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Haaretz: Tel Aviv U. Academics Hold First-Ever Discussion on BDS


World  (tags: israel, middle-east, Tel Aviv University, BDS, discussion, Human Rights, civil liberties, ethics, boycott divest sanction )

Evelyn
- 1475 days ago - haaretz.com
About 30 Tel Aviv U students took part on Monday in a discussion about the boycott movement against Israel, particularly the academic boycott. The discussion did not completely condemn the BDS movement and included some expressions of support



   

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Evelyn B (63)
Tuesday June 9, 2015, 1:59 am
Tel Aviv U. academics hold first-ever discussion on BDS
First such event held by the sociology and anthropology department, and possibly the university; fact that discussion did not completely condemn BDS, and included some expressions of support, is considered unusual.
By Or Kashti | Jun. 9, 2015

About 30 Tel Aviv University students, mostly graduates and Ph.D. candidates, took part on Monday in a discussion about the boycott movement against Israel, particularly the academic boycott. The very fact that a discussion was held that did not completely condemn the BDS movement and included some expressions of support, is considered unusual.

The discussion was held under the auspices of the university’s sociology and anthropology department. It was the first such event held by the department, and apparently the first at Tel Aviv University.

One of the speakers was Dr. Hila Dayan of Amsterdam University College in Amsterdam, one of a group of about 40 anthropologists who oppose the attempt by the Israeli Anthropological Association to ban discussion on Israel at an upcoming international conference. The association is due to discuss the issue on Thursday.

Dayan drew a connection between what she said was the failure of Israel’s universities to deal with inequality in education and “their indifference to what is happening in the occupied territories.” She said that she did not support an academic boycott “because I think that Israel will be saved from itself only thanks to the enlightened world.” But she said she supported an “inner boycott.”

According to Dayan, “sanctimoniousness reigns” among leftists who oppose a boycott. “Many of them think that an economic boycott, like the pressure on Orange and boycotting the settlements is legitimate, but an academic boycott is not. Why, though?” Dayan criticized the universities for “on the one hand claiming that they are for dialogue and an exchange of views and on the other, vehemently opposing any demand to take a stand on the occupation. So what kind of an exchange of opinions is that?” she asked.

Professor Dan Rabinowitz of the university’s sociology department and head of its Porter School of Environmental Studies pointed to a petition signed by some 1,300 anthropologists worldwide calling on universities in Israel to persuade the government to withdraw from the territories as one of the conditions for lifting the boycott.

“That is a condition that cannot be met,” he said. “The universities are not in a position to make an institutional stand on political issues. We don’t know the opinion of Tel Aviv University on the occupation and refugees, just as we don’t know the opinion of UCLA Berkeley on climate change, Guantanamo or the war on terror.”

According to Rabinovitz, BDS is led by people who “never believed in a two-state solution, or who gave up on it,” while in the Israeli academic world there are still many people who believe in Israeli-Palestinian dialogue. For people who believe that it is better for Israel as a political entity to stop existing, “the presence of Israelis who can show an enlightened face and arouse empathy is an obstacle. Therefore Israeli academic and cultural institutions are a nuisance. The universities are more dangerous to the post-Zionist vision than Netanyahu, Bennett, and Shaked,” he added.
 

Lona Goudswaard (66)
Tuesday June 9, 2015, 8:06 am
Rabinovitz claims that an academic boycott is not in order because " universities are not in a position to make an institutional stand on political issues". What nonsense, the very fact that they held this discussion on BDS in Tel Aviv, shows that it does.
In the past most "revolutions" were started by the young and the bright, students and their teachers who discussed political issues, stood up against oppression and took to the streets. Students were often the motor behind changes in the right direction. Right Wing governments do not shut down or gag universities that do not abide by their ruling for nothing. Often punishment of rebellion was even harder and I can understand that both staff and students in Israel do not want to be called out on BDS because they fear the repercussions.

Another reason for an academic BDS is that it undermines the research and innovation that Israel prides itself so much on. Very often this research an innovation is the result of partnerships with universities, research laboratories and organizations in other countries, as so much research is nowadays, but which is often downplayed or altogether ignored in articles posted, I've noticed. If these joined research ventures were boycotted, Israel would certainly lose quite some of the innovation power it prides itself so much on and that would really hurt.
 

