The BDS Movement at 10: An interview with Omar Barghouti

Activism

Mondoweiss co-editors Adam Horowitz and Philip Weiss talk with Palestinian human rights activist and co-founder of the BDS movement Omar Barghouti on the tenth anniversary of the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions again Israel.

The BDS Call was issued by representatives of Palestinian civil society on July 9, 2005 with a goal of achieving basic Palestinian rights under international law. BDS calls for an end to Israel’s 1967 occupation of Arab lands, including East Jerusalem; an end to what even the US Department of State has criticized as Israel’s system of “institutional, legal and societal discrimination” against its Palestinian citizens, which meets the UN definition of apartheid, and an end to its denial of the Palestinian refugees’ UN-stipulated right to return to their homes of origin from which they were forcible displaced in the 1948 Nakba and kept from returning to ever since.

The BDS Call addresses all three rights because they correspond to the three main constituencies that make up the Palestinian people. According to the 2014 figures issued by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, of the 11.8 million Palestinians, those in the occupied Palestinian territory (OPT), that is Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, are only 38% of the entire Palestinian people. Palestinian citizens of Israel are about 12%, and Palestinians in exile make up the remaining 50%.

Adam Horowitz and Philip Weiss: Ten years in, how would you characterize the success of the BDS movement so far?

Omar Bargouti: BDS has played a critical role in changing the discourse on the question of Palestine after more than two decades of a fraudulent “peace process” that undermined Palestinian rights and served as a fig leaf for the expansion and entrenchment of Israel’s regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid.

Today, Israel recognizes BDS as a “strategic threat” to its entire regime of oppression for several reasons. BDS is mainstreaming the quest for the UN-stipulated but long ignored rights of the entire Palestinian people and is gradually and methodically succeeding in isolating Israel academically, culturally and, to a lesser extent, economically as well.

Inspired by the South African anti-apartheid struggle, BDS is also succeeding in exposing the toxicity of the “brand” Israel. The impact of the nonviolent, Palestinian-led, global BDS movement has grown steadily since BDS was launched in 2005. But in the last two years it has accelerated for various reasons. When you plant seeds and nourish them with care and consistency, they eventually yield good fruits. We are now beginning to harvest the fruits of 10 years of strategic, morally-consistent and undeniably effective BDS human rights campaigning.

BDS is winning the battles for hearts and minds across the world, despite Israel’s still hegemonic influence among governments in the U.S. and Europe.

The impact of BDS at 10 is now recognized by top Israeli political, security and business leaders and even a former CIA director.

A just published UN report shows that direct foreign investment in Israel has dropped by 46% in 2014 as compared to 2013. An Israeli co-author of this report has attributed this sharp decrease partially to BDS.

A recent Rand study estimated Israel’s economic losses in the coming 10 years if BDS continues at $47 billion. Thus the panic you see in Israel’s establishment.

Since June 2013, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has effectively declared the BDS movement a “strategic threat” by assigning the overall responsibility for fighting BDS to the ministry of strategic affairs.

Israeli president Reuven Rivlin has recently characterized the academic boycott of Israel as a “first-rate strategic threat” to Israel’s regime of occupation and apartheid.

The former Mossad chief Shabtai Shavit is convinced that BDS has become a “critical” challenge to Israel, while the former prime minister Ehud Barak admits it is reaching a “tipping point.”

Israel’s election of a the most extreme, far-right government in its history, shedding its last democratic pretenses, and adopting unmasked colonial policies will increase Palestinian suffering, without doubt. But it will also enhance the already impressive growth of BDS.

The BBC Globescan poll of international public opinion has consistently shown in the last few years Israel competing with North Korea in popularity around the world, including among Europe’s largest nations.

Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to Mondoweiss today.

Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to Mondoweiss today.

When you issued the call how did you imagine the movement would proceed? What effect did you think it would have then?

The call was issued by 171 Palestinian political parties, unions, associations and organizations, representing the overwhelming majority of the Palestinian people in historic Palestine and in exile. It is rooted in decades of Palestinian popular resistance and is inspired by the South African anti-apartheid movement and the US civil rights movement, among others.

It would not be an exaggeration to say that the impact of BDS 10 years after its launch has gone well beyond our most optimistic expectations when we founded the movement in 2005.

Are you surprised by the growth in the movement?

I am not surprised by the growth per se but by its rate. As Archbishop Desmond Tutu once told me, BDS is growing considerably faster than the anti-apartheid boycott movement grew.

What has been the role of the Israel lobby in the opposition to BDS?

Israel’s earliest response to the initial phase of BDS, the 2004 establishment of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), was to launch its extremely well-oiled “Brand Israel” campaign. It exploits Israeli culture, academia and technology to re-brand the state and show its “prettier face” to the world, especially after every massacre Israel commits against the indigenous Palestinian people.

The lobby has always been an integral part of this dynamic. Israel’s lobby in Washington, in particular, is recognized today, as a recent poll shows, by 3 out of 4 “opinion elites” in the Democratic Party as wielding too much influence on US foreign policy. Whether one argues that the tail is wagging the imperial dog or the other way around, one cannot but accept that the tail and the dog are organically connected! US imperials interests and Israel’s massive influence go hand in hand.

