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August 9, 2017 10:48 am

Do You Think the Cultural BDS Movement Is Failing? Think Again

avatar by Lana Melman

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Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke. Photo: Yasuko Otani via Wikimedia Commons.

Do you think that the cultural boycott campaign against Israel is a colossal failure?

Think again.

Scotland’s Sunday Herald recently published an open letter signed by artists, media workers and academics that called for a boycott against Israeli artists at Edinburgh’s “Fringe Festival,” the largest performing arts festival in the world.

This is the third such letter by artists in twice as many weeks.

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Previously, more than 50 artists called for Radiohead to cancel its concert in Israel, and dozens of high-profile members of the theater community asked Lincoln Center to scrap the performance of an anti-war Israeli play.

While the cancellations of scheduled concerts in Israel due to boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) pressure peak and valley, pressure on international venues to rescind invitations to Israeli artists by other artists is growing.

Regardless of whether a boycott campaign results in a cancellation, Israel’s reputation is damaged by the mere efforts alone — which slander Israel in the international media and other forums.

The disturbing drumbeat of international artists urging the boycott of Israeli artists should concern us all.

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  • jobacon

    Yes, meanwhile the disgusting piece of propaganda called “My name is Rachel Corrie” is being staged at the Young Vic, a leading London theatre. The Cooperative Movement, that owns large numbers of food stores and other property in the UK operates a boycott of Israeli produce, ostensibly produce from the Territories but in practice any produce exported by Agrexco, Mehadrin and other large exporters. This was at the initiative of Paul Flowers, a man who stole money from the Cooperative Bank and is now in jail! It also has support from other activists in the Cooperative Movement. The Cooperative Party has never condemned totalitarian and antisemitic regimes, such as Venezuela, one branch of the Party actually donates money to Venezuela!

  • Joseph Feld

    The word ‘boycott’ brings to mind the Nazi boycott of anything Jewish and the Arab boycott of anything from Israel. The BDS goal is not about products from the West Bank settlements. The goal published is the destruction of the State of Israel. The Nazis lost and the Arab boycott has diminished, although more than a dozen countries won’t admit anyone traveling on an Israeli passport. My own thought is that our response should include a campaign by legal scholars to point out that the West Bank was part of the Jewish national home as set out by the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine. When Britain gave 77% of the Mandate to create the Arab Kingdom of Jordan on the East Bank it was understood that the 23% of the Mandate on the West Bank would be the Jewish National Home. ( See Sir Martin Gilbert, ‘Churchill and The Jews’ (Simon and Schuster 2007, page 50 and page 292 where Churchill supports Israeli control of Jerusalem. ) Post WW2 a group of top American Jewish judges and professors of law submitted their opinion that any Jewish state must include the West Bank according to the League Mandate for Palestine. When Jordan invaded Israel and seized the West Bank and Jerusalem only two countries recognised Jordan’s claim and there when Israel ‘took back’ these areas it was not a question of conquest because the Mandate had already allocated Jerusalem and the West Bank to Israel. Israel was merely taking back its own land. See also Dr Jacques Gauthier and David M. Philips (Commentary 2009)

  • ricardo

    The author might be right about the constant irritation of BDS and their formidable lies. But she forgot to point out that the final effect of all the things BDS has done in Israel is pretty much … nothing .. as far as I have seen, the only people hurt by BDS campaigns are Palestinians, who were making a good living working for Israeli companies in the West Bank that had to move somewhere else because of the pressure … Quite the contrary, Israel is thriving …

  • These boycotts are aimed at delegitimizing Israel. The participants of these Anti-Israel boycotts are Jew-haters, and on the wrong side of history.

  • Isaac barr

    Somehow both Scotland and Ireland are very much pro Palestinians. Countries with small Jewish populations, Sweden, are very radical when it comes to Israel that reflects Jews. These countries have inherent anti Semitism and Jews flee. BDS has nothing to do with it ,but being anti Semitic they joined the club….

  • rodin

    I agree with the writer. Anti – Israelism and Judeophobia are the default “progressive” stance. When even Leftist Israeli artists who hold positions identical to the boycotters are the target of boycotts, the fix is in.