It will come as no surprise (at least to those of us who follow BDS’s constant noise and trouncing) to hear that attempts to resurrect the dead dog of divestment flopped again at UC San Diego last night.
Efforts to modify the original divestment bill to make it actually be about human rights unsurprisingly failed, since real human rights issues are the last things those proposing the original divestment bill had in mind. When attempts were made to try to breathe life into the original condemnation of Israel masquerading as a human rights proposal, student government chambers once again became sites for wrenching personal testimonials, accusations, and (as ever) sneers hurled at those who dared not toe the BDS party line. And once again, divestment went down to defeat.
As much as I enjoy typing that last sentence again and again, it must be becoming a real pain for students attending UC San Diego or UC Berkeley (not to mention the other places the BDS circus has tried to pitch its tents) to have to deal with this kind of tripe again and again. Given that the divestment cru was willing to accept the one vote that temporarily went in their favor at Berkeley and transmit it as a victory of historic proportions within seconds of it having been cast, it’s not clear why they seem so unable to take any of the many no votes they’ve been receiving over the last several weeks (or years, depending on how you’re measuring) as the final answer.
Actually, I’m wrong. It’s completely clear why they behave that way.
For starters, having been on the losing end of a decade worth of votes, the notion of being kicked down the stairs at places like Berkeley must be particularly galling for divestment advocates.
And let’s not forget the theater/fantasy factor. Remember that each of these votes has been accompanied by long (sometimes all-night) meetings where BDSers are allowed to take the stage, presenting their fact-free, emotional cases (complete with bloody photos and accusations of racism directed against their critics) before a captive audience.
Having sat through similar meetings in the past, you can almost feel an erotic energy emanating from the mobs of people who show up from campus and far beyond to take part in such events. In fact, it’s beginning to seem that the purpose behind the latest BDS projects is to create occasions for new performances of this type, politics be damned. In other words, rather than being about the university or the Middle East, in these debates UC students (as well as Israelis and even Palestinians) are simply props the boycotters are using in their own psychodramas. Inside this fantasy world, the boycotters are demonstrating their own virtue, courage and wit regardless of the fact that back here on earth the only thing on display is their ability to act like noisy, hypocritical doofuses.
Finally, there is the rank hostility directed at anyone who dares present a differing opinion. Along with the usual jeers and catcalls directed at Israel supporters, Berkeley’s latest debate featured something new, but typical. When the debate was organized to alternate between supporters and opponents of divestment based on people signing up to represent their position on two separate lists, BDS advocates immediately signed up on both lists so they could dominate the conversation, demonstrating both their maturity and commitment to fair play.
Why behave in such an absurd fashion? Well at California universities, particularly this year, the answer seems to be that the anti-Israel crowd is completely certain that it owns the campus. And anyone who dares say otherwise (by holding an event or an opinion that opposes the sacred anti-Israel cause) must be chased from the land by manipulation, shouting or (in a trend likely to accelerate next year) violence.
My hats off to the students who have successfully turned back these divestment efforts again and again, both for winning and for keeping their cool in the face of constant provocation. As long as the BDSers and their allies insist on making every campus in America a war zone, it’s good to know that those opposed to their efforts have what it takes to win the battle they never wanted. (Sound familiar?)