An interesting review by Joel Fishman of the book Divestment, Sanctions; BDS against Apartheid and the Occupation of Palestine by our old friend Omar Barghouti appears over at the Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME) site. If you’re not familiar with SPME, this group does yeoman’s work trying to provide a sensible voice in campus discussions of the Arab-Israeli conflict and their site is worth frequent visits.
I have some quibbles with material that appears in the beginning of the piece (I think Fishman is a bit too accepting of the current BDS timeline which dates the movement to 2004-2005, ignoring the failures of BDS in the period before then – especially on college campuses), and the extended analysis towards the end of Nazi support for the Palestinians and vice versa, while historically accurate, seems a bit out of place.
But his middle section on “The Operational Importance of the BDS Message” should be required reading for anyone dealing with the BDS phenomenon. I’ve often noted the role of BDS as a tool of social bonding between anti-Israel activists. Fishman looks at this concept within the framework of decentralized political movements trying to achieve critical mass through activism that is centrally inspired but not centrally organized. Those who have asked questions regarding “where the money comes from” or “who’s pulling the strings” with regard to BDS campaigns or why BDS seems to keep rising from the dead no matter how many stakes are put through its heart will find succinct answers to those questions in Fishman’s astute and timely analysis.
Two housekeeping matters:
* Expect to hear some good news on the Divest This Guide front in the coming days (I shall say no more)
*I threw myself into the ring in a Pro-Israel Blog-Off that looks like it may be a lot of fun (regardless of who wins). I’ve added a link to the contest over to the right so stop by and, if you feel so inclined, throw me a vote (or join yourself if you’re also a blogger)
Now it’s off to buy some rye-berries for my eldest to use in the sourdough he’s baking this weekend (ah, the pleasures and challenges of raising a kid with an analog disposition).