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The “BDS” Movement: A 3-Question Test for Antisemitism

“BDS” (Boycott, Divest, Sanction) is an international movement of Western leftists, primarily university faculty and students, claiming to be human rights activists protesting Israel’s illegal occupation of lands claimed by Palestinians. The land was occupied in a series of three wars begun by Israel’s enemies, of course. And Israel has given back occupied lands in the past, when the other party (Egypt) agreed to cease making war against Israel.

Israel’s enemies never quite say what Israel must do to be accepted back into the community of non-boycotted nations. Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran, and much of the rest of the region (including the “moderate” Palestinian Authority) have a clear answer: they want Israel to cease to exist. “Please commit national suicide, and we will drop the boycott.”

But still, if Israel is illegally occupying Palestinian lands against the wishes of the inhabitants, isn’t it simple fairness to protest? Shouldn’t we give the BDS-ers the benefit of the doubt as to their good, non-racist intentions?

If you meet one and want to find out for yourself, ask them these questions.

1) Are you also proposing a boycott of Russia over its illegal occupation of Ukrainian national territory (Crimea), in violation of Russian-signed treaties; or its incredibly brutal occupation of Chechnya? If not, why not? (25 words or less, please.)

2) Are you proposing divestment from Chinese companies over China’s particularly brutal and illegal occupation of Tibet?

3) Are you working to impose sanctions on Turkey over its illegal occupation of half of Cyprus, not to mention Kurdistan?

If you want to drag this out, you can ask them about Serbia’s occupation of North Kosovo, or Morocco’s occupation of Western Sahara, or countless other cases.

No, the BDS Movement has no interest in China or Russia or Turkey or Serbia or Morocco. There seems to be something missing from those situations, some element that makes them somehow not particularly objectionable to those folks. What could it be that makes Israel’s unwilling occupation so especially awful?

The answer is: JEWS!

QED: BDS is straight-line Antisemitism.   Any denial is just BS.

Criticism, Self-Criticism, and Antisemitism

[My friend Ben Finiti has posted yet another interesting piece. Check out his other stuff at benfiniti.com.]

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A common thread of modern leftist anti-Israel antisemitism is the claim that Israel has only itself to blame for Jew-hatred. If only they had been “nicer” to the Arab armies and terrorists committed to their annihilation! A preposterous but familiar excuse for leftist racism.

But in another sense, antisemitism does indeed have roots in Jewish history. For Israel, in addition to discovering monotheism and the concept of a meaningful history, also invented self-criticism. The first references to Jews as a stiff-necked, materialistic, ungrateful people may be found in the words of the prophets of ancient Israel, quoted in the Jewish (and Christian) bible.

In a PBS series on Jewish history, host Simon Schama (a respected historian) cited as proof of St. Paul’s anti-semitism his claim that the Jews had often slain their own prophets. Schama seemed unaware that Paul was quoting Jesus, and Jesus was quoting the Prophets Nehemiah and Elijah, criticizing Hebrew ingratitude:

“They were disobedient and rebelled against Thee, and cast thy laws behind their backs, and slew thy prophets which testified against them to turn them to thee, and they wrought great provocations.” (Nehemiah 9:26)

“They children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword.” (1 Kings 19:10, quoting Elijah)

The prophets lambasted their own people in order to turn them to repentance. When Christian antisemites began seeking excuses to hate this strange “other” people, they found plenty of ammunition in their shared holy books.

In a similar vein, Protestants criticized the Catholic Church in order to purify and save it. The Enlightenment took the Protestant critique and used it to overthrow all of Christianity.

And it may be noted that some Jewish critics of the state of Israel, both on the left and right, find themselves perilously close to this danger point. Their well-intended (in some cases) criticisms of Israeli government policy are immediately embraced by those who openly seek the annihilation of the Jewish state. They are touted as especially valid because they come from the Jews themselves!

Conclusion: Honest self-criticism (or acceptance of the criticism of others) is a risky business. It will invariably empower one’s enemies, so it must be approached in the most serious spirit and with only the highest purpose, as was the case with the Prophets. And one must always consider the likelyhood of intentional misuse of one’s words.

