For your perusal, my latest INTO THE FRAY column:
The anti-BDS effort: Targeting the symptoms, not the sickness
(Kindly consider “liking”, sharing, tweeting – please use hash-tag #IntoFray)
BDS is not an attempt to delegitimize Israel, but rather a product of Israel’s delegitimization; it is thus a consequence, rather than a cause, of that delegitimization
It appears this week on the following sites (in alphabetical order):
ISRAELI FRONTLINE: http://www.israelifrontline.com/2018/01/fray-anti-bds-effort-targeting-symptoms-not-sickness.html
ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS: https://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/21547
ISRAEL RISING: https://www.israelrising.com/anti-bds-effort-targeting-symptoms-not-sickness/
JERUSALEM HERALD : https://www.jerusalem-herald.com/single-post/2018/01/12/INTO-THE-FRAY-The-Anti-BDS-Effort—Targeting-The-Symptoms-Not-The-Sickness
JEWS DOWN UNDER: https://jewsdownunder.com/2018/01/12/into-the-fray-the-anti-bds-effort-targeting-the-symptoms-not-the-sickness/
JEWISH PRESS: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/into-the-fray-martin-sherman/into-the-fray-the-anti-bds-effort-targeting-the-symptoms-not-the-sickness/2018/01/14/
Several short excerpts:
The Palestinian narrative claims that the Jews of Israel are colonialist interlopers who stole the land from the Palestinians, its rightful owners. The narrative makes no distinction between Tel Aviv and Hebron. All of Israel is a crime against the Arab world. All of Israel is illegitimate. – Caroline Glick, June 1, 2017.
I recently participated in a rather animated televised debate on the new English language channel, ILTV, dealing with the BDS campaign against Israel….Given the objective time constraints of such a program, it is inevitable that one cannot fully elaborate on all the points raised in it, or adequately articulate arguments to underpin the positions taken on it. Accordingly, I should like to devote this week’s column to a more detailed, orderly and comprehensive presentation of the issues I broached in that debate.
Sign of a welcome change of attitude?
Late last month, it was announced that the Israeli government had approved a plan to set up a fund of $72 million to counter the ongoing international BDS campaign against Israel…The planned initiative appears to signal a welcome—and long overdue—change in the hitherto dismissive attitude of Israeli officialdom towards public diplomacy and towards the pernicious effects such disregard was having not only on Israel’s international standing, but also on the predicament it created for pro-Israeli advocates abroad.
A small step in the right direction
…the newly announced initiative appears, overall, to be a step in the right direction, and seemingly heralds a refreshing, new awareness of the vital importance of public diplomacy in the nation’s strategic arsenal…Indeed, in some aspects it resembles—albeit on a far smaller scale—measures I have long advocated.
“Intellectual warriors, not slicker diplomats”
there is a fair amount of overlap between my prescription and the reportedly planned operation of the nascent anti-BDS non-profit initiative…There are, however, some important differences—apart from those of scale—between the two proposals. These relate to substantive issues of scope, focus and ongoing proactivity.
Focusing on the symptoms, not the sickness
According to press reports…it would appear that the nature of the planned operation will be essentially reactive, rather than proactive, designed almost exclusively to deal with –i.e. rebuff, negate, discredit—BDS-related attacks against Israel, with the level of intensity of such activities determined by largely exogenous events such as hostile military or diplomatic offensives against Israel.
Two incompatible narratives
… Caroline Glick alludes to in the introductory excerpt above, the Palestinian narrative and the Zionist narrative are, for all intents and purposes, inconsistent with each other. In other words, they are mutually exclusive narratives…Accordingly, enhancing the legitimacy of one necessarily implies undermining the legitimacy of the other. (For a more detailed elaboration of this matter see Deciphering delegitimization).
A viable Israel as “occupation”
But the converse is also true: As long as the Palestinian narrative is perceived as legitimate—and, hence, the claim for Palestinian statehood is seen as valid—the legitimacy of a secure Israel will always be challenged—and hence vulnerable to measures that arise from that challenge, such as the BDS campaign…For those who find this too disturbingly adversarial to accept, I would refer them to an article authored by Omar Dajani and Ezzedine Fishere, published in the prestigious “Foreign Affairs” and entitled “The Myth of Defensible Borders…
An inconvenient, but inevitable, conclusion
The architects of any anti-BDS enterprise will ignore this reasoning at the peril of fatally undermining the success of their endeavor…For as long as the Palestinian-Arabs are perceived as having a legitimate claim to statehood, any counterclaim by Israel to ensure its viability will be perceived as thwarting that claim –thereby, ipso facto, delegitimizing such counterclaims—and, hence, exposing the very legitimacy of the notion of a viable Israel to attack—such as the BDS initiative…The operational implications of this are clear…The BDS campaign is not—and cannot—be treated as a “stand alone” problem.
Expose mendacious myths underpinning a fallacious narrative
Accordingly, any successful long term anti-BDS strategy cannot confine itself to responding to manifestations of anti-Israel calls for boycotts, sanctions or divestment—however infuriating these might be, and however telling such responses may be…It must go on a genuine, proactive offensive against the primary sources of those calls—by resolutely and relentless exposing the mendacious myths that underpin the fallacious Palestinian narrative …
After all, if the Palestinian narrative is discredited and delegitimized, who would want to instigate boycotts, sanctions or divestments in order to endorse or promote it?