So it’s after the storm. I don’t mean a physical storm–of course I am referring to my recent experience in posting some thoughts on Prof. Stephen Hawking’s decision to join the boycott of Israel. From threatening personal emails to being called a racist bigot (and worse), I’ve been somewhat
peaked piqued at the the responses that have surfaced.
Without rehashing the issues entirely, just a couple comments–before I move from the storm to something definitely more beautiful–and less controversial, I’m sure.
1) Despite what some readers might have inferred, I never claimed that I have any right to presume that Dr. Hawking needs to do as I suggest–he is certainly intelligent enough to make up his own mind. As Stephen Curry questioned in a tweet, I believe that this was a missed opportunity for him to go and give ’em hell–to voice his opinion and state his points. He certainly would have had center stage. The boycott only pushes Israelis and her supporters to reach the conclusion that the entire world is against them–all in the context of the genocide of the Holocaust. It also energizes the more radical Palestinian views, provided false hope that Israel will collapse and simply disappear.
2) Some readers have commented that I am biased. Well, those who write editorials necessarily take positions–and despite the fire that I drew, I must have been fairly balanced because the attacks were not only from Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) supporters, but from those supporting Israel’s occupation (yes, I do agree to that description) of the West Bank.
I noted in the article that I support the attempts to bring both sides to the negotiating table, and I fully support the idea of a two-state solution in which Israel returns most/all of its conquered land to the Palestinians as part of a negotiated peace deal. I also noted my disdain for the current government and policies, but did not fail to point out that the Palestinians have also suffered from terribly poor leadership since 1947 (perhaps until now). If they had had good leadership in the 1990s, I am certain that they would already have a state by now.
I stand by my comments that there is a lot of blame to share on both sides over the years, and my brief historical explanations. But my view is that right now, blame serves no purpose. Hatred serves no purpose. Neither Israelis nor Palestinians can afford to look back and maintain dreams of what could have been. Israel exists and isn’t going away. And the Palestinians exist and need a state of their own. And if I am attacked for saying that an academic or general boycott of Israel is not going to advance this agenda of a negotiated peace and two state solution–so be it.
With that said, I move on to springtime in Omaha, and believe it or not, the beautiful flowers at the Omaha Lauritzen (Botanical) Gardens were outdone by a very unusual exhibit, which I bring to you here! LEGO in the spring!
Over 45,000 pieces of LEGO were used to make the bull. The artist, Sean Kenney, used over 0.5 million pieces for the entire exhibit of about 27 sculptures!
The hummingbird sculpture reaches a height of about 8 feet!
The BDS movement has basically invented their own narrative of the past 65 years. Failing to block the State of Israel from arising, and failing to ever note that Palestinians could have had a state in 1948 when Israel accepted–and Palestinians went to war over the 2-state solution partition plan, today’s BDS has reinvented history. Their claims of a one-sided victimhood with “ethnic cleansing” and a moral equivalence to African Americans and South Africa insult the intelligence of anyone who knows history. But they take advantage of young and naive new-agers searching for issues that they can support and feel they are helping a “victim.”
This is not to say that Palestinians aren’t victims–they are–first and foremost to their own leadership of the last 65 years. There is legitimate blame on the Israeli side as well. But the BDS ignore anything that would divert their invented narrative of history.
With regards to anti-Semitism, BDS supporter, author, and attacker (in The Guardian) of my articles, says it all here with an eye-opening tweet:
If anyone has any lingering doubt that anti-Semitism plays a role in BDS activities, this attack on the “face” of the author that Henry just linked below says it all. Anti-Semitism is still alive and kicking, especially in the BDS movement.