Eretz Israel is our unforgettable historic homeland...The Jews who will it shall achieve their State...And whatever we attempt there for our own benefit will redound mightily and beneficially to the good of all mankind. (Theodor Herzl, DerJudenstaat, 1896)

We offer peace and amity to all the neighbouring states and their peoples, and invite them to cooperate with the independent Jewish nation for the common good of all. The State of Israel is ready to contribute its full share to the peaceful progress and development of the Middle East.
(From Proclamation of the State of Israel, 5 Iyar 5708; 14 May 1948)

With a liberal democratic political system operating under the rule of law, a flourishing market economy producing technological innovation to the benefit of the wider world, and a population as educated and cultured as anywhere in Europe or North America, Israel is a normal Western country with a right to be treated as such in the community of nations.... For the global jihad, Israel may be the first objective. But it will not be the last. (Friends of Israel Initiative)

Monday 6 June 2011

Naked And Unashamed, Antisemitism Is Out Of The Closet - And The BDS Movement Is Part Of It

To the arch-antisemites, those who hate Jews and by extension the Jewish State, Israel is insulted and besmirched as "Israhell," an odious term that sears the soul and mocks the truth.

This example of that particular branch of the demoniser's art occurred not long ago in a leafy suburb of Melbourne, Australia.

On the other side of his or her chosen canvas - appropriately enough a garbage bin - the antisemite responsible had scrawled "9/11", leaving little doubt that he or she is one of those odd folk who believe in conspiracy theories of the most outlandish kind.

To quote a US State Department Report:

"New forms of anti-Semitism often incorporate elements of traditional anti-Semitism. However, the distinguishing feature of the new anti-Semitism is criticism of Zionism or Israeli policy that—whether intentionally or unintentionally—has the effect of promoting prejudice against all Jews by demonizing Israel and Israelis and attributing Israel’s perceived faults to its Jewish character. This new anti-Semitism is common throughout the Middle East and in Muslim communities in Europe, but it is not confined to these populations.... [T]he collective effect of unremitting criticism of Israel, coupled with a failure to pay attention to regimes that are demonstrably guilty of grave violations, has the effect of reinforcing the notion that the Jewish state is one of the sources, if not the greatest source, of abuse of the rights of others, and thus intentionally or not encourages anti-Semitism."
In an article entitled "The Full-Blown Return of Anti-Semitism in Europe," Professor Guy Mollière, who, incidentally, has drawn attention to the politically correct attitude to so-called "Islamophobia" that engulfs much of France (including, in particular, Dominique Strauss-Kahn's party: observes of the situation in Europe:

