On boycotts, Palestine, and resistance: a review of ‘Assuming Boycott’

Activism
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Assuming Boycott: Resistance, Agency, and Cultural Production
Edited by Kareem Estefan, Carin Kuoni, and Laura Raicovich
272 pp. OR Books, 2017. $18.

In the winter of 2012 the highly-acclaimed Mvskoke poet and musician Joy Harjo found herself at the center of an excruciating public fray. Despite direct appeals from thousands of BDS advocates, including some of her friends in the indigenous community, Harjo decided to accept a brief residency at Tel Aviv University. Of course, many other international artists have crossed the picket line to perform in spaces targeted by the Palestinian-led boycott, but when Harjo decided to go, it touched an especially raw nerve.

Palestinian and anti-colonial activists felt betrayed that an anti-war, feminist, indigenous cultural icon like Harjo would turn a deaf ear to friends and political allies. For her part, Harjo claimed that she felt bullied and harassed. The emotionally charged debate was intensified by the theatrical presence of pro-Israel propagandists and trolls who, without a trace of irony, cast themselves as guardians of freedom of expression.

Harjo defended her decision on her Facebook page and in an interview with the Jerusalem Post, citing the metaphysical argument that the arts have the special capacity to transcend the barriers of political conflict. This mystical concept struck many BDS proponents as disingenuous since Harjo herself had previously boycotted George Bush’s White House during the Iraq War, demonstrating a conviction that some political boundaries ought never be crossed. How and why had she decided that performing in an Israeli apartheid space didn’t merit the same refusal?

This painful episode raked up questions that demand serious consideration and attention. Why do critics of cultural boycotts insist on framing them as a form of censorship, rather than as an invitation to imagine and enact more principled forms of engagement? Are cultural and academic boycotts an effective strategy when some artists and allies may be marginalized in the process? How can organizers better communicate the moral urgency of a boycott without being perceived as tone-deaf and culturally insensitive?

These are the kinds of questions that are addressed and explored in a useful new collection of essays published this year by OR Books. With contributions from a diverse range of leading left-wing artists, curators, critics, and academics, “Assuming Boycott: Resistance, Agency, and Cultural Production” offers a rich and lively analysis of historical and present-day boycotts and the ethical, political, and practical issues they raise.

Organized into four thematic sections, including three case studies on South Africa, Palestine, the Gulf Labor Artist Coalition, “Assuming Boycott” is not framed as a polemical intervention in favor or against boycotts, rather it starts with the assumption that cultural boycotts are already a “tool of our time” and that artists are using them with increasing frequency and urgency. Most serious contemporary artists recognize that their work does not transcend the material conditions of its inception, transmission, and reception, and are assuming more agency in assuring that their work “be shown and circulated in accordance with their ethics and solidarities.”

Rather than characterizing these widespread and far-flung mobilizations as evidence of censorship and closure, the editors invite us to consider the ways that boycotts—and the difficult process of enacting and enforcing them—can be thought of as openings, transforming the conversation among artist-activists, and transforming the cultural landscape. This subtle reframing of the discussion, and the inclusion of essays that challenge cherished dogma on the left, allow for productive debate and critical analysis to emerge.

In the section on South Africa, several essayists trace some of the lesser known and unexpected results of the cultural boycott that was launched in 1946 by the U.S. Actors’ Equity Association, institutionalized by the ANC and the UN in the 1960s, and reinforced by popular entertainers and activists in the 1980s. Two fascinating pieces by John Peffer and Hlonipha Mokoena offer retrospective analyses of the successes, failures, and grey zones of the cultural boycott. Both discuss specific innovations that emerged in the music and art scenes due to a variety of factors and pressures.

The rise in global popularity of South African culture, the presence of international solidarity projects, and the exigencies of the political crisis were all factors that spurred (sometimes forced) South African cultural workers to develop new genres and unconventional modes of expression and distribution. Peffer and Mokoena’s essays demonstrate that the cultural boycott was not without frustration and shortcomings, but that it fostered a level of international contact and collaboration that produced an atmosphere of experimentation. 

