‘NYT’ boycott debate features two Zionists, and excludes BDS

Israel/Palestine
on 39 Comments
View of Gilo and wall separating Palestinian neighborhoods of Jerusalem

View of Gilo and walls separating Palestinian neighborhoods of East Jerusalem from settlements

The New York Times editorial page stages a very circumscribed debate about boycotting Israel between… two Zionist Jews. The questions the Times asks are:

“[W]hat about a boycott of the territories, and all activity within them, to end the occupation? Would that be in the best interest of Israel and the most likely path to peace?”

The debaters are Lara Friedman of the liberal Zionist group Peace Now and Daniel Gordis of the conservative Shalem University.

Gordis is given room to trot out rightwing Israeli talking points: that the Jewish settlement program that surrounds East Jerusalem is just “urban sprawl or thriving cities” (he cites Gilo, above, and Ma’ale Adumim, site of Scarlett Johansson’s favorite business, SodaStream); that “boycotts undermine the peace process;” and that “Palestinian Intransigence Is the Obstacle.”

The Times editors dispense with the broader boycott-divestment-sanctions campaign (BDS) in this manner:

“Even many supporters of the two-state solution, though, condemn the [BDS] movement because it attacks Israel itself and supports the right of refugees to return to homes in Israel that were theirs before its creation.”

That language seems a little over the top, “attacks Israel itself.” Though yes, BDS folks oppose Jewish privilege– but when do they get to participate in a debate?

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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39 Responses

  1. Citizen
    March 3, 2014, 11:09 am
  2. Citizen
    March 3, 2014, 11:13 am

    A circumscribed debate? Heh. How a circumcised debate? Just kidding! Imagine a debate about American black issues where nobody involved is black…. That’s how large the mote is, folks.

  3. seafoid
    March 3, 2014, 11:13 am

    “Palestinian Intransigence Is the Obstacle.”

    They’ll say that right down to the last stand in the bunker.
    Failure always comes down to lack of attention to genuine risk.

  4. Citizen
    March 3, 2014, 11:15 am

    “Palestinian Intransigence Is the Obstacle.”

    Yeah, just look at the historical Western record of Palestinians being characterized as “a stiff-necked people.”

    • Hostage
      March 3, 2014, 2:45 pm

      d’) chop off territory . . . Why do BDSers not understand that leftwing imperialism is functionally no different than rightwing imperialism?

      Correction: There isn’t a single agenda item in the BDS call to action that chops off any territory. FYI, Stalin was from Georgia, not the Ukraine. Palestinians are indigenous to Palestine and therefore can’t be labeled as “imperialists” when they work for changes to the government, culture, & etc. of their own country.

    • Boomer
      March 3, 2014, 4:24 pm

      Right, as when God tells Moses, “I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people.”

      Oh, wait.

      Forget that.

  5. JeffB
    March 3, 2014, 11:52 am

    That language seems a little over the top, “attacks Israel itself.”

    We are talking about Ukraine. Everyone seems to agree that Stalin was bad to Ukraine. Well what did he do:

    a) He limited their government and culture
    b) He harmed their economy
    c) He flooded them with an immigrant population they didn’t want
    d) He cut off parts of the country that were contested

    that is:
    BDS aims to
    a’) Change the government and culture of Israel
    b’) impose sanction, divestment, and boycotts to harm the economy
    c’) implement RoR
    d’) chop off territory

    Why do BDSers not understand that leftwing imperialism is functionally no different than rightwing imperialism?

    • ritzl
      March 3, 2014, 12:28 pm

      Yeah, JeffB. And Rosa Parks was a” thru d” as well. How self-righteous of her.

      You make an assertion that completely omits the diametric, moral, (Stalin v. Palestine), first-principle “why” of it all, but even then immediately qualify your assertion into nothingness by using the word “functional.”

      Of course they’re functionally the same. So are hammers. Neutral tools. Purpose and morality are everything.

      As people gain familiarity with this issue they will decide whether a dispossessed and oppressed people seeking justice is the same as Stalin killing millions in Ukraine. They will also see how difficult it is for you/Zionism/the “debaters” in the article to make that obvious distinction.

