I never wanted to support BDS (Boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel) and I have always been critical of and furious at the Palestinian solidarity movement’s frequent tolerance of antisemitism. I personally witnessed antisemitism and open salafists shouting Islamist slogans and carrying black flags on anti-Israel marches. I heard unchallenged antisemitism by PSC supporters. I dropped out of any pro-Palestinian activism when I joined the Socialist Party and took a fairly apathetic and indifferent attitude to Palestine. The fact that the left has often seemed to be preoccupied with this issue to the exclusion of everything else I think is a symptom of its failure and collapse. I am especially critical of the way which Jews are expected in certain circles to denounce Israel’s actions in some sort of flagellation session as if they were responsible for what the ruling class of Israel does. And the fact that some people act like we live in a world where antisemitism no longer exists whereas I can assure you that it does. A lot of this antisemitism is disguised as opposition to zionism or the Israeli lobby.
So why do I support BDS? Well all the criticisms of this movement are criticisms of pro Palestinian leftist and liberal politics. They are not endorsements of the Israeli state and its supporters in the west. Supporters of this state cannot use criticisms of pro Palestinian politics on the Western left to justify or minimise its actions. Last year in Operation Protective Edge almost three thousand Palestinians were killed. Israel continues to maintain a brutal siege on Gaza and strangle its economy. The countless atrocities which this state has committed against the Palestinian population have been documented in great detail and are not necessary to go into here. Most recently, Israeli state TV admitted there were no rockets fired from schools last year in Gaza. I don’t claim to know what works but the Israeli government expends a great effort trying to fight BDS and delegitimisation campaigns. Anti-BDS campaigners seem to have no alternative and often seem to deflect any kind of criticism of Israel, no matter how mild, by smearing the person who makes it or trying to get them to dilute it with ‘whataboutery’. The two state solution looks unrealistic at this point and the threat of a widespread boycott and resulting unrest within Israel seems about the only thing that will get the Israeli government to change its behaviour in any way. I don’t know what other alternative there is. I think it’s dishonest to say that trying to put pressure on corporations not to deal with a state and making the decision not to buy anything from that state means that you ignore all the world’s other atrocities. Despite the criticisms I have there don’t seem to be good arguments to oppose it.
Personal analysis and that so I haven’t gone into much detail and not gonna cite sources, just some thoughts.