Hiam Simon (Ameinu’s COO) and I responded to a false assertion that PPI supports BDS. Both Dr. Scott David Lippe’s charge and our response were published in our local New Jersey community weekly, The Jewish Standard, as letters to the editor. This is most of our letter:
The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement was established in July 2005 by 171 Palestinian organizations to promote the general boycott of Israeli companies and companies doing business with Israel, the general boycott of Israeli academic and cultural institutions, divestment from Israeli companies and companies doing business with Israel, and international sanctions against the State of Israel. For many years, Partners for Progressive Israel and its predecessor organizations have actively opposed this movement as a general attack on the Jewish state and the Israeli public.
But we don’t believe Dr. Lippe was particularly interested in investigating either our personal views in opposition to the BDS movement or those of Partners for Progressive Israel. He is interested in promoting a particular agenda in support of West Bank settlement activity. So let’s discuss this real agenda, and the substantive differences between us.
Dr. Lippe wishes to promote a program in favor of a geographically larger non-democratic Israel with a Jewish minority, while we wish to pursue a path toward peace involving a geographically smaller democratic Israel with a large Jewish majority. Given these differences, it is no wonder why Dr. Lippe wishes to misrepresent the position of Partners for Progressive Israel. Because Dr. Lippe understands that the majority of American Jews favor our view over his, he pursues a disingenuous representation of our position on BDS instead of debating the merits of the program he supports relative to the one we defend.
We may add that our views and the positions of our respective organizations make it possible for us, in opposition to BDS, to access audiences that would be much less receptive to people who share Dr. Lippe’s views.
As for West Bank settlement, it is no secret we have been opposed to it from its earliest days, not because we did not appreciate the Jewish historical connection to the land, but because we understood the destructive political dynamic tied to the settlement project. We oppose it as a threat to the democratic Jewish future for Israel. We won’t support it politically and we have no wish to support it financially. That is why we will resist doing business with companies involved with West Bank settlement activity. But this is not BDS. It neither attacks the State of Israel nor targets Israelis as a class. Its point is not to delegitimize Israel but rather to affirm its democratic Jewish future, a future which has been placed at risk by the reckless program of West Bank settlement.
Dr. Mark Gold
Dr. Hiam Simon