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‘NYT’ finally acknowledges that ‘growing number of American Jews’ support BDS

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.

Rick Gladstone

Rick Gladstone

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.

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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.



James North and Philip Weiss

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28 Responses

  1. JWalters on June 30, 2015, 5:57 pm

    “What a welcome change.”

    A very welcome change indeed. Ultimately, it’s much more relaxing and comfortable to just tell the truth.

    • Lillian Rosengarten on July 1, 2015, 10:34 am

      Thank you Phil and James. It is a beginning of Truth to Power.
      The US continues to have its head in the sand. Quite despicable.

  2. Jethro on June 30, 2015, 6:18 pm

    I haven’t seen a Judi Rudoren byline in a while. Neither one by Isabel Kirshner, the most diabolical hasbarist in the stable.

    I’m seeing a lot from Gladstone and Diaa Hadid. Wonder what’s up.

    • lysias on July 1, 2015, 12:42 pm

      I wonder if the NYT, observing things like the State Department’s new stand on BDS, is reflecting the way the wind is blowing.

  3. ckg on June 30, 2015, 7:01 pm

    Even observers who never step foot on campus should be able to correctly surmise that there is a substantial Jewish student presence in BDS-supporting campus groups. News articles about BDS efforts generally focus on campuses with very high Jewish matriculation, e.g. Tufts, Pitzer, NYU, Penn, UCLA, UC-Berkley, Stanford, etc. In contrast, Notre Dame, Brigham Young, and Liberty appear relatively quiet on the BDS front.

  4. annie on June 30, 2015, 7:35 pm

    this article and many of the points it makes reminds me of my radio interview w/scott horton the other day. if anyone is interested

    • just on June 30, 2015, 7:40 pm

      It is a stellar interview, Annie! Thank you.

      ( I linked to it somewhere around here after Shingo mentioned it again this morning. I am so grateful that Scott Horton made it available for our listening/learning pleasure!)

      I’m glad to know that the NYT got it about right for once, thanks to Rick Gladstone.

      Many thanks to James North and Philip Weiss for holding the NYT’s feet to the fire.

      Another surprising article from the Forward and Yardain Amron appears in Haaretz:

      “Why do Jewish camps in the U.S. erase the Green Line from maps of Israel?
      In contrast, the U.S. government, the UN and major mapmakers use maps that demarcate Israel proper from the Palestinian territories.”

      • annie on June 30, 2015, 7:49 pm

        thank you just! i was a little nervous at the outcome, it’s always strange listening to ones own recorded voice (that’s my experience anyway). i had missed shingo’s comment. scott tweeted me this the other day and i forgot to come back and post it.

      • amigo on July 1, 2015, 1:27 pm

        Annie, just listened to your interview.Great stuff and now I can put a voice to your writing .Must have been nice not to have some snarky zionist interrupting and trying to stop you from getting your points across.

        Now we will hear the usual complaints about lack of balance—yawn yawn.

      • annie on July 1, 2015, 6:56 pm

        thanks amigo. yes, he’s very easy to have a conversation with. it wasn’t a debate — or planned or anything. just free-wheeling spur of the moment.

        balance yada yada yada. let’s talk balance after palestinians activate and apply an administrative detention policy towards israelis (including their children) on a whim 24/7.

    • Citizen on June 30, 2015, 9:26 pm

      @ Annie Robbins

      Good job retaining your composure and dragging in so much relevant info in your interview!

    • Kris on July 1, 2015, 12:07 am

      Annie, I just listened to your radio interview; well worth hearing. You were articulate and did a great job of bringing up good points.

      I’m especially glad that you said, of Israel, “They just change their framing, they never change their policies.” That should ring a bell even with listeners who haven’t thought much about Israel/Palestine before. Way to go!

      • annie on July 1, 2015, 1:23 am

        thank you so much kris! i stumbled a little here and there — but kept plowing on.

    • Kay24 on July 1, 2015, 2:24 pm

      Congratulations Annie. Great interview. It was also nice to put a voice to the name!

      Hope it is the beginning of many.

  5. Citizen on June 30, 2015, 8:50 pm

    Better late than never, eh?

  6. ivri on July 1, 2015, 8:04 am

    This is part of the “normalization” of both the “Jewish world” and Israel. In real crisis times or major historical developments there is a clear necessity to close ranks, “circle the wagons”, and the establishment of a Jewish state and its embryonic phases certainly belonged to this category.
    Are we still in that phase? Of course we are not. Almost a century after the beginning of that process Israel is now a mature state – it has its problems, but who doesn`t? So what we see now is really of little surprise – different people, Jews included, have different attitudes to what they see. Israel has a tremendously committed constituency in the US, composed of Jews and non-Jews – the so called Christian Zionists being a conspicuous part of that – and also people, again Jews and non-Jews, that don`t like it (or what it does for survival in extremely hard conditions – as what goes on in the wider region that it is in clearly demonstrates).
    This development is actually a healthy one an d it`s high time to stop being “surprised” when a Jew is critical of Israel, even denounces it sharply, and give it undeserving prominence. Jews are “normal people” too. In fact, they used to be known for having a huge variety of views and sharp internal disputes about them, as expressed by a traditional “classical”: “Two Jews, three opinions”.

    • Mooser on July 1, 2015, 2:10 pm

      Sure”ivri” everything we see, hear and read about Israel is an illusion. Sure, okay. Is there anything else I don’t know?

