Parties must crack down on pollies who back BDS

A BDS demonstration in Australia.

LAST week, in a landmark vote, the German Parliament called out the BDS movement for what it is – antisemitic – noting that its methods and arguments revived memories of the Nazi motto “Don’t buy from Jews”, writes Dvir Abramovich

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt immediately supported the resolution, writing that, “Boycotting Israel – the world’s only Jewish state – is antisemitic.”

In contrast, Jeremy Corbyn, who is in with a shot of becoming British PM, endorsed the BDS back in 2015, claiming it is “part and parcel of a legal process that has to be adopted” though he has since claimed that he opposes a blanket boycott of Israel.

Here, we have Greens candidates that back the BDS, while local practitioners are given artistic platforms in tax-funded places like the Wheeler Centre.

At present, the marketing weapon of choice for those seeking to mainstream and normalise antisemitism is the BDS, which in the words of former Canadian PM Stephen Harper, is about “translating the old ideology of antisemitism into something acceptable to a new generation”.

As someone said, it is an investment in the future of Jew-hatred.

The BDS mantra, attractive to those who genuinely believe in a peaceful resolution to the conflict, has become a “polite” and appealing bandwagon to jump on, as a way to express support for the Palestinians.

BDS advocates seek to make the longest hatred palatable, and they are getting too many to buy into their immoral narrative.

So much so that even in our own community there are those who have cast their lot with the BDS mob, lending credence and sympathy to this campaign, sitting on panels with boycott advocates or marching with them shoulder-to-shoulder

BDS champions hide their true goals behind slogans like freedom, justice, civil rights and equality, and camouflage their links to terrorist groups such as Hamas, Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad.

Well-intentioned people are duped into thinking they are joining a noble cause, but most are unaware of its malevolent agenda, and the desired end-state of this movement.

In fact, they are being taken for a dangerous ride, and often resist facing squarely the character of the cause they have aligned with.

The ostensibly non-violent BDS pretends that it wants a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Yet its real aim is the destruction of Israel.

A close look at the movement’s origins, and statements by its leaders, reveals that they do not share the vision of two states living side-by side. As founder of the BDS movement Omar Barghouti has maintained, “Definitely, most definitely, we oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine.”

Barghouti seeks to eradicate the Jewish State by calling for the return of five million Palestinian refugees into areas that now make up Israel.

As Robert Wistrich noted, the objective of the antisemite in the 21st century is a Middle-East without an Israel.

Barghouti and founder of Students for Justice in Palestine Hatem Bazian have also called for “armed resistance” against Jews in both the United States and Israel.

Then there is another BDS hero, Judith Butler, who has described Hamas and Hezbollah as “social movements that are progressive, that are part of the global left”, or Leila Khaled, a PFLP terrorist who has been sponsored by BDS organisations to travel throughout the world and raise money for their campaign. And last month, the New York Times allowed Nathan Thrall, who has argued that Hamas’s terrorism is the, “direct result of the choice by Israel and the West” to publish a long article praising the BDS movement, now backed by high-profile Democratic representatives Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar.

Though they masquerade as defenders for the downtrodden, even Norman Finkelstein, who is no friend of Israel, has seen through the big lie and smokescreen, “They [BDS] don’t want Israel. They think they are being very clever … You know and I know what the result is: there’s no Israel.”

Likewise, former president Barack Obama pointed out that the BDS platform wants to “extinguish Israel as a Jewish state”.

BDS activists say that they are fuelled by concern for human rights.

Yet they fail to explain why out of 195 countries, they only single out Israel, when there are horrific human rights offences committed in the Arab world, in Africa, in Asia, that are worthy of their protest, but escape their boycott?

This hateful incitement, this double-standard, this defamation, this irrational hatred, has no place in Australia. Put simply, the relentless assault on Israel’s reputation paves the way and justifies violence against Jewish communities.

We have seen this movie before, and it’s time to name the BDS for what it is – a modern version of classic antisemitism.

I believe that any candidate for political office, or member of parliament, who supports this sinister tactic and idea, must be asked to leave their party.

In the US, more than a dozen states have enacted anti-BDS legislation, including New York, where Governor Cuomo called the BDS discriminatory and in many ways more frightening “than the tunnels used to attack Israel”.

I wonder: if a resolution, similar to the one passed by the Bundestag, was tabled in the Australian parliament, who would vote for it and against it? 

Let the drafting begin.

Dvir Abramovich is chairman of the Anti-Defamation Commission.