Surviving the Upcoming BDS Onslaught – 1

A day late (but hopefully not a shekel short) vis-à-vis next steps as the BDSers ready to drag this summer’s Gaza conflict into a college campus, church, co-op and heaven-only- knows what other civic organization near you.

In theory, we could just stand back and let an anti-Israel community already showing signs of being out of control last Spring provide us ammunition by punching out their critics or dousing themselves with blood (embarrassing behaviors that have required apologies with the school year barely begun).

But I suspect we will need a broader set of options to deal with the upcoming propaganda onslaught.  And before we get into our choice of tactics, it’s important that we re-familiarize ourselves with theirs.

For if the goal of BDS is the elimination of the Jewish state, their strategies are to put that state beyond the moral pale by having it declared the successor to Apartheid South Africa (or, more recently, Nazi Germany) and de-legitimizing its right of self-defense in order to justify and limit the consequences for those who get to actually get to do the kidnapping, shooting and missile firing.

Because the message that Israel is a vile state that deserves whatever violence is directed at it is embraced by so few, practitioners of BDS work tirelessly to try to get their message to come out of the mouth of someone else, primarily progressive organizations such as student groups, liberal churches or unions in the hope that they can make their cause synonymous with liberal thought.   And even if they lose, the ability to force such organizations to hold endless meetings on boycott or divestment motions gives the Israel haters the chance to do what they love more than anything else: rail against Israel for hour upon hour before captive audiences.

With their goals and strategies mapped out, we now get to their tactics that have really never changed – regardless of how hot or cold things get in the Middle East.  These tactics include:

  • The Pointing Finger – That is, an endless string of accusations hurled against the Jewish state for every conceivable crime (real or imagined).  This blame-based tactic is chosen to ensure that the BDSers retain the role of prosecutor and place their opponents perpetually on the defensive.
  • Ignore-ance – This tactic goes hand-in-hand with The Pointing Finger since the best way to avoid being put on the defensive yourself is to refuse to acknowledge any point other than your own accusations.
  • Pathos – Since facts that make the BDSers uncomfortable, such as the unsavory and illiberal nature of those they defend or the violence roiling the Middle East, support logical arguments against their positions, BDS must rely on raw emotion in the hope that they can short-circuit reason altogether.   This explains why their case consists almost entirely of grisly stories and heart-rending images shorn of any and all context which they hope will shock an audience into relying on their gut instinct vs. their brains (and thus do what the BDSers tell them to).

As anyone who reads this blog knows, my preference is towards reasoned argument backed up by accurate facts.  And the good news is that if you are a student on a campus where the Middle East conflict is a live issue, you will likely find many people (possibly a majority) who are open to reasonable (if heated) discussion.  But you are also likely to have to deal with an aggressive and noisy SJP (or the equivalent) minority who will fight to prevent reasoned debate from occurring at any cost.

If you are dealing with someone of good will whose opinions may be based on misunderstanding or lack of knowledge, the normal human practice of education and reasoned argumentation should take priority.   But if you find yourself confronting the SJP tactics noted above, then a different set of rules apply.

What those rules are and how to apply them will be the subject for tomorrow’s entry (promise).

Does War Make All Things Clear? – The Savior Generals

Victor Davis Hanson, one of the most insightful military historians writing today, had an interesting piece the other day analyzing the current Gaza campaign and its fallout.

While his piece is primarily political (Hanson is also a commentator for National Review), words that readers of his military histories will find familiar are contained in what might seem like a throwaway line on page 2: “human nature remains constant,” a sentiment that sums up the beliefs of those ancient Greeks whose stories serve as the foundation for his understanding of military (and human) history.

In this case, the part of human nature he sees on display among Western critics of Israel’s recent actions – those parts that are “opportunistic, fearful and fickle” – are likely to lead those critics to give a final tut-tut and move on if Israel successfully deals Hamas a crippling blow.  But if Israel retreats in the face of international “anti-war” pressure those critics are working so hard to generate, that is likely to push anti-Israel hysteria into new and unprecedented heights.

In a way, this is the “strong horse/weak horse” argument that we have heard since Osama bin Laden used that line to describe why the Arab masses would flock to his banner if he could demonstrate strength and power by, for example, flying planes into skyscrapers in New York City.  Which they did until this strong horse ended up demonstrating his own weakness by going to ground for close to a decade before being taken out by an allegedly weak horse who turned out to have some fight in him still.