'It is an anti-Semitism that is widespread in the Muslim population that settled in Europe, and it would be easy to think that it is strictly an Islamic phenomenon, but the anti-Semitism as it exists today in the Muslim world was heavily influenced by the old European anti-Semitism. And what the Muslim immigrants bring with them can easily find resonances in European non-Muslim populations. Copies of fraudulent Protocols of the Elders of Zion in Arabic are sold in Islamic bookstores from one end of the continent to the other,and they also circulate abundantly again in many European languages, under the mantle or via internet.
It is also an anti-Semitism that allows the far right to restate its rejection of "cosmopolitanism" an adjective on the European continent that has always been used to point out the Jews - in a context where, because of the European economic decline, nationalist tensions and isolationism sound more and more seductive. It is an anti-Semitism that the left does not want to fight, because for it, the Muslims are oppressed, and the left is always on the side of those it defines as oppressed, whether or not the oppression is caused by the terrible governance inside those countries, or scapegoated onto someone else. European anti-racist movements say they are very concerned about "Islamophobic racism", but they are totally reluctant to discuss the anti-Semitism in the Muslim populations.
The new, current anti-Semitism now adds on to the old kind, the demonization of the State of Israel. The Islamic view of Israel is now the dominant view of Israel in Europe. The idea that Israel is a "colonial power" that has "robbed" people of their land, and is an "artificial State", even though the Jews have been on that land for three thousand years - and even though many states in the area, such as Jordan and Libya, and Iraq are even more illegitimate, their borders having been drawn on papre by the British in the 1920s - is a commonplace among journalists.
Hatred towards Israel is now the most widely shared sentiment among Europeans, whatever their place on the political spectrum. It is now through hatred of Israel, that hatred of Jews as annoying "troublemakers" can again express itself.
European Muslim populations hate Israel and seek its destruction. European non-Muslim people seem think that if Israel did not exist, tensions with Muslims would be less, and they attribute to Israel all the responsibility of the tensions, even though , since most of the Jews have fled from countries in the Middle East, it is now the Christian Copts in Egypt and the Christian Assyrians in Iraq who are being attacked by Islamic mobs. As the Arabic saying goes, "First the Saturday people, then the Sunday people."
As Israel is a Jewish state, European Jews are asked to be "good Europeans", and to disavow Israel. If they refuse, or worse, if they say they still support Israel, they are considered untrustworthy....
More deeply, the Jews of Europe might feel that if they can paint the Jews as evil, then perhaps what their parents and grandparents did to them during World War II was not really so bad after all; you could even say they deserved what they got. As some Scandinavians put it, The Jews killed Christ; at least the Muslims did not do that.
If Israel can be portrayed as a Nazi state, its destruction is acceptable, maybe even legitimate, maybe even desirable. The fact that Mein Kampf is a bestseller in the Palestinian territories and in most countries of the Muslim world is totally left out, just like the fact that many Jews living in Israel are survivors of the Holocaust committed in Europe sixty five years ago.
If sacrificing Israel allowed non-Muslim Europeans to see Muslim anger disappear, they would be willing to make the sacrifice immediately. If, in order to accept the sacrifice with a clear conscience, non-Muslim Europeans have to caricature Israel ignobly, they will - and do. Anti-Israel cartoons fill European newspapers from London to Spain, and even receive awards. The Israeli army is often compared in European media to the Nazi army. The comparison is fully playing its role: if the Jews are Nazis today, it means that the Europeans did the world a favor in killing six million of them, and that the Europeans are not really guilty." (Read the entire article:
Observes the admirably sensible Ed West:

'The idea that Zionism is racism was cemented by United Nations General Assembly Resolution 3379, from 1975, which “determine[d] that Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination”. It rests on the idea that since Israel is a state for the Jews, and the Jews are an ethnic group (as well as a religion), it is an apartheid state and racist by definition. Among the 25 sponsors of this bill were the Libyan Arab Republic and the Syrian Arab Republic, nation-states defined by their ethnicity.
In fact most nations have, historically, been defined by ethnicity, so there is nothing odd in the idea that Israeliness might be defined by Jewishness, just as Britishness was defined by ethnic Britishness. This did not preclude others from living there, becoming citizens or even joining their ethnic group, but it did not mean that the nation was entirely separated from ethnicity, nor that a nation doesn’t have the right to defend its demographic integrity.
What marks Israel out is that its security is directly and immediately threatened by demographics: they don’t have the luxury of declaring, like academics in western Europe and the United States, that immigration restrictions are “discrimination” and “apartheid”, because without those restrictions their safety would be in danger. In contrast, the Third-World basket cases that criticise Israel for their apartheid are secure in their own demographic security because no one in their right mind is going to emigrate there, and even if they did, they can’t vote anyway (demographics matters far more in a democracy).
So to call Zionism “racism” is to say that the Jews, almost alone in this world, have no right to their own nation state and the security that brings. That is pure anti-Semitism, although ... it has more in common with older, religious anti-Semitism than the racial variety, in that Jews can escape it by denouncing Israel: where once they would accept baptism, today they write letters to the Guardian that begin “As a Jew…”.
Yes, after decades spent mainly in hiding, antisemitism is out of the closet. And, make no mistake, the BDS Movement is a component of it.

Criticising specific policies by Israeli governments is entirely acceptable and to be expected - as Netanyahu told the American Congress recently, there's lively debate inside Israel itself.  But criticism slips into the mire of antisemitism when characterised bt Sharansky's "Three Ds" - which, incidentally, were referred to recently by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in a most stirring and heroic championship of Israel made last November:

Namely: Delegitimization (denying the right of The Jewish State to exist. and insisting thatIsraelis as interlopers  in the Middle East); Double Standards (Israel is denounced for policies - such as vigorous defence its borders and citizens - policies regarded as normal and obligatory when practised by other nations); Demonisation: (portraying Israel, via  distortions and falsehoods, as the world’s most evil and dangerous country, and depicting it as the cause  of the strife in the Middle East and its demise the cure for the world's troubles.)

