What’s the Matter with Boycotting Israel?


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Not surprisingly, where groups like the MSA, MSU, and Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) have managed to gain a foothold on campuses, where they have been given a platform to promulgate the incendiary invention of Israeli apartheid, racism, and genocide, the hostility toward Jewish students and speakers has dramatically risen. The message of these groups can often be directly associated with incidents of violence and harassment toward Jewish students. In 2010, a young Jewish student at the University of California – Berkeley named Jessica Felber was physically attacked by a member of SJP. She is currently taking legal action against the university for failing to protect students like herself, despite the fact that extreme anti-Israel hostility on the campus has been on the rise. Gary Fouse, a teacher at the University of California – Irvine, which has been identified by the Anti-Defamation League as a hotbed of anti-Semitism, has spoken out about similar incidents of hostility and bigotry related to the university’s anti-Israel events. The pattern here is not difficult to recognize for anyone with eyes to see: the same Israeli apartheid agitprop that is used by Palestinians to justify violence and terrorism is also what motivates belligerence toward pro-Israel Jewish students on campuses — the supposed proponents of this alleged oppression.

Moreover, the extreme message of these groups and of the BDS movement itself — that Israel is an apartheid state, is the new Third Reich, and so forth — is the same as message as some of the worst anti-Semitic Islamist leaders of the Muslim world. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president of the Iranian Islamic Republic, has called Zionists (Israelis) the “racist perpetrators of genocide.” This same rhetoric could have easily been leveled by any number of BDS organization and Palestinian “human rights activists.” In fact, Ahmadinejad’s message on Israel (Zionism is racism, Israel is racist and oppressive, etc.) is virtually identical to the message of the BDS movement.

Why is this so important to point out? Because individuals like Ahmadinejad, who promote the fiction of Israeli apartheid, racism, persecution of Palestinians, etc., do so to delegitimize the state of Israel and to diminish its support in the international arena (Iran does not even recognize the state of Israel, but refers to it as the “Zionist regime”). This serves a very important purpose in extreme anti-Israel designs: if Israel is delegitimized and seen as oppressive, then sponsorship of terrorism against the Jewish State gains justification, and so does the larger objective of wiping it off the map. BDS activists play a special role in this process: they help promulgate the subterfuge of Israeli oppression and bring it into the mainstream.

What is perhaps most disturbing about the BDS movement is that it is so deceptive. Not only is BDS predicated on malicious lies, but it is typically festooned in the mellifluous rhetoric of “peace,” “dialogue,” and “bridge-building.” BDS activists are often invited to college campuses, for instance, under this pretext. This, too, falls apart under scrutiny. It is impossible to dialogue with BDS activists and others engaged in the delegitimization of Israel. The reason is simple: one cannot promote BDS against Israel unless one accepts that Israel engages in practices befitting measures as extreme as BDS. But these alleged practices — Israeli oppression, racism, and apartheid — are lies. Those who aren’t knowingly perpetuating the lies for the purpose of dismantling Israel, are helping to perpetuate the lies and their end game nonetheless.

At this point, someone like Mr. Eshman might naturally object with the following: although it’s true that anti-Semites incorporate BDS into their violent agenda, many genuine human rights activists view BDS as a legitimate way to deliver a message of disapproval to Israel. Israel, like any other country, is not above reproach, after all. Thus, we can’t put these two very different camps of people into the same category and, furthermore, we can’t blame the nonviolent BDS advocates for the crimes of the violent, anti-Semitic ones.

The response to this ill-considered concern is clear: it is difficult to say what is in anyone’s heart. A nonviolent BDS activist might not engage in violence himself, but might view violence against Jews as just — as activist of the ISM do. On the other hand, perhaps it’s true that some people are naive and genuinely believe anti-Israel lies without thinking critically. Or perhaps they have legitimate criticism of Israel and believe BDS is an appropriate expression of that criticism. Ultimately, neither of these excuses are defensible. There is no justification for the boycott of Israel unless one believes Israel is an apartheid state or otherwise deliberately abuses human rights. If one believes the latter, then either they do so out of ignorance, in which case they are helping to popularize anti-Semitic falsehoods and weaken the Jewish State, or they genuinely believe the mythology promoted by like likes of Idi Amin, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and their followers. The upshot? In either case, reasonable criticism of Israel is certainly unproblematic, but when criticism is based on falsehoods created for the purpose of inciting hatred toward Jews, this has crossed the line and cannot be abided in any form.

