Appreciate this article? +972 depends on your support.

Click here to help us keep going

Analysis News
Visit our Hebrew site, "Local Call" , in partnership with Just Vision.

Why BDS won't work, and what can

Those who care about ending the occupation, in Israel and outside it, are faced with real, difficult choices. I believe these choices matter. That is why I oppose BDS.          

Larry Derfner’s recent article in support of BDS is well-written, passionately argued and compelling. Nonetheless, I find myself in strong disagreement with its key assertions and conclusions.

As I see it, the article rests on the following argument: first, the evacuation of settlements necessary to end the occupation would be very difficult for Israel. Second, Israelis do not currently incur any significant cost for the continuation of the occupation. Third, the only way to make Israelis pay that cost is by supporting some version of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS), at least on the settlements themselves.

Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (Takver/CC BY SA 2.0)

Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (Takver/CC BY SA 2.0)

I find all three statements unconvincing, and will address each in turn.

The settlers are paper tigers

Larry rightly points out that it is impossible to envisage an end to the occupation without extensive settlement evacuation. But I believe he errs when stating that the “specter of the sort of cataclysm that would be triggered [if there is major settlement evacuation] is enough to stop any government from touching it.” Why would there be such a cataclysm? Because the ideological core of the settlers are “fearsome,” they (and the right) would engage in “rebellion” which could lead to “bloodshed” and turn the country “upside down.”

Read: After Kerry, only BDS may save the two-state solution

Will resistance be so fierce and costly? Larry points to past experience with evacuations, in the Sinai and Gaza Strip (he doesn’t mention that a handful of small settlements in the West Bank were also removed as part of the Gaza disengagement plan). These evacuations affected a relatively moderate branch of the settlement movement, a small number of people, and areas that were (largely) outside the scope of the “Greater Israel” project and of lower ideological valence. Yet they were accompanied by significant upheaval, protest and turmoil, including some (non-lethal) violence.

It makes sense to conclude that evacuating a much larger mass of far more extreme settlers from the areas perceived as most valuable and sacred would indeed be “cataclysmic.” But such a scenario would go against everything we have learned about the ideological settlers and the extreme right since the occupation began, and possibly before it.

Settlers from Havat Gilad throw stones at Palestinian homes in the nearby village of Jit. (photo courtesy of Rabbis for Human Rights)

Settlers from Havat Gilad throw stones at Palestinian homes in the nearby village of Jit. (photo courtesy of Rabbis for Human Rights)

According to figures collected by B’Tselem, 169 Palestinians were killed by Israeli civilians over the past quarter century. Considering that there are several hundreds of thousands of Israeli civilians, many of them armed military veterans, living amidst millions of Palestinians, this is a very low figure. And, if anything, it grossly overestimates the Israeli right’s capacity to wield lethal violence. It includes, for example, all killings of Palestinians by civilian patrols and security guards, many of which may have nothing to do with right-wing ideology (which is not to say that they were all, or mostly, justified).

Furthermore, to the best of my knowledge, during this period of time, there was just one killing of a Jewish Israeli by Jewish right-wingers on ideological grounds: the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin by Yigal Amir in 1995, following the signing and implementation of the Oslo Accords with the Palestinians. This was arguably a highly effective act of intra-Jewish political violence, which is nonetheless the exception.

A mass settlement evacuation could be different. But if we examine the violence that the Jewish right does employ on a large scale, I believe it is very revealing of their level of resolve during a true crisis. Largely, the most characteristic acts of right-wing violence are those that have recently been labled as “price tag attacks,” but are much older than this moniker. These are crimes such as arson, vandalism, threats, assault, stone throwing and dispersed gunfire. Let there be no doubt – this is real violence, dangerous and harmful. It causes the Palestinians genuine, large scale suffering, including dispossession from their lands.

Palestinian farmers from the West Bank village of Qaryut assess the damage done to their olive trees the day before by Israeli settlers, October 20, 2013. Officials from the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture on the scene counted 60 trees damaged belonging to 12 different farmers. (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

Palestinian farmers from the West Bank village of Qaryut assess the damage done to their olive trees the day before by Israeli settlers, October 20, 2013. Officials from the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture on the scene counted 60 trees damaged belonging to 12 different farmers. (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

Yet these acts of violence are also the acts of cowards. There have been a few right-wing fanatics who were willing to sacrifice their lives in the pursuit of their evil cause, including Eden Natan-Zada, Baruch Goldstein and Yigal Amir (even among them, only the last was willing to brave similarly armed men). Far more typical are the settlers who send their underage children to attack Palestinians, knowing that they cannot be legally punished. Or those who focus their attacks on the elderly and children.

No one can know for sure what will be the reaction to a mass evacuation of settlements, but the right wing’s record shows it is unlikely to be cataclysm-inducing. Extremely noisy and self-righteous? Of course. Accompanied by many cowardly acts of genuinely ugly and harmful, yet largely non-lethal, acts of violence against the most vulnerable Palestinians? Most probably. Some acts of non-lethal violent resistance to Israeli security forces? Quite likely. But a massive and bloody insurrection would be a break with all past patterns.

Israelis believe they are paying a price for the occupation

Even if the evacuation of settlements will not be as apocalyptic as Larry envisages, it will certainly come with some significant costs, as far as Israelis are concerned. Some violence will occur, and it will be nasty. It will be a complex and costly endeavor (though nothing in comparison to some of Israel’s past undertakings). And many Jewish Israelis will be sorry to let go of areas to which they feel religiously and historically attached.

But it won’t happen unless Israelis perceive the occupation as harmful to their own interests. Larry clearly thinks they do not. According to him, “Israel isn’t paying any price” for the presence of settlements, and “nobody and nothing of consequence is bearing down on us” to evacuate them. He clearly believes that this is a misguided, myopic view, because he also states that the occupation could lead to Israel’s elimination, and that it should end “for the sake of its [i.e. Israel’s] own basic well-being.”

Are Israelis blind to the damage and risks caused to them by the occupation? This is a question which is very hard to assess. Most people rarely think so analytically of politics. Leaders and elites are more likely to carefully assess the harm and risk of various policies. But on controversial issues, they are careful not to antagonize the broader public, whose thinking on the matter can often be hazy.

Female Israeli anti-occupation activists protest the siege on Gaza at the Erez Crossing on International Women's Day. (photo: Activestills)

Female Israeli anti-occupation activists protest the siege on Gaza at the Erez Crossing on International Women’s Day. (photo: Activestills)

Yet if the Israeli public and elites do not see a significant price for the occupation, why is almost no one openly advocating for its continuation? The operative word here is “openly.” Most mainstream Israeli political positions amount to continuing the occupation, but only a handful of marginal figures are willing to admit it out loud. You have the unilateralists of various stripes, the old, faithful two-staters, the autonomists and advocates of the Jordanian option. Even the oddball one-staters are more ubiquitous than the pro-occupation camp.

The fact that so many feel the need to pay lip service to ending the occupation, while having little inclination to act on these statements, is indicative of a broad recognition that the occupation is harmful and risky. Otherwise, why do those who are openly disdainful of international opinions and norms still pretend to offer an alternative, however transparently meaningless?

This was sometime a paradox, but now the time gives it proof

If ending the occupation is not that costly, and continuing it is perceived as harmful and risky, why does it persist? There are a number of reasons. One should not dismiss simple status quo bias. It is much harder to push for change than to maintain inertia, especially when a determined minority is committed to sustaining it, while the majority is much softer in the opposite position. Resentment may also play a part. Jewish Israelis often feel that Palestinians have not “earned” their liberty, and therefore view the occupation as a type of penalty box, where Palestinians should stay until they have atoned for their sins. The idea that an “unjust reward” for Palestinians could nonetheless be helpful to Israel’s own interest is very hard to swallow.

The most potent cause for the occupation’s perseverance may be the fear and demonization of Palestinians in Israeli society. Despite being vastly more powerful, Israelis still tend to worry that their adversaries have a nearly diabolical capacity to harm them. Flying in the face of the country’s entire historical experience, many are convinced that Palestinians (and/or Arabs/Muslims in general) are so consumed by hatred and zealotry that they will destroy themselves if that can also hurt the Jewish state.

How will Jewish Israelis respond to increased support for some forms of boycott, divestment and sanctions, especially if it comes from Jews abroad and the Israeli left? I agree with Larry that the backlash theory – that Israelis will be hardened by outside pressure – is unconvincing, especially in the long term. Where I differ from him is in doubting that any amount of outside pressure can sway Israeli opinion on the occupation itself.

Yet, the question that Larry raises so eloquently cannot be evaded. If not BDS, then what? Current approaches have clearly failed. There is some truth in the tired cliché that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and expecting different results. Clearly, we need a different approach. All people who are involved, or who view themselves as stakeholders in Israel or Palestine, have the moral and practical duty to act against the occupation.

