BDS and the One State Fantasy

I’ve been meaning to write about an intriguing interview with Hussein Ibish that appeared in The Atlantic Monthly a few months ago.

Now Ibish is a highly controversial character, going back to his days at U Mass where, as both a student and teacher, he was notorious for bullying his allies and baiting (including Jew-baiting) his political foes.

That said, the Arab-Israeli conflict creates partisans of all stripes and Ibish clearly represents an “old-school” Leftist critique of Israel (and the US), one that rejects the “New” Leftism that has found common cause with reactionary fundamentalist Islam within the so-called “Red-Green Alliance”.

This perspective puts Ibish in a unique position to focus a critical eye on the so-called Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions “movement” (BDS), especially as it relates to what he refers to as the “fantasy” of a One State Solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

In Ibish’s view, the One State idea (in which Israelis and Palestinians would somehow turn themselves into a jointly-managed nation, similar to Belgium) is based on two ideas so divorced from reality they could only be held by certain college students, faculty or the mentally deranged.

First, he rightly points out that a One-State solution would require both parties to agree to such a plan and Israelis (recognizing what would likely happen to them as a religious minority in the Muslim world) reject such a plan almost unanimously.

He then goes on to point out that even if Israelis could somehow be convinced that a One-State solution was somehow in their interest, those who advocate such a One-State plan have chosen not to convince Israelis about their proposal but to bully them via the mechanism of BDS.

Think about this for a minute. Putting aside everything that you or I might dislike about the One-State agenda, at the very least advocacy for such a cause would require engagement with all parties, including Israelis. But these same One-Staters have made it clear they have zero interest in such an engagement, only the willingness to issues threats of boycott and sanction which can only serve to increase the Israeli public’s disinterest in their ideas and distrust in their motives.

This is where fantasy plays such a powerful role, and I found myself appreciating Ibish’s identifying of the fantasy factor in recent anti-Israeli polemics. As I’ve been noting since this blog began over a year ago, most BDS “successes” have proven to be failures or hoaxes, sustained as successes only in the imaginations of BDS advocates gripped in the fantasy of their own political relevance and potency.

But, as Ibish points out, the fantasy goes deeper than this. For their entire endeavor is based on the premise that by hectoring Israelis of all political stripes (including boycotts of Israeli academics who have traditionally supported the Palestinian cause), by threatening economic sanction and political isolation, they will bring Israelis to their knees and force them to take action that would threaten their national and, very likely, personal survival.

Now many nations throughout history have had to withstand political, military and economic sieges for years and decades on end. The siege of Israeli by its numerous and powerful neighbors is simply an extreme example of this phenomenon. And if you’ve withstood such a siege for so long, the notion that a Danish retirement fund selling of a few thousand shares of Israeli equities represents a threat (especially at a time when international investment in the Jewish state has never been higher) seems ludicrous, or – more accurately – something only a fantasist can believe.

Ibish, whatever his other faults, is no fantasist. And even if his goal is to simply turn his political allies towards more practical and realistic ways to win out against the Jewish state, his analysis is sound and compelling, regardless of his motives.

Of course, it’s possible that Ibish is on the Road to Damascus taken by the most noteworthy Leftist iconoclast of our generation: Christopher Hitchens, a man who defies political pigeonholing (at least to those unread in Orwell). While I’ve not seen anything that demonstrates Ibish possesses Hitchens’ breadth of experience and intellectual firepower, he has certainly demonstrated a willingness to hold a mirror up to the stupid and nasty face of BDS and a readiness to give “the movement’s” dirty laundry a well-needed public airing.

Cameron BDS-Hoaxers: We’re a Joke!

Well, it looks like the James Cameron – Boycott story has hit the papers. And, surprisingly, the people responsible for circulating this letter (who never fail to pipe up whenever one of their beloved film boycotts is the subject of media coverage) have chosen to go mum (at least with regard to answering reporter’s inquiries).

Apparently, the paper was able to obtain an e-mail that contained one of the boycotter’s explanations for this apparent hoax: It was a joke.

