Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Is Zionism Never Having to Say You’re Sorry? By Akin Ajayi.

Is Zionism never having to say you’re sorry? By Akin Ajayi. Haaretz, January 28, 2014. Review of My Promised Land. By Ari Shavit.

The Sick Middle East. By Daniel Pipes.

The Sick Middle East. By Daniel Pipes. DanielPipes.org, January 24, 2014. Also at the Washington Times.

Anti-Semitism Is an International Threat Once Again. By Brendan Simms.

Anti-Semitism is an international threat once again. By Brendan Simms. London Evening Standard, January 27, 2014.

Israel or Palestine: Who Will Take In the Settlers? By Sara Hirschhorn.

Israel or Palestine: Who will take in the settlers? By Sara Hirschhorn. Haaretz, January 27, 2014. Also here.

Israeli settlers remaining in a Palestinian state? Sensible indeed. By Zvi Bar’el. Haaretz, January 28, 2014.


Ariel Sharon is likely rolling over in his grave this week with the latest developments in the peace process. Even with his well-founded reputation as a man of great appetites, Sharon’s gluttony for Greater Israel has been surpassed by his political successors since his incapacitation eight years ago. Today, with its newly insatiable appetite for annexation, koshering illegal outposts, and adding new settlement blocs to the national consensus, Israel’s leadership seems devoted to polishing off the Palestinian state altogether. Could Ariel Sharon himself have stomached Israel’s new settlement policy?
On Friday, Benjamin Netanyahu announced his proposal for a new settlement bloc in the vicinity of Beit El, a fourth to join the three blocs in the area of Ariel, Maale Adumim, and Gush Etzion that have been on the table since the Oslo Process, comprising approximately 13% of the West Bank in total. While the PM has yet to reveal his secrets, presumably this bloc might contain some of the original settlements Sharon helped bring into existence – including Ofra, Beit El, and Shilo, as well as some of the more entrenched ideological settlements between Ramallah and Nablus including Kfar Tapuach, Maale Levona, and Eli.
For swallowing another chunk of settlements, the Prime Minister gets a 2 for 1 deal:
First, in proposing a Beit El bloc, Bibi has spiked the punch in the struggle to have Israel recognized as a Jewish State. Having schooled Secretary of State John Kerry on the supposed scriptural significance of Shilo (the resting place of the Israelite sanctuary, or mishkan) and Beit El (the site of Jacob’s ladder dream), he seamlessly integrated ingredients of Zionist and Jewish history while simultaneously erasing the Green Line. As Netanyahu expressed in a recent cabinet meeting, he seems to be hoping that a Beit El bloc could also help the United States (and the Palestinians) overcome their “mental block” about Israel’s right to exist in the whole of the land of Israel.
Secondly, beyond the biblical claims, it seems that Bibi hid another surprise – hinting at the impossibility of evacuating some of the most ideological settlers and the realistic alternative that either Israel or Palestine must digest them as part of any peace deal. Speaking at Davos last week, he announced that he would not “uproot a single Israeli” from the Jordan Valley either. In fact, Netanyahu offered various scenarios that would allow settlers to remain under a Palestinian state, including long term land leases in the West Bank (turning Hebron into some kind of Hong Kong?) or land swaps within territorial Israel. It didn't take long for Naftali Bennett, his economy minister, to accuse him of “ethical befuddlement” in even airing the idea that settlers might choose to stay in their homes under Palestinian sovereignty: “Two thousand years of longing for the Land of Israel did not pass so we could live under the rule of [Palestinian Authority President  Mahmoud Abbas].”
While it’s rare that I agree with Benjamin Netanyahu on most Israeli policies, there is a case to be made that this scenario is not only in the interest of Israeli democracy, but should be incumbent on a future State of Palestine. Certainly, the international community should not accept Palestinian sovereignty that justifies being judenrein (like many other Arab/Muslim states), as Palestine, like Israel, should also be ideologically predicated on becoming a multi-ethnic democracy in the Middle East.
