The Israeli/Palestinian Conflict: The Evidence

  evidence-based reports | authored and compiled by
constantine kaniklidis
scholars for peace in the middle east (spme) | director, progressive voices for peace in the middle east (pvpme)

rejection by experts

BDS: The Non-Solution Progressive Voices for Peace in the Middle East which I direct held a forum on The Israeli/Palestinian Conflict Today: Obstacles and Opportunities, with a distinguished panel of speakers spanning a wide spectrum of political opinion. Here I provide an encapsulation of their views on BDS.

Michael Walzer, one of our foremost political thinkers and an expert on the morality of war, spoke from the standpoint of the progressive left, noting that the overwhelming proportion of the Israeli peace movements (Shalom Achshav) strongly advise not to join the BDS boycott movement, because BDS opposes peace and both the existence of a Jewish State and the internationally endorsed just goal of two states for two peoples. Walzer underlined the hypocrisy of denying Nation-Statehood to Israel but accepting just that elsewhere, including in any proposed state of Palestine. He concluded that BDS is profoundly wrong in its biased opposition focus on Israel, finding that the exclusive focus of its opposition to Israel exhibits “malicious discrimination” and "is obscene".

Brooke Goldstein, Director of the Lawfare Project, and a human rights lawyer and expert on lawfare, the abuse of international and human rights law for illegitimate advantage as a political weapon, focused on several related themes, noting the moral hypocrisy of the BDS movement that does not condemn or protest the atrocities of Palestinian human rights and horrific daily conditions perpetrated and sustained by Hamas, Arab states, and corrupt NGO’s like UNRWA that uses Hamas textbooks in their UNRWA schools that teach blind hatred of all Jew and help recruit child suicide bombers at all ages, a silence that gives the green light to terrorists to continue their human rights violations against a callously victimized Palestinian population.

Goldstein laid bare, as I have severally before, the demonstrable anti-Israel bias of each of the so-called human rights NGO's and entities such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the International Court of Justice, and the UN General Assembly now wholly dominated and controlled by OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation), organizations that gave us the vile language and slander of "apartheid", and "ethnic cleansing" and other libels via complete abuse and distortion of international law, a cold and orchestrated strategy of delegitimization against Israel, through a "movement" born of an immoral calculus from the racist and anti-Semitic Durban Conference and NGO Forum of 2001 where BDS was conceived, showing the willful fabrication of BDS being a response to a "Call" in 2005 from "Palestinian Civil Society" (N. Erakat, Middle East Research and Information Project, MERIP Report MER255, 2010). She also exposed the contamination of any proposed "Call" associated as it is with the Council of National and Islamic Forces in Palestine (first signatory of the “Call”), and with other notorious terrorist, jihadist and extremist groups. Goldstein concluded that BDS collectively itself constitutes a “racist and unlawful movement” against Israel standing in violation of Federal and State antiboycott laws prohibiting commercial or other discrimination on the basis of national origin [Disclosure: this author, C. Kaniklidis, contributed with and on advice of lawfare and international and trade law experts, to a sustained refutation of a National Lawyers Guild memo mistakenly advising BDS supporters otherwise].

Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, a devout Muslim, founder of American Islamic Foundation for Democracy, added his voice to the same true underlying objective of BDS, the "obliteration of the State of Israel", further noting that BDS punishes the very entities we should be empowering, those employing Palestinians and Israelis, and undermines moderate voices for peace in the Middle East. Like the other speakers, Jasser again spoke to the moral hypocrisy of BDS in its monomaniacal and prejudicial condemnation of Israel while silent against widespread Muslim oppression of fellow Muslims including Palestinians, concluding that joining BDS is wrong because (1) it’s the wrong destination (not peace), (2) the wrong vehicle (boycotts), and the wrong leaders (Palestinian leadership).

There should be honest dialog about what can be done to improve the plight of Palestinians everywhere, but as the forum showed, the rejectionist, ideologically hateful and morally repugnant BDS propaganda campaign - a corrosive polluter of community values and equitable discourse using anti-peacemaking zero-sum logic and asymmetric demonization, crowding out voices for moderation and recognition of conflict complexities and truncating the space for equitable engagement - is not and cannot be part of that conversation: BDS is bad for Israel, bad for Palestinians, bad for Peace.

evidence-based reports: our reporting

Imperative in this context is a new equity in geopolitics that eschews disproportionate approbation of one actor to the exclusion of all others while also acknowledging the competitive narratives of national ambition and identity in the Middle East, with the need for new engagement and negotiation. 

This misplaced and uncritical reliance on ideological and prejudicial sources has evolved to be a formidable obstacle to peace in the Middle East. It has led to what others have termed a new “soft powerlessness” for Israel whose legitimacy has been successively eroded and who stands accused and convicted in the international arena. And it helps account for the current moribund state of peace negotiation. We therefore realized that what is needed to overcome these barriers to peace is effective confrontation through the exposure and refutation of lawfare as practiced by anti-peace NGOs and obstructionist initiatives like BDS. This will in turn require a new rational and equitable discourse in addressing the clash of competitive nationalist aspirations for self-determination in the same land, in order to achieve a fair and durable peace in the Middle East for Israel, and for the Palestinians.

To that end, I as Director of Progressive Voices for Peace in the Middle East (PVPME) and a member of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME), have authored and compiled a series of evidence-based reports (EBRs) on the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict which are founded on an objective critical systemic review of the core issues and a critical appraisal of the relevant arguments, sustained by scrupulous attention to and respect for principles of international and human rights law.  This demands (1) systematic review of all credible sources on an issue, (2) critical appraisal of all sources extracted for factual basis, (3) cross-confirmation of accuracy wherever viable, and (4) use of the highest caliber of sources available, with preference to peer-reviewed literature.

These evidence-based reports hone to the principles of the evidence-based paradigm and methodology as it has evolved from initial domain of application (medicine) into a broad spectrum of evidence-based practice and research
, in the form of evidence-based sociology, evidence-based education and evidence-based teaching, evidence-based psychology, evidence-based crime policy / policing, evidence-based  decision making /policy, evidence-based social work, among many others. We  also commit to industry-standards promulgated by the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) in their SPJ Code of Ethics, and also those of the Ethical Journalism Network (EJN) in their 5 Principles of Ethical Journalism, as well as the principles articulated in The Poynter Institute's The New Ethics of Journalism: A Guide for the 21st Century.    

progressive voices for peace (PVPME)

Progressive Voices for Peace in the Middle East (PVPME), a Brooklyn based initiative, grew out of the recognition that these next-generation obstacles to peace require effective confrontation through counter-lawfare initiatives and the need for a new rational and equitable discourse in addressing the clash of competitive nationalist aspirations for self-determination in the same land.

Director, Constantine Kaniklidis

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Constantine Kaniklidis | Progressive Voices for Peace in the Middle East | 2018.  All rights reserved.