Left Coast Media

North Bae 014 - Boycotting, Divesting, and Sanctioning

March 01, 2018 Left Coast Media
Left Coast Media
North Bae 014 - Boycotting, Divesting, and Sanctioning
Show Notes Transcript
This week comrades Sauce and Tiberius are very pleased to discuss the BDS movement with the ever lovely Kumars Salehi of Delete Your Account fame

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Speaker 1:

Thank you for listening to North Bay, a podcast from the left coast media collective to connect with the show. Follow us on Twitter at left-pad or the hosts at checker informant commune or source and our our our, our n. You can email us@leftcoastpodcastatgmaildotcomandourpatrionisatpatrion.com slash left coast media. We love you

Speaker 2:

here. Hold on. Sorry. My computer's about to run out of juice. Can I just yeah, sure. To grab my power adapter.

Speaker 3:

It would be hilarious if we said no, no, you just have to keep going and when you run out of power, that's when the interview is over. But that would be hilarious for like maybe five seconds.

Speaker 4:

All right, call Brad. Welcome to another episode of the Northern Bay. Uh, this is going to be a good one because we actually have a very special guest. Hashtag[inaudible] we allowed it was graciously allowed,

Speaker 2:

uh, allowed himself to come slam it with us. It's a cross bay exclusive. Yes, he's a to north. We're connecting. Yes.

Speaker 3:

Like the Trans Bay. Just couldn't, we are managing it. Violence, magic or podcasts.

Speaker 2:

What was the actual smart that's going to connect up all the bays?

Speaker 3:

You can me time and I'll come up with what that acronym actually means, but que mas, go ahead, introduce yourself.

Speaker 2:

Sure. Uh, hi, I'm Kumaras solid. He, I am the cohost along with Kao of course who everyone knows of delete your account. Um, we do organizing and left politics and culture every week and sometimes multiple times a week. Uh, if, uh, you would like to become a patriot on subscriber. Uh, and uh, yeah, I'm really happy to be with you guys. I am a, a adjacent I guess to your DSA scene up there, but um, I haven't actually met in the North Bay folks, so it's good to make that acquaintance. Yeah. We're only technically part of the bay area where we're a little bit isolated up here. You get shafted a lot. I feel like South Bay gets a lot of attention for how boring and unaccessible it is. Yeah.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. Um, northbay technically also covers like all the way to Vallejo, so. Okay. But one of the things that I am kind of mad about as a, as an organizer is that I haven't paid more attention to Vallejo cause they really need it anyway. That's neither here nor that we today are going to be talking about bds, which was something that made a bit of a slap, a splash in DSA around about the convention and then sort of we haven't heard so much about it, um, because a bunch of other stuff keeps coming up. I think so. Um, yeah. Good to keep talking about and maybe talk about in terms both that people for who it's a new idea can get on board and for those of us who've been trying for a while can refresh our memories and our energies. So

Speaker 2:

yeah. So the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, bds is, you're right. It's definitely one of the things that was a bigger issue at least in campus life in left activism and left consciousness before Trump. And like a lot of the things that were a really kind of symbolic of what was wrong under Obama. It's been eclipsed by some of the more, you know, obviously like the buffoonery and the sh I sort of sort of unmitigated disaster of, um, virtually everything actually becoming almost as uphill a battle as the Palestine issue. So I think people who've been active in Palestine organizing aren't, it's not like anyone is bitter that domestic issues are taking up so much of people's attention. Obviously we're a lot more political, but, um, before everything got, you know, uh, super, um, you know, turned upside down in people's minds. One of the big anti imperialist issues for people, especially on campuses, but also just, uh, across the United States was this issue of our complicity as a government, as an economy, um, as members of institutions in the Israeli occupation, which people really trace back to 1948 of historic Palestine. And the model of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel is just derived from partly from the strategy of a South African anti-apartheid activists who when faced with a entrenched white supremacists to government that had the support of global elites, you know, including the United States up till the very end, had to enact a campaign of non state external pressure. Obviously when you talk about sanctions and we can get into this later, you're talking about eventual state action as well, but the ass comes at the end and it's always, uh, it's always the last domino to fall. BDS can encompass anything from personal boycotts to, uh, something that, uh, divest and entire university system from certain companies or would potentially even cause an entire global corporation or global chain to stop sourcing something from Israel proper. Uh, so it is a campaign that's grown a lot in response to the initial call in 2005 for, um, from Palestinian civil society that's more than a hundred Angos, different unions, community organizations, et Cetera. And that really, that covers everything in terms of, uh, what institutionally ties Israel to the outside world. And obviously the western powers have an extraordinary share of that, um, support that, that, uh, that goes to Israel. It's not really, you know, Tanzania or Mozambique or you know, like, uh, Indonesia that are providing the biggest diplomatic support. It's countries like Germany and the United States that have allowed Israel to, to continue its abuses. And, and really, I think very obviously at this point, apartheid, uh, practices for so long without being so much as really censured by the United States unless you count these sort of feckless, uh, diplomatic squabbles between Obama and Netanyahu and the last year or so of the presidency, which I think everybody who was in the know knew to take with a little grain of salt.

