BDS and Israel

As an expert, I often opine on whether boycotts and divestments have much chance of success. The answer is typically no—and there are often many more effective mechanisms. For example, climate and clean technology research at universities are likely more effective than divesting a few shares in fossil fuel companies. It is what universities are good at and what they can make a different in.

I usually do not opine about the merits of causes. But BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) against Israel deserves an exception.


If I were a Palestinian, I would protest against Israeli policies. I would work to peacefully win the hearts and minds of secular Israeli voters—just like Gandhi and King won the hearts and minds of the greater electorates. Israeli Palestinians should have equal rights in a modern democratic liberal and tolerant society. (No—Israeli Arabs are not even close to a situation of Apartheid. The situation is more like racism in Alabama today. Palestinians in the occupied territories are a different ballgame.) I detest the nationalist and racist rhetoric of the Netanyahu governing coalition.

Most of all, Israeli Arabs need a peaceful get-out-the-vote collective civil rights movement.

The worst enemy of Palestinians—and friend only to itself—is Hamas. See, Hamas has no chance of winning. It is successful only at hardening opinions on both sides. Israeli voters need better peaceful alternatives if they are to make concessions that improve the lives of its Arab subjects. Does Hamas really believe that Israel will volunteer to commit suicide? Not a chance. Or does Hamas believe that it can win against Israel militarily? Delusion.


So what about BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions)? Upstanding people with conscience should join the BDS movement—just as soon as it prioritizes the persecution, murder, and rape of Yazidis in Syria; Baha'i's in Iran; Jews in Iraq; Shia, Jews, and Christians in Saudi Arabia; Ahmadis in Pakistan; Wiegers in China; Rohingya in Myanmar, Christians in Sudan, and Koreans in North Korea. Thereafter, Israel would make a fine target, perhaps as #170 out of the 200 countries in the world today. But Israel is not #1. The only way that Israel is so different is that its inhabitants are Jews that make good scapegoats. They are the "others." BDS drips with antisemitism.

It is the 21st Century now. Do Arab societies really still need the Jews as scapegoats to hold themselves together? Don't they have more pressing problems, like womens' rights, independent courts, freedom of religion (and conversion), and free press?

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