In reflecting on some the indelible legacies of the cultural boycott of South Africa, Sean Jacobs writes that it popularized the concept that culture and politics are interconnected and it “cemented the idea of culture as an agent of politics, and not just a reflection of politics.” Though the boycott was never systematically applied and was fraught with obstacles, Jacobs argues that its symbolic force contributed to the moral isolation of Apartheid, and inspired other important boycotts, most notably the BDS movement.

The second part of “Assuming Boycott,” arguably the most emphatic section, is entirely devoted to Palestine and BDS. The moral and intellectual case for boycott is eloquently made and reinforced across the breadth of several excellent pieces by Noura Erakat, Nasser Abourahme, Yazan Khalili, Kareem Estefan, and Eyal Weizman. This section includes a seminal essay, “‘We,’ Palestinians and Jewish Israelis: The Right Not to be a Perpetrator” by Ariella Azoulay, which calls upon Israelis to put an end to the ongoing human catastrophe and crimes against humanity in Palestine by helping to permanently dismantle the Zionist regime. Azoulay writes that Israelis should assert their right to not be “citizen-perpetrators” by engaging in BDS and by “imagining new forms of partnership devoid of any claim of Jewish supremacy…” 

The intensity of Azoulay’s polemic finds considerable ballast in a piece by Joshua Simon who worries that BDS, which necessarily functions in relation to sovereign neoliberal capitalism, represents a “variation of the logic” of capitalism. While he recognizes that this may be the efficient strategy of the moment, he argues for the development of a “different political dynamic outside the reality of consumption as our sole agency.” Simon contends that BDS, driven as it is by a decentralized network of well-known activists, may be replacing genuinely collective solidarity work on the ground.

When read in conjunction with and tempered by the analysis of the “grey zones” in the South Africa section, the Palestine section will be especially instructive for BDS organizers and leaders. One of the most notable critiques of the movement is that the boycott is arbitrarily applied and misapplied, often targeting and alienating allies. The egregious shunning of journalist Amira Hass at Birzeit University is cited to illustrate the dangers of blanket boycotts. The essays here, however, written by prominent anti-Zionist Israelis and Palestinians, place a special emphasis on the notion of co-resistance and the need for joint struggle for decolonization. As Eyal Weizman writes, “the movement should find—and perhaps create—new forums for solidarity and cultural production.” Weizman and several others make the appeal for the creation of alternative and egalitarian spaces.

Another excellent point raised by Weizman and then further developed by the essayists who participated in the Gulf Labor Artist Coalition is the way that cultural boycotts force committed activists to engage in sustained research in order to navigate complicated areas and to “measure degrees of complicity and degrees of resistance.” In his excellent essay titled “The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Campaign,” Naeem Mohaiemen chronicles the activities and struggles of Gulf Labor, a group of artist-activists who have fought to improve conditions for the migrant workers constructing the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi and other art institutions in the Gulf. Mohaiemen describes the extensive research needed to pressure recalcitrant museum administrators to redress human rights violations. This piece and several others remind us that cultural and academic boycotts create the need and the space for more knowledge production, not less.

Concerns about censorship and the repression of free speech are given space to percolate in the third section, “Who Speaks? Who is Silenced?” with the inclusion of an essay by Tania Bruguera on her experiences resisting state censorship in Cuba and a provocative piece by free speech advocate Svetlana Mintcheva who offers a nuanced intervention on the issue of cultural appropriation. Mintcheva makes a case against the prohibition of all instances of “trans-cultural borrowing” and worries that when university and museum administrators quickly succumb to the impulses of “cyber mobs,” they further exacerbate a climate of fear and self-censorship. While both Bruguera and Mintcheva point a finger at direct state and institutional censorship, they do not deny the need for grassroots activists to mount vocal protests and boycotts, which provoke important discussions in the service of social justice.

Looking at the issue of silence and silencing from a different angle, anthropologist Ann Laura Stoler offers a critique of fellow scholars who pride themselves in taking stands on the most pressing of social issues, except for Palestine. When faced with this injustice, many academics say that they just don’t “know enough.” While Stoler asserts the rights of individuals to make their own choice, she signed onto the BDS call in 2010. She sees her choice to boycott as a way of attending “to a set of practices and priorities that creates in itself a political space…to account for oneself and to know better what the consequences of those choices are…” Stoler celebrates that even unsuccessful bids to endorse BDS in professional academic organizations like the American Anthropological Association and Modern Language Association, make it far more difficult for people to willfully ignore the question of Palestine.