      • Donald
        March 3, 2014, 12:34 pm

        “As people gain familiarity with this issue they will decide whether a dispossessed and oppressed people seeking justice is the same as Stalin killing millions in Ukraine. They will also see how difficult it is for you/Zionism/the “debaters” in the article to make that obvious distinction.”

        Exactly. The most devastating comments about the Israeli side of the conflict are typed by the pro-Israel commenters.

        And notice this–

        “He flooded them with an immigrant population they didn’t want”

        He’s criticizing BDS with those words. Simply amazing lack of self-awareness.

      • JeffB
        March 3, 2014, 12:38 pm

        @Donald —

        “He flooded them with an immigrant population they didn’t want” He’s criticizing BDS with those words. Simply amazing lack of irony and self-awareness.

        Zionists don’t pretend that post 36 Zionism was good for Palestinians and wasn’t an attack. We don’t lie to ourselves about the fact that Palestinians should have consider the Israelis their friends while having their country uprooted.

        Phil was objecting to be classified as one whose aim was to attack Israel.

      • Hostage
        March 3, 2014, 2:53 pm

        Phil was objecting to be classified as one whose aim was to attack Israel.

        The BDS movement is willing to endorse either a one state solution or a two state solution with equality under the law and fundamental human rights for all. Anyone stupid enough to describe that as an attack on Israel must have a room temperature IQ.

      • ritzl
        March 3, 2014, 1:08 pm

        Well said, Donald. And that “Simply amazing lack of self-awareness.” makes it so hard to respond because it is so difficult to know where to start. There are no shared fundamentals.

        I guess, as you say, it may be best to just encourage them to talk and let people’s innate moral sense guide them. That’s pretty passive, but sometimes “art” should just be appreciated.

        Peace.

      • adele
        March 3, 2014, 3:00 pm

        Something must be wrong with me, when I read JeffB’s brain dump just now I actually started to feel sorry for him, the poor dear is reduced to blabbering.

        I’m going to have a strong cup of coffee now and then take a walk around the block so that I can hopefully regain my senses that were attacked by JeffB’s attempt at false equivalence.

      • adele
        March 3, 2014, 3:11 pm

        LOL, Ritzl. I will gladly provide the art supplies if it keeps them occupied (no pun intended) and away from doing any further harm.

    • LeaNder
      March 3, 2014, 12:47 pm

      If there is not Germany, there at least is Russia’s once representative Stalin? Or Stalin is almost as good as Hitler is in other contexts?

      Look I cannot read this stuff anymore, and thus I have to stop after this paragraph:

      Polls indicate that two-thirds of Israelis would cede almost all of the West Bank to make peace with the Palestinians. The reason that no agreement has ever been reached is not because of the settlers – who oppose such concessions but who would be outvoted in a plebiscite – but because the Palestinians are not interested in a deal.

      Tell me one thing or maybe he should have instead of taking consent for granted. If two-thirds only want peace, then please tell me why are all the settlers out there?

    • Cliff
      March 3, 2014, 1:56 pm

      @JeffB

      Israel is a Jewish supremacist State. It’s culture SHOULD change.

      The RoR is a moral imperative.

      ‘Chop off territory’ is what Jewish terrorism did to Historic Palestine.

      The economy of Israel should be harmed.

      None of this is imperialism.

      Jewish colonialism is imperialism. Stealing Palestinian land is imperialism. Killing 1400+ people in 2.5 weeks (mostly kids) is imperialism.

      Ethnically cleansing Palestinians so Jews from Brooklyn can move into their homes and land is imperialism.

      BDS didn’t start this conflict. Zionism did.

      • JeffB
        March 3, 2014, 2:49 pm

        @Cliff

        It’s culture SHOULD change… None of this is imperialism… BDS didn’t start this conflict. Zionism did.

        Cliff. Imperialists usually dislike the culture of a country whose culture they are changing. That’s the norm not the exception. The Southern whites saw themselves as civilizing the blacks and teaching them how to live in Christian civilization. The British were bring wealth and prosperity to India and addressing some terrible abuses like the untouchables…. American imperialism is always about helping people gain the virtues of either democracy or capitalism.

        You are no different. You just happen to like your cause. Zionism is mass migration mostly, it has given up on changing the Palestinians or integrating them. The Palestinians would be in a much safer position if Zionism were just colonial.