We should also note that the demand for dialogue is a two-way street. Yet, because the demonization campaign against Israel has been so successful, the contribution of pro-Israel dialogue is slowly being delegitimized as well. Dee Sterling, a member of the Irvine, California community, has devoted herself to exposing Jewish funding of an anti-Israel student program known as the Olive Tree Initiative, which is involved with many BDS activists. Sterling has been publicly defamed by supporters of the Olive Tree Initiative, and she has been prevented from speaking out about her experiences. Also at Irvine, in a now infamous incident, a 2010 speech given by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren at UCI was shouted down by student protesters. Protesters hurled terrible invective at the ambassador, including accusations of Israeli-perpetrated genocide, and had to be forcibly removed. The examples go on and on. For all of the lip-service on the importance of dialogue and the freedom of speech by BDS supporters, their ability to actually engage in it is seriously in question.

The price for ignoring the power of the BDS movement is not only being felt in our college campuses, but in the international community as well. On February 18th, the UN moved to condemn Israeli settlement policy as illegal and an obstacle to peace, essentially singling out and shifting the blame for the continued failure of the peace process onto Israel — not Palestinian terrorism, not the promotion of anti-Semitism by Arab autocrats, Hamas, or Palestinian schools. More disturbingly, although the US ultimately vetoed the resolution, UN ambassador Susan Rice stated publicly that the US sided whole-heartedly with the spirit of the resolution. The propaganda war is being lost.

It is being lost because whether one naively helps to empower the misinformation campaign against Israel or one disseminates its propaganda with the intention of destroying the Jewish State, the result is the same. It is a difference without a difference. It is therefore incumbent on any individual and organization that cares for the welfare of Israel to disassociate from the BDS movement as much as possible. It is far from difficult to do so. The Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties has set an excellent example by incorporating protocol into its funding guidelines to prohibit money from being used to support BDS-related activity. All it took was a simple clause. Of course, language of this kind can never be formulated perfectly, but this should not stand in the way of organizations who wish to send a clear message of dissent to the BDS movement. There should also not be a worry over compromising one’s commitment to free speech in adopting such protocol. If boycotting Israel is a legitimate expression of free speech, then surely boycotting the boycotters of Israel is as well.

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  • Robert Benson

    Thank you for the subjective report on Pro-Palestinian free speech. Palestine was a peaceful Holy Land and, even, the inhabitant Jews were not happy when the Zionists of Europe imposed their occupation. “Civil” War has prevailed ever since and most probably will, until the land is returned to the People of Palestine. One State, One People, Many Faiths; Palestine, the Holy Land.

  • mordechayariely

    Part 2
    What s the status in Muslim countries?
    *Iran- more than 200 gays have been executed
    *Iran- Teachers were hanged up because teaching Bahai religion.
    *Iran Women low- Virgin women to be executed is raped by a guard ahead execution.
    *All over the Muslim countries: Christians are being persecuted and are under run.
    *Building or repairing of non Muslim shrines is either forbidden or severely restricted
    *Limited woman rights
    * Acceptable honor killing of doters and wife's
    *People conversing from Islam to other religions may get by low death sentence
    * Political parties are either forbidden or limited.
    *Iran- By low only Shia Muslim cab be president, army chief, judge.

    The so called human rights organization or democratic supporters don't blame, vote resolutions or demonstrate against Muslim countries.
    What is the definition of this behavior? Hypocrite!

  • mordechayariely

    Part 1
    The Arabs/Iran are building a false Myth.
    They will not be confused with real facts!
    Unfortunately some innocent people (or not?) from the west are joining the false chorus.

    By the Israeli law and practice all citizens are:
    Equal by low—–Full political rights—-– Equals in universal human rights ––religious freedom––Citizens express freely––Women equality––Social rights equality–- study on same universities—- sharing the same medical treatment in hospitals- serves as judges and lawyers- play in the same sport clubs–share equally all public infrastructures– and more…..

