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April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘BDS’

Anti-Israel Speakers and Jewish Self-Hatred

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

Cape Town, South Africa – The global center of the world BDS movement is, when you think about it, South Africa. BDS, in an attempt to sound more reasonable and less hateful, rarely compares Israel to Nazi, Germany, the way, say, arch-anti-Semite Roger Waters of Pink Floyd does. No, BDS argues that Israel practices apartheid the way that pre-Nelson Mandela South Africa did.

You can imagine, therefore, that it’s not all that easy being a proud lover of Israel in South Africa. That the Jewish community here pulls it off, remaining staunch Zionists, is impressive. But there are fissures in the support. Israel is under constant assault by some ANC ministers who make the false and erroneous comparison of Israel’s existential war against Islamic terrorists to the ANC’s struggle against white apartheid rule. Last week I responded to this ridiculous comparison. This week I want to focus on what it’s like to be subject to it.

It’s impossible for world Jewry to be the brunt of so much hatred, and to constantly be on the defensive about Israel, without some of that bile and poison seeping in. The constant attacks start playing with your head. Maybe there is something wrong with us Jews. With Christianity saying for 2000 years that Jesus is loving while the God of the Old Testament is vengeful, maybe Judaism is too rigid. Maybe in Israel we’re overdoing it. With the Palestinians saying they’re humiliated by checkpoints, perhaps Israel is purposely trying to degrade them as opposed to instituting security measures to stop buses filled with children from being blown up. And maybe, just maybe, we Jews who live outside of Israel are simply giving Israel too much mindless support.

I remember twice visiting Dakar, Senegal, one of the poorest countries on earth, and being struck by the advertisements all over the city for skin bleaching agents. But maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised. Gorie island in the city is where millions of African slaves departed through ‘the gate of no return’ to a life of chains in the Americas and Caribbean. When you’re brutalized with that kind of hatred just for the color of your skin you don’t always see beauty when you peer in the mirror.

The gradual trickle of self-hatred into the Jewish soul is evidencing itself in the growing American Jewish call for Israel-hating speakers to be hosted by Jewish organizations at Jewish venues in order to demonstrate our open-mindedness. We first saw this with Swarthmore Hillel when it bizarrely announced its “Open Hillel” policy, opening their doors to anti-Zionist speakers. Asking people who wish to destroy Israel to come and address Jewish audiences – and make no mistake about it, BDS is only about destroying Israel – would be the equivalent of the ANC inviting white bigots to argue that apartheid should be reinstated. I am all for inviting Israel’s opponents to open, rules-based debates, where they are forced to rationally defend their positions in the marketplace of ideas, and indeed, our organization, This World: The Values Network, will be sponsoring debates along these lines across the United States, beginning at Columbia University on 31 March. I believe strongly in freedom of speech and fair and intelligent exchange. And if it’s a credible opponent but who has the intention of obliterating your very home it can only be a debate format and on neutral ground. But what fool would allow poisonous, anti-Israel, anti-Semitic propaganda offered to impressionable Jewish minds without a retort? To invite people who want to malign and defame Israel to address Jewish audiences is proof of the old adage that there is no hatred like Jewish self-hatred.

The latest example was Ramaz High School students in New York inviting Columbia Professor Rashid Khalidi to lecture to them. The New York Times reported that Khalidi had been suggested to the students by Peter Beinart and that did not surprise me. Peter, whom I was kind to and hosted several times 20 years ago at the University of Oxford, has become the Jewish legitimizer of BDS. Peter feels he can get away with joining the calls for boycotts against Israel because, he says, he only wants to boycott all goods from Judea and Samaria in the West Bank. Of course, this would destroy mainstream Israeli companies that provide jobs for thousands of Israelis and Palestinians like Soda Stream, Ahava cosmetics, and even Victoria’s Secret, to name but a few. Peter claims to be a Zionist but by being not just in league but a leader of those seeking to destroy Israel economically he is clearly pushing the term to its absolute limit.

My reward for my friendship to Peter was his column last summer where he libeled me with the nauseating and revolting claim that my stances on the Israeli-Arab conflict “borders on racism”. Personal insults and name-calling are what often passed for journalism on Open Zion, and it’s not surprising that The Daily Beast canceled it, though whether the cause was widespread disinterest or shoddy journalism was never made clear.

I immediately challenged Peter on Twitter and he took the cowardly route of blaming a low-level editor of inserting the racism charge, even though he was the editor-in-Chief of Open Zion and clearly the buck stopped with him. I have invited Peter into our 31 March debate and he has accepted.

