“Who is Ron?” at least one reader asked, regarding the title of this series on the rise, fall and ongoing self-indulgence of the Once-Called (but now named something else) Somerville Divestment Project (SDP).
Actually, Ron Francis was the name of the guy who headed the Somerville BDS group during their oh-for-three season between 2004-2006. Interestingly, the success of their incomprehensible 2008 ballot question only came about after Francis moved to California and the rump “movement” was led by someone called John Spritzler, an aging revolutionary wannabe whose 9000-word campaign handouts would only make sense to those experienced in reading the tracts of obscure Marxist sects of the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Which may explain an observation a fellow veteran of the Somerville BDS wars made that in 2008 the Divestment Project actually won a smaller percentage in the town they campaigned in (Somerville) vs. the one they did not (Cambridge). In other words, the more people were exposed to the membership, tactics, and true nature of SDP (which included those aforementioned 9000-word screeds), the less they were interested in what they had to sell.
Which may explain why this year’s ballot questions have been accompanied by almost zero campaigning from any side. I’ve already mentioned why the local Jewish community is giving the whole matter a pass (given that the results will soon be just as forgotten as those of similar non-binding ballot measures targeting Israel in the 1990s). But why are the BDSers themselves not bothering to tell the voters that they exist?
Despite claims that their “victory” in 2008 was of historic proportions, truth be told the only phenomenon I can discern is that Boston’s franchise of Israel-hating reactionaries has discovered some trick wording that allows them to pretend they are campaigning for basic human rights during election season, only to turn around and claim a city or town supports their real agenda (branding Israel an “Apartheid state”) if they win (or even if they lose).
In the meantime, since their legendary victory, the state of Massachusetts started making direct investments in Israeli companies for the first time. In other words, way to go Ron! Your lasting legacy so far is more investment and support for Israel in your wake, the creation of a Zionist enclave in your old hometown of Somerville, and this blog.