BDS Comings and Goings

24 Apr

Catching up on a couple of BDS-related stories that have broken since I returned from vacation last weekend:

The latest BDS “victory” or another post-hoc fallacy?

The latest boast regarding BDS effectiveness comes from Europe (of course) and has to do with the private security company G4S failing to win a renewal of a security contract for European Parliamentary buildings a few weeks ago.

Apparently, a month before this announcement was made, a group of Parliamentarians sympathetic to the BDS cause wrote a letter to the European President condemning G4S for the business it does providing security services within Israel (no mention why the boycotters have not been effective getting similar decisions made by other countries the company does business with, such as those human rights paradises on earth Saudi Arabia and Yemen).

By now, we all know the formula that says if BDSers did anything before such a contracting decision was made, then their efforts must be the cause of such decisions (see post hoc ergo propter hoc).  After all, large, governmental purchasing bureaucracies are well known for turning on a dime the minute they receive complaints from politicians or constituents.  And there couldn’t be another explanation as to why G4S didn’t get their contract renewed in a competitive bid with other providers, could there?

Now I’m not saying that the boycotters protest didn’t cause the effect they claim.  I’m simply pointing out that after years of fraudulent announcements of BDS victories (many of them based on post hoc fallacies), it is incumbent on the boycotters to prove that their activity was the cause of this decision which should be a simple task for them if they speak true.  For example, they need only use their claimed influence to get the EU purchasing agency to explain the rationale behind their decision publically.  Absent that, we have yet another example of the cock taking credit for the sunrise.

Go and Leave

Well Jewish Voice for Peace/Young Jewish and Proud have scrubbed my hometown of Boston from their epic Go and Learn campaign, a program we’ve met before which will allegedly be teaching students across the country about the wonderfulness of BDS.

Interestingly enough, their listing for Boston (which retained a TBD date and time in their announcement of a meeting that was supposed to take place this Thursday) disappeared from the Go and Learn site less than twelve hours after I dropped them a note asking where and when the event would be taking place.

Now I’m not making the causal connection between one of the critics with whom JVP claims to crave debate showing interest in coming to an event they claim was open to those “actively opposed to [BDS].” That, after all, would be a post hoc fallacy.  But it is interesting to note that the whole JVP/YJP gang can’t seem to manage getting their events off the ground in one of America’s most progressive cities.

Then again, (as Ian Faith once put it) Boston’s not really a college town.

Methodist Redux

I’ve been remiss in covering what will likely be the two big BDS stories of the year: divestment votes taking place at the Methodist and Presbyterians General Assemblies between now and June.

As many readers know, divestment ballots (both pro- and anti-) have become mainstays at Mainline Protestant Church gatherings since 2004.  And while these have been voted down again and again, the fact that BDS was once considered by these churches means the Middle East conflict is now permanently on their agenda.

This time around, the boycotters have pulled out all the stops, cold calling delegates to these events at their homes, and even having their propaganda materials translated into multiple languages (including Swahili).

Why Swahili?  Well, a large contingent of people attending this week’s Methodist confab come from African churches which were a major constituent for anti-divestment votes that last time this issue came before the Methodists in 2008.  But this mass translation and distribution is just one example of the intense level of activity and investment the BDSers are making in these two key sets of votes.

Now the pro-Israel side is not being somnambulant about the issue (as attested by this letter signed by over 1200 rabbis, including mine).  And it’s not entirely clear that the Methodists are ready to turn from their unanimous rejection of divestment four years ago just because lots of partisans are writing them letters or calling them at home.

We’ll be tracking progress of the various BDS votes taking place among Methodist delegates gathering in Tampa this week.  And I promise to provide more detailed coverage of the General Assembly of the much smaller, but must further infected Presbyterian Church whose own rendez vous with divestment comes up in a few months.

