Last week, many of the organizations behind the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions “movement” decided to take time away from shouting pro-Israel speakers off various stages, bringing their political opponents up on charges within student government, and trying to get Israelis (although just the Jewish ones) banned from participation in scholarly discourse through academic boycotts to begin a campaign declaring that they are the victims of a censorship campaign.
First out of the gate was Palestine Legal which published this slick report that declares that their movement to smear Israel across the country is stifled, despite the fact that their voices can be heard shouting from the rooftops from every college in the land (including those schools where they routinely try to bully their opponents into silence).
The wider campaign that this report supported included a YouTube video where BDSers we’ve seen in the past (including former ASA head Lisa Duggan who apparently decided that it was safe to come out of hiding to contribute to the one-way conversations she and her academic-boycott-buddies prefer) and copycat stuff from Jewish Voice for Peace called Stifling Dissent which explains “How Israel’s Defenders Use False Charges of Anti-Semitism to Limit Debate Over Israel on Campus.”
Where to start…
To begin with, while I will admit that aspects of the “movement” have been subject to charges of anti-Semitism more frequently than in the past, that just might have something to do with their increasingly bigoted behavior (including demands for a loyalty oath from the only Jew – a non-Israeli one – before he could participate in a recent music festival). As I’ve noted previously, most pro-Israel advocates I work with have been somewhat reticent about using “the A-word” when debating the subject of BDS, but the BDSers own actions over the recent 12 months made discussion of their increasingly demonstrable anti-Jewish bigotry all but unavoidable.
Also, keep in mind that the boycotters actually prefer to be accused of anti-Semitism since it allows them to work themselves into an indignant rage over being stifled by strategic/insincere accusations (in between accusing their opponents of racism at the drop of a hat). Which is why they routinely pretend that all criticism of their project (such as pointing out their many lies and failures, their staggering hypocrisy and weaponizing the language of human rights and international law) are nothing but attempts to use accusations of anti-Semitism to shut them up.
The title of this piece was taken from a book written by that Nutsy Fagan of the anti-Israel tribe Norman Finkelstein (his lame attempt to take on Alan Dershowitz through Fink’s usual unsubstantiated accusations of fraud hurled at political enemies). But that line seems far more fitting to those organizations who are asking us to believe that in a world where it is they doing the shouting and prosecuting and banning of discourse who are the victims of censorship.
Needless to say, criticism of their efforts are destined for deaf ears since this attempt at political jui jitsu is built on a lie that the BDSers must believe at all costs, which means that even if you dismantle their charges they’re destined to just claim everything you just said boils down to one more example of false accusations of anti-Semitism.
With regard to the wider non-BDS public, I expect that even among those indifferent or even unfriendly to Israel, the level of contempt for the public represented by this latest “We’re the victims!!!!!” campaign is going to limit its traction (how stupid do they really thing people are, after all?).
But for those of us to whom this campaign is really targeted, we must (and so far have) avoided falling into the trap the boycotters have set which requires us to answer their charges one by one with detailed explanations that they will – of course – ignore.
The strategy of accuse! Accuse!! ACCUSE!!! is well-worn within the legions of the Israel haters and just as Israel’s enemies work tirelessly to project their own genocidal desires and indifference to the suffering of others onto the Jewish state, so to do their allies on our soil struggle to ensure “dialog” consists of a show trial where they get to play prosecutor, judge and jury.
To avoid this trap, it is our job to go on the offensive. And while I’ve written about that concept in the abstract (discussing when and where an offensive strategy is the best course of action), in this case firing back is both the obvious and best choice.
Which is why we must meet their accusations based on fake stifling with example after example of their real and continuous bullying to shut down voices they don’t like. This site has already juxtaposed the BDSers false accusations with their real behavior. So why not take the next step and create our own video that splices “The Palestinian Exception to Free Speech” video with shots of the BDSniks atrocious behavior across the land?
Ultimately, the pointing finger is the only arrow the boycotters have left in their quiver. Which is all the more reason we should triple down on our (true) accusations of their censorship, their nastiness and their utter indifference to every cause they claim to cherish (including human rights, justice – and now free speech).