It was not possible to sit at the Stop BDS conference this week, for eight hours, listening to esteemed speakers discussing the critical Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement which has grown to mega proportions, without drawing conclusions. Everyone was clear that immediate action must be taken. The president, high-level MKs of every political party, ministers, business leaders, media experts, social activists and ambassadors from the EU and the US addressed the issue. No opinion was ignored in the search for a resolution to the BDS war waged against the Jewish People and the State of Israel.
Israel is being painted as the source of all evil in the world. Every imaginable atrocity is being blamed on its young soldiers and its leaders. The spreading of reprehensible lies has left informed people in a quandary. How does one fight the rewriting of history and unlimited falsehoods presented as truths to unknowing innocents? Pretending that this phenomenon will pass is no longer an option.
Seven years ago I had the good fortune to meet the new staff of Israel’s StandWithUs. Michelle Rojas-Tal created an event at our home for Israeli activists in Jerusalem. It was the first time a clear explanation of BDS was offered to those who thought we knew the political landscape. What we then saw as simply a college phenomenon has blown up into an international scandal.
President Reuven Rivlin made a clear distinction between constructive criticism of the state and incitement against her. He explained that Israel is always willing to consider its errors, but not the vicious lies which are being planted by those wishing to destroy the state. Israel is now demanding that it not be singled out among the nations.
Every country needs to be held to the same moral standard. No more scapegoating can be tolerated. The vile false image of the Jewish state as more murderous than that of Syrian President Bashar Assad, murderer of 300,000 of his own people, must not be allowed to fester.
Israel’s right to self-defense has been twisted, and the youth of the world, who will be tomorrow’s leaders, can no longer differentiate fact from fiction.
That is how successful this movement has become.
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According to Foreign Ministry director- general Dore Gold’s research institute The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, the entire effort is funded by pro-fundamentalist Islamic sources intent on the total and complete delegitimization of the State of Israel.
It intends to create the belief that Israel has no right to exist as a Jewish state.
These assaults are perpetrated in the media, in academic institutions, in political circles, in cultural activities and in sport. At every turn where Israel is a participant, there are attempts to destroy its respect and credibility. Lies told often enough to those who know not fact from fiction, are becoming the new truths on the ground.
It is critical to finally admit that this assault on Israel is not the fault of poor hasbara (public diplomacy). I have been going to conferences on this subject for over 30 years and it has become clear that those who do not want to hear the amazing stories of the Israeli state and the wonders of the creation of a democracy in a neighborhood of dictatorships and chaos would be deaf even to the finest PR.
BDS is an attempt to exclude Israel from the family of nations.
Actress Roseanne Barr spoke brilliantly of the reason that anti-Semitism has returned century after century. It has always been a diversionary tactic by despots and elected officials to distract the masses from their own governmental failures. Blaming the Jews became a successful tool. Divert the public attention from the funds you are stealing from them – from their hunger and poverty. Give them religious fervor and they will ask nothing of you. Stash the funds given to you by the EU into your private accounts and encourage suicide bombings and stabbings. Keep the masses focused on the Jews and they need be provided only with the barest essentials along the way. I never expected Barr would inspire me… but she did. When asked in an interview why she has become outspoken against the BDS movement, she responded humbly that, at her age, it is life-affirming “to be of service.”
It is essential to understand that those who pay for the different tentacles which try to stop Israel from participating in the greater society of nations are not interested in peace of any description. They do not want a Jewish state to exist. They do not want a twostate solution. They want a one-state solution within Israel, with the majority of the citizens Muslim.
That is why they hold on fiercely to the “right of return.” Without it, they can never take Israel as their own.
While the Jewish democratic state makes room for Christians and Muslims alike, no Arab Muslim State has room for either the Christians or the Jews. We can conclude easily that the Jews would be obliterated if Israel was to fall into Arab hands.
BDS is an Islamic fundamentalist weapon in its struggle to impose its values on the whole of the Middle East, Europe and ultimately the entire globe.
Even if there were to be a resolution to the peace process with the Palestinians the ultimate goal remains unchanged.
The difficulties facing this small nation are so complex. We have enemies on every border. The military must be ready at a moment’s notice. We have a population with very real needs which must be addressed. We have political coalitions with members constantly trying to force their agendas, at the risk of total collapse of the government.
With a world full of those wishing our demise, it is hardly surprising that the governments over the past 10 years have not been able to mobilize enough unity and leadership to address this problem. Every government has failed in this regard. Pointing fingers is of no value. The experts agree that the Palestinian problem is not at the core of the BDS movement. Even that issue is a pawn in the larger game.
Only one speaker was diametrically opposed to this concept. EU Ambassador Lars Faaborg-Andersen had the courage to attend the conference and justify the labeling of goods not made “within the green lines” as a matter of EU law.
While claiming that the EU supports Israel wholeheartedly, he still stated clearly that a resolution with the Palestinians would solve all the problems.
Perhaps he was not in the room to hear the previous speakers.
Funds have now been allocated to move to an offensive vs defensive approach to the lies being told repeatedly to those who will listen. Ministers of all persuasions are talking to one another and facing the work to be done in a united front.
Having allowed this to fester for over 10 years has left us with an unexpected cohesiveness. We have much more in common than we thought. We are proud Israelis who have seen a nation bloom from a desert. We have become the medical innovators for the globe.
We have the heart of Intel development in our land. We have everything to be proud of, and those who hate us will not be allowed to continue their vile campaign.
For the first time outside a physical war, I see Israel united under one banner.
Right, Left, center, religious, secular, sabras, olim, black and white....We all are in this together. And it is united that we will stand firm and win the battle with positive action and pride in what we have accomplished in this desolate neighborhood.
The writer is a member of the Jerusalem Press Club and several international pro-Israel organizations. She hosted Barbara Diamond: One on One on Israel’s Radio West and London’s Spectrum Radio.
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