Wazzup BDS? – Part 2

6 Jun

If the BDS cru has anything to crow about after another year of being shown the door in North America, they can probably point to the UK to encourage the ranks.

Here in the US, student councils were thought to be fertile territory for getting divestment resolutions passed (a weak substitute for convincing schools to actually divest, but a desired booby prize given that real college divestment remains a fantasy after a decade of tireless divestment effort on campus).But alas for the boycotters, student councils refused to take the bait (especially after the Berkeley BDS fiasco last year).

Not so in the UK where divestment calls were recently passed at two major college unions: the National Union of Students (NUS) and the University of London Unions (ULU).

In a period where boycott is still on the agenda in the umbrella Trades Union Council (TUC), these wins have given a shot in the arm to BDS advocates working both the student and union “beats.”

Why such a difference between student and union groups in the UK (who seem to be giving a hearing to BDS) vs. the US (which continues to be barren territory for any type of boycott or divestment win)?No doubt the BDSers would point to Europe as the source of all enlightenment creating a path that we mouth-breathing Americans will eventually follow.Meanwhile, critics point to dynamics particular to Europe (where Jews have limited political clout vs. Muslims whose political strength is growing).The fact that Europe has become an uncomfortable place for Jews generally has caused many to highlight general European discomfort with people of the Hebrew persuasion (which, in England, is unrestrained by Holocaust guilt you find on the Continent).

Personally, I suspect that these particular votes can be explained with more pragmatic reasoning based on the general BDS strategy of: (1) finding civic organizations with a progressive bent, ready to make statements on international issues beyond their purview; (2) infiltrating said organizations in order to get them to subscribe to the narrow BDS political agenda; and (3) refusing to back down under any circumstance, regardless of how much BDS politics poisons the organization they are trying to subvert.

And, in truth, the NUS and ULU votes seem to be modeled on similar votes in Britain’s teacher’s union (the UCU) whose leaders continue to try to pass anti-Israel resolutions despite these being abhorred by the membership.At the student union events, decisions to brand Israel an Apartheid state were passed in the waning moments of long meetings by “majorities” of one and then declared the will of 120,000 student union members, most of whom had no idea these words were being voted into their mouths.

So these votes seem to say more about the inability of British civic organizations to avoid being manipulated than it does about England, Israel or the Middle East.

In fact, if you look at other BDS “successes” in the UK, they seem to be following a trajectory into deeply troubling, if not grotesque, territory.At Covent Garden, a group of thugs harass an Israeli shop into closure and this stormtrooper-like activity is declared a win for enlightened virtue.

In Scotland, a council representing a region whose child mortality rate is twenty points worse than Gaza’s is putting their energy into keeping Israeli products out of the region and then strutting with indignant rage when they’re accused of book banning (with the excuse that “we’re not banning Israeli books, just books printed in Israel”).

But you have to go back to the aforementioned UCU to see the ultimate endpoint of the BDS “consciousness.”

For, in addition to struggling to get an academic boycott passed in the face of members uncomfortable with their union leading an assault on academic freedom, UCU has also had to struggle with the fact that their boycott has been declared as potentially violating European anti-racism law.

What to do about this little inconvenience? Why simply reject the EU definition of “anti-Semitism” of course!In a vote that is sure to cause even more Jews to flee the organization, UCU declared that any definition of anti-Semitism that defines as bigotry even outlandish or pathological criticism of Israel must be declared null and void.

While anti-boycott activists may have made a tactical error in stressing the role of anti-Semitism in UCU shenanigans over the last few years, I can’t imagine anyone thought the organization would have the chutzpah to simply define modern manifestations of the phenomenon out of existence.

But that just goes to show you the effectiveness of trying to prick the conscience of BDS fanatics without understanding that, at the end of the day (and despite their pose as the ultimate examples of human-rights enlightenment), with regard to conscience the boycotters have none.

7 Responses to “Wazzup BDS? – Part 2”

  1. Anonymous June 7, 2011 at 4:44 pm #

    The US campaign to end the “occupation” is as close to Command and control for Team hate as we've got in America. They claim the next BDS target wil be …wait for it…city councils, urging everyone to help as they:

    ” Launch a new phase in our campaign to end U.S. military aid to Israel by working at the city council level in favor of funding unmet community needs instead of weapons to Israel”

    After all, it worked so well in Marrickville, Austraila

  2. Jon June 7, 2011 at 5:54 pm #

    I think this represents the understandable tendency to run towards any target where you think you've gotten momentum. And since city councils were where BDS made headlines this year, this may be why Team Boycott seems to be running towards this side of the ship .

    What they've failed to notice is that in the two councils that made headlines (Marrickville and Dunburton), BDS either failed, was utterly condemned by nearly the entire polity or both. And because they have to pretend their “movement” didn't begin until 2005, they can't acknowledge that divestment's failure in Somerville MA in 2004 pretty much immunized municipalities from the boycott virus.

    So what brave new future will they go back to next time around? Perhaps they are busy lobbying Bob Hope and Danny Kaye to stop playing at the Catskills on Jerusalem Day.

  3. Anonymous June 10, 2011 at 4:01 am #

    Israeli Delegitimization Fact (IDF) # 2

    “The only democracy in the ME”

    http://mondoweiss.net/2011/06/a-young-american-jew-describes-being-arrested-for-standing-in-opposition-to-the-jerusalem-day-parade.html

  4. vildechaye June 11, 2011 at 7:27 pm #

    RE: IDF “FACT” # 2

    1-The article you link to doesn't “delegitimize” anything.

    2-Nor does it say anything about Israeli democracy, which as vibrant as that in the U.S. or Canada, which have, at times, treated protesters similarly.

    Hint: Never use an individual's story to generalize about a group, or, especially a country. It doesn't support your “argument,” and makes you look desperate, as you surely are.

  5. Jon June 12, 2011 at 12:36 am #

    Isn't it interesting that as hopes for actual BDS continue to receed further and further into the distance, that those advocating for it continue to retreat into posting comments about irrelevant matters onto other people's blogs, all referencing like-minded web sites like Mondoweiss?

    It's as if, despairing of getting other people to do what they say, the boycotters have decided to rely on things that actually can count on, i.e., they and their allies making endless accusasaions on their own Web sites and occasionally organizing a protest or “flash-mob” to play to increasinly disinterested audiences.

    But what can you expect from a “movement” that measure's its success solely on its own ability to make noise that no one is listening to?

  6. Anonymous June 12, 2011 at 3:53 pm #

    The when we lose we really win crowd just sent out a notice extolling the 14,000 signatures they received throughout California for the failed divestment invitative as “momentum”. They didn't mention that it was less than 5% of what was needed to even get the measure on the ballot. Going down for the third time, BDS'ers.

    But what can you expect from a “movement” that measure's its success solely on its own ability to make noise that no one is listening to?

    Indeed.

  7. DrMike June 16, 2011 at 5:58 am #

    14,000? that's it? when you can find over 7000 wingnuts in San Francisco alone who signed a ballot measure to ban circumcision???

    That is truly the political equivalent of pissing in the ocean.

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