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According to 'Israel Hayom,' BDS has nothing to do with the occupation

Israel’s most-read newspaper deletes crucial explanations from an Associated Press article, leaving its readers with zero understanding of why Palestinians might want the world to boycott Israel.

Graffiti on the Israeli separation wall dividing the West Bank town of Bethlehem promotes the BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions) movement, June 17, 2014. BDS is a global nonviolent campaign to pressure Israel to end the occupation and respect Palestinian rights.

Graffiti on the Israeli separation wall dividing the West Bank town of Bethlehem promotes the BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions) Movement. (Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

The Associated Press published a feature article last week discussing the impact that the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement has had on the Israeli music scene as of late.

Spurred by a few high-profile cancellations at a recent music festival in Israel, most notably by singer Lana Del Rey, the article did what one would reasonably expect an international wire service covering such a story to do: it explained the phenomenon, gave some subjective views and objective facts, and, of course, explained what the BDS Movement is and what its demands are.

The article was reproduced and published by a typically large number of international news outlets, including the New York Times. One of those publications, however, the English edition of Israel’s most-read newspaper, Israel Hayom, made an interesting change to the AP article in the version it put online for its readers.

According to the Israel Hayom version of the article, the BDS Movement has absolutely nothing to do with the occupation. The sixth paragraph, which explains the origins and aims of the movement, reads:

The campaign, founded in 2005, calls for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israeli businesses, cultural institutions and universities. BDS says it seeks to end what it describes as discrimination against Israel’s Arab minority.

The original AP article, as published on dozens of other websites and newspapers around the world, reads (my emphasis):

The campaign, founded in 2005, calls for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israeli businesses, cultural institutions and universities.

BDS says it seeks to end Israel’s occupation of lands captured in the 1967 Mideast war and what it describes as discrimination against Israel’s Arab minority. It calls for the “right of return” for millions of Palestinian refugees and their descendants to homes their ancestors fled or were expelled from in the 1948 war over Israel’s creation.

The bolded parts, which Israel Hayom deleted, represent one of the more balanced and even-handed descriptions of the occupation and Palestinian refugee problem that one can fit into two sentences, and actually veer far closer to the Israeli narrative than the Palestinian one.

So why did Israel Hayom — a free newspaper published by Sheldon Adelson in order to advance the political interests of Benjamin Netanyahu — simply erase two out of three of the BDS Movement’s clearly articulated demands?

Instead of removing two-thirds of the movement’s platform, it could have simply reworded the description of it in order to better conform to the radical-right lexicon and worldview preferred by Adelson, Netanyahu, Israel Hayom, and friends.

It would almost have made more political sense to fully distort the movement’s goals, and describe them as seeking to drive Israel’s Jewish population into the sea so that they can be replaced by Palestinian refugees. Instead, what Israel Hayom did in practice was to reduce the movement’s demands to a sole issue that almost no reasonable person could find offensive: an end to ethnic and religious discrimination among Israeli citizens.

Of course, speculating about the newspaper’s motivations is not the important part here. What is important is the result: untold thousands of readers of Israel Hayom’s English edition are no closer to having any understanding of why Palestinian civil society is calling on the world to boycott Israel. And by erasing Palestinian activists’ actual, clearly articulated, and rational demands, Israel Hayom is, in its readers’ eyes, effectively reducing the BDS Movement to nothing more than a spiteful campaign driven by hate.

I therefore encourage you all to read the Palestinian boycott call for yourselves. Then decide whether it is something you can relate to, understand, or if you feel compelled to answer their call or fight against it. But read it for yourself. Do not let your worldview be shaped by an online news desk editor who deletes a crucial context paragraph just because it rubs him or her the wrong way.

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    1. Jennifer

      Of course it has nothing to do with the occupation, Omar Barghouti admitted as much when he said that BDS would not stop, even if Israel reverted to the 67 borders. There you have it from the horse’s mouth….