Ten years of BDS have taught us that the Israeli regime’s last and toughest line of defense is the US Congress. I would not be revealing a secret when I say that most US politicians and elected officials are more accountable and responsive to their funders than to their constituents’ interests which they are supposed to represent. Many members of Congress are “bought and paid for by the Israel lobby,” as even Thomas Friedman admitted when explaining the peculiar number of yoyo-like standing ovations Congress gave Israeli prime minister Netanyahu in 2011.

Having failed to stand up to BDS in many battles for hearts and minds at the grassroots and civil society levels, Israel adopted a new strategy for fighting BDS in 2014 centered around lawfare. Israel’s lobby is leading that battle, getting anti-BDS legislation passed in several state legislatures and the US Congress.

But that is expected. What Israel may not have expected is the steady erosion of its standing in the Democratic Party and among African Americans, Latino Americans, women and young Americans, Jewish Americans included. Israel’s job is not easy, after all. It is arrogantly trying to delegitimize the boycott, a time-honored tactic of resisting injustice in the US and a form of protected speech, as decided by the Supreme Court.

Drunk with power, Israel and its lobby groups have forgotten what carrots look like; they are resorting to larger and larger sticks to beat critics into submission. But by increasingly allying itself to and animating the American far-right and creating a new McCarthyism of sheer bullying and intellectual terror where obedience to Israel’s regime is the litmus test of loyalty, Israel’s lobby is further alienating the liberal mainstream and losing the future leadership of the US, as former Israeli Mossad chief, Shabtai Shavit realizes.

So the daunting Israel lobby may score the mother of all own goals and end up accelerating the erosion of Israel’s shield of complicity in the US and beyond.

You say Israel’s toughest line of defense is Congress, but presidential candidate Hillary Clinton recently promised mega-donor Haim Saban to help fight Israel boycotts. What ramifications do you see as BDS becomes an issue in the upcoming presidential race?

Hillary Clinton’s obsequious letter to her main donor takes the corruption of the US political system to the next level. This is somehwere between a plutocracy and an oligarchy in the making.
That’s bad not just for Palestinians, but for all those who care to defend and strengthen US democratic principles against the take over by the rich and powerful.
If Clinton turns opposition to BDS into a campaign slogan, she will further alienate herself from large Democratic constituencies and will further boost the profile of the BDS movement. Israel’s treatment of BDS as an “existential threat” and its summoning of all its troops in the US to fight it will create a new McCarthyism that will be as squarely defeated as the first edition was.

Did the charges of anti-Semitism surprise you? Do you see any indication that they’re losing their effectiveness? And how important has Jewish support been tactically to the movement’s growth?

Israel and the Zionist movement are aggressively trying to create a new definition of anti-Semitism that extends to anti-Zionism and advocacy of any boycotts against Israel. Moral principles aside, this is clearly dangerous for Palestinians and people of conscience standing in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for rights, as it is to Jewish communities the world over as it dilutes the notion of anti-Jewish racism beyond recognition.

Conflating time-honored, human-rights based boycotts of Israel’s violations of international law with anti-Jewish racism is not only false. It is a racist attempt to put all Jews into one basket and to implicate them in Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians. Israel’s charge of racism against the BDS movement is akin to the Ku Klux Klan accusing Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks of racism! It is ludicrously propagandistic.

Anchored in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the BDS movement is a human rights based, non-sectarian, inclusive movement that rejects all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism and Israel’s tens of racist laws. BDS calls for equal rights for all humans, irrespective of identity. It targets Israel and entities that are complicit in its regime of oppression, not based on any real or claimed identity, but based on the fact that this regime of oppression denies Palestinians their UN-stipulated rights under international law.

If Israel were to identify itself as Christian, Islamic, or Hindu state, we would still strive to isolate its regime of oppression to achieve our rights.

BDS has never targeted Jews or Israelis as Jews; it struggles to end an unjust regime that enslaves our people with occupation, apartheid and denial of the refugees’ UN-stipulated rights. There are Jewish-Israeli partners in the BDS movement that play a significant role in exposing Israel’s regime of oppression and advocating for isolating it. Moreover, we are proud of the disproportionately high number of Jewish activists in the BDS movement, especially in Jewish Voice for Peace.

Israel and the Zionist propaganda machine immediately accuse any supporter of BDS of “anti-Semitism” as a form of bullying and shutting down all dissent. This smear tactic is particularly used against Europeans and Americans who support the boycott, given the guilt over the Holocaust and Israel’s relative success for decades in channeling that guilt into complicity in Israel’s regime of oppression against the Palestinians. But this anti-Semitism smear tactic does not work with Palestinians, the victims of Zionism and its settler colonial project who played no role in the Holocaust and should not be made to pay for it in their rights.

Netanyahu and others have played into your hands, arguably, with some of their language, and response to the movement. Did this surprise you?

No. As racist, violent and ruthless as it is, the ultra-right in Israel is brutally honest, unlike the compulsive pretenders and liars of the so-called Zionist “left.” With Netanyahu, Israel has dropped the last mask of its never-existent democracy, exposing Israel’s true face to the world as a regime of colonial and racist oppression. Almost half the opinion shapers of the Democratic Party consider Israel racist, according to the poll I mentioned earlier. This is part of Netanyahu’s gift to the Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice and equality.

