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Church-based BDS does not unfairly ‘single out’ Israel [op-ed]

Opponents of church-based boycott initiatives often accuse advocates of unfairly ‘singling out’ Israel while ignoring Islamist violence in Syria and elsewhere. Here’s why they’re wrong.

Text and photos by Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org

Church based activists in the U.S. are listening to their Palestinian Christian counterparts. Here, the Greek Orthodox Church of Saint Lazarus rises near the Israeli Separation Wall dividing Palestinian neighborhoods on the Mount of Olives in East Jerusalem. (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

Church-based activists in the U.S. are listening to their Palestinian Christian counterparts’s call to boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS). Here, the Greek Orthodox Church of Saint Lazarus rises near the Israeli Separation Wall dividing Palestinian neighborhoods on the Mount of Olives in East Jerusalem. (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

In the coming days, three more U.S. churches will consider resolutions to apply economic leverage against the Israeli occupation.

The Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA), United Methodist Church (UMC), and various Quaker bodies have taken similar actions in previous years. Now, as the United Church of Christ (UCC), the Episcopal Church, and Mennonite Church USA (MCUSA) meet for national conventions, divestment activists say their case has never been clearer.

The bloodshed in Gaza, Netanyahu’s election rhetoric, and a peace process in which even President Barack Obama has lost hope have convinced many that the movement for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) is the best remaining hope for a just peace.

Now, those who “support divestment or other economic activism will have more space in which to make their voices heard,” says Michael Merryman-Lotze of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), a Quaker agency whose resources have been used by other churches to develop their resolutions.

But as new voices rise up, the Israeli government and its allies are trying to shout them down with an unchanging refrain of anti-BDS slanders. Apart from broad-brush charges of anti-Semitism, these opponents often accuse churches of unfairly “singling out” Israel while ignoring Islamist violence in Syria and elsewhere.

Here are three reasons why they’re wrong.

1. Moral consistency

When asked the “what about Syria?” question, Merryman-Lotze, who recently served as the AFSC’s Interim Middle East Regional Director, offered a pointed response (emphasis added):

We have publicly spoken out against violence in Egypt, Libya, Syria, Iraq, and elsewhere and have opposed policies and actions that contribute to violence in the Middle East. We have worked on the ground in Syria supporting those working to end the Syrian civil war.

We also work across the U.S. and in Indonesia, Myanmar, Burundi, Kenya, Guatemala, and other locations around the world. Our work in Indonesia is not legitimated by our work in Guatemala.  Our work in Ferguson, Missouri is not legitimated by our work in Myanmar. Equally, our work on Israel-Palestine is not legitimated by how we respond in Syria.

What gives credibility to our work is our relationship with the communities with whom we partner and our consistent application of our guiding values.

Representatives of the UCC and Episcopal Church also cited humanitarian efforts in various countries affected by sectarian violence.

Last summer I worked in Iraqi Kurdistan with the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), a Mennonite relief, development and advocacy agency. They were responding directly to ISIS violence by aiding displaced victims. I marched with Iraqi Christians to denounce ISIS violence and demand UN action. At the same time, MCC colleagues in Washington, D.C., and at United Nations headquarters in New York were lobbying for policies that would reduce violence and protect the innocent.

Iraqi Christians march in Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan, in solidarity with Christians fleeing Mosul because of persecution by ISIS forces, July 24, 2014. (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

Iraqi Christians march in Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan, in solidarity with Christians fleeing Mosul because of persecution by ISIS forces, July 24, 2014. The march targeted United Nations headquarters in Erbil during a visit by Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, demanding action to protect Christian minorities in Iraq. (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

Israel and its supporters frequently boast of its humanitarian efforts in places like Nepal—as if to erase memories of the humanitarian disaster it continues to inflict on Gaza. At least the churches are being consistent in their global concern for peace and justice. Their activism on Israel and Palestine is the opposite of a double standard.

Those who make the “singling out” accusation apply a double standard of their own. They refuse to admit any wrongdoing while at the same time asking activists to refrain from a “consistent application of values” when it comes to Israel and its violations of human rights and international law.