    This is apartheid!!- it should be changed!!!
    It is the call of some so called human rights organization or democratic supporters!

  • Underzog

    The Arabs should be kicked out along the guidelines set by Rabbi Meir Kahane, Z"tl.

    This is what happens when one tries to coddle an enemy population. One gets punished for being so "liberal."

  • kafir4life

    I can only assume that hamas, like cair, worship that made up moon doggie (allah) created by the pedophile mohamat, and crapper of the terror-guide, the noble koran.

    On boycotts, I find it helpful to avoid terror supporter owned business, or those that emply terror supporters. How do I know if a particular moon doggie worsipper is or isn't a terrorist supporter? Me as kafir, cannot. This takes the most superior members of the terror community, so to be safe, we just avoid them. I'll find the manager of the store, and explain that I don't feel safe in his establishment and won't be shopping there any longer. It's a shame. I know that not all moon doggie worshippers are terrorists, but without any reliable way to distinguish, it's all I can do. I wouldn't approach any dog I didn't know either. (sorry for the redundency)

  • BS77

    All you leftist hypocrits and liars, do this: Take a trip to Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, Egypt, Algeria…..whatever…..then take a trip to Israel and be very honest….which nation is one you would prefer for yourself, your children? Which has the diversity, pluralism, tolerance and Democratic Constitutional guarantees of a modern , developed nation state? Which has the better living environment, health care, employment, technology, international trade and education? Which nation is subjected to the harshest propaganda and is endlessly criticized day and night by the leftists? In Sudan, over 350,000 people have been slaughtered by the hideous "government" but there are no calls for sanctions, boycotts or prosecutions…w.hy is this? Visit Israel and send us your report about apartheid. Clueless jerks, Israel is the LEAST apartheid nation in the region…..1.6 million Arabs live within Israel and wouldn't want to live elsewhere…..since they are free to leave! CHristians and Jews cannot live safely in any of the surrounding nations….or did you skim over that fact?

  • Bert

    It seems that evil and insanity are on the increase. It is impossible to reason with the fanatical leftists and the Muslim jihadists. It is frustrating for normal people to decide how to deal with these people. Perhaps there is some kind of divine testing process going on to separate the good from the evil. Think of the Pharaoh in Exodus who was tested with each plague and who always reverted back to form. When the testing was concluded then came the punishment. I have to believe that we are all being tested in preparation for some kind of final judgement. That is what the bible says and suppose that promise is correct.?

  • Fred Dawes

    The question you should be asking is how long before the muslims take power here inside the USA, If you read the new german report the european states will become part of the muslm world and disappear as a western idea and all its renown and greatness will also disappear from this earth, when not if this happens Israel will be attacked and the USA WILL BE NEXT.

  • Meyer M. Treinkman

    "Any Muslim who has Syphilis must not be cured by Salvarsan discovered by a Jew, Dr. Ehrlich. He should not even try to find out whether he has Syphilis, because the Wasserman Test is the discovery of a Jew. If a Muslim suspects that he has Gonorrhea, he must not seek diagnosis, because he will be using the method of a Jew named Neissner. "A Muslim who has heart disease must not use Digitalis, a discovery by a Jew, Ludwig Traube. Should he suffer with a toothache, he must not use Cocaine, a discovery of the Jews, Widal and Weil.

  • muchiboy

    "Israeli BDS movement is in fact predicated entirely upon vicious anti-Semitic mythology created by terrorists and terrorist sympathizers. Its purpose is to a) agitate against Jews and justify violence against them, and b) strip Israel of support in the international community, thereby making it easier to dismantle. These are the only purposes the BDS movement serves"

