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Thursday, August 26, 2010

How I work

I have a simple rule when blogging: Be skeptical about anything not written by a primary source.

Here's an example, and not from the left. Going down the thread to the truth, however, often reveals other truths.

Arutz-7 has a story that starts off with:
A group of more than 150 Irish artists have pledged to boycott Israel as part of a solidarity campaign coordinated with the Palestinian Authority.
Boycott campaigns are nothing new, but it would be big news if this was done in coordination with the PA, since the Abbas regime officially says that it only boycotts the "settlers" and not the state of Israel.

Arutz-7's "proof" seems to be this statement from the Irish group:
“In response to the call from Palestinian civil society for a cultural boycott of Israel, we pledge not to avail of any invitation to perform or exhibit in Israel, nor to accept any funding from any institution linked to the government of Israel, until such time as Israel complies with international law and universal principles of human rights.”
"Palestinian civil society" is not the same as the PA.

But maybe I missed something, so I went to the IPSC website, and looked at the actual announcement. Nothing about the PA.

But perhaps they had cooperated with the PA in the past, so I looked for a search engine. They don't have one, but Google can be configured to search within only one site, so I searched for "Palestinian Authority" to see if the group ever met with officials of the PA or received any encouraging statements from the PA. I couldn't find anything.

On the contrary, I found an interview with a leader of the BDS movement answering a question as to whether the PA supports a boycott:

One has to look at it in perspective. The PA is unelected. It is there because of the US. It does not represent Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. It is complicit in Israel's oppression. It is a sub-contractor of the occupation.

The PA has engaged in a small part of the boycott of settlement products. It is the only part the Oslo accords allow for. It is a step in the right direction. If the PA had a different stand, all governments would react differently. But civil society says Israel is the oppressor, not the settlements.

Here's that term "civil society" again. Since it was used in two completely different contexts by two BDS groups, it seems that this is a keyword that they use to claim that Palestinian Arabs are behind boycotts of Israel without having to actually define the term. In fact, of course, PalArabs happily buy Israeli products, even in Gaza, when they get the chance, and the BDS movement is lying when they try to imply that Palestinian Arabs as a whole support the BDS movement.

It seems apparent that Arutz-7 is wrong in this case.

Now that we see a connection between the terms "civil society" and the BDS movement, let's see where else we can see that link. Back to Google, we find a number of disparate BDS sites that use the exact same term.

One of the earlier uses was in a 2005 BDS campaign that uses the term in its title:

Palestinian Civil Society Calls for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel
Until it Complies with International Law and Universal Principles of Human Rights
9 July 2005

...We, representatives of Palestinian civil society, call upon international civil society organizations and people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era.

In that case, they list some 150 organizations that support BDS. Most of them do not originate in Palestine: the ones that are in the territories are generally labor unions and Palestinian anti-Israel "human rights" organizations like PICCR, Addameer and Al Mezan (but not PCHR.) They do include many groups based out of Syria and Jordan as well as world-wide anti-Israel activist organizations.

We see how the BDS movement will misrepresent itself as to how aligned they are with average Palestinian Arabs, and that they disparage PalArabs who don't support the boycott by implying that they are not "civil." They are elitist by calling themselves "civil society" and they act against the wishes of the average Palestinian Arab. This is something that has happened for decades; Western reporters and diplomats accept the word of self-appointed, non-elected "leaders" whose political  interests are in direct opposition to what the average Arab of Palestinian descent really wants.