It’s Israel Apartheid Week once again. Let’s counter the vicious smear

Israel Apartheid Week kicks off

The vile Jew-hating Jew-baiting Israel Apartheid Week (IAW) has kicked off again in the US and Europe.

The IAW is a major advocacy event of the BDS (Boycott, Sanctions, Divestment) movement, and offers seminars on what is termed the Israeli occupation of Palestine and Israel’s “racist” practices toward the Palestinian people. It also holds public demonstrations.

According to IAW organizers, there has been “a sharp increase of literature and analysis that has sought to document and challenge Israeli apartheid, including reports issued by major international bodies and human rights organizations and findings published by political leaders, thinkers, academics, and activists.”

The movement’s goals were outlined in 2005, stating that it wanted “full equality for Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel, an end to the occupation and colonization of all Arab lands.” Many have claimed the week-long initiative — held in over 200 cities — aims to hurt Israel more than to help the Palestinian cause.

In spite of the movement’s self promotion, officials of Israel’s Foreign Ministry stated that the week-long event has little impact and that the strength of the organizations running it has significantly decreased over the years.

Pro-Israel groups, such as “Stand With Us” and “The Israel Project,” in addition to representatives of the Jewish Agency, will be arranging activities to counter the narrative of IAW.

Lena Abayev Bakman, deputy director of communications, Knesset liaison, and social media strategy manager at NGO Monitor, expresses similar sentiments about “BDS Lie Week“:

If the issue of human rights really was important to the leaders of apartheid week, they would focus on countries in which people (Christians and Jews) are persecuted for their religious beliefs, their sexual orientation, or their gender. None of these happen in Israel. Israel is not perfect, but it is the only democracy in the Middle East in which the law protects human rights.

The depths to which the Israell-haters will sink include editing a TV interview given by a pro-Israel advocate, and inserting it into a promotional video of their own to make it seem as if the activist had changed sides.

In an interview with The Algemeiner, Brandeis University senior Joshua Nass said, “I am disgusted with this video.”

“This is all faked. They fraudulently edited in my image to make it seem I support their anti-Israel smears, when I am one of the student leaders speaking out the most loudly in favor of Israel.”

The promotional video, posted to YouTube, splices clips of Nass from the Fox Business News talk show ‘Varney & Co,’ where the student leader urged U.S. universities to fire professors who voted in favor of a motion at the American Studies Association annual meeting, to approve an academic boycott of Israeli institutions to punish Israel.

On Monday, Nass said: “Last night, I was traveling back to Boston, and I hadn’t seen the video yet, but I was receiving lots of messages over Twitter from friends asking why I had changed sides? Of course, I hadn’t.”

Nass said he hasn’t decided yet if he will pursue a legal challenge to stop the video, but plans to shame the anti-Israel group in the public media.

You can see the video in question at the Algemeiner link.

Legal Insurrection (via Elder of Ziyon) brings us the example of the unlovely Lisa Duggan of NYU (and the thoroughly condemned ASA) who says:

Not surprisingly, the incoming President of the American Studies Association, Lisa Duggan of NYU, is leading an anti-Israel effort that coincides with Israel Apartheid week, but doesn’t want people to know about it (via Elder of Ziyon):

dugganProf. Jacobson continues:

“Israel Apartheid Week” as part of the BDS movement is the direct by-product of the Durban anti-Jewish hatred — a history few of its participants probably realize.
In reality, Israel is nothing like South Africa under Apartheid.
First and foremost, Israel is a majority rule democracy. South African Apartheid was the subjugation of the majority by the minority based on racial classifications — the exact opposite of Israel.
Israel is a multi-racial and multi-ethnic society in which the dividing lines, as in many countries and certainly all Mideast countries, is religion not race. In Israel the religious minority has full voting rights, members in the parliament and in the Supreme Court, and all the civil freedoms of the majority. Even the Jewish majority (about 80%) is multi-racial and multi-ethnic, including half the population being refugees and their descendants from Arab countries, Ethiopia, and other non-Western places.

Both the Elder and the Professor have published an excellent video by South African MP Kenneth Meshoe (whom I have mentioned previously) about the Israel Apartheid Scam. If anyone should know what real Apartheid is, it is Mr. Meshoe. (His daughter continues his admirable advocacy).

