Thomas Friedman occupies BDS

Friedman

Friedman

Thomas Friedman is in Ramallah on a mission. Apparently he has to sell the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement to the Palestinian National Authority. On repeated occasions the PA had announced it does not support the BDS campaign launched in 2005 by Palestinian civil society including labor unions, NGOs and student groups. The efforts of so many Palestinian volunteers and their international supporters are currently snowballing at a worrying rate, a much faster rate than the boycott against Apartheid South Africa did at a comparable time. It has become a veritable popular movement across the world. But Friedman ignores all of that and announces in his piece:

But this Third Intifada isn’t really led by Palestinians in Ramallah. It’s led by the European Union in Brussels and other opponents of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank across the globe. Regardless of origin, though, it’s becoming a real source of leverage for the Palestinians in their negotiations with Israel.

He thinks he can bribe all the BDSers by using the glorious name of “Third Intifada” and dumping it all in the lap of the PNA. What a low blow! What cleverness! He apparently doesn’t realize that a major worry of BDS activists that the PNA may undercut their achievements by signing some agreement that can serve as a fig leaf. Note that Freedman doesn’t mention BDS in his article, not once. He finds all kinds of culprits to blame it on, from Nelson Mandela to Ahmadinejad, but not Palestinians other than his hosts in Ramallah.

The man is a real con artist: Not only does he try to obfuscate the origin of the successful movement and the extent of its success but he tries to cut it down to acceptable proportions. Not only is BDS never mentioned by name but also it is pared down to one negotiable issue: the West Bank occupation and the fate of the settlements there. No right of return and no equality for the Palestinian citizens of Israel, the other two integral parts of the campaign that add further universality and international appeal to it. To Friedman the only Palestinians are the PNA and the only issue for them is the fate of the West Bank settlers. Pressure the PNA enough to scuttle that and all is well.

Let us hope Friedman’s readers have read Omar Barghouti’s piece in the New York Times from last Sunday.

The difference between real and imagined is clear.

About Hatim Kanaaneh

Dr. Hatim Kanaaneh is a Palestinian doctor who has worked for over 35 years to bring medical care to Palestinians in Galilee, against a culture of anti-Arab discrimination. He is the author of the book A Doctor in Galilee: The Life and Struggle of a Palestinian in Israel.
Posted in Israel/Palestine

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

  1. just says:

    “The man is a real con artist”. And he gets paid handsomely for his spin and lies and justifications for mad war by the US and Israel.

    I avoid him like I do a serious bout of food-borne illness. Thanks Doc!

  2. Sorry but why is someones support for BDS now bad?

    • LeaNder says:

      habitual opposition can get tiring, why don’t you pass on to somewhere else?

      Although it is probably purely rhetorical: NOT support for BDS is bad, BUT denying Palestinian agency in it may well even be borderline racist.

      If there hadn’t been a multitude of Palestinians that brought their story to us over the decades, forcing us to both take a closer look and read up on the issue, BDS wouldn’t have fallen on such fertile ground as in fact it does.

      To ascribe agency purely to European banks and pension funds but leaving out all these voices, not only the most prominent spokes person Barghouti in this context is the same tired Orientalism Israel is trying to feed the West not only on the Palestinians but they surely are the top source of 20/21st century Orientalism and/or top experts on the “Arab mind”.

      Obviously Friedman is a propagandist, down to the number of 350,000 settlers. He eagerly grasps the official Israeli differentiation between Palestinians expropriation in and around East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Helpful distinction from his perspective, diminishes what we are talking about. Why doesn’t someone ask him, if this suggests he thinks the settlements in and around East are a completely different issue, and there shouldn’t be a East Jerusalem capital after all?

      Still interesting to watch these careful hasbara maneuvers.

      Let us hope Friedman’s readers have read Omar Barghouti’s piece in the New York Times from last Sunday.

      Depends on their psychological make-up, I guess. Maybe some look for spiritual guidance on the issue first?

    • Kathleen says:

      I don’t get the sense that Friedmann’s alleged support for BDS is what is being said is “bad.” It is the way he is spinning the efforts of BDS and his unwillingness to call it the BDS movement “Third Intifada.” Then goes on to take the time that some might be using BDS as a way to cultivate anti-semitism while not mentioning that there are decades long human rights and social justice abuses. Many believe war crimes committed by Israel. And clearly does not have the cajones to mention that Israel’s illegal actions have had and continue to have a sustained destructive effect on U.S. National Security.

  3. Krauss says:

    Note that Freedman doesn’t mention BDS in his article, not once.

    Smart catch, Friedman is trying to blunt the movement by absorbing its arguments, turn it into a “liberal” Zionist proposition, remove any language that speaks its name – BDS – as well as trying to isolate Palestinians and/or make them invisible and saying it’s all the work of Europeans.

    This is how a con artist goes to work, who is trying to shield Israel from the rightful criticism that is no longer possible to dismiss or ignore.

    (Also note that he is sympathetic to the BS propaganda lie that BDS is somehow “anti-Semitic” in “some” quarters. This is basically Alan Dershowitz speaking through the mouth of Friedman — they just might be the same person.)

    • LeaNder says:

      I agree, Krauss. Great analysis by Hatim.

      Since I first read his comment and then the two articles he refers to, I cannot even be sure if I wouldn’t have somewhat got into his verbal traps.

      Strictly now I wonder, if what caught my attention was somewhat related to what caught yours:

      Israelis are right to suspect some boycotters of using this cause as a cover for anti-Semitism, given how Israel’s misdeeds are singled out. But that doesn’t mean that implanting 350,000 settlers in the West Bank and turning a blind eye to dozens of wildcat settlements — that even Israel deems “illegal” — is in Israel’s interest or smart.

      I guess I will never forget the huge resistance/suspicion Sumaya Farhat-Naser had to overcome, when I first met her in connection on a book tour over here. So yes, the “anti-Semitism suspicion” quite possibly may have had a delaying effect, just as protecting Israel may have been related to it to a certain extend.

      Interesting too is the larger “morally secure” argument or juxtaposition. Seems this has really old roots in Zionist too.

    • Kathleen says:

      Yep soon enough Friedmann might say that he and Beinart started the BDS movement. That they were on the bus from the beginning. Just like this gal.

      47 years a slave: A new perspective on the occupation
      Very few struggles in history have centered on how a nation should treat a third group of people, but there are strong parallels between black slavery and Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.
      By Eva Illouz | Feb. 7, 2014 | link to haaretz.com
      1.572880 “The initiators and leaders of the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement are such respected academics as Judith Butler, Jacqueline Rose, Noam Chomsky, Hilary Rose and Larry Gross, all Jews. “

  4. American says:

    I dont think Friedman is the brightest bulb in the package but I wouldnt get all upset by not giving the Palestines the credit for BDS.. It might be ”slighting them” but saying that BDS is being led by the EU and other countries does imply ‘more heft’ in the BDS movement. And that is not meant to slight the Palestine efforts either—– but thats the reality in who has the most ‘power’ in BDS.
    And it does work to the Palestine goals and advantage to have more powerful countries seen as part of BDS.
    So although it may hurt some Palestine feelings to be left out of the credit for BDS, go with what carries the most weight in the I/P struggle.

    • And that is not meant to slight the Palestine efforts either—– but thats the reality in who has the most ‘power’ in BDS.

      more like that’s the reality of who tom thinks “has the most ‘power’ ” in his readership. but i think i agree w/ a point krauss made “Friedman is trying to blunt the movement by absorbing its arguments, ” he is trying to make it acceptable to his liberal zionist audience because he knows they will respect ‘european’ over ‘palestinians’. so where his intentions may be noble, his execution is racist and steeped in denial.

      and that paragraph stuck out like a sore thumb the first time i read it.

      • American says:

        ” he is trying to make it acceptable to his liberal zionist audience because he knows they will respect ‘european’ over ‘palestinians’. so where his intentions may be noble, his execution is racist and steeped in denial. ”…annie

        hummm…..I never seen any liberal zionist who have any respect for Europeans. When I use to read Open Zion their comments there typically refered to Europe and Europeans as age old anti semites just like the other Zios.
        He may have been being racist -wouldn surprise me –but the Zios he is aiming at I believe are going to be much inclined to reconsider their positions/demands when countries with more power than Palestine are involved with BDS.

      • Kathleen says:

        ” so where his intentions may be noble, ”

        I don’t buy it about Friedmann’s intentions being “noble.” link to mediamatters.org is a person who avoided serving in Vietnam yet pushed Iraq WMD lies hard before the invasion. Supported sending U.S. troops into Iraq and repeated the lie that the attacks on 9/11 were connected to Iraq. Why does anyone trust or read anything this guy says? Why do we celebrate or read these Iraq lie pushers?

        link to en.wikipedia.org
        “Some critics have derided Friedman’s idiosyncratic prose style, with its tendency to use mixed metaphors and analogies. Walter Russell Mead described his prose as being “an occasionally flat Midwestern demotic punctuated by gee-whiz exclamations about just how doggone irresistible globalization is – lacks the steely elegance of a Lippmann, the unobtrusive serviceability of a Scotty Reston or the restless fireworks of a Maureen Dowd and is best taken in small doses.”[27] Similarly, journalist Matt Taibbi has said of Friedman’s writing that, “Friedman came up with lines so hilarious you couldn’t make them up even if you were trying – and when you tried to actually picture the ‘illustrative’ figures of speech he offered to explain himself, what you often ended up with was pure physical comedy of the Buster Keaton/Three Stooges school, with whole nations and peoples slipping and falling on the misplaced banana peels of his literary endeavors.”[28]

        In a column for the New York Press, Alexander Cockburn wrote that “Friedman exhibits on a weekly basis one of the severest cases known to science of Lippmann’s condition,–named for the legendary journalistic hot-air salesman, Walter Lippmann, and alluding to the inherent tendency of all pundits to swell in self-importance to zeppelin-like dimensions.” Cockburn goes on to demonstrate how Friedman’s hubris allowed him to pass off another war correspondent’s experience in Beirut as his own.[29]

  5. amigo says:

    This spin doctor would have a problem if his name was “Freedman”.

    Another lying fake liberal.

  6. HPH says:

    I’m aware of many concerns about the columns by Thomas Friedman. I think he’s paid to express an opinion or fresh look at many issues. Sometimes he’s interesting and provocative. Other times he stimulates derisive responses. In this article, I thought he had a success with the highlighted paragraph in that he made me think about the role of the EU. The response by Dr. Kanaaneh had a similar effect. And his response was stimulated by the Friedman column. As they say, it’s all good.

  7. ToivoS says:

    The BDS movement has accomplished something that many supporters of Israel must find very troubling. BDS has basically put right of return back on the table. One thing that the Oslo process ending in the Taba summit in 2000 did was to make it appear that the Palestinians conceded on right of return. This was never officially relinquished by the PA but most analysts at the time felt that in a formal agreement the PA would accept some cosmetic actions that would never threaten the Jewish majority inside Israel.

    This was a concession that Israel has accepted and all talks since has been carried out with assumption that the PA had given up RoR. That seems to have changed. No thanks to the PA but Israel is now facing the prospect that they will get less today than they could gotten in 2000. Freedman must be hysterically worried about that development.

    • Sibiriak says:

      ToivoS:

      BDS has basically put right of return back on the table.

      Which table? It’s not on the Kerry/Israel/Abbas table. The upcoming U.S. backed “framework” will have no or minimal refugees returning to Israeli territory.

      One thing that the Oslo process ending in the Taba summit in 2000 did was to make it appear that the Palestinians conceded on right of return.

      They did.

      This was a concession that Israel has accepted and all talks since has been carried out with assumption that the PA had given up RoR.

      They have given up on it.

      That seems to have changed.

      That seems not to have changed. Do you have any evidence to the contrary?

      Israel is now facing the prospect that they will get less today than they could gotten in 2000.

      By all reports, the U.S. proposal will give the Israelis MORE than they would have gotten in 2000. Israel does not face the prospect of getting less than what will be in the U.S. proposal.

    • seafoid says:

      Toivo

      YESHA brought 1948 back. If there is no outlet for the people they will make one
      That is how this world works .

      zionists can tell themselves that history is over, that the questions are settled, that Jerusalem is eternal. They can build walls and drive roads through deserts, blow up hills, deny entry to undesirables, run Congress, hijack a great religion.

      But they can’t tell us how to think. And there are 7 bn of us

  8. bilal a says:

    The solution for Abbas is not in Brussells, or in Bienart New York, its within the Christian evangelical movement inside the Pentagon and Republican party, soon to be aware of Christopaths in Greater Israel and the diaspora.

    Christians in Jerusalem want Jews to stop spitting on them
    link to haaretz.com

    Laura (Ingraham) Hates Sarah (Silverman): Also, Jesus Gives Great Backrubs
    link to actadivrna.com

    • just says:

      I think it’s not just evangelicals, it’s American people in general that are largely uneducated about the real Israel or who just hate brown people– Arabs and others. Racism is alive and well here in the US. Hatred of those “over there” still runs deep post 911, thanks to the stoopid WOT that was ginned up by the media and the government and PNAC. That and proclaiming here, there and everywhere that Israel is our best, only friend in the region and more blah, blah, blah.

      I’m serious. We have our own hasbarists right here (like Friedman)– many of them telling us what to do……….from the very tipee- top.

  9. piotr says:

    If Friedman is a con-artist, he has an objective. The objective is hard to discern because his article makes very little sense, so one would have to unravel it by deconstructing the piece.

    So he came to Ramallah and discover two facts: (a) Third Intifada is under way (b) nothing happens in Ramallah (Friedmanologists may guess that the taxi driver was not chatty at all). Apparently, it is lead from Brussels (totally unclear how he concluded that, although there could be un-cited gossip from taxi drivers there) and makes Israelis uneasy (at least, the Finance Minister Lapid).

    Toward the end, the meandering piece regains Friedmanesque stride and explains what Israel would do if she were smart — while so far, she is not. This is the usual goal of Friedman: the idyllic vision of the universe in which the wisdom of Friedman is heeded. All of you, bow to Friedman!

    Mind you, Friedman has a rich wife and the fee collected for the column is probably a small augmentation of his allowance. What he needs is not money but the recognition, long overdue, of his superior intellect.

    • American says:

      piotr says:
      February 8, 2014 at 2:36 pm
      If Friedman is a con-artist, he has an objective. The objective is hard to discern because his article makes very little sense, so one would have to unravel it by deconstructing the piece”>>>

      Exactly. Articles from those like Friedman are never clear because they have to ‘cloak’ or use ‘code for their objective in writting the article to begin with.
      I’ve dispensed with reading that crowd for that reason for most part. Their meanderings never tell you anything except what they are trying to do…which is present Isr as less quilty and more reasonable than it is—-and as usual by attaching ‘negatives’ to the other side such as the use of “Third Intifada”.
      However….and without knowing his other real intentions….if I look at what he said about the EU I can imagine he might be ‘warning that actions against Israel could get bigger because of EU involvement.
      I dont care how liberal a zio or Israel defender or Jewish defender is or how much they want to see a settlement or peace in Israel they are absolutely incapable of writtng anything about it without trying to portray themselves and Isr as the conflicted nobles and the other side as the somewhat primitive savage.

  10. irmep says:

    The cat is out of the bag. Back in the day, Arnon Milchan claimed (and Friedman helpfully wrote up) that all of those nuclear triggers he smuggled to Israel could be used as “cholent warmers.”

    see: link to irmep.org

    Now Milchan wants overdue credit as an arch nuclear smuggler. How can Friedman spin that? Apparently he can’t, and has moved on to other projects.

  11. Walid says:

    “… It’s led by the European Union in Brussels and other opponents of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank across the globe. ”

    Putting aside his dubious intention for a second, what is it in his assertion that is not true? 28 European countries have collectively taken concrete steps to penalize the occupation, effective now, and in Omar Barghouti’s words this week, the economy of the settlements should be experiencing a 30% drop this year thanks to the EU restrictions, while most of 22 countries in the Arab collectivity are doing business with the occupier overtly or covertly and bending backwards to give Israel what it wants out of the Palestinian conflict. The Zionist mouthpiece is right in saying the Brussels crowd is leading the BDS activity.