My alternative is to focus on changing the situation on the ground. The outside world has little influence on Jewish Israelis’ mindset, and without a change in that mindset (or actual external coercion, through severe sanctions, or military force – an unlikely scenario, in my view), there is little prospect for ending the occupation. However, the outside world (and to a lesser extent, the Israeli left) does have some influence on Israel’s actions. It is highly constrained, but over time it can have a cumulative impact on the actual, lived reality of Israelis and Palestinians.

And a change of those realities, in turn, can make a difference in the Israeli mindset, humanizing the Palestinians, and highlighting the possibility of a positive-sum scenario in relations with them. The vast apparatus of the occupation, like any complex system, is rife with incoherences, which, with a focused and persistent effort, can be expanded into real fissures that could undermine the whole structure. Practices are shaped by mentalities, but causality runs both ways – sometimes the way we think changes because our actions change.

Anti-wall and prisoner solidarity protest, Al Mas'ara, West Bank

This may sound abstract, but this general approach is backed up by a concrete and detailed program for realistic action, which I have already started to outline on our Hebrew sister site, Local Call, and hope to convey in English as well.

The key is to understand that there are tradeoffs. Negotiations have often legitimized the continuation of abusive practices on the ground (because an agreement, which is always just around the corner, will supposedly take care of them soon). Support for BDS throws away critical levers, hinging everything on the broad goal of ending the occupation, instead of using the limited power wielded by external actors to extract concreted and immediate concessions that will make broader change possible in the longer term. Such steps could include pressuring Israel’s government to reform the military court system which tries Palestinians, or reduce discriminatory restrictions on Palestinian construction in the West Bank.

So those who care about ending the occupation, in Israel and outside it, are faced with real, difficult choices. I believe these choices matter. That is why I oppose BDS.

Related:
After Kerry, only BDS may save the two-state solution
Interview with Leila Khaled: ‘BDS is effective, but it doesn’t liberate land’
What BDS and the Israeli government have in common

For additional original analysis and breaking news, visit +972 Magazine's Facebook page or follow us on Twitter. Our newsletter features a comprehensive round-up of the week's events. Sign up here.

View article: AAA
Share article
Print article
  • LEAVE A COMMENT

    * Required

    COMMENTS

    1. Deborah

      Maybe it’s just me, but it’s so weird to talk about the “moderate” settlers vs. the “ideological” ones, when you’re talking about state, to a great extent at least today, has a foundation based on settlements. It’s not just the “settlers” that are at issue but the settlements and the incredible public-private apparatus created to found and continue settlement as an enterprise by the state. It’s not just ideological but material, infrastructural, and built into the nature of the state and society. THAT’s the problem, not the specter of recalcitrant settlers that aren’t really as recalcitrant in numbers as Derfner suggests. Rolling back the settlements is not solely or perhaps primarily about the people who live in them but about the state itself.

      Reply to Comment
      • This sounds right to me.

        Reply to Comment
    2. un2here

      -“there are several hundreds of thousands of Israeli civilians, many of them armed military veterans” …

      Ok, it’s an irregular army then.

      Reply to Comment
    3. sinjim

      In other words, people should continue investing in and cooperating with companies and organizations that receive funding from the “Israeli” government or who profit from the violation of Palestinian rights.

      In other words, Palestinians shouldn’t be at the forefront of their own liberation movement — which incidentally isn’t just about the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza — it should be you, the liberal Zionists and repentant IDF soldiers. You know the way better than Palestinians ever could.

      With people like you, who needs Avi Mayer?

      Reply to Comment
      • Sinjim

        And what do you propose? Reforming the military courts. The Israeli courts that exercise illegitimate authority over the Palestinian people? Those courts? You don’t want to eliminate them? You want to “reform” them?

        And what else, you want to “reduce” the discriminatory restrictions on Palestinian construction. You don’t want to eliminate that either? Just reduce? What level of discrimination against Palestinians is satisfactory? Inquiring minds want to know.

        Reply to Comment
        • Rıchard Lıghtbown

          Thınk you ought to wrıte the occasıonal artıcle here Sınjım and not just the occasıonal comment. You always dıd have better analytıcal skılls than most and a better understandıng of the problems than just about all the columnısts. I realıse that would mean that G Eıs would wrıte even more horse shıt and get paıd even more by her employers, but that´s a small prıce to concede for gettıng some more top qualıty comment onto what ıs already a generally a good sıte. (Present artıcle excepted.)

          Reply to Comment
      • Ginger Eis

        sinjim, PM Ehud Barak offered your people 94- 97% of the “occupied” territory. But your leadership led by Yasser Arafat rejected it!

        PM Ehud Olmert offered your people the equivalent of 100% of the “occupied” territory, sovereignty of the Jordan valley and “East” Jerusalem. But your leadership led by Mahmoud Abbas rejected it!

        Indeed, the “liberation movement — incidentally isn’t just about the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza” (as you stated clearly), it is about more. When you talk about ending the “occupation” with BDS, you mean something MORE THAN making Judea & Samaria Jew-free. And until you get that, you will force the “occupation” to continue and complain about the “occupation” at the same time. Therein lies your dishonesty.

        Reply to Comment
        • Sinjim

          OK.

          Reply to Comment
        • Ruth E

          Really? Do you even know what was offered at Camp David? The actual map? Because you are wrong. If you would like to see a copy of the map offered in 2000 by Barak I can show it to you. A fragmented state with no international borders, no continunity, no access to Jerusalem and no access to water sources. Who would have agreed to that. The only thing consistent about every negotiations is the Israeli government offering things they KNOW the Palestinians will (mainly politcally) have to refuse so they can turn to the world and say, “see? we offered them (insert bullshit here) and they said no. They will not be happy till the have it all”. Which is also not true. But what do the Israelis care. We can sleep safe in the knowledge that we offered them everything, that we got all the playing cards, that we ARE the negotiating table and never again will anyone try to harm us…….

          Really? Do you really really believe that? In 2014? You are aware of the massive amount of pain and suffering your Jewish population in the West bank causes right? Its because of their presence which brings the military with it and because of the nature of our state that the Palestinains have to deal with – house demolitions, restrictions on movement, limited development options, minimal sourcs of income and children who have night terrors because of the army needing to practice breaking and entering. If making Judea and Samria ‘Jew free’ as you so eloquently put it then I say go ahead. Move them all back into Israel. But lord knows that ain’t gonna change the nature of this state or your mind…

          Wake up and smell the tear gas; we are living in a military theocracy.

          Reply to Comment
          • Rab

            Actually, in the Camp David offer, the Palestinians most certainly had access to Jerusalem. They also had access to the Jordanian border.

            And then at the Taba negotiations, Israel essentially met all of the Clinton Parameters.

            Reply to Comment
        • Susan O'Neill

          Why would any Palestinians of sound mind, accept land that they know will be stolen from them by settlers as has happened in the past. Why build homes only to be shelled at the first excuse. Who, after all the lies and trickery have been played out, would trust the word of an Israeli government that so effectively strips the Palestinians of everything they own. A Palestinian with land is told by the army he has to move off his land because the Israeli army is going to be using it for army exercises and it is for his own safety. After three years he is told the army exercises are over. He plants his land and is then told it does not belong to him anymore. He goes to court and is told that under Israeli law if land is not planted, he cannot own it. When he objects saying that the army would not let him on his land, the court’s reply is “well go take that up with the army”. He lost his land needless to say. Would you trust a clever and manipulative government to treat you with any respect or offer you and dignity or treat you fairly?

          Reply to Comment
    4. Tomer

      As someone living in Israel, it is apparent to me that there is already a massive housage shortage in Israel. Expelling another 400,000 people out of their homes will exacerbate this difficult situation. In the end, if BDS does take off, it may make Israelis opt for a mass expulsion of Arabs from Yesha to the East bank of the Jordan.

      Reply to Comment
      • un2here

        Instigating a civil war and/or implementing apartheid within the Green Line will not get Israel off the hook.

        Reply to Comment
        • Ginger Eis

          un2here, Israel is not- and never was on anyone’s “hook”. On the contrary, the only one on “the hook” are your Muslim-Arab brethren in Judea & Samaria. You and your people are the ones complaining, crying like babies every time and begging the “International community” for help! Israel is trying her best to unhook you without causing damage to your body. But if you threaten our existence in that process, we will rip-off “the hook” from your body and won’t give a damn if the hook takes your entire jaw with it.

          Reply to Comment
    5. Y.

      Not very convincing.

      “The settlers are paper tigers”

      The actions of Israeli governments over the years belie this, we can see cases where governments didnt do what they wanted to do because of opposition. For some reason, Roi measures ‘influence’ by amounts of people killed, and not as political influence.

      “Israelis believe they are paying a price for the occupation”

      Not exactly the point. The question after all is of a choice between alternatives, and it may well be that the status quo is considered best even if it is not considered optimal.

