For those who are home, and for those who are on the way. For those who support the historic and just return of the land of Israel to its people, forever loyal to their inheritance, and its restoration.
Omar Barghouti’s celebration of the boycott movement (Comment is Free, August 12) finally crossing the Atlantic – with the boycott of Israeli goods at a food co-op in Olympia Washington – seems to have missed the fact that BDS jumped to this side of the pond nearly ten years ago with boycott and divestment campaigns at US colleges and universities, Mainline Protestant churches, cities and unions dotting the landscape starting in 2002. Perhaps the fact that all of these BDS measures failed miserably is why he wants to restart his campaign’s US premiere nearly a decade later.
And speaking of restarts, what’s with the 2005 start date for the BDS “movement?” After all, BDS began in 2001 at the now-notorious Durban I UN “anti-racism” conference where NGO’s met and chose to pursue their “Apartheid Strategy” of de-legitimization, with BDS as the primary tactic. Perhaps a 2005 start date lets Mr. Barghouti flush the first half decade of BDS failure down the memory hole, although he may simply be conflating the start of any significant political project with the beginning of his involvement with it.
I know it’s fashionable to cite the July 9, 2005 “Palestinian Civil Society Calls for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Against Israel” (Mr. Barghouti’s “170 Palestinian political parties, unions, mass movements and NGOs” led by his own BNC organization) as the origin of a BDS campaign that actually began years earlier.
Given its importance to the BDS mythos, I decided to check out just who made up this list of 170. And, lo and behold, who tops the list but the Council of National and Islamic Forces in Palestine, a coalition that includes Hamas, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and some of the more violent sub-sets of Fatah. Call me a cynic, but I suspect that it must be much easier for this Islamic Forces Council to get the Palestinian Dentist’s Association to agree to its agenda than vice versa.
After a decade of tireless effort by BDS activists around the globe, one would think their list of success stories would consist of more than a few symbolic divestment gestures by unknown Scandinavian retirement funds or the occasional aging celebrity choosing to cancel an Israeli appearance rather than have Mr. Barghouti’s friends protest their concerts for years to come.
I visited Hevron in November 2000 after the outbreak of the Rosh Hashanah War to see what could be done to assist in the face of the growing daily attacks on the community. After returning to work for the community in the summer of 2001, a bond and a love was forged that grows to this day. My wife Melody and I merited to be married at Ma'arat HaMachpela and now host visitors from throughout the world every Shabbat as well as during the week. Our goal, "Time to come Home!"