Phil Profile picture
12 Oct, 12 tweets, 2 min read
If advocating a boycott of the world's only Jewish state is a bad thing - or "looks bad" or "raises embarrassing questions" or "puts you in an awkward position" or whatever - where does that leave us?
I'm not an expert in the history of Zionism, but I'm not aware that anyone's ever advocated the establishment of more than one Jewish state. So Israel is going to remain "the world's only Jewish state" for the foreseeable future.
If that makes it problematic with regard to boycott, disinvestment and sanctions campaigns, we're left with three possible positions.
One - the simplest and most obvious - is that, since Israel is the world's only Jewish state, no Israeli government can be targeted for boycott, sanctions or disinvestment; not now and not ever, irrespective of what those governments may do.
This seems unsatisfactory, to say the least.

The second possibility is to admit the possibility that *even* a state which is the world's only Jewish state can *in principle* be targeted for BDS, but argue that nothing Israel is doing is bad enough to merit that.
But this is - if anything - even worse. Firstly, it raises the obvious question of who is competent to decide whether the government of Israel's actions are "bad enough" or not. (It could be argued that Palestinians would make a good arbiter, for example.)
Secondly, it destroys all the arguments about BDS advocates "singling out" Israel and applying "double standards": the argument here is precisely that actions which would justify boycotting states A, B and C *don't* justify boycotting Israel, b/c world's only Jewish state.
If you can't (reasonably) say "no BDS against Israel, ever, in any circumstances" and you can't say "no BDS against Israel unless Israel's actions are substantially worse than other nations which might be subject to boycott", what can you say?
I think what you're left with is an argument about process: the implicit argument is "Israel is the world's only Jewish state, therefore any permissible BDS campaign should have the approval of people who demonstrably care about the Jewish people, e.g. us".
Basically it's a claim of vetting rights: people arguing in this way grant that in *some* circumstances a BDS campaign against Israel might be justified... but in *these* circumstances? Dear me no, I really couldn't approve that. Another time, perhaps.
This also helps explain the extraordinary rapidity with which 'antisemitic' shade gets thrown: if the argument is to work at all, the people advocating BDS have to be portrayed as (at least) not caring about Jewish people.
tl;dr The answer to "Israel is the world's only Jewish state" is "yes, and?".

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More from @DrSchwitters

14 Oct
He's going full Italian Communist Party. You never go full Italian Communist Party.

I mean, did it work for them? It did not. [gestures at last 40 years of Italian politics]
The PCI, bless their Togliattian hearts, spent decades wagging a stern finger at the Christian Democrats and warning them that they had better shape up and get a grip, or somebody more responsible - with more of a "sense of the state" - would have to take over.

Did it work? No.
It didn't work, for three reasons. Firstly, Italy had PR, meaning that no party would ever get an electoral majority alone. This wasn't a major problem for the Christian Democrats, who surrounded themselves with more or less likeminded satellite parties
Read 16 tweets
13 Oct
Bog knows how Twitter does its thing, but I'm guessing that Muh Followers don't see every pearl of wisdom I deposit* on here in reply threads, even where the people I'm replying to aren't locked.

*alternative verbs I tried were even worse
So here's a thing I just said.

Many different solidarity / protest campaigns are focused on one country in particular, and that doesn't make them any less legitimate. The answer to "why campaign against Israel in particular?" is "why not?".
People opposing BDS start from the assumption that campaigning against Israel *needs justification* - which in practice means they can declare it unjustified if you don't pass whatever test they impose.

Meanwhile the BDS campaign continues to exist and deserve support.
Read 4 tweets
14 Jun
The leaked report was very good on this. People at Head Office were furious that he'd said it, but also genuinely convinced it was the wrong thing to say *tactically*, & that it would send our polling into reverse.
Then, rather than revising their conviction that Corbyn's anti-imperialism was an electoral liability, they spent the next two years making sure that it was - mostly, of course, by turning it into something that it wasn't.
(Specifically, turning a position of open solidarity with a group of people a long way away into one of concealed hostility towards some British citizens.)
Read 4 tweets
14 Jun
Just punted this out in another context & thought it might be worth running past my legions of followers...

Three rules of liberal individualism.

1. Freely chosen actions that don't hurt anyone else cannot be criticised.

(Obviously! Who's to say what's a 'bad' choice?)
2: A free choice is any choice which someone claims to have made freely.

(Obviously! What other evidence can you possibly have? Are you saying people don't know what they're doing? Or does this only apply to *those* people, hmm?)
3: Any free choice is assumed to be a free choice for everyone.

(Obviously! If A and B are working side by side, and A says they took the job freely, that establishes that the job *could* be taken freely - regardless of what B says.)
Read 9 tweets
13 Jun
Me, I knew exactly what I wanted to do in life when I was 16. Unfortunately, by the time I got through university I was convinced I wasn't good enough to do it (or possibly that it wasn't good enough for me and I should get a Proper Job), so I only started doing it when I was 44.
Kids! Don't do that.
All's well, sort of - I mean, I'm doing it now; it is the job that I do - but I do wonder how much more comfortably & effectively & successfully I'd be doing it if I'd set about it a few years earlier.
Read 5 tweets
13 Jun
If you take this seriously (i.e. with pedantic literalism) it becomes more coherent rather than less so, & for that matter more alarming rather than less so.
"Values and why people hold them", not just "facts".

But this means that the "why" part in turn can't (entirely) be based on "facts" - in other words, he's implicitly calling for "values" plus *value-based* explanations of why people hold them.
In other words, Blond sees "values" rather than "facts" as the currency of the Rortyan "final explanation", the place where justifications run out.
Read 4 tweets

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