Analysis

Chomsky backs tactics opposing Israeli policies

I WAS surprised to read a letter to the editor of The Australian claiming that I regard the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement’s tactics targeting Israel as “pure anti-Semitism, aimed at the destruction of Israel” and that I said BDS efforts are “inimical to the interests of and lacking any genuine support from the Palestinian people” (Letters, 14/12).

These tactics have enormous support among Palestinians, and the charge of anti-Semitism should be dismissed with disdain.

When Human Rights Watch “calls on the US and European Union member states and on businesses with operations in settlement areas to avoid supporting Israeli settlement policies that are inherently discriminatory and that violate international law”, it is advocating BDS tactics, rightly, and there is no hint of anti-Semitism.

I have personally been involved in such forms of opposition to the Israeli occupation for years, long before there was a BDS movement.

Any tactics, however legitimate, can of course be misused. But they can also be used quite properly and effectively against state crimes, and in this case regularly have been.

Noam Chomsky, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, USA

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