Why I’m for boycott

Israel/Palestine
on 121 Comments
proxy
Qalandiya checkpoint, West Bank, Occupied Palestine (photo Activestills.org)

This is a great week in New York because the idea of boycotting Israel is in the news, and many people will become informed about the issues. The usual grip of the Israel lobby over the conversation has been loosened, and two boycott advocates will be speaking at Brooklyn College on Thursday. Shades of the anti-apartheid movement re South Africa.

I am for boycott because I have many times observed conditions under military occupation in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and Gaza that reflect apartheid policies effected by Israel. I have seen ethnic cleansing, village demolitions, collective punishment, suppression of demonstrations, confiscation of land, hateful checkpoint systems fit for livestock, and violent targeting of civilians, and all these policies carried out on an ethnic basis. If you were Jewish, it wouldn’t be happening to you. If you were Jewish, you would be able to go to the Mediterranean Sea that you can see from your rooftop. But you’re not Jewish, so you can’t get out of the West Bank. Noam Sheizaf and Henry Siegman have both stated that Palestinians have no rights in the West Bank; and they are two Jewish writers. Palestinians who experience these conditions go further. Whenever I visit Palestine, I spend a lot of my time weeping; and I reflect that I have supported boycott in conditions that were less oppressive– California migrant harvests, for instance.

The conditions I’ve observed are revolutionary conditions: they are the tinder of violent uprising and annihilationist dreams. Any people subject to these conditions would take up arms. I know that New Yorkers would. And Palestinians have taken up arms many times, and violence has never served them. And that is why I am for boycott. Boycott is painful but it is nonviolent. And we need a nonviolent solution to the tyranny that exists in Palestine. A nonviolent solution is highly unlikely, but it is the best hope; and boycott has the potential to isolate and punish the Israeli regime in such a way that it might begin to transform itself, and that international human-rights norms will at last apply.

But I am American, and I am for boycott because of the American paralysis over the issue, best demonstrated by the Chuck Hagel hearing last week. Our political parties have an inability to talk about Palestinian conditions frankly. Hagel’s words about Palestinians being treated like caged animals were stuffed down his throat, and no Democrat could speak up for those views. Our politics are broken on this issue. Four years ago I was in Cairo and sat in the audience as Obama spoke of Palestinian humiliations and declared, The settlements must end. The young people in the audience cheered him, their faces were lit with smiles. Four years on that policy is a shambles; Obama has walked away from his words, the settlements go on unabated. When liberal Zionists say that Obama must pressure Israel, they ignore this political wreckage. Why is he going to change now and pressure Israel when the lobby has handed his head to him (and Netanyahu) over the last four years? When governments fail to act on crying injustices, the people must act, people of conscience, like us. When the United States government was controlled by the slave power in the 1840s and 50s, abolitionists pushed the country forward, they changed the American discourse. I do not seek the violence that ended slavery, but I am a fellow traveler today to the abolitionists of the Israel/Palestine conflict. I think BDS is a popular movement, and it can force governments to act. I don’t believe that Israel can continue to be a Jewish state when 20 percent of its citizens are non-Jews. I don’t believe that the two-state solution is still viable; I want to see a peaceful transition to a democracy, perhaps involving binationalism, or federation as initial steps.  

I have avoided all discussion here of cultural and academic boycott, anti-normalization measures, and the desire some have expressed to transform Israel with a flood of returning refugees, to revolutionize 1948. I am sometimes troubled by the rhetoric of the camp I follow, but I am a fellow traveler, and I know as Tony Judt knew 10 years ago (and as Charles Dickens knew in 1842, when he republished abolitionist tracts) these people are on the right side of history; and as to the right of return, it is very difficult to visit an ethnically-cleansed land, Israel, and see it market itself as a European high tech country and also a fantasy of Jewish power, and know that it does so on the ruined villages of people who live a few miles away, even as it invites Jews from around the world to “return” there. That is the return that most disturbs me as a Jew, the injustice I see before my eyes.

Omar Barghouti once said to me, If you want to boycott an egg, we want you to boycott that egg. That is now my slogan. I welcome all who would seek to punish Israel’s behavior in the occupied territories by doing something. Governments have failed to do anything. Boycott is my way of taking action about a human-rights calamity that is perpetrated in my name, as an American and a Jew.

121 Responses

  1. matt
    February 5, 2013, 9:54 am

    Great post, Phil.

    • Citizen
      February 5, 2013, 1:57 pm

      Yes, Phil is brave–and, as he knows, on the right side of history.

      • Kathleen
        February 5, 2013, 6:48 pm

        Phil is great even though he is part of the better late than never crowd but has certainly stuck his neck out in a big big way. Let’s not kid ourselves it was tough and costly for Vanessa Redgrave, Said, Art Gish, President Jimmy Carter Ilan Pappe, Norman Finkelstein and those who stuck their necks out decades ago on this issue. Still costly the last 5-10 years for those jumping on this movement bus and doing an incredible job. But lets not make martyrs out of them please. Some of these individuals are the very people who propped the Israeli government up for decades some through their silence, some through economic support

  2. bintbiba
    February 5, 2013, 9:56 am

    Your passion jumps off the page (screen) ,Phil!!
    I am in tears .
    What you say touches the depth of my being. Thank you.
    And as to the abuse and recrimination you are about to receive, I pray my heartfelt,irreligious sincere prayer to the Unknown ,for you, and yours, to be protected from calumny and insult.

  3. Dan Crowther
    February 5, 2013, 9:57 am

    Grrrrrrrrreat essay, Phil!

  4. Chu
    February 5, 2013, 10:17 am

    At this point in time, a boycott seems like the only logical option. Israeli leaders know they are abusing their political power, having a sub-class of people that they treat like animals in Gaza or the West Bank. And Palestinians have had to deal with the loss of their towns, neighbors and family for decades – so, ask yourself who we should be siding with.

    And at this point in history, the world is seeing that the US government representatives can be hired to work for the state of Israel. Just watch the Hagel hearing to understand how scurrilous and craven the lot of United States Senators are.

    The U.N. decision to recognize Palestine in November 2012 overwhelmingly voted to reject settlements by recognising Palestine as a state (138-9 vote, with 41 abstentions). World opinion is clearly against this systematic destruction of Palestinian statehood by the state of Israel. The vote symbolised a positive direction that no Israeli lobby could interfere with.

    The fascist-like sympathizers for Israel , many in AIPAC’s portfolio, have the bully pulpit now, but why shouldn’t they be challenged on a boycott? In the end the boycott will strike fear into the heart of the Jewish state, ultimately causing them to hasten a solution to the ongoing criminal action of settlements and human rights abuses.

    • seafoid
      February 5, 2013, 4:20 pm

      Say Jewish ethics is a sofa. Zionism is a termite that has been eating up the inside of the sofa for the last 60 years or so.

      The sofa still looks like a sofa but please don’t sit on it

      • Chu
        February 6, 2013, 9:31 am

        And most of the distant audience watching the performance know the couch is ruined, except for those who are on the stage, and behind the stage.

  5. pabelmont
    February 5, 2013, 10:20 am

    Thanks, Phil.

    A word about why I am for boycott of all things Israeli (and not merely things somehow directly related to occupation).

    I am for boycott in order to create a countervailing force to Israel’s power to act criminally and with impunity. I see civil society BDS as a preparation for nation-state BDS, without which I don’t see how Israel can be brought to heel.

