Israel and BDS


#1

Bit of a heavy thread, but wondered what people’s thoughts are on the BDS movement - supporting them seems to be standard practice for anyone who considers themselves leftist, but it seems like such a natural position that I’ve never really had explained the philosophy of it, except to isolate and ostracise Israel. The actions of the Israeli government as regards Palestine are obviously abhorrent, but does BDS target that government or the people of Israel, many of whom may not support how their country treats Gaza etc? The idea of building international solidarity seems at odds with using economic means to damage a country… and obviously there are lots of countries with terrible records out there which don’t have the same sanctions applied (maybe none are common trading partners like Israel is).

Lots of people talk about how sanctions helped end apartheid in South Africa, but is that true? Or does it just misattribute the hard work of people in SA who were directly involved in fighting it?


#2

I don’t know much. But I know that the people in South Africa who were really fighting apartheid said that sanctions and actions by activists abroad, such as the non-stop picket outside the South African embassy on Trafalgar Square contributed hugely to the ending of apartheid.

As for Israel, the main reason for me not buying produce that is labelled from that country is that I might be contributing to a war crime as produce labelled as coming from Israel might actually be from occupied territories and mislabelled - grown on land that was farmed by generations of the same Palestinian family but has been bulldozed by machine gun toting ultra-nationlist Israeli thugs.


#3

Thanks, those are good points. I should really try and read more but every time I find something it always seem to have a strong agenda to push.


#4

I think a lot of it comes down to power structures when determining whether sanctions are worthwhile as a political statement and as a tool for change.

I don’t think that you’ll see many of the anti-apartheid campaigners from South Africa saying that the sanctions and boycotts didn’t help.

The issue is that you’re never going to get any UN resolutions condemning the actions of Israel while you have the US on the Security Council, so that leaves boycotts and consumer pressure as one of the few active avenues open to ordinary people to demonstrate their solidarity, raise awareness and to try and build pressure for internal change within the country. I think these are justifiable, especially when the government in question uses cultural events as a tool to demonstrate international acceptance, as was seen with South Africa in the 1970s and 80s and Israel today.


#5

My thoughts are non existent because I don’t know what it is. :eyes:


#6

I don’t know if it has an effect, and there are doubtless other things that I could or should do, but it’s hard to follow recent events, or things like operation cast lead ten years ago and just shrug your shoulders.

People take a stand against certain companies for their practices, I don’t see why the same shouldn’t apply to countries. Least academic answer ever, but there you go.


#7

was on the fence about it but since the massacre last week, and the bloodcurdling indifference and equivocation shown by Israel’s supporters in western politics and the press, I’m leaning heavily towards “fuck them.” modern day sharpeville. we can go around in circles about whether ordinary Israelis are unfairly targeted as a result of what their government is doing but IDK, enough of them seem okay with apartheid and slow burn genocide to keep returning that government to power. the israeli state itself can only exist with the use of violence, colonization and right-wing nationalism, and like any ethnostate these things will only grow increasingly deranged and extreme as time goes by.

we are also one of those countries with terrible records you mention, and just from austerity and our actions in yemen alone I’d be fine if someone wanted to start a bds movement against us tbh.


#8

blueturtle?


#9

If I had a spare couple of weeks I might be able to write a post which comes close to summing up how I feel on the subject

I feel utterly dejected even just trying to disentangle the language used around this subject from the actual reality for people on the ground and I’ve been brought up with this issue as background - and often foreground - noise in my family ever since I can remember but whenever I feel I have some insight or contribution to the subject, whenever I try and take the discussion forward I’m just met by voices repeating the same old partisan, binary bullshit that is so deeply ingrained

Clearly the whole situation is asymmetrically abusive and much of what is found in UN resolutions, armistice agreements & even the Geneva Convention is contravened openly without much negative consequence for the IDF or Knesset because the murderous stand-off is politically & economically expedient for other nations

It’s appalling


#10

Yes


#11

I don’t have a problem buying Israeli produce. Nor do I have a problem with musicians playing concerts there.

Israel committed some awful crimes last week and deserves the international criticism.

Whilst the date growers and electrical conglomerates are beholden to the ideologues in the coalition, there will be very little to do.


#12

norm finkelstein has a good interview about the situation on the most recent intercepted. very eloquent description of what’s at stake.


#13

I don’t want to be unfairly accused of cognitive dissonance here. I’m saying the date farmers cannot influence the haredim – these men study the torah and do not engage in paid work, and instead HaShem is left to provide for their families (i.e. they cannot be reasoned with).


#14

To be honest, the economy is so firmly entrenched in military import, export & aid that a consumer boycott is nothing more than the tiniest inconvenience if that.

Divestments & political boycotts might make a small difference but I doubt even that. Unless & until there’s a global moratorium on arms sales it doesn’t matter how many dates, avocadoes or even Intel microprocessors you turn your nose up at.


#15

#16

I think if we’re discussing BDS, we do also have to examine several other overlapping questions like whether we think Jewish people have the right to self-determination and a homeland and, if so, where are its legitimate borders? Are any borders legitimate? What do the Palestinian people want? Do they want to live in a single multicultural, multiethnic state in which everyone has equal rights? Do they want a separate state? To which state do the millions of Palestinian refugees have the right to return?

I’m not against BDS but I think the complexity of these questions, the lack of consensus surrounding them amongst people fighting for the rights of Palestinian people and (to me anyway - happy to proven wrong on this) the ineffectiveness of consumer boycotts in this situation make me reluctant to throw my support behind it.


#17

Israel’s been a bad girl