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Boycott network is like Al Qaeda, and Israel is gonna fight it like Stanley McChrystal. Got that?

Israel/Palestine
on 35 Comments
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Gen. Stanley McChrystal (photo:USArmy via Times of Israel)

Last month we reported that the campaign against the BDS movement was about to ramp up. The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations is targeting college campuses, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is directly involved (along with a bunch of “Jewish millionaires”).

And what’s the battle plan? Turns out it’s the war in Iraq, that hugely-successful undertaking. “From the war in Iraq to the battle against Israel boycotters,” reports The Times of Israel, which says that the  Israel Action Network (IAN) seems to believe that “an idea honed on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan” will be “effective in defending against assaults on Israel’s legitimacy in North America.” 

The Israel Action Network (as Alex Kane reminds us) was formed by the Jewish Federations of North America and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs at the urging of the Israeli government and is the Jewish establishment’s number one vehicle for battling BDS.

And the posterboy for this official battle? None other than iconic retired US Army General Stanley McChrystal (who was unceremoniously dumped handed in his resignation to the chagrin of conservatives in 2010 after an article in Rolling Stone by recently deceased journalist Michael Hastings triggered his downfall). 

Not that McChrystal is taking part in the campaign. But he’s all over the Times of Israel’s story:  

The idea, in the words of General Stanley McChrystal — commander of the US Joint Special Operations Command — that “it takes a network to defeat a network” played a central role in his concept for fighting insurgents in the Middle East .

It was late 2003, and al-Qaeda in Iraq was running an extremely effective campaign against American troops and their allies. McChrystal met with his team in a small base near Baghdad, determined to understand the enemy. He quickly realized they were battling an adversary that did not adhere to the traditional military structure, but formed a decentralized network, made up of nimble, independent nodes.

“It became clear to me and to many others that, to defeat a networked enemy, we had to become a network ourselves,” McChrystal recalled in Foreign Policy. “We had to figure out a way to retain our… levels of knowledge, speed, precision, and unity of effort that only a network could provide.”

IAN came to the same conclusion.

OK, so IAN is going to use hardline tactics against the BDS movement like those used by the US military against al-Qaeda in Iraq. 

Is there any news in this article on IAN’s agenda? Not really, just a recap of recent battles on the BDS front. What the piece signals is a new tack in hasbara, using McChrystal’s image in the internet warzone. A fancy new red white and blue ” US Joint Special Operations Command” wrapping paper on the anti-BDS  messaging.

With the BDS movement’s 8th anniversary right behind us I’m reminded of the statement two years ago by Omar Barghouti, his prescient words about “cracks in the wall”:

This suppression reflects that they’re really scared and when people feel scared they do band together until the price becomes much higher, and then you’ll see cracks in this wall of silence in Israel…. We’ve learned if we keep at it with moral consistency with continuous pressure the system will start cracking and then we’ll see a lot of dissent…..

Since when does ending inequality destroy anything? It destroys inequality, it destroys apartheid, it destroys injustice. That’s what we’re deligitimizing in Israel: it’s occupation, it’s apartheid, it’s denial of our basic rights, it’s ethnic cleansing. Yes, we’re proud to be delegitimizing Israel’s oppression, Israel violations of international law.

That does not call for ending the existence of any person or any group or anything. It does not target people as people. It targets a system of oppression so that all people can live in equality and justice.

(Hat tip Esther Riley)

annie
About Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a mother, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

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35 Responses

  1. RudyM
    RudyM
    July 13, 2013, 11:57 am

    I hope they don’t get too literal about adopting McChrystal’s approach to counter-insurgency to opposing BDS.

  2. Don
    Don
    July 13, 2013, 12:28 pm

    Cool Article, Annie.

    “He quickly realized they were battling an adversary that did not adhere to the traditional military structure”
    What insight!!

    “We had to figure out a way to retain our… levels of knowledge, speed, precision, and unity of effort that only a network could provide.”
    Uh…say what?

  3. Philip Munger
    Philip Munger
    July 13, 2013, 1:26 pm

    it takes a network to defeat a network

    — which was why Global BDS was created in the first place.

    Anyone who would invoke the legacy of our illegal Iraq War as a success model, deserves the inevitable failure such a comparison warrants.

