Blame

17 May

Over the years, I’ve talked about some of the psychological factors that might explain the behavior the BDS advocates.  These include a ruthlessness that drives them to drag third-parties into their battles, regardless of the cost to others, and fantasy politics which leads them to engage in activities for the sole purpose of making themselves feel more important than they are.

Some of these factors are actually detrimental to the BDS cause (witness the nearly universal revulsion that greets their fantasy-driven public temper tantrums).  But some of them are a major source of the boycotter’s power, especially when faced with opponents who labor under the illusion that BDS is a genuine, “normal” political project.

For example, the BDSers ability to ignore any facts or arguments that do not suit their purpose or fit their world view means they can never actually lose an argument since, in reality, they refuse to engage in one (even if they pretend their diatribes to be dialog). But there is another psychological element that fuels not just BDS but the entire anti-Israel project that relates to the dynamics of blame.

This is something most of us can relate to since we all are involved in blame dynamics (healthy and unhealthy) at various points in our lives.  To take a simple example, imagine a couple that drives to the beach where one person places the car keys on a beach blanket.  As the day winds to a close, the other person folds and packs up the same beach blanket, but does not notice the keys which tumble into the sand and get lost.

Under such circumstances, the couple could see this chain of events as an unlucky accident, a pair of reasonable actions that, when linked together, led to negative consequences neither party could have foreseen.  But since it was a pair of individual actions that led to the loss, each person could choose to blame the other for one of the two steps that led to the problem (leaving the keys on the blanket rather than in a bag or pocket vs. not noticing them when packing up), claiming – in effect – that just one person bore primary responsibility for the problem they both face.

On some occasions, the circumstances lend themselves to assigning primary responsibility to one person or another.  But blame is rarely driven by such analytical calculations.  Instead, the first person to accuse the other tends to gain the initiative, putting the blamed person on the defensive (often in an attempt to absolve the blamer for responsibility).  And in this dynamic, someone willing to accept some responsibility tends to be at a disadvantage vs. someone willing to accept none.

Over time, the roles of blamer and blamee can become engrained in personal relationships, causing the person who is “faster on the draw” to automatically zero in on something the other person did that is blameworthy, with the other person taking a default position of either accepting responsibility or, eventually, avoiding confrontational situations that may be driven by an uncomfortable blame dynamic.

If this dynamic is common among individuals where the stakes are fairly low, it is a cornerstone of international politics where the nation assigned blame can face serious consequences (from being targeted for economic punishment, to justifying war waged against it).  Which is why nations routinely tap the aforementioned blame dynamic, making sure to point an accusing finger outwards immediately and never acknowledging responsibility for anything (regardless of their actual culpability).  And within the Arab-Israeli conflict, this politics of blame has reached near pathological levels.

This is why every negative action that can be assigned to Israel (real or imaginary) is the subject of not just accusation by this or that Arab country, but must become top priority for every international organization – combining the blame dynamic with Israel’s foes willingness to corrupt any institution in order to achieve their own ends.

This is also why the Arab states and the Palestinians will never accept responsibility under any circumstances for anything they are unquestionably responsible for (from supporting every one of the 20th century’s totalitarian movements, to rejecting peace offers over and over again, to resorting to violence and triggering wars in which their own people suffer the consequences).

This dynamic plays itself out amongst the Palestinians “friends” in the BDS movement who, if cornered, will manage a mumble or cough of concern regarding Hamas rocket fire into Israeli schoolyards.  But once Israel returns fire, they rise together as a single great pointing finger and shouting voice screaming “J’accuse” at Israel (and its supporters), insisting that they (and they alone) represent the voice of human rights and justice (regardless of how little they have to say on either subject when Israel is not the target of their abuse).

In the case of the BDSers, the blame dynamic fits perfectly with their fantasy of being the only voices of courage and virtue in a Manichean world where evil and all-powerful opponents endlessly conspire against them.

Getting back to the original dynamic described in the earlier lost-keys story, the endless repetition of one party’s readiness to blame and unwillingness to accept responsibility creates a situation whereby the party trying to avoid the blame game who is willing to accept some responsibility is punished for not immediately and unquestionably accepting all of it.  This is the unhealthy dynamic Israelis faces vis-à-vis its finger-pointing, responsibility-avoiding foes, and it is not entirely clear how they can get out of it short of becoming as ruthless, cynical and insensitive as their accusers.

51 Responses to “Blame”

  1. Anonymous May 17, 2012 at 3:12 pm #

    Wow, Jon. You really manage to incorporate nuance, balance, and critical thinking in your blog posts! Not.

    Let's examine your recycled Hamas and rocket attacks example, for the “BDSers never attribute any blame to Hamas and are therefore biased 'Israel haters'” narrative is really the only one in which the anti-Palestinian crowd finds any traction.

    I have never heard a BDSer laud Hamas for its use of violence, and I've been around a lot of BDSers; that's not to say that there aren't some who support Hamas, but hey, there are also some crazy people in your camp who believe in massacring the remaining Palestinian population. Figures. In fact, contrary to your opinion, most BDSers would be willing to contend that there is no one party that deserves singular blame for tragedies like Operation Cast Lead; in fact, even those “Israel hating human rights organizations” like Amnesty International and HRW assert in their many reports (maybe you should read them) that the Palestinians were too responsible for grave violations of human rights in the lead-up to Operation Cast Lead. Where people's opinions differ is on the proportionality of the blame, not on whether one party is entirely absolved of blame.

