EI’s Ali Abunimah vs former CIA chief Woolsey on Penn BDS conference, in dueling Inquirer op-eds

The Phildelphia Inquirer today publishes opposing op-eds on the upcoming boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) conference at the University of Pennsylvania one by Ali Abunimah and the other by former CIA chief James Woolsey and Jonathan Schanzer of the pro-Israel neocon group Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.

In their op-ed, Woolsey and Schanzer allege that the conference:

will be an exercise in disinformation and propaganda, a call for political and economic warfare, and an attempt to foment hatred of Israel. That is obviously bad for Israelis. It is - perhaps less obviously - bad for Palestinians as well.

It goes downhill from there, with a litany of talking points about Iran and Syria intended to distract attention from Israel as well as ludicrous claims about Israel’s commitment to a “two-state solution.”

Abunimah’s op-ed takes on the overheated rhetoric that has preceded the conference for weeks. It begins:

I am coming to the University of Pennsylvania this week to incite violence against the State of Israel - pro-Israel groups and commentators have contended - and, along with hundreds of students and other speakers who will attend the 2012 National Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Conference, to engage in an “act of warfare.”

Nothing could be further from the truth.

In fact, we are coming together to push forward an inclusive movement that supports nonviolent action to promote the human rights of the Palestinian people, because only full respect for these rights can lead to peace. Today, millions of Palestinians live without basic rights under Israeli rule. This intolerable situation is at the root of problems that affect the whole world.

Read the rest.

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While BDS has achieved a lot in the past few years, the war Israel and the west are waging against the movement will no doubt hinder and slow its impact for it to be a decisive force against occupation or apartheid . I believe if the massage is changed from negative impact to positive while using similar tactics will make it almost impossible for Isreal and the west to publicly fight against Freedom Justice and Democracy.Isolating Isreal knowing the Zionist money and propaganda power is a loosing battle , we are fighting on their turf, that's their strength , this is their game . This is similar to waging a military war knowing that its their strength . You have to change the message from confrontation to a call for human values i.e Freedom Justice Equality Democracy.

Ali Abunimah

Ali Abunimah's picture

Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of The Battle for Justice in Palestine, now out from Haymarket Books.

Also wrote One Country: A Bold-Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. Opinions are mine alone.