2014 has unquestionably been the year of the BDS fail. Out of fourteen campus Divest from Israel resolutions this year, only three were passed and validated. But of all the BDS losses under their belt, the most decisive smack down was handed to the anti-Israel student group SUPER-UW at the University of Washington in Seattle earlier this week.
Let us understand the magnitude of SUPER-UW‘s humiliating loss. From the first day of the fall quarter, SUPER-UW and their allies, Jewish Voice for Peace in particular softened up the UW campus with an endless series of BDS trainings and anti-Israel info sessions. First tier Israel haters, like Ali Abunimah, Max Blumenthal and the Corries as well as fifth tier radicals like Wael Elasady, Jesse Hagopian, and Maya Rotem were trotted out to tell their tales of Olive tree bulldozing, baby killing, wild-eyed Jewish settlers.
When the time seemed ripe for the kill, UW student senators Peter Brannan and Amira Mattar submitted the BDS Holy Grail; divestment resolution R-20-39.
But after nine months of lectures, lobbying and leaflets the resolution went down in a blazing trail of flames. The final tally; 59 to 8 with 11 abstentions. What this means is that Brannan, Mattar and all of the minions at their command managed to persuade a paltry six senators to join them out of 78 in attendance that night!
As Elder of Ziyon notes.
“This wasn’t just a defeat – this was a rout. This year was supposed to be the year of divestment. The BDS’ers planned to pass many resolutions at universities across the country, and they targeted the most liberal and sympathetic campuses they could. In nearly every case, they lost.
The fact that it happened in one of the most leftist areas of the country, near where Rachel Corrie lived, speaks volumes on how BDS has lost steam in places it formerly appeared to be dominating.”
Why such a momentous BDS failure at the largest University in the very liberal Pacific Northwest?
There are multiple factors to consider, not the least of which was the bull in a china shop approach of the divestment co-sponsors. Brannan and Mattar at least twice tried to bypass standard committee procedures, demanding special expedited treatment. In addition SUPER-UW created a crazy-making circus of the arrogant and frantic, inundating the senate with emails, petitions and skyscraper like stacks of endorsements and “information” as if the height of the pile somehow enhanced its veracity.
But the primary reason for this epic fail can be attributed, I believe, to the makeup of the UW student senate (ASUW) and the general strategy of the BDS movement.
The ASUW is for all intents and purposes an open body, aside from the top leadership positions, all that is needed to be seated are twelve student sponsors. There is no limit to the potential number of seats in the senate. There are currently 112 voting eligible senators. Thus, this is less a body of politically motivated, agenda driven students, but rather a fairly good representation of the general campus population.
Observing the ASUW in action, there is no question that this is a liberal leaning senate, they spent over an hour this past Wednesday deliberating on a resolution in favor of more gender neutral bathrooms on campus. It received strong support and will undoubtedly pass by an overwhelming margin. That having been said, the ASUW has impressed me as an intelligent and thoughtful assembly (seriously).
The restroom legislation, whatever its merits, was an honest document. The sponsors were open about their support for “gender minorities” and their desire for them to have inclusive toilet facilities. Nothing to read between the lines there. Not so with R-20-39. From the title that concealed the resolution’s true target, to the content that hid obvious connections to the BDS movement, to clever phraseology that supports the demographic destruction of Israel, to the demand for divestment from companies in which the University doesn’t even invest, this was a problematic, confusing, misleading and dishonest document. People don’t like to be played the fool. That is why it failed.
The challenge for BDS is that they are trying to shove a very illiberal piece of legislation down the throats of very liberal student bodies. Thus they cannot be truthful. If they ever submitted an honest resolution documenting their true goal of eliminating the Jewish state, they would garner even less support than the feeble amount they have until now.
Just a few hours after their BDS debacle, SUPER-UW issued a breathless press release declaring their success. The headline read “UW-Seattle Students Bring Divestment from Israeli Occupation to a Vote”. The BDS’ers celebrated their non-victory, noting proudly that “there were a number of senators who expressed interest in learning more about the occupation of Palestine”. They were apparently unaware that this was the UW equivalent of politely thanking a doorbell ringing salesman for a brochure that is about to go into the trash.
In an Orwellian style proclamation of the absurd for a group that couldn’t attract more than the margin of error to their cause, they state “We are moved by the flood of student support for this resolution”. No matter how many losses they garner and how many defeats they collect, they just know that Israel’s destruction is around the corner and next year will be the year. Insanity we suppose can be quite the comforter.
After the senate adjourned from the divestment hearing and students exited the auditorium, they found themselves surrounded by the core group of anti-Israel radicals. They held up signs and stared angrily as their fellow students tried to squeeze through the gauntlet. I counted twenty-seven BDS’ers standing in the semi-circle of hate. Twenty seven hard core Israel obsessed fanatics out of a student body of 28,754.
This coming Wednesday, the Seattle Jewish community is drawing the line. An unprecedented gathering of every significant Jewish organization in Seattle will converge at a local synagogue to declare in effect, that if you support BDS, you are outside the Jewish communal tent. The venue holds over 1000, the event is sold out.
While the fight against the demonization of the Jewish people must continue, there is reason to be encouraged, even in Rachel Corrie country.