning and grief (aren’t there five stages, rather than four?) is inspired. The terminal disease of the Zionist settler-colonial state has, at long last, been diagnosed and exposed. It’ll take more than BDS to effect change, as you point out, but, ultimately, there is no regaining control for Israel.
Due to lack of time for a post, allow me a link to my diary – Scarlett Johansson’s Image As SodaStream Ambassador. I wanted to visualize exactly where the Palestinian village of Azzariah was located and why there were no opportunities for work within the enclave.
The Israeli NGO “Who Profits” has a 32-pages report on SodaStream: it includes a historical overview on the land confiscation for the industrial park Mishor Adumim, the economical advantages proposed by the State for settling down in the OPT, the conditions of the Palestinian workers and the deliberate mislabeling of goods produced in the SodaStream plant in the West Bank (Israeli products are exempt from custom taxes when exporting to the European Union, goods from the colonies are not, best argument for a total boycott of all Israeli goods)
“This scandal proves we are wrong ”
A scandal? Really?
Scarlett obviously did this for the money, but if her PR press release is to be believed, she also feels that economic cooperation between Palestinians and Israelis is a positive, and so do I.
BTW. When is BDS going to get Palestinian laborers from the West Bank to refuse to build settler’s homes, as they’ve been doing for 40 years?
The apartheid wall, settlement encirclement, apartheid roads etc leave Palestinians in the occupied territories little choice. WE have a choice.
If the settlements remain, and this regime has made it abundantly clear that they will (actions and words), I suppose that the two-state solution is dead, and the one-state solution is the eventual outcome.
Thankyou, Richard Silverstein, for an objective and logical article.
PS. I do agree that economic cooperation between Palestinians and Israelis is a positive. It must, however be based on equitable treatment among peoples. This is exploitation of apartheid and theft of land.
Shoshana how do you call people who had/have to work the slave owners/occupiers? Palestinians have no option than to continue building the Jewish settlements, clean their toilets and wash their laundry. Not because they want, because it is the only way left for them and their families to survive. Just like the Jews in Warsaw Ghetto had to work for German and Polish “lords” for (little) bread. The notion of Palestinian economy is in their own hands is as worthy as claiming Warsaw Ghetto’s economy as an independent Jewish controlled economy. Is the PRESENT economical cooperation between Israelis (Jews) and Palestinians a good thing? Certainly for Jews, hardly for Palestinians. If masses of Jews would work for Palestinian (domestic and occupied) employers we could speak about mutual equal based co-operation. But that is not the reality.
RT showed a documentary some months ago how many Palestinians earn their small living in an large (illegal) Israeli dump on Palestinian land in West Bank collecting everything that could be recycled and sold. Rather disgusting to watch the life of those poor people. Adult men and young boys, who should be in school, fighting to find useful garbage the Jews have thrown away in their towns. That Jewish dump is a part of the Palestinian real “economy”.
Palestinian economy exists only when Palestine exists as an independent country and only they can control their own economy. Before that Palestinian “economy” is only pure propaganda. Now Israel controls everything that comes in and goes out. If something that Israelis see as competing with their economical that part of Palestinian “economy” is destroyed. And that they have done (and will do) many times in West Bank and Gaza.
It is hilarious how US political “system”, which loves sanctions and boycotts against basically everybody, who doesn’t do what USA orders (Cuba, Iran, N-Korea, Hamas, Syria, Hezbollah, present leadership of Ukraine etc), are fiercely against boycotts as a mean to make Israel to do what the whole world wants. US blasts European banks’ decision to blacklist Israeli firms. In their minds boycotting prevents/delays Iranian nukes but obviously doesn’t force Israel to solve the problem. By the way Danske Bank and Nordea are not small banks. They are market leaders here in Nordic and Baltic countries.
@ Shoshana: There is NO “economic cooperation” between Israelis and Palestinians in the Sodastream colonial enterprise. Sodastream exploits cheap colonial labor while it also exploits state subsidies which encourage such colonial efforts. That’s not cooperation. Calling it such indicates you’re an apologist for Israeli colonialism.
As for building settler homes, you’d like to take the one form of labor which Israel allows Palestinians to do to feed their families and tell them to shun it? What would you have their families eat? Grass? Do you want to turn the West Bank into North Korea? You are truly a mean, cruel human being. Totally unfeeling and willing to do or say anything if it will defend the indefensible.
