Happy New Year to all you DivestThis readers out there!
I don’t know if it’s the new blogging platform, or the fact that this site is reaching the 500 post mark, but the depth of conversation over the last several months has really shot up, especially with regard to recent analysis over what makes the BDSers tick.
This is not an idol question, for a secondary goal of this project (behind providing arguments and other resources/antibiotics for the BDS infection itself) has been an attempt to use an analysis of all facets of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions “movement” to understand the contours of a broader phenomena which I will temporarily discuss (for reasons that will eventually become clear) under the generic name “The Big Ugly.”
For just as it is easier to understand certain concrete objects by looking at outsize examples of them (which is why we used to dissect large bullfrogs in high school, rather than tiny newts to understand animal physiology), so too can we see the contours of the multi-faceted “Big Ugly” by spending time (in the case of this blog, close to three years) looking at a BDS version of this Ugly which seems to consist of nothing but extremes.
Another way of grasping what a phenomena is is by ruling out what it is not. And after so many years looking at BDS in action, I think it’s safe to say that we are not looking at a “movement” made up only of hate-filled hypocrites, liars and cranks who are primarily motivated by hatred of a Jewish state (or Jews generally) who hide their real motivation behind a façade of humanitarianism and global citizenship.
Not that people who fit this description cannot be found within the “movement” (including its leadership), but I suspect such people are in the minority. For the behavior of the majority seems to indicate not a secret desire to do evil, but an unbending belief in their own goodness.
Such an observation (presuming it’s correct – since descriptions of other people’s motivations can only ever be speculative) should only give us the coldest of comfort, however. For throughout human history, the majority of horrors have been carried out by those who believe themselves to be unquestionably in the right – to such a degree that arguments – and even objective facts – to the contrary cannot penetrate a hardened shell of self-righteousness.
And it is to the subject of facts and arguments that we will move to next time.