    There may be those in the world community whose sole goal is the dismantling of the Zionist state.I for one would not cry a river,but I have to admit it would be a loss,to the region and the world,never mind the Jewish community.But the (disputable) fact is that the Zionists,and this includes most of the Diaspora,have or had already dismantled the Palestinian state,before it even had an opportunity to live and grow.The existence of Israel meant a butchered and still borne Palestine,with the Israeli's still carving up the carcass.
    As to comparisons with Apartheid,this idea is not the result of a single,sole,sinister source,but rather numbers of independent well constructed and legitimate analogies by honest ,thinking individuals who cannot be dismissed so readily. It is about time that the supporters of Israel give equal recognition to the needs of the Palestinian people.It is past time that the Israelis recognize that much of the core criticisms directed towards them is both legitimate and urgent.muchiboy

    • kpcanuck

      There never was a "Palestinian state." Palestine was a land occupied by the Turks for 400 years. Over 70 percent of that land now belongs to Jordan. There never were a "Palestinian people." One of the founding members of the PLO said as much back in the 1970s, but he counted upon much of the world being stupid enough to pay no attention: correctly, as it turned out.

      March 31, 1977, the Dutch newspaper Trouw published an interview with Palestine Liberation Organization executive committee member Zahir Muhsein. Here's what he said:

      "The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct 'Palestinian people' to oppose Zionism."

      But keep drinking the propaganda Koolaid, if it makes you feel better.

      • Zach

        What does it matter what you call them? There ARE people there who are being subjugated. There WERE Arabs living in the area before 1948 who had their homes destroyed and lives taken in the creation of the Jewish state. Yes, I'm aware there is an ancient Jewish claim to the land. Doesn't mean it's legitimate. Are we going to start returning land to all groups who were expelled by the Romans 200 years ago?

        • Zach

          make that 2000 years ago

        • MixMChess

          "What does it matter what you call them? There ARE people there who are being subjugated."

          The Palestinians are not being subjugated by Israel. Hamas governs Gaza and the Palestinian Authority governs over 98% of the W. Bank. If Palestinians in the "territories" are being subjugated, it is by Hamas and the PA. Arabs citizens of Israel are full citizens with equal rights and protection guaranteed under Israeli law.

          "There WERE Arabs living in the area before 1948 who had their homes destroyed and lives taken in the creation of the Jewish state."

          Wrong, less than 18% of modern Israel proper belonged to Arabs who willingly left the country before and after the Arab war of extermination against Israel.

          "Yes, I'm aware there is an ancient Jewish claim to the land. Doesn't mean it's legitimate."

          It is legitimate based on plenty of historical evidence and international legal precedent. Jews are indigenous to the land and maintained a continuous presence for over 3,000 years according to archeological and historical evidence. Jewish civilization in Israel was already over 1,000 years old when Rome destroyed the Holy Temple and conquered the Jewish nation in the first century.

          "Are we going to start returning land to all groups who were expelled by the Romans 200 years ago?"

          You are completely ignorant of basic history. Rome exiled only a PORTION of the Jewish population (2000 years ago). The remaining Jews, although temporarily banned from Jerusalem, flourished for centuries in other Jewish towns, such as Yavne, Rafah, Gaza, Ashkelon, Jaffa and Caesarea.

          The "Jewish population was decimated by the Crusaders in the 12th century AD, but it rebounded in the next centuries and grew as Jews returned in waves of immigration and settled in Safed, Jerusalem, Tiberius and Hebron."

          In fact, by the 1870s, Jews once again were the majority religious group in Jerusalem. Jews had a continuous presence in the land for thousands of years. And diaspora Jews had been returning to Israel in waves of migration over the past two millennia since the "Roman expulsion." The early Zionists were the modern form of this migration pattern.

      • Zach

        ‎"Why should the Arabs make peace? If I was an Arab leader I would never make terms with Israel. That is natural: we have taken their country … They only see one thing: we have come here and stolen their country. Why should they accept that? … So it is simple: we have to stay strong and maintain a powerful army." — David Ben-Gurion, First PM of Israel

        • MixMChess

          This is a fabricated quote based on hearsay from a convesation Nahum Goldmann had with Ben Gurion. This hoax quote was started and disseminated by Johann Hari an anti-Israel advocate at London’s Independent.

