Monday, January 28, 2019



In a stunning victory for the Divestment, Boycott and Sanctions (DBS) movement against Apartheid Palestine and its partners in the anti-Semitic Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) “movement,” a federal judge threw out attempts by anti-Israel partisans to quash sanctions imposed against their illegal and bigoted project by democratically elected legislators across the United States.

US District Judge Brian Miller made it clear that discrimination, whether against blacks, women, LGBTQIA, or those choosing to do business with the world’s only Jewish state, is discrimination – an illegal activity – not protected speech. 

Making clear what anyone involved with fighting bigotry directed against any minority group already knows, the judge pointed out that an organization can “call upon others to boycott Israel, write in support of such boycotts, and engage in picketing and pamphleteering to that effect,” but that this did not mean “its decision to refuse to deal, or to refrain from purchasing certain goods, is protected by the First Amendment.”

This victory preceded by just a few days the unprecedented decision by the International Committee for the Paralympics to pull their upcoming qualifying event from Malaysia after that country’s right-wing government refused to allow Israeli Paralympians to participate in the event. 

As stated by the organization, the decision “reinforces the IPC’s [International Paralympic Committee’s] commitment to our fundamental moral and ethical principles that encompass inclusivity of all eligible Para athletes and nations to compete at IPC sanctioned events.” 
Just two more examples of how your commitment and efforts are leading to more sweeping successes for DBS!

I thought I’d take a break from measured prose to recount a few recent events in the kind of breathless verbiage made famous in BDS press releases that inflates every tiny (or pretend) victory into world-shattering significance.

The irony is that the real victories noted above are each orders of magnitude greater than anything the BDSers have accomplished in the last decade and a half in the category they consider most significant: sanctions.

Consider for a moment the kind of hyperbole and fireworks that would accompany even one state passing anti-Israel divestment or boycott legislation, not matter how trivial.  In fact, you don’t have to imagine it since the boycotters have routinely touted “victories” offered by must smaller political entities such as Somerville MA (where they failed) or local government councils (where victories have been, at most, miniscule or fleeting).

Yet in just the last few years, a majority of US states have passed or floated anti-BDS “sanctions” bills which were passed nearly unanimously by democratically elected bodies (vs. the back-room, last-minute deals the BDSers rely on for their “wins”).

Similarly, the international Paralympics Committee didn’t just slap Malaysia on the wrist or find some common ground between their principles and Malaysia’s anti-Semitic policy, but instead refused to allow their event to continue if it was to be marred by anti-Israel bigotry. 

Three lessons we can draw from these events and the contrast in coverage of pro- and anti-BDS votes and measures include:

(1)    Honest and sensible people still understand the difference between virtuous principles like free speech and the fight against discrimination, and those who engage in bigotry while claiming the mantle of anti-racism

(2)    There are ways to present events that make us look defensive (by stressing, for example, our opponent’s free-speech arguments against anti-boycott legislation) vs. casting these same events in terms that put opponents in the dock (by calling them successful sanctions by democratically elected bodies against racists and right-wingers, for example).


(3)    That the Israel haters are playing a long game that can absorb these sorts of setbacks, a strategy I’ll discuss more next time…



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