Khalidi is a respected academic. But in the PBS documentary, “Anti-Semitism in the 21st Century: The Resurgence,” he throws out a blood libel against Israel, accusing it of “killing children” and “old people.” He does not mention that Israel has lost thousands of civilians to Palestinian terror attack. He also makes the absurd claim that peace between Israel and the Palestinians will end the virulent anti-Semitism so often seen in the Islamic world. One can only surmise that Iran’s calls for the extermination of Israel and its holocaust denial will magically cease just as soon as Israel signs away Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Martin Solomon pointed out that in a 2006 appearance on PBS’s “NewsHour with Margaret Warner,” Khalidi claimed that neither Hezbollah nor Hamas is a “direct threat to the United States.” This was an astonishing claim given Hezbollah’s 1983 Beirut bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut which murdered 241 American marines. Khalidi seemed to believe that that U.S. peacekeeping forces, as an army of occupation, were fair game.

Of Khalidi’s book The Iron Cage: The Story of the Palestinian Struggle for Statehood,” New York Times columnist Clyde Haberman wrote, “When he talks about repressive Israeli measures having been ‘sometimes imposed on the pretext of security,’ critics are bound to ask: What pretext? How many suicide bombings of cafes and pizza shops does it take before a country has a right to end them by any method that seems to work?”

But while Khalidi’s opposition to Israel is not appropriate for High School students, it is perfectly appropriate for our Columbia University debate, to which I publicly invited him and where I can assure him he will be treated with the respect and courtesy he deserves.

UCLA Student Council Rejects Divestment Resolution

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

The UCLA student council rejected on Wednesday a resolution calling for divestment from five American companies that are accused of abusing Palestinian human rights.

The 7-5 vote by the Undergraduate Students Association Council followed nine hours of public comment and was held by secret ballot after one council member reported receiving anonymous threats by email during the all-night meeting.

Brought by Students for Justice in Palestine, the resolution called for divestment from Caterpillar, General Electric, Hewlett-Packard, Cemex and Cement Roadstone Holdings — companies that divestment backers said were used by the Israeli military to violate Palestinian human rights in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

While the resolution included a clause declaring it independent from the wider boycott, divestment, sanctions movement, opponents said passing the measure would nonetheless be taken as a victory for pro-BDS groups.

“If you vote yes, that will be taken as an extension of the BDS movement, whether or not you want it to be,” Bruins for Israel President Avinoam Barel told the council members.

Dana Saifan, the president of Students for Justice in Palestine at the University of California, Los Angeles, countered that the resolution should be judged on its own merits.

“As much as this might be construed to meaning other things, this is my human rights,” she said.

Saifan also told the council, “We are not asking for an endorsement of the BDS, we made that incredibly clear. Our community supports Jewish self-determination, we’re saying it — we’re not hiding anything.”

In addition to fears of supporting the BDS movement, several council members said they felt UCLA’s Jewish community had not been sufficiently consulted by Students for Justice in Palestine before the resolution was brought to the council, despite having been notified beforehand.

The UCLA resolution is the latest in a series of divestment proposals throughout the University of California system.

The Undergraduate Students Association does not control the university’s investment portfolio, so the resolution would have served as a recommendation to the Board of Regents, which has stated it will not entertain Israel-related divestment.

NYC’s Jewish Museum Invites, then Uninvites, Major BDS Advocate

Friday, February 21st, 2014

Most of the New York City pro-Israel community was upset, but not shocked, when Brooklyn College invited two of the best known advocates for legal and economic warfare (the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement) to be featured speakers at an event last year.

But this past week most of those same people were both upset and shocked when they learned that New York City’s Jewish Museum had invited and was going to feature one of those same speakers: Judith Butler, the Berkeley professor known primarily as a leader in the fields of “gender, power, sexuality and identity theory.”

Butler is not only a huge supporter of the BDS movement, she has also spoken sympathetically about the terrorist organizations Hamas and Hezbollah.

On March 6, Judith Butler was slated to give a “performance” of Franz Kafka, as one in a series of three programs entitled “Wish You Were Here.”  The series features “interviews” of Sigmund Freud, Albert Einstein, conducted by the museum’s deputy director Jens Hoffmann.

Although Butler has written about Kafka, it is not what she is known for. Queer theory? Yes. Gender identity? Yes. Power theory and subjugation? Sure. Franz Kafka? Not so much.

The focus of Butler’s recent work on Kafka is a labored effort to distance the man from the category labeled Zionist. That article, “Who Owns Kafka?” addresses the trial over who owned the rights to Kafka’s unpublished manuscripts,  after his death. The State of Israel was one of the parties seeking ownership, partially based on the claim that Kafka was an “asset” of the Jewish people.

