Eretz Israel is our unforgettable historic homeland...The Jews who will it shall achieve their State...And whatever we attempt there for our own benefit will redound mightily and beneficially to the good of all mankind. (Theodor Herzl, DerJudenstaat, 1896)

We offer peace and amity to all the neighbouring states and their peoples, and invite them to cooperate with the independent Jewish nation for the common good of all. The State of Israel is ready to contribute its full share to the peaceful progress and development of the Middle East.
(From Proclamation of the State of Israel, 5 Iyar 5708; 14 May 1948)

With a liberal democratic political system operating under the rule of law, a flourishing market economy producing technological innovation to the benefit of the wider world, and a population as educated and cultured as anywhere in Europe or North America, Israel is a normal Western country with a right to be treated as such in the community of nations.... For the global jihad, Israel may be the first objective. But it will not be the last. (Friends of Israel Initiative)

Friday, 17 June 2011

The NIF's Naomi Chazan On Why BDS Is Wrong

Here's something that should make the anti-Israel Left pause for thought.  Speaking at the Newtown Synagogue in Sydney this week, leftist Israeli Professor Naomi Chazan, President of the New Israel Fund, who can hardly therefore be described as a "hawk," outlined why the BDS movement is wrong.  (I don't necessarily endorse some of the incidental points she makes, and I'm sure regular followers of this blog will easily guess which!):

"The aim of the BDS is to purportedly bring Israel to end its occupation of the territories conquered in 1967 and bring it to the negotiating table.
But I will give you six arguments why it probably does precisely the opposite:
·     First, it is ineffective. BDS is not affecting the Israeli economy. Israel’s economy is burgeoning, and many envy us for how we got through the GFC [Great Financial Crisis] without experiencing the GFC. If at all the BDS is adversely affecting working-class people. The last people in Israel who should be victims of BDS – the workers – are the first to be affected.
·     Second, the global BDS, because it is directed against Israel and all Israelis, indirectly or directly undermines the very existence of the state of Israel. To question the existence of Israel is akin to calling for the elimination of Israel. Sometimes it’s a codeword for a one-state solution, which denies the right of Israel and Jews to self-determination. I have no suicidal tendencies whatsoever. I will not be party to my own self-destruction. I have one passport – an Israeli passport – and I intend to keep it and am perfectly happy for our borders to shrink substantially to do so.
·     Third, BDS has become counterproductive. It strengthens those Israelis who really believe that the entire world is against us. I come from a country that is very strong but is guided by a victim mentality. Every day that the BDS movement exists, it is strengthening the right wing and extremist forces in Israel. In Israel we call it a boomerang!
·     Fourth, if anybody suffers today from BDS, it is the already-weakened left in Israel – precisely the progressive forces we want to fortify. The BDS movement has been used as an excuse to carry out a series of witch-hunts against progressive forces in Israel, and against me personally, and it is tremendously damaging for those Israelis who have been carrying out the struggle for a Palestinian state alongside Israel.
·     Fifth, the most offensive part of the BDS movement is that it has been directed against academics. Israeli academics have been singled out, not invited to conferences, their articles rejected in major journals, because they are Israeli, not because of the content. The vast majority of academics are peaceniks and progressive. You are doing the work of the Israeli far right. As an academic, there is one haven of real debate and that’s in academic circles; supporting BDS goes against the grain of academic freedom.
·     Finally, the most important point, though I don’t know if it’s the most significant. Look how much energy we are expending, even in Australia. I understand there were pitched battles on the subject in Sydney! If someone wanted to invent a diversion, BDS is it.
If you care about a just peace in the Middle East, expend all your energy bringing it about and not arguing about the method. The time has come to realise a viable Palestinian state alongside Israel for the benefit of both peoples."
Thanks to the J-Wire news service for this extract and the photograph of Professor Chazan.  See also:
http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/2760806.html

4 comments:

  1. Naomi may say BDS is wrong but her NIF still supports BDS :

    http://www.nif.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=789#14

    The policy was revised after it was exposed by Jeffrey Goldbery :

    http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2010/11/the-new-israel-fund-dipping-its-toe-into-the-bds-swamp/66699/

    I personally cannot see any fundamental difference between the old policy and the new.

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  2. Thanks, and apologies for the delay in posting your comment.
    My computer has been infected and I had to wait until I could get access to another!

    I totally share your concerns about the NIF.

    ReplyDelete