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Would BDS be okay if occupation gets worse?

The movement to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel could garner widespread consensus if it sets conditions dependent on future circumstances — for example, if the current settler count (700,000) crossed the 800,000 or 900,000 line, or occupation continued another 10 or 15 years. Opponents of BDS must answer this challenge: What about after 1 million settlers? 1.5 million? What about after 25 years more occupation? Half a century? To oppose BDS no matter what, even in principle, represents a double standard.

Let us oppose BDS for now, but also specify red lines on how much worse the situation can get or how much longer it can continue without the boycott. It is opponents of the boycott who must explain why they are not the ones guilty of double standards, since they would not display such intense favoritism for any other country, and embrace occupation and settlement expansionism only when Israel is involved. Just take a look at the West’s attitude toward Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The West is considering sanctions on Putin for his occupation of Crimea, even as it embraces Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. But what is the difference between what Putin is doing to Crimea and Netanyahu to the West Bank? If there is one, it seems that Putin’s action, while certainly terrible, is less terrible, since Crimea is largely Russian and seems to want Russian occupation, while the West Bank is nearly all Palestinian and suffering under its miserable Israeli occupation. Yet Netanyahu is the one who is lauded in the U.S. Congress.

James Adler
Cambridge, England

Misplaced sympathy for terrorists

In response to “The rights and wrongs of an incarcerated Hamas man” by Gideon Levy, March 8
Is this author serious? He writes, “Isn’t even a Hamas man who was involved in a suicide attack entitled to the basic right of family visits?”

How can he have any rights, someone who deprived other families of the right to see their loved ones forever? Why shouldn’t he and others be deprived of visiting rights? Why would they merit such rights? And though his wife has a brain tumor, she is still alive and running a home that serves as a refuge for “Hamas retirees.”

How many people are no longer alive thanks to her family? Misplaced sympathies for terrorists is my diagnosis of the author’s condition.

Suzanne Libenson
Givat Shmuel