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Dershowitz Attacks Penn BDS Conference; Next In Line, The United Methodist Church

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This article cross-posted from Wallwritings

Israeli blogger Noam Sheizal writes in the US based, Foreign Policy's The Middle East Channel, that the majority of voters in Israel currently have no interest in ending the country's 44 year-long military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

Sheizal, a columnist for +972, a progressive Israeli website, concludes in his FP essay, that the "peace camp" has disappeared from Israeli politics.

For Israelis, according to Sheizal, the occupation of Gaza and the West Bank...

"...remains a non-issue and will continue to be so, as long as the military is able to hold back any local Palestinian resistance, the prime minister is successful in resisting continued diplomatic pressure and regional isolation, and the internal and external boycott movement remains marginal."

What Sheizal describes as "the internal and external boycott movement" is better known in US peace circles as BDS, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. The indifference to BDS that Sheizal found among Israelis is unfortunately also found in the US voting public.

This indifference is not shared by those who gathered on the University of Pennsylvania campus this weekend for the first national meeting of BDS. According to the conference's website, BDS' goal is to "boycott, divest from and sanction (BDS) the State of Israel until it complies with its obligations under international and human rights law."

The Israel Lobby and its US supporters took the BDS weekend event quite seriously, so much so that a heavy-hitter like noted criminal attorney Alan Dershowitz. was on the scene to employ his courtroom skills to make Israel's case.

The presence of  Dershowitz in the University of Pennsylvania college newspaper prior to this weekend, was an early indication that the Israel Lobby is in such a belligerent paranoid mindset that any public display of criticism of Israeli policies must be resisted with heavy vitriolic rhetoric.

To the Lobby, there is never any room for indifference where Israel is concerned.

Who better than Dershowitz to set the agenda for the battle ahead.

"Why Israel Matters to You, Me, and Penn: A conversation with Alan Dershowitz," was the title of Dershowitz' lecture, an event co-hosted by Penn's Political Science department, which had earlier refused to co-sponsor the BDS conference.

Advance attacks on BDS speakers were reported by Max Blumenthal, who was also a Conference participant.

"Ali Abunimah, a renowned Palestinian writer and solidarity activist who will deliver the conference's keynote address, was recently accused by Emily Schrader, an activist with the pro-Israel group StandWithUs, of 'incitement to violence against Israelis.' Wayne Firestone, the president of the pro-Israel student group Hillel, accused the Penn BDS conference of advocating 'warfare' and fomenting 'hatred.'

"The allegations leveled by Schrader and Firestone could not be further from the truth. Not one participant in the Penn BDS conference has "incited" violence against Israelis or anyone else.

"Instead, BDS advocates have raised their voices in support of an expressly non-violent movement that takes its inspiration from the American civil rights struggle against Jim Crow bigotry and the international campaign against South Africa's apartheid regime."

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James Wall is currently a Contributing Editor of The Christian Century magazine, based in Chicago, Illinois. From 1972 through 1999, he was editor and publisher of the Christian Century magazine. Many sources have influenced Jim's writings over (more...)

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