Secular Talk on New York Governor’s Criminalisation of the BDS Campaign

A week ago I put up a number of pieces criticising the anti-Semitism smears against various Labour politicians, including Naz Shah, Jackie Walker and Ken Livingstone, none of whom can or should be described as anti-Semites. The real motivation for these attacks is continuing criticism of Israel for its murderous treatment of the Palestinians and its long-time objective of expelling them from Eretz Israel – the land of Israel – and seizure of their land and property. The Zionist attacks on critics of Israel, including devout Jews, has become increasingly venomous and bitter because of the success of the BDS movement – the Boycott, Divest and Sanction campaign – which requests companies and individuals not to have anything to do with organisations, commercial companies or goods from the occupied West Bank. The BDS campaign has itself come under attack, and is being reviled and criminalised by the American authorities for its supposed anti-Semitism.

In this piece from Secular Talk, Kyle Kulinski discusses New York governor Andrew Cuomo’s signing of an executive order which requires state authorities to sever any connections with organisations and companies supporting the BDS campaign. He attacks it as intolerant and anti-Semitic, and claims that this will help the Israeli people in their struggle for freedom and democracy. Kulinski points out that this is the exact opposite of the truth. Far from struggling for freedom and democracy, Israel is an apartheid state that denies freedom to its Palestinian citizens. He also repeats the point that you can criticize a religion or ideology, without attacking its people. You can and should be able to criticise Zionism without being anti-Semitic, just as criticising Islam does not mean that you want the persecution of its people. And the same could be said of criticising any religion or ideology.

He also attacks the argument that giving into the BDS campaign and the demands of the Palestinians is anti-Semitic, as some of them aren’t satisfied with going back to the pre-1967 borders in a two-state solution. He points out that this isn’t really a criticism, as it’s how negotiations often start: with an inflated claim, which then gets whittled down to more reasonable proportions as the talks and bargaining continue. Yes, there are some Palestinians who want it all back, just as there are Israelis, who also want all of the Palestinians’ territory. But if you open negotiations, hopefully these claims will be discarded in favour of something more moderate.

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