speaking of that broken Israeli culture
6,000 Israeli Arabs marched today amidst a call for a general strike in commemoration of 13 boys who Israeli police officers murdered in October 2000. They marched from a town in the Galilee, Kfar Kanna. MK Ahmed Tibi said that “Failure to put the criminals on trial is like making sure the victims are really dead,” and added that Israeli racism has mounted since October 2000: it has now reached what he calls “frightening levels”–structural and cultural racism has practically suffused Israeli society, while the left is mostly silent, in retreat and disarray. A few weeks ago, I had some unkind words for Bernard Avishai’s polemic against Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions.
I think extended intellectual disquisitions arguing against BDS should be dissected and countered for the simple reason that there is nothing else for activists to do internally or externally right now. Without something to do, we fall quiescent or fall into ineffectiveness. Maybe more weirdly, we call for Palestinian non-violence and have cat-fights about its efficacy and the appropriate level of nuance to integrate into such a call, as though we have absolutely anything to do with Palestinian society’s ability-or-not to mount a non-violent Third Intifada.
Yitzhak Laor argued a few days ago,
Environmental associations or feminist organizations put out press releases; the activists from the Matzpen socialist organization who once went out onto the streets to tell about the iniquities of Zionism have been replaced by Zochrot, which promotes awareness of the Palestinian exodus of 1948. This group has offices on Tel Aviv’s Ben Yehuda Street, plenty of money from Europe and zero political effect….Yes, the monitoring by Peace Now and B’Tselem has importance, as does the humanitarian aid of Physicians for Human Rights. But between this and a political struggle in Israel’s streets – the real arena for a struggle – there is very little.
At my talk a few weeks ago, someone asked me if there were groups in Israel that I considered worthy of support. I answered, yes, absolutely: Physicians for Human Rights, Ta’ayush, Zochrot, the Alternative Information Center, Anarchists Against the Wall. But I added that such groups themselves usually recognize their own feebleness and beg for outside intervention. And despite frothing from those claiming that BDS is ineffectual (if ineffectual, why set up silly blogs to say so?),
the French government is repressing BDS activists while Jewish Voice for Peace is spearheading a major campaign to push TIAA-CREF to divest from the Israeli occupation. There’s always plenty to do. The trouble is getting more people to get going doing it.
Technorati Tags: BDS, Israel, Jewish Voice for Peace, Palestine, TIAA-CREF, Yitzhak Laor, Zionism
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