A strong sign of how the discourse is changing. Salon is firmly on the left, and the left now has both feet in Palestinian solidarity. (Though it’s easier for the left on the left coast. In New York, The Nation is still a battleground). Steven Salaita, an English prof and grandson of a refugee, explains why the American Studies Association’s national council has supported BDS and in doing so says Israel has never tried to find a viable solution to the conflict and it is the only colonial-settler project to receive an American blessing.
He gives a clear explanation of the issue:
These days, Israel is an extremely difficult state to defend.
It should be so. Israel continues to make a mockery of the “peace process” by constructing new settlements and insulting American leaders. It tolerates politicians who routinely make racist statements. And it continues to be in violation of at least 77 United Nations Resolutions and numerous provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
The latest challenge to these violations comes from the Boycott/Divestment/Sanctions movement, which has attracted the attention of pro-Israel advocacy groups and the Israeli government itself, thus validating the efficacy of the tactic..
Salaita defends the use of academic boycott and makes implicit reference to the lobby.
Academic boycott, quite simply, is a rejection of complicity in the Israeli government’s brutalization of Palestinians, a form of nonviolent resistance at the nexus of the globe’s greatest confluence of geopolitical power….
Of all the world’s settler colonial projects, Israel is uniquely protected from wholesale condemnation in the United States…
What sets Palestine apart is the persistent notion that the colonizers, those with nuclear weapons and land and resources and legislative power and the full support of the United States, are the oppressed party, that they largely suffer the pain and indignity of the conflict, that BDS is furtively anti-Semitic, that Israel is a special case in history. Remove this duplicitous reasoning and most rationalizations for rejecting boycott go away.
Here are the facts: No evidence has ever been presented that the Israeli government is interested in a viable solution to the conflict.
Salaita provides an explanation of the importance of the right of return, as a spiritual necessity.
My maternal grandmother lost her home in Ein Karem, outside of Jerusalem, in 1948. She has never been compensated. Her loss has never been acknowledged by Israel. She refuses to visit an artsy, upper-class, Jewish suburb of Jerusalem that was once a Palestinian village — her ancestral home. She has neither forgotten nor forgiven. I haven’t forgotten, either. I am perfectly willing to forgive, but only in the presence of justice.
Beautiful statement about the potential for forgiveness. To understand the right of return, you must remember that Netanyahu proudly tweeted a foto of his expensive German car some months ago (below). Palestinians see that the Israelis and Germans overcame the legacy of the Holocaust through a truth and reconciliation process a long ago. 65 years and counting and there’s never been an Israeli acknowledgment of the Nakba– an obduracy assisted by the official American Jewish community.