Speaker 3:

I do want to mention we also saw bds tactics used a somewhat against the Dakota access pipeline. Um, yes, when that, during the waning days of the Obama administration and early Trump administration. So it's something that we see the tactics used in other places, but generally when we say bds, it's as a shorthand about boycotts divesting and sanctions against Israeli occupation against apartheid state there.

Speaker 2:

But you were, you were talking about there with the Dakota access pipeline. You're talking about the wells Fargo targeting wells Fargo, for example, who was a really big investor in the pipeline. And that's a good example, right, of exactly the sort of connections that bds tries to target. Because I mean, I think unreasonable people have argued about how Marxist a bds is, but the fact that it is a boycott that targets real institutional connections and isn't simply a matter of, oh, as a consumer, don't buy Sabra Hummus, which is a part of it. But that's just, that's really, you're sort of living it out. It doesn't ultimately matter if individually you do it or not in anything. Anyone who's really about bds will tell you that at the more important thing is not that you don't buy Sabra Hummus, it's that your grocery store doesn't buy Sabra Hummus and that nobody, you know, that it becomes a consensus that that's just a bridge too far in terms of moral complicity. The, I mean, the history of boycott movements, it goes back even further than South Africa. It goes. I've, um, I've written about this at length in, in, in a piece for the Berkeley Journal of Sociology. If anyone wants to go back and read that called it was, it's dated now, it's from a couple of years ago called bds in the, uh, United States. And I, part of the legacy of this tactic as an anti colonial tactic. It, it has roots here. It has roots in the Jim crow south. People know about the boycott movements, uh, that were so, uh, you know, influential in both creating a palpable sense of antagonism and resistance that people that divided people that divided white people in a productive way, uh, and it actually targeted the real sources of power, the infrastructure, you know, boy bus boycotts for example. These are the, this is the transportation of the lifeblood of, of, of capitalist society where everyone has to get around. And in India, you know, the, the, the anti-colonial movement against India, there was, uh, you know, there were huge issues around, for example, soft, um, was this, yes. And, uh, and so I think in part, the way that bds tries to frame Israel, Palestine is explicitly outside of this frame of, oh, there are two countries. And one of them's had a rough time of it, but the other one had a rough time of it before. And, uh, now, especially in Germany for example, now we just let them do what they want is what they say. And really what it ends up looking like is this maybe slightly asymmetrical but still kind of like both sides, uh, conflict where it's really, I mean, that's what they call it, a conflict instead of a apartheid instead of a system of oppression, which is really what it is. Uh, and the autonomy that conflict or even referring to Palestine as a, as a, uh, an antagonist to Israel implies is a complete falsehood. It's, uh, you know, it goes down to the, uh, lie that the withdrawal of Israeli settlers and military from Gaza in 2005 as a strategic move because they did it, they worked, they gave up on that piece of land. Uh, essentially was basically, uh, a relinquishing of authority when in fact, Israel still controls everything about Gaza from, uh, the, its borders to, um, you know, the power that gets into, uh, what resources can get in the, I mean if you go and look, I, I don't know if there's a more recent list, but the list of things that are banned from entering Gaza are so basic because it's virtually anything that any jackass in like the Israeli, you know, department of whatever the fuck decided was, uh, possibly, you know, potentially useful for abuse in Obam or anything. You know what I mean? Like it's, it's absolutely genocidal. At one point they were counting calories, um, the amount of calories that Gazans needed to, uh, get in order to not die. Essentially. This is a pretty low count, by the way. You know, just in case you were wondering and then letting lonely, that amount of food and based on that calculation. Yeah, because it's, it's the world's largest prison is what it is. Yeah. It's an open air prison. And the idea that, for example, Gaza is not under Israeli control is a huge myth. And, um, all of this stuff I'm talking about is happening after the withdrawal. That's part of the siege after the withdrawal came to seek. And, uh, and Hamas is not ruling Gaza any more than, you know, the person who is the head of a prison gang rules of the prison. And you know, I'm not a big fan of Hamas either, but like, it's not my place to tell people that are living in that extreme of an environment what to do, especially when the alternative are seen as collaborators and are, um, the talking about Fatah, the PLO, we can get into that too. Um, but, but anyway, the, the framing of bds is, is that this is a colonial situation and that as much as a partite applied to South Africa, and of course now the government of South Africa agrees and says as much publicly, um, including recently said the, the, um, uh, said that Israel was the only apartheid state in the world. The idea that this is an archaic system of, of discrimination, white supremacy, a of a form and actually ongoing ethnic cleansing. So the, the, I think, uh, the disconnect for a lot of people is that his real makes a case for itself as a modern postcolonial western sort of liberal democracy, when in fact it's still right in the middle of its founding violence. Still people refer to the Nakba the catastrophe as the initial, um, sort of founding of Israel, the war of independence as it's called in, uh, in, in Zionists speak. And, uh, that was from 1947 to 49. But the, the Nakba itself is considered to be ongoing. And that is, that is definitely the case that we in the United States live in a settler colonial society that is simply centuries, at least the century, if not, uh, two centuries more advanced then a in it's genocidal project, then a Israel who in a way came too late to freely exterminate the sort of people that have now become as the Palestinians in the West Bank for 4.5 million of them with no rights. Quite a new sense and absolutely unable to be integrated into a Western liberal democracy. I'm using quotes as if listeners can hear me. Uh, in quotes, Western liberal democracy, even though I'm critical of that concept of as well, the idea that Israel is a liberal democracy in the western mold is absurd. Um, and the amount of law is discriminating against the Palestinian citizens of Israel. Over 50 are evidence of, of that. But the fact that 4.5 million Palestinians live in the West Bank and Gaza and would actually put the Jews and Palestinians, uh, I guess non Jewish Palestinian, since a lot of people argue obviously that a lot of the Middle Eastern Jews that were native to Israel and we're told, okay, now you're a part of the ruling class with us or you're part of the state. Uh, those people are, were Palestinians and they just kind of gave up that identity. Anyway, these are all little facts cause I assume no one's going to hear this. Otherwise, the issue of what to do with these people that these Palestinians has become the central issue of Israeli politics. Um, if we frame it as a colonial population with privileges, ethnic privileges is it cannot afford to, uh, practice human rights according to the standards of the countries. It tries to align itself with a it ideologically. How can, how can this country integrate these people, uh, without letting them in five, 10 years, have a majority and then vote away all of those privileges, privileges that, uh, essentially are referred to but never outwardly named. When people refer to Ju, uh, to, sorry, to, uh, Israel as a Jewish state, when people say that what they mean is that Israel is a state that has laws that privileged Jews and the idea that that's compatible even with a society that treats everybody fairly and in a, in a, in a democratic way. Uh, that's really one of the central targets of bds to demolish that lie.

