In the last episode, I talked about the de-evolution of the Somerville Divestment Project (SDP) from an organization that in 2004 came “this-close” to tricking a city government into passing their divestment resolution, only to end up in 2008 flogging an incomprehensible bait-and-switch pseudo-human-rights ballot initiative as some kind of booby prize to their own egos.
So what did I and the vast Jewish conspiracy that the local BDSers see around every corner do about their weird little ballot question? In a word: nothing.
Now this wasn’t a “stuff-your-head-in-the-sand-and-wish-they’d-go-away” sort of nothing, but rather a conscious decision to not bother with something as bizarrely off the mark as the SDP’s “religious freedom question.” Not that Israel is the be-all-and-end-all of perfection with regard to religious and political matters, but if you wanted to pick one issue that Israel shines with supernova like light in comparison with its most vocal critics (i.e., its hostile neighbors), it would have to be in the matter of treatment of religious minorities.
Even if you take the most incendiary religious symbol on the planet (Jerusalem), who was a better exemplar of religious tolerance, the “moderate” Jordanians who flattened the Jewish Quarter after they conquered the Old City in 1948 and insisted that any Westerner visiting the area first present a baptismal certificate (to show they were not one of those you-know-whos) or Israel which now oversees a Jerusalem open to any and all faiths? In fact, if you re-read the text of SDP’s resolution, it could easily be interpreted as asking people to take a stand against nations that have implemented Shairah Law which, by definition, creates “laws that give more rights to people of one religion than another.”
But these were actually side issues to the real reason we ignored their squalid little abuse-of-ballot project. Because for me and many fellow activists, if the subject wasn’t divestment then it was just part of the background noise of anti-Israel activity that gurgles around the area on an ongoing basis. After all, their peculiar little ballot question would either lose (and demonstrate once and for all that the city was not interested in the snake oil SDP was peddling) or they’d win and no one would notice (as no one remembered similar ballot questions critical of Israel which passed in nearby Cambridge in the 1990s and were then quickly forgotten).
And so we ignored them. And, as it turned out their ballot question won. After which the rest of the world – as expected – failed to take notice. In fact, outside of a half dozen self-congratulatory blog entries, I don’t think their vote made even the barest ripple in cyberspace, much less the real world.
But keep in mind that the BDS contingent (especially in my neck of the woods) is not particularly interested in the real world. For them, this vote was proof positive that vast numbers were ready to form a torch wielding mob and march on their foes: the city leaders who had kicked them down the stairs, the voters who had rejected their divestment measures in the past, the E-V-I-L Zionists who had thwarted their BDS activities for years, possibly even the dreaded Zionist entity itself!
And so they’re back, pushing the same anti-Sharia (whoops! I mean anti-Zionist… whoops! I mean “human rights”) ballot question in another 4-5 districts in Massachusetts this coming Tuesday. And this year Massachusetts Residents for Human Rights (the new name for SDP – the local Israel-hating community tends to change their moniker every 4-5 years) has once again failed to get local Israel supporters to rise to their bait.
Now BDS math says that anything that happens next Tuesday translates to a victory for them. Either they win the vote (and declare victory) or lose the vote (and declare victory, claiming 20% or 30% or 40% of the people agree with their Israel=Apartheid message, even though that was never mentioned in their trickily worded ballot question). And even if they don’t get a single vote, they’ll still declare victory since their issue is now “being talked about in the public square” (even if I’ve not heard a single conversation triggered by their activity, even among those of us who are supposed to be their nemeses).
Ah well. Maybe I’ll think of something over the weekend that can make all of their effort worthwhile. (Stay tuned.)