There might be some cause for quiet celebration. Anti-Zionist groups, notably ISM and PSM
, set ambitious goals of subverting churches, unions, universities, women's rights groups and others to institute boycotts against Israel and delegitimize Israel. They have had a limited success. We should not be complacent about the appearance of "Israeli apartheid" as an acceptable epithet made popular by Jimmy Carter and his allies, or the increasingly raucous complaints about the "Israel lobby."
However, the trash Israel movement has also had some notable failures. ISM - inspired church boycotts of Israel have been reversed in a few cases. The Presbyterian Church
reversed its one sided divestment resolutions in favor of a balanced and pro-active approach to achieving peace, and condemned suicide bombings and terror.
Recently ISM has been trying to raise support for economic boycotts of Israel, including a tasteless attempt to stop export of Israeli flowers
. That effort, thankfully, seems to be a big flop.
ISM also called on its followers to stop the Euroleague qualifier football match between Israel and England
. ISM to the contrary notwithstanding, the football match was held
, and was a great victory for good sportsmanship, good beer and good relations between Israel and England.
The boycott initiatives, which began many years ago, have been turned inside out. Much of the world is boycotting the Palestinian Authority since the genocidal Hamas movement came to power there. The would-be boycotters of Israel are now whining that boycotts of a "democratically elected government" are unfair. They should have thought of that when they instituted their boycott initiatives against Israel. Of course, they don't take into account that the "democratically elected government" is dominated by an armed militia, which is not usual or accepted for democratically elected governments. The struggle to get the Hamas-dominated government to comply with international demands and common decency, respect agreements, abandon violence and recognize the right of Israel to exist is not over. Some countries such as Norway have decided to recognize the government and deal with it, others might follow. Where are the supporters of decency and fair play, not to mention Zionists, in Norway, who should be protesting this move?
Supporters of Israel and real supporters of peace in the Middle East and a non-racist solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a just solution that recognizes the rights of both
peoples, can get some quiet satisfaction from the limited successes of the Israel boycotters and their friends. We should also be learning from our successes as well as our failures, and keep the following in mind:
Find the people within the organization who are on your side, and help empower them so they can lead the fight from within.
Be constructive rather than simply attacking the proposals.
Present a reasonable, balanced and peaceful alternative to counter the unreasonable, racist and aggressive boycott Israel proprosals.
Stay focused on the issues.
Don't denigrate organization leaders as 'anti-Semites.' All anti-Semites are jackasses. Not all jackasses are anti-Semites, and it never pays to tell a jackass what they are if you want their cooperation.
Don't conflate Zionism or the legitimacy of Israel with your own personal political preferences.
Don't insist on absolute agreement with your position, because that will probably mean getting nothing at all. Insist on fairness, balance and decency. Everyone has a right to expect that much.
Don't attack the general political views or beliefs of the group you are trying to influence. Churches are composed of Christians, and they will not take kindly to attacks on their faith. Labor unions are usually, in the nature of things, composed of 'leftists,' and we 'leftists" do not take kindly to blanket attacks on 'leftists.'
Meanwhile, in honor of Saturday's football match - a victory over ISM - as well as the creditable tie score achieved by Israel against an English team that is acknowledged as superior, you can drink a (small) glass of champagne or other celebratory beverage.
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