Time on Their Hands

My current semi-hiatus from Divest This blogging (i.e., not a leave of absence, but a temporary lowering of posting frequency during a period when I’ve been involved with a particularly engaging work project) has gotten me thinking about another advantage enjoyed by the BDSers vs. their opponents.

For while I have been expending creative energy in other areas (at the temporary expense of political blogging), those in BDS land have not rested.  Just here in my hometown of Boston, they are busily continuing to torture the local food coop, while also planning a full Fall of protests and “educational” activities designed to turn students attending universities against the Jewish state.

And this does not include their own blogging, Twittering and Facebooking or their own organizational meetings and communications, all designed to push lies across the Commonwealth faster than the truth can get it’s shoes on.

This phenomenon of incessant anti-Israel activity often comes up in conversation with grassroots pro-Israel activists who marvel at the time their opponents seem to have to put into tabling at food coops, writing letters to the editor, or hosting endless propaganda events (films, lectures, etc.) masquerading as human rights and education work.

The conclusion is that the boycotters (unlike their opponents) must not have jobs, given how much time they seem to have on their hands to commit to their “movement.”  But I would guess that the bulk of them are gainfully employed, but have managed to carve out the time they need for politics at the expense of other parts of their lives since (as I’ve also observed), for the fanatic, loss of personal time means nothing. (Or, possibly, political time becomes personal time in communities made up entirely of those sharing the same obsession.)

This fanaticism is just one more advantage the boycotters bring to the fight, along with their willingness to say and do anything (including lie to and manipulate others – including potential allies) to get their way, coupled with an absolute refusal to acknowledge any point of view other than their own.

If you combine this with a simple propaganda message: “Israel Bad! Palestine Innocent! See Pictures!,” you can begin to see why BDS has such staying power, even in the face of endless losses (my favorite being the second rejection by California legislators in the last two months of demands that municipal governments kick out a vendor – Veolia –  in order to acquiesce to the boycotters’ politics).

But the advantages the BDSers hold does point out an obvious question as to why they keep losing, despite their ability to bring such high levels of fanaticism and ruthlessness to any battle.

I have no simple answer to this conundrum, other than to point out that, over time, such fanaticism and ruthlessness is no substitute for reality, honesty and genuine human connection.

In reality, Israel is not the cause of all suffering in the Middle East (or even in the territory it controls), a fact made all the more clear as riots break out across the Middle East, and the corpses of Americans testify to the fiction of an “Arab Spring” that is rapidly turning into a nightmarish winter.

And, in all honesty, propaganda that relies solely on gruesome images and hiding facts people need to know to make a decision regarding who is right and who is wrong in the Middle East will eventually hurt the reputation of those who propagate it, especially once people start doing the last thing the BDSers want them to which is think for themselves.

And, as has been pointed out again and again here on the web site, the more people get burned by BDS (members of the Olympia Food Coop come to mind), the more people at similar institutions come to realize that the boycotters are peddling poison that they want no part of (no matter how many times the Israel haters insist they have no choice in the matter).

I suspect that even when I return to more frequent blogging and other political activity later in the year that I and fellow Israel supporters will still only be able to put a fraction of the time into defending Israel compared to the time the boycotters will dedicate to defaming her.

But time spent can be time wasted.  And given the Israel-dislikers continuing decision to double and triple down on a strategy that’s as big a loser as BDS, we can only hope that this project continues to be a time sink for them, preventing them from doing damage to anyone other than themselves and their cause as history continues to pass them by.

7 thoughts on “Time on Their Hands”

  1. Apparently, Philly BDS (whose latest, greatest coup was getting the Delaware County PA Green Party to sign on to their 'cause' earlier this year — and watch out, they've gotten like 47 votes in suburban Philadelphia over the past decade!) managed to “demand accountability” from some conference in Center City last week, which even I didn't know or hear about (and I have to take the quick El ride on down to Center City from Kensington three or four times a week), but apparently its sponsor had something to do with Israel.

    So they harassed it, of course.

    They are now claiming to have 'won' something at “the world's largest security conference.” It'd be kinda cute, actually, if only it weren't coming from such a bigoted, hate-filled bunch…

  2. I definitely feel that as the Middle East gets more and more chaotic the Palestinian “cause” becomes more and more passe.

    Jon, Matt and I have published a couple of articles that you might find interesting. The first is about a discussion about BDS and the Red Hot Chili Peppers among a group of Lebanese youth:


    And the second is a video we made about boycotters trying to get the University of Michigan student government on their side by lying to them:


  3. But it is also a considerable waste of our time and money as well.

    Park Slope Food Coop spent $35,000 on the meeting for the vote on the BDS referendum, and who knows how much it cost us in good will. Not only that, but hours of our time was put in to defeat their effort, not to mention the hours of professional staff time that was devoted to it.

    It was a well publicized meeting. People who cared about it arranged their schedules, baby-sitters, etc. just to be there. All in all, less than 4% of the Coop membership voted in favor of the referendum. 90% abstained by not showing up.

    It is a colossal waste of Coop resources.


  4. @Stop BDS

    Matt made a special trip there. He lives close to but not in Ann Arbor. All we know about what happened at the meeting is he made his pitch. I requested the minutes from the meeting from the CSG but they haven't gotten back to me. It's likely that nothing happened since but if anyone else is in the Ann Arbor area and would like to keep an eye on it, please do.

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