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Rolling Stones BDS Bust

11 Jun

Rolling Stones

The other big BDS news story that broke while I was riffing on Rules for Radicals was the Rolling Stones flipping Roger Waters the bird (figuratively, anyway) as they played to a packed 50,000 person stadium in the Zionist Entity, providing one of the best examples yet of the kind of fun (enjoyed by Jews and Arabs alike) that the Squaresville killjoys of BDSland would like to make history.

By now you know the drill:

  1. A big name band puts Israel on its tour schedule
  2. The boycott brigade bombards the band’s web sites with sorrowful appeals to not play “Sun City” (assuming everyone will automatically accept their Israel = Apartheid South Africa comparison, just because they refuse to respond to anyone pointing out it’s a propaganda lie)
  3. The band in question sends the BDSers some friendly (“our music promotes peace”) message or simply tells those harassing them to piss off
  4. Said band comes to Israel where both they and their fans have a grand time
  5. The boycotters either ignore what just happened (while insisting that we accept some obscure Icelandic  mariachi band’s giving into their bullying as a sign of immanent Israeli collapse), or accuse the rockers they were recently showering with praise of being nothing but a bunch of immoral slime-balls only playing Israel for the shekels

Now I’m all in favor of the kind of fun an event like the Stones concert brings to tens of thousands, and in no way want to diminish the kind of knock-on effect (as in the photo above) that arises when groups like the Stones say Yes to Israel and No to BDS.  But I’m also going to stick to my guns regarding how much (or little) concern I have for celebrity opinion on the great issues of the day.

As you can read here, here and here, BDS has a strange symbiosis with celebrity, given the shot in the arm they receive PR-wise when this or that artist decides to succumb to their lies and moral blackmail and declare themselves a boycotter of the Jewish state (even if they never had any plans or intentions of visiting in the first place).

But even with the Stones tour demonstrating that looking to music and film stars to spread your message is a double-edged sword (with #BDSFail lighting up the Internet during the band’s visit to Israel), my preference is still to say thank you to folks like Jagger for not falling for the BDSers lies, for showing their Israeli fans a good time, and for enjoying themselves in ways that are only possible when you visit the real Israel (vs. the nightmare hell-hole of the boycotter’s fantasies) – so long as I’m not asked to take their political pronouncements any more (or less) seriously than I would those of my pharmacist.

In fact, the only reason such visits have become political events in the first place is because the BDS “movement” has insisted on it.  Had they just kept their mouths shut, visits by The Rolling Stones, Elton John, Paul McCartney and hundreds of other artists would be treated as what they are: decisions by talented men and women to perform for fans around the world, including fans in nations where debates and even conflict might be part of the political landscape.

But just as every global conflict in the world (save Israel) is not being dragged into student governments for a vote, rock-and-rollers playing any political hot spot (again, save Israel) does not trigger global harassment campaigns like the ones we’ve seen play out again and again whenever the Jewish state is chosen as a concert site.

In other words, the Stones (and all the rest) have become political events for one reason and one reason only: the boycotters demanded that this be so.  And if even Keith Richards can notice that Israel bears no resemblance to the dystopia described by the BDSers in their endless Facebook comment spam, think about how clear this message comes through to those who haven’t put their brain and body through a half century of sex, drugs and rock & roll.

Modern Language Association Israel Vote – No, Non, Nyet

10 Jun

First off, apologies for yesterday’s outage.  Apparently, an over-eager shoe and pants salesman tried to sell their wares in the site’s comment section to the tune of tens of thousands of messages, all of which were snagged by an alert spam blocker.  But an equally alert web host decided to shut things down to give me time to see what the hell was going on.

Anyway, all is well although I added a new Captcha facility to the commenting section that should prevent non-humans from spamming the site again.  And, in hope that this will be enough to keep away the robots, I also put the name and e-mail requirement for commenters on hold in hope we can attract a few of those Anonymous critics who have kind of made themselves scarce since Divest This was updated a while back.  We’ll see how it goes and I’ll keep you posted on any other comment-related policy changes.

Back to business, during last week’s Alinsky-fest, I wasn’t able to keep up with some of the latest BDS news which I’d like to cover between now and when the Presbyterians gather in Detroit at the end of the week.

