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French premier says ‘loathing of Jews’ is behind BDS

on 21 Comments

Here are two of the latest irresponsible efforts to portray criticism of Israel as anti-Semitism.

First, the anti-Zionist site Free Speech on Israel publishes a report on French premier Manuel Valls saying yesterday at Tel Aviv University that “loathing of Jews” is behind the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS). The French prime minister’s comments are a signal of BDS’s effectiveness, the website says.

Valls said: “This invitation is…the most sincere response to those who talk of nothing but boycott. Behind this boycott we well know what there is: not only an opposition, but also a loathing of the State of Israel, the loathing of a Jewish home, and therefore of Jews as a whole.”

Valls was addressing an audience during a ceremony on Sunday at Tel Aviv University in which the George Wise Medal was conferred on him. The medal commemorates Tel Aviv University’s founding President and is awarded to long-standing Israel advocates.

The Prime Minister said that it was France’s ‘role and duty’ to never give way before those that want to ‘hinder a democracy;’ that it was the ‘fight of a lifetime’ against antisemitism, ‘a battle of civilisation.’ To applause, Valls said, “When one attacks Jews, one of course attacks France and attacks civilisation.”

French PM Manuel Valls, from his Facebook page

French PM Manuel Valls, from his Facebook page

France has introduced legislation seeking to criminalize BDS advocacy. One activist was arrested for wearing a pro-BDS t-shirt.

Second, tomorrow Jeff Halper is going to talk about his new book, War Against the People: Israel, the Palestinians and Global Pacification, at an Asheville, N.C., bookstore called Malaprops. The book contains Halper’s argument that Israel has become a global economic player by marketing militarism based on its tactics of controlling Palestinians.

And look, this letter appeared in today’s Asheville Citizen-Times calling Halper an anti-Semite. Halper is a human rights activist who once studied to be a rabbi. He moved to Israel because he wanted to build a progressive society. He has spent 20 years fighting the occupation, working with Palestinians, Jews, anyone. And he’s an anti-Semite?

Malaprops to Host Jewish World Conspiracy Theorist

Malaprops is hosting Jewish world conspiracies [sic] Jeff Halper on May 24. Halper will weave falsehoods together about Israel and Jewish money to articulate classic centuries-old anti-Semitic tropes.

Here’s the cliff notes version: Halper ponders how respectable European nations could accept Israel into the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development? Halper answer that Israel (not the U.S., EU, Russia or China) is “a superpower.”

How? It gains political clout through arms deals.

“Israel is an arms exporter at the level of France. Israel exports more arms than China,” Halper recently told a Massachusetts audience. But, according to the leading authority, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Israel trails way behind the U.S., Russia, China, five European countries and Ukraine.

So, to try to make his argument stick, Halper fabricates a conspiracy: Israel “finds out what the elites need in order to keep their control and stay in power and it fills those niches.”

And, thus, Israel manipulates world elites and gains admittance into the prestigious OECD.

But here’s the rub. Israel has exported arms to only nine of the 36 OECD countries. Halper’s theory is baseless, anti-Semitic and coming to a bookstore near you.

Naomi Friedman, Asheville

The writer is said to be the music teacher at the local Chabad House, by a person who answered the phone there. I asked to have Ms. Friedman call to confirm, but haven’t heard from her yet.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of

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21 Responses

  1. Boomer on May 23, 2016, 3:59 pm

    One often sees this strange intensity, this passionate projection, this utter inversion of reality among Zionists. Disturbing at best, especially so coming from the French prime minister. Evil perpetuates itself, if permitted to do so.

    “Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.”

    • straightline on May 23, 2016, 5:34 pm

      Even more appropriate are the last two lines (and surely the most powerful) of “The Second Coming”:

      And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
      Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

  2. pabelmont on May 23, 2016, 4:15 pm

    Why was Valls in Israel at the same moment that France is proposing a peace process re-start and Israel is resisting it? Whatever his reason, people who go to Israel seeking to butter-up the Israelis do say things like that: it is straight Israel hasbara. In Israel, Israel is king and “the king can do no wrong”. Therefore, by twisted logic, criticism even from outside Israel (where Israel is not king !!!) must be based on antisemitism rather than licit political opinion.

    Shame on Valls, and shame on France which is apparently making further efforts to silence BDS and other criticism of Israel. I wonder how soon the European Courts will be able to rule on whether these anti-free-speech laws must be rescinded. Let us hope the judges are independent and honorable people.

    • Froggy on May 23, 2016, 10:46 pm

      It’s the French government, not the French people. BDS is alive and well in France, and will continue to be.

