Like many readers of this blog, I ended last year pissed off that BDS seemed to have gotten a shot of adrenalin after a few high-profile stories (Hawking, Berkeley, ASA) gave them the media ink they so desperately crave, PR which ensured they’d be back in full force in 2014 roaring about their impending triumph and demanding every progressive organization in the land bow down to their one-dimensional agenda.
A decade’s experience told me that the chances Israel, a nation which had successful fought off tanks, planes, missiles and dynamite belts for seventy years, was about to feel imperiled by some toothless student council resolution or an unheard of academic organization’s posing was zero. But the chances that other civic organizations were about to go through what I had to endure when BDS knocked on my door (or, more accurately, tried to sneak in through the window) in Somerville was looking to be pretty high.
And so I decided to get back into the game. And much to my delight, during this attempted resurrection of the BDS “movement,” I had to get into line behind all kinds of others eager to give the boycotters the quick kick in the butt they deserved.
Apparently (and despite BDS boasts of invincibility), others were learning what I discovered years ago: that BDS is easy to defeat, as long as you make the effort to do something, rather than just kvetch. For example, the superlative Aussie blog Israellycool not only got a local music company to reverse its policy of discrimination against the you-know-whos, but actually managed to educate them on the true nature of the movement they thought they were supporting in good faith.
I’ve already mentioned how bloggers like Elder of Ziyyon succeeded in raising the profile of an embarrassing program the incoming head of ASA wanted to keep secret. And speaking of ASA, where would any of us be without Legal Insurrection’s leadership and readiness to ask tough questions and publish the answers (or lack thereof)?
Even the mainstream Jewish community, which is often criticized by more direct-action activists for a refusal to draw red lines, has not broken ranks on a decision that – no matter how much they scream and shout – the BDSers will have to do so outside of the “Big Tent.”
In addition to clarifying that boycotts and divestment represent an attack on the Jewish community as a whole, this consensus supports those energetic and entrepreneurial pro-Israel groups who have been doing so much of the ground-game: supporting students fighting divestment resolutions on college campuses (including UC Riverside and UCLA – two more BDS losses), providing prophylactic arguments to prevent the BDS virus from spreading beyond fast-marginalizing organizations like ASA, and generally treating BDS as a problem to be solved (and ass to be kicked), rather than some kind of existentialist crisis.
And speaking of entrepreneurial groups, I just got word that StandWithUs (one of my favorites) is running a series of March conference calls on the topic moderated by Dr. Mike, a frequent Divest This visitor (and recent dinner companion – along with the rest of the Pro Israel Bay Bloggers). I’ll let Barbara from StopBDS at Park Slope provide you the details (giving her something to do, now that she actually did Stop BDS at Park Slope).
Bottom line: While we’re likely to see more ups and downs over the coming months, the number of both is directly proportional to the number of people who join the fight. So if you want to see more of this, and less of this, get ready to make your own contribution towards turning 2014 into the biggest #BDSFail year yet.