    • Herb Glatter says:

      Omar Barghouti – BOYCOTT FOR THEE, NOT FOR ME. Barghouti was born in Qatar, grew up in Egypt and later moved to Ramallah (West Bank) as an adult. He holds a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Columbia University. Although Barghouti actively lobbies for worldwide economic, cultural and academic boycott of Israel, Barghouti himself holds a masters degree in philosophy (ethics) from Tel Aviv University.[1][2] When interviewed regarding his degree from Tel Aviv University, Barghouti commented: “my studies at Tel Aviv University are a personal matter and I have no interest in commenting.”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omar_Barghouti

      • Walid says:

        “… Barghouti was born in Qatar, grew up in Egypt and later moved to Ramallah (West Bank) as an adult. He holds a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Columbia University. (etc. etc. etc.)”

        Herb you are using a weak approach to discredit Barghouti. Millions of Palestinians were born outside of the Palestine that by force became Israel, but it doesn’t take anything away from him from being Palestinian and speaking on their behalf.

        • Shmuel says:

          Walid,

          The argument that BDS is not led by “real” Palestinians serves a dual purpose: 1) To attack the authenticity of BDS as representing Palestinian aspirations; 2) To preserve the useful stereotype of Palestinians as hate-filled terrorists or ignorant fellahin (or both). Smart, educated, articulate Palestinians who know what they want, pose an “existential threat” :-)

          • Walid says:

            “Smart, educated, articulate Palestinians who know what they want, pose an “existential threat”

            Shmuel, It’s appearing as if those that you described are an equally existential threat to the current Palestinian leadership. Makes you wonder why people like Hanan Ashrawi, Diana Butto, Michael Tarazi, all very eloquent and good negotiators are kept away, especially during crucial negotiations. There are loads and loads of educated Palestinians but also kept in the shadows. The failed team at Oslo is exactly the same team (minus Arafat) currently negotiating the supposed final deal. You have to be apprehensive if this time they brought a lawyer with them; at Oslo they didn’t bother.

          • Surely more well-educated Palestinians is a good thing.

        • Herb Glatter says:

          Barghouti discredits himself when he studied and received a master’s degree in philosophy (ethics) at Tel Aviv University in Israel.

      • Shmuel says:

        Ah, the old BDS as a religion argument. If PACBI (Palestinian Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel) hasn’t called upon Palestinians living in Israel or the OT to deny themselves whatever educational opportunities they may have, that is because doing so would not further the goals of the movement (so there, Zionists, we won’t get PhDs, that’ll show ya!) and would only hurt the Palestinians themselves and their struggle.

        link to pacbi.org

        BDS is not about avoiding ‘Zionist germs’, but a carefully planned campaign to bring about change by mobilising the international community. Sorry to disappoint you, but Palestinian self-harm is not on the agenda.

      • Perhaps more Palestinians like him would be a good thing for Israel?

  12. Hostage says:

    Apparently he has to sell the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement to the Palestinian National Authority. On repeated occasions the PA had announced it does not support the BDS campaign launched in 2005 by Palestinian civil society including labor unions, NGOs and student groups.

    That would only result in Palestine scoring an own goal for the Zionists. The US has laws which prohibit U.S. companies from furthering or supporting any boycott of Israel sponsored by the members of the Arab League. Palestine is a full member of the Arab League of States. The minute the Government of Palestine officially endorses, furthers, or supports the efforts of the BDS movement to boycott Israel, companies approached by the movement would become subject to onerous quarterly reporting requirements to the Office of Antiboycott Compliance (OAC) and companies or organizations that support the movement would be subject to tax penalties. Zionist hasbara would finally be able to truly claim that answering the 2005 BDS call to action is something corporations doing business in the USA are legally prohibited from doing and that activists are agents of a foreign state who should be registered.

    There is no US law against advocating BDS of illegal settlements in Palestine and Ramallah is already doing that.

    • just says:

      many thanks, Hostage.

    • Walid says:

      “There is no US law against advocating BDS of illegal settlements in Palestine and Ramallah is already doing that.”

      It’s doing a little more than that, a couple of years back, Abbas said he didn’t have a right to live in Safed, the town in northern Israel where he was raised, only to visit it, and that to him Palestine was the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital. Sure sounds like he said that for Palestinians to return to the former Palestine they’d be doing something illegal. That should set the record straight on what Ramallah expects for the RoR.

      The 2 US anti-boycott (implying of Israel) laws had been in effect for over 20 years and these never stopped any Arab country that was participating in the boycott. The few boycotting countries that were still holding out against Israel finally quit when the Oslo was signed and Saudi Arabia quit only in 2005 to validate its membership in the WTO. There are still a dozen or so Arab countries that don’t accept the Israeli passport and nothing is happening to them, so you can assume that the US would do nothing to Palestine, short of cutting funding, if it called for a boycott of Israel rather than just the occupation of the West Bank. Ramallah is not just calling for a boycott of settlement products, it’s actually against any boycott of Israel proper.

      • Hostage says:

        It’s doing a little more than that, a couple of years back, Abbas said he didn’t have a right to live in Safed

        You are being willfully ignorant. See Abbas: I wasn’t giving up right of return; I was just speaking personally link to timesofisrael.com

        FYI, Abbas claims that Palestine is a separate foreign state, based upon the 4 June 1967 borders, and that he is its President. That makes it all but impossible to sustain a personal legal right to return to Safad, Israel. For example, Michael Oren renounced his US citizenship to accept public office in another country. The fact that he is no longer the Ambassador of Israel, does not mean that he has a legal right to return to the USA.

      • Hostage says:

        There are still a dozen or so Arab countries that don’t accept the Israeli passport and nothing is happening to them, so you can assume that the US would do nothing to Palestine, short of cutting funding, if it called for a boycott of Israel rather than just the occupation of the West Bank.

        You’re changing the subject. If the Government of Palestine endorsed, supported, or furthered the boycott movement, the US Anti-Boycott Laws would apply legal prohibitions and tax penalties to American companies or organizations, not to the League of Arab States or Palestine.

        • Walid says:

          “You are being willfully ignorant… You’re changing the subject ” (Hostage)

          You are being unnecessarily and unbecomingly insulting.

          That wasn’t the first and last time Abbas put his foot in it and quickly retracted when some of it hit the fan. He was actually praised by Peres for it.
          It had been done again with the talks on returnees that he said were being misconstrued. When the Palestine Papers tell you that they were down to talking about between 5,000 and 10,000 returnees on a total stateless population of 2 million, you have to conclude that his words about not returning to Safed were nor mere personal reflections; the actual discussion as reported in Jazeera:

          “… In an email Ziyad Clot, a legal adviser to Palestinian negotiators on the refugee file, writes, “President [Mahmoud] Abbas offered an extremely low proposal for the number of returnees to Israel a few weeks only after the start of the process.”

          The papers also reveal that then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert proposed that 1,000 Palestinian refugees be allowed to return annually to Israel over a period of five years – totalling just 5,000, a tiny fraction of those displaced after Israel’s creation.

          On January 15, 2010, Erekat told US diplomat David Hale that the Palestinians offered Israel the return of “a symbolic number” of refugees.

          According to the documents, not only did Palestinian officials offer a low figure of returnees, the chief negotiator of the PLO, Saeb Erekat, said that refugees would not have voting rights on a possible peace deal with Israel.”

          link to aljazeera.com

          As to the second part of your apologia of Abbas, which has become a common occurrence here, during those 20 or so years that the official Arab League boycott lasted after the enactment of anti-boycott laws by both Treasury and Commerce, how many American companies were effectively penalized for dealing with the boycotting countries? American oil companies come to mind, along with General Motors, Chrysler and a many other US companies. How do you explain that Lebanon that still has a formal boycott of Israel policy in effect keeps getting hundreds of millions in US military and commercial aid each year?

          • Hostage says:

            You are being unnecessarily and unbecomingly insulting.

            Because you deliberately repeat the same claims over and over again with the full knowledge that they are nonsense. The right of return or repatriation of refugees is a legal dispute, not a political one. It can’t be enforced or waived by Israel, the PLO, or Palestine. We are discussing the final settlement of an armed conflict. 173 states have agreed that unjustifiable delay in the repatriation of prisoners of war or civilians after an armed conflict is a war crime. link to icrc.org

            FYI, Mustafa Barghouti has made identical comments about the difference between the theoretical right of return and what can be achieved through negotiations with the Israelis or implemented in actual practice. So he’s no more qualified to be President in that respect than Abbas. Note that Salman Abu Sitta of the Right of Return Congress cites the General Assembly’s minority protection plan in chapters 2 and 3 of resolution 181(II). But he fails to note that the only party who can take Israel to the ICJ over interpretations or violations of that bilateral minority agreement is the General Assembly, not the PLO or Palestine. The rights are under UN guarantee. Israel’s agreement was with the UN Organization, not the PLO or Palestine. Similarly, it is the UN organization that’s responsible for Israel’s implementation of resolution 194(III), not the PLO or Palestine. The UN and its subsidiary organs, including the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East/UN High Commissioner for Refugees, remain legally responsible for looking after the rights of the refugees under the applicable laws and conventions, not the PLO or Palestine.

