The Presbyterians Await

There comes a time when an institution’s continued flirtation with BDS says nothing about the Middle East and nothing about the BDS “movement,” but instead reveals the ugly underside of the institution itself.

And I’m afraid we may be reaching that sad end as the US Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) readies to meet in Pittsburgh next week to vote (for the fifth time) on whether to divest from its portfolio stocks related to companies doing business with the Jewish state.

My friend Will Spotts has started to blog on the subject here and, as usual, he provides the best material for understanding the complexity of Presbyterian politics (which involves numerous committees and subcommittees where the real decision-making takes place).  And an informational web site Will and I put together in 2010 (which includes Will’s masterful Pride and Prejudice) can still be found here for anyone looking for comprehensive background information on this particular element of the BDS story.

Getting back to my original assertion, when the Presbyterians passed a resolution in 2004 calling for “phased, selective divestment” from companies doing business with Israel, one could make the case that this represented a statement on the Middle East conflict by the church, one that placed primary responsibility for the conflict on just one party (the one targeted for economic punishment: Israel).

But once that vote was taken, it turned out that divestment decisions were actually made by a small group within the church consisting of anti-Israel activists in partnership with church leaders who passed their 2004 divestment resolution with very little input (or awareness) by other church members (even delegates attending the 2004 General Assembly).  In fact, even those who voted for the resolution felt it was no big deal (given that the church routinely passes condemnation of Israel at their bi-annual conferences).

But once the vote was taken, it turned out to have been a big deal indeed.  For the BDSers, this was their biggest win to date.  And regardless of how the resolution was sold when PCUSA delegates voted on it, for the boycotters the message they were delivering across the planet was crystal clear: The Presbyterians agree with us that Israel is an Apartheid State, and every other church, city, school and civic institution in the world should follow the Presbyterians’ lead and also divest from “Apartheid Israel.”

The Jewish community also realized that this was not some meaningless symbolic gesture but a clear official statement by the church that not only placed blame on Israel alone, but made it clear they were only interested in discussing the nature and terms of her punishment.  Needless to say, this message was not taken lightly and Jewish leaders let their Presbyterians friends (including former partners in campaigns such as civil rights) know that the partnership had to include not slapping the Jewish community in the face by allowing the church to be the anchor client for the BDS “movement.”

But the most important constituency appalled by this vote were the common Presbyterians in the pews who revolted at the notion of their church taking such a revolting stand, members who rebelled in 2006 by voting down the 2004 divestment resolution by a margin of 95%-5%.

Now one would have thought that the mile the BDSers took with the supposedly inch-long original 2004 divestment decision, coupled with the clear message that the embrace of BDS was anathema to both Jews and many PCUSA members, would have led to a pause and some reflection regarding the church’s relationship with this issue.  But following a pattern we’ve seen before, the boycotters just treated their 2006 defeat as a speed bump, returning in 2008 and 2010 with more and more anti-Israel resolutions, assuming that they could eventually get the church to vote the “right way” as they did in ’04.

Again and again, the Jewish community and large numbers of Presbyterians expressed their extreme displeasure at these endless anti-Israel moves.  But such opinions held no sway among BDS activists and their enablers within the church leadership that spend the years between General Assemblies (which are held on every even-numbered year) infiltrating any committee or sub-committee designed to provide balance on the issue of church statements and actions regarding the Middle East, ensuring that each new committee would be more one-sided than the last.

Divestment lost in both those years as well, and one would have thought that a project that caused this much anger and this much divisiveness within the church would have moved someone to finally look at whether or not the church belonged in the divestment business.  But, in fact, something far more appalling has taken place instead.

For rather than looking at the last eight years as a period screaming out for reflection and moderation, the BDSers and their enablers instead have chosen to pretend that none of these “No” votes really ever said “No.” Instead they have invented a storyline in which a process they initiated in 2004 has been running its course, presenting 2012 as the year when the church must finally act, given that other avenues (such as economic engagement and dialog) have been exhausted (regardless of the fact that engagement and dialog are the very things BDS is designed to prevent).

