Sunday, July 28, 2019

J Street, BDS and the willful blindness of the liberal peaceniks - by Ben-Dror Yemini

Some boycotts are justified, whether imposed by a state or individuals, but the drive to boycott the State of Israel is certainly nothing but an effort to deny Jews the right to self-determination, whatever so-called pro-peace organizations tell themselves

Ben-Dror Yemini..
27 July '19..

Ilhan Omar, a member of the US House of Representatives, is a clear supporter of the pro-Israel boycott BDS movement. Recently, she proposed a bill that supports boycotts, all boycotts, as freedom of expression, which sounds wonderful.

While most Democrats did not buy her into her sophistry, fear not, for J Street rushed in to support her.

"We do not support BDS," the organization stated, reiterating its old position in favor of two states, "but we are also in favor of freedom of expression."

How kind.

If we thought that Omar was breaking records for disingenuity, given that freedom of expression interests her as much as snow in summer and hatred of Israel is what really motivates her, J Street has actually managed to bypass her.

Boycotts are a justifiable concept. After all, the free world imposed sanctions on apartheid South Africa and is still imposing sanctions on Iran.

Sometimes these are sanctions imposed by states. Sometimes these are boycotts imposed by civilians who are concerned about human rights.

But the boycott of Israel belongs in a category of its own: this is not driven by concern for human rights, but rather a movement that has managed to control the freedom of thought of some of the most progressive forces on campuses, with clearly anti-Semitic elements of denying Jews the right to self-determination, the endless publication of lies about Israel, support for the "resistance" - namely terrorism - and alignment with Hamas.

Among the supporters of the boycott are two groups. On the one hand, those who truly believe that this is a nonviolent struggle intended to lead to an end to the occupation. They can be forgiven, for they do not know better.

On the other hand, there are those for whom anti-Semitism is a central part of their worldview. Among them is Qatar-based theologian Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the most important Sunni arbiter, who has called on Muslims to complete Hitler's work.

For Qaradawi, BDS is another way to hate Jews, which is an important stage before annihilating them. There are, of course, Jews and Israelis who support BDS, and most, if not all, share the movement's central ideology: the denial of the right of the Jewish people to a state.

In other words, the elimination of the State of Israel for the sake of another Arab entity, which, as we know, will become a model of human rights, equality for women and heavenly brotherhood.

The thing is, J Street knows that the essence of the BDS movement is not peace but hatred. At its core is not a two-state solution but the elimination of the State of Israel. It is not anti-violent it is anti-Semitic. It is not a proponent of freedom of speech, but rather seeks to silence every speaker who expresses a different position.

The fact that Jews and Israelis support such a movement does not indicate blindness, for when it comes to blindness, the presentation of facts is supposed to change attitudes. But this is not the case here.

BDS supporters are afflicted with the oldest hatred, so why does J Street, whose movers and shakers support peace and two states, raise their eyes to the heavens and support Omar's proposal, which has an anti-Semitic motive? It seems that it is mainly because hypocrisy has become a central component of what was once a "peace organization."

There is no connection between J Street's official platform and its activities. Granted, Tzipi Livni, Tamar Zandberg and Stav Shafir will attend the organization's upcoming conference in late October, and there will be sane statements made there. But an ultra-liberal obsession has led the organization to activities that are mainly anti-Israel: They even protest Birthright, claiming it is a one-sided organization.

But he fact is that the initiative behind Taglit-Birthright Israel was a byproduct of the anti-Israel brainwashing on campuses. So what do they want, for Judith Butler and Norman Finkelstein to be included in a "balanced" program? What balance does J Street in its campus operations?

Did they invite Dr. Einat Wilf to give a series of lectures on campuses about the book she wrote (with Adi Schwartz) on the so-called Palestinian right of return? Not a chance, but they are happy to complain about others.

The liberal camp was supposed to play an important role. J Street is a legitimate organization that, at least when it was founded, represented a large proportion of the prevailing views among American Jews. Their pro-peace, pro-Israel slogan is also excellent. I am in favor.

But somewhere along the line it all became a fraud. Whoever supports Omar is neither pro-peace nor pro-Israel – they are helping a campaign that opposes Israel's very existence. This did not just happen to J Street – it happened to too many bodies that purport to speak in the name of "peace" and "human rights."

It has afflicted many, and there is no comfort to be found in that.

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