Finkelstein in Ottawa: Powerful, principled… and very provocative


finkelstein gaza

US scholar and human rights activist Norman Finkelstein was in Ottawa this week as part of a 3 city speaking tour organized by Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME). His powerful presentation was thought-provoking. He had strong words for human rights activists who have unrealistic objectives, and strong criticisms of the Palestinian Authority and the BDS movement itself. Read more

About 250 people crowded into First Baptist Church in Ottawa to hear well known American human rights activist Norman Finkelstein. Finkelstein, a Jewish American, has been banned from entering Israel ostensibly for meeting with Hezbollah officials in Lebanon, but mostly because of his strong criticisms of Israel in both books and presentations.

Finkelstein has also paid a significant personal price for his defense of Palestinian human rights – he has been essentially shut out of a university career, despite his obvious intelligence, academic rigour and powerful writings.

While Finkelstein’s presentation was entitled “Gaza”, it was clear that he wanted to deliver several other messages to the attendees, many of whom were already sympathetic to the Palestinian cause.

We need a “dose of political realism”

Finkelstein started by trying to instill some “political realism” into the analysis of the Israel/Palestine struggle. In his view, there is now a world wide consensus around the illegality of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. He noted that the occupation (which will be 50 years old in 2017) has less and less support among young American Jews and the broader American public. While the international community has so far done little to force an end to the Israeli occupation, Finkelstein believes that this a realistic objective.

On the other hand, Finkelstein pointed out that there is almost no support either among American Jews or elsewhere for “reversing the decisions of 1947/48” (i.e. the creation of the State of Israel itself.) In his view, trying to undo the creation of the State of Israel, is an idea that ‘won’t fly”. It’s not about what you want”, he sternly told the audience, “it’s about what will work.”

Finkelstein is a powerful and courageous critic of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, and of what he describes as ‘murderous’ wars conducted against Gaza. But he feels that the only realistic solution is one in which Israelis and Palestinians each have their own state. When questioned about Israel as a “Jewish State’, he seemed to feel this is a distraction because “Israel itself has not decided what that means”. There was no reference in his remarks to the issues of the over 5 million Palestinian refugees, or what should be their fate.

The Palestinian Authority – “collaborators”

Finkelstein was also extremely critical of the Palestinian Authority, (PA) which administers part of the West Bank, including security. The PA was created as a result of the Oslo Accords. In Finkelstein’s view, the creation of the PA was presented as a positive step toward a future Palestinian State, but has in practice turned out to be a way for Israel to contract out its own security. As a result, a lot of the repression of legitimate Palestinian resistance is carried out by PA security forces, he said, thus shielding Israel from a good deal of international scrutiny. “While the PA imprisons and tortures Palestinian human rights activists”, he claimed, “it mostly goes unreported”.

 BDS – “an unfortunate distraction”

Finally, Finkelstein outlined why he thinks the BDS movement has become a problem in the fight for Palestinian human rights. As Finkelstein sees it, every time Israel comes under attack for the occupation and for its massive denial of Palestinian human rights, it seeks to “change the conversation”. When Israel is bombing Gaza, for example it tries to focus international attention on a purported existential threat coming from Iran.

In Finkelstein’s view, because the BDS movement does not recognize Israel “as a state”, it has now unwittingly become a convenient excuse for Israel to shift the conversation onto the “existential threat” posed by the BDS movement.

As evidence of the success of this strategy, he pointed to the recent anti-BDS motion and debate in the Canadian Parliament. Instead of discussing Israel’s massive human rights violations, the Parliament was exclusively focused on the threat to Israel posed by the “anti-Semitic BDS” movement, he pointed out.

A thought provoking presentation

In discussing with audience members after the presentation, it was clear that while most respect Finkelstein for his dedication and commitment to Palestinian human rights, not everyone agreed with all of his views.

Do you agree with Finkelstein? Or not? And if not why not? The comments section are open for reasoned thoughts and arguments.Your comments either on this summary, or on Finkelstein’s views themselves are invited.


  1. Missed the Finkelstein presentation but would agree with his general contention: only realistic prospect for Palestinian human rights and freedom is a “two state solution” brought about by forceful USA and international negotiation and action (where techniques like BDS can be measured by effectiveness) in which Palestine stands equal with Israel in realizing national aspirations while also protecting the human rightsof minorities.