But as the post “Arab Spring” world detonated, we have returned to the unchanging human condition understood by the ancients – not a world where the “law of the jungle” rules, but one where actors make decisions regarding war and peace based on a careful calculation of who is strong (and should be avoided) and who is weak (and should be conquered).

But the Greeks had more than opportunism and fear in mind when they talked about the constancy of human nature.  For while technology and tactics might have changed astonishingly over the centuries, the nature of those who start wars and those who fight them has remained remarkably consistent.

Those with the power to trigger a conflict, whether they are named Xerxes, Caesar, Napoleon or Hitler, make rational calculations regarding whether they have the forces, resources, morale and leadership to gain more than they lose by letting slip the dogs of war.  But these same leaders tend to make the same errors of overreach when they are winning and panic when they are losing that makes them vulnerable to those who defend against them.

By coincidence, I was reading Hanson’s latest book, The Savior Generals, when the Gaza war broke out.  This book is a follow up to another book he wrote called The Soul of Battle which highlighted three generals (Epaminondas of Thebes who defeated Sparta, Sherman who broke the Confederacy, and Patton who smashed the allegedly invincible Nazis) who demonstrated the stupendous power of democratic armies led by the right type of general.

Sherman also appears in Savior Generals alongside Themistocles (who routed the Persians at Holy Salamis), Matthew Ridgeway (who ended the Korean War), David Petraeus (who figured out how to win against an insurgency in Iraq), and my personal favorite general of all time: Flavius Belisarius (who nearly re-conquered the Roman Empire in real life as well as defeating aliens allied with Indians in a series of bad but delicious sci-fi novels).

What makes these four military leaders saviors is the fact that they were able to win wars that everyone but they knew were lost.  And whether you’re talking about Themistocles determining that the Persians were vulnerable at sea or Ridgeway who understood that a million-man Chinese army relied on vulnerable supply lines when the front extended well down the Korean peninsula, all the Savior Generals had a grasp of on-the-ground reality that many of their superiors (military and political) lacked.

Most of them were also soldier’s generals who lead from the front (rather than issuing orders from luxury hotels), exposed themselves to the same hardships their men faced, and routinely made decisions that would minimize casualties on their own side.

This grasp of reality and concern for the troops lead to a type of informed conservativism on the battlefield.  So while other generals desperately sought pitched battles where the clash of thousands might lead to a decisive victory (or a glory-filled defeat), the Savior Generals focused on strategies and tactics that maximized their own advantages, refusing to be goaded into battle where and when territory and timing was not to their liking.  And they had a keen understanding of war as an extension of politics, best exemplified by Sherman’s thrust into Georgia timed in a way to ensure the re-election of Abraham Lincoln.

Since human nature is unchanging, the nihilism of Hamas is no more undefeatable than the fanatical Communist zeal that motivated North Koreans and Chinese in the Korean War or the Bushido cult that supposedly made the WWII Japanese warrior unstoppable.  Such fanaticism can certainly be a factor in maintaining morale among the troops, but it also tends to put into power leaders who can be counted on to make predictable errors (notably fighting beyond their resources).

And, at least for now, Israel’s political and military leaders seem to be making decisions designed to not allow the enemy to define the battlefield.  This includes not retaking territory that Israelis have no desire to control.  But it also involves finally taking the propaganda component of the century old “War against the Jews” seriously.

As I’ve noted before, those marching in the streets insisting that everyone treat them as part of a peace movement are no less instrumental in someone else’s war plans than munitions and troops.  The reason they stay home when Hamas fires rockets (or Syria butchers thousands) but roar to life once Israel shoots back is not simply hypocrisy (although they are loaded to the gills with that).  Rather, their role is to minimize Israel’s military options (by demanding an immediate ceasefire only when shooting is two-way) while maximizing the options (or ensuring the survival and continued military potential) of her opponents.

So condemning a BDSer for his or her hypocrisy makes about as much sense as screaming at a tank for only shooting at the enemy.  But accepting their self-characterization as fighters for peace is even more ludicrous.  Which is why our job is to keep up the battle on this front by continually exposing their lies and pretensions, while those who fight make decisions (hopefully informed by the history of the savior generals) in order to win on the ground.

