Home Global Village Boycotts, Divestments & Sanctions are an American tradition..! – Leigh Anne Treistman

Boycotts, Divestments & Sanctions are an American tradition..! – Leigh Anne Treistman


Leigh Anne Treistman |

Recent debates in the United States have centered around the BDS (Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions, a movement against Israel) movement and the push by Congress to force support for legislation that is unconstitutional. Congress does not have the right to compel an American contractor to do business with a foreign nation. Perhaps a quick US history lesson might help the legislators in 26 states who have passed laws that strip an American citizen of his or her right to protest.

Boycotts have been a cornerstone in American disputes. From the Delano Table Grape Boycotts in the 1960s to the Nestle Boycotts in the 1970s, Americans have pushed for reforms by boycotting. We have boycotted as individuals, as part of organized groups, and we have boycotted as a nation.

I find it hard to believe that we still call it the “Palestinian Conflict” because that is a gross misunderstanding of how this group of people came to live under military rule.

President Carter boycotted the Olympic Games over the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, ironically, a nation that we later invaded and have been at war with for the last 17 years. The unwavering forced “support” of Israel by the United States Congress is not just counterproductive, it is unconstitutional.

People worldwide have called upon the Israeli government, led by war hawk Netanyahu, to change its apartheid-like policies against the Palestinian people. Recently, the US Minority

Leader, Kevin McCarthy, promised “action” against Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib for their support of the BDS (Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions, a movement against Israel) movement. Mr. McCarthy might be shocked to learn that a number of Jewish people across the United States stand very firmly with these two Congresswomen on this issue.

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I am an American Jew. While I do not speak for “all American Jewish people”, I can very confidently say that there is a strong movement of Jews in this country who are fed up with the blatant support of a nation that has violated the humanitarian laws we say we uphold. Maybe Congress should take countless trips to Gaza and the West Bank just as they do to Israel to see the “Palestinian” conflict from a very personal perspective.

I find it hard to believe that we still call it the “Palestinian Conflict” because that is a gross misunderstanding of how this group of people came to live under military rule. That might require another history lesson on countless wars held over time with different alliances and completely different agendas. It might take some understanding of some of the players; Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Russia, Egypt, the USA.

Omar and Tlaib are no more anti-Semitic than I am; they just understand the constitutional right to protest. They understand that the continued support of military rule against the Palestinian people is immoral.

If students during the 1980s could shut down universities across the nation over divestments in South Africa, then why can’t an American contractor choose to do business with a country other than Israel now? People who make up government boards and sign contracts should engage conscientiously. It is what university students demanded of state schools using state funds as investments. That right to protest is an American tradition. Economic pressure is one of the few non-violent means to get movement and change. The mounting pressure on

Israel should cause significant policy shifts and that simply cannot be done without a BDS movement.

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Omar and Tlaib are no more anti-Semitic than I am; they just understand the constitutional right to protest. They understand that the continued support of military rule against the Palestinian people is immoral. They understand that the American constituent is not going to be silenced.

Leigh Anne is an educator and humanitarian living in the United States. She can be reached at leighannetreistman@gmail.com. The views expressed in this article are author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space. 

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