If not boycott, what? There is a wide range of positive activities by which we can make solidarity with the Palestinians without the drawbacks of boycott. In fact, the boycott demand often serves a diversion, directing people towards token or downright counterproductive activities instead of what they could do positively.
1. Demonstrations, lobbies, pickets, petitions, trade-union resolutions, focused on positive demands for “two states”, rather than on increasing generalised hostility to Israel. One of the plagues of much of current “pro-Palestinian” activism is that, because it is in principle opposed to recognising Israel and making limited demands on it, it eschews the sort of limited demands which can be won immediately and yield some progress. For example, regular pickets of the Israeli embassy in London helped win the early release of five Israeli refuseniks jailed for much longer sentences than those usually imposed on refuseniks (indeed, theoretically indefinite sentences). Such protests might also win concessions on checkpoints within the West Bank, or on Gaza students not being allowed to attend universities outside Gaza.
2. Direct links (visits, speaking tours, etc.) between trade-union, student, etc. organisations here and Palestinian and Israeli workers’ groups and peace movements.
3. Support for groups which send international “observers” to the West Bank to help monitor Israeli military actions and groups like Ta’ayush which work to build grass-roots Jewish-Arab links in Israel/ Palestine.
4. Pressure on the British and other Western governments to take a clear stand for “two states” and to condemn Israeli government measures blocking the way to it.
5. Material aid to Palestinians in the West Bank (e.g. sending books and other supplies).
By building a real movement around such activities, focused on positive demands for Palestinian demands rather than “hate Israel”, we could reach the level where the question could be posed of industrial action by workers internationally to hasten a “two states” settlement, e.g. to block military supplies to the Israeli government, or to demand a definite stand from their home governments.