Complexity

One of the arguments often made at BDS-related debates is that the Middle East conflict is too complex for student senators or food coop members or church delegates to understand well enough to take a meaningful stance on the matter.

“Nonsense,” the BDSers sneer.  For, according to them, the issues are unbelievably simple.  Here is a photo of a dead Palestinian baby (with a grieving mother wailing over the body), and here is another picture of a fully armed Israeli soldier standing next to a frightening bulldozer or some piece of heavy military equipment. And with these simple premises in place, their conclusion is equally simple: “Do what we say!”

To a certain extent, our argument for complexity is actually a reaction to the other side’s specific over-simplified narrative.  But it also represents an effort to avoid over-simplifying narratives of our own, such as one that points out that the Middle East consists of dozens of Arab nations – all corrupt dictatorships of one stripe or another – that have built their politics around eternal enmity towards the Jewish state.

According to this narrative, the Middle East not only consists of more than Israelis and Palestinians but the very Israeli-Palestinian conflict the BDSers decry is the result of the actual cause of suffering in the region: what Ruth Wisse calls “The Arab War Against the Jews.” (something the boycotters faithfully ignore).

The thing is, this less-than-complex story that Israel’s supporters tend to avoid is far closer to the truth than anything that comes out of the mouth of those advocating for boycott, divestment and sanctions.  And never more has such stark simplicity been clear than in the recent and unfolding conflict in Gaza.

Perhaps an errant rocket or two per year could be blamed on forces outside the control of governing Hamas forces in the Gaza Strip.  But when Hamas itself boasts of firing thousands of missiles, mortars and rockets over weeks and months and years, then the subjecting of a sovereign nation to a modern version of the London Blitz cannot be seen as anything other than an act of war, requiring a military response.

The FACT that Hamas hides within and fires its missiles from civilian areas is also not open to debate, which is why those who challenge a reality backed up by countless photos, videos and live testimony choose to either ignore or deny this fact without actually providing evidence or arguments against its unquestionable veracity.

And then you’ve got those miles and miles of tunnels built with cement and other building supplies that countless people insisted Gaza desperately needed to rebuild an above-ground infrastructure devastated by the last wars Hamas started.  The fact that Hamas instead used that material (as well as aid money) to construct a different underground infrastructure for their fighters (leaving civilians to fend for themselves above) can only be denied by those born without eyes or those who have chosen to shield themselves from the truth at the cost of their humanity.

I can understand why simple narratives of good vs. evil tend to rub those of us with modern sensibilities the wrong way.  After all, even Israel’s most ardent supports can (and do) provide a long list of errors the Jewish state has made over the course of seven decades of siege.  And when the Jewish people produce a Baruch Goldstein or those responsible for the murder of Mohammad Abu Khdeir (killed in last month’s revenge attack for the kidnapping/murder of three Israeli youths) we are both shocked and called to question whether the cause we fight for might have contributed to the creation of such monsters.

But this kind of self-questioning, appropriate for anyone who values facing up to moral complexity (the mortal equivalent of wrestling with God), carries the risk of becoming a variant on the common error of letting the perfect become the enemy of the good.  For if one side in a conflict is ready to face (and fess up to) its own shortcomings while the other side will never admit responsibility for any error, crime or violation of moral norms under any circumstance, then we are actually abdicating moral responsibility when we respond to the other side’s perpetually pointing finger with confessions of our own flaws.

It’s been interesting to note that Israel and its supporters, usually all over the map with regard to messaging whenever a conflict such as this summer’s Gaza war arises, has been remarkably on-point this time around.  To a certain extent, this is because the points to be made are so glaringly obvious that little else needs to be said.

Hamas has chosen to shoot at Israeli civilians while hiding behind Palestinian ones.  Hamas leaders have enriched themselves and now sit comfortably in five star hotels in Qatar while others do the fighting and dying.  The organization’s genocidal designs are available for all to see in their charter and countless pronouncements made before, during and after their takeover of Gaza (and transformation of the area to an armed camp).  And the lies (including absurdly transparent use of fake images) demonstrate not just their cynicism but their contempt for everyone they hope will carry out the propaganda component of their current campaign.  Given all this, what else is there for Israel and its supporters to talk about?