  4. HarryLaw
    HarryLaw
    July 13, 2013, 2:02 pm

    The influential Israeli Reut Institute advocated “sabotage” and “attack” against groups advocating for BDS and Palestinian rights, now what does that mean? link Electronic Intifada here.. http://electronicintifada.net/content/israels-new-strategy-sabotage-and-attack-global-justice-movement/8683

    • annie
      annie
      July 13, 2013, 2:37 pm

      harry, the title of that february 2010 article is “Israel’s new strategy: “sabotage” and “attack” the global justice movement”

      looks like the ‘new’ strategy is the same as the old one.

      • American
        American
        July 13, 2013, 3:33 pm

        ”looks like the ‘new’ strategy is the same as the old one.”…annie

        Exactly…there is no ‘new strategy……just increasing more of the same old slandering, attacking.
        Evidently they dont understand the law of diminishing returns .
        They can increase their investment in hasbara (i.e.propaganda) but as long as the other ‘variables (i.e. their real actions in this case) remain fixed then at a certain point the returns on that investment will keep declining.
        I think they have already hit the diminishing returns plateau.

      • annie
        annie
        July 13, 2013, 3:44 pm

        yeah, the only difference seems to be attaching a specific iconic image/person to their war footing propaganda and the specific AQ image/group to the bdsmovement. you’d think they’d figure out this attack angle isn’t working and they have to change the actual (apartheid) policy, but nooooo.

        if they were serious about ending the deligitimization of israel they’d end the occupation and get their troop out of the WB. but they are not interested in that, they want the land and they’ll whine victim for as long as it takes to get it.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        July 13, 2013, 6:21 pm

        looks like the ‘new’ strategy is the same as the old one.

        Anyone remotely familiar with the history of the Zionist movement knows that public propaganda to obtain special benefits in the form of key legislation, regulations, or treaties, and concomitant lawfare campaigns have always been the group’s standard operating procedure.

        Neither Malcolm Hoenlein nor the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations is likely to depart from the now well-worn trail blazed by Kenneth Marcus in attempting to establish BDS as anti-Zionism and a form of illegal racism. They’ll follow the script just as predictably as the night follows the day.

        *Marcus single-handedly authored the new government regulatory policy when he headed-up the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.
        http://scholarship.law.wm.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1152&context=wmborj
        *After he left the government, he went to work conducting a public propaganda campaign about “the virus of anti-Semitism that had been unleashed with a vengeance” on our college campuses.
        http://www.commentarymagazine.com/article/a-blind-eye-to-campus-anti-semitism/
        *Then he established the Brandies Center for Human Rights Under Law to educate Zionist activists and educators on the use of lawfare against the BDS movement.
        http://brandeiscenter.com/blog/kenneth-l-marcus-on-campus-anti-semitism/
        http://mondoweiss.net/2013/02/threaten-brooklyn-activists.html

  5. piotr
    piotr
    July 13, 2013, 2:23 pm

    Attributing the network idea to al-Qaeda ignores earlier examples, like “Elders of Zion” (even if that book was a vile fiction, it surely spread the network idea quite widely, perhaps even inspiring al-Qaeda, the Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations and others).

  6. NoMoreIsrael
    NoMoreIsrael
    July 13, 2013, 3:14 pm

    McCrystal, along with fellow blood-spattered psychotic David Petreus, helped oversee death squad activity in Iraq which, at its height, left around 3000 tortured bodies in the streets of Baghdad PER MONTH, (many, bearing drill holes through their skulls). Col James Steel and Col James Coffman, who earlier ran death squads in El Salvador, directly participated in these abominations.

    Small wonder McCrystal now serves as an inspiration to the sewer filth of Israel.

    • American
      American
      July 13, 2013, 3:42 pm

      Wonder if they are paying McCrystal …..has he joined JINSA yet?

  7. Mike_Konrad
    Mike_Konrad
    July 13, 2013, 3:52 pm

    There is an aspect to this which is overlooked. As soon as Israeli starts pumping Gas into Europe, via Cyprus, the game is over.

    Where there is gas, there often is oil.

    When Israel becomes an energy exporter, there is nothing you can do to stop Israel.

    Europe is mercenary when it comes to oil. Europe hate(d) the Arabs, but needed their oil. Whatever Europe thinks about the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria – good or bad – all of that will be tossed to the wind. Europe will happily exchange modern Jews for lunatic Wahabbists as a supplier.

    OIL SPEAKS! ENERGY SPEAKS!

