Haaretz finance and business writer Nehemia Shtrasler knows what’s up: “The sums involved are not large, but their international significance is huge. Boycotts by governments gives a boost to boycotts by non-government bodies around the world.”
In his piece in Israel’s paper of record, Shtrasler grapples with the reality of the unthinkable: Israel losing its free pass.
BDS, though not huge in dollar terms, has been a giant step forwards because the very discussion Shtrasler engages in was impossible even a few months ago. BDS gets the system moving. And the mention of “a chain in Washington” is most gratifying. You rock, OlympiaBDS!
Ali Abunimah’s talk at the Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Port Townsend, WA, was a wonderful event.
Attended by some 70 or 80 people, ranging in age from teens to nineties, members of the local community welcomed the opportunity to hear a hopeful message for Palestine, and Abunimah indeed had such a message.
The so-called “Peace Process” has not inspired Abunimah with much hope. “Security for Everyone, Not Just Settlers and Occupiers,” was his demand. He explained how the long and unfruitful negotiations have been used to cover up land grabs and construction sprees, which create new blocks of settlement that must now be negotiated about. “It is as if you and I were to buy a loaf of your wonderful, Pane d’Amore bread, and we would start negotiating over it – but, as the negotiations went, I would be grabbing pieces of our shared loaf, eating it, and saying that you can’t have any bread yet, because we are still negotiating.”
After sharing with his audience the magnitude of the calamity, including up-to-the-minute information about the extent to which water resources are being contaminated, schools and hospital remaining unbuilt due to the stranglehold of Israel’s siege of Gaza, and the devastating effects in the Occupied West Bank, Abunimah turned to the hopeful message: in his recent trip to South Africa he met a generation of young adults who did not remember apartheid.
Abunimah recalled the 1956 March of the Women in South Africa, which took some 38 years to lift apartheid. “Maybe because they were marching uphill,” he quipped. The call by Palestinian Civil Society to the world, in response to their declarations of boycotts, divestment, and sanctions, should not take that long, and civil society around the world is responding swiftly and resolutely.
Equality and human rights for all in Palestine and Israel do not post a threat to any Israeli. “No Israeli child will have to go to bed hungry if there are equal rights for Palestinians,” he reminded us. Conversely, maintaining the situation as it stands has led to massive bloodshed, claiming the live of some 60 Israeli and 2,000 Palestinians since 2008.
The Q&A session was at times stormy, and longer than expected. Abunimah handled both hecklers and supporters with grace, and presented a clear vision of the core issue: many million people are being punished, poisoned, disenfranchised, evicted, and killed – for the “crime” of being Palestinian. There seemed to be no-one in the audience that evening who condoned that situation. Disputes centered on the path to resolution.
The entire event will be screened on the PTTV cable channel (schedule to be determined) and copies will be made available within the community. Write us if you’d like a copy, and we will try and provide access.
Many, many thanks to Ali Abunimah for coming to speak with us and for maintaining his blog and the indispensable information on the Electronic Intifada website, and to the community for stepping up to the plate and participating, generously donating, and supporting the broader community discussion of Palestine.
Because we need to talk about Palestine. Now.
Port Townsend Leader reporter Nicholas Johnson wrote a comprehensive description of the BDS campaign’s bid for a Food CoOp boycott. The story is still up and running, with comments continuing nearly two weeks down the line.
Read and add your own comment at PT Leader’s website, or consider writing a letter to the editor, at the following address:
Editor, Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader
226 Adams Street, Port Townsend, WA 98368
The Port Townsend Leader opened its perspective page to opinions both for and against the actual proposal of a boycott at the Port Townsend Food CoOp.
Our own Daniel Bugel-Shunra expressed the opinion that food and co-ops are inherently political.
Henry Werch thinks there are some things we should not talk about in a co-op.
Go ahead, join the conversation!