      “Why do people propose alternatives?”

      Let us assume total acquiescence from all elements. Is the status quo what a right wing viewpoint (however ideological, extreme or moderate) would desire?
      There’s plenty that must elicit discomfort. For example, the fact that a settler has to go to a military authority for some permissions, or that maps do not mark the area as part of Israel must be offensive to it on some level.

      “backlash theory – that Israelis will be hardened by outside pressure – is unconvincing”

      There’s actually some evidence for this actually happening, e.g. the late Tanya Reinhart argued things went sour for her at TAU only after expressing support. The bigger effect is indirect though – the steps that Israel would have to take to beat back an actually large BDS campaign (and the people who would relatively benefit), would reduce the Left’s power dramatically in the long run.

      “highlighting the possibility of a positive-sum scenario in relations with them”

      This is doomed to fail, since there won’t be nearly sufficient Palestinian support for this.

      “Support for BDS throws away critical levers”

      Perhaps, but Roi hasn’t shown how. I think this argument needs more than being stated.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Ginger Eis

      BDS is already brain-dead, while those who support both the full blown- and partial BDS are liars and fraudsters. Here is why:
      a. The “settlements” occupy less than 4% of Judea & Samaria. Said “settlements” are NOT the reason for the absence of peace but the excuse. Even if Israel relinquishes the equivalent of 100% of Judea & Samaria, thereby putting herself in mortal danger (as offered by PM Olmert), the Arabs won’t accept it (as did Pres. Abbas), thereby forcing the “occupation” to continue and peace to elude the region. For the occupation to end and there to be peace, Israel MUST:
      b. accept the fictitious right- and actual return of 5- to 7million Arab “refugees”,
      c. re-divide J’lem and
      d. turn over the Holiest Place in Judaism to Muslim-Arabs.
      There you have it folks, and until BDS-supporters start telling the truth, they will continue to lose the BDS-debate. “Refugees” and Jerusalem are the reason why there is no peace – not “settlements”!

      Reply to Comment
    7. Samuel

      The trouble with the theories of lefties in general and Israeli leftists in particular, is that they forget the elephant in the room.

      Let us suppose that Israel would offer to withdraw to the 1967 border with it’s narrow 15 mile vulnerable border near it’s main population centres and the hills which overlook it’s international airport. What then? Would that lead to peace?

      Not based on what happened in the past when Israel offered nearly as generous terms. Why? Because the Palestinians insisted on the so called right of return which would potentially flood Israel with large numbers of Palestinians. That was always the deal breaker.

      So Roi is right to talk about the definition of insanity and repeating same mistakes hoping for different outcomes. It is high time now not to repeat the mistakes of the past. Unlike in the past, when pressure and blame amongst lefties was put always only on Israel, it is now high time that they start pressuring their Palestinian friends to drop this demand which 99.99% of Israelis will never accept. Therefore, any land concessions and withdrawals are dead in the water while this demand persists.

      Reply to Comment
    8. Rab

      Wow, another entire essay where the Palestinians don’t seem to have any agency.

      How silly.

      The answer to what can work is simple, if very difficult to achieve: convince the Palestinians to compromise.

      Reply to Comment
      • Reza Lustig

        Because the head of the glorified Neighborhood Council of a “provisional government” the Palestinians are stuck with offering concessions (de-militarized future Palestinian state, neutered Right of Return, etc.) that would make the Treaty of Versailles look like a sweetheart deal in no way constitutes a “compromise.” No sirree bub.

        I take it that your vision of “compromise” is where Party B does EVRYTHING Party A asks immediately, before Party A so much as CONSIDERS doing anything party B requests.

        Reply to Comment
        • IlonJ

          Amazing! Our Reza first rejects the idea that Palestinians should compromise. He says:

          “No sirree bub.”

          Then he comes out with this Gem and tries to pretend that Israel is the A party.

          “I take it that your vision of “compromise” is where Party B does EVRYTHING Party A asks immediately, before Party A so much as CONSIDERS doing anything party B requests”

          Did I miss something at the turn? Which party was the party that offered to give up virtually all of Judea and Samaria with some minor land swaps and joint rule of Jerusalem?

          And which party was the party which ignored that offer and continues to demand the right to send hundreds of thousands if not millions of it’s citizens to overturn the population balance of the other country by demanding the “right of return”?

          What exactly are the Palestinians offering in return for Israel giving up lands, Reza? They are not even offering peace. Nor recognition. All they offer are demands.

          Reply to Comment
        • Rab

          The head of what?

          This is the PLO, you do realize? If they don’t have a say on behalf of the Palestinians, is there some other entity of which you are aware that has their clout, their breadth of influence among global Palestinians or their history as the representative organization of the Palestinians (Google PLO and UN to see what I mean)?

          Reply to Comment
        • gabi

          . . . and then party A will refuse anyway.

          Reply to Comment
    9. David

      If the author’s highest goal is reforming the military courts than I need to read no more. It’s like limiting torture to one hour at a time.

      The Israeli status quo will be shaken when three European countries start boycotting Israel, economically and for travel. The currently quiet middle class will be threatened to death, and so by extension the working class and poor. No amount of right-wing ideology will withstand the utter hate, fear and loathing that will be unleashed on them as the cause. An election under those terms would result in a massive rejection of anything to the right of labor.

      Such a boycott is not imminent giving Europe’s weak behavior and the Israeli influence on the US. However, such ‘tipping point’ processes are notoriously difficult to time in advance.

      Reply to Comment
      • Rab

        Keep dreaming.

        You have several fundamental misunderstandings about Israel and Israeli society.

        Reply to Comment
    10. IlonJ

      Let’s just pretend that BDS is upon us. And let us assume that BDS would be as devastating as Israel’s haters hope it to be. This is what Israel’s Middle class will then face:

      1. Death by BDS

      2. Death by “Right of Return”

      What do cornered people do when faced by death?
      Unpredictable things which nobody will end up liking.

      Reply to Comment
    11. Ben Zakkai

      BDS, directed at all of Israel not just settlements, is certainly justified and might be very effective, although it’s difficult to predict effectiveness in advance. It’s definitely worth trying.
      BTW, what’s with Rab and Ginger Eis and their brothers-in-arms? I’m trying to imagine what would possess me to read every article at a website with whose basic orientation I strongly disagreed and post dissenting comments that make it obvious that I’m impervious to facts or logic. Are they lonely fanatics or paid agents hoping to influence ignorant readers?

      Reply to Comment
      • Rab

        My goal is to convince you that your views are wrong.

        I’ll give you an example. You say, “it’s definitely worth trying” BDS, presumably because it has no victims other than Israelis and it “might work” whatever that might mean.

        Let’s assume that you mean that Israel should accept a two-state solution, even though that’s not what BDS is about. Israel has already offered about 97-98% of the land beyond the Green Line to the Palestinians in exchange for permanent peace. The remaining 2-3% includes some of the most important areas for Jews including the Western Wall and the Jewish Quarter in the Old City. Do you really think that BDS is going to get Israelis to give up on the very heart of their history and faith?

        Or, more likely, you assume that success for BDS means, as BDS leaders themselves state, the “euthanasia” of Israel or its destruction through open movement of Arabs into its borders. This approach presumes that a country that has already lost tens of thousands to wars and terror attacks, and has experienced decades of economic hardship led in part by economic boycotts will suddenly accept those losses, declare the entire Zionist ethos some error and concede their hard-won state and its successes.

        Both scenarios are absurd. However, let’s entertain your hopes briefly. What do you expect will happen when Israel’s economy tanks? Who will be the first and foremost to suffer? That’s right, the tens of thousands of Palestinians who work in Israel and the settlements. They and their families, not to mention the entire Palestinian economy which relies on their expenditures, will suffer severely and there will be no solution for them because Israel also won’t have the means to help. I know, I know, you don’t care about Palestinians and their livelihoods if you can hurt Jewish Israelis, but you really should care. At least a little bit.

        Now, let’s assume that BDS succeeds and Jewish Israelis throw in the towel, declare Zionism dead, allow Arabs to move in en masse and have lots of babies so that they can take the country over in the ballot box. Sounds peachy. Except that in every other Arab led country, there is no real democracy and minorities are treated extremely poorly. Even in Mandatory Palestine, the Arabs treated the Jewish minority with hate and violence. For example, they severely restricted the number of Jews who were permitted to pray at the Western Wall in the 1920s and 1930s. How would today be different? Are there any signs that somehow Arab treatment of minorities has improved over these decades? In Egypt? No. In Syria? No. Lebanon? No. Jordan? No. Saudi? No. In the Palestinian Authority? Hell, no.

        So, your prescription leads to an outcome of very likely violence, death of democracy and the almost certain inhibition of rights of minorities.

