Last week my husband and I went to a meeting of the student union at UBC to display the Independent Jewish Voices – Vancouver banner in support of the impending vote calling on the university to endorse boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Apartheid Israel. As we were entering the student union building, I spotted a sign on the lawn that said “It’s about hate, vote no to the BDS referendum.”
I smiled. If this is the key argument left to the pro-Zionist side, we’ve already won.
This argument — that BDS is about hate — is bizarre for a number of reasons. I was actively involved in the original anti-Apartheid movement that opposed the racist system in South Africa. It’s fairly obvious that my opposition to this cruel and unjust system was not because I hated Whites. I did, of course, hate, but what I hated was a system that discriminated against the non-White majority.
Obviously, the term “hate” has a bad connotation in most of our minds, but a moment’s thought will tell us that, in fact, many things are indeed worth hating: fascism; mass murder; child poverty; homelessness; gender inequality; homophobia; discrimination against minorities…the list is endless. Yet social movements are not, at their core, about hate: social activists are struggling for change, hopefully, in their eyes, for the better, and often for people other than themselves.