When: April 7 2018
Where: Dartmouth College
Multi-College Divestment Conference
Dan: So the vast majority of Palestinians who take up violence and arms I don’t consider terrorists. If they’re going to attack a military outpost, that’s a military post. It’s violence, but the military’s violent and the terrorists most of the time in the Israeli military. Um, the second thing is that, it’s gonna show in a second, but, um, but the response was specifically targeted at the barrier wall, which came up earlier, uh, and it also was, uh, boosted by the International Court of Justice, they issued an advisory opinion that condemned the wall, said it’s illegal under international law, uh, and this sort of all happened. So BDS itself came into existence into 2004, 2005, uh. It was preceded by a worldwide call for the boycott of Israel as the Intifada was happening. 2002 – 2003 were like the worst years of the Second Intifada, um … you can read more about the Second Intifada later, uh, 2004 was actually academics in Palestine who were the first to say, “We need a response to Israeli violence and occupation,” and, uh, issued their own academic and cultural boycott of Israel, refused to do any form of intellectual work with Israeli institutions, any cultural or Israeli institutions, any DMs, universities, etc.
This was followed by a broad-based Palestinian civil society call for the boycott and divestment and international sanctions against Israel, uh, and this is, uh, what is, well, was largely speaking until Israel complied with international law and universal principles of human rights. That’s like overall what’s going on. This is an issue here, right, the occupation. But, um … so that’s just the point I wanted to make is that a lot of are aware of what happened with Professor Barghouti when he was, uh, appointed to, uh, being a faculty, and then kind of stepped down because a Zionist professor here did not want it to happen, a lot of alums called in and were like, “Yeah, we also don’t like people who speak truth.” Um, but, uh, he, he had signed onto an academic/cultural boycott of Israeli institutions, which is what got BDS itself rolling the first place, so. And Barghouti himself was an academic, the guy who saw speaking there, we found, one of the co-founders.
So, uh, we’re almost done with just the presentation part, uh, and getting more into just conversation and we’ll have the wrap-up soonish, but I just wanted to highlight a couple things and these could, uh, maybe just trigger conversation, discussion. But, uh, there are different methods of BDS. Boycott, which means like you boycott goods, you go like, “I will refuse to buy Israeli product whether or not it’s made in the settlements or in Israel proper.” Some people distinguish between the two. I don’t think factually there is a distinction, because Israel’s economy stretches into the settlements, like, it all goes back to the mother base or the mother load of whatever it’s called.
So boycott, there’s divestment. If you have investment in companies that either do business with Israel or profit off of occupation etc. or are Israeli companies themselves, you remove your stake in them. Uh, and the third is sanctions, and you heard, uh, him say B, D, so we get to the S, but sanctions are the, sort of like the international form of boycott/divestment. It’s the international community saying, “Until you do this, Israel, we’re not, we’re gonna refuse, we’re gonna pass this rule and you can’t…” It’s more of like the UN saying, posing a threat, it doesn’t really ever have, like an enforcement mechanism, but it say, “Oh, like, you’re not, you don’t have a seat at the table at the UN until this until you stop the occupation,” etc, things like that, or just financial sanctions, like America has done with North Korea and Iran, etc. Does that make sense, the three forms? Any questions about those? We’ll get to questions in a second.
Second is BDS is a global movement. Not only does it, uh, incorporate people all around the world, it responds directly to international, international development, so if the UN issues a combination of Israel and its occupation, BDS follows that up with its own actions. It’s not just responding to local events on the ground, it’s responding to what the global sphere is, which includes how, whatever America’s doing visa a vie, uh, Asian, whatever the US is doing visa a vie occupation, it’s very tuned to the global developments, because Israel-Palestine is a global conflict, like, there are Jews, there are Zionists and Jews and all over the world and there are Palestinians all over the world. Um, both peoples live in diaspora, technically, or at least half their populations live in diaspora. Um, but it’s a global movement in the sense that it’s, it’s … become something that people on college campuses all around the world, universities, whether they’re professors or students, uh, and just general organizing have adopted as far as paramount.
Third thing is that BDS is, as I sort of kind of alluded to, is a practice of Palestinians themselves undertake, and I spend a lot of time in the West Bank of Palestine. I can’t go to Gaza, no one can unless you’re a journalist, um, or you’re sketchy, but, uh … meaning like a government official from the United States, um, but, uh, but you see flyers all over the west banks of just like Israel. Picture an Israeli product and like a giant X over it and the Arabic will read like, “Don’t buy this product because it’s Israeli or Zionist or whatever.” But just to say Palestinians themselves practice BDS, whether or not they are caught up in all the political distinctions that people sitting in a room like this probably make more often.
And then the fourth thing is that, um, I think we should talk about this, but, um, one of the biggest responses to BDS by its opponents, namely Zionists, Jews, uh, Americans, evangelical Christians, Calvinists, I could go on with all that sort of wrapped into one, it’s an antisemitic movement because it targets Israel specifically when all these other countries in the world have problems going on, like, why are you targeting Israel? And like, I don’t like that, it’s kind of like tautological in a way, but, um, the … the thing that I, this is something that initially turned me off to BDS, but thing that, um, I think is responsible for this kind of widespread belief amongst BDS’ detractors that it’s antisemitic, is that there’s no form of accountability that BDS can pose to its members. BDS is sort of just like a … it’s like a catch phrase, a catch-all kinda thing, and it’s like BDS, I support BDS.