Perhaps this is why PlanetBDS must suffice with their ghoulish count of the dead (which follows the Hamas talking point that anyone killed in Gaza is an “innocent civilian”) coupled with throwing Molotov cocktails at synagogues and screaming and tweeting a wish that Hitler had finished the job.  For without any actual facts or arguments to fall back on, shrieking ever louder (and accompanying those screams with violence) is all they have left.

Which means that those of us dedicated to fighting this scourge needs to brace for one hell of an ugly year to come.

The Brain on BDS

The sheer amount of reality that must be ignored to maintain a BDS mindset can sometimes seem staggering.

Middle East commentator Max Boot lists the number of obvious truths that must be denied in order to portray Israel as the sole or primary aggressor in the most recent clash between the IDF and Hamas in Gaza, including:

  • That Israel gave up “land for peace” with its 2005 Gaza withdrawal and received nearly a decade of war as a consequence
  • Thousands of missiles fired indiscriminately by Hamas to maximize civilian casualties vs. highly targeted attacks by Israel designed to minimize them
  • That Israel accepted a cease fire which Hamas rejected (and continued firing missiles)
  • That Hamas deliberately locates its weapons among civilians in hope of protecting their arms or, even better, causing casualties among their own population which they can exploit in a propaganda war

But this list only covers the most recent outbreak of violence.  To the list of unquestionable facts that must be ignored to maintain the BDS mindset one could easily add:

  • The numerous land deals Israel offered both Arafat and Abbas which were rejected since they carried the price tag of genuine peace
  • The role played by powerful state actors (such as Iran) in arming and financing those Palestinian factions most ready and willing to pull the trigger, not to mention the various propaganda campaigns (including BDS) carried on by powerful nation states who continue to be at war with the Jewish state
  • The terror campaigns (euphemistically called Intifadas) which required the security measures (such as a separation barrier) those with the BDS mindset protest so loudly

For some reason, however, pulling the usual levers does not seem to be as effective this time around.

Perhaps BDS-style propagandists have gotten lazy, anticipating that a gullible media and public will swallow their propaganda whole, regardless of its transparency.

In the past, #GazaUnderAttack imagery tried to slip in a few faux images into a stream of otherwise genuine (although context-free) photos of Palestinian suffering.  But this time around, the trend seems to be to just grab any photo of an explosion or dead Arab (whether they come from previous conflicts with Israel, from conflicts that don’t involve Israel – such as Syria, or from Photoshop).  When even the BBC has gotten tired of being played for saps, it’s clear that even those with no love for the Jewish state will eventually react to being treated with this level of contempt.

As Western nations and the media have shown less inclination to do the bidding of the BDSers and their allies, whatever remains of the old “anti-Israel not anti-Jewish” mask has quickly dropped to the ground.  Thus the physical attacks that were the exception (at least outside the Middle East itself) are now the rule at anti-Israel protests.  And with the rise of hashtags along the lines of #HitlerWarRight dominating “anti-war” discourse, the notion that protests are just “criticizing Israel policy” has moved from questionable to ludicrous.

At the center of all this pathology is the sociopathic BDS mindset I’ve described on this site several times over the last five years.  It’s one thing to have biases (which are common to all mankind), and the phenomenon of shielding yourself from information that contradicts pre-conceptions is a sad but common malady in the era of customized news (i.e., reality) feeds.  But to cut yourself off from so much obvious truth and shout down or beat up anyone insisting you face it represents more than an extreme version of the common desire to avoid confronting things that contradict existing beliefs.

No, these behaviors only make sense once you realize that the boycotters and their fellow travelers have, in effect, created their own fantasy world filled with brave knights (themselves), damsels in distress (Palestinians) and wicked sorcerers and dragons (Israel and its supporters).

Within this fantasy world, any action is justified to vanquish evil (as defined within the BDSers own universe) and anyone who does not fall into the category of knight, damsel or monster has no purpose other than as a prop or extra in the drama going on in the boycotters own heads.

I’ve often highlighted how the majority of true evil in the world was carried out by those absolutely convinced in their own unshakable virtue.  And as rockets fire from Gaza, “human rights” activists fight for a “cease fire” (to give their allies the chance to rearm), and Molotov Cocktails are thrown in Paris, we are all witness to this sad phenomenon bracing to blanket the entire globe.