    I want the most powerful possible sanctions against Israel to be defined and promised by as many nations as possible, and as near simultaneously as possible, but only to be employed in the event that Israel fails to comply with international law and conventions and agreements in a manner and on a time-table set forth in advance by those nations which define and promise the sanctions. I talk about this in here at Option Two.

    I don’t know of anything that Israeli Jews can do in Israel (or Palestine) that they cannot do anywhere else (say NYC) but two: visit or reside in the actual land (to which in my view they have no other claim than the power that emanates from the barrel of a gun) and the VERY IMPORTANT POWER TO ACT CRIMINALLY WITH IMPUNITY.

    Jews can act “European” in NYC or in Europe. Jews can “do” high-tech in these places. Jews can be religious in these places (and the really religious, or, that is to say, the really Talmud respecting, find the gathering of Jews in The Land to be an abomination). Jews can write books and poetry and music anywhere. Jewish musicians can play concerts anywhere. Jews are safe nowadays and the old argument of a need for a safe haven is preposterous today. Ask any of those fanatics trying to unhorse the Brooklyn College BDS meeting if they want to move to Israel “to be safe”. The Dersh, bless him and keep him, prefers life in Cambridge.

    The oboist Josef Marx, who is not well known to non-oboists, played in the Palestine Symphony when it was a (presumably) mostly Jewish orchestra during the Mandate, but moved to and stayed in NYC. Einstein (better known) did not want to live in Israel and lived his life out in Princeton, NJ. The almost unknown local NYC politician Dov Hikind prefers NYC. It is really safe here for Jews.

    But Jews cannot run around firing Uzis at people here in NYC, or in Europe. The power to act criminally and with impunity is only available to Jews in Israel.

    It should not be available there or anywhere.

    So, about that power to act criminally and with impunity.

    I don’t say that anyone should have LESS power to act criminally and with impunity than anyone else: Jews, or any group of Jews, should have as much of this power as Al-Qaida or Ba’athists or Christians or professional orchestra musicians — BUT NO-ONE SHOULD HAVE THESE POWERS. And no-one should act to bestow or to continue these powers. Not on Jews in Israel. Nowhere.

    Why whole-Israel BDS? First, because Israel as a whole, and all its Jewish people, profit from its crimes and participate in them. When Israelis drink water from the West Bank aquifer, they are drinking stolen water (and participating in the process of starving the Palestinians for water). When the IOF fails to prevent crimes by settlers (and fails to prevent the crime of settlement), all Israel is guilty. If all Israeli businesses now operating in the West Bank and Golan went out of business tomorrow, BDS against mere occupation-business would cease, but the occupations would continue.

    Second, because Israel is a democracy and unless the entire electorate suffers from BDS, there will be no electoral opposition to the establishment’s take-no-prisoners approach to peacemaking and law-abiding. So, in my view, BDS against Israel is intended to cause discomfort, and later to cause suffering, widely among all the people. Until Israel does what the authors of the BDS action demand. Which — I am persuaded — is merely to comply with international legal and human rights standards applicable to all countries.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius
      February 5, 2013, 12:28 pm

      Well put. It’s become increasingly impossible to maintain the position that ‘ordinary Israelis’ ‘want peace’ and are ‘against the settlements’. If so, they’re awfully shy about making themselves heard. Perhaps BDS will give them a required nudge in the right direction.

    • Citizen
      February 5, 2013, 2:12 pm

      @ pabelmont

      It’s annoying to say the least that everyday Iranians are suffering from the economic sanctions imposed by the West, led by USA, when, more than arguably Jewish Israelis have more of a real democracy than any Iranian, when Iran has no nuke bombs, and yet is a member of the NNPT while Israel has nuke bombs enough to threaten the EU and is NOT a member of the NNPT. In this context, additional to the de facto lack of civil rights in Israel behind the green line, and offering no civil rights to the natives of the territories it brutally occupies, it’s really hard for me to see any objection to non-violent BDS on all of Israel. There is no logic in being anti-BDS under these real circumstances–neither for American politicians or Israeli ones. There is only bribery and the paranoid notion Gentiles are always born with jew-hatred ready to pounce out at first opportunity. The creed is in the deed, on all sides.

    • Mooser
      February 5, 2013, 2:28 pm

      “It is really safe here for Jews.”

      As far as I know Pabelmont, the US government has no idea what religion I am, and better still, doesn’t care. I’m no safer than anybody else, as far as religion goes. I am safe here because religion is not a part of my political identity, my relation with the state.
      That is the principle which keeps us safe.

      • Citizen
        February 9, 2013, 5:37 pm

        @ Mooser
        Who is “us?” Muslim Americans R not being kept safe by said principle. And look at the appointed leaders in HMS spying on America’s community. What a Jewish American synagogue put up with that for a minute? But you know that, right?

    • jewishgoyim
      February 7, 2013, 10:23 pm

      Pabelmont, you say: “A word about why I am for boycott of all things Israeli (and not merely things somehow directly related to occupation).”

      Is Phil merely for boycott of things somehow directly related to the occupation? I’m not quite sure. Can somebody clear that up for me? I’m not too sure about where the BDS stands on this matter. And if I’m not mistaken, Phil is endorsing BDS, right?

      • Citizen
        February 9, 2013, 5:45 pm

        @ jewishgoyim
        BDS is against the land-grabbing illegal settlements outlawed at Nuremberg & thereafter by the international community, the brutal Israeli occupation (open air Israeli prison of Gaza), and Israel’s attack on internationally legal ROR for Palestinians and their spawn. BDS is also for Jerusalem as an international jurisdiction, not a jewish israeli jurisdiction.

      • jewishgoyim
        February 9, 2013, 8:33 pm

        Well thank you but my doubts were more about the scope of what Phil and/or BDS are suggesting we boycott: “Israel proper” or economic activities by Israeli interests in the occupied territories?

  6. Bill in Maryland
    February 5, 2013, 10:23 am

    Thank you so much Phil for this beautiful and inspiring writing:

    …it is very difficult to visit an ethnically-cleansed land, Israel, and see it market itself as a European high tech country and also a fantasy of Jewish power, and know that it does so on the ruined villages of people who live a few miles away, even as it invites Jews from around the world to “return” there. That is the return that most disturbs me as a Jew, the injustice I see before my eyes.

  7. yourstruly
    February 5, 2013, 10:27 am

    “but we all have bosses who don’t always get it right” – tj simers, sports, today’s la times –

    getting it right?

    as equals?

    no other way?

    time’s running out?

  8. eljay
    February 5, 2013, 10:39 am

    Well said, Mr. Weiss. You have my respect.

  9. HarryLaw
    February 5, 2013, 11:40 am

    pabelmont, “why I am for boycott of all things Israeli” I agree with you 100% and as our own Denis Healey [Labour] once said of the rich “they must be squeezed till the pips squeak. Until they comply with International Law.

  10. ritzl
    February 5, 2013, 11:41 am

    :)

  11. just
    February 5, 2013, 12:02 pm

    What a beautiful post, gift and truth.

    Thank you, Mr. Weiss.

  12. David Samel
    February 5, 2013, 12:45 pm

    Beautifully articulated statement, Phil.
    Among the many irritating anti-BDS arguments is that there are worse regimes out there who are not being similarly targeted. Most BDS opponents fully support Israeli and US actions that are far more destructive than BDS. In their view, it is perfectly OK for the US to wage war in a half dozen countries and impose crippling sanctions on Iraq or Iran or Cuba, or for Israel to occasionally kill 1000 people and frequently kill smaller numbers, but the non-violent tactic of BDS against Israel is a crime that threatens a second Holocaust.

