BDS and Its Agenda
Speaking at a conference on Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) in Stuttgart, I came to realize that the movement is growing although it still faces many obstacles. The BDS movement is growing in the Western world and may have become more mainstream than its enemies may have imagined, as was revealed from the recent stance of Stephen Hawking.
The Zionists have striven to conflate boycotts with – you guessed it – anti-Semitism, hatred, and sectarianism. But the tasks and agenda of Zionism are way too clear: Zionists wish to delegitimize and even criminalize all acts of peaceful resistance against Israel, just as they have succeeded in criminalizing all acts of non-peaceful resistance against Israel.
But the movement has to face a series of challenges:
1) The movement has to take a clear, categorical stance against the very existence of Israel. The deliberate decision to suspend the agreement on the political goal is rather hypocritical as it allows friends of Zionism to infiltrate the movement and to sabotage its mission.
2) The movement has to include in its boycott agenda all the vestiges of Zionism, including the structures and tools of occupation like the Palestinian Authority and all of its unrepresentative bodies.
3) The BDS worldwide movement should feel free to participate in the dynamic process of criticism and self-criticism that the Palestinian national movement needs and deserves.
4) The BDS movement should not succumb to the vulgar forms of Palestinian nationalism in which Yasser Arafat is treated as a symbol and icon when he did more than any other Palestinian leader in history to bestow (fake) legitimacy on the occupation and aggression of Israel.
5) The BDS movement in Europe, the US, and elsewhere should launch and spearhead a campaign of democratization in those countries in order to steer away Western foreign policies from the sphere of US empire, and to bridge the gap between public opinion and the monopolistic and unrepresentative (except in the US) foreign policies of those governments.
6) BDS should bridge college campuses and civil society organizations, except in developing countries where civil society organizations are held hostage by Western funding to US political and economic agendas.
7) BDS should be treated as a temporary movement and not as an eternal movement lest it unwittingly accords acceptance to the Zionist entity. It is a complementary movement – complementary to other forms of struggle – and not an end in itself.
8) BDS represents one strand of struggle among many that include armed struggle, as enshrined in the Palestine Liberation Organization charter of 1968 (long before it was amended by Bill Clinton in the 1990s).
The BDS is growing and its effectiveness is going to be measured by its radicalization.
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