Netanyahu demonstrates this kind of doublethink when in the same breath he can say: “We have done nothing wrong and we have not erred. We are not a perfect country; we do not pretend to be such, but they are setting standards for us that are both twisted and higher than those for any other country, any other democracy.”

All of these churches have taken consistent stands against a variety of human rights abusers for decades—with one of the most common targets being their own U.S. government over its wars and human rights violations.

2. Concern proportional to complicity

For Angelica Harter, chair of the UCC Palestine Israel Network (UCC PIN), divestment is consistent with her decades of activism in the nuclear freeze movement, Central America solidarity, and work with refugees and immigrants before her first visit to Israel and Palestine in 2006.

“I was appalled that our tax dollars and diplomacy support a system which we Americans would never tolerate at home,” says Harter.

Those who ask why Israel is “singled out” must also ask why the U.S. government singles out Israel for the most foreign aid of any other country in the world. If you don’t have a problem with that special treatment—or even insist on it—then you cannot quibble with the increased scrutiny by U.S. taxpayers concerned about what is being done with the rifles carried by Israel soldiers stamped with “Property of U.S. Govt.”

An Israeli soldier holds an M16 rifle stamped with "PROPERTY OF U.S. GOVT" during a weekly demonstration against the occupation and Separation Wall in the West Bank village of Al Ma'sara, October 25, 2013. (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

An Israeli soldier holds an M4 rifle stamped with ‘PROPERTY OF U.S. GOVT’ during a weekly demonstration against the occupation and Separation Wall in the West Bank village of Al Ma’sara, October 25, 2013. (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

The same reasoning applies to purchases and divestments. Boycotts and divestments are attempts to put our money where our morals are—by withholding it from activities that violate our values.

MCC U.S. Executive Director J. Ron Byler explains that while avoiding investments in companies complicit in Israel’s occupation requires particular attention, supporting violence against Israelis is already illegal. Israel’s hostile neighbors are also the targets of various international sanctions.

“Our government ensures we do no harm to Israel, while there is no such care for Palestinians,” says Byler.

3. Listening to the oppressed while hearing all sides

It is not difficult to understand why Palestinian civil society would “single out” Israel when they initiated the BDS call in 2005. Churches later followed with their own call. The Kairos Palestine document, signed by some 3,000 Palestinian Christians—including the heads of 13 churches—urges: “boycott and disinvestment as tools of nonviolence for justice, peace and security for all.”

“BDS has many forms and nuances, and as part of Kairos I have had to struggle with many churches about positions that they would take at their assemblies,” says Nora Carmi of Jerusalem, project coordinator for Kairos Palestine. “Why did the document choose this as a nonviolent tool of putting pressure on Israel? Because when it was written back in 2009 we saw that political solutions were not being implemented.”

All of these church resolutions present their divestment efforts as a response to the Kairos call, though each engages it differently. Last year’s PCUSA resolution divested from U.S. companies Hewlett-Packard, Caterpillar, and Motorola, all of which supply equipment that the Israeli military uses in the West Bank and Gaza. This year, UCC PIN’s resolution names those three as well as international security firm G4S, which services Israeli prisons in the West Bank, and the French firm Veolia, which provides transportation to settlements.

Though no fewer than seven resolutions on Palestine and Israel will be considered by the Episcopal Church, the one promoted by EPF PIN calls for an incremental process by which companies involved in the occupation would be identified, engaged with, and only divested from if they refused to change course. Similarly, the MCUSA resolution does not name specific companies but defines a process for “withdrawing investments from corporations known to be profiting from the occupation and/or destruction of life and property in Israel-Palestine.” All of the resolutions call for settlement boycotts. None call for a boycott of Israel itself or businesses west of the Green Line.

Protesters hold signs calling for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) during a Washington, D.C., protest against Israel's offensive on Gaza, August 2, 2014. (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

Protesters hold signs calling for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) during a Washington, D.C., protest against Israel’s offensive on Gaza, August 2, 2014. (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

Resolutions from each church also contain various affirmations of “the right of Israel to exist,” confessions of “the long history of violence by Christians against Jews,” and commitments to “dialogue with major Jewish organizations.”