Patterns and Propaganda

As I mentioned yesterday, part of the reason for this new site update is to provide better access to resources for those who might encounter an acceleration of BDS-related activity in the wake of the recent flare-up along the Israeli-Gaza border.

And how can I be so sure we’re going to see more calls for divestment and boycotts in the coming weeks and months? Well if there’s one thing we can predict not just from anti-Israel activists but from the Palestinian groups they support is a repetition of established patterns.

The latest war is a case in point, given how much it hews to a pattern we saw established during Israel’s Defensive Shield crackdown on West Bank terror in 2002, followed by the Lebanon War in 2006, Cast Lead in 2009, up to the present conflict.

In each of those cases, Palestinians (or in the case of Lebanon, Hezbollah) triggered a wider war by pushing their terror activity (whether in the form of suicide bombings, cross-border attacks and kidnappings, or missile attacks) past the level Israel could continue to tolerate.  At which point, a low-level war in which only one side was doing the shooting became a full-fledged, two-way border conflict.

Despite ever-increasing sophistication of their arms, groups like Hamas are no match for the more sophisticated and (more importantly) better-disciplined Israeli troops.  But in any conflict with Israel, groups like Hamas and Hezbollah have learned they could assume:

  • The “courageous” warriors who triggered the conflict could “go to ground” by hiding in bunkers while their “troops” stationed military hardware in schools, mosques and hospitals where they could fire at Israeli civilians while hiding behind Arab ones (and never be called out for activity that in any other context would be considered a war crime)
  • Political organizations masquerading as “peace groups,” which managed to stay somnambulant while missiles were firing into Israel, would suddenly roar to life when Israel responded, taking to the streets in various US and European cities to demand an immediate ceasefire
  • A credulous media would publish any images provided by their Palestinian handlers, especially ones that showed bloody children (or, preferably, blood-stained parents grasping and kissing a dead child)

All of this activity formed the propaganda arm of the overall war effort with the goal of limiting Israel’s military response just enough so that the political structures in places like Gaza and Lebanon would stay intact by the time the ceasefire was demanded and then implemented.  At which point the militants could celebrate their “holding out” against their Israeli foe, with “victory” defined as the leadership surviving the war they started (never mind the devastation that war caused to all around them).

These ceasefires always came with guarantees by the “international community” that the steps which led to the most recent war (such as militants arming themselves to the teeth and then using those arms to attack across the Israel border) would no longer be tolerated.   And these were deals groups like Hamas and Hezbollah could readily accept since they understand full well no UN agency (or other enforcement vehicle) would lift a finger as they rearmed for the next conflict.  Especially since such agencies would more likely be busy organizing kangaroo courts to condemn the Jewish state for “disproportionality” (or whatever other new crime they could invent), turning themselves into the final front in the war that just ended, responsible for generating the propaganda that could be used to justify the next one.

This time around, the pattern has been hewn to so closely it might make you think that Hamas was working off a checklist.  But strangely enough, the usual tricks don’t seem to be working as effectively as they once did.

Scores of journalists are still faithfully publishing Palestinian propaganda, which is also being pumped around the world via social media.  But this time the exposure of fraudulent images (which was a bit of a novelty act among pro-Israel activists in previous wars) has gone mainstream, to the point where every image of a bloody baby coming out of Gaza is now being subjected to scrutiny that the originators of this propaganda never anticipated (and don’t know how to handle).

Similarly, they hypocrisy of “peace activists” who only get active for peace when someone they don’t like returns fire seems to be being accepted by more than just those of us who know these groups all too well.

Finally, geopolitical winds seem to be blowing against immediate implementation of a ceasefire, partly due to American and European politicians no longer being willing to pay political capital to bail the Palestinians out of yet another self-created jam, and partly due to inter-Arab political rivalries that are playing themselves out in Gaza just as they are in Syria and beyond.

The civil war in Syria also plays an indirect role in why Hamas seems to be failing to make its usual traction, propaganda-wise, a factor that talks to the role the need for consistency plays in our human psyche, a topic I’ll continue on tomorrow.

