This book explores the history and current status of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with special attention to the Boycott Divestment, and Sanctions Movement. BDS seeks to pressure Israel to withdraw from the West Bank and Gaza by persuading universities, churches, unions, and businesses dealing with Israel to boycott Israeli products, institutions, professionals, artistic exhibits, and cultural performances, with the goal of de-legitimizing the state of Israel. BDS spokespersons, who have called for the Right of Return for millions of refugees and their descendants to what is now Israel, refuse to accept the existence of a Jewish state. Many people believe that the ultimate aim of BDS is the end of Israel.
Cary Nelson, the editor of Dreams Deferred, is a professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences and English at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. The book’s contributors are academics who are members of the Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, (SPME), which advocates for freedom of speech, a two-state solution, and Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state. Publication of this anthology was supported by the Israel Actions Network, an affiliate of the Jewish Federations of North America.
An encyclopedic format offers sixty alphabetically arranged scholarly essays, which range from “Academic Boycotts” to ” Zionism as Philosophy and Practice.” Each entry is followed by “See also” references. Major discussions of a topic appear in boldface in the index. Taken together,the entries, “See also” references, and index provide an excellent overview of the conflict. Topics include “Anti-Zionism as Anti-semitism,” Holocaust Inversion,” (Israelis as Nazis), and “Socially Responsible Investing.” This work is highly useful as background for debates and discussions. The editor urges small steps to ease tensions until an agreement can be reached that “validates the national narratives of both peoples.”