BDS is so reactionary that it won’t allow for ‘economic cooperation’ between Israel and the Arabs in helping to build Palestine’s only new city.
Really. What’s the obstacle to peace?
“We need a thousand Sodastreams around here”.
Anti BDS rhetoric rises in the voices of ordinary Palestinians.
@ Shoshana: I don’t care for your smug, self-satisfied snark. You’re moderated.
The article called the person who spoke of “1000 Sodastreams” an ‘outside contractor.’ In fact, I’m virtually certain that was an Israeli Jew quoted. The reporter certainly didn’t specify the ethnicity of the speaker. Not to mention, that generally Palestinian employees aren’t interviewed alone. They’re interviewed with a supervisor or PR flack supervising the interaction. Certainly not a venue for frank conversation. Further, you neglected to acknowledge the stranghold Israel has on Palestinian economic development in the West Bank, which in turn guarantees that the best jobs, if not the only ones, are offered by settlements & settlement enterprises like Sodastream.
But I did so love to hear Sodastream’s president boast about taking his employees to the beach. I’ll bet he takes all 500 of his Palestinian employees to the beach at Tel Aviv after passing through all those checkpoints at which the police just wave them on through with a smile on their face. Right? Wrong.
As usual only skin-deep, Shoshie. But you keep trying.
Richard. You care so little about hungry Palestinians that you didn’t even publish these pictures of actual, starving Pals.
As for Oxfam, Coca Cola, Sodastream’s rival competitor, backs Oxfam to the hilt.
@ Shoshana: It figures you’d quote the Jewish neocon, Washington Free Bacon. What I love about that idiotic article you linked to is that it claims that Coca Cola gave $2.5 million to Oxfam to fund Latin America programs in order to harm Sodastream. The problem with hasbaristas like you is that you don’t even bother to try to make your arguments persuasive.
I also love the fact that Bacon quoted my favorite settler lapdog, Aussie Dave Lange. It reminds me of the time Aussie Davey accused a brother of mine he made up of being a welfare cheat. That tickled me.
You all are excellent bedmates & deserve each other.
It was FW de Klerk, not PW Botha, who negotiated the end of Apartheid.
@ yankel: Thanks for the correction.
RS: “Fisher, for example, says that BDS calls for a boycott of “all Israel.” BDS actually calls for a boycott of Israeli state institutions especially those which serve or maintain the Occupation.”
Well, I don’t know what the official BDS calls for, but I doubt that “sanctions” (state-level BDS) could be only against state level institutions and not against TRADE which would target a lot of corporations and other non-government entities. And “boycotts” are mostly against companies, against buying products.
My own stance — which does not purport to reflect the official BDS stance — is that boycotts and (when they finally come) sanctions should be against all Israeli products, services, culture, sports, the works. and my reasoning is that that is the only way that I can see to make the “pain” so wide-spread that Israel’s well-known democracy can kick-in as a mechanism for turning things around. I really do not imagine the present government calling the settlers home (to pre-1967 Israeli territory) unless and until there is wide-spread public and also corporate pressure to do so. DITTO removing the wall and dismantling the settlement buildings.
RE: “My strongest objection to such arguments is that they project a settlement between Israel and Palestinians as a zero-sum game. Either one group wins or the other. There is no scenario by which both win. This is a fatally flawed concept.” ~ R.S.
MY COMMENT: No matter how favorable towards Israel an agreement negotiated by the U.S. is, Likudnik Israel will ALWAYS feel like it is being made a “frayer” of (being suckered). It is virtually impossible for Likudnik Israel to see anything as a “win-win”.
FROM quora.com [frayer]:
SOURCE – http://www.quora.com/
ALSO SEE: “It’s a Sin to Be a Sucker in Israel, by Marjorie Miller”, L.A. Times, 7/25/1997
ENTIRE COMMENTARY – http://articles.latimes.com/1997/jul/25/news/mn-16208
Kerry Slammed for Trumpeting anti-Semitic BDS
This is the 4th time Obama or Kerry has been accused of anti-Semitic actions versus Israel in recent weeks.
BDS has already spread.
Who can say whether or not the BDS activist around the world influenced the EU in denying any loans or grants to Israel that are used in the occupied territories –or on the gaint Dutch fund recently devesting from Israeli associated companies—-but these are not small BDS examples liilke prvate consumers refusing to buy Soda Stream—-these pack a real punch.
