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    I read this rather pointed, if short, article about the hypocrisy of the Boycott Divestment Sanctions movement, drawing attention to the strangely singular focus on the world's only Jewish state. Where are the boycotts of other human rights abusing countries, like China or North Korea?

    http://www.thewhatandthewhy.com/the-...ue-signalling/

    I think that Norman Finkelstein absolutely nailed the BDS movement and the desire of many within it for Israel to be destroyed. I don't agree with Norman Finkelstein on some of his criticisms (though we both want the same outcome; the end of the occupation, for Israel to exist within the 1967 borders excepting, in my belief, the Golan Heights).

    But Norman brings his sharp intellect to the task of burning BDS and the bigots within their ranks. Well worth watching.

    Finally, it is slightly bizarre that the BDS movement says that Israel must be totally boycotted, there must be no interaction with the evil Zionists. And then they criticise Israel for having not enough interaction with Gaza, that amongst the thousands of tonnes of goods they send over the Eretz crossing into Gaza each week, that instead of boycott they should be sending more, and more varied, goods and there should be additional trade. I note they don't seek any form of boycott for the 30,000 Gazans who are allowed to travel into Israel each year for medical treatment in the Israeli universal healthcare system

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    The academic boycott component of the movement outed it as being anti-intellectual for me.
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    (Original post by Unkempt_One)
    The academic boycott component of the movement outed it as being anti-intellectual for me.
    Completely. And it's somewhat bizarre given the people people who would be punished are predominantly on the Israeli left anyway.

    Films like The Gatekeepers, which had a big impact in Israel itself, would never have been seen without funding from France. And The Law in These Parts, another excellent film about the legal system of the occupation.

    I think with the cultural and academic boycott, BDS outs itself as less interested in genuine peace and a two-state solution than they are in the end of Israel. It's quite sad because there is a lot of film, music and other creative works from Israel which have great merit, and should be seen by the world.

    All the boycott does is it allows the Israeli right to say to the left, "You see. We told you they hate us because we're Jews, and we were right. They single us out as the only country in the world worthy of such a boycott. Truly Israel is the 'Jew among nations'". And if they said that, I'm not sure I could say they were wholly wrong
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    I'm going to try and do a summary of Finkelstein and BDS here, partly because some of the points and debates raised are interesting, but also because there's a lot of misrepresentation about their actual differences.

    For a start, the major areas of agreement:
    - Finkelstein, contrary to some claims, does support boycotts, divestments and sanctions as tactics. Some confuse the map with the territory and conflate his criticisms of the campaign group with the same name as criticisms of the tactic.
    - The comparison with apartheid South Africa, BDS' main justification for the campaign, is one that Finkelstein agrees with and has endorsed through his entire professional career.

    OK, now the differences. From what I've gathered, Finkelstein has three main criticisms of BDS as a campaign group:

    i) Their support for a one-state solution, which he does not regard as a viable proposal with enough support to realistically put into practice.

    ii) Their unwillingness to make their opinion regarding i) more clear and explicit, rather than shying away from it behind other demands.

    iii) Their (in his opinion) exaggerated perception of their own importance and success (hence his 'cult' comments), and the belief that they can end the conflict rather than merely supporting an internal Palestinian mass movement.

    Broadly, I think Finkelstein is correct about iii) and partially correct about ii). While I do think i) is an interesting and indeed sensible point, I also don't think Finkelstein takes full notice of the viability problems of the a two-state solution due to the "facts on the ground" and the general attitude in Israeli politics to them. My view on this is somewhat similar to Avi Shlaim's - I support a viable two-state solution if it does happen, but increasingly don't think it realistically will and one state is becoming the unavoidable reality, regardless of ideal preference.
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    (Original post by anarchism101)
    Broadly, I think Finkelstein is correct about iii) and partially correct about ii). While I do think i) is an interesting and indeed sensible point, I also don't think Finkelstein takes full notice of the viability problems of the a two-state solution due to the "facts on the ground" and the general attitude in Israeli politics to them. My view on this is somewhat similar to Avi Shlaim's - I support a viable two-state solution if it does happen, but increasingly don't think it realistically will and one state is becoming the unavoidable reality, regardless of ideal preference.
    A bizarre statement. You're saying that a two-state solution which perhaps half of Israel supports is unrealistic, but a one state solution with 99% of Israelis oppose is somehow more realistic?

    How exactly are you going to force that on them? They have 175,000 active military and another 500,000 ready reserves. Pretty much every Jewish adult in Israel has served in the military, they know how to use guns. They're known for their physical courage and fighting prowess. They have 420 modern fighter jets (twice the size of the Royal Air Force). They have nuclear weapons and advanced missile defence. Precisely how are you going to compel Israelis to accept the end of their state?