    • Citizen
      February 5, 2013, 4:20 pm

      Those who say Israel is singled out for criticism never acknowledge that Israel is the # 1 recipient of US foreign aid in US history & without strings attached, & with interest, despite Israel’s rouge conduct, especially the settlements, which are against US policy; nor do they acknowledge that the 2nd recipient is Egypt but only so long as it goes along with Israel’s conduct–at the moment, there’s bills in congress to cut off Egyptian aid on the mere suspicion Egypt will not continue to aid Israel’s hegemony in the Middle East. Why shouldn’t taxpaying Americans demand more from Israel towards peace? This escaped the inquisitors of Hagel.

    • Donald
      February 5, 2013, 5:53 pm

      Good point, David.

      Along the same lines I saw someone commenting at another blog a few months back ridiculing the notion of trying Israelis for war crimes–nevermind that Palestinians are put in prison for terrorism (sometimes real, sometimes not). Many Americans and Israelis, including some who call themselves liberal, have a vast sense of entitlement. It’s inconceivable to them that an American or Israeli might rightly be subjected to one percent of the sort of coercion they take for granted we can inflict on others.

  13. Walid
    February 5, 2013, 12:49 pm

    Great post by Phil. Also 100% with pabelmont, especially his description of how ALL Israelis are guilty and that it’s Israel itself that should be boycotted and not just the settlements stuff.

  14. Newclench
    February 5, 2013, 1:10 pm

    Phil writes: “I have avoided all discussion here of cultural and academic boycott, anti-normalization measures, and the desire some have expressed to transform Israel with a flood of returning refugees, to revolutionize 1948.”

    That’s a wise decision. By doing so, you make a lot of sense that might otherwise be tarnished.

    A program for ensuring a desirable Jewish future begins with ending the oppression of Palestinians and transforming the relationship. Our future is mortgaged to the Palestinians at this point, and redeeming that note is the Jewish task of the 21st Century.

    • Mooser
      February 6, 2013, 2:30 pm

      “A program for ensuring a desirable Jewish future begins with ending the oppression of Palestinians and transforming the relationship. Our future is mortgaged to the Palestinians at this point, and redeeming that note is the Jewish task of the 21st Century.”:

      You are right, Newclench! I am going to call a bankruptcy lawyer (and start salting away assets) today. Do you have any idea what we owe? Do you figure we can pay it, or do you have a plan to get the US to do it?

      Or you figure it’s just matter of chump change, and a slightly more generous attitude?

      • Mooser
        February 6, 2013, 2:34 pm

        “Our future is mortgaged to the Palestinians at this point….”

        You know what, Newclench? I’ve been in that position before. I bet if we do a walk-away, leave the keys in the door, and leave, the Palestinians won’t come after us for the mortgage payments. They will probably just re-posses the place, call in one of those disaster-cleaning firms, and call it a wash.
        Cayuse I’m not sure we can afford the payments. (or can we, uh…. get them down?

      • Mooser
        February 6, 2013, 3:21 pm

        “and redeeming that note”

        Could you think of a more insulting way of putting it? Why don’t we just throw a fistful of dollars out the window for the Palestinians to scramble after?

      • Citizen
        February 9, 2013, 5:51 pm

        @ Mooser
        “call in one of those disaster-cleaning firms”

        Oh, you are talking about the US taxpayers, of course. Or do you mean to include the German taxpayers too?

  15. hophmi
    February 5, 2013, 1:22 pm

    In this essay, you fail to answer the main question: what impact a boycott would have on the situation. You seem to advocate it as something to do, and little else. In fact, it is not only painful. It is counterproductive. At the very least, you need to articulate why a boycott would accomplish your aims.

    “I welcome all who would seek to punish Israel’s behavior in the occupied territories by doing something.”

    Is it about punishment? Or is it about peace and justice? I think your focus may be in the wrong place.

    • Walid
      February 6, 2013, 1:05 am

      hophmi, given the choice of boycotts or violence to get Israel to budge, any reasonable person would opt for boycotts. It’s regrettable that Israel does not leave room for any other option. Yes, Israel deserves all the punishment that could be thrown at it.

    • Cliff
      February 6, 2013, 4:23 am

      As opposed to your belief, hoppy, that Palestinians simply ‘get back to the negotiating table.’

      At present there is no point for Palestinians to talk to the Israeli representation.

      And as to your comment about ‘punishment’.

      Punishment though? Not in the tone you suggest, insofar as tone can be observed on paper.

      I think it’s about accountability where there is none. The reverse of ‘punishment’ in our reality is that Israel is allowed to do as it pleases without any reproach. And it has does so. This is the real world, not some fantasy.

      You want Israel to be treated with kids gloves while they commit their crimes against the Palestinians.

    • Elliot
      February 6, 2013, 9:32 am

      @ Hophmi
      Israel – like other regimes addicted to their own power – are likely to only change in response to pain. Israel tries violence first. When that blows up in their faces, they become more careful, or even try diplomacy. Israel’s failures in Cast Lead and the Mavi Marmara debacle made it more cautious the next time round.
      You’re right that the non-violent tactic of BDS will take time to have an impact. BDS alone will not spare the Palestinians further rounds of aggression from the State of Israel. Bbut you got to start somewhere. At the very least, the Palestinians’ non-violent resistance highlights Israel’s violent and unjust occupation. And it gives people – including Israelis and Jews – around the world – a way of acting in solidarity with the Palestinians living under Israeli military control.

    • Chu
      February 6, 2013, 10:30 am

      What’s painful is watching the theft of Palestinian property for decades in the name of the ‘security state’ coming to claim it for their defense.

      What if your shetl was destroyed by invaders and your house and neighborhood were destoyed, forcing you and your parents to live in a prison camp called Gaza? That is real pain, not your selfish worry of potential pain that may come from non-violent means. Please spare us of your guilt trip.

      But you never know boy, a little pain may be a benefit to the bankrupt morals of the Jewish state at this moment in history.

    • Mooser
      February 6, 2013, 3:28 pm

      “Is it about punishment? Or is it about peace and justice?”

      Gee Hophmi, I thought you were a lawyer or something? Justice means that sometimes the guilty are punished. Peace comes from applying that justice, possibly even punishment, to the right people, for the right reasons.

      “It’s counter productive”

      You mean, if we buy less from Israel/Zionism, we’ll actually be buying more? Interesting point of view. Does it involve theosophy, or the fourth dimension?

    • JennieS
      February 6, 2013, 3:41 pm

      BDS Israel is, like the anti-apartheid movement, an international citizens movement whose aim is to change the behaviour and attitude of the government and Jewish citizens of Israel and their supporters, state, group or individual, worldwide. I hope it grows and succeeds, in spite of the pain, because the alternative is much worse. The zionist project to create a Jewish state was begun at the height of European colonialism, when it seemed that European domination of non-European territories and populations would be permanent. By the time Israel actually became a state that domination was fading fast, and, inspite of the power of the US, EU etc is still declining. Israel is not an isolated Australia or New Zealand rather it resemles British India or French Algeria, now buried in the pages of history, whose passing was anything but peaceful. Israel cannot exist as it is, where it is without the support and protection of great powers whose influence is in rapid decline.

