Palestine Update 187
Signs of edginess and susceptibility as Israel watches BDS catch fire
Israel is getting delusionary as it watches the BDS Movement grow into a potent and widespread force. It opts for denial declaring the BDS defeated. The racist-Zionist media propagates this fabrication and Israel buys into it so as to find consolation in its steadily growing isolation. As much as it fears economic-cultural isolation, Israel also fears the extent to which its image as a democracy and a modern-model State in the region is being battered. BDS is an uncomfortable reality Israel would rather not deal with.
Israel applies just one parameter to prop up its claim that BDS is not working. It points to its economic prosperity. Even this is an utter lie simply because it obfuscates the fact that it is, among the so-called emerging economies, easily the most dependent economy. It must receive aid without having to borrow and pay back. It is, in that sense, a begging bowl with a slight difference. Israel begs by transposing guilt on its erstwhile oppressors. It revokes memories of the holocaust as if the guilt is permanent and reparations must remain a permanent state of affairs.
On the other hand, BDS has shifted the discourse from one of mere anti-occupation to one of anti-apartheid. Or, as some activists put it, BDS has pushed Israel into the ranks of untouchables. The ‘leper’ tag is an unfair because it equates Israel with an unfortunate of people stricken by the disease. But the analogy is pertinent because the idea is to assert the claim that Israel’s actions are abhorrent and total avoidance of relations may just give Israel time to alter its arrogant assumption that its colonialist ways can be passed off with impunity.
Nathan Thrall writing in The Guardian shows how “in the Jewish diaspora, BDS has created new schisms on the centre-left, which has been forced into a vice by the rightwing and pro-settlement Israeli government on one hand, and the non-Zionist left on the other. It has prompted liberal Zionists to grapple with why, they sometimes accept the boycott of products from settlements, but not the boycott of the state that creates and sustains them. It has compelled Israel’s more critical supporters to justify their opposition to non-violent forms of pressure on Israel, when the absence of real pressure has done nothing to bring occupation or settlement expansion to an end. It has put the onus on liberal Zionists to defend their support not for the abstract ideal of what they hope Israel might one day become, but for the actual, longstanding practices of the state, including expropriations of Palestinian land for Jewish settlement; detention of hundreds of Palestinians without trial or charge; collective punishment of two million Gazans living under a more than decade-long blockade; and institutionalized inequality between Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel. BDS has deprived Israel’s liberal supporters of the excuse that an aberrant occupation or rightwing governments are mainly to blame for the state’s undemocratic practices.
Palestinians and those who work to hasten justice for them after 70 long years of dispossession have found this important window of non-violent resistant. It may easily be the ace that accelerates Israel’s submission to justice
Zionist propagandists declare BDS ‘failure’!
Excerpts from an article by Ben White
Last March, outgoing Jewish Agency chair Natan Sharansky declared that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign had “been almost fully defeated”. Two years earlier, Benjamin Netanyahu announced BDS had been “beaten”.
Ill-informed dismissal of a 13-year-old, global, civil society campaign is all too typical for those who shudder at the growing success of BDS. Israel offers supposed evidence for the alleged failure of BDS. The robustness of the Israeli economy, they claim, is proof of BDS failure. They cite “completely negligible” economic damage caused to the Israeli economy by the BDS campaign since 2010. Is economic data alone an indicator of the “failure” of BDS?
Omar Barghouti identified BDS’ “critical role” in “changing the discourse on the question of Palestine after more than two decades of a fraudulent ‘peace process’ that undermined Palestinian rights and served as a fig leaf for the expansion and entrenchment of Israel’s regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid”. In general, most boycott and divestment campaigns “cannot demonstrate their work’s impact in measurable units”. Instead “the virtue of BDS has been its ability to challenge Israel’s moral authority, arguably the most coveted weapon in its arsenal”…When we ask institutions and organisations to divest from companies involved in Israel’s crimes, we are not asking for anything heroic,” Barghouti said in 2015. “We are merely asking those organisations to fulfill a profound moral obligation.” According to Barghouti, “this is the compelling, ethical logic of BDS, and this is a main factor behind the movement’s impressive growth”.
In an in-depth analysis of the BDS movement for The Guardian, in August, International Crisis Group’s Nathan Thrall noted how international organisations “have been influenced by the BDS movement to move slowly from ineffectual condemnations to calls for practical measures that have some teeth”. Amnesty International has called “for a worldwide ban on settlement products and an arms embargo on Israel and Palestinian armed groups,” while Human Rights Watch has “called on institutional investors in Israeli banks to ensure that they are not contributing to or benefiting from settlements and other violations of international law”.
Finally, with respect to the incremental isolation of Israel in a number of different spheres – economic, cultural, academic, and so on – again, the BDS campaign has had a clear impact, with each year bringing positive developments. International Crisis Group’s Nathan Thrall notes: “Compared to the decades-long campaign in South Africa, its [BDS] ascent has been rather steep,” concluded Thrall, even allowing for the lack of “major economic impact on Israel so far”. Thrall also highlighted how “dozens of student governments and numerous academic associations have endorsed boycott and divestment initiatives. And many musicians and artists have cancelled shows or pledged to boycott the country.” These countless victories and endorsements reflect, in part, the good strategic sense of the BDS movement’s Palestinian organizers, who encourage and promote “context-sensitive” campaigning.
