Jewish Perspectives on Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions

Tuesday, June 15, 2010 - 7:30pm
Advent Lutheran Church 2504 Broadway (entrance on 93rdSt.): #1, 2, 3 to 96 St. (exit at 93rd); B, C to 96 St.:

hannahmermelstein at

June 15: Jewish Perspectives on BDS

Please join us for a discussion


Tuesday, June 15, 2010 at 7:30 PM

2504 Broadway, Advent Lutheran Church (entrance on 93rdSt.)

Many Jews wish to see Israel end the occupation; abide by international humanitarian law, human rights laws and precepts; and meet its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people's right to self-determination.

Some believe that an effective way to do so is to adopt and to maintain nonviolent and punitive measures through participating in a campaign to boycott, divest from, and sanction (BDS) Israel. The movement has grown rapidly since 2005, when a broad coalition of Palestinian civil society groups called on people around the world to join a campaign that involves academic, cultural, consumer, and sports boycotts; encouragement of and pressure on individuals, financial institutions and companies to shed their investments in Israel; and sanctions-ending preferential trade, joint research, and other agreements, local and regional governments ties between municipalities or regional councils and Israel, and military links and support to Israel.

Others believe that this movement uses the tools of boycott, divestment and sanction in a manner that is more blunt than smart and that its strategy may be doing more harm than good, driving the stakeholders further apart, rather than moving them towards a solution.

We invite you to a respectful dialogue on BDS-whether you already have a position on it or you want to clarify for yourself the complex issues it raises. This event will provide an opportunity to hear from people who disagree about whether BDS is an appropriate and effective strategy. We are fortunate to have speakers who have thought deeply about--and been involved--in issues of peace and justice, who have spent a lot of time in Israel/Palestine, and who disagree with each other about BDS. We also have a moderator/respondent who will encourage the speakers and audience to probe more deeply into these issues.

We hope you will join us.


J.J. Goldberg--senior columnist for the Forward and former editor-in-chief; author of "Jewish Power: Inside the American Jewish Establishment;" writes articles, does radio and TV shows, and lectures across the country; lived in Israel during the 1970's-will speak in opposition to the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Campaign.

Hannah Mermelstein--active member, Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel; co-founder, Birthright Unplugged; co-founder, Students Boycott Apartheid--will speak in support of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Campaign.

Kathleen Peratis--member of J Street board; former vice president New Israel Fund; former president NYCLU; columnist The Forward; partner New York law firm Outten & Golden LLP--will speak in opposition to this campaign.

Yonatan Shapira--former captain in the Israeli Air Force and initiator of the pilots' refusal letter; member of "Boycott! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within"; co-founder, Combatants for Peace--will speak in support of this campaign.

Moderator and respondent:

Esther Kaplan--radio and print journalist; editor of The Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute, a nonprofit journalism project; co-host of Beyond the Pale, which covers Jewish culture and politics on WBAI/New York; a former editor at The Nation.

This event is co-sponsored by members of the Jewish community with different views on this issue: Anita Altman, Renate Bridenthal, Jane Hirschmann, Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz, Gil Kulick, Marilyn Neimark, Donna Nevel, Letty Cottin Pogrebin, Alisa Solomon, Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Rabbi Alissa Wise