April 4, 2020

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From boycotting Jews to attacking MPs, the bullying thuggery of BDS


By almost any measure of freedom, Israel is a Garden of Eden compared to every single one of its neighbours. The obsession people have with that *TINY* state is simply astonishing. Of all the nations in the world, Israel is the one people want to boycott (BDS)? No less astonishing is the obsession some people have with the *TINY* global Jewish population. You cannot simply ignore that ‘coincidence’.

They say that the entire argument over antisemitism is about freedom to ‘criticise Israel’. That is a lie. There is nothing stopping anybody criticising Israel. The truth is that none of the people on the ‘anti-Israel’ front-line are moderates who seek peace and just want to ‘criticise’. In actual fact, when you kick the rock, the only thing that comes out from underneath is a cultist. A thug who buys into conspiracy theory, wants Israel destroyed and doesn’t like Jews.

Look around you. Look closely at each of those leading the attack.

  • They want Israel gone
  • Support Jeremy Corbyn (in the UK, for non UK – just pick the nearest anti-Zionist politician)
  • Suggest the entire antisemitism argument is a sham
  • Support BDS
  • Suggest BDS isn’t about the destruction of Israel even though they themselves want it destroyed
  • Many have made antisemitic statements themselves. If not, they are certainly busy defending anti-Jewish racists.

The BDS logic

If the central logic underpinning the Boycott Divestment Sanctions movement (BDS) had no value whatsoever, it would never have made it off the drawing board. Therefore an important part of fighting the antisemitic attack from within BDS is to understand the simplicity of the argument upon which it is built. Free speech, individual choice and the right to protest. These are all basic values inherent in our democratic freedoms. Given the correct set of circumstances, popular sanction (through boycott) is a powerful and useful tool.

But we also know that despite the squeals of the BDS Central Committee, BDS was designed in the west. A strategy formulated through a four year gestation between the Durban conference in 2001 and the eventual launch of the BDS movement in 2005. The early initiatives had floundered and it was a while before the missing ingredient (the ‘call from within’) was added. There is a video of activist Ilan Pappe virtually admitting that the ‘call from within’ ‘was based on a lie:

Another anti-Israel activist, Norman Finkelstein ridiculed the entire idea of Palestinian ‘civil society’ and attacked BDS for its dishonesty (video later in the blog). The bottom line is this, BDS was developed in the hard-left laboratory of Europe, to be used as a deceptive tool in the war against Israel.

The BDS traps

To cover it’s deliberate dishonesty, BDS lays several traps for those seeking to criticise it. Primarily you become entangled in a deflective argument over international law and freedom. As I saw someone ask on Twitter:

‘Imagine if a white supremacist group started a leaflet campaign to boycott businesses owned by black people.’

Is such an act of ‘free speech’ or ‘public protest’ legitimate? Of course not, yet it contains the underlying principles that BDS activists would conveniently argue are absolute. The problem with BDS is not in the theory but in the practical application. Right of expression and protest only go so far and the existence of the ‘red-line’ exposes the ‘freedom’ argument as a straw-man. As with all punishments or judgements, it is the issues of ‘guilt’ ‘fairness’ ‘proportionality’ and ‘exceptionalism’ that are of primary concern. Even beyond the obvious criticism that Israel is being singled out, there is the underlying assumption of guilt. What if Israel is simply not guilty of the charges laid against it?

‘Oh yes it is’

‘oh yes it is’, you hear the BDS activist cry, as they point to an image of a crushed body in a Gaza ruin. Yet every nation on earth has images such as this that can be used against it. An image such as this, even out of context, is not enough to merit actually ‘destroying’ a nation. None of the legitimate arguments that can be raised against Israel are unique and none warrant an exceptional response.

The only thing that is ‘exceptional’ about Israel is the alignment of forces against it. Beyond it’s own natural environment, radical Islamists, antisemites and elements of the hard-left all wish to see it destroyed. That is why BDS against Israel exists and a similar initiative against the 100+ states with worse human rights records, and fewer freedoms, is non-existent.

Which is why the second trap is one of ‘goals’. BDS deliberately shields its ultimate aims. This is a typical tweet about the aims of BDS:

Notice the pretence that BDS is only about the 1967 lands. It is of course a hogwash statement. BDS has three goals, and only one is directed towards the 1967 lands. More to the point, BDS explicitly unites all three goals. There is no separating a ‘settlement’ boycott within BDS, from the wider aims of the movement to destroy Israel (see article from BDS Founder, Barghouti). In this video below, anti-Israel activist Norman Finkelstein refers to BDS as a dishonest cult that seeks Israel’s destruction and a movement that does not represent the Palestinians:

As Finkelstein points out, these blurred lines are deliberate. They allow for people to believe (and many do) that BDS is a post 1967 argument. It most certainly is not. The illusion this deception creates leaves those fighting against BDS arguing with moderates who don’t understand why Jews see BDS as a danger. All whilst those fronting BDS reap the rewards of the confusion they have made. To the ill-informed, Jewish people attacking BDS look like extremists who want to shut down debate. It is a clever trap. Full BDS brings about an end to Zionism. It treats Israel as an exceptional case, it negates the Jewish right of self-determination and it ignores the democratic wishes of Israel’s citizens *BECAUSE* the majority are Jewish. Full BDS is antisemitic. Period.

