By Gilad Atzmon
It’s almost funny to read the BDS’ leadership’s outraged reactions to top ethnic-cleansing advocate Alan Dershowitz when he tried to stop a discussion with Judith Butler and Omar Barghouti discussing BDS at NYC Brooklyn College.
It’s funny because the BDS leadership unfortunately is drowning in the exact same Talmudic herem culture as is Dershowitz. Just like Dershowitz, BDS is itself engaged in a relentless assault on fundamental and elementary rights such as freedom of speech and freedom of expression. So often, we learn about BDS embarking on yet another assault on dedicated humanists and intellectuals – in many cases, leading supporters of Palestine – as we watch Palestinian solidarity transformed itself into just another zone of occupation.
BDS could easily become a positive development if it could only tell the difference between an academic and an avocado. If BDS is really interested in the ‘day after’, it must immediately remove itself from Talmudic herem culture and engage in open discourse driven by principles of ethics, tolerance and pluralism.
I believe in freedom of speech and I also believe that the current herem culture has transformed Palestinian solidarity into a an intellectual desert. No intellectual, ideological or ethical matter may be discussed without the looming threat of excommunication – a devastating state of affairs which has already reduced some of Palestine’s potential young leaders into mere accessories of Jewish Power – in effect, Sabbath Goyim.
This week’s power struggle between Dershowitz and BDS should be a wake-up call. BDS should learn from its mistakes. First, it must become an advocate of freedom of speech. This alone would signify a shift from the tribal to the universal and from Zion to Athens where the Palestinian discourse truly belongs.