      Reply to Comment
      • Bruce Gould

        @Jennifer: This is one of the most complete discussion of BDS and its goals I’ve seen:

        https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/aug/14/bds-boycott-divestment-sanctions-movement-transformed-israeli-palestinian-debate

        “What was new about BDS was that it took disparate campaigns to pressure Israel and united them around three clear demands, with one for each major component of the Palestinian people. First, freedom for the residents of the occupied territories; second, equality for the Palestinian citizens of Israel; and third, justice for Palestinian refugees in the diaspora – the largest group – including the right to return to their homes.”

        Presumably that means the right of the ’48 refugees to return. So you are correct, Barghouti doesn’t want to stop at ’67.

        Reply to Comment
        • itshak Gordine

          Is it possible to be refugees for 3 generations? Is this not called a huge scam with international money?

          Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Settlers should never talk about huge scams with international money. They are too guilty of it themselves.

            It is treating the Palestinians with utter contempt to accuse them of the exact thing that is the Israeli occupation: a huge scam with international money.

            The entire occupation is made possible by (1) European and American funding of the occupied Palestinians’ basic needs that Israeli occupier would otherwise be responsible for, and (2) European and American funding, either directly or by subsidy, of the military machine that sustains 51 years of military rule over the Palestinians.

            This is deceit and hypocrisy of a high order, Halevy.

            Reply to Comment
          • @Itshak – how does this work, only Jews have the right of return?

            Reply to Comment
          • itshak Gordine

            Yes absolutely. Only Jews can come back to Eretz Israel

            Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        Obviously, Jennifer is wrong that it has nothing to do with the occupation. But if your goal is “reducing the BDS Movement to nothing more than a spiteful campaign driven by hate,” or distorting the BDS movement into “a campaign seeking to drive Israel’s Jewish population into the sea so that they can be replaced by Palestinian refugees,” then you would say what Jennifer says.

        Reply to Comment
    2. Firentis

      It has nothing to do with the occupation. The goal of BDS is to destroy Israel.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        The goal of the BDS Movement is to destroy the “Israel” conceptualized by Firentis but not the Israel conceptualized by Michael Omer-Man. The Israel backed by Firentis has everything to do with the occupation. (To state the bloody obvious.)

        Reply to Comment
        • itshak Gordine

          individuals like Omer-Man are only a few hundreds in Israel. Their opinions are despised (rightly in my opinion). They are considered Jewish traitors. Israel is a democracy and all opinions, even the filthy folds, can be expressed.

          Reply to Comment
        • Ido

          Nope, the goal of BDS is to eliminate Israel. Turn it into ade-facto another Arab hellhole.

          https://www.huffingtonpost.com/mj-rosenberg/the-bds-movent-is-about-d_b_5038233.html

          To quote a former BDS supporter, Norman Finkelstein a political scientist and pro-Palestinian activist:

          “I mean we have to be honest, and I loathe the disingenuousness. They don’t want Israel. They think they are being very clever; they call it their three tier. We want the end of the occupation, the right of return, and 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 is the result? You know and I know what the result is. There’s no Israel!

          “They say no they’re not really talking about rights. They’re talking about they want to destroy Israel. And in fact I think they’re right I think that’s true. I’m not going to lie. But this kind of duplicity and disingenuous, “oh we’re agnostic about Israel.” No you’re not agnostic! You don’t want it! Then just say it!

          “The moment you go out there Israel will start to say ‘What about us?’ and ‘They won’t recognize our right’ and in fact that’s correct. You can’t answer the Israelis on that because they’re making a statement that’s factually correct. It’s not an accidental and unwitting omission that BDS does not mention Israel. You know that and I know that. It’s not like they’re ‘oh we forgot to mention it.’ They won’t mention it because they know it will split the movement. Cause there’s a large segment of the movement that wants to eliminate Israel.”

          Reply to Comment
          • Bruce Gould

            @Ido: This is ironic, because if you read Finkelstein’s OTHER books and articles you can see he believes that Israel is a terror state. Do you agree with his other analyses?