Just to be clear, the person explaining the behavior of the “Team Boycott” is a fully grown adult. I need to mention this because I occasionally have to deal with similar excuses for inexcusable behavior, but usually from my children (both of whom are below the 11-year-old age threshold needed to attend Hogwarts).

It was a joke, it was a parody, it was a pun… That’s their response to why a letter sent to film schools, written in a deadly earnest tone, asking them shun their fellow film makers because of their Israeli nationality, concluded with fake signatures from not just Cameron, but Jane Fonda as well.

“Take me seriously!!!” cries out from every sentence of their original letter. “We care about the suffering masses more than you do! We are the moral lodestone you should follow! Do what we say because we are serious thinkers, serious activists, serious people!”

And then when their hand gets caught in the cookie jar, and this turns out to be just the latest in a long, long line of boycott-and-divestment related hoaxes, their only response is to say “just kidding” and pretend the whole thing never happened.

I’ve written before about how many BDSers seem to live in a fantasy world constructed to make them feel far more significant than they in fact are. But dwelling too long in such a land seems to be leading to an extreme case of self-infantilization – at least among certain university film professors.

What’s Behind BDS?

I’m still waiting for more news on the latest apparent BDS hoax coming out of Canada, but in the meantime a commenter’s point about previous hoaxes involving, among other organizations the Red Cross, alerted me that it might be worth mentioning one of the main theses of this site (especially to the many new readers who have joined us in the last few days).

I’m ready to admit that there are strong arguments for and against the use of boycott and divestment to solve political problems. But whether you’re talking about divestment programs launched against South Africa, Iran or Sudan, or boycotts that go back to their origins in 19th century Ireland, there is one thing that distinguishes these political projects from the anti-Israel BDS program we’ve seen over the last decade: truth in advertising.

There is no question that when people signed up to divest from South Africa (or when institutions are lobbied to pull funds from Iran or Sudan), that those campaigning are being absolutely clear about what they are advocating. While there is serious and legitimate debate about the effectiveness or efficacy of such campaigns, these projects are not being carried out in secret or behind anyone’s backs.

Not so BDS which only achieved its limited successes in the mid ‘00s by secretly negotiating with leaders of institutions like the City of Somerville or the Presbyterian Church whose citizens or members only discovered divestment from Israel was being carried out in their name at the last minute or when it was too late. And once these citizens or members discovered that their institutions were being manipulated, they revolted and rejected divestment by overwhelming majorities.

Remember that divestment is all about stuffing the political message of divestment advocates (that Israel is an “Apartheid State” alone in the world at deserving economic punishment) into the mouth of an organization more well known that the BDS advocates themselves. And given the tiny minority the BDS crew represents, the list of better known institutions includes just about everyone.

Thus divestment becomes a way to attach the BDS message to an institution by any means necessary. In the past, this involved manipulating people behind the scenes. But once initial BDS successes achieved in this way were defeated or reversed, a new strategy emerged involving outright fraud.

Adding false signatures to divestment petitions seems to have happened in both Canada and the UK, but before this practice came to the fore you had countless examples of BDS advocates pretending that decisions that had nothing to do with Israel were in fact anti-Israel divestment successes. Hampshire, TIAA-CREF, Blackrock and Motorola come to mind, but – as my commenter pointed out – there are other examples across the country of such divestment hoaxes.

It’s an open question as to whether these fraudulent campaigns are part of a deliberate strategy to deceive the public (in hope of creating momentum for the BDS “movement” based on fake success) or whether divestment advocates are primarily deceiving themselves in order to imbue their lives with fantasies of political importance and success.

But ultimately, it does not matter if the list of people BDS-niks are trying to deceive includes themselves or not. The result is the same: a political movement that bears no resemblance to boycott or divestment campaigns against South Africa or anyone else, a campaign of failure and fraud that has achieved nothing in ten years beyond poisoning the atmosphere of colleges campuses, churches and other civic organizations who have been slow to understand the true nature of the snake oil BDS is selling.