    Israel will become an oil plutocracy, only run MUCH better than Saudi Arabia, with the cash probably distributed more equitably. A cash rich Israel would attract more Jewish immigration into Israel.

    The Game is over. BDS is too little, too late.

    Europe will not let any sympathies for Palestinians stand in the way of oil.

    http://world.time.com/2013/04/30/can-israel-become-as-oil-rich-as-saudi-arabia/

    You may not like to hear it, but BDS will falter.

    Israel may outrank Saudi Arabia

    • Sumud
      Sumud
      July 13, 2013, 9:24 pm

      You may not like to hear it, but BDS will falter.

      Because powerful countries always remain powerful, empires never fall and what is true today will definitely remain unchanged tomorrow…

      For more than 65 years zionists have believed they can exterminate Palestinians and Palestinian identity and culture.

      It isn’t going so well.

      And now – withdrawing from the OPT is impossible – one state with equal rights for all and a Palestinian majority is inevitable.

      That’s the game. The Great Gamble of 1967 is lost, and gas won’t undo that.

    • ToivoS
      ToivoS
      July 14, 2013, 1:55 am

      As soon as Israeli starts pumping Gas into Europe, via Cyprus, the game is over. If it makes you feel good then believe it. In fact the size of those fields are not that large. They will, to be sure, benefit the people of the Eastern Mediterranean but they will not significantly affect world energy inventories. Do you have any idea how deluded you sound?

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        July 14, 2013, 2:44 am

        As soon as Israeli starts pumping Gas into Europe, via Cyprus, the game is over.

        LOL! The US markets a little over 25 trillion cubic feet of natural gas per year. http://www.eia.gov/dnav/ng/hist/n9050us2A.htm

        Israel’s Energy and Water Resources Ministry estimates that Israel’s offshore fields can produce a grand total of 31.8 trillion cubic feet of gas. *Note that is not a yearly figure. Even if those predictions are accurate, there would still be two dozen other countries marketing much more natural gas than Israel. http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=10121

      • Taxi
        Taxi
        July 14, 2013, 6:19 am

        Konrad,

        Dream on buddy. All it would take is one attack on a gas field by one of israel’s many self-created enemies and the delusional house of cards that is called the israeli economy will be kneecapped.

        Israel’s years are counted, gas field or no gas field. Not even the discovery of gas is gonna save the zionist state in the mideast.

      • Shingo
        Shingo
        July 14, 2013, 7:14 am

        Thanks Hostage, so all Israel will make is 3 billion per year over 20 years.

        Saudi Arabia makes twice that much every week.

      • piotr
        piotr
        July 15, 2013, 7:51 pm

        This is heavily misinformed. I read an article about prospect of Cyprus exporting gas, the undersea gas fields extend to the Cyprian economic zone. They are not good because Greek part of Cyprus has no chance for using Turkish pipelines, and the amount of gas is insufficient to build something like North Stream pipeline.

        Thus delivering gas to Cyprus does not bring it any closer to Europe, and Cyprus by itself will not be a market.

    • Shingo
      Shingo
      July 14, 2013, 7:11 am

      There is an aspect to this which is overlooked. As soon as Israeli starts pumping Gas into Europe, via Cyprus, the game is over.

      Wrong. Israel will be lucky to be a net exporter of gas. The reserves are tiny and Israel won’t want to squander it.

      Where there is gas, there often is oil.

      Correction, where there is gas, there is sometimes oil, but more often not.

      When Israel becomes an energy exporter, there is nothing you can do to stop Israel.

      It’s unlikely Israel will become an energy exporter.

      Europe will happily exchange modern Jews for lunatic Wahabbists as a supplier.

      No they won’t because Europe is also interested in making profits on the supply end as they are doing in the Middle East right now.

      Israel will become an oil plutocracy, only run MUCH better than Saudi Arabia, with the cash probably distributed more equitably.

      Probably not, seeing as Israel is one of the most corrupt states in the West, Israel will likely be run by oligarchs.

      link to world.time.com

      That hype was based on speculation about reserves that turned out to be fools gold.

    • amigo
      amigo
      July 14, 2013, 9:06 am

      “When Israel becomes an energy exporter, there is nothing you can do to stop Israel.” MK

      This is not a venue for levity.