From all the above examples and more, it is obvious that the Apartheid smear needs to be countered both on the factual level, with facts, figures and examples, but much more importantly, the lie has to be rebutted on the visceral level. Anyone who is interested in the truth and wonders about this terrible allegation can find out for themselves. The facts and figures are all out there and widely available to anyone who invests the slightest effort. But you need to be interested in the truth to do that.

If you are short of the relevant facts, the Britain Israel Communications & Research Center (BICOM) (via Israellycool) has produced an excellent pamphlet which provides us with all the facts and figures necessary to counter the Apartheid accusation. Read it, download it and/or pass it on.

However one cannot confuse the haters with facts. Those who accuse Israel of Apartheid are not interested in the truth. They use gimmicks like the Bethlehem Wall to evoke an intense emotional reaction, and we pro-Israel advocates need to use the same methods, distasteful as they are, to counter this libel.

For some practical ideas on countering the smear, see See HonestReporting’s Fighting BDS on Facebook for updates and strategies on how you can fight back against the apartheid slur.

Elder of Ziyon has a brilliant set of anti-Apartheid-smear posters.

Coming to a campus near you

But one of the best ideas I’ve ever seen comes from Eylon Aslan Levy in the Times of Israel, who has come up with an inventive method:

1. Dress up as a suicide bomber. Throw on an explosive
belt, wrap your face in a keffiyeh and grab an AK-47. Run towards the Wall at full speed, shouting, “Allahu Akbar!” When you hit the Wall,  fall over and rub your head, muttering “D’oh!” in the style of Homer Simpson.  …  For good effect, have a friend drive over an ambulance laden with explosives; cry that it is unfair to stop the vehicle for inspection. Sit down and insist you’re not moving until the wall is torn down, so you can finally blow yourself up and get back to class.

[…]
2. Recreate a bomb scene in a replica café.
Set up tables, chairs and a bar with an espresso machine, then knock everything over, sprinkle shrapnel everywhere, splatter fake blood on the floor, sprinkle some crushed glass, and include some rubber limbs – including those of children – for good measure. … When disconcerted passers-by ask what they can do help, say it’s too late, but what might be useful for next time is if they could physically block the suicide bombers using a… a… what’s the word…?

[…]
3. Hand out sweets in the street. When sceptical members of the public ask what the catch is, tell them you are celebrating a suicide bombing in a Tel Aviv nightclub.

He points out the main problem with this:

But this would all be rather distasteful

And therein lies the inescapable problem. Israel has too much self-respect to expect its activists to appeal to the court of public opinion through sob stories.

I disagree with Levy. Unfortunately we DO need to crawl down to their level if we’re going to counter such vicious smears.  To clear up excrement you need to crawl through the sewers and get filthy dirty. The similarities here are clear.

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11 Responses to It’s Israel Apartheid Week once again. Let’s counter the vicious smear

  1. Brian Goldfarb says:

    Anne, you note the case of the pro-Israel advocate who was “edited” to make it appear that he had changed sides. In other words, he was slandered, possibly, given that it was published, even libelled. We shouldn’t be surprised by this. Those who have nothing in the way of evidence that would convince anybody not already of the same opinion as them HAVE to resort to mendacity, trickery and downright fraud to make their case as far as the rest of the world is concerned.

    I would agree that we need arguments and evidence, not to convince them (their minds are far too closed for that) but to make it clear to the rest of the world that this is in fact the case and that the evidence is on the side of those who deny the equality of the equation that Israel is an apartheid state, just like South Africa was until 1991. So, what evidence do we have?

    Well, some years ago, I forced an anti-Zionist (to be polite about it) commenting on another site to admit that the apartheid analogy didn’t apply to the Occupied Territories, because different rules apply there, as Israel was (and is, in law) the Occupying Power. So, no apartheid there. To do this, I cited the Rome Statute of 2002 (see here: https://www.princeton.edu/~achaney/tmve/wiki100k/docs/Crime_of_apartheid.html) which defines “apartheid” legally, and shows this to be the case.

    However, this only deletes the OT from the equation, and leaves Israel still in the frame. The next step was to cite Benjamin Pogrund (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2006/feb/08/southafrica.israel) who had survived apartheid South Africa and now lives in Israel. Unlike the unlovely Ronnie Kasrils, he can tell the truth when he sees it, has lived in both places and is a great witness for the defence.

