Changing the narrative

Sami Kishawi tweeted the following about seven hours ago:

The fact that so many groups in the US are voting on #BDS in the first place means that the discourse on Israel is definitely changing

I agree.  However, I must offer a caveat here.  For context, consider the following post from one of my favorite liberal feminist bloggers:

The Junior Anti-Sex League Gets Bolder


While the anti-choice movement has always internally traded ideas about the evils of contraception, these past couple of years they’ve been bolder in making attacks on contraception access by trying to shut down Planned Parenthood and denouncing the Obama administration’s plan to categorize contraception as preventive medicine that must be covered without a co-pay by your insurance. There’s also been a new boldness in conservatives admitting their disgust towards female bodies, particularly in the belief that vaginas are so disgusting that speaking the name of them out loud can’t be done ever, but especially by women.

Amanda Marcotte makes a sparkling point here, namely that the anti-woman crowd has lost the rhetorical war; pro-choice, pro-woman activism had succeeded in challenging the anti-sex, anti-woman narrative, and has effectively won.  The anti-woman medieval nostalgists can no longer safely hide behind the euphemisms of ‘pro-life’ and ‘pro-family.’  They are exposed, and so their arguments are trending toward more brutal technical honesty.

In this issue, however, the narrative is no longer of primary importance.  The anti-woman medievalists have already succeeded in savagely curtailing de jure and de facto reproductive autonomy for women in the U.S.  Legal, safe abortions are difficult if not impossible to obtain in most of the U.S., and the campaign against universal access to contraception is accelerating.  This is part and parcel, of course, of a larger effort (largely successful, I might add) by reactionary conservatives and neoliberals to build and reinforce a social and political regime of authoritarian control over the general population.  In other words, control over women’s sexuality joins private employers’ control over workers’ conduct in and out of the workplace, and the ever-expanding imprisonment industry, as a part of the mechanisms of maintaining a hierarchical social and economic order that benefits the wealthy elite.

Similarly, with the issue of Israel’s and the international community’s (primarily the U.S.’s) treatment of the ‘Palestinian question,’ the brutality and injustice inherent to Zionism has cost the concept all of its moral legitimacy.  Unfortunately, the physical reality sees a deeply entrenched and protected Zionist state continuing its occupation and expansion with virtual impunity.

This does not mean, however, that resistance (including BDS efforts) is futile.  As Chris Hedges avers, resistance to injustice is in itself an affirmation of the better aspects our humanity, regardless of the outcomes.  In what is perhaps the best (or worst) case scenario, resistance to rapacious and inhumane Zionism will help provide the framework of a moral and ethical foundation for a more just and constructive reality, one that will at the very least arise from the ashes of Zionism’s inevitable self-immolation.

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