Combating BDS

For a long time now, I have seen arguments within the Jewish community about how to deal with BDS.

Should we ignore them and hope that others will see the light?

Should we “get in their faces”?

Should we use their tactics against them?

Lately, these arguments seem to be coming to a head. A recent article “On Israel Apartheid Week, some pro-Israel students find silence is best response” By Uriel Heilman prompted me to join a discussion on Facebook about strategy and tactics.

While some, indeed believe that protests just draw attention to BDS and that any attention is favorable (similar to the old thought that “any media attention is good”, I disagree.

Frankly, I’m amazed at Jewish leaders who counsel ignoring BDS events like the so-called “Apartheid Week”.

Had the black community simply kept their heads down, there would have been no civil rights movement. Martin Luther King and other civil rights movement leaders brought about change by shining the light of day on extreme and pervasive racism, and the country has changed radically as a result. Today, there is not a single person in this country who doesn’t understand that negative comments or stereotypes about people of color are unacceptable, and doesn’t know that such comments will draw a rain of criticism down on them.

Jews and supporters of Israel are in a similar situation today with respect to BDS and bashing of Israel. There are basic, actual facts about Israel that have been distorted, hidden, or forgotten, while at the same time, a vast network of Israel-haters has sprung up, ready, willing, and eager to take any opportunity to portray Israel negatively, even in the face of a plethora of available, objective evidence that contradicts their claims. They have managed to tarnish Israel’s reputation around the globe, and today, on college campuses in particular, they are succeeding in turning those who should be supporters of Israel – young, smart, progressive, liberal, humanitarian students – into haters of Israel by using false narratives that pull at the heartstrings of these students.

The only way to beat BDS is to shine a very bright light on it. We need to expose their lies for what they are, at every possible opportunity. We need to expose their tight connections with Hamas, Hezbollah, and whatever highly objectionable organizations finance and support the BDS movement. We need to expose their funding and support mechanisms, and we need to create a strong awareness of, and disgust for these organizations, which are based on the desire to destroy Israel, kill Jews worldwide, and promote a version of Islam that should be anathema to any thinking, rational person in the Western world, in particular students concerned with human rights, LBQT rights, women’s rights, free speech, etc. etc. etc.

We need to prevent them from “disrupting” pro-Israel events, and we need to be proactive and aggressive about getting the truth in front of people, with incontrovertible proofs that our claims are true, and proofs that the claims of the BDS movement are based on complete and utter lies.

What this means is that there need to be protests (non-violent) with massive turnout of Israel supporters, displays countering BDS assertions whenever and wherever the BDS movement is showing their anti-semitic faces, there need to be positive articles about Israel in the mainstream media, billboards highlighting Israeli contributions to the world and even to the Palestinians, and most of all, there needs to be engagement on campuses to the point of “getting in their faces” and exposing their lies, every single day.

It means being organized and passionate, bringing pro-Israel and anti-antisemitism resolutions to student government, over and over again, if necessary. It means condemning BDS, anti-semitism,  and discrimination against Jewish students in school newspapers, on social media, and in campus demonstrations. It means demanding that Jews on campus receive protections guaranteed to all students.  And, it means demanding action from college administrations and security (and police, if applicable) when BDS “disrupts” meetings, classes, and lectures, violating both the first amendment rights of pro-Israel groups and campus and public laws. Find legal methods of making their “disruptions” painful and costly. And, it is crucial to make sure there is adequate security at events to quickly and effectively remove these jerks when they initiate their “disruptions”. Letting them strut, parade, and disrupt only makes them stronger and more confident that “The Jews” will just sit back and take it, since that’s what we’ve done for centuries.

While Jews are not as rich, and don’t have as much influence as the BDS movement would have people believe, there ARE any number of wealthy, influential Jews who should be solicited for support of these initiatives by donations, public statements, threats to end funding of universities that are “hostile” to Israel and Jewish students, and frankly, the state of Israel should be on the hook for supporting this – they have a lot to lose and it frequently appears as if they are unaware of the extent of BDS outside Israel.

Sitting back and hoping it will all just go away is insane. It won’t. We need to stand up and fight this insane movement before it poisons all the future leaders of this country and others.

Response to “Israel turns off power to hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in the dead of winter” by Annie Robbins of Mondoweiss

I ran across this article this morning, and after reading it, thought it needed comment. While there are many similar articles out there, this one has any number of falsehoods, inaccuracies, and lies and caught my eye. Maybe it was the pretty picture at the top of the article…

The article can be found here:  http://mondoweiss.net/2015/02/hundreds-thousands-palestinians/

Go ahead, read it, I’ll wait.