    BDS nuts convince themselves that the reason they want one state is viability? Laughable nonsense in light of the above facts. Viability has nothing to do with it, and a desire to see Israel ended everything. And Avi Shlaim? You may as well quote Gilad Atzmon :lol:

    Nobody is going to go for that. Not the Palestinians themselves who want a state of their own, not the Israelis, not the international community. The problem with BDS is, like Finkelstein said; it's a cult. As he said, if you walk on the green then you have to stop on the red. A two-state solution is the only compatible solution with international law, and unless you're willing to kill pretty much every last active and reserve military Israeli (I know many of you would like to do that, though it's not exactly realistic, is it?) then you have to get over the fact that Israel is a fact on the ground. It's not going anywhere.

    Acceptance of that fact might lead rational people to say,"Yeah, that's true. We can't force one state on Israel, and the viability argument is idiotic and I embarrass myself when I assert it. We should be putting our energies into pushing the two-state solution"
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    (Original post by SignFromDog)
    A bizarre statement. You're saying that a two-state solution which perhaps half of Israel supports is unrealistic, but a one state solution with 99% of Israelis oppose is somehow more realistic?
    The viability of a potential state and the extent to which its inhabitants desire it are two different issues. For example, the fact that most Scots do not currently want independence has no bearing on whether a theoretical independent Scotland would be a viable state with regard to its economy, security, etc.

    Also, while this includes both left-wing binationalists and right-wingers who want to annex the West Bank and deny the Palestinians there citizenship (and it can be hard to distinguish), a recent poll of Israelis put support for a single state at 36%.

    How exactly are you going to force that on them? They have 175,000 active military and another 500,000 ready reserves. Pretty much every Jewish adult in Israel has served in the military, they know how to use guns. They're known for their physical courage and fighting prowess. They have 420 modern fighter jets (twice the size of the Royal Air Force). They have nuclear weapons and advanced missile defence. Precisely how are you going to compel Israelis to accept the end of their state?
    That's what the "boycotts, divestments and sanctions" part is for. And this isn't just something supported by advocates of a one-state solution. Finkelstein, for instance, while having issues with BDS as an organisation, fully endorses boycotts et al as a tactic, not believing that Israel will accept a full two-state solution of its own accord and will have to be pressured to do so, both by a Palestinian internal movement and by outside pressure. Similar process have caused the fall of a lot of regimes/states, including militarily powerful ones, without significant military defeats, South Africa being a prominent example. And like what happened there, I would expect in the final lead-up, there probably would be a significant rise in far-right activity and resistance to it in Israel.

    And Avi Shlaim? You may as well quote Gilad Atzmon :lol:
    Considering some of the frankly bizarre and unusual historical claims I've heard you come out with, I suppose it shouldn't surprise me that you laughingly dismiss one of the more highly respected historians of the conflict (and one generally regarded as quite fair-minded). Ah well, the Dunning-Kruger is strong with this one.

    A two-state solution is the only compatible solution with international law
    Compatible? That's a bizarre choice of words, at the least. There's nothing inherently illegal about a one state solution, just that, as Finkelstein says, there's nothing in international law or the international community explicitly calling for it, unlike the two state solution.
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    (Original post by anarchism101)
    Considering some of the frankly bizarre and unusual historical claims I've heard you come out with
    Name one.
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    (Original post by SignFromDog)
    Name one.
    How about this:

    (Original post by SignFromDog)
    The last Jewish state was in the 7th century, set up with Persian help as a revolt against the Byzantines.
    Put simply, there's a reason why Israel is generally referred to as the first Jewish state in 2,000 years rather than 1,300. It's at best a wilfully far-stretched misinterpretation and at worst just plain wrong.
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    (Original post by anarchism101)
    How about this:
    You seem determined to embarrass yourself again, just as you did by confusing coloureds and black South Africans.

    Jerusalem was ruled by a Jewish governor for 14 years under the protection of Khosrau for about a decade in the 7th century. Christians were exiled and sacrifices were restarted on the Temple Mount.

    Unfortunately, that you didn't know this is just one more example in a long line of matters on the history of Israel/Palestine about which you are painfully ignorant
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    (Original post by TheArtofProtest)
    In actual fact, a Jewish man was appointed Governor of Jerusalem. Three years later, he lost his head and Jewish oversight of Jerusalem came to an end.

    It's a little rich suggesting that Jerusalem was ruled for over a decade, 14 years as claimed by you when in reality, it was only for a maximum of 3 years.


    Furthermore, suggesting that Jerusalem in the 7th Century was an independent state is a misnomer and on par with suggesting that London is an "independent state".
    Yup. Most crucially of all, Jerusalem (and Palestine in general) was controlled by Sassanid Persia through all of this until it was handed back to the Eastern Roman Empire in 630. If merely appointing a Jewish governor and granting relative favour to the Jews constituted an independent state, then we can say the same about any locally autonomous province in any empire.
 
 
 
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