      • Cliff
        March 4, 2014, 5:50 pm

        JeffB said:

        Cliff. Imperialists usually dislike the culture of a country whose culture they are changing.

        Yep, just like how Jewish terrorists ethnically cleansed Palestine and stole the land and home of the indigenous Palestinian majority.

        In all those comparisons, it’s the Jewish nationalists who are doing the occupying, colonizing, segregating. Not the Palestinians.

        Zionist Jews lord over the Palestinians. Not vice versa.

        You are no different. You just happen to like your cause. Zionism is mass migration mostly, it has given up on changing the Palestinians or integrating them. The Palestinians would be in a much safer position if Zionism were just colonial.

        I’m not concerned with changing Jewish culture. I’m not antisemitic because I do not equate Jewish terrorism and nationalism with Jewish identity (as a whole) and Judaism.

        Wanting to and pursuing reform of a culture (like abolitionists or anti-apartheid activists, etc.) can be a good thing.

        Your word salad, interpretative dance of Zionist bullshit is hilarious. You are a racist and a liar. Israel is a racist country that is still colonizing/stealing/carrying out apartheid (in the present and not as a relic of history ‘like all countries have done’).

        So opposing Jewish nationalism means opposing apartheid, ethnic cleansing, etc. etc.

        Nothing wrong with that. You’re the imperialist.

      • JeffB
        March 4, 2014, 8:46 pm

        @Cliff

        Yep, just like how Jewish terrorists ethnically cleansed Palestine and stole the land and home of the indigenous Palestinian majority.

        Yes BDS imperialism is exactly like that.

        Zionist Jews lord over the Palestinians. Not vice versa.

        No they don’t. They just want them to leave. They don’t lord over anyone.

        I’m not concerned with changing Jewish culture. I’m not antisemitic because I do not equate Jewish terrorism and nationalism with Jewish identity (as a whole) and Judaism.

        Yep and the Klan wasn’t anti-black because they didn’t equate the need to suppress their local black population with their African identity. What kind of nonsense is that? Who cares if in some vague sense you don’t identify X with Y if you are actively working to annihilate Jewish state and its people? Yeah Cliff, [clap, clap, clap] you don’t meet one of the many hundreds of forms of anti-Jewish bigotry. Can I buy you a cigar for your terrific morals?

        The center of Judaism is Israel. If you act against Israel you act against Jews and Judaism. The fact that you like a few Jews personally makes you no different then the members of the white citizens councils that were fine with good niggers.

        If you refuse to subject countries like France to the same treatment as Israel then you are an anti-Semite. Franks who became the French displaced the native inhabitants who now live in Spain, the Franks originally lived in Germany. So what do you want to do about that? In whatever you want to do about that is what should be applied to Israel.

        If you think Jews should have to live under different laws that don’t apply to the French, then yes you are a bigot.

        So opposing Jewish nationalism means opposing apartheid, ethnic cleansing,

        No it doesn’t. If it meant that then you would just oppose apartheid and ethnic cleansing and support liberal Zionism. But you don’t. It isn’t about apartheid and ethnic cleansing.

      • Cliff
        March 7, 2014, 6:30 am

        @JeffB

        No, BDS is not imperialism. BDS is about human rights and holding criminals like those in Israel who steal/murder/war-profiteer.

        Yes, Jews do lord over non-Jews. Israel is a racist State. Racism is part of Israeli Jewish society with Arabs on the lowest totem-pole. Racism is institutionalized and intrinsic to the nature of Zionism. There is no Jewish State without a Jewish majority and no Jewish majority without war and propaganda against ‘the Other’ and ethnic cleansing.

        Yep and the Klan wasn’t anti-black because they didn’t equate the need to suppress their local black population with their African identity.

        Huh? You’re right, what you write IS nonsense.

        BDS has nothing to do w/ the KKK. It’s Jewish terrorists in Hebron and elsewhere who carry out price-tag attacks and anti-miscegenation campaigns (with support from many Israelis inside the green-line).

        In this story, you and other Zionist Jews are the KKK. You’re the ones colonizing and occupying Palestinian territory. Not the other way around.

        If you think Jews should have to live under different laws that don’t apply to the French, then yes you are a bigot.