Topping off the list was the failure of BDS advocates to get the Modern Language Association (MLA) to condemn the Jewish state over Israel’s “crime” of failing to get BDS advocates to stop spamming civic organizations in order to try to speak in other people’s names.

Even if you’re not familiar with how things worked out at the Modern Language Association Israel debate this year, the details will sound all-to-familiar to long-time BDSwatchers.

As usual, the 30,000 person academic organization took up the issue because a noisy minority within their ranks insisted that they do so back in January.  And, following a playbook written by other BDSers posing as academics who lead the American Studies Association, the boycotters within MLA ranks decided to hold a panel discussion on a resolution to criticize Israel for this or that imagined crime that consisted solely of proponents for the measure.

While Israel-dislikers (including the decidedly non-MLA members like Omar Barghouti) were given all the seats on this panel, critics of the proposal – deciding to do more than accept scraps from the table (i.e., sitting in the audience while their opponents controlled all the microphones) – held their own “unofficial” panel after MLA leaders refused to allow their voices to be included in any official program.  And once a watered-down version of the measure was sent to members (after a disgraceful and embarrassing committee vote described here), critics of the vote organized their own communication system to provide members factual rebuttals after those same MLA leaders refused to allow any official communication on the matter that didn’t measure up to the “scholarly” standards of Electronic Intifada.

Now the rules for the organization required 10% of the membership to vote “Yes” in order for the condemnation of Israel to become official policy  And when all the votes were tallied, the total  number of “Yes” and “No” votes did not meet this threshold and so the attempted hijacking of MLA failed due to lack of interest.

Needless to say, spin has been in the air since the vote with pro-BDS voices declaring victory since about 500 more people voted “Yes” than “No,” with anti-boycott proponents highlighting the fact that 94% of the organization either said “No” or expressed indifference or hostility to the whole sordid affair by avoiding the vote altogether.

Generally, I’m of a mind to say that a win is a win and a loss is a loss based on the reigning rules of an organization.  So while I might be appalled that only 16% of the membership of ASA can implement a boycott policy for the entire association, I would not claim that such a vote was inherently illegitimate since rules are rules.  Thus, given the 10% threshold MLA required for victory, categorizing last week’s vote as a #BDSFail is equally legitimate.

That said, I’ve always been troubled by votes made up of a majority of a minority on measures that claim to speak on behalf of an organization as a whole.

For example, the ASA boycott was presented to the world as not just the policy of an academic organization voted in by 16% of the membership, but as the “landslide” official position of the American Studies Association taken up in the name of the every ASA member (if not the entire field of American Studies).  But, as we’ve seen since that vote was taken (with not one American Studies department in the country signing on to the policy and many departments – as well as ASA’s largest chapter organizations – vocally opposing it), the policy does not represent the view of a most of the members in whose name the boycott was instituted.

Now we live in an age of representative (vs. Athenian) democracy, so I understand that decisions will invariably be made by less than 100% of citizens/members/participants/voters in most institutions.

I suppose that fail-safes (like the 10% threshold used for the Modern Language Association Israel vote) can prevent minorities from hijacking an organization and forcing it to say things that either a large minority or even a majority find offensive.  But I think the reason we don’t run into ASA/MLA-style problems on each and every controversial issue of the day is that partisan who believe strongly in most political causes understand that they have outlets for their political activism that do not require dragging their professional colleagues (or fellow members of another civic organization such as a food co-op) into a fight that will undoubtedly cause harm to innocents.

But as has been made all too clear over the last decade, the BDSers have no such respect for others, and no concern for groups like MLA and ASA beyond their usefulness (i.e., their serving as mere means to an end) in a propaganda war most people want no part of.

ASA Boycott – Not Defending the Undefendable

7 May

I’ve said my piece (really more than my piece) regarding the academic boycott voted in by the American Studies Association last year.  But now that we’re closing in on the six month mark since a boycott against the Jewish state was made policy by an (admittedly marginal) academic group, it’s worth taking a step back to see what the consequences have been for Israel vs. the ASA.

As far as Israeli academics are concerned, I’m not aware of a single American Studies professor from a single university taking a single step to target an Israeli academic or institution in compliance with the boycott policy.  Perhaps someone can provide us an instance of the boycott actually being enacted, but as far as I can tell the leadership of the ASA has proven itself willing to put its organization, its members and the entire discipline of American Studies at risk for the sake of a policy they do not have the guts to actually implement.