    • chinese box
      February 7, 2013, 7:28 am

      hophmi,
      History has proven that the only time that Israel starts to negotiate in earnest is when it’s hit hard (usually by force). Their near loss in the Yom Kippur war resulted in Camp David. Oslo was the result of the first intifada and a recession in Israel. They left southern Lebanon after a war of attrition with Hezbollah. The only exception I can think of may be the withdrawl from Gaza (not sure of the history behind that).

      Instead of criticizing BDS, you should be happy that the Palestinians have moved on to non-violent resistance.

    • jewishgoyim
      February 7, 2013, 10:17 pm

      It’s about punishment.

      • Annie Robbins
        February 7, 2013, 10:30 pm

        it’s about pressure. the carrot diet isn’t working.

    • Citizen
      February 9, 2013, 5:56 pm

      @ hophmi
      Is It about punishment or peace and justice?
      Ask the former apartheid government of S Africa, or Jim Crow leaders.

  16. dbroncos
    February 5, 2013, 2:09 pm

    Thanks for the essay, Phil. Well said.

  17. yonah fredman
    February 5, 2013, 2:38 pm

    Those who wish Israel to change its policies must propose steps that would pressure Israel to do this. I wish Israel to change its policies, not to the extent that Phil Weiss does, but I have no solid proposal that would lead to such a change.

    I think the issues of academic and cultural boycott are important. I think they are largely negative. If one believes in dialogue then I believe one must view the academic and cultural boycott with negativity.

    Similarly in one of the posts yesterday Phil pointedly stated that the Nazi analogy can not be eliminated from the discourse. Maybe so. But that does not mean that the Nazi analogy is useful. Please recall that Nazi Germany was defeated by force of arms and unconditional surrender. If that is your vision for the last act, then analogize away. If that is not your vision, if you believe in dialogue, which the Nazi analogy freezes in its tracks, then avoid the Nazi analogy.

    I have recently been called a Nazi here in the comments section in order to justify a commenter’s refusal to respond to a question. (“abteilung commander” or something of the sort). The Nazi analogy can be studied, but the Nazi analogy leads to the Nazi epithet and to think that the Nazi analogy leads to dialogue is stupid. There are choices we must make if we believe in dialogue.

    I happen to think that Phil’s dedication to dialogue is as yet unproved. His presentation at the Brech Center last September seemed to indicate that dialogue was not a very high priority of his. One had to use a magnifying glass and a fine comb to find glimmers of respect for the concept of dialogue.

    • Cliff
      February 6, 2013, 4:24 am

      Dialogues with whom?

      What has dialogue produced other than a temporary freeze of settlement activity?

      You’ve gone full Richard Witty, never go full Richard Witty.

      • yonah fredman
        February 6, 2013, 5:43 pm

        Cliff- Dialogue between Israeli citizens or Jewish supporters of Israel and Palestinians or those who support the Palestinian cause.

        In the about section of this web site there are listed 4 principle aims. The second stated aim (apparently ahead of #3 and #4) is:

        To publish a diversity of voices to promote dialogue on these important issues.

        You may agree or disagree with the web site’s aims, but there is “dialogue” right there, although maybe I am interpreting it too loosely. Do you agree with this aim as stated, or would you limit the aim substantially.

        If this is still too ephemeral for you, let me suggest this segment which was on PBS newshour last night and tell me whether you are in favor of Palestinians participating with Daniel Birnbaum (and Miriam Said) or against. There’s a specific case so I cannot be accused of not being specific enough.

        link to pbs.org

      • Cliff
        February 9, 2013, 12:19 pm

        Wondering Jew

        What proposal do you have? How would this ‘dialogue’ between Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs (Israeli citizens and non-citizens/colonized serfs/etc.) take place? What would be the topic?

        Where would it take place?

        There is dialogue between ‘you’ and ‘them’. It’s been happening for a long time.

        What I find particularly amusing about your tempest in a teapot nothingness is that you use this ‘lack of dialogue’ meme as a way to denigrate Palestinian agency.

        You call Barghouti arrogant. You call SJP ‘Stalinist’. I mean, if all these Palestinian components are unworthy of your graciousness and hospitality, then perhaps you should talk to yourself, looking in a mirror. You’re the only one who can save us Yonah.

    • Chu
      February 6, 2013, 10:36 am

      ‘ I have no solid proposal that would lead to such a change’

      Wow, that was some great liberal Zionist rhetoric. I hear
      the faint whispers of Richard W. throughout your vague
      non-proposal.

      • Cliff
        February 6, 2013, 10:43 pm

        Wondering Jew has fully assumed the role of Richard Witty. It’s hilarious. But at least Richard Witty was Richard Witty.

        Someone acting like Richard Witty is so sad.

      • yonah fredman
        February 7, 2013, 4:22 pm

        When I use the term dialogue I mean dialogue between Israeli citizens or Jewish supporters of Israel and Palestinians or those who support the Palestinian cause.

        In the about section of this web site there are listed 4 principle aims. The second stated aim (apparently ahead of #3 and #4) is:

        To publish a diversity of voices to promote dialogue on these important issues.

        You may agree or disagree with the web site’s aims, but there is “dialogue” right there, although maybe I am interpreting it too loosely. Do you agree with this aim as stated, or would you limit the aim substantially.

        If this is still too ephemeral for you, let me suggest this segment which was on PBS newshour last night and tell me whether you are in favor of Palestinians participating with Daniel Birnbaum (and Miriam Said) or against. There’s a specific case so I cannot be accused of not being specific enough.

        link to pbs.org

        link to pbs.org

      • Cliff
        February 9, 2013, 12:20 pm

        Please think of more point-scoring time-wasters, Wondering Jew.

        You seem spent and scattered. This BDS non-controversy controversy has got you all worked up.

    • Mooser
      February 6, 2013, 2:38 pm

      “There are choices we must make if we believe in dialogue.”

      And which choices, Yonah, are you prepared to make? As far as I can see, you haven’t (I don’t know if you can, and don’t want to be unfair) even made the choice to speak like an adult, or be honest.

    • American
      February 7, 2013, 8:28 am

      “There are choices we must make if we believe in dialogue.”…Yonah

      The world has dialogued with Israel for 65 years. Time’s up.

    • Cliff
      February 9, 2013, 5:50 pm

      Wondering Jew,

      In all of history, when has a colonizing power been persuaded to stop it’s colonial policies and give up a large amount of it’s power , through solely the virtue of ‘dialogue’?

      You are ridiculous.

    • Citizen
      February 9, 2013, 6:00 pm

      Similarly in one of the posts yesterday Phil pointedly stated that the Nazi analogy can not be eliminated from the discourse. Maybe so. But that does not mean that the Nazi analogy is useful.”

      If the shoe fits, wear it. Can one be more useful than that?

  18. Mooser
    February 5, 2013, 2:41 pm

    When I’m feeling bad (given my eensy-beensy purchasing power) that I can’t boycott Zionism any more than I have for the last 40 years, I cheer myself up by reminding myself “I’m a Jewish American, not an Americanish Jew”
    It helps, some.
    I swore before I was twenty I would never ever set foot in the place, like I could afford to go there.