BDS Avatar?

The best BDS hoax story yet has just arrived from Canada, causing one of those truly “you can’t make this stuff up!” moments.

I spent much of last year chronicling the tendency of boycott and divestment activists to make fraudulent claims of victory, from the academic hoax at Hampshire, to false claims that the financial firms Blackrock or TIAA-CREF or companies like Motorola had made financial decisions for political reasons.

More recently, the forging of signatures on boycott petitions made its debut in the UK, so it was just a matter of time before this practice found its way to North America.

The story actually begins last Fall when a relatively obscure Canadian film maker, John Greyson (also a teacher at York University), pulled his work from the Toronto Film Festival in protest of that festival’s inclusion of movies from Tel Aviv in their celebration of international urban cinema. This action was accompanied by a petition declaring the festival was, in effect, celebrating Tel Aviv and thus the brutality of “The Occupation,” the suffering of Palestinians in Gaza who struggle to live while Tel Avivians make movies, blah, blah, blah.

This non-story got some ink when a collection of celebrities (including Jane Fonda) signed onto the petition, with some of them (again, Jane Fonda) eventually signing off. As usual, supporters of Israel rallied, the press railed at this attempt at censorship masquerading as artistic “solidarity” and Israeli films were the hit of the Festival.

Flash forward to 2010 when a new petition began circulating around film schools asking them to not participate in this June’s Tel Aviv Student Film Festival because (you know the drill).

The letter itself is worthy of dissection as an example of mental gymnastics (trying to portray an unambiguous attempt to punish a country by boycotting its film makers as something other than the shunning of artists in the name of someone else’s politics). But the real interesting part of the story is the signature section which features none other than “The King of the World” himself: James Cameron.

Now (as far as I know) the Canadian-born Cameron has never had a word to say about the Arab-Israeli conflict, and his name on such a letter would certainly represent a coup for boycott promoters. If it was real. Which it’s not.

As near as I can tell (and details are still coming in) this letter was initiated (and/or promulgated) by the same people involved with Toronto Film Fest boycott fiasco. Supposedly a press conference on the matter was scheduled for today, but was mysteriously called off. This may just have something to do with the fact that someone who saw the letter contacted Cameron’s people and discovered he not only didn’t sign the document, but he’s never seen it and is demanding answers as to how his name got onto such a letter.

In short, the hoaxers who seemed to be trying to leverage famous names to give their project credibility now face the wrath of one of the world’s richest and most powerful film makers. Forgive me a little shadenfreude, but what I would give to be in the home/apartment/dormroom/studio of those who thought they could get away with such an obviously exposable fraud.

I’ll post more details on the story as they become available, but we seem to have clearly entered an age when the sheer scale of BDS failure after a decade of so much intense effort has left boycott and divestment advocates somewhat unhinged. That, or they simply continue to believe that their self-righteous fury allows them to do absolutely anything, even if (or especially if) it involves treating the public (or, in this case, peers in the film making world) like absolute idiots.

BDS State of the Union

An interesting comprehensive write up of what the BDSers themselves think about the state of their movement was published recently by Australians for Palestine. I’ll likely have more to say about their self analysis in the weeks that follow, although allow a few initial observations:

* Interestingly, outside of the US the BDSers seem to have no problem linking their project with the anti-Israel boycotts that began before the creation of the Jewish state (although they only go back as far as 1936, when Arab boycotts of Jewish businesses can be traced back to the 1920s). Since complying with the Arab boycott is illegal in the US, American boycott/divestment activists have never tried to make this connection, and while (for reasons outlined here) no one in the US has perused a legal strategy against BDS, it’s interesting to see that significant parts of the “movement” consider themselves the heirs of the dubious Arab-boycott legacy.