    While the anti-Zionist still haunted those pages, he never raised this particular issue again. Of course, there are those who are even slipperier than he was. Ran Greenstein, Associate Prof of Sociology in the U of Johannesburg, raged on about Israel’s alleged ethnic cleansing of Arabs from what became Israel (the bits that hadn’t been assigned to the putative state by the 1947 UN Resolution) while ignoring my repeated point about the closeness of this alleged policy (which I denied had, in fact been a policy – argument for a different column) with the apartheid policy of creating “Bantustans”.

    The fact that he continued to ignore this suggested that my equating them hit far too close to home for his comfort. Greenstein, incidentally, is a former Israeli. Go ask.

    • anneinpt says:

      Wow. Thank you for your great reply – both now and back then – and for those excellent links and resources.

      Yes, there are Israelis amongst the worst anti-Zionists, just like some of the worst antisemites are Jews. Go figure.

  2. Betty says:

    Why on earth is there no outcry over the real apartheid States most of whom surround Israel and not only do they not hide that they are such , they proudly promote their policies of gender, religious and racial apartheid. Perhaps pointing the finger is too polite but it would demonstrate the hypocrisy and Jew hatred which is really at the root of the whole program.

    • anneinpt says:

      Of course you’re quite right. But if you point out the hypocrisy, the Israel haters will say that they expect more from Israel which is why they pressure and threaten only Israel. In other words, the bigotry of low expectations of the Arabs.

      In truth, as we all know, nobody really gives a hoot about the Palestinians’ well-being. They are simply a useful pawn with which to beat Israel. In fact the only people who really do care about them are the Israelis themselves.

      • Brian Goldfarb says:

        It’s also possible to note that by focussing on Israel and ignoring both what Arab/Moslem (but not they alone) states do to women, gays, minorities within their borders, these people are making objects of Arabs in general and Palestinians in particular: “they are incapable of acting for themselves, so we have to act for them by attacking those responsible for their situation”. More bluntly, such people are saying they can’t act in their own interests, so we must act for them. they are also saying that infringements of human rights are relative: when Israelis/Jews do it, bad; when Arabs/Palestinians do it, we have to understand that their situation is different (how? I always thought that human rights were indivisible. I even managed to convince a quite (conventionally) right-wing friend of ours that this is so not long ago).

        This attitude also smacks of the colonial attitude of white Europeans (and white Americans n the not-so-distant past) towards their colonial “subjects”. This link (http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/in-defense-of-liberty/?utm_source=The+Times+of+Israel+Daily+Edition&utm_campaign=51fb2e2361-2014_02_25&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_adb46cec92-51fb2e2361-54417869) from a recent Times of Israel edition shows this at work. Chloe Valdary is African-American, Christian and passionately pro-Israel/Zionist and she quite beautifully takes Richard Silverstein apart for showing such attitudes – patronising (expletive deleted) that he is.

        Do read it!

  3. Brian Goldfarb says:

    And here’s another great Times of Israel article with loads of useful info, etc, to use against Israel Apartheid Week:
    http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/we-oppose-israeli-apartheid-week-because/?utm_source=The+Times+of+Israel+Daily+Edition&utm_campaign=73b615388c-2014_02_27&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_adb46cec92-73b615388c-54417869

    In fact, it’s so good, I’ve added it to my documents to use again next year, and the year after that…

  4. Brian Goldfarb says:

    Sorry, but I keep coming across these: here’s another one for the folder, to wheel out again next year and thereafter: http://www.algemeiner.com/2014/02/28/haaretz-economy-editor-anti-israel-boycotts-are-creature-of-the-medias-imagination/.

    Don’t be fooled by the poorly worded title. The editor of the English-language edition of Haaretz is saying that the BDS effort is a failure: there has been virtually no adverse effect on Israel, except that a few entertainers have decided not to go to Israel. In the end, their loss. BUT the businesses of the world care less about that: it’s the bottom line of the balance sheet that’s most important here. And, guess what: Israel equals even better black figures there.

    So forget BDS, welcome big business (and I never thought I’d hear myself say that!).

  5. Pingback: Amnesty, UNRWA, Israel Apartheid Week – and #BDSFails | Anne's Opinions

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