Recently StandWithUs (SWU) held a conference on the BDS to clarify the movement’s actions against the State of Israel and pave the way for an aggressive path of action against it.
The Boycott, Divest, Sanction (BDS) Israel is a covert political sewer system, an anti-Israel industry movement, made possible by some $120 million budget. That money comes from European governments that have no idea where their money goes to, and what it pays for. The money ends up in the hands of European NGOs working to boycott Israel. For that reason, these governments must be educated, so they can see the light of truth.
There are also churches that give money to the BDS. In an effort to stop them doing that, they will need to be named and shamed. The plan is to start the dismantling of the BDS.
Being anti-Israel means being anti-Jew. In other words, it is anti-Semitic.
The BDS movement started in Durban, South Africa, after the ‘World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance’ that took place in Durban, South Africa, in 2001. It was a Forum in which 1500 NGOs and 5,000 representatives celebrated the end of the Apartheid system in South Africa and passed the baton to Israel to fill in the void of the former Apartheid South Africa, designated to isolate and destroy Israel. For the first five years very few people paid any attention to the BDS, including Israel. The BDS movement is dangerous to Israel’s existence.
StandWithUs (SWU) (http://www.standwithus.com/) was founded to support Israel around the world, to protect Jews and Israel’s interests in the public arena, especially on university campuses. On campuses around the world, BDS members are a source of intimidation. While their actions must be stopped, it is generally agreed that it will not be an easy task.
To see how difficult the breakup of BDS might be, note that there is a group of approximately 20 activists called Breaking the Silence. This group receives large sums of money from multiple European Union government budgets. That money is allocated to humanitarian aid, but much of it ends up in the hands of BDS activists. Then there is the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), an organization that is very active on campuses against Israel and Jewish students. In 2014, Northeastern University suspended Students for Justice in Palestine from their campus.
And there is the Jewish Voices for Peace (JVP), which provides a fig leaf to Jews who act against Israel’s interests. One should wonder how Jewish is JVP?! And there is The New Israel Fund (NIF), a leader in BDS activities. Though some of its activities are for good causes, it is a fig leaf to divert its toxic actions to destabilize the IDF and Israel’s democratic elections.
To discuss the possibiliy of tackling the BDS activities and even go on the offense, StandWithUs organized a two day seminar to discuss the subject, find solutions and prepare strategies to fight the ugly BDS phenomenon.
Originally, the press was not invited. At the very last moment, I received a phone call inviting and permitting me to cover selected sessions. Since my heart is taken to help, where possible, Israel in particular and Jews in general, in any way possible, I accepted the last moment invitation and arrived at the conference venue that was held in one of the hotels in Los Angeles.
What I heard was impressive. I was especially taken with awe by the participating students, who represented several universities nationwide and in Canada. Their pride of being Jewish and their zest for the truth is impeccable. Their general question is, why are Jewish students held to a different standard from all other students on campuses? With the help of SWU, at least in order to defend themselves, they use the legal system and penal codes to stop the BDS members’ abusive behavior meme, such as heckling, or walking, in a ruckus, out of a pro-Israel event or lecture.
The participating speakers whom I heard were justas impressive. I was privy to hear Dr. Richard Cravatts, president of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, Dr. Asaf Ramirowsky, the executive director of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, a lecturer at the University of California Santa Cruz and the co-founder and director of AMCHA Initiative, Dr. Samuel Edelman, currently adjunct professor of Israel studies and Zionism at the university of Miami, Edwin Black, the award winning author, his most recent bestseller is Financing the Flames, revealing how taxpayer money funds the salaries of terrorists and what the New Israel Fund NGO is all about, Professor Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor, Mitch Danzig, a pro-bono legal advisor for SWU and Yael Mazar, the director of legal affairs for SWU. But the list of speakers whom I did not hear was as impressive and included the former Harvard law professor, Alan Dershowitz, SWU directors, and Rabbi Aaron Lerner, Director of UCLA Hillel, to name a few.
What impressed me in particular was a short interview I conducted with Bassem Eid, an Arab-Palestinian human rights activist, the founder and former director of the Jerusalem based Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group.
I was curious to know why an Arab, whose ancestors’ roots are in Saudi Arabia, participating in a conference its intent is to go after his brethren who founded the BDS, a vicious movement whose sole purpose is to undermine, discredit and isolate Israel in the international arena and perhaps even cause the annulment of the Jewish state.
Bassem was born in Jerusalem. He spent the first 33 years of his life in the Shuafat neighborhood, a UNRWA type refugee camp in former “east” Jerusalem, which Jordan illegally occupied for 19 years and is now a troubled section of the reunited city of Jerusalem. During the ‘first intifada’, which lasted from December 1987 until the Madrid Conference in 1991, though some date its conclusion to 1993, with the signing of the Oslo Accords, Bassem was a prominent figure, as a senior filed researcher for B’Tselem, NGO that claims to be Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in Judea, Samaria and Gaza but is nothing more than a hindrance to Israel. Nowadays, he is a journalist, a commentator on the Israel-Arab-Palestinian conflict and on internal Arab-Palestinian politics at Voice of Israel.