Speaker 3:

When you talk about the privileges that one gets being a Jew, an Israeli Jew versus an ethnically Palestinian Israeli, Arab, Israeli, sorry. Thank you. Jewish people historically and currently, uh, somewhat marginalized as antisemitism. I mean absolutely is a thing. Um, and some of what we see in, in Israel in some of those preferential laws strike me as originally maybe having been intended to reverse that in some way, but it was always going to be at the expense of people who were then marginalized by this because there was no way, there is no way to uplift one part of a population while denying another part of a population rates that isn't going to end up screwy. And if that makes sense.

Speaker 2:

That, that makes sense. I don't think that's necessarily the analysis here. I think there are a couple of problems. One is that there were no laws of that nature discriminating against Jews in Palestine, in historic Palestine. And so the idea that that society in any way needed a illegal corrective to existing structural inequality. That doesn't make sense. I mean that was the Ottoman Empire until fairly recently at that point. And um, the history of, and I mean people were living side by side in that area. Jews and non Jews, Christians as well. And, uh, the, the larger question is, well, this was a, this was social engineering at at best and it's most gen a generous interpretation. It was social engineering on the part of the west to try to make up for, uh, the Holocaust and what happened to the Jews for its historical antisemitism. Uh, my feeling is that it is actually the most colonial solution imaginable to take a little part of, uh, the Middle East, which was already under Western control. And you know, it happens to be the part that, that the Jews are, are, um, in terms of their culture, you know, have an ideological and cultural affinity towards, but it was still, you know, Jews live there. There was nothing stopping them from, you know, moving there. But the idea was let's make amends. Let's create that state that privileges Jews far away from Europe. Why didn't they build it in fucking Germany is what I say, you know, like why didn't, obviously there, there are a lot of practical questions around what Jews have even wanted to stay in Germany, et Cetera, et cetera. I'm not, I'm just making a rhetorical point that the west could have given up something that was its own, that was the Holocaust and antisemitism or the West crimes. And my feeling, especially as a, I studied German culture and politics and history and my feeling, especially in Germany, is that Palestine became this way of outsourcing the guilt of the Holocaust onto brown people in another part of the world. And now the, the very fact that German politicians, uh, American right wing Pundit's, we'll refer to Palestinians as Nazis and compare the threat of Palestinians having rights or some mythical Arab, uh, menace kind of rising up or Iran now especially coming to, to destroy Israel with these nuclear weapons that nobody can point to Iran even trying to build. That is the supreme irony to me that it is literally the Nazis who are calling these oppressed indigenous people of the Middle East who were there when the colonial project started. We know the real villains are the heirs to this great western crime of, of Nazi-ism in the Holocaust. Um, when in fact they were not even free at the time themselves. And don't really bear any historical, you know, there's no, there's no reason for these people to suffer in any way as a result of the inequalities that Jews faced in Europe.

Speaker 3:

So then the carving up of Israel and a historic Palestine, then you could say, served as a form of reparations, but in a way where the people who, and nations who had done wrong and had sponsored the marginalization and abusive people didn't actually have to give anything up. They were giving up something that wasn't theirs to give up in terms of carving up historical Palestine, which yeah, they would just call an icing.