    • annie
      annie
      July 15, 2013, 6:26 pm

      i’m wondering if mike will push this angle in the new “Haaretz warns ‘Israel is facing its moment of truth’ as Europe explores sanctions against companies tied to the occupation” thread.

      http://mondoweiss.net/2013/07/haaretz-warns-israel-is-facing-its-moment-of-truth-as-europe-explores-sanctions-against-companies-tied-to-the-occupation.html

    • Shegetz
      Shegetz
      July 15, 2013, 8:29 pm

      When Israel becomes an energy exporter, there is nothing you can do to stop Israel.

      OIL SPEAKS! ENERGY SPEAKS!

      Strange then that Iran is feeling such a pinch. Maybe, just maybe, it’s not the trump card you think it is?

    • talknic
      talknic
      July 16, 2013, 3:53 am

      Mike_Konrad “Whatever Europe thinks about the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria”

      Judea and Samaria were officially renamed the West Bank in 1950. That status has never been officially changed. The Occupying Power has no right to rename occupied territory, institute its Civil Law in occupied territory, unilaterally annex occupied territory, illegally sell real estate in occupied territory to illegal settlers in occupied territory. Laws of War Art. 55. The occupying State shall be regarded only as administrator and usufructuary of public buildings, real estate, forests, and agricultural estates belonging to the hostile State, and situated in the occupied country. It must safeguard the capital of these properties, and administer them in accordance with the rules of usufruct. http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/hague04.asp#art54

      The occupying power has a ” sacred trust” to protect the population, their property and their territory.

      Ironically the State of Israel is in breach of and tries to circumvent Laws, the UN Charter and relative Conventions adopted in large part because of the treatment of our Jewish fellows under the &*&^%$ Nazis. That ANYONE can be supportive of the policies of ANY such state is quite sickening

    • seafoid
      seafoid
      July 16, 2013, 4:32 am

      “Israel may outrank saudi”

      Bukra fi mismish wa bitrool.

      • gamal
        gamal
        July 16, 2013, 1:41 pm

        mishmish surely, and in Saudi they are always or never in bloom, whatever they decree. its an IBM moment for MK, inshallah, when the gas comes on line, as you say Bokra when the benefits will roll in (honestly they will), and of course Ma’alish when all goes tits up. reminds me of

        http://youtu.be/EITzpRwtr3Q

        we all live in hope, some of us in very ill founded hopes.

  8. MRW
    MRW
    July 13, 2013, 4:35 pm

    Wait a minute. Are they really using images of General McChrystal in a US military uniform in their campaigns?

    EDIT: They don’t appear to be. But they will be sending along the Times of Israel article as promo material with McChrystal’s photo in it, I would think.

  9. DissedStance
    DissedStance
    July 13, 2013, 5:16 pm

    Anti-BDS side: inert lies, ugly military death machine

    BDS: the momentum of truth, and all the creativity that goes with it

    Hmm, I wonder which side will ultimately prevail?!!

    • piotr
      piotr
      July 13, 2013, 7:50 pm

      I guess “inept lies.”

      Who will ultimately prevail? I would compare truth to dripping water and well funded lies to stone. In a geological time scale, water drops will prevail.

  10. talknic
    talknic
    July 13, 2013, 8:36 pm

    Cut and paste for future use folks

    “Being pro-Palestinian does not mean you’re an anti-Semite or an extremist” ADL National Director, Abraham H. Foxman http://www.adl.org/press-center/press-releases/miscellaneous/adl-deplores-attacks-on-ny-jets-oday-aboushi-accusing-him-of-being-muslim-extremist.html

  11. just
    just
    July 13, 2013, 10:00 pm

    Boykin, Petraeus, McChrystal, Powell and Calley.

    blergh.

    No accountability.

  12. hammersmith
    hammersmith
    July 14, 2013, 1:01 am

    …the bad penny….

  13. amigo
    amigo
    July 14, 2013, 9:04 am

    Advice for these morons–The Intl Community is a vastly greater Network than ziosville and it,s supporters.

    Ask the supremacists who “used ” to run SA.

    But do please continue the depletion of your cash reserves while you make Israel a worse pariah than it already is.

    The world is weary of your lies and bs.

    Time for a change.

    1S 1P 1V.

  14. iResistDe4iAm
    iResistDe4iAm
    July 14, 2013, 10:31 pm

    If you need to delegitimize the other side’s struggle for justice, you’re on the wrong side.

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