        So do tell us again, what makes BDS “worth trying” and “certainly justified?” And while you’re explaining these idiotic ideas, would you kindly also explain how they are preferable to shutting down UNWRA, stopping foreign funding of the PA and Hamas and pressuring the Palestinians to accept peace deals that grant them a state for the first time in their history?

        Reply to Comment
        • Ben Zakkai

          See, this is what I’m talking about. Do you guys really think that if you keep saying ‘We made the Palestinians a great offer for a state of their own,’ that people will believe you? Are you counting on the ignorance of readers who don’t know that even Olmert’s offer wasn’t much of a much, plus he had no political support for it in Israel at the time? Okay Rab, here’s what you have to do: get Israel to offer the Pals a real sovereign state, i.e. none of this crap about you guys don’t get an army but our army will stay in your territory. Give them all of the West Bank and Gaza, including water and other resources, except Israel keeps some settlement blocs right next to the Green Line — but not Maale Adumim or Ariel — and then compensate the Pals with AT LEAST AS MUCH GOOD LAND on our side of the line. Tell the Pals they’ll get no Right of Return to Israel, but we’ll apologize for 1948’s expulsions and pay some damages. In short, make the Pals a decent offer of the kind we Israelis might accept, then get the US and Europe to pressure them to accept it. If, after that, the Pals still refuse, I and most others will be convinced that you were right and there really is no partner for peace. Me, I think that Israel is so much stronger than the Pals and so convinced of its own exclusive righteousness, that it will never make a fair offer to Palestinians unless pressured by BDS and other external forces. But you can prove me wrong, Rab, by lining up Israeli support for a Fair Deal. That would be a better use of your time than perpetual propaganda on +972.

          Reply to Comment
          • issa

            I agree.
            One kry point here is to keep perceiving Isrsel as stronger…etc. thos is misleading for the Israeli public. Webthe Palestinian intellectuals see in BDS a start, but will move to check points and settlements when the right time comes. No strength in Israel will then stop the waves of people. This will make israel and israelis in a position of either shoot or back off. By then, the whole world will be BDS and no place for further talk. Palestinians have also historical roots here…go read history and wake up from Netanyahu’s dream. We the civil society on both sides of the apartheid wall have the ability to sort things out, as just been stated, but just peace is not what Israel wants, but the land without people. This is impossible….history says. Time is previous….dont lose it. Abu Mazen is the last best thing you will ever have

            Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            1. http://www.haaretz.com/news/abbas-olmert-offered-pa-land-equaling-100-of-west-bank-1.1747. PM Olmert offered PA CONTIGUOUS land equaling 100% of West Bank including sovereignty of the Jordan valley.
            2. “Tell the Pals they’ll get no Right of Return to Israel”. What is the point of “Two States For Two Peoples”? Or do you aspire for “Two States For Eventually One People”?
            3. The 1948 war was a war started by several Arab countries to destroy Israel and staminate the Jews. We won. The Arabs lost. We apologize not for that. Hundreds of thousands of Jews either fled or were kicked out of Arab countries during said war. They came to Israel with nothing except the clothing they wore. Israel integrated them into Israeli society and solved the refugee problem. The Arabs should do the same for their refugees.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            “Do you guys really think that if you keep saying ‘We made the Palestinians a great offer for a state of their own,’ that people will believe you?”

            YES. As long as +972 and the unemployed, professional commenters here continue to misrepresent the facts and spread lies against Israel, we will insist on- and continue repeating the TRUTH. We set the record straight and they who care about truth and peace will have enough info to decide for themselves. There is another angle: we put you on notice and carve in your soul the spiritual strength of the ordinary Jewish Israeli to defend the existence of the Jewish State Of Israel – AT. ALL COST! They who fantasize that they someday, somehow would be able to vanquish us, should better utilize their time for something realistic. Israel is here to stay. For eternity.

            Reply to Comment
          • Samuel

            “even Olmert’s offer wasn’t much of a much”

            That is debatable. If you are a Palestinian, you could always want more. You could even ask for all of Israel. But if you are an average Israeli, Olmert’s offer was pushing the boundaries in terms of what most of us would go along with.

            “… plus he had no political support for it in Israel at the time?”

            And I suppose Abbas does have the Political support to make peace with Israel? Could have fooled me. I was under the impression that Hamas trounced Fatah thoroughly in their last confrontation. And surely you are not going to claim that Hamas are ready to make peace with us, Ben?

            Reply to Comment
          • Rab

            “Olmert’s offer wasn’t much of a much”

            100% of Gaza, 95% of Judea and Samaria (what the Jordanians renamed “West Bank”), 1:1 land swaps for land inside Israel for the remaining 5% of land, reparations plan, Jerusalem as Palestine capital, Holy Basin under international control (with two Arab armies among the 5 armies patrolling) with guaranteed access to the three faiths to their holy places…and a Palestinian state for the first time ever (well, Jordan already is one, but until the majority Palestinians there take over, we will pretend it’s something else).

            That’s a pretty good deal. The facts are the facts.

            “…plus he had no political support for it in Israel at the time?”

            As sitting Israeli PM, he had the authority and duty to negotiate this deal. He was also elected on a platform of removing Israel from most of Judea and Samaria!!!!! All the excuses about how he couldn’t do it are just excuses. If the Palestinians had said yes, it is almost certain this deal would have been implemented because most Israelis want peace.

            “Bunch of stuff about the plan you want to see”

            Your plan is not something that the Palestinians have indicated they would accept. We have no indication of ANY plan the Palestinians would accept. Abbas specifically told Obama he would never agree to an “end of conflict” clause. So then, what is there to discuss? And why would you want an armed Palestine if the new state won’t agree to end the conflict?

            “…then get the US and Europe to pressure them to accept it.”

            They already have. Israel accepted the Quartet, it accepted Wye, it accepted Hebron Accords, it negotiated in good faith in 2000, 2001 and 2008, it extended two serious offers, and positions in the third negotiations that met the Clinton parameters. Recently, in 2010, Israel froze settlement construction for 10 months. More recently Israel permitted 76 murderous terrorists out just so the Palestinians could pretend to talk and the US could claim the talks fell apart because of Israel. 98% of Palestinians live under Palestinian rule. What more do you want?

            The Palestinians, however, have been under no pressure and their positions have only hardened. Your solution is to apply more pressure on Israel, but not on the Palestinians. Brilliant!

            “If, after that, the Pals still refuse, I and most others will be convinced that you were right and there really is no partner for peace.”

            You’ve already demonstrated that you’re convinced. Olmert’s offer is pretty much what you wanted minus a couple of details. Is having a Palestinian army that important to you? Why? Face it, if you can gamble with Israel’s security, you can certainly gamble with Palestinian security, especially since Israel would never allow another Arab country from the east to take Palestine over.

            “Me, I think that Israel is so much stronger than the Pals and so convinced of its own exclusive righteousness, that it will never make a fair offer to Palestinians”

            You already described a fair offer that Israel has made. Besides, it’s not “exclusive righteousness” that drives Israel. It is something else: a logical desire to ensure survival for the present and the long-term.

            “…unless pressured by BDS and other external forces.”

            I’ve demonstrated to you above that BDS is futile and idiotic. It isn’t a solution. Your response didn’t address my points but was an attempt to rewrite history (Olmert’s deal wasn’t good enough and he had no authority) to try to tell me what a fair deal would look like WHILE COMPLETELY IGNORING THE FACT THAT BDS DOES NOT CALL FOR ANY OF THE THINGS YOU LISTED. BDS SPECIFICALLY CALLS FOR “Right of return” FOR EXAMPLE.

            So decide, do you really believe in what BDS wants or not? Even if you think it’s merely an opportunity to apply more pressure on Israel, at the end of the day, you are gambling that somehow this pressure will lead to the outcome you supposedly want, instead of spiraling into the destruction of Israel. It’s not very impressive to see that you want to gamble with Israel’s well being this way.

            “But you can prove me wrong, Rab,”

            I already have.

            “…by lining up Israeli support for a Fair Deal.”

            Which already exists. See the polls.

            “That would be a better use of your time than perpetual propaganda on +972.”

            It’s not propaganda. Everything I mention above is purely factual. Not only that, I didn’t even bother to spin it.

            Aren’t you a little embarrassed that you have so little depth to your argument?

            Reply to Comment
          • IlonJ

            “comments that make it obvious that I’m [the dissenters in this site] impervious to facts or logic. Are they lonely fanatics or paid agents hoping to influence ignorant readers?”

            Now that Ginger, Rab and “their brother in arm” answered your question in great detail with facts and logic about why they post here. Your above claim sounds a bit hollow, Ben Zakai, doesn’t it?

            Unless of course you care to point out specifically where they have their facts wrong?

            I mean anyone can claim ad nauseum that the party with whom they argue with have their facts wrong but not stating which fact/s make their own assertion sound a bit hollow, don’t you think?