Supporters of the ASA boycott point out that the action was primarily symbolic – a means to demonstrate that the organization (claiming to represent the ideals of academic inquiry and discourse) had become so sickened by Israeli policy that they were willing to use the blunt instrument of a boycott to express their disapproval.  But for this symbolism to hold, it must be demonstrated that the boycott actually represents some kind of consensus within the field, especially for a vote passed by a “majority” of just 16% of the organization’s members.

The best way to demonstrate that a “landslide” of 16% represents membership consensus would be to provide examples  of how the American Studies Association boycott call has been taken up by the academics and academic departments in whose name the ASA claims to speak.

Again, perhaps someone can tell me otherwise but as far as I can tell the boycott has yet to receive backing from a single American Studies department in the country.  Yes, I know that some individual academics support the ASA decision and some departments have defended the organization against attacks (especially legal and legislative ones) made in response to the boycott.  But as far as I can tell, the only responses by American Studies Departments to the boycott itself have involved schools and departments ending their relationship with ASA, or insisting that they no longer be listed (inaccurately) as institutional members (which caused the group to drop mention of institutional membership entirely from the latest edition of their journal).

Not only that, but two of the biggest regional ASA organizations (in California and the Northeast - those two hotbeds of reactionary academia) have specifically disassociated themselves from the boycott policy, essentially telling the national leadership that they want no part of a partisan vendetta that brings nothing to the field except shame.

And speaking of shame, if you consider the academy as a whole (not just the sliver of it that represents the field of American Studies), it looks as though the ASA boycott has cemented a consensus that says boycotts are a threat to the entire academic project.  And given that the moral utility of the boycott rests on the assumption that being condemned by an academic organization makes the target condemnable, the fact that much larger and more broad-based academic groups like AAUP and ACE have roundly lashed out against an academic boycott of Israel means – by the boycotters own standards – it is the ASA that has lost all moral standing.

One final argument that ASA leaders make to justify their decision (which, if history is any guide, they will go to any length to prevent being reversed) is that the boycott was meant to open up dialog on the Middle East (a dialog they claim is lacking and for which they desperately thirst).

Which makes it all the more strange that after a few embarrassing appearances in the media, this same leadership has largely “gone to ground,” avoiding discussing the matter in any forum where they cannot count on being surrounded entirely by partisan supporters.

Professor William Jacobson of Cornell Law School, who runs the web site Legal Insurrection (LI), reported that these same ASA leaders have urged members to not talk to him, which has not prevented LI from breaking most of the major news stories regarding the subject (including decisions by California and New England to defy the national organization’s boycott policy).

But probably the most telling example of how desperately the boycotters don’t want to engage in the conversation they claim to crave was this week’s appearance by Jacobson at Vassar College, a school where 39 professors attacked the college’s President’s when she joined over two-hundred other college and university presidents to condemn the ASA’s action (correctly) as an attack on academic freedom.

Jacobson originally presented his talk as a challenge to any or all of those 39 professors to debate him on the topic of the boycott (or BDS in general).  In other words, this single Cornell professor offered to be the lone voice willing to stand up to as many as 39 other scholars, all of whom back a policy they allegedly (1) believe in deeply; and (2) is meant to foster a conversation on the Middle East.

But given the chance to take to the field and defend their positions (with odds offered of nearly 40:1), every one of these professors declined, leaving Jacobson happily providing a lecture (which was fortunately not interrupted by the usual SJP heckling) to a packed audience.

I suggest you watch the whole thing since Jacobson’s Vassar talk lays bare the breathtaking cowardice and hypocrisy behind every claim made by the BDSers.  Yes, they are more than willing to hijack a membership organization in order to speak in the name of those who have shown no interest in enacting a policy that supposedly represents a moral imperative.  But not only are they unwilling to take any steps that would turn that policy into concrete action, they are also unwilling to step into the ring to defend their indefensible positions, even when given 39 seats to their opponent’s one.

SodaStream Boycott – Losing on Two Sides of the Atlantic

29 Apr

Over the years, I’ve highlighted one of the advantages the BDSers have over their opponent in terms of selecting the field of battle.

