My Great Good Friends,
Some have suggested my quite since last summer’s Pink Floyd dust-up is down to a lull in the ground war. In fact it is the opposite; there has been so much action on the BDS front that I have been hoping for an interim culmination of some sort to assess the state of play.
Happily the pace and rate of activity show no signs of deceleration so we may as well re-engage the conversation now. Some of the whirlwind has been hysterically funny, some heart breakingly sad. But, on balance, directionally positive for the movement globally.
First the fun stuff. Worthy of Robert Smigel’s “Triumph the Insult Comic Dog” ambushing idiot interviewees, a young woman approached attendees waiting on line to enter the AIPAC conference. Soliciting their views on “Donald Trump’s racist and homophobic statements” such as; “migrants being like a cancer”, “building a wall is to protect us from wild beasts”, etc., the cringe inducing reversals from how disgusting attendees said the statements were (when they thought they had been made by “that Nazi Trump”), to their convoluted rationalizations of the same statements when they were shown to have in fact been made by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, are fucking hysterical.
Even professional funny-men are getting in on the act. To hear Danny DeVito question why Sen. Clinton: “In NYC – where the Israeli lobby is big – and everybody talks about Israel, Bernie stood up for the Palestinians. (She) couldn’t even just say there was excessive force in the Gaza attacks. No. She couldn’t. It’s getting sticky because you don’t want the same thing to happen there that happened in South Africa. You don’t want that.”
An actor / producer channeling Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu almost restores my faith in the old Hollywood of Bob Mitchum and Steve McQueen.
AnyHowitzer, in the more serious hues of the cultural spectrum there have been numerous declarations of support by artists from Alice Walker and Brian Eno, to Russell Banks and Sting.
As was the case in the BDS anti-aparthide South African campaign, long term change comes from a shift in the cultural zeitgeist, which at the tenth anniversary of the BDS Israel campaign, is well under way.
Progress is also being marked by political impact. Quoting Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni; “BDS is moving and advancing exponentially.” And, Israeli Parliament Member Ayelet Shaked described BDS as “the greatest threat faced by our country.”
With appreciation to cultural giants like Stevie Wonder, Elvis Costello and Carlos Santana for their support, a political effect has more immediate impact than the cultural ones.
And politically the BDS anti-aparthide Israel campaign is driving high profile zionists bat shit crazy:
Netanyahu: “declaring war on BDS.”
Sheldon Adelson / Haim Saban: “pledging $10MM for anti-BDS action on college campuses.”
And my personal favorite, Yair Lapid (ex Finance Minister): “the people behind BDS ‘did’ 9/11.”
Finally; economic impact. As you might imagine it’s tough to get honest government figures on BDS’s economic impact from officials who are frothing at the mouth, so I’ll rely on a Rand Corporation study as reported in the Financial Times illustrating how powerful the nonviolent BDS movement is becoming:
“…. there are signs that Israel’s disquiet over BDS is genuine. This week an Israeli financial newspaper exposed a leaked government report estimating that BDS could cost Israel’s economy $1.4B per year. The Rand Corporation, the US think-tank, says the costs could be more than three times higher: $47B 0ver ten years, inclusive of lower exports from the nascent EU labeling policy for goods produced on occupied land.”
And so it goes. The Stoic’s virtues of Wisdom, Courage, Justice and Moderation can apply to a movement as well as an individual, and are prevailing over Likud’s oppression, violence, hatred and zealotry in spite of their American enablers.