Israel lobby gave victory to BDS by crazed reaction to Brooklyn event

Israel/Palestine
on 9 Comments

A lot of folks are passing around an excellent column by Chemi Shalev in Haaretz saying that the Israel lobby is overreaching; it has so nakedly manipulated the US discourse, from the Brooklyn College flap to the Chuck Hagel hearing to the presidential debates of last fall, that it’s exposing itself in the eyes of sensible people and will ultimately undermine US support for Israel.

Far more Americans know of the Palestinian BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement today than did a week ago. Many millions of people have been exposed for the first time to the idea that Israel should be boycotted, divested and sanctioned for its occupation of the territories. Many more Americans, one can safely assume, have formed a positive image of the BDS movement than those who have now turned against it.

…Rather than focusing attention on what BDS critics describe as the movement’s deceitful veneer over its opposition to the very existence of Israel, the disproportionate onslaught succeeded in casting the BDS speakers who came to the Brooklyn campus as freedom-loving victims being hounded and oppressed by the forces of darkness.

…The Brooklyn College incident, after all, is far from isolated. It is, in fact, symptomatic. The distressing tone and self-defeating tactics of the most vocal elements of the so-called pro-Israeli camp in America have been the rule, not the exception, in recent years, and they are also bound to backfire on us all.

This inflated and melodramatic nature of what passes as political pro-Israelism was evident to many Americans, as the New York Times correctly noted, in the dismayingly over-the-top inquisition of Chuck Hagel at his confirmation hearings in the Senate last week. Senator after senator found it necessary to extract from Hagel meaningless vows of allegiance to Israel and to press him again and again on the etymology and usage of the two or three words he may have used many years ago.

The Armed Services Committee devoted more time to Israel than it did to all the other world trouble spots combined, a proportion no less preposterous, frankly, than the comparison between a college get together and a second Holocaust.

But that’s the way it’s been over the past year, since the Republican debates and primaries and throughout the presidential election campaign: disproportionate, hyperbolic and ultimately counterproductive….

This preposterously simplistic portrayal of Israel is bound to backfire. It is dishonest, and therefore self-defeating. It quashes disagreement and abhors true debate. It distances anyone and everyone who does not subscribe to its narrow definitions of what it means to love Israel and to truly support it, warts and all.

And it will eventually erode the genuine bedrock of support that Israel enjoys in America.

It will be like Brooklyn, but on a much grander scale.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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9 Responses

  1. Krauss
    February 9, 2013, 1:13 pm

    The ‘liberal’ Zionist approaches.

    Basically the media version of the ‘liberal’ Zionist insitence of yet another pointless round of ‘negotiation’. Not because they believe it can be done, but because they realize it is important to go through the motions.

    Now the same ‘liberal’ Zionists, who are basically content with the system in Israel, are having a beef over tactics, not morality.

    There’s nothing new or reveloratory in his piece. Just some tactical advice but no fundamental shift or conflict or even moral questioning.

  2. yourstruly
    February 9, 2013, 2:47 pm

    just as israel is a run amok entity, is brooklyn some sort of rogue burough?

  3. yourstruly
    February 9, 2013, 7:07 pm

    right now?

    a window of opportunity?

    justice for palestine?

    along with a just & peaceful world?

    from lessons learned?

    plus something about taking hold of the present?

    equals what?

    of, by & for whom?

    • yourstruly
      February 9, 2013, 8:32 pm

      for example?

      re: justice for palestine?

      a timeline?

      get out of the occupied territories?

      by such and such a date?

      or else?

      & making it stick?

  4. pipistro
    February 9, 2013, 7:45 pm

    Dershowitz makes his point, on Haaretz, asking: Will Brooklyn College now co-sponsor an anti-BDS event?

    He depicts BDS the customary, umpteenth existential threat: “It is about Israel itself—its right to exist as the democratic nation state of the Jewish people”. He talks of “the same tired speeches”, but recalls Barak’s generous offer, and lastly quotes the ADL which compared BDS and KKK.

    Nothing new. In a nutshell, same old Zionist (TM) claim of antise-myth-ism.

    Kudos, anyway, and thanks for the surcharge in brouhaha that keeps the Brooklyn reunion a US and international event.

  5. jayn0t
    February 9, 2013, 8:09 pm

    The Lobby isn’t stupid. The over-the-top attacks on Barghouti and co. give them credibility. Enable them to continue weakening the BDS movement. Last year, it surreptitiously abandoned the right of return in its mission statement. Etc. etc..

  6. jimmy
    February 10, 2013, 10:12 am

    Will Brooklyn College now co-sponsor an anti-BDS event?

    Mayor Bloomberg and the New York Times willfully distorted the opposition to Brooklyn College’s BDS event. It was not about academic freedom: It was a principled objection to departmental sponsorship of BDS’ hate speech – one whose goal is blacklisting all Israeli, Jewish institutions and ultimately the end of Israel’s right to exist.
    By Alan M. Dershowitz | 20:14 09.02.13 | 47

    link to haaretz.com

    hate speech ….ders comes from your corner….

    pam gellar caroline glick adl aipac jinsa…just to name a few

    always accusing others of exactly what you people are doing

  7. Mondowise
    February 10, 2013, 11:37 am

    well, i’m laughing! it’s really beyond comical stupidity how scuffed up the pro-izraeli zionists have become by their own self-undoing. what fools! oops, i mean, what champions of self-delegitimization!! then again, if they insist on shooting themselves in the foot, maybe we shouldn’t be giving them guns…just a thought. lol

  8. Les
    February 10, 2013, 12:13 pm

    Supporting the above headline is a miniscule but telling comment following Dershowitz’s defense of his Brooklyn College anti-BDS efforts.

    “antise-myth-ism”

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