I’ve recently discovered two examples of the “But we’re not losers!” BDS argument mentioned at the end of my last posting (one from Australia, one from Philadelphia).Both of these make the case that programs promoting boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel are doing marvelously well, with a recent string of victories providing “a strong wind to the back of the BDS movement.”
Whether this is a direct response to the growing perception of BDS as a “non-winner” or simply general BDS bombast, it occurs to me that if I’m going to continue to talk about the loserish nature of the boycott and divestment project, I am obliged to prove my charge (which I plan to do over the this and the next several postings).
The best place to start is with the very lists of BDS “victories” provided by our friends in Philly and Oz which we can assume represents their strongest evidence of success.
Looking through these lists, the first category that jumps out are outright BDS hoaxes such as Hampshire College, Blackrock and Deutsche Bank, all of which were exposed months or even years ago as fraudulent claims about other people’s behavior put forth by overzealous divestment advocates.And while pushing fictional claims that Hampshire or Blackrock were taking political stands against Israel through divestment could be dismissed as simple human error when these stories first appeared, continuing to headline a list of “success stories” with hoaxes points not to misunderstanding but to an intentional desire to deceive.
Continuing on the theme of BDS victories that aren’t, another category of faux BDS “wins” from the BDSers own lists are stories that are long outdated such as the British National Union of Journalists (NUJ), the University and College Union (UCU) and the University of Johannesburg (UJ), all of which once passed boycott or divestment votes which were reversed (or never implemented) by subsequent decisions shortly after that.Now it may be that recent news has not reached Philadelphia or Perth that UCU and UJ are no longer in the boycott business, but presenting NUJ (which rejected a boycott in 2007!) as a continuing BDS victory indicates either extremely sloppy research or extreme dishonesty.
Next we have a list of BDS “victories” that cannot be disputed because, in fact, they don’t involve actual boycott or divestment decisions.Rather, they are simply examples of the BDSers themselves doing things (such as presenting petitions to TIAA-CREF or casting a student vote asking the administration of Evergreen College to divest from Israel) which ignores the fact that both CREF and the administration of Evergreen has already responded to these requests (several times) with a polite but firm no.