Friday, February 26, 2016

Sometimes, news bias is so stunning that even I can't believe it.

Patrick Martin at the Globe and Mail reports on this week's Canadian parliament vote that overwhelmingly rejected attempts to boycott Israel:
Parliament has voted by a wide margin to condemn the growing international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign being waged against Israel for what is alleged to be the Jewish state’s failure to accord equal rights to Arabs in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.
Even this paragraph is biased - no country in the world accords non-citizens equal rights, and Arab Israeli citizens do indeed have equal rights.

But Martin decides, within the article, to do a pseudo fact check on what supporters of Israel say about BDS. Surprise! He finds them all to be lies!

Is the BDS movement anti-Semitic?

Jason Kenney, a former Conservative cabinet minister, insisted “the BDS movement represents a new wave of anti-Semitism, the most pernicious form of hatred in the history of humanity.”

Some BDS supporters, no doubt, are anti-Semitic, but most people and organizations have signed up in response to the movement’s goals stated in its 2005 manifesto, in which it calls for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel “until it complies with international law and universal principles of human rights.”

Specifically, the non-violent punitive measures are to be maintained until Israel ends “its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and [dismantles] the Wall” (a reference to the security barrier erected to cut off Palestinian communities from Israel); recognizes “the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality,” and protects “the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.”

These goals are not dissimilar from Canada’s official positions on Israeli occupation, settlements and human rights, and are not, on the face of it, what most people would consider anti-Semitic.
So since the official BDS manifesto doesn't mention Jews, it cannot be considered antisemitic? The entire attraction to BDS is because it singles out the Jewish state way out of proportion to what every other nation does!

And Canada's official position does not call for the flooding of Israel with millions of fake refugees as the BDS movement interprets the (non-binding) UN resolution 194.

Does the BDS movement seek to destroy the State of Israel?

Mr. Kenney argued in the House that the new anti-Semitism “often takes the form of a kind of ideological fusion between movements of the extreme left and Islamist movements that seek, together, to obliterate the Jewish democratic State of Israel.”

The BDS movement is supported by many people, including Jews and Israelis who want to see Israeli policies toward Palestinians change and do not want to see the destruction of Israel.

Those who are legitimately concerned about the potential impact on Israel point to the BDS movement’s call for protecting the rights of Palestinian refugees under UN Resolution 194 to return to the homes and properties they left in 1948 in what is now Israel. The concern is that if all these refugees and their descendants (numbering in the millions) were to return, they would overrun the Jewish state, and Israel would cease to exist as we know it. Fair enough.

However, these rights have been understood in formal and informal negotiations between Israel and Palestinians to be ones that would be implemented only gradually and offered alongside alternative compensation, such as settling in the new Palestinian state or in a third country such as Canada.

Everyone in the Arab world as well as most supporters of BDS know very well that they regard UN 194 as a means to destroy Israel. That is the entire reason that the Arab world does not allow Palestinians to become naturalized citizens in their own states, unlike other Arabs. This has been Arab League policy since the 1950s, formalized in Arab League directive #1547 from 1959. BDS leaders know not to publicize that in order to gain wide acceptance, but they admit themselves that the goal is Israel's destruction - over and over again.

The important thing to note about the reference to UN Resolution 194 is that this resolution calls for “negotiations” with Israel over the terms by which the Palestinian rights to return would be implemented. The 2002 Arab Peace Initiative also refers to Resolution 194, even as it offers full recognition of Israel.
But is that what BDS leaders want? No. They explicitly say they want a one-state solution where Jews are the minority and lose their rights to self-determination, and Martin knows this.
“BDS is a non-violent human-rights movement that seeks to end Israel’s regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid,” said Omar Barghouti, a Palestinian human-rights advocate and co-founder of the BDS movement, stressing the limits of the movement.
"Zionism is intent on killing itself. I, for one, support euthanasia." - Omar Barghouti

"Definitely, most definitely we oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine. No Palestinian, rational Palestinian, not a sell-out Palestinian, will ever accept a Jewish state in Palestine." - Omar Barghouti

Yes - Martin quotes the very person whose published words contradict what Martin asserts about the BDS movement. How much more biased can you get?

Is it unfair to single out Israel?

This was another popular refrain in Parliament – that the BDS movement’s singling out Israel from among all nations is proof of its anti-Semitic nature.

Yes, the BDS campaign singles out Israel, quite naturally. It was started by a group of Palestinians, including Mr. Barghouti, to elicit help in dealing with Palestinians’ biggest problems. It was not intended to solve all the problems of the world. Just as the worldwide campaign against apartheid in South Africa did not address the ills of the Pol Pot regime in Cambodia, or the dictatorship in Somalia, this BDS movement is uniquely tailored to safeguarding Palestinian rights.
"Uniquely tailored"? This is an advertisement for BDS, not an objective look.

Martin also apparently makes up facts. He points out:
In 2014, foreign direct investment in Israel dropped 46 per cent from the previous year, in part, a United Nations report said, because of BDS efforts.
The UN report does not say a word about BDS, or indeed about any reasons for the decline. An Israeli economist interviewed by YNet said this as conjecture, pointing out other far more important factors. Martin even twists the basic facts in order to support his love for demonizing Israel.

See also Honest Reporting Canada's thorough fisking of this piece.

(h/t Roseanne)

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