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)

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

An Aussie Academic On Antisemitism & The BDS Movement

"[I]t may be that in spite of its protestations, BDS is actually comfortable with being an anti-Semitic organisation. If BDS is not anti-Semitic, a clearer rationale is needed."

So observes Melbourne academic Dr Nicholas Harriman in a blog on the ABC's The Drum website, in response to a blog on the same website a few days ago by Sydney academic boycott crusader Professor Jack Lynch::
'.... It appears to many (even those who are unhappy with aspects of the Israeli military's policy towards Palestinians) that Israel is unfairly singled out by BDS....
.... I]n a world filled with egregious examples of violence and human rights abuse, the grounds on which BDS selects Israel and the manner of its action - a boycott - are unclear. BDS ends up appearing inconsistent.
It appears inconsistent in an international context. Comparing Australia with Israel, the fate of Australia's Indigenous population in terms of life expectancy is around 60 years, whereas for Palestinians it is around 72 years.
It appears inconsistent in a regional context when widespread violence characterises the rest of the Middle East. The civil war in Syria has claimed 100,000 lives, yet BDS does not appear to have a clear position against the regime there.
Finally, it appears inconsistent in the local context. To focus on Israel without also taking account of Palestinian groups does not make sense. The Hamas-Fatah conflict, for example, has caused hundreds of deaths, but escapes BDS attention. Does this mean that BDS condones "lawlessness and militarism" as long as it is not committed by Jews?
BDS could address these apparent inconsistencies by developing a more rounded and comprehensive policy on matters in international, regional and local contexts.
Then there is the problem of BDS supporters who are committed to the destruction of Israel. This alienates many people, not the least Jewish 'doves', who might otherwise be drawn to the movement. Many who support Israel's right to exist were horrified by the 2008-9 invasion of Gaza - and particularly the unacceptable numbers of Palestinian civilians killed. They tend to think that both sides have cases to answer; Palestinian authorities must clamp down on militants and Israel must be proportionate in its response to rocket attacks. BDS does not seem to address this.
BDS would be less open to charges of anti-Semitism if it acknowledged the complexities of the situation, including the 'refuseniks' - Israeli Jews who are opposed to the Israeli Defence Force's tactics - and the existence of Israeli Arabs who vote, freely form political parties, participate in public life and support Israel. It also does not acknowledge the contested nature of Israeli politics. Nor does it criticise the intransigence of some Palestinian groups....'
Read the entire blog here (hat tip: reader Shirlee)

1 comment:

  1. "and particularly the unacceptable numbers of Palestinian civilians killed."

    I give up. What's the 'acceptable' number. I don't wish to see anyone killed in a war, but I have a sneaky feeling that where Israel acts to defend itself no low number of civilian casualties would be acceptable, and would be slandered as a wanton murderer.