    Next, you conveniently side-stepped the settlement issue. I say “conveniently” because it's odd that one wouldn't try to refute the BDSers' blame on Israel for the settlements in the non-Hamas controlled West Bank, since ending the occupation is the primary target of the majority of past and present BDS campaigns. Here is where I believe that one can in fact assign singular blame on Israel, for there is no moral or legal justification for the settlements, and there never has been one. No, you cannot 'win' land through a 'defensive' war. No, the West Bank is not 'endowed' to Jewish Israelis. No, the settlement building is not justified by rocket attacks, failures in peace negotiations, or anything else for that matter. Just as I believe that Hamas is totally unjustified in firing rockets (and we should BDS them for it and we do), I also believe that Israel is totally unjustified in building settlements (and at the VERY least, we should BDS those settlements).

    When you decide on where to assign blame for the ongoing conflict, it's incredibly stupid to generalize it into an issue of Palestinians and Israelis. Obviously, both sides at some point in time, or with regard to one policy or another, deserve blame. Rather, it's much more helpful to pinpoint specific policies, political parties, governments, etc. that perpetuate the conflict, and target our efforts to fighting them. This is why we BDS Hamas, and it's also why we should BDS, at the very least, the settlements.

  2. Thermblog May 17, 2012 at 4:42 pm #

    Anonymous: The basic difference between Israel supporters and detractors in the west, is succinctly captured here:
    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4227866,00.html

    BDS leaders have in effect said that their goal is the end of the Jewish state and so the issue of “settlements” is obviously just an excuse. (At <2% of the West Bank, it is clear in any case that this is something solvable.)

    Just for fun, on your: “No, you cannot 'win' land through a 'defensive' war.” Isn't it odd that that formulation came about in relation to the 1967 war and I have not heard it used in with regard to any other conflict. Have you?

    • Anonymous May 19, 2012 at 8:15 am #

      See the Fourth Geneva Convention.

  3. Ben May 17, 2012 at 6:01 pm #

    First off, the initial post for this heading would have been completely accurate if it had ended one word early, but it was still a decent try of summing up Jon's writing (although the sentence as written with ALL words would have very nicely summed up the post and the abilities of the writer who penned it).
    Second, the problem with combining BDS and stabs at nuance is that BDS wants to have the moon and the sun and the stars by highlighting the settlements issue in intelligent company and calling for a one-state Palestine in more relaxed and uncritical surroundings. The settlement issue is not the reason there has been no final I/P peace; the refugee lies from the Palestinian side are, and BDS wants to combine these issues so that they bring in both general sympathizers and hard-core supporters, which is why BDS finds common ground with Hamas and its travelers all the time (making the notion of a BDS Hamas ridiculous). The problem is that people who know what BDS is really about are not stupid enough to fall for that–which is also the reason Jon kicks your ass every time he puts out an analysis of BDS efforts and tactics.
    And lastly, this lack of nuance goes to the heart of why this conflict remains intractable: the feint about Hamas and blame notwithstanding, the pro-BDS crowd does not reflect on the legion mistakes it makes and lies it tells, because they believe in nearly divine righteousness and truth. Not only is this disconnected from reality, it makes for a zero-sum background where the status quo is going to continue because the alternate scenario is neither acceptable nor one that its most fervent backers (in this case, BDS and Hamas in their respective fiefdoms) can impose by brute force. People who want to pretend BDS is a means to anything other than endless conflict are free to do so, but it doesn't make them less of a gang of charlatans.

    • Anonymous May 19, 2012 at 8:14 am #

      I don't know what “refugee lies” you're referring to, but since every single peace deal since 1967 has fallen through because of disputes over the settlements and/or the borders, I would think that the settlement issue is in fact “the reason there has been no final I/P peace”.

      People are beginning to talk about the one-state solution more and more because they feel that the Netanyahu regime's current extremist policies regarding the settlements have precluded the possibility of a two-state solution. It's as much an issue of feasibility as anything else.

  4. Zach May 17, 2012 at 6:21 pm #

    As crazy as it sounds, Norman Finkelstein was in fact the one who said it best: BDS is a cult. And when you're in the cult you live a fact and logic free zone.

    • Anonymous May 19, 2012 at 8:17 am #

      I'm glad to see that Norman Finkelstein has become a moral authority for you guys now.

    • Anonymous May 20, 2012 at 1:00 am #

      Heh. As indicated by the “As crazy as it sounds…” NF's no moral authority in Zach's eyes. But he did say something true. He's a longtime BDSer who sickened of the lies and bloody-mindedness of BDS, and he's said so.

      Nevertheless, he IS a “moral authority” in the eyes of you BDSers for many many years! How inconsistent you are! Also your “morality” also includes the Hamas charter and their other pro-genocide statements. That is, you're pretty sick.

      What proportions of the BDS crowd fall into the two sides described here?:
      http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/05/the_two_lefts.html

      Johnny

    • Anonymous May 20, 2012 at 8:30 pm #

      We're inconsistent because we don't agree with every single one of Norman Finkelstein's myriad opinions? You do know what “inconsistency” means, don't you?

      Secondly, aside from the few anecdotal Elder of Ziyon blog posts people have posted here, I haven't seen an iota of evidence for the assertion that BDSers subscribe to the Hamas charter. If the best you guys can do is to post a few pictures of <10 activists (out of thousands) posing with a member of Hamas, then clearly your opinions are not supported by any genuine facts.

