(re: “Is it a fair question? Or is it hate?” Sept. 3)
The Democratic Socialists of America asking city council candidates to support the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement is not a fair question, but an exercise in hate.
The official BDS website — maintained by the Palestinian National Committee — is very clear as to what its position is regarding the existence of the Jewish state.
The BDS movement would have us believe that BDS is a non-violent, limited-goals movement that is opposed to Israel’s occupation of disputed West Bank land that was captured from the Jordanians in 1967 in Jordan, Syria and Egypt’s failed genocidal attempt to “drive the Jews into the sea.”
In fact, the BDS platform states in no uncertain terms that for “70 years, Israel has denied the Palestinians their fundamental rights.” BDS, in referencing “70 years,” takes the position that the entire Zionist enterprise is stained, and opposition to Israel has nothing to do with disputed post-1967 territories, but extends its animus to the entire state of Israel, established in 1948.
The BDS movement urges “nonviolent pressure” on Israel — non-violent as a boa constrictor is non-violent — until it complies with three demands. One of these demands is for “the right of return” for descendants of the original refugees to return to their former homes in Israel proper.
BDS understands full well that this would mean dismantling the single, democratic Jewish state — home to more than 6 million Israeli Jews, and 2 million Arab Israeli citizens with full citizen rights — and replacing it with an Arab-majority 23rd Arab state.
This is the essence of why BDS is an anti-Semitic movement, regardless of how many Jewish DSA members state or think otherwise. The movement cloaks itself in the language of human rights, with a fair share of outright lies, but it would deny autonomy and sovereignty to the Jews alone.
Kashmir is in the news today. It has been disputed territory between Pakistan and India for many years. It is one of more than 150 disputed territories in the world today. There is no BDS movement demonizing India nor Pakistan. Israel, alone in the world, has the distinction of having its disputed territory referred to as “occupied,” a distinctly charged description.
Additionally, Israel alone has the peculiar honor of constantly having to defend its “right to exist.” When Jews are held to a different standard than the rest of the world, that is anti-Semitism — even if it’s called anti-Zionism.
Zionism may be a relatively recent political movement, but it is as ancient as the Jewish yearning to return to their ancestral homeland from which they were forcibly and violently exiled 2,000 years ago.
Let’s talk about refugees. We hear a lot about the 700,000 Arab refugees who fled the 1948 conflict expecting to return when Israel was vanquished. Less is heard — much less — about the 900,000 Mizrachi Jews living in Arab lands, many of them ancient communities predating Arab conquest.
In the 1940s and 1950s, they were forced to flee pogroms and riots, having to leave everything they had built, lucky to escape with their lives.
What happened to them? Most were absorbed by the new state of Israel where Mizrachi — Jews of color — now comprise a majority of the Jewish Israeli population.
In Kirstyn Brendlen’s story, DSA member Noah Weston states the DSA has hundreds of Jewish members who have taken a very active stand against anti-Semitism. He fails to mention that the DSA position is very selective and against right-wing anti-Semitism only.
Left-wing anti-Semitism is philosophically inconvenient — and maybe even, according to Mr. Weston, not-existent. Anti-Semitism from the left is often deceptively shrouded in the garb of anti-Zionism. It’s not fashionable to be anti-Semitic. Anti-Zionism is very fashionable.
Individual state policies can be questioned and are open for discourse, and in fact are debated by Israelis on every point of the political spectrum.
Anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism because Israel is an idea and a reality, and is the collective physical and spiritual manifestation of the Jewish people when slandered and lied about and delegitimized.
It is really the Jewish people one is targeting.