In 2010, Israeli think tank, the Reut Institute, recognized the potency of BDS in driving “increasingly harsh criticism [of Israel] around the world, resulting in an erosion of its international image, and exacting a tangible strategic price”. In 2017, the Reut Institute and the Anti-Defamation League recognized that “a more prevalent collateral damage emerges in the form of a silent boycott – undeclared decisions by organisations, companies, and individuals to refrain from engaging with Israeli entities motivated by ideology or simply by a desire to avoid unnecessary problems and criticism”. BDS is a grassroots movement, and as such can be more easily dismissed by those who “see” only what is happening at the elite levels of political decision-making and diplomacy.
BDS News from India
Apoorva Gautam, Coordinator, BDS, South Asia, has filed a report citing actions from an amazing month in terms of BDS organizing. The following are some updates:
- Artists’ statement against Aruna Sairam’s performance at Jerusalem Oud Festival: Noted Indian artists and academics came together to appeal to renowned Hindustani vocalist Aruna Sairam, asking her to not perform at the Jerusalem Oud Festival. The Palestinian Campaign for Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel also directly appealed to her.
Find the statement and PACBI’s tweet here:
- InCACBI statement against Susan Abulhawa’s forced deportation: Palestinian-American writer Susan Abulhawa was detained and forcibly deported by Israeli authorities on her way to Kalimat Palestinian Literature Festival in Ramallah, occupied West Bank. Indian Campaign for Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel sent a statement of solidarity to her, noting how such silencing of resisting voice only sprouts further resistance, as we are also seeing in India.
Read the statement here: http://indianculturalforum.in/2018/11/06/statement-condemning-susan-abulhawas-forced-deportation-from-palestine-by-israeli-authorities/
- On military ties between India and Israel: In July this year, activist Gautam Navlakha participated in the BDS Latin America conference and public hearing ‘United Struggles against Militarisation from Latin America to Palestine’, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Gautam shared with the participants the methodological and ideological aspects of growing military and security cooperation between India and Israel.
Read his paper from the conference here: https://countercurrents.org/2018/11/04/expanding-horizon-of-indo-israel-military-security-ties/
- Appeal to Bangalore Little Theatre to not perform at an Consulate General of Israel (South India) event: In a wonderful effort of coordination and quick response, Palestine Solidarity activists in Bangalore wrote to Bangalore Little Theatre which was set to perform at an event organized by the Consulate General of Israel in South India. This ludicrous event was organized to commemorate Mahatma Gandhi and Yitzhak Rabin together.
Find a shorter version of the statement here:
- Observing international day for ‘World without Walls’: On November 9th, Palestine solidarity activists in Delhi observed international day for World without Walls. They discussed the physical and mental walls like that of prejudice and hate that divide people across the world.
Find an update on this: https://twitter.com/BDSIndiaTweets/status/1060842115754651653
International Chefs Pull Support from Tel Aviv Food Festival -Food sovereignty for all!”
Over 90 industry professionals signed a letter asking chefs not to participate in the Israeli government–funded “Round Tables” festival
Last week, a striking image began circulating across the Instagram accounts of chefs, food workers, farmers, and activists nationwide. The image depicted a sensual tablescape, a communal feast of zeit and za’atar, bread, labne with sumac from the West Bank city of Jenin, butternut squash muttabal, and Palestinian olives impeccably lit against an illuminating red tabletop. It was posted as a leadup to the fourth annual Round Tables festival—a Tel Aviv–based food festival that starts today, and is supported by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and sponsored by American Express—and was accompanied by an open letter directed at the chefs slated to participate in this year’s event.
One of the widely-used captions read: “We are one of more than 70 food industry folks who have signed an open letter to Gabrielle Hamilton and other international chefs, asking them to do the right thing and withdraw from the Israeli-government funded “Round Tables” festival next week. As chefs, farmers, and culinary workers, we recognize that humans everywhere deserve good, just food – from our part of Turtle Island to Palestine.
Air Canada ends contract with Israeli arms firm
Air Canada has ended a maintenance contract with the arms maker Israel Aerospace Industries, activist groups have announced. The Canadian BDS Coalition, which supports the Palestinian-led campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions, last week had been informed by Air Canada management “that the five-year, multi-million dollar contract with Israel Aerospace Industries Bedek Group for heavy maintenance on Air Canada Boeing 767 jets was terminated in ‘early 2017,’ with two years remaining.” The contract, signed in 2014, was reportedly worth tens of millions of dollars.
Air Canada told the activist groups that the work is being transferred to “another provider in North America,” which it did not name. Air Canada provided activists with no reason for its termination of the Israeli contract. But the coalition pointed out that Air Canada had released the information only “after our #AirCanadaComplicity campaign was taking off and receiving increasing support both from within Canada and internationally.” The campaign garnered support from trade unions and solidarity groups in Canada and around the world.
Don’t befriend me for a day, and leave me a month. Don’t get close to me if you’re going to leave. Don’t say what you don’t do. Be close or get away.
لا تصاحبني يوماً .. لتهجرني شهراً ولا تقربني .. لتبعدني .. لا تقل ما لا تفعل كُن قريباً .. أو ابتعد.