Censorship and BDS: the Anti-Zionist War Against Jewish Independence
If Jews are to foster social cohesion as an important and indeed necessary instrument of nation-building in Israel, then the required group identity, however much based on the ideology or utopian vision of Zionism, has to include everyone, even those people with whom we are in serious ideological competition or conflict.
A criticism often directed at Zionist or pro-Jewish groups by their opponents is that free speech means the freedom to criticize, and in turn this means that even when the anti-Zionists’ (or antisemites’) one-sided debates are governed by intimidation and cant, the attempt to deny them their right to speak is to silence “critical voices.” But this is only the cant deployed by fascists to stifle meaningful debate, if only because it is itself one-sided and based on deceit. Their arguments can only carry the day if the other side to the conflict is silenced. In this genuine, if subtle, censorship is the essence of the tactics employed by those who oppose Israel’s existence.
Where Israel and its supporters have failed is that they do not replicate the tactics of their enemies. When faced with intimidation and violence you must use all legal means available to you in order to respond to your persecutors. You do not “play nice” with fascists as most of Israel’s enemies are. Intimidation and violence are the fascists’ preferred method to stifle debate. It is the antithesis of academic or intellectual freedom. The Nuremberg rallies were also examples of “free” speech. The Nazis rose to power using intellectual fig leafs provided by the presence of eminent lawyers, and the scholarly erudition of the professors in their ranks. Their tactics were little different from those employed by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) movement, which is ubiquitous in Western colleges and universities.
In the UK and USA today, Jewish academics are being intimidated into silence or driven from their campuses; thus fascism censors us as it takes control. If we do not fight it, we are driven into effectively renouncing our equal right to free speech by a vociferous, passionate, hateful minority of intellectual thugs. Fascism has little to do with universal truths and everything to do with positioning a narrative to the absolute exclusion of all else. In this way, history, for the Palestinians and their supporters, begins with defeat in a war they will forever deny they were responsible for starting; thereafter they are always victims and never anything other than passive players in this tragic drama.
Being passive players in a global drama, they have no responsibility for anything that befalls them and no responsibility for the deaths they cause. If they slaughter Jewish children at a school it is the Jews or the Zionists who are at fault for being the foot soldiers of an illegitimate regime. It is the signature tactic of the tyrant and the terrorist. Whatever occurs is always someone else’s fault. But we are left clearly understanding the consequences of our failure to submit to terror.
It is the main reason Western journalists are so obsequious in their toadying to an Islamist, anti-Zionist agenda when they report the news. It theoretically inoculates the journalist against “Islamic anger” (fatal retribution). It is an excellent way to deflect criticism and crush debate.
The first stage in any conflict is to win the propaganda war. The Palestinians and their fascist supporters in the BDS campaign have already won the first stage. The second stage is to stifle any contrary debate. Controlling academia and the press are the crucial battlegrounds. The Jewish people and their supporters are rapidly losing that second stage.
If we want to influence a person of power so that our own message may reach more people, we must display similar concerns and prejudices. Instead of “justifying” or “explaining” we must respond with our own accusations, non-stop, relentlessly and mercilessly.
We have suffered far too many centuries of Islamic discrimination and persecution to allow the past 68 years of independence to be all that the world is educated to recognizing. A wealth of historically terrible misdeeds mirrored in contemporary events in Iraq, Syria, Nigeria and elsewhere are all we need, to remind the world of why Jews sought self-determination in the first place. And why people that omit that history from the current debate are not just Israel’s enemies but the enemies of human civilization.