Monday, August 16, 2010

Strategies for Justice in Palestine

There's a pretty fierce debate going on with the left regarding the chief motivation for US policy towards Israel and also the best way to try to turn things around. Should Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) be considered as occurred in South Africa to end apartheid? Also what is the roll of the Israel Lobby, especially AIPAC, in forming US policy. Are they the predominate driving force of US benevolence towards Israel or is it a matter of corporate backing?

Apparently Harvard University has sided with those that advocate BDS. It has sold it's Israeli holdings.

But for some on the left apparently this is not regarded as a wise strategy. Allison Weir from interviewed Noam Chomsky on the radio here. Weir apparently would advocate BDS and also regards the Israel Lobby as probably the major driving force shaping US policy towards Israel. A surprisingly prickly Chomsky argues against both of these views. Not that he says the Lobby plays no roll and not that he rejects all forms of BDS, but apparently he thinks the claim that they play the major roll is overstated and he thinks the BDS campaigns are strategic blunders, though he would support properly crafted campaigns.

It's kind of a complex and interesting debate. A key part of the debate is this article published in 2006 by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt. They were commissioned by The Atlantic Monthly to write a paper on the influence of the Israel Lobby. They worked closely with The Atlantic editing the paper per their requests in order to get the article published, but ultimately they were told that in the end The Atlantic didn't want to publish it at all regardless of the revisions. A foreign outlet, The London Review of Books, finally did publish it and a firestorm erupted. This was not surprising.

One might think that someone like Chomsky would agree with their thesis, but it turns out he does not and he wrote a brief review explaining why here. Subsequently Mearsheimer and Walt wrote a full book on the subject.

Since the Weir interview the battle continues to rage. Jeff Blankfort wrote a criticisms of Chomsky here. Jeremy Hammond replied to that here. Kim Peterson replied to Hammond here. Hammond offered a further reply to Peterson here. At all of these locations interesting further debate occurs in the comment section, as well as at other websites that duplicate the documents, such as here.

In my estimation all involved are good people that want what's best for Palestinians. Who's right though about the strategies and who is right about the influence of the Lobby? I can't yet decide.

1 comment:

Paul said...

Interesting. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.