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An 'insignificant decision' like the one made by the UK student union was already made 82 years ago
Photo: AP
Ben-Dror Yemini
When will the free world realize Churchill was right?
Op-ed: The evil spirit of BDS is not only threatening Israel; it is wreaking havoc in the US and UK, threatening the free world, encouraging Palestinian terror and rejectionism and increasing hostility and hatred between Jews and Arabs.
The decision made by the UK's National Union of Students (NUS) to join the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement against Israel was mostly perceived as an unimportant incident.

 

 

Who are they anyway? Such bodies, people here say, always make insignificant decisions. In the meantime, the Orange CEO's declaration came along to make it clear that something is going on.

 

History also proves that we should be troubled. Such an "insignificant" decision was already made 82 years ago. And even then there were officials, led by Winston Churchill, who realized that it was a dangerous decision with a historical meaning.

 

In the end of January 1933, Adolf Hitler rose to power. The winds of war began blowing. It was already clear that he was insane. Ten days after Hitler was appointed chancellor, the Oxford Union Society convened to discuss the fears of war. It was a stormy debate. The accepted motion was amazing: "This House will in no circumstances fight for its King and Country." It was carried by 275 votes to 153.

 

BDS demonstration in Melbourne, Australia in 2010. 'Some of Netanyahu's statements and Israel's policy are worthy of profound criticism, but Israel is a democracy' (Photo: Reuters) (Photo: Reuters)
BDS demonstration in Melbourne, Australia in 2010. 'Some of Netanyahu's statements and Israel's policy are worthy of profound criticism, but Israel is a democracy' (Photo: Reuters)

 

Is a decision made by a student body a marginal matter? Churchill, the man who wanted to stop the Hitlerism, delivered a fiery speech, eight days after the Oxford resolution:

 

"I think of Germany, with its splendid clear-eyed youths marching forward on all the roads of the Reich singing their ancient songs, demanding to be conscripted into an army; eagerly seeking the most terrible weapons of war; burning to suffer and die for their fatherland. I think of Italy, with her ardent Fascisti, her renowned Chief, and stern sense of national duty. I think of France, anxious, peace-loving, pacifist to the core, but armed to the teeth and determined to survive as a great nation in the world. One can almost feel the curl of contempt upon the lips of the manhood of all these people when they read this message sent out by Oxford University in the name of young England. That abject, squalid, shameless avowal... It is a very disquieting and disgusting symptom."

 

But the spirit of Oxford spread to similar universities, and oversees as well.

 

Alfred Zimmern, a professor of international relations at Oxford, wrote to the former Union president responsible for the debate six months later: "If the Germans have to be knocked out a second time, it will be partly your fault."

 

But was Prof. Zimmern right? Can expressions of appeasement lead to war? On May 4, 1965, the Daily Telegraph published a letter by Erich von Richthofen, a former officer in the Wehrmacht, who served in the German General Staff at the time of the Oxford resolution. "I can assure you, from personal knowledge, that no other factor influenced Hitler more and decided him on his course that the 'refusal to fight for King and Country' coming from what was assumed to be intellectual élite of your country," the German officer wrote.

 

The intellectual elites are returning to the exact same spot these days. Organizations of students and lecturers, as well as the Orange CEO, are milestones in this disgraceful path. Arguments can be made against Israel. Some of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's statements and Israel's policy are worthy of profound criticism. But Israel is a democracy. There is a fundamental debate taking place here. The anti-Israel campaign is not contributing to the reconciliation between Jews and Arabs. It is increasing the hostility and the hatred.

 

The Orange CEO wouldn't have expressed support for the boycott if it wasn’t for the atmosphere created by the propaganda of lies. It is an atmosphere and disease which is not only threatening Britain, but the entire free world. Another prestigious academic institution, the London School of Economics (LSE), decided to twin its union with the Islamic University of Gaza of all universities, although some of the university's leaders have made it clear that the annihilation of Jews is a command for immediate implementation.

 

The evil spirit of BDS is not only threatening Israel. It is wreaking havoc in the United States and Britain. It is threatening the free world. It is encouraging Palestinian terror and Palestinian rejectionism. The Orange CEO's declaration is another milestone in the disgraceful parade.

 

Churchill realized it at the time, and was concerned that this disgrace would only bring the war closer. Eight-two years have passed, and the free world is refusing to realize that Churchill was right.

 

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