Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement widens in scope

Another roadblock (pun intended?) on the way to my post on The Hunger Games.

I think mentioning that I want to write about The Hunger Games at the beginning of every post is good motivation for actually writing it. Of course, it might also set really high expectations when what I have to say turns out to not really have been all that insightful.

Anyway, the inspiration for this post came from anonymous (yes, the international hacktivist syndicate), who forwarded me a pair of letters addressed to the editor of the Morning Star (I’d never heard of it either). The letters were cute, so here goes:

I often wonder why so many of its readers find the Morning Star so exasperating.

Despite its condemnation of Zionists [sic] it yet finds space to include an item in its daily quiz about Israel’s national bird.

Is the Star not aware there’s a cultural boycott going on?

And then, despite it’s [sic] condemnation of the Bahrain Grand Prix and rightly so, it then goes on to tell us who won.

For goodness sake comrades, get your act together.

George Abendstern

If I had to guess, the Star was aware of the cultural boycott going on but, like me, was not familiar with its true scope. I had always understood BDS to be about concerts in Israel, scientific collaboration, Sabra’s American-made hummus, Lady Gaga, and so on. But until reading this letter, I was not aware that the movement’s boycott extends to literally any mention of Israel in any context whatsoever.

Here’s the thing: once you move from simply not collaborating with Israel to disapproving of any mention of the country in any context, you’ve gone from simply supporting the Palestinian cause to – in my view, at least – expressing the desire that Israel not exist. But with that, I’m getting ahead of myself, because the second letter took the boycott to a whole new level:

The Morning Star has always been the newspaper you could rely on to support the cause of the Palestinians, so why of all the birds in the world did you choose the Israeli national bird to include in your quiz?

Maybe you don’t support the methods chosen by the International Solidarity Movement of BDS to assist the Palestinians in their struggle for freedom and justice – a demand that came from them originally.

This includes any reference to their wildlife.

Linda Clair

So, thanks to Wikipedia, here is an official list of wildlife that can no longer be mentioned by individuals who purport to support BDS:

My more careful readers may have noted this list includes only mammals, to say nothing of Israel’s 100 species of reptile, 1,728 species of fish, 500 species of bird, 30,000 species of invertebrate (of which about 22,500 are insects and 3,900 are non-insect arthropods), and – if you want to be really machmir – 2,867 species of plant.

Of course, this entire post was really just a thinly-veiled excuse to share one of my favorite Colbert clips of all time. All time.


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