Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions
How they portray Israel: Individuals, organizations, universities, and businesses should be pressured to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel in protest of their occupation of Arab lands and oppression of Palestinian people. Those who do not cooperate should be shamed for supporting an apartheid regime. Together, these tactics will pressure Israel to sue for peace, ultimately leading to Palestinian self-determination and a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The truth: For the founders and leaders of BDS, Palestinian self-determination comes at the cost of Jewish self-determination and implies the destruction of Israel. They define all of Israel as “Arab lands” and all Israelis as colonialist, despite the fact that Jews lived there continuously for thousands of years, immigrated in large part to escape persecution, and later granted full citizenship and civil rights to a large Palestinian minority. For other supporters of BDS who have been duped into believing this is about peace, singling out Israel for boycott is not only unfair, it also makes peace less likely. It places all blame for the current impasse on the shoulders of only one party--granting terrorism a free pass, ignoring previous Israeli overtures for peace, and making it harder for Palestinian leadership to accept compromise. It robs Palestinians of jobs, effectively undermining efforts which are supposed to improve their lives. And it contributes to a vitriolic, counter-productive delegitimization campaign, giving fuel to those whose motives are truly antisemitic.
Bias in the Media
How they portray Israel: The Arab-Israeli conflict is deserving of more air time, screen time, and column space than any other international conflict. The Palestinians are David and Israelis are Goliath; Israel controls its destiny and Palestinians have no control over their destiny. The media presents the volatile situation there as a co-equal cycle of violence, often tacitly condoning the behavior of Palestinians while judging the behavior of Israel as disproportionate.
The truth: Fewer people have been killed, displaced, or affected by the Arab-Israeli conflict than most other conflicts in the world, let alone the Middle East. One cannot fairly call this a cycle of violence because if the Arabs laid down their arms, there would be peace; if Israel laid down its arms, there would be genocide. While Jewish culture cherishes life, Palestinian society glorifies martyrdom. Israel has repeatedly made and accepted offers for peace, whereas Palestinians have consistently rejected offers for peace. One can also not equate the legal actions of a nation state defending its borders and citizens with the illegal actions of terrorists deliberately targeting those citizens.
Israel at the United Nations
How they portray Israel: More resolutions are passed condemning Israel than all other nations combined. The bylaws of the United Nations Human Rights Council require addressing, at every meeting, only Israel’s alleged human rights infractions. This treatment makes Israel the world’s pariah state and premier violator of human rights. Palestinians, on the other hand, have earned non-member observer state status, unique refugee status, and a UN-observed “International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.”
The truth: As an international body, the United Nations is obligated to embrace equal standards and, when necessary, condemn member states in proportion to their alleged violations. No reasonable person can call an institution fair that singles out democratic Israel alone for censure, while giving a free pass to countries who subjugate women, hang gays, persecute religious minorities, torture dissidents, fund terrorism, and silence free speech. Meanwhile, the United Nations’ favorable treatment of Palestinians, including granting them their very own refugee agency and turning a blind eye to their staff and facilities’ well-documented complicity in storing weapons, renders them incapable of arbitrating the decades-old dispute.
Intersectionality & Zionism
How they portray Israel: All forms of social oppression are linked, including the discrimination of women, LGBT individuals, and racial minorities. Standing up against the privileged, heterosexual white male is a universal, joint effort shared not only by all who are oppressed, but also all who embrace progressive causes. Since Israel is a privileged white country that oppresses (colored) Palestinians, authentic social justice warriors must protest Israel. One cannot be both progressive and pro-Israel.
The truth: Intersectionality finds common cause among all social justice movements except those that support Zionism. Intersectional feminist groups protest only Israel, where women fly fighter jets and serve in all positions of government, instead of protesting gender policies in the Arab world, where women are subjugated and subject to honor killings. Intersectional LGBT groups protest only Israel, which every year hosts one of the world’s largest gay pride events, while ignoring LGBT policies in the Arab world, where there has never been even one gay pride event. And intersectional racial minority groups protest only Israel, where the conflict has nothing to do with race, where over half the population is of Middle Eastern descent, and where racial minorities enjoy complete civil rights, while ignoring real horrors in the Arab world such as the African slave trade and abuse of migrant workers.
Safe Spaces (from Israel) on Campus
How they portray Israel: Students on college campuses throughout the country are entitled to safe spaces, where they can be protected from micro-aggressions and ideas they find offensive. Israel is one such offensive idea, since it represents the subjugation and humiliation of Palestinians. The administration should therefore restrict activities that present views in support of Israel.
The truth: The selective censorship of activities supportive of Israel, amidst silence in the face of activities demonizing Israel or Jews in general, is antisemitic. The First Amendment protects a right to free expression, not a right to feel safe from ideas one might consider offensive. And if students have any right to feel safe from being offended, certainly Jewish students have at least an equal right to feel safe from antisemitism, safe from bullying, and safe to express or listen to ideas supportive of their nation state.
How they portray Israel: Many people were killed in World War II. Jews exaggerated their victimhood in order to win the world’s sympathy and manipulate Western powers into granting them a state. Israel is thus a country founded on lies, at the expense of Arabs who were living in Palestine.
The truth: The systematic genocide of six million Jews during the Holocaust is the most well-documented crime in human history, and to deny or minimize this tragedy is antisemitic. To selectively question the legal and moral basis for Israel’s founding, while remaining silent about the legal or moral basis of any other modern state, is also antisemitic. The establishment of the State of Israel was the culmination of communal, legal, and diplomatic efforts that began in the late 19th century, long before World War II. Jews have lived in modern day Israel continuously for thousands of years, save periods of exile. Due to reasons that ranged from escaping persecution to pursuing religious destiny, the Jewish population began to grow rapidly first under Ottoman and later under British rule. The legal framework for Israel began with the lawful purchase of lands; continued through printed declarations, resolutions, and agreements with international powers; and concluded with an international vote of recognition. Arabs living in Palestine were also offered a state at that time, which they rejected.