Rachel Shabi writes: On Wednesday, George Galloway walked out of a meeting because it turned out he was going to be debating an Israeli. “I was misinformed” he said. “I don’t debate with Israelis. I don’t recognise Israel.” Later, he clarified the tactic on Twitter: “Israel: simple, No recognition No normalisation. Just Boycott, divestment, sanctions.”
Galloway is not alone in holding such sentiments – but as a tactic in support of Palestinians, it’s a dead end. Primarily, that’s because the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement doesn’t call for the avoidance of people purely on the basis of nationality. Thanks to Galloway, its national committee has just issued a statement, to clear up this particular fallacy.
Whatever your views on BDS – and there are many – Galloway’s move is plainly an own goal (assuming his goal is to support Palestinians, rather than generate publicity for himself). One reason that many left-leaning Jews don’t join the BDS movement is precisely because the boycott is perceived to be about rage against people, rather than an effective political tool. What’s the best way to cement that belief? Announce you’re avoiding Israelis as part of your commitment to BDS. Cue a flood of “told you sos” from those who say its all about punishing Israelis just for being who they are. [Continue reading…]
There’s a big difference between concluding that talking is fruitless, and refusing to talk.
Refusing to talk, prejudges the outcome and it attaches more significance to the act of communication than its content.
What talking can do is open a door into a creative space. It opens the possibility of arriving somewhere new.
Talking engages the plasticity of the human mind.
Rigid minds are always in conflict with the world because the world is always changing. So, even if we find ourselves up against the rigidity of others, it at least serves our own interests to keep our own minds flexible and explore the malleability of our own thought.