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September 2, 2015 / 18 Elul, 5775
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It’s My Opinion: A Boycott

A recent anti-Israeli demonstration at a local grocery store has taken on an ironic twist. The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions group led a rally in front of a Publix supermarket located in North Miami. Organizer Len Kaminsky insisted the protest was not anti-Jewish, but rather anti-Zionist. Kaminsky said he is a Jew who’s very upset with “the way that Palestinians are being treated by Israel.” He is heading a boycott of Israeli products to make his point.

 

The boycott demonstration took place during the three-week period when Jews mourn the loss of the holy temples in Jerusalem. These tragedies led to national exile and decimation. Tradition tells us the reason for this collective punishment was lack of achdus (unity) among the Jewish people. Sadly, more than two thousand years later, the problem still remains.

 

Painful as it is to know the leader of this rally is himself Jewish, it isn’t surprising, given the prevalence of Israel bashing throughout the media. He probably just believes what he has read in the major papers and seen on television news.   

 

The technique of the “big lie” is quite effective. Its method is to repeat misinformation until it becomes an accepted “fact.” Mainstream media constantly spew out skewed information about the Israeli/Arab conflict. The words chosen and the photos used are far from objective; the so-called news articles are often nothing more than opinion pieces.

 

Pro-Arab propaganda is parroted by journalists who make little effort to check out the facts. The canards run the gamut and include many false stories. Retractions are few and never seem to make it to the same front pages when these reports are proven wrong.

 

Several Jewish organizations have suggested buying the products under fire and writing or calling the stores involved to thank them for carrying the targeted Israeli brands. This remedy, however, does not deal with the root of the problem: the incessant Israel bashing that poisons minds and hardens hearts.

             The relentless barrage of misinformation is insidious and dangerous. It has the power to create false impressions that cause great harm to Israel. The worldwide Jewish community needs to concentrate on spreading the facts about what is happening. It needs to come out forcefully with the truth. It needs to give the other side of the story. It needs to educate the world.  Otherwise, who can be blamed for believing what they read in the papers or see on the news?   

About the Author: Shelley Benveniste is South Florida editor of The Jewish Press.


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