Have your tactics changed, and how? Once you were willing that American partners would “boycott an egg” if that was all they were willing to do. Are you frustrated by those who only want to boycott divest and sanction east of the Green Line?

The rights stated in the BDS call are non-negotiable, as they constitute the minimal requirements for the Palestinian people to exercise its inalienable right to self-determination. But the tactics and actions of boycott, divestment and sanctions are of necessity context-sensitive. Activists and partner groups in any given context decide what to boycott and how. Some partners, like the American Studies Association, adopt a full boycott of Israel in a certain field, while many others adopt selective boycotts of or divestment from companies illegally operating in the occupied Palestinian territory. As long as our three rights are upheld, we work with both ends of the spectrum and everything in between.

Boycotting an egg is always fine, as a first step, if this is all one can do and so long as our three basic rights are respected. But ultimately, BDS aims to turn Israel into a pariah state, as South Africa once was, and to isolate its regime of oppression in order to achieve our UN-stipulated rights.

Have you been surprised by the response of liberal Zionists in the U.S., and their refusal to join the movement? Will they join the movement ultimately?

Palestinian human rights activists are generally not over-concerned with what spokespeople for the soft Zionist camp in the US or elsewhere think or believe, despite their frequent bellicose tantrums against BDS. They are increasingly becoming irrelevant.

So-called “liberal” Zionists know as well as we do that the BDS movement, which is led by Palestinians, asserts basic Palestinian rights and gives voice to Palestinian aspirations, has effectively stripped them of their “gatekeeper” status. They also recognize, I think, that they are a fading phenomenon, not because they lack intelligence or resources, but because you can only get away with defending or obfuscating an oxymoron for so long before being exposed as a fraud.

Political Zionism is, again, being revealed to world public opinion as an inherently racist, exclusionary, colonial ideology that has always been the main source of legitimization for Israel’s regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid against the indigenous people of Palestine. Zionism, in my analysis, also harbors anti-Semitic ideas and assumptions and thrives on anti-Jewish racism, which is rejected by the BDS movement.

We do not welcome racists of any type in our movement.

Our allies, whether Jewish Voice for Peace, American Jews for a Just Peace, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network and several European networks of Jewish activists that support BDS, all fall outside the Zionist camp and recognize our basic rights, including our refugees’ right of return–the litmus test of morality and justice for anyone claiming to seek a just peace in our region.

What did BDS do wrong in the last 10 year? Where have the growing pains been?

I am sure we have done quite a few mistakes along the way. Some we prefer not to publicly discuss, to deny Israel the pleasure and keep it clueless. But some we openly admit.

We should have started focusing on the Arab world much earlier, but we lacked the necessary resources and wanted to make a splash in the center of Israel’s power in the west.

We also erred when we expected Israel’s anti-boycott bill not to pass in parliament due to its draconian, anti-democratic nature. That error was based on a false premise that the Israeli establishment is still partially ruled by reason. Now we’ve been disabused of this silly notion.

What is next for BDS? What stage of the struggle are we in?

It is hard to tell, but I think we are fast approaching our South African moment. In 2015, many in the Israeli establishment share this view.

Where is Israel going? Will there be a Jewish state in 25 years? 50 years?

We might be effective human rights activists, but we are not prophets! No one can accurately predict where Israel will be in decades, but one thing is sure, if current trends continue and internal and external resistance do not rise up to the challenge, Israel will fast descend towards fascism. Given its nuclear weapons arsenal and trigger-happy ultra-militaristic culture, this is bad for humanity, not just those of us under Israel’s colonial control. It is therefore the duty of people of conscience worldwide to support our struggle to prevent this from happening.

I strongly believe that BDS provides the kind of morally-consistent and effective struggle against Israel’s system of oppression that can “restore the humanity of both,” oppressors and oppressed, as the Brazilian educator Paulo Freire challenges us to do.

63 Responses

  1. a blah chick
    July 9, 2015, 10:15 am

    “The former Mossad chief Shabtai Shavit is convinced that BDS has become a “critical” challenge to Israel”

    Speaking truth to power will do that.

    • JWalters
      July 9, 2015, 5:48 pm

      And Israel has always recognized the truth as a strategic threat. By involving action, BDS prompts people to wonder about the reasons for the action. This gives truth an added opening. I sense an avalanche of truth coming.

    • ziusudra
      July 10, 2015, 11:35 am

      Greetings MW,
      At Long last, much thanks to MW for turning the coin & bringing on an
      intellectual Talent of the Palestinian Color. Thanks also for bringing on an intellectual Jew against Zionism in Israel, Max Blumenthal.
      ziusudra

    • RoHa
      July 11, 2015, 12:16 am

      And when truth is a challenge to power, you know what power does to those who speak it.

  2. ivri
    July 9, 2015, 11:19 am

    One angle that has been lost on many is the adverse impact of the BDS movement on the very people whose interest Barghouti is supposed to represent. In practice the West-Bank and Israeli economy is one. For instance, Ramallah, where Barghouti I believe lives, it would be news for many (those fed only by intentionally bleak descriptions but has never been in the area) that it is undergoing a period of prosperity. Now just compare that with the misery of many people in a whole range of Arab countries around.
    So those that so much want the BDS to succeed be careful with what you wish for – or else you don`t really care about people just about advancing own political agendas.

