Tuesday, 5 November 2013

DEAN SHERR: ASININE!!! Boycott boon to Israel's right

Boycott boon to Israel's right


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SOMEWHERE in Jerusalem, a man in a blue tie is reading about an academic in Sydney boycotting a left-wing Israeli educator. He's a hawkish politician, a member of a right-wing party, and he's rubbing his hands together in glee.
He's happy because his political opponents, Israeli peace advocates, are being slapped down and dismissed, not just by the Right but by the Left. Dan Avnon, who developed a civics program to promote equality for minorities and create a shared understanding between Israelis and Palestinians, is being boycotted by a Sydney University centre because he's Israeli.
Boycott, divestment and sanctions is a contradictory movement. Supported by the far Left here, it ironically provides great support to the Israeli Right. Right-wing Zionists, often sceptical of peace concessions and negotiations, can find no better case to throw in the face of the Left. Israelis uninterested in making peace with Palestinians can only laugh when Israelis who dedicate and sacrifice so much to do so find themselves rejected, delegitimised as human beings, simply because they're Israeli. 
Israelis, bearing anti-Semitism and disproportionate criticism in mind, don't find it hard to feel persecuted or targeted. The hawkish Israeli need only point to the BDS movement as ammunition to say: "Everyone hates us, why should we compromise?"
The more prevalent the delegitimisation of Israel itself becomes, the harder it is to imagine activists such as Avnon putting themselves out there publicly in support of compromising for peace.
The Jewish nation is, understandably, always conscious of victimisation and, whether fairly or not, the new BDS movement appeals to a certain "us against them" in some Israelis.
Boycotting Israel, an action that is indeed designed to portray it as an illegitimate state, rejects a two-state solution negotiated by the Israeli and Palestinian leadership in favour of one state. Its premise of a one-state Palestine, open to all religions and races, is neither just nor practical.
The notion that one side of a two-side conflict should be neither able nor allowed to act positively towards peace is ludicrous. It's telling human beings, born by chance in Israel, that they shouldn't even bother trying to improve their society.
Even more ridiculous is that this idea is being pushed primarily by those living on the other side of the world. Those who claim to be putting forward legitimate criticism of a nation, only to then reject those who try to remedy the situation, should be dismissed as extremists.
Expecting Israel to simply fold is purely anti-Israel fantasy. And advocating for an absolutist approach is irresponsible when it discourages the Palestinians from dialogue, too. 
Dean Sherr is political affairs director, Australasian Union of Jewish Students. These are his personal views.
- See more at: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/opinion/boycott-boon-to-israels-right/story-e6frgd0x-1226753047229#sthash.g3Lgm1NM.dpuf

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