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            No and maybe he’ll come to his senses like he did regarding the BDS since he used to be a supporter. What he says about the BDS is a basic common sense conclusion derived from their declared objectives.
            I chose to quote him specifically because of his anti-Israel position and being a pro-Palestinian activist. Even he is admitting the obvious regarding BDS.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            We see that Ido is picking and choosing the Finkelstein he wants, not the Finkelstein that is, and that Ido chooses to chalk it up to Finkelstein “maybe coming to his senses” rather than that Finkelstein is revealing his incoherence and his not having thought things through to the deeper conclusions that Bruce Gould and Michael Omer-Man draw. True, the BDS movement wants to deconstruct Ido’s “Israel” and Firentis’ “Israel.” But the BDS movement does not want to destroy Israel.

            But let’s just, for argument’s sake, grant for a moment the false premise Ido clings to: that the real and true nefarious aim of BDS is to “destroy Israel.” The same people who insist on this know full well that the one simple thing that would suck aaaallll the air out of BDS in terms of its wider support and sustainability is to agree to a meaningful two-state solution. That they obstinately refuse to agree to such a solution, in fact fight it tooth and nail, shows that their posturing about BDS is mostly hot air, or mostly an actual fear that what would be destroyed is their 51-year military dictatorship over the Palestinians and the real estate expansion enterprise that military dictatorship facilitates.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            “We see that Ido is picking and choosing the Finkelstein he wants” – nope, simply pointing the obvious about what the BDS are after as openly written in their declared goals. Like I said: he used to be a BDS supporter and he is a pro-Palestinian activist so he is not biased towards Israel, far from it. That was the point of posting his quote. What he is saying is basic common sense.
            “Finkelstein is revealing his incoherence” – how does openly saying what the BDS are after based on what they say very, very clearly is “incoherence” ? how stupid can you be to not understand that turning Israel into a de-facto Arab hellhole is to end Israel ?
            “the deeper conclusions” – what the hell are you talking about ? the goals of BDS are not exactly hidden. What Finkelstein says is basic simple common sense derived from the goals of BDS. Nothing more.
            “to deconstruct Ido’s “Israel” and Firentis’ “Israel.” ” – that’s in interesting “interpretation” of flooding Israel with millions of “refugees” (that are of course not refugees by any sense of the word) and turn it into another glorious Arab state like Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon or Syria. Thank you but I’ll pass.
            “BDS movement does not want to destroy Israel” – turning Israel into a de-facto another Arab hellhole is exactly that. Not going to happen. Ever.
            “let’s just, for argument’s sake” – um, the goals of BDS are written very, very clearly on their website. What “for argument’s sake” ? how is this “false premise” ? they are not hiding it, quite the opposite. Even a pro-Palestinian anti-Israel activist is spelling it out for you, how out of touch from reality do you need to be to ignore something this obvious ?
            “agree to a meaningful two-state solution” – the BDS don’t want a two-state solution, they want Israel to become an Arab state. Why are you ignoring their stated goals ?
            “shows that their posturing about BDS is mostly hot air” – why are you lying when the goals of BDS are said very clearly ? they do not support a two-state solution as dictated by their own goals.
            “an actual fear that what would be destroyed is their 51-year military dictatorship” – are you blind and stupid ? the goals of BDS are written very, very clearly on their site, read Finkelstein’s quote again – that is simple basic common sense.
            Why are you having such a hard time dealing with basic reality ?

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            You seem, as a tactic and strategy, fixated on derogating my capacities but what I think stands revealed here is your incapacity to grasp the remarkable irony Bruce points to.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            Again: I specifically quoted him because he is a pro-Palestinian former BDS activist. I explained this twice now so I understand why you still have a hard time grasping this.
            the BDS movement is not motivated by disagreement with specific Israeli policies. BDS has no interest in peace. And no interest in improving the daily lives of Palestinians. Its real aim is the elimination of Israel.
            Their real goal is delegitimizing Israel (see evidence #1 in the Facebook comments section from a notorious anti-Palestinian publication, Ha’aretz).
            Their real goal is Israel’s elimination, as they very clearly depict a single Palestinian state that extends from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea instead of Israel, they do not supported the two states solution (see evidence #2 in the Facebook comments section).
            And see evidence #3, how the BDS is hurting the Palestinians themselves.
            The only remaining question is if you’re going to ignore the evidence and show again how you behave like a demented child who can’t handle reality.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            What you are further revealing here, as you dig yourself deeper, is that you think this is a parlor game between “pro-Palestinian” and “pro-Israel” teams, and that everyone on one team thinks one way and on the other team another way, and basically everybody is talking through their hat on both sides and we need a kind of lie detector test (more of your obsession with any disagreement being “lying about me”) in the form of their credentials as pro or con, which team jersey they wear. It’s a deeply cynical viewpoint consistent with the settler right wing.

