Feb 25, 2014
A Facebook correspondent writes: I see that BDS org can be a problem. But since Ive been a kid our family have boycotted companys and countries, for the simple reason we don’t want to contribute to their wealth: I understand that a targeted boycott are supposed to have an explosive impact! But I just mean that ” I dont buy from places or companys that piss me off, when and if they stop pissing me off, my boycott ends! ” Lets say you convinced me about BDS, and now I want to make a change. Since I was 8 years old I have excluded Israeli products from my life, because it feels like Im doing something, instead of nothing, because I’m just a guy, I’m not a politician or a journalist! And here comes the question..nr1..Do you think I should start buying Israeli goods now, after a lifelong boycott, because I’m convinced BDS is out flying?? nr2 Who or what in the Palestinian cause would benefit from my purchases? nr3 During the Apartheid in SA the massive disgust around the world, brought improvised boycotts and exclusion of sports events around the world and don’t you think it had a significant impact in the right direction? Rickard
#1. One can take a moral stand without it having political consequences. A few honorable persons would refuse a share of stolen goods, even if offered them for free. It makes perfect sense so long as no political illusions are being fostered: your refusal to traffic in stolen goods isn’t a viable crime-fighting strategy.
#2. A tactic cannot be detached from a strategic goal. For Palestinians to benefit politically from your boycott or purchase, the tactic must be linked to an articulate (and achievable) goal.
#3. The international anti-apartheid sanctions movement was not yet a decisive force when apartheid ended, although hopes and expectations had been aroused that it might soon become one. In any case, the critical component of the anti-apartheid movement was, of course, the internal resistance led by the African National Congress and later the broad-based United Democratic Front (UDF). No such broad-based movement exists among Palestinians–quite the contrary, Palestinians have never been more divided and despondent. BDS cultivates this fantasy that Palestine can be “liberated” through international sanctions. The Palestinian Authority cultivates the fantasy that Palestine can be “liberated” through international diplomacy. The common denominator of these strategies is that they both want to “liberate” Palestinian despite the Palestinian people. BDS claims to represent “Palestinian civil society.” If that were true, why isn’t this “representative of Palestinian civil society” doing what every other national liberation movement in history has done: organize popular, mass internal resistance? The answer is simple: “Palestinian civil society” has as much reality as the Wizard of Oz. Pull aside the curtain, and it’s one person (and his underlings). It’s a public relations gimmick to silence any criticism: Who are you, a white-liberal-Jewish-Zionist-colonialist-imperialist-racist-sexist, to criticize Palestinian civil society? It works like a charm on guilty white liberals in the West, who imagine that the more they grovel before The Brother, the more “down” they are with The Oppressed. To anyone who lived through the infatuation of white radicals in the 1960s (present company included) with the Black Panthers, it’s deja vu all over again.