    • Anonymous May 20, 2012 at 10:16 pm #

      So you disavow the Hamasniks' claim on the entirety of Israel (wrt Jewish Israelis)?

      Do you disavow the Arab League's 1948 declaration “This will be a war of annihilation [i.e. of Jews, be they Arabic, European, Persian, Kurdish, etc]? Of which the failure to execute is called by you the “Nakba,” the “Disaster?”

      Or do you rather support the genocidalness of the (Pali-elected) Hamas (as well as of Arafat before them, and the surrounding Arab states too)?

      These are their aspirations. Do you reflexively project your cultural norms onto them? If you imagine yourself supportive of them, you should support their vision. Without apology.

      That would be consistent.

      Johnny

  5. fizziks May 17, 2012 at 7:21 pm #

    So Anonymous, settlements are the issue, aye?

    Can I have you on record then as saying that if Israel were to pull behind the 1967 lines then 1) there would be no need for BDS, 2) you would stop calling for it and oppose those who do, and 3) you would fully welcome Israel into the family of nations and call for opposition to those regimes that still opposed it?

    Yeah, I didn't think so. Because we all know it isn't about the settlements.

    • Anonymous May 19, 2012 at 7:25 am #

      You seem to have misunderstood my argument. I was merely using the settlement issue as one for which I'm willing to singularly blame Israel. I was directly responding to the substance of Jon's post. Never did I say that ending the occupation and withdrawing the illegal settlements would fully meet my (or the mainstream BDS movements' demands). In fact, it would only meet one of the three demands endorsed in the 2005 call for BDS.

    • Jon May 19, 2012 at 10:10 am #

      But settlements exist because Egypt, Syria and the Arab states triggered a war in 1967 that led to their defeat and the loss of territory, including legally ambiguous territory occupied by Jordan, now in dispute between Isreal and the Palestinians.

      Similarly, there is a refugee problem becuase these same Arab states (and others) started a war in 1948, just as there is a separation barrier in the West Bank because Arafat started a terror war in 2000, rather than accept peace terms that would include an end to what you refer to as “the Settlements.”

      So singularly blaming Israel on this or any other matter simply means continuing to do what the BDS movement does all the time which is to ignore (or barely pay lip service) to facts that contradict their world view, while endlessly pointing a finger and insisting that the conversation be about “Settlements” and nothing else.

    • fizziks May 20, 2012 at 4:14 pm #

      Here is yet more brazenn, one sided, lie-filled bullshit from a BDSer. How can you singularly blame Israel for the settlements? The Arab side had many, many chances to do the simple, right thing and there would be no occupation today and no settlements:

      1. Accept the UN partition plan

      2. Accept and recognize Israel after their immoral, dispicable attempt to slaughter the inhabitants failed in the 1948 war

      3. Accept Israel anytime between then and 1967

      4. Accept the Barak peace offer in 1999

      But instead they always chose the path of war and maximalism. So no, there is no way that a decent, thinking person could blame Israel alone, for any aspect of the M.E. conflict, settlements or otherwise. Next.

    • Anonymous May 20, 2012 at 7:59 pm #

      Jon-

      Unfortunately you have neither a firm grasp on international law nor do you on your opponents' arguments. Again, by the 4th Geneva Convention, a country cannot capture land as a consequence of war. This is NOT disputed by anyone but extremists like yourself. It does NOT matter what country/countries started the war. PLEASE read something of substance before spewing misinformation.

      Concerning the refugees: No, Jon, it is not permissible to expel or create an environment of fear from which close to three quarters of a million people must flee, and then refuse them re-entry in the years to follow. Again, I have no idea where in international law you see this as acceptable.

      Finally, on the separation barrier, here is where you most blatantly misunderstand the facts on the ground and your opponents' arguments. Few contest Israel's legal right to build a separation barrier on its legal borders. The problem, however, is that the barrier is not built on the borders; rather, over 85% of it is built on Palestinian land. This is not about security; it's about grabbing more land. And again, it is very, very clearly stated in international law that this practice is illegal.

      Fizziks-
      I'm not sure how any of what you said is at all relevant to the settlements. You're saying that because the Palestinians refused to accept the partition of their land, it is OK to illegally partition and capture more of their land. Do you not see a problem with that logic?

      ———-
      If Jon's and Fizziks' delusions and misunderstandings of international law weren't so representative of the pro-Israel community in general and subsequently weren't so destructive, I would be laughing right now. But as it stands, all I can do is shake my head.

    • Jon May 20, 2012 at 8:56 pm #

      How much easier life would be if you simply had to declare yourself correct, rather than prove it.

      For those of you just tuning in, the 4th Geneva Convention our Anonymous friend refers to was passed in 1949 in response to Nazi atrocities in Europe (including the dispossession of Jews that led to the Holocaust). Since 1997, the Arab bloc in the United Nations has tried to insist that this Convention applies to Israel’s role in the disputed territories, something Israel understandably disputes.

      More to the point, despite a power base that allows them to get their way with the UN, the Arab bloc has not been able to get a majority of signatories to that convention (which only applies to and can be applied by signatories) to meet on their agenda item, much less to agree on their anti-Israel interpretation of Geneva 4.