We’ll take a look at how this dynamic came to be, and what it has done to turn a church that was once a cornerstone of American society into a splintered institution that is no longer trusted by former friends or its own members, one which is on the verge of never being taken seriously again as a moral voice on any political issue whatsoever.

It’s a sad story, but an important one for other organizations to learn so that they can avoid the fate that seems to be awaiting a Presbyterian Church on the verge of becoming the US chapter of the boycott, divestment and sanctions “movement” (which occasionally finds the time to do a little Presbyterianism on the side).

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31 Responses to The Presbyterians Await

  1. wspotts June 19, 2012 at 2:13 pm #

    Jon – Thank you for covering this.

  2. Stop BDS Park Slope June 20, 2012 at 1:45 am #

    Jon –

    Are you saying you think resolutions are going to pass?

    I just took a quick look at the sites you mentioned.

    Are there also resolutions to condemn Egypt for its treatment of the Copts and to condemn Iran for its treatment of Youcef Nadarkhani? Not to mention Iranian death sentences. How about Nigeria and Boko Haram?

    Nycerbarb

    • Anonymous June 20, 2012 at 5:29 pm #

      So does that mean you agree that Israel is the moral equivalent to other condemnable countries like Egypt, Iran, and Nigeria? That seems to be your point of comparison.

    • DrMike June 20, 2012 at 6:06 pm #

      no, it's an illustration of the warped priorities of such groups that they cannot even muster a condemnation of such countries but seek to demonize Israel.
      Israel, like all other countries in the world, is imperfect in its policies and its actions. When an organization such as the US State Department presents information on all countries in the world and their human rights policies, Israel is one of many countries assessed on a level playing field. When the BDSers hijack civic or religious groups so that the ONLY country criticized is Israel, while suppression of human rights (not to mention outright slaughter) occurs on a massive scale elsewhere, that demonstrates a malignant focus on Israel.

    • Anonymous June 20, 2012 at 8:42 pm #

      Perhaps some Western civil and religious organizations devote more attention to human rights abuses in Israel (as opposed to violations in countries like Iran and Syria) because they feel that their governments are directly complicit in and responsible for Israel's illegal policies.

      Over the past few decades, we have showered Israel with far more aid than we have any other country and the cycle continues unabated even with a “progressive” in the White House. The US also routinely shares its most prized military technology with Israel (a foreign country) with the understanding that that technology will then be used against the Palestinians. The US refuses to with-hold or even reduce aid despite the Obama administration's stated aversion to the occupation and settlement expansion.

      So yes, I can understand why certain American institutions choose to focus on the question of Israel more in depth. We as Americans aren't just morally culpable for Israel's actions, but we're also devoting significant government resources in the forms of economic aid and military technology – money that could be put to good use domestically but isn't. Moreover, we're severely exacerbating our global reputation by routinely preventing UN action against Israel and I'd argue that we're creating anti-American sentiment and fostering terrorism in the process.

      Every decision the US makes with respect to Israel affects every American. The same can't be said for America's relationships with Egypt, Syria, Nigeria, etc. I'd expect and hope for Americans to express more outrage over Israel than I would for virtually any other country for the same reason that I'd expect Americans to care more about tax rates in the US as opposed to tax rates in Thailand – because the former directly affects all of us.

    • Stop BDS Park Slope June 20, 2012 at 10:37 pm #

      Well then, wouldn't you expect Americans to be more concerned about the kleptocrat leaders that maintain and finance a state of war with Israel, necessitating all that aid?

      Also, the aid is quite a bargain for the return is 10-fold in products. We don't get nearly that from Egypt and the aid is commensurate.

      By the same logic, shouldn't Americans be concerned about the massive aid given to the Palestinian Authority? The PA commits human rights violations of its own population, has a high rate of capital punishment, carries out extra-judicial murders, protects rape and honor killings, promotes and glorifies terrorism, pollutes, fails to develop its water resources, is corrupt, etc.