Have a look at this video of protesters during Shimon Peres's visit to London in March this year - and read the comments redolent of traditional antisemitic imagery that appear immediately beneath it.

Those same comments - "Obviously the answer lies in the everpresent insidious influence of the Zionist Lobby with its poisonous tentacles manipulating the Friends of Israel moles in both the government and in the opposition" - are on the website of the London BDS:

In Commentary magazine in April Jonathan S. Tobin  wrote an article entitled "Yes, the Boycott of Israel Is Anti-Semitic".  He drew attention to the fact that Hannah Rosenthal, President Obama's appointee as the State Department's Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, recently observed that "opposition to a policy by the State of Israel morphs into anti-Semitism easily and often" and endorsed Natan Sharansky's axiom for identifying Judeophobia:
"When Israel is demonized, when Israel is held to different standards than the rest of the countries, and when Israel is delegitimized, these cases are not disagreements with a policy of Israel, this is antisemitism."
Using that criterion, Tobin continued, the BDS Movement must be viewed as innately antisemitic:
"BDS activists regularly demonize Israel as an apartheid state, even though the analogy between an Israel where Arabs exercise full citizenship rights and apartheid South Africa is utterly specious. BDS supporters single out Israel as a human rights violator that must be isolated even though the generally exaggerated and often untrue charges lodged against it are piddling when compared to monstrous crimes being carried out elsewhere in the world in places like Iran, North Korea, and even China. The scale of human rights violations throughout the Arab and Islamic world and in various African and Asian nations are appalling, yet no country but Israel is seen by the anti-Israel left as worthy of their protests—only the world’s one Jewish state. Zionism is the sole national liberation movement in the world to be considered racist. The BDS campaign against Israel is a clear form of delegitimization; it is textbook anti-Semitism."
Tobin reminds us that in Progressive Jewish Thought and the New Anti-Semitism, published in 2006 by the American Jewish Committee, Professor Alvin Rosenfeld exposed the nexus between the leftist intelligentsia and and traditional antisemitism that has manifested itself as anti-Zionism.
"The BDS movement is the creature of this unholy alliance," Tobin observes.
"While generalized condemnations of Jew-hatred are welcome, what is needed most of all is a direct attack on the BDS movement—along the lines set down by Hannah Rosenthal. The propaganda campaign against Israel on university campuses and elsewhere by BDS activists and their leftist allies must be labeled for what it is: the cutting edge of new wave of anti-Semitic incitement."'s
It's no wonder, then, that Limmud-Oz, a Jewish cultural and educational event that  takes place in Australia each year, has as usual presentations taking issue with particular facets of Israeli politics and society - but has refused to give a platform to advocates of BDS.

In my view, some of the most pithily insightful condemnations of Marrickville Council's BDS venture were these, in the comments section of a major Australian newspaper:

"It never ceases to amaze me that whenever people protest against dictatorial regimes they criticise the leaders or ruling parties, but when it comes to Israel, it's either Israel or the Jewish state they condemn." (Henry Herzog)
"Is it possible that the Greens, given their ignorance of Israel/Palestine, are confused by the green flag of the military wing of Hamas and think it is a fellow-traveller?" (Bill Anderson)
'Israel is still the only democracy in the Middle East, even after the revolutions thereabouts. Perhaps this is what Scott Ludlum meant when calling it a "rogue state".' (Philip Rothschild)