Butler’s abiding distaste for Israel drove her to prove that Kafka was not a Zionist (based primarily on his not emigrating, although discriminatory quotas and Kafka’s own tuberculosis probably played a larger role) in order to prevent the Jewish people from claiming him as an asset, and his manuscripts from ending up in Israel.

Most non-literary theorist New Yorkers, however, were not aware of the Butler anti-Zionist Kafka connection. But her reputation as a leader of the BDS movement, and as sympathetic to terrorist groups committed to wiping out the Jewish state, were sufficient motivations for action.

The calls and outcries reached a crescendo on Thursday, Feb. 20.

The Jewish Museum could not hide behind the false, but frequently invoked, veil of “academic freedom” to hide behind, as had the Brooklyn College administration. And the Jewish Museum could not point fingers at students who insisted that a hater of Israel be invited in, and doted upon, by the people who run the Jewish Museum.

There was no getting around it, the Jewish Museum of New York City, an institution that was founded in, and remains under the auspices of  the Conservative movement of American Judaism, the Jewish Theological Seminary, deliberately chose to showcase a person whose animosity towards Israel was well known.

Judith Butler is most often described as an “American philosopher” and a “gender, power, sexuality and identity theorist.” She is a professor at the University of California at Berkely, in the department of comparative literature.

Although, according to her Berkeley webpage, Butler has recently taught a course on Kafka, her overwhelming focus and interest is sexuality, queer theory and feminist theory. Of the more than a dozen books Butler authored, none are about Kafka or his writing.

“How ironic that a Museum which is a scion of one of the three American Jewish movements, in this case, the JTS; and how ironic that a Museum whose heritage begins with Jews of German origin, where boycotts preceded our extermination in Europe – how ironic that such a museum would feature a leading advocate of boycotts of the Jewish people,” Jeffrey Wiesenfeld, a New York City businessman and leader of New York’s pro-Israel Jewish community told The Jewish Press.

Presbyterians Do Repentance and Drink SodaStream

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

The supposed Presbyterian Church support of the Boycott Israel movement is suffering a wicked backlash from the little guys in the pews who are horrified at some of their elitist leaders who have taken upon themselves to speak in the name of the entire church.

The “Israel/Palestine Mission Network (IPMN) of the Presbyterian Church” in the United States has issued a study guide that that describes Zionism as inherently discriminatory.

The IPMN is an independent entity, noted the Christian newswire.com, although it was created by the Presbyterian Church’s assembly in 2004. The group has targeted Caterpillar, Hewlett Packard and Motorola, all of which do business with the Israeli military and therefore are considered non-kosher participants in the alleged “Occupation.”

The Israel-based SodaStream company has become the latest favorite victim of the Boycott movement, also known as BDS, for Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanctions.

The “church” is far from monolithic. Its anti-Israel activists failed to win approval for disinvestment when the issue came up for a vote in 2012 at the United Methodist General Conference and Presbyterian Church, but it will come up again for discussion at the General Assembly in June in Detroit.

The Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD), a conservative group that  challenges church that focuses much of its criticism on the policies of the Methodist, Episcopal and the Presbyterian churches in the United States, is outraged at church leaders; support of BDS.

“Jewish groups rightfully are upset,” said IRD President Mark Tooley, “but Christian groups and all persons of good will interested in basic fairness should also be upset that once again a venerable church tradition is squandering its moral capital on a malevolent cause.

“The new semi-official Presbyterian anti-Israel resource illustrates the focused animus of many old-line church elites and activists against Jewish Israel.

“While Presbyterian and other church bodies remain almost completely silent about global persecution of Christians, anti-Semitism, and widespread human rights abuses especially against free speech and religious liberty, they oddly obsess over Israel’s transgressions, real and imagined.”

The Rev. Katharine Rhodes Henderson, the president of New York’s Auburn Theological Seminary, a Presbyterian-affiliated institution, wrote in an statement issued to JTA that the guide “Zionism Unsettled  “purports to be about love but it actually expresses demonization, distortion and imbalance.”

Some Presbyterians involved in Jewish-Christian dialogue say they are pressing the leadership of their church to renounce the study guide and plan to raise the issue at their mainline Protestant denomination’s General Assembly this summer. They have declared that the IPMN guide does not reflect the beliefs of the church’s members.

“My first response to my friends in the Jewish community with whom I associate on a monthly basis in a Jewish-Presbyterian dialogue group is to assure them that this does not represent even close to a majority opinion,” said the Rev. Mike Cole, a Houston-area Presbyterian leader.

