Dear BDS

You're based in Tel Aviv, right? Through no fault of yours, there is an international campaign of "boycott, divestment and sanctions" against your government and economy, which unfortunately is a picket line I can't cross. I wish your citizens all the best in changing the government's course of action on respect for international law and human rights conventions to which it is a signatory. We in the US are certainly doing our part to correct our government's complicity and enabling of these abuses.

As a Jewish woman and denizen of Israel, I am familiar with BDS and its aims. I expect that after this conversation, you will destroy your cell phone, many of its apps as well as your computer immediately as these technologies were made with the help of Israeli technology. Also, be sure to refuse for yourself and your family any medical advances and research provided by Israeli universities and innovators. Take it a step further by refusing to hear Israeli stories, drown out Jewish voices, and reduce Palestinians to children with no agency and dignity of their own. Certainly, a person as evil as myself - through no fault of my own, has NO business helping Palestinians express their hopes, fears, and feelings.

Because here's what you don't know about me: I have lived in Israel for ten years. During that time, I have marched with Combatants for Peace, volunteered with Amnesty International, the Middle East Peace Initiative, and Kids For Peace. I have engaged with countless dialogue/encounter groups with Palestinians and traveled extensively in the West Bank. Ending the occupation is something that very many other Israelis and I are involved in on a grassroots level every single day. We have an intractable government - I've gone to so many anti-Bibi demonstrations surrounded by thousands of Israelis - and we are working for change. I have spent hours this week on Clubhouse, listening to Palestinians tell their stories - and Israelis too - and speaking about what we can do to affect change.

But that's just me, as an individual - and though there are many people like me in Israel, there are also many who feel and behave differently. But we have something in common. We are Jews living in the Jewish state—a country barely 73 years old, founded with the idea that Jews deserve the right to self-determination. When the country was founded, it was based on the flawed idea that the people already living here would just drift into the periphery willingly. We were wrong. That was wrong. We, today, living in the third generation of this country are dealing with the inheritance of flawed thinking and, yes, sometimes stupid or even cruel acts. We are also living with being attacked from within and without continually. In the past 30 years, there have been 171 suicide bombings in Israel. That doesn't mention the stabbings, shootings, and other acts of violence. The intifadas left Israelis with zero faith or trust in peace. Hezbollah, on our northern border daily threatens to annihilate us. Palestinians in the West Bank suffer from corrupt leadership, the encroachment of fanatic Jewish settlers, an Israeli right-wing government, and a paucity of their own leadership, tangible hope, educational or life opportunities. This situation is the very definition of "tragedy." The number of vested foreign interests in this land have turned this conflict into a proxy war for power and influence, using ordinary people as pawns. Your country, the US of A, is one of these vested interests. I suggest you boycott America, frankly.

If this is an issue you feel strongly about, I suggest that you be the change you want to see in the world and walk away from such a blunt and ill-used club as BDS, which, apparently, influenced you to, without bothering to ask more about me, write me off immediately, and by dint of that, to write off Israelis as a whole. If you believe in peace and justice, then follow in the footsteps of dialogue, respect, and understanding. The claims of BDS are extreme and, in many cases, ill-informed and just wrong. It is widely seen as an antisemitic organization. That's a picket line that you DO want to cross.

p.s. here is a handy list of Israel inventions, innovations and discoveries that you can also boycott.

p.s.s. here is how BDS helps Palestinians.