I am happy to provide more information about Boycott and Divestment movements and why they have failed in academia.
Those students and faculty at Smith that know me understand that I am deeply committed to peace and am greatly upset at the loss of all life. Still, I can't support any discussion of Boycott/Divestment or any vigils or events that raise these issues as a central element.
From the ADL:
- There is no comparison between Israeli policy and apartheid
: While the anti-Israel activists point to the divestment campaign against South African apartheid as an example of how such a campaign can achieve dramatic results, most recognize that the Israeli-Palestinian situation is distinctly different. First and foremost, pro-Palestinian advocates of divestment cannot offer the same moral clarity as the 80's anti-apartheid campaigners did. The treatment of Arabs by the State of Israel can in no way be compared to the treatment of the Blacks of South Africa under apartheid. South Africa
There is no Israeli ideology, policy or plan to segregate, persecute or mistreat its Israeli Arab citizens, nor Palestinian Arabs in the
West Bank( already unilaterally disengaged from the Gaza Strip in August 2005). Apartheid Israel was extraordinarily repressive, regulating every detail of the lives of its subjects – 90 percent of whom were non-white – on the basis of their skin color. By contrast, South Africa is a democracy which encourages vibrant debate, which has a flourishing free press and which shares with other liberal democracies a core value: the equality of all its citizens before the law. Nor does Israel want to indefinitely rule over the Palestinian population of the Israel West Bank. 's measures in the territories, such as the building of a security barrier, checkpoints and curfews on the Palestinians are driven not by a racist ideology. Rather, they are due to legitimate security concerns on Israel 's part and are the consequence of a campaign of terror by Palestinian groups such as Hamas and the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigade, which, in deliberately targeting civilians, have claimed over 1,000 innocent Israeli lives. Israel
The South African divestment campaign targeted companies who were exploiting black labor. In contrast, Israeli and Palestinian workers have both suffered enormously from the economic downturn brought about by the four years of violence and conflict. Moreover, while South African apartheid had no popular support here in
, according to public opinion polls America enjoys the support of the overwhelming majority of Americans and of the Israel political leadership. U.S.
and Apartheid: The Big Lie Israel
- Divestment advocates ignore the complexity of the conflict: The Israeli-Palestinian conflict and peace process is complex. With their rigidly one-sided view of the conflict, divestment advocates see a solution only through punitive action against
. The harsh rhetoric of proponents blindly ignores Israeli policies and efforts to promote negotiations and improve the situation on the ground in the Israel West Bankand Gaza Strip. These advocates also ignore Palestinian intransigence, terrorism and violence, as well as the new situation that has arisen following Hamas' success in the 2006 Palestinian Authority election. Instead, divestment campaigns singularly demonize and designate Israel for pariah status. Such initiatives do not to seek creative and constructive efforts to promote dialogue, peace and reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians. Israel
is being unfairly singled out for human rights violations: These campaigns single out Israel and condemn its record on human rights without any reference to the myriad of human rights outrages going on in the world today including Israel , Sudan and others. In fact, Israel remains the lone democracy in the Middle East, with all of the institutions – a free press, a multitude of political parties, an independent judiciary and religious freedom — that are at the heart of true liberal democracies. The Zimbabwe Middle Eastand indeed the world has many states that do not come close to living up to 's standards. Thus, the singling out of Israel for such punitive treatment is disingenuous and disproportionate. Israel
- How concerned individuals can help promote reconciliation between
and the Palestinians: Individuals need to educate themselves on the complexity of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and promote positions that ensure peace and security for all. The well being of Israelis and Palestinians will best be advanced through policies that help to build a Palestinian society that rejects terror and is ready to accept Israel as the neighbor of a future Palestinian state. Peace will also require investment in programs that promote reconciliation and humanitarian assistance. Israel