            But on the contrary this is a search for truth, and nuances and subtitles too, not a crude parlor game and propaganda contest. So Finkelstein may be wrong, glaringly inconsistent and actually hypocritical in the way Bruce gets at by pointing out the ironies. You in your cynicism and your actually very deep racism can’t abide that.

            You know, Ido, what emerges in the past few weeks is your very deep racism and contempt fostering a thoroughgoing close-mindedness and quite typical Likudist arrogance, Ye who profess to detest Netanyahu. Bibi’s boy you truly are. Where’s the beef? Where’s the beef on your supposed opposition to Netanyahu? Seems invisible to me, and I’m a pretty perceptive guy. (You’ll disagree, and that’s ok.)

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            Nope, what I say is very, very simple: the goals of BDS as they are said by them very clearly, as explained very clearly by the evidence I provided. Evidence you ignored of course.
            This has nothing to do with pro-anything. This has everything to do with what the BDS stands for.
            “more of your obsession with any disagreement being “lying about me””: you still can’t grasp how facts are not a disagreement, or interpretations, or artistic license or whatever idiotic nonsense you tried in the past to excuse your inability to handle reality.
            “But on the contrary this is a search for truth” – nope, this is admitting simple reality. The goals of BDS are very clear. The quotes above spell it out very, very clearly. The evidence I provided, which you naturally ignored, shows it very clearly.
            Nothing nuanced about it.
            “So Finkelstein may be wrong” – nope. He admit what ‘Useful Idiots’ are in denial about or simply agree with: the BDS goal is Israel’s elimination, as they clearly call for a single “Palestinian state” that extends from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea instead of Israel.
            “glaringly inconsistent” – nope, quite the opposite. he simply admits the obvious and that’s why he doesn’t support them anymore.
            “Bruce gets at by pointing out the ironies” – I addressed this about 3 times now so I get why you are still having hard time getting it.
            “your actually very deep racism” – you can’t have one post without lying about me ? what’s with your obsession with this ?
            “very deep racism and contempt” – what emerged in the last couple of weeks is how you’re a much bigger liar than I thought you were and you are brainwashed to the point of literally denying reality.
            “typical Likudist arrogance” – and we have lie #2 about me in a single post.
            “Bibi’s boy you truly are” – and we have #3. Congratulations. Are you going for a record ? no way are you going to pass the number of hilarious lies and denial of reality in the article titled “Politicizing Palestinian refugees won’t make them go away”. Your best work to date.
            “Where’s the beef on your supposed opposition to Netanyahu?” – didn’t know we were discussing Netanyahu, I thought it was the BDS and their goals of eliminating Israel. Would you like to change the subject ?
            “and I’m a pretty perceptive guy” – as always I adore it when you finish with a funny joke. Thanks for the laugh.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            ‘what I say is very, very simple’

            True enough.

