New petition challenges Horowitz smear invoking Nazi holocaust to attack BDS

ActivismIsrael/PalestineUS Politics
horowitz bds ad
(Photo: Electronic Intifada)
 

Recently the David Horowitz Freedom Foundation published a dangerous and slanderous ad in the New York Times (right). The ad invokes the Nazi holocaust in order to attack supporters of BDS including several professors. Jews of conscience and others who share a similar commitment to justice must speak out in defense of justice for Palestinians and against such defilement and misuse of the holocaust.

David Horowitz and his money have been involved in attempts to undermine the Palestinian struggle and promote hatred against Muslims and Arabs throughout the country. Whether through funding the campaign to oppose the Park51 Islamic Community Center in Manhattan or through alleging that the Muslim Student Association is an extremist group, Horowitz took upon himself to foster the climate of intolerance and fear that leads to dehumanization and ends in persecution, apartheid and racism across history.

We are alarmed that New York Times, in breach of its own decency guidelines, would promote such open bigotry and character assassination.

This slanderous attack on proponents of BDS reveals that our movement is gaining strength, and that the opposition to BDS recognizes this.

Help us reach out to the broadest possible audience with a clear statement that draws the true moral lessons of the holocaust, “Never again for anyone!”, and asserts our commitment to justice for Palestinians and all targets of racism.

Text of Petition


In March 1933, after news of the early assaults on Jews following the electoral victory of the Nazi Party in Germany started to arrive, the US Jewish War Veterans association initiated a call for a consumer boycott of Nazi Germany. Through the pressure of a handful of committed activists, the boycott movement in the US grew to the point of worrying the Nazi establishment. One reason the boycott failed was the well-documented sabotage by Zionist parties (those that founded the State of Israel and today continue to organize political and economic support). The Zionist Federation of Germany together with the Jewish Agency in Palestine chose to collaborate with the Nazis by signing an agreement for the promotion of German exports in exchange for allowing wealthy German Jews to transfer some of their wealth to Palestine. We recall this history with sadness.

The word ‘Boycott’ originated with Charles Boycott, an Irish landlord’s agent whose mostly poor tenants struggled against his unjust evictions. Like the international boycott movement against Apartheid South Africa, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the Indian boycott of British goods initiated by Gandhi, and many other similar actions, the Jewish boycott of Nazi Germany belongs to a long history of the use of the boycott as a progressive, grassroots, non-violent tool to put pressure on powerful and oppressive regimes.

In 2005, Palestinian civil society called for solidarity against Israeli occupation and oppression, asking people of conscience around the world to launch non-violent campaigns of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel until it fully complied with international law. As Jews of conscience, we see echoes of our history in this demand for liberation and solidarity against violence, oppression, dispossession and expulsion, and we cannot stand unmoved.

Israel refuses to negotiate peace in good faith, continues to extend and build settlements on Palestinian land, and maintains oppressive, discriminatory and illegal practices, all of which constitute war crimes against Palestinian civilians and crimes against humanity. Our own government aids and abets these crimes, finances them, and shields Israel from accountability to international law. Our media and politicians exploit the Jewish history of persecution and genocide in order to justify its collusion with Israel’s dehumanization of Palestinians.

We lend our full support and voice to the Palestinian boycott call, and urge our fellow citizens to join the boycott of Israel in order to put pressure on the government of Israel. This is the lesson we choose to take from our Jewish histories. For us “never again” means never again for anyone. When people are demonized and attacked, oppressed and treated unjustly, we must stand in their defense. As more and more people learn the facts, public support for the rights of Palestinians is rising globally. Together, let’s end our government’s support for apartheid in Palestine!

To sign the petition visit the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network here.

No Responses Yet

  1. OlegR
    May 2, 2012, 11:17 am

    First you say “The ad invokes the Nazi holocaust in order to attack supporters of BDS including several professors. Jews of conscience and others who share a similar commitment to justice must speak out in defense of justice for Palestinians and against such defilement and misuse of the holocaust.”