Speaker 2:

Yes. But of course, at that point it wasn't very clear that a colonial rights weren't legitimate. Right. That, I mean, this project was started even before the World War II and the Holocaust, the idea of, um, there were Zionist. This isn't an idea that was literally just cooked up during that aftermath. It was, uh, uh, a project that in being going on for over half a century of, um, you know, people I would say based on my knowledge of that area, uh, of history, generally anti socialist or kind of, um, at least right wing socialist, uh, Jews in Europe and intellectuals, we're tending towards this separatism. Um, I mean I think it's, it's you have to give credit where credit is due. I guess that the very early Zionists recognized a basic, uh, inability of especially German society, but also other Western societies to actually fully accept the assimilation of Jews. And that's obviously what Germany did is Jews. I mean as again, I studied Germany, Germany, a German Jews bent over backwards to assimilate into that society and many even supported Hitler until it was too late. And the, the basic idea that we have to get out of here is not something that, that I, you know, can look back on and say that that is a colonial mindset in and of itself. However, the idea that you were going to come in there with militias, which were already active in the 30s, and tried to actually cause terror and d stabilize the situation, tried to, uh, eventually take state power. I mean, obviously the formation of Israel at the way it happened was, as I said, a result of the way that World War II played out. But, uh, the project of a Zionist homeland or a Jewish homeland in Israel, Palestine was something that preceded that. And I think in so far as the west ever supported it, it was always antisemitic. It was always a desire to get Jews out of Europe. That's why people like Lord Balfour who signed the famous bell for agreement, um, uh, we're trying to, they were rabid antisemites and they wanted Jews out of Europe. And so there wasn't own holy, you know, affinity between the, uh, interests, I guess, of antisemitic leaders in Europe. And, uh, Zionists to maybe to some extent collaborated with the antisemitic leaders, but also, uh, simply we're reacting perhaps to how antisemitic those leaders were. Uh, and so that is a tragedy. It is. It's so true. And, and out of that comes all of these, uh, anachronistic justifications for what's happening now.

Speaker 5:

Yeah. I mean, you know, if, if it didn't happen in Germany, it very nearly happened, uh, during the Dreyfus affair in France that, that there was, they were on the precipice of a, uh, of a Jewish genocide. Yeah. You know, this is something that, you know, the, the pogroms in Russia and Eastern Europe, like this is, it was, it was something that was building up for a very long time and was kind of generalized throughout Europe. And so, you know, the fact that it was, you know, an antisemitic project that basically created Israel is not, shouldn't be surprising.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. And, and in the end that I think the idea that, uh, Israel even treats Jews equally is a myth. Like the racism that comes with a settler, colonial European population has turned, even the population of Jews within Israel. So the Ms Ra whom the, uh, the Jews who were native to, uh, the Middle East and, or have brown skin generally are discriminated. A lot of them are lower class. A lot of them actually vote for a Netanyahu's party Likud because they are lower on the socioeconomic scale. They are viewed as, as you know, as, as lower socially, um, by other Jews, White Jews, and uh, you know, uh, in a dynamic that we recognize here, recognize that Palestinians are the only thing that's keeping them from really being the bottle of bottom of Israeli society. So they have, they obviously people feel like they have an enormous stake in, uh, keeping Palestinians from attaining even a modicum of equality in that society. And the, the amount of, yeah, the amount, I would say the amount of racism that at a brown skin Jew in Israel faces should be enough, uh, to, to raise questions. But it is a very, their political culture has moved very far to the right in, uh, I would say the last 10 years, it's become really obvious that there every, every conservative politician in Israel could talk like Trump and it wouldn't really phase anyone.

Speaker 5:

Right. And so, you know, Israel has a very deep, almost, uh, like officious stick sort of a core to its, you know, political identity. So what is it that, that we can actually accomplish, not being, you know, within Israel Palestine. Like, yeah, what, what is it that, or I should say, how is it that we anticipate a successful bds movement actually doing something to, to solve this problem that we see in the Middle East?

Speaker 2:

