PCUSA Divestment – Follow Up

I was planning to do a final follow up on the goings on at the PCUSA General Assembly last week, which would tie in a couple of more recent events (including the Episcopalians’ recent decision to join the Presbyterians and Methodists in rejecting divestment).

But as luck would have it, a request came in to do a PCUSA follow up piece for Peter Beinart’s Open Zion blog.  This was followed by a response of the “By Losing We Actually Won” variety, written by someone I strongly suspect to be a frequent anonymous commenter who’s been spending time with us lately.  And in response to his response, I just published the piece I would have written here which pretty much surveys the BDS state of the union after their zero-for-three showing with the Mainline Protestant Churches this year.

So those of you who still need their fix of post-GA commentary, I suggest you check out these articles (as well as any comments they generate).

As one last thought, some of you may wonder why I decided to publish something on Peter Beinart’s site, give that I have been quite critical of him in the past.  The short answer is that I’m happy to get the “BDS Loses Again” word out wherever I can.

But in the back of my mind I am hoping that the man behind Open Zion might come to understand that BDS – whether the full-blown variety he’s letting me criticize on his site, or the narrower “just-boycott-the-settlements” type he advocated for on the pages of the New York Times – always requires a community/institution/organization to do the boycotting, divesting or sanctioning.

And whether those boycotts are defined narrowly or broadly, the message the “I-Hate-Israel” crowd will always be crowing is that “The well-respected [fill-in-the-blank] organization agrees with us that Israel is an Apartheid state, alone in the world at deserving economic punishment!” (with that blank filled in by the Presbyterians, Methodists, Hampshire College, City of Somerville and other parties who never asked to become a battlefield in the Middle East conflict).

In a world where some people are more than ready to exploit the best nature of others for political gain, we all need to be extremely careful before providing an opening to people ready to turn places like the Presbyterian Church into a club with which to beat their political adversaries.  And it is this lesson that I hope reaches the right ears as much as my general message about the true nature of BDS.

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8 Responses to PCUSA Divestment – Follow Up

  1. fizziks July 10, 2012 at 7:54 pm #

    “In a world where some people are more than ready to exploit the best nature of others for political gain, we all need to be extremely careful before providing an opening to people…”

    This right here really gets to the heart of the matter. As much as I hate to link to the place I am about to link to, I think it is instructive to look at this diary and the responses to it to see exactly how BDS prays on well-intentioned but not very savvy people:

    The people responding there are underinformed and a mix of political Liberals and Ron Paul acolytes, and they have been completely suckered in by a movement that doesn't actually represent their professed values at all. It has been accomplished by someone (in this case JVP polemicist David Harris Gershon) who there uses the soothing language of human rights and lies about the explicitly anti-Israel nature of BDS.

    And this is really the crux of the problem. The twin human desires to feel like making a difference while simultaneously being lazy mean that BDS (and other toxic movements) can get a toe-hold in environments such as seen there.

  2. Anonymous July 10, 2012 at 8:28 pm #

    A solid list of BDS victories thus far:


    • fizziks July 10, 2012 at 8:55 pm #

      Here's my question: why is it always links to Mondoweiss aka Mondofront? You'd think that if BDS was such a juggernaut racking up victories, it would be covered by more than one website ever.

  3. Jon July 10, 2012 at 8:42 pm #

    I'm going to be tied up for the next few hours, so between now and then can you double check and let me know how many of the “victories” on that list are not just more of the fakes, trivialities or non-events I described in the series that began here:



  4. Stop BDS Park Slope July 10, 2012 at 9:41 pm #

    Well said and well done, Jon

  5. JayinPhiladelphia July 11, 2012 at 8:55 am #

    Re: the pic in Alex Kane's article –

    “Child members of The Mini Palestinian Parliament burn toy bulldozers as a symbol of the Bulldozers made by Caterpillar”

    Yeah, it's probably not the best idea to have children rallying around burning plastic fumes…

    • DrMike July 11, 2012 at 3:08 pm #

      Quite true Jay; then again it's also not a good idea to raise your children with the career goal of becoming a suicide bomber. Though that does make the exposure to long-term carcinogens somewhat moot.

  6. Anonymous July 12, 2012 at 11:29 pm #

    Jon testified in this case…Thanks for your generous donation to the movement.

    Judge Awards $160,000, Plus Attorneys’ Fees (to Olympia Food Co-op)


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