Steve Apfel is Director of the School of Management Accounting, Johannesburg. He is the author of the book, 'Hadrian's Echo: The whys and...
Wed,Mar 5,2014 3 AdarII 5774
The infamous cartoon used by anti-Zionists. It depicts Israel the vicious dog manipulating America into enabling its bloodthirsty appetite
On their maligned target, Israel, boycotters ruffle scarcely a hair. If anything, the harder they tilt at the windmill the more furiously – infuriatingly – Israel's milestone metrics go by: economic scientific social cultural. Will the start-up nation slump now that irritants from Europe and America have settled on its rump?
Irritating or not, the boycott crowd can be a bore. When for instance American academics cry 'stop oppressing Palestinians!' or 'end the occupation!' or whatever their formula might be, our hearts sink. But hook them up to the whole outfit, strip them to the bone, and boycotters begin to have interesting aspects. They cease to be run of the mill anti-Zionists and become all-consuming obsessions.
Take the goals and methods of boycotters. Take their mission, a statement of surpassing clarity and cunning perfidy. The boycott campaign, in the words of BDS promo, is:
"A global movement which works in peaceful ways to create economic and political pressure on Israel to comply with the stated goals of the movement;” which are -
1. The end of:
a) Israeli occupation
b) Colonisation of Arab land
c) Israel’s security wall
2. Full equality for Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel
3. Respect for the right of return of Palestinian refugees.
Until these goals are met, declares boycott leadership, the campaign will conduct “various forms of non-violent punitive measures against Israel until it complies with the precepts of international law".
It could hardly be better put than by this level-headed, even laudable, mission. What is there not to like? The fox traps laid for the unwary beneath the civil surface – they’re not to like.
Each and every word, in each and every goal, sits atop layers of Kabalistic meaning; the decoding device for which is left to the very end:.. “until Israel complies with the precepts of international law”.
With that decoder the process of unravelling begins; quickly too, because there is no international law – not for a single BDS goal.
By no international law does Israel occupy Palestinian, or Arab land.
By no international law is the security wall a violation
By no international law have Palestinian refugees a right of return
By no international law… Goal 2 requires none; Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel have long had full equality.
This will offend of course. Political servants, UN lounge-abouts and boycotting firebrands will breathe flames: Israel not an occupier of Palestinian territory! It is not; that situation simply does not exist. But let them burn their cohorts. Let the EU get scorched. Let UN councils or Israel-cursing, one-eyed juries take the heat. Only throw the light of international law on them and with bad grace and all they’d fall apart. The ‘West Bank’ is not a legal piece of real estate; no law sets territory aside for a future Palestine. Only Israel is compliant; the Palestinians do not have a legal leg to stand on.
From a fire-safe distance check the mettle of the BDS crowd. Put them to the test. See if they can support the legality of a single one of their demands. And after they have had their chance, with good grace but sadly we may mimic their moaning. ‘Oh no, there is no international law for boycotters’ demands.’
…All of which begs the question of motive. Over motives what shall a person do but shake the head. There is a boycotter. Here is even a Jew who deceitfully removes the lawful land rights of his own people so that he may slot enemy pretenders in their place. Why? What imperative could there be for boycotters to deceive? Not all of them do, remember. Like the honest few, they could lobby for the Palestinians without resort to phony demands. If some very prominent boycotters do that why can’t all?
Norman Finkelstein, though an Israel demonizer of note, is one who retains a semblance of integrity.
“The BDS movement ….is a hypocritical, dishonest cult led by dishonest gurus who want to selectively enforce the law and tries to cleverly pose as human rights activists, whereas their real goal is the destruction of Israel.”
Another is Noam Chomsky. Probably the greatest boycott figure of all, Chomsky dislikes intensely the methods of the BDS movement:
“The current BDS movement's hypocrisy rises to heaven. It is run by "one man NGOs who falsely claim to represent the Palestinian people.”
Chomsky declares that targeting Israel alone can be attacked as anti-Semitism and "unfortunately this is with justice". Also, Chomsky points out, the Palestinian people themselves don't support boycotting Israel. Lately we learnt that not even the Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, supports the boycott.
Omar Barghouti, founder and a leader of BDS, also has moments of honesty. Barghouti admits that the true aim is “euthanasia” for Israel, and that it will be done by lethal demographic injection. “All Palestinian refugees and their descendants will return.”
Then, hey presto - the world’s lone Jewish state will turn into yet another Muslim state.
Why cannot rank and file boycotters be honest as well? Would life be threatened? Even those rare Arab thinkers who write without fear or favour are not scared of the truth.
In the daily Al-Siyassa, Saudi columnist, Yousef Nasser Al-Sweidan, calls upon the Arab states to give up efforts to arrange the transfer of refugees to the Jewish State. Such a transfer of population, he writes, would violate Israeli sovereignty and lead to anarchy in the Palestinian Authority. Rather, Al-Sweidan says, the Arab states hosting the refugees have the obligation to absorb them; and he holds up Israel as the model for immigrant absorption. Adamantly he declares that
"The right of return is nonsense and deceit.”
The rank and file boycott campaigner is deceitful and conniving on many levels. The demands he sets:
• Mask a potentially genocidal outcome.
• Pretend that the territories belong to Palestinians and ‘other Arabs’.
• Seek to replace a stable, free, economic dynamo of a country with yet another failed or riotous Muslim state.
The boycotter is no human rights campaigner. If he was:
1) What is he doing in the BDS camp with a mission to obliterate Israel?
2) Why would he want Jews to share the plight of Christians, daily persecuted and killed in Muslim countries?
Ask those questions. And should the boycotter call it all a lie, or tut tut, remind him to address the questions. And while he’s thinking, ask him why he has never protested when Palestinians bombed, shot and knifed Jews to death.