Romney 2016: He Warned Us…

A small ray of hope in the bleak landscape of future leadership in this country (and therefore the world).  Mitt Romney has re-surfaced!

True, we have done without leadership for many years now. But as the world has become more hellishly catastrophic daily, we might want to re-consider. 

The 2016 presidential field has looked positively awful for some time now.  Hillary Clinton will probably be the Democratic nominee.  She is owed.  The Democrats, having won the “First African American President” trophy, must now atone for their elbowing aside of the “First Woman President” in 2008.  Only a stronger woman candidate could challenge her, and the Indian lady from Boston is not “the one”. 

Hillary may have the makings of a good, strong president.  But in a long public career, she has never presented any evidence to support that possibility.

The Republican hopefuls inspire no more hope.  Flannel-mouthed Ted Cruz?  Rootin’ tootin’ Rick Perry?  Jeb Bush, whose sole distinction is being the chubbiest of his distinguished line?  Aging whizkid Newt Gingrich?  Isolationist nutcase Rand Paul?  Seriously?

Some will counter that Mitt had his chance, that  he’s a proven loser.  But pause to remember that in 2012, Mitt Romney came within 2.5 million votes of a majority while running against the incumbent media messiah of our time.  And he actually has experience as a successful executive, making real decisions, accepting responsibility, facing unpleasant facts, solving problems: that sort of thing.  Things we used to expect our chief executives to be able to do.

Anyway, these musings were triggered by a brief essay by Mitt in yesterday’s Washington Post entitled “The Need For A Mighty US Military”.   (The title is obviously not Romney’s.)   Read it. 

As Instapundit sagely suggests, IF HE RUNS AGAIN, HIS SLOGAN CAN BE “I TOLD YOU SO.”

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NOTE to MITT:  Get better editing. Why quote Haley Barbour on appeasement (“paying the cannibals to eat us last”), when Winston Churchill (a genuine expert on the subject) put it so much better: “Each one hopes that if he feeds the crocodile enough, the crocodile will eat him last.”  I think Churchill is a stronger authority as well as more popular in America, even in the GOP, than that other fellow. 

The Ayaan Hirsi Ali Monument at Brandeis

[The Death Throes of Western Civilization, Part 98]

By now, most of you (unless you get your news from PBS or CBS, who seem to have missed it) will have heard of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the courageous battler for women’s rights who was “disinvited” by ultra-liberal Brandeis University as its 2014 commencement speaker.

Her story is an amazing story of courage in the face of oppression, brutality, murder, cowardice and hypocrisy.  Brandeis’ shunning of her in deference to Islamist pressure is the most shameful chapter in the history of this Jewish institution founded as a place of post-Holocaust tolerance.

After fleeing her Somali homeland for refuge in Holland, she became a feminist leader and was elected to the Dutch parliament. She wrote the script for a movie critical of Islamic repression of women (Submission); the filmmaker (Theo Van Gogh) was brutally murdered by an Islamist assassin, and a note threatening Ali was pinned to the dead man’s chest – with a knife. You can read the note here. (Scroll down for the English translation, which begins “Open letter to Hirshi Ali: In the name of Allah – the Beneficent – the Merciful…”.  I guess it really IS a religion of peace!)

The Dutch government – of which she was a member –  encouraged her to resign from parliament and to flee to the US. The late Christopher Hitchens wrote about her here.

She is a black woman, a battling feminist, and an atheist. You would think she would be the toast of Brandeis.  But Brandeis president Frederick Lawrence explained that some of her statements about Islamic treatment of women were “inconsistent with Brandeis University’s core values.” (Past honorees and speakers include retired terrorist Bill Ayers and Israel-hater Tony Kushner.)

So know we know what Brandeis’ “core values” consist of: “Speak no evil of Islam.” Is this from pro-Islamism, or from sheer cowardice in the face of Islamist violence?  Does it really matter which?

Here, courtesy of the Wall Street Journal, is the speech that she would have delivered to the Brandeis commencement, if she had not been silenced by the Islamist/PC thought police.  You ought to read it. School children ought to be reciting it (if such things were still done in schools).