        I could care less about your straw-man. If the French are living like Jews in Israel then they too are racist and supremacist.

        Jews have no right whatsoever to lord over non-Jews. You have no right to steal and ethnically cleanse Palestine because of the circular logic of Zionism.

        Judaism can be the center of Israel. That’s fine if that happens to be the reality.

        But all that means is that Judaism is a supremacist and racist ideology that should be overcome.

        Then of course, being antisemitic means being anti-apartheid. It’s shameful of you to use Judaism as a human shield.

        At least have the honesty to admit to your hatred of non-Jews and justification for colonialism and apartheid. Don’t drag Judaism into this.

        Then again, you seem to be a religious extremist in addition to a nutcase who thinks might-makes-right (while simultaneously characterizing BDS as imperialist – HA!).

        BDS is against Zionist racism, colonialism, and apartheid. Not against Jews for being Jews.

        You can lie all you want, but you will never change that basic common sense.

      • Citizen
        March 5, 2014, 9:11 am

        @JeffB
        I agree with you that Israel’s agenda is much more than classic & contemporary imperialism and/or classic colonialism in that it’s highest priority is and has been ethnic cleansing. What I don’t get is why anyone would be proud of that distinction.

    • JeffB
      March 3, 2014, 8:48 pm

      @Hostage

      The BDS movement is willing to endorse either a one state solution or a two state solution with equality under the law and fundamental human rights for all. Anyone stupid enough to describe that as an attack on Israel must have a room temperature IQ.

      Nonsense, if that were the case it would be it would just be another anti-Zionist binationalist movement that has existed for generations. It would be slightly to the left of J-Steet and that’s it. BDS rejects legal equality quite explicitly. It has all sorts of unequal declarations.

    • Talkback
      March 4, 2014, 3:53 am

      JeffB: We are talking about Ukraine. Everyone seems to agree that Stalin was bad to Ukraine. Well what did he do:

      a) He limited their government and culture
      b) He harmed their economy
      c) He flooded them with an immigrant population they didn’t want
      d) He cut off parts of the country that were contested

      Sounds like the forced implementation of Zionism. You don’t have a problem with that, do you?

      that is:
      BDS aims to
      a’) Change the government and culture of Israel
      b’) impose sanction, divestment, and boycotts to harm the economy
      c’) implement RoR
      d’) chop off territory

      Why do BDSers not understand that leftwing imperialism is functionally no different than rightwing imperialism?I don’t know what you mean by a’, but b’) which is a reaction to Zionist crimes and its human rights violation (a-d), c.) which is a human right and not the same as Zionist colonialization d.) which is to get back land that was confiscated or illegaly acquired by war by Zionist is definetely not the same as b-c.

      The difference ist between violating and restoring rights. It’s mind boggling how your moral has been corrupted.

      • JeffB
        March 4, 2014, 10:15 am

        @Talkback

        The difference ist between violating and restoring rights. It’s mind boggling how your moral has been corrupted.

        Which is just another way of saying the difference is between supporting a side you agree with and another side you don’t agree with. A morality that applies to your side and not all people isn’t really a morality it is just rationalization.

      • Cliff
        March 4, 2014, 5:54 pm

        Yes, JeffB – which is why you and other Zionist Jews are all liars/racists/hypocrites for supporting Jewish nationalism in Historic Palestine.

  6. ckg
    March 3, 2014, 11:55 am

    The Readers’ Picks comments are overwhelmingly critical of Israel. This seems to be typical of NYT opinion pieces on Israel/Palestine. When will the editors of the NYT realize they are out-of-step with their own readers? Do they have to lose more readers to the Guardian?

  7. pabelmont
    March 3, 2014, 12:18 pm

    NYT: Even many supporters of the two-state solution, though, condemn the [BDS] movement because it attacks Israel itself and supports the right of refugees to return to homes in Israel that were theirs before its creation.

    MY RESTATEMENT (NYT needs help here):

    Even many ZIONIST supporters of the two-state solution, though, condemn the [BDS] movement because IN THEIR OPINION it attacks Israel itself BY supporting the right of refugees to return to homes in Israel that were theirs before its creation. OF COURSE, THE RIGHT TO RETURN TO ONE’S OWN HOME IS SUPPORTED BY ALMOST ALL PEOPLE AND BY ALL HUMAN RIGHTS MOVEMENTS.”

