Sorry about that… Sacramento

Figures that, just as I chose to get off the grid to commune with nature (and the family) for a few days, some Divest This postings start generating the kind of comments you’d expect from a “real” blog.

It looks like most of the exchanges to the last two pieces have to do with the subject of where pro- vs. anti-Israel politics falls within the whole Left-Right continuum (both in the US and generally).

As I’ve discussed before, there are good reasons to avoid thinking of the Middle East as little more than another talking point in the general Left-Right politics that permeates so much of our political discourse.  But given the passions this subject has generated, I am going to spend the next couple of days catching up on everything that’s been said this week in order to post something that I hope will be relevant over the weekend.  All I ask is that readers avoid adding unnecessarily to my comment-reading task, and wait until this weekend’s posting to give me your further thoughts (or tell me I’m all wet).

In the meantime, time to play catch-up on the Sacramento Sister City controversy that played out last week.

As readers have already told us (and linked to), the city of Sacramento ended up the site of another “sort-of” BDS battle.

I saw “sort of” because this debate was over Sacramento creating a sister-city relationship with the Israeli city of Ashkelon (which I guess fall into the category of “Sanctions,” but just barely).

West Coast BDSers objected to this decision, even though they and representatives of the Jewish community had apparently agreed earlier to not raise a stink over Sacramento’s plans to create sister city relationships with both a city within the Palestinian Authority (Bethlehem) and Israel (Ashkelon).

Par for the course, the local Israel haters gladly pocketed their gain (Bethlehem was made a sister city in 2009), then immediately broke their word to declare a similar relationship with Ashkelon traif, declaring, ironically, that the city – which has been the target of unceasing missile bombardment from Gaza for years – was guilty of being the launching pad for attacks into Gaza.

This story confirms a number of things those of us who have been dealing with BDS for some time have known for years, that:

* Any attempt to reach a compromise with the forces of BDS is doomed to failure since they serve a “higher good” (at least in their own minds) that allows them to (among other things) break their word when necessary

* Any attempt by Israel to defend itself (by, for example, firing back at endless missiles targeting Israeli civilians) is by definition illegitimate to the BDSers

* Any attempt to create or improve ties between people (like Sacramento’s attempt to “repair the world” by extending a hand to the people of both Bethlehem and Ashkelon) is cool for every nation in the world – except the Jewish one.

In my mind, the most important part of this story was the vote itself where the Sacramento city council decided unanimously to confirm their decision to include Ashkelon on their list of sister cities.

Both BDS and Israel supporters showed up in strong numbers, and no doubt the statements made (and countless e-mails sent) by/from each side was heard by the councilors.

But this really did not disrupt them from deciding to move ahead with business as usual, not letting the noise of a manufactured controversy sway them from doing the appropriate thing quickly and efficiently.

Given that the boycotters were similarly brushed off a few weeks ago when they tried to import their pet peeves into another part of the California government, I suspect we might be seeing the beginning of the Hersovite effect I mentioned last posting: a sense those pushing BDS are so extreme, so fanatical and so rude that they can be easily dismissed, no matter how much they jump up and down demanding that they unconditionally be awarded the moral high ground and that everyone must immediately do what they say.

While the recent zero-for-two record with the California government does not an unquestionable trend make, here’s fingers crossed that we may have reached that point where those outside the readership of this blog understand exactly what they’re dealing with when they are forced to deal with the forces of BDS.

4 thoughts on “Sorry about that… Sacramento”

  1. I think that one thing this left/right question really boils down to is when it comes to certain extremists, can one really accurately place them in either camp? People said politics is more circular than linear, and they are right.

    Was Ayn Rand left or right? She was extreme free marketer (right) but also entirely opposed to religion and a militant atheist and a sexual libertine (left). Was Stalin left or right? He was a Communist but also an extreme nationalist and destroyed the environment. What about the Baathist Arab dictators, who support a huge state sector in the economy and secularism to a degree, but also extreme ethnocentrism and misogyny?

    The BDSers and anti-Israel movement generally are a similar case to the above. They are just political extremists, and exist in the space where extremists on the far left and on the far right meet. Hence their 'tent' can include Cynthia McKinney and Alice Waters, as well as Pat Buchannon, Ron Paul, and David Duke. But what their tent does not include is the mainstream left or the mainstream right, both of which they have been, happily, shut out from.

    1. Also let me state that to my mind, the reasons Israel is a rare issue that enjoys bipartisan mainstream support in America are that:

      The mainstream Republican Party is supportive of Israel because of religious reasons, and because they rightly see it is a vital ally and the 'front line' in the struggle against Islamic terrorism.

      The mainstream Democratic Party is supportive of Israel because Jewish Americans have historically been one of the major building blocks of the modern Democratic party.

      And of course, for mainstream elements of both parties, it is natural to support the side of the conflict that generally shares our values.

  2. Very insightful comments fiz… I think you are right on in this. I don't think BDS is a “left or right” issue… I think it is just another in the long series of tactical maneuvers to delegitimize and end the existence of Israel as the National Homeland and State of the Jewish People.

    It really is a place where the David Duke's of the world converge with self-hating Jews (JVP). Needless to say, it's a strange place as well.

  3. Though there were equal numbers of speakers on both sides the pro-Israel members of the audience vastly outnumbered the haters, I'd say by a 4 to 1 ratio. Equally impressive were the diversity of the pro-Israel speakers- Asians, African Americans and yeah, Jews who spoke in support of the resolution.

    I was really impressed by this speaker, a pastor at a local church, who showed a greater comprehension of the situation in the Middle East than either the JVP or the Palestinian speakers.

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