Stay tuned…

7 Responses to “BDS Comings and Goings”

  1. Anonymous April 24, 2012 at 8:24 pm #

    If anyone else wants to “engage” JVP (personally, I'd recommend a surgical mask, latex gloves and a ten foot pole) try here:

    Bay Area: When: Thursday, April 26th, 6:30 pm at 518 Valencia Street, San Francisco, Contact: YJPBayArea@jvp.org

    Chicago: Sunday, April 29th, location TBD. Contact: Michael Deheeger. mjdeheeg AT gmail.com

    New York: Sunday, May 27th, 3-5pm at the 14th St. Y. Contact: Carolyn Klaasen cskpickles AT earthlink.net .

    Philadelphia: Friday, May 11, 2012, 7:15pm, Kol Tzedek Synagogue
    (801 S 48th St) Contact: Rachel Brown philly AT jewishvoiceforpeace.org

    Seattle: Sunday, May 13th, 6-8pm at Washington Hall (154 14th Avenue) Contact: seattle AT jewishvoiceforpeace.org You can also RSVP via Facebook.

  2. BDSer April 24, 2012 at 11:06 pm #

    Perhaps you missed the other BDS news that “scrubbed your hometown of Boston”: http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/nora/bds-roundup-major-divestment-victory-umass-boston

  3. Stop BDS Park Slope April 25, 2012 at 1:41 am #

    NYC JVP is on Shavuot! What is that about? Do you think they are trying to keep away serious opposition?

    Nycerbarb

  4. Jon April 25, 2012 at 11:47 am #

    Someone should let the breathless Electronic Intafada know that student government votes like the one that took place at U Mass are Sooooo 2010.

    As I’ve noted several times in the past, the fact that BDS is a loser does not mean is loses each and every time. While it does lose on most occasions, there are times where they do manage to get something passed here and there.

    In the case of student councils, we’ve seen two “Yes” BDS votes in Canada this year, and Evergreen College passed a student referendum on the subject last year. And then there’s the Wayne State divestment resolution that passed in 2003 (which has been brought up several times this year in response to my “BDS is a loser” charge).

    That Wayne State vote is the most telling, first that it took place *nine years ago*, and second that it led to zero action on the part of the university and is all but forgotten today (except in the mind of BDS fantasists). If you discover that the U Mass vote gets almost no attention outside of BDS press releases (even in the Jewish press), I think that’s because in a era when college are falling all over each other to try to *increase* their ties to their Israeli counterparts, university divestment victories are being defined as a college actually taking a divestment stance, rather than just condemning or ignoring votes like the one that took place here in Boston.

    So why don’t you get back to us when U Mass decides to divest from Boeing? And make sure Omar Barghouti doesn’t take any Boeing planes when he leaves the Israeli university he is studying at to preach academic divestment around the world.

  5. uncle yo-yo April 25, 2012 at 12:31 pm #

    BDSer: Just the fact that you and electronic intafada call this a “major victory” (http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/nora/bds-roundup-major-divestment-victory-umass-boston) says it all really. This is a major victory? — you got a student government to take a (non binding no real effect) anti-Israel vote? Wow!!! Feel the momentum!!!

    Using the same logic, I should be warning Hollywood about the major threat they now face from UMass student films, and the NY Times the threat they now face from UMass' student newspaper. Mighty Mighty UMass students — can anything stand in their way?

    Grow up — student campuses (and particularly student governments on student campuses) are as far removed from reality as where you and the rest of the BDSers normally function — hundreds and thousands of miles away from reality.

    So, enjoy your “major victory” while Israel goes from strength to strength, and keep repeating (lying) to yourself: “I am not a loser, I am not a fantasist, I am not encouraging war, strife, and death in the Middle East while I sit safe in the U.S so I can be the hero in my own internal passion play.”

  6. Anonymous April 25, 2012 at 3:45 pm #

    Bay Area JVP activist Henry Norr hosted an anti-Israel film at a local library on Yom Kippur. Yes, the JVP commitment to traditional Judaism runs deep.

  7. Anonymous April 26, 2012 at 6:07 pm #

    Its not just the cold calls and emails. “Jewish” Voice for “Peace” and the US campaign have dozens of paid satff members at the United Methodist Conference, wining (whining?) and dining the delegates. They are ratcheting up the pressure and doing their best to marginalize the moderate voices. Its like something out of “Animal Farm”

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