    And then you go and write this in a petition

    /In March 1933, after news of the early assaults on Jews following the electoral victory of the Nazi Party in Germany started to arrive, the US Jewish War Veterans association initiated a call for a consumer boycott of Nazi Germany. Through the pressure of a handful of committed activists, the boycott movement in the US grew to the point of worrying the Nazi establishment. One reason the boycott failed was the well-documented sabotage by Zionist parties (those that founded the State of Israel and today continue to organize political and economic support). The Zionist Federation of Germany together with the Jewish Agency in Palestine chose to collaborate with the Nazis by signing an agreement for the promotion of German exports in exchange for allowing wealthy German Jews to transfer some of their wealth to Palestine. We recall this history with sadness./

    IE ” defilement and misuse of the holocaust.” Using the Holocaust to attack Zionism and make comparisons between Nazi Germany and Israel.

    Now how is this better?

    “A plague on both your houses.”

    • lysias
      May 2, 2012, 12:25 pm

      Are you saying that the contents of Edwin Black’s The Transfer Agreement: The Dramatic Story of the Pact Between the Third Reich and Jewish Palestine (corroborated by Heinz Höhne’s “Gebt mir vier Jahre Zeit”: Hitler und die Anfänge des Dritten Reiches ["Give Me Four Years": Hitler and the Beginnings of the Third Reich]) are not true?

    • FreddyV
      May 2, 2012, 2:27 pm

      “A plague on both your houses.”

      Ooh. That’s a bit strong isn’t it?

    • Evildoer
      May 2, 2012, 3:08 pm

      Oleg is under the impression that what is wrong with the Horwoitz Ad is that it “invokes the holocaust.” Therefore, the ad above is guilty of hypocrisy since it is also invoking the holocaust.

      1. There is nothing inherently wrong in invoking the holocaust. I take for granted that political analysis can be sharpened by the good use of historical analysis. The holocaust happened and therefore a good analysis of why and how it happened and what could have prevented it from happening can be (there is no guarantee here, plenty of rotten historical analysis exists) useful for a contemporary political debate.

      2. The problem with Horowitz is not that it invokes the holocaust, but that it misuses the holocaust. Horowitz builds and analogy between the Nazi boycott of Jewish business and BDS. The analogy encapsulates an implicit argument (two actually) that can be restated thus:

      (Now, i’ll skip mathematical formalization, but it is easy to see that these are fallacies. Add modals and qualifiers as necessary. But the basic logic is easier to see in its strong form.)

      1. The Nazis used boycott against Jews
      2. people who support BDS use boycott against Jews
      3. Ergo: (1,2) people who support BDS are (like) Nazis

      4. Some boycotts against Jews (specifically, the Nazi one) contributed to a holocaust.
      5. BDS is a boycott against Jews
      6. Ergo: (4,5) BDS contributes to a holocaust

      Setting aside the (huge) fact that the minor premise in each argument is wrong (BDS is not a boycott against Jews), both arguments suck.

      The first is an example of the fallacy of the undistributed middle:
      example:
      1. cats are mammals
      2. dogs are mammals
      3. Therefore cats are dogs.

      And so is the second, example:
      1. Some humans are good mathematicians
      2. Sheila is human
      3. Sheila is a good mathematician

      In contrast, the petition does not make any grand analogy in the passage you quote. It lumps together a series of boycotts, including both BDS and the Jewish boycott of Nazi Germany and other boycotts, in a category that could be named perhaps, “examples of legitimate boycotts”. The Nazis were boycottable, as is Israel today, as were the landlords who paid Charles Boycott’s keep. There is no equivalence set between Nazi Germany and Israel. If there were, it would imply that Mr. Boycott’s bosses were also “like Nazis.” That is absurd in any general sense. It is not absurd only in the very restricted sense that both the Nazis and Mr. Boycott’s bosses (and Israel as well,) are boycotable.

      Of course, the Nazi boycott of Jews is not included because it doesn’t belong to this category of legitimate boycotts. It was an illegitimate boycott. The task of finding out why is left for the reader. If the reader is grumpy, let him or her explain what fair criteria would create a different division between legitimate and illegitimate boycotts.

      3. The holocaust is invoked again, as a basis of a lesson that some Jews, specifically, those who agree with the petition, learned from it. Obviously, some other Jews did not learn that lesson. Some learned other lessons, and some would strongly disagree with this lesson:

      When people are demonized and attacked, oppressed and treated unjustly, we must stand in their defense.

      Those who disagree with this lesson are welcome to make their case.