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben Zakkai

            Come on, Rab. Olmert’s ‘offer’ was part of a last-minute, unsuccessful flurry of activity to save his political hide from criminal indictment. Not serious. Not only did he lack necessary Gov’t and public support — because no, even a PM can’t agree to terms with the Palestinians on his own — but Olmert even blamed his coalition partners Livni and Barak afterward for telling Abbas not to play ball with Olmert the lame duck. Olmert didn’t publicize written details of his ‘offer’, or a map, so people still speculate and disagree regarding the terms. Judging from various sources, Palestine Papers etc, the ‘offer’ required acceptance of Israel retaining Maale Adumim and Ariel, plus continued IDF presence in some parts of the West Bank, which I wouldn’t have accepted in Abbas’ place. You seem that think that Abbas must accept any take-it-or-leave proposal that Israel makes, otherwise Abbas is the problem.
            You also pretend not to understand that BDS is supported by many different people including anti-Zionists, secular liberal one-staters, Zionist two-staters like Larry Derfner here at +972, all convinced that Israel needs outside pressure to end the Occupation.
            Your approach is to endanger Israel’s future by perpetuating an Occupation that rots Israeli society from within and tranforms thousands of Israelis into cold-blooded killers, torturers, thieves and vandals etc. You’d try to starve the Palestinians into submission by defunding UNWRA, because I guess in your book the Palestinians are extraterrestrial demons who have no good reasons to hate or oppose Israel. Jeez, where does Hasbara Central get you guys? You may have enough time, money and manpower to swamp the comment threads at +972, but when you look up from your IDF laptops, you’ll see that Israel is losing the battle for world opinion anyway. Big lies can’t win forever.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            “Ben Zakkai”? Is that necessary? Why?

            Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            “Olmert’s ‘offer’ was part of a last-minute, unsuccessful flurry of activity to save his political hide from criminal indictment. Not serious”.

            You miss the point! At issue is not Olmert’s intention (which Abbas never doubted!), but that Abbas rejected the offer.

            Reply to Comment
          • Samuel

            Ben also misses the point that I made in my previous post. Here it is again, I’ll spell it out for him.

            If he can use Olmert’s political impotence for ignoring Olmert’s peace offer, then surely we too can dismiss Abbas as a peace partner because he too is impotent against Hamas which has no intention of making peace with us.

            I would like Ben to explain to me what is different between the two situations?

            Reply to Comment
          • Samuel

            As for us losing world opinion, dream on Ben.

            Although if your success would be measured by the ardour of so called liberals to bad mouth us, you would be right.

            But you know what guys? You are not as influential and powerful as you imagine yourselves to be. Have you heard the saying “you can fool the people some of the time but not all of the people all of the time”?

            The world is changing. We just had a new Israel friendly government elected in India by a huge margin. Even Europe is changing. The day will come when you narcissists will have to pay the price for being the stooges and defacto allies of global Jihad.

            Reply to Comment
          • Rab

            Olmert’s offer was not a last-minute anything. It came after months and months of negotiations which were based on negotiations years earlier.

            As the elected PM of a democratic country, who campaigned on a platform of Israel’s exit from Judea and Samaria, he had the authority and right to negotiate and to extend an offer. It may be that the country would have gone to elections as a proxy for a ballot regarding the negotiations, but Olmert certainly had the right to negotiate and come to an agreement.

            Anything that was said about Livni after the negotiations was prompted by Martin Indyk who put out one of his famous media leads wherein he blamed Livni for telling Abbas not to go for Olmert’s plan. Livni denied and I actually met Indyk and asked him about this a few weeks after he said what he said. He then took it back, and essentially conceded Livni’s version of events.

            Olmert didn’t publicize the map but most of the details of what he offered are known. He’s been interviewed a number of times.

            “…which I wouldn’t have accepted in Abbas’ place.”

            Well, some people want a state and some people want perpetual war. You’re clearly of the latter variety.

            “You seem that think that Abbas must accept any take-it-or-leave proposal that Israel makes,”

            The Palestinians, 20 years ago when Oslo was signed, were supposed to get autonomy in some parts of Judea and Samaria. Now they are being offered everything I’ve listed above. They still refuse and, like you, put the blame on Israel for not giving up enough. Are you kidding me? The Yishuv was willing to accept a tiny portion of the land they were promised by the international community and Jerusalem being entirely surrounded by Arab land, but for a state they were willing to concede even that. Stop making excuses for the Palestinians. If they want occupation over, they need to compromise. If they choose not to compromise, they should stop complaining about the fact they don’t have a state and that occupation exists.

            “BDS is supported by many different people including anti-Zionists, secular liberal one-staters, Zionist two-staters like Larry Derfner here at +972, all convinced that Israel needs outside pressure to end the Occupation.”

            Who cares? BDS is explicit about its goals. It’s not under Derfner’s control, it is under Palestinian control and their goals are different from Derfner’s and yours. It’s like saying, “There are many people who support Jews for Jesus so don’t tell us we can’t be members and not believe in Jesus.” If you’re for BDS, you’re for the destruction of Israel as a Jewish state. Period.

            “Your approach is to endanger Israel’s future by perpetuating an Occupation that rots Israeli society from within”

            I agree that the presence of Israeli soldiers in the midst of a Palestinian population is terrible for that population and for Israel. That’s why I support Barak’s Taba offer and most of Olmert’s offer. However, only a fool would give away this land without anything in exchange and without a verifiable deal in place. You appear to be a fool.

            “and tranforms thousands of Israelis into cold-blooded killers, torturers, thieves and vandals etc.”

            Please. Spare me.

            “You’d try to starve the Palestinians into submission by defunding UNWRA, because I guess in your book the Palestinians are extraterrestrial demons who have no good reasons to hate or oppose Israel.”

            UNWRA needs to be eliminated because its goals are antithetical to peace. The UN has the UNHCR, which is the refugee agency for all the refugees in the world…except the Palestinians. That needs to change so that Palestinians are treated just like everyone else. I’m surprised this bothers you so much. Why shouldn’t UNHCR care for them like it does for all refugees?

            “Jeez, where does Hasbara Central get you guys?”

            This is the part where you prove you’re a fool again.

            “You may have enough time, money and manpower to swamp the comment threads at +972, but when you look up from your IDF laptops, you’ll see that Israel is losing the battle for world opinion anyway. Big lies can’t win forever.”

            IDF? Hahahaha. I’m a civilian living in the US doing this for free because you and people like you are bringing ruin upon not just Israel but all those poor Jewish kids at universities who have to deal with the hatred that other students direct at them because of liars such as you.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben Zakkai

            Well Rab, living in the US must make you an expert on Israel. Me, I’ve only been living in Israel for decades, during which time I’ve gotten to know friends and colleagues who are haredi, settler, Jewish religious and secular and left and right, Israeli Arabs and Palestinians who are Muslim, Christian and Druze, etc., all over the damn country. So I guess I’ll have to wait for your next visit to Israel so you can show me around. Maybe after you educate me I won’t be a moron who wants endless war in the place where my children live.
            Your big idea is to transfer the Pals from UNWRA custodianship to UNHCR, and that’ll solve our problems? You think UNHCR loves Israel? Check out the Sudanese/Eritrean issue. You should be thanking UNWRA for funding the Occupation, since Israel as Occupying Power is really obligated by international law to meet the needs of the subject population.
            And you really don’t understand that the Palestinians have made lots of gut-wrenching concessions already? First they were swamped by massive foreign immigration, which nobody likes. The 1947 UN Plan would have given them less than half the land despite them being 2/3 of the population. 1948 left them with 22% of the Mandate. In 1967 Israel began eating up that 22%. In your tortured mind, is there any minimum to which Palestinians are actually entitled?
            Sorry about the Jewish kids on U.S. campuses taking flak over Israel, but it seems that some of those Jewish college kids are themselves pretty embarrassed and critical of Israeli apartheid. And if you want to trade transoceanic accusations, I’m pretty ticked off by Israel’s neo-fascist death spiral being facilitated by right-wing/religious U.S. Jewish chickenhawks who beat the drums for war all over the Middle East but never wore a uniform. Judea and Samaria, my Aunt Petunia.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            “Ben Zakkai”, the questions you need to answer are very specific as you can see from the numerous replies to your post that is riddled with numerous falsehood. The topic of the discussion is also clear. But instead of addressing the issue at hand, tackling said specific questions and giving coherent rebuttal(s), you have apparently chosen to (a) change the subject and (b) engage in cheap ‘guilt-trip’ and cheap ad hominem attacks against Rab? Why? Why are you preying on Rab’s emotions and sentiments? Can’t you do better? What kind of a weak man are you?!

            Reply to Comment
          • Rab

            “Well Rab, living in the US must make you an expert on Israel.”

