I’ve been planning to update the site for a few months now, but was delayed due to another project that also kept me from posting that frequently over the Summer and early Fall.
In addition to that project now being finished, the other reason to get this update out the door was the likelihood of an increase in BDS-related activity due to the current crisis.
As I’ve noted several times in the past, today’s BDS “movement” emerged in the wake of the 2009 Gaza war, a war which (like the Lebanon conflict in 2006 and the current Gaza campaign) turned out large numbers of protestors in the streets of various cities who, while silent with regard to the Hamas or Hezbollah attacks that triggered each conflict, managed to find their voices once bullets started going in two directions.
After the ’06 Lebanon protests, these crowds melted away, largely due to the fact that the permanent class of hardcore Israel haters had nothing to give them to do in order to keep them active. Which is why I suspect that BDS was so hastily resurrected after the ’09 Gaza flare up, since (for all its flaws) the BDS tactic is a simple one to implement and allows the boycotters to target virtually any institution (given that the only threshold for “guilt by association” is owning a share of Caterpillar or having Sabra hummus on store shelves).
The Hampshire College divestment story breaking so soon after a cease-fire in Gaza helped establish BDS as a tactic of choice (with organizations pushing BDS coming to the fore amongst multiple competing Israel-disliking orgs). The fact that Hampshire turned out to be a hoax, rather than cause embarrassment amongst the BDSers, instead provided them a template for the multiple divestment hoaxes and frauds that have taken place since.
I bring this up because we have already seen an escalation in calls for student governments to pass divestment resolutions at various colleges, largely as a result of Gaza following on the heels of the latest backroom BDS vote taken at UC Irvine. And, given their history, it would shock me if Israel’s foes didn’t double and triple down on the BDS tactic in the coming weeks and months.
So while other activists will continue to ably fight against Hama’s increasingly flailing propaganda war, those of us who are dedicated to ensuring BDS continue its track record of defeat will be focusing on the home front.
This site update is meant to facilitate better access to relevant information. In addition to putting publications (like the Divest This Guide and Strategy e-book) in one Publications page accessible from anywhere, I’ve also added Category filters and a new Topical Posts section in the sidebar that help solve the biggest problem with a blog structure: the tendency for information posted earlier to get buried in the reverse chronological dogpile that defines blogging.
The site will also better leverage social media services (like Facebook and Twitter) where anti-BDS presence (or, at least Divest This presence) has been lacking, which I hope will provide more conduits for communication for everyone dealing with the various challenges we are likely to face as we look ahead to whatever comes next in the region (as well as the inevitable aftermath).
There’s still some work to do on the site, but that will take a back seat to some thoughts on what the current war might mean and how those that support Israel’s cause can most effectively do so in the days ahead.