The Presbyterian church officials have tried to do limited damage control by sitting that the guide “was neither paid for nor published by the Presbyterian Church,” but the officials have not repudiated it.

Jan Armstrong, a Presbyterian church leader in Santa Barbara, Calif., told the JTA that the study guide “is so unrepresentative of the Membership of the PCUSA as to be considered purely propaganda.”

The Rev. Chris Leighton, a Presbyterian minister and the executive director of the Institute for Christian and Jewish Studies in Baltimore, published a lengthy open letter to the Presbyterian church on the Institute for Christian and Jewish Studies website in which he wrote that the guide “betrays the Church, the truth, and the spirit of reconciliation to which we are called.”

The “big issue” raised by the study guide, said John Wimberly, a co-convenor of Presbyterians for Middle East Peace, “is the desire to eliminate Israel as a Jewish state.”

14 Ways to Shut Up BDS

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

The Boycott Israel movement has unwittingly given the pro-Israel crowd 14 great ideas how to expose the Big Lie of BDS as it gears up for its 10th annual international Israeli Apartheid Week that is scheduled in the United States and Britain next week and in South Africa, the Palestinian Authority, Europe and Brazil in March.

The BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement is a well-greased machine with a well-financed and professional propaganda network.

The State of Israel and dozens of Jewish synagogues and organizations around the world have protested BDS to tear part its anti-Israel arguments and lies and even have countered it with “buy-cott” drives to encourage people to buy Israeli-made products.

However, the pro-Israel crowd has not been able and perhaps has not even tried to unify its efforts.

The haters of Israel have come up with 14 suggestions for Israel-haters to adopt for Israeli Apartheid Week, and the same ideas could be used against BDS.

It is a tough fight because the BDS movement has the support, sometimes unannounced and sometime unannounced, of dozens of countries, especially those in Europe. The image of a lone person upholding Tel Aviv Palestinian flag against an Israel tank is a perfect picture to get across the lie that Israel is at war with the Palestinian Authority population.

The pro-Israel folks need more than good intentions. They need professionals to come up with a slick poster and video to expose the Big Lie.

Meanwhile, here are 14 ways people can get involved in exposing BDS. All of the ideas are taken from the Boycott Israel’s “13 Ways [they can't count very well] You Can Get Involved in Israeli Apartheid Week” campaign.

  • Screen A Palestine Pro-Israel Movie Or Documentary Film:

Make full-feature movies and documentary films available and free of charge for screening at universities, schools, community centers and workplaces.

This documentary is by American nationally syndicated radio talk show host and syndicated columnist and author Dennis Prager. He majored in Middle Eastern Studies and History at Brooklyn College and was a Fellow at the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, where he did his graduate work at the Russian Institute (now the Harriman Institute) and Middle East Institute.

  •  Host  Music Event, Poetry Evening or Sports Day

As part of the Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) pro-Israel movement, organize a sports day, soccer tournament, music event or poetry evening with local or national artists. Consider inviting an Palestinian Israeli poet/artist as well.

  • Spray Paint Graffiti or Paint a Mural

Create a painting/mural/graffiti with “Israeli Apartheid” pro-Israel as the theme. Reach out to local artists, friends, activists, media and community members to get involved. Remember to share your photos and video footage. WARNING: When BDS folks spray graffiti, it is considered a protests. When pro-Israel people do it, it is called a Price Tag attack.

  • Host a Lecture, Rally, Workshop

There are several national and international speakers who can speak on the issue of Palestine Israel and the lie of Israeli Apartheid.

  • Put Up Posters, Stickers and Create Awareness

Find Pro-Israel posters, stickers and flyers online and download, print, distribute and spread the word.

  • Flyer distribution at your school, university, workplace and on the street.

Get together with a branch of your organization, a group of friends or colleagues and distribute flyers at a high-traffic area.

  •  Write a Poem, Article or Song for Your Local Newspaper, Contact Your Local Radio Station, Write a Letter to the Editor – Raise Awareness in the Media!

You can write an article or letter on the topic of Israel and the BDS Lie for a local newspaper, magazine or other publication. Alternatively contact your local radio station/TV station and request a discussion on Israel and Palestine. Write and publish your own poem, song or article.

  •   Have Your Church, Synagogue or Temple Participate

Arrange for the topic of your synagogue’s activities or church’s Sunday service to be on the lie of Israeli Apartheid Week and the Palestinian struggle. Last year the South African Council of Churches called on all member churches to devote their Sunday Service during Israeli Apartheid Week to the topic of Palestine. Synagogue and pro-Israel church organizations can do the same for Israel if they take the initiative.

