Just to catch everyone up, that great BDS “victory” in Marrickville, Australia went down in flames. And thus ends the attempt to shove a set of political opinions down the throat of the citizenry by leaders taking dictation from those claiming “divestment is the only moral choice…or else!”
Having cut my teeth on the whole divestment issue when local Boston-based Israel-haters decided to import the Arab-Israeli conflict into my then hometown of Somerville, MA, I continue to be spooked at how eerily similar these divestment fights tend to unfold.
First, a civic organization is targeted by BDS activists (sometimes locals trying to influence the institution’s leaders, sometimes the civic leaders themselves), and decisions get made with minimal awareness by members of the organization (be it a school, church, food-co-op or municipality). Then, once word gets out about what this “vanguard” is trying to stuff into the mouth of every man, woman and child in the organization, revolt breaks out leading to attempts to repeal the boycott or divestment motion.
Mayhem immediately ensues as people from around the world (always including Naomi Klein for some reason) are recruited to lend their weight to the cause (my favorite was someone from Kuwait who contacted our Somerville aldermen congratulating him for “standing up to the Jews”). Then, once the inevitable happens and support for the whole squalid mess collapses, the original leaders simultaneously riot and insist that by losing, they really won (BDS being a post-modern political phenomenon after all).
The fact that their only real accomplishment is the creation of anti-BDS antibodies (like this blog) never penetrates the BDSers perpetual fantasyland of endless triumph. But perhaps even the tantrums they always throw when handed their latest defeat serves a useful purpose. For there’s nothing like looking into the snarling faces of divestment champions denied the right to speak in the name of others to see the ugliness that lies behind the syrupy smiles and promises made by the boycotters trying to lure an organization into their clutches.
Moving from the ridiculous to the even more ridiculous, what would the Spring be without the latest attempt at fraud by the people who brought us the original 2009 divestment hoax: Hampshire College!
This time, our local “Whatever-it-is-Israel-is-to-Blame” community wanted to make sure the upcoming visit by international BDS jetsetter Omar Barghouti would be truly special. And so they announced that this event was co-sponsored by not one, not two, but three academic departments from the nearby University of Massachusetts.
Citizen Wald (who teaches at Hampshire) was even more surprised than a civilian would be at this announcement, given that he knows many people at all three U Mass departments and couldn’t imagine them lending their names to the BDS project. And, sure enough, the local SJP seems to have been up to their old tricks of claiming support by people who hadn’t the slightest idea their name was being associated with the event:
Person answering the phone: Hello, U Mass Department of Economics
SJP: Yes, this is Freddy from Students for Justice in Palestine. We wondered if you’d co-sponsor a visit by the one, the only, supreme leader of the BDS movement, Omar Barghouti?
Person answering the phone: I’m sorry, but you’re calling at 3 AM. This is just the answering service.
SJP: So can we list the economics department as a sponsor on our poster?
Answering service: Sir, as I said, this is just the answering service. We don’t have any say in what you put on your posters.
SJP: So you’re not telling us that we can’t put the department’s name on our posters?
Answering service: Huh? What? No, look I only answer the phone from here in Kentucky, and…
SJP: Great – thanks [hangs up] Roll the presses guys!
Honestly (if such word is allowed in the same sentence as “BDS”), wouldn’t you think that a “movement” that’s had its hand caught in the cookie jar so many times over the last two years would be a bit more careful about committing another needless fraud? But, then again, without such antics there would be little to nothing to talk about over here at Divest This.