Right? So, I mean, I guess the basic premise is that to the extent that all of this support that Israel gets from western governments, from Western companies is necessary, then taking that away can be a mechanism to weaken it's negotiating position right now. Israel does not need to negotiate with anybody. The Trump administration is completely behind everything that it does, that the pretense of neutrality that Obama managed to put across while also just actually voting with Israel more than any other president in history. That's completely gone now. And a lot of people would say, I think a lot of smart commentators would say that frankly, this is a good thing. It's showing Israel to be the unaccountable, intransigent, bad faith negotiating partner that it always was the very idea of the two state solution. And, um, peace talks was always a sham. And, uh, going back to the, the early nineties, the, uh, outgoing prime minister of Israel and in 1992, Yitzhak Shamir basically said if I'd stayed in power, I would have done a peace deal or I would've done peace talks. And in 10 years we would have moved 500,000, uh, settlers into the West Bank. And there are now many more than 500,000 settlers in the West Bank. And it's virtually impossible to imagine what a two state solution would look like, especially after the Trump administration. So helpfully announced that they are going to move the embassy of the United States in Israel from Tel Aviv where all of the global emphases that have that even all of the countries that even have embassies in Israel are two east Jerusalem, sorry, not east Jerusalem, Jerusalem period is Jerusalem of course being Palestinian territory that's been annexed. So all of this is to say that the external pressure of bds creates an isolation around Israel that's both economic and ideological. So on one hand you actually have to create losses for Israel. And the, I mean, the number of companies, um, you know, millionaires, billionaires, I, I can name just, you know, George Soros, Bill Gates, uh, the, like these people have withdrawn funds from companies that are complicit in the occupation specifically after calls for that. And sorosis case. Part of it was he had to withdraw it so he could pay us. That's true. I wasn't going to bring that up, but, uh, I guess that's okay to talk about that now. It is on this podcast. All right. We're, we're very inside baseball here. All right. Well, so that, um, our, our, our master aside of the out other people have, I've also capitalists have also made this decision. Uh, the EU has taken steps to boycott a certain settlement product and, and it's technically at, you know, against the law, the, the, the regulations trade regulations of the EU to do business with, um, with, with settlement companies, companies that are actually making stuff out of the settlements. And, uh, my feeling is that the second part also has to occur before the real economic losses. I think start to be, felt that the ideological narrative around Israel as a sort of a legitimate multicultural society. It that is at once excused for its savagery because it is in the Middle East and it's a tough neighborhood and you know, sort of afforded the respect, the dignity, the right to New Guinea, one at wants of, uh, of a, of a nice, friendly Western power. And that I think is starting to change. I mean, in the rest of the world, obviously people are much more ambivalent about Israel than they are here. But even in the United States, I mean, there have been polls that show that, I think the most recent Brookings poll shows that 46% of Americans would support sanctions on Israel shirts, settlement activity. I mean, that's a very minor move. But getting Americans to see this as not an issue of, oh, it's, you know, uh, it's, it's a, it's a sand conflict. I've heard people say or like, you know, they're just over there siting there in the desert and uh, and it's been going on for Millennia. And people like John Stewart would say this stuff, you know, like it's not that long ago that it was really not at all controversial to take Israel's side on the, on the sort of center left in the United States. Yeah. And uh, the, the, the real innovation of that period of time was actually that people started both sides saying, and I remember when people started saying, oh, but Palestinians, the Palestinians are actually having kind of a rough time of it on like CNN or whatever. That was considered like a victory. And now I think we're way past that. And we have prominent people in the Democratic primary, like Bernie Sanders appointed Cornell west to his, um, you know, whatever the hell that was, where they were deciding the platform for the DNC. I think that's a slight ideological shift and the more that happens, the more economic mechanisms we'll also have an effect.

Speaker 3:

I think also the attempts that we've seen to outlaw bds also are assigned that it at least has some people scared of the effect that it could have. Like when you have to, was it Feinstein? I get a feeling it was Feinstein, right? Probably, yeah. I'm putting together a proposal that says boycotting divest.

Speaker 2:

