Certain comments on the CiF article of April 19th written by the President and founder of the American Task Force on Palestine, Dr. Ziyad Asali, provided yet another interesting insight into the manner in which the BDS movement is rapidly morphing into a golem over which its creators have no control.
Asali himself was careful to stress that his support for a PA-led boycott of goods produced in Judea & Samaria does not extend to a boycott of Israeli goods as a whole: “Palestinians should avoid counterproductive measures, such as calls for wide-ranging boycotts that target Israel itself, as opposed to the occupation”, but some commentators were quick to reject this call, implying that Asali’s approach indicates that he cannot speak for the Palestinian people.
19 Apr 2010, 11:46AM
I agree with everything, except the boycott strategy. All Israeli goods are fair game, as the state of Israel is responsible for the occupation, so a boycott of all there good is perfectly reasonable response to the occupation.
19 Apr 2010, 12:05PM
Palestinians should avoid counterproductive measures, such as calls for wide-ranging boycotts that target Israel itself, as opposed to the occupation.
Fair enough, you entitled to your opionion, but the Palestinions Boycott, divestment and sanctions committee call for a complete boycott of Israel, and they represent the entire Palestinian grassroots, trade unions, popular comittees, ngos, and are more representative of palestinians than the American Task Force on Palestine, so ill take my instructions on what to boycott from them, which is the total boycott of Israel until’
a) the occupation is ended
b) the refuggees can go home
c) palestinians in israel receive full equal rights
19 Apr 2010, 1:19PM
Personally, I will boycott anything that comes out of Israel. The soldiers who bulldoze the homes, crack the skulls and look the other way while settlers uproot trees, beat on Palestinians and enforce checkpoints and Israeli-only roads are all Israelis.
How could it not make sense to also boycott Israel’s goods? They are the lifeline for the settlements, they promote them and arm them. The Israeli gov’t uses them to keep promoting instability amongst the Palestinians.
Of course I’ll boycott *all* Israeli goods.
I’ll also work to vote out all the cowardly politicians in America that bow to AIPAC’s demands and vote to send Israel military aid.
19 Apr 2010, 1:59PM
For nonviolent protest to be effective it must be genuinely peaceful. It must avoid any hint of violence, including stone throwing, and incitement of any kind.
Agreed, and wholeheartedly supported. This is not the full story , however. To be EFFECTIVE it must also communicate, it must reach its target audiences and it must inconvenience those against whom the protest is made.
A protest which does not do this is free to be ignored and is unlikely to bring about any change.
If the entire population of the West Bank and Gaza walked to the checkpoints and sat down there for a week , that would get noticed by the major news organisations and reach enough of an audience to embarrass the Israeli government and those Israelis who support it.
It would not be enough, however, as the protesters would require support from the rest of the world in order to be seen to be on the side of what is right, just as was needed in South Africa.
If the rest of the world were to boycott Israeli goods, that would inconvenience Israelis enough to question the morality of the situation.
This post is dedicated to Bassem Ibrahim Abu Rahmah, who was killed while protesting peacefully on 17th April 2009.
BOYCOTT , DIVEST, SANCTION
19 Apr 2010, 6:55PM
georgefromcochin 5:49PM, second para:
the common man and worker among the Palestinians want try a different route marked by diplomacy and civility
As indicated by boblondon earlier today, this is what “the common man and worker among the Palestinians” want:
19 Apr 2010, 12:25PM
This article broadly represents the further sell-out of the Palestinian people’s rights in that it accepts the general Western delusional position that Israel is always having to respond to Palestinian violence.
It is as though Israel has not carved the West Bank up and illegally populated and divided it, ethnically cleansing it and east Jerusalem Arab house by Arab house. It’s as though Israel does not maintain the Gaza Strip as an open prison where the inmates have few rights. It’s as though Israel has not not kidnapped thousands of Palestininas and imprisoned them without trial. It is as though Israel has not assassinated Palestinian leaders when Palestinians have observed peace agreements in the past.
