The recent outrage against Jewish participants at Chicago’s “Dyke March” got me thinking back to this quote from Robin Sheperd’s State Beyond the Pale that clearly spells out the totalizing awfulness represented by the anti-Israel agenda of which BDS is a part:
Whatever it touches, the anti-Israel agenda always brings out the worst. It brings out the worst in journalists who cast aside their principles of balance and objectivity. It brings out the worst in seasoned commentators who substitute hysteria and foot stomping for calm analysis and enlightened discussion.
It brings out the worst in trade unions which put a hateful agenda above the interest of their members. It brings out the worst in diplomats who debase themselves by pandering to tyrannies against a democracy. It brings out the worst in artists and writers who submerge their commitment to beauty and truth in ugliness and lies. It brings out the worst of the great traditions of Left and Right which default back to their shabbiest instincts and their darkest prejudices.
Focusing on the last few months when gay supporters of Israel have been subjected to harassment and threats, can we determine why the fight for gay rights is becoming the latest sacrificial victim to the all-devouring Moloch of anti-Israel animus?
Starting with the obvious, the yawning chasm between Israel’s and her foes (including the Palestinians) with regard to gay rights is so vast that BDSers claiming dominion over the entire Left end of the political spectrum must do something to neutralize the threat of someone pointing it out.
While their usual tactic of ignoring any virtue of the Jewish state and just hammering incessantly on its flaws (real or imagined) might work with some audiences, the shocking contrast between Gay Pride Parade in Tel Aviv and gays being thrown off tall buildings in Egypt and Iran is too gigantic to ignore out of existence.
And so they moved onto their next tactic to obscure reality, concocting a fake phenomenon called “Pinkwashing” which claims that any pro-gay policies of the Jewish state (and, more importantly, any mention of those policies by Israel’s supporters) is just a nefarious scheme to mask the true invidious nature of “The Occupation,” the only subject anyone is allowed to discuss (but only on the boycotter’s terms).
Creating such a distraction and getting people to embrace it, however, are two different things. So the current strategy of harassing and ostracizing Jews (regardless of their level of support for Israel) from “the movement” has become the enforcement mechanism to ensure the pointing finger never swerves from the Jewish state and the plight of gay people in the rest of the Middle East remains off the table for discussion.
Enforcement of ideological conformity requires ruthlessness on the part of those trying to create barricades around what can be legitimately discussed. It also requires that the community being taken over (in this case, the politically active gay community) be too weak or confused to do anything about it.
The means the ruthless use to achieve these ends involve creating or infiltrating a subset of the community being targeted (by creating “Queers for Palestine” style front groups) or infiltrating existing organizations and moving into positions of leadership with the sole purpose of subverting them towards the anti-Israel agenda. Once established, these forces can commit outrages like the one at the Chicago Dyke March, then defend their bigotry in the name of the entire community they claim to represent.
Much has been made about the language of “intersectionality” and “triggering” used to frame demands that Jews (and only Jews) leave the parade, but this simply shows how those amorphous concepts (presuming they ever meant much) are now simply tools for the ruthless to bully the reasonable.
Keep in mind that such a strategy can only work if the bulk of the people within the community being subverted do nothing. In fact, the boycotters count on majorities remaining indifferent, or at least not coming to the defense of Jewish members out of fear that they too will be swept up in a purge.
Fortunately, we have seen other communities (such as food coops and academic associations) where resoluteness by the rank and file immunized a group from being turned into yet another tool for anti-Israel propaganda. The health of those communities vs. the rot that accompanies those that succumb to the BDS virus demonstrates – once again – that willingness to fight on behalf of a tiny minority (Jews) is what separates a genuine movement for justice from one that subverts the language of justice for their own shabby instincts and dark prejudices.