    • a blah chick
      July 9, 2015, 11:36 am

      “For instance, Ramallah, where Barghouti I believe lives, it would be news for many (those fed only by intentionally bleak descriptions but has never been in the area) that it is undergoing a period of prosperity.”

      I think I’ll wait and hear from someone who actually lives in Ramallah how great it is.

      “…compare that with the misery of many people in a whole range of Arab countries around. ”

      Why go that far? Just go to Hebron and see how Israel CLOSED the Arab businesses there and spare us all your phony sympathy.

      • ivri
        July 9, 2015, 2:49 pm

        Blah, there is something called causality in this world. The tougher situation in Hebron is not for no reason. There are strong radical elements there – for instance, they keep voting there for a Pro-Hamas party, which also controls the city. That`s a formula for troubles given Hamas recalcitrant general attitude – and it is not so only for Israel but also for the PA in Ramallah.

      • Kris
        July 9, 2015, 4:06 pm

        @ivri: “There are strong radical elements there – for instance, they keep voting there for a Pro-Hamas party, which also controls the city.”

        OTOH, there are strong fascist elements in Israel, where they keep voting for regimes totally opposed to both international law and basic human decency as understood by everyone else in the world.

      • oldgeezer
        July 9, 2015, 8:01 pm

        @ivri

        Causality also shows that illegal military actuons and opression by Israel led to the formation of Hamas.

        Neither the idf nor israelis should be in hebron so your causalityshort list doesnt justify any of the goi actions there.

      • ziusudra
        July 10, 2015, 11:31 am

        Greetings ivri,
        Didn’t you know that Jews joined the resistance in France & elsewhere in WWII?
        ziusudra
        PS They fought oppression called nazism.

    • justicewillprevail
      July 9, 2015, 11:43 am

      Ha, your concern with the welfare of the Palestinians you are destroying is noted. A small pocket of prosperity in Ramallah should be compared to the inflicted misery of Palestinians in the surrounding areas. And you should try educating yourself about BDS, instead of rehashing boilerplate hasbara. Perhaps you missed this sentence: “It targets Israel and entities that are complicit in its regime of oppression” No mention of Ramallah, unless of course you consider it a zionist outpost. But perhaps that angle is lost on you.

    • Ismail
      July 9, 2015, 11:47 am

      Well, thank you so much, ivri, for your concern for the Palestinians, who are apparently in need of your insight to see where their true interests lie.

      How foolish of them to be unaware that the Ramallah bubble, with its perks for a small number of connected Fatah apparatchiks, is the template for all of Palestine. Soon, I’m sure. Who shall they believe, you or their lying eyes?

      Poor Palestinians. So enthralled by the honeyed tales of Barghouti and others that they can’t see the great benefits the endless Israeli occupation confers upon them.

      Spare me your “concern” for the Palestinians.

    • John O
      July 9, 2015, 12:32 pm

      @ivri
      People like you said the same thing about the boycott of South Africa. The oppressed people there said, in effect, yes, it does hurt us, but oppression hurts us more; so carry on with your boycott.

      • ivri
        July 9, 2015, 2:44 pm

        John, how many times can one repeat that the S. African case was entirely different? Just for a starter: over there a minority of whites lived off the hard labor of blacks, in mines or as personals servants – can you recognize anything like that in the West-Bank?

      • Kris
        July 9, 2015, 4:03 pm

        @ivri: “over there (apartheid S.Africa) a minority of whites lived off the hard labor of blacks, in mines or as personals servants – can you recognize anything like that in the West-Bank?”

        No, the West Bank is much worse, total oppression plus theft of land and resources.

        “In the Occupied Territories, what Israel is doing is much worse than apartheid,” Noam Chomsky says. “To call it apartheid is a gift to Israel, at least if by ‘apartheid’ you mean South African-style apartheid. What’s happening in the Occupied Territories is much worse. There’s a crucial difference. The South African Nationalists needed the black population. That was their workforce. … The Israeli relationship to the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories is totally different. They just don’t want them. They want them out, or at least in prison.” link to democracynow.org

    • oldgeezer
      July 9, 2015, 2:40 pm

      @ivri

      The BDS movement exists not because of Barghouti but because large segments of Palestinian society has asked for it.

      Even if Barghouti was responsible I would listen to him before I would listen to a zionist who supports the oppression, dispossession and murder of Palestinians.

      Your concern is extremely insincere.

      • jon s
        July 10, 2015, 5:44 am

        On the comparison with South Africa under apartheid:

        link to theguardian.com

      • Bumblebye
        July 10, 2015, 7:48 am

        @jon s
        aaand – here’s another Jewish South African who says it *is* apartheid:
        link to ymlp.com

      • justicewillprevail
        July 10, 2015, 8:32 am

        Pogrund’s litany of hasbara talking points in the Guardian are the usual fare. Suddenly the Green Line, which Israel rejects, is a valid boundary and the reason that it isn’t apartheid is that West Bank Palestinians aren’t Israelli citizens. Duh, maybe keeping people deliberately stateless and without rights is part of the apartheid strategy. Citizenship has nothing to do with it, except as a crude strategy to absolve your responsibility for the people you ruthlessly control and imprison.
        For a less partisan and misleading view try Stephen Robert, who didn’t just find it apartheid, but ‘apartheid on steroids’

        link to thenation.com

    • Mooser
      July 9, 2015, 3:35 pm

      “Irvi”, I hate to be the one to tell you this, but vaudeville is dead. Sorry.

