In his latest column, Uri Avnery argues—badly—against the boycott movement. Basically, the fact that a boycott will offend Israelis (heaven forbid!) is a non-starter for him, even when BDS is just a temporary means to an end: the end of the Occupation.
This paragraph left me feeling particularly anguished:
Peoples are not the same everywhere. It seems that the Blacks in South Africa are very different from the Israelis, and from the Palestinians, too. The collapse of the oppressive racist regime did not lead to a bloodbath, as could have been predicted, but on the contrary: to the establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Committee. Instead of revenge, forgiveness. Those who appeared before the commission and admitted their misdeeds were pardoned. That was in tune with Christian belief, and that was also in tune with the Jewish Biblical promise: “Whoso confesseth and forsaketh [his sins] shall have mercy.” (Proverbs 28:13)
Yes, peoples are not the same, but what is the implication here? That, were the same process to begin in I/P, the Palestinians (who are mostly Muslim, alas) would choose revenge and not forgiveness? This, expecting Palestinians not to act conciliatorily at the prospect of Truth & Reconciliation, is unacceptable and dehumanising.
Regardless of his disappointing lack of vision here, I still respect Avnery for what he has stood for elsewhere. He has done a lot for the cause and has spoken out for Palestinians more than any Israeli public figure I know of. His could have been a very powerful endorsement in the stuggle for peace and justice, of which BDS is just a part.
We need to look to other voices to build up support for the boycott. We must not simply wait for Obama to magically solve the situation, as Avnery hopes.