            Abbas isn’t going to get Israel or the USA to alter their positions on right of return. Conversely he cannot alter or waive any group or individual rights in Israel that are under the guarantee of the General Assembly, even with the backing of a national referendum of persons living in the State of Palestine. It’s axiomatic that neither he nor Barghouti can waive any individual rights or claims of persons who are not subject to their jurisdiction.

            People just like to dump on Abbas as if he is personally responsible and is betraying someone or that some other Palestinian leader could implement the right of return to the State of Israel. That’s cult-like thinking.

            For example, the European Court of Human Rights considered the similar case of refugees in Cyprus. It seemingly held that, despite the Geneva Conventions, and Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, there was no guaranteed right to return to a refugee’s home or the country where it was located:

            Some thirty-five years have elapsed since the applicants lost possession of their property in northern Cyprus in 1974. Generations have passed. The local population has not remained static. Turkish Cypriots who inhabited the north have migrated elsewhere; Turkish-Cypriot refugees from the south have settled in the north; Turkish settlers from Turkey have arrived in large numbers and established their homes. Much Greek-Cypriot property has changed hands at least once, whether by sale, donation or inheritance.
            Thus, the Court finds itself faced with cases burdened with a political, historical and factual complexity flowing from a problem that should have been resolved by all parties assuming full responsibility for finding a solution on a political level. This reality, as well as the passage of time and the continuing evolution of the broader political dispute must inform the Court’s interpretation and application of the Convention which cannot, if it is to be coherent and meaningful, be either static or blind to concrete factual circumstances.

            Shane Hensinger of the Josef Korbel School noted:

            The European Court of Human Rights only has jurisdiction within Europe, so this decision doesn’t apply outside the borders of states which have ratified the treaty establishing the court. But then again – it does. International law is heavily influenced by many sources – decisions like this included. Previous understanding on the “right of return” has been that refugees, no matter the length of time of the conflict, have a right to return to their homes. In the Cypriot case this is outlined in a number of United Nations Security Council and UN General Assembly resolutions. But the court has said essentially, that when an alternative remedy is available which is judged to be fair and impartial then refugees must take it – they cannot avail themselves of the court to force ownership of property or physical return to the lands from where they fled. And the IPC is not an open-ended recourse – the court notes that it will no longer take cases after Dec 2011 (37 years after the Turkish invasion).

            The decision will have consequences outside Europe as well and will be closely studied in Israel, where the issue of the “right of return” for Palestinians is highly controversial.

            See European Court of Human Rights on “Right of Return” for Refugees
            March 16, 2010
            link to korbelsecurity.wordpress.com

            Israel has not established anything like The Immovable Property Commission (IPC) North Cyprus link to immovablepropertycommission.org

            I think there is a case to be made in the ICJ and the ICC regarding pillage and repatriation of refugees after the end of the “armed conflict” (as defined by Article 6 of the 4th Geneva Convention). I believe Israeli officials are deliberately violating the UN Charter and the agreement on minorities by adopting policies and practices of apartheid and refusing to repatriate a single refugee. But it’s up to the UN to enforce its Charter and its agreements with Israel in the ICJ. Its resolutions that require a “just settlement” of the refugee question cannot be based upon the perpetuation of blatant crimes against humanity. I don’t believe that any statute of limitations or the principle of “Nullum crimen sine lege” can apply to such acts, when UN resolutions dating back 40 years or more have consistently declared them to be flagrant violations of international law. So there should be a referral of the on-going situation regarding repatriation of refugees in Palestine and Israel to the ICJ and to the ICC or to an Ad Hoc criminal tribunal. It’s obvious that there will never be any political solution.

          • Sibiriak says:

            Hostage:

            The right of return or repatriation of refugees is a legal dispute, not a political one.

            It’s both.

          • Walid says:

            “Because you deliberately repeat the same claims over and over again with the full knowledge that they are nonsense. ”

            The only nonsense here is how you are misreading of my thoughts that I would absurdly believe or claim that millions of Palestinians or any substantial part of them would be returning to live in Israel when the ongoing discussions here are about Israel having established irreversible facts on the ground. What I’m repeating are facts pointing to Palestinians getting screwed by friends and foes alike. I have nothing against your Abbas personally, he actually looks like a nice guy.

          • Israel promotes the notion that building flats and houses, and roads, for illegal Jews in the West Bank, should change borders. Which I think is patent nonsense.

          • Hostage says:

            The right of return or repatriation of refugees is a legal dispute, not a political one.

            It’s both.

            No, if it can be circumvented due to political considerations, then it isn’t a legal right. It’s axiomatic that a government cannot be called a “government of laws, and not of men”, if the laws furnish no remedy for the violation of a vested legal right.

          • Legal rights can be and are lost due to political considerations.

        • Kathleen says:

          So Abbas is forced to say he does not support BDS if he does not want these US anti boycott laws to be put into action?

          • Hostage says:

            So Abbas is forced to say he does not support BDS if he does not want these US anti boycott laws to be put into action?

            That could be a factor, but I imagine the possibility of Israel imposing a boycott on the West Bank is probably a bigger concern.

            I’ve commented that the Daily News & Analysis email from the General Delegation of the PLO to the United States contains a disclaimer (The views expressed in this news bulletin do not necessarily represent the views or positions of the General Delegation of the PLO), and links to Mondoweiss and other pro-BDS Movement news and analysis on nearly a daily basis.

      • Abbas surely comprehends there is no way Israel can be compelled to accept the immigration of large numbers of non-Jews.

        • Hostage says:

          Abbas surely comprehends there is no way Israel can be compelled to accept the immigration of large numbers of non-Jews.

          The fact is that simple equity demands that Israel admit one refugee to its own territory for every Israeli settler living in the occupied Palestinian territory. That’s a very large number.

          • I see some logic , though Israel of course would not accept this proposal. The more Jews who would remain in Palestine (rather than relocate), the larger the percentage of non-Jews that would be living in Israel. Some political advantage would obtain, down the road.

        • Walid says:

          James, you are right, of course, and even if Israel were to open its doors wide open to them, not many would want to go there because they would not be able to adapt to Israel’s society, its language and so on. Israel crime is complete in that respect and the problem has to be attended to by Israel the prime guilty party, the Arab states that were somewhat party to it, and the other countries that let it happen.

          • Walid, I agree the issue is really one of what compensation should be paid, and to whom it should be paid.

          • Walid says:

            “Walid, I agree the issue is really one of what compensation should be paid, and to whom it should be paid.”

            James, the money part is the easiest, the hard part is really about the relocation of 1.5 million camp refugees that nobody wants and that any final West Bank Palestinian state would not be able to absorb.

            Lebanon cannot absorb politically the remaining 400,000 refugees after having already absorbed over 50,000 for various reasons. Canada and Australia in the past had offered to each take in about 20,000 each but on the condition that they cherry-pick them under their normal immigration guidelines (age, health, etc), so in reality not much of an offer. Syria is in a similar situation with about the same number of refugees although it had them living under much better conditions than in Lebanon but about half of them have now relocated to Lebanon because of the civil war. The lion’s share of refugees (2 million) has already been absorbed by Jordan that still has several hundred thousands in the camps that it wants to have moved out as already 70% of Jordanians are of Palestinian origin.

            I don’t think Palestinians that have been naturalized by other countries should continue to be designated as refugees although they should still be eligible for compensation for what they lost in Palestine. This too will be hard to determine because Israel all along has been destroying every piece of record or document it could get its hands on that would have validated claims by Palestinians refugees. In 1982 during its occupation of Beirut, it ransacked the Palestinians library of thousands of books written by Palestinians and carted them off to Israel but eventually had to return most of them because of international pressure and these are now safely kept in Cyprus. But it also trucked away civil records and deeds of properties of the refugees in Lebanon’s camps that had been collected in a central registry office and those were never returned. It did it again in 2002 on the West Bank when it raided all the civil registry offices on the West Bank where it carted away all registries of Palestinian ownership of property and businesses, computers etc. that would have facilitated eventual claims against Israel.