      In other words, contrary to your claim that your interpretation of the 4th Geneva Convention is “NOT in dispute by anyone but extremists…,” it clearly IS in dispute by the very parties who get to decide what it pertains to: the signatories to the Convention itself. So unless your “extremists” slur extends to each and every nation that makes up the Convention, then it’s safe to say that it is your fanciful interpretation of Geneva that is the HIGHLY DISPUTED, minority opinion.

      And before you try your luck with another set of legal documents such as UN 194, I urge you to actually read these documents first, rather than just rely on partisan legal interpretations served pre-digested to you by the last generation of Israel haters who also failed to get the world to conform to their self-serving interpretation of international law by jumping up and down and demanding compliance.

    • Anonymous May 20, 2012 at 9:36 pm #

      Again, there's really no legitimate, authoritative body on international law that asserts that the 4th Geneva Convention does not apply, so no, it is not disputed by anyone but extremists/confused persons like yourself.

    • Anonymous May 20, 2012 at 9:38 pm #

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_law_and_Israeli_settlements

      The international community considers the establishment of Israeli settlements in the Israeli-occupied territories illegal under international law,[1][2][3][4][5] but Israel maintains that they are consistent with international law[6] because it does not agree that the Fourth Geneva Convention applies to the territories occupied in the 1967 Six-Day War.[7] However, the United Nations Security Council, the United Nations General Assembly, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Court of Justice and the High Contracting Parties to the Convention have all affirmed that the Fourth Geneva Convention does indeed apply.[8][9]
      Numerous UN resolutions have stated that the building and existence of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights are a violation of international law, including UN Security Council resolutions in 1979 and 1980.[10][11][12] UN Security Council Resolution 446 refers to the Fourth Geneva Convention as the applicable international legal instrument, and calls upon Israel to desist from transferring its own population into the territories or changing their demographic makeup. The reconvened Conference of the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions has declared the settlements illegal[13] as has the primary judicial organ of the UN, the International Court of Justice[14] and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

      “Highly disputed”, eh?

    • Jon May 21, 2012 at 12:57 am #

      Wait a minute. Are you telling us that Switzerland, Depository for the Fourth Geneva Convention itself, has never organized and convened a meeting of the signatories of the Convention to determine if Israel is in breach of them? Since this is the only way any nation can be legally declared in breach of these conventions, then this would indicate that Israel is NOT in violation of the Convention (especially since such a meeting could only take place if a majority of signatories requested one – which has not happened – at least as far as you and Wikipedia are concerned).

      What Wikipedia (and you) seem to be saying is that a group of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) such as the United Nations that are not signatories to the convention have provided their opinion on the matter. And even there (at least in the case of the UN), are you saying that the UN Security Council (the only body in the organization whose decisions are legally binding) declared on the matter? Or just that the General Assembly or various UN committees made statements regarding their opinion on Geneva 4?

      This is no small point, for if it was the General Assembly making such a statement, then you’re talking about an institution with no legally binding authority within the UN making a statement about a subject over which the organization as a whole (again the UN) has no legal authority, which makes it doubly legally irrelevant.

      This would not be such a big deal if you were just trying to make the argument that the opinions of the UN should be taken seriously on this matter (which is a different debate, which would need to take into account UN behavior on the Middle East generally). But that’s NOT the argument you are making. Rather, you are making the argument that Israel is unquestionably in violation of Geneva 4, and you are basing this claim on nothing whatsoever with regard to legitimate legal authority regarding this matter.

      Again, this highlights the hazard of relying on data pre-digested for you from partisan sources as the basis for making statements regarding international law. And having this pre-digested further filtered for you via Wikipedia only highlights how little you have to work with to make your sweeping claims.

      If this is too much for you to comprehend, I suggest you start your message with more “sighs” and Internet eye-rolling clichés to cover up the fact that you have been left with virtually no leg to stand on to substantiate your un-substantiatable claims.

      You’re welcome.

    • Anonymous May 21, 2012 at 6:13 am #

      Switzerland did organize and convene a meeting of the signatories of the Convention to determine if Israel is in breach of them in 2001. Either Google it or read the text here:http://unispal.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/0/8FC4F064B9BE5BAD85256C1400722951

      Are the settlements illegal now? :)

      Secondly, I was clearly responding to your point about my holding of the “highly disputed, minority” opinion. Clearly, given what I have presented, that's just false, whether those opinions are legally binding or not.

    • Jon May 21, 2012 at 11:30 am #

      Whoops! Looks like I made a mistake in the quick-and-dirty of weekend debate (not too dissimilar to the blunder I made and discussed in this post: http://www.divestthis.com/2011/04/pathos.html).

      As happened on that occasion, I realize that a proper response to the issues being brought up in the comment section would be a post (possibly a series of posts) dedicated to the subject of international law.

      But before that, I wanted to unleash the 400th post at Divest This on a completely unrelated (and possibly wholly irrelevant topic). So stay tuned for Three Cool Guys.

    • Anonymous June 11, 2012 at 8:17 am #

      Where does the 4th geneva convention say that land can't be captured as a result of war?

  6. DrMike May 18, 2012 at 3:02 am #

    Dammit, fizziks, you beat me to it. This is the key point with which to unmask the true goal of the BDS movement. It must be asked every time a BDSer talks about “settlements”.

    That is not to say that there are not individuals promoting BDS who would answer yes to those questions; but they are ignorant (by choice or by indefensible intellectual carelessness) of the goals of the BDS movement itself.
    in fact, the goals of the BDS movement are identical to those of Hamas, though their methods may differ.