And as I expected to happen eventually, various governments and financial concerns are now warning companies that do business with Israel by providing anything used for their occupation of Palestine to consider the possibility of future lawsuits —-just as the Holocaust groups have sued many corporations for cooperating with the nazis.
Israel canot win this, they have in fact delegitimized themselves. But they are so deep into a hubristic belief in their power being unlimited’ that they are indeed playing a zero sum game—so they will lose.
Excellent example of ..”who the Gods would destroy, they first make mad”….thats whats going there…suicide by hubris.
Beating. Disastrous. Settlerism. (BDS)
Lately and belatedly even some of the more open-minded pro two-state thinkers have come to understand and accept that some punitive measures are needed in order to prod Israel away from the status quo and from its short-sighted yet long-endured repressive occupation. However, they claim that since the paradigm is two states for two peoples, both logically and logistically any punitive measure must be based on a distinction between Israel proper and the post 1967 occupied territories.
As a (U.S. born) Israeli ex-pat who grew up, served, fought alongside in 73, studied, or worked in Jerusalem with many of those that have emerged into Israeli leadership, I fully expect that in due course the above thinkers and others will come to realize that punitive measures, including BDS (boycotts, divestiture, sanctions), that distinguish between Israel proper and the occupation will not work. This is due to the underlying political and social dynamics which are at the heart of Israel’s relentless expansionism, with occupation being its forever-temporary enabler.
Less than 10% of all Israeli Jews live in the occupied territories. Many of them do so out of ideological, nationalist, and religious motivations. Though some do so also for government-provided economic incentives, most are true believers in a “Greater Israel”. To them, that end will always justify the means, as demonstrated time and time again. Israel-external generated punitive measures targeting the occupation will not deter them. They will find ways to resist, insist, and persist as they have successfully done for the last 46 years. The occupation’s status quo can not be changed by trying to bring outside putative measures on the settlers alone – for the settlers simply will not be impressed.
The remaining 90% of Israeli Jews living within the Green Line have long conducted their lives with blissful ignorance of the goings-on and the multi-decade suffering of the occupied and oppressed. They have an underlying century long land-grab related dispute with the Palestinians whose welfare, even under their own occupation, is of no real concern to them. As they emerged as the solidly established beneficiaries of this dispute they have moved on, and are now too busy just trying to procure, achieve and consume the material-driven “good life”. They pay little attention and spend little energy on the settlement project or the settlers. Thus, in this context too, the occupation’s status quo can not be changed by trying to bring outside putative measures on the occupying settlers alone – for Israel’s majority non-settlers will simply not be impressed either.
The long enduring settlement project’s secret sauce is that a relatively small and radically dedicated minority will trump a quasi-indifferent majority every time – especially a majority with a leadership class long-dipped in modern Zionism’s century old and successful three prong core formula of land Capture-Settle-Defend.
The sad but true is thus: Only when the economic elite and the quasi-indifferent majority in Israel proper feel the significant pinch and pain of putative measures – including BDS – will they begin to assert a majority’s prerogative over Israeli occupation politics and social priorities, and this miserable status quo and the immense global ill-will it radiates can finally begin to change.
Zionist logic dictates that Palestinians must roll over and die – in Syria and Palestinian refugee camps everywhere, in the West Bank, on the Gaza Strip and, if at all possible, within Israel itself – so that Jews from all over the world could take their place.
It’ll never happen. They’ll have to shoot every last one of us first, just as they shot 22-year-old Muhammad Mubarak in Al Jalazon refugee camp, West Bank, in the back a few days ago. Zionism is a sick and indefensible ideology. The Jewish/Zionist state has no right to exist, let alone continue its punishing brutality against the Palestinians who are not Jews, because they are not Jews! To Ari Shavit (writing a couple of days ago in Haaretz), a “flood of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians” will “dramatically” weaken Israel – because these Palestinians are not Jews – never mind that they were expelled from their homeland to make it possible for the Jewish state to exist. But Palestinian loss and their fundamental rights must be swept away for the grand, sick Zionist vision to stay alive. Zionists are sick people who cannot reason beyond their own self interest. What a shame that Zionists are also “branding every Jew on the planet as a bigot and a racist”, as someone wrote in response to Roger Waters recent fantastic pro-BDS note addressed to Neil Young and Scarlet Johansson.
For Zionists here who appear to be very “concerned” about Palestinians and their economy, I recommend the following two articles:
1. “There is recognition that a new development paradigm must reduce Palestinian dependence on Israeli products, services, and imported aid-related food and reconstruction goods.”
