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October 22, 2013 9:43 am

‘Zionist BDS’ is a Lie

avatar by Ben Cohen / JNS.org

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

JNS.orgI recently received an email from a friend of mine who lives in Brighton, a town on England’s south coast. He told me about the success of a local organization, Sussex Friends of Israel, in countering the angry demonstrations organized by pro-Palestinian activists outside the store owned by Sodastream, an Israeli soft drinks company that is based in the West Bank.

Sodastream employs about 700 Palestinian workers and also maintains an onsite mosque. But none of that concerns these Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) propagandists, who would be quite happy for hundreds of Palestinian families to be left without an income for the greater “good” of destroying the Jewish state.

In defending the right of consumers to purchase Sodastream’s products free of intimidation, Sussex Friends of Israel describes, correctly, the BDS strategy as one grounded upon bigotry. And at a time when, according to a new European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights poll, three-quarters of European Jews sense growing anti-Semitism, it’s heartening to see supporters of Israel successfully engage weekend shoppers in an English seaside town with complimentary bagels and a calm explanation of why Israel isn’t the rogue state depicted by the BDSers.

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It’s also further evidence that the BDS movement is running out of steam. Its ambition to become the 21st-century incarnation of the movement against apartheid in South Africa has signally failed. And while it’s true that many Jews and Israelis have been scarred by the experience of being targeted by BDS activists—I think especially of those Israeli academics who have suffered from boycotts solely because of their nationality—the movement has not managed to penetrate the mainstream of politics.

In a rational world, you’d think that the BDSers would have finally thrown in the towel. But the reverse is true. In fact, they’ve just added a new voice to their nefarious campaign in the form of a Jewish lawyer who describes herself as a Zionist and who thinks that quarantining the Jewish state is compatible with Zionism.

The woman in question is Kathleen Peratis, a founder of J Street, the leftist group that poses as a pro-Israel organization. In 2011, though, even J Street felt obliged to distance itself from Peratis, after she visited Gaza and met with Hamas leaders, showing off rather pathetically in a piece forThe Nation that she’d ticked off these terrorist murderers over their contempt for women’s rights.

Now, still calling herself a Zionist, Peratis has come out in favor of BDS. Writing on the Open Zion blog, Peratis gushes that BDS is a “non-violent tool.” From the comfort of her New York law office, Peratis declares, “[N]ot buying Sodastream or Gush Etzion wine is a start,” displaying her utter indifference towards the effect that boycotting these enterprises would have on the Palestinians who work for them.

“BDS just makes Israelis feel that the world is against them, engenders a siege mentality and is therefore counterproductive,” Peratis observes. “But what has been gained by such deference? For how long do we have carrots only and no sticks?”

So here we have a self-described Zionist arguing that she wants to take a stick to the Jewish state. In doing so, Peratis has not only embraced a strategy that was developed by 21st-century anti-Zionists whose explicit aim is to destroy Israel, but also by more classical, 20th-century anti-Semites, from the German Nazis to the Arab League, who presented boycotts of Jews as a first step towards destroying the global Jewish power of their demented fantasies. My guess is that Peratis knows very little of history, because if she did, and if she had any humility, she would recognize that this poisonous tactic cannot be separated from the poisonous worldview that grounds it.

Peratis is not the only American Jew to have jumped into bed with the anti-Zionists. Some readers will have heard of, for example, MJ Rosenberg, a blogger who trades on the fact that he once worked for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, and Richard Silverstein, another blogger who fuses a kind of hippie Judaism with full-throated defenses of the Iranian regime.

It leads them in farcical directions. Rosenberg, the man who popularized the anti-Semitic term “Israel-Firster,” has been complaining of late about anti-Semitism in the pro-Palestinian movement, while Silverstein has gone in the other direction, berating, on his twitter feed, a woman from Gaza for not being sufficiently supportive of Hamas!

For those of us watching this public spectacle of neurosis masking as political analysis, it’s all weirdly amusing. But nothing is so exquisitely ludicrous as Peratis’s view that you can be a Zionist and support an anti-Semitic movement at the same time.

Ben Cohen is the Shillman Analyst for JNS.org. His writings on Jewish affairs and Middle Eastern politics have been published in Commentary, the New York Post, Ha’aretz, Jewish Ideas Daily and many other publications.

The opinions presented by Algemeiner bloggers are solely theirs and do not represent those of The Algemeiner, its publishers or editors. If you would like to share your views with a blog post on The Algemeiner, please be in touch through our Contact page.

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  • E Pluribus Beagle

    Just lock them in a room with some shahids.

    • BDS may have negative effects, but really, Israel fears it so it must be doing something right. We know scam propaganda when we read it. Israel is frightened and deserves to be frightened. Turns out Herzl in 1895 was already talking about booting out the natives. Israel is built on sand.

  • Reality Check

    What needs to be done is the pro-Israel side needs to organize, and round up allies, and make life harder for these pro-BDS scumbags.

