This past June, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley slammed the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) for “singling out Israel” for criticism. This is not a new line: the “singling out Israel” accusation is a decades-old tactic that Israel’s proponents use almost any time that Israel is challenged on its human rights record. The rise of the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement calling for economic pressure on Israel for its human rights violations has only amplified the use of this evasive tactic.
At best, critics of Israeli government policies can expect to be accused of imposing an unfair standard on Israel; at worst they can face allegations of anti-Semitism for supposedly singling out the country for criticism. For example, during Parliament’s 2016 debate over a motion to condemn BDS, about a dozen Liberal and Conservative MPs toed this fictitious line when they declared, “Israel is singled out from the rest of the world.” In addition, a few MPs actually suggested that BDS supporters are the new face of anti-Semitism because they “selectively condemn Israel.”Read more
This article was originally published on September 11, 2017 on Rabble.ca and on September 12, 2017 on Huffington Post.
Most old popstars end their careers playing arenas in front of aging fans, milking old hits for every cent they're worth. Long past are the days when their politics were meaningful or relevant. But Roger Waters, the former front-man for Pink Floyd, is no ordinary musician. Waters' politics, in fact, still strike fear among some of the strongest political organizations in the world. All because Waters supports the international boycott of Israel.
Waters is due to give a series of concerts in Canada next month, and right on cue, Canada's pro-Israel lobby groups have mobilized aggressively to badmouth him. The hyperbole in these campaigns is astounding. According to the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), for example, Waters "promotes vile discrimination" in a "bigoted campaign" targeting Israel. It sounds really nasty, until you look at what Waters is actually saying.Read more
This article was originally published on December 8, 2016 on Rabble.
The Green Party convention this past weekend offered a win for everyone. Sort of. The convention was held to clarify the Greens’ position vis-à-vis economic pressure on Israel for its human rights abuses. Green leader Elizabeth May was so opposed to an August resolution condemning Israel’s human rights abuses that she had threatened to resign. Influential party activists sought to preserve their August win while maintaining party unity.
A “compromise” resolution endorsed in advance by both party brass and influential grassroots activists suggested that everyone could have what they wanted. Green leader Elizabeth May got her wish to remove reference to the international “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions” (BDS) movement, while human rights activists were able to retain strong language censuring Israel’s human rights abuses against Palestinians.Read more
This article was originally published on June 8, 2016 in the Hill Times.
It’s time to take a reality check on the competing claims about the “boycott Israel” (BDS) movement in Canada. For starters, let’s be clear on two things. First, the Harper government doesn’t seem bent on jailing Canadian BDS activists anytime soon, and second, the BDS movement will never bring about the “destruction” of Israel.
The assorted arguments in op-eds by Murray Dobbin for BDS, and by Mike Fegelman against BDS in The Hill Times in recent weeks contain a virtual laundry list of extreme debate devices. Between the two pieces, it’s easy to feel like there’s no middle ground for reasonable-minded Canadians. But there is.Read more