  2. It is not necessary to “undo the creation of the State of Israel”” but it is necessary to repair that state by eliminating its ethnically biased laws and extending the right of return to those who have been displaced or had their property stolen. A “just state” would be better for everyone than a jewish state and when I say “everyone” I include the Jews now living in Israel. The monster as created in 1948 is bad for everyone in the area.

    1. What about the right of return of 850,000 Hews AND their descendants from Arab countries who were oppressed for thousands of years by muslims and who fled due to pogroms or fear of being killed or who were expelled since 1948, and what about their property the muslims for ed them to leave behind and money forced to pay in order to leave?

      1. ALL people – all Jews, all Israelis, all Palestinians and all Arabs (to name just a few) – deserve justice, reparations for past injustices not yet addressed, self determination and freedom. There is enough to go around if we let it.

      2. The Right of Return is just pure nonsense. A cooked up fallacy by the Israelis. The fact is that the Palestinians, including the Jews remaining in Palestine, were getting on well together. Jews in other countries such as Syria and Iran, too, were getting on well. The big crime by Israel is all the lies that come out of that country.

      3. The State of Israel and much of its Zionist inhabitants have proved themselves unworthy of having their own country. I suggest that the State of Israel be dissolved.

  3. I beg to differ. It is unfortunate that Finkelstein appears again in Canada with his divisive and nonsensical criticism of BDS.

    From the article it appears that he is opposed to the idea that Israel cannot dictate the preconditions for the “conversation,” the tired one of recognition of the state. It is cruelly ironic that he attacks the PA as the creation of the Oslo Accord without recognizing that it’s creation was precisely because Israel successfully dictated the same precondition for the Oslo “conversation.”

    Let’s face it: BDS has shone a light on “Israel’s massive human rights violations” far more than Parliament would or did before BDS. The reason for its astounding success is that it depends on no government.

    We worked hard to support Palestinian civil society for decades. When they called for non-violent actions such as BDS, is it up to non-Palestinians to criticize?

    Either way, Finklestein is no more helpful to Palestinian liberation than Parliament.

    1. Do you ever shine the light on palestinians committed islamic terrorism against Israelis on a daily basis? Or do you excuse them? Their actions are rooted in same evil Jew-hatred ideology as isis-inspired attacks on Belgium, Paris etc

      1. Let’s just quit with the troll attitude! Palestinians, in 1948-7 were routed from their homes and expelled en masse by the invaders. So, please attempt to tell the truth.

  4. NF is a “liberal” zionist. Similar to N. Chomsky. Failure to understand the true nature of the zionist entity or if they do it’s a refusal to call for the only correct path to a permanent solution which is a state with rights and privileges for all people. Not an exclusive state for one particular religious and ethnic one.

  5. Thanks for the summary, Peter. I was very curious about what he had to say. I think his ideas are worth thinking about. I lean towards “political realism” myself, I think. But I think that leads me to the opposite conclusion about BDS. BDS is open to being exploited for their own uses for sure, as is any organized form of resistance in the hands of right wing governments. And the criticism that Palestinians often lose their livelihood in the short term in the hopes of a different future also weighs heavy. But I begrudgingly accept BDS because It seems like the only thing they’ve got that might have an effect. In other words, like it or not, weaknesses and all, it is currently the only “politically realistic” move towards the politically realistic 2 state solution.

  6. Evidently Finkelstein himself needs a “dose of political realism.”
    Any objective examiner of the current situation in Palestine and the Arab World would recognize that the two-state solution is dead for the following reason:
    • More than 650 thousand Jewish colonists now live in the West Bank
    • 23 years of negotiations between Israel and the PA have more than doubled the number of Jewish colonists in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. More negotiations will only lead to more of them.
    • Most leaders of Apartheid Israel have stated publicly ad repeatedly that East Jerusalem and 80 percent of the West Bank (which include areas B and C) will remain part of apartheid Israel.
    • Apartheid Israel has full unconditional support of the US, the UK, France, Canada, Italy and most western countries
    • The Arab World is putting little pressure on apartheid Israel since they are occupied with convulsions in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen and divided along sectarian lines between Sunnis and Shias
    While Finkelstein opposes apartheid Israel’s brutal and illegal occupation he also minimizes Israel’s racism against its Palestinian citizens who comprise 22 percent of its population. He brushes aside apartheid Israel’s insistence on defining itself as a “Jewish and democratic country” ignoring the fact that the Israeli Knesset has passed more than 50 laws that discriminate against its 1.6 million Christian and Muslim Palestinian citizens in land ownership, immigration, residence, employment, education, family reunification, and municipal services.
    Finkelstein glosses over the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people which include the right of 5.3 million refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
    Finkelstein dismisses the demands of 171 Palestinian civil society organizations in occupied Palestine and the diaspora who call for a non-violent campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions against apartheid Israel. He sounds like a paternal and royal figure addressing children or his subjects.

