Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Campaign to Destroy Israel

From Haaretz, written by Gerald Steinberg and Yitzhak Santis of NGO Monitor. I've re-posted it in its entirety- Haaretz does not yet have an English version on-line

"A decade-long global political war is being waged against Israel, aimed at undermining Israel’s legitimacy. Its fundamental goal: to deny to the Jewish people the right to sovereign equality. Given the scale of this drive, the Jewish people continue to face a very difficult challenge.

The opening event was the 2001 UN-led Durban Conference on Racism, when some 1,500 self-proclaimed human rights non-governmental organizations (NGOs) adopted a strategy to isolate Israel internationally. The “Durban Strategy” seeks to portray Israel as an “apartheid”, “racist” and “colonial” state, so “criminal” that it is beyond rehabilitation. The purpose is to create a moral atmosphere that is conducive to the notion that Israel has no right to exist.

The main tactics are based on boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) as the means to the complete isolation of Israel and its supporters. Since Israel’s primary advocate is Diaspora Jewry, this Durban Strategy to delegitimize Israel also de facto targets the Jewish people.

The Durban Strategy is being deployed by activists in numerous arenas: labor unions, churches, local and national governments, sports, culture, etc. In many places, fringe anti-Israel groups with “Jewish” in their names have taken it upon themselves to be a “Jewish shield” for some of the more extreme anti-Israel campaigners, including those using anti-Semitic rhetoric, with the aim of weakening pro-Israel support from within.

This international campaign is massively funded, with hundreds of millions of dollars over the past decade – from both European governments and private donors -- flowing to more than one hundred NGOs.

In the intense “soft power” warfare, Israel has not yet developed a successful counter-strategy. While local events, such as “Israel Apartheid Week” and other BDS efforts, get little or no traction in the U.S. and elsewere, on the wider front, the results are not good. The false allegations of the Durban Strategy are repeated frequently, and responses are often slow and inadequate.

On June 6, for example, Amnesty International launched another such attack in a publication focusing on administrative detention in Israel. Although the claims were entirely unsubstantiated, based on unverifiable information, and consisted largely of a one-sided Palestinian narrative, they were immediately repeated in the international media. This was not a surprise attacked – Amnesty circulated pre-release summaries, and sent the Israeli government pro-forma letters with some details. But government officials and major pro-Israeli organizations were not prepared to counter the entirely predictable media coverage.

The need for a coherent pro-active game-plan to attack the engines driving this strategy has been clear, from Durban in 2001 to the repudiated Goldstone report on the Gaza war. Now is the time to expose the farcical nature of the UN Human Rights Council, which has been dominated by the most oppressive and violent regimes in the world, including Ghaddafi and Assad. In parallel, the NGOs that are closely allied with the UN|HRC -- Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and their many counterparts -- have been shown (largely by NGO Monitor – full disclosure) to be far from the knowledgeable and impartial arbiters of international morality, law and human rights.

Of course, not every criticism of Israel is part of the BDS campaign, nor is every critic of Israeli policy involved in delegitimization. Unfortunately, many critical of Israeli policies who do not support Israel’s elimination have been co-opted by the Durban Strategy’s proponents. Separating responsible critics from the delegitimizers should be central to our approach.

Instead of waiting for, more NGO assaults, we must effectively and pro-actively challenge the BDS movement and their funders in every arena. There is too much at stake to do anything less."

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