          • Very interesting, Walid. Maybe some rich person could fund a data bank/records storage and retrival programme, to track Palestinians wherever they may relocate.

          • LeaNder says:

            Walid, do you have a source for this:

            But it also trucked away civil records and deeds of properties of the refugees in Lebanon’s camps that had been collected in a central registry office and those were never returned. It did it again in 2002 on the West Bank when it raided all the civil registry offices on the West Bank where it carted away all registries of Palestinian ownership of property and businesses, computers etc. that would have facilitated eventual claims against Israel.

          • Walid says:

            LeaNder, I have to look for the links. The 1982 events were readings of history for me because I was away at the time and not following events as they were happening, but as to the West Bank in 2002, it was part of the daily news I was following as it was happening. Arafat’s compound was under siege at the time and just as despicable as the other stuff, was the carting away of all the academic records of every Palestinian student of Gaza and the West Bank and the destruction of all the PA’s computers and office furniture in several ministries’ offices. I’ll post links for you as I find them. It was also the year of the Arab Peace Initiative proposal that Arafat could not attend in person because Israel had warned him that if he left the territories to go to Beirut for the Arab League summit, he wouldn’t be allowed back in, so he stayed at his HQ at Muqaata and followed the Arab League meeting by CCTV and voted with the rest to present the proposal to Israel.

          • Walid says:

            LeaNder, found a link about the 1982 looting of the library and other valuable manuscripts. This New York Times article doesn’t cover the civil registries I wrote about. This robbery by Israel was part of the “Great Book Robbery” that was covered by MW in 2010.

            link to nytimes.com

          • Relatively high living standards in Israel would appeal to a considerable number of non-Jews, I should think. But Israel is not about to let them in.

          • Walid says:

            LeaNder, for 2002, here’s a page full of links to the various looting and destruction all over the West Bank. Many of those links don’t work anymore for some reason but for each link, there is a brief description of what was destroyed or stolen. It reads like a horrible catalog of Zionist evil compiled by The International Responsibilities Task Force of the American Library Association’s Social Responsibilities Round Table:

            link to pitt.edu

          • Walid says:

            “Relatively high living standards in Israel ”

            James, it’s because they come from different worlds. Neither would be happy with the other.

          • Next to no chance we will see Israel allow numerous non-Jews to settle in the country, in any event. And the Sinai fence has blocked African immigration.

        • Giles says:

          Surely James Canning realizes that by international law, UN resolution, and by every standard of morality, Israel needs to allow all of the Palestinian refugees to return to their homes?

          • Giles, demanding something that has zero chance of gaining acceptance, may not be the best strategy – - unless one assumes it is a position to be abandoned provided adequate compensation is obtained.

        • puppies says:

          @Canning – “there is no way Israel can be compelled to accept the immigration of large numbers of non-Jews”
          Sure there is. Economic strangulation and/or superior violence. The earth being round, things change unexpectedly.

          • @Puppies – - The foreign ministers of all Arab countries agree there is no way Israel can be compelled to allow the immigration of large numbers of non-Jews. But you of course think otherwise.

          • Sibiriak says:

            puppies:

            @Canning – “there is no way Israel can be compelled to accept the immigration of large numbers of non-Jews”
            Sure there is. Economic strangulation and/or superior violence. The earth being round, things change unexpectedly.

            The international community will put economic pressure on Israel to remove settlements (some) from the West Bank; they will most assuredly NOT employ economic strangulation to compel Israel to accept large numbers of non-Jewish immigrants (and the Palestinian leadership itself has already given up on that issue, anyway.) As far as the use of “superior violence”, given Israel’s conventional and nuclear forces and the full backing of the U.S., it’s hard to imagine a viable scenario.

          • Thanks, Sibiriak. Zero chance the US would allow Israel to be forced into accepting immigration of non-Jews on a large scale.

    • Shingo says:

      So is supporting BDS protectec by freedom of speech or not Hostage?

      • Hostage says:

        So is supporting BDS protectec by freedom of speech or not Hostage?

        The right of individuals to conduct primary political boycotts on their own behalf is protected, but the right to conduct primary or secondary political boycotts on behalf of the Arab League States is not.

        P.S. AIPAC exploits the same loophole to avoid FARA registration, i.e. they are lobbying on their own behalf, not at the behest of the State of Israel.

        • Kathleen says:

          Hostage: “The right of individuals to conduct primary political boycotts on their own behalf is protected, but the right to conduct primary or secondary political boycotts on behalf of the Arab League States is not.

          P.S. AIPAC exploits the same loophole to avoid FARA registration, i.e. they are lobbying on their own behalf, not at the behest of the State of Israel.”

          So I think I get this. U.S. citizens can put together political boycotts together that directly effect discrimination against them individually. But not in support of “Arab League States” political boycotts. So how did the actions on college campuses across the U.S. (many of us were involved) against apartheid South Africa get such a effective hold?

          And how the hell has Aipac which has so clearly been lobbying for Israel fit through those loopholes so easily to avoid Fara registration? I know Senator Fulbright tried to push for Aipac’s former self to have to register under FARA. Has there even been another effort?

          • Hostage says:

            So I think I get this. U.S. citizens can put together political boycotts together that directly effect discrimination against them individually.

            Not quite, U.S. citizens can put together political boycotts and complain about war crimes, crimes against humanity, and unlawful discrimination committed against others by Israel. They just can’t do that at the behest or on behalf of the Government of the State of Palestine or one of the Arab League states without the risk of triggering the provisions of the law regarding boycott requests for cooperation that are subject to the Export Administration Regulations (‘EAR’), 15 C.F.R. Part 760, the Internal Revenue Code, and the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

            Getting the Government of Palestine directly involved in a boycott that targets the State of Israel (versus criminal or unlawful acts in Palestine) is not a particularly helpful idea from the standpoint of US law. The Commerce Department’s authorization to run their program expired a long time ago, and its doubtful that its even legal. there are blogs with archives devoted to the subject:

            The OAC is a vestigial appendage over at BIS which arguably had no further right to exist after the expiration and non-renewal of the Export Administration Act. It is doubtful that the President can rely on any emergency to justify resurrecting OAC from the dead by an executive order under IEEPA as each president has done since the EAA expired. Accordingly, OAC keeps a low profile and never fines anyone enough to make it financially worthwhile for an exporter to pop into court and challenge its statutory authority. And, it seems that OAC fines exporters for one simple, but obscure, violation over and over and over. We have reported on this many times, including here and here.

            link to exportlawblog.com

          • Hostage says:

            P.S. Generally speaking, organized boycotts are prohibited by federal law:

            Every contract, combination in the form of trust or otherwise, or conspiracy, in restraint of trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations, is declared to be illegal.

            link to law.cornell.edu The Courts have permitted a First Amendment exception for non-violent political boycotts.

            The political rights of individuals don’t necessarily apply to a tax-exempt organization. When they engage in a boycott in civil disobedience of a statute, policy, etc. it could result in the loss of their tax-exempt status. See C. Strikes, Boycotts, Picketing, Mass Demonstrations, and Other Confrontational Activities, starting on page 3 link to irs.gov

            Labor Unions, as such, can’t engage in “secondary boycotts” against third party corporations doing business with Israel. See Secondary Boycotts: Understanding NLRB Interpretation Of Section 8(b)(4)(b) Of The National Labor Relations Act link to law.upenn.edu

          • Hostage says:

            And how the hell has Aipac which has so clearly been lobbying for Israel fit through those loopholes so easily to avoid Fara registration?

            They are registered lobbyists. But they are not registered as agents of a foreign power. They portray themselves as independent supporters or fans of Israel, rather than employees and volunteers working under instructions received from Israel or Israelis.

          • Sibiriak says:

            Hostage:

            Getting the Government of Palestine directly involved in a boycott that targets the State of Israel (versus criminal or unlawful acts in Palestine) is not a particularly helpful idea from the standpoint of US law.

            But is there any legal reason for the Government of Palestine not to state something like: “officially, we do not support boycotts targeting Israel (solely) because of the risk of triggering provisions of U.S. anti-boycott law”?

