Naomi Dann’s commentary in The Hill advocating boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel (“Anti-Palestinian amendments went down with TPA,” Congress Blog, May 13, 2015) misinforms readers through omissions and outright distortions.
Dann claims that “Congressional committees in the House and Senate passed a pair of little-noticed amendments to the controversial Trade Promotion Authority ‘Fast-Track’ legislation that would legislate support for Israel’s illegal settlements.” She repeatedly restates the claim that Israel’s post-1967 West Bank Jewish communities are “illegal.” They aren’t.
The League of Nations Palestine Mandate, Article 6, calls for “close Jewish settlement on the land” west of the Jordan River. The 1920 San Remo Treaty and the 1924 Anglo-American Convention also enshrined Jewish territorial claims into international law. Three quarters of that land originally intended for the Palestine Mandate, the “East Bank,” went to the establishment of the state of Transjordan, today’s Jordan, in 1921.
The author claims that BDS is a legitimate tactic that applies “non-violent pressure on Israel to change its discriminatory polices towards Palestinians.” What are these “discriminatory policies”? Do they include more than 10,000 Palestinian Arabs treated annually in Israeli hospitals or the approximately 50,000 now working in Israel, the highest level since the second intifada of 2000-2005 —an outbreak of violence that targeted Israeli civilians and soldiers alike following rejection of the Camp David two-state offer?
Dann’s assertion that BDS is comparable to efforts against the former South African apartheid regime is a canard; Israeli Arabs not only have equal rights to other citizens, they have far greater rights than Palestinian Arabs under the control of the Islamic theocracy of Hamas in the Gaza Strip or the corrupt and thuggish Fatah in the West Bank, both of which prevent free and fair elections. As the Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights has noted, human rights conditions for Palestinian Arabs living under the rule of Hamas and Fatah are at their “worst” in recent years with violations having “increased in volume.” Despite her purported concern for Palestinian Arabs, Dann fails to advocate human rights for Arabs under either Hamas or Fatah or call for a boycott of these groups.
What she describes as “Palestinian civil society groups” behind the founding of the BDS movement include U.S. listed terrorist organizations Hamas and al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades of Fatah and non-Palestinian Syrian extremist movements. The charter of Hamas calls for the destruction of Israel and genocide against the Jews. Despite claims to the contrary, Fatah’s “covenant” calling for Israel’s elimination has not been changed. Why the author would omit reference to these groups when hiding their BDS involvement under the umbrella of “Palestinian civil society groups”—while working for an organization that bills itself as a “voice for peace”—is puzzling.
The author’s repeated omissions and misstatements mislead readers about the nature of BDS and its supporters, who do not favor Israeli-Palestinian peace but rather the destruction of Israel as a Jewish state. They do raise the question of whom she is really speaking for. It’s certainly not Palestinian Arabs seeking human rights or a “Palestine” in exchange for making peace with Israel.