Has the boycott, divestment, sanctions (BDS) movement succeeded in bringing Israel to the point of South Africa when it ended apartheid and reformulated itself into a non-racist state? Despite the egregious falsity of the historical comparison, the Center for Palestine Studies at Columbia University recently held an informal debate on this question titled, "Palestine's South Africa Moment? The Boycott, Divest and Sanctions Movement." The audience of approximately 140 people—a mix of students, self-described Palestinians, activists, and fellow travelers—filled the Columbia Law School lecture hall.
Rashid Khalidi, Columbia's Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies, restated a point often made by political interlocutors, in an intonation that fully communicated his contempt:
"If you're Palestinian and you live in certain places, say New York City, like myself . . . you are lectured that the Palestinians should be non-violent. . . . What usually follows that is . . . "Where is the Palestinian Gandhi?"
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