    1. Why cant Jews live in West Bank? Muslims live in Israel. You want WB to be juden-free like gaza is now? That is the real apartheid, not Israel where all religions live.

      1. To avoid separateness, a One State solution would give equal rights to Jews and Palestinians, and by extension give Jews the legitimacy required to live in the West Bank and Gaza.

        Although Muslims do live in Israel today, they live under systemic discrimination. The state has laws and policies that favour Jewish nationals over others. Land reserved for Jews only is a perfect example.

      2. The main problem is that Zionists are racists who believe that only Jews must have full rights in the Holy Land while Christians, Muslims, Bahai’s and other faiths must be relegated to subservient status. Palestinian Christians accounted for 10 percent of the population of Palestine until the creation of apartheid Israel in 1948, but now Christians make up only 2 percent of the population of Palestine. Most Christians lived in the main cities of Jerusalem, Haifa, Jaffa and Acre and were forcefully expelled in 1948 and many of those who remained behind immigrated because they faced systemic discrimination in all walks of life in apartheid Israel.

  7. Hi nazarethpalestine. I’m sincerely and non-adversarialy curious if you think a one state solution – or any other solution – is more likely and why…

    1. The reality is that a one-state situation currently exists but it is an apartheid state. The 4.6 million Palestinians in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza have no civil or human rights while the 650 thousand Jewish settlers have full rights. The 1.6 million Palestinian citizens of Israel are second class citizens with 50 laws that discriminate against them.
      BDS demands an end to the occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza, equal rights for the Palestinian citizens of Israel and the application of international law regarding the return of refugees. I would think one would not object if that results in one-state where Jews, Christians and Muslims live with equal rights and responsibilities instead of the current apartheid state in Palestine.

      1. Thanks for responding, nazarethpalestine. I should have been more accurate in my question. I assumed that what you call the one state situation that exists today is not what you think the solution is – but in fact might be the problem we are discussing trying to solve. So my question is: What is the likeliness – and the reasons for that likeliness – of the solution you propose (one equal state let’s call it) in your view? “I would think one would not object” seems circular, since clearly, people object to that view for the situation to exist at all. Part of the reason I am curious is that many of the reasons you give against the likeliness of a 2-state solution seem equally applicable to the likeliness of a “one equal state” solution, so I am wondering what distinguishes the likelihood of one over the other for you.

      2. The two-state solution is dead and cannot be resurrected. Apartheid Israel had a difficult time in 2005 to evict 10 thousand Jewish colonists from Gaza. Gaza does not hold the same value as do East Jerusalem and the West Bank to most Jewish Israelis and to the 650 thousand fanatic colonists. They now form 20 percent of the population of the West Bank. No Israeli government will survive if it tries to remove these colonists who are supported by the majority of Israelis and political parties and backed financially and politically by major Zionist organizations in North America and Europe.
        So we are going to have for the foreseeable future a continuation of an apartheid state in Palestine. History proves that such a situation cannot continue forever. It came to an end in South Africa and so did the discriminatory laws against Blacks in the US. Palestinian Arabs demand no less than that and more people in the west are beginning to support this basic right and demand that they enjoy in the west.

      3. Thanks nazarethpalestine. I see your logic – one solution is impossible regardless of what one may think of it, and the other one has successful precedents. I will think on that for a while. For now, I would just say that, if the Palestinians get a “one equal state” solution, it will look far better (ie: more equal) than what black people and First Nations people enjoy in the west….

  8. I support BDS with the proviso that in accordance with the Palestinian leadership’s officially stated positions, e.g., acceptance of UNSC Resolution 242, a final peace agreement will include two states based on the 1949 armistice lines (with possible minor, equal and mutually agreed to border alterations), withdrawal of all Jewish settlers and the IOF from illegally occupied Palestinian and other Arab lands, sharing of East Jerusalem/the Old City and implementation of UNGA Res. 194 regarding Palestinian refugees, which includes financial compensation as an alternative to the right of return. I believe that few refugees will want to “return.” They would prefer to invest their funds and efforts in creating a viable thriving Palestinian state.

