With the recent announcement by Pete Seeger that he joined and endorsed the BDS movement to delegitimize Israel (Boycott, Disinvest and Sanctions), Seeger has finally jeopardized any claim he might have had to be known as a supporter of reconciliation, tolerance, justice and peace.
Not only has Seeger joined the BDS movement, he has withdrawn his support from his previous participation in the Arava Institute’s “Virtual Rally for a Better Middle East,” which took place last November, and which I criticized here. That movement was flawed in that it was predicated on moral equivalence between Israel and its enemies, although it sought to work for “cross-border cooperation” and peace between Palestinians and Israelis.
Seeger has disavowed his earlier connection with the Arava Institute because he learned of its cooperation with the Jewish National Fund (JNF), an Israeli mainstream organization in existence during the days of theYishuv, before Israel was even created. An important JNF mission was to plant trees in Palestine (one of the reasons Israel looks so different from much of the barren Middle East). When Seeger learned that the JNF was funding the planting of trees in the Israeli desert he considered it enough of a reason to withdraw his support from the Arava Institute. He now says: “I misunderstood the leaders of the Arava Institute because I didn’t realize to what degree the Jewish National Fund was supporting Arava. Now that I know more, I support the BDS movement as much as I can.”