Commentary | BDS a lot of bunk

The movement to boycott Israel does not accomplish its goals

Often, when someone argues that the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks are failing because of one of the actors in the conflict, it is obvious that rather than taking an impartial stance on it, certain people prefer to label, degrade, and make accusations. Jon Booth’s article (“Learn, boycott, divest, sanction,” Commentary, October 21) follows this example.

Instead of making thoughtful suggestions that might be beneficial to both parties in the conflict, Booth labels Israel as the reason for the failure of the peace talks. Apparently, the years of violence – perpetuated by both parties – have nothing to do with the failure of peace negotiations.

The BDS campaign that he promotes is one meant to demonize Israel rather than achieve any gains for the Palestinians themselves. These BDS organizers falsely label Israel as a racist state and reject any compromises for a two-state solution that would benefit both parties. Apparently, rejecting Israel’s right to statehood is legitimate, but rejecting the same right for Palestine is not. It might seem obvious that the solution should include a compromise between these two parties – but supporters of Palestinians like Booth only search for solutions that would end the State of Israel and create a Palestinian one in its place. A true human rights activist wouldn’t deny the right of a people to exist, whether they are Israeli or not.

It’s a shame that by focusing on divestment and sanctions, they are not taking any action that might benefit the Palestinians.

Quebecor Media Inc. columnist Eric Duhaime has written about the lead-up to the BDS conference held at UQAM a week ago. Activists demonstrated in front of Le Marcheur, on St. Denis, in an effort to convince store owners to stop selling Israeli-made products. Among them was Jafar Khadir. Just a few years ago, according to Duhaime, he held a meeting in his home for the organization the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, a classified Iranian terrorist group in Canada and the U.S. since 2005.

If you look into the background of these so-called activists, many have ties to organizations you wouldn’t want to be representing. It’s time to call upon activists with such ties, who call for the boycott of a democratic country and also support terrorism and use violence to achieve their political goals, to reveal those ties and denounce terrorism.

It’s difficult to understand the logic behind BDS. It won’t benefit the Palestinians; it won’t disadvantage Israel’s economy (anti-BDS movements have been much stronger than the BDS movements themselves); and, most of all, it is based on the hypocritical notion that one people’s nationhood is more legitimate than another’s.

Vicky Tobianah is a U3 Honours Political Science and English Literature student, McGill Daily news writer, and Tribune columnist.


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