"A presentation to the Association of American Geographers Annual Meetings, Seattle, Washington, April 12, 2011. Posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with Patrick Bond’s permission.
This panel is not only devoted to considering arguments about implementing the call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel, but also about broader problems of progressive political positioning and backlash in the academy.
Although I do not deal with the April 2 case of Richard Goldstone’s unprincipled U-turn on the findings of the United Nations commission into Israel’s 2008-09 Gaza invasion, the incident suggests the extent to which South African commentary on the oppression of Palestinians has become acutely politicised. For if Goldstone’s return to his Zionist past – recalling, too, his past as a minor apartheid-era judge (hence as a human rights ally, his zig-zag unreliability, reliability and now unreliability) – serves any purpose aside from empowering Israeli militarists, it will be to compel us to use South Africa as a base from which critical inquiry into the condition of Palestine must now be intensified."