Darren Woolsey (218)
Tuesday June 9, 2015, 4:05 pm
Better to discuss rather than destroy.
 

fly bird (26)
Tuesday June 9, 2015, 9:46 pm
It's the ones that come to use the discussion to undermine or discredit, that one may have to address... as long as the discussion continues ~~ even, if some of the media try to spin the information!!
 

Sam H (410)
Wednesday June 10, 2015, 12:36 pm
What's "UCLA Berkeley"?
 

Evelyn B (63)
Wednesday June 10, 2015, 1:43 pm
Oh, Sam - do all Professors know the accurate names of all universities? :>)
From Tel Aviv, LA & Berkeley are almost the same place!! Dan Rabinowitz isn't interested in precision!!

(Mind you, to be very fair - there was a time when people referred to Berkeley as "UCLA Berkeley" - curiously, this was the identification that an anthropology PhD student used to describe her univeristy affiliation back in the 1970s ... Was there a historical tie there? Or did they have a joint anthropology programme? I don't know the answer!!
 

Sam H (410)
Wednesday June 10, 2015, 2:01 pm
Well, Evelyn, based on his other utterances, something seems to cloud his judgment. You do expect professors to know what they're talking about. Not that I expect them to be infallible, but still. At least that's what they teach at the Tokyo campus of Tel Aviv University!!!
 

Evelyn B (63)
Wednesday June 10, 2015, 3:00 pm
Hello, Boo -

I wasn't able to find this info when googling the subject ... which is why I wondered about this UCLA Berkeley label! I wonder why it isn't explained better on line!

Sam - I suspect he wouldn't be that fussed, anyway - those are only US universities!!
 

Carrie B (306)
Wednesday June 10, 2015, 3:10 pm
No worries ~ I have flagged the troll.
 

Carrie B (306)
Wednesday June 10, 2015, 3:13 pm
It's really almost embarrassing to see someone so needy and starved for attention that he/she insists upon going where he/she is no longer wanted or welcome.
 

Sam H (410)
Wednesday June 10, 2015, 3:18 pm
Evelyn, Do you mean institutes of higher stupidity? Even Bush went to fine school. He makes us pride.

And to Boo, I'm sure Rabinowitz was talking about joint degrees! Context doesn't matter anymore!

I wish they would let Boo stick around a little longer. What they're doing to her and to her different incarnations is just unfair.

Now she's like this guy who can't get into East Jerusalem for treatment!
 

Sam H (410)
Wednesday June 10, 2015, 3:20 pm
Sorry Carrie! I only saw your posts after I posted.
 

Sam H (410)
Wednesday June 10, 2015, 3:21 pm
The indefinite article was definitely missed!
 

Evelyn B (63)
Wednesday June 10, 2015, 3:44 pm
Actually, Sam - I was thinking more along the lines of how apparently some academic systems seem to tolerate considerable imprecision, and casual gaps in source referencing!

That linked article is vary sad - but clearly, the Gaza efforts to "show generosity" by setting up services for the wounded didn't bring enough PR returns ... Curious policy to apply to journalists, though ... bound to leak out into the press, maybe even into mainline press .... I would have thought that another "embarrassing" consideration would be the damage done by so-called "crowd control" weapons ... Theoretically, rubber bullets are supposed to be disuasive rather than inflicting serious injuries. Would preventing cases from reaching big Jerusalem hospitals have an effect of not having them show up in official health statistics???

But that's a tangent ... off topic!
 

Sam H (410)
Wednesday June 10, 2015, 4:07 pm
Without researching it any further, I bet a minimum residency will be required by the campus granting the degree.

I'm not sure the names of both campuses would appear on the diploma. In some instances a student may decide to take classes at four different campuses. Who would claim that student? I believe residency must be established at a single campus.
 

Sam H (410)
Wednesday June 10, 2015, 4:15 pm
Yes, of course, Evelyn. "Considerable imprecision" is almost always allowed for ulterior motives. It happens in certain fields, but rarely in purely scientific ones. Fraud is easier to spot and prove in the scientific arena. But in political science, history and similar fields, cold fusion is a daily occurrence.
 

Eleonora Oldani (37)
Wednesday June 10, 2015, 5:16 pm

Thanks Evelyn! I fail to see why academic boycott should not be on but everything else? I always take the Apartheid regime of SA of those days as an example. We boycotted and mobilized in every possible way and no Administration of any country would have thought of passing laws making this a crime! None!