The illusive moderates

Yet the argument goes on. As if ‘moderates’ are having their ability to criticise Israel taken away from them. So who are these moderates, where are they and what is it they are not allowed to say? If calling for the destruction of a liberal democracy (full BDS) can be described as obviously extreme, then a moderate pro-Palestinian activist should be someone who is in favour of a two state solution and therefore rejects calls for the destruction of Israel. As moderates, they would also have a problem with all forms of racism, including antisemitism.

The IHRA definition doesn’t silence any of these people. There are many people who criticise Israel who never come close to crossing any lines. Millions of Israelis regularly criticise policies of the State. In fact, whenever you come across someone who is at the front of the fight against the IHRA, you soon realise it is for all the wrong reasons. As I wrote earlier, when you kick the rock, the only thing that comes out from underneath is a cultist. A thug who buys into conspiracy theory, wants Israel destroyed and doesn’t like Jews.

Thuggery of the public kind

BDS as ‘peaceful protest’ was always going to fail. Israel’s economy is too globally embedded, hi-tech and entrepreneurial for BDS to make an impact. And as even Finkelstein points out, anyone with a brain can see through the vague statements of BDS. Pepsi’s recent purchase of Sodastream has reminded us all, after thirteen years of failed boycott, the Israeli economy is booming.

The hard core activists did little better with softer targets, like fruit and vegetables in the supermarket aisle. Short of legislation (the Corbyn threat) global brands such as Tesco are not going to start boycotting Jewish goods.

Where they do have impact, is in ‘ganging up’ against individuals. Either in a localised setting (such as on campus) or in a virtual environment where ‘bots’ can be deployed. A good example of this is Nissan Ayalon. Nissan is a man who built a business here, employed people and was then chased across the United Kingdom by thugs who saw him as an easy target. My understanding is that he has now completely given up the fight and left. As he said ‘ he felt as if *he* didn’t have a right to exist‘. That’s a Jewish person chased from the shores of the UK in 2018.

From artists to MPs

Academics have been silenced and singers who agree to perform in Israel are met with incredible levels of hostility and abuse. This is all personal. It also exposes BDS for the thug-based movement that it is. The boycott movement failed to capture the imagination because it is both unjust and deceptive, therefore BDS relies on ignorance and the motivation of anti-Jewish hatred to create gangs who intimidate people into rejecting Israel.

There is no other description for the mob that attacked Lana Del Rey. Personal vulnerability is taken advantage of by a crowd of thugs, who level all sorts of threats against the artist. Threats of violence are made against the artist, their family and their ‘people’. It must be a truly scary experience for young performers. These are individuals who use social media platforms and are suddenly faced with a tsunami of personal hate because ‘the mob’ suggests Israel is worse than Nazi Germany. This bullying, which includes death threats, is somehow publicised as a BDS ‘success’ by some mainstream online media outlets. As this is all that is left of their movement, the BDS central committee orchestrate such campaigns. Their latest is of course next year’s Eurovision.

As artists are bullied by online thugs, the media stays quiet. Perhaps because inside every newsroom is at least one deluded fool who thinks BDS is a humanitarian argument and something to do with settlements. Maybe the reporters are scared of the mob too. In the meantime, bullying and intimidation on a global scale is taking place and ‘human rights’ groups such as Amnesty actually ‘applaud‘. This abuse is going on before our eyes and in public. When Lana Del Rey was finally pummeled into submission, ‘media outlets’ reported she had ‘changed her mind’. Is nobody thinking straight?

Mob rule of a deceptive, unjust movement

Students on campus also feel the heat of this mob. Israeli societies have little freedom and Jewish societies are intimidated into voluntarily limiting their activity. When Israeli speakers arrive there can be aggressive demonstrations.  It has the same effect as the cultural boycott. Jewish students avoid engaging, just as singers decide that it is better not to arrange a concert in Israel in the first place. This is mob rule of a deceptive unjust movement. The target is not just Israel, it is an attack on core Jewish identity.

What is happening in the UK to MPs highlights this perfectly. Any MP who has tried to speak up for Jewish people is facing harassment and deselection. At a recent ‘no-confidence’ vote raised against one of those MPs, Iranian Press-TV even filmed from within the constituency meeting. If you’re Jewish they want you gone. There is a chance, if you just protect Jewish people they may simply instruct you to stop defending the Jews. Just yesterday news broke of yet another MP, Karin Smyth, facing censure.

Karin Smyth, Luciana Berger, Louise Ellman, Rosie Duffield, Ruth Smeeth, Margaret Hodge, Joan Ryan. Notice a pattern? The vast majority of abuse is directed towards women. As the two most notable bullying campaigns against artists were directed towards Lana Del Ray and Lorde, it may be fair to say that not only are people blind to a vicious bullying campaign, they are oblivious to its misogynistic nature.