    • Nevada Ned
      March 4, 2014, 7:21 am

      The NYT supports the right of return, but only for Jews. Not for Palestinians.

      International law says that people who left their homes (during a war, etc.) are entitled to return to their homes. It makes no difference whether they left voluntarily or were forced out. So on a regular basis, the UN General Assembly passes resolutions reaffirming the right of the Palestinian refugees to return to their homes. These resolutions pass the UN overwhelmingly.

  8. traintosiberia
    March 3, 2014, 12:25 pm

    It is the language that allows us to new understanding of hopeless situation and guides us to challenge which seems legal, ethical moral,and logical reality. Recent success
    of public outcry forcing various ant LGBT laws,traditions,and seemingly logical ethical,and individual decisions to be dropped or curtailed or changed ,have opened the possibility of demanding corrective measures in the prevailing biases against Palestine, Iran, and slants towards Israel .

    For to long we have allowed the lies,obstruction to information,distortions of views,and suppression of truths as choices by the non government entity which could not be legally challenged. This view needs to be corrected

  9. Krauss
    March 3, 2014, 12:57 pm

    Another day, another example of an extreme Zionist bias of the NYT.

    As usual, if you want to attack Apartheid you are somehow “attacking Israel”.

    In some ways that’s correct, because Zionism is at its core designed to displace a native population because it is a colonialist ideology. And this is the kind of colonialism that the NYT accepts as valid and worth defending.

    I keep saying this: someone should write a book about the systematic bias of the Times on the matter of Zionism.

    • Donald
      March 3, 2014, 3:38 pm

      Howard Friel and Richard Falk did write a book about the NYT bias on Israel/Palestine. It was pretty good. Unfortunately Falk has also said some things about 9/11, I think, which would make it easy to dismiss him. But the I/P book stands on its own.

      • traintosiberia
        March 3, 2014, 7:24 pm

        No it does not .Falk has accused USG of prior information and negligence.
        That has now been confirmed by various
        ” mainstream people”

  10. hophmi
    March 3, 2014, 3:02 pm

    Again, you’re being silly here. The debate is about a SETTLEMENT boycott. That debate is largely between liberal Zionists and more conservative Zionists, not between BDS movement members, who favor a more comprehensive boycott, and Zionists.

    • Donald
      March 3, 2014, 3:33 pm

      “The debate is about a SETTLEMENT boycott. That debate is largely between liberal Zionists and more conservative Zionists…”

      Fair enough, if the NYT will also host debates among anti-Zionists about the best way to obtain a solution favorable for Palestinians.

      • JeffB
        March 3, 2014, 8:41 pm

        @Donald

        Fair enough, if the NYT will also host debates among anti-Zionists about the best way to obtain a solution favorable for Palestinians.

        We can imagine what that would be like:

        A: I think we should use the UN to push for criminal penalties
        B: I think we should try and have European sanctions
        C: I think we should work to change USA foreign policy
        D: I think we should use the magic runes on stone of Elkie to invoke the power of Penterose to attack Israel
        A,B,C: D you have a damn good idea.
        D: Well I was just going for the most realistic option in the bunch.

    • adele
      March 3, 2014, 3:40 pm

      Your Serene Highness Hophmi,
      as the debate gatekeeper par excellence, would Palestinians be allowed into this conversation or is this matter simply to be “settled” between liberal Zionists and conservative Zionists? It would appear from all empirical evidence that the Palestinian people are the ones who are so graciously providing their land for expropriation by the Conservative & Liberal Zionists, it would then stand to reason that they are participants at this esteemed gathering.

      Inquiring minds would like to know how your highness will rule on this matter.

      • JeffB
        March 3, 2014, 8:42 pm

        @Adele

        the ruling is no. We are having a debate right now between foreign policy liberals and conservatives about what to do regarding Russia / Ukraine. We aren’t asking the Russians to participate.

  11. lyn117
    March 4, 2014, 1:30 am

    If we don’t invite the Russians to participate in debates about what we do about their invasion of Ukraine, why should we invite Israelis about what we should do about the Israeli invasion of Palestine?

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