Monday, September 12, 2011

Violence, threats and intimidation inherent in BDS tactics.

Our friends at Divest this have reported on a mutant variation of the BDS strain- how bullying, threats and violence are used to promote the anti-Israel agenda. (yes, this is the same BDS movement that portrays itself as "non-violent")

Jon observes:

"There have always been elements of threats, intimidation, and even violence within the range of internally acceptable activities carried out by BDSers over the years. While originally isolated to howling pro-Israel speakers off the stage at colleges like Berkeley and Hampshire, this tactic has moved from the periphery to the center of chosen BDS tactics…."

We also observed this phenomenon during the day of rage against Trader Joes . Organizers of the Hate on Trader Joes Campaign included a handy "how to vandalize Israeli products section" on their facebook page: suggesting that participants put "Don't Buy Into Apartheid" stickers on the products or to damage "products in some way (e.g., pouring fake blood or ketchup on them) so they cannot be reshelved". At one Trader Joes, a garbage can was set on fire. At others, products were vandalized. Yet the actions against Trader Joes in Bay area cities San Francisco, Oakland and Sacramento were countered by a highly successful "buycott" leading to sold out shelves throughout the nation. Trader Joes, in gratitude for the community support, promoted Israeli products with floor to ceiling displays and free recipes. The campaign against Trader Joes was subsequently abandoned.

Jon continues:

"When you look at what the BDSers brag about as “victories,” they include items like getting an landlord to not renew the lease for an Ahava store in London, largely by making life hell for Ahava’s retail neighbors through non-stop protests (including violent protests) that disrupted business activity for years. Today, you can see the same tactic being employed in Australia (although Down Under, Australian civil society has reacted by defending the target of these attacks and condemning the attackers).

Lately, the boycott brigade has moved from disrupting pro-Israel speakers (to ensure their voice never gets heard) to shouting and blowing bullhorns at artistic performances that dare to include Israeli dancers and musicians (most recently the nasty interruption of the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra playing the Proms concert event in the UK)."

The violence, threats and intimidation so inherent in BDS tactics backfired at Proms as well.

The UK Telegraph reported the protest of the Israeli Philharmonic at Proms was reminicient of "Weimar Germany, and the way Nazi party members broke up meetings... "

"There is a chilling air to the so-called protests: But Thursday night’s events can only be understood in the context of anti-Semitism. When have there been similar protests against “violations of international law and human rights”, as was chanted on Thursday, by any other country? And this in the middle of the Arab Spring, when genuine protesters for human rights are daily risking their lives in Syria against a murderous dictatorship.

If, indeed, this was a protest against the actions of the Israeli government, rather than against Jews, where have been the similar disruptions of performances by Russian, Chinese, Turkish, Iranian or any number of other nations’ musicians? What about disruptions of British national companies, in protest at British human rights abuses? To pose the question is to answer it. There’s little doubt in my mind that this was an action motivated specifically by the fact that the performers were playing in the national orchestra of the Jewish state.

This should no longer surprise anyone. It seems to me that the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) long ago moved from legitimate protest for a legitimate cause – the rights of Palestinians to self-determination – to attacks on Jews for being Jews. "

From Jonathan Hoffman on the backlash from anti-Israel activists behaving badly:

"The Palestine Solidarity Campaign - which consorts with homophobes, misogynists, supremacists and antisemites - managed to turn an entire audience pro-Israel at the Royal Albert Hall last night. I was there. So was Ed Vaizey, Culture Minister, who tweeted "Demonstrators seem to have turned entire audience pro-Israel". "

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