I think you're talking about Ben Cardin. He was the one who, uh, I believe brought that legislation to the floor. He's actually the one who's running against Chelsea manning and the Maryland Senate, uh, uh, whatever primary for the Democrats. So that's an interesting, uh, interesting little tidbit there that the opponent is, is extremely anti bds. Um, but he's not the most anti bds senator on the democratic side. I mean, Chuck Schumer has been foaming at the mouth to nuke Iran and to let you know, basically make the Palestinians just dropped dead for years and he held out on the Iran deal. He constantly, you know, portrays this, you know, this situation as uh, you know, poor is real and you know, the scary Arabs, he was his very outwardly Islamophobic language. And my feeling is that to the extent that Palestine has become more of a partisan issue in, uh, the last couple of years, maybe like I think towards the end of the Obama administration, even those symbolic squabbles between Obama and Netanyahu became, um, reflective of a certain willingness of that the Republicans had to defend anything. And, um, the democratic base right now, I think progressive's especially young people are very much, uh, actually uniquely pro Palestine or at least uniquely ambivalent, if not really over the top, depending on which poll you're looking at. And the resistance I think on the part of the elite and the governing class is, is a really encouraging sign, like the various antibio spills. I don't remember where the first ones were, but one of the first ones was in New York. I was there at the time. There's now one that's in, in past, in, in Illinois. There are different kinds of them. The most common build that I've seen is a bill that basically forbids anyone who has a contract with the state from boycotting Israel companies and institutions. And, and that's so that's state like, uh, contractors. And, uh, there are separate bills, uh, that target universities, um, any university that actually divests or even votes to divest funds from, from Israel could be sanctioned under this, uh, are various proposals to curb this a form of protest. And at the federal level, I think that people have been scared off each time that a federal bill has been brought up. The coverage of the Ben Cardin bill actually made some of the people that we're cosponsoring it feel skittish about it and kind of back off their support. I think that when people hear that, uh, you are trying to make it illegal for anyone, for example, who's a public employee to participate in a boycott of Israel, you have to be really genuinely pro Israel to not raise an eyebrow at that. And the, uh, I think Kansas had, there was it, there was a case where where Kansas had upheld a, uh, an anti bds law against the teacher and the federal courts actually overturned that. The New Orleans, and this is actually a, a good note, I'm just remembering the New Orleans city council recently voted as actually someone that I, I know from a completely different, uh, a struggle, uh, over at Northwestern. Max Keller seems to have been involved. So props to him if he's, if he's listening. They did basically an initiative to get New Orleans to respect human rights law in its own city investments. And so this is the sort of thing that obviously with a focus on Israel will get the attention of federal authorities. Um, judges as we've seen are not going to rule always with the Trump administration, but if legislation like this passes that would put the Jeff sessions, Doj DOJ in charge of prosecuting, you know, p universities, uh, various other organizations or businesses that do work for the state just for participating in, in an economic boycott that I think has got them genuinely scared. And if you listen to the various speeches that were made around the same time, um, during election year around Israel and Palestine, every single speech that happened at the Apac conference, the big right wing lobby, the rig riving Israel lobby group, Hillary Clinton's speech as well as all of the Republicans called out bds and pledged that they were going to crack down on bds if they were elected. Bernie Sanders who was not there, was interviewed on, as I recall, MSNBC that night and also talked critically about bds. And while he didn't say that he would crack down on it, he did imply that it was not really separable from antisemitism and that some elements of the movement were antisemitic. And that's obviously a huge smear that's, that's leveled against the Palestine Solidarity Movement and bds in general. There are definitely people that co op the language of Palestinian liberation while actually genuinely harboring neo Nazi views. Like David Duke for example, is someone that let's say, uh, on the state TV channels of other of other nation states that try to be sort of progressive but don't really have a sense really for this stuff. Uh, he will get asked to talk about Palestine sometimes or has before I just stopped doing interviews with press TV because I re I was getting shit because I realized, Oh shit. They like, I'm on like the same network as David Duke talking about the same issue. Uh, and I can't, you know, that's unconscionable to me. These people, you know, obviously don't know the difference between Palestine solidarity and hating Jews. And so if you accept, I think that the Palestine Solidarity Movement in bds is up of a certain group of people that are doing activism and doing these campaigns then yeah, as some, some anti-semite or some Nazi on the Internet criticizing Israel for what it does to Palestinians that I would not consider in any way part of it, you know, bds or even, yeah. I don't think it's even justifiable to conflate the two. And so Bernie Sanders also disappointing in that regard. I've, I was, I would say a reluctant backer of his during the primary from a Palestine perspective, but these are things that are simply limitations of the discourse at the time. And I think our job right now is to make sure that if he runs again, if anybody runs again, they're not going to be able to give answers like that and then not answer for it. Yeah.

Speaker 5:

Well, you know, anti imperialism and taking a, um, like a strong moral stance against empire is, is something that I have been really surprised to see sort of becoming almost mainstream, at least within like younger millennials, younger gen x, that kind of stuff. Um, yeah. And Uncle Bernie, he, he's got bad empire opinions. So did Uncle Morris. Yeah. Yeah. I liked that you said, uh, I know it was probably like just a slip of the tongue. He said if anybody runs again, like you're acknowledging that we are in Geo hell and we're going to, the world is going to end before we get to the next election.

Speaker 2:

No, no. Yeah. That was a slip of the tongue I met. If anybody reasonable gas runs again, like not, you know, I mean Joe Biden I guess like I don't care. I don't actually give a fuck. Like he's, if he runs, that's like the rock running to me. Like, but if someone, you know who people have vested any amount of Progressive Hope in like Elizabeth Warren runs, I think that again, I would be less optimistic about getting Elizabeth Warren to be good on this. Then even then, Bernie, um, maybe Barbara Lee is our best shot if we can draft her, but I, the point is going to be for this to become a staple issue. And I think I will, I'm going to go back to this. I think that the fact that Bernie picked Cornell west to go argue Palestine, not just, not just Cornell west, but I think a couple other, other, uh, members of the, uh, his, his contingent, we're, we're also, you know, relatively pro Palestine and the very fact that that has entered the discourse and become one half of the debate on the Democratic Party is going to it. That's going to manifest and people are going to find that, uh, the one state solution and rights for everybody is going to be the, the, the consensus position among the print more progressive wing of the Party and young people in general because it simply doesn't make sense when you try to explain the two state solution that people, it sounds like a fantasy, like you have to once once you explained to them that these are not two states for two people, but that this is a piece of land that has been systematically you call an iced over, you know, uh, it's, it, it's going to come up on a century and a couple of decades. It's going to be the longest running, one of the longest running genocides in colonial history. And the more people see the Palestinians as oppressed and the Israelis as oppressors, I think the easier it really is going to be for us to at the very least, make sure that whoever gets, you know, if anyone beats Trump in, in that election, that they are scared shitless of a pissing off the people that care about, uh, our, our imperial connections and our, I mean this really is our imperial connection as well. You know, like we should care about Palestine the way that France, you know, p leftist in France, uh, should have cared about Algeria. And I really think that, that it's not just, uh, uh, a sort of a safe Dar for kind of human rights issue. It is the kind of constant anti imperialist issue that whether or not we're in a war, whether or not, I mean, obviously we're going to be in a war forever from now on. It just doesn't matter. But even during that period of time when people were like, oh, but Obama, you know, he's just flying the little drones around and it's not that bad. The Palestine issue is something that remains constant and it should be constantly weighing on our consciences, um, and as Americans, as citizens of the world. Um, so I'm, I'm really excited for, I guess DSA to not forget about this. I'm not a member, I'm not a member, so I don't have, I have to admit I don't have a huge stake necessarily, but I do really, I think that it's one of those, um, canary in the coal mine issues are kind of symptomatic issues where if people can care about it and in a sustained way, it says something about their ability to commit to things that aren't really there, uh, like specific to their own experience, which is it just like such a big part of our squabbles today on, on in a lot of, you know, these, these different policy areas is like, or even issues of rhetoric is like, how do you get people to, to do things that de-center their own priorities or whatever. And it's like, yeah, Palestine is not immediately relevant to most of us unless you have a Palestinian friend and you know what the hell we're actually helping them do over there.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. So as DSA members, there's your own personal stuff that you can do for bds. But then as DSA chapters having, uh, ongoing work that as you say, push to highlight the preferential treatment that Israel receives and pushes to do some work around bds and keep this issue in the forefront. And then for people who may be, have slightly bigger pulpits, I'm going to say it, not going on an Israeli owned television stations to promote your Twitter accounts and comedy stuff.

