More progress in American media. The Washington Post on Friday published a piece by Rebecca Vilkomerson titled, “I’m Jewish, and I want people to boycott Israel.” The article had gotten nearly 600 comments the last time I checked, many of them outraged; it is a high-watermark in the exposure of Jewish voices for BDS inside the Beltway and is surely to the credit of NY Governor Andrew Cuomo, whose glaring overreach in a recent executive order against BDS has disturbed many Americans in the middle ground.
Vilkomerson includes a simple declaration that is sure to stun many inside the Beltway: “The state of Israel is not the same as the Jewish people.”
She begins with a stark anecdote:
In 2009, I was living in Tel Aviv during Operation Cast Lead. During that offensive, Israel killed about 1,400 Palestinians in Gaza. When small numbers of us went out into the streets to protest the war, we were often pelted with eggs or attacked by passersby. When I dropped my children off at their preschool, parents chatted as if nothing unusual was going on. When they asked me what was wrong, I would tell them I was deeply upset about what was happening just 40 miles away. Their response: awkward silence, or an angry defense of Israel’s actions.
Vilkomerson decided to “to take concrete action to bring about freedom and full rights for Palestinians.” So she endorsed BDS, the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement.
She states her belief that Israel won’t change “until outside pressure becomes impossible to ignore,” then lists a series of BDS victories. Not only the withdrawal of artists and corporations, but shifts in American public opinion.
A Pew poll released last month found that for the first time, liberal Democrats were more sympathetic to Palestinians than to Israelis. In May, the research firm Ipsos found that one-third of Americans support the boycott, divestment and sanctions of Israel until it respects Palestinian rights.
The opposition has mounted during this period, of course:
But our efforts have been threatened here in the United States by a nationally coordinated, well-funded strategy financed by the Israeli government and advocacy organizations.
Vilkomerson describes Cuomo’s executive order as “draconian” and says he is standing on the “wrong side of history.” The heart of her conclusion:
My daughters who I dropped off at preschool in Tel Aviv in 2009 are now middle-schoolers in Brooklyn. If as Israeli citizens they choose someday to live in Israel/Palestine, I hope it will be a place where all people, Jewish and Palestinian, can live in equality and freedom. I believe that BDS is the best tool that we have to make that vision a reality. We will look back on the attempts to legislate against BDS as the last desperate attempts to shield Israel from much-needed pressure to change its policies.
Read the full article here.