Ben-Dror Yemini
Ben-Dror Yemini

The two faces of antisemitism

Opinion: BDS is not a legitimate critic of Israel and the fact that good people support it should be a warning for any democratic society; we must educate people that claim that the anti-Israel boycott campaign fights for justice is one of the greatest scams of the modern age

Today's Europe has two faces. On the one hand, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) decided last week, almost without mentioning Israel, that Holocaust denial is not a part of freedom of speech or a human right.



The petitioner, Udo Pastörs, is a member of the German far-right NPD party, who was already convicted for his inciteful

language in court.


BDS protest in Berlin (Photo: Getty Images)
BDS protest in Berlin (Photo: Getty Images)


On the other hand, anti-Semitism continues to run rampant and this Yom Kippur, it led to an anti-Semitic attack on a German synagogue.


What is antisemitism? This is the hottest topic in Germany these days.


Last week, neo-Nazis marched the streets of Dortmund, calling for the Palestinians to destroy Israel.


Meanwhile, there is a debate about whether the BDS campaign is antisemitic. The German Bundestag already decided a few months ago that the answer was yes.


So did many other European countries that adopted this definition of antisemitism.


Extreme left circles, also from Israel, campaign against the decision and against the definition.


Demonstration of the German far-right NPD party (Photo: Reuters)
Demonstration of the German far-right NPD party (Photo: Reuters)


The debate intensified following a series of decisions linking political or racist positions with freedom of expression and creativity.


What would have happened if a city in Germany were to award a prize to Pastörs for his literary work, and only afterwards did it turn out he was an activist in an antisemitic movement?


Would it be right to strip him of the award because of his opinions, although the work receives cultural recognition?


This is not a theoretical question. The Dortmund Municipality canceled an award given to a British author of Pakistani origin, Kamila Shamsie, because it turned out she supports the BDS movement. This action was met with protest, particularly in Britain.


Several days went by and the Aachen municipality canceled a prestigious award for artist Walid Raad, after it turned out that he also supports BDS.


German Israeli singer Nirit Sommerfeld was warned that her performance would be canceled or stopped if she voiced her similar political positions.


Far-right demonstrations (Photo: Gettyimages)
Far-right demonstrations (Photo: Gettyimages)


Sommerfeld signed a petition calling for the cancellation of the Bundestag's decision and she supports boycotts against Israel.


This summer, the Open Source music festival canceled American rapper Talib Kweli's concert, after the latter refused to distance himself from the BDS movement.


These events are escalating the discourse. All these actions against artists are an exercise in futility, because Shamsie, Raad, Sommerfeld and Kweli are wholeheartedly convinced that they are enlightened people who work for human rights.


Most of their friends in cultural, literary and artistic circles support them and they find it difficult to understand why a person is being denied an award for "acting for justice for the Palestinians."  


They are certain that they do not belong to Pastörs kind of Holocaust denial. They are enlightened; he isn't.


It should be made clear that there is no difference between Neo-Nazis calling for the destruction of Israel and the heads of the BDS movement – their position is completely the same.


The definition of antisemitism is important and so is the Bundestag's decision, but it is much more important to educate people that the claim that the BDS campaign fights for justice is one of the greatest scams of the present age.


BDS founder Omar Barghouti meeting with Irish President Michael Higgins (Photo: BDS)
BDS founder Omar Barghouti meeting with Irish President Michael Higgins (Photo: BDS)


The heads of the BDS, Omar Barghouti, Ali Abunimah and As'ad Abu Khalil, admit that the goal is the extermination of the State of Israel.


What the leaders of Iranian, Hamas and the neo-Nazis say in a barbaric way, BDS leaders say in a much more sophisticated way.


"There is no significance to ending the Israeli occupation," says Palestinian-American political commentator Ahmed Moor. "The goal is the destruction of the Jewish state."


This is a campaign that aims to destroy one nation from all the countries of the world - and if that's not antisemitism, then it is unclear what exactly is.


Some BDS supporters back the idea of self-determination for both the Israeli and Palestinian nations, but they are the useful idiots of the campaign whose heads oppose this stance.


They do not support fair dialogue and freedom of expression, on the contrary - they are silencing other opinions.


They crash conferences even with Israeli speakers who are working for peace.


There is no problem with criticizing Israel, but the BDS is not criticism and the fact that good people support it is a warning for any democratic society that lies, not truth, prevail.


Most BDS supporters know that Holocaust denial and calls for the destruction of Israel by neo-Nazis are manifestations of antisemitism. It is time for them to realize that similar calls from BDS leaders are an expression of antisemitism too.


פרסום ראשון: 10.11.19, 23:49
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