And I think this response (by a reader of my blog) in an exchange (refreshingly polite on both sides)with Councillor Jonathan McColl, the principal apologist for West Dunfermline Council's detestable Boycott of Israeli books and other products, is rather a model of its kind:
"I read your statement. How can it not be a Judeophobic act when the only country you're boycotting is the world's only Jewish one and you're not boycotting countries involved in far worse occupations, wars etc:
Iran; occupation of Kurdistan, persecution of the Bahai faith and gays, suppression of democratic protesters, persecution of women.
Syria; occupation of Kurdistan, killing of Lebanese politicians, brutal suppression of pro-democracy protesters killing at least 1000 in the last few weeks,
Russia; occupation and bombing of Chechnya, invasion and occupation of Georgia last year,
Turkey; invasion of Iraq and murder of 100s of Kurds, occupation of Kurdistan and persecution of Kurds, occupation of Northern Cyprus.
China; occupation of Tibet and Uyghur.
Morocco; the occupation and enslavement of 50% of the population in Western Sahara, occupied since the '70s.
Sudan; genocide in Dafor and against the Christian south of the country.
Sri Lanka; Occupation of the Tamils. India; Occupation of Jammu and kashmir. The list goes on and on).
Congo; 5 million deaths in the last 20 years.
Algeria; 150,000 deaths in the last 10 years.
Yemen; brutal suppression of political oppostion, civil war with 250,000 refugees in the last year.
Why then is Israel alone singled out? Why do you not boycott Palestine for instigating Judeophobia in text books, paying the salaries of terrorists, as well as the actual terrorists ruling in the case of Hamas in Gaza and Fatah (the al asqua matyrs brigade) in the West bank?
Israel withdrew unconditionally from Gaza like you Europeans demanded. In return all Israel got was rocket attacks and still you Europeans criticise Israel while failing to hold the Palestinians to the same standard. Why then would Israel withdraw from anymore territory when effectively it means any future violence from the Palestinians using that territory as a launching pad will only be met with indifference from Europeans and criticism of the defender; Israel?
Surely if you boycotted the Palestinians for launching the rocket attacks this might not only prevent them but also encourage Israel that withdrawing from more territory meant support from other democracies rather than perverse criticismt. You are rewarding the terrorists and attacking the victims. Israel will now be forced by you and others to withdraw from the Westbank and East Jerusalem and the Palestinians will only be emboldened by this to launch more attacks from those areas (as both the Fatah and Hamas charters still say openly their goal is to liberate all of Palestine eg Israel) because their actions face no consequences. You have proven in your responses that Israel will be found guilty by you no matter how humanely it defends itself. This will ultimately just lead to more war and suffering on both sides. I just cannot follow your logic."
This article in a Scottish newspaper today indicates, reading between the lines, that the Boycotters of West Dunbartonshire are finding life pretty uncomfortable at the moment - owing to the pressure brought to bear on them by decent people who abhor their gratuitous and dishonourable action against the Jewish State.
(Hat tip: Emet)

Keep up the pressure, everyone!  After all, the mentality of some is reflected in this comment that one of the Boycott brigade has just left on my original post regarding the SNP Boycott:
"Having read your comments regarding the boycott I have decided to remind myself daily to ensure I adhere to it. You ignore the fact the boycott has been called and supported because Israel embraces violence as the solution to any problem. Not buying produce of Israel is hardly going back to the 1930s and your reference to that time just shows how blinkered you are and also ignores the fact that the p[e]ople in Scotland who support this boycott would have also stood against Nazi Germany."


  1. A splendid article Daphne - may it travel far and wide!

  2. Thanks so much, Fran!

    To commenters:
    I'm having some sporadic network connecting problems, so if comments are not posted for some time after they've been left here, that will be the reason...

  3. I just wrote a novel-lenght rageing post, saying how angry and frustrated I feel and if I, not even a Jew, feel like this, how bad must the Jewish people feel, and then lost it - my key-board perhaps fighting back at my angry touch...

    I have dropped 2 friends over the past few weeks. For a long time we had agreed to disagree where our political sides were concerned, left v. right, but now the Left seems to come in a package that forcibly includes the nasty Judenhass. I really cannot tolerate this any more with individuals around me and that's where I have the power to act - be it, just turning my back and walking away. (And I never walk away silently I can assure you).

    But on a larger scale I feel sooooo disempowered and hopeless: how can half-decent human beings with even a moderate intelligence not SEE what is happening. Because they dont WANT to? Or because this contemptible anti-semitism is contageous?

    Perhaps it's time to bring out that poem again which starts with "First they came for the Jews, then they came for..."

  4. hi. do you have a link to the State Dept. report you quoted? Thanks

  5. Sorry - should have added it:

  6. You've selected the wrong country to slander. Scotland will not get pushed around by zealots. NO CHANCE that you will stop the boycott. It will get stronger.

    And, bytheway, Jewish people have been warmly welcomed in our country. Probably because of the reverence to the Old Testament felt by Presbyterians.


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