EDITORIAL: DLI, not BDS

JEWISH LIGHT EDITORIAL

Do you notice in today’s media circus how many so-called experts rely on spewing little catchphrases or snippets of information, to try to get you to ignore the facts or the larger context?

So it is with the so-called BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement against Israel. This effort to delegitimize the Jewish State is nothing more than a flurry of deliberately misleading soundbites intended to dissuade you from looking at the greater perspective.

ADVERTISEMENT
Beth Shalom Cemetery ad

The BDSers – who more rightfully should be called DLIers (DeLegitimize Israel) – are a growing and serious threat in this nation, particularly on college campuses.  They try to present themselves as human rights activists who sympathize with the plight of the Palestinian movement and portray Israel as the Big Bad Wolf trying to suppress the freedoms and prosperity of all those who live in the West Bank and Gaza. 

They do this by using word “pictures” that mischaracterize the complexities of Middle East politics and history. How? Well, mostly through sinister suggestions of a context that doesn’t truly exist.

One good example is the implication that the condition between Israel and the Palestinian territories is equivalent to the historical persecution of South African blacks by the minority population, or apartheid.

It does not take more than about two minutes to deconstruct this comparison and show it to be false. Yet by repetitively shouting nothing more complex than one word – apartheid – the leaders of the DLI movement (yes, at least in opinion pieces we’re rejecting the BDS moniker in favor of calling it what it truly is) conjure up comparisons to the historical conditions in South Africa that tugged at the world’s heartstrings.

Why are the comparisons inappropriate? There are so many reasons one hardly knows where to begin, but among them are that:

• Palestinians living in Israel outside the West Bank are not restricted and have equal rights to all other Israelis, as do all Muslims and Christians and those of other religions, as do all ethnicities. Arabs and Muslims serve in the Knesset, Israel’s Parliament, and have served in Cabinets and as ambassadors.

• The African National Congress (ANC) wanted a single, undifferentiated South Africa for all residents, whereas most mainstream Palestinian leaders support a two-state solution.

• The international community did not advocate for separate states in South Africa, whereas the world’s nations have since 1948 promoted a land-for-peace solution to the Palestinian issue.

Despite the clear distinctions, the lies have had some measure of success and the DLI movement is feeling its oats.  For instance, in the midst of proximity talks and purported attempts to bring the sides to the bargaining table in furtherance of a two-state solution, this came last Thursday from Nabil Shaath, a member of the Fatah Central Committee and one of the chief architects of the Oslo Accords:

“There is a need to create and endorse new struggling tools, such as the popular resistance, and to increase our efforts in the international arena to isolate and punish Israel, prevent it from deepening its relations with the European Union and attempt to expel it from the United Nations.”

This vituperation from Shaath is sadly consistent with the goals of the loosely-organized DLI movement, many of whose adherents advocate for a one-state solution, contrary to the consistent stated goals of the Middle East players and the world at large. It’s quite easy to see where they would like to head, namely, toward the dissolution of Israel’s Jewish character, heritage and indeed, its existence.

The snapshots that the DLI movement  presents, and their continued megaphone shouts of apartheid, are vapid and sophomoric responses to a complex situation with a layered history. The answers require delicate and substantial diplomacy and creative problem solving, not a Greek chorus bent on destabilizing the sovereignty of the State of Israel.

Regardless of the matra of hate and apartheid, we are willing to call this movement what it truly is – one hellbent on destroying Israel. That kind of voice deserves no respectful public discourse. It only deserves to be called what it truly is – DLI.