  7. NickJOCW on July 1, 2015, 9:52 am

    It’s encouraging indeed. Nice, too, to hear Annie’s voice.

    I see a couple of wisps of cloud on the horizon.

    The first is a likely conflict between the long defined objectives of the official Palestinian BDS movement with its non-Jewish supporters, and those of liberal Jews when It comes to the business of boundaries. Unless Israel retires from all occupied land there will surely be those who regard the objectives as ‘not yet achieved’, and presumably those on the other side who will think they have been cheated of bits of their promised land. That could lead to a Northern Ireland situation (at best).

    Then, just as no plans were laid for Palestinians ousted from their land and homes, what happens to settlers called upon to move out of illegal settlements? It’s scarcely realistic to expect them simply to swap places with those Palestinians in refugee camps. This potential problem is exacerbated by the fact that the settlers appear peculiarly vicious and close-minded. Just imagine the wailing and tearing of hair. the media would have a field day. I’ve long wondered if they may in fact be some kind of buffer between the Zionist dream and outside world. If their support is withdrawn, won’t they become dangerous as disbanded mercenaries? It would be sad indeed if one humanitarian crisis were to morph into another.

    • just on July 1, 2015, 10:12 am

      The ‘settlements’ are illegal. The ‘settlers’ are illegally and violently squatting on Palestinian land. The IOF and the GoI are protecting them~ illegally. Israel created this Frankenstein, and they keep encouraging illegal ‘settlement’. They’ve raped the land and resources of the Palestinian people to make room for ugly squats and ugly squatters. It’s ugly, illegal, and is the face of brutal Occupation.

      Just look here:

      “4 Palestinians were injured when their partially destroyed house came down in Gaza today.”

      “Attacks continue in West Bank as settlers assault Palestinian man”

      “Israel tops explosive killers’ list

      Israel killed and injured more civilians with explosive weapons than any other state in the world in 2014 due to its military assault on Gaza. This is according to a new report by Action on Armed Violence (AOAV), an organization that tracks the global impact of explosive weapons on civilians.

      The report defines explosive weapons as “munitions such as air-dropped bombs, mortars, improvised explosive devices and artillery shells” which cause “deaths, injuries and damage by projecting explosive blast, heat and often fragmentation around a point of detonation.”

      While both state and non-state groups contributed to civilian casualties in 2014, states were responsible for 28 percent of civilian injuries and deaths, a sharp 17 percent rise from the previous year. This was due in large part to Israel’s military assault on Gaza, which accounted for 44 percent of all explosive violence in 2014.”

      Read the reality by Rania Khalek @

      In short, the illegal ‘settlers’ are Israel’s problem. When they empty their jails of Palestinian innocents and children under “administrative detention” and poor refugees and migrants in Holot, then they’ll have plenty of room for their own criminals.

      You write:

      “I’ve long wondered if they may in fact be some kind of buffer between the Zionist dream and outside world. If their support is withdrawn, won’t they become dangerous as disbanded mercenaries?”

      I think that they are just that kind of “buffer”. And they’re dangerous now… very dangerous, and are, as you wrote, “peculiarly vicious and close-minded.”

      • NickJOCW on July 1, 2015, 12:39 pm

        I agree with you absolutely. It’s nothing to do with right or wrong. Rather that not unlike Americans they tend to be somewhat more emotional than Arabs and I can only imagine the scenes the media could disseminate, and the effect and historical analogies that could be provoked from the images. Better, to my mind, to anticipate that and get it under wide (UN?) and serious discussion and consideration. That would have the added advantage of ‘legitimising’ BDS objectives. Netanyahu would have apoplexy.

      • JWalters on July 1, 2015, 7:36 pm

        NickJOCW, I agree the takedown of the squatters needs to be carefully planned. And as just points out, their meanness does not exempt them from justice. Perhaps drones could be used if necessary. The big problem would be if Israel defended them militarily. If that were done, I suspect it would be for the war profits.

  8. Edward Q on July 1, 2015, 10:32 am

    Does Rick Gladstone normally write balanced articles about Israel/Palestine?

  9. Marshall on July 1, 2015, 11:45 am

    I love the idea propounded by that “rabbi” that a diverse membership somehow discredits BDS. Couldn’t be more revealing.

  10. Kay24 on July 1, 2015, 1:00 pm

    UNHRC to condemn Israel over Gaza massacre, but not demand sanctions:

    “UN Human Rights Council to condemn Israel over Operation Protective Edge, but not demand sanctions
    The Palestinian draft resolution will not include demands for any concrete steps against Israel, but it also does not address suspected crimes committed by Hamas.

    The Palestinian resolution that will be brought to a vote on Thursday in the United Nations Human Rights Council concerning the international commission of inquiry’s report into Operation Protective Edge is expected to be harshly critical of Israel – but will not contain a demand for sanctions or any concrete moves against Israel, as indicated by a draft of the proposal seen by Haaretz.

  11. just on July 1, 2015, 4:33 pm


    Last night Max Blumenthal was in Portland OR. Tonight he’s in Berkeley:

    July 1, Wednesday, 7:30 pm
    First Congregational Church, 2345 Channing Way, Berkeley

  12. Amar on July 1, 2015, 5:38 pm

    Have a strong feeling Mondoweiss was an influencing factor in the NYT story. You guys covered their last story that left out mention of Jewish activism and involvement in BDS so well that it seems to have struck a nerve. Good going!

  13. contributor on October 18, 2016, 3:05 pm

    test comment

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