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A Modest Proposal for a New ‘Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions’ Campaign

June 25, 2013 9:11 am 21 comments

There is a country in the Middle East which makes a great play of being a democracy and about espousing Western ideals regarding human rights, and is forever bragging how different this makes it to its despotic Arab neighbours. But this self-same Middle Eastern country for decades now has been occupying the lands of one of its neighbours and conducting apartheid-like discrimination against its internal minority community. Its charismatic right-wing leader has one message for its close ally the United States and for the EU, with which it seeks closer ties, but quite another for its internal allies.

Isn’t it time this so-called democracy was held to account, and was made to face up to its hypocrisy? Isn’t it time the international community as a whole, and the International Solidarity Movement in particular, launched a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Turkey?

The crux of the argument by those engaging in BDS against Israel is that, no, they don’t single out Israel because it’s a Jewish state or because it is an ally of the West. They choose to boycott only Israel, they claim, because it’s a democracy and should therefore behave like one – and because boycott of a tyrannical regime doesn’t work, whereas boycott of a democracy can influence its citizenry to lobby for change to the offending policies.

Well, dear friends of the BDS movement, now is your chance to prove that you are not just shills for terrorists and Arab rejectionism, that you are not closet antisemites or anti-western ideologues and that you really care for oppressed peoples everywhere.

Now that the eyes of the world are focussed on Turkey, here is your chance to say no to Turkey’s occupation of Cyprus. Here is your chance to say no to Turkey’s institutional discrimination against Kurds who, unlike the Palestinians, have no autonomy, no government, no parliament, no courts, no police, no education system of their own, and whose very language is suppressed by government edict. Now is the time to send your message to Prime Minister Erdogan and his cronies that the world will no longer tolerate their brutal repression of human rights.

So, you must lobby universities to boycott all Turkish academics; even if they personally oppose Erdogan’s thuggish ways, they are still complicit. You must urge all dignitaries not to visit Ankara and all politicians not to speak to their Turkish counterparts until the country mends its ways. You must lobby to cut all cultural contacts and exchanges. You must organise marches and university demonstrations against the racist Turkish entity. Above all, each and every one of you, must refuse to consume Turkish Delight and all other products of the region, and boycott and picket vociferously the shops and candy stores that sell them, even at the risk of appearing ridiculous in the eyes of the public. The cause demands it.

If successful your campaign would of course hurt the people of Turkey, especially the poorest, who might well lose their jobs. But that is a small price to pay for your moral stance and your sacrifice, and surely the Turkish people, even if unemployed, would take the long view and be grateful for your selfless attention. They will surely understand that you single out Turkey for BDS, for cultural isolation and economic deprivation, because you are their friends.

Sadly the last BDS you organised – against, naturally, the Israeli people – didn’t turn out so well. Indeed, the Israeli economy is thriving like no other. But you might have better luck against, sorry, with Turkey.


  • A Turkish View

    While I have NO idea what the author’s credentials really are, Joe Geary and all of you who seem to be blindly supporting him need to check your facts…
    You don’t have to be a World War Two buff or a professor of European History to know Turkey was a neutral country during wwII and just how much the Turkish government did after the war to help out all of the displaced Jewish families.
    Google and you will easily find MANY credible sources that prove that Turkey was the first country to open its borders to help all of the Jewish refuges while they transitioned into what is current Israel today.
    Am I FOR the boycott? All the way! — But for different reasons. I grew up in Turkey, went to college and had MANY wonderful Turkish Jewish and Christian friends and neighbors. We considered ourselves Turkish first, and any other religion second (or more like tenth…) We HATE what the current Turkish government has been doing for the last 10-15 years is unacceptable, as it has been trying to change what we really are–We REALLY are a mixed group of people who are tolerant, open to anyone regardless of their color OR religious preference.
    We stand up for our own, which is why the normal citizens of Turkey did NOT care AT ALL when the UN Sanctions came after Turkey “occupying” Cyprus–We were simply standing up for our brothers and sisters (wether they appriciated it or NOT)
    We believe the ONLY way to get back to how we were is by getting rid of the fundamentalist Islamist Government that is currently in power, and we KNOW the best way to hit them is to starve them economically.
    Turkey will NEVER fight its neighbors-We are proud of the mixed bag that we are and do NOT want to become another “Iran”. We want anyone willing to help us get back our quarky country, and our way of living. I hope this helps…

  • Great. If only there was any intellectual honesty amongst Israel’s foes, but alas, as the author cites, it really is all about anti-semitism. Isn’t it also time that the USA left it’s occupied territory in Cuba? I mean Cuba is not a threat to anyone but itself.