      • ivri
        July 9, 2015, 5:26 pm

        @mooser
        You are wrong: it is reality that is dead – at least in the way it is processed in some people`s minds. How else can you explain a phenomenon where supposedly rational people face an unimaginable catastrophe in Syria – in fact, the gradual collapse of Arabia at large – and all what they can see is just one thing, away from that. Unlike vaudeville, this time around it is not entertainment that we are talking about – it is the world we actually live in. What blindness.

      • Mooser
        July 9, 2015, 6:04 pm

        “You are wrong: it is reality that is dead “

        Well, in that case, I gotta tell you “Irvi”, I really think you oughta be on the stage…

        But, yes, my “Irvi”, “It is reality that is dead” and Zionism is well, ‘merely resting’

      • oldgeezer
        July 9, 2015, 8:04 pm

        @ivri

        Maybe you are incapable of thinking about more than one thing but you have no evidence people see only one thing.

        Israels crimes are vile crimes regardless of the acts of others and as a rogue state it doesnt deserve any form of free pass.

    • diasp0ra
      July 10, 2015, 6:38 am

      Hi. I’m a Palestinian from ramallah.

      While your mock concern is touching, the boycott movement in ramallah has never been stronger.

      You don’t care about my wellbeing so please drop the act. White south Africans played the same game you are. It didn’t work.

      • bintbiba
        July 10, 2015, 7:59 am

        +1 Diasp0ra !!

      • Bornajoo
        July 10, 2015, 11:23 am

        Thanks for your comment diasp0ra. Well said!

      • ivri
        July 10, 2015, 12:14 pm

        Clarification: I primarily care about Israel, but also not indifferent to the situation of the people in the West-Bank (I firmly believe that in the end there will be some confederation arrangement with it). So just pointing out that the latter is also vulnerable to BDS because even before any political accord is signed, in the economic realm the two sides are already practically integrated (the stomach, or daily life, cannot wait until the brain makes up its mind).

      • justicewillprevail
        July 10, 2015, 1:27 pm

        Yes, they’re so integrated that Israel exploits and keeps nearly all of the resources for itself, whilst maintaining a chokehold on the Palestinian economy, ensuring it can’t rise above the most basic level of subsistence. Crop destruction, land and water theft, factory destruction, livestock destruction, movement restriction – and enforced dependence , all integrated meticulously into an apartheid regime. Your concern for its maintenance in a ‘confederation’ is touching.

  3. JLewisDickerson
    July 9, 2015, 1:08 pm

    RE: “Many members of Congress are ‘bought and paid for by the Israel lobby’, as even Thomas Friedman admitted when explaining the peculiar number of yoyo-like standing ovations Congress gave Israeli prime minister Netanyahu in 2011.” ~ Omar Barghouti

    SEE: “Bibi and the Yo-Yos”, by Uri Avnery, Antiwar.com, 05/26/11

    [EXCERPT] It was all rather disgusting.
    There they were, the members of the highest legislative bodies of the world’s only superpower, flying up and down like so many yo-yos, applauding wildly, every few minutes or seconds, the most outrageous lies and distortions of Binyamin Netanyahu.

    It was worse than the Syrian parliament during a speech by Bashar Assad, where anyone not applauding could find himself in prison. Or Stalin’s Supreme Soviet, when showing less than sufficient respect could have meant death.
    What the American Senators and Congressmen feared was a fate worse than death. Anyone remaining seated or not applauding wildly enough could have been caught on camera – and that amounts to political suicide. It was enough for one single congressman to rise and applaud, and all the others had to follow suit. Who would dare not to?
    The sight of these hundreds of parliamentarians jumping up and clapping their hands, again and again and again and again, with the Leader graciously acknowledging with a movement of his hand, was reminiscent of other regimes. Only this time it was not the local dictator who compelled this adulation, but a foreign one.
    The most depressing part of it was that there was not a single lawmaker – Republican or Democrat – who dared to resist. When I was a 9 year old boy in Germany, I dared to leave my right arm hanging by my side when all my schoolmates raised theirs in the Nazi salute and sang Hitler’s anthem. Is there no one in Washington DC who has that simple courage? Is it really Washington IOT – Israel Occupied Territory – as the anti-Semites assert? . . . [ANSWER: Yes, it is; and there are many other “occupiers”. Like the military-industrial complex. And the NRA. And Big Pharma. And the too-big-to-fail banks. And Wall Street. And the Chamber of Commerce. And . . . (continued ad nauseam) ~ J.L.D.]

    ENTIRE COMMENTARY – link to original.antiwar.com

  4. Citizen
    July 9, 2015, 1:13 pm

    Unfortunately for the Palestinians, and for what it means in terms of what little is left of any “informed consent of the American people,” Hillary & her opponents for POTUS fully intend on making BDS illegal in the USA, and fully intend to maintain the delusion that Israel and US have the same values, the same interests, and that Israel is more than worth the blood and treasure of the USA. Even Webb has signed on, as Rand Paul did before him this election cycle. I see no sign that getting on AIPAC shit list will ever be a sign of a viable career in the USA. Reform of the root US system evil, the campaign finance system, is not viable because real government rep power in the USA stems from what goodies the reps can give the special interest donors; not from voter constituents.