The final section of this excellent reader, “Dis/engagement From Afar,” addresses some of the questions and paradoxes that arise as artists engage in global solidarity movements that may be geographically, politically, culturally, or temporally “distant” or unfamiliar. Activists must navigate issues of power imbalance, cultural difference, and distance in order to engage ethically and authentically. Essays by Chelsea Haines, Nathan Grey and Ahmet Öğüt, and Radhika Subramaniam, provide a subtle examination of some the concrete ways that artists create and sustain global networks to ensure that their work is disseminated in accordance with their own political values.

In her essay “52 Weeks, and Engaging by Disengaging,” Mariam Ghani (with Haig Aivazian) reflects on the tactics and strategies of Gulf Labor, especially the one-year campaign 52 Weeks that offered a parallel space for “producing and disseminating artworks that directly addressed or enacted the ideas behind the boycott.” This successful transnational project garnered increased public attention for Gulf Labor’s efforts, helped connect the group with other social justice projects, brought labor “to the very center of artworld discourse,” and served as a reminder that a boycott “can and should be the beginning of a larger conversation….”

Ghani’s exciting contribution, like so many others in this book, is extremely valuable as we reflect on the Joy Harjo incident and many other challenging obstacles faced in the BDS movement. Organizers and activists can be more preemptive and creative in their work, developing new venues of co-resistance. Ideally when international artists are asked to cancel shows in Tel Aviv, they should be invited to perform and exhibit in innovative spaces that are committed to the ongoing struggle to decolonize Palestine.

Considering the anti-BDS legislation that is now making its way through Congress, the task of deepening our understanding of the tool of boycott is more urgent than ever. It is important to recognize and contend with negative public perceptions of cultural boycotts in order to strategize and organize more effectively. “Assuming Boycott” arrives at a critical moment and performs a great service for a growing community of politically committed artists who seek to build relationships and institutions that reflect a culture of liberation.  

About Kim Jensen

Kim Jensen (www.kimjensen.org) is a Baltimore-based writer, poet, and educator who spends a great deal of time in historic Palestine. Her books include a novel, The Woman I Left Behind, and two collections of poems, Bread Alone and The Only Thing that Matters.

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33 Responses

  1. Citizen
    August 24, 2017, 11:01 am

    Why is it always that conflicts appear easily bipolar, but with anything involving Israel, all agree it’s a gray area?

  2. rhkroell
    August 24, 2017, 7:39 pm

    Great review! I wish you would review Louise Linton’s IN CONGO’S SHADOW: ONE GIRL’S PERILOUS JOURNEY TO THE HEART OF AFRICA. It’s never too late to “promote” a haunting memoir which has become a must-read “classic.” Since BDS activists “must navigate issues of power imbalance, cultural difference, and distance in order to engage [the boycott, divestment and sanctions strategy] ethically and authentically,” a critical analysis of Louise Linton’s text would assist MW’s readers in negotiating the BDS ethical minefield, right?

  3. Elizabeth Block
    August 24, 2017, 9:59 pm

    When people tell you that academic boycott is an attack on academic freedom, tell them about the school that the Israelis destroyed (in the next article in this newsletter). If that isn’t an attack on academic freedom, what is?
    When the Israelis stop destroying (or stealing, actually) Palestinian schools; when they stop attacking schoolchildren on their way to school; then they can talk about how much they value academic freedom.

  4. LHunter
    August 25, 2017, 7:25 am

    Joy Harjo? Disgusting. Her excuse was utter bullsh*t and she knows it.

    Too many posers

  5. DaBakr
    August 25, 2017, 10:38 pm

    so, bds peoples have a right to bds harjo. No problem. what they have no right to do is claim to hold any opinion or view more moral then harjo or anybody else who opposes boycotting Israel on well thought out grounds. It’s simply your own mental prerogative and distaste for her opinion. do any of you think the neo nazis that marched in the USA don’t believe their cause is justified and moral from their own pov. you can argue they are ignorant, racist evil and more but they can argue equally derogatory insults about the far left (which they erroneously believe is synonymous with jew.) they are equally as confused as the far left by both hating jews while some also claim they admire zionism and believe their goals are similar. They far left believes that zionist equates to evil and has nothing to do with true judaism. equally preposterous. And as bad as the Nazi right is, the left’s new little game comes right off the pages of the Soviet and their attempts to eradicate any trace of the czars. Orwell even rights a paragraph on how the language is changed, the monuments pulled down and every trace of history is erased except that the state is the only power that ever existed. The left has a habit of taking righteous causes and. shredding them into bloody and twisted, sterile, politically and culturally intolerant tampons
    It just proves that radical elements of both right and left are polarizing so much that they are closer to forming a circle with themselves wether the rational center becomes the glue that holds things together….or not.

    • Annie Robbins
      August 25, 2017, 11:22 pm

      what they have no right to do is claim to hold any opinion or view more moral then harjo or anybody else who opposes boycotting Israel on well thought out grounds.

      that’s quite a mouthful. no right to claim we are more moral! no right to hold an opinion we claim is more moral! no right to claim our view is more moral! maybe you don’t know the meaning of free speech dabkr, because as far as i know i have every right to claim my views are more moral. that is a right protected under the first amendment.

      as bad as the Nazi right is, the left’s new little game comes right off the pages of the Soviet and their attempts to eradicate any trace of the czars.

      oh my oh my! now we are the bolsheviks! are we also, inadvertently, responsible for the holodomor?

      p.s. harjo didn’t oppose bds on “well thought out grounds”. in fact, she explained on FB she had not even heard of bds until right before she was going to go on the trip. she said she had not given it any thought at all when she accepted the invitation because she had not heard of it.

      • DaBakr
        August 26, 2017, 1:58 am

        @ an

        Yes. And yes. The first sentence you pointed out was rushed and not well constructed. But I’m certain that a woman with a mind as sharp as yours knew what I meant. They can think anything they like and of course that’s their right. My opinion is they have no grounds to claim any moral superiority(at least the ones that do assuming that there must be some radical far left progressives don’t feel superior to anybody. Even I have met a few)

        Oh my, your are definitely like the Bolsheviks in the way I described. Also in the way George Orwell described more precisely then I almost 100 yrs ago. If I can remember where I have the paragraph I would quote it bff because if a few key words were substituted for the past few weeks of statuegate -including blasio

      • DaBakr
        August 26, 2017, 2:27 am

        @ an

        As for this harjo…i don’t know that much about her so if you tell me her acceptance was a mistake on her part I’ll. accept it on face value. why is she drawing out viscous commentaries and attacks here? I do know that in general, most famous or just well known celebs artists or academics who choose to ignore bds do so with thought out reasoning. If harjo didn’t, so be it.

      • RoHa
        August 26, 2017, 8:17 am

        “because as far as i know i have every right to claim my views are more moral. that is a right protected under the first amendment.”

        More importantly, as a member of the moral community, you have moral duty to develop moral views, and to make moral judgments, regardless of amendments.

      • Mooser
        August 26, 2017, 1:34 pm

        “why is she drawing out viscous commentaries “

        A-ha! The plot thickens.

      • Annie Robbins
        August 26, 2017, 2:20 pm

        LOL! i wonder if dbakr knows what the definition of viscous is ;)

      • Annie Robbins
        August 26, 2017, 2:05 pm

        your are definitely like the Bolsheviks in the way I described. Also in the way George Orwell described more precisely then I almost 100 yrs ago. If I can remember where ….

        and you’re definitely the way i describe and george orwell agrees with me too and i can prove that if i could just remember where i left my socks w/my favorite paragraphs stuffed inside.

        so if you tell me her acceptance was a mistake on her part I’ll. accept it on face value.

        i’ll repeat, harjo didn’t oppose bds on “well thought out grounds”. in fact, i don’t recall she ever stated she opposed bds at all. she was a coward imho.

        most famous or just well known celebs artists or academics who choose to ignore bds do so with thought out reasoning

        sure they do, with that reasoning being ‘i don’t want to lose my job and have my reputation dragged through the mud publicly by israel lobby cohorts and fanatical SWU people. ‘

      • RoHa
        August 26, 2017, 9:41 pm

        “A-ha! The plot thickens.”

