Rahul Saksena in In These Times


The following piece was published in In These Times on September 21, 2017. Click here to view the full article. 

When “Progressives” Make Palestinian Rights Taboo, They Are Coddling the Far Right

By Rahul Saksena

Earlier this month, Illinois State Senator Daniel Biss removed Chicago Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa as his running mate in the Illinois gubernatorial race due to Ramirez-Rosa’s refusal to oppose the 2005 Palestinian-led call to use boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) tactics to pressure Israel to respect Palestinian rights and to comply with international law. BDS campaigns, inspired by the South African anti-Apartheid struggle, are vigorously opposed by Israel’s fiercest defenders, who prefer to perpetuate a status quo that favors discrimination and apartheid over justice, freedom and equality.  

Biss’ decision is the latest sign that, even among self-described progressive politicians, support for Palestinian rights remains taboo.

The movement for Palestinian rights sits at the intersection of some of the most troubling aspects of the Trump agenda. Trump coddles Israel’s far-right government while he doubles down on his campaign’s anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant rhetoric. He rejects the rights of refugees and makes no secret of his disdain for dissent. Many Democrats have shown a willingness to support this harmful agenda, to avoid being perceived as sympathetic to Palestinian freedom.

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