* Like most lists of BDS successes, this one is packed with fiascos masquerading as triumphs. For example, the Presbyterian Church’s rejection of BDS by a margin of 95%-5% is described egregiously (and hilariously) dishonesty as: “in 2006, the US Presbyterian Church urged various companies, including Caterpillar, ITT, Motorola, and others to invest in West Bank and Gaza companies;”

* On a less amusing note, the number of individuals and organizations that the article lists who are involved with pushing BDS around the world is no laughing matter. While it’s important to point out that ten years of effort by such a hoard has led only to a few paltry, quickly reversed “victories” (highlighting the objective fact that BDS is a bit of a loser), the number of people committed to this effort means that eternal vigilance remains the order of the day.

Out and About

Well, I’ve been blogging lately, although doing so at other sites. Since the topics are loosely related to divestment, I thought it best to link to them, rather than repost them here.

Apparently, our old friends at Muzzlewatch have decided that they are ready to take their message to the people! Given that a large part of that message is the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement supported by Muzzlewatch’s “parent company” Jewish Voice for Peace, I have fun with this newly-discovered populism here.

Meanwhile, the rump of the Gaza Freedom March crew in Boston decided they desperately needed to make themselves seem relevant, given the various fiascos they are still trying to cover up (including stranding thousands of activists in Cairo due to incompetent planning and helping seal the Egyptian-Gaza border even tighter than before they decided to visit and trigger a murderous riot). So what did they do? Why picket the Israeli Consulate of course! A run down and analysis of that event appears here and here.

Thank you Mr. Galloway! May I have another?!

Apparently, a link I provided to an account of the Gaza Freedom March (GFM) fiasco in Cairo was edited once the author discovered that his post “was being used by an idiotically raving Zionist blog in order to discredit the movement to free Palestine.”

Who moi?

The author goes on to state: “It was my intention to offer a frank and entirely subjective appraisal of our failures and successes, in order to learn from our mistakes, not to aid the enemies of common decency. Therefore, I have removed this post.”

First, an observation. I can’t count the number of times that the Jewish community has been accused of marching in lockstep in their support of Israel, silencing all American Jews who dare not toe the party line. (Interestingly, these accusations are frequently made by Jewish critics of Israel in columns that routinely get published in major American newspapers, or broadcast nationwide on television, cable, radio and the Internet.)

But as the quote above demonstrates, it seems as if it’s Israel’s critics who feel the need to not just hide, but to burn and bury their dirty laundry in some kind of “not-in-front-of-the-Zionists” show of false unity that suppresses any public display of disagreement.

In this particular case, here you an activist who (putting aside my disagreement with his chosen political positions) provided thoughtful commentary on some serious problems that attended an ill-conceived protest in Egypt that, among other things, helped seal off the Egypt-Gaza border even more tightly than before and even managed to get someone killed.

But once that criticism got picked up “outside the family” out came the eraser, and away went any trace of internal reflection, to be replaced by the new official party line (that Israel and the US were to blame for the GFM fiasco(s) by muscling their Egyptian ally to treat the Gaza Freedom Marchers as a bunch of troublemakers). Apparently, if it’s a contest between “learn[ing] from our [the GFM’s] mistakes” and providing ammunition to the “enemies of common decency” (i.e., people who disagree with the GFM party line), then it’s “No Thanks” to learning anything, followed by “Thank you Mr. Galloway, may I have another!”

As a final note, while I’m sure this site contains its fair share of idiocy, it’s a little light on the “raving Zionism” if only because the focus of my blog is not Zionist politics per se, but the fight against Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS). And remember that BDS is a fight that I did not start. BDS came to me in my former hometown of Somerville, Massachusetts trying to turn a friendly community into their political plaything. BDS has attempted to insert itself into universities, churches, unions and community organizations, usually gaining nothing for their effort, but managing to create chaos and ill-will in their wake.

Despite the pose struck by its proponents, BDS is a militant attack that twin targets the state of Israel and peace itself with the recent chaos at the Egyptian-Gaza border (where GFM protestors got to maintain their self-perception as “peace activists” because someone else pulled the trigger that got an Egyptian cop killed) a perfect microcosm of where this warped ideology leads.