Bassem is anti BDS and UNRWA. “The BDS is denying Israel the manifestation and self-determination, a prelude to Genocide. Its birth came about from the misnomer that Israel is mistreating the Arabs. The BDS members do not obey the principles and goals of humanity and that is how Hitler began to convince his people the unfathomable that took place later on. And humanity is at it again,” he exclaims. “The Palestinian society is divided with a reduced stand in the world,” he began making his case to me. “Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority (PA) represents himself, his two sons and his wife, not the people. At the top stands the total distrust between Ramallah, where the PA leadership sits and Gaza, where Hamas rules. But they are supposed to be a united ‘nation.'”
In Bassem’s opinion, the Palestinians demand a 3-state, solution, not two, a Hamas emirate in Gaza, Abbas’s Fatah emirate in Ramallah and Israel. “The Palestinians are unable to be responsible for their own fate. They rely on others to ‘fix’ things for them. Abbas is running in the United Nations (UN) corridors from one room to another but that will not help the people. The Palestinians do not have the right to build a state, they are not ripe to have their own state. They use other people to protect them while they attack Israel,” he continues. Bassem believes in a two state solution but what is offered as such solution is unacceptable to him. “Hamas has been weakened; they are stuck in an arms blockade from Egypt and Israel. Now they attempt to transfer their power and weapons through Jordan into Judea and Samaria and take control while there is the ISIS threat nearby and everywhere in the neighborhood. The safest place to be is in Israel,” he claims.
“And what about peace,” I asked?
Bassem: “Peace will cut Abbas’ commercial interests. The conflict is a commercial one, everyone is making money on it, including the international community and the UN. UNRWA’s schools are teaching the pupils in Gaza how to become a suicide bomber and a jihadist, not to become scientists and have hope for better future.”
In a surprising revelation, Bassem states, “the Palestinians are seeking dignity rather than identity. The only one who understand them is Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s Prime Minister. Israel feeds them in Judea and Samaria and Gaza,” he goes on. “When the BDS attacks Israel they attack the Arabs as well.”
His message to the international community: “Take your hand off the conflict.” He wants to give his brethren hope and better future and he makes this point in every media appearances he holds.
Bassem talks about the internal conflict among his people: “The major problem among the Palestinians is lack of leadership. The government is imposed on them not elected, and there is a lack of opportunity. My people are lazy,” he states. He wants the government of Israel giving them opportunity for a better life and economic prosperity. Bassem claims that 70% of the Arab-Palestinians would love to be annexed to Israel and become residents, as he is, and gain a better life.
Bassem’s children learn under Israel’s educational curriculum and thus receive better education not subject to the substandard school system in the rest of the territory. “If not they will learn to chop heads” he exclaims.
Hearing all that from a man whom I would expect to be bitter about Israel is encouraging.
Inversion Of Truth
For some unknown reason, Israel is always at the bottom of human rights. The Human Rights brand has been hijacked when it comes to Israel; Israel’s brand has been hijacked, involving turning the world on its head whereby the victim – Israel – has become the aggressor, the perpetrator, called a Nazi state, depicted as brutal, sadistic, murderer of Arabs, perfidious and grotesque, and a land thief, all heinous lies, all inversion of truth.
And the BDS movement is a major leader in this distortion of truth about Israel and civilized behavior toward her.
If Israel is the Nazi of nations, then we need to ask ourselves, ‘who will stand up for her when she needs help and support?’ The task SWU took upon itself is to find the weakest brick in the BDS wall and crush it so the entire BDS wall crumbles.
The solution is, we must make trouble for those who cause trouble for Israel, troubles they base on simple hate for the Jewish state and also make noise that will be heard around the globe. StandWithUs started this noise. Our job, those who know the truth, is to join in.
In Australia, South Africa, the UK, the United States and many other places around the world, we are seeing appalling behavior from anti-Israel BDS activists. Here is one example: The Australian Union of Jewish Students obtained this shocking footage of anti-Israel protesters at the University of Sydney storming Colonel Richard Kemp’s talk and clashing with Campus Security this March 2015. The outright disrespect demonstrated towards Col. Kemp, is in this video
The BDS is based on falsehood and anecdotal issues. It is a criminal enterprise that must be demonized and delegitimized so it brought to an end. When we defend Israel and Jews, we lose. It is mandatory for us to go on the offense, fight back and win this battle. Those who know the truth have a great story to tell that is missing from the public discourse at large.
The BDS movement is well organized. Those who oppose it and ready to enter into a fight with it are not well organized. We need to admit that we are mad as hell. We have to start, or be in the debate, as we are not going to take it any longer, indicating to where we are heading and leading, and do so in a smart, thoughtful and deliberate manner.
Friends, if we do not begin to be more aggressive and on the offense the shame will be on us when it all becomes totally intolerable.