    • Anonymous May 19, 2012 at 7:28 am #

      The goals of the BDS movement are:
      1) ending the illegal occupation
      2) right of return for refugees
      3) equality for Palestinians living within Israel

      All three of those goals are human-rights based, supported by international and human rights laws, and endorsed by the vast majority of countries around the world.

      If the very existence of Israel is threatened by demands for human rights and international law (as you say), what does that say about Israel?

    • DrMike May 19, 2012 at 10:32 pm #

      Actually the references to nonexistent “human rights and international law” says a lot about the BDS Movement and how it operates.

      Let's unpack this one piece by piece.

      1. “illegal occupation”: please define the source of that label. Given that 1. territory captured in a defensive war may be kept by the party successfully defending itself (cf changes to European borders after WW2) and 2. the territories in question were not legally part of any other nation, Israel's occupation does occupy a unique position in the world. That's not to say that it should be perpetuated indefinitely. It shouldn't– it should end as soon as the Palestinian leadership expresses a willingness to live in peace and mutual recognition alongside the Jewish state. But such a peace is anathema to the BDS movement and they will do everything they can to prevent that from happening.

      2. The mythical “right of return” exists NOWHERE in international humanitarian law when applied to children and subsequent generations. Don't try to quote UN Resolution 194– UN GA resolutions do not comprise international law as they are not binding. Nor does that resolution contain the word “right” when discussing the refugees.
      As far as the surviving actual refugees themselves, there is no “right” for a group that starts and loses a war to wind the clock back and get a historical “do-over”. There is a consequence to trying to kill your neighbor. What occurred was a population exchange, as happened in many areas of decolonialization at that time. Should refugees be compensated for loss of property? Absolutely–both the Palestinian refugees as well as the larger number of Jewish refugees from Arab countries, who left behind land amounting to FIVE TIMES the area of the state of Israel.

      3. What type of “equality” does the BDS movement demand? the right to vote? [check]. The right to education? [check-- 20% of Israelis are Arabs, 20% of university students are Arabs]. The right to be represented in the government? [check-- every Knesset has had Arab representatives]. Freedom of speech, freedom of religion [check, check]. Economic equality [no-- economic inequality is real and exists in every country in the world; how does the BDS cru propose to legislate THAT one?].

      Israel's existence is not threatened by genuine human rights and international law; only by those who hide their anti-Israel agenda behind a deliberate misuse of such.

    • Anonymous May 20, 2012 at 8:19 pm #

      If you're genuinely interested in the unequal status of Palestinians living within Israel, you'll read at least the main findings of this report: http://www.adalah.org/upfiles/2011/Adalah_The_Inequality_Report_March_2011.pdf

  7. Jon May 18, 2012 at 5:23 pm #

    I’ve been dealing with BDS for more than eight years now, and I must say that this is the first I’ve heard that the BDS “movement” is an equal opportunity boycotter that is already targeting both Israel and Hamas equally for the boycott, divestment and sanctions treatment.

    If you attend any BDS event, or look at any BDS web site, they are pretty clear that the target of their wrath and economic punishment is just one party to the Arab-Israeli dispute (guess which one). And as far as sanctions against Hamas goes, from where I sit it looks like those who support BDS are spending hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of dollars chartering ships to sail across the Mediterranean in order to defy sanctions currently being imposed on them by Israel.

    Now perhaps you belong to a different BDS movement, one that puts as much time and energy targeting Hamas for economic punishment as they do the Jewish state. If you can point me towards a web site or other source that demonstrates BDS embraces the views you claim they do, that will help establish the credibility of your claims (on this subject, and everything else in your post).

    • Anonymous May 19, 2012 at 8:05 am #

      Why would the BDS movement put as much time and energy into targeting Hamas for economic punishment? Hamas is already heavily sanctioned, and that doesn't look like it will end any time soon (or ever). On the other hand, Israel continues to enjoy its decades-long status as the recipient of the most US foreign aid (over 3 billion dollars annually) irrespective of its lack of commitment to peace and international law.

      I didn't know that the flotilla activists were working in the name of the BDS movement (apparently everyone who sympathizes with the Palestinians does now), but there's clearly a distinction between sanctioning Hamas and creating a humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Go look up the list of goods that were (and are) prohibited from entering Gaza. If you can tell me how the import of chocolate to Gaza, for instance, in any way strengthens Hamas, I will be very surprised.

    • Jon May 19, 2012 at 10:04 am #

      When you make the claims that “Just as I believe that Hamas is totally unjustified in firing rockets (and we should BDS them for it and we do),” and “This is why we BDS Hamas, and it's also why we should BDS, at the very least, the settlements,” just who is the “we” you are referring to?

      If it’s the BDS movement that allegedly is doing all this Hamas boycotting, I have yet to see any evidence of this alleged even-handedness you claim (and you have certainly not provided any). And if it’s Israel doing the boycotting and sanctioning, your statements indicate that the BDS “movement” (or at least a part of it, maybe if that part includes only you) should be fully supportive of this effort (even if they also want to apply boycott and sanction to Israel itself).

      Again, in all my eight years of dealing with this issue, I have never seen even the slightest shred of evidence that the BDSers are willing to assign blame in more than one place. Sure, they’ll choke out some condemnation of Hamas rocket attacks when necessary. But in their deed and in the vast majority of words, they are simply what they are: a partisan propaganda program designed to target one and only one side of the conflict masquerading as an even-handed, human-rights movement.

