Mahmoud Abbas’s Desperate Boycott Strategy

Feb. 28 2018

As late as 2013, the Palestinian Authority (PA) was sending mixed messages about its relationship with the movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel (BDS)—a movement that officially claims to be responding to “a call from Palestinian civil society.” The PA’s ambiguity ended by 2015, when the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s Central Council (effectively indistinguishable from the PA) urged an international boycott of Israeli goods. David May comments:

In an October 2016 interview with the Arab Weekly, Nabil Shaath, President Mahmoud Abbas’s top foreign-affairs adviser, said that “the Palestinians can still defeat Israel” with the help of a consumer boycott. During his 2017 UN General Assembly speech, Abbas said, “I call on all states to end all forms of direct and indirect involvement with, and support for, the illegal Israeli colonial settlement regime.” . . .

Among the biggest proponents of BDS within Abbas’s inner circle is his Fatah deputy, Mahmoud al-Aloul, [who] has often declared that “all forms of resistance are legitimate,” an allusion to his support for violence against Israelis. . . . According to a March 2017 audio tape obtained by the Washington Free Beacon, Aloul said, “We [i.e., the Palestinian government] have relations with BDS, our people work there, and we have delegates there. We cooperate with BDS on all levels, and not only with BDS: every group whose aim is to boycott Israel, we are with.” . . .

Since 2014, Abbas has eschewed direct talks with Israel, preferring to attack the Jewish state in the international arena and engage in ill-fated reconciliation attempts with the terrorist group Hamas. Now, with his back against the wall, as he finds himself isolated from the Arab states and from the Trump administration, Abbas seems to be embracing economic warfare against Israel as a national strategy. The decision, while perhaps a long time coming, seems to underscore that the aging Palestinian leader has run out of strategies. The move to support economic warfare will almost certainly prove to be an obstacle to peace and undermine Abbas’s remaining legitimacy.

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More about: Abbas, BDS, Israel & Zionism, Palestinian Authority

For Israelis, Anti-Zionism Kills

Dec. 14 2018

This week alone, anti-Zionists have killed multiple Israelis in a series of attacks; these follow the revelations that Hizballah succeeded in digging multiple attack tunnels from Lebanon into northern Israel. Simultaneously, some recent news stories in the U.S. have occasioned pious reminders that anti-Zionism should not be conflated with anti-Semitism. Bret Stephens notes that it is anti-Zionists, not defenders of Israel, who do the most to blur that distinction:

Israelis experience anti-Zionism in a different way from, say, readers of the New York Review of Books: not as a bold sally in the world of ideas, but as a looming menace to their earthly existence, held at bay only through force of arms. . . . Anti-Zionism might have been a respectable point of view before 1948, when the question of Israel’s existence was in the future and up for debate. Today, anti-Zionism is a call for the elimination of a state—details to follow regarding the fate befalling those who currently live in it. . . .

Anti-Zionism is ideologically unique in insisting that one state, and one state only, doesn’t just have to change. It has to go. By a coincidence that its adherents insist is entirely innocent, this happens to be the Jewish state, making anti-Zionists either the most disingenuous of ideologues or the most obtuse. When then-CNN contributor Marc Lamont Hill called last month for a “free Palestine from the river to the sea” and later claimed to be ignorant of what the slogan really meant, it was hard to tell in which category he fell.

Does this make someone with Hill’s views an anti-Semite? It’s like asking whether a person who believes in [the principle of] separate-but-equal must necessarily be a racist. In theory, no. In reality, another story. The typical aim of the anti-Semite is legal or social discrimination against some set of Jews. The explicit aim of the anti-Zionist is political or physical dispossession.

What’s worse: to be denied membership in a country club because you’re Jewish, or driven from your ancestral homeland and sovereign state for the same reason? If anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism are meaningfully distinct (I think they are not), the human consequences of the latter are direr.

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More about: Anti-Semitism, Anti-Zionism, Hizballah, Israel & Zionism, Palestinian terror