Previously we noted that the New York Times has a tendency to play up the successes of the BDS movement and to play down the true nature of the BDS movement.
The New York Times has since carried two more articles about BDS; one in the news section and one op-ed. Surprisingly, the opinion article took a critical look at BDS. Unfortunately the news story was consistent with previous New York Times coverage of the issue.
In the news section, Jerusalem bureau chief, Jodi Rudoren wrote West Bank Boycott: A Political Act or Prejudice? For the most part Rudoren treats the issue “evenhandedly,” giving each side equal time and not judging either side. In the course of the reporting Rudoren interviews BDS activist Omar Barghouti.
“He can say anything he wishes, but immoral? Resistance to his immoral policies can never be immoral,” Mr. Barghouti said of Mr. Netanyahu. “The litmus test is are you boycotting a group of people based on their identity, or are you boycotting something — an act, a company, a business — that you disagree with.
“We have three reasons,” Mr. Barghouti said, citing the movement’s goals of ending the occupation; ensuring equality for Palestinian citizens of Israel; and promoting the right of return for Palestinian refugees. “End the three reasons and we won’t boycott.”
Barghouti, who got a degree from Tel Aviv University is a pretty good example of equality of Israel’s minorities. That degree also makes Barghouti a hypocrites as his boycott would affect Tel Aviv University too. Rudoren ignores these inconsistencies. She also remains silent about Barghouti’s demand for the right of return. Everyone knows that the point of that “right” is the destruction of Israel.
In fact, Barghouti’s claim confirms that the the goal of the BDS movement is an assault on Israel’s right to exist is correct. Rudoren doesn’t appear to grasp this.
Oddly, it is columnist Roger Cohen who got things right about BDS. In The B.D.S. Threat, Cohen writes:
Yet these developments make me uneasy for a simple reason: I do not trust the B.D.S. movement. Its stated aim is to end the occupation, secure “full equality” for Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel, and fight for the right of return of all Palestinian refugees. The first objective is essential to Israel’s future. The second is laudable. The third, combined with the second, equals the end of Israel as a Jewish state. This is the hidden agenda of B.D.S., its unacceptable subterfuge: beguile, disguise and suffocate.
The anti-Apartheid movement in South Africa contained no such ambiguity. As Diana Shaw Clark, an activist on behalf of a two-state solution, wrote to me in an email, “People affiliated with divestment in South Africa had no agenda other than the liberation and enfranchisement of an oppressed majority.”
This is not the case in Israel, where the triple objective of B.D.S. would, in Clark’s words, “doom Israel as a national home for the Jews.” Mellifluous talk of democracy and rights and justice masks the B.D.S. objective that is nothing other than the end of the Jewish state for which the United Nations gave an unambiguous mandate in 1947. The movement’s anti-Zionism can easily be a cover for anti-Semitism.
This is the simple logic that eluded Rudoren.
Cohen can hardly be called someone who supports Israel “unreservedly,” to use a dismissive word a recent New York Times article used. He criticizes Israel harshly and often unfairly.
Though I have my disagreements with a number of Cohen’s assertions in this column, he deserves credit for cutting through the B.S. about B.D.S.
That’s something that all too few of his colleagues at the New York Times do.
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