In fact…

A Proposal: On a location as close as possible to the Brandeis campus (perhaps within sight of the Brandeis/Roberts MBTA station on South Street in Waltham, Mass.), a monument should be erected to this great, brave lady.  On the base, her speech should be inscribed in full.  Along with that statement about Brandeis’ “core values”.

If somebody is already working on it, I will contribute my retiree’s mite.  And I’ll serve on the fund-raising committee.

 

“Blind, pitiless indifference”

[My friend Ben Finiti’s latest bit of soul-searching. Read more of this sort of thing at benfiniti.com.]

As I have written below, I have spent many years trying to find God.  I have found much Judeo-Christian theology coherent, consistent with reality, and therefore highly plausible.

But I still cannot convince myself that the other coherent, consistent worldview, atheistic materialism, is not also plausible.

Many authors have helped me along; I will list and discuss them sometime.  But nothing so far has been quite so compelling as this quote from atheist guru Richard Dawkins:

“The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, and no good, nothing but blind pitiless indifference.”

This chilling statement, offered in support of Dawkins’ atheism, is from his book Rivers of Eden, which I found quoted in Francis Collins’ The Language of God.  (I recommend Collins’ book highly.  He was the director of the Human Genome Project as well as a Christian.)

I expect to be contemplating this for a long time.

Abe Foxman: See no Jihad…

Mark Steyn, perhaps the most potent combination of searing intellect and savage wit writing today, has posted an excellent  piece on the distorted worldview of the Anti-Defamation League’s longtime leader and public face, Abe Foxman. He skewers Foxman for his “bold stand” against the rising tide of worldwide antisemitism, which Abe ascribes entirely to…right-wingers and anti-government types!   Foxman, like many American liberal Jews, cannot see the massive (and rising) wave of Muslim Jew-hatred because he is still busy scouring the land for leftover American Nazis just waiting for the call from George Lincoln Rockwell.

I recommend Steyn’s post (here), as well as one from an interesting blogger (endofyourarm.com) named Molly Rosen, who also pulls no punches. 

“Shame on you, Abraham Foxman. Shame on you…It’s so cozy to be a professional Jew, fighting the ghosts of WW2 over and over and never facing the real threats to the Jewish people.  How fortunate for them, how convenient for their denial that there is an Israel now and an IDF to fight the real battles on behalf of the Jews.”

“See no jihad, hear no jihad, speak no jihad!    This disgraceful denial is, not coincidentally, coupled with abject sucking-up to, and fawning over President Obama, who is inarguably the worst and most hostile President in American history toward the Jews and Israel.”

Give ‘em hell, Molly!

Really, you should read both of these. After you do, leave a comment with your opinion.

Iran’s View of the Agreement

[My friend David Smith has written a letter to his local newspaper, succinctly (under 200 words) summarizing the Iranian view of the new Agreement, in contrast to our own president’s.  He rightly calls for support of the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act, already sponsored by 59 senators!  (When legislation is sponsored by a bipartisan majority like that, the objecters ought to be called upon to explain their reasons for dissent.)

Here is his letter.]

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President Obama has crafted what he considers a breakthrough agreement with Iran, to stop Iran’s illegal program of uranium enrichment for nuclear weapons.

Here is the United Nations position (Resolution no. 1696):

“The UN demands that Iran shall suspend all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development, to be verified by the IAEA.”

Here is what Abbas Araqchi, Iran’s chief negotiator, said about Obama’s Geneva Agreement:

“No facility will be closed; enrichment will continue, and qualitative and nuclear research will be expanded. All research into a new generation of centrifuges will continue.”

Here is Iranian President Rouhani’s victory tweet:

“In the Geneva agreement world powers surrendered to Iranian nation’s will.”

And here is what President Obama says:

What we want to do is …give peace a chance.

We may each draw our own conclusions about the likelihood of Iran actually complying. But the Senate should immediately shore up our position in the very likely event that Iran violates the agreement. For that reason, Senators Tester and Baucus should support the bipartisan “Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013.” Currently co-sponsored by 59 senators, this act would strengthen sanctions unless the president verifies that Iran is verifiably complying with agreements.

–David Smith


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