Despite such language, you can still count on these resolutions to be denounced as anti-Semitic. Similar acknowledgements in the PCUSA resolution did not prevent it from being slammed by major Jewish organizations as “one-sided,” “divisive,” and “demonizing.”

Fear of such accusations has meant that for many in the churches, “the justice or lack thereof in the policies of any Israeli government remain a secondary concern,” says According to Robert Trawick, communications chair of the PCUSA’s Israel/Palestine Mission Network.

According to Trawick, these “well-meaning liberals” are more afraid of being labeled anti-Semitic and therefore those “who oppose divestment at present would need to be given permission to change their minds” by mainstream Jewish leaders.

So far, that “permission” has only come from Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), which has grown to more than 60 chapters over the past year as one of the few Jewish groups defending BDS activists from charges of anti-Semitism.

“Growth in JVP is a reflection of the failure of other Jewish institutions in the United States,” says Sydney Levy, JVP’s advocacy director. These institutions are “trying to sweep what is happening in Israel under the rug, trying to explain it—as if it’s explainable.”

“It’s not working anymore,” Levy states. “So you have more and more Jews who are looking for answers.”

Supporters of Jewish Voice for Peace march among thousands in Washington, D.C., protesting Israel's offensive on Gaza, August 2, 2014.

Supporters of Jewish Voice for Peace march among thousands in Washington, D.C., protesting Israel’s offensive on Gaza, August 2, 2014. (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

JVP’s Facebook “likes” have soared to more than 212,000—compared to 109,000 for AIPAC and 29,000 for J Street, both of which oppose BDS. Having been instrumental in supporting the PCUSA resolution, Levy and other JVP staff are attending the UCC and Episcopal conferences.

“We want the Jewish community at large to address this issue thinking about Israelis and Palestinians as human beings that are equally endowed with human rights,” added Levy, “and not only as a conversation about what is good for the Jews what is good for Israel.”

JVP’s Christian partners are praying that these shared values will drive support for church divestment resolutions in the debates to come—no matter what accusations are thrown at them.

“It is our relationships with both Israelis and Palestinians and our principled support for nonviolence that has led us to support BDS,” says Merryman-Lotze. “The well documented human rights abuses leading churches to support BDS is what should be the focus of any discussion of BDS, not horrific but unrelated violence in Syria.

According to Rifat Kassis, coordinator of Kairos Palestine, “While BDS may be hard for some foreign audiences to understand or adopt, it is the only methodology we see right now to bring about a just peace in a nonviolent way.”

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    COMMENTS

    1. BigCat

      QUESTION: What IS BDS?

      “Boycott is act of hate, not peace”
      – Shimon Peres

      “The BDS movement is anti-Semitic terror of a new type.”
      – Yitzhak Herzog.

      “BDS leaders are ‘out and out anti-Semites’”
      – Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid party leader)

      “All who join the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel “are effectively promoting the dissolution of the Jewish state whether or not that is their intention.”
      – Cary Nelson (Jubilee Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences and professor of English at the University of Illinois)

      The BDS-movement against Israel is a “CULT”, a “GHETTO”, “dishonest”, “silly”, “disingenuous” and “a whole lot of leftist posturing”, whose goal is to destroy Israel, says Norman G. Finkelstein. “They don’t want Israel. They think they are being very clever. They call their three-tier: we want the end of occupation, we want the right of return; we want equal rights for Arabs in Israel. And they think they are very clever because they know the result of implementing all three is WHAT? What’s the result? YOU KNOW AND I KNOW – WHAT’S THE RESULT?! THERE IS NO ISRAEL. THERE IS NO ISRAEL – FULL STOP!”

      – Norman G. Finkelstein, who is also a virulent anti-Israel critic!
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iggdO7C70P8

      Reply to Comment
    2. Ginger Eis

      12-reasons why those so-called “Christians” unfairly single out Israel:
      1). The Litany Of Hypocrisy And Lies Of A Bunch Of So-called “Christians”

      a. Taiwan
      b. Falklands
      c. Cyprus
      d. Tibet
      e. South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands
      f. Gibraltar
      h. West Sahara
      i. Abkhazia
      j. South Ossetia
      k. Crimea

      All of the above are occupied territories. Have these so-called “Christians” ever spoken up with regard to those occupations? Have these so-called “Christians” in the entire deceitful lives ever suggested BDS against any of the countries involved with those occupations?

