Alan Dershowitz once wrote a memoir called “Chutzpah.” His Dec. 27 op-ed “Israel and the myopic BDS movement” illustrates the blatant “presumption plus arrogance” signified by that word.
The boycott, divestment and sanctions movement targets Israeli academic and state organizations that enable the continued illegal occupation and colonization of the West Bank — and which also deny equal social and political rights to the Palestinian residents of Israel itself. It is no more directed at “the Jews” than the Montgomery bus boycott and the sanctions against apartheid South Africa were directed against white people.
Boycotts are a time-honored nonviolent tactic to promote social and political aims. They were successful in eliminating segregated public transport in Alabama and in pressuring for the dismantling of apartheid in South Africa. In Palestine, the BDS movement is backed by hundreds of organizations representing civil society in the occupied territories. It does not target individuals, but institutions complicit with Israel policies.
And contrary to what Dershowitz asserts, more punishing sanctions have been applied to many countries which violate human rights around the world. Far from being singled out, Israel has maintained its occupation with impunity: It is even the recipient of billions of dollars in US tax dollars every year.
Palestinians are entitled to resist an occupation that has gone on now for over 45 years. People of conscience should support their efforts to make Israel change its policies.