Democratic socialists give joyous thumbs up to BDS

The Democratic Socialists of America overwhelmingly voted to endorse the call for boycott, divestment and sanctions on Israel in support of the Palestinian liberation struggle.

This video shows delegates at the DSA conference in Chicago this weekend voting almost unanimously for the measure:

Demand what’s right

“Those who struggle against oppression and for equality will always have our support,” DSA deputy national director David Duhalde said in a press release.

“Just as we answered the call to boycott South Africa during apartheid, we stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people.”

“Democratic socialists aren’t afraid to challenge the status quo and demand what’s right,” Rawan Tayoon, a Palestinian activist with Young Democratic Socialists, said.

“We stand against imperialism, we stand against racism, and so we must stand against Israeli apartheid and occupation.”

Tayoon told The Electronic Intifada that the vote came after months of organizing by members.

She said she was moved by the celebratory spirit in the room when the moment came.

“I knew that it would pass because I had been working on it,” she said. “But people were not just voting for it, they were so happy to be voting for it and that was a surprise.”

DSA describes itself as the largest democratic socialist organization in the United States. With more than 25,000 members, it has seen its membership quadruple with the resurgence of left-wing politics in the US and Europe, particularly since the 2016 presidential campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders.

Old guard

The big vote for BDS is another mark of the ongoing generational change in views about Palestine.

The Democratic Socialists of America has traditionally been a bastion of left-wing Zionism and support for Israel.

One of the old guard expressed his dismay at the change. Eric Lee wrote in a blog post that he is resigning over the BDS vote after being involved with the group over 40 years, including a stint on DSA’s national board.

Echoing talking points from Israel and its lobby groups, Lee wrote that he considers the BDS movement to be “anti-Semitic and racist.”

Lee complained that in a video he saw of the conference some delegates were chanting “Palestine will be free, from the river to the sea.”

“I also saw at least one Palestinian flag being waved in celebration,” he wrote.

Born in the US, Lee previously lived in Israel. Now based in the UK, he helped organize American supporters of Bernie Sanders there during last year’s election. Lee has also worked to try to thwart support for BDS in the British trade union movement.

Other smears from Israel’s surrogates included a claim in The Jerusalem Post that the vote was held on Saturday as a deliberate “tactic” to exclude Jews who observe Shabbat.

The right-wing, pro-Israel blog Legal Insurrection claimed that young socialists support Palestinian liberation because they are motivated by anti-Semitism and by the “now-fashionable doctrine of intersectionality” in which “Israel is held out as the unique connecting force among capitalist and American-imperialist evils.”

Lobby groups have previously complained that intersectionality – a perspective that links struggles for liberation among oppressed peoples – is a threat to support for Israel.

Challenge to censorship

The DSA vote comes after recent decisions by several churches to endorse boycott and divestment and other measures in support of Palestinian rights.

The vote also sends a strong message to lawmakers that efforts at censorship, backed by the Israel lobby, are not slowing the growth of the movement.

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Comments

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Eric Lee, obviously a man who has been overtaken by his times, states that BDS is antisemitic, without expalining what is so antisemitic about it.

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As evidence of anti-Semitism he mentions that he saw a Palestinian flag, and that the now familiar chant for a united Palestine was heard intermittently on the premises. Shocking. Simply shocking.

As to the anti-Semitic nature of the BDS movement, he appears to regard the matter as beyond discussion. Which it is. Because it's nonsense.

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Antisemitism is BS! Criticism and peaceful demonstration are stones to sling in the face of illegal occupation and oppression. And I can see a hailstorm coming. And it's blowing in the right direction!

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Eric Lee works for Labour Start and has got in trouble in the past for his Zionist views. Was involved in Tulip, Trade Unions Israel Group. He carries very little weight though

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“We stand against imperialism, we stand against racism, and so we must stand against Israeli apartheid and occupation.” from above, DSA...

“We stand against imperialism, we stand against racism, and so we must stand against Israeli apartheid and occupation.”

Do you stand against Zionism??? As Thomas Suarez documented in
his landmark book THE TERROR STATE, (see especially beginning)
that is the core. The terror (apartheid, racism, occupation, massacres,
murders, dispossessions, genocidal actions etc. are but its concrete
expressions.

As we all know well, the US and West have had major roles in encouraging
this terror, this Zionism, both in the past, present and (unfortunately)
future.

----Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

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Couple of things:
1. Correct title of the book is "State of Terror"
2. The US and West have indeed had major roles in encouraging this terror, but what Suarez also shows clearly, is that in the run-up to the creation of Israel, Zionist terror was so violent & extreme that both the Brits & Americans got scared, and preferred to give the Zionists what they demanded rather than antagonise them with reining them in.

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Many thanks to K. Vaak for correcting my backwards title.
Also for re-emphasizing the role of the US and West as well as Suarez'
analysis of the extremity of the violence of the terror.

Read STATE OF TERROR.

(You may ask yourselves why Israel is referred
to as an "ally". I know the political excuses already
so dispense with excuses on that score.

It is the conduct toward the Palestinians aka
indigeonous inhabitants when Zionism invaded
Palestine. Israel also represents the pinnacle
of the inhuman state and of individual conduct.
(With the exception of the US.)

---Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

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