On Tuesday, the Canadian House of Commons passed a resolution condemning the movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel (BDS). Terry Glavin, while praising the decision, notes that the surrounding debate ignored what he considers the most important question:
As always, . . . the one question about the international BDS campaign never got a proper look-in: does the BDS strategy truly hold out the promise of improving the lives of the long-suffering Palestinian people, or advance the prospects for peace, or serve the cause of a democratic Palestinian state emerging from decades of antagonism to coexist alongside Israel?
You might not be surprised at who . . . came up with the most convincing answers to that question when I was asking around this week. But if you’ve absorbed the usual popular assumptions that underlie the debates about the Israeli-Palestinian agony, you will be surprised by what he has to say.
Bassem Eid is a prominent Palestinian human-rights activist who lives with his wife and four children in the ancient West Bank city of Hebron. . . . According to Eid, the “BDS campaign is completely contradictory to the Palestinian cause. We will never build peace this way. . . . The agenda of the BDS campaign is to try to destroy Israel.” . . .
To recap the history of BDS, without getting into any of the unambiguously anti-Semitic boycott-Jews associations from Europe’s recent past: the movement kicked off before Israel was born, with a pre-emptive campaign waged by the Arab League against the Jewish population of Palestine in 1945. The campaign was formalized after Israel’s birth in 1948; . . . it was [later] revived at the notorious Durban conference in 2001, which cast boycotts, divestments, and sanctions within a suite of strategies—including the “apartheid” smear—explicitly designed to isolate and marginalize Israel.