Omar Barghouti (Intal/Flickr)
In his article, headlined “The BDS Threat,” Cohen effectively calls for denying Palestinians equal rights in order to maintain Israel’s Jewish supremacy.
Yet these developments make me uneasy for a simple reason: I do not trust the BDS movement. Its stated aim is to end the occupation, secure “full equality” for Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel, and fight for the right of return of all Palestinian refugees. The first objective is essential to Israel’s future. The second is laudable. The third, combined with the second, equals the end of Israel as a Jewish state. This is the hidden agenda of BDS, its unacceptable subterfuge: beguile, disguise and suffocate.
Some “liberal” Zionists are experts at conflation, intimidation and exclusion.
Supporting Israel’s “racial and exclusionist” regime, as I.F. Stone describes it, and basing this support on a racist ideology that denies the Palestinian people’s right to self determination are categorically incompatible with liberalism, which at the very least assumes equal rights for all humans irrespective of identity.
Anyone who argues that Palestinians must continue to be denied their basic rights under international law, including the right to full equality and the inalienable right of refugees to return to their homes, in order to preserve Israel’s “right” to exist as a racist state, as a regime of occupation, colonialism and apartheid, is a bigot, not a liberal.
Israel, as the most respected Israeli historians agree, is responsible for ethnically cleansing a majority of the indigenous Palestinians during the 1948 Nakba to create an ethnocentric, exclusionary state.
Depriving Palestinians of their UN-stipulated rights to maintain the “ethnocracy” that was created as a result of this crime of ethnic cleansing is immoral, illegal and most certainly illiberal.
Cohen’s column comes amid a sudden spate of high-level panic about the BDS movement.
This has included bills aiming to suppress Palestinian rights activism and speech introduced into state legislatures and the United States Congress, and a meeting of top Israeli government leaders to strategize how to fight back against the growing boycott movement.
On 31 January, the Times published a column by Barghouti: “Why Israel Fears the Boycott.”