      2). The so-called occupation of Judea and Samaria is NOT the cause of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the absence of peace between the two Peoples. The Conflict started several decades BEFORE the so-called occupation started. And the Conflict will NOT end if the “occupation” were to end today.

      3). Why single out Israel?

      a. Hate, Envy and Jealousy Racism and anti-Semitism;
      b. Because it is the easiest thing in the world to smear, demonize, dispossess and slaughter Jews en mass in both Christian and Arab-Muslim nations! Several centuries of near annihilation of the Jewish People in Christian and Muslim nations bear witness to those occurrences.

      Well, folks, the day when you ruled over us and were able to commit the worst crimes imaginable to man against us are over. Over. This time, WE WILL FIGHT back! And any ugly head that dares raise itself again against the Jewish People will be crushed!

      Am Yisrael Chai!

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SMWcAIHFawc

      Reply to Comment
      • Scootaloo

        “All of the above are occupied territories.”

        Really. Who, exactly is occupying the petrels and southern fur seals that make up the only resident populations of the South Sandwich Islands? What next, telling me that you support independence for Queen Maude’s Land?

        Of your list, only two are occupied territories.

        “The so-called occupation of Judea and Samaria is NOT the cause of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the absence of peace between the two Peoples.”

        That you believe sub-antarctic islands with no resident populations are “occupied” but that palestine is not shows me that you really don’t have the first clue what you’re talking about Ginger. No great surprise there.

        But yes, in fact it is the root cause.

        “Hate, Envy and Jealousy Racism and anti-Semitism;”

        Ah yes, the old “they hate us because we’re awesome” argument.

        Reply to Comment
        • Ginger Eis

          Since you mentioned California, it is most fitting to start with California.

          Israeli Know-How Comes To the Rescue in California, USA! Right Now:

          a. Israeli scientists and
          b. Israeli technology are
          c. On the ground in California eradicating the severe drought threatening to bring that state down!

          The Arabs would rather destroy themselves than see a prosperous Israel. They hate Israel more than they love themselves. But, Americans are wholly and utterly different. Americans are not like you, because it seems to me that the strength of the emotions of hate against the Jewish State that is inherent in your post is by far stronger than any good you might intend for those, if any, you pretend to care about. Reasonable, hardworking, ordinary Americans dismiss your ideology of hate.

          http://unitedwithisrael.org/israeli-scientist-helps-california-combat-drought/

          Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            1. Before 1948

            a. Jewish Communities lived in Judea and Samaria on their own lands which they cultivated and were prosperous.
            b. The conflict started in the 1920s between Jews and Arabs, because of Arab opposition to Jewish immigration.
            c. In 1947, the UN devised the so-called “Partition Plan” and divided what was left of the Land Of Israel into two parts: (a) 45%, of which nearly a 100% was agricultural land for an Arab State and (b) 55%, of which 60% was arid desert for a Jewish State. The Jews accepted the plan, albeit with much dissatisfaction. The Arabs rejected it out of hand and in 1948 went to war against the just declared Jewish State with the publicly declared intention to annihilate the Jewish People and “throw them into the sea”! The Arabs lost the war but gained control of Judea and Samaria and East Jerusalem.

            2. Between 1948 and 1967,

            a. Judea and Samaria became part of Jordan after the 1948-war;
            b. Not a single Jew lived in Judea and Samaria between that period. Jews who lived there were either slaughtered or forced to flee by the Arabs. The ethnic cleansing of Jews was total and complete!
            c. there was NO “Palestinian” people then and there were no calls to establish a “Palestinian” State then! The word “Palestine” was an insult to the same Arabs who now call themselves “Palestinians”!
            d. The Arabs were not content with having E. Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. They still wanted to conquer the whole land of Israel and throw the Joos into the sea. And so, in 1967, Jordan attacked Israel, was defeated and lost to E. Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria Israel.

