PennBDS: Palestine in International Law

This is part of a series of articles based on the program of the upcoming PennBDS conference.  Check out this landing page to find out more.

I’ve been trying to write something new for each session on the PennBDS agenda, but with regard to “Palestine in International Law,” I’ve pretty much already said all I need to here.

The only thing I’d add is an observation from a few brief days as a Twitterer (mostly a lurking Twitterer) where talk of “illegal this” and “illegal that” fall like rain in any conversation regarding the Middle East.

Why does Hamas do what it does?  “Blame the illegal Occupation.”  Why BDS?  “To make Israel stop acting illegally.”  Why protest Israel vs. other human rights abusers?  “Because Israel is breaking international law.”  Honestly (if such a word can be used in the same paragraph as BDS), is “illegal” actually a word to these types, or some kind of sacred talisman which (like the word “Occupation”) cleanses those who are allied with the BDS “movement” of all sin?

Since this ended up a referring blog entry, I’ve got a little room to spare that I’d like to use to ask why no one involved with the PennBDS project has honored us with a visit since this series began?  After all, the organizers of this event have publicly stated that they welcome criticism, and a member of their group did honor us with his presence before I started using their program schedule as an editorial calendar.  In fact, one of their participants (Jewish Voice for Peace) has also stated that it plans to spend the Spring on college campuses (at an event called Go and Learn) where, again, they claim to crave debate with their critics.

Yet now that someone is spending a fair amount of time talking about each and every topic that they find important enough to put onto their conference agenda, no one is willing to show up to defend the BDS position.

Perhaps I need to come up with some options that will make them feel safe and welcome.  At the very least, I promise to not require them to accede to any demands before they can participate in a decent conversation (in contrast to the entrance requirements of certain political movements I could name).




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