Palestinian strategy

A summary of some strategy from the Palestine Strategy Group in dealing with the manoevering with Israel is here. It makes for quite some reading.  Fortunately, the Israelis also have some smart cookies.

Canadian Irwin Cotler has been a leading voice for Israel for some years.  Here is a relevant argument that he raises in a letter some months ago:

LETTER TO THE EDITOR OF HAARETZ

Your headline in the article “Canadian MP Cotler: Calling Israel an apartheid state can be legitimate free speech“ – as well as the inappropriate juxtaposition of disparate comments – suggest that the indictment of Israel as an apartheid state can be legitimate free speech.

As all of my writing, my talk at the President’s Conference and my follow up interview with Ha’aretz make clear: the indictment of Israel as an apartheid state is false, defamatory and hateful, but the right to be wrong, defamatory and hateful – however offensive it may be, can nevertheless be an exercise in free speech. Simply put, the fact that the indictment is hateful – and may cross the line into being anti-Semitic when it calls for the dismantling of the State – does not mean that we should prohibit the hateful speech to begin with.

It means, as I said in the interview, that we need to engage it, expose it, rebut it and thereby “delegitimize the delegitimizers” – not prevent their delegitimizing speech to begin with.

The main theme in my writings – and in the interview – was regrettably not referenced in the article itself: that the real concern is not the phenomenon of the delegitimization of Israel. That has always been with us – what is new, and particularly offensive, is the laundering of the delegitimization of Israel under all that which is good, for example: the struggle against racism, international law, human rights, and the like. The result is not only prejudicial to the State of Israel – as in the indictment of Israel as an apartheid state or the singling out of Israel for differential and discriminatory treatment in the international arena– but prejudicial to the case and cause of the struggle against racism and human rights.

To label Israel an apartheid state demeans the real struggle against apartheid – in which I was honoured to be at the forefront – as much as it falsely misrepresents Israel, however one may criticize Israeli policy and practice.

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