Friday, November 26, 2021

  • Friday, November 26, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon
In the early 1990s, the Internet Usenet forums were flooded by Holocaust deniers with long, detailed articles that purported to show that the Holocaust never happened. 

This upset a lot of people, as most of the newsgroups were not moderated and no one could keep them out. Some would ignore them, some tried to create a new group where people could argue about the Holocaust. 

Most people didn't notice that the antisemites were using the forums to refine their arguments to become more effective.

The points that were easily debunked were dropped, while arguments that could not be as easily countered were promoted and refined. Blatant antisemitism was reduced while pseudo-scientific arguments were improved in order to make the Holocaust deniers appear more reasonable and interested in historic research and debate.

In less than a year, the antisemites had managed to transform themselves from looking like bigots into looking like historians who were just challenging the conventional narrative. Without knowing the context of where they came from and a deep knowledge of the subject matter, their heavily footnoted papers appeared to have some legitimacy and could fool people who did not understand the nature of propaganda.

The so-called revisionists did not become any less antisemitic. They still subscribe to conspiracy theories where Jews are promoting myths to gain power. But by leveraging the nascent Internet, they learned how to hide their antisemitism better and present themselves as promoting a legitimate alternative history.

In many ways, this is the story of the movement to boycott Israel today.

BDS didn't come out of a vacuum. It is a direct continuation of the Arab boycotts of Israel throughout the 20th century. But the Arab boycott movement had mostly run out of steam by the turn of the century., and BDS came along to modify it and avoid the pitfalls that defeated the Arab boycott.

For one thing, like the Holocaust deniers, the Arab boycott was explicitly antisemitic. It demanded that companies that wanted to deal with Arab countries answer questions about whether their owners or board members were Jewish. It blacklisted Jewish actors and performers. It extended into boycotting Jewish bankers in the 1970s. It didn't allow Jewish employees of multinational companies to set foot in their borders. Blatant antisemitism was not a good look.

Another more technical issue is that the US passed laws against the Arab boycott. The Office of Antiboycott Compliance summarizes its goals: "These authorities discourage, and in some circumstances, prohibit U.S. companies from taking certain actions in furtherance or support of a boycott maintained by a foreign country against a country friendly to the United States (unsanctioned foreign boycott)." 

US anti-boycott laws are specifically against boycotts by foreign countries. So BDS emphasizes that it is supposedly a grassroots, non-government movement, answering a call from "Palestinian civil society," to boycott Israel. 

This is also why the PLO and the Palestinian Authority have not officially supported BDS, even though they encourage their own citizens to boycott Israel. (In 2018, the Central Council of the PLO did explicitly endorse BDS, but it is unclear if that has any official standing as a government body.)  If they called on the world to support BDS, then the US anti-boycott regulations would kick in and US citizens would be penalized. The state-level anti-BDS laws are meant, in part, to counter the loophole that BDS exploited to ensure the campaign does not run afoul of US laws at the national level.

For its part, the BDS movement goes out of its way to deny any connection with the Arab League boycotts, saying "BDS activists are not acting in accordance with the Arab League boycott, which calls for boycott and divestment of any corporation doing business with or in Israel. Modern BDS campaigns take their cues directly from Palestinian civil society groups – not governments or political parties."  This is directly to avoid US and possibly European sanctions. 

The BDS proponents are just as antisemitic as their progenitors. Their movement is a continuation of the Arab boycott. Like the Holocaust deniers, they play up the pretense that they are legitimate players. Like the Holocaust deniers, they try to learn from the mistakes of their predecessors to appear more legitimate. 

And as with the Holocaust deniers, those who see clearly see that they are just as antisemitic as they have ever been.


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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 19 years and 40,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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