Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Why boycott Israel and not Myanmar?

Richard Cohen - Why Boycott Israel? - washingtonpost.com

I happen to think that the boycott just voted is counter-productive because it is more effective in mobilizing support for Israel's policies than in mobilizing opposition. Also, such boycotts, even if they are not inspired in part by anti-Semitism (as Cohen claims they are), feed right into the narrative of pro-Israeli groups. That being said, there is one defect of Cohen article that is glaring. While it is true the behavior of some other governments, say in Myanmar and Sudan, may be revolting yet do not evoke boycotts, yet those governments are susceptible to a variety of international sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council, as well as powerful global and regional trade organizations. Israel is generally immune to such sanctions because it is protected by certain powerful governments (hint: one important government in the very town that Richard Cohen works). That is a big difference, and it one of the reasons that people may feel compelled to take action on their own. I reiterate that I find the boycott counter-productive, but Mr. Cohen misses a bit in his analysis.

No comments: