The recent decision by the NSW Greens to embrace BDS against Israeli apartheid has brought out predictably hyperbolic Zionist lobby rantings.
Here’s Yair Miller, president of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, rehashing familiar talking points about Israeli democracy, working together with Palestinians and hugging away the occupation. Because that’s worked so well in the past.
What Zionists fear is the truth simply getting out. The occupation has so blighted Jewish minds that a non-violent, civil struggle against it must be attacked obsessively. Shame it won’t work. And, of course, no mention of Israel’s increasing intolerance and fascism.
Also in December, Marrickville Council, a stronghold of the NSW Greens, called for a boycott of organisations or companies that support or profit from “the Israeli military occupation of Palestine”. The resolution is silent about which specific territories are considered to be parts of “Palestine” under “Israeli military occupation” leaving open the possibility that, like Hamas, it regards the entire territory of the State of Israel as “occupied Palestine”. It seems that the Council, like the NSW Greens, is more interested in posturing to its well heeled “progressive” inner city constituency than in troubling itself with bothersome detail.
But the real agenda being served by the NSW Greens and Marrickville Council is anything but progressive. By these actions, they have subscribed to the global campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel, which is not about Israel’s policies or “military occupation” at all. BDS openly seeks to bring about the end of Israel itself or, in the words of BDS leader, Omar Barghouti, to establish “a Palestine next to a Palestine, rather than a Palestine next to an Israel”.
How progressive is it to join forces with a campaign aimed at destroying an established member state of the UN in violation of international law and UN resolutions? Or to seek to dismantle the only democracy in the Middle East and to have it possibly replaced by an Islamist theocratic dictatorship? Or to remove the only society in the Middle East with free trade unions, in which women do not live in feudal subjection, and in which gay couples can live openly without forfeiting their lives?
It is easy for some people in Australia, half a world away from the Middle East, to call for a boycott, which in reality won’t require them to make any personal sacrifices. Instead, they can comfortably take refuge in simplistic slogans and distorted accounts of history that omit all the gritty realities that don’t fit their narrative.
It’s the Palestinians themselves who will have to pay the price – in lost jobs and declining living standards – for the crusading zeal of their western armchair “champions”.
The BDS campaign has required the Board in NSW, the Executive Council of Australian Jewry and the World Jewish Congress globally, to engage with sectors of society with which we have previously had scant contact, and to work more closely with faith groups, unionists and others who share our concern to promote peaceful co-existence between Israel and a future Palestinian state. That is necessary for the sake of Israel, the Jewish people and the Palestinians.