Following Israeli academic Neve Gordon’s recent call for a boycott campaign against Israel due to its “apartheid” nature, Jerusalem Post columnist Larry Derfner simply refuses to go this far (wishing, pointlessly in my view, that somehow outside pressure, from the Obama administration, will force Israel to become a civilised nation):
Supporting the BDS [boycott, divestment and sanctions] campaign is a very, very far cry from what the Zionist Left, myself included, have been doing: urging the Obama administration to pressure Israel into trading land for peace. The difference is that the Obama administration, like all of its predecessors and like the Zionist Left, is anti-occupation but pro-Israel. There may never have been a country that was as good a friend to another country as the US has been to this one. When we call on Washington to pressure Israel into ending the occupation, we do so knowing that Washington is not going to take any step that would damage this country’s security.
We do it knowing that Obama and his team, even if they wouldn’t put it in these terms, really do want to save Israel from itself…
No, unlike the Obama team’s approach, the BDS campaign isn’t about tough love for Israel. It’s about abuse.
Neve Gordon, like others in the movement, cites the campaign against apartheid South Africa as a model, a precedent for using strong, unpleasant medicine to heal a very sick, obstinate patient. Without going into all the differences – as well as the similarities – between apartheid and the occupation, I want to show briefly why the BDS campaign against apartheid South Africa was just, and why the one against Israel is just wrong.