    • JWalters
      July 9, 2015, 5:54 pm

      There is a path out. If that money is seen for the evil it is, then it would become politically toxic. We need more informed citizens.

      • JLewisDickerson
        July 10, 2015, 6:03 pm

        RECENTLY IN SOME FILM (possibly Darwin’s Nightmare, 2004): “Wherever there is money, you will find the devil!”

  5. JLewisDickerson
    July 9, 2015, 1:18 pm

    RE: “You say Israel’s toughest line of defense is Congress, but presidential candidate Hillary Clinton recently promised mega-donor Haim Saban to help fight Israel boycotts. What ramifications do you see as BDS becomes an issue in the upcoming presidential race?” ~ Weiss & Horowitz

    TAKE ACTION! ! !

    Date: Wed, 8 Jul 2015 18:04:37 -0400
    From: Just Foreign Policy [email protected]
    To: DICKERSON
    Subject: Bernie, Tell Hillary: West Bank Settlements Are Not Israel

    Just Foreign Policy

    Dear John,

    On July 2, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton sent a letter to Haim Saban, a major Clinton donor and fundraiser, expressing her “alarm” over the “Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction movement,” which she called “a global effort to isolate the state of Israel by ending commercial and academic exchanges.” Clinton asserted that “we need to make countering BDS a priority.” Clinton’s letter failed to make any distinction between Israel and Israeli settlements in the West Bank. [1]

    • Urge Bernie Sanders to challenge Hillary to clarify her position on Israeli settlements in the West Bank by signing our petition at MoveOn. – link to petitions.moveon.org

  6. JLewisDickerson
    July 9, 2015, 1:43 pm

    RE: “Israel and the Zionist propaganda machine immediately accuse any supporter of BDS of ‘anti-Semitism’ as a form of bullying and shutting down all dissent. This smear tactic is particularly used against Europeans and Americans who support the boycott, given the guilt over the Holocaust…” ~ Omar Barghouti

    SEE: “Israeli diplomat in Berlin: Maintaining German guilt about Holocaust helps Israel” | By Nir Gontarz | Haaretz.com | Jun. 25, 2015

    A spokeswoman for the Israeli embassy in Berlin recently told Israeli journalists it was in the country’s interest to maintain German guilt about the Holocaust, and that it isn’t seeking full normalization of relations between the governments.

    Embassy spokeswoman Adi Farjon made the comments in a closed briefing session with journalists at the embassy.

    “We were all in shock,” said a female journalist present at the briefing. “The spokeswoman clearly said it was an Israeli interest to maintain German guilt feelings. She even said that without them, we’d be just another country as far as they’re concerned.”

    Others present at the event confirmed the journalist’s account.

    Some added that the Israeli ambassador himself, Yakov Hadas-Handelsman, was present for some of the briefing, as were other embassy workers who don’t speak Hebrew. Another journalist commented, “It was so awkward. We couldn’t believe our ears. We’re sitting there eating peanuts, and behind the spokeswoman there are two German women sitting there who don’t understand a word of Hebrew – and the embassy staff is telling us they’re working to preserve the German guilt feelings and that Israel has no interest in normalization of relations between the two countries.”

    “I don’t remember saying that,” Farjon told Haaretz in response. “I can’t vouch for any particular quote, she added. “It was an off-the-record conversation, a briefing talk. The way I speak with Israeli journalists is a little different. These things aren’t intended to get out. I can’t reveal the principles I work by. For example, I don’t say who I go to in order to get good stories out here, or who I pay for things like that.” . . .

    ENTIRE ARTICLE (premium) – link to haaretz.com

  7. HarryLaw
    July 9, 2015, 1:47 pm

    These campaigns are successful when they reach a critical mass, when some large institutions take measures other institutions tend to follow, similarly hardly any large retailer admits to selling produce from occupied territory, if they did they would soon have to contend with angry protests. Many EU governments issued warnings to companies and individuals, in the UK case through its UK Trade and Industry’s Business risk register-Israel . In the document, they warn that, inter alia, financial transactions, purchases, procurements as well as other economic activities prospective purchasers might make carry clear risks. They state that those involved in buying products from settlements deemed illegal under International law should beware, because this may result in disputed titles to land; water, mineral or other natural resources which might be the subject of purchase or investment, and that those contemplating any economic or financial involvement in such purchases should seek appropriate legal advice.
    As Hostage pointed out recently, businesses look to the future, they do not want to be involved in costly litigation on reparations, war crimes profiteering etc, as the recent Orange cell phone incident proved, businesses know the score and will eventually do the right thing, even only for the sake of their shareholders.

    • JWalters
      July 9, 2015, 6:01 pm

      Thanks for highlighting that important point. Such discussions and calculations are undoubtedly on the increase. It’s cause for optimism.

  8. xaf
    July 10, 2015, 8:58 am

    Where was Mr. Barghouti educated?

    • justicewillprevail
      July 10, 2015, 9:54 am

      where were you educated?

      • xaf
        July 12, 2015, 4:47 am

        McGill University in Montreal, Canada.