      Or are you one of those who uses the conflict with Israel to draw attention away from the abuses of the Arab leadership against its own people?

    • Anonymous June 21, 2012 at 12:01 am #

      According to foreignassistance.gov, last year we gave $3.1 billion to Israel, $1.5 billion to Egypt (is that commensurate?), and a measly $440 million to the Palestinian territories. I don't believe that those numbers account for the expensive military technology we provide Israel so the true total for Israel is probably much higher. It's also funny that you should bring up Egypt because historically the US has given very high levels of aid to tyrannical Egyptian leaders like Mubarak to buy peace with Israel – so there's your kleptocratic leadership, though probably not what you were expecting.

      The aid is hardly a bargain. Israel may have a productive economy, but it's still a very small one. Our unconditional and unbreakable bond with Israel has put us at odds with the Arab world, and is inarguably one of the reasons behind many of our gravest national security threats. In fact, Osama Bin Laden said himself on numerous occasions that the US's relationship with Israel was one of his primary personal motives for orchestrating the World Trade Center attacks.

    • DrMike June 21, 2012 at 1:04 am #

      Bin Laden only started noting that long after the attacks themselves; his first statements never mentioned Israel. But of course as someone who followed American events, OBL was savvy enough to be aware that mentioning Israel would be a huge gift for the Israel-haters. Of course, most Americans recognize that anyone who was also a target of Islamist terror should indeed be our ally.

      Compared to the $2.0 billion yearly military aid to Israel, the U.S. contributes more than $130 billion(!) every year to the defense of Europe and more than $30 billion to the defense of Japan, Korea, and the Far East. Over 300,000 U.S. troops are stationed with NATO and over 30,000 U.S. troops in the Far East. In contrast, not one single U.S. soldier needs to be stationed and put at risk in Israel. U.S. military analysts estimate that the U.S. would have to spend the equivalent of $150 billion a year in the Middle East to maintain a force equivalent to Israel’s.

    • Anonymous June 21, 2012 at 1:42 am #

      Thank you for your reply, Dr. Mike. You could have just given me the link for the article from which you plagiarized, but I guess you were embarrassed that my figures are coming from a US government website while your figures are coming from a paid ad by F.L.A.M.E., an extremist Islamophobic Zionist organization that outwardly rejects the two state solution.

      Now on to your “substantive” arguments:

      1) Al-Qaeda and Bin Laden spoke out against the US's relationship with Israel long before 9/11 – even before the first WTC attack in 1993. Hardly anyone disputes that Israel has fostered anti-American sentiment in the Middle East.

      2) It's not that US troops are stationed “with” NATO. US troops help comprise NATO. We are part of NATO. Our national security directly benefits from our membership in NATO.

      3) We wouldn't have to maintain any force at all in the Middle East if we were to take an amicable and fair approach towards the Arab world. This is the goal, right? We can begin by resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict in the fairest way possible and by making sure that we're not led into debacles like the Iraq War ever again.

      P.S. For those who are interested in citations (I am!), here's the one Dr. Mike (do you really have a PhD?) missed: http://www.factsandlogic.org/pdf/ad_02c.pdf

    • Jon June 21, 2012 at 11:57 am #

      Our latest anonymous visitor is trying to deal with the challenge I talked about here (http://www.divestthis.com/2009/10/bds-double-standard.html), namely how to justify the fact that BDS, which claims to represent a human rights movement, saves its righteous indignation and political activity for just one nation (Israel), even in the face of countless other human rights violations (many made by nations in full alignment with the BDS agenda).

      His “does that mean you agree that Israel is the moral equivalent to other condemnable countries like Egypt, Iran, and Nigeria?” challenge is really asking whether we think that Israel should be judged by the same human rights yardstick as not just these three nations, but the countless others whose human rights violations dwarves Israel (including every other Middle East government, including the PA and Hamas).

      Clearly, the author of this comment does not agree that they should be judged in the same way (which is why he is asking us whether we agree with what he clearly sees as a contemptible position). But using different standards to judge different states requires a premise to his argument that he dares not articulate, namely that since Israel is so obviously morally superior to each and every state anyone could name when asking why the BDSers don’t target other countries, that even asking us to make a comparison is grossly unfair.