          • Hostage says:

            But is there any legal reason for the Government of Palestine not to state something like: “officially, we do not support boycotts targeting Israel (solely) because of the risk of triggering provisions of U.S. anti-boycott law”?

            Yes, that would inevitably lead to allegations that Palestinian Civil Society Organizations are merely acting as a cut-out and that they are really just surrogates or agents of the Government of Palestine working to circumvent the application of the statutes.

            In any event, the PLO does endorse all of the aims of the BDS movement, i.e. ending the occupation, achieving equality for Palestinians now living in Israel, and recognizing Palestinian refugees’ right of return.

        • LeaNder says:

          The right of individuals to conduct primary political boycotts on their own behalf is protected, but the right to conduct primary or secondary political boycotts on behalf of the Arab League States is not.

          P.S. AIPAC exploits the same loophole

          Hostage, aren’t boycott and sanctions pretty similar, at least they seem to have the same intention.

          Double standards? Illegal to boycott Israel but perfectly legal to rigidly sanction Iran?

          • Hostage says:

            Hostage, aren’t boycott and sanctions pretty similar, at least they seem to have the same intention.

            Other than the assets freeze, the sanctions are pretty much limited to a boycott or trade embargo.

            Double standards? Illegal to boycott Israel but perfectly legal to rigidly sanction Iran?

            You’ll get no argument about that from me.

          • LeaNder says:

            Hostage, that’s how I read you. Critical basically. In hindsight I wondered if the “loophole” left this impression. But strictly your comments concerning the lawfare attempts point in the same direction.

            I just wanted to make sure if I got it right. To this legal nitwit the laws don’t seem consistent or the difference between private citizen and entrepreneur.

            We have quite a few legal structures for business. What about a sole trader. I would assume you have that too. So as entrepreneur he cannot respond to the wishes of his costumers in this respect, he could though if they have other desires concerning origin of production of products or any other issue, but as a private citizen he is not restricted. I guess that’s what ran through my mind.

            Great comments by the way. Very, very helpful.

      • puppies says:

        @Sibiriak – in 1941 it was way harder to imagine a “viable scenario” to tan the ass of Nazi Germany. Lo and behold, people took to the mountains with blunderbusses and dog-catcher pistols and started sniping anyway. It may take a little longer this time, but it will come around. If anyone out there expects the Zionists to fold without earth-shaking violence, I have a beautiful bridge to sell, in mint condition.

        • Sibiriak says:

          puppies says:

          It may take a little longer this time, but it will come around…

          As a profession of faith, I cannot argue with that.

          If anyone out there expects the Zionists to fold without earth-shaking violence….

          I agree. But a combination of varied boycotts, divestment, sanctions, local Palestinian resistance , legal action in international courts, international governmental pressure, global public opinion, etc. could very well force Zionists to reluctantly agree to a (not just) two-state settlement that leaves Israel as a Jewish state.

          Then the battle to transform Israel from an ethnocratic state to a democracy would carry on.

          • Shmuel says:

            Then the battle to transform Israel from an ethnocratic state to a democracy would carry on.

            The occupation is the driving force behind international BDS, and the BDS leadership knows it — which is why it focuses almost exclusively on the occupation and complicity with it. Were the occupation to end, equality for Palestinians (and other non-Jews) within Israel would be a virtual non-issue in the international community. That is why all of the talk of “destroying Israel” and the “real goals” of BDS is nonsense. Even an unjust 2ss would make BDS disappear into thin air.

          • Sibiriak says:

            Shmuel:

            The occupation is the driving force behind international BDS, and the BDS leadership knows it — which is why it focuses almost exclusively on the occupation and complicity with it.

            Yet the BDS leadership and many (most) supporters will not state that the ultimate goal is an end to the occupation via a two-state settlement.

            Were the occupation to end, equality for Palestinians (and other non-Jews) within Israel would be a virtual non-issue in the international community.

            Which is to say that the discrimination suffered by non-Jewish Israelis pales before the oppression of Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza , refugee camps etc.

            The fact remains, however, that that discrimination exists, and ethnocracy is not compatible with democracy, so a multi-generational struggle to make Israel a truly democratic state is unavoidable, imo.

            That is why all of the talk of “destroying Israel” and the “real goals” of BDS is nonsense.

            And that’s precisely why, as Finkelstein effectively argues, it’s a huge mistake for the BDS movement not to clarify what ultimate outcome is the aim of the movement. The fact remains that the “real goal” of many, if not most, BDS supporters is indeed the end of Zionist Israel and the creation of a single democratic state in Palestine, however desirable or unrealistic that goal may be.

          • Shmuel says:

            Sibiriak,

            Since when do political movements declare that they are striving for bad/non-solutions? BDS lays out its idea of a just solution (end occupation, return, equality). These are the parameters — as unrealistic as they might seem. Were BDS to declare as you and Finkelstein suggest, they would lose support among Palestinians (especially the refugees), which is the source of their legitimacy. On the other hand, were they to focus on anything other than the occupation in their activities, they would fail to gain momentum internationally. So yes, many BDS supporters strive for an end to ethnocracy in I/P, but the occupation is the only part of the campaign capable of garnering any significant international support. Assuming that is achieved (highly unlikely, of course) BDS will go no further as an effective political force.

          • Sumud says:

            The fact remains that the “real goal” of many, if not most, BDS supporters is indeed the end of Zionist Israel and the creation of a single democratic state in Palestine, however desirable or unrealistic that goal may be.

            Sibiriak you’re failing to address why that is the goal, and when you say “real goal” you make it sound ideological – I don’t think it is for many people.

            Rewind 5 or 10 years and you’ll find the same people, myself included, who used to support two-states now think one is the most realistic goal – at this time.

            Why do think it is a huge mistake for BDS to not pick one state or two? Do you think BDS would be more successful or faster at achieveing two states? What do you suggest Palestinian Israelis do about their total neglect under Israeli governance? What should the refugees do about their situation?

            I think BDS Movement’s agnosticism on one state or two is very smart and I think it is genuine among supporters. A rights-based approach unites all Palestinians and does away with infighting on one-state or two among same Palestinians, and supporters of Palestinian rights. A big tent is stronger than multiple divided camps.

          • Shmuel says:

            I think BDS Movement’s agnosticism on one state or two is very smart and I think it is genuine among supporters. A rights-based approach unites all Palestinians and does away with infighting on one-state or two among same Palestinians, and supporters of Palestinian rights. A big tent is stronger than multiple divided camps.

            Well said, Sumud.

          • Sumud says:

            Thanks Shmuel.

            I do agree with you that even an unjust two-state settlement would significantly deflate BDS. The refugee problem persists so I’m not convinced it would collapse the movement totally.

          • Sibiriak says:

            Sumud:

            Sibiriak you’re failing to address why that is the goal, and when you say “real goal” you make it sound ideological – I don’t think it is for many people.

            For many people it is not ideological. It is pure frustration and despair with the sham “peace process” and the apparent permanence of Zionist-created “facts on the ground” which make a reasonably just two-state solution impossible.

            For others it is indeed ideological–a principled anti-Zionism based on the rejection of ethnocracy, theocracy, racism, apartheid, etc. and the assertion of the principles of liberal democracy and individual human rights.

            For many it is a mix between pragmatism and ideology.

            Why do think it is a huge mistake for BDS to not pick one state or two?

            Because it opens itself to the charge of deliberate ambiguity and hiding the “real goal” of a single state, which would mean, for all intents and purposes, the end of Israel. It also undermines the appeal to international law and consensus, a point Finkelstein has repeatedly and effectively made.

            Do you think BDS would be more successful or faster at achieveing two states?

            Yes.

            What do you suggest Palestinian Israelis do about their total neglect under Israeli governance? What should the refugees do about their situation?

            Those are complex, difficult questions. I’ll have to respond in subsequent posts, and of course, I don’t claim to have all the answers. I would say though that a strong BDS movement is good for both Palestinian Israelis and Palestinian refugees, and clarity of goals would make the BDS stronger.

            A rights-based approach unites all Palestinians and does away with infighting on one-state or two among same Palestinians, and supporters of Palestinian rights. A big tent is stronger than multiple divided camps.

            1) The vast majority of Palestinian organizations backing BDS support two states, according to Barghouti.