By Samer Abdelnour, who is completing a PhD in Management at the London School of Economics.
2. “A powerful group of Palestinian capitalists are exercising political influence and social control through economic normalization with Israel. what to do?” Tareq Dana, an assistant professor of political science at Hebron University, goes on to suggest what must be done.
BDS may be growing, but Israel is already in responding to it in a way most people don’t know about; diversifying its trade. It’s nudging its way into emerging markets all around the world, gradually replacing trade with Europe and even closing down trading missions in Europe in favor of Asian ones.
The fact is, that there is zero chance of BDS working in the near future. It’s very possible that BDS might begin to work in Europe 10-20 years from now, but by then Israel won’t really depend on trade with Europe to the extent it does now.
Here’s a good article on it: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/045dca8a-6725-11e3-a5f9-00144feabdc0.html
@ David W.:
BDS isn’t meant to topple Occupation in the “near future.” It will take time: a year, maybe two. But it doesn’t matter where Israel tries to find trade. Eventually those outlets will be cut off too. No one wants to trade with a moral pariah. Eventually, even the hardest nosed traders understand the commercial calculus. Of course, that will leave Israel with North Korea and similar crooked regimes as trade partners.
A year or two? Try 10 years or 20.
The fact is, right now, the BDS movement has accomplished almost nothing. Perhaps one success here and there with this or that company or performer, but so far, their effect on Israel’s economy has been almost nothing. Israel’s economy continues surging. And they never will achieve anything unless a government imposes sanctions on Israel. People today often buy products without caring where they come from. For example, the disinvestment campaign against South Africa had nearly no effect until Western governments began putting sanctions in place in the mid-80s.
And the fact is, there is no chance of a Western government sanctioning Israel in the near future. The most that will happen is that the Europeans will sanction the settlements.
And your claim that wherever Israel tries to find trade will be cut off is unrealistic. First off, I vehemently disagree that Israel is immoral, and many others agree with me. And even if Israel was the most evil country on Earth, it would still find trade. The West trades with China with the full knowledge of what goes on in Tibet and what happens to political prisoners. The West began trading with Libya and even sold the Gaddafi regime weapons as Gaddafi continued to imprison and torture dissidents in the years before the Arab Spring. Trade is based more on making money than morals.
The most that will ever happen is EU sanctions on Israel. Europe is the only region of the world where public opinion is heading in that direction. Most people around the world just don’t care, and it’ll likely stay that way. And Israel still has many supporters, and that won’t change. And as stated before, if European sanctions ever come, by that time it’ll be too late for it to inflict an economic catastrophe on Israel.
The BDS movement is simply not going to bring down Israel.
@ David W: It seems you’re our new habara intern (or are you paid staff?) recently assigned to monitor our humble abode. Welcome. Can’t say you’ll last very long. But you bear all the tell tale traces of the semi-professional hasbarist.
If that were true there would never have been a full cabinet meeting devoted to this subject alone. Nor would there be a proposed $30 million allocation specifically to fight BDS, not to mention the hundreds of millions the MFA already spends fighting delegitimization, of which BDS is considered a part. No, the facts belie your vacant claims. Not to mention the increasing list of financial institutions, businesses and government pension funds who’ve joined BDS.
You completely, and unsurprisingly misunderstand BDS’ goal. It isn’t to single-handedly destroy Israel’s economy. That would be foolhardy. But it is intended to shape the moral debate and make Israel pay a steeper & steeper price for every victory it wrings out of the system, till eventually the cost will be too high. Eventually, BDS & other tools will take a serious bite out of Israel’s economy. By then it will be too late for you to stop it because you were as smug as you show yourself to be in this comment.
That’s coming my friend, it’s coming.
There he goes again! The old “near future.” Will a western government cut off Israel in the next month or 6 months? No. But it will happen. And you will be shocked & dumbfounded when it does, and won’t know what to do.
That comment means almost nothing. Your personal opinion is that Israel is moral and all the Likudists, settlers, and Israel lobbyists in the rest of the world agree with you. Bravo! Quite an accomplishment!
As for who and whether anyone will trade with a nation that is a moral pariah: I’m glad to see you compare Israel to those other serious human rights violators China and Khaddafi’s Libya: that about sizes things up right I think.
Israel has fewer and fewer supporters around the world and will gradually lose even those.
