BDS to World: “We’re not losers” – Part 1

This is cross posted at the blog, Divest This!

I’ve recently discovered two examples of the “But we’re not losers!” BDS argument mentioned at the end of my last posting (one from Australia, one from Philadelphia). Both of these make the case that programs promoting boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel are doing marvelously well, with a recent string of victories providing “a strong wind to the back of the BDS movement.”

Whether this is a direct response to the growing perception of BDS as a “non-winner” or simply general BDS bombast, it occurs to me that if I’m going to continue to talk about the loserish nature of the boycott and divestment project, I am obliged to prove my charge (which I plan to do over the this and the next several postings).

The best place to start is with the very lists of BDS “victories” provided by our friends in Philly and Oz which we can assume represents their strongest evidence of success.

Looking through these lists, the first category that jumps out are outright BDS hoaxes such as Hampshire CollegeBlackrock and Deutsche Bank, all of which were exposed months or even years ago as fraudulent claims about other people’s behavior put forth by overzealous divestment advocates. And while pushing fictional claims that Hampshire or Blackrock were taking political stands against Israel through divestment could be dismissed as simple human error when these stories first appeared, continuing to headline a list of “success stories” with hoaxes points not to misunderstanding but to an intentional desire to deceive.

Continuing on the theme of BDS victories that aren’t, another category of faux BDS “wins” from the BDSers own lists are stories that are long outdated such as the British National Union of Journalists (NUJ), the University and College Union (UCU) and the University of Johannesburg (UJ), all of which once passed boycott or divestment votes which were reversed (or never implemented) by subsequent decisions shortly after that. 

Now it may be that recent news has not reached Philadelphia or Perth that UCU and UJ are no longer in the boycott business, but presenting NUJ (which rejected a boycott in 2007!) as a continuing BDS victory indicates either extremely sloppy research or extreme dishonesty.

Next we have a list of BDS “victories” that cannot be disputed because, in fact, they don’t involve actual boycott or divestment decisions. Rather, they are simply examples of the BDSers themselves doing things (such as presenting petitions to TIAA-CREF or casting a student vote asking the administration of Evergreen College to divest from Israel) which ignores the fact that both CREF and the administration of Evergreen has already responded to these requests (several times) with a polite but firm no.

“We’re not losers” – Part 2

But, you are losers! – Part 3

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10 replies »

  1. OK, let them throw away their cell (mobile) phones, computers containing Intel processors, stop using images of Albert einstein (his image is the intellectual property of the Hebrew U and royalties must be paid for its use in any context), cherry tomatoes (seeds thereof is also propertyof Hebrew U), etc, etc……………

    Never mind they will be back in the stone age, they will be content that BDS has been successful!

    • Not to mention all of the medical advances which have been made either in Israel or with Israeli participation. They and their families should forego any medical procedure which comes from Israel, no matter how necessary.

      Otherwise they are just Jew-hating hypocrites, no?

  2. The spectacular failure of the BDS movement is not due to big business weighing up the facts and answering a resounding “no!”. Of course not – I prefer the theory that its activists themselves deliberately undermining the campaign with their childish behaviour. Deliberately? Yes. After all – if BDS ever actually succeeded, what would these people have to do with their lives? They’d have to go back to having no friends.

  3. i pretzelberg ”if BDS ever actually succeeded, what would these people have to do with their lives?’

    One things for sure- they certainly wouldnt be spending much time campaigning against the corruption and human rights violations of Fatah and Hamas.They havent to date,and if these ‘BDS activists’ truly cared about Palestinians they would have been doing something to improve their domestic situation, instead they obssess with organising the next BDS meet – chalking up a few banners for ‘ Israel Aparthied week’ , shouting down Israeli musicians,academics,sports people or just get their kicks hurling insults at working class Israeli’s selling dead sea salts in market stalls. If these activists were really “pro-Palestinian” and not merely ”anti Israel, they would be doing something to improve the lives of a people they profess to care about, instead of being anti Israel, they could try being pro pro Israeli-pro Palestinian – pro Peace and pro 2 states.

    ce la vie.. what can you do….anyway wont be seeing you on the pages of Cif no more, as theyve finally succeeded in permanently banning me(On a Syrian thread, in reply to berchy of all peeps)

  4. Unfortunately, the picture isn’t _quite_ as rosy as the writer would have us believe. While the UCU has never successfully _implemented_ any of its boycott motions (for fear of the legal consequences), this hasn’t stopped it passing them (except for this year) and ignoring the droves of members leaving because of the anti-Zionist (to say nothing of the antisemitic) atmosphere generated as a result. Further, we shouldn’t forget that this year, they decided to delete from their list of things to take notice of the EUMC Draft definition and guidelines on antisemitism. That they are facing a potential legal action as a result (led by the redoubtable Anthony Julius – go Anthony go!!) is, at present neither here nor there, unless and until it reaches the courts.

    Further, there are many minor victories to the BDS movement, however unsung. Here in my part of North London, there is a newish organic shop on Park Road, N8 (at the foot of Muswell Hill) which has replaced another such shop which was called Just Natural. The new one doesn’t stock Israeli health products (e.g., Dead Sea products) on principle (while its predecessor did, as a matter of commercial principle – people bought them!). Not surprisingly, they have been told by members of the local Jewish community that therefore they won’t be shopping there, as a matter of principle.

    Further, can anyone tell me whether Planet Organic (there’s a branch in Muswell Hill proper) does or does not stock Israeli products? Especially if it’s not and as a matter of principle. Thanks.

  5. I take your points, Brian, but if you are arguing that these minor victories will somehow aggregate into major ones then I haven’t that much confidence that they will. That needs organisation and maturity and these goons certainly don’t have the latter.

    They are victories pushed for by isolated groups of lunatics who have too much time on their hands, are arrested developmentally, and emotionally and psychologically split.

    Had the Jewish and other pro-Israel communities enough gumption they could have sent these lunatics packing in short order, but the fact is they hadn’t and they cared even less.

    Their apathy resulted in them reaping what they sewed.

    • No, HairShirt, I’m not meaning to argue that at all, just that these numbskulls aren’t completely without allies with some degree of commercial ability. Further, this creates impressions and can create difficulties for Jews and other pro (or at least not anti) Israelis who wish to buy these products, either because they are Zionists and/or they think they are great products..

      Large companies, I suspect, will take no notice of these people, because they cause little impact on them, and the backlash from those who are commercially savvy will have a far greater impact: Caterpillar, for example, know full well that the percent of their shares held by, e.g., churches is minuscule and their mass sale would have no impact on the share price.