Jarring Jewish voices

BDS movement seeks to delegitimatize Israel but is totally out of touch with mainstream.

311_BDS UK
I’m running late for a pro-Israel celebration at the local Jewish Community Center when I encounter Naomi, a renowned anti-Zionist activist who’s standing outside looking rather agitated.
“What’s wrong?” I ask.
“They say they’re sold out, but that’s hogwash,” Naomi complains.
“They just don’t want anyone from Jewish Voices for Peace crashing their party.”
“Let me get this straight,” I say. “You support an academic, cultural and economic boycott of Israel. But you’re incensed because you believe the organized American Jewish community refuses to have any dealings with your group?”
“Precisely,” Naomi replies. “And do you know what we call that?”
“A taste of your own medicine?” I suggest.
“McCarthyism!” Naomi snaps. “Just like what occurred in Las Vegas when the Jewish Federations held their young adult conference a few weeks ago. Our youth wing was all set to have an information booth there at the hotel, but when they found out it was JVP, they rejected us! Why? Because we dare to speak out about Israel’s policies of violence, collective punishment and ethnic cleansing.”
“I happen to think the Jewish community’s ‘tent’ is pretty big,” I say. “But, surely you agree everyone has their red lines. The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement wants to delegitimize Israel. It’s totally out of touch with Jewish mainstream sentiment.”
“According to whom?” Naomi says. “The Israel lobby? I’m so tired of the Jewish establishment silencing young Jews who believe that Jewish values compel them to protest against Israeli oppression.”
“If the establishment’s objective is to silence young Jews, we must be doing a really poor job,” I say. “Look at what happened recently at the Boston synagogue that invited a group of Israeli Knesset Members for a community forum. The most vocal people in the room were JVP college students, who heckled the Israelis and tried to prevent them from speaking.
Come to think of it, if we truly wanted to stifle free speech, we could learn a thing or two from JVP. I mean, you even got Seattle’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Commission to cancel a program highlighting Israel’s strong record on gay rights.”
“You’re not actually going to start spouting that Zionist propaganda, are you?” Naomi says. “You know perfectly well that Israel promotes its so-called gay rights ‘advances’ just to cover up its gross human-rights abuses. And it’s the same sort of ruse with Israel’s humanitarian efforts.”
“Apparently no one can pull the wool over your eyes,” I say. “Israel should be ashamed of itself – saving the lives of victims of natural disasters in Haiti, Japan and Africa as a blatant PR ploy. And what better way to cover up its apartheid policies than by providing the highest level of medical care for thousands of Palestinian Arabs – in Israeli hospitals?! Very clever, those Israelis.”
“See, this is the problem,” Naomi says. “You can’t have a reasonable conversation with you ‘Israel-right-or-wrong’ types. I’m surprised you haven’t yet resorted to your usual strategy. Aren’t you going to play the anti-Semitism card?”
 “Oh, that reminds me,” I say. “I understand that JVP created its own Passover Haggada in which the Israelis were depicted as the ‘new Egyptian Pharaohs.’ That’s quite innovative, casting the Jews as the villains in our own foundation story. Just out of curiosity, what did you do on Purim? A shpiel where the name of Theodore Herzl was drowned out by rattling groggers?”
As Naomi is about to respond, her cell phone rings.
“You’re not going to answer that, are you?” I say.
“Why not?” she asks, surprised by my question.
“Don’t you realize the technology used in that cell phone comes from Israel,” I say in a hushed tone. “How are you going to look your fellow boycotters in the eyes knowing that by merely using that device you’d be contributing to the success of the Zionist enterprise? And you call yourself a card-carrying JVP member…