Speaker 2:

I didn't explain this very well. So let me explain this briefly. Um, just the, the idea of the cultural boycott, because that's a very important aspect of this, the academic and cultural boycott. So one of the things that piss people off on the, in the designer's camp recently was that Lorde, the singer, canceled her a show in Israel after being pressured about it. You know, people were like, Hey Lord, don't play Sun City. Basically. That was the old, uh, that was the old city in, in South Africa that artists were asked not to play. It was the big, I don't know, music city, I guess. Uh, but don't play this show in Tel Aviv. And she said, yes, she, she quit, uh, the Gig and she got a ton of shit for it because that's a really big fuck you, that's a really big slap in the face to a country that considers itself entitled to participate in the world and in the world of, of also a western culture, just to the extent that anyone else would. And the idea that now there are actually cost imposed in terms of its participation because of the way that Israel and you know, a staggering majority of Israelis on different parts of the political spectrum, but support and are complicit in these human rights abuses in these. I think that the idea of not participating in institutions as opposed to boycotting people is, is really consistent with the message of bds. And that really is the guideline that you should follow if you're trying to take tips in if you're in academia. And, and you're wondering, oh, should I collaborate with Israeli institutions? Well, the answer is no. You can collaborate with Israelis, but an Israeli who is of conscience and wants to participate in bds to the best of their ability. Obviously if you're actually Israeli, you can't boycott everything about the government, but people that want to support the international effort, uh, will actually fund their own travel, for example, or, or a crowd fund their travel through other means. So as to not be reliant on universities that also develop, you know, plans for controlling demographics in their sociology departments or an urban planning or play, you know, a develop different weapons technologies that are then tested out on Gazans and sold at a weapons expos to different countries around the world. Um, and these I think are all things that if we start to look for in our own environments, we can really create a stigma around, uh, western complicity in, uh, in, in, in Israeli crimes. And only when that stigma grows to a critical mass will such an intransigent, uh, such a, I think off the rails reactionary society at this point, stop hurting. It's, it's, uh, most marginalized people in, in probably an evermore brutal way from now on now that now that they feel so empowered and the, you know, the, the, the clock is running out in terms of what to do with Palestinians. They, the, the, the pretense of this is going to be a negotiated solution is dying. Like, I mean, it's, it's been dead for years and now the question is going to be as Trump's senior, uh, not Trump's senior advisor, sorry, uh, the, uh, ambassador to Israel, David Friedman says, now the question is simply going to be, which kind of one state are we going to have? Of course, he supports a one state in which Palestinians don't have equal rights. That's his solution. We support people in the bds movement largely, although not dogmatically support a one state solution where everybody is equal. Everyone lives in a yes, flawed, bourgeois, secular democracy. And that is, believe it or not for us, you know, it might seem weird for us in the west, but that is kind of, uh, the, the most utopian step that a lot of people who are suffering under this, the fascism of a military occupation can even imagine right now. Um, and yeah, we're, we're here, we're at a crossroads where to where a nightmarish and a relatively, uh, not so nightmarish alternative are really, uh, finally upon us as opposed to this dream of a, of a magical third way.