    I am also convinced, however, that in the long run, i.e., after the Zionist zealots have died off and peace has reigned for a good length of time, both peoples will realize that their best common interests would be served by one state from the River to the Sea, a state that will be able to integrate with the region. From that point on, as has happened before in historic Palestine, human nature will take over and integration will be common.

    While the Zionist crazies would resist such a strategy, it would be relatively easy to “sell” to the international community, which desperately wants an end to the conflict.

    I also believe that Dr. Finkelstein would agree with me.

    1. I believe many Palestinians would decide to return to their homes and towns, especially those who came from the beautiful coastal cities of Haifa, Acre and Jaffa. The West Bank is land-locked and is not as attractive to those Palestinians. I am one of those.

      1. I know several Palestinians living abroad who were born in Jaffa and Haifa. Not one of them has any desire to return and live among Zionists who would resent their presence and treat them accordingly. However, all of them would gladly accept financial compensation for their losses incurred during the Nakba. I have no doubt that the vast majority would do the same.

      2. nazarethpalestine

        Firstly, to be clear, UNGA Resolution 194, Dec. 11/48 (based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, passed the day before, which is binding on all UN members) is the document establishing the legal right for repatriation of and/or financial compensation for the then approximately 800,000 Palestinian refugees. While they have the “right of return,” they do not have to exercise it. As I previously noted, they can, and I believe the vast majority will, opt for financial compensation.

        Also, I’m sure most Palestinian refugees would put little faith in Israeli fulfilling what would be a reluctant commitment to not discriminate against them if they were to return (importantly, along with hundreds of thousands of Jewish settlers/militants currently living in occupied Palestinian and other Arab lands) to what is now Israel, i.e., west of the green line. Do not underestimate the racism and hatred Israel Jews feel towards Palestinian Arabs. It is not going to disappear overnight. Life for all Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel would be very difficult.

        The best strategy is by steps: End the illegal brutal occupations, remove the illegal settlers, create two states along the 1949 armistice lines (with agreed minor modifications) and let time, reality and human nature determine events, which in my view, as I stated above, will eventually lead by choice on the part of both peoples to one state.

        The alternative is a never ending conflict.

        Enough said.

  9. Norman’s view that BDS will not be useful, because in its’ basic it there’s no recognition of Israel, is very wrong. It’s absolutely does not matter what BDS is or is not. Israel, the Jews and the supporters of Israel will find/invent anything under the sun to destroy any resistance and any possibility of ending the occupation or giving any tangible thing to the Palestinians. (As one Israeli senior government official told his South African counter part, during the times that Israel was breaking all embargo against S.A., by selling them billions of dollars of weapons: You have to learn from us, we pretend that we give Palestinians everything, while we give them nothing)

    For about a hundred years, the Zionists and Israel found ways to portray themselves as the victims and scuttle any peace talks or do one genuine step toward the Palestinians. At the end of any day the “Anti Semitism” card will trump it all.

    The problem with Norman’s view is that the Zionists are using him, by saying that even the most vocal against Israel is saying that BDS seeking the destruction of Israel.

    BDS is almost the only weapon that activists and Palestinians have to pressure Israel.

  10. While I like Finkelstein and value his opinion I do not agree that the BDS has become a tool of Israel for more aggressive behaviour by Israel. Israel, through its trolls on the Internet tries to take any action, no matter how peaceful, and to make it seems as if it is an attack upon Jews and not an valuable way to create a need for Israel to talk with sincerity about anything.

    At least Finkelstein did not follow the lead and call the BDS movement anti-Jewish! Because it is not and it is pro-Palestinian rights. To just kindly present good and stalwart opinion about Israel and its cruel leadership just allows Israel to continue its rabid horror that continuously invades Palestinians in all forms of restricting freedoms.

    Sorry, but being kind to Israel has just done nothing to help the peoples of Palestine.

