Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Park Slope Rejects BDS

The effort to enlist the venerable Park Slope co-op into the anti-Israel BDS campaign came to a crashing halt tonight, with a "referendum on the referendum" (that is, a vote on whether to submit a BDS proposal to the co-op membership) defeated by a crushing 1,005 - 653 margin (60.5% to 39.5%). The BDS campaign continues its string of defeats stateside, which is always good to see.

Dan Klein tweeted his "guarantee" that "there will soon be posts about how this is really a victory for BDS." Don't even have to wait for posts, Dan -- check out the NYT article interviewing BDS proponents in the wake of their defeat.
“The vote tonight has shown us that we still have a lot of work ahead in the fight to end Israeli oppression of Palestinians,” said Liz Roberts, a member of the pro-boycott lobby. “However, despite our loss in tonight’s vote, we have succeeded in one of our goals: B.D.S. has entered into the consciousness of thousands of co-op members and has even made it into mainstream conversations.”
Omar Barghouti, a Palestinian human rights advocate and co-founder of the B.D.S. movement, said that regardless of the outcome, the fact that the debate had reached Park Slope reflected the momentum the cause had gained.

“We are fast reaching our South Africa moment,” he said in a statement from East Jerusalem.

Also worth noting is Divest This' Jon Haber, whose coverage of all matters BDS is indispensable. He notes that while various right-wing groups often try to say that BDS is the true face of progressive America, that misapprehends the fringe nature of the movement and the methods it uses to insinuate itself inside the American left.
[U]nsurprisingly, conservative politicians are having a field day claiming no surprise that a progressive institution like the Park Slope Coop would choose to play footsie with those advocating for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against the Jewish state.

The trouble is, the Coop didn’t decide to go down any such route, but instead had a boycott vote (or vote for vote) stuffed down their throat by single-issue partisans within their ranks who clearly feel the organization is nothing more than a plaything for their own political pet peeves.
Because BDS tends to only target progressive groups and organizations, and because I tend to work with people inside those organizations who are battling against BDS, most of the people I have worked with are progressive-minded folks who have never had to choose a side in the Middle East conflict. Which is why seeing commentary that explains the boycott vote as nothing more than an expression of liberalism’s true face strikes me as both hyperbolic and incorrect. After all, these very progressive organizations – be they colleges, churches or food coops – are the very people who have been rejecting BDS for over a decade.

Unfortunately, BDSers are not prone to going away quietly, so we can be sure this will pop up on the agenda in some other context soon enough. It's a shame, too, because those of us who are battling seriously for a safe, secure, and democratic Jewish state next to a safe, secure, and democratic Palestinian state don't have time to be distracted by this nonsense. There are bigger fish to fry that trying to stop the cause of justice from being hijacked by fringe radicals who prefer self-righteousness to actually making a difference in the world.

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DeanTheDestroyer said...
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