Shindler, Colin. “Family Politics. Disagreeing with Israel: A British and American History.” Jewish Quarterly 62.2 (2015): 48-51.
The BDS mantra appeals to those who vehemently oppose the occupation. Yet what is the meaning of their doctrine of anti-normalisation? Some will see this as a necessary pressure to force Israel to the negotiating table and relinquish territory. Others understand anti-normalisation in terms of delegitimisation—rooting out a poisonous Zionist weed growing on Arab land. Netanyahu’s policies and the acquiescence of many British Jews therefore suit the latter. If a new Rabin were to arise, and sign a fair agreement with the Palestinians, this would produce such political fissures that the BDS movement would be consigned to an irrelevant limbo once more. Like many a Jewish leader in the UK, the advocates of BDS fear a different narrative that draws confused Jews away from their orbit.
The ripples of this situation will continue to be felt in the UK, the US, and the wider Diaspora for the foreseeable future. Jewish organisations will continue to be seen as merely appendages to the official view, despite the inner turmoil of many a Jewish leader. Public relations in Britain will be a welcome diversion from public reality in Israel. Howard Jacobson’s “ashamed Jews” and the US equivalent will continue to verbally flagellate themselves in public. The traditional approach of debate, discussion and dissension will not disappear. But it will take a period of calm, and a disappearance of provocative acts in the Middle East, to allow the peace camps in both Israel and Palestine to once more gain the upper hand from the reactionaries in progressive clothing. Only then will British Jews, American Jews, and all Diaspora Jews, have a genuine role to play in securing a just peace.