    • Froggy
      July 10, 2015, 10:13 am

      xaf :

      Columbia University

      • xaf
        July 12, 2015, 4:50 am

        Thank you, Froggy.

        A Zionist tried telling me that he studied at Tel Aviv University. I figured that it was hasbara propaganda.

      • Froggy
        July 12, 2015, 8:34 am

        xaf : To be fair, I later read that he went to Tel Aviv University for graduate work after graduating from Columbia.

        He read engineering at Columbia, BTW.

  9. Vera Gottlieb
    July 10, 2015, 9:15 am

    Turning into an apartheid ghetto.

  10. oneangrycomic
    July 10, 2015, 9:31 am

    Brilliant! A must read! Zionist Hasbara and AIPAC are falling apart. Success of BDS causing Zionists to act out of desperation, leading to mistakes. Israel, AIPAC lies exposed. Americans are waking up and fighting to take back their country!

    The anti-Semitism label is the new form of McCarthyism. As more Democrats (and others) refuse to be bullied and threatened by pro-Israel fanatics, our country will grow stronger and cast off the chains of AIPAC. We defeated McCarthyism and we will defeat AIPAC and all it stands for!

    A very ugly battle for freedom is coming as the Zionists become more desperate. Now is the time to take advantage of our success and put a stake through the heart of the vampire that is Zionism! BDS is not anti-Semitic, it is Pro-Humanity and Freedom!

  11. eduardoben
    July 10, 2015, 10:30 am

    Regarding Israeli efforts to nurture and manipulate German Holocaust guilt:

    It has been a very profitable effort by Israel. Germany has provided Israel with five or six 2000 Ton Dolphin class diesel-electric submarines (Very quite and almost impossible to detect when operating off their huge battery banks) with torpedo tubes modified to discharge nuclear capable cruise missiles. This gives Israel a nuclear second strike capability that means that any nation that attacks Israel with WMD’s can expect total annihilation in response. That’s one reason why Israel’s claim of an existential threat from a nuclear armed Iran is misleading propaganda. Germany gave two or more of these submarines as outright gifts to Israel and the remaining subs (both delivered and those currently in the build process) have been heavily discounted with German subsidies.

    Just one of many examples of monumental hypocrisy when two of the groups assaulting Iran with sanctions — over the possible capability of making nuclear weapons if Iran decided to — are nations that, in the case of France, built Israel’s nuclear reactor at Dimona where Israel’s nuclear bombs are manufactured and, in the case of Germany, is providing Israel with a nuclear second strike capability.

    Under these circumstance it would be an extremely rational response to the EXISTING Israeli nuclear threat for Iran to want to have a nuclear weapon — which would only be useful as a deterrent — to deter Israel from attacking Iran with some of its 200-400 estimated nuclear armed missiles.
    (or at least the capability to build one)

    Of course we don’t hear those perspectives discussed in the mainstream American news media.

    Its a racist double standard that’s out of control.

    Eduardo Cohen

    • Qualtrough
      July 10, 2015, 2:18 pm

      eduardoben – Given the Israeli capabilities that you have just mentioned and their Samson Option threats, I do hope that saner heads in the US and other military powers have a contingency plan to track and destroy those subs should they ever feel Israel intends on carrying out any nuclear attack. The potential threat posed to the world by Israel dwarfs any threat posed by conventional terrorists.

  12. Palikari
    July 10, 2015, 12:08 pm

    Barghouti himself is currently studying at Tel Aviv University, while advocating an academic boycott of Israel.

    Pathological level of hypocrisy.

    • RoHa
      July 11, 2015, 12:23 am

      I am really fed up with people whining about hypocrisy as if it were the greatest of all evils.

      Most of the time the accusation is just a form of argumentum ad hominem.

      If calling for an academic boycott of Israel is justified, it matters no who calls for it.

    • diasp0ra
      July 11, 2015, 3:51 am

      And Mandela studied at apartheid universities. What is your point? It is the best education available to him given the circumstances. Why shouldn’t he use it?

      Occupiers have responsibilities towards occupied populations, it seems that only Israel feels like it’s the exception.

      • Palikari
        July 11, 2015, 7:46 am

        “Why shouldn’t he use it?

        Are you really asking this???

        Because he’s advocating an academic boycott of Israel! He should act accordingly, otherwise is no more than pure hypocrisy.

      • diasp0ra
        July 12, 2015, 8:11 am

        Palikari said:

        “Are you really asking this???

        Because he’s advocating an academic boycott of Israel! He should act accordingly, otherwise is no more than pure hypocrisy.”

        I also call for the complete boycott of Israel. Yet I’m forced to buy Israeli products and take part in the Israeli economy as a Palestinian living in the West Bank. It’s impossible not to. Things don’t apply to the occupied people that apply to others. We simply CANNOT completely boycott Israel, it’s literally impossible, whereas others can.

        The fact remains that it is the best education he can receive in the current situation. Also, BDS isn’t exactly a movement with a hierarchy and structure. Barghoutis personal choices have no affect on it and do not reflect on it.

  13. talknic
    July 10, 2015, 1:11 pm

    @ Palikari

    “Barghouti himself is currently studying at Tel Aviv University, while advocating an academic boycott of Israel.

    Pathological level of hypocrisy.”

