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Photo: EPA
Anti-Israel protests at FIFA
Photo: EPA
Yoaz Hendel

BDS is an asymmetric war for world opinion

Op-ed: The biggest problem with the BDS movement is that it isn’t an armed conflict but a conflict of the consciousness; its weapons are claims of human rights abuses, the battleground is the liberal west.

On June 2, 1964, in one of the most beautiful places in Jerusalem- the seven arches hotel on the Mount of Olives - the PLO was established by Ahmed Shukri and the Arab nations.

 

 

This date is critical when dealing with the emergent threat of the global BDS movement. It was three years before the occupation of Judea and Samaria, three years before the State of Israel, in hindsight, turned into a cause of instability in the Middle East. Three years before the Palestinians (according to the anti-Israel narrative) became the nation being oppressed by Israel.

 

The purpose of the PLO was - among other things – to carry out an armed struggle against Israel. The aim this struggle was not to establish their own independent Palestinian state, but to eradicate the independent Jewish state that had survived the war of 1948, against all odds.

 

This story is the basis of the current battle against BDS. Anyone who thinks that this is a movement against the State of Israel is missing the point; this battle is against the Israeli phenomenon as a whole.

 

Pro-Palestinian supporters protesting outside the anticipated FIFA vote on banning Israel last week (Photo: EPA)
Pro-Palestinian supporters protesting outside the anticipated FIFA vote on banning Israel last week (Photo: EPA)

 

The biggest problem with the BDS movement is that it isn’t an armed conflict but a conflict of the consciousness, an asymmetric war for public opinion, on the base of legitimacy and perceived support. The weapons are claims of human rights abuses - mostly construed, sometimes altogether fictional; the battleground is in the west - in the liberal states to which Israel belongs.

 

The term asymmetric warfare was meant to explain what happens when a large military fights guerilla movements and terror organizations. The average Israeli knows the limits of strength; Hamas uses civilians and children as human shields - everything to keep the IDF from being able to shoot.

 

Terror organizations don’t have rules and moral boundaries in warm and we are seeing the same characteristics in the fight against BDS. In this battle there are no rules, no moral boundaries, no truths and no lies.

 

In May 2002, exactly 13 years ago, an IDF drone inadvertently captured a staged funeral procession in Jenin. On the stretcher lay a young Palestinian boy wrapped in a flag, surrounded by wailing women. It was another indictment against the IDF after Operation Defensive Shield, while Israel was undergoing a slurry of condemnation from around the world for a different massacre that never happened. At least this was the case until the stretcher fell and the young man tumbled off, jumped up and disappeared behind a corner - powered by his dead legs.

 

After this sad occasion came Jenin, Jenin, the duplicitous movie by Mohammed Bochri that claimed to tell the story of the massacre in the eponymous refugee camp, and which quickly became a hit with the organizations active within the BDS campaign. This popularity was akin to that for claims that Israel committed genocide against the Bedouins in the Negev in 2013, in reference to the resettlement plan. The same regard was held for Yasser Arafat’s claims that Israel was poisoning the water, or his wife’s claims that Israel had poisoned him. There are always claims that turn into facts when it comes to BDS supporters.

 

A sovereign, democratic state cannot lie, nor invent or claim facts without real proof. There are times when officials do make mistakes, there are times when we don’t talk about it, but Israel has boundaries – and you can’t play dirty in a battle for the conscience.

 

It’s a paradox but the vanguard of this battle against Israel is run by educated people, liberals with the theoretical ability to be self-critical.

 

Every year, more than 160 campuses worldwide mark Israeli apartheid week, targeting the horrendous Israelis, sometimes including comparisons to the Nazis, or pamphlets on invented genocides.

 

BDS badge in Egypt (Photo: AP) (Photo: AP)
BDS badge in Egypt (Photo: AP)

 

In the spring of 2010, Berkley became the first university in which the student senate tried to declare a boycott against companies trading with Israel. A year earlier, a Norwegian holding company became the first to pull investments from Israeli company Elbit systems; additionally a retirement fund pulled its money from shares in Africa Israel as part of the boycott.

 

A group of artists worried by the pull from Roger Waters decided to cancel shows in Israel. The success of the BDS movement is marginal in economic terms, however carries weight in that it creates a virtual world in which good is bad and bad is good.

 

Some of the members of the Palestinian organizations are Jews and even Israelis who want a different leadership – not seeing that the motivation behind BDS is to create a different state.

 

Israel is not perfect - there is room for improvement - but the distance between the delegitimizing claims and reality is the distance between a lie and the truth. We fight it primarily by being educated on what is really happening, and what really happened in the past.  

 


פרסום ראשון: 06.02.15, 07:14
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