BDS Calling London
Israel Apartheid Week in the UK kicked off Sunday of with hundreds of unpaid BDS ads pasted up in the London underground. Anti-Israel social media were predictably abuzz with “Zionist influence” accusations after the ads were removed following protests by both Israeli MK Yair Lapid and the Israeli Embassy in London.
The ads featured outrageous fictions, the most laughable being the claim that the BBC is biased in favor of Israel. Push-back against BBC anti-Israel bias began formally in 2000 and continues today. BBC Watch and other groups urge the BBC to report Israel news in an impartial manner. Nonetheless, the BBC perseveres in its misrepresentations, omissions and half-truths.
The Israel Foreign Ministry Director-General Dore Gold has his own delusions. In an interview with Israel Radio’s Reshet Bet following the BDS Tube flypostings, he claimed that the elites are not anti-Semitic. In other words, because there are still some adults in charge, everything is fine and the situation was handled. In fact, this is not the case, and it is a fiction no less dangerous than the updated permutations on classical anti-Semitism that BDS supporters are churning out.
There are two major areas of concern. The first is anti-Israel bias and activism in power elites and the second is rampant hatred on the Internet, where anonymity and facelessness allow virulent expressions of bigotry which were previously repressed in polite society.
Among UK elites who promote bias or BDS, Gold need look no further than the Labour Party whose current leader, Jeremy Corbin, has called Hamas and Hezbollah “friends”. More worrying is the resignation of Alex Chalmers as the student leader of the Labour Club at Oxford. Chalmers cited pervasive anti-Semitism among “liberal” Labour students as his reason for quitting the group. He noted that KKK-like terms like “Zio” were in common use with the Labour student executive. This kind of bigotry is alarming in students whose education and position can mean an elite path towards power and influence. Oxford is only one example of a campus poisoned by hate in the UK; there have been a number of incidents in recent years, and it is not getting better.
The Church of England, the state Church, last year finally censored Reverend Stephen Sizer for claiming on his social media that Israel was responsible for 9/11. For Gold this also would be termed a success, but the real question is why Sizer, who has been cranking out anti-Israel publications for years, is still a member of the Church at all.
Many UK churches soft peddle BDS and have adopted the Kairos Doctrine and parallel claims promoted by the Church’s Rev Naim Ateek. Ateek’s popular ideology posits Israelis are the Romans of today, with the entire population of Palestinians a swarm of literal Jesuses suffering under an occupation crucifixion. The fact that Israel has the only safe and growing population in the Middle East fails to impress church elites. While there are Christian ministers who oppose this Palestinian-supersessionist ideology, most major churches in the UK are leaning hard left to capture the dwindling flock with social justice causes. The result is a morals gap, where tweeting about something equals morality, and the ability to judge right from wrong has been left in the dust.
These days “Liberals” are anything but, the public media BBC is demonstrably biased, and religious leaders who are supposed to uphold morality justify “resistance”. Is there any reason to expect better behavior from the general public? It is hard to find any online article on the Middle East that does not have vicious anti-Israel talkbacks, unless there is no comments section.
The haters who serve as useful idiots for Islamic imperialists are a large and growing movement, being groomed to dhimmi up. They are a young demographic, which means that today’s more polite actors will at some point be replaced by those who came of age in the era of de-personalized internet invective.
Most of the students who swallow the BDS lies are only exposed to shallow and simplistic propaganda, and it works because we live in the age of Twitter, and it has produced twits. Intellectual arguments are of little value. Look at the success of Donald Trump in the U.S. He is winning people over by saying the same simplistic statements over and over. Only in-your-face simple graphics and slogans will push back against BDS.
Dore Gold is a capable diplomat, but Israel is falling down on the job in failing to attack the BDS movement head-on and at its level. BDS aims to delegitimize not only Israel, but Jews everywhere, and that is dangerous. How society treats Jews is a litmus test showing how free or restricted it is. In the UK today anti-Semitism is increasing rapidly, and that is bad.