            2) Imo, the benefits of avoiding “infighting” are outweighed by the negatives: loss of global public and governmental support due to unclear goals, the undermining of the appeal to international law and international political consensus, and vulnerability to the charge that BDS is “really” for the end of Israel.

          • Sibiriak says:

            Shmuel:

            Since when do political movements declare that they are striving for bad/non-solutions?

            Are you saying that a two-state solution is inherently bad/ a non-solution? Or that both 1SS and 2SS paradigms are undesirable? If the former, then are you saying that the only good/realistic solution is a single-state?

            BDS lays out its idea of a just solution (end occupation, return, equality).

            This is nonsensical to me. How can a “just solution” not entail a form of political sovereignty/statehood? How can a “just solution” not specify whether or not it involves the creation of an independent Palestine next to Israel?

            How can the occupation end and Palestinians obtain full political and civil rights, both collective and individual, while remaining stateless? And if not stateless, that means either the creation of an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel, the creation of a single state, and/or Palestinians becoming citizens of some other states. I don’t see how the issue can be avoided since each of those outcomes has enormous implications in terms of international law and support, not to mention plausibility.

            Were BDS to declare as you and Finkelstein suggest, they would lose support among Palestinians (especially the refugees), which is the source of their legitimacy.

            Evidence, please. If BDS were to declare as Finkelstein suggests, it would be aligning itself with the Palestinian leadership, as well as the overwhelming number of Palestinian organizations which backed BDS–not to mention aligning itself with international law and consensus. (And the sources of legitimacy include moral rightness and political realism, not simply “support among Palestinians”, imo.)

            On the other hand, were they to focus on anything other than the occupation in their activities, they would fail to gain momentum internationally.

            Stating the goal as two-states means focusing on the occupation. I’m not saying there are not negatives to stating a clear goal–but the question is do the positives outweigh the negatives.

            the occupation is the only part of the campaign capable of garnering any significant international support. Assuming that is achieved…

            Again, how do you end the occupation without also making the de jure Palestinian state, which exists already, a de facto state?

            “Ending the occupation” in practice MEANS creating a Palestinian state alongside Israel (“the occupation”, needless to say, doesn’t refer to Israeli presence in all of mandatory Palestine.)

            So, focusing on the occupation and defining the goal as two states compliment each other perfectly. On the other hand, not defining the goal as two states distracts from focus on the Occupation by opening up the discussion about the “destruction of Israel”, the morality of Zionism in general, and so on.

          • Should one note here that if Israel/Palestine is regarded as one country, there is no case for seeking an end to the “occupation”, as there would be no occupation?

          • Shmuel says:

            Sibiriak,

            I know we’ve been through this before, but do you really think it would be a good idea for BDS to align itself with the Palestinian leadership, which is in deep internal conflict and barely represents the refugees at all (an interesting article on the subject by Elias Khoury, by the way, in the Syrian context)? Isn’t it better to have a non-partisan movement that sets out the parameters for a just solution without taking sides regarding specific political arrangements?

            Furthermore, at this stage, the form Palestinian sovereignty will take is practically an angels-on-the-head-of-a-pin sort of question, so why not focus on principles both as a basis for negotiation (any negotiation) and as a way of striving for a wide range of interim goals (settlement expansion, wall, prisoners and so forth) regardless of the outcome of negotiations (or lack thereof)? If awareness of RoR and discrimination within the Israeli ethnocracy is raised in the process, that can only be a good thing, no?

          • Sibiriak says:

            Shmuel:

            I know we’ve been through this before, but do you really think it would be a good idea for BDS to align itself with the Palestinian leadership, which is in deep internal conflict and barely represents the refugees at all (an interesting article on the subject by Elias Khoury, by the way, in the Syrian context)?

            I do not think the BDS movement should identify with the Palestinian leadership. But that does not mean BDS can have no point of agreement with the leadership whatsoever. I’m suggesting simply, as Finkelstein has, that BDS align itself with international law and consensus in support of two states.

            Isn’t it better to have a non-partisan movement that sets out the parameters for a just solution without taking sides regarding specific political arrangements?

            Yes, BDS should be non-partisan, but how can there be “parameters for a just solution” that do not involve Palestinians becoming citizens in a state? Which leads inevitably to the question, which state? It makes a huge difference.

            so why not focus on principles both as a basis for negotiation (any negotiation) and as a way of striving for a wide range of interim goals (settlement expansion, wall, prisoners and so forth) regardless of the outcome of negotiations (or lack thereof)?

            I agree that the focus should be on principles and not negotiating details–but isn’t statelessness one of the core–if not THE core–problems at the heart of Palestinian oppression and suffering? If so, how can that problem be ignored or danced around? And if statelessness is to be faced squarely, why not assert the goal of two states in the broadest, most principled terms?

            I just think that kind of moral/political simplicity and clarity would enormously increase the appeal and effectiveness of BDS.

            But the thing is this: any two-state solution is going to be profoundly unjust. Grotesquely unjust when the whole history of Zionist colonization of Palestine is understood. This reality is leading to the understandable rejection of any feasible two-state solution and faith in the eventual emergence of a single democratic state.

          • Hostage says:

            Should one note here that if Israel/Palestine is regarded as one country, there is no case for seeking an end to the “occupation”, as there would be no occupation?

            Even if it is one country, that would not alter the fact that the Security Council adopted a Chapter 7 provisional measure which required the parties to the conflict to implement and observe the permanent armistice lines of demarcation, pending a mutually agreed upon negotiated settlement.

          • Interesting point. And of course I continue to favour an end to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank.

  13. More action by the EU, to force Israel out of the West Bank, surely would be welcome.

    • puppies says:

      @Canning – Right on the heels of that, forcing the bastards back to the Partition Proposal line would be justice.

    • puppies says:

      @ Sibiriak – [editors: fix the &*&%$!! reply buttons, please]
      It’s the opposite: the big mistake would be to define final goals for the BDS movement. It is already near splitting because of some nightflower action on final goals, in which the Green Line was defined as a “goal” by a restricted circle of administrators, with no general discussion. We by no means agree among ourselves. Start defining, and you’ll lose overnight those who don’t agree with you. Some will stop at the Green line. Others (whom I fully sympathize with) want a 1m1v state with no automatic citizenship for the invaders. Still others are after the partition proclamation two-states. There are even Zionists, for crying out loud, who hope to save the shitty little Spartan state bt boycotting settlements only.
      As someone so correctly said (was it Mustafa Barghouti?) “if you want to only boycott an egg, we want you to boycott that egg”.
      Ans we sure do not want a discussion of “final” goals. Ending the occupation, equality behind the Green line, and some form of Palestinian Right of return are the nebula on which all (but the “liberal” Zionists) do agree and that should be more than enough for a start.

      • Shmuel says:

        [editors: fix the &*&%$!! reply buttons, please]

        puppies,

        Annoying, I know, but if there is no reply button immediately underneath the comment you would like to address, scroll up to the first reply button you can find, and your comment will appear in the correct thread.

      • Sibiriak says:

        puppies:

        : the big mistake would be to define final goals for the BDS movement.

        If you don’t define your goals, then don’t be upset if someone defines them for you. And in the case of the I/P conflict, international consensus and international law support two states, NOT one. So, by not defining the end goal, and having many leaders and supporters promoting a single state, BDS puts itself in potential conflict with international law and consensus. That might be okay if a single state were a realistic short term prospect–but it isn’t. Thus, BDS both opens itself to the charge of being for the “destruction of Israel” and at the same time seriously weakens it’s appeal to international law and consensus.

        Start defining, and you’ll lose overnight those who don’t agree with you.

        You can’t please everyone. For BDS to work it will require major international backing for boycotts, divestment and sanctions– and there is virtually no international backing for a single state solution. So, to be blunt, BDS has to risk alienating some inflexible one-staters, if it is going to become powerful enough to overcome formidable pro-Zionist opposing forces.

        But you may be correct that if a two-state goal were embraced, the infighting would be too great and that BDS has no choice but to weaken its appeal by being vague about goals. If that’s true, that’s not something to celebrate.

  14. piotr says:

    Today Friedman actually wrote a relatively decent report. The wrapper is pretty anodyne: the region has many ecological problems, and a plucky ecological organization has Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian members and tries to move all three governments to address the problems.

    Then there are examples.

    1. The sewage from East Jerusalem flows untreated to Jordan Valley because PA and Israel could not agree how to split the water after the treatment.