I am sure people will protest that I have associated BDS with a bullying attack on British MPs, but it is all one and the same. The people leading the charge against the MPs and the ones at the head of the BDS gangs are all the same people. Look at them. The same names, the same faces, the same media support.

If BDS is a gang gathering together to intimidate a singer into cancelling a concert , why is the same gang gathering together to intimidate or deselect an MP not BDS? The BDS movement is just a cover, a name, antisemites use as an excuse to attack Jews. They chased Nissan Ayalon out of Scotland, just as surely as they are hounding Jewish MPs and their defenders in Parliament.

A couple of examples

It isn’t difficult to highlight that these are all the same people. Take those leading the way. Roger Waters is an anti-Zionist who supports Corbyn, promotes BDS, winds up the attack dogs and denies antisemitism. We can even create a check list.

  • Hard-core Anti-Zionist
  • Supports Corbyn (or if not in the UK, then the nearest anti-Zionist politician)
  • Promotes BDS
  • Attacks (or defends the attack) on sitting MPs
  • Is either an antisemite or defends antisemites

I’d argue that all the leading players in the arguments over antisemitism tick every one of those boxes. To argue therefore that there is a line over which anti-Jewish activity is or is not BDS is an exercise in logical fallacy. Here are visible examples:

That’s Pam Arnold. Supporting Corbyn (image 1) Promoting BDS (image 2) Attacking MPs (image 3) Being antisemitic (image 4). Arnold is a friend of Gilad Atzmon and she is evidence that hard-left and hard-right are interchangeable at times. Although well known in activist circles, Arnold is not a public face of Corbyn support, the fight against the IHRA or BDS, but this check list works with them all.

Take Asa Winstanley, associate editor with The Electronic Intifada. The EI is a rag that works on smears, lies and conspiracy. Winstanley ticks all the boxes.

Asa Winstanley BDS

Ben Jamal is the Director of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. A movement riddled with antisemitic activists. Remember, Jeremy Corbyn is *still* a patron of this group. Ben Jamal supports one of his ‘patrons’, applauds the success of the BDS bullying campaigns, talks at JVL events and promotes articles that defend the antisemites in the Labour Party (that BAME article was shown to be a scam).

Jackie Walker and Tony Greenstein clearly pass the test. So do all the leading lights of the Yevsektsiya group ‘Jewish Voice for Labour’:


Here is one from the House of Lords.

I could post hundreds of these, because they all tell the same story. Those at the front of the argument over the IHRA definition are all extremists, who:

  • Support / protect Jeremy Corbyn
  • Want to see the destruction of Israel
  • Try to persuade others BDS is about free speech and not the destruction of Israel
  • Argue that little (if any) of the visible Jew hatred is antisemitism
  • Either attack Jewish (and pro-Israel) MPs or defend those attacking them

Trampling on antisemitism and the Holocaust

So where are the limits? This is the problem, there don’t seem to be any. A few days ago, news spread about a planned panel appearance at a fringe event during the Labour Party Conference of Ewa Jasiewicz . Ewa is an anti-Israel activist who had put anti-Israel graffiti on the grounds of the Warsaw Ghetto. There is little doubt that putting anti-Israel graffiti on a wall at the Warsaw Ghetto is both sickening and antisemitic. It was deliberately chosen precisely because of what happened to the Jewish people there.

Who on earth would defend it? Well, all those who defend Jeremy Corbyn, simply brushed it off.

Ash Sarkar, who shared Lansman’s tweet is Senior Editor of Novara Media, an online media source that openly Jeremy Corbyn. And of course she supports BDS:

Yet another story has just broken, about Union leader Mark Serwotka, who accused Israel of ‘creating‘ the antisemitism row. Mark is a Patron of BDS supporting War on Want, one of the most vicious anti-Israel organisations in the country. This image is from the annual conference of the TUC.

Given the context of the current environment, if anything should tell British Jews it is time to start packing, that image should.

The link between Corbyn’s ‘attack dogs’, antisemitism and a call to destroy Israel is almost absolute. When it comes to a choice between associating with hard-core antisemites and Holocaust Deniers or standing up to racism against British Jews, *they all* choose the side of the racists.

The total assault on Jews

BDS is an excuse, the Palestinian cause is an excuse, freedom of speech is an excuse. This isn’t ‘BDS’ attacking Lana Del Ray, nor are they ‘Labour activists’ hounding Luciana Berger. These people are one and the same. A group of antisemitic thugs using whichever umbrella is convenient to legitimise their anti-Jewish stance. They can boycott Israeli business, remove kosher products from stores, bully artists, hassle politicians, deface Holocaust memorials, deny the Holocaust and protect those who spread anti-Jewish conspiracy theory. We should identify all this for what it is, a blatant attack on Jewish people by gangs of antisemitic thugs.



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The post From boycotting Jews to attacking MPs, the bullying thuggery of BDS appeared first on Beyond the great divide.

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