This advantage grows out of the fact that, as the propaganda arm of a war movement masquerading as a peace movement, the boycott brigade faces an opponent (us) that does not have equivalent militant goals.  So while they are free to try to push their squalid little boycott and divestment programs anywhere they like and try to stuff their propaganda message (that Israel is an “apartheid state” alone in the world requiring economic punishment) into the mouth of any civic organization they wish, Israel’s friends are neither interested in demonizing Israel’s enemies, nor using innocent third parties as tools to achieve our ends.

One of the fronts they chose this year was a SodaStream boycott (or, more specifically, a boycott of stores selling products made by that Israeli company), and while those of us fighting against boycott and divestment efforts had to wait until the BDSers selected their target, this year’s SodaStream boycott battles demonstrate the variety of tactics available to us as we work to ensure the boycotter’s now decade-plus-long record of failure.

By now, I suspect most Divest This readers have heard of Sussex Friends of Israel (SFI), a UK group that has used a variety of imaginative and creative tactics to rock the boat of Israel haters who had targeted an eccostream store in Brighton (eccostream being a subsiderary of SodaStream) for ongoing protests.

As this article points out, Brighton (a Southern English Coastal town where active BDS groups have routinely staged protests) might seem a strange place for Israel’s defenders to so successfully take a stand.  The area has a reasonably sized Jewish community, but one mostly made up of retirees.  And, as in much of Europe, British Jews have tended to avoid confrontational politics which gives the more militant BDS groups the ability to act as they please.

But as in so many cases (including my own), over-reach by the Israel haters created an enemy willing to put the time and effort into transforming the field of battle.

In this case, local Jews and non-Jews appalled by what they saw in Brighton created founded SFI which managed to turn the situation around in Brighton by meeting the BDSers vulgarity and ugliness with warmth, humor and baked goods.  At weekly demonstrations where the Israel dis-likers used to gather to spout lies and vent their rage, they have been met with crowds of Israel supporters playing music, serving food, and spouting the truth wrapped in a blanket of good cheer.

While I routinely hear complaints that Israel’s supporters rely too heavily on “feel good” programming that does not sufficiently attack the nation’s foes, SFI’s tactics represent a new type of tactic that I would call “militant cheerfulness.”  For whether it’s serving up pastry under the banner of “They Tell Lies, We Serve Pies” (a slogan that, while not Chaucer, does the rhetorical job of characterizing the two sides), or meeting the tired BDS chants with blues music and duck calls, there is no question which side is winning the battle, a victory that is demonstrating not just to Brightonians but to people around the world the emptiness behind BDS slogans and posing.

Did I say duck calls?  Actually, that’s one of my favorite aspects of their campaign.  For, under the rubric of “If it quacks like a duck” (i.e., behaves like an anti-Semite), the SFI group has armed its members with little quackers that they break out whenever the boycotters try to spout their nonsense.  And to get a sense of how much this barrage of caustic mischief rankles their opponents, one need only look at this video where duck calling reduced one member of the BDS group to impotent rage (followed by his arrest).

While I’d love to see SFI’s duck strategy adopted more on this side of the Atlantic, there are also times when a quieter approach is the right choice.  Earlier this year, for example, some of us learned that a local store was being targeted by BDS activists for a SodaStream boycott protest.  But, rather than organize our own counter-protest (which many local activists have done successfully in the past), some of us instead reached out to the store to see what their concerns were.  And one of the things they made clear was that they did not want to see an ugly confrontation break out in front of their shop.

Out of respect for their wishes (which extends to respecting that desire enough to not mention who I’m talking about in this piece), the Jewish community instead organized a Buy Israeli Goods (BIG)/Buycott-style counter-offensive which continues well after the boycotters folded their bloody banners and went home.  And given that the only people who can decide what to shelve or de-shelve are those running the store, it’s likely that people who respect their wishes vs. harassing their customers will leave a better impression of whom to trust.

Now if you define victory as accomplishing your goals, these quiet tactics were selected as the ones most likely to achieve the goal of handing the BDSers another defeat.  But, as this SodaStream boycott -related piece points out, these definition of victory and defeat only apply to people living in the actual world, not the fantasy world in which the boycotters dwell.

