Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Apartheid Canard

Q: What does Apartheid have to do with Israel?

A: Absolutely nothing.

Yet, the BDS movement accuses Israel of being an apartheid state to justify the call to boycott.  Apartheid is mentioned in 3 of the pro-BDS letters printed in the Gazette and twice in the submission to the agenda committee.

"Apartheid" is an Afrikaans word meaning "apartness."  It is the name of the system of harsh and brutal discriminatory laws instituted in South Africa in the 20th century to maintain the dominance of the minority white population over the 90% majority non-white population.  In the 1980’s there was a movement to boycott South Africa, as a way of supporting the anti-apartheid activists in South Africa.  Apartheid was abolished in 1994.

By making the “apartheid” accusation, BDS tries to equate Israel with South Africa, making it worthy of our approbation and boycott.  The accusation is a complete denial of historical fact.  The analogy is false.

The apartheid canard illustrates the BDS movement’s Bigotry, Dishonesty, anti-Semitism.

Dishonesty:  The Israeli Arabs have full civil rights.  They are free to vote and hold political office.  They have freedom of religion, freedom of speech, including even criticizing the government and suing in court.  They are not restricted in education or profession.  Arabs serve as officers in the army, a supreme court justice and President of the State.  None of this was available to the non-white South Africans.  To use the term “apartheid” is to diminish and disrespect the suffering of non-white South Africans.

Bigotry:  Palestinian refugees and their descendents have been denied absorption and citizenship in all but one of their host countries.  Those same countries rejected the partition of the British Mandate of Palestine into a Jewish State and an Arab State and they declared war on the newborn Jewish State.  They caused the Arabs to flee and become refugees.  Could you imagine if the U.S. refused to absorb the refugees created by its involvement in Vietnam?  BDS does not stand up for the right of those Arabs. 
What about the Arabs living under the administration of the Palestinian Authority or Hamas?  They have not had elections in over 5 years.  They are not free to criticize their government.  They do not have free press.  Christians are not free to practice without harassment.  Women do not have equal rights and homosexuals are persecuted.  Who stands up for their rights?

More Dishonesty and some anti-Semitism: BDS refers to Israel as a colonial presence and Zionism as a colonial movement, attempting to equate the Jews with white European South Africans.  Colonists are foreigners settled in a territory for the purpose of establishing and maintaining the sovereignty of their mother country.  Jews who immigrated to the Ottoman Districts of Jerusalem and Beirut were not representatives of their countries, nor were they attempting to supplant the local Ottoman rulers.  They came to live their lives as Jews in the Land of Jewish origins, to join the uninterrupted Jewish community there, and to escape oppression in their previous country of residence.  They were not colonists.  Calling Jews colonists is an attempt to deny the connection between the Jewish people and the Holy Land, to deny the Jewish historical and cultural legacy, to deny the authenticity of the Jewish People.  In other words, it is an attempt to erase an essential part of Jewish identity.  That is anti-Semitism.

The apartheid claim is a false accusation.  It is designed to demonize, delegitimize and isolate the Jewish State.  It is part of the overall BDS strategy to demonize and delegitimize Israel.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Look Who Also Says It Isn't Apartheid!!

Ishmael Khaldi is the vice consul for Israel in San Francisco and a Bedouin from Northern Israel.  Two years ago he wrote a response to Israel Apartheid Week in the  San Francisco Chronicle:
If Israel were an apartheid state, I would not have been appointed here, nor would I have chosen to take upon myself this duty. There are many Arabs, both within Israel and in the Palestinian territories who have taken great courage to walk the path of peace. You should stand with us, rather than against us.
Go read the whole thing.

Pray for the complete recovery of Daniel Aryeh Ben Tamar, the 16 year old boy severely injured in his school bus when it was hit by a laser guided anti-tank missile fired from Gaza on April 7, 2011

Monday, April 11, 2011

Look Who Says It Isn't Apartheid!!

Vanguard Leadership Group (VLG), a leadership development academy and honor society for top students at the nation’s historically black colleges and universities, placed an ad in several college newspapers objecting to the use of the term "apartheid" to describe Israel. They wrote:
The use of the word "apartheid" by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) in its characterization of Israel is patently false and deeply offensive to all who feel a connection to the State of Israel.

Under apartheid, Black South Africans could not vote and had no rights in a country in which they were the overwhelming majority of the population.  SJP has chosen to manipulate rather than inform with this illegitimate analogy.  Therefore, we request that you immediately stop referring to Israel as an apartheid society and acknowledge that the Arab minority in Israel enjoys full citizenship with voting rights and representation in the government.
Read the whole text.

