Israel stops US basketball players from coming to Palestine

According to Hannah Murphy’s piece in The Guardian, sometime between April and the present, Israel has harassed/sent back American basketball players because they were coming to play in Palestinian teams.

Several American basketball players have been refused entry at Tel Aviv airport. Israeli border control has information that they are on their way to play for Palestine. Two players are detained in immigration for several days, then sent back to the US.

Read the whole article to learn the story of Murphy’s documentary Salaam Dunk, airing on Al Jazeera English this Sunday, 30 August 2009 at 2pm GMT.

Recently Stephen Walt said that he feels uneasy about and does not support the BDS movement against Israel because

I’m uncomfortable with even mild forms of collective punishment and partly because, like [Neve] Gordon himself, I do worry about the double-standard issue (i.e., if you think it’s ok to boycott Israel, why not China or Burma or any number of other countries?). And I’m especially leery of efforts to interfere with academic exchanges, because I don’t like anything that interferes with free speech or obstructs the free flow of ideas.

Right. The double standard. The one where Israel gets Western financial support and absolute diplomatic cover and upgraded trade agreements in exchange for oppressing Palestinians and blockading them and preventing basketball players from coming to play in their teams, perhaps?

Posted in BDS, Israel/Palestine

{ 13 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. A criticism of Stephen Walt.

    Thanks for posting Professor’s Walt sober and rational approach.

  2. Citizen says:

    Yeah, we don’t want to support any collective punishment. Long live apartheid S Africa!

  3. Evildoer says:

    It’s about time! More on Walt’s fake “moral concerns”

  4. ehrens says:

    I happen to agree with Walt, who is hardly a Zionist partisan. The issue is not “BDS” — but one piece of it — the “cultural B” in “BDS”. If you think there’s a double standard just for Israel, then consider the case of Tariq Ramadan, or Palestinian academics who have not been able to secure visiting professorships. What are these bars to their movement if not tacit boycotts? And let’s play what if for a minute. What if a substantial number of nations had imposed a boycott on American organizations during the Iraq war? This would have impeded international anti-war work and conferences. Cultural boycotts may be justified, but they may be abused as well. Slamming Israel with an economic boycott, sanctions, and stopping military aid is unambiguously justified.

    As to the issue of Israel’s restrictive visas for Americans, it would not be unreasonable for the United States to cancel Israeli visas or implement some in-kind retaliation (maybe restrict Israelis to Waspy Connecticut or a state that doesn’t have an international airport) until they change their evil ways.

  5. Evildoer says:

    Yes, eherens, cultural boycotts CAN be abused, so can chainsaws. Are you also opposed to chainsaws?

    The cultural boyoctt that is part of BDS is the following:

    We, Palestinian academics and intellectuals, call upon our colleagues in the international community to comprehensively and consistently boycott all Israeli academic and cultural institutions as a contribution to the struggle to end Israel‘s occupation, colonization and system of apartheid, by applying the following:

    1. Refrain from participation in any form of academic and cultural cooperation, collaboration or joint projects with Israeli institutions;
    2. Advocate a comprehensive boycott of Israeli institutions at the national and international levels, including suspension of all forms of funding and subsidies to these institutions;
    3. Promote divestment and disinvestment from Israel by international academic institutions;
    4. Work toward the condemnation of Israeli policies by pressing for resolutions to be adopted by academic, professional and cultural associations and organizations;
    5. Support Palestinian academic and cultural institutions directly without requiring them to partner with Israeli counterparts as an explicit or implicit condition for such support.

    Can you explain the connection between this and Ramadan? Do you have a specific problem with this?

  6. ehrens says:

    Dear Mr. Evildoer, I have no problem with your points 1-5, except for some aspects of 1-2. Yes, at an institutional level, giving money to Israel (such as the “seismology experiment” in the Negev last week) or participating in different bi-national projects should be discouraged. But if, by boycotting, we mean refusing to invite a professor like Neve Gordon come to the US for a conference because Israel or BGU is being boycotted — well, that’s wrong. It also invites symmetric retaliation by organizations who want to punish Palestinians. I think this is what Walt was getting at, although he seems to dismiss all forms of BDS, which I think is either being too cautious — or he may feel he’s been beaten up by Zionists too much, or it’s strategic in some way. But in regard to this aspect of BDS, the cultural boycott, I share his views about individuals. And, yes, to an individual a boycott can slice a career like a chainsaw.

    Aside from this one nuance, I don’t think we have that many major disagreements.

  7. Evildoer says:

    Can you please quote me the specific language in the call for cultural boycott above that complying with it would require “refusing to invite a professor like Neve Gordon come to the US for a conference”?

  8. ehrens says:

    Mr. Evildoer:

    Can you please quote me the specific language in the call for cultural boycott above that complying with it would require “refusing to invite a professor like Neve Gordon come to the US for a conference”?

    Where? In what document? If there were one set of boycott rules, like gravity or thermodynamics, that everyone in the world was obliged to follow in implementing boycotts, then I’d quote it. However, my objections to cultural boycotts, as I’ve tried to explain to you here and in another blog, are more general objections to a way to punishing people that doesn’t have any rules! Cultural boycotts can be used and abused by anyone in any form they can think of. They are not regulated by PACBI Document 3X, Paragraph 3, subparagraph 5, line 12.

    As far as your insinuation that I am saying that complying with a boycott would require professor Gordon to be refused, this is simply bad logic or bad debating. Obviously, people don’t have to observe boycotts. Look at all the people who bought Gallo wine years ago, or Chilean or South African products, or Ahava cosmetics. But statistically the boycott will do its job.

    So if you want to continue to poo-pooh the danger of retributive actions to cultural boycotts, particularly by Israel, then be my guest. I’ve explained it well enough for a person without wax in his ears.

    • Evildoer says:

      The BDS Campaign is a campaign led by Palestinian civil society. It has a set of official documents. These documents declare what the demands from Israel are and what kind of solidarity is being asked from people who feel compelled by their conscience to be in solidarity with Palestinians against Israeli apartheid. BDS is not consistent with doing whatever you feel like to punish Israel. It is regulated by the BDS National Commitee.

      First, you declare yourself uninterested in that. You claim the right to determine how to support Palestinians without caring about the organized Palestinian BDS demands. There is no such thing. If you do not recognize the right of Palestinians to be in charge of their struggle and strategies, you are not supporting their struggle. Period. Even if you think you are.

      Then, you criticize supporters of BDS because they might do things that the official BDS campaign does not asks for. And you defend people for not supporting BDS on the same grounds, that BDS involves certain actions which it ostensibly does not involve.

      Put simply, your contribution is an attempt to confuse people about what BDS is and to discourage them from acting in solidarity with Palestinians.

    • Evildoer says:

      So if you want to continue to poo-pooh the danger of retributive actions to cultural boycotts, particularly by Israel, then be my guest.

      It takes the cake to justify your refusal to stand in solidarity with Palestinian academics, teachers and artists who are demanding a cultural and academic boycott by appeal to your concern for their well-being. But you have my sympathy, with all that White man’s burden you carry on your frail back alone.