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?

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture Middle East Hamas Commander Reportedly Urges Hezbollah to Join Forces Against Israel

    Hamas Commander Reportedly Urges Hezbollah to Join Forces Against Israel

    JNS.org – Five months after Israeli forces tried to assassinate Hamas military commander Mohammed Deif in Gaza, Deif appears to have signed a letter that the terrorist group claims he wrote in hiding. The letter, addressed to Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah, expressed Deif’s condolences for the death of Hezbollah terrorists during Sunday’s reported Israeli airstrike in Syria. Deif is said to have survived multiple assassination attempts, but he has not been seen in public for years. According to the Hezbollah-linked Al-Manar [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Theater Shlomo Carlebach Musical Has the Soul to Heal Frayed Race Relations

    Shlomo Carlebach Musical Has the Soul to Heal Frayed Race Relations

    JNS.org – The cracks that had been simply painted over for so long began to show in Ferguson, Mo., in November 2014, but in truth they had begun to open wide much earlier—on Saturday, July 13, 2013. That is when a jury in Sanford, Fla., acquitted George Zimmerman of culpability for the death of a 17-year-old black man, Trayvon Martin. The cracks receded from view over time, as other news obscured them. Then came the evening of Aug. 9, 2014, [...]

    Read more →
  • Theater US & Canada ‘Homeland’ Season Finale Stirs Controversy After Comparing Menachem Begin to Taliban Leader

    ‘Homeland’ Season Finale Stirs Controversy After Comparing Menachem Begin to Taliban Leader

    A controversial scene in the season finale of Homeland sparked outrage by comparing former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin to a fictional Taliban leader, the UK’s Daily Mail reported. In the season 4 finale episode, which aired on Dec. 21, CIA black ops director Dar Adal, played by F. Murray Abraham, justifies a deal he made with a Taliban leader by referencing Begin. He makes the remarks in a conversation with former CIA director Saul Berenson, a Jewish character played by Mandy [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Spirituality/Tradition Placing Matisyahu Back Within a Life of Observance

    Placing Matisyahu Back Within a Life of Observance

    Shining Light on Fiction During the North Korea-Sony saga, we learned two important lessons. The first is that there are two sides to this story, and neither of them are correct because ultimately we should have neither inappropriate movies nor dictators. The second is that we cannot remain entirely fixed on the religious world, but we also must see beyond the external, secular view of reality. It’s important to ground our Torah-based thoughts into real-life activism. To view our act [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Nine Decades of Moses at the Movies

    Nine Decades of Moses at the Movies

    JNS.org – Hollywood has had its share of big-budget biblical flops, but until now, the Exodus narrative has not been among them. Studios have brought Moses to the big screen sparingly, but in ways that defined the image and character of Moses for each generation of audiences. The first biblical epic In 1923, director Cecil B. DeMille left it to the American public to decide the subject of his next movie for Paramount. DeMille received a letter from a mechanic [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Exodus on Screen (REVIEW)

    Exodus on Screen (REVIEW)

    JNS.org – The story of the Exodus from Egypt is a tale as old as time itself, to borrow a turn of phrase. It’s retold every Passover, both at the seder table and whenever “The Ten Commandments” is aired on television. But the latest adaptation—Ridley Scott’s epic film, “Exodus: Gods and Kings”—fails to meet expectations. Scott’s “Exodus” alters the source material to service the story and ground the tale, but the attempt to reinvent the biblical narrative becomes laughable. Moses [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Lifestyle ‘Jewish Food Movement’ Comes of Age

    ‘Jewish Food Movement’ Comes of Age

    JNS.org - In December 2007, leaders of the Hazon nonprofit drafted seven-year goals for what they coined as the “Jewish Food Movement,” which has since been characterized by the increased prioritization of healthy eating, sustainable agriculture, and food-related activism in the Jewish community. What do the next seven years hold in store? “One thing I would like to see happen in the next seven years is [regarding] the issue of sugar, soda, and obesity, [seeing] what would it be like to rally the [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Education Seeds of ‘Start-Up Nation’ Cultivated by Israel Sci-Tech Schools

    Seeds of ‘Start-Up Nation’ Cultivated by Israel Sci-Tech Schools

    JNS.org – Forget the dioramas. How about working on an Israeli Air Force drone? That’s exactly the kind of beyond-their-years access enjoyed by students at the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) industrial vocational high school run by Israel Sci-Tech Schools, the largest education network in the Jewish state. More than 300 students (250 on the high school level and 68 at a two-year vocational academy) get hands-on training in the disciplines of aviation mechanics, electricity and energy control, and unmanned air [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.