Responding to these ideas, the PLO Executive Committee’s Hanan Ashrawi said on Monday that she affirmed the premise of some Jewish settlers living under a future Palestinian state, but only they be treated as individuals, each of whom must apply for Palestinian citizenship (and forfeit their Israeli citizenship) and would be forbidden to live in “ex-territorial enclaves.” While both Netanyahu and Ashrawi seemingly agree on the premise of a forced population transfer of Israeli settler-citizens, her idea is of a group that can no longer live as intact community and must be neutered of its national ambitions (or at least sympathies) – essentially ideologically dismantling the settlements while leaving them physically intact. Certainly, these are terms that Israel does not demand of Israeli Arabs and the international community should not accept less of a Palestinian ethnocracy than it demands of Israel.
Moreover, this equivalency is important because Ashrawi seemingly speaks to a larger issue far beyond the West Bank. If the Palestinian movement fundamentally does not accept a Zionist entity (which is how Bibi must recast his demand for a recognition of “Jewish State” for it to have any meaning) – believing that the difference between the settlement of Ofra and Tel Aviv is just a matter of semantics – then the issue of West Bank settlers living under a Palestinian state really only becomes a proxy for the Palestinian vision of a one-state solution where Jews can only live in “settlements” as a religious ethnic minority with no political rights. (Essentially, modern-day version of the dhimmi status of Jews in Muslim lands in the medieval period.) This arrangement would end the occupation by giving Israeli settlers fewer rights than Palestinians today and sets a troubling precedent for the future, calling into question whether settlements are really the obstacle to peace at all.
Yet, the Prime Minister’s grandiose ideas for a Greater Israel have been outflanked recently by those in his own cabinet. Bennett and the ultra-nationalist movement’s continued agitation for annexation officially moved into the Israeli mainstream last week when former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren opined in his own obituary for Sharon that in the absence of a negotiated peace agreement, “one solution could be a unilateral Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian population centers.” (Perhaps he had other ideas in mind, but with his implication that that the IDF would remain in the settlements, calling this anything short of annexation seems to be mostly a matter of taste — although for Palestinians, a fourth settlement bloc might still be a better deal than a state on less than 40% of the West Bank.)
Meanwhile, Avigdor Lieberman has stirred the pot again with ideas of transferring Wadi Ara Israeli-Arabs to the West Bank, fare that was immediately rejected as “delusional” by those in the Triangle. The Palestinians, for their part, have few appealing options left should the Kerry talks fail – one can only hope for a revived UN bid or other forms of non-violent resistance, rather than the outbreak of a third intifada.
Would Ariel Sharon be getting his just desserts? In an interview with Haaretz’s Ari Shavit in 2003, Sharon surmised, “if it turns out that there is someone to talk to, we will have to take steps that are painful to every Jew and painful to me personally. Look, this is the cradle of the birth of the Jewish people. All of our history is connected to those places: Bethlehem, Shiloh, Beit El. And I know that we will have to separate from some of those places.” As documents from the Wikileaks cache reveal, in 2004, Sharon may have intended to go further, taking far-reaching steps in the West Bank and Jerusalem and annexing the major settlement blocs, implying he would concede other parts of the West Bank and would consider handing over some Arab neighborhoods, although “not the Temple Mount, Mount of Olives or the City of David.”
Yet, by 2005, Sharon had seemingly rejected either Israeli disengagement or annexation as a preferred solution, falling back on a negotiated solution of land-for-peace, averring that any other option “would be a mistake . . . there will not be another unilateral move.” Nonetheless, subsequent Israeli leaders have mobilized Sharon to justify whatever policies they have seen fit, regardless of whether Sharon himself would have considered them before he fell into a coma. If even the great patron of the settlements could not swallow these ideas, one wonders how history will judge Israel’s hunger for the settlements in decades to come.

Why Can’t Jews Stay in a Palestinian State? By Jonathan S. Tobin.

Why Can’t Jews Stay in a Palestinian State? By Jonathan S. Tobin. Commentary, January 27, 2014.