            3. 1967 to present day:

            a. Israel’s rule in Judea and Samaria started in June of 1967. That is documented history. And is undisputed.
            b. the “Palestinian” people were born after 1967

            According, and without doubt, it is wholly and utterly false to claim that the so-called occupation of Judea and Samaria is the cause of the conflict. The so-called “occupation” of Judea and Samaria is a consequence of the conflict, not the cause. And we will not give up anything until the cause of the conflict is addressed and eradicated!

            End Of Story!

            (note: first response reposted to where it should be)

            Reply to Comment
          • Scootaloo

            “The Arabs,” huh? I hope you don’t roll your eyes when your fellows use the same phrase, “The Jews.” Wouldn’t want you to be a hypocrite

            At any rate, it’s very nice of Israeli technicians to pitch in for drought relief. This does not excuse the Israeli state’s standing position of oppression against Palestinians.

            And yeah, I’m aware most Americans don’t share my opinion of justice for Palestine. This doesn’t bother me, as argument from popularity is almost never a sign of the argument being the right one. 56% of americnas also think Climate change is “dubious” or an outright hoax. Since these people believe that, should I join them in their ignorance? How about the plurality of my countrymen who think humans and dinosaurs existed together? 40% of the population can’t be wrong? hah!

            Americans get exactly one side of the story, and that is the side promoted by people like yourself. Palestinain voices are absent from our discourse, and pro-Palestinian voices and movements are shouted down, threatened, harassed, and crowded out.

            Reply to Comment
          • BigCat

            Hey, “Scootaloo”…Lol… Here let me break it down for you in a layman’s language. The cause of the conflict is called:

            Arab REJECTION of 1). the RIGHT OF SELF-DETERMINATION of 2). the Jewish People in 3). a Jewish State in d). The Ancestral Home Land Of The Jewish People – that started as far back as in the 1920s as Ginger pointed out and led to the 1948-war, the 1967-wat that saw Judea and Samaria in Israeli hands and the 1973-war, which the Arabs again LOST! Until the Arabs accept a). Two States for b). Two Peoples – i.e. an ARAB State and a JEWISH State, there will NO c). Peace.

            BDS’ goal is to destroy the Jewish State. But you will not succeed.

            Got that “Scoot”?! Lol.…

            Btw, Brian…eh..Scootaloo alias ”Ben” alias “MuslimJew” alias etc., “Scooby doo” is still free. You might wanna try it. Lol…. what a moron!

            Reply to Comment
      • Hana Kovler

        Well said, Ginger. The world can’t mess with us anymore and that is what is killing BDS. Given the history of the Christians and their persecution of Jews over 2000 years, I really don’t care about the Churches’ support for BDS. Israel is just the latest representation of their antisemitism. I wish they would have put as much energy in protesting against the pogroms and the murder of Jews in the Holocaust. Having said this, I am not tarring everyone with same brush. Many Christians support Israel.

        Reply to Comment
        • LaidbackChap

          Lol

          Reply to Comment
    3. Ginger Eis

      The “my-tax-dollar-nonsense”!

      1. We often hear rants from some individuals who pay little to no tax at all, and even if they pay tax, their tax is nowhere near the tax paid by the US Jewry, about how the Jewish State is dependent on their “tax-dollars”. The fact of the matter is that Israel and the US have about 45 billion a year economic trade between themselves. The Jewish State buys over 14 billion worth of goods from the United States and the United States buys about 24 billion worth of goods from Israel. Trade between the US and Arab countries is (almost) non-existent – except for the 3 billion in oil the US buys from Saudi Arabia each year, which it actually does not need! The Jewish State manufactures the drones that have become indispensable the US’ ability to fight wars – and supplies much of the cutting-edge high tech used by the US Armed Forces, especially the US Air Force. Israeli hi-tech weapons systems are purchased by the US at far less cost than it would cost to develop them in the US. Although the US helps to fund the Iron Dome, that funding yields enormous dividends for the US in terms of transfer of technology that are considered “game-changer”. In total, technology from Israel are indispensable in keeping the United State well ahead of Japan and Germany and the Sole Military and Economic Super Power ever known to man!