            ‘“typical Likudist arrogance” – and we have lie #2 about me in a single post.
            “Bibi’s boy you truly are” – and we have #3’

            You fact/interpretation confusion and your incessant misuse of the word “lie” just took another odd turn. Usually it is YOUR interpretations you try to pass off as “facts.” Here, in a twist, you try to pass of MY interpretations of you as my attempt at asserting facts, so that you can say that I “lied.” But I never tried to pass of my interpretations of you—that you are full of yourself and Likudist arrogance and that you are truly “Bibi’s boy”—as indisputable facts. They are clearly my interpretations or assessments of you. I think they are more or less true, you don’t. But even if my assessment of you is wrong in some way, it is not “a lie.” A sincere but misguided interpretation is not logically a lie. Do you see how intractably confused you are, and always have been, about this? No, of course you don’t, and if you do now, you will never admit it. But so it is.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Typo correction: “pass of” should read “pass off”

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            P.S.: Another assessment I made of you—that you are deeply racist and contemptuous (what I think you are calling my lie #1)—is also not something I am asserting as an indisputable “fact,” but rather it is my considered opinion of you. It is not logically “a lie” about you because I sincerely believe my assessment of you is basically true. I am not here trying and never have tried to pass off as true something that I know to be false.

            P.P.S.: I endorse Sheldon Ranz’s very nice and thorough take down of your disputations and your fraudulence. With respect to “flooding,” for example, and everything else. Nice job, Sheldon. (And what also stands out up there is how dully repetitive, predictable, one size fits all, and actually mindless is your jabbering about “….pointing out how you have no idea…again you’re ignoring… you have no clue… very clearly…by all means… how is this so difficult…. blah blah blah.” And the same old “fact”/interpretation and “info”/propaganda chicanery, the same conflations. So mindless. So dully repetitive.)

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            “that you are deeply racist and contemptuous” – yes, it was already established that you like to make up stuff about me. Seems like an obsession when you can’t handle the evidence I provide, which you so far ignored repeatedly of course.
            “considered opinion of you” – And you base it on what exactly ? the voices in your head ?
            “I sincerely believe my assessment of you” – morons sincerely believe their pet rock is talking to them. Doesn’t mean it does.
            “I am not here trying and never have tried to pass off as true something that I know to be false.” – sorry it took my some time to answer this post, I was laughing so hard. No you just have a habit of ignoring evidence that doesn’t fit your clueless biased worldview and come up with the most hilarious lies and nonsense I’ve ever seen to avoid addressing said evidence.
            “I endorse Sheldon Ranz’s very nice” – what a shock. He’s in denial about what the BDS are, exactly like you, even when the evidence is presented to him.
            “your disputations and your fraudulence” – by all means, point it out. Go ahead. Which evidence is “fraudulent” ? the BDS leadership and top supporters quotes are fake ? the goals of BDS are incorrect ? the evidence I provided is wrong ? go right ahead. Try without changing the subject.
            “pointing out how you have no idea…again you’re ignoring… you have no clue… very clearly…by all means… how is this so difficult” – look this is very, very simple: When I say something like this I always back it up with an explanation why that is. By all means, feel free to address said explanation.
            So you’re saying you’re not ignoring the evidence you so far ignored for a 4th time ? how you had no clue what the BDS is about ?
            “same old “fact”/interpretation” – you seem to have a very fluid take on what a fact is. Even when it is literally yelled in your clueless face by the relevant people you claim said no such thing.
            “So dully repetitive” – So is your lying clueless brainwashed nonsense, what a coincidence.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            Again: what the BDS are is not “interpretation”, it’s not an opinion. This is not artistic license or “phrasing” or whatever pathetic excuse you usually use. See the evidence I provided which you ignored for a third time.
            This is very, very simple: the goal of BDS is to eliminate Israel. Turn it into a de-facto another Arab hellhole. Their goals are right there. What their leaders and top supporters say is right there. Lying about this won’t somehow make it go away.
            “Usually it is YOUR interpretations you try to pass off as “facts.”” – You mean like evidence showing the Palestinian leadership yelling in your face that they don’t recognize the legitimacy of Israel and Israel’s elimination is their goal, so saying that their goal is the elimination of Israel
            and they don’t recognize Israel’s legitimacy is “an interpretation” ? do you understand how stupid what you’re saying sounds ? Again: the BDS goals are said by their top leaders and their top supporters very clearly. The organization is not hiding their goals.
            I repeat: “They don’t want Israel. They think they are being very clever, they call it their three tier. We want the end of the occupation, the right of return, and 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 is the result? You know and I know what the result is. There’s no Israel”.
            How is this difficult for you to grasp ? is this too subtle ?
            “so that you can say that I “lied.” – um, you claimed thing about me which are false. That makes you a liar. This is also difficult for you to grasp ?
            “But I never tried to pass of my interpretations of you” Again: this is not “interpretation”, this is basic common sense. Turning Israel into another Arab hellhole is ending Israel. It’s that simple.
            “you are truly “Bibi’s boy”” – You are truly a liar.
            “my interpretations or assessments of you” – right, so when I said Netanyahu is the worst Prime Minister in Israel’s history and his government is the worst in Israel’s history you “interpret” this as I’m a fan. Makes sense.
            “it is not “a lie.” – when you are aware the opposite is the truth, yes it is.
            “Do you see how intractably confused you are” – do you see how you again attempt to change the subject ?

