Boycotts - BDS - Anti-Semitism - and Israel

A professor has received death threats after rescinding an offer to write a recommendation for a student who wished to participate in a study abroad in Israel program.
John Cheney-Lippold, who researches privacy and digital media at the University of Michigan, said he declined to write the recommendation because he supports the Palestinian call for an academic boycott of Israeli institutions.

“I wouldn’t cross a union picket line and I can’t cross this one,” he said.
Israel lobby groups charge that Cheney-Lippold’s choice is an act of discrimination and anti-Semitism.

In approximately 1987 - before the days when I would email - I wrote a letter to the Israeli Consulate in San Francisco expressing my views about current Israeli policies.   In response - I was told that I had been exposed to too-much Arab propaganda.

While no one has specifically accused me of being Anti-Semitic, increasingly those who support BDS or otherwise openly oppose Israeli Government policies are labeled "Anti-Semitic" by spokespersons for various Jewish Groups - or others who represent Israel or "Jews".

I am proudly Jewish!   I had a Bar Mitzvah when I turned 13.  I attended Hebrew School.  I visited Israel in 1963, 1968 and twice in the early 1980's.

Much of my father's family and some of my mother's family live in Israel.   S.Y. Agnon - Israel's first Nobel Laureate - in Literature in 1966 - was my great-uncle by marriage.   Gershom Scholem, the noted Kabbalist scholar - hosted us at his apartment in Jerusalem perhaps a year before his death.

I was brought up believing strongly in Israel.   As I grew into adulthood I noticed increasingly that Israel treated its Arab residents in ways that reminded me of pre-1960's U.S. - treatment of Black residents and even like we Jews - were treated in much the Shtetls of Eastern Europe and beyond - where we were hardly citizens - if we were granted citizenship at all

I read and read and read.   I read biographies of early Israeli leaders.  I also read books written by both Jewish and non-Jewish scholars.

I learned more and more uncomfortable truths which contradicted what I'd been taught as a child.   Palestinians - did Not "leave" their homes in present day Israel- particularly around 1947-8 - "By Choice following the instructions of their leaders to await the Jews being driven into the Sea" for example.   The massacres - were primarily Jews killing Arabs.

This was painful to hear and take in - from many sources.

I learned that relatively few non-Jews - fought the Jewish residents in the years after 1948.   I learned that those who did fight the Jewish residents of Israel were primarily seeking a return to their pre-1948 homes which they had been forced out of.

More recently - I have learned how few rights - Israeli citizens - who are Arabs have - as land is taken and Palestinian towns and villages "shrink" - tightening up to allow Israeli Jews to expand more and more and more.   It is Apartheid!

I have learned how the "peace proposals" - Israel has made are unfair to the Palestinians and obviously would lead to the overthrowing of any Palestinian leadership who agreed to them.   I have learned of the killings - horrific killings of Gazans.

I've learned also of the failings of the Palestinian leadership over decades.   I've understood both that they have made mistakes, and faced intolerable pressures from Israeli leadership.

I've seen time after time how there is a repeated pattern:

1.) Palestinians and Israeli Arabs - are cooperative - little or no violence,

2.) Israel grabs more land and makes things worse for both Palestinians and Israeli Arabs - there are no efforts towards the creation of a Palestinian State or a Single State with equality,

3.) Palestinians - "revolt" - either with small actions or occasionally major rebellions,

4.) The Arabs can't be trusted - Peace is Impossible - Back to 1.) Above - endless loop

The oppression of the Israeli Arabs and the Palestinians - has resulted in a modified "Single State Solution" (i.e. only Jews have significant rights).   Unfortunately - for the Jewish residents of Israel Jews are going to become a smaller and smaller minority of "The Jewish State".  

The time for a peace settlement is Before - Jews become a minority who are Not close to half the population of the country.   The time for a peace settlement is Now - when Israel has strong U.S. and World support of it.   The time for a peace settlement is when Palestinians and Arab Israelis are coming from a position of weakness - not power.

Unfortunately - looking seriously at long-term - not short-term "success" - goes against the grain.
I am Not - "Anti-Semitic".
I am Not - self-hating
I am Not - helping create a second Holocaust
I am Not - Naive

I support BDS:   "The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement works to end international support for Israel's oppression of Palestinians and pressure Israel to comply with international law."

I encourage fellow Jews (in particular) - to join and support:

Jewish Voice for Peace works for justice, equality and dignity for all in Israel/Palestine. The best way you can learn more about what’s happening in Gaza and take action is to become a member and take these 5 steps:
1. Demand that Israel stops killing protestors.
2. Learn how Israel’s Nation-State bill legalizes Apartheid.
3. Share 7 actions you can take for Gaza today.

4. Learn 6 important facts about the Great Return March.
5. Act locally by joining a local JVP chapter.

or other - Pro-Jewish, Pro-Palestinian/Israeli Arab people.



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