The same applied when France wanted to resume its nuke testing on the Bikini Atoll in the early 90's. The French Supermarket of those days in Abu Dhabi was deserted for weeks and we just would refuse to touch anything French; even the coffee shops (with superb coffee and croissants) got ignored.

After all - don't we always hear that Israel should not be treated differently ... ;-). Once it gets treated the same way ... they all land on us. Damned if you do and damned if you don't!!
 

Sam H (410)
Wednesday June 10, 2015, 5:45 pm
That’s a great point, Eleonora. And that’s why I say HERE, that the proposed EU move to label Israeli settlement products is meant to help Israel. For money—as our friend, Stephen keeps reminding us—is fungible. And besides, as Evelyn said, what’s going to stop the Israelis from cheating, their high morals? The only effective way is total boycott.

In the long term it would be better for all involved!
 

Janet B (0)
Wednesday June 10, 2015, 8:02 pm
Thanks
 

Evelyn B (63)
Thursday June 11, 2015, 1:51 am
Eleonora - ****************************************
We're back to the unfortunate point that any criticism of the Israeli government's polities & strategies - including encouraing false labelling as "made in Israel" of products made in settlements geographically located in occupied Palestine - is placed under exceptionally flexible & favourable standards, not the same rules and measures as all other countries.

I can understand the need to distinguish clearly between BDS against all production, goods and services that contribute to reinforcing the occupation - which includes the very advantaged production companies located in the settlements .... and the application of BDS against both these AND the main Israeli (Israel-based) production. It allows more involvement of those who are against the occupation & oppression of Palestine but would have difficulty in "discriminating" against goods that are genuinely from within the State of Israel (1967 boundaries).

Choice of which level of boycotting one adopts is then free and personal.

But as Eleonora points out - why should BDS of Israeli products & companies be illegal, when boycotting Iraqi goods, apartheid South African goods, Iranian goods be fine?

Nobody - not even the Canadians themselves - have screamed "illegal discriminatory action" when Canada has faced boycott of all Canadian fishery products over the issue of the seal hunt. ... And how many here on C2NN have signed pledges & petitions on this? Many animal rights issues lead to boycott movements .... & we all join in, pledge, petition, sign charters on these. What about calls to boycott palm oil?

Are the rights of Palestinians so "inferior" to the rights of rainforest denizens, seals, etc., that it becomes illegal to adopt BDS in support of THEIR rights?
 

Past Member (0)
Thursday June 11, 2015, 6:26 am
"About 30 Tel Aviv University students, mostly graduates and Ph.D. candidates, took part on Monday in a discussion".

Another discuss was between a dozen of Jerusalem Arabs...

Any kitchen discussion mentioning BDS will be soon posted as news by some overly active Care2 members, jealous of Israel.
 

Past Member (0)
Thursday June 11, 2015, 6:31 am
Thank you a person, whoever you are, for the post above mine.

You should know by now, that both Islamic and Arab Nationalist lobbies do not care about Palestinian Arabs in any other capacity as a cannon fodder for their Jihad and "Free Palestine" ideas.

Otherwise, they would be protesting when Lebanese Arab hospital refused to treat an Arab boy just because his ancestors lived in Palestine long time ago. They weren't and aren't, REALLY.

Spreading Islamic Dawah and Arab Nationalism on the Internet is all they want.

 

Evelyn B (63)
Thursday June 11, 2015, 8:16 am
To the nameless one - Boo? Who?
The topic of this post is BDS in the context of Israel and Palestinian rights. Trying to deviate attention by pointing out other boycottable situations is no more & no less than a demonstration of lack of foundation for presenting sound arguments against BDS - or alternative proposals of how non-violent resistance could be expressed. There has already been enough space taken here on tangential issues of other boycott actions .... If you want to discuss boycott of China over Tibet, or North Korea - go ahead and post articles & petitions on the subjects.

The fact that there are other human rights violations around the globe does not efface Israel's responsibiility for what takes place in Israel and the Palestinian territories ...

