Well this week is flying by. Sorry for the infrequent updates, but that project I’ve been hinting at over the summer is getting close to completion so stay tune for some exciting Divest This news which should be ready to announce next week.
In the meantime, I guess I should mention something about the remnants of the divestment project that is pretty much responsible for this site.
You see, divestment only became a subject of personal interest when it came knocking at my door in 2004 when I lived in Somerville Massachusetts and a group called the Somerville Divestment Project (SDP – the latest configuration of the “usual suspects” anti-Israel community in the Boston-Cambridge area) tried the usual BDS con job on our city’s aldermen.
While the tale of their rise and fall appears here, that piece doesn’t cover 2006 when SDP discovered that a non-binding resolution (as opposed to a binding one) could be put onto a district ballot every even-numbered year in Massachusetts by simply gathering 200 signatures within the district. And so, having lost the divestment vote with the city’s leaders and having failed to sue a binding divestment resolution onto the ballot in 2005, they tried their hand at getting two non-binding measures passed in Somerville: one on divestment, the other on the so-called “Right of Return.”
Needless to say, that effort failed as well, which gave SDP the distinction of having their divestment measures kicked down the stairs by the Mayor, the legislature, the courts and the citizens of the municipality – quite possibly a world record in BDS rejection. But did that stop our brave, intrepid divestment warriors? Of course not!
Well, I should qualify this to say that SDP did decide that, despite “divestment” being its middle name, it would avoid the BDS thing altogether. And so, in 2008, they got a different measure onto the ballot that I think had something to do with criticizing Israel for lack of religious freedom.
I say “I think” because the way the question was worded was intentionally vague. Here it is:
“Shall the State Representative from this district be instructed to vote in favor of a nonbinding resolution calling on the federal government to support the right of all people, including non-Jewish Palestinian citizens of Israel, to live free from laws that give more rights to people of one religion than another.”
If this sounds lawyer crafted, that’s partly because the binding question SDP tried to get onto the ballot in 2005 was one of those thousand-word screeds you routinely see handed out on warm Xeroxed pamphlets, which was so inappropriate the group was laughed out of court trying to sue their word-for-word text onto the ballot.
But in addition to meeting legal requirements that a non-binding question actually ask for something, the question also makes use of some bait-and-switch wording SDP tried out in 2006 in their right-of-return question. In a nutshell, the question tries to give the impression that it’s a simple human rights measure that happens to use Israel as an example. But, as everyone following this blog knows, if the question ever won it would be broadcast as a municipality as a whole falling in lockstep with SDP’s message that Israel is an “Apartheid State.”
So what happened with their 2008 ballot question? I’ll tell you tomorrow…
Ain’t I a stinker?