    2. In Hebron tanning factories dump chromium used for tanning to the stream thus letting carcinogens to flow gently down the stream to Beer Sheva and then to Gaza. “in 1998, the U.S. Agency for International Development built a treatment plant here that effectively extracts all the chromium 3 and recycles it. But, in 2005, Israel identified the sulfuric acid used in the recycling as a dual-use chemical that Palestinians could employ to make a bomb and banned its use by tanners. So the chromium 6 is now back in the water.”

    3. “We visited the Al-Minya Sanitary Landfill that was built with grants from the World Bank, European Union and USAID so Palestinians could close down 19 unauthorized and unsanitary dump sites around Bethlehem and Hebron. It was supposed to open in September, but, as I saw, its 65 acres were still pristine because the Israeli military told the Palestinian Authority that if the site didn’t also accept garbage from the Gush Etzion Jewish settlements it could not open, said Failat. Palestinians say it’s unfair that they lose their land to settlements and then have to accept their garbage.”

    I suspect that in all three cases Israeli official simply cannot resist to sabotage anything that would benefit Palestinians. That cannot be easily changed, but USA and EU could definitely be more forceful in preventing Israel from sabotaging their projects. Is it necessary to recognize the right of Israel to be a Petulant State?

    • Walid says:

      “1. The sewage from East Jerusalem flows untreated to Jordan Valley because PA and Israel could not agree how to split the water after the treatment.”

      piotr, that’s only 1/3 of the story of course, since it was sourced from a Friedman piece. The subject is the Kidron Valley waste treatment plant that’s been on the drawing board since Oslo. At present, West Jerusalem’s raw sewage flows along with that of East Jerusalem through Kidron and empties into the Jordan Valley that’s already over polluted with 900 garbage sites serving mostly Israel proper. The Palestinians are refusing to cooperate on the project because it would imply acceptance of Israeli sovereignty over all of Jerusalem. THe Israelis are aslo dragging their feet because there’s a problem of which party would become owner of the site of the plant after 40 years. 2/3 of the shit flowing through Kidron is from West Jerusalem, so why doesn’t Israel treat its wastes and divert the treated waters westward rather than deeper into the West Bank?

      In 1995 the Germans offered to fund the $350 million project but it never took off. This year the Dutch came back and offered to undertake it but as of a couple of months back, they had cold feet about getting involved in a taboo project because it’s on occupied lands.

      Friedman by omitting the details of what’s holding up this project is not being so decent.

      Story on Kidron (BTW, Kidron Valley is where the final battle is to happen between Jesus and the devil as prophetized in the Book of Revelation):

      link to csmonitor.com

      • Walid says:

        “2. In Hebron tanning factories dump chromium used for tanning to the stream”

        Israel couldn’t care less if the Palestinians ended up poising themselves, especially around the Hebron area. Friedman expressed Israel’s real concerns at the end of his description:

        “… So the chromium 6 is now back in the water, which flows from Hebron to Beersheba, one of Israel’s largest cities, and then on to Gaza and out to sea, into waters used by Israel’s desalination plants.”(Friedman)

        So it’s really all about harming Israel and since it’s not ready to reverse its non-sulfur policy that can fix the problem, maybe it’s hoping that the Palestinians die of the chromium poisoning or that they’d shut down their 9 tanning plants and simply get lost.

        “3. al-Minyan landfill problem” (Friedman)

        Kind of Friedman to be concerned for the welfare of the Palestinians that are unable to get Israeli authorization to build al-Miya landfill site that would permit the closing of 19 garbage sites but what about the 900 other garbage sites permitted in the militarily-closed Jordan Valley of area C that in most part are for Israeli dumping?

        • piotr says:

          I agree that the piece is only semi-decent, but in the same time it gives the readers like me good example of peevish irrational behavior of Israeli authorities that are only named villains in the story. Friedman is not a Hasbara man, he simply has natural biases corresponding to his social background.

          The common theme of two pieces is that Israeli (government and the majority it represents) are just plain stupid (or “not smart”). This has major implications, like that undue deference to their whims is similarly stupid, and BDS, at least in its Brussels form, an exactly proper thing to do. If this is a true harbinger of the sentiments within American establishment, then I think it is a measure of progress.

          More pragmatically, the political discourse as reflected in the mainstream media gives different weight to facts that have “fringe” sources and “mainstream”. Mondoweiss advanced from “unquotable fringe” to “quotable when the reported wants to show breadth of opinion”. Friedman is hated by extreme Zionists (but who is not?) but otherwise is as “mainstream” as they come. Juicy examples of peevish stupidity that cannot be explained by “natural concern” are useful when explaining Apartheid to the clueless.

    • Israel clearly is fostering ecological damage to the Palestinians, to extort advantage for the illegal settlers and for Israel itself.

  15. bilal a says:

    sick weird snickering of soldiers as they choke wounded boy.

    link to youtube.com

    [zionist humor watch]

  16. Kathleen says:

    Friedmann “You get many explanations from Palestinians: they’re too poor, too divided, too tired or that they realize these uprisings, in the end, did them more harm than good, especially the second. But being here, it’s obvious that a Third Intifada is underway. It’s the one that Israel always feared most — not an intifada with stones or suicide bombers, but one propelled by nonviolent resistance and economic boycott.”
    ————————————————————————————

    How many Palestinian leaders who have pushed a non violent resistance and boycotts have been beaten down and thrown in Israeli prisons for decades? As if there has never been an effort in non violent resistance through peaceful protest that the U.S. MSM has ignored for decades. Friedmann is indeed a con artist and was a huge pusher of the invasion of Iraq. A real rich fat cat bloody creep

    ——————————————
    Friedmann: “You cannot move the Israeli silent majority when you make them feel strategically insecure and morally secure, which is what Hamas did with its lunatic shelling of Israel after it withdrew from Gaza; few Israelis were bothered by pummeling them back.”

    Especially when the majority of Israeli’s support the ever expanding illegal settlements.
    —————————————————————

  17. Kathleen says:

    Someone shared this one MW the other day. Trying to co-op the BDS movement

    47 years a slave: A new perspective on the occupation
    Very few struggles in history have centered on how a nation should treat a third group of people, but there are strong parallels between black slavery and Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.
    By Eva Illouz | Feb. 7, 2014
    link to haaretz.com
    “The initiators and leaders of the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement are such respected academics as Judith Butler, Jacqueline Rose, Noam Chomsky, Hilary Rose and Larry Gross, all Jews.”

    What total bullshit
    —————————————————
    So are these sentences of Friedmann’s trying to directly undermine the efforts of Palestinians who started the BDS movement ?
    “But this Third Intifada isn’t really led by Palestinians in Ramallah. It’s led by the European Union in Brussels and other opponents of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank across the globe. Regardless of origin, though, it’s becoming a real source of leverage for the Palestinians in their negotiations with Israel.”

    I hear that this is what Gilad Atzmon does all of the time (have not heard him do this) tries to undermine Palestinian leaders in the BDS movement. Seems those sentences by Friedmann are doing the same thing.

  18. Kathleen says:

    Friedmann: “Israelis are right to suspect some boycotters of using this cause as a cover for anti-Semitism, given how Israel’s misdeeds are singled out”

    Friedmann using the tried and true “anti-semitism” ace in the hole card yet again. Just somehow fails to mention that one of the biggest reasons Israel has and is being called out is that Israel has and continues to be the largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid while persistently undermining U.S. National Security (and their own) by their commitment to ignore international law and being in violation of more UN resolutions than any other nation. Somehow Friedmann fails to mention these facts and that these are some of the very serious and only reasons they are being targeted by activist

    • amigo says:

      “Friedmann using the tried and true “anti-semitism” ace in the hole card yet again. Just somehow fails to mention that one of the biggest reasons Israel has and is being called out is that Israel has and continues to be the largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid while persistently undermining U.S. National Security (and their own) by their commitment to ignore international law and being in violation of more UN resolutions than any other nation.” Kathleen

      And continue to claim it is a democracy and has the most moral army in the world and is a light unto the Nations blah, blah, blah.

  19. asherpat says:

    Friedman is obsessed with Israel, is reflexively anti-Zionist and anti-Israel even if he thinks otherwise, because underneath it all, he is a misguided buffoon that made ridiculous judgement errors many times.