  • Well done. Yes interesting how BDS campaigners in universities have nothing to comment on on any other nation in the world….probably as those backing them are committing human rights violators themselves.

  • Excellent article – and it poses a perfectly legitimate question which the BDS movement consistently refuses to acknowledge. How is it justifiable to NOT condemn Turkey – at the UN, in the courts, via your wallet by boycotting Turkish Airlines, by refusing to buy Turkish-made products? The Turkish regime is illegally occupying a territory to which it is not entitled, there is documentary evidence of its apartheid policies against its own minorities, it signally fails to acknowledge Turkey’s role in the Armenian genocide and the ongoing attempts to stifle Kurdish independence, autonomy, culture even. And even as we speak, it is engaged in the deliberate killing of Turkish citizens whose crime is that they are exercising their right to protest the regime’s extremist, actively anti-democratic policies. Failure to openly and strongly condemn Muslim Turkey while continuing to pursue Jewish Israel is exactly what it looks like: inadequately veiled anti-Semitism.

  • Hilarious to notice that abdalla and sara really can’t spot the irony and sarcasm in this brilliant piece. They both fall flat on their BDS faces in trying to put the author in his place. And failing monumentally. Go Joe Geary!

  • Gaaaadol!!!!

  • Judy Abeles Eliasov

    BDS- not only TURKEY also PAKISTAN both of these middle eatern countries claim to be democratic.
    Im still waiting for a list of the “banned” items so that I can go out and buy 10 of each.
    What the BDS movement does not realize is that so many Palestinians in the areas will lose their livlihood when their place of work is closed down. Of course those armchair politicians dont think about those human beings, just their own self importance and self pronounced slogans in their campaign.A cheap way of feeling good on other’s backs.

  • Seems to me if the BDS people really cared about the Palestinians they would boycott Lebanon. Palestinians are born, live and die in there yet they can’t become citizens, are denied property ownership, can’t vote, not allowed to hold some jobs, etc. Palestinian children have died waiting for medical care because, well, they were Palestinian (reported by Angry Arab). In some of the “refugee camps” construction materials are banned!

    Arab Apartheid.

  • abdalla abdalla

    if the author is so passionate about bds turkey why doesn’t he start his own group. guess he doesn’t really care he just saw a oppertunity to defame bds. btw bds was started by palestinians and is run by palestinians.surly your not asking palestinians to go to turkey and protest if kurds and cypress want to start a bds we can and will support them. but they need to strt the ball. not a pro israeli who’s only purpose to mock the bds movement. and another thing israel is still sending drones,weapons etc etc to turkey. as israel was on the wrong side of apartied south africa its also on the wrong side supporting turkey

    • BDS defames and mocks itself. It was started by a person, omar barghouti, who was educated in an Israeli university and collects Israeli welfare, while simultaneously and hypocritically calling for the boycott of both.

    • Oh really, abdalla,

      Your statement that BDS was started by palestinians and run by palestinians couldn’t be farther from the truth.

    • @abdalla abdalla.Joe Geary is correct. As a Christian I was taught that if something applies to a Jew and a non-Jew and the Jew is singled out that is anti-Semitism.

      This article is must reading for the hypocrites at Berkeley and in the mainline Protestant churches. They exercise very selective morality. A Christian church is burned and they look the other way. Sunnis kill Shiites and Shiites kill Sunnis and they go out of their way to condemn Israel.

      This article does not slander BDS it exposes their corrupt attempt to delegitimize Israel. Your reference to South Africa is mistaken. Jews in South Africa the foremost leaders for civil rights. Please do not expose yourself as a bigot. Your words:
      as israel was on the wrong side of apartied south africa its also on the wrong side supporting turkey

  • I agree with my cousin, and, of course, with the author.

  • To author Joe Geary:



  • This is the worst hypocrisy and abrasive incitement that any sane person can hear of, even from a misinformant like you. Israel, which you are defending, has been occupying other peoples’ territories, and severely violating the basic human rights , the international laws and the UN resolutions for decades. Israel was enjoying a honeymoon with Turkey when it was tyrranical(under the military junta), oppressive internally and aggresive externally. What kind of democracy you are preaching for???

    • Could you pls inform me about what international Law(s) Israel is violating?
      Is UN resolution(s) inernational Law?
      Who occupied Judea and Samaria and Gaza for that matter from 1948 – 1967?