Yet again, Bob throws out vague attacks, mis-stated facts .....
FOR THE RECORD -
Lebanon has been going through a deterioriating situation with health service delivery - there have been a number of tragic situations where no beds have been available, and people have died in the admissions area of hospitals. (See a 2014 report: Lebanese hospitals denying citizens healthcare) Among these has been the case of Mohammed Taha, a Palestinian refugee boy whose UNRWA papers weren't in order to guarantee payment of hospital fees. People in the US are familiar with the difficulties that one can face if one wants to get emergency treatment without one's health insurance papers .... and/or proof that one can pay for the treatment. To claim that Mohammed Taha's tragic story was "just because his ancestors lived in Palestine long time ago." is not just inaccurate (except insofar as that he was a Palestinian refugee, born of a family that comes under UNRWA's mandate) - it is presenting misinformation as though this were fact.

Incidentally - given that the Taha story dates from 2011 .... I very much doubt that Bob checked through all 2011 & 2012 posts to see what articles & petitions were posted, by whom, commented/ signed by whom. And he certainly has no idea what involvement there has been of any C2NN members in efforts to tackle the inefficiency of Lebanese health service delivery .. Just throwing out unfounded personal criticism ... not caring about accuracy ... yet again.

But what does accuracy matter? Most readers may assume that "confident" statements represent truth.
And this, by someone who frequently objects to reworded titles for articles posted (which have direct links to the actual article itself, full title etc) and objects to selection of illustrations that reflect the theme but are not in the actual article - calling such presentations "LIES" .... I leave members to judge for themselves where there really are lies ...
 

Evelyn B (63)
Thursday June 11, 2015, 8:52 am
Carrie - I find myself thinking about a comment you made earlier - so very true!
 

Past Member (0)
Thursday June 11, 2015, 12:52 pm
Evelyn, after you guys kicked out another one of your opponents from Care2, you can laugh at his/her face calling him "nameless one - Boo?". That person has a name, he was just kicked out from Care2 because Islamic lobby here knows how to abuse the system.

Evelyn, no boycott exist by itself, the world is interconnected place and the concept of double standards requires comparison. The gross injustice perpetrated regularly by Arab states towards their own and others screams for an action.

These are all perfectly valid questions:
"s China BDS'd, sanctioned, denigrated for it's actions in Tibet? Has North Korea merited any criticisms for it's actions in South Korea, China, and Japan? Did Germany, Austria, Japan, and Italy for WWII? Did Rwanda? Did Venezuela receive dozens of deprecatory postings for years? Does Turkey? Does Iran for it's global threats? Did Cambodia? Does Saudi Arabia for it's despicable HR violations? Does Hamas for it's self-declared plans for genocide? "

You weaseled your way out trying to limit the scope of the discussion, but it is not up to you to solely decide on it. TO be fair, we need to say what boycott of Israel has more merits than boycott of other aggressors, of which are plenty.

"Incidentally - given that the Taha story dates from 2011 .... I very much doubt that Bob checked through all 2011 & 2012 posts to see what articles & petitions were posted, by whom, commented/ signed by whom. And he certainly has no idea what involvement there has been of any C2NN members in efforts to tackle the inefficiency of Lebanese health service delivery .. Just throwing out unfounded personal criticism ... not caring about accuracy ... yet again."???

Actually, I was trying to watch all articles posted by the Islamic brigade, and I don't remember a single post protesting not even Mohammed Taha, but the overall treatment Arabs from Palestine get in Lebanon or Syria. Evelyn, you sounded, like I missed a lot of activity. So I am asking: show me 3 links of protests of any kind, initiated by you, Carrie, Eleonora, Sam, Parsifal, Carol - by people who always have time to note your posts even when the link is bad.

Then we will talk about "LIES", dishonestly and true racism.



 

Evelyn B (63)
Thursday June 11, 2015, 2:56 pm
Repeat - you accuse, you find proof - and furthermore, you have no idea what we are involved in, in terms of our work. Off Care2. And you definitely are lying if you say you've been following Carrie, Eleonora, Sam, Parsifal, Carol or my posts and activities since 2011.

But the story here is about a discussion of the BDS movement that was held at Tel Aviv University. See for yourself.
The discussion thread therefore is designed to discuss the article.

I have no intention of spending hours going through Care2 archives to suit you. You make accusations - you try to provide any proof. Failing that, your misleading statements are just that. False flags, insults.

I asked if the nameless one was Boo - because there is no name there. You seem to know a lot about someone who apparently had just joined - if this was Boo. Who else might it be? Apparently, a friend of yours ... from before joining Care2? Or under a changing identity? According to what you say, it is a person who was kicked out by the Care2 system ... and has returned under a false profile.

