B.D.S. As Obama Leaves Palestine

By Geoffrey Cook, TMO


U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands before a news conference with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama begins in Jerusalem, March 20, 2013. Making his first official visit to Israel, Obama pledged on Wednesday unwavering commitment to the security of the Jewish State where concern over a nuclear-armed Iran has clouded bilateral relations.       

REUTERS/Larry Downing

Santa Clara–It was exactly a year ago when I first talked to Anna Baltzer of the American Campaign to End the Occupation, a non-sectarian US-based opposition and educational group to inform the American public of that the Jewish-Arab struggle to be against Washington’s self-interest within that region.

Curiously, although faith-based groups on both sides of the struggle dominate the “narrative” within the Metropole; e.g., America, it is often inter- or non-sectarian groups – like the Campaign — that successfully achieves much of the ground work.  Succinctly, they are Civil Society operating at its best! As an attempt to make an analysis of what the President accomplished in his pilgrimage to the Abrahamic Holy Land last month, the literary/journalistic motifs with which your correspondent will be a playing (a laila in the South Asian context) intertwined with a reportage of what actually was said a year ago to this day by Ms. Baltzer in the South (San Francisco) Bay Area.  

Your commentator’s comments will be separated from Anna Baltzer’s remarks by interjections demarked through parenthesis as above.

Anna’s workshop of the 23rd of last month (March) of last year revolved over BDS (Boycott-Divestments-Sanctions) against the racist Zionist State). 

(It is a misnomer that the BDS Movement started in the American-European academic community.  In actuality, it began, and grew out of the North American Labor Movement.  [In fact, the [U.S] West Coast Longshoreman’s Labor Union refused to unload an Israeli tanker at the Port of Oakland fifty miles to the north of here some time back.] At the beginning of his tenure at the Observer, yours truly filed a story on a delegation of students and workers working on this form of resistance visiting from Wisconsin.

(What your reporter is advocating today is for a larger segment of U.S. Civil Society – especially American Muslims — to apply the principles of BDS against the Zionist Moloch as an addendum to President Obama’s journey to our mutual beloved Land.)

Anna states that the desire to enforce a blockade against the Jewish State is in tandem with International law established though the august U.N. (United Nations’) body!  The argument that it may hurt some individual Palestinians is countered by the fact that the whole rights of the entire nation of the Palestinians are re-enforced by insuring Palestinian territory and natural resources are not usurped for the economic profit of the invader! 

(Besides, polls of resident Palestinians show an overwhelming number of citizens of the Territories support B-D-S.)

(Although your writer is a great admirer of the South African anti-Apartheid heroic campaigner, the Anglican (Christian) Archbishop Desmond Tutu, [your essayist even has had the honor to shake the great man’s hand], your narrator does not feel that the South African experience matches easily into the Palestinian environment, for the oppression is deeply more insidious in the Levant:  Also, Tel Aviv’ suppression is more sectarian than racist even though there is a strong cultural element within the principle of Settler Colonialism. 

If the Jewish State has any long-term prospect of maintaining an existence in the Middle East, it must dismantle the Settlements immediately, and integrate itself within the civilization about them and away from the trans-Atlantic civilization from which it has evolved.)

Although your commentator disagrees with the total relevance of Baltzer reliance on the Palestinian to the Southern African milieu of the second half of the Twentieth Century (Bantuization, etc. – it is not one to one).  What is now referred to as BDS was, finally, an important factor to pressure the end of South African Apartheid, and most assuredly can help now in West Asia.  It is already exerting pressure on Civil Society in Israel itself and in the States and the European Union (E.U.)!  She feels it is about making the nation a Pariah State, and is “not [essentially] economic. “  The goal is to build a coalition of “natural allies.”  This movement is planned with a timeline of escalation.  The “targets” are thoroughly researched and thought out.  First, the policy of the pressure group is to “ask nicely” before acceleration, and, incidentally, online activism is a most important and effective tactic of the Movement.

Your journalist was surprised to learn that the key pioneering American technology giant H-P (Hewlett-Packard) is one of the targets for BDS in that they are providing technology that makes the infamous Israeli checkpoints effectual within the Occupied Territories for the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces). 

The French multi-national bus company, Veolia that runs the Jewish-only transportation through the Occupied Territories, has been the first big casualty of BDS within the Europe business environ. 
It is safe to say that a good percentage of mainline American Christians stand firm with Palestinian Muslims, for the Methodists and Presbyterians voted to divest their endowment funds from U.S. companies that do business with Israel.  

(The academic and cultural boycott of Israel is a ‘can of worms’ for your composer because there are leading members of Israeli civil society who could and are exerting pressure on their government [whatever any of our readers may think of the of legal right of that nation to exist] to change its policy on opposing the establishment of a Palestinian country.  The point is, that dialogue can still be accomplished between our opposite ideologies at this time,) but Anna believes that Israeli academia and cultural expression normalize oppression. 

(To clarify, BDS is most effective if it is applied in increments; [i.e., “turning on the screws”].  Definitely, exchanges of nuclear scientists or anything else that would improve the effectiveness or efficiency of the Occupation should not be permitted now.  Rather than out and out opposing non-lethal cultural and academic exchanges currently, it would be more effective for using them as opportunities to educate the American public by passing out informational literature and picketing outside relevant events emphasizing Israeli aggression against a defenseless people.)

Anna Baltzer concluded that BDS exposes aspects in the Occupation of Palestinian (now, largely Islamic) lands of which we in the West are unaware, and that Tel Aviv’ justification for the Occupation is a lie!

(In summation, your author’s President presence in our Land should not only be a new beginning for the American administration, but it is a call for each of us to act.  BDS is a structure for individual and organizational action!)


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