For such fantasists, the very fact that they all got together in front of someone else’s store to stage a noisy protest for a couple of hours represents all they were ever after.  Like the SJPers who force all-nighters onto student councils so they can spew their propaganda for hours on end, participation in such hate rallies is the goal and the only thing the BDS cru truly care about – damn the lies they have to tell to get what they want, damn the people that might get hurt as they subvert this or that civic group, and damn the people they claim to be fighting for including (or should I say “especially”) the Palestinians they are ready to see continue to suffer and die just so they can feel good about themselves.

Holiday Celebrations

11 Apr

Well the holidays are upon us, so time to take a look at some inspiring events from the various war zones the BDSers chose to open up over the last few weeks.

Starting off with an event that put all the boycotter’s loathsome tactics and abhorrent behavior on display, a divestment resolution suddenly appeared on the agenda of the Student Assembly at Cornell last Tuesday, which meant a vote on the matter would take place over the coming week.  Actually, the original agenda made no mention of the measure – consisting of standard SJP boilerplate – but a re-send later in the day added it to the bottom of a long list of items.

Coincidentally (NOT!), discussion and voting on this measure would have taken place over a period when (quelle coincidence!) many Jews would be heading home (or would already at home) for Passover.

Thankfully, students at Cornell were able to organize a response rapidly enough to get the whole sordid thing tabled indefinitely yesterday afternoon (effectively killing the measure).

I’ll let this video from the vote (which ended with the usual BDSer tantrum) tell the tale:

Yes, once again, screaming at everyone who doesn’t do what you say is standard operating procedure for the current generation of Israel haters.

Actually, it’s also the tactic of choice for the last generation, as displayed by this articulate British fellow peeved over the fact that his group’s ongoing picketing of an Ecostream store in the UK (which sells evil Sodastream dispensers) has been met by effective, good-humored and hugely successful counter-protests by Sussex Friends of Israel:

And moving back one generation further, 85-year-old Saul Zabar dealt with the you-know-what-holes asking him why he wasn’t taking their phone calls by telling them point-blank “I didn’t think you were worth it.”  (Truer words were never spoken.)

But for better or worse, it is still worth it for some of us to continue working towards the continued defeat of BDS, the weakest link in the entire chain of anti-Israel propaganda that goes under the label of “de-legitimization.”

And in that spirit (as well as the spirit of adding bitter herbs to an otherwise sweet upcoming holiday), it’s also worth noting some not-so-good news coming from a place I haven’t revisited yet this year: Olympia Washington where local activists who lost a lawsuit against the local food coop for their anti-Israel boycott recently had their appeal of that original court decision rejected.

Now if I were a BDSer, I would simply ignore that story (as they have ignored the fact that every other food coop in the country have used Olympia as an example of what NOT to do) or come up with some cockamamie way to translate that defeat into a disguised victory.  But one of the reasons the boycotters lose so often is the fact that they spend far too much time in their own virtual reality vs. the real one.

Personally, I prefer learning from experiences (good or ill).  And, in the case of Olympia (vs. stories coming out of Dartmouth, Sussex and Zabars) the lesson seems to reinforce what I’ve said in the past regarding the preferability of political vs. legal responses to BDS.  For, more often than not, whenever we engage with Israel’s opponents at the political level we tend to win.  But whenever a BDS-related case has gone to court, the people bringing the suit (usually the BDSers, BTW) have always lost.

This may sound like odd commentary, given that I provided expert testimony in the Olympia case.  But that contribution was motivated by the fact that I never say no to anyone asking for help in their BDS fights.  And for those who aren’t asking for such help right this moment, I’m going to give you some advice anyway:  put your energy into coming up with imaginative tactics based on a sound strategy articulated in skillful language and you too will probably have the pleasure of seeing the boycotters bellowing and blubbering in impotent rage, rather than celebrating and gloating at your expense.

BDS and Thuggery

3 Apr

I don’t think I’m alone in being appalled by the degree to which nasty behavior – up to and including intimidation and violence – has gone mainstream within the BDS “movement.”

Now anti-Israel activism has always had its ugly side that included vandalism, threats, and shouting down those with whom the boycotters disagree. I can recall the divestniks storming the podium when they lost the divestment vote they forced on the City of Somerville as far back as 2004, the same type of public tantrums we saw when the Methodist Church or Carleton College told them “No” more recently.

But in most of the cases just mentioned, BDS supporters were able to keep the Mr. Hyde portion of their personality in check, at least during what I call the “all smiles” period when they were trying to convince an uninformed audience that both they (and what they were requesting) were all perfectly reasonable.