      That lesson does, in its application here, draw an analogy. The analogy is between those who were “demonized and attacked, oppressed and treated unjustly” in Nazi Germany (Jews), and those who are now in Palestine (Palestinians). Feel free to challenge both sides of this analogy, if this is your wish, as long as you note that no equal sign is assumed, only that in both cases, certain people were “demonized and attacked, oppressed and treated unjustly”.

      Here they are again as syllogisms.

      1. When people are demonized and attacked, oppressed and treated unjustly, all people must stand in their defense.
      2. During the holocaust, Jews were demonized and attacked, oppressed and treated unjustly.
      3. (1,2) During the holocaust, all people should have stand in the defense of Jews.

      2a. Now, Palestinians are demonized and attacked, oppressed and treated unjustly.
      3a.: (1, 2a) Now, all people should stand in the defense of Palestinians.

      4. boycotts that responds to a situation when people are demonized and attacked, oppressed and treated unjustly are legitimate boycotts.
      5. BDS now/ Jewish boycott against Germany then responds/ed to a situation when people are demonized and attacked, oppressed and treated unjustly.
      6. (4,5). BDS now/ Jewish boycott against Germany then is/was legitimate boycott

      Hope this helps.

  2. Annie Robbins
    May 2, 2012, 11:24 am

    Now how is this better?

    one invokes the holocaust and the other doesn’t. this is about the history of the use of boycotts. the US jewish war veterans were right to call for a consumer boycott as is palestinian society today. it was not the boycott that was responsible for the holocaust nor is the bds campaign responsible for any backlash against israel for the occupation of palestine.

    • Fredblogs
      May 2, 2012, 11:25 am

      Uh, no. Both invoke the Holocaust.

      • Annie Robbins
        May 2, 2012, 1:51 pm

        you mean this:

        Our own government aids and abets these crimes, finances them, and shields Israel from accountability to international law. Our media and politicians exploit the Jewish history of persecution and genocide in order to justify its collusion with Israel’s dehumanization of Palestinians.

      • American
        May 2, 2012, 2:49 pm

        ”Fredblogs says:
        May 2, 2012 at 11:25 am
        + Show content
        Uh, no. Both invoke the Holocaust.’

        Well really, so what?
        The fact is you have used the holocaust excuse against everyone for so long it was only a matter of time till people’s tolerance of the hypocrisy involved ran out and they used it back against you.

      • Fredblogs
        May 2, 2012, 4:20 pm

        @American
        So it is hypocrisy for them to complain about someone invoking the Holocaust and invoke it themselves at the same time.

      • American
        May 3, 2012, 9:26 am

        No Fred, it’s hypocriscy to ‘complain’ about others using the holocaust for some point or advantage when Israel/zios use it as an excuse, reason or tool for their agenda.

  3. Tzombo
    May 2, 2012, 11:34 am

    Link is funked up. You can see the petition here: link to ijsn.net but then if you click their ‘Read more’ link that one is funked up too…

    • Annie Robbins
      May 2, 2012, 12:00 pm

      they all seem to work ok for me tzombo, yours too including the ‘read more’. perhaps it is your connection.

  4. American
    May 2, 2012, 2:39 pm

    grrrr….every time I see this kind of crap defaming people in public by the zionist I lose it…he is outright slandering people and naming them as anti semites.
    How does he get away with this?

  5. yourstruly
    May 3, 2012, 6:37 am

    “for us never again means never again for anyone” – a statement that could be the rallying cry of every person and community ever to have felt the sting and humiliation of racism.

  6. Elliot
    May 3, 2012, 10:07 am

    I would have preferred that the AJN petition had left out their first paragraph, particularly “One reason the boycott failed was the well-documented sabotage by Zionist parties (those that founded the State of Israel and today continue to organize political and economic support)” It isn’t necessary to their main point. This accusation opens them up to the kind of potshots we’re seeing here.

    Having said that, the AJN statement, unlike Horowitz’s is fair. The accusation against the Zionists is specific. It can be established or refuted. OTOH, Horowitz insinuates his accusations and makes dishonest demands. For instance, he asks that BDS “tones down their rhetoric” when really he doesn’t mean that at all. If the BDS campaign did dial down their language, would that satisfy David Horowitz? Hardly.

    The use of the Nazi image is particularly low. I hope the Horowitz ad triggers the backlash it deserves.

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