Yesterday Ireland set out a second of its landmark making decisions by rule of the Dail, (Lower house of Parliament) which could potentially set political waves across the Irish sea and awashing our establishment to act ; a bill was passed that boycotts the sale of goods from Israel’s illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank. Under international laws and Palestinian rights advocates the West Bank settlements are considered illegal and the BDS movement, (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) which has been hailed as a new form of activism is being taken up by parliamentary standards as before it was primarily supported by academia and various party and union institutions.
The vote was passed receiving a 78 – 45 majority in favour of taking action against the illegal acts of the Israeli government that chronically and violently oppress the people of Palestine. It has several more motions before it can be ruled into Irish Law but it’s expected by opposition parties that support this moral precedent to be without hindrance due to their largely broadened backing. The BDS activism of past has been not without its criticism though, the author Norman Finkelstein in 2012 took to alienating his left wing readership when he spoke publicly that he believed the movement was inconsistent with international law. The kind of language he used though was literal inflammatory hatred of BDS. “I loathe the disingenuousness” he wrote venomously, “they don’t want Israel to exist, It’s a cult”. The irony Finkelstein failed to pin here is this is the same caustic expression some Israeli settlers have about their Palestinian neighbours and simply dis-acknowledge their right to exist.
But whether you support those who condemn the Israeli government and support BDS or the people who publicly condone a two state solution with both sides able to co-exist in begrudging harmony, (as cultural sectarianism isn’t simply washed away by political progress) the problem with BDS is that it is the Israeli people who suffer the most as it mostly dampens their economy without cracking the authoritarian nature of Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, whose universal goal is the wiping out of Palestine and its people. For now though BDS appears the only language in activism that criticises openly the government of Israel and the 2000+ Palestinians killed, (and that’s just from 2000 to 2018).
And in the role of international cooperation this move by Irish parliament has the potential to apply pressure on all the right muscles within other democracies. Hopefully the UK can sit up putting a cup to the Irish sea and hear more than just the waves, also the need for political acknowledgment at the bloodshed carried out on the Gaza strip.