This and That

Just a few links in today’s update.

First off, I wrote a feature that appeared in today’s Jerusalem Post that updates the BDS story for the last 1-2 years. Most regular readers will be familiar with the themes and stories which this piece gathers into a single location.

Will Spotts, my partner on the Bearing Witness site dedicated to fighting divestment and other anti-Israel activities at next month’s Presbyterian Church General Assembly provides recommendations on all of the Middle East related votes that will be taking place at next month’s meeting. Here’s hoping they take his advice.

Will also put me onto this story from Christian Century on some of the troubling anti-Jewish theological themes that the two authors (one Presbyterian, one Jewish – sound familiar?) found when looking over the Presbyterian’s main document on the current conflict, an troubling piece of work called “Breaking Down the Walls.” I think the authors are being a bit too generous in interpreting the problems they find in “Walls” to theological excesses in an otherwise noble endeavor. As noted here, I see too much of the same political mendacity I find in most BDS campaigns to assume that this kind of critique wells up entirely from a passion for justice. That said, the theological problems the church seems to be having with my tribe are serious and worth exploring, which the Century piece does quite well.

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2 Responses to This and That

  1. Anonymous June 15, 2010 at 11:26 am #

    Hi Jon,

    interesting blog. I agree with your general aim. Whatever you think of Israel, and the actions of its government, BDS is probably not going to help us get to the shared goal of an independent Pal state sitting peacefully alongside a secure Israel. Boycotts aren't the way forward.

    I'd be interesting to hear your opinion on a letter that was sent to the UK government in Dec 2009 by 42 of the 120 MKs. This letter was in response to non-binding guidelines issued by Dept Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which recommended supermarkets label the country of origin info on food to indicate whether Israeli produce came from Israeli settlements in the West Bank or from within Israel's internationally-recognised borders.

    In this letter, the 42 MKs state that they are “recommending the citizens of Israel to reconsider using the services of companies that operate in Great Britain”. The letter passed by the media quietly, but it is interesting that many of the signitories are the same people who make principled stands against BDS.

    The letter may be found at the below link.

    I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on this explicit boycott threat to the UK from a significant portion of Israel's elected representatives.

  2. Jon June 15, 2010 at 3:52 pm #

    I’m not familiar with the letter you mention, but I suspect that’s because like other efforts of Israel parliamentarians to “turn the tables” on those advocating boycotts, that this measure never got past the gesture stage. From what I’ve seen, within vibrant democracies (such as Israel’s), gesture politics rarely rises to the point of action.

    And while I look forward to the day when Israel’s economy is so strong that those dedicated to economic pressure as a propaganda weapon are finally ready to beat their BDS resolutions into ploughshares and start advocating for peace (instead of preparing the ground for the next war), Israel today just doesn’t have the financial clout (nor, I suspect, the long-term interest) to economically punish even those who spend their mornings, noons and nights trying to visit such punishment on the Jewish state.

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