"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: