Monday, February 24, 2014

A Realistic Appraisal of BDS

[By Robert K. Lifton on the HuffPost.]
As Secretary of State Kerry prepares an American set of principles that will be the basis for pressing the Israelis and Palestinians to negotiate on a final status agreement, the threat of BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) applied in some form against Israeli interests has entered the conversation. Secretary Kerry has argued that allowing the peace talks to fail would incite Israel's critics who are looking to pressure the country through a campaign for boycotts against Israeli products and institutions. "You see," he stated, "for Israel there's an increasing de-legitimization campaign that has been building up. People are very sensitive to it. There is talk of boycotts and other kinds of things. Are we all going to be better with all of that?"

That statement generated angry criticism from a number of Israeli officials with Israel Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz calling Kerry's language "offensive, unreasonable and unacceptable." While Prime Minister Netanyahu did not mention Kerry, he did remark that efforts to boycott Israel are neither moral nor justified and will not achieve their goals. "First, they cause the Palestinians to become further entrenched behind their intransigent positions and push peace further away and secondly, no pressure will cause me to give up vital Israeli interests, first and foremost the security of Israel's citizens."
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