  8. Anonymous May 18, 2012 at 7:27 pm #

    It's always good for a laugh when someone from the BDS movement shows up here to spread their BS. But this dude, or dudet, is especially humorous. That the BDS movement BDSs (didn't know it was a verb) is Hamas just too much.

    I have put these pics up before, but they are worth looking at again. Can't you just see the disgust on the BDSers faces. Quite the boycott of Hamas indeed. (And as Dr. Mike has pointed out, the guy in the second pic is a BDS leader in the Bay Area.) Keep the pics and show them around anytime the BDSers try to peddle their BS about Hamas.

    http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2011/07/quick-review-of-previous-voyages-to.html

    • Anonymous May 19, 2012 at 7:59 am #

      Oh no! The Elder of Zion posted 7 pictures of a few pro-Palestine activists engaging with members of Hamas?!?! Whatever shall we do? Our entire movement has been invalidated!

    • Jen May 19, 2012 at 8:58 pm #

      My initial suggestion would be that you[r movement] quit associating with terrorist leaders, but that's just off the top of my head.

    • DrMike May 19, 2012 at 10:15 pm #

      “engaging with”= being feted by, and receiving medals from, Hamas– an organization which recycles various anti-Semitic tropes including quoting from the noted forgery “Protocols of the Elders of Ziyon”, blaming the Jews for both World War I and WW2, not to mention the Bolshevik and even the French Revolution, and underlying its genocidal threats with the blood of women and children deliberately targeted by suicide bombers.

    • Anonymous May 20, 2012 at 8:08 pm #

      Could your logic make any less sense?

      Here is an article entitled “Extremist settlers [Zionists] burn entrance to mosque near Salfit”. Now, since all of you here seem to be extremist Zionists, I conclude that you all enjoy burning mosques. Since some extremist Zionists burn mosques, it must mean that Zionism as a movement endorses burning mosques. Goodbye.

      http://occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com/2011/12/07/extremist-settlers-burn-entrance-to-mosque-near-salfit-in-pictures/

    • Anonymous May 20, 2012 at 10:48 pm #

      No the difference is the Israel genociders are the mainstream of those you support, of the Pals, of the Arabs, indeed of the the whole Islamic world to an obsessed degree. This is ingrained into Arabic and Islamic society and religious and political tenets, currents and atmospherics. That's why Israel is peopled with all the Arabic Jews *ethnically cleansed* in 1948 (whom you studiously avoid mentioning), while Israel didn't drive out the now almost 2,000,000 non-Jewish Arab Israelis – simply the Jews lack that hatred of the other that confronts them. (The 'pals' are those who chose to leave temporarily at the Arab League's behest, so the Nakba upon the Jews could be safely perpetrated, hence all the remainers.)

      Ya know, it's hard to believe that you can honestly overlook that immense difference. You will overlook Truth in the service of getting your needed pseudo-moral finger-wagging fix.

      Johnny

    • DrMike May 22, 2012 at 3:37 am #

      Anon– want to know how I feel about extremists who burn mosques?

      Check it out: http://www.bluetruth.net/2011/10/do-zionists-help-restore-tuba-zangaria.html

      And the leaders of Israel condemned the idiots who perpetrated that act.

      The leaders of Hamas celebrate the murders of women and children. I wonder how the leaders of BDS rationalize accepting medals from them?

  9. Anonymous May 20, 2012 at 12:07 am #

    I support the goals of the BDS movement.

    1) ending the illegal occupation

    Thousands of muslims squat on Israeli owned land in Israel proper. Even after lengthy court battles, which the Jews often win, does not guarantee that these squatters will be removed. The IDF usually have more pressing demands on their time. It is high time the BDSers demand that these people be removed forthwith.

    2) right of return for refugees

    Not only should all Jewish refugees be welcomed to Israel, but their relocation should be financed by the hostile governments forcing them to flee. The muslims have no problems asking for compensation for every imagined slight. Now let us join forces with the BDSers and get compensation for all the displaced Jews in the world. Let us go a step farther and demand compensation for all the Jews that have been forced to flee in the past. Money will not replace the property that has been confiscated by multiple governments, but it would be a good start.

    3) equality for Palestinians living within Israel

    This is a no-brainer. Muslim Israeli citizens living within Israel already have equal rights. It is the people that live in areas controlled by the PLO that are stateless citizens. We should join the BDSers in demanding that these people either swear an oath of allegiance to Israel or leave to find a better life elsewhere, anywhere but in Israel.

    I do not know what you people have against the BDS folks. I think these three goals are laudable and should be supported. But what do I know?

    SarahSue

    • Anonymous May 20, 2012 at 8:12 pm #

      “But what do I know?”

      Clearly, close to nothing.

      By the way, nice job with the sweeping generalizations about “muslims”. Reminds me of the rhetoric used by a certain regime in the 30s-40s about another religious group.

    • Anonymous May 21, 2012 at 4:39 am #

      Not only is what you've just claimed plainly untrue (I mean c'mon), you've also lost via Godwin's Law.

  10. Anonymous May 20, 2012 at 2:11 am #

    BTW Jon,

    I am greatly looking forward to your series on the use of rhetoric in the Middle East/BDS conflict.

    They should spark a great debate and a good time will be had by all.

