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Which campaign to wage?

By: Michael Felsen, Zeek, Forward



The Jewish Federations of North America and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs recently announced the launch of a multimillion-dollar joint initiative to combat the burgeoning boycott, divestment and sanctions (“BDS”) campaign aimed at Israel. The $6 million, three year initiative, to be called the Israel Action Network, will develop a rapid-response team charged with countering the BDS campaign, an increasingly global movement that uses tactics akin to those used against apartheid-era South Africa.
The Israeli government and a number of Jewish groups see the campaign as an existential threat to the State of Israel, second only, some say, to Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons. Hence, the inauguration of what appears likely to be a no-holds-barred effort to fight boycott, divestment, and sanctions activities aimed at Israel, in all their shapes and forms.
But by directing their time and resources toward this initiative, and by painting with such a broad brush, are these major Jewish organizations really serving Israel’s best interests?


Each passing day without progress feeds the BDS movement. Each newly-granted building permit in the settlements is grist for the BDS mill. Which is not, of course, to say that anti-Semitism and anti-Israel invective will disappear once a sovereign Palestinian state is established as Israel’s neighbor. But it can hardly be doubted that much of the fuel that stokes those fires will be dissipated once Israel, the Palestinians, and the Arab world, finally reach resolution – a resolution whose essential and even detailed terms are well-known (see, e.g., the Clinton parameters and the Geneva Accord).
That resolution will require courage and political will on all sides. On the Israeli side, it will require the outspoken support – and, as appears necessary, the urging – of the American Jewish community. This is the central campaign American Jews – and their organizational representatives – must wage. When they do, and when they succeed in helping to make real a just and lasting peace in that troubled region, the BDS movement will have lost its reason to exist.

The full article can be accessed here