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Pro-Boycott Group Backs B'Tselem

B'Tselem receives funding from the radical left "Bubbe and Zayde for Peace" group that calls Israel an 'apartheid' country and promotes a boycott.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 11/5/2010, 1:33 PM / Last Update: 11/6/2010, 7:21 PM

"What's in a name?" said Portia in Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice.  A far left organization with misleading, name that evokes warm Jewish family life has begun funding another far left organization whose name is intended to suggest universal ethics..   

The far-left B'Tselem ( "In the Image", referring to man as created in the image of G-d) organization, which considers itself a human rights watchdog group,  faced criticism this week over revelations that a new donor group has called Israel “apartheid” and supports a boycott of the country. B'Tselem has stuck by its new donor, telling NGO Monitor it is “honored to receive the contribution.”

In late October, a group calling itself Bubbes and Zaydes for Peace (BZP) decided to help fund B'Tselem. Despite its disarming name - “Bubbe” is Yiddish for grandmother, while “Zayde” means grandfather – the Philadelphia-based group's views are extreme even within the far-left community. The name was obviously chosen to attract unknowing Jewish golden agers but  the group calls to boycott Israel, and recently took part in events that included a speech from Azmi Bishara, a former Israeli MK who fled the country after spying on behalf of Hizbullah.

One of BZP's recent campaigns involved hanging signs bearing the slogan, “Boycott Israeli Apartheid” over highways.

The organization has signed a petition for the global “BDS” movement, which calls for a multifaceted boycott of Israel including a consumer, academic, and cultural boycott. The BDS movement also calls to impose sanctions on the Jewish state, and divest from Israeli companies.

Activists at NGO Monitor inquired into B'Tselem's own policy on boycotting Israel, and were told that B'Tselem “has explicitly rejected BDS tactics against the State of Israel.” However, a spokeswoman also implied that B'Tselem does not reject “BDS” proposals as a violation of human rights.

B'Tselem is no stranger to controversy. The group has been accused of using deceptive tactics to inflate civilian casualties, and has falsely accused the IDF of killing innocent Arab civilians. A media watchdog group has warned media outlets that B'Tselem's reports cannot be trusted.

Despite its problems at home, the group is often quoted by foreign media, and the United Nations has used its testimony in compiling reports critical of Israel, including the Goldstone Report.