Saturday, February 1, 2014

Philadelphia Rejects BDS


Philadelphia City Councilman Kenyatta Johnson, Democratic Councilman from the 2nd District, has just seen his resolution condemning the academic boycott of Jews... errmm, I mean Israel... passed unanimously by the City Council of America's fifth-largest city.  And, let it be noted, the birthplace of America.

Also, the largest minority-majority city in the United States of America.  Those looking for a butbutbut The Joooz! excuse would be hard-pressed to find one in a city where, as of the 2010 US Census, our population consists of 44% African-Americans, 37% Whites, 13% Hispanics and 6% Asians.

I, myself, just so happen to live in an inner city North Philadelphia neighborhood which consists almost equally of Irish, Dominican, Puerto Rican, Arab and Polish peoples.

This is also not the first time my city has rejected bigoted boycotts of Jews.

I am, as always, proud to be a Philadelphian today.  And every day.


  1. My City Councilman, Mark Squilla, who I otherwise have a few problems with, to put it kindly, also sponsored this. So props to him.

  2. I would say that your City Councilman Kenyatta Johnson with a name like Kenyatta is black. I haven't looked it up.

    You are all too young to know who Jomo Kenyatta was. He was around in my early teens, so that puts us back in the 'dark ages'

    He was an African political leader, first president of Kenya an somewhat of a terrorist with the Mau Mau.

    I don't remember the whole thing, too young to be interested I'd dare say. It had to have been wrapped up with Communists as my parents were involved. They knew his estranged wife, who was English.

    With that name he has to be a radical

    1. Yes, Councilman Johnson is an African-American. And a friend of the Jewish people.

      If only we had some 'radicals' in City Hall. Then perhaps some would challenge the strangehold out-of-town slumlords have had for decades on, literally, the tens of thousands of abandoned and / or falling-down buildings and vacant lots in our city. Most right here in North Philadelphia, in particular right next door to me in Fairhill and West Kensington.

  3. Jay,

    I am very happy to read this.

    I guess the broader question that I would have is, are we seeing BDS in retreat or in advance. I know that many who focus on this question, including Jon Haber of Divesthis!, tend to see a noxious political movement in retreat, but I am not so certain.

    The EU is basically on-board with BDS, but has yet to do much about it. When the Arabs scuttle the "peace process" the Obama administration and the EU will blame the Jews of the Middle East and then we may see, as Kerry threatened, "delegitimization on steroids."

    1. If anyone screeches loud and long enough, they're bound to eventually be heard. After a decade-plus in the wilderness, some will finally respond to them.

      If the EU is 'on board' but doesn't actually do anything about it, then I'd argue they're actually not so much on board, after all.

      Here in the US, BDS is demonstrably a toxic failure.

      I admittedly don't know much about what's going on in Asia and Oceania (I need to read Shirlee's blog more!) too much. Canada is not into the BDS. Not sure what's going on in South America or sub-Saharan Africa, but none of those nations are exactly world powers.

      Israel herself continues to thrive.

      I suppose that if we take the view that the Jewish people will always be under attack by one nasty force or another, these days it seems we're doing pretty damned well against it.

      Am Yisrael Chai, Mike.

    2. Then again... I just read a woman at Tikkun Daily claim that women are afforded more political rights and opportunity in Muslim countries than they are in the US. Of choose, upon questioning such an astonishing claim, in a very direct yet respectful manner, my comments were immediately deleted, and my current locale likely blanket-IP-blocked by that site's editors. Again.

      With fools like that amongst our own, who even needs BDS?

    3. I suspect that the next year or two may represent a pivotal moment in the history of Israeli international relations and that pivot depends upon the nature of the resolution of the current round of peace negotiations.

      The talks are going to fail and the current US administration and the EU will blame the Jews of the Middle East. That has been my prediction from the beginning. When that happens BDS will gain a decisive win because it will get the backing of the EU in blaming Israel and the current American administration will lead from behind in the delegitimization effort.

      It is then that we will see BDS come into its own.

      The main alternative is that both the EU and Barack Obama awaken to the fact that it is the racism and intransigence of Arab governments and peoples that is the root cause of the problem. I think that it is Tobin over at Commentary that is suggesting that Netanyahu is playing along with "peace negotiations" in the hopes of calling the bluff of the local Arabs who have never, not ever, accepted a state for themselves in peace next to the Jewish one.

      If Tobin is right then Netanyahu has failed to learn some basic lessons from the past, the primary one being that the Europeans and the Arabs and the majority of western progressives are absolutely going to blame Israel for the failure of peace negotiations with zero regard for who does what.

      It's a sucker's game, Jay.

  4. Good on yah, Philly! I remember it from my Swarthmore days, many years ago.
    o/t You may not have heard that Barry Rubin has been in a coma since Friday. Very very sad news. Willing ברוך בן אילנה to pull through.

    1. Daphne,

      The only report that I can find at this moment is from Tundra Tabloids.

      If this is true it is a very terrible loss for the Jewish people and for the State of Israel.

    2. Yes indeed. Barry passed away this morning. A terrible loss.

    3. Sorry to hear this. My thoughts are with his family and friends...