Care2 administration is an independent body. I suppose that you have some experience in lobbying administrations to influence their decisions - AIPAC & the Hasbara Handbooks are designed for such purposes. So - speak for yourself, but I have neither money nor influence, nor do I have links with structures that do.

I simply have a dislike of injustice, and select various priority fields where I try to counter injustice and abuse of human rights. Nobody can cover all human rights abuses around the world, each chooses where they set their priorities. One of my priorities is Palestinian human rights. If you don't like that - just stay off stories I post about Palestine, & threads discussing them. If you choose to join the threads, stick to the subject ...

It is not one of your rights to impose where you want me to select my priorities. Not by insults, not by bullying. My interests and my priorities are MY rights, not yours.
 

Sam H (410)
Thursday June 11, 2015, 5:00 pm
And if I ever needed to be reminded of how well I pick my friends, well, Evelyn just did that!
 

Sam H (410)
Thursday June 11, 2015, 5:02 pm
I wish I do such a good job with my punctuation before pressing "submit."
 

Eleonora Oldani (37)
Friday June 12, 2015, 1:42 am

Hi Evelyn - thanks for your great postings above; especially the one of June 11, 2015, 2:56 pm - not enough stars to send to you ***************************

I second Sam's statement of June 11, 2015, 5:00 pm!!! You're a great lady - :-)!!!!

I'll have to keep this short as I've got to run and will be gone for the rest of the day; sorry. You should stop catching Bob with his pants down ... LOL. I for one have joined Care2 end of Oct 2012 ...

But I find it interesting that of all people Bob, who is learn-resistant when it comes to Arabic and history, is picking up and copying my terminology which I use for the Islamophobes: brigade. I'm not sure if that should make me proud ... I think not. My catholic up-bringing pushes through according to which one should not indulge in being proud!

If I have time I'll come back to a comment further up which is worth elaborating on.

Have a good day!
 

Eleonora Oldani (37)
Friday June 12, 2015, 1:42 am

Geeeee - I just see that I obviously have to start feeding kittens again ...
 

Eleonora Oldani (37)
Friday June 12, 2015, 1:42 am

Samk - is the bidet still not fixed??
 

Eleonora Oldani (37)
Friday June 12, 2015, 1:44 am

Sorry for the "k" Sam!
 

Eleonora Oldani (37)
Friday June 12, 2015, 2:10 am

Bob - before I sign off for the day: this BDS discussion was held at the Tel Aviv University. Why don't you address your grievances about

" "s China BDS'd, sanctioned, denigrated for it's actions in Tibet? Has North Korea merited any criticisms for it's actions in South Korea, China, and Japan? Did Germany, Austria, Japan, and Italy for WWII? Did Rwanda? Did Venezuela receive dozens of deprecatory postings for years? Does Turkey? Does Iran for it's global threats? Did Cambodia? Does Saudi Arabia for it's despicable HR violations? Does Hamas for it's self-declared plans for genocide? ""

to the TA Uni which organized this discussion? Tell them to first of all discuss point 1, 7, 15, 31, 104 as well as 20,307 ... before they can dare to think about discussing Israel and BDS.

How's that for a change, dear Bob?

And I'd be curious to read what I wrote during the almost 2 years you accuse me of having written .... 20111 and most of 2012 ... before I was a member ...

For a better understand see Evelyn's post above of June 11, 2015, 2:56 pm
 

Carrie B (306)
Friday June 12, 2015, 11:28 am
Thank you Evelyn, Sam, Eleonora, and Jess!
 

Evelyn B (63)
Friday June 12, 2015, 11:54 am
Those who systematically try to silence criticism of the State of Israel, using lies about the critics as being racists, anti-Semites, Jew- haters would do well to think about this:

From Who Stole My Religion? (pp 35-36)

Jewish teachings on social involvement and protest.
Judaism teaches that people must struggle to create a better society. The Torah frequently admonishes: "And you shall eradicate the evil from your midst" (Deuteronomy 13:6, 17:7, 21:21, 24:7.) Injustice cannot be passively accepted; it must be actively resisted and, ultimately, eliminated. The Talmudic sages teach that one reason Jerusalem was destroyed was that its citizens failed in their responsibility to constructively criticize each other's improper behavior (Shabbat 99b). They indicate that "love which does not contain the element of [constructive] criticism is not really love" (Genesis Rabbah 54:3).

