There’s an incredibly fair report from the New York Times on the United Church of Christ divestment and boycott resolution enacted today. The fifth paragraph gives a hat tip to the BDS movement:
The United Church of Christ’s boycott resolution reflects what supporters call the growing momentum of a movement, known as boycott, divest and sanction, to pressure Israel over the unresolved Palestinian issue and the long-paralyzed Middle East peace process.
The piece, by Rick Gladstone, includes the Israeli government’s angry response a couple paragraphs after that but winds up with a straightforward description of the movement that is transforming Israel’s image internationally. Notice the reference to a “growing number of American Jews”:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and his subordinates have denounced the B.D.S. movement, describing it as a new form of terrorism to delegitimize Israel.
B.D.S. supporters, including a growing number of American Jews, have called such criticism a scaremongering and divisive tactic meant to thwart legitimate debate about the Israeli occupation of lands seized in the 1967 war.
Representatives of Jewish Voice for Peace, an advocacy group based in Oakland, Calif., that has endorsed the B.D.S. movement, attended the United Church of Christ meeting as observers. They said they welcomed the boycott resolution and described it as a reflection of growing impatience with what they called Israel’s intransigence.
“Progressives are speaking up, and it’s only a matter of time until Israel is held accountable for its human rights abuses and violations of international law,” said Lev Hirschhorn, a Jewish Voice for Peace board member, in a statement released after the vote.
What a welcome change. Previous Times reports have implied that the BDS movement is a bunch of crazed campus Third World’ers, revolutionaries and malcontents (taking a cue from the West Coast rabbi who said, “Campus politics have been hijacked by a group of students who are intent to conquer… The coalition of Arab, Muslim, Latino, Asian and gay students. They’re all oppressed minorities”) and has left out the fact that by our expert counts, Jews are at least 20 percent of the BDS movement on campus. Gladstone’s article allows readers to make the distinction between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism.
But in the end that is beside the point. BDS is a diverse movement of idealists in the U.S., most of them young, taking big risks to respond to the Palestinian call for nonviolent change. Fifty years from now, we’ll be gone, and these young people will still be at the forefront of changing the world for the better, and they will look back with pride at this first act, succeeding where so many have failed before them, overcoming the inertia of generations of American support for colonization.