BDS: You Can’t Fight for Justice With Hypocrisy

February 26, 2014 8:12 am 14 comments

A Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) protest against Israel. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Less than a week before Israel Apartheid Week opened on college campuses across the U.S. and UK, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fired the first shot in Israel’s defense. Referring to the founders of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS) as “classical anti-Semites in modern garb,” Netanyahu said the time has come to delegitimize those who delegitimize Israel.‎

Netanyahu was likely referring to people such as Omar Barghouti, one of the main founders of the BDS movement and its chief ideologue.

Barghouti claims his movement is opposed to all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism. His own statements, however, demonize Israel and fall well beyond the scope of legitimate criticism. At a speech in Los Angeles earlier this year, for example, Barghouti claimed that IDF soldiers shoot Palestinian children “for sport” just because they are “bored.”

Still, criticism of Netanyahu’s statement came quickly. The ‎Forward published a piece the following day with the unambiguous headline, “BDS is Not Anti-Semitism.” The writer, Emily Hauser, dismissed Netanyahu’s accusations as a cover for Israel’s presence in the West Bank.‎

And yet, Hauser also adds, “I do not doubt that some members of that movement are unrepentant anti-Semites — just as some members of the Greater Israel movement are unrepentant racists and Islamophobes.”‎

It’s not just Hauser who acknowledges that a portion of the BDS movement is, indeed, anti-Semitic. New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, writing a few weeks earlier, admitted the same thing.‎

Friedman noted that students on many college campuses had started boycotting Israel until it withdraws from the West Bank. However, he adds, “Israelis are right to suspect some boycotters of using this cause as a cover for anti-Semitism, given how Israel’s misdeeds are singled out.”‎

Even Jay Michaelson, a notable left-leaning political commentator, writing in the Forward almost exactly a year before Hauser, echoed her message almost exactly. “Of course there is anti-Semitism in the BDS world — just as there is racism among many right-wing Zionists.”‎

There is, of course, a significant difference between the BDS movement and Hauser’s Greater Israel and Michaelson’s right-wing Zionists. Those movements are political; BDS claims to be moral. Its call for boycott is couched in the language of justice. The essence of Israel Apartheid Week is the fight against racism.‎

Except, it isn’t really a fight against racism when it’s carried out by racists and Jew haters. And even supporters of the BDS movement who are not themselves anti-Semitic are aware of the anti-Semitism that permeates the movement. And a movement that tolerates anti-Semitism lacks moral authority.‎

In a recent column in Haaretz, Peter Beinart suggested that organized Jewish groups would be more effective in the fight against BDS if they actively opposed settlement growth as a sign of commitment to the two-state solution. A similar test can be applied to BDS. The movement would be more credible in its calls for justice if it made a credible effort to fight anti-Semitism, beginning with the anti-Semitism of its own members, alongside the fight for the rights of Palestinians.

‎You can’t fight for justice with hypocrisy, and there is no bigger hypocrisy today than Israel Apartheid Week.‎

14 Comments

  • Whoever is funding NGOs…STOP!!! Whoever is funding colleges that allow anti-Semitism…STOP!!! Whoever is funding Amnesty Intl…STOP!!! Anti-Semites should not qualify for jobs, education, medical care, etc., etc. Anti-Semites don’t create…they destroy. God creates, God blesses creators and defenders of creation, God curses destroyers…and so should we .

  • The thing is, if Jews didn’t run Israel, 99% of the BDS drones wouldn’t waste as much as a yawn over the fate of the “Palestinians.” So if this was, for instance, a Sunni-Shiite dispute, every other fact being exactly the same, Israel would get as much attention as Luxembourg. Anti-Semitism apparently exists both on a conscious and subconscious level.

  • Even Norman Finkelstein, one of the most vocal Israel haters out there, has called BDS “a cult”.
    http://mondoweiss.net/2012/02/norman-finkelstein-slams-the-bds-movement-calling-it-a-cult.html

  • Nelson Daniels – you said it so succinctly I shared on Facebook. Thanks!!!

  • Here’s why BDS of Israel is wrong, hypocritical and, yes, anti- semitic

    1) There is no boycott of China for its conquest and occupation of Tibet since 1950, even though Tibet had never threatened to destroy China.
    This occupation includes several hundred thousand Han Chinese settlers.

    2) There is no boycott of Morocco for it’s conquest and occupation of Western Sahara since 1975, even though Western Sahara had never threatened to destroy Morocco.
    This occupation includes a separation barrier and thousands of Moroccan settlers.

    3) There is no boycott of Turkey for its conquest and occupation of Northern Cyprus since 1973, even though Cyprus had never threatened to destroy Turkey.
    This occupation includes thousands of Turkish settlers and a separation barrier.

    4) As well, the BDSers ignore Britain’s occupation of Gibraltar, Spain’s occupation of Ceuta and Melilla, Pakistan’s occupation of Balochistan, India’s occupation of Kashmir, Russia’s occupation of Eastern Poland, Russia’s occupation of much Finland (Karelia, Salla, Kalastajans), Poland’s occupation of Eastern Germany (Pomerania and Selesia), France’s occupation of Corsica, and Chile’s occupation of coastal Bolivia—all, to different degrees, ongoing and often bloody disputes to this day, and all ignored by the boycotters.

    Since all these occupiers are not jewish, and conquered for aggrandizement, not survival, we must conclude that the focus on Israel is hypocritical and anti-semitic.

  • I noticed that two of the three writers quoted in this article (Hauser and Michaelson) admitted that there are anti-Semites in the BDS movement, “but there are undesirable elements in their opponents,” somehow excusing the former.

    One has nothing to do with the other. Whether or not there are “racists and Islamophobes,” we know there are anti-Semites among the BDSers. Without any qualification, they need to clean up their own act!

  • Let God’s purpose(s) and plans prevail. Israel is forever!!!

  • Indeed the hypocrisy is not that they don’t call out “obvious” the anti-Semites in their midst, it’s that the very target of their venom is the sole liberal democracy in the Middle East, ignoring entirely far worse offenders world wide. That makes the entire rotten bunch of them all obvious anti-Semites.

  • “Beinart suggested that organized Jewish groups would be more effective in the fight against BDS if they actively opposed settlement growth as a sign of commitment to the two-state solution.” In other words these Jewish organizations have to admit that BDS works…More, it is not “if we condemn settlement growth, than we the BDSers will not exercise our anti Semitism?” how idiotic can one be?

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