    • seafoid
      February 6, 2013, 4:49 am

      “I swore before I was twenty I would never ever set foot in the place”

      That reminds me of what the Fink said at Waterloo U -“it was precisely because of what my mother and father taught me..” He would have known at 20 that Zionism was a crock. And Amira Hass has written about values passed on as well. But so few others…

      • Mooser
        February 6, 2013, 2:47 pm

        Seafoid, when I was a child, I of course, had a kid’s understanding of Zionism, which was trivial. But when I reached (as such I did) man’s estate (or at least man’s “shoddy suburb”) I found nothing except political absurdity, religious perversion, cultural tragedy and crime, crime, crime in it. YMMV of course, but it never had any attraction for me.
        And I think the price to get out of it may be much more than Newclench anticipates shelling out. Of course, I think he expects to borrow on speculative equity. He may be in for a rude surprise.

      • seafoid
        February 8, 2013, 3:54 pm

        . I think Zionism was too good to be true. Like Madoff. Fraudulent. And sleazy. Even the way the devoted talk about Israel. So unsure. Hence the obnoxiousness. And the elite will shaft them all in the end. Caught in a bad romance.

      • Citizen
        February 9, 2013, 6:07 pm

        @ seafoid
        Your analogy to Madoff is very astute. Many jews are annoyed that Madoff preyed on fellow jews, and many gentiles are annoyed he preyed on them. So what do we together with the likes of Saban and Adelson et al? Is there anything viable against both in light of American political campaign finance laws? I don’t see it.

  19. Kathleen
    February 5, 2013, 3:24 pm

    “these people are on the right side of history”
    As Edward Said knew and wrote and talked about 40 years ago. As Vanessa Redgrave knew and spoke out about 37 years ago. As Art Gish knew, saw and wrote about 30 years ago. The Palestinians are on the right side of history. Israel is on the wrong side of history and American Jews and others who have been complicit for decades through their silence have been and many continue to be on the wrong side of history. I have always thought it was so sad that it often takes seeing it to believe what has been going on for decades, written about, talked about and yet many have closed their eyes. So great that Phil has had this epiphany the last 10 years and has done so much to inform others about the appalling and Israeli systematic ethnic cleansing of Palestinians with the economic support of US taxpayers and many fundamentalist Jews and Christians

    • Mooser
      February 6, 2013, 3:38 pm

      “So great that Phil has had this epiphany the last 10 years and has done so much…/…Christians”

      I agree with you Kathleen, I’ll take it, and like it, whenever, wherever and just about however it occurs. And you know what just hit me? I thought my anti-Zionism was pretty solid, and complete. But I’ve just spent the last , oh, about two years, maybe three, being informed by people about the I-P issues and situation, people whose epiphanies may have come about much, much later than mine. (Although I usually have cacophonies) But their resources and commitment were greater, and they’ve been informing me. Some of them, possibly weren’t even born when I had my views formed. I don’t think seniority is all that relevant.

      • Kathleen
        February 9, 2013, 12:12 am

        “seniority” is extremely relevant. Especially when those who came out decades ago Vanessa Redgrave (70’s), Said 60’s70’s), Carter 70’s, 80’s,_ Finkelstein (80’s) took far more risk, were much much braver and more honorable than those who stayed silent for decades knowing what was going on and stayed silent or kept their heads in a hole in the ground on purpose and are now jumping on the better late than never crowd like Beinart. Who Phil has tried to paint as so “brave” this is hooey.Or others trying to paint Phil as so brave. Now I know he is taking risk but getting paid and much safer now to take these stands than three decades ago. Much safter. Beinart is jumping on because if he doesn’t he knows he has absolutely been on the wrong side of history and knows it. He also knows Israel is sinking their own ship and is trying to stop that from happening. I don’t believe for one minute that he has had some compassionate epiphany. For Beinart this is about saving Israel not the Palestinians. There is a real effort that I sense at times here at Mondoweiss to paint this past complicity has non existent. Which is bullshit. If I did not sense such a deep avoidance of this at this site and in Occupy Aipac etc ( I have heard some of the younger Jewish activist talk as if the movement began and ends with them) such egotistical spinning needs to be tamped down in any movement. Honor those who came before. They were the truly brave and honorable individuals and then move on but always honor them. Real risk that they suffered from both economically and personally. Talk with Redgrave and Finkelstein they both got hit hard by the right wing radical Zionist. Hit hard

        Naomi Klein, Medea, Phil etc are doing amazing work on this but were silent for decades. The shift that has been taking place is wonderful exciting and full of compassion. But let’s not act like these same folks have not been knowingly silent. In fact complicit via their silence. They knew what was going on

      • Philip Weiss
        February 9, 2013, 11:49 am

        I had no idea what was going on, any more than any other American. The first country I visited in the middle East was Syria, in 2006. Never called to Israel till I began to understand what Zionism was…

      • Cliff
        February 9, 2013, 12:15 pm

        I think people like Naomi and Medea were silent for so long for the reasons we know well by now. They’re Jewish though and in Naomi’s case, she’s fairly well-known in intellectual circles.

        When did Glenn Greenwald begin talking about this issue?

        I give props to people who never flinched in the presence of pressure to conform.

        That being said, it’s only human and I would never place Naomi or Medea in the company of a intellectual crook, clown, hack, etc. like Rachel Maddow.

      • American
        February 9, 2013, 12:35 pm

        “I don’t believe for one minute that he has had some compassionate epiphany. For Beinart this is about saving Israel not the Palestinians. “..kathleen

        I see in Beinart that ‘fatal narcissism” I see in all zionist. Bottom line, regardless of how he portrays I/P-US-Is —it is all about Zionism and Israel ‘succeeding’…. keeping the Zionist project and Jewish homeland “alive”. That is his ‘core’ and it just comes thru, he is so deep into the zionist ‘homeland’ belief he is totally unconscious of how apparent it is to anyone. For zionist quite literally ‘no one else exist’ or counts on the issue of Israel.
        However in defense of Phil I have to say I had never heard of zionism or paid any attention to Israel till stumbling on it after 911 in my ME research. Now, we could say maybe as a Jew he should have known about it whereas non Jews like myself had no reason to be interested….but given the way the US media and the Jewish orgs presented all news of Israel and ‘left out’ a true picture of Israel it’s not impossible at all for a ‘not part of organized zionism’ Jew to have been ignorant of the true story of what was going on.
        I do agree that the– ‘Vanessa Redgrave (70′s), Said 60′s70′s), Carter 70′s, 80′s,_ Finkelstein–and former politicians like Paul Finley and others were way ahead of everyone and the first heros in the Israel problem…they really deserve medals for stepping out on this long ago.

      • sardelapasti
        February 9, 2013, 2:22 pm

        Let’s not exaggerate, many of these are quite young and some didn’t have much time to learn. But those who were gullible enough to fall for Zionism once should certainly be invited to review their nationalist illusions, too.

      • Citizen
        February 9, 2013, 5:01 pm

        When Redgrave was nominated for an Oscar in 1978, for her role in Julia, members of the Jewish Defense League (JDL), led by Rabbi Meir Kahane, burned effigies of Redgrave and picketed the Academy Awards ceremony to protest against both Redgrave and her support of the Palestinian cause.

      • Citizen
        February 9, 2013, 5:13 pm

        Also, Phil Weiss, if you were too young to appreciate the likes of V Redgrave, when did you start appreciating Cynthia M’s view on Israel? link to theinfounderground.com

      • Kathleen
        February 10, 2013, 9:45 pm

        Lots of excuses for the complicity of silence. Lots of excuses. Granted I know some just ignored without digging very deep but I believe there have been million of Jews and others alike who have known what was going on and did nothing. Stayed silent.

