This Is What Happens When BDS Infiltrates Social Causes That Have Nothing to Do With Israel
If intersectionality, as applied to Israel, sounds like a contrived excuse to blame the Jewish state for everything under the sun, that’s because it is. Anti-Israel circles understand that their cause isn’t even on the radar of the average college student. By hitching their wagon to issues with greater popular appeal, pro-Palestinian activists seek to expand their tent and build a coalition larger than the handful of students fanatic enough to spend their college years slandering Israel.The stench of imperialism
Ironically, this disturbing phenomenon is hardest not on conservative-leaning Jewish students, but on left-wing Jewish activists who don’t support BDS. Social justice work is increasingly seen as a “package,” and one cannot be for racial justice, gender equality or humanitarianism without also swearing allegiance to the cult of Israel-despisers.
Left-wing Jews hew to the same social vision as the progressive community – but Israel and BDS are thorns for those who still believe in Zionism. An anecdote is instructive. At Brown, where this author is a freshman, student groups organized several events around the Syrian refugee crisis. One of the events was to take place at Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream store, but had to be moved to a new venue after a member of Students for Justice in Palestine circulated a report accusing the ice-cream company of doing business in Israeli settlements. Jewish activists found it particularly uncomfortable being invested in this sundry activist cause while at the same time weathering the rising tide of anti-Israelism.
This discomfort is particularly dangerous because left-leaning young Jews are a weak link in the American-Jewish community’s relationship with Israel. As any exit poll can tell you, American-Jews do not, on the whole, vote based on Israel. American Jews vote for candidates who share their liberal social values. Thus, liberalism trumps pro-Israelism for most secular Jews. What will be when liberal Jewish students are forced to choose between their allegiance to Israel and their commitment to social justice? What will happen when not supporting BDS is seen as a fatal tribal weakness? The answer should frighten anybody concerned with the future of the Diaspora’s relationship with Israel.
If anyone is still unsure that Europeans have difficulty coming to terms with the fact that Israel, as a sovereign nation, will not let the European Union meddle in its internal affairs, the debacle over the NGO bill should remove all doubts.UN Watch: The Top 10 Biggest UN Watch Moments in 2015
Army Radio reported on Sunday that the EU furiously protested the proposed legislation. According to the report, based on what Army Radio said was a leaked internal EU document, EU Ambassador Lars Faaborg-Andersen met with Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked several weeks ago. He called upon Israel to refrain from taking actions that will "make more complicated" the space in which Israeli nongovernmental organizations operate, claiming that this would impinge on freedom of expression and association. According to the report, the ambassador said that while the request for transparency was legitimate, the draft law is aimed at organizations critical of the government.
"This will have a negative impact on Israel's image and on Europe's relating to it as an open and democratic society," he was quoted as saying. Faaborg-Andersen also reportedly said that placing restraints on civil society is something "we see mostly in tyrannical regimes. We call on Israel to remain in the family of democratic states and not to join this worrying trend."
Naturally, the EU is very unhappy with having its meddling in the internal affairs of Israel limited in any way, especially since it has been able to do so with impunity up until now. However, to claim that Israel would be breaching any human rights, such as freedom of expression or association, by implementing the NGO bill is taking the hyperbole beyond all red lines.
10. Head of Gaza Inquiry forced to resign
On the same day that the UN appointed William Schabas to head its Gaza probe, UN Watch released videos of his anti-Israel statements—and led a 6-month campaign demanding his removal. “I have opinions like everybody else about the situation in Israel,” Schabas insisted to the media, only “they may not be the same as Hillel Neuer’s or Benjamin Netanyahu’s, that’s all.” Yet by February 2015——after his paid legal work for the PLO was exposed—Schabas resigned in disgrace.
3. Under pressure, UNRWA suspends employees for incitement.
In an unprecedented acknowledgment of wrongdoing, UNRWA was recently forced to suspend several employees, after UN Watch published three reports documenting how UNRWA teachers regularly incite to racial hatred, anti-Semitism and terrorism on social media. UN Watch identified more than 30 perpetrators, and organized petitions to pressure key governments.
2. Top commanders refute UN Gaza Inquiry
When the UN inquiry into the 2014 Gaza war presented its biased report in June, UN Watch was there to respond with a counter-report, and gave a UN platform to top military experts. Major General Mike Jones and Lt. Col. Geoffrey Corn from the U.S. military, and British Colonel Richard Kemp, all took the floor in the UN debate. The distorted findings of the UN probe—falsely accusing Israel of war crimes—were contrasted with those of the experienced military officers, who explained how Israel acted in self-defense, and to minimize casualties.