Time to Take Divestment from Israel a LOT MORE SERIOUSLY

While the recent attacks on Gaza should come as no surprise to people who have followed just the last year's events of Israel denying food and medicine into the region, they are still horrifying and should deepen our commitment to fighting alongside Arab and Palestinian led organizations against Israeli colonialism.

The protests of the last week around the world are inspiring and show that people on the ground have not forgotten Palestine, while their governments may have.

In the United States we have the added responsibility of fighting a government that continues to fund the Israeli government and supply them with the deadly machinery they are using to massacre people who have the legitimate right to defend themselves against ethnic cleansing and genocide.

Protests, civil disobedience, and making demands on elected officials is clearly a short term tactic we need to employ just to get some kind of cease-fire in the area that Israel will actually follow (read this report on Electronic Intifada from the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights on how Israel broke the truce in Gaza, not Hamas).

A long term strategy to end Israeli colonialism will revolve around Boycotts, Divestment, and Sanctions. Some RR folks will be working on a resource page on this issue on our Reference Shelf. For now, check out the website of the The Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions Campaign National Committee (BNC) for an introduction to taking the issue of divesting from Israel seriously.

The Library Connection

For those of you who might be wondering about the fate of libraries and schools in Palestine, this article from the Progressive Librarian (2003, so, a bit dated unfortunately) on the subject.

With innumerable states in

With innumerable states in the world carrying out horrible acts of war and genocide, why is Israel singled out for this campaign? There is no doubt that the war in Gaza is horrible, as all wars are, but the Left's special treatment of Israel is troubling. Why not a boycott of Egyptian goods as well, as they control one of Gaza's borders and are directly complicit in the horrendous situation Palestinians find themselves in? Why not a boycott of Jordanian, Lebanese, Syrian, or Iranian goods and entertainment, as all those states have also had a history of massacring Palestinians and/or funding/arming Islamist and nationalist thugs who terrorize and police people living in the West Bank and Gaza?

I think Christopher Hitchens said it well: "... I would never expect to read the sort of criticism of Pakistan that I read every day about Israel. Yet of these two states, born at almost the same moment at the close of Britain’s imperium, can it really be said that Israel is so much the greater offender in terms of democratic rights for citizens, invasions of neighbours like Afghanistan, oppressions of non-Punjabi minority inhabitants, massacres of co-religionists as in Bangladesh, and illegal acquisition of nuclear weapons? One can just about picture a worldwide campaign to redress the injustices of Pakistan, in which unions of British teachers and journalists would join with their own courageous boycotts, but I confess to a slight difficulty in picturing the same level of enthusiasm and commitment. There is some sense in which any challenge to what can be viewed as specifically Jewish power is more exciting and possibly more “transgressive”, and we might be more honest if we admitted as much."

Boycotts will not end this war or any war, but even if the boycott was an effective tactic, it is irrational to limit your sights to Israel.

context for targeting Israeli apartheid

While i definitely wrote the original post on Israel during their recent slaughter of Palestinians, my point was *NOT* that boycotts, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel would stop the military actions at that time. BDS is a long term strategy to target Israeli apartheid.

The point that there is injustice all over the world does not mean that Israel should not be held to account. Moreover, the huge amount of support that Israel receives from the U.S. empire, and the responsibility that the U.S. Left has to dismantle that support, is something to consider in focusing on Israel. As such an ally of the U.S. empire and European interests, Israel is a danger to stability in the entire region, outside of the Palestinian population that they have *particular* responsibility for as an occupying force.

In addition, while it is my personal decision to make Palestine solidarity the main political project I am working on, I do not believe it to be the only important issue re: post/neo/current-colonialism and imperialism. I do believe that as an anti-Zionist Jew that i do have a strategic role to play in particular around ending the nonsense that criticism of Israel as a racist state is anti-Jewish.

The point is not to make Palestine the only issue that the Left takes on publicly (which i believe is far from true, actually- it gets a lot of press for being very controversial), but to make connections between movements and issues.

Politics on this issue, and others on the Left, are not unanimous on this website- we are a network with no centralized leadership (from what i've experienced). Myself and others who put up resources from the anti-imperialist sector of the Palestinian solidarity movement know that there are people interested in this subject, and are trying to post resources that we believe are as principled as possible.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.