OK. Got it?

Let’s go point by point. This may take a while.

  1. Re-read the first paragraph. That’s quite a first paragraph. Israel has withheld $240 Million in tax revenues to the PA as punishment for joining the ICC. I wonder if the fact that the PA owes the Israeli electric company (IEC) over $500 million and refuses to pay for their electricity has anything to do with it?

    The electricity was turned off for a whopping 45 minutes. Wow! That’s a serious hardship for the people essentially stealing electricity, especially as Robbins has highlighted that “BLIZZARDS SWEEP ACROSS THE MIDDLE EAST”. “Blizzards”?  I had to laugh. They got a little bit of snow, but “blizzard”?  Not so much. But, ok, let Robbins have her hyperbole, it makes for better copy.  Here’s a link describing winter weather in Ramallah:  http://www.whatstheweatherlike.org/palestinian-territories/ramallah.htm  As you can see, they sometimes get a little snow, but it’s usually gone with 24 hours, just like Jerusalem. “Blizzards”, LMAO.

    Bottom line, though, is the IEC cut off the juice for 45 minutes to two cities as a warning that they need to get paid.

  2. I REALLY liked Robbins’ comment that “The irony here, of withholding the months of  tax revenue while demanding payment of a debt, on top of occupation policy preventing Palestinians from being self sufficient, is not lost on anyone.”
  3. Clearly, Robbins believes that the IEC has no right to expect payment for services contracted by and rendered to the PA, for which the PA has promised payment. She makes it seem as if it’s SO unfair to expect the PA to live up to a contract they signed, because the “occupation” prevents them from being self-sufficient. This, in spite of the many billions of dollars the PA gets in aid money and their “self-sufficience” in Area A of the West Bank where 90% or so of Palestinians live and are governed 100% by the PA.

    As I understand what she’s saying, she fully believes it’s Israel’s obligation to pay the PA’s electric bill. Really?

  4. Further in the article, Robbins repeats the same, tired lie that “Israel opened dams near the border of Gaza”, causing massive flooding in the Gaza strip. And, she calls this a “punitive measure”.

    There’s only one problem – there ARE NO DAMS. NONE.  If Robbins ever reads this, I would challenge her to name the dams that were opened. Show us where they are on a map. Show a picture of them. Of course, she can’t, since they don’t exist, as has been proven over and over and over again last year when this stupid claim was floated.

    Gaza is flooding because they have inadequate drainage systems, exacerbated by war damage. It has nothing to do with dams.

  5. Then, the kicker. Her very last line is “Remember last year when Israel caged Palestinian children in outdoor holding pens during freezing winter storms? ” She provides a link to another of her “articles” claiming this, with statements that it’s “widely known” that Israel tortures children.

    Sigh. What a load of horse manure.

    Yet another possibly well-meaning person sucked into believing everything bad about Israel and nothing bad about the PA, who thinks it’s her duty to inform the world that Israel is the most evil empire the world has ever seen.

    She claims to be a “human rights activist”, but frankly, I don’t think she would know a human right if it bit her…..

    Bottom line – this article is full of outright inaccuracies (I’m being kind) and worse. Robbins should get out of her ceramics studio and go see for herself. While I understand the use of hyperbole, her exaggerations are unconscionable, as words create images, and her images are pure, unadulterated crap.

Commentary on “The Political Nature of Today’s Middle East Studies” by Andrew C. McCarthy

A friend sent me an article by Andrew McCarthy. I found it quite interesting and, to me, relevant.
 
For those who may not know, my first bachelor’s degree (I have two, plus two master’s degrees) was in Near Eastern Studies, and was earned at the University of Michigan. The NE Studies department at UM was, at the time (I really have no idea about today) quite prestigious, respected, and well-known.
 
As part of the degree program, I learned Hebrew, Arabic, and studied Islamic history, Islamic/Arab and Israeli literature, and much more. My major concentration was in Hebrew, and my minor in Arabic.
 
I had professors from all over the world – British, American, Arab, Israeli, and others. Some clearly had their own biases, but generally, the curriculum was focused on a relatively even-handed, objective view of history, even when taught by those who exhibited bias outside of class. It was important to deal in actual FACT. The interpretation of the impact of those facts and events might change, depending on who the professor was, and what his views were, but the facts didn’t change.
 
