Why BDS? Who are the Palestinians?
Updated: Mar 9
Contrary to what some believe, BDS are not the partial initials of a kinky sexual preference. It stands for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. This is an economic embargo or protest of the Israeli government and its practiced apartheid and genocidal actions against the Palestinian people. Started in 2007, the movement’s main inspiration was the downfall of the government of South Africa through economic sanctions worldwide.
The simple part first; worldwide criticism of the Israeli government is no more anti-Semitic, than criticism of Saudi Arabia is Islamophobic.
Moreover, the two have more in common than Israel dare admit, consistently pimping its reputation as the “only democracy in the region.” This is a false hood, if not an outright lie.
Let’s examine theocracy, shall we? Israel has declared itself the Jewish State and Hebrew the State Language. Not a democracy. Iran and the Saudis do it too. Incidentally, Jews in Iran have more rights in Iran than Palestinians in Israel, whether it’s in the territories or Israel proper.
Israel is also a racist state; not only in how Palestinians are treated but also how non-white Jews are treated. The systemic racism in Israel rivals (in some cases surpasses) the United States. While white, European Jews have been flown in for free, Operations Moses and Solomon saw Ethiopian Jews trudging through the deserts of Africa until it became obvious help was needed. After initially getting assistance, they were relegated to much of the same conditions as the Palestinian citizens of Israel. Iranian and Iraqi Jews fair no better when emigrating from their respective countries. Being put into “centers for processing,” is something that doesn’t happen to their white counterparts.
Howard Rieger, who was president and CEO of JFNA from 2004 to 2009, wrote of the Israeli government’s “grudging acceptance” in bringing in additional Ethiopian Jews after the airlifts, in contrast to Soviet Jews “who were brought in quickly.”
So, if Jews (non-white or otherwise) are subject to issues of systemic racism, how are the Palestinians expecting to be treated? Gaza is an open-air prison, suffering food and medical sanctions and economic duress from the Israeli government. In 2005, Jewish settlers were cleared out so “Gazans could rule themselves.” It didn’t take long to smell the bacon…In their first elections, Hamas was voted in. Carpet bombing began ever since, murdering thousands of Palestinians, mostly children. In the 2014 “war,” Benny Gantz, who coined the term “mowing the lawn,” murdered 3,000 Palestinian civilians in Gaza in two months. The West Bank fares no better, as more and more lands are stolen and turned into illegal settlements for Jews from Ukraine and Brooklyn. Frankly, they’re the only ones dumb enough to believe the brochure, promising “a land of milk and honey” and Israelis won’t live there.
Palestinian citizens of Israel (or Arab Israelis as Israel calls them) are relegated to curtailed utilities, harassment, curfews and various levels of green or blue ID cards. The access granted by each is based on the whim of any soldier who stops them on any given day. They can be denied access to work, doctors, or doing anything an Israeli just does.
This is but a small part of the story. In addition to Jewish soldiers gunning down unarmed civilians, crazed, unspooled settlers set upon children and civilians, without compunction, basically sanctioned by the military. When it’s brought to light, the Israelis hide behind the canard, “Israel has the right to defend itself.” From what? Unarmed peasants, with no military, air force or adequate weapons, fighting the most powerful army in the mid-east, all courtesy of the American taxpayer? Incidentally, Israeli taxes go to free healthcare, college and state funded abortion. American taxes go to Israeli defense.
Even as Zionism moved from the 19th into the 20thcentury, many rabbis believed that “…the fate of the Jewish nation was to remain in exile until the arrival of the Messiah,” as Israel Meir Kagan expressed. Many more believed that to establish a secular state of Israel under the rule of non-religious Jews would have a disastrous impact on the entire region (gee, right much?). Rabbi Chaim Elazar Spira saw Zionism as a denial of the Divine Redemption and faith in the Messiah.
Last I checked the U.N. and Great Britain were not the Messiah…
In the U.S., much support for Israel comes from American Christians, who believe the existence of Israel fulfills prophecy while, simultaneously, condemning Jews “for killing our Lord.” A veritable quandary.
Meanwhile, most Jews mistake Christian “love” for acceptance. The fact is that Christians believe Jews are merely an ingredient in a psycho, Christian, sci-fi, end times stew that will have them in a pan when Jesus comes back and saves everyone. Except for 144,000 Jews (the 12 tribes) all will be condemned.
Also, to emphasize that this is not religious but an issue of sovereignty, a full third of Palestinians identify as Christian. When Israeli soldiers gun down your grandma, I doubt the phrase “God’s chosen people” is uttered.
Moving on, it must be pointed out that Israelis and later the Israeli government have killed 2.1 million Palestinians since 1935. The Palestinians aren’t even close and over 5 million Palestinians are in exile in their own country.
In the U.S., many states have anti-BDS legislation. We are pledging allegiance to a foreign power, sacrificing our Constitutional right to free speech. Journalist Abby Martin is in a lawsuit against the University System of Georgia. They tried to make her sign such a pledge before she could lecture on campus and screen her documentary, Gaza Fights for Freedom.
In the face of all of this, a boycott is the only way to get Israel to the table. The main point of BDS is to peacefully protest, without force, the theft of Palestinian land, the right of return and equal rights for Palestinians living in Israel and the territories. Being against this kind of protest says several things;
1) You don’t believe in democracy.
2) You may be racist.
3) You want Palestinians to shut up and say nothing, violent or otherwise. Very American…
In other articles, we’ll discuss the Ottoman Empire, the U.S. role in Israel as strategy and not “love,” the carving up of a region between Britain and France, and the selling out of Palestinians by the Arab world.
For now, do research, quit watching TV and get religion out of it. Your God is one of 3,000 and none of them will pick you up at the airport.