Eighty years ago, the Nazis dispatched thousands of SA thugs to enforce their boycott of Jewish businesses. Stars of David were painted on windows. Leaflets listing the crimes of the Jews were handed out. Cameras were set up outside stores to photograph anyone violating the Nazi BDS campaign.
Like modern BDS campaigns, it went beyond businesses to Jewish hospitals, Jewish professionals and Jewish academics. Its goal was to pave the way for mass murder by isolating the Jews of Germany.
Goebbels, Hitler’s propaganda minister, called the boycott a “great moral victory.” Modern BDS activists echo his rhetoric calling their attacks on Jewish businesses and academics a “moral victory”.
The Muslim boycott of Jewish businesses in Israel began in the twenties and predated the Nazi boycott. It may have even helped to inspire it. This was followed by the Arab League boycott of Israel after the Holocaust. The modern BDS boycott is the direct successor of a Saudi policy under a progressive flag.
The BDS boycott of Israel has no peaceful agenda. It does not take breaks during peace negotiations. Its activists do not care whether there are negotiations or not. They just want Israel gone.
Boycotts isolate a group, cutting it off from support, dehumanizing it and then destroying it. The academic boycott of Israel by the American Studies Association, a radical left-wing group that has declared that opposition to American imperialism is at the center of its field, holds to that aim.
The only way to fight a boycott is with a boycott. Either you isolate the people whose goal is to cut you off from the larger society or they cut you off. The dueling boycotts in the 1930s settled the question of who would be isolated as a problematic group, the Nazis or the Jews, when the world accepted the Nazi regime and rejected the Jews. The question was only truly reopened with the invasion of Poland.
Today the question is whether the Jews or the terrorists trying to kill them will be the ones isolated.
The Nazis began as a fringe group. They took over because there were too few decent people willing to stand up to them. Like the rest of the BDS movement; the ASA is a fringe group. The question is will anyone stand up to the BDS movement and its ASA allies?
In the seventies, the United States responded to the Arab League boycott by banning American companies from complying with it. The modern progressive rebirth of that boycott should be met by banning the use of American taxpayer money to fund any organization or event that provides material aid to terrorists by boycotting the Jewish State.
The ban on the use of public funds to subsidize boycotting groups could be used to not only to cut direct funding of such organizations, but would require organizations that provide them with funding to prove that no Federal grant money is being used to subsidize boycotting groups or events by these groups.
The practical effect of such measures would be a boycott of the boycotters forcing non-profits and government organizations to either end funding of these groups or to make their funding process so difficult that the flow of money would diminish.
Bills such as these can be passed by Congress and by states, cities and towns to ensure that any boycotting organization is boycotted by preventing taxpayer money from flowing to it. Efforts to kickstart bills may be easiest in a few heavily Jewish municipalities—including New York City.
Individuals can lead the way by writing to pro-Israel council members, state senators, senators, congressmen and other legislators at all levels of government urging them to advance such a bill.
The sooner action begins; the less likely it will be that any major university will cross that red line. If it does cross that red line then the legislation will be burdened by protests from students and faculty.
While BDS activists target companies and individuals, they have had their biggest successes with non-profits. And non-profits are vulnerable because they are parasitically dependent on outside money.
Until the government acts, individuals who are asked to donate to colleges should reply that they will only donate if it is established that their money will not in any way go to fund members or groups that conduct a boycott of Israel. Enough such requests will lead to an internal “boycott” within academic institutions forcing them to carefully source funds to and segregate funds around boycotting groups.
Even a public conversation about such measures will encourage the remaining 81 schools that are institutional members, such as Rutgers, Brigham Young University, the University of Texas and NYU, to join the schools such as Penn State that have done the right thing by pulling out.
Boycotts, like all forms of bullying, are easy when the bully doesn’t pay a price. A minority of ASA members voted to boycott Israel because it was easier for them to go along than to stand up to the radicals who had hijacked their organization. That will change when there are real consequences, not just for the people whom they are boycotting, but for them as well.
An unfortunate truth of human nature is that many people unthinkingly follow orders. And that is as true of the academics of the American Studies Association as it is of the shoppers in the plazas of Berlin. There were those good Germans who defied the Nazis and their boycott and there are those good ASA members who have chosen to cut their ties with it, rather than be complicit in its bigotry and hate.
But the majority often takes the easy way out by going along with those who are shouting the loudest until they are confronted with the terrible consequences of their actions.
A boycott represents a power relationship. Those who boycott presume that they have the right to cut off a group from society because society hates the group that they have targeted as much as they do. Now is the time to test this faulty premise of the BDS movement and the American Studies Association and see whether Americans, who invariably poll pro-Israel, support Israel or the Muslim terrorists.
The United States is not Nazi Germany even if some academics talk like it is and act like it is. Those academics who try to play Goebbels may have a nasty surprise waiting for them when Americans reject them and everything that they stand for.
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