We studied actual documents of the Near (Middle) East, and in fact, I still have some of the books we used. They document very clearly the treaties, wars, aggressions, coups, controls of territories, etc. up through about 1976 (I graduated in 1977, so my school texts stopped then).
 
What bothers me immensely today is that many universities have abandoned an objective teaching of history, and have greatly politicized it. Much of this is due, I believe, to both the immense “donations” to Middle East Studies departments by rich Arab nations, such as Saudi Arabia, who have caused these departments to develop quite obvious “slants” or biases in favor of the views of their benefactors, and, the gradual “infiltration” of extremely partisan faculty sponsored by these donors.
 
It was a very slick way to guarantee that only one side of things would be presented. In some ways, it’s very similar to how things are done in politics, Hillary Clinton’s and Jimmy Carter’s protestations that they owe nothing to people who gave them millions of dollars notwithstanding.
 
When I see or hear what passes today for “history”, it makes me sick to my stomach, as much of it is diametrically opposed to actual facts that are readily available and accessible in any good university library. The deliberate distortion of history is astonishing and horrendous, as it presents current events in the Middle East as occurring in a vacuum, or worse, denies absolutely provable historical facts with “garbage” evidence – usually nothing substantive at all. This should be unacceptable to ANY scholar or historian, but instead, we have students eagerly absorbing absolute falsehood presented as absolute truth by professors with tremendous, partisan agendas in place.
 
While one can certainly argue causation of events, including the impacts of various historical events, what we see today is distortion of the actual facts. This is unforgivable.
 
Some of what I see presented as “fact” is, to me, the equivalent of professors teaching that the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor didn’t really happen – it was an imperialist plot hatched up by the Russians and Germans to blame the Japanese and drag the USA into the war. Really, it was just mines and IED’s placed onto ships. Never mind the newsreel footage, eyewitness accounts, and vast body of evidence, just believe me because I’m the professor (nod nod, wink wink).
 
Based on what I’ve seen and read in recent years, I have to concur wholeheartedly with Andrew McCarthy’s article (reproduced below).
 
John Poris
 
The text of the original article, with attribution, is below:
 