You didn’t read my post. I never said it would. But in concert with other anti-Occupation efforts it will bring the current Israeli regime to its knees.
In economic terms, the BDS movement has accomplished almost nothing. Israel is worried, because it could grow in the future, but as of now, the economic effect has been nil.
And I actually won’t be surprised if a European government sanctions Israel. The signs are already there, and it’s slowly heading in that direction. The key word is slowly. Israel’s policy of economic diversification is working, and all it needs is some more time to find other areas to trade.
I was using China and Libya as an example out how even regimes that the world considers immoral can still find trade. The fact is, right now, Israel is well aware that its trade might not last. It’s trade and economic cooperation with China is set to continue increasing, and China is building a railway from Eilat to Haifa that can serve as an alternative to the Suez Canal, it’s negotiating free trade agreements with India and Russia (both which have staunchly pro-Israel public opinions), trade with Latin America is growing, and Israel is increasing cooperation with Sub-Saharan African countries which are now moving out of poverty and growing economically and seeing the rise of a new middle class.
And let’s not forget that North American friends like the USA and Canada show no sign of succumbing to BDS in the future. Public opinion in the USA remains firmly pro-Israel, and Canada will soon sign a free tradeAccording a recent poll, 61% of Americans still have a favorable view of Israel, 26% unfavorable, and the rest don’t care.
The BDS movement can slowly create an Israel boycott in Europe and perhaps eventually have sanctions passed, and even that will take many years. But Israel has plenty of other options.
And yes, the goal of BDS is to bring Israel down. Allowing the “right of return” risks or outright eliminates the Jewish state. Yeah, I see you’ve cited studies that claim only 400,000 refugees would return, but the truth is, nobody really knows. And even if 400,000 or so refugees “returned”, it could put Israel on the road to binationalism.
I dont think you understand the ‘economics’ of Israel. First, 70% of all investment and ‘financing’ of Israeli companies icomes from European and US sources. 60% or better of all Israel trade (exports) is with the EU countries. Israel’s largest IT ’employers’ are foreign owned corporaitons like Intel and Microsoft.
I dont think you understand the Asians either. If you are counting on China to save you in the event the US and Europe turn away from you you will be looking at a whole new ball game—one in which there is no Israel Lobby in China to secure favorable trade deals and strongarm other countries for Israel’s economic benefits as the US has done many times in the ME with countries like Egypt and Jordon in ‘free trade zones’ set up to favor Israel by requiring Egypt and Jordon to include a % of Israel produced material in their exports if they want to maintain their free exports—-the mafia equivilent of Israel ‘dipping its their beak” into neighborhood businesses.
I however as an American and taxpayer would welcome turning Israel over to China or Russia as their new protector—I can assure you that instead of the current US relationship of the US serving Israel–Israel would find itself serving China’s needs. Israel has come far by being the scorpion riding the US frog—-but if the scorpion tried to sting the China frog the way it has the US—the scorpion would be stepped on very quickly by the Asians.
Your key mistake is treating Europe and the USA as one. There is zero chance of US sanctions against Israel in the foreseeable future. US public opinion is still very much on the side of Israel, and this is reflected in the massive bipartisan support Israel reflects from Congress. The US is going to remain staunchly behind Israel for the foreseeable future.
Now moving on to Europe, one-third of Israel’s trade is with the EU. The loss of that market currently would be severe, but it would not be an economic death blow. As I’ve said previously, the EU is not yet close to doing so. The most that can be expected anytime soon is a complete ban on settlement goods.
My whole point is that Israel has plenty of time to diversify its trade and open up new markets, and it’s making good use of that window of time. Israel is gradually reducing it’s dependence on trade with the EU, to the point where being cut off by Europe will not be all that bad.
And so what if there’s no Israel lobby in China? That whole thing about the US strongarming Middle Eastern countries for Israel’s benefit is irrelevant. The whole point is that Israel will find it’s way into other markets, and is not going to be crippled by sanctions as the BDS movement is hoping.
I wouldn’t say that US public opinion is very much on the side of Israel. Certainly there is massive bipartisan support for Israel within the U.S. Congress, but that does not reflect public opinion, nor in my opinion does it reflect what many members of Congress truly feel about Israel. Apparently too many members of Congress have been persuaded they are working for Israel’s interests rather than for America’s. Most average Americans are too concerned about domestic issues, particularly their own, to care much about what goes on in Israel and Palestine. But most average Americans do care about injustice. I consider it my responsibility to speak out about Israeli apartheid, Israel’s violations of human rights, the tragedy of the Palestinian Nakba, and the embarrassing amount of US taxpayer money handed to Israel every year. I am encouraged to see the extent to which Israel is losing friends and not gaining new ones. I BDS starting to go mainstream, even as Israel desperately tries to downplay its effects and even use lies and subterfuge to stop its growth.