    • Sara, international law, as laid down in the 1922 League of Nations Mandate acknowledged that the entire Land of Israel between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River is the Jewish National Home.
      Arab aggressioin in 1947-48 wrested Judea and Samaria and Gaza from the Jews, but in 1967 Israel regained what is rightfully its territory.
      You are on the wrong side of history, law, justice and morality.

    • @sara
      (1)Israel is occupying other peoples’ territories! The Palestinians? The word Palestine is a Roman invention who were furious because the Jews refused to worship pagan Roman gods (and Caesar) that they decided to rename Judea (where the word “Jew” comes from) and Samaria using the name of the Jew’s enemy: Phillistines. Until Yasser Arafat in the 1980s, the word “Palestinian” was a derogatory name for Jew. Calling an Arab a Palestinian was an insult as demonstrated when the British asked Jews (who volunteered) and Arabs to join the Palestinian corps of the British army in 1917). Arafat decided to fool the Western countries (easy to do) by inventing the Palestinian people. Even the Palestinians claim that they are part of the Syrian people and are Arabs. They do not a separate language and culture: they are Arabs. Arafat is a relative of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, al-Husseini who was a devoted admirer of Hitler and spent the war years as a guest of Hitler where they planned the extermination of Middle Eastern Jews. In 1948, the Arabs expelled 856,000 Jews who were absorbed into Israel (or went elsewhere). Unlike the Jews, the Arabs have used and abused their own people as political pawns. It is easy to fool the guilt ridden West by turning Jews (the victims of persecution for 2,000 years) into perpetrators. Thus, the West looks the other way and is deaf to the annihilatory aspects of the Hamas and Hezbollah Charters and the racist incitement from Fatah. You might want to read a book entitled “Deception” which records all Arab media during one year, to show how children are taught to hate. Summer Camps in Gaza train children from 6-16 how to kill Jews. You can watch this on YouTube by looking up MEMRI.
      Jews were living in the Middle East 3,500 years ago. The Jews were expelled as a result of anti-semitism. Jews came from the Middle East as determined by 2 DNA studies published in learned journals in 2010.
      (2) International Laws: note how they are always referred to but without naming them. If you are referring to that part of the Geneva Convention, then I am afraid you (like most of the Europeans) are mistaken since this part of international law was written with the Nazis in mind. This is about government sanctioned transfer of population which has never been the case! This 1949 Law was never intended to apply to Israel and it is a deliberate misunderstanding of the law. At best, this is about DISPUTED TERRITORY. It seems you would benefit reading Robbie Sabel (or Howard Grief)or view a video on YouTube which sets out clearly international law. You will, of course, have to learn a bit of history that includes the Conference at San Remo, the Treaty of San Remo (1922) and how Britain (Winston S Churchill)took 78.5% of the land Mandated for the Jewish People by the League of Nations. If you read what it says, not only is it NOT illegal to build on your own land, but it was mandated that Jews should build their state. By the way, it was Britain who created the Emirate of Trans-Jordan (now Jordan)in 1922. 80% of Jordan is “Palestine” and 70% of its people are Palestinians who do not have a say in the government – their citizenship has been revoked by King Hussein and Abdullah. Thus, Jordan is the invention of the West and good-luck if you decide to protest against the creation of Jordan! BTW, Iraq, Lebanon and Syria were also Mandates, whose borders were created by Britain and the West. If you are really concerned about Palestinians, why are you not concerned about how they are mistreated and denied human rights in Lebanon and Syria – in fact the BDS Movement and the ISM ignore Palestinian/Arab abusers who are their own Arab brothers. They simply prefer to bash Israel and deny Jews self-determination and approximately 8,500 square miles, whereas the Arabs have 5.4 MILLION square miles. It is the anti-Israel anti-Zionist haters who are the hypocrites. 100,000 deaths in Syria and not a single UN resolution – why? Where are the protests or flotillas for Gaza. Because Israel is not involved! BTW, Israel is taking in wounded Syrians and Druze into their hospitals to be cared for!

    • @ Sarah I will not be polite you are full of crap.

      I worked with the Palestinians. I was sympathetic to the Palestinians. I taught more than 1000 Arab graduate students. I worked on health and economic development projects with the Palestinians.

      They do not want peace. They want the destruction of Israel. You are complicit in their murderous intentions.

  • doris epstein

    brilliant. Could it be re published in a print newspaper?

  • Wonderful!

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