Barghouti: Attacks on the Penn BDS conference reveal panic that Israel is losing hearts and minds

ActivismIsrael/Palestine
on 17 Comments

Omar Barghouti, who was smeared in Professor Ruben Gur’s outrageous broadside against the Penn BDS conference, has been given a chance to reply. He shows that while Israel’s defenders will stoop to slurs, lies and fear mongering in their attempt to derail the BDS movement, supporters of Palestinian rights only need to rely on the values leading the BDS movement – freedom, justice and equality. From Barghouti’s Daily Pennsylvanian article “We — the global 99% — shall overcome!“:

Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions is primarily about freedom, justice and equality. The BDS movement, which is led by the BDS National Committee (BNC), the largest coalition in Palestinian civil society, is today challenging Israel’s multi-tiered system of oppression against the Palestinian people, which constitutes settler-colonialism, occupation and apartheid.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu is among the most eloquent voices accusing Israel of practicing apartheid against the Palestinian people. Leading South African Christian voices have told their Palestinian counterparts that Israel’s apartheid is “in its practical manifestations even worse than South African apartheid.”

With its continued siege of the occupied Gaza Strip; its wild construction of colonial settlements and the wall in the occupied West Bank, especially in and around Jerusalem; its intensifying forcible displacement of whole Palestinian communities in Jerusalem, the Jordan Valley and the Naqab (Negev); its adoption of a battery of vile racist laws and its obdurate denial of the UN-stipulated right of return for Palestinian refugees, who constitute the majority of Palestinians, Israel has embarked on an entirely more belligerent and violent phase in its feverish attempt to extinguish the question of Palestine.

Israel and its lobby groups, which even Thomas Friedman accuses of “buying and paying for” allegiance in Congress, have been trying to delegitimize the Palestinian quest for equal rights under international law by portraying the BDS Call’s emphasis on equal rights and the right of return as aiming to “destroy Israel.” If equality and justice would destroy Israel, what does that say about Israel? Did equality and justice destroy South Africa? Did they destroy Alabama? Of course not. Justice and equality only destroy their negation, injustice and apartheid, and this is precisely what Israel and its lobbies are running scared of, the effective and sustainable challenge of Israeli apartheid and colonial rule.

As to the venomous and patently false anti-Semitism smear thrown recklessly and maliciously at BDS activists in an explicit attempt to bully them into silence, it is increasingly seen today as a weapon of intellectual terror that is employed to stifle debate and free speech when the subject is Israel’s occupation and apartheid or the generous U.S. support for both. This time around, though, with the BDS movement’s solid human rights and international law credentials and track record, the anti-Semitism smear is hardly working.

BDS is categorically opposed to all forms of racism, including Islamophobia, anti-black racism and anti-Semitism. Anchored in international law and universal principles of human rights, BDS calls for equal rights for all humans, without discrimination. This universalist commitment has enabled BDS to spread in recent years at a spectacular rate within the mainstream of western societies, achieving one success after another, in the economic, academic and cultural boycott spheres. Israel is conceding that it is losing the battle for hearts and minds not just in Europe but also on U.S. campuses. Thus the panic, the vilification and the bullying attempts to crush the BDS conference at Penn.

About Adam Horowitz

Adam Horowitz is Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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17 Responses

  1. David Samel
    February 3, 2012, 9:16 am

    If equality and justice would destroy Israel, what does that say about Israel?

    If there were an award given for distilling the dispute into a single sentence, this would win hands down. It brilliantly “delegitimizes” the complaint about “delegitimization.” Israel’s supporters have been whining for decades about their opponents seeking to “destroy” Israel, and use the word not just in a militarily sense but to falsely associate fundamental principles of equality and justice with violence and destruction. Unfortunately, the tactic has largely been successful, and Omar shoots it down in 13 words.

    • pabelmont
      February 3, 2012, 10:17 am

      Exactly, David Semel. “If equality and justice would destroy Israel, what does that say about Israel? Did equality and justice destroy South Africa? Did they destroy Alabama? ”

      The whole of pro-Israel propaganda is changing the subject, moving the topic from criticism or even mere description of Israeli lawlessness to other unrelated things, like anti-Semitism, holocaust, Jewish feelings.

      I hope the BDS conference will ask this question: “HOW DOES ISRAELI SECURITY DEPEND ON SETTLEMENT BY CIVILIAN OF AN OCCUPIED TERRITORY, ESPECIALLY AS SUCH SETTLEMENT IS ILLEGAL AT INTERNATIONAL LAW AND ALSO A DEPRIVATION OF PALESTINIAN HUMAN RIGHTS (TO SAY NOTHING OF A THREAT TO PALESTINIAN PROPERTY AND LIVES)?”

    • seafoid
      February 3, 2012, 11:38 am

      If equality and justice would destroy Israel, what does that say about Israel?

      Zionism is no longer Jewish

  2. Dan Crowther
    February 3, 2012, 9:19 am

    Winner!

  3. HarryLaw
    February 3, 2012, 9:34 am

    Winston Churchill once said ” A lie gets halfway round the World before the truth has a chance to get its trousers on ” The truth is now fully dressed and with the aid of the internet and people like Barghouti and co is irrepressible and unstoppable.

  4. Boycott Israel on Campus
    February 3, 2012, 9:40 am

    So when will the divestment resolution be introduced at the Penn student government?

    • eGuard
      February 3, 2012, 9:56 am

      Boycott Israel on Campus, there is something in all your comments that doesn’t fit. They show a strange attitude towards BDS.

      Your posts only make sense to me when I assume you are an agent provocateur, trying to invoke a physical confrontation.

    • Djinn
      February 4, 2012, 9:17 am

      Probably when activists there feel they’ve done enough groundwork for it to actually pass. 101 of campaigning. Have to admit, I share eGuard’s curiousity about the point of your posts.

  5. lproyect
    February 3, 2012, 9:43 am

    Turns out Gur is also a supporter of Lawrence Summers “theory” of why women are not men’s equals:

    “Men and women are in so many ways similar, but it so many ways different,” began Dr. Ruben Gur, Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry and Director of the Brain Behavior Laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Gur gave a brief, but compelling, history of gender research when it comes to the brain. He was among the first scientists to study female brains – which didn’t happen until the ’70s (previously, women were considered too variable to be subjects of scientific research in most areas besides reproduction).

    full: http://www.theglasshammer.com/news/2011/12/06/gender-intelligence-why-different-wiring-means-better-business/

  6. Kathleen
    February 3, 2012, 12:06 pm

    “If equality and justice would destroy Israel, what does that say about Israel? Did equality and justice destroy South Africa? Did they destroy Alabama? Of course not. Justice and equality only destroy their negation, injustice and apartheid, and this is precisely what Israel and its lobbies are running scared of, the effective and sustainable challenge of Israeli apartheid and colonial rule.”

    BINGO

    The Diane Rehm show just announced that they will be talking about Israel’s escalated threats towards Iran on Monday. Please contact them and ask them to have Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett on their program to discuss the situation with Iran. If Rehm follows past behavior they will probably have Reuel Marc Gerecht or Micheal Rubin on to push for war with Iran. Please contact the Rehm show and make that request for the Leveretts
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  7. seafoid
    February 3, 2012, 12:51 pm

    Carl Safina says “a country either serves justice or it doesn’t”. Israel doesn’t.
    He says “justice comes from the same place being human comes from : compassion.”
    Israel is too afraid to think of others. That’s the generous reading.

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