As long as people make it their business to use this tactic, regardless of the wreckage it causes, they will find people like me using what resources we can muster to make sure their squalid little BDS project enters its second decade with nothing but failure to show for itself.

Have they no shame? – The Latest Divestment Hoax

Given the disasters BDSers have had over the last few years in schools, municipalities and churches, one would think the limited success they’ve had infiltrating international unions might give them a starting point to rebuild their “movement” which has otherwise been only going backwards over the last several years.

Which makes you wonder why they would resort to this type of naked fraud in an attempt to push their toxins into the US labor movement (good luck with that, by the way).

Apparently, the Dissident Voice petition asking AFL-CIO leader Richard Trumka to abandon 60+ years of uninterrupted devotion to Israel (after a drearily long stream of “We Hate Israel” boilderplate) included the name of African-American trade unionist Crayola Brown. “What a catch!” (they must have thought), except for the one little detail that Brown never heard of the petition, certainly never signed it, and had this to say to those who still feature her name on their work:

“It is with disgust and dismay that I find my name listed as a signer of “Boycott Apartheid Israel: Open Letter from US Trade Unionists.” I demand that my name be removed immediately!

Prior to seeing the letter on the Palestine Chronicle website, I had never seen such a letter or engaged in discussions about its content. I find it disrespectful that someone would attach my name to a document and circulate such a document without contact with me, or consent from me.

Please make every effort to convey my demand to and any other publications that you have used or are likely to use your letter with.”

Honestly (if I can use that word in a sentence that also contains “BDS”), why do these kinds of forgeries, frauds and hoaxes seem so prominent among divestment advocates these last few years? While I had originally thought that the movement’s continuing failures had caused them to jump from exaggeration to outright lying, I’m beginning to think that they just don’t care whether what they are presenting the world has any resemblance to the truth.

Anyway, I’ve just started a petition on behalf of the South African labor movement which asks the people of Syria to give President-for-Life Assad a wedgie. And, believe it or not, my first signatures include Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu and Donnie and Marie Osmond! Better tighten the old belt Bashir!

Hampshire and The Brain – Part 3

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Hampshire and the Brain

For those who need to catch up: Part 1 Part 2

When we last left our heroes, Brain had just activated the Hypno-Hat which had begun to work its will on the Hampshire Board of Trustees…

Pinky wanders to the top of Brain’s robot suit where the Hypno-hat now encloses Brain like a command center. Pinky opens a small door in the side of the hat and wanders over to Brain’s side.

Brain: It’s working! The Hampshire Board of Trustees is coming under my control. Are you thinking what I’m thinking Pinky?

Pinky: I think so Brain, but why would they call themselves Hamas if they can’t eat pork?

Brain: No Pinky. I’m thinking that this is just the first step to global divestment domination! Once Hampshire divests, then all the dominos will all start to fall. Framingham State will be next… then – who knows – Oakton Community College, the University of Nebraska at Kearney, even – dare I say it – the greatest prize of all: Brown!

As Brain continues to rant, the door to the conference room opens and Alan Dershowitz walks in. Still hidden beneath the Hypno-Hat, neither Pinky nor Brain notice as Dershowitz sneaks up on the robot suit, pulling a pencil from behind his ear and sticking it into the mechanism of the hat’s whirling disk. The machinery begins to seize up.

Brain (inside the now shaking command center of the Hypno-hatted suit): Something’s going wrong Pinky!

Pinky: Whooooooo! This is fun Brain!

With the pencil stuck in the mechanism, the hypno-wheel seizes up. Unfortunately, this causes all of the disk’s angular momentum to be transferred to the suit which begins to spin like a propeller.

Pinky and Brain: Waaaaaaa! (Tumbling about.)

The suit crashes into an electrical panel on the wall which causes it to discharge bolts of lightning. The force of the shock sends the suit careening through a plate glass window where it tumbles three stories to the Hampshire quad below, exploding and sending the two lab mice flying into the sky.