      Since the premise behind is question is really a back-handed compliment to the Jewish state, I’m tempted to accept the praise (or throw it back to him in a sentence such as “Does that mean you feel that Israel is so morally superior to any state we might compare it with that performing such a comparison is unfair?”).

      But the subject of this discussion is not one state vs. another but why institutions such as the PCUSA are so invested in this kind of double standard. In truth, it’s perfectly fair for our anonymous BDSers (indeed, any BDSer) to embrace such a double standard since they are single-issue partisans who have no obligation to care about the human rights of anyone beyond those they choose to support.

      The trouble comes in when BDS organizations try to pretend to stand for more than this, or try to get institutions (like the church) that do stand for more than this try to justify their double standard without explaining that such a double standard exists.

    • Jon June 21, 2012 at 11:58 am #

      The “we are justified in condemning only Israel while 7000 people are butchered in Syria because Israel is a US ally” argument is also familiar to anyone who has encountered the BDS double standard on a regular basis. But one needs only look at the very example our anonymous poster puts forward (Egypt) to demonstrate the hollowness of this explanation as to why BDSers continue to fight only against Israel while merely shrugging in the face of far greater human rights abusers elsewhere (including many BDS supporting nations).

      For Egypt – by treaty – received two dollars in US aid for every three received by Israel for not just years but decades. And during that entire period (and certainly during the bulk of the BDS decade) this US aid did not earn Egypt two-thirds or one-third or even one-tenth the criticism directed at the Jewish state. In fact, it was only after the fall of Mubarak that the BDSers managed to find their voice and say much of anything regarding Egyptian human rights abuses that they were silent about beforehand (despite claiming that support by the US is the reason behind they fight some human rights battles and not others).

      Again, if the BDSers would simply state the obvious: that they are single-issue partisans dedicated to seeing their side win and the other side lose, there would be no need to debate (or even discuss) double standards since by their very nature, a single-issue partisan group is openly biased towards one point of view.

      The problem comes in when the boycotters try to pretend that they are actually human rights activists whose concerns for humanity should give their condemnations of Israel moral weight. In those cases, the whole “we concentrate on human rights abuses for which we as Americans are complicit” argument is exposed for what it is: a transparent attempt to justify their unjustifiable double standard.

    • Anonymous June 21, 2012 at 4:10 pm #

      You dodged every single one of my arguments only to continue repeating the same “double standard” nonsense as if it were at all convincing. You can't tell me why I as a taxpaying American should feel comfortable sending my money overseas to be used to fund a military occupation. You can't tell me why it's a “double standard” to protest the use of government funding when it comes to Israel, but it's my “civic duty” and one of the core values of democracy to speak my mind when it comes to government funding of healthcare, education, and infrastructure. You can't tell me why I should compromise my own safety, and the safety of my friends and family, so that Israel can continue its current policies unscathed. Instead, you like to portray Israel as a country detached from us in the US, as if we suffer no consequences for Israel's actions.

    • Jon June 22, 2012 at 11:13 am #

      How can anyone “dodge” your arguments when you have not actually made any vs. just voicing a set of opinions?

      You clearly feel that your tax dollars should not go to Israel for a variety of reasons, and that opinion is no more or less valid than the opinion of another American pulled off the street angry that his tax dollar is used to pay for military hardware, welfare or foreign aid to any country at all. And because you (like they) are fully entitled to your opinions, I have chosen to focus on information others can use to determine whether those opinions should be taken seriously.

      For example, if you feel that a dollar of tax money given to Israel means the US health care system can’t pay for that extra aspirin, then the $50 the US spends to defend other allies should appall you since this $50 in spending means that much less for your mother’s hip replacement. But if that $50 not available for that hip replacement doesn’t bother you, then the issue is NOT money spent on defending other countries vs. health care, but your dislike of Israel and defense vs. healthcare spending has nothing to do with it.