 
Campus Watch Research

A

National Review Online
August 10, 2015
15
[NRO title: “Modern Middle East Studies vs. Scholarship”]
Andrew McCarthy
It would be a mistake to say Middle East Studies have been corrupted. For the program’s very purpose has been to serve as a corrupting agent. Specifically, it puts the essence of study — the objective pursuit of knowledge — in disrepute.
Here, of course, I am referring to the modern incarnation of Middle East Studies: an amalgam of leftist and Islamist political dogma that masquerades as an academic discipline. By contrast, the actual study of Middle Eastern history, like the intimately related study of Islamic civilization, is a venerable and vital pursuit — and is still pursued as such by, to take the best example, ASMEA, the Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa. Alas, in our hyper-politicized society, the traditional notion of study seems quaint: a vestige of a bygone time when the designations “Orientalist” and “Islamist” referred to subject-matter expertise, not political activism, much less radicalism.
Yet, for Edward Said, the seminal figure in modern Middle East Studies, the object of the game was to slander knowledge itself. Joshua Muravchik nailed it in a 2013 profile of the renowned academic. Said’s animating theory held that “knowledge” was the key that enabled the West to dominate Orientals: The point of pursuing knowledge about “the languages, culture, history, and sociology of societies of the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent,” Said elaborated, was to gain more control over the “subject races” by making “their management easy and profitable.” With real study caricatured as the engine of colonial exploitation, the way was paved for a competing construction of “study” — political agitation to empower the have-nots in the struggle against the haves.
Said was a fitting pioneer for such a fraud. To begin with, he was a professor not of Middle East Studies but of comparative literature. Moreover, the personal history he touted to paper over his want of credentials was sheer fiction: Far from what he purported to be (a Palestinian victim exiled by Jews from his Jerusalem home at age twelve), Said was actually a child of privilege, raised in Cairo and educated in top British and American schools. His Palestinian tie of note was membership in the PLO’s governing council. Like Rashid Khalidi — his protégé, who was later awarded the chair in Modern Arab Studies that Columbia University named in Said’s honor — Said was a reliable apologist of Yassir Arafat, the indefatigable terrorist who infused Palestinian identity with a Soviet-backed Arab nationalism.
To thrive in an Islamic culture, it was not only useful but necessary for Palestinian militancy to accommodate the Islamist sense of divine injunction to wage jihad. From its roots, then, modern Middle East Studies is a political movement aligning leftism and Islamism under the guise of an academic discipline. It is not an objective quest for learning guided by a rich corpus of history and culture; it is a project to impose its pieties as incontestable truth — and to discredit dispassionate analysis in order to achieve that end.
The embrace of Islamism usefully advances this project because Islamist ideology similarly stigmatizes the pursuit of knowledge. Where the leftist frames the West’s reverence for reason as imperialism, the Islamist attacks it on theological grounds.
Sharia, they maintain, is the complete and perfect societal framework and legal code, the path to human life lived in conformity with Allah’s design. Thus, what the West calls “reason” or “the objective pursuit of knowledge” is merely a rationalization for supplanting Allah’s design with the corrupting preferences of Western civilization.
We see how this teaching plays out in practice. Muslim countries that supplement sharia with other legislation add the caveat that no man-made law may contradict Islamic principles. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation — a group of Islamic governments that form a large bloc in the United Nations — even found it necessary in 1990 to promulgate a Declaration on Human Rights in Islam, because Islamists could not accept the Universal Declaration of Human Rights spearheaded by non-Muslim governments after World War II.
The Muslim Brotherhood, the world’s most influential Islamist organization, refers to this enterprise as “the Islamicization of knowledge,” the weaving of historical events and cultural developments into Islamist narratives that confirm sharia-supremacist tenets. The “Islamicization of knowledge” is the express and unapologetic mandate of the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), the Virginia-based think tank established by the Brotherhood in 1981.
There are two pertinent observations to be made about the IIIT. First, it has provided an enthusiastic endorsement of Reliance of the Traveller, the English translation of Umdat al-Salik, a classic Arabic sharia manual. The publisher found this seal of approval sufficiently significant to be included in the manual’s preface, along with an endorsement from scholars at the ancient al-Azhar University in Cairo.
The manual is an eye-opener. In addition to detailing sharia’s gruesome hudud penalties (e.g., scourging and death for such offenses as extramarital or homosexual relations), it provides instruction on Islam’s brutally enforced proscriptions against blasphemy and apostasy. These are salient to our consideration: They include prohibitions not only against renunciation and ridicule of Islam but even against objectively true statements that contradict sharia, promote other belief systems, or might otherwise sow discord in the Islamic community.
Obviously, the animating purpose of these principles is to discourage severely the robust exchange of ideas, and even more the scholarly examination of Islamic doctrine and culture. The Islamicization of knowledge is possible only if the objective pursuit of knowledge is not permitted to compete.
That brings us to the second noteworthy observation about the IIIT: It has longstanding ties to the Middle East Studies Association (MESA). Several of these were traced by Cinnamon Stillwell in a 2014 American Thinker essay.
This alliance, the sponsorship by the IIIT of Middle East Studies programs throughout North America, the collaborations between the IIIT and MESA scholars — these are easy to understand. Modern Middle East Studies is a counter-scholarship enterprise that subverts truth to the ends of leftist and Islamist politics. To be clear, it is not an alternative interpretation of reality competing in the marketplace of ideas; it is an anti-Western program that is oblivious to reality and seeks to shut down the marketplace.
We do ourselves and the search for truth great harm by indulging the fiction that anti-American power politics is credible American scholarship.
— Andrew C. McCarthy, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, thanks the Middle East Forum for its sponsorship of this column.

Never Again….

The phrase “Never Again” has very strong emotional force for most Jews.

What we are seeing around the world now is reminiscent of what we saw in Germany (and other European nations) in the period following WWI. Of course, Jews have seen waves of anti-semitism for many centuries, although the phrase “Never Again” refers to the holocaust.

For those of us with strong senses of history and long memories, it is far from being an idle or empty phrase.

Today, it is FAR too acceptable to spread vicious rumors about “The Jews” – They control all the banks. It’s the Rothschilds. They drink Christian blood (that’s always a funny one, since Jewish law mandates elimination of ALL blood from food prior to eating it), they have a conspiracy to control the world, they are oppressing the poor, poor Palestinians and have stolen “their” land, etc. etc. etc.

These canards would be funny, were they not so widespread, along with acts of violence against Jews.

Today, we are seeing the beginnings of an exodus of Jews from Europe. These are people who have said “enough!” and are not willing to wait around while Muslim “migrants” overrun Europe, bringing with them virulent Jew-hatred and violence against Jews.

Enough. Never Again! Am Israel Chai!