    1. Below article shows how a principled intellectual, and not a supremacist intellectual, views BDS.
      Naomi Klein: I don’t ‘pick and choose’ on BDS
      The author says she supports the movement because it comes from a very broad cross-section of Palestinian civil society.
      22 Mar 2016 10:25 GMT
      Renowned author and activist Naomi Klein tells Mehdi Hasan that she fully supports the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) pro-Palestinian movement.
      BDS, which calls for the boycott of Israeli-made goods, is often criticised for also pressing for the boycott of certain cultural and educational products and institutions.
      Responding to those criticisms, Klein says that she understands the reluctance to support a cultural boycott, but says “it’s worth remembering that … the cultural boycott was incredibly important when it came to South Africa.”
      The activist and author says that she does not “pick and choose” what aspects of BDS to support because the movement “comes from a very, very broad cross-section of Palestinian civil society, and with very, very few tactics at their disposal.
      “I respect their right not only to self-determination …, but also self-determination in determining non-violent tactics that they believe will work, and if they believe these tactics will work, then I support them,” Klein adds.
      Watch more of Mehdi Hasan’s interview with Klein in which she discusses what she sees as a link between capitalism and climate change.
      Follow UpFront on Twitter @AJUpFront and Facebook.

  11. (I haven’t hear Finkelstein’s recent Ottawa presentation, but I’m familiar with his arguments and I’ll trust the report.)

    A “dose of political realism” should also include the fact that there are almost no significant political upheavals that were accurately predicted. “Political realism” in this case, as in many others, means editing the agenda for discussion. That’s a critical necessity if you’re managing a process, political or otherwise, but it has no utility in a case were you are trying to end an injustice by halting the game. BDS is the latter case.

    BDS’s imperfections do make it an easy target for politicians, but its significant utility is that it takes the discussion away from the politicians. It’s too easy to say that the discussion merely shifts in the political arena — though it does — when the point (and he success of BDS) is to take the discussion out of the hands of the political managers.

    Finkelstein dismisses the liberal complaint that Israel is a Jewish state because, he says, “Israel itself has not decided what that means”. Israel has decided what that means. It demonstrates what that means. It has, however, chosen not to formulate that set of decisions in language that western liberals can accept or even understand. Like so much about national transformations, we will later admit (if we’re still around) that the key factors were officially unspoken.

  12. In response to the content of your article and not having heard Finkelstein’s talk, I’d have to agree with most of the comments and question Finkelstein’s clarity on “political realism”. BDS is ten years old, the occupation is 50. When in the 40 years prior to the emergence of BDS did Canadian parliament EVER do anything about, much less talk about, Palestinian human rights and Israel’s “massive human rights violations”? These violations have been going on since the Nakba yet parliament has been complicitly silent. BDS is now forcing the conversation–that’s reality.

    And believing in a two-state “solution” is like believing in unicorns. The last hope for that solution was assassinated by Jewish fanatics who have now taken over the Palestinian side of that equation by force. Where was parliament in denouncing and sanctioning Israel for their criminal actions of illegally confiscating Palestinian land for their Jewish-only settlements and apartheid infrastructure, not to mention the never-ending occupation, the apartheid wall, the military impunity, the extrajudicial killings and detention without charges of thousands of political prisoners?

    If anyone needs a dose of realism in this matter it would seem it’s Mr. Finkelstein. Something is blinding his view and it would be interesting to know what that is.

  13. First, I would say, agree with Norman Finkelstein or not, he is the epitome of the “principled intellectual.” He has sacrificed his career in order to make criticism of Israel public. And he’s sacrificed his leadership among North American critics of Israel by not supporting the one-state solution.

    Second: there are two kinds of BDS, the tactic and the goals. I am 100 per cent in favour of boycotting Israel, promoting disinvestment in Israel, and urging international sanctions on Israel. But BDS isn’t “bds”: BDS is an organization with particular goals. I support the goals about 87 percent.

    The missing 13 per cent are related to Finkelstein’s misgivings. In my 26 years of public criticism of Israel, I have found the by-far-most-convincing argument (on Jews and others) to be criticism of the expansion of settlements. Because the settlements cannot be defended as necessary for Israel’s security, It is the one thing (that I have found) that can convince people that “Israel is not genuinely interested in peace.” (The lobby’s counter-argument — that “in the context of a negotiated settlement, Israel will withdraw from the settlements just as it did in Gaza” — is weak and easy to undermine.)

    My sense is that while all three BDS demands are justified and ethical, three demands at once is just too complicated. An immediate start to dismantling illegal settlements seems to me the best place to begin. Once Israelis are convinced they do not get to keep the West Bank, the logjam will break.

    Conversely, if critics of Israel were to rally around the simple slogan “one-person, one vote in a united Palestine/Israel,” I could support it. It’s interesting, to me at least, that I’ve never seen anyone propose that.