      Similarly, if you feel that three dollars spent on Israel means we are complicit in any alleged human rights abuses committed by that country, but the two dollars spent on Egypt elicits no response on the human rights front from you and other BDSers (until it became expedient for your anti-Israel agenda to trash Egypt last year), then the issue is NOT human rights, but simply your dislike of Israel.

      Finally, if you feel that the US should not spend money in a way that makes your life riskier as an American, then any amount we have donated to the Palestinians over the years (which has also added up to billions) should concern you since that money seems to have gone to one of the few societies in the world that danced in the streets when the Twin Towers went down, killing 3000 of your fellow countrymen. So again, your feigned concern over the risks your fellow Americans face abroad seems to be just another cover for your dislike of Israel.

      Pointing out the unquestionable double standards of you and similar BDS supporters is not meant to deny you your right to an opinion. It simply puts that opinion in perspective. Again, if BDSers were honest and simply portrayed themselves as the narrow, single-issue partisans that they so clearly are, there would be no need to dissect claims that you are also champions of human rights and concerned Americans. But since you are trying to get others (like the Presbyterian Church) to follow your lead, it is incumbent upon those of us who deal with this issue to point out that you are simply parties to a conflict masquerading as peace activists and concerned Americans.

  3. fizziks June 21, 2012 at 2:45 am #

    I, for one, am happy to be on the OPPOSITE side than Al Qaeda on this issue.

    If they don't like our Israel policy, well tough titties. I hardly think the USA should be basing any of our governmental policy, foreign or domestic, on what murderous, medieval theocratic thugs think.

    • Anonymous June 21, 2012 at 3:07 am #

      That's a great philosophy. Let's completely ignore the rise of anti-Americanism in the Middle East and instead wait to be attacked, suffer grave civilian casualties, and then invade another country and lose even more American lives. That sounds like a much better plan than trying to make amends for our undoubtedly costly historic gaffes in the Middle East and ameliorate our ever-deteriorating reputation overseas, hopefully so as to decrease anti-Americanism and reduce the number of supporters from which al Qaeda draws resources and fighters. After all, we've seen in both Iraq and Afghanistan that direct military intervention only serves to increase the numbers of insurgents, not reduce them.

      The so-called “Israel-firsters” would never consider this alternative though, because it would mean that the US would have to take a more even-handed approach towards Israel and actually pressure it into withdrawing the majority of its illegal settlements and returning to the internationally recognized borders. God forbid.

    • Jon June 21, 2012 at 12:09 pm #

      This kind of seems like international politics 101, but the United States (like any other country) has some clear allies, some clear enemies with many other countries feeling that neutrality allows them to better serve their own national interests.

      The reason the US spends fifty times as much defending its European and Japanese allies than it spends on Israel is the simple fact that it costs much more to directly defend a nation than to provide it the resources it needs to defend itself. And for obvious reasons, it has been in our interest to see that certain countries (notably Germany and Japan) do not develop the capacity to defend themselves independently (and potentially project that power outwards).

      Other countries and organizations (Iran, al Queda) are unquestionably our enemies who base their enmity on a host of reasons you are no doubt aware of since you have managed to fish out the references people like bin Laden have made to one (and only one) of these causes (US support for the Jewish state). And even in the case of Israel, their justification has more to do with what they feel to be religiously sanctioned Medieval Jew hatred than with Palestinian rights.

      There are close to two million Arabs killed in wars in which Israel had no role that fly in the face of your premise that peace would break out if only the US started acting “even handedly” by embracing the positions of Israel’s enemies (many of whom are also the sworn enemies of the US). Rather, I suspect that the rest of the world starting to act more even handedly might be a better first step towards actual peace.

    • Anonymous June 21, 2012 at 4:45 pm #

      There are so many things wrong with these four short paragraphs:

      1) It's not like our allies and our enemies were pre-determined before the start of time itself. We have a hand in either cultivating, maintaining, or destroying our relationships with other countries. For example, our relations with Iran might be so cold because we orchestrated a coup d'etat of the democratically elected government and installed a pro-US Shah who oppressed the country for more than two decades. Just a hunch, though.