            Does it seem to you like I’m not deeply familiar with Israel? Perhaps you need to get over the silly comments already?

            “Me, I’ve only been living in Israel for decades, during which time I’ve gotten to know friends and colleagues who are haredi, settler, Jewish religious and secular and left and right, Israeli Arabs and Palestinians who are Muslim, Christian and Druze, etc., all over the damn country.”

            And you suppose I haven’t? And, unlike you, I also encounter Americans and Europeans of all sorts who support and oppose Israel.

            “So I guess I’ll have to wait for your next visit to Israel so you can show me around.”

            You don’t seem like a very fun guy. I’ll pass.

            “Maybe after you educate me I won’t be a moron who wants endless war in the place where my children live.”

            After I educate you, you’ll understand that the status quo is better than what you’ve proposed. My solutions, however, would bring peace much more rapidly. Bennet’s plan is better than what you’ve proposed. Weakening Israel will lead to real wars, not to peace. Only a fool doesn’t understand this. Do you think Assad was attacked because he was strong? That Hizbullah took effective control of Lebanon because the Lebanese army was strong or that their natural enemies (Christians and Sunnis) were strong? The reason the Palestinians don’t even bother to pretend any more that they’re interested in compromise is precisely because they sense weakness in Israel. They haven’t come forth with some earth-shattering peace offer, they actually refuse to even discuss anything any more. Can you imagine a third-rate leader of a non-existent state telling Obama to stuff it? That what Abbas had done three times now (twice by going to the UN for a state and then to UN bodies, and a couple of weeks ago when he rejected any sort of compromise with Israel, even on the question of end of conflict). Is that because the Palestinians feel weak or strong and is it because they feel Israel is weak or strong.

            Instead of idiotic attacks on me and what I know, why don’t you simply mull over this last paragraph. You’ll see I’m right. Weakening Israel is absolutely the worst thing you can do to resolve this conflict.

            “Your big idea is to transfer the Pals from UNWRA custodianship to UNHCR, and that’ll solve our problems? You think UNHCR loves Israel? Check out the Sudanese/Eritrean issue. You should be thanking UNWRA for funding the Occupation, since Israel as Occupying Power is really obligated by international law to meet the needs of the subject population.”

            UNRWA is a very destructive organization. The funding will come from other sources, including the UN. There is no reason for this specific agency to exist. And, by the way, their cardinal sin has been to create this mystical refugee status to all descendants of real Palestinian refugees, for eternity.

            “And you really don’t understand that the Palestinians have made lots of gut-wrenching concessions already?”

            Concessions?!!!

            They started a war after refusing compromise and they lost that war.

            “First they were swamped by massive foreign immigration, which nobody likes.”

            Dude, the area we are discussing had a 1/6th of the population it holds presently. It was severely underdeveloped. Look at photos and read the visiting travelers. Besides, many of the “Palestinians” also arrived around the same period. On this site there’s an interview with the terrorist Leila Khaled where we learn her parents were Lebanese. Arafat and Edward Said were Egyptian.

            “The 1947 UN Plan would have given them less than half the land despite them being 2/3 of the population.”

            Yes, but it would have given them about 89% of Mandatory Palestine and the Jews about 11%. Don’t ignore Jordan. And, of the Yishuv’s 56% of the western part of Mandatory Palestine, well over half was Negev desert while the Palestinians got the very best fertile lands. This was a very fair and intelligent division that was proposed by the UN. The Arabs launched a war!!!

            “1948 left them with 22% of the Mandate. In 1967 Israel began eating up that 22%.”

            1948, which they started, left them with 22% of the 23% that wasn’t already taken by Jordan where a Palestinian majority lives. Stop pretending the Jordan doesn’t exist on 3/4 of Mandatory Palestine. And stop pretending that the “Palestinians” are somehow different than the Arabs who are now “Jordanian,” just like many Israeli Arabs refer to themselves as “Palestinian.”

            “In your tortured mind,”

            My mind is tortured? I’m very lucid. You may disagree with me, but the facts I’m presenting you are indisputable. You may not like hearing that UNRWA should go, but that doesn’t make my mind tortured.

            “is there any minimum to which Palestinians are actually entitled?”

            Israel has offered them 98% of the 22% you’re bitching about. So please explain to us all why the Palestinians can’t have a state on on 21.95% of the land they claim they want? Go ahead, this should be interesting and amusing.

            “Sorry about the Jewish kids on U.S. campuses taking flak over Israel, but it seems that some of those Jewish college kids are themselves pretty embarrassed and critical of Israeli apartheid.”

            No, they are misled by people like you and they don’t have the tools or the knowledge to argue. First, because they are young and it takes a long time to understand this conflict. Second, because most of them aren’t too connected to Israel. Third, because they just want to be students not advocates for or against Israel.

            Oh and here’s Israeli apartheid for you: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ahmad_Tibi – Deputy Speaker of the Knesset. You and your friends continue to lie about “apartheid” and then when I tell you that you’re destroying young Jews with your bullshit, you have the nerve to tell me it’s because they’re embarrassed. You should be ashamed for promulgating these lies.

            “And if you want to trade transoceanic accusations, I’m pretty ticked off by Israel’s neo-fascist death spiral being facilitated by right-wing/religious U.S. Jewish chickenhawks who beat the drums for war all over the Middle East but never wore a uniform. Judea and Samaria, my Aunt Petunia.”

            Judea and Samaria is the historic name of this land. “West Bank” is the name given by TRANSJordan when it renamed itself Jordan as it occupied this land and evicted every Jew from there (they didn’t have to worry about evicting Hebron Jews, because Arab violence drove them out in 1929). How can an Israeli not know this basic history?

            Oh, and we agree about American chickenhawks who never wore a uniform. But I have to say, if I have to lie in bed with them instead of you, at least I know Israel will survive much longer. You are a first rate fool who clearly doesn’t understand the forces you are facing. Your (future) sons are much safer in a situation like the status quo than they will be if you and the boycott movement ever succeed. And by the way, you should understand that you dismissed the implications of BDS initially by saying it’s something worth trying. Well, if BDS succeeds, you won’t be able to reverse its implications. I suspect you and your children won’t enjoy living in the next Syria.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben Zakkai

            Thanks, Rab, for the Hasbara Talking Points. No. 1, ‘The Arabs started a war and lost,’ is accompanied by the unspoken conclusion, ‘so they deserve to be screwed by us forever.’ You’d love to divert the discussion into onanistic historical disputes about who did what to whom in 1947-48, and were the Arabs justified in taking up arms because the Partition Plan was unfair, and were Israel’s mass permanent expulsions of Palestinians preceded or caused or justified by Arab military operations, etc. ad infinitum, until the issues are throughly clouded. But I’ll go straight to your conclusion and say, Bullshit.
            No. 2, ‘The Palestinians have a state in Jordan.’ Okay, you think the Palestinians in the West Bank are entitled to precisely nothing, zip, zilch, bupkus, and if they don’t like it they can leave. Well then Rab, let’s found a second Jewish state in Uruguay and kick the Uruguayans over the border into Argentina, because after all, all those Latins speak Spanish and go to church on Sunday. Or how about if New Jersey expels all its Jews, right over the Hudson River into New York, because New York is a great state for Jews! You’re happy to kick Palestians out of their homes and steal their property, although you’d never want that to happen to you or your family/friends, because you can’t or won’t regard Palestinians as actual human beings, much like you. Until that changes, you’ll have nothing useful to contribute to understanding or solving this conflict, and you’re likely to do harm.
            No. 3, ‘If Israel is strong everything will be OK,’ fails as well. Yes, it’s important to be strong, as Poland learned in 1939 and France in 1940. But it’s also important not to bite off more than you can chew, as the very strong Germans learned in 1942-45. Tafasta meruba, lo tafasta. Israel’s settlements don’t enhance security, in fact they weaken it by scattering civilians throughout a hostile population. They are our Barbarossa, and the lebensraum ain’t worth it.

            Hey Rab, since Israel is so important to you, why don’t you come here to live? Oh, I know, Israel’s primary function for right-wing religious U.S. Jews is to enhance their collective feelings of security, solidarity and self-esteem, but isn’t that lame? I bet you could get a really nice apartment in Hebron or Yitzhar, with lots of friendly neighbors who think exactly like you do. Maybe they’d let you come along with them on their night expeditions.

            Reply to Comment
          • Rab

            That’s funny, I sent you the song to calm you down before I even saw your response to me. Now that I’ve seen it, I wish I had sent you two songs.

            You know, you are so intent on screaming nonsense that you’re not even responding to what I’ve written. Permit me to assist.

            I told you already that I support Barak’s Taba plan and even Olmert’s with some reservations. In Israeli political circles, that puts me to the left of the Likud and pretty much along Labor lines. If that’s what you consider a rabid right-winger, then I assume you’re a Hadash member or something. Whatever you are, it is far to the left of virtually all Jewish Israelis.