    I notice that nobody seems to be doing this. At least, not in the public. Not on Twitter, or on message boards, or the Internet in general. I see these pro-BDS professors on Twitter, and nobody is attacking them (I mean in legal fashion – I do not promote violence, threats, etc). But nobody is insulting these guys. They suddenly develop new friends in the “hate Israel” world, and I don’t see any counter.

    All of you out there, don’t just complain about this crap to your buddies. You need to send emails to these professors, to their fellow professors, to the deans of their department, and start making life more difficult for these peole. Make them uncomfortable. Don’t threaten them. Don’t commit libel/slander. Use fake names if neded. Sign up for secondary email accounts, other Twitter accounts. Do not threaten them, understand libel/slander, don’t act crazy or get yourself in trouble, but make it clear that you object to their promotion of discrimination, bigotry and hate against Israelis just because they disagree with the government. ANd that you object to the suggestion that Israel is wrong for being a Jewish state — it’s a Jewish-majority, so of course it has the right to be Jewish. That isn’t “discriminatory” any more than the 50-something Muslim countries around the world are… Etc.

    The pro-israel side needs to expand outward, not just complain to yourselves and then go about your day.

    Round friends up, organize, find friends/relatives who are internet-fluent, and start making some noise

  • Mel

    Serving folks breakfast food totally gratis
    Can’t undo the damage of old Kate Peratis.
    Those with bright, open minds should be able to see
    That ‘Peratis’ hides ‘rats’ like her pals at J Stree t.

    Fill a senator with sushi from the mouth to the tushie
    And you’ll find how food works still depends on the jerks
    Feed Chuck Hagel a bagel or John Kerry a cherry,
    And watch a political whore demand ever more.

    Age-old hatred of Jews fills the old Muslim’s shoes.
    Barry’s glaring at Bibi shows a boy raised on kibbe.
    Seems America’s chief-racist is also a fascist.
    Evil men with closed minds have them in their behinds.

  • Lynne T

    There was a great story circulating the other day by another of my favourite sources about an Israeli woman speaking on a Florida campus who sent a bunch of BDSers packing. I believe she was a retired intelligence agent, known for wearing her hair in a long braid. Unfortunately, I have lost the link. Any readers here who are familiar with this one? It should be shared here at the Algemeiner too.

  • Okey

    Arabs ethnically “cleansed” all the Jews out of Gush Etzion in the War of Independence.
    If Peratis had been alive then, she would have applauded.

  • Zionism, with few exceptions, has always been anti Torah and acc. to some (see the book Perfidy re Kastner aiding the Nazis at Ben Gurion’s behest) anti Semitic. No contradiction.
    Also…who are we trying to please by nullifying the death penalty?? It is simply cruel and cowardly to let terrorist murderers live.

    • Bernardo

      Perfidy tells a twisted half of the Kastner history. Please read Ladislau Loeb’s book: The daring rescue of Hungarian Jews if I’m not mistaken. The author’s name is correct. This is a much more balanced book.

    • L. King

      I also highly recommend Tuvia Friling’s “Arrows in the Dark: Ben Gurion, the Yishuv Leadership and the Rescue Attempts During the Holocaust” though it is rather long.

      http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Arrows+in+the+Dark+Friling&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3AArrows+in+the+Dark+Friling

      The financial capabilities of the Yishuv were quite small and the rudimentary Zionist spy network in Europe had been heavily compromised by the Nazis Abwehr very early on. Nor was the Yishuv or Jews trusted by the Allies who believed all socialists leaned towards Moscow. In Perfidy Ben Hecht’s heart was in the right place but he lacked both information that was held in secret and the perspective of the situation that the Yishuv was in.

  • Sandy Brown

    Well my parents lived in Seaford near Brighton and my bruv and his family lived in Brighton. I had a job in Brighton for a year. I live in London. But I have never heard of the Sussex Friends of Israel. Mind you, I was not there for long. Having worked on the Middle Eastern desk for years at the BBC, I have no sympathy for the Arabs. I am now retired. I used to know these two Palestinian journalists who lived in London and they were so full of venom, hatred and rage. I was sitting there having a coffee when Arafat died, and they came in and the woman was crying and I said: “What is the matter” and she said: “Yasser has died”. And I started to laugh. That was the last time they spoke to me.

  • Fred

    A treacherous lot. If these Islamic states are such paragons of virtue why does not this low life move to places like Bagdad, Teheran and the like. Armchair smart arses & hypocrites of the lowest rank.

  • Efram Paul

    Some great points. The most relevant, I think, is Peratis espousing the hate from her comfortable New York law office.

  • Jack

    Why leave Philip Weiss off the list of American Jews to have jumped into bed with the anti-Zionists? Is he not sufficiently heinous?

    • Ben

      Most of the most prominently featured Azajews (like MJR and Richard “I am so f-ing stupid” Silverstein) were not always excrement. But much like a Gilad Atzmon or an Israel Shamir, Phil Weiss never fell from sanity because he never resided there.

  • I. Breshinski

    reply
    .

