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I have decided to support the “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions” (BDS) program against the state of Israel. The goal of the program is to bring an end to illegal occupation of Palestinian lands by Israel, allow Palestinians to live in their homes unmolested and free from military or militia attacks and to bring fully equal democratic rights to Palestinians living inside Israel. Israel is occupying Palestinian land and operating there in ways violating international law, including building its wall of separation and allowing Jewish settlements to displace Palestinians. At least until Israel begins to abide by international law, I shall abide by the general provisions of BDS, meaning I shall not knowingly purchase Israeli goods, invest in Israeli companies, visit or support Israel as a state. I look forward to the day when I can reverse my position.

Boycotts are, clearly, blunt instruments. However, they have been effective in the past. Furthermore, I have been informally using them all my life, avoiding wherever possible, for example, the use or purchase of Microsoft products, on such grounds as that they demonstrate unethical business practices, including even stupid practices, such as refusing to support their own prior customers after developing new versions of software. Of course, I do use Microsoft products, because others keep forcing me to do so; but I minimize my use of them, and I encourage others to do the same. Similarly, I do not support PayPal or Amazon, because they’ve acted against one of the few who have directly supported principles of democratic freedom as they apply in the Internet age, Edward Snowden. Boycotts are blunt, but effective instruments, and I will continue to use them.

I’m willing to listen and respond to sensible counterarguments. But arguments that the UN or the International Court are the homes of conspiracies against Israel or the US needn’t be put; they are stupid and pointless. Arguments that Hamas is an evil organization will probably be coherent and correct, but also red herrings. The issue in question is Israel and its actions.

And, by the way, the state of Australia is also systematically violating international law, by, for example, refusing to receive and properly process the claims of refugees, as required by the Refugee Convention. I abhor the actions of my own government and would welcome a BDS movement against it, since I think pressure to change its policies, or better yet its government, are most welcome!

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