            You can ignore that Jordan exists because of the political winds that got Israel created. You can ignore that the Arabs launched a war of destruction and ethnic cleansing, which they lost. You can ignore that Israel is populated with a huge number of refugees and the children of refugees FROM ARAB and MUSLIM states. You can ignore that Israel has made peace with Egypt and Jordan, which involved stepping back every inch of territory that had been conquered in wars those sides launched. You can ignore Israel’s peace offers to the Palestinians.

            And if you continue to ignore all those things, then yes, you will support BDS. That’s because everything you believe is based on lies or ignoring facts.

            Have a great day.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben Zakkai

            Well, it’s closing time for this comment thread, at least as far as I’m concerned. Here’s a song for you too:

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGytDsqkQY8

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben Zakkai

            I wrote you a reply Rab but it hasn’t appeared, what’s up moderator?

            Reply to Comment
          • Rab

            My reply to your reply is also missing.

            Oh well. Suffice it to say that I strongly encouraged you to read with more nuance. If you read that I support Barak and Olmert offers and then accuse me of being somebody who would move to Itzhar or Hebron, it appears you’re not reading very carefully. And the same pattern is apparent when you misrepresent what BDS is all about.

            Reply to Comment
          • Rab

            My reply to your reply is also missing.

            Oh well. Suffice it to say that I strongly encouraged you to read with more nuance. If you read above that I support the Barak and Olmert offers but then you accuse me of being somebody who would move to Itzhar or Hebron, it appears you’re not reading very carefully. Or, alternatively, that you have poor comprehension. One would then assume that the same pattern would reveal itself in your analysis and support of BDS.

            Reply to Comment
          • Samuel

            “Me, I’ve only been living in Israel for decades”

            Really? Where are you from and why are you still here if you think that we are the monsters which you claim us to be?

            “during which time I’ve gotten to know friends and colleagues who are haredi, settler, Jewish religious and secular and left and right, Israeli Arabs and Palestinians who are Muslim, Christian and Druze, etc., all over the damn country.”

            Really? So? What is your point?

            “Maybe after you educate me I won’t be a moron who wants endless war in the place where my children live.”

            I don’t know whether you are a moron, Ben. But I do know that you are a wishful thinker. Thank goodness though the rest of us Israelis are not wishful thinkers. And we are the majority. You represent just a very tiny minority amongst us.

            “since Israel as Occupying Power is really obligated by international law to meet the needs of the subject population.”

            Yes, we need to meet their needs. But not their need to try and take over Israel itself.

            “And you really don’t understand that the Palestinians have made lots of gut-wrenching concessions already?”

            You mean it is gut wrenching for them to see that we are still here? Too bad.

            “First they were swamped by massive foreign immigration, which nobody likes.”

            You mean nobody likes refugees fleeing from porsecution? That’s what the Jews were doing in the mid to late 1800s fleeing from pogroms in Russia and joining their brethern who lived here since before the Arab invasion of the 7th century. There was room for both Arabs and Jews to form a state each.

            “The 1947 UN Plan would have given them less than half the land despite them being 2/3 of the population.”

            Yes but you forgot to mention that the Arab state consisted of the most fertile parts of the land. While the Jewish side had the Negev desert mostly. Not only that, but it had nearly as many Arabs as Jews. That was their chance to demonstrate their willingness to live peacefully amongst us in a free and equal democratic binational state.

            But what did they do? They attacked us. And now they want to turn the clock back as if nothing happened?

            “1948 left them with 22% of the Mandate. In 1967 Israel began eating up that 22%. In your tortured mind, is there any minimum to which Palestinians are actually entitled?”

            Spare us the BS Ben. Have you looked at the map lately? Land is not something the Arab people are short of.

            “Sorry about the Jewish kids on U.S. campuses taking flak over Israel, but it seems that some of those Jewish college kids are themselves pretty embarrassed and critical of Israeli apartheid.”

            No they are not. At least most of them are not. I won’t even bother to respond to your “apartheid” slur. It makes me think that you are not even Israeli.

            “And if you want to trade transoceanic accusations, I’m pretty ticked off by Israel’s neo-fascist death spiral”

            And the majorty of Israelis are ticked of by the Quislings amongst us who constantly undermine us.

            Criticism we are not against. But people like you don’t just criticize. You sow doubt. You create enemies and you undermine our very existence. Never mind, you won’t succeed.

            “being facilitated by right-wing/religious U.S. Jewish chickenhawks who beat the drums for war all over the Middle East but never wore a uniform. Judea and Samaria, my Aunt Petunia.”

            Cute but no substance.

            Now answer my question: how come you claim that Olmert peace offer was not worth the paper it was written on because he was politically weak but you can’t admit that even if Abbas would be serious about peace, which he is not, he too is politically weak and overshadowed by Hamas and therefore he too is not a peace partner,

            How come you keep on evading this point Ben? Because you are biased?

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben Zakkai

            By Jove Samuel, you’ve finally exposed me! I didn’t respond to your nagging nudnik-y question because I was deathly afraid that I and all my arguments would be destroyed! It couldn’t possibly be that I thought that it was a stupid point to continue arguing about, like most of the flotsam and jetsam thrown up by you and Rab and IlonJ and that somewhat scary loon, Ginger Eis. I actually have a job and a family and a life, and I cannot imagine where all you guys find the time to quote and reply to every sentence I write — although it’s flattering — unless you’re students or mental patients or paid Hasbaraniks.

            But you finally raised an interesting point, so I’m replying. I actually agree with you that it would have been nice if the Arabs had been sufficiently humanitarian to understand the plight of Jewish refugees from Europe and Russia, welcome the Jews and seek coexistence. And maybe we Israeli Jews will actually have the moral standing to complain about that not having happened, on the day we quit kicking around and trying to expel all the Eritrean and Sudanese refugees in our midst. Which I’m sure you’re working for, since your sympathy for refugees must be universal, not some ugly tribal thing.

            Reply to Comment
          • Samuel

            “By Jove Samuel, you’ve finally exposed me! I didn’t respond to your nagging nudnik-y question because I was deathly afraid that I and all my arguments would be destroyed! It couldn’t possibly be that I thought that it was a stupid point to continue arguing about, like most of the flotsam and jetsam thrown up by you and Rab and IlonJ and that somewhat scary loon, Ginger Eis”

            Thank you Ben. This response of yours sums you up. We are stupid and you are not. Logic, reasoning you don’t need. Oh well nothing new under the sun.

            And another thing it exposes about you and your ilk Ben. As a general rule you are always harsh on us. And you are always easy and ready to make excuses for your Palestinians.

            Once again, because I am pesky and a nudnik. According to you, Olmert’s peace offer meant nothing because he was politically spent.

            But we should take Abbas seriously as a peace partner even though he is politically spent. And you know that’s true. Hamas demonstrated it in Gaza.

            You think that having such double standards not just with regards to the above issue but with everything else, will bring peace? Not on your nelly, Benny. You are just a wishful thinker and I am being kind to you. I could be harsher in summing your motives up but hey I am a kind hearted person.

            Reply to Comment
          • IlonJ

            Face it Ben Zakkai, Sam is right.

            Even if Abbas would sign a peace deal with Israel tomorrow, he could not get the Palestinians to abide by it because of Hamas.

            Why don’t you want to accept that? But in the same breath you are willing to ridicule Olmert’s 2008 peace offer by claiming that he was politically finished and had no authority to offer the deal?

            You can’t just dismiss Sam calling you on it by claiming that Sam’s point is stupid. You could however explain why you think that it is stupid and maybe you would then gain some credibility. Assuming of course that your explanation would make sense.

            Reply to Comment
          • IlonJ

            There is of course one kind of deal that Abbas could sell to the Palestinian people and Hamas would not object.

            He could wave a paper with the signature of a newly elected dovish israeli leader of the kind that Ben Zakkai would approve of, which would state Israel’s willingness to get all it’s Jewish citizens to voluntarily march like lemmings into the mediterranean sea and drown themselves. Hamas would approve of such a deal.

            Nah, just pulling your leg Ben Zakkai. Can you take a joke? A joke based on reality?

            Reply to Comment
          • Rab

            Here you go, your day shouldn’t be so full of anger. Soothe your soul.

            http://youtu.be/YIr5-YOug7o

            He starts at around 1:00.