Among the many rabbinical teachings about the importance of proper criticism are the following:

Whoever is able to protest against the transgressions of his own family and does not do so is punished [held liable, held responsible] for the transgressions of his family. Whoever is able to protest against the transgressions of the people of his community and does not do so is punished for the transgressions of his community. Whoever is able to protest against the transgressions of the entire world and does not do so is punished for the transgressions of the entire world. (Shabbat 54b)

If a person of learning participates in public affairs and serves as judge or arbiter, he gives stability to the land. But if he sits in his home and says to himself, "What have the affairs of society to do with me?... Why should I trouble myself with the people's voices of protest? Let my soul dwell in peace!" — if he does this, he overthrows the world. (Tanchuma on Mishpatim 2)


There is, of course, much more in this book ... a challenge to look at what Judaism really stands for - and what it DOESN'T stand for
 

Eleonora Oldani (37)
Saturday June 13, 2015, 3:29 am

Perfect Evelyn - if only come of our members here on Care2 who claim to be "Jewish" (although some deleted it from their profiles after I pointed out that their claim doesn't go with their actions!) would read this book or think about what they surely were told at some point in their lives ... before they spout all these lies, half-truths and self-serving crap! This is why I said on a number of occasions that it's a pity that the Rabbinical Authority doesn't have the power to ex-"judaize" some Zionists - very much like the Vatican ex-communicates some Christians.
 

Eleonora Oldani (37)
Saturday June 13, 2015, 5:58 am

Sorry, Evelyn, if I'll take up a lot of space with my posting but for a reason or another it is not yet put up on Gush Shalom's website; other wise I would just have posted it as an article.

This is Uri's latest article concerning BDS. While I do appreciate his reasoning about BDS-ing Israel I don't agree with it. Very similar reactions where observed during our BDS against South Africa - it's a normal reaction everywhere without having to be phobic.

"You attack what I love I become protective without further questioning" is known in psychology. I'm a bit surprised at Uri's reasoning but it's as always worth to read his opinion!

~*~*~*~*~

Uri Avnery
June 13, 2015

BDS, the New Enemy

BINYAMIN NETANYAHU was racking his brain. His whole career is based on fear mongering. Since Jews have lived in fear for millennia, it is easy to invoke it. They are addicts.

For years now, Netanyahu has built his career on fear of the Iranian Nuclear Bomb. The Iranians are crazy people. Once they have the Bomb, they will drop it on Israel, even if Israel's nuclear second strike will certainly annihilate Iran with its thousands of years of civilization.

But Netanyahu saw with growing anxiety that the Iranian threat was losing its edge. The US, so it seems, is about to reach an agreement with Iran, which will prevent it from achieving the Bomb. Even Sheldon the Great cannot prevent the agreement. What to do?

Looking around, three letters popped up: BDS. They denote Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, a worldwide campaign to boycott Israel because of its 48 year-old subjugation of the Palestinian people.

Ah, here we have a real threat, worse than the Bomb. A second Holocaust is looming. Brave little Israel facing the entire evil, anti-Semitic world.

True, until now Israel has suffered no real damage. BDS is more about gestures than about real economic weapons. But who is counting? The legions of anti-Semites are on the march.

Who will save us? Bibi the Great, of course!


HONEST DISCLOSURE: my friends and I initiated the first boycott, which was directed at the products of the settlements.

Our peace movement, Gush Shalom, was deliberating how to stop the spread of the settlements, each of which is a land mine on the road to peace. The main reason for setting up settlements is to prevent the two-state solution – the only peace solution there is.

Our investigators made a Grand Tour of the settlements and registered the enterprises which were lured by government enticements to set up shop beyond the Green Line. We published the list and encouraged customers to abstain from buying these products.

A boycott is a democratic instrument of protest. It is non-violent. Every person can exercise it privately, without joining any group or exhibiting himself or herself in public.

Our main aim was to get the Israeli public to distinguish clearly between Israel proper and the settlements in the occupied territories.

In March 1997 we held a press conference to announce the campaign. It was a unique event. I have held press conference which were overflowing with journalists – for example, after my first meeting with Yasser Arafat in besieged West Beirut. I have held press conferences with sparse attendance. But this one was really special: not a single Israeli journalist turned up.

Still, the idea spread. I don't know how many thousand Israelis are boycotting the products of the settlements right now.