Opinion polls show that a majority of Americans still have a favorable view towards Israel. A recent poll showed Israel is the 6th favorite country of Americans, with 61% viewing Israel favorably and 26% unfavorably. And that is likely to stay the same for the foreseeable future.
And the only place BDS is going mainstream is in Europe, particularly Western Europe. And even there it’s had minimal impact on Israel’s economic growth. But the BDS movement cannot spread all that far beyond Europe.
@ David W: You remind me of the boy whistling past the graveyard. You’re desperate to believe what you say, and perhaps you even do. But that doesn’t make you any less deluded. You’re done in this thread. If you have further comments make them in other threads about other posts. But this is your last comment in this thread.
David W. February 2, 2014 at 2:25 PM
Your key mistake is treating Europe and the USA as one. There is zero chance of US sanctions against Israel in the foreseeable future. US public opinion is still very much on the side of Israel, and this is reflected in the massive bipartisan support Israel reflects from Congress. The US is going to remain staunchly behind Israel for the foreseeable future.”>>>>>>>>>
Obviously you dont understand ‘publics” either. Your average citizen in this country ‘thinks about’ Israel about once in a blue moon and only then when its brought to their attention…iow, they dont really care one way or another unless its made into an ‘issue’. The support among the public that Israel had due to the promotion of the holocaust and the 65 years of media efforts by organized zionist has in fact declined. Activist, the internet, a lot of factors have contributed to this decline.
The sole thing that has saved Israel’s bacon with the US public is the media blackout on the activities and tactics of I-Lobby in the US and the actual facts of Israel’s occupation of Palestine.
Right now ‘bomb Iran’ is associated with Israel…every time Iran comes from the mouth of a politician so does ‘to protect Israel.’
I dont know where you live but I can tell you one thing….You can count on the US public to follow the ‘latest trend” on anything—-just as they adopted the propaganda of pro Israel after WWII, they will adopt the anti Israel trend when the worm turns.
As I keep saying—Hubris—its the flaw that will destroy Israel.
Richard is 100% right, BDS has a momentum of its own and no amount of detractors can stop this action. I do not deny that some Palestinians will lose when BDS succeeds, but what else can one do? Palestinians don’t have a choice but to work for Jewish companies because that is where the food comes from so, when a company is shut down, Palestinians will lose their jobs, while the Jews working there will simply relocate. Nevertheless, supporting ANY Israeli company (not just the ones in Occupied Territories) is directly supporting Israel’s ability to oppress, dispossess and destroy Palestinians, even more decisively than bombing Palestinians does.
I do not believe there is any alternative to a ONE-state solution, short of completeing the genocide of the Palestinians. A one-state Israel can have more than one name, after all, Switzerland has as many as four different nemaes for each place because of the four different linguistic cultures that form Switzerland. Jews need not fear being reduced to a powerless minority, a future Israel can have a Senate based on 20% Christian, 40% Jewish and 40% Muslim representation and a house based on populations like in the US. There can be further protections that say no legislation may pass without 65% of Senate vote, thus Jews can always have a swing vote in all matters.
Integration can start immediately, starting with Police and military (in all ranks). The Right of Return can be preserved for the next 25 years as long as the ration of Jews coming to Israel remain in the same proportion as the numbers of Christians and Muslims. Kick out any immigrant who destructively opposes the new order for the first two years of their “return”.
Who said change is easy?
EU Court decision plus UN Report makes B-Divestment-S for large European corporations, banking and pension funds imperative as RS has covered in an earlier article: Catastrophic Dutch State Visit to Israel.
International law caught up with Israel, its binding economic package with the European Union and illegal occupation/annexation of Palestinian Territory. It’s not the old testament that establishes states or boundaries. Years ago, Secretary Panetta warned Israel is becoming ‘Isolated’.
By all means you can jion BSD or what ever you want to call it.
Just get your facts right.
The Arab boycott on Israel did not start in 1967, nor does it has anything to do with Samaria or Judea.