            By the way, with BDS, you would have this man boycotted. 😉

            Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            “I actually have a job and a family and a life, …”

            You see, “Ben Zakkai (“Bob Wisby/etc)”, that’s doubtful considering the amount of time you spend with YOUR COMPUTER (instead of your family) ranting and spreading falsehood and hate against Israel (and doing other stuff guys married to their computers usually do). Regardless, assuming you have a family, pls. leave NOW and go and take care of them. A good father is physically and emotionally in the lives of his children, he takes them to school, brings them back from school, feeds them, goes through their home work with them, ascertains where they are lacking academically and need help (e.g. reading, spelling, math, etc.), takes them to children’s parks, plays (football) with them, stays with them cracking jokes and telling them stories, asking questions, answering their questions, not yelling at them, etc. Those are the kind of stuff that make children happy. Happy children make a happy family. My time with my dad as a child and teenager are among THE BEST segments of my life. When I am married and have children, I will be there for them – all the way. If you do all you need to do as a good father, you won’t have the time to be here, Ben. So, “Ben Zakkai”, love your children more than you hate Israel. Be gone now – go and take care of your children. They need you!

            Reply to Comment
      • Samuel

        “I’m trying to imagine what would possess me to read every article at a website with whose basic orientation I strongly disagreed and post dissenting comments”

        What’s the matter, you don’t like dissent?

        “…that make it obvious that I’m impervious to facts or logic.”

        Could it be that what drives us is to get at least some people here to see the logic of the other side? And to stop your wishful thinking?

        I mean there is hope for some of you. I do however realise that most of you are set in your ways and are driven by hatred. With those people, I take your point. I realise I waste my time with them. Which one are you Ben?

        Reply to Comment
    12. lauren

      The problem with BDS, at least in its current form, is that it unites Israel’s supporters on both the right and the left, because BDS has a goal of eliminating Israel through an unlimited right of return. It therefore is simply too easy to oppose BDS and, for that reason, it is doomed to failure.

      If, however, there were a targeted campaign, specifically focused on the settlements and explicit in its goal of two states for two peoples, it would be very difficult for the center-left on the pro-I side to oppose this. It would likely drive a wedge through Israel’s supporters and isolate the right-wing extremists. Indeed it would be far more inviting of a broad coalition of those who favor a genuine two-state solution.

      Problem is, such a campaign would require the supporters of the current BDS campaign to give up their fantasy of eliminating Israel. Until this goal is put on the shelf for good, BDS will continue to be an exercise in futility.

      Reply to Comment
    13. Y,

      I’d like to point out again that Roi’s argument against BDS amounts to exactly _one half_ of a sentence in the article: “Support for BDS throws away critical levers, hinging everything on the broad goal of ending the occupation…”. And of course, this sentence explain nothing (how exactly? which “critical levers”?).

      The rest of article is in support of an alternative plan, which may or may not work (I find all his assertions dubious in a comment above), but even if it did, doesn’t necessarily have an higher chance than BDS**.

      That’s one of the actual problems with BDS: A lot of the Israeli Left’s support comes from the narrow class interests of an upper class Israeli strata (the late Kimmerling called them “Ahuselim”, which I find slightly misleading). BDS involves that class boycotting mostly… itself. Since any kind of remotely effective BDS will have to be deployed against the entire country and must have dramatically disproportionate effect on said class. Expect any thin reed to be used to argue against BDS since they can’t argue directly against it unlike the Right for example.

      ** since both plans’ chances of success are close to zero…

      Reply to Comment
    14. Theobald Thaler

      The problem with people like Rab, Ginger, Sam and the like (maybe some of these names belong to the same person) is, they have no understanding of RoR. They always talk about a supposed Palestinian intention of flooding Israel with millions of Palestinians in order to destroy Israel (any evidence for these apocalyptic claims? I won’t accept Jewish religious writings/prophecies). They do not know that RoR does not necessarily mean restitution, but may as well come in the form of compensation. They should please refer to Rempel/Prettitore 2011, International Law and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, p69-112, as an example of how to tacke RoR.

      Reply to Comment
      • Rab

        I have a very clear understanding of right of return. Namely, that this right doesn’t exist. There is no such right and even if 194 became a basis for an agreement, then it could be interpreted in many ways. However, sadly, both the Palestinian leadership and most anti-Israel advocates openly refer to right of return as an actual right and that it means the possibility of return of all Palestinians including those who were born outside Israel’s present borders, into Israel. Don’t tell me about it, tell the Palestinians. Oh, and good luck, they’re not going to take kindly to this information.

        Reply to Comment
      • Ginger Eis

        Evidence? The CLAIM Of “Right Of Return” is in- and of itself your strongest legal evidence. No such right exists as Rab already made clear. If you think it is not true that the “right” of return is intended to flood Israel with 5- 7 million (Palestinian figures) refugees (with all the consequences thereof), the burden of proof rests on your shoulders.

        Compensation? On what legal basis? Regardless, if all you folks want is money and houses in future “Palestine” and/or elsewhere other than Israel, you WILL GET IT. But, please tell Abbas to name the prize/amount in WRITING and send it to the UN, the US, the EU and the Knesset. No written document, no money. I am sure Israel and the US alone will come up with the money. I am equally sure that the EU, Canada, Australia and Japan will contribute heavily if requested to. Israelis are desperate to see “refugee” problem resolved.

        Reply to Comment
        • Samuel

          Oh by the way, while we are into refugee restitution mode, why not jump up and down about the rights of Jewish refugees from Arab countries? Shouldn’t they too be compensated for their lost properties and assets which various Arab states confiscated from them when they forced them to flee by persecuting them?

          Guess where many if not most of those Jews settled? In Israel of course.

          Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            You put me in an awkward position, Samuel, but since you ask, I will reply. I agree with you that Jewish refugees from Arab countries should be compensated, but we determine our own tactics on how best to get that with the maximum qualitative result. You see, when the Arabs take the money, they shall have (a) given up the dream of defeating Israel with demographics, (b) given up a powerful instrument for rallying the Arabs and Muslims around the world against Israel, (c) implicitly accepted Israel as a Jewish State and (d) implicitly accepted that UNWRA has lost its mandate and should be dismantled. IMO, the day the Arabs take the money and give up the “right” of return, the conflict shall essentially have been mostly over. Additionally, the dispossession of Jews in Arab countries will, (without being said), also play a role in determining the amount of money the Arabs get and/or how much Israel will contribute to the International fund to compensate the Arabs.

            Reply to Comment
          • Samuel

            Ginger

            I understand where you are coming from and I wish I could agree with your idea that if we just give up on our grievances and pacify them, all will come good. Unfortunately though that isn’t how the world works. I’ll say no more. I’ll let you think about it.

            Reply to Comment
      • Y.

        I haven’t read your reference, but quite a few people have a different opinion. e.g. Prof. Ruth Gavison[1]:

        “Any recognition of this right [RoR – Y.] may tie Israel’s hands and lead to mass lawsuits that will effectively mean the end of the Jewish state”

        “Israel must continue to vehemently oppose the broad implementation of the Palestinian refugees’ return to its territory and must not be tempted to recognize the right of return even as a symbolic gesture”

        [1] ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3931910,00.html

        Reply to Comment
    15. Peter Hindrup

      ‘first, the evacuation of settlements necessary to end the occupation would be very difficult for Israel.’
      Boo Hoo! Who gives a damn about Israel? They live on stolen land ,– a war crime at the time, and still a war crime.

      The Palestinians might just have to fight. Careful targeting of senior army bods, of high ranking politicians. Set up squads in the US and target similar …. forget suicide bombings, a damned good hunting rifle and one shot kills.

      That doesn’t work, poison the water lines within Israel. Make life really precarious.

      Talking has been an ongoing disaster for the Palestinians.

      Reply to Comment
    16. Fred

      No decent case is made here. The reality is tha israel wants it all, has iit all and will keep it, it would like to get rid of the goyim, but their stratedgy is, i believe, by making life so unbearable for them, and treating them like human garbage, they will leave and Israel will get their “pure”Jewish state, clean of the goyim. (does this ring any bells? it should)

      Only BDS has a chance to change things, otherwise Israelis will nnever care about what happens to the gentiles in their midst.

      Reply to Comment
    17. Ira Wechsler

      I disagree totally with a two state solution. It will be separate and unequal. The only real solution is a communist Palestine with bioth Jewish and Palestinian Arabs living side by side. Those who argue for a 2 state solution have no faith in the working class, whether Palestinian or Israeli. Will Palestinians workers benefit from a bourgeois Palestine??? Not at all. This is the deal the Fatah forces want, so they can kiss the Zionist asses and get a piece of the action for a small clique of Palestinians. The Hamas forces are more nationalistic and religiously driven , but also want a bourgeois solution, be it a more fundamentalist one. The 2 state movement will set back the fight for egalitarian communism for another generation. I strongly oppose it and beleieve fundamental change must come from the working class not the capitalist class who enslave us.

      Reply to Comment
    18. Click here to load previous comments
© 2010 - 2017 +972 Magazine
Follow Us
Credits

+972 is an independent, blog-based web magazine. It was launched in August 2010, resulting from a merger of a number of popular English-language blogs dealing with life and politics in Israel and Palestine.

Website powered by RSVP

Illustrations: Eran Mendel