      • Kathleen
        February 10, 2013, 9:48 pm

        Seriously Phil you went to Harvard and you were never aware of what was going on in this decades long conflict. Hard to believe. Really hard to believe. I am not saying anything about visiting. But there has been a fair amount out there from Said, Carter, Pappe, Finkelstein etc and you can actually say you were unaware of what was going on in that conflict. One does not have to visit to know and respond. Look I honor what you have been doing (and for some of it getting paid) But I honor those who came out on the front lines very early on for no pay and announced to the world what has been and continues to go on. Just really hard to believe you were that unaware

      • Kathleen
        February 10, 2013, 9:52 pm

        Activist who have become involved in this issue over the last 10 or so years are standing on the shoulders of moral giants in my book. Redgrave, Said, Finkelstein, Carter, Art Gish etc People who came out early at very serious personal and financial cost. I honor them and will always mention them. It does matter

      • Citizen
        February 11, 2013, 10:03 am

        @ Kathleen
        What would Goldhagen say?

    • Citizen
      February 9, 2013, 6:11 pm

      Yeah, Kathleen, it’s not like the IsraelFirst pink elephant has not been there for so long. Hard to blame Dick and Jane when our mainstream media has been so obstructive in getting factual data to them. US campaign finance policy and US mainstream media are the culprits. What can we do about them?

  20. piotr
    February 5, 2013, 3:56 pm

    There is no solution for Israel and Palestinians without sanctions on Israel. Israeli Jews do not have any concept of justice of fairness other than what they can get away with. They are not unique in that respect, except for what they can actually get away with, thank to USA. Incidentally, practically any country that defenders of Israel cite as “what about” is subjected to sanctions, starting with Syria. Israel is unique in having “get out of jail free cards” in unlimited supply.

    In good old days that liberal Zionists remember it was not that clear that Israel can get away with everything, but in the internal Israeli discourse liberals lost all credibility: there is no peace process, settlements are expanding, oppression is relentless, and no “international isolation” that would bite. So Likud and the far far right are wise and the liberals are stupid as the things stand now.

    But this is not like conflict of Armenia and Azerbaijan than can go on forever. Israel is maintaining and increasing oppression over millions of people. In the meantime, supplying Israel with “get out of jail free” is not cheap, and the direct aid to Israel is the least of it. Boycott is the only route toward a better resolution.

  21. American
    February 5, 2013, 4:16 pm

    BDS it is and it should be on Israel proper…the home of the settlements.
    I’m against collective punishment in general against any country but recongize in most conflicts there is no other way.
    Except there is another way in this one.
    All that is necessary is for the US President to throw politics to the wind and announce to Israel and to the US congress that he will sign no more bills that include aid to Israel because it is a threat to US security interest in ME stability and the US UN Amb will veto no more resolutions against Israel…and stick to it thru ensuing fire storm.
    But no, for lack of the guts, fortitude and ethics to do that I/P will have to play out the hard way and a lot of people will suffer and pay the price.
    Isn’t that the way it always is.
    So unnecessary.

    • Citizen
      February 9, 2013, 6:23 pm

      @ American

      I guess Obama thinks that if he did what you suggest, he would face both parties top leaders pushing against anything he wants for what in his mind amounts to laudable redistribution of wealth towards black Americans. See how it works?

  22. sciri21
    February 5, 2013, 4:54 pm

    If the choice is between collective punishment of the Israeli people and the status quo, I’m leaning toward the latter. But I would be willing to consider B.D.S. efforts that are targeted against those who are complicit in specific Israeli policies.

    • Mooser
      February 6, 2013, 3:45 pm

      “But I would be willing to consider B.D.S. efforts that are targeted against those who are complicit in specific Israeli policies.”

      See how nicely this all works! Since I, as many will when they find out more, consider Zionism the “specific Israeli policies” Israelis are “complicit” in, I won’t buy anything even remotely connected with the place. In fact, I’ve got a great idea. I think everybody should do that, and then we’ll leave the Israelis to sort it out amongst themselves. Call me when you think you have a product I’ll like, and I’ll be glad to consider it, if for no other reason than tribal unity.

  23. seafoid
    February 5, 2013, 5:04 pm

    “boycott has the potential to isolate and punish the Israeli regime in such a way that it might begin to transform itself, and that international human-rights norms will at last apply.”

    It is worse than a regime, actually. It is the mindset of an entire people. It’s not as if the IDF are torturing anyone Jewish or there is any meaningful Jewish underground in contact with the outside world looking for air support to overthrow the goverment. The occupation is by the people for the settlers.

    Economic plenty has shut most Israeli Jews’ eyes and ears to what their own people are doing in the territories. Many don’t care- the money flows and there is a housing boom and everything is dandy. BDS is the bucket of water in the face that has been coming for a long time.

    Self regulation by Israeli Jews has failed. Jewish sovereignty in Erez Israel has failed.

    link to irishtimes.com

    “a study conducted by Robert Thornberg in 2007, which came up with six reasons why children do not help when another classmate is in distress. These include:

    Regarding it as insignificant, not serious, or routine.

    Feeling it has nothing to do with them.

    Not wanting to add to the embarrassment of the victim or be embarrassed themselves.

    Being under pressure to do other things.

    Everyone else appearing to be doing nothing.

    Believing it is someone else’s responsibility”

    What are Yossi and Yossetta Israeli’s excuses?

    First they came for the Gazans, and I did not speak out–
    Because I was not a refugee.

    Then they came for the West Bankers , and I did not speak out–
    Because I was not a Palestinian.

    But then BDS came for my bank account and my job and I started to join the dots.

    • Mooser
      February 6, 2013, 2:54 pm

      “It is the mindset of an entire people.”

      I think in any regime like Israel’s, an awful lot of the people in Israel, even ostensible Zionists, are better classed as victims, rather than worrying about the “mindset of an entire people” if you talk about “the mindset of an entire people” than Zionists can talk about the “Palestinian culture of hate”, can’t they.

      • seafoid
        February 9, 2013, 5:22 pm

        They are probably victims but in the hierarchy of the system of oppression they are privileged . They are indoctrinated from a very early age . Of course there are those who think differently but it is a vicious ideology that does not tolerate much in the way of intelligent questioning .The longer they defer engaging with reality the harder the mindset change will be. They are decent people mostly but they live in a dysfunctional system . And many will be shafted as per communal history .

      • Citizen
        February 9, 2013, 6:37 pm

        @ Mooser
        You have often dabbled here in the mindset of the American people, Mooser. You feel free to do so. That’s because you live in America, where working class gentiles protect your rights literally. They should do so. But please clarify what you mean when you say, “an awful lot of the people in Israel, even ostensible Zionists, are better classed as victims.”

      • Antidote
        February 10, 2013, 12:48 am

        “an awful lot of the people in Israel, even ostensible Zionists, are better classed as victims.”

        sure, and Americans are victims, too. Democracy is tough. Only Germans are collectively guilty because they voted for Hitler. As are their children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren

  24. Elliot
    February 5, 2013, 6:28 pm

    Thank you, Phil. Simply said and powerful.

  25. sardelapasti
    February 5, 2013, 9:00 pm

    Nice to know that you can limit your boycott to an egg. But. Here we are on Mondoweiss. Its founder will know better than us how inclusive it should be (judging from the people writing articles, pretty inclusive) but we somehow have to discuss a little more detail.
    “Whatever you want, from a single egg produced in a settlement all the way to everything, including sports or science or literature, by any citizen of the Zionist entity” is good as a general principle for inclusiveness, but not as a program. If the goal is to starve the invaders psychically more than economically (given the guaranteed US and other international economic support), a token settler-produced kosher egg at a time is not a likely weapon; the egg cannot be more than introductory.

