Monday, December 18, 2017


Great post on BDS:

Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign … Can you cherry pick?

Richard Seymour has written an article defending the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaign entitled “Labour and BDS” ( claiming - against Jeremy Corbyn’s assertion - that ‘BDS is not a blanket boycott. You can agree or disagree with specific forms of targeting', he says. 'You can argue with Roger Waters. You can complain about academic boycotts.’ This statement in no way gets BDS off the hook. Of course, you can support BDS and also believe that Israel is a fascist state; you can support BDS and believe that the early Zionists supported Hitler; you can support BDS and be a Jew hater. More than a few BDS supporters believe in one or other of these things. Indeed, you can support BDS and believe in anything else you want. However, it defies logic to suggest that because some supporters dissent from some parts of the platform and policies of BDS, that this changes what BDS stands for.

It is completely disingenuous to assert that BDS does not advocate a “blanket boycott”. BDS does support a cultural boycott; it does support an academic boycott; it does call for a boycott of those engaged in what it terms “normalisation” (i.e. those organisations or individuals that strive to bring Israeli Jews and Palestinian/Arab without first denouncing Israel); it does argue for a consumer boycott of any and all goods produced in Israel and the settlements; and many other things. These are basic and fundamental planks of BDS and it is successes on this front that BDS publicises the most. It is also true, as he sloppily presents it, that BDS calls for a boycott of ‘Israeli institutions and corporations that are complicit in the forms of occupation, apartheid (sic) and settler-colonialism that oppress Palestinians.’ That is, it demands imperialist economic and financial sanctions against Israel, just like those imposed on Iran, Cuba, North Korea - and many other countries. Outrageous as that is, it is completely false to suggest that it is reduced to the latter. If Seymour, or anyone else, is uncomfortable with the cultural/academic/normalisation boycott and wants to avoid self-contradiction, it is incumbent on them to cease and desist from supporting BDS. It is still possible to refuse to buy Israeli avocados - because you want to do something (anything) to express opposition to Israel’s horrific treatment of Palestinians - without supporting BDS and its abhorrent attacks on free speech .

Continued on my blog:

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