      2) You can't compare our relationship with Israel to our relationships with Japan and Europe for two reasons. First, Israel has by far the worst human rights record out of any of the aforementioned entities. Second, Israel is not a strategic asset; rather, it only serves to increase tensions and anti-Americanism in an already volatile region.

      3) I cannot speak for Osama bin Laden. I couldn't tell you whether his aversion to Israel was primarily because of Palestinian rights, deeply engrained anti-Semitism, or a combination of the two. But people like him aren't who I'm worried about. I'm worried about the people who we'd like to think of as moderates but who are swayed in the direction of radicalism by the disastrous cycles of US intervention in the Middle East. Every additional convert poses a risk to all of us as Americans.

      4) Obviously one cannot prevent every war between two external countries. One can try to minimize one's involvement in foreign wars, though. I don't think I blamed Israel for every single war in the Middle East.

    • Anonymous June 21, 2012 at 4:59 pm #

      My mistake. Israel has the worst record in ongoing human rights abuses. Clearly, the overall human rights record of some European countries and Japan is far worse.

    • Rebecca June 22, 2012 at 11:30 am #

      Of the US's current allies, Israel has the worst record in ongoing human rights abuses??? I think even in the Arab world close to Israel this statement can be easily challenged. Two close American allies are Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. Saudi Arabi is guilty of gender apartheid on a grand scale, oppression of its Shiite population, mistreatment of its millions of foreign workers, prohibition of any public worship in the kingdom other than by Muslims, etc. Bahrain crushed its version of the Arab Spring (aided by Saudi Arabia, I might note, with the US turning a blind eye because Bahrain is an important port for the US Navy), and is a Shiite majority state governed by a Sunni minority which ruthlessly suppresses it. Jordan, another American ally, is also a monarchy, not a democracy. To Jordan's credit, they've given most of the Palestinians within its borders citizenship, something which is not true of other Arab states like Saudi Arabia. Do I need to keep going?

  4. fizziks June 21, 2012 at 3:01 am #

    I don't think Dr. Mike ever claimed to be a PhD, Mr, Anonymous, so I don't know where you pulled that out of. I believe he is an M.D.

    But that brings up an interesting observation: What do you think it says, Anonymous, that the people who take a balanced, nuanced view of Israel and the Middle East conflict tend to be well educated professionals (such as Dr. Mike, myself, Jon, etc.), while the BDS conventions and similar fora are stocked with people who basically don't do much else?

    • Anonymous June 21, 2012 at 3:20 am #

      Interesting, indeed. I wonder why the pro-Israel side asserts that college campuses are such a hot-bed for “anti-Israel activities”. Or do anti-Zionist college students not count as educated? Are the BDSers at an Ivy League like UPenn to whom Jon devoted an entirely separate website “people who basically don't do much else”? What about the students at Harvard who organized the conference devoted to discussing the One State solution?

    • fizziks June 21, 2012 at 6:11 am #

      Oh please. The mere act of being enrolled as a college student, or being present on a college campus, or attending an event on a college campus, does not make one well educated. What is it, about 60% or so of Americans begin college now. Finding one's self on a college campus implies exactly nothing about said person's level of education or knowledge.

      I said that people who take a balanced, nuanced view of the ME conflict – such as Myself, Dr. Mike, Jon, and many of the other people who comment here – tend to be well educated professionals. Since that is a world that is obviously foreign to you, let me break it down: 'Well educated professional' doesn't mean being a college student, or someone who got a BA in something at some point. It means advanced degrees, degrees in the STEM fields, careers in the elite professions and research, and so on.

      And while the ranks of pro-Israel and nuanced Middle East observers are chock full with that particular segment of society, BDS and the like are most decidedly not.

