“How ironic — no, scratch that; how incredibly shortsighted — that just as Egypt starts to open up, an American Jewish community would start to clamp down.” This, Rob Eshman penned February 16th in a piece for the Jewish Journal in which he argued against the removal of Jewish communal funds from organizations engaged in BDS (boycott, divestment, sanction) strategies against Israel. To do so, as Eshman intimates, would be to close the Jewish community; to stifle the freedom of thought and expression from within its ranks. Although it is a well-meaning call for openness, it is, nonetheless, a deeply misguided assessment of the danger posed by the BDS movement. To understand the true nature of the movement, is to understand why it cannot be countenanced by the Jewish community in any form — at least not a Jewish community interested in the preservation of Israel.
To be sure, many people view BDS in the same way that Mr. Eshman does — as an innocent expression of free speech by people concerned with the well-being of Palestinians. Many of these individuals are genuine supporters of Israel, and believe that, while BDS is extreme, it is also a “complex” issue, and is morally ambiguous for this reason. Rest assured, this ambiguity is very intentional.
The true nature of the BDS movement is really not complicated in the least. At its heart, it is a manifestation of the propaganda war against the Jewish State — the “soft war,” if you will. The soft war is itself supplemental to the armed conflict against Israel, and both work in tandem to effect the same terrible end. Furthermore, the entire program of the Israeli BDS movement is in fact predicated entirely upon vicious anti-Semitic mythology created by terrorists and terrorist sympathizers. Its purpose is to a) agitate against Jews and justify violence against them, and b) strip Israel of support in the international community, thereby making it easier to dismantle. These are the only purposes the BDS movement serves, whether it is being championed by singer Macy Gray or Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
How do we know this? NGO Monitor traces the “Israeli apartheid” canard, one of the central falsehoods of the BDS movement, to the PLO’s Negotiations Affairs Department, which also asserts that the Oslo peace accords instituted the apartheid system. Never mind that both Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas of the PLO evidently endorsed this dreadful apartheid document, since both agreed to the accords. In essence, the PLO’s apartheid claim is a manifestation of the UN’s “Zionism is racism” resolution passed in 1975. The resolution was advanced primarily by the PLO and the Soviet Union, which, at the time, was cracking down on Jewish “refuseniks” and trying to find a way to eschew a proposed UN condemnation of anti-Semitism. The PLO, for its part, was completing a barbaric series of terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians, some of them school children, in the years just before the resolution was passed. The resolution was also supported by such individuals as genocidal Ugandan dictator Idi Amin, who viewed it as path to expelling Israel from the UN and achieving “the extinction of Israel as a state[.]” Through the lens of this resolution, “Zionism” was equated with colonialism and imperialism, and is still used in much this same sense by BDS activists and terrorists alike today.
Beyond the mere historical background, we know that BDS is essentially a handmaiden of the violent war against Israel because this is what many of the practitioners and prime movers of the BDS movement themselves say. The International Solidarity Movement (ISM), for example, is very active in the BDS movement. It works tirelessly in the U.S., Israel, and other Western countries promoting the lie that Israel is an apartheid state and abuses the human rights of Palestinians as a matter of public policy. The group goes to great lengths to portrays itself as a nonviolent human rights organization dedicated to achieving peace between Israelis and Palestinians. However, the ISM is unequivocal in its support for Palestinian violence against Jews, which it believes is a legitimate form of “resistance” against Israel.
According to a study conducted by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, the ISM “not only rejects the policies of every Israeli government (‘the Israeli apartheid in Palestine’), but also the existence of Israel as a national homeland for the Jews. Publications and statements of ISM activists stress the implementation of the Palestinian refugees’ ‘right of return’ to Israel, reject the Oslo Accords, and make no mention of a two-state solution” (emphasis original).
The perniciousness of the ISM is notorious, and much is detailed in the Meir Amit report: ISM activists have been documented sheltering Palestinian terrorists, impeding Israeli counterterrorism measures, training other activists to break Israeli laws and deceive law enforcement, and, in at least one 2006 incident, ISM activists were photographed with weapons. During the the second intifada (Palestinian uprising), the ISM even found justification for the onslaught of fanatical Palestinian suicide bombings perpetrated against Israeli civilians.
