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Nada Elia currently teaches Global and Gender Studies at Antioch University-Seattle. She chairs the Anti-Militarism and Occupation taskforce of Incite! Women of Color Against Violence, and is a member of the Organizing Committee of the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, which focuses on boycotting Israeli academic and cultural institutions and which includes such Israel-haters on its Advisory Board as Bishop Desmond Tutu, whom she calls a mentor, and academic Hamid Dabashi. At IAW in 2010 she stated proudly,
BDS is in everyone’s mainstream consciousness. BDS is on everyone’s mind. BDS is a global movement. BDS today is a strategic threat to Israel.
It is indeed in the mainstream consciousness. That’s because language is one of the keys to delegitimizing Israel, and the left is so successful at manipulating language, especially their demonstrably false allegation that Israel is analogous to South Africa’s racist former regime. This tool of language has become the favored bludgeon for the anti-Israel movement to gain international support and turn Israel into a pariah state. It is particularly effective among the sadly impressionable minds on college campuses, where leftist and multiculturalist indoctrination is routine.
But South Africa was a uniquely repressive system through which their white minority brutally enforced its domination over the black majority through separation laws. No such laws exist in Israel; Arab citizens of Israel have the full range of civil and political rights, including the right to organize politically, the right to vote and the right to speak and publish freely.
Nonetheless, the haters’ strategy is very effective. Jewish-Canadian, anti-Israel activist Judy Rebick admits in a video from last year’s IAW that the left’s relentless labeling of Israel as an apartheid state is “a brilliant propaganda tactic,” because countering the false charge that Israel is the new South Africa forces Israel’s defenders to repeat the word “apartheid” constantly; the repetition thus gives the association more power and familiarity in people’s minds, creating a tar baby that Israel can’t shake off. As always, the left knows very well how to use language as a weapon to stay on the offensive, forcing their opponents into reactive mode at all times.
For example, talk radio host Dennis Prager’s short article addressing this charge against Israel not only mentions the offensive word thirteen times, the very title of the piece is, astonishingly, “Israel: An Apartheid State.” Sure, the content of the article is a reasoned refutation of the label, but the constant association “Israel=apartheid” is even more psychologically effective. It may be among the world’s greatest lies, as Prager calls it, but until Israel and its supporters learn to make an end run around such linguistic assaults as those of the IAW hate-fests, or go on the offensive themselves, they will always be operating from a defensive stance, and the lie will keep gaining ground.
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