Gaza: Here We Go Again

It’s time like these, when the missiles are flying in from Gaza (virtually guaranteeing an escalation in violence), that the true nature of BDS and associated “peace movements” stands revealed.

For according to every source and interpretation, one of the things holding the Israeli’s back from immediately retaliating against an enemy opening fire at its civilian population (something any other nation in the world would do immediately and unquestionably) is fear of massive protests that would appear instantly across the world, leading to a new round of condemnations from international bodies.

Of course, Hamas – the people who decided to start firing those rockets – fear no such protests or condemnations, understanding that people taking to the street in various US and European cities are part of their arsenal, a deterrent that allows them to push the limits of how many missiles and mortars and terror attacks they can subject Israelis civilians to without triggering a massive response.

In other words, far from representing a “peace movement,” BDS et al represent a weapons system, in this case acting as the propaganda arm of a party to the conflict.  And while this weapon system might, if backed into a corner, choke out a few mealy mouthed words along the lines of: “Yes, firing missiles at Israeli schools is terrible, BUT…[Seige! Occupation!!  Leiberman!!!],” once Israelis return fire they will somehow find their voice, taking to the streets in the hundreds and thousands calling for an immediate cease fire (all in the name of “human rights” and “justice,” of course).

Keep in mind that if the Israelis ever decide they cannot accept that one of their borders will be perpetually showered in rockets, that this will inevitably lead to the deaths of Palestinians on whose behalf the BDSers claim to be fighting.  So even if Palestinians (vs. Israeli) lives are the only things these groups count as precious, the Hamas-instigated violence at the border all but guarantees the loss of these lives.

And, ironically, there actually is something the BDS and associated “movements” could do to prevent such a tragedy.  They could, for example, publicly announce that Hamas must stop firing missiles at civilians (a reasonable thing for a peace movement to say) and that, this time, they will NOT take to the streets if Israel decides to do something about said rocket fire.  They could call an end to the flotillas, a termination of visits, a refusal to continue their anti-Israeli campaigns in any way unless and until Hamas stops putting Israeli and Palestinian lives at risk by ending their senseless cross-border attacks.

If immediate anti-Israel protests were not inevitable, this would require Hamas to recalculate its risks with an understanding that they may not be provided the cover they expect if their target decides to retaliate.  In other words, those who claim as their moral lodestone the preciousness of Palestinian life are in a position to actually limit loss of that life by simply doing what any genuine peace movement would do immediately and unquestionably: fight for peace.

But expecting this to happen is as realistic as expecting a nation’s navy to start firing on its own army.  For as the BDSers have proven again and again, their movement is simply one more armament, deployed to give those who actually pull the trigger maximum military maneuvering room.

In fact, reality might be considerably creepier than this, with the boycotters actually looking forward to a shooting war (regardless of the cost to both Israeli and Palestinian populations).  For its only after a Gaza or Lebanon crisis that the ranks of the BDSers swell and they get to take to the streets in fits of self-righteous fury, something they love beyond all else – including beyond the value of  human life (especially someone else’s).

Einstein once famously said that “You cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war.”  But I suspect that even his genius couldn’t explain a “movement” that contributes to ensuring war escalates and never ends while simultaneously insisting everyone treat it as a “peace movement”

War and Peace (Movement)

If we needed any more evidence that BDS represents the propaganda arm of a war movement (vs. it’s ridiculous self-characterization as a “peace movement,”) the last week’s escalating conflict along the Gaza/Israel border should put the true nature of BDS into proper context.

First, one must realize that the battles being waged today were absolutely, 100% inevitable given Hamas’ ability to rearm and its decision to carry on terror and missile attacks at all cost, regardless of what that might mean to the civilian population its hold captive in the Gaza Strip.

When the last major Israel operation in Gaza ended in 2009 with a cease fire, the usual promises were made by the UN and other international parties (as they were with regard to Lebanon three years earlier) that steps would be taken to ensure the missile buildups and/or missile firing that ensured the original conflict would be brought to heel.  And, needless to say, nothing was done as Hamas (like Hezbollah in Lebanon) obtained more missiles with longer ranges, and insisted they would fire them off at the earliest opportunity (one of the few promises they actually kept).

All during this period, when arms were built up and when missile and terror attacks continued unabated (albeit at a low enough level to avoid a massive Israeli response), those “Friends of the Palestinian People” represented by the BDS “movement,” managed to hold their tongues.