    • Mooser
      February 6, 2013, 2:57 pm

      “Whatever you want, from a single egg produced in a settlement all the way to everything”

      What is he supposed to do, say he’ll come beat them up if their boycott is insufficient? I think quite a bit of Phil too, but he’s probably better off not ordering people around.

      • sardelapasti
        February 8, 2013, 1:59 am

        Mooser – “What is he supposed to do, say he’ll come beat them up if their boycott is insufficient?”

        Hmmm… not such a bad idea. You’ll go far, young man. I’d suggest that he live up to some stereotype that I won’t name, and as soon as one egg is offered start haggling for two.

      • Citizen
        February 9, 2013, 6:49 pm

        Yeah, ordering two eggs is not the same as beating up one.

    • JennieS
      February 6, 2013, 11:30 pm

      A good deal of the B & D part of BDS needs to be aimed at people and companies outside of Israel. Large scale refusal to buy goods or services from companies which operate in the Occupied Territories (or even within Israel) will change the mindset and political orientation of said companies. If 1 in 100 US citizens decided to newly boycott Israeli goods and services that would be a drop of 3 million customers, and don’t forget BDS is a worldwide movement. Folks with pension funds or students at universties can pressure administrators to divest fron unethical investments. Etc, etc … It is ultimately more important to whittle away at the economic and political support from the US, EU, Canada etc than to go after Israel and its Jewish population directly.

      • sardelapasti
        February 7, 2013, 5:13 pm

        JennieS: “… needs to be aimed at people and companies outside of Israel.”
        Well said, Jennie. In fact, these are Sanctions that can be immediately implemented by the people, with maximum effect. As for the Zionist entity itself, I still insist that boycott of academic, sportive and other international contacts is the most effective part, not the commercial one.

  26. yourstruly
    February 5, 2013, 9:52 pm

    support bds?

    justice for palestine?

    begetting peace on earth & goodwill to all living beings?

    if by popular demand?

    no reason why not?

  27. radkelt
    February 6, 2013, 12:14 am

    Lovely post, moving….. you dropped a balm Phil

  28. Stogumber
    February 6, 2013, 5:30 am

    As a way of communication, a “boycott” can transport two completely different messages.
    First message: I simply don’t want to become an accessory in your activities because they are wrong for me. That’s the kind of “boycott” I can support.
    Second message: I want to extort you to doing what I think is right. That’s a kind of “boycott” I don’t support. I don’t want to be extorted, so I will NOT try to extort anyone else.
    So, what kind of message do you want to send? And what kind of message does the opponent party get?
    Note: I’m quite insensible to justification by historical success, like “I’m on the right side of history”. (If you look for my reasons, look in Karl Popper’s book on “The open society and its enemies”.)

    • Citizen
      February 6, 2013, 1:03 pm

      @ Stogumber

      I think it’s really stupid as a practical matter to make your distinction. How do you separate a boycott intent on ending activity that is wrong according to you and the inherent “extortion” in any boycott?

      • Mooser
        February 6, 2013, 3:06 pm

        Excatly, Citizen! Don’t think of it as “extortion” Stogumber, just think of it as the most gentle persuasion which could possibly work. We don’t live forever. And gee, doesn’t “extortion” imply that the demand is criminal? Does BDS demand that Israel break laws, or follow them? And “extortion”, if I’m not mistaken (always a possibility worth investigating) also implies that the demand is excessive. I don’t see how any of that could apply to the boycott of the Zionist regime in Palestine.

      • Stogumber
        February 7, 2013, 6:07 am

        I see that there is no difference in practice, but there is a difference in intention and in communication. People will bear non-collaboration in another way than extortion.
        Communication is important, because we need, at last, a solution where not, simply, one party wins over the other, but both find a kind of consensus.

      • Citizen
        February 9, 2013, 6:54 pm

        ” I see there is no difference in practice.” If the shoe fits, wear it. That’s a consensus.

    • piotr
      February 10, 2013, 4:55 am

      “Second message: I want to extort you to doing what I think is right.”

      The whole premise of Law is to do exactly that. However, international law functions at the sufferance of superpowers, and USA does not tolerate any enforcement attempts directed at Israel.

  29. ahadhaadam
    February 6, 2013, 5:34 am

    Just one objection Phil, to this great essay. “to transform Israel with a flood of returning refugees,” – here you are taken by ZioSpeak, which equates a rightful return of refugees to their homes with an infestation of the Jewish State with invading goyim.

    Supporting the inalienable right of refugees to return to their homes does not stem from a political agenda of transforming Israel. There was never any legitimate Jewish majority in the land but rather one that was achieved through ethnic cleansing so a return to the pre-ethnic cleansing population makeup of the land is not “transforming Israel” but rather compliance with international law, the Geneva Convention and UN resolutions – I don’t see a reason to make exceptions.

    • Citizen
      February 6, 2013, 1:13 pm

      @ ahadhaadam
      Phil could argue with your interpretation of what you quoted from him, but I see your point. Nobody likes “a flood” of anything. Phil could have said, “to transform Israel by the rightful return of refugees with a recognized voice of their own.”

      • Mooser
        February 6, 2013, 3:11 pm

        “return of refugees with a recognized voice of their own.”

        Just a quibble, Citizen. But hows about “with the same rights as anybody else in the region” (or whatever organising principle, state, country)?
        “With a recognised voice of their own” sounds an awful lot (to me, but Jews have been tricked by this before, so we’re sensitive) to “separate but equal”.

      • Citizen
        February 9, 2013, 7:01 pm

        @ Mooser
        I don’t get your thinking logic, Mooser. Please spell it out.

  30. mcohen
    February 6, 2013, 6:43 am

    sanctions did not bring about change in south africa.american banks stopped the loans and the military lost the battle in angola.more importantly the fall of communism meant that the army was no longer needed to counter communism.the west could afford regime change.
    sanctions against israel will have to be more sophisticated but follow the same route.american banks must stop the loans and arab countries must step up military pressure in the form of low level on going skirmishes slowly increasing to continous attacks on israels borders
    this phase can last up to 5 years and should bankrupt israel and force it to accept one man one vote which will bring about the “mandela”moment
    in south africa the phrase that did the trick was “vote yes for meaningful change”
    lets not kid ourselves about what bds really means because israelis will resist and in the end it will come to the scenario i described
    above

    • Citizen
      February 6, 2013, 1:23 pm

      “the fall of communism meant that the (Apartheid Afrikaner) army was no longer needed (by the US/West) to counter communism.the west could afford regime change.”

      As an actual strategy, yes. The US does not need Israel as it once needed both Israel and apartheid S Africa–during the cold war, to counter the USSR.

      Israel is actually of no geo-strategic importance to the US, except in the sense if the US drops its $ & diplomatic-cover support (at the UN), Israel will try to ingratiate itself with China, Russia, India, Brazil at the expense of the USA.

      • piotr
        February 7, 2013, 8:29 pm

        This “China, Russia, India etc.” is an argument raised in Israel, but it borders with hilarious. Can you imagine China or Russia vetoing a resolution in UNSC because of kvetching?

        Israel could do better by improving relationship with Iran.

