Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Khaled Abu Toameh: Abbas Opposes Israel Boycott

It is ironic that while Abbas is saying no to a boycott of Israel, the American Studies Association, an association of U.S. professors with almost 5,000 members, voted to endorse an academic boycott of Israeli colleagues and universities.
The U.S. professors obviously do not care about what the Palestinian Authority president has to say about the boycott of Israel. The professors, like BDS supporters, apparently believe that Abbas is a "traitor" because he is conducting peace talks with Israel.
Abbas's attack on the BDS movement is a serious embarrassment for the anti-Israel activists, many of whom are not Palestinians.
The statements have enraged BDS activists worldwide, with some calling into question Abbas's right to speak on behalf of the Palestinians.
Prominent Palestinian journalist Daoud Kuttab noted that Abbas's statement in Johannesburg "naturally has angered many Palestinian and international supporters of the BDS movement."
Kuttab wrote that Abbas's statement "reflects the absence of any clear strategy from the Palestinian political leadership except for negotiations. It is unclear whether the reason behind the Palestinian leader's public attack at the BDS movement is a result of trying to protect the Palestinian elite or not wanting to anger the Israelis and their US allies."
Abbas did, however, call on people around the world to boycott products of settlements. "No, we do not support the boycott of Israel," Abbas said. "But we ask everyone to boycott the products of settlements because the settlements are in our territories. It is illegal."