  • Organize an Anti-BDS Protest

Arrange a protest against a store or company that stocks boycotts Israeli products such as Ahava Cosmetics, SodaStream, Israeli Fresh Produce (in Woolworths etc.) and Israeli Dead Sea products.

  • Be Creative

Build a mock Israeli Apartheid Wall  Arab suicide bombing and terrorist attack and set up an Israeli checkpoint with a terrorist camouflaged as a pregnant women. Organize a flash mob and facilitate a balloon release.

  • Contribute money.

Contact pro-Israel organizations, encourage them to unify and make a contribution.

  • Go Online

Help spread the word online using blogs and social media.

  • Endorse

Have your organization endorse the pro-Israel movement and expose the lie of the Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) campaign.

The video below shows one lone Jew, later joined by two others, waving an Israeli flag at a Boycott Israel rally. Tune in to the very end for the knowledge of the BDS crowd.

Netanyahu Calls Boycotters ‘Anti-Semites’

Monday, February 17th, 2014

Anyone who wants to boycott Israel is an anti-Semite, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Monday night in comments to the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations in Jerusalem.

“In the past anti-Semites boycotted Jewish businesses, and today they call for the boycott of the Jewish state, and by the way, only the Jewish state,” Netanyahu said. “I think that it is important that the boycotters be exposed for what they are, they are classical anti-Semites in modern garb.”

His hard-hitting statements came  in the wake of recent disinvestment of Israeli firms and an outright warning by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry that Israel faces boycotts if it does not come to terms with most of the Arab world’s demands. The Obama administration supports nearly all of the Arab conditions for the establishment of the Palestinian Authority as a new Arab country on land where hundreds of thousands of Jews would be expelled from their homes.

The time has come to “delegitimize the delegitimizers,” the Prime Minister asserted.

The Boycott Israel movement has hit some snags lately, with entertainers such as Neil Young refusing to cancel a scheduled gig, actress Scarlett Johansson sticking to her guns as a paid ambassador for the SodaStream company that has a factory at a location in Judea and Samaria, and more than 200 universities disavowing the academic boycott approved by the American Studies Association.

Netanyahu said in his remarks that Israel’s successful high-tech industry is one of the country’s most effective weapons to fight the Boycott Israel movement.

Previous efforts to boycott all Israeli products failed after the supporters realized they would have to do without patented and generic drugs produced by Israel’s Teva Pharmaceuticals and without computers that use chips produced by Intel’s giant facility in Israel.

Facebook Page Urging Stones boycott a Hoax

Saturday, February 15th, 2014

A Facebook page claiming victory in getting the Rolling Stones to boycott Israel is an apparent hoax.

The “Rolling Stones: Boycott Israel” page, established Wednesday, on Thursday reported that the group had cancelled a planned June 10 concert.

It cited “sources with the Rolling Stones,” but there has been no such announcement.

The page also posted a letter asking the group to boycott Israel and signed by the page organizers as well as supposedly by Electronic Intifada and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

But Electronic Intifada, an anti-Zionist news site, denied signing the letter and noted that it does not sign letters institutionally; moreover, the news site reported, the letter is a duplicate of a 2007 letter urging the Stones to boycott Israel that appeared on the Electronic Intifada site and was signed by 350 individuals.

Most of the Facebook page’s commenters are currently pro-Israel, suggesting that word of the page’s existence was more widely disseminated in the pro-Israel community than it was among backers of BDS. As of Friday, the page had 219 “likes.”

JTA and other Jewish outlets had reported on the Facebook page’s existence yesterday.

JTA has asked the page organizers to explain the apparent hoax.

Jordan Valley Cloned Bananas and BDS

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

The Ginosar Agro team says they come from a deep understanding of the challenges banana growers are facing worldwide. You may not know this, but the Cavendish, that lovely, big, yellow banana you so love, is in grave danger. Tropical Race 4, a fungus which has already destroyed acres of crops across Taiwan, Indonesia and Malaysia, is threatening the plantations of Australia and South and Central America. In those areas, banana plantations are guarded by barbed wire fences and patrols.

The Ginosar elite-cultivars of disease-free banana plants are the result of decades of stringent professional selection from our mother plantations, located in northern Israel. The clones are globally recognized as a premium brand, due to the high quality of the plants and their superior performance in the field.

So, before you know it, those BDS folks are also going to have to go with just berries in their morning cereal…

And now a bonus image: a vendor at the Mahane Yehuda Market in Jerusalem who discovered a brand new use for his bananas.

Photo credit: Kobi Gideon / FLASH90

Photo credit: Kobi Gideon / FLASH90

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/photos/jordan-valley-cloned-bananas-and-bds/2014/02/06/

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