Saturday, September 10, 2016

NYC City Council to Vote on anti-BDS Resolution

Resolution 1058-A, “A resolution condemning all efforts to delegitimize the State of Israel and the global movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction the people of Israel.” is scheduled for a vote on September 14 by the New York City Council.

I hope this will pass and I hope the members of the Council's Progressive Caucus will vote for it as well.  BDS falsely markets itself as a "progressive" cause.  Too many progressives are duped into supporting BDS because of confirmation bias and lack of knowledge about  a complex issue.

Let's be clear. Bigotry is not progressive.  Discrimination is not progressive. Defamation is not progressive.  Ignoring, denying or justifying violence is not progressive.  Denying history is not progressive. Distorting and selectively quoting international law is not progressive.

The BDS movement ignores the role of Arab anti-Jewish attitudes in the development of opposition to legal Jewish settlement in the Land of Israel during the pre-State and Ottoman periods.  The BDS movement denies the Jewish people their identity as a unique group with a national history and right to self-determination.  The BDS movement singles out the world's only Jewish for opprobrium.  The BDS movement falsely represents Israel.  The BDS movement ignores the existence, incitement and actions of Palestinian terror groups dedicated to targeting and murdering Jews - anywhere in the world.  The BDS movement's activities on American college campuses correlates with acts of violence, harassment and intimidation of Jewish students.

This is from the testimony of New York City Jewish Community Relations Council CEO Michael Miller to the Council last week.
BDS tactics are one-sided and are focused solely on eliminating Israel. BDS turns a blind eye to Palestinian actions which seek to undermine a two state solution, such as terrorism, indiscriminate rocket fire on civilian areas, repeated refusals to negotiate for peace, and unfortunate rejections of Israeli offers for Palestinian statehood. Rather than focusing on improving the situation for both peoples, BDS activists sabotage the internationally-backed peace process  hat is premised on advancing mutual understanding and respect between the parties.
Economic boycotts and divestment actions will not help the Palestinian people. The path to the two-state solution depends on creating an atmosphere of peace and reconciliation combined with economic development and political achievement. Blocking that path is the BDS Movement.
If you believe in the right of the Jewish people to be safe and secure in their historic homeland, I urge you to support this resolution.
If you believe in the right of the Palestinian people to their own state alongside, but not instead of, Israel, I urge you to support this resolution.
If you believe in a true peace process and oppose divisive, destructive tactics that attempt to cripple our ally Israel, I urge you to support this resolution.
If you believe that together, we can play a constructive role in ensuring that Israelis and Palestinians can work toward achieving mutual understanding, cooperation, and a better future for themselves, their children, and their grandchildren, I urge you to support this resolution.
If you are a New York City resident please contact your Council representative and say you support Resolution 1058-A

Sunday, May 8, 2016

BDS Does Not Belong in the Park Slope Food Coop

I submitted the following letter to the Coop's biweekly newspaper., the Linewaiters' Gazette (LWG).  It was rejected for publication. I will address the reasons given for rejection in a separate post.
“Zionists should be sent to the gas chambers,” someone wrote on a bathroom wall at UC Berkeley – ground-zero of the BDS movement in the United States. “Death to Israel,” “Kill all the Jews” and multiple swastika graffiti have also been found on the Berkeley campus. These are the fruits of the hate promoted by the BDS movement.

Apparently it is a crime worthy of genocide to recognize the Jewish People as a distinct national group with a unique history, language, and culture, and to support their right to self-determination and self-preservation as an indigenous people in a portion of their ancestral homeland that is source of their culture. Further, by calling for this genocide is to be carried out using the same mechanism specifically designed by the Nazis for the extermination of the Jews 75 years earlier, the writer implies approval for the actual murder of one-third of world Jewry.

In our own Coop, a BDS supporting member has publicly expressed the desire that Orthodox Jews not be Coop members. In the Gazette, BDS members have:
  • called for the support of a leading member of the terrorist group Palestinian Islamic Jihad (3/8/12,p.6).
  • equated Israel with Nazi Germany (12/11/14, p.7).
  • told Jews how they should understand their Jewishness (8/21/14, p.13 & 10/30/14, p.13)
  • called for the dismantling of Israel (6/16/11, p. 10).
None of this has any relation to Palestinian human rights. None of this can be called “criticism of Israel.”

Well-intentioned people may support the BDS movement because they believe they are supporting Palestinian human rights. However, the BDS movement does not promote rights or democracy. It seeks to portray Israel’s very existence as incompatible with human rights. In doing so, it works to justify attacks upon Israel and Israel’s supporters.

In April, former U.S. Treasury Terrorism Analyst Jonathan Schanzer testified before Congress that the funders of the BDS movement in the US were also funders of Hamas, the terrorist group whose charter calls not only for the elimination of Israel but also the murder of ALL JEWS everywhere. The BDS movement is a part of a century-old effort of an elite, despotic Arab leadership to maintain its hegemony. The BDS movement works to further entrench a Palestinian leadership that has enriched itself through the prolongation of the conflict at the expense of the Palestinian people.

This is why so many of us oppose the BDS movement, and why I labeled it a “vicious racist movement.” This is not speech that should be protected in the Coop. The GCs’ decision to no longer allow the use of the meeting room for BDS-related activities is a wise one and a step in the right direction for returning normalcy to the Coop.

If you agree it is time to end the promotion of the BDS movement in the Food Coop, then please add your name to my petition.