BDS rhetoric is so extreme that even some left-wing Jewish critics of Israel are worried.
The Boycott, Divest and Sanction Israel movement is a Potemkin movement which has the façade of merely opposing the “occupation,” but which in reality seeks the destruction of Israel, and willingly joins with the worst Islamists and anti-Semites in that goal.
Academics in Europe and increasingly in the U.S. are joining the BDS movement. We’re not talking just about deranged theorists like Columbia Prof. Joseph Massad. We’re talking about groups like the Association of Asian American Studies, and its past and current Presidents, U. Mass–Boston Professor and Associate Provost Rajini Srikanth and CalPoly Professor Mary Yu Danico, who have singled out Israel — and Israel alone — for an academic boycott.
But the façade is wearing thin. BDS should being seen for the anti-Semitic movement it is, a movement that demonizes only the Jewish State, holds only the Jewish State to the highest standards no one else meets (certainly not in the Middle East), and seeks the destruction only of the sole Jewish State in a sea of Islamic States.
We noted the other day how an Israeli soldier was shocked to see the ugly BDS side of U.S. campus life.
We didn’t include in our excerpt the following passage in which the failure of Israeli soldiers to rape Arab women is portrayed as an act of racism by a BDS activist. Really, that has been an argument for years, and apparently started with a left-wing Israeli grad student complaining about how the IDF dehumanizes Palestinians. It has morphed is to a standard trope (emphasis added):
The claims go beyond being absurd – in one case, a professor asked me if I knew how many Palestinians have been raped by IDF forces. I answered that as far as I knew, none. She triumphantly responded that I was right, because, she said, “You IDF soldiers don’t rape Palestinians because Israelis are so racist and disgusted by them that you won’t touch them.”
Phyllis Chesler noted at the time this claim first surfaced, highlighting how only the worst of intentions are attributed to Israelis:
As the only army that does not, apparently, rape, Nitzan fails to grapple with other reasons for this, including the possibility that Israeli soldiers are acting in an ethical and civilized manner.
It shows you how even when Israel adheres to the highest standards, and does not do what takes place daily in the Syrian civil war and elsewhere in armed conflict, it is called racist.
Rape and Israelis are rapists; don’t rape, and Israelis are racists. It’s the perfect caricature of the arguments made by the BDS movement and its supporters.
Two recent articles demonstrate that even some left-wing Jews who generally are critical of Israeli policies, have had enough.
M.J. Rosenberg is one of the harshest critics of Israeli policies. He is the guy who had to leave Media Matters because he would not give up the term “Israel Firsters.” Even Rosenberg has had enough of people like Ali Abunimah, who runs the Electronic Intifada website, a strong promoter of BDS, I Need To Stop Reading Ali Abunimah’s Twitter Feed (emphasis added):
I stopped reading racist, homophobic, and anti-Muslim twitter feeds a long time ago and my life is so much better for it.
But, for some reason, I still read @aliabunimah although, to me, it is clear that he cannot stand Jews.
He gets worse and worse. Right now, his feed is one hateful tweet after another. Yeah, yeah, I know he is careful to scream about Israelis or Zionists and not Jews, but he doesn’t fool me. Or any Jew who doesn’t want to be fooled.
But there is one good thing about Ali Abunimah. There is a tendency among Jews on the left, including myself, to argue so vehemently that being anti-Israel does not make one an anti-Semite that we don’t notice when being anti-Israel coexists with anti-Semitism, that one just feeds the other. We should.
Bottom line: I believe that Ali Abunimah would be ecstatic if Israel was destroyed, blown off the face of the earth, along with every one of its people because, after all, the Jews in Palestine are, by definition, Zionists, even the kids. Settlers, colonialists, baby killers, torturers, invaders and all the other labels he uses that exempt no Jew in any part of Israel or Palestine.
So, thanks, Ali. As long as there are people around like you, I will never lull myself into believing that anti-Semitism is a thing of the past. It isn’t.
Everything Rosenberg said applies with full force to the entire BDS movement. If leftists are fooled, it is only because they want to be.
Another epiphany came to Eric Alterman, who writes at The Nation. Alterman, also someone who hardly is a sycophant for Israeli policies, reviewed a new book by Max Blumenthal. Blumenthal, the son of well known journalist Sidney Blumenthal, is an anti-Israel provocateur and ne of those people BDS activists can point to and say, look, a Jew agrees with us about the evil of Israel, so we can’t be anti-Semitic.
Alterman’s review of Blumenthal’s book, Goliath, is a devastating critique not of Blumenthal and the book. But it is more. Alterman’s criticisms could be applied almost seamlessly to the BDS movement’s demonization of Israel (emphasis added):
When I was asked to do my column about Max Blumenthal’s book, Goliath, I was of two minds. On the one hand, I like to be a team player. But on the other, whenever I criticize BDS types, I apparently invite an avalanche of personal invective from its fans. (This happens when I criticize neocons on Israel as well, but to be honest, the BDS types appear to have more time on their hands for this kind of thing.) Second, I’ve known the author’s parents since he was a little boy, and whatever the quality of the book, I expected that my honest views of it might threaten three decades of friendly relations….
It is no exaggeration to say that this book could have been published by the Hamas Book-of-the-Month Club (if it existed) without a single word change once it’s translated into Arabic. (Though to be fair, Blumenthal should probably add some anti-female, anti-gay arguments for that.) Goliath is a propaganda tract, not an argument as it does not even consider alternative explanations for the anti-Israel conclusions it reaches on every page. Its implicit equation of Israel with Nazis is also particularly distasteful to any fair-minded individual. And its larding of virtually every sentence with pointless adjectives designed to demonstrate the author’s distaste for his subject is as amateurish as it is ineffective. As I said, arguments this simplistic and one-sided do the Palestinians no good. There will be no Palestinian state unless Israel agrees to it. And if these are the views of the people with whom Israelis of good will are expected to agree, well, you can hardly blame them for not trusting them.
Alterman makes a point which applies just as easily to the AAAS and other academic boycotts, which view Israel’s actions in a misleading isolation to the unmentioned hatred that surrounds it (emphasis added):
Blumenthal evinces no interest in the larger context of Israel’s actions. Potential threats that emanate from Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, Syria, Iran, etc., receive virtually no mention in these pages. Israel’s actions are attributed exclusively to the myopia of its citizens. Blumenthal blames “Israeli society’s nationalistic impulses,” its politicians who struggle “to outdo one another in a competition for the most convincing exaltation of violence against the Arab evildoers,” its “fever swamps,” its “unprovoked violence against the Arab outclass,” and its textbooks that “indoctrinate Jewish children into the culture of militarism.” It would have been easy for him to at least pretend to even-handedness here. Did it not occur to Blumenthal, for instance, that Palestinians have textbooks as well?
I’m against using unjustied “-ism” accusations to stifle debate. But when it comes to BDS and its demonization of Israel, we must not be fooled.
The nature and bias of the BDS movement has to be brought up not to stifle debate, but to have the real debate.DONATE
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