        You foresee a tar-baby scenario?

      • DaBakr
        August 27, 2017, 2:38 am

        @ an

        I use an iPad. it has a spell check correction program from hell. I bet that other Apple users have the same problem and know how combative our is.

        So what does the ability for far left radical to claim Orwell applies to the polar political opponents?

        I’m sure if you google Orwell and tearing down monuments you’ll get there. I don’t carry passages I remember around in links.

        I don’t know harjo very= and don’t care what she did either way. sorry I brought out up. there are also plenty of celebrities that don’t have to worry about losing backing, income, or fans that play Israel regularly.
        .

      • Annie Robbins
        August 27, 2017, 3:58 am

        I bet that other Apple users have the same problem and know how combative our is.

        ok, you can blame spell check for this grammatical error too i suppose.

        Oh my, your are definitely like the Bolsheviks

        you can blame spell check for that too i suppose. (your are vs you are/you’re)

        So what does the ability for far left radical to claim Orwell applies to the polar political opponents?

        would you care to rephrase that? i have no idea what you are saying. must be the sheer lack of my imagination or creativity or something. chalk it up to the american education system or whatever. or maybe it’s iPad’s “spell check correction program from hell”. what is your native tongue anyway? hebrew? yiddish? do tell.

        there are also plenty of celebrities that don’t have to worry about losing backing, income, or fans that play Israel regularly.

        i am sure there are. like her:

        Gal Gadot is ostensibly here to talk about her rise from almost total unknown to an iconic, worldwide symbol of all that is good and powerful…

        believe me, we are all way too aware hollywood has many zionist supporters:

      • amigo
        August 27, 2017, 9:13 am

        “what is your native tongue anyway? hebrew? yiddish? do tell. “Annie R

        Yiddrew or Hebdish.

        Take your pick.

      • Mooser
        August 27, 2017, 12:06 pm

        Some people send in comments. “Dabakr” treats us to long, stream-of-resentment mutters.

      • Annie Robbins
        August 27, 2017, 12:34 pm

        mooser, stream-of-resentments that echo trumps moral equivalence between neo-nazis and the ‘far left’. and then caps it off by implying monuments of pro slavery ‘heroes’ represent a “righteous cause”:

        Orwell even rights a paragraph on how the language is changed, the monuments pulled down and every trace of history is erased except that the state is the only power that ever existed. The left has a habit of taking righteous causes and. shredding them into bloody and twisted, sterile, politically and culturally intolerant tampons

        what to make of this mangled ‘logic’? i wonder what kind of spiel he’d go on if germans tried to dismantle all their monuments to hitler and the nazis. oh wait, they don’t honor him/them in public spaces last i heard. nor pretend hitler represented a “righteous cause”.

        as for the “culturally intolerant tampons”.. i am at a loss for words as to how respond to that.

      • Mooser
        August 27, 2017, 12:44 pm

        “what to make of this mangled ‘logic’?”

        It can be a short trip from allrightnik to alt-righnik.

        “as for the “culturally intolerant tampons”.. i am at a loss for words as to how respond to that.”

        You got me. Maybe it’s got something to do with the “Family Purity Laws”?

      • DaBakr
        August 28, 2017, 1:41 pm

        @mS

        “Stream of con…..mutters.”

        Your pretty close so I won’t nit pick

        @ an

        The sentence on Orwell is so atrocious I can’t even remember what it said specifically.* The main point was obvious: the left is engaging in activities that Orwell predicted and associated with his dystopian 1984. the left wouldn’t be the first group to be accused of orwellianism but they fit the bill now. The secession of the southern states was not righteous. I have never been convinced that Lincoln fought the war to end slavery. He stated many times that he would have allowed slavery to exist in the south of they rejoined the union. His grand plan for the Africans torn from Africa was to buy enough land in Africa and central America to ‘repatriate’ all African Americans. So when the Lincoln statues are pulled down, the Columbus, Washington Jefferson and other monuments are torn down the left should turn its attention to renaming NYC, named for one of the ceo of the world’s largest slave trading company, (the duke of York)
        * If I had to pay attention to every change the Swype keyboard.’corrected’ on its own it would not be worth the effort. not serious enough.