    SarahSue

  11. Ben May 20, 2012 at 11:29 am #

    I almost feel bad for poor Anon here. I don't know what was going through his mind when he posted his main pro-BDS screeds here, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't “My arguments–especially that there is any opposition to Hamas from BDS–are going to get torn apart by people who know what they're talking about.” So, yeah…”almost”.

    • Anonymous May 20, 2012 at 8:47 pm #

      Indeed, you are correct. That never went through my mind and it still hasn't. By the way, I'm still waiting for you to explain to me how “refugee lies” are the primary source of the conflict and not the occupation of the West Bank, the destruction of Palestinian homes and olive groves, the settler-only roads and areas that divide the West Bank into cantons, the appropriation of West Bank resources for settler use only, the construction of a “security fence” that extends deeply into Palestinian territory and divides and separates villages and resources, and the web of checkpoints that make even the shortest of distances a day-long commute. :D

    • Anonymous May 20, 2012 at 11:18 pm #

      How can ANYONE complain about commutation while supporting terrorist bombers who necessitated the security fence?

      There are no 'settler only' roads but the Pal and Arab lands really openly practice genuine apartheid against Jews among others (do you support that? Answer.)

      Unlike Israel, with millions of Arab Israeli citizens. And this in an Israel that has (in contrast with the palarabs) over and over offered everything any Palestine – that would be willing to coexist – has said they need for 'peace,' at huge sacrifice and risk, and then the Palarabs rejected it because they hate the notion of peace with the Jews. This is the background of your false narratives. Does ignoring this to play act at “morality” really help you? How does it really make you feel, Anon?

    • Anonymous May 21, 2012 at 6:13 am #

      Hey Anon, I liked the snappy reply to the pics link. One has a photo of a major player in the BDS movement with a Hamas leader and you can still say it shows nothing. I'm impressed. As to your above comment about refugees, that's easy to explain. I won't even go back to the dhimi laws or the records of Arabs slaughtering Jews in historic Israel in the 18th and 19th century before anybody had even uttered the word Zionism. How could that happen with settlements and the security barrier.

      I'll start in 1929 when the Arabs of Hebron murdered 67 Jews and the rest of the community fled for their lives. This was a Jewish community that had existed in Hebron for centuries, probably always. They were not newly arrived. There were no settlements, no security barrier, but there was still violence against Jews and the refugees were also Jews.

      How about 1936. The Arabs of Jaffa burned out 6,000 Jews leaving them homeless, sleeping in Tel Aviv parks or sheltering in strangers apartments. There were no settlements, no security barrier, but there was still violence against Jews and the refugees were again Jews.

      How about the 1930s and 1940s when the Palestinians were led by Haj Amin al-Huseini, a Nazi. He worked with the Nazi to murder Jews in the Middle East and Europe even though there were no settlements and no security barrier.

      There was no security barrier or settlements in 1948, but five Arab armies still attacked Israel. The Arabs killed or expelled every Jew, every Jew living in the eastern portion of Jerusalem, and all other areas under Arab control. Between 1948 and 1967, the Arabs made no move to establish Palestine, but Jordan wasn't attacked by Palestinians. There was no BDS against Jordan. There were no UN resolutions.

      When the PLO formed in 1964, before any settlements or the security barrier, the group stated its goal was the elimination of Israel.The Arabs were ready to go to war against Israel in 1967 even though there were no settlements and no barrier.

      It's all about refugees and settlements and the security barrier and “settler only roads” that never existed and still don't exist, but the war against Jews started decades before those were issues. Maybe the Palestinians and Arabs are psychic and knew all these things were coming and started resisting early. That's the only explanation — the Palestinians were engaging in pre-emptive resistance. That would explain the Nazi BDS of Jews and the Arab BDS of Jews that started in the 1930s. There were psychic too.

      No, it's not about the refugees or the settlements or any of that — all those thing you complain about are the result of the Palestinians, and other Arabs, unwillingness to accept that Jews have rights. Hell, the Palestinians, including people like Ali Abunimah claim the Jewish people don't even exist much less have rights.

      No, it's not about refugees, at least not in the way you think Anon.

      If you haven't read this, please do. It won't help Anon, but you should share it.http://www.timesofisrael.com/a-different-history-of-displacement-and-loss/

    • Anonymous May 21, 2012 at 11:29 am #

      You want to cite civilian casualties and refugee statistics? Sure. Since, its inception, Israel has created far more casualties and refugees than the Palestinians ever had.

      The most accepted estimation for the number of Palestinians who fled or were expelled from their homes in 1948-1949 is upwards of 700,000.

      Today, there are close to five million descendants of victims or victims themselves of the 1948 Nakba registered under the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees. Many of them currently live under abysmal conditions in refugee camps across several different countries.

      From the creation of Israel onward,the Palestinians have suffered far, far more civilian casualties than have the Israelis. During Operation Cast Lead in 2008-9, 1400 Palestinians were killed, including 300 children, compared to 13 Israelis. Since 2000, 4,228 Palestinians have been killed compared to 1,024 Israelis. Of those 4228, the vast majority of them were civilians. 20% were children.

      Israel continues to indiscriminately target civilian homes with routine airstrikes that have decimated Gaza, receiving condemnations by every major human rights organization as well as several other international bodies.

