Rosenberg: BDS May Be Inevitable

MJ Rosenberg, a Mideast analyst I’ve respected for years, has just written a powerful blog post entitled, “Are Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations Finished?”  His words are particularly meaningful, I believe, coming from someone who is firmly ensconced in the mainstream liberal Zionist camp.

He opens with an all-too familiar concern: that Israel’s suicidal path of settlement expansion will soon make the possibility of a viable Palestinian state impossible (if it hasn’t already).

Then he takes this concern to its next logical conclusion, articulating what most two-staters are generally too frightened to say out loud:

What would happen is that the Palestinians would go to the United Nations, to the European Union, and even to the United States to seek ..consequences. And these would most likely come in the demand for sanctions. There is already a burgeoning BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement that is seeking to bring down the occupation the way a similar movement brought down apartheid.

Is this what Israelis want? Do they really want those concerned about the occupation to be forced to turn to an option this extreme?

I know that the last thing I want is a successful international movement that would boycott and sanction Israel as if it was apartheid South Africa. But it’s probably inevitable unless Israelis come to their senses and begin the process of ending the occupation while the decision is still theirs to make.

In other words, sooner than later we’ll have to choose between a Jewish state and basic, fundamental human rights.  It’s not the first time we’ve heard sentiments such as this, but when they come from people like Rosenberg, it’s a sign that the lines on this issue are inexorably shifting.

6 thoughts on “Rosenberg: BDS May Be Inevitable

  1. This is indeed a significant development, Brant. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

    The next milestone is when “progressive” Zionists like MJ let go of their distaste for the idea of BDS. When they stop talking about it like it is some unfortunate development. It’s not. It’s about the most wonderful thing that could happen to the citizens of Israel, held captive to a soul-killing racism and to the fate of living within the prison of their own walls, of bringing up their children under Apartheid. It’s a really good thing to have happen to American Jews, who need to be jolted out of their ignorance, complacency, self-satisfied moral superiority, and sense of privileged victimhood (check any that apply). It’s a unifying, mobilizing, and wonderfully morally clarifying thing to happen to Americans who are not Jewish, particularly Christians, who are puzzled, confused or horrified (which they are if they’ve been over and seen what there is to see) by what Israel is doing and is being allowed to get away with, and are – if they know the facts – outraged that this is being paid for by their taxes.

    AS IF it were Apartheid South Africa, MJ? Why is Israel so special? Why can’t it sin like other nations? If it looks like one and quacks like a duck, it is a duck. Or worse. Let the movement flourish and grow. Negotiations are precisely what the Palestinians see it to be, just as you say. That’s over.

  2. Most people in the non-Islamic world couldn’t care less about the Arab/Israeli conflict. That’s why there will never be BDS. This is because most people realize that the reason there isn’t peace is because the Arabs refuse to make peace on terms even the most flexible Israeli government could make, mainly, but not only because of the Palestinian demand for the “Right of Return”.
    There are many conflicts in the world that cause human rights problems far worse than that in the Arab-Israel conflict. Yet most people, including Jewish “progressives” don’t express any interest in them. Why? Because most people don’t have the time or energy to get involved. That is natural. Jewish “progressives”, out of feelings of guilt, or fear of Muslim retaliation against Jewish targets (MJ Rosenberg’s big post 9/11 fear) think that the Arab-Israeli conflict is the number one problem affecting the world, but few people, particularly in the West or Far East look at it that way…they see it as yet another intractable problem that can’t be solved.
    True, there are small but noisy groups in the West of Muslim radicals, allied with anarchists, Communists, anti-globalish activist and radical Jews who are screaming for BDS but the vast majority of the populations in these countries DON’T CARE one way or the other. While it is true an activist minority can manage to get a government or other bodies like trade unions to go along with their radical agenda since the rest of the membership or population is apathetic, they can get things like BDS discussed. However, if Israel and pro-Israel elements form an articulate counterforce to these groups in these countries, they can block these negative things from happening, because BDS does not really have any significant public support in these countries. Thus, I am not worried about MJ’s doomsday scenarios.

    • “Most people in the non-Islamic world couldn’t care less about the Arab/Israeli conflict. That’s why there will never be BDS. This is because most people realize that the reason there isn’t peace is because the Arabs refuse to make peace on terms even the most flexible Israeli government could make, mainly, but not only because of the Palestinian demand for the “Right of Return”.”

      Wait – if they were so apathetic, how would they “know” this?

  3. Another liberal Zionist, Haaretz journalist Bradley Burston, seems to be going through a similar “awakening” since last year’s assault on Gaza. His most recent editorial reveals that he has reached the point of a full-on crisis of conscience.

    Here are 2 links – the first, to the original article and the second is to Richard Silverstein’s analysis of same:

    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1150799.html

    http://www.richardsilverstein.com/tikun_olam/2010/02/20/haaretzs-burston-pain-of-the-liberal-zionist/

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