BDS, obstacle to peace

BDS, obstacle to peace

In a move supporting Israel, NJ lawmakers are considering legislation barring NJ pension funds from investing in companies supporting boycotts, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel and areas controlled by Israel.

There are those who oppose legislation that treats Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian territories as part of Israel. (Letter, “Dangerous precedents,” July 2) The letter writer claims the proposed legislation is a “dangerous precedent” because the settlements are “illegitimate, illegal, immoral, and an anti-peace enterprise.” Those are strong words that merit a number of questions.

Although the term “occupied Palestinian territories” has gained wide acceptance, its legality is far from certain. Under both the 1907 Hague Regulations and the Fourth Geneva Convention, a territory  can only be considered occupied if it was previously under the sovereignty of another nation. Palestine was never a nation or anything other than an area ruled by other nations. A more appropriate description of “occupied territories” would be disputed territories.

Terminology aside, are Israelis living in the disputed territories the obstacle to peace so widely believed? Is the Palestinian policy of demonizing Jews, inciting hatred of Jews, and rewarding murderers of Jews not an obstacle to peace? If the goal of peace is for Palestinians and Jews to live in peace as neighbors, why do Palestinians insist no Jews will be allowed to live in a future state of Palestine, yet
1.7 million Arabs can live amongst 5.6 million Jews in Israel? Who is showing a greater readiness for peace?

Does protesting the anti-BDS movement’s inclusion of the disputed territories further the cause of peace? If Palestinians working for Jews in disputed territories lose their jobs because of BDS does that further the cause of peace?

Omar Barghouiti, the founder of the BDS movement, has acknowledged the movement’s aim is to isolate, delegitimize, and destroy the State of Israel. It is the BDS movement wherever applied that is the true “illegitimate, illegal, immoral and anti-peace enterprise.”

Conrad Nadell
Scotch Plains

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