Op-Ed: Hate – Not Human Rights – Drives the BDS Movement
Anti-Semites never let facts get in the way.
The time has long passed for the press, politicians and civil society to recognize that the BDS movement (boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel) is not based upon legitimate, rational disagreement with the politics of the State of Israel, but is in fact a campaign rooted in anti-Semitism and fueled by ignorance.
My immediate detractors would argue that one can condemn the actions of the Israeli government and even disagree with Israel’s right to exist, while insisting that it’s nothing personal against the Jewish people. That would be possible in theory, and I’m sure there are naïve college students as well as guilt-driven suburbanites and bourgeois Europeans who have been indoctrinated to believe that hate is not the driving force. But any disagreement with my conclusion is debunked by the BDS movement’s embrace of the Holocaust as a weapon of propaganda, portraying 21st century Jews as the Nazis of 1930s Germany.
The world associates the Holocaust with photos of dead naked bodies piled on top of each other; human beings crammed into cattle cars and the few liberated survivors emaciated beyond recognition. Today these images have been exploited and turned against the very victims of these unspeakable horrors and the descendants of those who perished.
If the Holocaust has a face it belongs to Anne Frank. The diary of this Jewish adolescent told a story of fear, hope and dreams as she and her family hid from Nazi persecution. She would go on to die in a concentration camp and now her image can be found sporting a Palestinian keffiyeh wrapped around her neck – created and trumpeted by the BDS movement and its supporters to dramatize their case. This fraudulent and reprehensible attempt to equate modern day Israel with Hitler’s Germany with imagery that invokes the Holocaust reveals contempt for Israel’s very existence.
The BDS movement – the hearts and minds of its supporters – is evident all over social media and the blogosphere. The screeds run the gamut from accusations that Zionists and IDF soldiers are worse than Nazis – to Gaza being compared to a ghetto and even a concentration camp.
Those who cling to the notion that the BDS movement is about human rights don’t know the first thing about human rights either in Israel, in the Middle East, or in the world at large. That leaves baseless hatred as the only other possible explanation. Anti-Semites never let facts get in the way.
In case invoking the horrors of the Holocaust fails to endear people to the BDS movement, there’s always plenty of centuries-old stereotyping to keep the arsenal fully stocked. Last month a report by the independent research institution NGO Monitor revealed that Adalah-NY, The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel, issued a songbook featuring lyrics to be sung to the tune of various traditional holiday songs.
The new verses use words synonymous with slanderous Jewish stereotypes such as “greed” and “cheat” as well as phrases such as “making lots of dough.” Apartheid is a common theme in many of these songs. Comparing Israel to South African apartheid is part and parcel of the normal rhetoric stemming from anti-Israel groups engaged in the BDS movement.
If the tactics of the BDS movement don’t expose its true agenda, perhaps its silence is more revealing.
As pointed out by Rabbi Richard A. Block in a recent editorial published in the Huffington Post, “the BDS movement exercises the right to remain silent: Zimbabwe, Iran, North Korea, China and Russia, where dissident teachers and students are targets of violence, the ruling regimes' ideological opponents are imprisoned or worse, elections are rigged, the media are state-controlled, homosexuality is banned, and the freedoms of speech, press, assembly, and religion are denied.”
Yet the BDS movement ignores their atrocities – horrific human rights violations – setting their sights on the only democracy in the Middle East that permits freedom of religion, speech and equal rights for women and homosexuals.
Such hypocrisy raises the question, why? Yet the answer couldn’t be more obvious.
The BDS agenda has nothing to do with human rights nor is even the least bit interested in improving the lives of Palestinians. It’s about racism – bigotry – wholesale enmity on so grand a scale as to have resulted in one of the worst atrocities in human history.
Unless rational people realize the true intent, history will ultimately repeat itself.
Paul Miller is a principal of Pauliegroup LLC, a Chicago-based new media and political consulting firm.