(h/t Elder of Ziyon)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Is BDS Pro-peace?

We all want peace.  How do you get peace?
The Conflict Information Consortium, directed by Heidi and Guy Burgess at the University of Colorado, is a multi-disciplinary center for research and teaching about conflict and its transformation.   They maintain two very important websites: The Conflict Resolution Information Source ( and Beyond Intractability, the website of the Intractable Conflict Knowledge Base Project (  We can say they are experts.

Here is what they say about  peacebuilding.
Peacebuilding is the "normalization" of relationships between people previously in conflict. It establishes sustainable peace by addressing root causes of conflict through reconciliation, institution building, and political and economic transformation.
Peacebuilding also usually involves efforts to increase "normal," cooperative contacts between opponents.
In peacebuilding, efforts are made to open channels of communication, get people involved in joint projects, work with the media and the educational system to try to break down stereotypes, and reduce prejudice and discrimination. The goal of all of these efforts is reconciliation – getting the people to accept each other as part of their own group or be reconciled to mutual co-existence and tolerance.
Now BDS opposes cooperative contacts between Palestinians and Israelis.  The types of contacts that bring reconciliation and the end of the conflict.  Please watch the BDS leaders in their own words:

This is not what our coop is about or should support.

Buy Sabra salads at the Food Coop.  Made in America, but targeted for boycott.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

And So It Begins....

Apparently, I was wrong.  The BDS promoters have submitted a proposal to the agenda committee to conduct a membership-wide referendum to join BDS.   Even the text of the proposal is a vilifying slander, but we will leave that analysis for another day.

So, what does it mean?  The good news: We have already thwarted part 1 of the worst case scenario.  We will not be caught off guard.  We now have at least a few months to prepare.  There are 4 agenda items ahead of the BDS proposal in the queue, and 3 more behind it.  Two of the subsequent items relate directly to the operation of the coop.  Also, in any month, a new item can be submitted and brought to that month's General Meeting if the Agenda Committee determines it deserves priority.

The bad news: If the proposal comes to the GM, we will still have part 2 of the worst case scenario - a horrible, vitriolic meeting where we will be confronting the BDS lies. 

Now is the time to organize to oppose BDS.  We don't want the proposal to hold a referendum to pass at the GM.   We don't even want the proposal to get to the GM.  We don't want further BDS discussion in the Linewaiters' Gazette.  We are not alone.

I am going to arrange an opposition meeting for the first or second week of May.  We will discuss strategies, tactics and talking points.  I will post the time and location as soon as it is determined.

In the meantime, buy Masada bath salts at the Food Coop.


BDS and Food Coops

Divest This! has been blogging for the past 2 years about the many failures and faux successes of the BDS movement.  He has covered many BDS attempts in depth, providing insightful commentary and some humor, too.  This excellent guide (free and downloadable) for countering BDS attempts in your campus or community is a product of his fine work.

Divest This! has extensively covered BDS attempts at Food Coops (which he writes as "co-op", in case you want to search his blog).   A Tale of Two Co-ops compares how BDS was handled by the Davis Food Coop - where it was rejected as inappropriate - and Olympia Food Coop - where it passed by a questionable procedure.  He also reports on the BDS failures at Port Townshend, Madsison Market, Sacramento and Seattle. 

A common theme is the negative effect of the BDS proposal had at all these communities.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Stopping Rumors

During the Open Forum at the January 2009 General Meeting a member asked what products we carry from Israel and suggested the coop join BDS.  The Forward wrote an article about it, which read as if joining BDS was a serious consideration.  The news spread like wildfire across the internet.  Of course, nothing came of it, except for a series of letters in the Linewaiters' Gazette.

As far as I know, no one has submitted an agenda item.  I intend to stay on top of it and I hope it will never get that far.  So please, don't start rumors that the coop is considering BDS.

Speaking of rumors, Judge Richard Goldstone, author of the eponymously known report of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, wrote an op-ed in Friday's Washington Post.  He now says that his most serious allegation against Israel, that civilians were intentionally targeted, is unsubstantiated.

The Goldstone Report is a seriously flawed document.  Anyone honestly interested in peace should read intelligent articles that  illuminate the principles of international law that apply and  analyze the shortcomings of the report.  This article, by Peter Berkowitz, a review of a recent publication of the Goldstone Report and related essays, is a good place to start.  It is important to read these sorts of articles because too many people throw around terms in ways that show they don't what they are talking about.