Why I Do Not Agree With A Settlement Boycott
March 19, 2012 § 1 Comment
A couple of people have queried as to whether I agree with Beinart’s call to boycott the settlements, since it was not apparent from my earlier post. The answer is that I do not. A deeper dive into this will come when I have a little more time to write on it extensively, but the quick version is that I think it gives dangerous cover to BDS groups, whom I do not support in any way, and I also do not think it would have the intended effect of galvanizing Israel to pull out of the West Bank. The problems with the global BDS movement are manifold, from its double standards to its singling out of Israel to its masking its true motives, and as I alluded to earlier, I think a move to boycott settlement goods gives legitimacy to the wider BDS narrative and goals. From a purely logistical point of view, the West Bank settlers who would be most reluctant to leave are not there for economic reasons but for ideological reasons. A boycott will not only be unpersuasive in getting them to leave, but will probably reinforce their views on the importance of remaining right where they are. As for Israel at large, the Israeli economy does not depend on the settlements to a large enough extent to make a settlement boycott effective at forcing the government’s hand in evacuating the West Bank.
So in sum, I see no compelling reason to grant a victory to the undeserving BDS movement, and I do not believe that a settlement boycott will achieve its stated goals, and in fact might have the very opposite effect. Does this mean that I want to see Israel hold on to the West Bank indefinitely? Of course not. I would love to see Israel leave the West Bank as soon as is feasible, help in setting up a Palestinian state, and move on the to the next stage of its political development, but a settlement boycott is not the path to a comprehensive and fair negotiated two-state solution.