Brain and Pinky: Ahhhhhhh!!!!!

Pinky and the Brain finally crash-land on the grass near the burning debris of their now destroyed suit.

Brain (looking charred and scarred): Now that is going to sting.

Brain looks up to see the Board of Trustees staring down from the broken window, somewhat bewildered.

Inside the boardroom, President Hexter shrugs and the Board returns to its seats.

President Hexter: Now where were we? Oh yes, all in favor of the SHUSH proposal to invest the remaining $9,562.15 of Hampshire’s endowment in Israeli Bonds say Aye.

All: Aye!

President Hexter: OK, I guess we’re done here. Who’s ready to head out to the water park?

All: Me!!!!! (grabbing towels, donning sunglasses and wrapping inflatable animal life preservers around their waists, the entire Board rushes towards the door).

Back on the ground, Pinky finally gets up and notices little Stars of David dancing around his head.

Pinky: Oh look Brain, it’s Morgan David!

Brain swats away the stars which dissipate in a huff.

Brain: Stop that Pinky, it’s bad enough after that headline-hogging shyster Dershowitz ruined our scheme and destroyed our suit. How could he have known about our plan? How?

Dershowitz walks up to the two still-dazed lab mice.

Alan Dershowitz: Isn’t it obvious Brain?

Dershowitz pulls his own head off which turns out to have been a robotic rubber mask atop a mechanical suit similar to Brain’s now destroyed one (although shaped like Alan Dershowitz’s body). Protruding from the top of the robot’s is the larger-than-usual head of a hamster.

Brain and Pinky simultaneously: Snowball!

Snowball: Yes, Brain, Snowball you’re oldest and most devoted enemy. And once again I have proven there is no plan you can create that I cannot demolish. Nyahahahahahahaha!

Brain: Oh yeah! Well Pinky could have ruined this plan without your help. You, you big Zio-ninny!

Pinky: Good one Brain!

Brain: Thanks Pinky.

Snowball: I have no time for this idol chitter chatter.

The sound of rumbling can be heard as rockets fire from the shoes of Snowball’s Alan Dershowitz robot feet, launching the villainous Hamster and his mechanical body into the sky.

Snowball: Shalom Suckers!

Brain helps Pinky get up and dust themselves off.

Brain: Come on Pinky, there’s just enough time to get back to the lab for tomorrow night.

Pinky: Why? What are we going to do tomorrow night Brain?

Brain: The same thing we do every night Pinky, try to get Hampshire College to divest from Israel!

They’re Pinky, they’re Pinky and the Brain, Brain, Brain, Brain, Brain.

Allah Ahkbar!

Narf!

Hampshire and The Brain – Part 2

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Hampshire and the Brain

Continuing from Part 1 of Hampshire and The Brain…

I guess I lost track of Pinky and the Brain before they won an Emmy and ended up with a Facebook group with over 300,000 members. If you’re looking for one episode that sums up the series (and includes the Robot suit mentioned below), I recommend Win Big (available here).

So, picking up where we left off:

Scene 2: A conference room at Hampshire College where President Hexter is meeting with the school’s Board of Trustees. For some reason, Hexter is using the conference room projector to make shadow puppets against the wall. The trustees, in the meantime, seem distracted, with two of them playing cat’s cradle and another pair engaged in a rather aggressive game of gin rummy.

President Hexter: Apologies for leaving my laptop at home, but if you can all use your imagination, assume this duck is the head of the Buildings and Grounds Department, while this Indian…

Board Member Closest to Hexter: Don’t you mean “Native American?”

Hexter: Apologies (blushing), this Native American represent’s the Chairman of the Town of Amherst’s Water and Sewer Board. Now if I just…

Hexter’s Administrative Assistant enters the room, interrupting his presentation.

Administrative Assistant: Apologies sir, but the new sole, legitimate representative of the student body is outside in the hall demanding an audience.

Board Member Playing Cards: Well send him in! I’m about to lose my sixth straight game!

Other Card Playing Board Member: Too late [putting down his cards] Gin!