          Here are some real quotes from Ben Gurion:

          "In the midst of wanton aggression, we still call upon the Arab inhabitants of the State of Israel to return to the ways of peace and play their part in the development of the State, with full and equal citizenship and due representation in its bodies and institutions – provisional or permanent. "

          "We offer peace and neighborliness to all the neighboring states and their peoples, and invite them to cooperate with the independent Hebrew nation for the common good of all."

          ""They [our Arab Neighbors] in turn have much to give us, they are blessed with what we lack. Great territories, ample for themselves and their children's children, even if they are far more prolific than they are today. We do not covet their expanses nor will we penetrate them – for we shall fight to end Diaspora in Arab lands as fiercely as we fought to end it in Europe, we want to be assembled wholly in our own Land. But if this region is to expand to the full, there must be reciprocity, there can be mutual aid – economic, political and cultural – between Jew and Arab. That is the necessity which will prevail, and the daily fulminations of their leaders should not alarm us unduly – they do not echo the real interests of the Arab peoples."

    • MixMChess

      "But the (disputable) fact is that the Zionists,and this includes most of the Diaspora,have or had already dismantled the Palestinian state,before it even had an opportunity to live and grow."

      You are a liar Ron Grant. Israel never dismantled a Palestinian state. In 1947 the UN partition plan gave both the Jews and the Palestinian Arabs their own lands. The Arabs received most of the cultivatable land, whereas approximately 60 percent of the Jewish state was to be the arid desert in the Negev.

      Of course, the IT WAS THE ARABS who rejected PEACE and their OWN STATE. They chose a war of extermination against Israel rather than having their own state. You also ignore the fact that less than 18% of "modern" Israel proper belonged to Arabs who left the country during the Arab invasion in 1948.

      So how in your puny mind can you claim that Israel "dismantled" a Palestinian state?

      • MixMChess

        Moreover, I might add that Israel OFFERED THE PALESTINIANS A STATE in 1993, 2000, 2005 and as recently as 2008. Each time the Palestinians REFUSED STATEHOOD.

        Israel completely withdrew from Gaza in 2005 and the Palestinian Authority has autonomously governed over 98% of the W. Bank since 1993. The Palestinians have two de facto states thanks to Israeli efforts! Despite having their own state the Palestinians continue to attack and terrorize Israel.

        Why have do the Palestinians greedily want to destroy Israel and colonize Jewish land as their own? Why do Palestinians REFUSE Israeli efforts to create a Palestinian state?

    • MixMChess

      "As to comparisons with Apartheid,this idea is not the result of a single,sole,sinister source,but rather numbers of independent well constructed and legitimate analogies by honest ,thinking individuals who cannot be dismissed so readily."

      Wrong, the "Apartheid" argument was formulated by a collusion of overtly antisemitic and racist groups (neo-Nazis like David Irving and David Duke and members of the far left like Norman Finkelstein and Noam Chomsky) and funded by the Arab States and Arab League (Arab Lobby).

      Of course, the charge that Israel is an apartheid state can be made only out of complete ignorance about apartheid. Today, within Israel, Jews are a majority, but the Arab minority are full citizens who enjoy equal rights and are represented in all the branches of government (including the Knesset, Cabinet, high-level foreign ministry posts and on the Supreme Court). Under apartheid, black South Africans could not vote and were not citizens of the country in which they formed the overwhelming majority of the population. Laws dictated where they could live, work and travel. And, in South Africa, the government killed blacks who protested against its policies. By contrast, Israel allows freedom of movement, assembly and speech and ensures equal rights and equal protection to Arabs under the law. In fact, Israel has instituted special affirmative action programs for Arabs to combat against any "private" discrimination.

      Moreover, Israel never extended its laws to Gaza and the W. Bank, and thus Israeli law never governed these Palestinians who are not Israeli citizens. The Palestinians in the W. Bank achieved under Israeli administration. Hamas (unfortunately) controls the entire Gaza Strip, and the Palestinian Authority governs 98% of the W. Bank (not including the settlements). Recall, the Palestinian Authority has its own legislature, administrative, educational and legal system. There is nothing that remotely resembles apartheid law! Of course, if there is apartheid in Gaza and the W. Bank, then it was instituted by the Hamas and Palestinian leadership, NOT Israel.

      Game, set, match muchiboy.