      I'm not going to deny that the Jewish people have a tragic history marked by centuries of violent oppression and ethnic cleansing. Clearly, they do. But painting the history of Palestine as one marked entirely by JEWISH expulsion is incredibly inaccurate and frankly, delusional. Denying that the expulsion of 700,000 Palestinians occurred (as you seem to have done since you constantly reference the Jews as the real refugees) puts you on the same moral level as those who deny the Holocaust, the Armenian genocide, or other large-scale acts of violence or ethnic cleansing perpetrated on a defenseless population.

    • Anonymous May 21, 2012 at 4:30 pm #

      Godwin's rule again. And overlooking 1,000,000 Jewish refugees – real ones – and who really did actually live for generations in the Arab lands.

      Nah, these fakestinians mostly migrated in the 1920s and 30s as migrant labor (a census fact), under British encouragement, largely to take advantage of Zionist created work opportunities that didn't exist in Egypt, Iraq, Transjordan, Syria at the moment. Even the official Pals accidentally mention this truth themselves from time to time.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CbuM91PeSOs&list=FLWrxgoQzUePcPy0RMD4teAw&index=1&feature=plcp

      Then they “got out of the way” into Transjordan to duck the “war of annihilation” for the Jews which they gleefully supported, and eager for the promise made of being able to divy up the new houses and infrastructures the Jews will now be too dead to use, when they shortly return, ya know, after corpse clearing. (You Anon, are a supporter of that – realize it. That's the “return” they are aggrieved at missing out on. Their “Nakba” is that it didn't turn out THAT way. Maybe in your youth you can fool yourself about such things, but at some point the truth must be confronted, you will surely one day find.)

      You and I both know that the Jews never “drove them out” as people under threat of violence (like the Jews of the Middle East) *LEAVE* -any way they can. They don't stay. And HALF the local Arabs STAYED, which gives lie to the false narrative of “fleeing.” There is NO way this can be denied. They remain there. They stayed because they preferred to, as they were not under threat from their Jewish neighbors, as they are not still, as they have not been at any point. Get it?

      But after failing to annihilate, the poor dears are now not allowed back. And this is their complaint, and your “cause.” Gosh, you're so moral! Their propaganda has privilege-guilt-filled useful idiots and Jew haters joining the false narrative, but it's still false.

      Johnny

    • Anonymous May 21, 2012 at 5:31 pm #

      Good try Anon BDSer. Changing the subject is always worth a try. But your original argument was that the the settlements, security barrier, etc. were the root cause of the Arab – Israeli conflict. By your logic, there should have been no violence towards Jews before 1948. But there was massive violence directed at Jews by Arabs and it had gone on for centuries.

      The events of 1929 have no connection to settlements or refugees. And yes, in 1929, let me repeat that since you seem to have problems with dates, in 1929 — 19 years before there were any Arab refugees, 38 years before there was a single settlement, 83 years before work on the security barrier started — the refugees were all Jews.

      Clearly Israeli actions are not what started or what perpetuate this conflict. The inability of most Arabs to see Jews as a people with rights, as anything but perpetual second-class citizens as anything but objects of scorn and hatred is what drives the conflict. It's why the Arabs were unwilling to accept a Jewish state on 20 percent of what is now Israel and the West Bank in 1937. It's why the Arabs wouldn't accept an Arab state in 1939 that would have protected Jewish national rights but not allowed a Jewish state. It's why al-Huseini allied with the Nazis and it's why the Palestinians looked to him as a leader in the 1940s even after his crimes were well known and it's why so many fleeing Nazis made their way into the governments of Arab countries.

      Before you call me racist for speaking in overly broad terms, let me tell you a bit about myself. One of my parents is a US-born Sephardic Jew from a Syrian family. One of my parents is a US-born Christian Arab from a Syrian-Lebenese family. So when I talk about Arab Jew hate, and that's what it is, I talk from first-hand experience. I have seen it in my extended family and in their friends. I have sat in rooms with Arabs as an Arab and seen it. The hatred is the rule, not the exception, and to deny this as you do is to deny reality.

      What you do when you come here and deny reality, deny that BDS works with Hamas, deny Arab Jew hatred, deny that the Palestinians and other Arabs carry any responsibility for initiating the conflict or continuing it, is to tell everybody here that you don't want peace.

      I want peace. I guess that most people here want peace. You, your just another person making sure peace never gets here. What a dull and disingenuous person you and most BDSers are.

    • Anonymous May 23, 2012 at 4:50 am #

      I think Anonymous really can't answer what is in the last couple responses. His whole narrative depends on trying to white-out so much of the history's most critical parts.

      See if we get anything but loudly chirping crickets now….

  12. Ben May 20, 2012 at 10:24 pm #

    “Never went through my mind.”
    No further comment necessary.

  13. uncle yo-yo May 21, 2012 at 2:33 pm #

    Anonymous. Please be aware that you lost every single person in this audience when you said you support the right of return, which means the destruction of the State of Israel.

    Please be aware that you lose every person in the middle when you support the right of return.

    Please be aware that you perpetuate the conflict and prevent any resolution of the I/P conflict by supporting the right of return (which is OK by you since you pay no price).

    Please be aware that I fully support the BDS movement and you, since you and the BDS movement are probably the best thing to ever happen to Israel. So thank you for making Israel stronger every day.

    • Anonymous May 21, 2012 at 3:48 pm #

      “Right of return” needs to be appropriately renamed, as it is a propagandistic word trick that exists to hide the bloody purpose. Right to “Jew replacement.” “Right to genocide Jews.” “Right to destroy Israelis.” Something like that.

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