But recent behavior in schools like Michigan, Vassar,  Northeastern and elsewhere seem to indicate that the boycotters no longer feel the need to be bound by civilized norms even during a period when it would be to their benefit to pretend to be something other than a bunch of single issue fanatics ready to do anything to get their way.

On the surface, this slide to uncouthness up through violence seems counter-productive.  Why resort to tactics that (1) make it less likely to convince anyone of anything; and (2) give your “movement” the reputation of being made up of mindless thugs (making it that much more difficult to win your next campaign)?

Some theories I’ve been toying with to explain this degeneration of behavior include:

1. Despite all its bombast, BDS is no closer to achieving a single one of its goals now than it was when it was birthed in sin at the 2001 Durban I conference. In fact, by any conceivable measure: growth in Israeli GDP and exports, partnerships between Israeli and international businesses and universities, numbers of tourists and celebrities visiting the Jewish state, (i.e., anything other than the boycotters own ability to make noise), BDS has been a flop.

Given that they have been reduced to trying to get school governments to pass toothless divestment resolutions that everyone knows will be ignored by school administrators, the student body and the media, why not use these campaigns primarily as a way to force others to watch your political id come to the surface?

2. The gravitational field surrounding radical politics generally tends to pull in the direction of further radicalization. I saw this in Somerville when the local divestment group that originally showed enough pragmatism to get their measure passed eventually drove away moderate members, leaving a fanatical core that was never able to accomplish anything again. And when faced with the kind of losses we’ve seen over the BDS decade and a half, it’s only natural that louder and more ruthless actors will be more effective at pinning failures onto lesser radicals (and drive them from the ranks) than vice versa.

3. Despite claims that divestment campaigns “foster dialog” about the Middle East, those that push these initiatives are willing to go to almost any length to ensure dialog on this subject cannot take place; from wallowing in pathos-driven arguments designed to make rational discourse impossible, to ignoring facts and opinions they don’t want to hear, to shouting down any speaker trying to bring those alternative facts and opinions to the attention of others.

This tactic has become more and more difficult to sustain as the “Arab Spring” turned to Winter, which meant that some of the facts that needed to be driven from the stage included the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Arabs (including thousands of those Palestinian Arabs the boycotters claim to be fighting for) in places like the killing fields of Syria. While the boycotters have been able to marginalize issues like gay rights in the Middle East (at least in their own minds) by invoking fake phenomena like “Pinkwashing,” erasing scores of dead Palestinians from the record (while simultaneously claiming to care about them deeply) has required them to shout ever louder and, most recently, resort to tactics that go beyond just verbal violence.

4. Sadly, those tasked with keeping the peace on college campuses (i.e., administrators) have shown far more patience for the excess of groups like Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) than they have or would ever show towards a group directing this same level of hostility towards any minority group other than Jews.

In many ways, this choice reflects the double standard directed at Israel which gets punished for the intransigence of its alleged Palestinian negotiating partners. But this also reflects the fact that college administrators are primarily concerned with keeping their own headaches to a minimum. And given that groups like SJP have made it clear that they stand ready to create living hell for anyone who makes them play by the rules, the easiest route for many college leaders is to carve out an exception that lets one group of students (Israel haters) say and do things they would never tolerate from anyone else.

5. On the plus side, the escalation of BDSer’s atrocious behavior reflects their genuine frustration with the countermeasures Israel’s supporters have been deploying more and more effectively in the last couple of years. No longer are Israel’s Jewish and non-Jewish friends willing to stand idly by as the defamers have their say, and the fact that anti-divestment forces have been able to win the day even when outnumbered by SJPers 10:1 demonstrates (1) the strength of our arguments and (2) the readiness of fair-minded decision-makers to listen to them (which makes it all the more important for the furious boycotters to prevent those arguments from being presented or heard – by any means necessary).

As a final (and ironic) bright spot to all the BDS thuggery we’ve seen escalating over the last year, it comes from the way such behavior demonstrates to all the true face of a “movement” pretending to be the inheritor of Martin Luther King and Gandhi.  For having already shown that the boycotters are ready to say anything (up to and including manipulating others and lying over and over again) to get their way, every act of BDS misbehavior provides ammunition for those of us who want to show how the BDSers are now ready to do anything to get everyone else to bend to their will.