    • MixMChess

      "It is about time that the supporters of Israel give equal recognition to the needs of the Palestinian people.It is past time that the Israelis recognize that much of the core criticisms directed towards them is both legitimate and urgent."

      Supporters of Israel already give plenty of recognition to the needs of the Palestinian people. Why else does Israel provide well over 15,000 tons of supplies to Gazans 6 days a week, 52 weeks a year (approximately 1 ton in aid annually)? Why else does Israel and the Jewish diaspora invest over half a billion dollars in the W. Bank to build up their infrastructure and economies? Why do pro-Israel advocates like Alan Dershowitz constantly call for the creation of a Palestinian state?

      Seriously, at least TRY to make an argument that actually holds water.

  • http://www.hotexchangerates.com/ exchangerates

    I don’t even know why anyone in Israel would want to see her stupid ass perform there anyway, she has ZERO talent. Maybe if Macy spent the night in a bunker having missiles thrown at her house all day and night she would understand what Israelis have to deal with everyday..she is such a pompous jerk

    • Zach

      Is that really what you believe? Israelis live in bunkers with missiles thrown at them all day and night? The Israeli's are massively on the perpetration side of the violence, having killed hundreds of civilians with white phosphorous only several years ago.

      • MixMChess

        Zach you are a liar. The residents of Sderot actually do have to live in bunkers, and face the wrath of Hamas missiles lobbed at their schools, daycares and playgrounds on a daily basis:
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2drE9mVhopE&fe

      • MixMChess

        "The Israeli's are massively on the perpetration side of the violence, having killed hundreds of civilians with white phosphorous only several years ago."

        You are a liar, Israel does instigate violence against the Palestinians, in fact, quite the opposite is true. Israel has ensured human rights and humanitarian help for Palestinians even as it stays on high alert because as it tries to counter the Palestinian terrorist war to destroy Israel. Israel is faced with approximately 40 terrorist warnings a day. Palestinians have targeted innocent civilians. Since the 2000, 36% of Palestinian casualties have been civilians. In contrast, 77% of Israeli casualties have been civilians.

        Additionally, Israel never used white phosphorous against any civilian populations. Of course, White phosphorus was being used as a weapon against civilians by HAMAS, which fired mortar shells from Gaza into Israel filled with white phosphorus.

        • MixMChess

          *does not

  • moshesharon

    One of the major weapons in this propaganda war against Israel is the “Remember these Children” website which compares the numbers of Arab children who have been killed in the conflicts to the number of Jewish children murdered by terrorists. The Arab list totals 1,437 since 2000 and the Jewish list totals 130. Not withstanding that such reporting is unsubstantiated, After visiting the site, I noticed that according to this report, most of the Israeli children were murdered in drive by shootings and human bombs exploding themselves in restaurants, buses and markets. In other words, the Arab terrorists targeted those children and murdered them in cold blood. For all of the Arab children, on the other hand, the site identifies the causes of death as gun shot wounds or explosions during the firefights with Arab Hamas fighters. What were their children doing in the middle of a war zone? That is clear and convincing evidence that the Hamas thugs where using the local children as human shields. Soldiers are trained to return fire when fired upon. The bushwhacking urban guerrillas who fire at enemy troops from a neighborhood full of children are the ones causing the deaths of those children. More at http:moshesharon.worpress.com

  • Dupuy

    Que produisent les palestiniens musulmans à part des propagandes de critiques ou de haine envers Israêl je ne vois rien de remarquable dans leurs découvertes, par contre ils sont bien contents qu'il y ait des hôpitaux en Israël pour les accueillir quand ils sont malades ! La reconnaissance ? je me demande si ils connaissent ces mots là, sauf quelques exceptions aux milieu des brebis galeuses. Quand on voit tout ce que les juifs ont inventé, les médicaments qu'ils ont trouvés, OUI cà c''est ce qu'on appelle des têtes et beaucoup de français sont justement en admiration devant l'intelligence des juifs et les plaignent de devoir vivre près de gens ingrats qui ne songent qu'à les détruire. Mais voilà il y en a qui en ont dans le chou et les autres….on se demande ce qu'ils y ont