Sure, when pressed into a corner, they could be counted on to issue some mealy-mouthed “of course terror attacks and missile fire are unjustified, BUT what do you expect given Israel’s Apartheid-y nature and war crimes!”  Yet despite allegedly representing “Palestinian civil society,” these BDSers could never manage even the merest squeak to the warlords of Gaza that perhaps, just perhaps, these leader’s irresponsible behavior might lead to needless deaths among the Palestinians the boycotters endlessly claim to represent.

Abroad (including here in the US), silence in the face of a weapons build-up and terror planning and execution became the norm, except to laugh off Israeli “paranoia” over the fact that someone was firing hundreds of missiles into their country (an act of war under any possible definition of the term).  BDSers gathered at U Penn and Harvard just this year, trotting out the usual self-serving history and emotive testimony, all while the Palestinians they constantly tell us they care so much about were being put in harm’s way by a Gaza leadership committed to battle (regardless of the cost).

We saw this same pattern in Lebanon until 2006 and Gaza in 2008: Israeli concerns about missile and terror attacks minimized and mocked, even as those attacks made war inevitable.  Yet once gunfire was directed in two rather than one direction, suddenly these “peace movements” roared to life, marching and chanting in the streets to demand an immediate ceasefire (followed, of course, by war crimes investigations that would be as one-way as the aforementioned missile fire from Gaza).

Worse, you could almost see the gleam in the eyes of those BDS marchers who suddenly found themselves not sharing propaganda films in church basements with the same old aging fanatics, but in the streets with hundreds (sometimes thousands) of supporters.  In fact, while you and I might find the whole notion a bit creepy, it’s striking me as increasingly clear that BDSers live for the moment when war breaks out (regardless of the human cost) since conflict swells their ranks and allows them to strut their self-righteousness in public, demanding an end to a war that their silence helped bring about.

As I’ve noted previously, a pattern is now in place whereby alleged “peace activists” will do nothing while war is being prepared for and actually waged (at least at a low level) by their political allies.  But once two-way shooting starts, out they’ll be in the streets demanding firing cease before those that started the war suffer the consequences of their actions, thus ensuring the next round of fighting (like the one we’re seeing today).  In fact, the pattern is so predictable that Hamas and Hezbollah war planners would be fools not to take it into account as they try to figure out just how many missiles they can fire without inviting retaliation (that will end in anti-Israel protests) or full-scale conflict (which will end in even bigger protests and demands for cease fires).

We now have enough data points to highlight that this supposed “peace movement” is really only interested in ensuring one side (not two) gets to do the shooting.  And whatever you want to call this type of rank hypocrisy and propaganda advocacy on behalf of military belligerents, “peace activism” is not a phrase that comes to mind.

Speaking of Apartheid

Given that the organizers of this week’s so-called “Israel Apartheid Week” (actually two weeks – they can’t even tell the truth when saying the word “week”) has dedicated itself to my obsession, BDS, I thought I’d cross-post something from my pal Sol’s site here. So, without further ado…

Speaking of Apartheid

Students who will be exposed this week to the so-called “Israel Apartheid Week” need to understand that the entire framework behind the Israel-Apartheid accusation is based on a cover up.

During the 1980s when the Apartheid government of South Africa needed 15 million tons of oil to fuel its military and its economy of repression, virtually all of that oil was imported to Apartheid South Africa from the Middle East. South Africa paid a premium – in gold mined by black slave labor – for that oil, the lifeblood of their racist regime. As the Kenya Daily Nation said at the time “Arabs are buying South African gold like hotcakes, thus helping to sustain that country’s abominable policy of Apartheid.”

It was during this period that the accusation that Israel was an “Apartheid State” was born, an accusation designed to throw the unknowing off the track as to who was truly oiling the wheels of Apartheid.

Flash forward to today when organizations like Hamas regularly incite genocidal hatred, yet simultaneously accuse Israelis of doing what they openly advocate (at least in Arabic). For these organizations, the legal segregation of Jews from the rest of the world (their own version of global Apartheid best exemplified by their so-called “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions” or BDS program) is of less interest than outright extermination.

