Monday, February 27, 2012



Catching up on some other BDS news taking place between the PennBDS brouhaha and upcoming BDS fights within the Methodist and Presbyterian churches:

While I refuse to leverage the alleged defection of Norman Finkelsteinfrom the BDS cause, I’m happy to point out an interesting piece that appeared on Jewish Ideas Daily that analyzes part of the story I don’t get to talk about enough, namely what makes up this alleged “Palestinian Civil Society” that supposedly justifies everything the BDSers claim to be doing (from torturing food co-op members to screaming at the top of their lungs at ballet performances).  This is an interesting follow up to the BDS Sewer System Analysis performed by the indispensable NGO Monitor.  Both pieces are required reading to best understand the shop worn rationale behind the current iteration of the BDS “movement.” 

And speaking of food co-ops, the Olympia Food Co-op case finally came before a judge last week.  As background, members of the Olympia Food Co-op sued the organization last Fall for implementing a boycott of Israeli products in violation of the co-ops rules.   And supporters of the boycott essentially counter-sued, claiming that the original lawsuit was an example of a SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) violation, denying the co-op’s board its right of free speech.

In the interest of full disclosure, I provided expert testimony in the court case regarding whether BDS represents a “nationally recognized boycott” (something required according to the Co-ops rules) which essentially repeats what I said here (without the references to Sponge Bob Square Pants and the Pope).  In further interest of full disclosure, I will also repeat my strong preference for political vs. legal remedies to BDS situations (especially since we’ve been so successful in defeating the boycotters politically to date).

But a court case would be an interesting place for various questions that have floated around the Olympia story to get answered.  These include whether the board has full power to do whatever it wants (regardless of specifics in the co-ops own boycott rules); whether the board’s right of free speech extends to the right to make political statements on behalf of the membership (or, as plaintiff’s attorney put it: “Someone can’t write an article and sign my name to it, and claim free-speech protection”).

Before any of those questions can be answered, the initial anti-SLAPP counter-case must first be decided (which it will be next week) a decision that will likely be appealed whatever side wins.  While I suspect the SLAPP matter will be taken off the table (given the mushiness of the concept in this context – after all, can the Co-op now be hit with an anti-SLAPP lawsuit for using their own anti-SLAPP suit to silence their opponents?), there is still the possibility that this judge will simply tell the members to solve this problem for themselves.
Interestingly, BDSers nationwide are claiming a dismissal of the SLAAP  motion will represent a serious setback for their cause (recognizing what might happen if the case gets to the point where anti-BDS forces get the chance to perform discovery on how the co-op made their original boycott decision).

In the meantime (and just to put the whole thing into perspective), co-ops in Davis, Sacramento and even right up the street from Olympia in Port Townsend don’t seem to be suffering from any fallout whatsoever regarding their decision to give BDS the old heave ho (a point that I hope will not be missed by people making BDS decisions in Park Slope next month). 

And as a final bit of news, it turns out that Israel represented the safest investor return in the world over the last ten years, despite war, terror, and endless attempts to isolate, vilify, boycott, divest from and sanction the Jewish state.  Now what else has been going on over the last ten years while Israel became the world’s safest haven for outside investment?  (I’ll give you a hint – it’s got D in the middle, but otherwise just spells BS.)