      2. The paltry 3-billion dollars Israel receives from the US for weapons amounts to (LESS than) 1% (ONE%!) of Israel’s GDP. And, surprise…surprise, 75% of that 3-billion dollars MUST be spent buying US military hardware and thus creating jobs in the US!

      3. Tens of thousands of Americans depend on jobs provided by over 200 Israeli (high tech) companies based in the US. Beyond that, those companies yield billions of dollars in revenues for the respective US states in which they are based!

      At best, the US gains more economically from Israel, not the other way round. At worst, the US and the Jewish State profit proportionately from each other.

      Those making the “my-tax-dollar-noise” should pay attention to the facts.

      End Of Story!

      Reply to Comment
      • Scootaloo

        Yup, in the big scheme of things, $3bn isn’t a big chunk of money.

        But every cent of it goes into killing and dispossessing those that the Israelis have deemed racially unfit. And every cent of it also does NOT go into endeavors that would actually benefit the people in the US.

        basically, every bit of that $3bn would be better-spent if it was used to study squirrel mating habits in northern California, than it is in the hands of Israel.

        That you want your revenge snuff subsidized doesn’t actually make it a good idea.

        Reply to Comment
        • Ginger Eis

          Since you mentioned California, it is most fitting to start with California.

          Israeli Know-How Comes To the Rescue in California, USA! Right Now:

          a. Israeli scientists and
          b. Israeli technology are
          c. On the ground in California eradicating the severe draught threatening to bring that state down!

          The Arabs would rather destroy themselves than see a prosperous Israel. They hate Israel more than they love themselves. But, Americans are wholly and utterly different. Americans are not like you, because it seems to me that the strength of the emotions of hate against the Jewish State that is inherent in your post is by far stronger than any good you might intend for those, if any, you pretend to care about. Reasonable, hardworking, ordinary Americans dismiss your ideology of hate.

          http://unitedwithisrael.org/israeli-scientist-helps-california-combat-drought/

          Reply to Comment
        • Scootaloo

          Israelis are not killing and oppressing Palestinians with American funding because Palestinians have keys, Petey. They are doing it because Israel – and its supporters like yourself – are Jewish Supremacists. Israel – and you – believe that Jews are more entitled to what Palestinian have than Palestinians themselves are. Palestinians in refugee camps throwing away groady old keys isn’t going to stop Israel from dispossessing and brutalizing more Palestinians in the territories – or even Arabs within Israel proper.

          Reply to Comment
    4. bar

      This article is nonsense. At a time when the Christians of the Middle East and the Muslim world in general are under such severe duress, some churches have decided to revert to their age-old hatred of Jews. It’s an ugly and bad joke. Christians across huge swaths of the world – some very close to Israel – would love to get a fraction of the attention and activism that those Christians living in Israel or Judea and Samaria enjoy.

      Shame on you and these churches.

      Reply to Comment
      • Marnie

        I know its hard for a lot of you, but try to stay on topic. Church based BDS movement is a separate issue from Syria. The feigned concern expressed on these pages by the very same people who are the first to accuse any non-Jew of being antisemitic is really comical. The deep-seated hatred and contempt some of you have for non-Jews and for Jews who support Palestinians has a name and the name is zionism.

        Reply to Comment
        • CigarButNoNice

          Marnie,

          I know it’s hard for a lot of you, but try to get the point: Syria is mentioned whenever BDS is mentioned because the issue of that of _hypocrisy_. The carnage going on there is far worse than anything in the Arab-Colonized Jewish Territories, yet there are no calls or BDS, flotillas or things like that in that department.

          Zionism is Jewish nationalism, based on the national right of the Jewish people to self-determination on their land, the Land of Israel. The “Palestinian” cause is nothing but Arab imperialism in disguise, putting a friendly face on the unjust desire to rob the Jews of their one and only land in the world. Arabs go back to Arabia! No justice, no peace!

          Reply to Comment
    5. Jury

      if the churches are so fair-minded, then they should be boycotted all American companies who sell goods in America. After all, it’s a country occupied at the expense of the Native Americans. So much hypocrisy in the BUS movement!