Naftali Bennett: Jews living under PA rule would be killed. By Herb Keinon. Jerusalem Post, January 28, 2014.

Bennett’s ignorant and dangerous distortion of Jewish history. By David Landau. Haaretz, January 28, 2014.

Naftali Bennett: Netanyahu’s Annoying Alter Ego. By Tom Wilson. Commentary, January 29, 2014.


For 20 years Israeli governments of both the left and the right have agreed on one thing: Jews and Jewish settlements could not be left behind in any territory handed over to the Palestinians. But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has indicated that he is willing to change that policy and that seems to have upset almost as many Israelis as Palestinians. Netanyahu stated that even in the event of a peace agreement he had no intention of repeating the precedent established by Ariel Sharon in Gaza in which every single settlement, soldier, and individual Jew was uprooted. According to Netanyahu, if there is a peace treaty, there’s no reason that Jewish communities could not remain in part of the Palestinian state along with the Palestinian inhabitants, if they were willing to do so.
It was not surprising that the Palestinians would immediately and angrily reject the suggestion that Jews could live in their putative new state. Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas had already denounced the idea, but lest anyone be in doubt about the Palestinian position, PA negotiator Saeb Erekat sought to clarify the official view:
Anyone who says he wants to keep settlers in the Palestinian state is actually saying that he doesn’t want a Palestinian state. No settler will be allowed to stay in the Palestinian state, not even a single one, because settlements are illegal and the presence of the settlers on the occupied lands is illegal.
It was interesting to note that both right-wing and left-wing critics of Netanyahu as well as members of his own Cabinet were almost as angry as the Palestinians. The right is appalled at Netanyahu’s tacit willingness to accept a Palestinian state, and the left thinks the prime minister was just playing a cynical tactical game designed solely to embarrass the Palestinians. The concerns of both factions may well be justified. Netanyahu, however, was right to raise the issue and to provoke a debate about the nature of the Palestinian state that is, after all, one of the goals of the current peace talks. Regardless of his  motives, this is a topic that must be addressed if the negotiations are truly aimed at ending the conflict.
The reason that Israeli governments have always agreed with the Palestinians about the need to evacuate any Israelis living in what might become a Palestinian state is no secret. It’s not just that the Palestinians don’t want Jews in their state and the fact that the settlers don’t want there to be a Palestinian state. It’s that any Israelis who chose to remain in their homes wouldn’t last any longer than the greenhouses that wealthy Americans purchased from Gaza settlers who were uprooted from their homes in 2005. Within hours of the Israeli army pullout, every one of these valuable facilities that could have been used to help revive the strip’s moribund economy was burned to the ground. The same fate awaited every other building left by the Jews, including every synagogue.
Without the protection of the Israel Defense Forces, Jews in Arab territory haven’t a chance. That’s a basic fact of life in the country that predates Israel’s birth. Without self-defense forces, Jewish settlers in those lands inside the pre-June 1967 borders were exposed to relentless harassment, terrorism, and even pogroms. And there is no reason to believe the situation would be any different in a future West Bank state where the Palestinian population has been educated for decades to believe Jews have no right to live in any part of the country.
But, as Netanyahu rightly pointed out, a peace treaty that would actually end the conflict rather than merely pause it until the Palestinians felt strong enough to resume hostilities must entail an acceptance on both sides of the legitimacy of the rights of the other side. Just as Arabs are equal before the law in the State of Israel, have the right to vote, and serve in its Knesset, a democratic and peaceful Palestinian state must not exclude the possibility of allowing a Jewish minority within its borders. If that is something that the PA is unable to countenance, it proves once again that it isn’t interested in peace. A state where Jews are, as Erekat says, “illegal” is one that is committed to a permanent state of war against Israel.
Israeli right-wingers are angry at Netanyahu’s acceptance in principle of a Palestinian state. Without the threat of repeating the traumatic scenes that characterized the Gaza withdrawal, a division of the West Bank would, at least in theory, be more likely.
Yet the prime minister’s suggestion also angered supporters of a two-state solution. In particular, Israeli negotiator Tzipi Livni, who as Tom Wilson wrote earlier today seems to understand that the talks have little chance of success, bitterly denounced Netanyahu’s statement as designed more to prove the Palestinians weren’t negotiating in good faith than achieving a deal.
Livni may well be correct about Netanyahu’s intentions. Goading the Palestinians into repeating their intolerant and anti-Semitic objections to Jews living within their borders undermines their cause. Like previous generations of negotiators, Livni seems to think peace can be achieved by ignoring the hatred on the other side. But merely drawing a line between Israel and the Palestinians and calling it a border won’t end a conflict that is rooted in the Arab and Muslim rejection of the idea of legitimacy for any Jewish state no matter how large or small it might be.
It has become a cliché of Middle East commentary to speak of the painful sacrifices that Israel must make if it is to have peace. That is true. But the path to peace is a two-way street. If the Palestinians want a state, it cannot be on genocidal terms that require the ethnic cleansing of Jews. Until they’re ready to live alongside Jews inside their state—and to guarantee their security—genuine peace is nowhere in sight.

