Ever since the vote on the BDS referendum was defeated in March 2012, one pro-BDS Coop member has faithfully submitted a letter to every issue of the Linewaiters' Gazette, the bi-weekly newspaper of the Park Slope Food Coop. She usually collects material from Electronic Intifada. This past issue was no exception. She drew her material from Asa Winstanley's report on the Fourth National Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Conference held last month at Bethlehem University. (No, I am not going to link to it.)
I am indebted to her for undisputedly making clear to us that the BDS Movement is an opponent of peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
Genuine peace makers demonstrate the commitment to peace and justice by working to "normalize" the relationships between people previously in conflict. They work to establish sustainable peace by addressing root causes of conflict through reconciliation, institution building, and political and economic transformation. Peace builders will find ways to increase cooperative contacts between opponents, open channels of communication, get people involved in joint projects, 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.
In no uncertain terms, she makes clear that BDS opposes the processes that lead to reconciliation and end of conflict. She describes a session on strategies to combat normalization. BDS rejects all cultural, academic, economic, environmental and social cooperation with Israel. Peace building initiatives such as dialogue with Israelis, travel to Israel, and scholarships to Israeli universities were denounced. By opposing normalization, BDS works to undermine support for the Palestinian Authority (PA) to reach a political agreement with Israel. Indeed, BDS even opposes the PA’s security coordination with Israel. In other words, BDS does not want the PA to engage in the prevention of terrorist attacks against Israel.
BDSers claim normalization is offered as a substitute for a political settlement, and therefore they oppose it. They ignore the fact that creating personal relationships is a necessary condition for finding solutions based on mutual respect and recognition that can lead to successful and lasting ends of conflict.