Those who join in the activities surrounding Israel-Apartheid Week in the name of devotion to human rights seem to have adopted intentional or unintentional ignorance regarding who really practices Apartheid in the Middle East today. Repression of women (or gender Apartheid) is enshrined in national and even religious law in one Arab country after another. Brutality against homosexuals (or sexual Apartheid) has been behind legalized murder of scores of gays and lesbians across the Muslim world. The repression of religious minorities (or religious Apartheid) is considered legal (even sacred) by those who accuse Israel of repression and racism. And speaking of racism, the practice of slavery directed against Black Africans still finds a home in the 21th century in Sudan, a nation which is a proud member of and protected by the Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

And so the cover up of who truly supports and practices Apartheid continues behind an incessant propaganda campaign directed against the only country in the Middle East that has free speech, free elections, an independent judiciary, human rights for women and homosexuals, and the most varied population of racial and ethnic types in the world: Israel.

Unless and until those behind this month’s Israel Apartheid Week’s activities take the time to explain these contradictions, students are free to assume that everything taking place on campus this week and next are simply exercises in low-rent propaganda based on Apartheid Week advocates’ assumption that students are nothing more than a bunch of ignorant suckers.

Note to Apartheid Week’s organizers: We’re not!

The Gaza Freedom March Witches Brew

Boy, you miss a couple of days of action with the “Free Gaza” peace caravan and – lo and behold – they’ve finally managed to kill someone!

Given that the riot George Galloway and his Gaza Freedom Marchers triggered only did in an Egyptian policeman, don’t expect Alan Rickman to produce a play featuring this now-dead Egyptian lounging on his childhood bed reading excerpts from his diary. Alas, international “peace groups” like Gaza Freedom March (GFM) or the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) only bestow sanctified martyrdom on those they manage to get killed if it serves some “higher” (i.e., useful) political purpose.

But just maybe there is method in Galloway’s madness. Having succeeded in pointing out to the world that Gaza does indeed have two borders, perhaps by heating up the Egyptian-Gaza supply line (which will no doubt lead to increased closures and tighter security), the Freedom Marchers have ensured that their meager, symbolic deliveries to Gaza will be among the last.

Or perhaps there is no method to any of this, just the desire of several hundred political tourists to feel like they’re part of an action-oriented political vanguard (with First Class accommodations and return trip tickets, of course).

During the last couple of weeks when the global Israel-hating community has been trying desperately to recreate the hysteria that accompanied last year’s Operation Cast Lead, I’ve been thinking about why 100% of the attention has been heaped on Gaza with virtually no concern left over for Palestinians living on the West Bank.

There are, of course, simple answers to this question (which may be true, even if they’re pat). Gaza clearly suffers scars of the recent conflict, and Gazans do face security measures that have since been lifted in Palestinian territories less interested in exporting howitzer canisters and suicide bombers into Israel. But, then again, West Bank Palestinians certainly have needs and increased freedom of movement means the peace caravaners could easily get a percentage of their aid gifts to Ramallah if they wanted to.

There is also talk about Hamas as a “democratically elected government” vs. the “corrupt” Palestinian authority. But this seems to ignore the enthusiasm these Friends of Palestine had for the Godfather of the current corrupt government in the region, Yassir Arafat, who still found Western supporters flocking to pay homage to him ten years into his five-year elected term.

There is another explanation, one that forces us to confront the fact that the sympathies of “peace activists” of the Galloway, GSM, ISM, Code Pink variety tend to fall disproportionally not on those suffering the most, but on those most likely to pull a trigger, fire a rocket or self detonate. Paul Berman, quoting Camus, points out that “the sinister excites,” and that the “transgression of suicide murder” can arouse a vicarious thrill that is as passionate (and occasionally sexual) as it is perverse.

Those locked in a fantasy of their own unquestionable virtue and political potency don’t only open themselves up to manipulation by con artists like George Galloway. They also help dramatically increase the amount of suffering in the world by combining: (1) a fetishistic desire for the thrill of vicarious violence; (2) a willingness to encourage such violence (under the guise of supporting the weak); and (3) an impenetrable shield of self righteousness that prevents them from comprehending the notion that they might possibly be responsible for creating (rather than alleviating) the suffering of those they claim to care about.

Could even Severus Snape come up with a nastier and more volatile witches brew than that?