    1. Regarding one-person-one-vote : I came across this proposal as a strategy of the resistance a few years ago — 2010, I think. I can’t find the quote now, but I believe it was Lawrence Wright who said it in an interview regarding his play about Shalit.

      Of course, it runs contrary to the interests of at least the three governing bodies in place, but it should make perfect sense to the rest of the world.

  14. While I appreciate that Norman Finkelstein takes a lot of flak for his views, I agree with the contributors here who find his criticism of BDS deeply troubling. There are several reasons:

    1. I do not know of a single manifestation of Palestinian resistance that has ever been deemed ‘acceptable’ by the international community, which on the contrary has unrelentingly resisted holding Israel to account for its repeated and brazen violations of international law.

    2. Do the anti-BDS crowd deny that the decisions of Veolia, Ahava, Sodastream and G4S to shut down or move their OPT operations, along with Artists Against Palestine, the Brazilian musician Gaetano Veloso and many others who refuse to perform there, would have occurred without pressure from BDS activists? And can they name another strategy that can boast these successes?

    3. The BDS movement originated from frustration with global obstructionism on Palestinian rights, while Israel lays facts on the ground in the OPT and pulverises Gaza every couple of years. As such, it seems perverse rather than ‘provocative’ to claim that BDS is causing the inaction it arose in response to.

    More importantly, do those making these claims seriously believe that if BDS were stopped some miraculous progress on Palestinian rights would occur? And do they think it’s a coincidence that the fiercest opponents of BDS are also the fiercest opponents of Palestinian rights?

    4. It is not just hot headed undergraduates who support BDS. It is mainstream churches, labour unions, cultural organisations and many other groups and individuals. Here in the UK the Quakers made a powerful submission to the government’s consultation on plans to stop local councils from boycotting settlement related companies. As I wrote on my own blog, the World Association for Infant Mental Health moved its late May congress from Tel Aviv to Prague in response to concerns from its membership about whether Israel was an appropriate location for this event. Israeli and Palestinian mental health groups are still supporting the congress, just not in Israel.

    In fact, the anti-BDS line being spun by Palestine supporters serves to uphold a dangerous and longstanding narrative which marginalises those who act on their concern for Palestinian rights with widely-accepted tools of non-violent resistance as ‘anti Semites’ and radicals, while decontaminating those who are content with an endless debate about it, bolstered by the odd letter to their MP. We’ve been here before; this road leads nowhere.

    5. The anti-BDS vote in Canadian parliament, which allegedly arose from concerns about the movement’s ‘anti-Israel’ underpinnings, cannot be seen in a vacuum. During Operation Protective Edge, there was barely a peep of concern out of a single Canadian politician about attacks on UNWRA schools, the 12 hour siege of the densely populated Shujaiya neighbourhood where Palestinian civilians were stripped naked and used as human shields, or countless other incidents. These have been amply documented by numerous human rights groups, from Amnesty and Human Rights Watch to B’Tselem and Breaking the Silence. Further, just a few months ago, Justin Trudeau’s government joined the US, Israel, Micronesia and the Marshall Islands to vote against a UN resolution supporting Palestinian sovereignty over their own natural resources. In the meantime, it has not reinstated funding for UNRWA which was axed under Harper’s toxic leadership. If these are not clear indicators of Canadian politicians’ disregard for Palestinian rights and self determination, which actually underpinned support for the anti-BDS vote, I’m not sure what is.

    For me, the eagerness of supposed supporters of Palestinian rights to join hands with the likes of Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, Trudeau and others in Italy, France, Greece and the UK who have pledged total impunity for Israel on their watch even if it means flouting their own countries’ laws and constitutions, is a tribute to the dazzling success of the hasbara operation where this talking point was incubated, nurtured and financed. It also provides chilling evidence of the anti-Arab racism that fuels anti-BDS activism, in which a commitment to Palestinian rights can be imagined exclusively as a stick to beat Israel with rather than a compelling and worthwhile goal unto itself.

    1. Excellent rebuttal to opponents of BDS. In short, such people are parroting apartheid Israel’s demands that the only venue open for Palestinians is more negotiations while the colonization and annexation of the West Bank proceeds unhindered. BDS recognizes that western political leaders are, if not complicit, doing nothing to halt apartheid Israel and the need for grassroots public pressure to make apartheid Israel accountable for its crimes against humanity and violation of international laws.

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