      • Mooser
        August 28, 2017, 3:23 pm

        “Your pretty close so I won’t nit pick”

        Sorry, the full description was “standing in the corner of the room, looking daggers at the people there, and muttering, muttering resentfully, while his clenched fists work furiously in his pockets.”

    • eljay
      August 25, 2017, 11:51 pm

      || @r: … They far left believes that zionist equates to evil … ||

      Zionism is supremacism and colonialism. The fact that it’s by and for Jews doesn’t make it any less evil than supremacism and colonialism that is by and for non-Jews.

      || … and has nothing to do with true judaism. … ||

      According to your fellow MW Zionist, Nathan, Zionism has nothing to do with Judaism:

      The issue of “conflation of Zionism and Judaism” is anti-Zionist propaganda. It is not a Zionist claim … among Zionists, everyone understands that Zionism is a Jewish political movement, whereas Judaism is the religion of the Jews. No one conflates the two concepts.

      I can’t tell if you’re joking, mistaken, a self-loathing supremacist or a budding anti-Zionist.

  6. catalan
    August 26, 2017, 11:43 am

    People from San Francisco can afford to demand the impossible – the return of 7 million refugees- because they have good lives. They are engaging in debates over whether eating Haagendasz vs Ben and Jerry ice cream would help bring the end of Israel. Meanwhile, Gazans have no electricity and are starving. If that’s not let them eat cake type of stuff, I don’t know what is.

  7. rhkroell
    August 26, 2017, 12:48 pm

    “My opinion is they have no grounds to claim any moral superiority . . . .” — DaBakr

    Actually, Annie is absolutely right. She, RoHa and I do have a right — and a duty (or the responsibility) — to call “foul” on any Bozo who argues that all “far right” and “far left” views are essentially equivalent (or synonymous).

    It’s absurd to argue that the racist views held by “Nazis” (on the Right) and those supposedly “radical“ views held by the pro-BDS “Jews” (on the Left) are morally analogous. That’s an old chestnut that has been employed by optimates against populares of all stripes since Cato argued that democracy = mob rule. The views of pro-BDS Leftist “Jews” are quite distinguishable from the views of Nazis (and/or revolutionary Bolsheviks for that matter). That’s a reductio ad absurdum logical fallacy as old as Aristotle’s PRIOR ANALYTICS.

    • echinococcus
      August 26, 2017, 10:56 pm

      Kroell,

      “Pro-BDS” doesn’t mean a thing. There are any number of Zionists supporting “BDS”, ie the current practice of the official organization –limitedly to post-67 occupation. In the interests of continuing the Zionist invasion and occupation of Palestine.

      Also, a number of economically and socially “Right-wing” people do vigorously work in the antiwar movement and do their best to support Palestinian resistance.

      Also, even if it were all bona fide, real boycott support it’s still hard to understand by what you mean by “Leftist ‘Jews'”. Are they fighting for the collective ownership of means of production? Not many such in the US.
      Is that Aristotle BS another way of pulling our eyes away from the ball, perhaps?

      • rhkroell
        August 27, 2017, 11:34 am

        I’d respond to your comment, echinococcus, if I could decipher the code which you are employing. I can’t hope to refute an argument written in some weird personal cipher. Sorry.

        I have no idea what it is you are trying to say. Are you intentionally writing in a disjointed and incoherent manner?

        I put scare quotation marks around the term “Jews” because it has become a polyvalent term in journalism, the academic world, and intellectual discourse more generally today. It’s used as an identity marker of some sort, certainly, but one which can be used in so many different ways today — to refer to religious beliefs/practices, ethnicity, some (supposedly) distinct cultural practices, ancestry, tribal affiliation — that the meaning of the user is often obscure, equivocal or ambiguous, at best. The same goes for my use of scare quotation marks around the words “foul,” “radical,” “far left,” “far right” and “Nazis” in my comment above.

        To be consistent in my usage, I probably should not have used scare quotation marks around the term “Nazis” in my post above because that term is normally used to refer to a specific political regime in German history. I should have used the term neo-Nazis without quotation marks instead. That was careless of me.

        Sorry if you were confused by my choice of words, my reference to Aristotle, or my employment of scare quotation marks in my comment. I’ll try to write simply, clearly and cogently in any future responses to comments directed towards me by you.