Speaker 5:

You have to lift them up out of hell and let them get stuck in purgatory for a while before we abolish all the nations and get to. Perfect. Right. So along with, along with bds, are there other ways to, you know, be involved in Palestinian solidarity in terms of not just boycotting Israeli made products, but you know, actually helping or standing in solidarity with whatever's left of the left in Israel itself and within the Jewish community? Is that, is that, is that a sort of like a viable thing to be spending your time on or is, yeah. You know, it's, it's a really difficult question to answer. I think that whenever I've asked Palestinians this, it's, I mean, sometimes

Speaker 2:

it's like, well, you know, like, screw it, you can't do anything like, look at what we're dealing with over here, or just, uh, and they're entitled to react that way. I think that the best thing that we can do here is to try to amplify voices. And so if, you know, people do want to speak out and a lot of Palestinians can't, but if people do want to speak out, obviously being in touch with, uh, the different groups that are doing organizing, there, there are groups that, that, uh, actually address really specific sort of intersectional issues within the Palestinian community because as we all know, as leftists, people who are, uh, oppressive along multiple axes, you know, they're going to need their own institutions of support, especially in such dire situations. And so, um, you know, getting in touch with, for example, LGBT and queer Palestinian groups, like, uh, I'll oxa is a really good one, or, or I'll, I'll not to aisle accessory aisle calls. Um, I'll, oxo is the mosque. Um, I'm, I don't actually speak Arabic, so I, as I'm in a way also sort of speaking for other people and I, that's one of those things that you always have to negotiate, I guess in Palestine. Solidarity activism is like, to what extent do Palestinians open themselves up to criticism, uh, that can, that can cost them, um, for example, uh, a lot more in the public sphere than a white person and they can be barred from returning to their homeland to see their family. Whereas, uh, you know, someone who's white, obviously I'm, I'm, I'm not white, but I'm in a, I'm, I'm, I'm in a different category. I don't consider myself, uh, uh, necessarily the same, uh, ethnicity. Uh, you know, obviously I'm, I'm Middle Eastern, I feel some solidarity, but, uh, I'm not Palestinian. And so for me it is an issue of doing the most that you can, uh, to make sure that people are hearing Palestinian perspectives. If Palestinians tell you that this is how you do bds, really kind of respect that. And you know, I guess the most important thing to do is to not actually overstep your boundaries and, um, try to impose some vision of, of what you would like to see necessarily on that situation and to be dynamic in, in your, I guess analysis. I think that a lot of people can look at Israel, Palestine and see whatever they want to see in it in terms of like, oh, here's a class conflict. Oh, here's an environmental conflict. And it's like, that's all there. But the primary problem is the, uh, the, the, you know, the, this, this regime of laws. And it might ultimately be about resources in the, anything I guess to do with nation states to an extent is, but, um, it's not a simple problem that can be reduced to economics or, or, or, or war or labor or, um, or any or, or natural resources, any of this stuff. It is a colonial project that has, that is sort of going on because uh, it is allowed to and there's really no reason why the people in Israel, Palestine can't all live together in, uh, you know, very, probably very tumultuous as, as, as of course it would be, have to be secular mass democracy and kind of negotiate, uh, their cultural differences from there instead of, you know, this idea that, that somehow the Jewish privileges are both unnameable and sacrosanct and everything else that happens to the Palestinians has to be negotiated around that.

Speaker 3:

All right. We are coming up on one hour here. So, um, chemo is, is there anything that we haven't touched on that you would like to talk about? Anything that bearing in mind we are a much, much smaller outlet than, than you already have access to, but anything you would like to plug or talk about or cover?

Speaker 2:

Um, well you should, I mean you should check out my, uh, yeah, my podcast if you haven't heard it. But no, I actually think that I would recommend, if people want to learn more about this, please don't let me be the only spokesperson for it. Go to, um, the electronic intifada. That's a great website run by my amino in part by my friends. Uh, Ali Abu Nima and Nora bear was Friedman among others. And that is information about Palestine in Palestine activism straight from, uh, on the ground, uh, sources as well as, as analysts abroad. Like Alli Alli's analysis is really spot on. Often counterintuitive. He often celebrates when things that appear bad happen in terms of the diplomatic situation because every little bit of, of every little bit that Israel moves obviously to the right and Trump helps them do that. It's makes it more and more clear what kind of a, a, you know, an archaic sort of a way of thinking about human rights and about, um, you know, uh, the, the, the role of countries in the global community, uh, Israel really represents. And uh, yeah, I think that's, that's important. Mondo, Weiss and other good site. Um, and, and just follow Palestinians on Twitter. Oftentimes that is really what makes a difference in people's attitudes is being on social media, being on sites where the air seeing Palestinian perspectives for the first time maybe ever. Uh, and the more we even criticize websites and news sources and TV channels and whatever for, you know, it's not just, we shouldn't go on Israeli media is we should have Palestinians on our media. And so the more you can, I guess, elevate those voices and make sure that nobody on the left especially is getting away with being a wishy washy on this issue. That's, that's, you're doing great. Doing God's work. All right. So you're doing great. Sweeties all right. Thank you very much for talking to us today. Absolutely. Incident. It was, it was my pleasure. It was good to meet you all. I mean sauce, obviously we've met online, but a pleasure to hear your voice. I didn't know you were, uh, you were from British land.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I'm, I'm, I'm a combination of the two possible worst things. I'm, I'm a dual citizen. UK, U s so two incredibly evil empires.

Speaker 2:

They produced some of the best films though. We'll talk about that another time. Yeah. All right. Take it easy guys. All right. Thank you. Thank you. And I also want to thank our[inaudible]

Speaker 6:

audience, catch us on social media, catch Kumaras on social media, and as always, go in peace and be in solidarity.

Speaker 7:

Okay.