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.