[Marxism] Anti-BDS conference news reports
lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Jun 1 06:41:36 MDT 2016
NY Times, June 1 2016
Israeli Officials Seek Ways to Combat Boycott Effort
By RICK GLADSTONE
UNITED NATIONS — Alarmed at the spread of a Palestinian campaign to
boycott Israel and particularly its resonance on college campuses, the
Israeli Mission to the United Nations and World Jewish Congress held a
conference on Tuesday aimed at galvanizing support for an effective
Precisely what that countermessage will be, and how it can successfully
be conveyed, were among the goals discussed at the conference, titled
“Build Bridges, Not Boycotts,” held at the United Nations headquarters.
Many of the speakers and guests, who included Jewish students, educators
and policy experts, agreed that the Palestinian campaign, known as the
Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, or B.D.S., had made popular
inroads that Israel advocates had failed to stop.
A range of speakers, including Danny Danon, Israel’s United Nations
ambassador, and Ronald S. Lauder, the president of the World Jewish
Congress, described B.D.S. as a dishonest effort to delegitimize and
Mr. Danon called B.D.S. “the 21st-century incarnation of an old disease:
anti-Semitism.” Mr. Lauder described B.D.S. activists as hypocrites who
should be exposed “through every means possible.”
At the same time, there was an acknowledgment at the conference that the
B.D.S. movement is not monolithic and is supported by some who also may
support Israel’s right to exist. B.D.S. backers include some church
groups as well as Jews who are sympathetic to Palestinian aspirations
for statehood and are strongly critical of Israeli government policies.
“Not every Jew who supports B.D.S. is an ignorant, self-hating Jew,”
David M. Sable, the global chief executive of Y & R Advertising Inc.,
said during a panel about the B.D.S. message on campuses and how to respond.
Mr. Sable, a strong opponent of B.D.S., bluntly criticized the
approaches taken so far to present Israel’s side of the story, which he
said were not working.
“B.D.S. is driving the conversation, and the anti-B.D.S. side is
reactionary,” he said. “Ours is a negative message, just not that
inviting. We look like a corporate brochure. So we have a problem, my
Frank Luntz, a Republican political consultant and public opinion
specialist, told the conference that his own data suggested that the
B.D.S. effort to ostracize Israel was winning more sympathy in the
“This is the Palestinian narrative,” Mr. Luntz said. “This is what
happens if you remain silent.”
The conference was held against the backdrop of a prolonged deadlock in
the process for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict, as well as a hawkish political shift in the Israeli
government, already dominated by right-wing parties.
Mr. Danon said in a telephone interview before the conference that he
had been motivated to organize it partly because of what he described as
a B.D.S. expansion at the United Nations.
He pointed to a measure passed by the United Nations Human Rights
Council in Geneva a few months ago to establish a database identifying
companies doing business in Israeli settlements. The database, which
some Israel officials have described as a blacklist, was viewed as a
victory by the B.D.S. movement.
The conference, Mr. Danon said, was meant “to send a clear message that
we have to fight.”
Riyad H. Mansour, the Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations, said
in a telephone interview that he was paying little attention to the
conference, which he described as a futile effort by Mr. Danon and his
“He is trying to convince the international community to promote
occupation, and the international community is saying this Israeli
occupation has to end,” Mr. Mansour said.
Naomi Dann, a spokeswoman for the Jewish Voice for Peace, a group that
supports B.D.S., said the high level of planning for the conference was
“a sign of the growing power of the B.D.S. movement.”
Israel Fills UN Hall for Anti-BDS Conference
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, June 1 2016
UNITED NATIONS — Over 1,500 students filled the United Nations General
Assembly on Tuesday for a conference sponsored by the Israeli mission on
how best to combat a movement on many U.S. campuses calling for a
boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel over its
treatment of the Palestinians.
Taking place in the same hall where 40 years ago 72 nations voted to
equate Zionism with racism, Israel's Ambassador to the U.N. Danny Danon
called the conference an "historic" event. Separately, Palestinian
Ambassador Riyad Mansour dismissed the conference as "no big deal."
The boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (BDS) seeks to ostracize
Israel by lobbying corporations, artists and academic institutions to
sever ties with the Jewish state. Supporters say the boycott is aimed at
furthering Palestinian independence, and they have modeled their efforts
on an earlier campaign against Apartheid South Africa. Critics say the
campaign is aimed at delegitimizing Israel itself.
"BDS is not about helping the Palestinians or bringing peace. Their only
goal is to bring an end to the Jewish state. This is the reality and we
won't be afraid to say it out loud, everywhere. BDS is the true face of
modern anti-Semitism," Danon said in his opening remarks.
Danon cited a recent resolution passed by the Human Rights Council that
calls on the U.N. human rights chief to set up a database of businesses
operating in settlements in the West Bank and Golan Heights as evidence
that BDS movement had spread beyond college campuses.
"With this disgraceful resolution the U.N. crossed a red line. Can you
imagine that seventy years after the holocaust the U.N. is creating
lists to encourage the boycott of Jewish companies? This is exactly the
kind of hatred that the U.N. was founded to eradicate," Danon said.
The conference entitled "Build Bridges Not Boycotts," united members of
Jewish organizations, business people and academics to discuss
strategies aimed at countering the narratives of the BDS movement. It
also featured a performance by Jewish-American reggae singer Matisyahu,
who had a concert in Spain cancelled over pressure from a local branch
of the BDS movement. The festival later welcomed him back amid a barrage
Gilad Skolnick, director of campus programming for the Committee for
Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, or CAMERA, said that of
the 26 U.S. college campuses that voted on BDS resolutions last year, 12
were approved and 14 were rejected.
"So while it is a problem, BDS is often times a symptom of hatreds and
anti-Semitism that starts on campus so CAMERA's strategy is to set up
before that happens so that it doesn't become an issue," Skolnick said.
Daniel Birnbaum, CEO of SodaStream International Ltd, whose factory in a
West Bank was forced to close after it was targeted by the boycott,
urged the students to do all they can to fight the movement but he added
that wouldn't be enough.
"At the same time we do that, give a chance to the bridge that's the
name of this conference," he said. "Build trust and the only way to
build trust is to get to know them as human beings, not as Palestinians,
as terrorists. Find a Palestinian friend.
There were even a couple of Palestinians on hand to address the students.
Mosab Hassan Yousef, who worked undercover for Israeli intelligence
between 1997 and 2007, and Bassam Eid, founder of the Palestinian Human
Rights Monitoring Group, voiced messages critical of the Palestinian
leadership that were greeted by applause from the students.
In a telephone interview, Mansour, the Palestinian ambassador, dismissed
the conference as "an admission by the Israeli leadership that they're
losing ground at American universities and colleges to BDS."
He added that BDS is not on the agenda of the U.N.
"Is (Danon) suggesting to bring it to the agenda of the U.N? If he is,
bring it on," Mansour said.
More information about the Marxism