      • echinococcus
        August 28, 2017, 12:37 am

        OK, one by one:

        What is so obscure in:

        Pro-BDS” doesn’t mean a thing. There are any number of Zionists supporting “BDS”, ie the current practice of the official organization –limitedly to post-67 occupation. In the interests of continuing the Zionist invasion and occupation of Palestine.

        If a drawing could be done, I’d have provided one.
        Same for:

        Also, a number of economically and socially “Right-wing” people do vigorously work in the antiwar movement and do their best to support Palestinian resistance.

        Kindly point out what is so hard to understand; when that’s done we can continue.

    • DaBakr
      August 28, 2017, 1:50 pm

      Take the’neo-nazi’ out of the equation of you like. They have been around for decades with only small ebbs and flows to their numbers which have never been large.
      . Just take the polarization of conservative far right and so called progressive far left. It’s an easy argument to make that both are equally as regressive as the other. but true, you have the ‘right’ to claim your view is superior but only your own supporters will agree.

      • Mooser
        August 28, 2017, 4:14 pm

        “It’s an easy argument to make that both are equally as regressive as the other”

        In most cases, the left or antifa is just appealing to laws already written and settled. Non-discrimination, civil liberties, equal protection, etc.

        Why, you could easily show they aren’t rebels or revolutionaries at all! They’re really just the law-and-order crowd of the 21st Century!

  8. rhkroell
    August 27, 2017, 6:49 am

    The nine-minute “Planet of the Arabs” video clip is hilarious! Thanks for posting that from YouTube, Annie. I’ve never seen that compilation before. What a farce. Great satire of Hollywood’s depiction of the Arab world. Priceless!

  9. Citizen
    August 28, 2017, 3:04 pm

    IF U WANT TO place markers, look at who justifies what, remembering Palestinians are the key victims. & US taxpayers pay the bill

  10. rhkroell
    August 28, 2017, 4:17 pm

    “Kindly point out what is so hard to understand; when that’s done we can continue.” — echinococcus

    Your first sentence — “Pro-BDS doesn’t mean a thing” — is intelligible and unambiguous, but your claim in that sentence is nonsensical. The prefix “pro-” means favoring or supporting something, the something connected to the prefix with a dash. So pro-BDS means: favoring or supporting BDS. Why would you claim that pro-BDS doesn’t mean a thing (or anything)? It does mean something very specific. It means: favoring or supporting the BDS movement, obviously.

    The first clause of your second sentence is intelligible (“There are any number of Zionists supporting ‘BDS’”), but the remainder of the sentence (“ie the current practice of the official organization – limitedly to post-67 occupation”) lacks coherence, so your meaning is extremely obscure (or makes no sense). The term “official organization” lacks any antecedent (subject, object or noun phrase) to which it refers. You might be referring to: the WZO, the ZOA, the Zionist state, the present administration in the state of Israel, etc. Who knows? Then you add: “limitedly to post-67 occupation.” There is no word “limitedly” in the English language, so I must (rightly or wrongly) assume that you probably meant: limited to the post-67 occupation.

    As a reader, I’m forced to guess what you meant to write. Did you mean to write: There are any number of Zionists supporting BDS. That is the current practice of the official organization, and that support is limited to their post-67 occupation position? Your meaning is by no means clear. Believe me.

    Finally, you conclude your first paragraph with a sentence fragment: “In the interests [sic] of continuing the Zionist invasion and occupation of Palestine.” It is by no means clear how this sentence fragment connects with the preceding sentence or any antecedent (subject, object or noun phrase) in the entire paragraph.

    So if I can’t figure out what you mean by using the term “official organization” or how the phrase: “limited to the post-67 occupation” is connected (refers to, or is linked, logically) to this obscure “official organization” to which you (apparently mean to) refer, how can I determine what you are trying to say?

    Give me a break.

    • echinococcus
      August 30, 2017, 3:21 am

      I’m at a loss for the exact words to describe your supposed cluelessness, Kroell. I don’t see a good American idiom for that –if you’ll pardon my French, though, there is a very apt one in that language: “pretending to be a donkey in order to get straw”.

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