The new mantra of the far-left is that the “South Africa moment” has arrived in relation to Israel.
Reasonable people around the world recognise what Israel is up against when confronting Palestinian terrorists groups. They recognise that Israel’s battle is a mirror-image of the battle that NATO troops are fighting in Afghanistan. While the focus of Al Qaida, the Taleban and Hamas are different all Islamist terror groups employ the same brutal tactic of deliberately targeting and murdering innocent civilians.
Yet in an article for The Guardian Omar Barghouti praises Desmond Tutu, Richard Falk and Mairead Maguire for endorsing the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel and that some artists have decided not to entertain in Israel. Many superb artists do play in Israel including Elton John, Madonna and Joan Armatrading.
Far from being a “South Africa moment” Barghouti would know, seeing as he is studying for a Masters at Tel Aviv University, that Israel is booming. The currency is very strong (Israeli banks took on no toxic debt), investments continue to poor in and low cost carriers have started to fly there. Exports flourish with tasty Israeli fruit and vegetables gracing the shelves of British supermarkets. Technological and scientific innovation continues apace (Israeli scientists have recently created a breathe test to detect common forms of cancer).
In his article Barghouti argues that BDS wants three main objectives of the Palestinian people realised:
1. The “occupation” ended – This is understandable but it can only be done around a negotiating table. Israel’s security is paramount and Israel has a right to be in the West Bank. Israeli forces are authorised to be there pursuant to UNSCR 242 drafted after the 1967 war. Arguably the settlers are there in accordance with the Balfour Declaration (“His Majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people..”) that was incorporated into the British Mandate of Palestine, a legal instrument endorsed by the League of Nations and incorporated into the United Nations.
2. An end to the racial discrimination against Israel’s Palestinian citizens – Barghouti believes Israel is an “apartheid state” because he thinks it privileges Jews over its own Arab population (some 18% of the total). He didn’t give examples but we all know by now that Israeli Palestinians are well represented politically and some are very nicely off thank you very much. If you want to make money in Israel you can. While things in Israel, like most western countries, are not perfect Israeli Palestinians can fight politically to improve their conditions if they feel they are being slighted.
3. The so-called “right of return” for Palestinian refugees – The outcome of this would be the demographic destruction of the Jewish state, which is the real objective of the BDS movement. Israel obviously won’t agree to this but Barghouti thinks this “right” has UN approval and he disingenuously quotes UNSCR 194, which is not a “right” at all.
UNSCR 194 “Resolves that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date..”
Anyone read the Hamas Charter recently?:
“The Day of Judgement will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Muslims, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews.”
I’m not sure that “killing the Jews” correlates too well to wishing to “live at peace with their neighbours”.
Which brings us, finally, on to the most pernicious aspect of the BDS movement. An increasing amount of the Palestinian and pro-Palestinian narrative is being aimed at Jews per se. Anti-Semitic cartoons are rife in the Arab world and Hamas is open about what it thinks of Jews.
Pro-Palestinian activists have no qualms about equating Gaza to a Nazi concentration camp. Placards at anti-Israel rallies proclaim “Stop the Holocaust in Gaza” while pictures of children behind barbed wire abound.
Then there are the boycotts themselves. Anthony Julius has recognised that historically the boycott has been the main tool used to isolate the Jews. In his Trials of the Diaspora – A History of anti-Semitism in England he cites France in the 1890s, Limerick in 1904, Nazi Germany, Egypt in 1945 and Saudi Arabia in 1952. In the UK during the 1930s and 1960s right-wing fascists carried out boycotts.
Today it is Israel, which is disproportionately Jewish, that is being similarly boycotted. The sole qualification is to be Israeli. Organisations like Boycott Israeli Goods (BIG) make no bones about this.
Targeting someone because of their origin is normally considered racist but not, apparently, when it comes to Israel. Although the BDS movement is unsuccessful what makes a respected British newspaper like The Guardian unable to recognise the vicious ideology it is promoting is totally beyond me.