[update, 29 July '10: I saw the flyer in the stairwell of The Martin apartment building, in the early evening hours of Saturday 24 July. original photo of the flyer posted in comments below]
I was recently disturbed when I saw an anti-BDS (boycott divestment sanctions) flyer in an apartment building in downtown Olympia.
The statements and accusations on this flyer were very hurtful to me, and I am not even Palestinian or Arab. But I am someone who supports BDS. The flyer was produced by Stand With Us, an organization with a questionable reputation.
For example, members and associates of Stand With Us have been observed engaging in hateful behavior. See this video on Jewish Voice for Peace blog, Muzzlewatch, here.
This flyer was disturbing to me in a number of ways, for a number of reasons. Among those reasons: it called BDS "biased, dishonest and self-defeating." Then listed a bunch of statements, for example to paraphrase some of the highlights:
It alleges that BDS seeks to demonize Israel. That is questionable at best! And I believe that is simply not true. BDS does not seek to demonize Israel, but instead seeks to pressure Israel to change its policies toward Palestine (which in turn would actually work to the real world benefit of Israelis, who also suffer because of the anti-human policies of their government.)
It says that BDS ignores terrorism. When in fact, BDS is one of the greatest ways to combat terrorism—because BDS gives people an opportunity to resist nonviolently.
And as far as terrorism goes, maybe a good question to ask is: which came first, terrorism—or occupation and oppression? And doesn't it seem possible that terrorism against Israel might be the product of a resistance movement that is so economically repressed and oppressed that people are desperate and maybe feeling that there are no other viable methods of resistance...
Those are just a couple of examples. The whole flyer is rife with statements which seem to obfuscate reality—ideas that fly in the face of basic common sense, ideas that go against rational thought. (Unless you think Palestinians deserve to be treated as second-class citizens.)
I believe that the organization Stand With Us is essentially destructive to the cause of reconciliation and a truly just and mutually beneficial peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
I allege that SWU, at least as far as this flyer goes, engages in obfuscation and defamation. The very same activities which it purports to be against. It's straight out of a play book that may have been derived from Orwell's 1984. And I think it smells like Karl Rove.
I allege that SWU propagates fear, distrust, hate, and prejudicial attitudes toward Arabs and Palestinians. I allege that efforts by SWU amount to racism against Arabs and Palestinians.
You can see a photo of the flyer—although please be warned that you, like me, might find this to be disturbing material. It's here.
I am deeply concerned that this type of information is circulating locally, and affecting people's thinking about the boycott.