Demonizing Israel; Demonizing ScarJo. By Jonathan S. Tobin.

BDS propaganda poster: “Scarlett Johansson represents Oxfam and SodaStream? Human Rights and Apartheid go hand in hand?”

Demonizing Israel; Demonizing ScarJo. By Jonathan S. Tobin. Commentary, January 27, 2014.

Will ScarJo Pay a Price for Her Principles? By Jonathan S. Tobin. Commentary, January 30, 2014.


The BDS campaign against SodaStream took an unexpected turn yesterday when actress Scarlett Johansson announced her resignation as a representative of Oxfam. The British-based coalition of philanthropic groups had condemned Johansson’s role as a commercial spokesperson for SodaStream, an Israeli soda machine manufacturer, because of its location in the Jerusalem suburb of Maale Adumim in the West Bank. Initially, Johansson sought to remain with both organizations, but it was soon clear that she had to choose and released the following statement through a spokesman:
“Scarlett Johansson has respectfully decided to end her ambassador role with Oxfam after eight years,” the statement said. “She and Oxfam have a fundamental difference of opinion in regards to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. She is very proud of her accomplishments and fundraising efforts during her tenure with Oxfam.
In response, Oxfam thanked Johansson for her service but made it clear that her decision with SodaStream meant she was no longer welcome:
While Oxfam respects the independence of our ambassadors, Ms. Johansson’s role promoting the company SodaStream is incompatible with her role as an Oxfam Global Ambassador. Oxfam believes that businesses, such as SodaStream, that operate in settlements further the ongoing poverty and denial of rights of the Palestinian communities that we work to support.
Oxfam is opposed to all trade from Israeli settlements, which are illegal under international law. Ms. Johansson has worked with Oxfam since 2005 and in 2007 became a Global Ambassador, helping to highlight the impact of natural disasters and raise funds to save lives and fight poverty.
This is a remarkable turn of events. For Johansson, a prominent Hollywood liberal who has campaigned for Democrats and progressive causes, Oxfam was a perfect fit because of her interest in poverty-related causes. But as one of the most visible international charities, it was also a good match for a career in that it added a touch of gravitas to an actress who might otherwise be trivialized as the only woman to be named the sexiest woman in the world by Esquire twice. One might have thought that in terms of an immediate monetary reward, Johansson would choose SodaStream over Oxfam because one pays her and the other doesn’t. But in terms of positive publicity and maintaining her status as a member in good standing of the Hollywood liberal establishment, Oxfam might have been the more sensible choice.
In sticking with SodaStream, Johansson will win the praise of many Americans, especially fellow Jews, but it opens a new and potentially bitter chapter in the struggle by the BDS movement against Israel. The question facing the actress as well as friends of the Jewish state is whether her decision will herald more defeats for those seeking to isolate Israel or will instead provide a new focus for a BDS movement that is gaining support in Europe even as it remains marginal in the United States.
It is possible that Oxfam’s decision wasn’t entirely based on the anti-Israel bias of its London-based leadership. One of the leading corporate donors to Oxfam just happens to be the Coca Cola Company that has given millions to the group. That tie between a company that can be linked to obesity and bad nutrition and a charity that promotes feeding the hungry is seen as a contradiction by some and only explained by the cash that flows from Coke to Oxfam. But the fact that SodaStream is a competitor that is already eating into Coke’s market share could account, at least in part, for Oxfam’s speed in denouncing Johansson.