The conjunction of soft warfare and terrorism in the case of the ISM is not difficult to understand: the ISM supports terrorism because it is no less than what an “apartheid state” deserves. This is why the group works so diligently to popularize this mythology worldwide. It is this group of terrorist sympathizers and abettors that is at the avant-guard of the propaganda campaign against Israel, from which supposedly peace-minded BDS supporters take their cues.
Just as the propaganda war has been so effective at demonizing and delegitimizing Israel, it has, correspondingly, been very good to Hamas, whose image has elevated remarkably in the eyes of many influential individuals. In 2008, Israeli apartheid-promoter and former president Jimmy Carter met and physically embraced Hamas officials in a peace pilgrimage to Egypt. In a 2006 interview, revered radical academic Noam Chomsky, who has met at least twice with the terrorist organization Hezbollah, said that the policies of Hamas, while “unacceptable,” are “more conducive to a peaceful settlement [to the Palestinian-Israel conflict] than those of the United States or Israel.”
This trend of Hamas-sympathy is also abundantly apparent at most anti-Israel rallies. It is not uncommon for BDS protesters to promote the solidarity tropes, “We Are All Hamas” and “We Are All Hezbollah,” which are designed to appeal to the mainstream of the nonviolent anti-Israel movement. Nonviolent Western protesters commonly wear terrorist accoutrement — Hamas scarves (the Keffiyeh, technically, a headdress) and headbands — at their rallies to show support.
Hamas has also notably gained support among some members of Muslim Students Association (MSA) and Muslim Student Union (MSU) chapters in colleges and universities. When confronted, these students often refuse to condemn Hamas publicly, claiming that the issue is “complicated.” Conservative author and activist David Horowitz has encountered these students many times in his talks on the university circuit. In the spring of 2010, one such student revealed obliquely to the audience that she supported Hamas, and also that she agreed with a Hezbollah leader’s statement wishing all the Jews would gather in Israel so he didn’t have to hunt them down globally. The Muslim Student Association is the same group which hosts the radically anti-Israel propaganda campaign known as “Israel Apartheid Week,” which is designed to encourage BDS against Israel, and justify Palestinian terrorism.
For those readers who, at this juncture, may be wondering if there is in fact a “gray area” when it comes to Hamas, the answer is emphatically “no.” There is absolutely no defense for Hamas, for supporting it, or for adorning oneself in its signature attire to express “solidarity.” Hamas is an expressly genocidal, religiously fanatical organization with no redeeming qualities whatsoever. Its founding charter draws heavily on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which is an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that blames Jews for most of the world’s wars and for the economic enslavement of humanity. Let us point out just a few of the lines of Hamas’s founding charter to make this crystal clear (via the Jerusalem Fund, a pro-Palestinian organization):
Israel will rise and will remain erect until Islam eliminates it as it had eliminated its predecessors
For our struggle against the Jews is extremely wide-ranging and grave, so much so that it will need all the loyal efforts we can wield, to be followed by further steps and reinforced by successive battalions from the multifarious Arab and Islamic world, until the enemies are defeated and Allah’s victory prevails
The Islamic Resistance Movement [Hamas] is a distinct Palestinian Movement which owes its loyalty to Allah, derives from Islam its way of life and strives to raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine [present-day Israel].
[T]he Hamas has been looking forward to implement Allah’s promise whatever time it might take. The prophet, prayer and peace be upon him, said: The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him! This will not apply to the Gharqad, which is a Jewish tree (cited by Bukhari and Muslim).
[T]he so-called peaceful solutions, and the international conferences to resolve the Palestinian problem, are all contrary to the beliefs of the Islamic Resistance Movement.
It is crucial to note that Hamas has also been at the forefront of popularizing the notion that the Israeli government is a Nazi regime, a comparison which is as ubiquitous in terrorist group’s charter as it is at pro-Palestinian “peace protests” in Western countries.
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