Press TV has conducted an interview with Paul Larudee, co-founder of Free Palestine Movement in Berkeley, about Tel Aviv planning to set up a task force to cope with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel, which is gaining momentum across the globe.
Following is a rough transcription of the interview.
Press TV: When Tel Aviv is assembling a task force to deal with the effects of the BDS, what does that say about the success of the BDS?
Larudee: Well there is no doubt that the BDS movement is gaining success but also this so-called task force is not the only measure that Israel is taking to try to prevent BDS or to fight against it. It has a lot in terms of what it calls, hasbara, Brand Israel, all sorts of things to try to promote Israel. And further more it even works from within the BDS movement. There are many so-called soft Zionists who are part of the BDS movement that want only to get Israel out of the occupation. They do not want Israel to occupy land that they do not consider to be part of Israel but they want Israel to continue to exist as a Jewish state which means a racist state. These are part of the BDS movement and so this is draining energy away from a larger goal and some of the other goals of the BDS movement.
Press TV: Wouldn't it be more prudent to spend that time, money, and energy in investigating why the BDS exists and what Tel Aviv can do to avoid getting boycotted in the first place?
Larudee: Well in fact that is some of the advice that has been given by the Israeli Reut strategic institute. They are suggesting that the government should change its policies. I think that is unlikely and in any case they are not willing to change their policies to the extent necessary. They want to preserve their existence as a Jewish state and they feel that they have enough power and enough control over the governments of other countries, over the press in other countries and even over some of the activists and activist organizations that are part of the BDS movement.
They feel that they can in effect step on a brake by infiltrating the BDS movement with some Zionist tendencies. They would prefer to eliminate it altogether but infusing the movement with Zionists who criticize some aspects of what Israel is doing is a way of preventing what they consider to be the worst effects of the BDS movement.
Press TV: And ultimately, what is the best case scenario that the BDS can actually achieve?
Larudee: Of course the objectives of the BDS are three. One is to end the occupation of Arab land, the second is for Palestinians to return to their homes and the third is equal rights. But almost all of the efforts of the BDS have thus far been directed towards ending the occupation of territories captured in 1967. There has been very little done on the other two items and even on the territories that were taken in 1948.
So the aims of the BDS are limited. But nevertheless it is having a major effect because people are critical enough and supportive enough of the BDS movement that it is resulting in further examination of what Israel is doing which may eventually result in much more than the limited aims of the BDS movement.