New Reut Institute ‘case study’ tacit admission that BDS is working

on 34 Comments

When the well-connected Israeli policy group, the Reut Institute, released a February 2010 report on what it labeled the "delegitimization challenge" from the global Palestine solidarity movement, Ali Abunimah of the Electronic Intifada pointed out that the report "never considers for a moment that the mounting criticism of Israel’s actions might be justified."

In the aftermath of the May 31 Israeli attack on the Gaza flotilla, the institute may have done some rethinking on how Israel should combat the "delegitimization" problem.  While most of a new report–titled "The Gaza Flotilla: The Collapse of Israel’s Political Firewall"–repeats their smearing of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) activists as people who want to see Israel "dissappear" and charges that the BDS movement actively collaborates with the "Resistance Network" (Hamas and Hezbollah), one of the recommendations to the Israeli government lines up with some of the BDS movement’s goals.

The institute writes, as one of their "principles and guidelines for addressing Israel’s delegitimization," that Israel should undertake:

A consistent and honest Israeli commitment to end its control over the Palestinians, advance human rights, and promote greater integration and equality for its Arab citizens is essential in fighting the battle against delegitimization. Such commitment must be reflected in a coherent and comprehensive strategy towards Gaza and the political process with the Palestinians.

It’s not all that the BDS movement is calling for, but it’s somewhat close. The right of return, of course, is not touched upon in this case study, but one would think that allowing Palestinian refugees to come home classifies as "advancing human rights."

This is not to say that the Reut Institute has good motives; the report on the flotilla still calls on Israel to "systematically collect intelligence on delegitimization activities and identify key catalysts promoting them. On that basis, Israel should formulate and implement an action plan to contend with catalysts of delegitimization."

But their partial acknowledgment that it is Israel’s actions that are "delegitimizing" itself is interesting, and is perhaps a tacit sign that the BDS movement and Israel’s "flotilla problem" are forcing sectors of Israel’s political elite to confront head on Israel’s real problem: their continued strangulation of Gaza and the decades-old occupation that has denied Palestinians basic human rights.  The Reut Institute, it seems, has recognized that Israel’s "branding" campaign is not going to go anywhere unless there are fundamental policy changes.

34 Responses

  1. MHughes976
    August 10, 2010, 4:04 pm

    Maybe I say this too often, but the real task is the legitimisation of Palestine and the destruction of the shameful misrepresentations that surround its people.

  2. Richard Witty
    August 10, 2010, 4:19 pm

    The Reut recommendations are very similar to mine.

    That is to consider criticism as important, as information to learn to be a more humane and more effective state (including legitimate defense).

    But, to distinguish criticism from contempt, from delegitimization by those that don’t bother to propose.

    You do get that there are large numbers of activists that sincerely do want Israel to disappear, that will not accept Israel at the green line, and will also not accept a current single state democracy (but only a stacked room maximalist right of return “democracy”)

    • syvanen
      August 10, 2010, 9:32 pm

      RW yet again comes forth with:

      But, to distinguish criticism from contempt, from delegitimization by those that don’t bother to propose.

      This is a single “sentence” paragraph. Surely RW you must realize that this thing you deposited is not an English sentence. Not only is it missing a verb, but it is missing a subject noun as well. Subject and verb provide English sentences with their structure that allows the reader to comprehend a central meaning. What is your point?

      • Citizen
        August 11, 2010, 7:39 am

        The subject noun is Witty himself, and the verb is his POV. He’s riding his trusty hobby horse on the heads of the abstract Palestinian children, telling you that MOST here simply spill unearned contempt on Israel, and try to dismember its innate legitimacy–all sans any useful proposals for eventual peace. The point is he’s winsome WITTY, not s**tty SERENDIPITY.

    • eljay
      August 11, 2010, 7:46 am

      >> … that will not accept Israel at the green line …

      You and Israel really should make the “better wheel” and give “Israel at the green line” a try before dismissing it as unworkable. The current “Israel wherever the fuck it wants to be” isn’t working out too well, so what have you got to lose?

  3. wondering jew
    August 10, 2010, 4:29 pm

    Why is it a smear to say that advocates of BDS wish for Israel to disappear? Many of the advocates propose a one state solution which is precisely that- the fulfillment of the wish of the disappearance of Israel.

    (The advocacy of the right of return is taken by most Israelis as an advocacy of flooding Israel with enough Palestinians to turn Israel into a state that is no longer Jewish and thus the disappearance of Israel. It can be argued that this advocacy is not for the disappearance of Israel per se, but only might be feared to lead to the disappearance of Israel.)

    • potsherd
      August 10, 2010, 4:57 pm

      BDS is a tactic. Tactics don’t have goals.

    • Citizen
      August 10, 2010, 6:00 pm

      Last time I looked South Africa was still there–didn’t they hold the world soccer games there recently? Wasn’t South Africa subjected to BDS?

      • lysias
        August 10, 2010, 6:38 pm

        The end of Jewish supremacy in Israel would no more mean the disappearance of Israel than the end of apartheid in South Africa meant the disappearance of South Africa. Or than the Catholic emancipation of 1829 in the UK meant the disappearance of the UK. Or than the end of Jim Crow meant the disappearance of the American South.

    • RoHa
      August 10, 2010, 7:50 pm

      The smear lies in the phrase “the disappearance of Israel”. This phrase can give rise to images of Iraq-style death and destruction. (And Zionist propagandists will help to conjure up such images.)

      Since that is not what is intended, the phrase is misleading.

      • wondering jew
        August 10, 2010, 8:10 pm

        Roha- If they would say instead “the dissolution of Israel” this would be more accurate, I admit.

      • RoHa
        August 10, 2010, 8:24 pm

        Or perhaps “the reformation of Israel”, or “the rehabilitation of Israel”.

        (Hint: “If they said” is more accurate English. No “would” in the “if” clause.
        You can correct my Hebrew grammar any time I try to write in Hebrew.)

      • Richard Witty
        August 10, 2010, 8:35 pm

        If by reformation you mean, change in policies, law, practices, then we agree.

        If by reformation you mean, maximalist (illegal) interpretation of right of return, then we disagree.

      • wondering jew
        August 10, 2010, 8:37 pm

        RoHa- Sorry if and when my English might suck from time to time. (that’s supposed to be an exaggeratedly badly written sentence.) By the way since I know you are interested in the nationality question, I just came across an essay by Ami Isseroff that might be of interest.
        link to

      • RoHa
        August 11, 2010, 5:45 am

        Thanks. I’ll read that. I notice from the abstract, though, that it refers to “the right of self-determination of the Jewsih people”, so I suspect I will have some disagreement with the implications drawn from the analysis.

      • Citizen
        August 11, 2010, 7:43 am

        Witty, on what legal basis do you label an interpretation of right of return “illegal?”

      • Psychopathic god
        August 11, 2010, 9:14 am

        the link quote Judah Halevy:

        “Belief in the “myth” of Jewish origins in Zion is evident in the medieval poetry of Yehuda Halevi, the messianic movement of Shabtai Tzvi and myriad other sources. It was not Herzl in the nineteenth century who wrote:

        How shall I render my vows and my bonds, while Zion still lies beneath the fetter of Edom, and I am in the chains of Arabia?

        It was not written in Zand’s beloved Yiddish, either. It was Yehuda Halevi, the Spanish Jewish poet, who wrote it in Hebrew, about 800 years before the supposed “invention” of the Jewish nation by Zionists.[12]”

        Is that the same Halevy who wrote extensively about Khazaria, and contemplated that, by the conversion of the Khazar people to Judaism, the monarchical and messianic ambitions of the Jewish people were validated?
        Halevey extended that thought: it it has come to pass that the Jews ARE intended by god to be a ruling people, why are we Jews in Spain mere functionaries, court Jews in the highest levels of government in Spain, yes, but we are not sovereigns over Spain. Khazaria signals to us that god intended that we should be sovereign. . . (or so Dr. Ruderman explains and interprets Halevy).

      • sherbrsi
        August 11, 2010, 3:56 pm

        If by reformation you mean, maximalist (illegal) interpretation of right of return, then we disagree.

        How do you propose a “minimalist interpretation” of a right? The selective provision of rights is the very basis of apartheid.

        As long as the ingredients of self-delegitimization exists in Zionism and its supporters, it will be so delegitimized.

    • Shingo
      August 10, 2010, 9:37 pm

      “Why is it a smear to say that advocates of BDS wish for Israel to disappear?”

      Mainly because it is false, in the same way that criticism of Israel is a call for it’s destruction.

      Is it not a smear to euqate Zionism with white supremacism?

    • syvanen
      August 10, 2010, 9:52 pm

      WJ before launching into my criticism, I want to say that I think your contributions to this site are positive in the sense that they advance the discussion. You do articulate a fear (and it is a rational fear) that Israelis do feel. However I am offended by things like:

      advocates of BDS wish for Israel to disappear?

      In my case absolutely not true. Israel with its Jewish majority deserves to continue as a recognized state. Unfortunately, the state of Israel has embarked on an expansion plan to include the West Bank in their state. This produces a major contradiction — it cannot do this and also maintain a Jewish majority and at the same time maintain its democracy. You seem to be opposed to this expansion as much as I am, but the undeniable fact is that Israel is in fact expropriating the West Bank into Israel. This is not even debatable at this point– we all see the house demolitions, the seizure of land by the settlers, the destruction of Palestinian villages. You seem to be opposed to these policies. But they continue regardless of what you or I wish. At this point the only tactic, short of all out war, is BDS in order to communicate to those who support the expansion that it cannot continue. One thing I do know is that you have no political plan that can stop the current expropriation of the West Bank.

      • Citizen
        August 11, 2010, 8:00 am

        I have a two-step plan to stop the Israeli expansion going on daily: (1) BDS, and, if a strong BDS still fails, the harsher deprivation: (2) cut off aid to Israel (as the usual suspect US congress people are proposing now regarding aid to Lebanon). Witty, though he says he’s against continued Israeli expansion, is dead set against both of these options. He’s like an enmeshed mother enabling her wayward and dangerous son, the bully of the neighborhood. It’s hard not to conclude the neighborhood does not really exist in mommy’s loving mind.

    • annie
      August 10, 2010, 11:16 pm

      wj, friedman says Israel’s colonial settlements in the West Bank are suicidal for Israel as a Jewish democracy.

      you should be inquiring about israel’s ‘wish for Israel to disappear’.

  4. yourstruly
    August 10, 2010, 4:33 pm

    Good news, this recognition by a Zionist institution that Israel’s in trouble unless it changes its behavior towards the Palestinians. What this signals to those of us who support justice for Palestine is full speed ahead with BDS, and that the settler-state (not its people) are soon be relegated to the dustbin of history, to be replaced by the re-emergence of Palestine, a nation based on one equals one with liberty and justice for all.

    • Citizen
      August 10, 2010, 6:27 pm

      Well the US is not there yet; instead of cutting off aid to Israel, we are cutting off (much less) aid to Lebanon–how’s that for a quick congressonal response?
      America cuts funding to Lebanese army after Israeli clash
      Two key Democrats, Nita Lowey and Howard Berman, announced they were holding up $100 million (£63 million) that has been approved for Lebanon’s army but not yet spent.”This incident was tragic and entirely avoidable. US assistance is intended to enhance our safety and that of our allies. On August 3…

      • Miss Dee Mena
        August 11, 2010, 8:02 am

        And Iran has already offered to fill the gap as I strongly suspected they would. Smart move democrats. Your game of blackmail appears to be backfiring and could come back to bite you on the arse.

  5. morris
    August 10, 2010, 5:15 pm

    Gaza survived the Israeli wall. Israel will run circles around the BDS, with their ways, they’ll have plants at the head of all the BDS movements. I got a comment saying Gaza now has a Shopping Mall. What we are all oblivious to is the social engineering aims, to conquer Islam ant turn the inhabitants into consumers (and more).

    The enforced obsession of Zionism
    link to

    • lysias
      August 10, 2010, 6:41 pm

      The British habitually infiltrated and neutralized Irish revolutionary groups, until Michael Collins found a way to circumvent this practice: he made use of an informant at the heart of Dublin Castle, the center of British rule in Ireland, so he knew in advance everything that the British proposed to do in Ireland, and he knew who the British informants were.

  6. Les
    August 10, 2010, 5:15 pm

    The recommendation that Israel build a “firewall” against delegitimization reeks of the faith the French had in the strength of the Maginot Line.

  7. VR
    August 10, 2010, 6:52 pm

    Did the “delegitimization” cry stop yet? No, I didn’t think so. When you have no where else to go it will soon rise to the shrill cry about antisemitism. Deligitimization is to nation of Israel what antisemitism is to individual incidents of resistance against Zionism, when used by Zionists.

    Front organizations abound saying what Israel should do, do the “recommendations” get applied? They never have, it has only gotten worse. These organizations are as good as the left/right paradigm proposed by Israeli supporters, just as good as democrats and republicans (or left and right) in the USA, while the occupation continues and worsens (or like in the USA where the Obama administration feigns change while pushing full steam ahead with the Bush agenda).

    • VR
      August 10, 2010, 7:30 pm

      Or, “where do we apply the makeup so we look good,” rather than any substantive change.

      • MHughes976
        August 11, 2010, 4:44 pm

        ‘Control of the Palestinians’ is the thing which is and is increasingly recognised as being screamingly illegitimate. Reut’s proposal to ‘end’ it could be interpreted in many ways. But there is no way not involving mere pretence and lies which does not involve the absolute end of the Jewish majority institution, though of course the new and legitimate Palestine should have a flourishing Jewish element.
        Squeezing the Palestinians into a small remnant of the former Palestine and ‘demilitarising’ them, ie keeping them under control, is not an option to be considered seriously if legitimacy is really the end in view.

  8. thankgodimatheist
    August 10, 2010, 6:55 pm

    Uri Avnery on the Reut Report:

    link to

    • potsherd
      August 10, 2010, 7:22 pm

      Funny, I might have thought US assistance was to bolster democratically elected governments. Like Lebanon’s.

      • potsherd
        August 10, 2010, 7:22 pm

        oops, wrong place for this reply

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