      Reply to Comment
    6. Bruce Gould

      Maybe this will help: “In op-eds, church leaders say BDS is moral response to Netanyahu’s rejection of Palestinian statehood”

      http://mondoweiss.net/2015/06/netanyahus-rejection-palestinian

      Over the last day or so, three remarkable op-eds by church leaders have been published in U.S. regional newspapers in support of some measure of BDS, boycott, divestment and sanctions, to end the Israeli occupation of Palestine. –

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        Very interesting. In all three there is a new, quiet self confidence (and a resolve in not being cowed by false charges of anti-Semitism flung like a weapon). One senses a decisive change and a gathering momentum here by men of good will.

        Reply to Comment
    7. Ben

      Wow. I’m impressed, Mr. Ryan Roderick Beiler. I’ve never seen so much hasbara and so much slander refuted in one page. Canned rants, completely divorced from any connection to the author Beiler’s several well made points, do not convince. In fact, the author’s very objective is to calmly debunk such predictable rants, and the author succeeds. The rants then have the unintended effect of forming a supporting footnote to the author’s essay. But it is noticeable how nervous this article is making many here. They’re out early and in force. With nothing to say. I am sensing a gathering momentum to what Beiler describes. This article and the developments it touches on would not have been possible even a few years ago.

      Reply to Comment
      • BigCat

        Another hysterical rambling mumbo jumbo from the resident jerk from Seattle, WA, who is unemployed, dependent on food-stamps provided by the United States government to survive and instead of finding a job spends his entire days on Jewish websites clinically fixating on- and obsessing with Jews and Israel and ranting 24/7 about Jewish Affairs that are no way no how any of his business. Go get a life, you psychotic moron.

        Reply to Comment
    8. Ben

      This piece by Ryan Rodrick Beiler is so well done that I looked into other things he has written and found this interesting piece about Yonatan Shapira:

      https://electronicintifada.net/content/i-was-part-terror-organization-says-israeli-pilot-turned-activist/1425

      “I was part of a terror organization,” says Israeli pilot turned activist

      “…We thought the next step would be to meet with Palestinian ex-fighters and to find common ground. In 2005-2006 we started an organization called Combatants for Peace. It was one of the most significant experiments I ever had in my life. To step into a room with people who before you were fearing to death — they were supposed to kill you and you were supposed to kill them. Suddenly you sit in a room and you talk about your story and about your family and friends. When you leave this room you are a different person. The “we” and “them” that you had before cannot exist anymore. We realized that we are actually much more similar than different.

      It was a very important thing for us, for the Palestinians and for the Israelis. But later, nevertheless, I realized that the framework was problematic because it’s not a conflict of equal parties. It’s not that you have two countries fighting each other. It’s a colonial struggle — colonizer and colonized. So there is a conceptual problem when you come to create something that is based on equal power balance, which it’s totally not….

      I truly think that at this point dialogue could be a legitimate tool in the Israeli-Palestinian context only if there is a subversive radical agenda that is agreed upon by all the facilitators. If the kids come and play and sing and talk with each other and then the Israeli kids go and join the military and the Palestinian kids go and sit in jail for participating in a demonstration or something, you didn’t do anything. You just helped, especially the Israelis, to feel a little bit better, as well as the European or American donors….

      That’s why we’re not waiting anymore for people inside Israel….

      And if you go to campuses today in the US the atmosphere is totally different than it was ten years ago….

      The BDS movement is not waiting for the politicians. Millions of people in Europe, in the US, in the rest of the world support us. Maybe compared to Israeli Jews, I’m still a minority, but overall, in the world, there is growing support. And it’s not against Jews and it’s not against Israelis. It’s for future mutual existence in this piece of land. And for the question of one state or two states — there is already one state. The only question is whether it will remain an apartheid state or if it will to be an equal place for everyone.”