The West bank PA’s position inherits the ideology of the Oslo sell-out by Arafat and the PLO in the 90s:
This is about Palestinian elites being established in Palestinain Bantustans where they intend to police the Palestinian people generally on behalf of the occupying state of Israel.
I wonder, Ziad, how much you have in common with the vast majority of Palestinians in the refugee camps of Gaza or the heavily abused Palestinian farmers in the West Bank. You look a little like my bank manager.
We have seen quite a number of articles on CiF in recent months attempting to persuade us that the PA has adopted new tactics of ‘peaceful resistance’ and Asali’s latest piece is no different, but do his claims that “[t]he present Palestinian leadership, headed by President Mahmoud Abbas and the prime minister, Salam Fayyad, is committed to preventing any return to violence and continuing to seek a negotiated peace agreement” actually stand up to more serious scrutiny?
Firstly, despite Israeli concessions such as the 10 month freeze on building in Judea & Samaria, negotiations are not yet taking place in any serious form. Even the so-called proximity talks have been stalled by a mixture of Palestinian intransigence and American mismanagement. Secondly, PA initiatives such as the boycott of Israeli goods originating in the settlements reinforce the mistaken concept so beloved of pro-Palestinian activists worldwide (and unfortunately also some members of the US administration) that the settlements are an obstacle to peace. This argument of course does not take into account both the fact that between 1948 and 1967 there were no Israeli settlements in the disputed area and no peace either. Neither does it take into consideration that Israel has proved in the past that it is perfectly capable of evacuating settlements when it considers there to be a benefit in doing so. Even if one does believe in the fantasy that the settlements are the problem, there is certainly no reason for them to present an obstacle to negotiations; after all, they comprise one of the many issues which are supposed to be the actual subject of negotiations.
Neither do the facts on the ground support Asali’s claims that the PA is committed to non-violence. Incitement against Israel continues to form a major part of the PA’s modus operandi in the media it controls, in mosques and in its decisions to name public institutions and places after terrorists, none of which lend any credence to Asali’s insistence that “Palestinians are also adding a series of bottom-up tactics to augment top-down negotiations and diplomacy.” Nor do his claims that “[t]he models of Gandhi and King can be a powerful tool to peacefully oppose the occupation, while not opposing Israel itself” hold water as long as the PA continues to fail to recognize Israel as a Jewish state for tactical reasons associated with their demand for the ‘right of return’ for generations of Palestinian refugees to Israel.
Whilst doubtless Asali, Abass, Fayyed and others are currently engaged in making the sounds which the US administration and the Quartet are very keen to hear, any observer of the situation would be forced to reach the conclusion that between the words and the actions a large chasm still exists. We also cannot ignore the fact that a school of thought which rejects any form of distinction between Israel and settlements in Judea & Samaria is alive and well not only in the minds of ‘War on Want’ protestors (among others) in branches of Waitrose (and other retail outlets) thousands of miles away from the conflict , but also among a proportion of the Palestinian population large enough to make Hamas and the Salafist movement factions to be reckoned with. In the unlikely event of negotiations taking place between Israel and the PA anytime soon, one does have to ask what sort of value could possibly be attributed to any agreement signed when it is quite obvious that the PA represents only one particular portion of the people with whom peace needs to be made and not only has no control over the other factions in the equation, but is actually engaged in a dispute with them which is no less violent than its campaign against Israel.
By pitching in with the BDS movement, the PA is in fact breathing life into a golem which is far beyond its control; rather than focusing upon the negative approach of BDS, if the PA really does hope for peace with Israel to be achieved through negotiation and diplomacy, it would be far better to initiate projects of co-operation with the latter instead of branding the owners of Palestinian market stalls ‘collaborators’ (a status which in theory could carry a death penalty) for purchasing Israeli grown watermelons.