Tuesday, September 8, 2015

How you can help strike a blow against BDS

Sar Shalom

One of the critical elements in promoting BDS is the misinformation that the movement spreads about how boycotting Israel will help the Arabs. One person working diligently to counter this misinformation is Maxwell Federman who is working on a documentary titled Working Together about Arabs and Jews working together. He has a kickstarter campaign for the funds needed to produce this documentary. I'll simply state that if you want a project like this to happen, that there's another two days to help see that it does.

{Editor's note - Kickstarter, for those of you who may not know, is simply an app for people to raise cash for projects and even small businesses.  I am not yet sold on this kind of thing when it comes to small businesses, but it makes sense when standing up for something that you believe in.}


  1. I have to say, I am dubious of the notion that what Israel should do is more and better hasbara.

    Government sponsored propaganda is not likely to help much... unless they hire Matisyahu to run the campaign!

    Nonetheless, as advocates, we should bare this in mind:

    "In social studies classes across America, kids are being taught about "presentism," defined as "an attitude toward the past dominated by present-day attitudes and experiences." To illustrate, children are shown a picture of a soldier with a gun near the heads of a young boy and his mother, evoking negative feelings toward the soldier. Pan out and show the whole picture, and we see the soldier is actually standing guard over the boy..."

    That's a very apt way of illustrating "Pallywood" and, actually, the entire entire case against the Jews of the Middle East.

    We need to expand the conversation. That is, as Goff suggests, we need to draw back the camera in order to expose the greater context, both historically and geographically.

    As for "presentism," she makes an excellent point, although it seems beyond our reach as advocates.

    Historians, like journalists, are generally admonished in their training not to judge the behavior of people from the past according to present day standards. That's a tough one for pros, so I cannot begin to imagine how we're going to get regular people to get it, especially given the double standard the Israel suffers under.

    However, in truth, I do not think that there is really much within the history of Israel that requires that kind of justification.

    Despite the malice of the enemies of the Jewish people, Israel has behaved well under enormous and highly violent pressure from a much larger hostile population.

  2. I think a film like Working Together can do something else. What it does is it shows that it is possible to help the Arabs living under Israeli jurisdiction without hurting the Jews. This is important because the refrain from the agitators, how many of them are genuine about this claim to be addressed subsequently, is that they're not against rights for Jews but that the situation for the Palestinians is unacceptable and that something must be done to address it.

    With the demonstration of how Arabs can be helped without hurting Jews, the question can be placed to those advocating greater Israeli concessions to the PA whether their priority is helping the Arabs or if it is putting uppity Jews in their place. Someone whose genuine priority is helping the Arabs will look for whatever options provide the most benefit to the Arabs for the least cost to the Jews. Conversely, someone's disinterest in increasing the ratio of benefit for the Arabs to cost for the Jews would be evidence that their true motive is putting uppity Jews in their place.