Archive for the ‘THE LEGITIMACY OF BDS’ Tag


John Chuckman



“The BDS movement is nefarious, but it’s better to push back politically — not legally

“Anti-BDS legislation in the U.S. is unhelpful. BDS should be fought subtly, without giving it too much oxygen”


“The BDS movement is nefarious, but it’s better to push back politically — not legally”


The first part of that statement is simply insupportable.

Boycotts changed the landscape of Nationalist South Africa, peacefully. They played a big role in the American civil rights movement, too. What’s nefarious about that?

A boycott is a peaceful expression of disapproval, one with some economic bite, for the unacceptable acts of states. Free expression by millions.

The word “nefarious” has no place in the discussion. It actually could only fairly be applied to the author himself, for his effort, more roundabout than most, to equate criticism of a well-armed state with a form of prejudice.

Advocating a grant of exceptional status to any state – as in seeking to absolve it of blame or consequences for its wrongdoing – represents genuine prejudice.

It doesn’t matter whether the method used to obtain that status is constant social pressure, as we get with countless articles like this one, or lobby-driven, anti-democratic legislation. The result is the same, the suppression of the rights of millions to express their disapproval of something they regard as seriously wrong.

Would any clear-thinking person regard that as a suitable goal? Guaranteeing a powerful state that it may do as it pleases without objection or consequences?

“Anti-Semitism” claims about criticism of Israel’s actual behavior – not its identity, not its religion, not its ethnicity, but its actual behavior – are precisely parallel with someone’s having claimed that criticism of the Soviet Union – and we all know there was a great deal, both at home and abroad, to criticize in the practices of the Soviet Union – was the same thing as hating Russians, what today we would call “Russophobia.”

Anyone can understand the absurdity of that.

The only thing different in Israel’s case is the charged, threatening atmosphere that always accompanies accusations of “anti-Semitism,” an atmosphere that has been deliberately cultivated by apologists over many years.


Response to another comment:

Well said. Exactly the case.

The United States government was long in Nationalist South Africa’s corner because South Africa was viewed as such a strategically important place during the Cold War.

Only the acts of millions of individuals and some companies, voting with their pocket books, finally drove the American government to act against South Africa.

And we all know the story after that. Apartheid died a welcome death.

Nothing about the Israeli situation is any different. Not a thing, except names and location.

We see open abuse and oppression. We see millions of people with no citizenship and no legal rights being held against their will. We see unequal laws and unequal treatment under the law.

For more than half a century. Good God. It’s appalling, but our governments and public figures are intimidated, afraid of being labelled “anti-Semitic,” in what itself is an unfair and genuinely nefarious campaign.


Response to another comment:

Well said.

Of course, it is not anti-Semitic.

Calling people who are concerned with human rights names like that is abusive and unacceptable.

By the way, concerning your reference to “building bridges,” perhaps the most famous Zionist writer, a Russian named Ze’ev Jabotinsky, regarded as a founder of modern Israel, wrote of the need for building “an iron wall.”

And that approach, from the beginning has characterized modern Israel, it maintains an iron wall.

It even keeps extending the area which the iron wall covers.

Albert Einstein offered a completely different approach to Palestine, but he was ignored.


Response to another comment:

That is true about weapons and South Africa and Israel.

It is also true that Israel secretly assisted Apartheid South Africa to become, for a brief while, another small nuclear power.

The nuclear weapons were given up and dismantled after the fall of the Nationalists.

But the very fact Israel was assisting the Apartheid government in such a fashion tells us something about its feelings and attitudes of the time concerning human rights and democracy.

There have been relatively few cases of genuine proliferation in the history of nuclear weapons, and Israel’s was perhaps the most dramatic.

The story has always been downplayed in the mainline press, but over time, we have received enough information, here or there, to know some truth.

The United States in those days was definitely in Apartheid South Africa’s corner for Cold War strategic considerations.

And South Africa was then always playing up its anti-Communist credentials for America’s benefit. Of course, they could also say what a terrible threat the ANC and Nelson Mandela were to “the West” since they were regarded as having communist sympathies.

A few years back, we had an old secret document from top government officials in Israel released by South Africa, a document which concerned Israel’s willingness to sell “a package” to Nationalist South Africa. We know the Nationalists had at least six nuclear warheads when their government collapsed. Israel wanted to keep strong ties with South Africa for its long-term supplies of strategic materials.

Israel also assisted the Nationalists in building nuclear-capable missiles, South Africa having several such missiles at the time of its collapse.


Response to another comment:

Your tone is reasonable, but there is no such thing as an “Israel-Palestine conflict.”

That term is a creation of the mainline press. It hides far more than it reveals.

What we have is an occupation with constant abuse of five or six million people who have no rights at all and live under laws written and interpreted by their occupier.

The “conflict” could be over swiftly were Israel just to return to its original borders and tear down walls and fences and machine-gun towers built on the property of others.

But that is not going to happen any time soon. The government of the United States, which could enforce it – indeed, would have to enforce it – simply will not do so. Lobby interests hold the American government in a dark place regarding fairness or peace or rights in the region.

Posted March 11, 2019 by JOHN CHUCKMAN in Uncategorized

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