British journalist Jonathan Cook, based in Nazareth, is an example of the necessary skepticism individuals should display when writing about Palestine. Occupation can’t be hidden.
In a new interview, he says:
This is a Palestinian grassroots initiative that cannot be bought off by Israel in the way the Fatah leadership was bought off by Oslo. It empowers Palestinians by allowing them to set the scope and agenda of their struggle, such as by demanding that artists respect their call not to perform in Israel. It offers a practical way for people outside the region to show solidarity with the Palestinian struggle by heeding that call and thinking creatively about how to implement BDS [boycott, divestment and sanctions] in their own countries. In the controversy and debate it generates it offers a chance to engage and educate those who are at the moment only vaguely aware that there might be problem here. And if BDS gains more momentum, it could really harm the Israeli economy. In fact, in my view there is no way to end the occupation unless Israelis are made to see that they will pay a heavy price for its continuance. The US could do that overnight by withdrawing its huge subsidies to Israel. I’m not holding my breath. Instead BDS gives all of us the power to show Israel that the occupation does not pay.
As for the issue of wider Palestinian support, it is still early days for BDS. In my experience, many ordinary Palestinians in the occupied territories and inside Israel are not yet sufficiently aware of the campaign or its potential importance. Some may also take some persuading that the outside world, which has aided and abetted their persecutors for so long, is capable of providing a solution. But my impression is that interest in and support for BDS among Palestinians is growing all the time.