Boy, it’s been a busy news week in BDS-land (which must explain why Captain Israel has decided to become involved right now).
First off, the latest attempt to sacrifice academic freedom for political posing has come a-cropper in Germany. About a week or so back, the organizers of an academic event in Deutschland decided they would “take a stand” by alerting an Israeli professor that he was no longer welcome to address the group at their October conference.
This story was interesting since the professor in question is involved with Ariel College in the West Bank, which made this issue a test case for the recent BDS mutation of “targeted boycotts,” i.e., banning Jews, (whoops I mean Israelis, whoops I mean Zionists, whoops, I mean “settlers”) if they can be connected in some way to institutions in the disputed territories.
As the enraged reaction against the decision and its ultimate reversal makes clear, freedom of debate, discussion and inquiry still trumps partisanship in the academy. It is also interesting to note that the sputtering arguments made by the originator of the boycott decision: that his banning of Israelis – and only Israelis – from the family of scholars was simply a matter of “international law” (defined by him, of course) held so little water.
On another news front, the Olympia Food Co-op is now being sued in civil court for breaking its own rules in implementing a boycott of Israeli products last year. If you recall that story from way back when, the Co-op’s rules require consensus among the staff in order to implement a boycott. But when that consensus failed to emerge, the organization’s board (in cooperation with BDS partisans and no one else) decided to simply implement one anyway, so there is clearly a case to be made that the organization violated its by-laws at the expense of many of its members.
As regular readers may already know, I tend to question government intervention (either via legislation or the courts) in the fight against BDS, given how well we seem to be doing via straightforward grassroots counter-boycott campaigns. And in the big scheme of things, the real story regarding BDS and food co-ops is how Olympia put every other food co-op in the country on notice of how ruthless boycott activists can be in trying to get their way, and how much misery they bring in their wake (which is why there has not been a single co-op boycott in the country since the Olympia decision).
That being said, the board of the Olympia co-op has certainly run roughshod over its staff and many, many members in its hell-bent decision to implement and hold tight to their little boycott, regardless of the cost to others. It will be intriguing to see how they behave now that a bit of that cost must be borne by them. And it will be particularly interesting to see what the results of a discovery process unearth, given the weak arguments the organization has put forth over the last year and a half regarding why this decision, made behind the backs of the membership, is legal.
And lest you think the news is all new, BDS champions at Loyola University have gone back to the future with (wait for it…) calls for a Sabra hummus boycott! (Hasn’t anyone told them that this food fight went stale months ago?)
Now last I heard, among the thousands of people murdered by the genocidal Assad regime in Syria were countless Palestinians who dwell in that country. I just bring that up to demonstrate how well the “human rights” champions and “Friends of the Palestinian People” at Loyola are ordering their priorities.