But even if contributions from Coke had nothing to do with Oxfam’s decision, the most important conclusion to be drawn from the way this controversy developed is the ease and speed with which a theoretically apolitical charity like Oxfam publicly embraced the BDS stand even though it meant losing the services of such an effective ambassador as Johansson. The decisiveness and alacrity  with which Oxfam’s leaders condemned her ties with an Israeli company may well have come as a rude shock to Johansson after she signed on to appear in SodaStream commercials, including one scheduled for broadcast during the Super Bowl. Though she is an active supporter of many liberal causes who embraced Oxfam because of its apparent compatibility with her personal values, it may not have occurred to her that in international progressive circles such associations with Israel aren’t kosher.
The point here is not simply the factual inaccuracy of Oxfam’s accusations that settlements further Palestinian poverty or deny Palestinian rights. Having seen SodaStream’s operations herself, Johansson knew that charges that it exploited its Arab workers were nothing but propaganda and absurd lies. She rightly understood that its owners were committed peaceniks who genuinely believe that the cooperative and mutually profitable relations between Jews and Arabs that go on at SodaStream are exactly what the region needs. But in the world of Oxfam, opposition to West Bank settlements isn’t about what’s good for the Palestinians. The factory’s location, a few miles from Jerusalem’s city limits in territory that almost certainly would be incorporated into Israel in the event of a peace treaty, is merely an excuse to continue a campaign of delegitimization against the Jewish state. And in that struggle, there can be no exceptions or even any grey areas where people of good conscience may differ.
The arrogant moral certainty of Oxfam’s statement simply assumes that the presence of Jews in what is, under international law, disputed territory rather than that of a sovereign state, is repugnant. That is exactly the mindset of BDSers whose purpose is not aiding poor Palestinians but to further impoverish them by destroying businesses that provide them with income and an opportunity to better themselves that is largely denied them by the corrupt governments led by both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas in the West Bank and Gaza.
But now that Johansson has rejected the leftist groupthink of Oxfam that assumes the Jewish state to be beyond the pale, it remains to be seen whether there will be a price to be paid for her principled choice. As I noted earlier this week, it is possible that in the future Johansson may become the focus of a concerted boycott by Israel-haters. Though their efforts won’t put even a minor dent in her career prospects in the United States, it is entirely possible that she will be become better known in Europe and Asia as a supporter of Israel than as a gifted A-list actress. The implications of such a development would not be trivial for film producers who increasingly rely on international markets to realize profits, nor for other companies seeking film stars to promote their products.
If Johansson had abandoned SodaStream it would have signaled an immediate and high-visibility victory for the BDS campaign, certainly its most important victory in the United States. But having cast her lot with defenders of the Jewish state, the actress must understand that this isn’t the end of the story. She may have thought her work for Oxfam gave her common ground with progressives in Europe and around the globe. But she may now discover that, from this day forward, they will only see her as a public figure to be rejected and shunned as a principled Jew who stands with Israel.

The Boycott-Israel Movement Targets Scarlett Johansson. By Seth Mandel. Commentary, January 24, 2014.

Scarlett Johansson’s Defense of SodaStream Factory in Occupied West Bank Fails to Sway Critics. By Robert Mackey. New York Times, January 27, 2014.

Clearing the Air. By Scarlett Johansson. The Huffington Post, January 24, 2014.

Scarlett Johansson & Soda Stream –Peace vs. Apartheid? By Rabbi Shraga Simmons. Aish.com, January 25, 2014.