    • Anonymous June 21, 2012 at 4:16 pm #

      Well, at least we've established that you really love yourself. But seriously, this conversation is quickly spiraling into absurdity. Hey, I guess I'm not a “well educated professional” (yet). Heck, I can't even drink legally. I will have a degree in the STEM fields though (as if that qualifies anyone's views on Israel-Palestine in any way). But what does it say about your well educated professionals when I can come onto this blog and correct “Stop BDS at Park Slope”'s blatant misunderstanding of basic facts, school Jon on the issue of the Fourth Geneva Convention's implementation (and force him into writing a multi-part blog series to make amends for it), and catch Dr. Mike in the act of plagiarism?

    • fizziks June 21, 2012 at 5:29 pm #

      Referencing facts and figures from another website. no matter how partisan, is now “plagiarism”? Got it.

      With rhetorical skills like this, I don't think there is much chance of you joining the ranks of the well educated professionals, my young friend.

    • Anonymous June 21, 2012 at 5:48 pm #

      What you described may not be plagiarism, but copy-pasting an entire paragraph word for word from another website without surrounding it by quotations or providing a citation is.

    • Jon June 22, 2012 at 11:26 am #

      If anyone seems at risk of snapping their wrist patting themselves on the back, I suspect it’s not one of your respondents.

      I appreciate your trying to extract the last drop out of the fact that I made a careless error a few weeks ago, despite the fact that I did something I’ve never seen any BDSer ever do which is admit to a mistake (and then follow up with thoughts not hastily thrown into a comments section over a busy weekend). Given that we seem to be on the verge of exposing the umpteenth BDS hoax (see most recent entry), I suspect your “movement” would be taken more seriously if it was as ready to own up to its own errors and excesses as readily as it pounces on the mistakes of others.

      Which brings up the interesting question of why if your opinion is so correct and your intellect so great, you did not choose to continue to engage with me when I provided the extended response to the issue you originally brought up (international law) in a series where (unlike where you originally posted your comment) the subject was actually relevant?

      Could we be in the situation I described during my rhetoric series in which a BDSer is ready to pounce on a grammatical error of his opponents (and claim that represents the alpha and omega of the challenges they face), while all the time avoiding answering questions they cannot answer?

      Don’t get me wrong. It’s actually thrilling to have a BDS champion join this discussion who is capable of writing complete sentences, rather than just issue one or two-word grunts (Occupation! Genocide! Illegal! BDS Rocks!). But given your competition, I wouldn’t get too far ahead of yourself. After all, the most well mannered chimpanzee is still at the end of the day a chimpanzee.

  5. Ben June 21, 2012 at 6:20 pm #

    It seems like Stop The Park BDS has his facts correct, Jon has a ratio of hundreds of correct points to a single error (your efforts indicate an inverse rate) and since the FLAME material is accurate it's unclear what citing it as plagiarism is supposed to accomplish(though trying to shoot the messenger in your citation was a nice touch), it's just nice to know you won't let accurate information sway you when the material that fits your predetermined views is available. Stay classy there!

    • Anonymous June 21, 2012 at 6:37 pm #

      a) No. Stop BDS Park Slope said aid to Egypt is commensurate to aid to Israel. It's not. He/she/it also said that the US gives the PA “massive aid”. While I don't know his/her/its definition of “massive”, it's certainly not massive compared to what's given Israel.

      b) Please point out a factual error I have made.

      c) I responded to both the content of the ad as well as the fact that Dr. Mike plagiarized it. I also think that citations are helpful in any online debate as they allow your opponent to check the validity of your sources. That is why I try to provide them when I refer to specific numbers.

    • JayinPhiladelphia June 22, 2012 at 6:26 pm #

      “It”? Seriously? This is why you guys keep failing, and always will. So much hatred, bigotry and anger…

    • Anonymous June 22, 2012 at 10:13 pm #

      Didn't Jon just compare me to a chimpanzee?

    • JayinPhiladelphia June 22, 2012 at 10:28 pm #

      Ah, so you perceived him doing something as giing you free license to dehumanize others here with whom you interact?

      I'm not Jon, in case you didn't notice. You fail, Anon.

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