Both Card Players: You cheated! Did not! Did too!

A fight breaks out, interrupted by the arrival of a full sized robotic suit with The Brain’s tiny head protruding from the top.

Brain: Greetings, ah, trustee dudes!

Hexter: Ah, yes. A warm welcome from myself and the entire Board of Trustees. Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to introduce you to the new sole, legitimate representative of student opinion on campus: Brian.

Brain: That’s Brain!

Hexter: Apologies, apologies.

Board Member Closest to Hexter: Nice to meet you Brain. Um, if you don’t mind my asking, isn’t your head somewhat small in comparison to your body?

Brain: Actually, my proportions are quite average for someone of… my race.

The entire board begins apologizing profusely. In the meantime, Pinky, resting in the Hypno-Hat hidden behind Brain’s enormous robotic body, crawls up to ask Brain a question.

Pinky: Should I turn on the Hypno-Hat now, Brain?

Brain: Not yet Pinky. For given the extraordinary mandate I have been handed by the students of Hampshire College, I shall first try to convince this group of cretins to divest from Israel using only my powers of persuasion.

He turns towards the Board

Brain: Gentlemen, and ladies. For too many years, this school has profited from the occupation of sacred Arab soil by a barbarous group of Zionist imperialists who simultaneously control and are a puppet of the so-called United States of AmeriKKKa. Now allow me to show you why the only possible moral choice you have is to obey my commands and divest, I say DIVEST! from the so-called state of “Israel.”

A small door pops open in Brain’s robotic body which projects an image onto the conference room screen of a pair of Paramecium wearing keffiyeh.

Brain: If you’ll allow me to start at the beginning, here we have a pair of Palestinian single-cell organisms, demonstrating that Palestinians have been indigenous to the region since life first began on earth…

Six hours later…

The screen now shows a primitive cartoon of a tank with the Star of David drawn on it in blue crayon with its turret gun pointing at stick figures of a baby, a nun, a pregnant woman and Burt and Ernie from Sesame Street.

Brain: Now given the situation today in Gaza, the college should, no MUST divest itself of all holdings that benefit the NaZionist occupier.

Hexter [looking warily at the Board members in the room]: Um, thank you very much for your edifying presentation Brian.

Brain (annoyed): Brain!

Hexter: Apologies, Brain. It’s just that we’ve been through this at least a dozen times with that Students for Justice in Palestine crowd. And like we keep telling them, we’ve already decided that Israel doesn’t rise to the level of human rights abusers of say Sudan, or Saudi Arabia, Hamas, or even France for that matter.

Board Member: Besides, since BDS got started, not one college in the country has divested, which I believe reflects the fact that divestment is really more about stuffing the BDS mantra of Israel = Apartheid into the mouth of a school like Hampshire using any means, fair or foul.

Another Board Member: And didn’t the Methodists reject divestment unanimously last year?

Still Another Board Member: And one of those BDSers smeared mud on themselves at the mall where my mother was shopping. Blecchhhhh!

Brain: I think I’m losing them, Pinky. It’s time for Plan B.

Pinky: Right! Plan B! Is that the one where I distract them by disguising as Paula Abdul and inviting them to audition?

Brain: No you dolt. Tonight’s Plan B. Activate the Hypno-Hat!

Pinky: Oh right Brain!

[Pinky throws a lever and the Hypno-Hat snaps over the top of the robot suit, covering Brain. The wheel begins to spin.]

Brain (speaking through a microphone within the hat): Fools! If you will not be convinced by my powers of persuasion, perhaps you will be more pliant as my Hypno-Hat takes control over what you laughably call your cerebral cortexes! You are now falling under my command! You will now do whatever Brain orders!

Board of Trustees in unison: We will do whatever The Brain tells us to do.

Brain’s voice coming from inside the hat: Yes Pinky! It’s working, just another minute of exposure to my hypnotic suggestions and the Board will be ready to divest from “Israel” forever!

Poit! Onto Part 3!