    BDS hypocrytical, antisemitic, irrelevant

    A series of car bombs killed 61 people in Iraq yesterday. Today 57 were killed making the regime of Saddam Hussein look not as bad. 110.000 were killed in Syria many by chemical weapons. Criticizing Israel requires comparative analysis with Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Saudi etc. Israel’s neighbors. What are the rights of women, gay/lesbian, what is the attitude to minorities, Jews and Christians etc. Saudi Arabia, a big progressive country, has no churches. The percentage of Saudi citizens who are Christians is officially zero, as Saudi Arabia forbids religious conversion from Islam-Apostasy and punishes it by death. One cannot wear a cross when coming to Saudi….Religious tolerance? You can talk about an Arab Israeli who was refused a “falafel”, but Amnesty International study of executions in the Arab/Muslim world shows: 139 countries, including Israel, signed treaty that makes capital punishment illegal. 23 countries did not sign this agreement. In 2010, before Syrian civil war, Amnesty International reported executions in Iran of more than 257, Palestinian Authority 5, Saudi 27, Syria 17 etc. As a matter of fact out of 67 countries that allow executions there are 21 Arab/Muslim countries (32%). Israel did not execute anybody except for Adolph Eichmann who was executed in 1962 for crimes against humanity. More, two Palestinian Arabs premeditated slaughter of a 5 members of Fogel family including a 3 months, 3 years and 6 years children, leaving a Shabryah in the heart of the baby got life imprisonment, not death penalty that US courts would have given them. BDS makes Israel the only villain in the world deserving any possible punishment. This malicious hypocritical attitude laced with anti Semitism coming from academics in USA and EU is astonishing. Recently EU could not account for 3,5 billion dollars given to the Palestinians. BDS has enough money to spread around in providing propagandists, teachers, lecturers etc. AAUP fell in the trap of Islamofascism. American Academia is loosing the Israel Nobel prize Laureates and Israeli high tech. Most computers and telephones have Israel chips and Israeli start ups are bought by American and European technology for hundreds of millions. Warren Buffett bought ISCAR for 8 billion dollars, how significant will BDS damage Israel? Israel Technion will join Stanford in creating a university in New York and Chinese investor gave 150 million dollars to the Israeli Technion etc, etc. BDS harms USA more than it harms Israel. As an American Academic I want to tell the BDSers Go to Syria, Iraq or Saudi and protect human rights there.

  • I. Breshinski

    reply
    .

    MD FACC (not verified)

    Mon, 10/21/2013 – 10:17pm

    Permalink

    BDS hypocrytical, antisemitic, irrelevant

    A series of car bombs killed 61 people in Iraq yesterday. Today 57 were killed making the regime of Saddam Hussein look not as bad. 110.000 were killed in Syria many by chemical weapons. Criticizing Israel requires comparative analysis with Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Saudi etc. Israel’s neighbors. What are the rights of women, gay/lesbian, what is the attitude to minorities, Jews and Christians etc. Saudi Arabia, a big progressive country, has no churches. The percentage of Saudi citizens who are Christians is officially zero, as Saudi Arabia forbids religious conversion from Islam-Apostasy and punishes it by death. One cannot wear a cross when coming to Saudi….Religious tolerance? You can talk about an Arab Israeli who was refused a “falafel”, but Amnesty International study of executions in the Arab/Muslim world shows: 139 countries, including Israel, signed treaty that makes capital punishment illegal. 23 countries did not sign this agreement. In 2010, before Syrian civil war, Amnesty International reported executions in Iran of more than 257, Palestinian Authority 5, Saudi 27, Syria 17 etc. As a matter of fact out of 67 countries that allow executions there are 21 Arab/Muslim countries (32%). Israel did not execute anybody except for Adolph Eichmann who was executed in 1962 for crimes against humanity. More, two Palestinian Arabs premeditated slaughter of a 5 members of Fogel family including a 3 months, 3 years and 6 years children, leaving a Shabryah in the heart of the baby got life imprisonment, not death penalty that US courts would have given them. BDS makes Israel the only villain in the world deserving any possible punishment. This malicious hypocritical attitude laced with anti Semitism coming from academics in USA and EU is astonishing. Recently EU could not account for 3,5 billion dollars given to the Palestinians. BDS has enough money to spread around in providing propagandists, teachers, lecturers etc. AAUP fell in the trap of Islamofascism. American Academia is loosing the Israel Nobel prize Laureates and Israeli high tech. Most computers and telephones have Israel chips and Israeli start ups are bought by American and European technology for hundreds of millions. Warren Buffett bought ISCAR for 8 billion dollars, how significant will BDS damage Israel? Israel Technion will join Stanford in creating a university in New York and Chinese investor gave 150 million dollars to the Israeli Technion etc, etc. BDS harms USA more than it harms Israel. As an American Academic I want to tell the BDSers Go to Syria, Iraq or Saudi and protect human rights there.

  • PERATIS cares as much about Jews as Gertrude Stein. I’m sure VICHY is her favorite French word.

  • Bernard Ross

    Despicable kapo jews,undeserving of any mercy or forgiveness. They are worse than Kapos bacause the Kapos were trying to save their own lives. These “jews” have joined the eneyies. just give them a shovel and they will shovel jews into a ditch.

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