Monday, November 23, 2020

BDS Under Scrutiny

God is in the details, it is said. It is said also that the devil is in the details, which sets up a very interesting dynamic.

And so we have Secretary of State Mike Pompeo condemning the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement and declaring, according to CBS News, "We will immediately take steps to identify organizations that engage in hateful BDS conduct and withdraw U.S. government support for such groups."

It is unclear, nonetheless, what groups Pompeo is referring to. However, in response to the Secretary of State, the Palestinian BDS National Movement issued a statement claiming it "has consistently and categorically rejected all forms of racism, including anti-Jewish racism, as a matter of principle."

There are at least two problems with this statement. It's one thing to object to "racism" as a "matter of principle." Every person or group can easily say he/she/they do so, but without specifying instances, "a matter of principle" is indistinguishable from "in concept." Additionally, the evidence that Jews constitute a race is weak, though it has had many notable supporters, including a world-renown German of the mid-twentieth century.

Even aside from the anthropological fallacy, it's nearly impossible to conclude that the BDS movement is not anti-Semitic. Its website argues "The fanatic Trump-Netanyahu alliance is intentionally conflating opposition to Israel’s regime of occupation, colonization and apartheid against Palestinians and calls for nonviolent pressure to end this regime."

As the video below explains, the characterization of Israel as an apartheid state cannot be sustained. Moreover, it's obvious that (despite protestations to the contrary) an organization which believes- accurately or inaccurately- that a nation's existence is based on apartheid would not tolerate the continued existence of that state other than as a parcel of land. When interviewed in July of 2019 by The New York Times

Omar Barghouti, a top B.D.S. spokesman, called the Israeli laws racist and exclusionary. A democratic state could still provide asylum for Jewish refugees, showing “some sensitivity to the Jewish experience,” he said, “but it cannot be a racist law that says only Jews benefit.” Asked if that means Jews cannot have their own state, he said, “Not in Palestine.”

Barghouti, of course, did not specify where in the world Jews, who shaped, formed, and built a democratic land in a region where so few ever have existed, and had lived there continuously for millennia, would have their own state.

That does not necessarily mean that the federal government should withdraw its support for organizations that "engage in hateful BDS conduct," whatever that means.  Pompeo needs to put some meat on the bones of the imprecise "engage in BDS conduct."

This may be an instance of bad policy or good policy. unfortunately, whatever it is, it would inevitably be opposed by the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, whose hostility toward the existence of a Jewish state is starkly obvious.


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