        Without American umbrella, oppression of Palestinians and expansion of settlements will find no supporters (with a possible exception of Canada).

      • Citizen
        February 9, 2013, 7:13 pm

        @ piotr

        Israeli/AIPAC kvetching does not stop at the US border. China & Russia will count on it for their own agenda.

    • Mooser
      February 6, 2013, 3:15 pm

      “this phase can last up to 5 years and should bankrupt israel and force it to accept one man one vote which will bring about the “mandela”moment”

      Good! I’d like that, but satisfying my personal desire for poetic justice isn’t the job of world politics. If you want to go an easier route, let us know. It’s up to you. It’s been, oh, roughly sixty years, and nobody lives forever, I may be reincarnated as a worm, but I’ve had plenty of time in this/i> life to make up my mind about Zionism.

      • Mooser
        February 6, 2013, 3:48 pm

        “but I’ve had plenty of time in this/i> life to make up my mind about Zionism.”

        But not enough to learn to close my italics tags. Really shows you something, donnit? Yup, it was that easy.

  31. Chu
    February 6, 2013, 10:43 am

    Israel needs new leaders that could see the world and their relationship to it, with a fresh set of eyes and make new trades with people far & wide across this planet. Stop bilking the US military and their people because blowback is around the corner. They need to press the reset button.

    A weaponized ethnic micro-state in the Middle East will seem ridiculous in throughout the next 50 years. They should think about the Barcelona model and not the Guantanamo model for their enduring image to the rest of the world.

  32. AhmadVittorio
    February 7, 2013, 8:30 pm

    Thank you Phil, that is a great post and BDS needs all the support that it can get specially from Jewish people of conscious. Enough is enough, there should never be allowance for genocide and ethnic cleansing for anyone Jew or otherwise. Palestinians have suffered for close to 70 Years now just because their tormentors are Jews. It is about time that JEWS stand up and collectively say NOT IN OUR NAME. even though this seems like a day dream but we can dream can’t we? May we live to see justice prevail in Palestine, and if that means the end of the racist cultist “Jewish” state of Israel, then that is not only acceptable but is very WELCOMED. No half way solutions will ever do. Jews, Muslims, and Christians should live as COMPLETE EQUALS, anything less than that is UNACCEPTABLE!

  33. yrn
    February 9, 2013, 3:36 pm

    There was an interview with the distinguished Spanish writer Antonio Molina who came to Israel to get a special Honor, he lectures in NY University and of course got many Email and letters, one envelop even directly to his work Mail box in the University and he describes those acts as the lowest Bully’s.

    That’s the reaction to the boycott

    • Annie Robbins
      February 9, 2013, 4:12 pm

      do you have a link? also,i don’t understand the objection to the university email address. isn’t it common for people to email someone’s work? especially if the address was available online.

      • justicewillprevail
        February 9, 2013, 5:32 pm

        link to electronicintifada.net

        Why would he be bothered by emails and letters to a public address?

      • yrn
        February 10, 2013, 8:51 am

        I am talking about using his Worker Mail Box “Not Email Address” that is for use only for Employees issues, that someone pushed a threatening letter into.
        You will have to watch the interview in Israel TV…….

      • Annie Robbins
        February 10, 2013, 3:32 pm

        that someone pushed a threatening letter into

        i wouldn’t support that, i doubt many would. that’s one person and doesn’t reflect the movement in general. that would freak anyone out. it’s not as bad as decades of oppression, apartheid, administrative detention etc etc but we can do better than hand delivered threatening letters. it also could have been a hoax to smear bds supporters. that’s not a usual MO, to say the least. besides, don’t they have video surveillance of those places?

    • Mayhem
      February 9, 2013, 6:26 pm

      The writer Antonio Muñoz Molina said that it is “deeply unfair” to boycott a country with a global society “as open and plural” such as Israel, in reference to those who have asked him to reject the 2013 Jerusalem Prize. Refer link to translate.googleusercontent.com

  34. Mayhem
    February 9, 2013, 6:03 pm

    I read Jerry Haber at link to thedailybeast.com where amongst other things he said

    Some opponents of BDS will object, “We have no problem with criticism of Israel, as long as it is constructive and recognizes Israel’s legitimate security needs. But BDS aims not only to weaken the state, itself an immoral goal, but also to delegitimize its very existence. Indeed, many who endorse the BDS movement are in favor of replacing the Jewish state with a secular Palestinian state. That’s what places it beyond the pale of respectable discourse at universities, and what makes it deeply offensive to some students, even if it is protected by free speech.”

    Arguing in this manner is troubling for two reasons. For one thing, it insinuates that the supporters of BDS hide their real agenda, the destruction of the State of Israel and the subjugation or exile of its Jewish inhabitants, under the cloak of human rights and international law. Second, it reads the desire to see a better regime or regimes for both Israelis and Palestinians as the wish to relegate the Jews to a second-class citizenship in a secular Palestine.

    Haber points out that the extremist character of BDS is troubling and provides no potion to ameliorate that serious concern. BDS is perceived to be about delegitimising and demonizing Israel with the underlying aim being the destruction of the state of Israel. It is therefore no surprise that supporters of Israel are dismayed about such negative, hateful tactics, while those, whose Jewishness or concerns about the viability of a Jewish identity are not particularly important to them, have no problem with Israel as it exists being dismantled.
    The so called Arab Spring makes it plain for all to see that elimination of Israel would just help to turn the Middle East into an Islamic hotbed. The advocates of BDS can’t see what would result from their efforts – fantasy talk is all too prevalent.

    • Annie Robbins
      February 9, 2013, 6:20 pm

      Haber points out that the extremist character of BDS is troubling

      he does not characterizes BDS as extreme, not once in the whole article.

      I suspect that the real reason for the Brooklyn College brouhaha is the belief among mainstream Israel supporters that those who support BDS belong to the extremist, loony fringe of Israel-haters.

      maybe you cannot see the distinction.

      I have written elsewhere about why liberal Zionists should consider supporting the global BDS movement. To the claim that the BDS movement is anti-Israeli I pose the question, “Was the BDS movement in South Africa anti-South African?”…… there is nothing odious or despicable about the goals or the tactic.

    • Cliff
      February 9, 2013, 6:21 pm

      LOL

      Haber is not saying that. He is speaking from the perspective of opponents of BDS. He himself is not opposed to BDS.

      From the same article:

      I have written elsewhere about why liberal Zionists should consider supporting the global BDS movement. To the claim that the BDS movement is anti-Israeli I pose the question, “Was the BDS movement in South Africa anti-South African?”

      For many whites and most Afrikaaners, and the South African government at the time, the answer would have been yes. For them, apartheid was an essential part of the South African regime. Dismantle apartheid, and the country, no matter what its name, would never be the same. Yet it was possible for those who opposed apartheid to contemplate a better place for all South Africans, blacks, whites, and colored. For them the BDS movement against apartheid was not directed against the South African people but against the policies of its government.

      The rest of your comment is the usual Zionist/Jewish supremacist tin-foil-hattery.

      Zionist Jews who are opposed to 1SS are similar to White Afrikaaners who didn’t want to give up their privileged status.

      In both cases, the more powerful group (‘White’/European; White Afrikaaners and Zionist Jews) were immigrants who stole the country from the indigenous population.

      The difference is that White Afrikanners didn’t have a successful propaganda campaign while Zionist Jews have the Israel Lobby, gentile guilt which they readily exploit, and the antisemitism slander.

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