Antony Loewenstein (NSW) responds to “Racism risk in call for Israeli boycott” The Australian 22Sep09 PUBLISHED September 22, 2009
Context is everything
The Weekend Australian: âRacism risk in calls for Israeli boycottâ by Philip Mendes and Nick Dyrenfurth,. 19-20 September 2009
THIS week a leading US Jewish newspaper, The Forward, has published an article with the headline âPalestinian-led movement to boycott Israel is gaining supportâ. It explains how the global and targeted âBoycott, Divestment and Sanctionsâ campaign against Israel has exploded due to Israelâs refusal to abide by international law by continually expanding illegal settlements in the West Bank and blockading 1.6 million Gazans.
Instead of addressing ways to alleviate this suffering, Philip Mendes and Nick Dyrenfurth (“Racism risk in call for Israeli boycottâ, Focus, 19-20/9) accuse Australian supporters of the BDS movement, including me, of trying to âprevent a large number of students, Jewish and non-Jewish, from learning about the rich history of the Jewish peopleâ. This is simply untrue.
Context is everything. For example, Israeli institutions, filmmakers, academics, security firms or universities directly connected to the ongoing subjugation of the Palestinian people will be isolated. Supporting in any way the ever-expanding occupation on Palestinian land, in direct contravention of international law, is intolerable to millions of concerned citizens around the world. Tellingly ignored by Mendes and Dyrenfurth is the fact that Palestinian institutions in the West Bank overwhelming support a global BDS campaign to highlight their desperate situation.