Scarlett Johansson is “saving the world” in sexy Super Bowl ad for SodaStream. By Zayda Rivera. New York Daily News, January 27, 2014.

Coke and Pepsi Trigger “Ban” of Scarlett Johansson’s SodaStream Super Bowl Ad. By Aaron Taube. Business Insider, January 27, 2014.

“Internal revolt” at Oxfam over Scarlett Johansson affair, insider says. By Ali Abunimah. The Electronic Intifada, January 27, 2014.

Why the A-List Shuns BDS. By Michael Dickson. The Times of Israel, January 27, 2014.

Sex, Politics, Scarlett Johansson, and the Middle East. By Michael Curtis. American Thinker, January 27, 2014.

Scarjo and Peace. Jerusalem Post, January 28, 2014.

Scarlett Johansson: “No Guilt” About SodaStream. By Elisheva Goldberg. The Jewish Daily Forward, January 14, 2014.

The Politics of Celebrity Ambassadors. By Emily Greenhouse. The New Yorker, January 16, 2014.

Scarlett Johansson’s pro-Israel master class. By Marco Greenberg. Haaretz, January 28, 2014.

SodaStream boss admits West Bank plant is “a pain in the ass.” By Nathan Jeffay. The Jewish Daily Forward, January 28, 2014. Also at Haaretz.

Scarlett Johansson steps down as Oxfam ambassador amid SodaStream controversy. Jerusalem Post, January 30, 2014.

Scarlett Johansson’s SodaStream Super Bowl Ad Followed By Her Oxfam Resignation. By Gregory Katz. AP. The Huffington Post, January 30, 2014.

Johansson quits Oxfam over Israeli settlement trade spat. By Hazel Ward. AFP. Yahoo! News, January 30, 2014.

“Scarlett Johansson has consciously decided to be the new poster girl for Israeli occupation and apartheid,” [BDS] co-founder Omar Barghouti told AFP.

Scarlett Johansson Quits as Oxfam Ambassador as Criticism Mounts. By Greg Mitchell. The Nation, January 30, 2014.

Ali Abunimah on Scarlett Johannson. Twitter, January 29, 2014. And here.

While Scarlett Johansson’s departure from @Oxfam is welcome, she should have been fired long ago, not allowed to quit.
And thanks to #ScarJo, boycott, divestment and sanctions (on apartheid Israel) is now huge international story.

Scarlett Johansson not only abandons Oxfam but throws it under the bus. By Phan Nguyen. Mondoweiss, January 30, 2014.

How Scarlett Johansson got mired in one of the Middle East’s touchiest controversies. By Max Fisher. Washington Post, January 30, 2014. Also here.

Scarlett Johansson and Oxfam, Torn Apart by Israeli Company Deal. By Isabel Kershner. New York Times, January 30, 2014.

Scarlett Johansson Chooses SodaStream Over Oxfam After Dispute About West Bank Factory. By Robert Mackey. New York Times, January 30, 2014.

Palestinian workers back Scarlett Johansson’s opposition to SodaStream boycott. By Christa Case Bryant. The Christian Science Monitor, January 30, 2014.

What You Need to Know About the Scarlett Johansson and SodaStream Controversy. By Tasneem Nashrulla. BuzzFeed, January 30, 2014. With BDS propaganda pictures.

Will boycotting ScarJo end the occupation? By Khaled Diab. Haaretz, January 30, 2014.

A BDS Thought Bubble. By Jonathan Marks. Commentary, January 30, 2014.

“Pro-Palestinians” Versus Real Palestinians. By Evelyn Gordon. Commentary, January 31, 2014.

Scarlett Johansson at Her Least Diplomatic. By Lisa Beyer. Bloomberg, January 31, 2014.

Bad for the Jews: Israeli Annexation of Palestinian West Bank, Scarlett Johansson and BDS. By Juan Cole. Informed Comment, January 31, 2014.

