Following on from yesterday’s post, I think this might be the beginning of a new Israellycool series.
Today’s “anti-Zionist not antisemite” is the Facebook group Rolling Stones: Boycott Israel.
The group’s byline is “Calling on the Rolling Stones to Boycott Israel due to the state’s crimes against humanity.” But we all know who they really have in mind.
(The post has since been removed, but the screenshot is available here)
And the antisemitism is not the only manifestation of how they’ve let down their guard.
Which makes a mockery of this damage control piece by Mondoweiss.
The New York Times is paying close attention to the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement targeting Israel, nine years after the 2005 call for boycott from Palestinian civil society. But the paper’s coverage does a poor job of honestly explaining what the BDS movement says about the future of Israel and Jewish life in the region.
Phil Weiss took a close look at Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren’s fear-mongering piece today, where she invokes the specter of the Nazi boycott of Jewish-owned businesses. Roger Cohen’s article approvingly quotes an activist who claims that the BDS movement’s objectives would “doom Israel as a national home for the Jews.” (The Palestine Center’s Yousef Munayyer responds here.)
And today, Thomas Friedman takes a whack at BDS by giving space to the Israeli government-linked Reut Institute, whose director, Gidi Grinstein, says that “the B.D.S. movement at heart is not about Israel’s policies but Israel’s existence: they want to see Israel disappear.” (Grinstein also, rightly, points out that the peace process is keeping BDS at bay, but if it collapses, Israel’s isolation will deepen–and fast.)
All three pieces give short shrift to what BDS advocates say about Israel’s existence as a home for Jews. They overwhelmingly tilt towards calling the movement’s prescription for ending the conflict catastrophic to Jews. The implication is that Jews would have no place in Israel/Palestine, especially if there is a right of return for Palestinian refugees. But what do BDS advocates themselves say about the future of Jews in an Israel/Palestine where the BDS movement’s demands are met?
But what if Israel/Palestine can be re-imagined, a space that preserves Israeli Jewish life and culture while implementing Palestinian human rights for all? It’s a more complicated counter-question to Friedman’s. But the BDS movement’s prescriptions certainly point towards that sentiment, which is a more interesting and fair take on the future that stoking existential fears of destruction.