However, we were upset by the attitude of the European Union authorities, which denounced the settlements while in practice subsidizing their products with customs exemptions like real Israeli wares. My colleagues and I went to Brussels to protest, but were told by polite bureaucrats that Germany and others were obstructing any step toward a settlement boycott.

Eventually, the Europeans moved, albeit slowly. They are now demanding that the products of the settlements be clearly marked.


THE BDS movement has a very different agenda. They want to boycott the State of Israel as such.

I always considered this a major strategic error. Instead of isolating the settlements and separating them from mainstream Israelis, a general boycott drives all Israelis into the arms of the settlers. It re-awakens age-old Jewish fears. Facing a common danger, Jews unite.

Netanyahu could not wish for more. He is now riding the wave of Jewish reactions. Every day there are headlines about another success of the boycott movement, and each success is a bonus for Netanyahu.

It is also a bonus for his adversary, Omar al-Barghouti, the Palestinian organizer of BDS.

Palestine is well stocked with Barghoutis. It is an extended family prominent in several villages north of Jerusalem.

The most famous is Marwan al-Barghouti, who has been condemned to several life sentences for leading the Fatah youth organization. He was not indicted for taking part in any "terrorist" acts, but for his role as organizationally responsible. Indeed, he and I were partners in organizing several non-violent protests against the occupation.

When he was brought to trial, we protested in the court building. One of my colleagues lost a toenail in the ensuing battle with the violent court guards. Marwan is still in prison and many Palestinians consider him a prospective heir of Mahmoud Abbas.

Another Barghouti is Mustafa, the very likable leader of a leftist party, who ran against Abbas for the presidency of the Palestinian Authority. We have met while facing the army in several demonstrations against the Wall.

Omar Barghouti, the leader of the BDS movement, is a postgraduate student at Tel Aviv University. He demands the free return of all Palestinian refugees, equality for Israel's Palestinian citizens and, of course, an end to the occupation.

However, BDS is not a highly organized worldwide organization. It is more of a trade mark. Groups of students, artists and others spring up spontaneously and join the struggle for Palestinian liberation. Here and there, some real anti-Semites try to join. But for Netanyahu, they are all, all anti-Semites.


AS WE feared from the beginning, the boycott of Israel – as distinguished from the boycott of the settlements – has united the general Jewish population with the settlers, under the leadership of Netanyahu.

The fatherland is in danger. National unity is the order of the day. "Opposition Leader" Yitzhak Herzog is rushing forward to support
Netanyahu, as are almost all other parties.

Israel's Supreme Court, a frightened shadow of its former self, has already decreed that calling for a boycott of Israel is a crime – including calls for boycotting the settlements.

Almost every day, news about the boycott hits the headlines. The boss of "Orange", the French communications giant, first joined the boycott, then quickly turned around and is coming to Israel for a pilgrimage of repentance. Student organizations and professional groups in America and Europe adopt the boycott. The EU now vigorously demands the marking of settlement products.

Netanyahu is happy. He calls upon world Jewry to take up the fight against this anti-Semitic outrage. The owner of Netanyahu, multi-billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, has convened a war council of rich Jews in Las Vegas. His counterpart, pro-Labor multi-billionaire Haim Saban has joined him. Even the perpetrators of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion would not believe it.

AS COMIC relief, another casino owner is competing for the headlines. He is a much, much smaller operator, who cannot be compared to Adelson.

He is the new Knesset Member Oren Hazan, No 30 on the Likud election list, the last one who got in. A TV expose has alleged that he was the owner of a casino in Bulgaria, who supplied prostitutes to his clients and used hard drugs. He has already been chosen as Deputy Speaker of the Knesset. The Speaker has temporarily suspended him from chairing Knesset plenum sessions.

So the two casino owners, the big and the small, dominate the news. Rather bizarre in a country where casinos are forbidden, and where clandestine casino goers are routinely arrested.

Well, life is a roulette game. Even life in Israel.


 

Evelyn B (63)
Saturday June 13, 2015, 7:26 am
Thanks, Eleonora!
Uri is always good reading - whether one agrees with him or not!
This is posted: Uri Avnery: BDS, the New Enemy

Maybe there'll be more "real" discussion there on opinions (rather than just aggressive personal comments)
Well - one can dream and hope, can't one?! :>)
 
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