Thursday, February 25, 2010

Jewish Daily Forward and Chicago Public Radio cover BDS

Two pieces on BDS in the mainstream press this week caught our attention. Israeli academic and author Neve Gordon spoke to Chicago Public Radio about his support of BDS, making the argument that by opposing Israel's policy of expansionism and occupation, BDS is in fact a movement to "save Israel from itself" and identifying Israel as an "apartheid regime." Apparently the Jewish Council for Public Affairs doesn't agree, as reported by the Jewish Daily Forward:
"With anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions efforts gaining visibility, the Jewish community’s main public-policy coordinating body is for the first time confronting the BDS movement as a specific and stated priority.
At its recent annual plenum, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs passed a resolution stating that BDS should now “be regarded with the utmost seriousness and urgency.”
....
The resolution passed at the JCPA plenum lays out few concrete steps for beginning to combat the BDS movement. Along with the commitment to take the BDS threat more seriously, the resolution proposed responding “swiftly to false or distorted media statements about Israel,” educating Jewish professionals and students about the “nature, tactics and dangers of the BDS movement” and countering boycotts with campaigns to encourage the purchase of Israeli goods."
The Forward article notes the boycott of the Israel Ballet endorsed by the US Campaign and its member groups, including Adalah-NY, as well as pointing out a historical irony in the tactics of the Israel Ballet boycott:
Andrew Kadi, a leader of Adalah-New York, a pro-Palestinian group in the BDS coalition, helped organize the protest targeting the Israel Ballet in cities where it appeared on its American tour. Pickets were set up in front of performances in Burlington, Vt., Boston and Brooklyn. Activists dressed as ballerinas, held signs that read, “Pas de deux or arabesque/The occupation is grotesque” and passed out mock programs — tactics echoing those employed by Soviet Jewry activists in the 1970s who protested New York performances of Russia’s Bolshoi Ballet and distributed fake playbills.
The article also notes that "Ahava beauty products from the Dead Sea and Caterpillar earth-moving equipment have both been the targets of such campaigns." Get involved in BDS campaigns in your community, including the campaign against Ahava and Caterpillar, by clicking here.