It started as far back as 1945, yes before Israel was a state. The Arab league declared boycott on the Jewish people in Palestine.
This boycott for many years had been much much stronger than it is today.
Many Israelis remember it still. Many companies across the globe would not have business in Israel due to it.
Just to name a few: Pepsi, Toyota, Shell.
So you can join the Arab boycott if it makes you feel good.
Israel has thrived before, and it will continue to do so anyways.
Hey free man! It looks like YOU are conveniently forgetting a few details.
It was the Early Jews (1920s and later) who launched boycotts of the Arab (Palestinian) merchants and farmers, they destroyed products and produce, they poured gasoline on produce and they even resorted to bullying the Jews who did buy stuff from Palestinians.
“Many Israelis” may remember only the details (embellished or fantasies) they choose to in order to justify their behavior towards the Palestinians in Israel and the OT.
Yep, and David Ben Gourion the secretary of the Jewish-only labor union, Histadrut, was the bully-in-chief ……
Generate publicity by playing up its “too risqué” status, SodaStream is attempting to milk that tactic for the second year in a row with its Super Bowl Ad. Perhaps it bit off a bigger chunk than expected as stocks tanked on Nasdaq.
Seltzer Wars: SodaStream Exec Reveals How Scarlett Johansson Signed On for Controversial Super Bowl Campaign (Q&A)
A hoax? Poster by The Israel Project.
h/t gk @ET
What’s hilarious about that poster is that TIP means it to be pro-peace, but it really summarizes beautifully the absolute bankruptcy of the peace process. Bibi & Mahmoud drinking from Sodastream’s straw. With Scarlett’s pulchritude joining them together. It’s a perfect avatar really.
Why did you censor my response you pseudo liberal ?
Gaging others is fine by you, if they don’t say what you want them to say.
Even hypocrisy has limits…
@ free man: You’re moderated or did you forget? I had to check the queue to find your comment, which I approved. Next time, instead of whining, a polite request to check the queue would be appreciated.
Are we supposed to believe MSNBC’s Chuck Todd (NBC News political director and chief White House correspondent) is unaware of the controversy over Scarlett Johansson’s Super Bowl commercial? He just commented that this year’s ads were non-political and uncontroversial, with the possibie exception of mild disagreement over the Coca Cola “America the Beautiful” ad which featured Americans singing in different languages?
Hello? Are you that frightened of the zionist mafia, Chuck?
More like half a step forward, and two steps back, IMO…
Canada is going to change…Stephen Harper’s criminality had started to light a fire here in Canada..Canadians are already starting to boycott Israel…and make no mistake, the hasbara crowd are well aware of this…and they are very concerned( David W’s theatrics aside) I expect some of the more fanatical amongst them to make it even easier in the long run…remember this conversation..
a postscript: David W. February 2, 2014 at 3:12 PM
“Opinion polls show that a majority of Americans still have a favorable view towards Israel. A recent poll showed Israel is the 6th favorite country of Americans, with 61% viewing Israel favorably and 26% unfavorably. And that is likely to stay the same for the foreseeable future.”
Having made an informal study of newspaper political thread hasbara over the past few years and having recently taken to “outing” them (a practice which I sometimes wonder about in myself) it is my opinion that this is indeed a professional propagandist likely drawing a salary from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The use of these “opinion polls” is textbook hasbara, used by the clumsy as well as by the more proficient practitioners of the dark art. The clumsy hasbara do us a service by showing the hand. Not that I doubt the poll numbers, but it has to be remembered that the numbers are based on a very successful propaganda campaign — most Americans are still hearing only one side of the story, the Israeli side. As the issue gains traction in the American press I think these numbers are UNLIKELY to stay the same for the foreseeable future.
Also, in spite of these numbers showing broad support for Israel in the American general public, oddly those ordinary pro-Israel Americans are not showing up on the political threads to push back against the Americans who are fed up with Israel. The push back is coming from Israelis. If there is broad American public support for Israel it is exceedingly thin, my opinion FWIW.
I think it was Mark Twain who is supposed to have said, “There are lies, damned lies and there are statistics”.So-called “opinion Polls” can be skewed in just about any direction, depending on the question asked and the questions preceding the question highlighted in reports.
Statisticians (pollsters) then meger several answers in one because the answers do not oppose the main question thus, responses to support for Jews to live in Israel, can be merged with the responses to Israel as a Jewish state, Israel as having the right to exist etc., and all these can be classified as being favorable to Israel.