February 03, 2014

So who's right about BDS, Kerry or Finkelstein?

Remember Finkelstein railing against BDS:





He wasn't happy about the video and wanted it pulled.  Further down the line he got more out of line and began to misrepresent the movement altogether but his basic point was that BDS, as currently framed, can't work.

Now take a look at Kerry shuttling all over the place (mostly between Washington and Tel Aviv) to try to get some deal between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.  See what The Guardian had to say about his warning to Netanyahu:
Kerry... warn[ed] on Saturday that failure to reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians would damage Israel's capacity to be a democratic state and could lead to more boycotts.

"The risks are very high for Israel," he said at an international security conference in Munich. "People are talking about boycott. That will intensify in the case of failure. We all have a strong interest in this conflict resolution. Today's status quo absolutely, to a certainty, I promise you 100%, cannot be maintained. It's not sustainable. It's illusionary. There's a momentary prosperity, there's a momentary peace."
  So the genie's out of the bottle.  BDS works.  Certainly it works enough for Kerry to panic about bouncing Israel into a settlement that Kerry at least can sell to a sceptical world.  But now here's a thing about which Finkelstein could be right.

In an interview last month with New Left Project's Jamie Stern-Weiner, Finkelstein expressed the concern that Kerry and Israel were trying to impose a settlement on the Palestinian Authority that might look sound in terms of international legality but will be a complete disaster for the Palestinians.  He complained that BDSrs were ignoring the possibility of this and that a deal that had the PA accepting some kind of Greater Israel will make Israel's ethnic cleansing of those within its walls far easier in future.

As it happens this is what we abolitionists have worried about regarding the two state solution all along.  Now in fairness, Finkelstein is often felt to place too much credence in the appearance of legality and I believe anyway that if a manifestly unjust deal is foisted on or accepted by the PA leadership then BDS will continue and hopefully Kerry's worry about the threat of BDS will not be misplaced.

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