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            I think Sheldon Ranz is doing a wonderful job of deconstructing your nonsense and I am enjoying skimming through that dialogue.

            Just one example among many–I could choose ten other ones equally representative:

            “Ido Geller I read what the ‘top leaders’ said, and I quoted you what Abumineh and Barghouti said. But whenever i do that, you cite Finkelstein and claim that it doesn’t matter what they say. This means you are a deceitful commenter. When reality smacks you upside the head, don’t come crying to me. By the way, Uri Avnery, Mattityahu Peled and Arye Eliav were all denounced by people like yourself as ‘useful idiots’ – I am honored to be in such company.”

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            “I think Sheldon Ranz is doing a wonderful job of deconstructing your nonsense” – that’s an interesting “interpretation” of my refuting of his ‘Useful Idiot’ nonsense.
            “and I am enjoying skimming through that dialogue. ” – please do. Since you so far ignored my posts, as usual.
            “Just one example among many” – and of course you simply ignored my response to him. Of course.
            I believe we have an entire chat dedicated to ‘Useful Idiot’ #1 Uri Avnery. Where I refuted your nonsense in detail backed by evidence about Hamas which you of course ignored because dealing with the uncomfortable reality is too difficult for you.
            “it doesn’t matter what they say” – Nope, read my response again. Also:
            BDS co-founder Omar Barghouti explained the BDS goals and quite clearly: “I know that you cannot reconcile the right of return for refugees with a two-state solution. This is the big white elephant in the room and people are ignoring it – a return of refugees would end Israel’s existence as a Jewish state.”
            This is very, very simple: turning Israel into an Arab state is ending Israel. To them all of Israel is “Arab land” as is the Palestinian narrative, a fact I proved to you backed by clear evidence which you so hilariously still attempt to ignore.
            So you and any other ‘Useful Idiot’ think Omar Barghouti is incorrect about his own organization’s goals ?

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Tell it to Sheldon. Actually, I wouldn’t do that if I were you, he’ll just make more mincemeat of you. See my tail wagging puppy and the dirty ball analogy elsewhere, at the article on Dareen Tatour, I think.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            “Tell it to Sheldon” – already refuted his ‘Useful Idiot’ nonsense in detail, just like I did yours.

            Reply to Comment
    3. Dani Ben Lev

      Great video by American Professor Jacobson on the actual history of BDS. Never mind that the Arabs/Muslims have been BDSing since the mid 30s. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2hyDuyYW8R8

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        The problem Professor Jacobson has is that no amount of historically-minded expostulating can disguise the fact that it is utterly simple-minded, and a form of cynical right wing propaganda, to say that the BDS movement is nothing more than Jew hatred repackaged as a concern for social justice. To say this is to make Michael Omer-Man’s point for him: All the professed consternation about BDS goes on as if the occupation does not even exist and as if the occupation had nothing to do with initiating and sustaining the BDS movement and as if the Palestinians have no legitimate reason whatsoever for wanting to boycott Israel. And this from a state whose Jewish citizens think that boycotts are a very fine thing when they themselves are aggrieved about someone else’s behavior, but regard it as a scandal when they themselves are boycotted for their behavior. It won’t fly.

        Reply to Comment
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