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The Case for Sanctions Against Israel [Paperback]

Omar Barghouti , Naomi Klein , Ilan Pappe , Slavoj Zizek , Ra'Anan Alexandrowicz
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

May 2 2012
In July 2011, Israel passed legislation outlawing the public support of boycott activities against the state, corporations, and settlements, adding a crackdown on free speech to its continuing blockade of Gaza and the expansion of illegal settlements. Nonetheless, the campaign for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) continues to grow in strength within Israel and Palestine, as well as in Europe and the US.

This essential intervention considers all sides of the movement—including detailed comparisons with the South African experience—and contains contributions from both sides of the separation wall, along with a stellar list of international commentators.

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The Case for Sanctions Against Israel + Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions: The Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights
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Review

“Provides clear arguments for international sanctions against Israel because of its treatment of the Palestinians. This excellent collection of essays is an essential text for anyone interested in why they should support the movement to boycott Israel. The essays are not just good reading; they are also an eloquent call to the world to give a damn.”—Ron Jacobs, Counterpunch

“Punish[es] .. Israel with regards to its policies towards Palestinians.”—Book News

About the Author

Omar Barghouti is a human rights activist, founding member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel and the BDS movement, and author of Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions: The Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights.

Naomi Klein is an award-winning journalist, syndicated columnist, fellow at the Nation Institute and author of The Shock Doctrine.

Ilan Pappe is Professor of History at the University of Exeter. His many books include The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine and, most recently, Gaza in Crisis (with Noam Chomsky). He writes for, among others, the Guardian and the London Review of Books.

Slavoj Žižek is a Slovenian philosopher and cultural critic. He is a professor at the European Graduate School, International Director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, Birkbeck College, University of London, and a senior researcher at the Institute of Sociology, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. His books include Living in the End Times, First as Tragedy, Then as Farce, In Defense of Lost Causes, four volumes of the Essential Žižek, and many more.

Ra’anan Alexandrowicz is an Israeli filmmaker and activist.

Hind Awwad is a coordinator with the Palestinian BDS National Committee.

Mustafa Barghouthi is the Secretary General of the Palestinian National Initiative, the president of the Palestinian Medical Relief Society, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, and a nonviolence democracy leader based in Ramallah.

Dalit Baum and Merav Amir are project coordinators of Who Profits from the Occupation? in the Coalition of Women for Peace.

Joel Beinin is Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History at Stanford University.

Storyteller, novelist, essayist, screenwriter, dramatist and critic, John Berger is one of the most internationally influential writers of the last fifty years. His many books include Ways of Seeing, the fiction trilogy Into Their Labours, Here Is Where We Meet, the Booker Prize-winning novel G, Hold Everything Dear, the Man Booker–longlisted From A to X, and A Seventh Man.

Angela Davis is a teacher, writer, scholar, and activist/organizer.

Nada Elia teaches Global and Gender Studies at Antioch University in Seattle. She is a member of the Organizing Collective of USACBI, the US Campaign for Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.

Marc H. Ellis is University Professor of Jewish Studies, Professor of History and Founding Director of the Center for Jewish Studies at Baylor University. He is the author and editor of more than twenty books, including Encountering the Jewish Future.

Noura Erakat is a human rights attorney and Adjunct Professor of International Human Rights Law at Georgetown University.

Neve Gordon is an Israeli academic and the author of Israel’s Occupation.

Ran Greenstein works at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.

Ronnie Kasrils is a former South African government minister and was an activist during the anti-apartheid struggle. Among other positions, he was chief of military intelligence of the ANC’s military wing. Today he writes and lectures, is active in the Palestinian solidarity movement, and is a noted author whose recent book The Unlikely Secret Agent won the country’s prestigious Alan Paton Award.

Father Jamal Khader is Chairperson of the Department of Religious Studies, Bethlehem University, Palestine.

Mark LeVine is a Professor of Middle East History at the University of California, Irvine, and author of Heavy Metal Islam: Rock, Resistance, and the Struggle for the Soul of Islam and Impossible Peace: Israel/Palestine Since 1989.

David Lloyd is a Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Southern California.

Ken Loach is the director of The Wind That Shakes the Barley and Looking for Eric. Rebecca O’Brien and Paul Laverty were the producer and writer, respectively, for the latter film.

Haneen Maikey is cofounder and Director of al-Qaws for Sexual and Gender Diversity in Palestinian Society, and cofounder of Palestinian Queers for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions.

Jonathan Pollak is an Israeli activist who has been involved in the Palestinian popular struggle since 2002.

Laura Pulido is a Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California.

Lisa Taraki is a Sociologist at Birzeit University in the occupied Palestinian territories, and a founding member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.

Rebecca Vilkomerson is the Executive Director of Jewish Voice for Peace.

Michael Warschawski is a journalist, political analyst, and veteran Israeli anticolonial activist. He is also the cofounder of the Alternative Information Center.

Audrea Lim is an associate editor at Verso Books.

Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The truth hurts! Nov. 27 2012
By Ken
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It's always inspiring, when some serious thought, produced from fact, is put out to the public, in an easy to read and understand format. With any luck, this book will make it onto many "best seller" lists, and start to turn the tide on a horror that the Palestinian people have been living through for over sixty years and counting. Let your conscience be your guide...
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Amazon.com: 2.8 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
39 of 52 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Important reading for people interested in ending Israeli oppression Oct. 6 2012
By Adam A. Waterhouse - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I would certainly recommend this book for people interested in the logic and rationale of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions as a means of ending Israel's on-going oppression and dispossession of the Palestinians. The book is composed of 26 chapters written by 29 contributors (some of the chapters are co-authored) coming from a broad range of back-grounds. The chapters are self-contained comments by the individual contributors.

Readers wishing to turn straight away to an explanation of the rationale of BDS should read the chapter by Naomi Klein (ch.19) and Ilan Pappe (ch.20) first. Ilan Pappe describes his decision to support BDS as follows:

"For an activist, the realization that change from within is unattainable not only grows from an intellectual or political process, but is more than anything else an admission of defeat. And it was this fear of defeatism that prevented me from adopting a more resolute position for a very long time.... Supporting BDS remains a drastic act for an Israeli peace activist. It excludes one immediately from the consensus and from the accepted discourse in Israel....But there is really no other alternative. Any other option - from indifference, through soft criticism, and up to full endorsement of Israeli policy - is a wilful decision to be an accomplice to crimes against humanity."

John Berger in his two page chapter (ch.21) provides a short but important analysis of how BDS should be understood and explained:

"Boycott is not a principle. When it becomes one, it risks becoming exclusive and racist. No boycott, in our sense of the term, should be directed against an individual, a people, or a nation as such. A boycott is directed against a policy and the institutions that support that policy, either actively or tacitly. Its aim is not to reject, but to bring about change."

I don't think that the importance of clearly understanding this point could be over-stated. It really is essential for BDS activists to be able to understand and communicate this point clearly if BDS is to be successful in bringing about the change in public consciousness that is required.

The book contains two chapter by South African commentators: Ronnie Kasrils (ch.11), a veteran of the anti-apartheid struggle, and Ran Greenstein (ch.16), an academic from Johannesburg, both of which I found particularly powerful. Perhaps the most unusual chapter is written by Marc Ellis (ch.14), a Professor of Jewish studies at Baylor University in Texas. Although he echoes the discredited myth that Israel was faced with an existential threat prior to the 1967 war (or at least fails to clearly debunk it) he does make some interesting points, including drawing a parallel between the criticisms faced by 'Jews of conscience' and the Biblical prophets:

"Like the prophets, Jews of conscience who argue for boycotts, divestment, and sanctions are charged with treason. And, again like the prophets, Jews of conscience are seen as imperilling the security of the State of Israel and of Jews everywhere. Those who call for concrete measures against the policies of the State of Israel, especially after the Holocaust, are seen as blasphemers by the powers that be. But then the prophets were seen in exactly the same way."

My main criticism of this book is that is has no Introduction or Conclusion and so the reader is left to their own devises to try to pull together the themes of the various chapters into a coherent whole. This strikes me as an omission, and is certainly something that I would have appreciated as a reader. I would agree with the other four star reviewer that there is scope for more writing on this subject, and a more broad-ranging analysis of the tactic of BDS than we have been presented with yet.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An important anthology of political intellectuals discussing a political scandal of our times June 13 2014
By German Reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The volume combines 29 authors with very different backgrounds that see in "Sanctions Against Israel" the essential way out of the middle-east peace process-deadlock that favored so far over the last three decades Israel's politics of occupation and ever new settlements. I do not agree with all of the contributor's opinions but many of the arguments for Sanctions presented in the book are convincing. I hope the book provokes a change in the political consciousness of an enlightened public especially in Europe. It definitely is a great anthology of political intellectuals discussing a political scandal of our times.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars not before time May 29 2014
By BornFree - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
its about time that someone had the courage to speak out against this apartheid state that has systematically abused maimed and slaughtered the Palestinians not only that but it has ignored more than 4 dozen UN resolutions this book is well written and features not one voice but many .............
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Naomi Klein nails it June 24 2014
By Michael T. Rabb - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
With the continued outrageous behavior by Israel and the daily atrocities committed against the people of Palestine, this book should be required reading by all members of Congress: Sanction the Jewish State
26 of 47 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a bad introduction to BDS April 26 2012
By Christopher M. Whitman Jr. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I will keep this as non-political as possible. I picked up the book because I have read many of the authors and although I am not particularly interested in BDS, I am actively involved in the Israel-Palestine issue, so I decided to get it. It has the usual authors about BDS giving short 2-10 page writings about various aspects of BDS. There is much overlap, especially about what they consider successes, and much about what boycott entails. I wish the book was formulated to giving compare and contrast arguments from various authors on the conflict, to give a broader spectrum of opinion on the matter. The book reads more like a hooray for BDS than anything else. There are a few noteworthy articles (about 35 total articles) and some that is hard to understand why they are in there. If you do not know much about BDS, it is a better choice than Omar Barghouthi's 300 page editorial turned into a book "BDS" but it still falls short of what should be written. If you want a hooray for BDS book, this is a good book for you. If you want a critical analysis of BDS, unfortunately this book is not for you, the only counter arguments, left and right, are the authors' interpretations of various arguments.
Hope this review helps, please don't waste time posting comments about BDS itself, this review is about the book, I honestly don't care to have some BDS debate on my review. Thanks
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