03/03/2014 12:58 pm ET Updated May 03, 2014

Why I Oppose the 'Boycott Israel' Movement

This will be a short one as I only choose to make one point. I make it as someone who absolutely supports the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement (BDS) as applied to the West Bank. Even if I deeply desired the seltzer machine Scarlett Johannson promotes, I would not buy one manufactured in occupied territory. I favor divestment from any company that sustains the occupation, which is both illegal and immoral.

However, I do not support boycotting Israel itself because, although I have no problem at all about applying collective economic punishment on settlers and the loathsome settlement enterprise, I do not feel that way about Israelis in general. I am not anti-Zionist. I am, for lack of a better term, a liberal Zionist. I want the Jewish state to survive and prosper which is impossible so long as it maintains its colonial and oppressive regime in the West Bank and its blockade of Gaza. The Palestinian people have the same right to an independent, fully sovereign state as the Israelis do. After all, they were the overwhelming majority of the country until Israel was established in 1948.

But all that is beside the one point I need to make today.

Where do Americans come by the sheer gall of demanding sanctions on all Israelis when they themselves have never been subjected to sanctions for the crimes of our government? After all, if every Israeli including old socialist kibbutzniks, school kids, and opponents of the occupation, deserve to pay a personal price for an occupation they may not support, shouldn't all Americans pay a price for American crimes that Israel could not match in a hundred years?

Start with the Iraq war, a war engineered by American politicians and their neocon cheerleaders that killed (in addition to almost 5,000 Americans) at least 500,000 Iraqis. Then there is Afghanistan which, thanks to our glorious efforts (read Charlie Wilson's War) fell to the mujahedin and ultimately the Taliban and which is now a killing field where American drones kill whoever we suspect is allied with the crazed religious extremists we helped install there. And, of course, there was Vietnam. where the U.S. was responsible for millions of dead. And the coups we engineered in Iran, Chile and Guatemala and the death squads we supported in El Salvador. There was the Nixon administration's enthusiastic support for the Pakistani slaughter of hundreds of thousands in, what is now, Bangladesh.

I could go on and on. But I won't because you get the point.

And the point is this: Who are we to support punishing all Israelis for the crimes of their government when we ourselves are equally complicit in the crimes of ours?

Nonetheless, I do not believe that all Americans should be punished for those crimes although I would love to see the perpetrators in the dock. Just not the ordinary people I know who had nothing to do with any of this.

In short, Americans who get so self-righteous about Israel should look in the mirror. Or move to Denmark or any of those other countries whose crimes do not dwarf anything Israel has ever done.

Physician, heal thyself.

And, Israel, end the damn occupation because, whether I like it or not, the boycott movement against Israel itself is getting stronger every day. What kind of lunacy would jeopardize Tel Aviv to preserve the right of a bunch of religious fanatics to live in Hebron?

Postscript: On the subject of hypocrisy and chutzpah, I should mention U.S. shocked outrage at Soviet behavior vis-à-vis Ukraine when it is no different than how the United States has behaved toward every country in the Americas that dared to elect or install governments we considered unfriendly to our interests. And Chile, the Dominican Republic, Cuba (to name just three) are not even on our borders!