A BDS Wake Up Call?Posted: March 1, 2010
A recent report from the Forward:
With anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions efforts gaining visibility, the Jewish community’s main public-policy coordinating body is for the first time confronting the BDS movement as a specific and stated priority.
At its recent annual plenum, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs passed a resolution stating that BDS should now “be regarded with the utmost seriousness and urgency.”
“This is a very serious matter,” JCPA’s executive director, Rabbi Steve Gutow, told the Forward. “We need to wake up, whether we are on the right, left or center.”
The JCPA, an umbrella body representing Jewish community relations councils across the country and more than a dozen leading national Jewish groups, adopted the anti-BDS resolution at its plenum in Dallas on February 23. Gutow said that JCPA member groups are planning to create a permanent body that would respond to the activities of the BDS movement.
My two cents: creating a permanent body to combat the “negative branding” caused by BDS is a waste of Jewish communal resources. I just don’t believe that the old counterattack tactics will work any more (if they ever did). I’d suggest that if the Jewish community really wants to “wake up” to the challenge presented by BDS, then we need to honestly confront the fundamental reasons for its growth in the first place.
The BDS movement was founded in 2005 by a coalition of Palestinian groups who sought to fight for Israel’s human rights violations through nonviolent direct action. It arose out of their frustration over Israel’s continued refusal to comply with international law on any number of critical issues – and the oppressive manner in which it has occupied and ruled over Palestinians. I can’t help but think that by treating BDS simply as a PR threat to be fought, we’re utterly misunderstanding the essential of the point (and strength) of this movement.
By all accounts, this campaign is rapidly gaining support. It’s not a stretch to assume that the longer this oppressive status quo is allowed to continue, the longer Palestinians will resist – and the longer they will seek international support for their resistance. One year ago, I predicted as much on this blog: BDS will grow as long as very real injustices remain unaddressed.
When will we wake up to this painful reality?