Scarlett Johansson won’t be bullied by activists for Israeli boycott. Good for her. By Robyn Urback. The National Post, January 31, 2014.

Of ScarJo, Soda, Settlements, and Super Bowls. By Michael M. Rosen. National Review Online, January 31, 2014.

Occupation belies the Hollywood mind. By Rami G. Khouri. The Daily Star (Lebanon), February 1, 2014.

“FT” blast on settlements will strike fear at Hasbara Central (if not among liberal Zionists and “glitzy blondes”). By James North and Phil Weiss. Mondoweiss, February 1, 2014.

5 things I learned from the Scarlett Johansson/SodaStream affair. By Noam Sheizaf. +972, February 2, 2014.

The real SodaStream commercial they don’t want you to see. By Katie Miranda. Mondoweiss, February 2, 2014.

Yes, Scarlett Johansson’s Defense of SodaStream is Problematic. By Bernard Avishai. TPM, February 3, 2014.

SodaStream accuses Oxfam of funding BDS. By Tovah Lazaroff. Jerusalem Post, February 3, 2014.

Both Sides Declare P.R. Victory in Skirmish Over SodaStream Super Bowl Ad. By Robert Mackey. New York Times, February 3, 2014.

Scarlett Johansson row has boosted Israeli settlement boycott, say activists. By Ian Black and Harriet Sherwood. The Guardian, February 6, 2014.

But, according to Omar Barghouti, founder of the Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, “the political atmosphere has changed towards enforcing international law. Israel’s impunity is being eroded. BDS is growing tremendously and that is affecting decision-makers everywhere. We are changing the discourse.”
BDS, insisted Barghouti, was “no coalition of lefty intellectuals” but was supported by Palestinians across the political spectrum, including nationalists and Islamists. Many advocate a two-state solution to the conflict with Israel, while others, including Barghouti, argue for a “secular democratic state” that would replace “apartheid” Israel – though how that would happen given the balance of forces remains unclear. According to the sociologist and writer Salim Tamari, an advocate of two states, “the problem is that among many BDS people, there is no endgame.”
A weakness of Palestinian strategy is that a boycott of Israel on the ground has never made much headway. Shops in East Jerusalem and the West Bank are crammed with Israeli produce even when Palestinian goods are available at equivalent prices. “If foreign banks are standing up for our rights, what are we doing?” asks Mahdi Abdel-Hadi of the Passia think tank.
Barghouti counters this by speaking of the “colonisation of the mind” and sheer dependence on the occupation. “We don't expect the criteria that we ask in Britain, Johannesburg or New York to apply in Ramallah or Jerusalem. We are a captive economy. Israel has over decades destroyed our industry and agriculture and confiscated our water resources. We do not expect our economic institutions to completely boycott Israel. That’s unrealistic.”
Barghouti described his own attendance at Tel Aviv University, where he did an MA in philosophy and ethics, as a “private matter.”

Scarlett Johansson, War Criminal? By Daniel Schwammenthal. Wall Street Journal, February 6, 2014.

SodaStream is a model of cross-cultural collaboration.

What’s a Responsible, Progressive Position on an Israeli Settlements Boycott? By Matthew Duss. The American Prospect, February 5, 2014.

Frankly Scarlett, You Should Give a Damn. By Gershom Gorenberg. The American Prospect, February 6, 2014.

BDS Movement is Harming Itself. By Hussein Ibish. The National, February 8, 2014.

John Batchelor and Malcolm Hoenlein on the Scarlett Johansson SodaStream controversy. Audio Podcast. The John Batchelor Show, January 30, 2014, Hour 3. Runs from 4:33 to 10:51.

Scarlett Johansson is 2013’s Sexiest Woman Alive. By Tom Chiarella. Esquire, October 7, 2013. From the November 2013 issue.

Sorry, Coke and Pepsi (with Scarlett Johansson). Video. SodaStreamGuru, January 27, 2014. YouTube.

SodaStream: Building Bridges. Video. StandWithUs, February 27, 2013. YouTube.