    Uh? Whatever it is you really should stop taking it. Is he calling for tel Aviv University to boycott itself? WOW! What interesting theories Israel’s apologists come up with

  14. Landie_C
    July 10, 2015, 2:44 pm

    Regarding BDS prospects on campus, this remains the big story of the week, a Forward exclusive

    link to forward.com

    Why hasn’t Mondoweiss covered it yet? If Brog really does take over, as he is expected to next week, this may well have a cascade effect, sending students over to BDS in droves.

  15. rplatkin
    July 10, 2015, 7:48 pm

    I would appreciate it if Mr. Bargouti expanded his comments about this being a South Africa moment. Does this mean the BDS movement will soon call for US and EU government sanctions (i.e., S) on Israel, using South Africa as the model? This would be a major tactical change from restricting BDS to consumer boycotts and institutional divestment of corporate stock.

    • JLWarner
      July 10, 2015, 8:06 pm

      I concur. Government sanctions are what made the differrence in South Africa.

  16. hellsbells
    July 11, 2015, 12:21 pm

    “Israel will fast descend towards fascism. Given its nuclear weapons arsenal and trigger-happy ultra-militaristic culture, this is bad for humanity”

    What’s the issue here in stating ‘Israel is a fascist Jewish state’? Why the pretense that Israel isn’t fascist now? Is there some magic threshold that has yet to be passed? Something that hasn’t already been exceeded?

    In fact with the shooting down of Libyan Arab Airlines Flight 114 in 1973 with 113 people on board and only five survivors, including the co-pilot, this is already one of the highest deaths in a ‘nuclear accident’ involving a reactor.

    With IAEA controls nothing is known about safety and the storage of waste. It’s beyond a joke now.

    There is a serious failure here to deal with what is known with the strength of demand that is required already. The idea that there is some need to project further into the future to get to a serious action point we need to dismiss. What had happen by 1975 was already well beyond a critical milestone that demanded action.

  17. yonah fredman
    July 13, 2015, 10:05 am

    In his debate with Peter Beinart, Yousef Munayer emphasized boycotting Israel even to achieve Beinart’s limited goal of ending the occupation. Here Barghouti seems to have no patience for any goal that does not include the Right of Return.

    • Kris
      July 13, 2015, 11:36 am

      @yf: “Here Barghouti seems to have no patience for any goal that does not include the Right of Return.”

      Why should he?

      DO PALESTINIAN REFUGEES HAVE THE RIGHT TO RETURN TO THEIR HOMES?

      Yes, they have the right, although Israel has so far refused to recognize this right. All refugees have an internationally recognized right to return to areas from which they have fled or were forced, to receive compensation for damages, and to either regain their properties or receive compensation and support for voluntary resettlement. This right derives from a number of legal sources, including customary international law, international humanitarian law (governing rights of civilians during war), and human rights law. The United States government has forcefully supported this right in recent years for refugees from Bosnia, Kosovo, East Timor and elsewhere.

      In the specific case of the Palestinians, this right was affirmed by the United Nations Resolution 194 of 1948, and has been reaffirmed repeatedly by that same body, and has also been recognized by independent organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

      The U.S. government supported Resolution 194, and voted repeatedly to affirm it until 1993. At that time, the Clinton administration began to refer to Palestinian refugee rights as matters to be negotiated between the parties to the conflict.

      Israel refuses to allow the refugees to return to villages, towns and cities inside Israel due to their ethnic, national and religious origin. Israel’s self-definition as a Jewish state emphasizes the need for a permanent Jewish majority, Jewish control of key resources like land, and the link between Israel and the Jewish diaspora. Jewish citizens, residents and Jews from anywhere in the world are therefore granted special preferences regarding citizenship and land ownership.
      link to imeu.org

  18. mwharpo
    February 22, 2016, 4:17 am

    Gee, for a minute there I actually thought that Horowitz and Weiss were actually legitimate purveyors of truth.. No such luck. Just two more shmuk “Jews” who lost their way and seek to connect to the world through bashing Jews Judaism and Israel. OMG yawn yawn…
    Not sure why I even registered here, I thought it was actually of some value…

    • eljay
      February 22, 2016, 9:23 am

      || mwharpy @ February 22, 2016, 4:17 am ||

      Yawn yawn.

    • Mooser
      February 22, 2016, 10:14 am

      “Not sure why I even registered here,”

      Isn’t it obvious? You (and a brocha on you for it!) thought that providing Mondo with a couple of ‘hits’, a UPV or two, and a new registrant is the best way to fight for Zionism. You provided a lot of value. You’ve done everything except send money.

      Yup, Zionism is in good, and very, very precious hands! Keep it up, “mwharpo”

  19. MHughes976
    February 22, 2016, 9:46 am

    This comment is personal, abusive, race-based and argument-free. I may need more enlightenment from Mooser about transcendental moderation.

    • Mooser
      February 22, 2016, 10:20 am

      “I may need more enlightenment from Mooser about transcendental moderation.”

      The mantra is [personal and private, and once assigned by the guru (the guru from Kang, of course.) should not be revealed. The mantra may consist of a repeated phrase (“let-him-make-an-ass-of-himself-let-him-make-an-ass…) or even a sound (such as “Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha”) while pressing the “publish” button.
      This technique has proven to be significantly less stressful on the Moderators than the traditional western methods.

Leave a Reply