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    9. Ben

      And that led me to this eye opener about funding:

      https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/andrew-kadi/whos-really-funding-israeli-right

      “…It seems unusually important in Israel to point to perceived foreign funding while demonizing the organizations who support even minimal Palestinian rights. Attacks have ranged from those against the New Israel Fund to attacks against the anti-Zionist Boycott From Within, as seen in the embedded clip. Despite being a Zionist organization, the New Israel fund is attacked for supporting a number of liberal and progressive initiatives, particularly those of Palestinian citizens of Israel.

      The hypocrisy is astounding. Not only is the US government arming and funding Israel’s military occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza to the teeth, but Israeli settler-colonies in the occupied territories and some of the country’s most right-wing politicians are also heavily funded by foreign donors — primarily from the US…”

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      • BigCat

        Scootaloo, huh? You are hyperventilating and hallucinating furiously today and littering the whole thread with your rambling mubo jumbo and copy-and-paste-job. Have you taken your meds today, Brian? and forging new identities to respond to Ginger who told you that “you are a pig” and that she will never respond to you because of the sexual and sexist comments you bombarded her with in the past. So, as usual, you find another alias and. Ya know, Brian, alias “Ben” alias “MuslimJew” alias “Scootaloo”, alias etc., what you do is textbook example of how stalkers/sex offenders act! Oh dear…

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        • Scootaloo

          I’m afraid you’re confused, Ben. Also, a little deaf to the irony of your accusing someone of hyperventilating hallucinations, followed by a post like that. C’mon man, stay on the subject matter.

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          • BigCat

            You have made another mistake, Brian alias “Ben” alias “Scooterloo” alias etc! Hilarious! It’s “Ben” that should be responding, NOT “Scootaloo”, jackass! I guess you are tooooo rattled to know which one of your multiple personalities should be saying what, when and to whom. Now we have the bizarre situation in which “Scootaloo” is attacking “Ben” and telling him that he is “confused” and attributing to “Ben” what “Ben” did not say! Sheesh, Brian, pls. go take your meds! We know it is weekend now, but if you call the emergency line, they will attend to you. tell them to increase the dosage, moron. Lol…

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    10. Rick Smiley

      Its called hypocrisy. What we’ve done to the native population (The Americas, Australia, Asia, – tell us how the Tibetans and the Uighurs are treated so much better. Go on, I dare you – Europe…) is far worse and has been going on for a lot longer… yet we forgive ourselves because, well, we are really different, we deserve to benefit from looting someone else’s continent or lands, and bleep you, we certainly aren’t going to give it up, but it makes us feel all noble and sanctimonious to point the finger at someone else and we never really liked the Jews anyway…. I grew up with full bloods – we attended the same school, and I saw how they lived – and have seen the camps in Israel, and I can tell you all that if I had to choose, I’d take being a “unjustly treated, discriminated against Palestinian” every time. So, on behalf of my Shoshone ancestors and distant relatives, Whitey, when are you going back to where YOUR grandparents came from? When do OUR natives get equal rights? Show us how its done. You first. Until then, all the Jews can stop flagellating themselves. Trust me, when the Olympics are held in Tel Aviv, breast-beating and self flagellation will be the demonstration sports. Maybe the Maccabiah should pick up on this….

      As for US tax dollars, like all foreign aid, those dollars are really aid to US manufacturers, who would otherwise not be selling their weapons to Israel, which can and does make their own higher quality equipment, but when offered something for nothing, are inclined to take it. The M-16 is a piece of crap, which was dumped on Israel after the first gulf war in a largely successful effort to derail a competitor – the Galil. I’ll be happy to discuss other examples if you wish….

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    11. Kenfolk

      JVP is not the only Jewish group that supports a boycott of the occupied territories. Both Americans for Peace Now (APN) and Partners for Progressive Israel (PPI) support such a boycott. However, of the 3 groups only JVP supports the global BDS movement. One of the prime goals of that movement is implementing the “right of return”. This essentially would lead to a Palestinian majority state and the end of the state of Israel. By supporting the global BDS movement JVP is implicitly endorsing the destruction of the state of Israel. That is why JVP has never endorsed the principle of “two states for two peoples”. Only APN and PPI are using a targeted approach that seeks to de-legitimize the occupation while not de-legitimizing the State of Israel.

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