Israel boycott – the nature of its support

Will anything I could write against the boycott change anybody’s mind – Matt says probably not.For many people the strongest argument against this boycott is that it won’t work – but boycott organisers already realise that and it hasn’t made a difference (e.g. because Haricombe and Lancaster merely cast aspersion on the SA boycott rather than strongly condemning it, Mona Baker cites their report on her Web site!). Pro-boycotters are managing to convince people that the onus is not on boycotters to prove that boycott will definite succeed in ending the occupation, but instead on anti-boycotters to come up with an alternative action.

The other aspect I don’t deal with is that some boycott supporters (maybe a majority) are willing to use any means which present themselves to, as they see it, hasten a resolution to the world’s most urgent “clash of civilisations” – the occupation is cast as the world’s most urgent problem – in terms of WW3 threat rather than an ethical affront – and the reasons for boycott can be cast as pragmatic rather than racist – i.e. there is nothing to lose and everything to be gained by boycotting Israel.

Both are misconceived, but they are trump cards in getting grass-roots support for the boycott campaign.

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