  3. Tuyzentfloot on May 24, 2016, 4:27 am

    Halper’s new book is important because it evades the dichotomy around the pro Israel Lobby: the classical ‘the lobby is normal and legit and nothing to see here please move along now’ vs ‘the lobby is the most powerful force distorting us from following a sane policy’. With dichotomy I don’t mean to say people’s views lack nuance but that they’re caught in a polarisation that narrows down thinking.
    The Chomsky view that focuses on general US foreign policy behaviour , puts the emphasis on natural imperial tendencies in US policies. If you view it through the dichotomy then it’s closer to the classical view on the lobby I think. But you don’t have to view it that way. My preference is for how the Leveretts put it, that the lobby is powerful but also very effective because it’s pushing an open door of US foreign policy doctrines. These policies would still exist if the lobby wasn’t there and they manifest themselves in other non-middle east areas in the same manner.

    Halper looks at worldwide attitudes towards Israel, and points at the business ties, mainly defense and security business which translates roughly in providing protection of those in power against the people around them and under them. So there’s a plain business side, an elite business aspect and a ‘merchants of oppression’ flavouring. And then you get countries like China that have no significant influence from US lobbies and that turn towards Israel rather than away from it. So I think Halper has made a valuable contribution.

    • pabelmont on May 24, 2016, 7:33 am

      I’ve never understood THOSE VIEWS of the USA’s benefit from its support for Israel, not Chomsky’s, no-one’s, WHICH STATE that USA benefits from the occupation or settlements.

      Yes, the USA may well benefit from Israel’s wars and murderous assaults on Gaza (USA military sees weapons being tested on real live people, after all, and this is of value to USA’s military), and we may well benefit from Israel’s spying on Arab regimes. But how can the occupation be of value to USA?

      Unless it’s merely knee-jerk approval of imperialism when conducted by an ally. That is, “ideological value” rather than actual value to USA.

      • a blah chick on May 24, 2016, 2:46 pm

        “Yes, the USA may well benefit from Israel’s wars and murderous assaults on Gaza ….But how can the occupation be of value to USA?”

        I’ve wondered this for some time. My own theory is that maintaining Israel as a Jewish supremacist state prevents any potential Arab takeover. This keeps Israel, and it’s nukes and fighter jets, put of the “Radical Islam” orbit. After the fall of the Soviet Bloc some new threat had to be manufactured to justify all the think tanks and foundations, which is why fighting “Islamists” is the new thing. That is why I think, as Israel becomes more and more unhinged, it is necessary for their supporters to double down on the rhetoric; nothing must be allowed to disturb the cozy relationships that have developed over the years that have proved financially and politically beneficial between the elites in Europe, North America and Israel.

        Anyway, that’s my theory.

  4. Marnie on May 24, 2016, 5:18 am

    Loathing of Jews is behind BDS? Nope, not at all.

    Let’s see if this works though: Fear and loathing of all Non-Jews is behind (but not so much) zionism.

    It should be a source of shame to zionists that israel is a force to be reckoned with in the war profiteering and weapons of mass destruction market. Sickening.

  5. Shmuel on May 24, 2016, 5:48 am

    Valls: “Behind this boycott we well know what there is: not only an opposition, but also a loathing of the State of Israel, the loathing of a Jewish home, and therefore of Jews as a whole.”

    Behind this boycott we well know what there is: not only an opposition, but also the uncivilised and un-French principles of liberté, égalité and fraternité. When one supports these principles, one of course attacks France and attacks civilisation.

    So now that we well know what is behind BDS, what is behind Valls’ false accusations and undemocratic stance?

    • Xpat on May 26, 2016, 7:52 am

      After the Hyper Cacher terror attack Valls’ gave a memorable speech to parliament standing by French Jews. “How can we have people chanting “death to the Jews” on our streets?”

      Earlier this week, Valls had a business meeting with Israeli officials just a couple of miles from where Palestinians were murdered by a Jewish mob on the streets of the capital.

      You can hear “death to the Arabs” at Jewish rallies on the streets of Israel. The grafitti “מות לערבים mavet la’aravim” is everywhere.

      The day after Israeli human rights organization B’tselem announced that Israel cannot be trusted to keep Palestinians safe, France is telling the Palestinians that BDS, their call for justice, is unacceptable.

      • eljay on May 26, 2016, 8:24 am

        Zio-supremacists and their supporters are hateful and immoral hypocrites who believe that “it’s good for the Jews” matters more than the universal and consistent application of justice, accountability and equality – good for everyone, everywhere, all the time.

        By supporting Jewish supremacism in/and a religion-supremacist “Jewish State” in as much as possible of Palestine, Zio-supremacists and their supporters actively undermine international laws and human rights and the protections they are meant to afford all people, including Jews.

        Why do Zio-supremacists and their supporters hate Jews so much?!

  6. eljay on May 24, 2016, 7:29 am

    Valls said: “ … Behind this boycott we well know what there is: not only an opposition, but also a loathing of the State of Israel, the loathing of a Jewish home, and therefore of Jews as a whole.” …

    Israel is an oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and religion-supremacist state that has been committing (war) crimes and flouting international law (including RoR of refugees) intentionally and with impunity since its inception almost 70 years ago. If it is loathed, there’s good reason for it.

    Jewish people have homes in all countries in which they reside. Jewish citizens of countries around the world do not need and are not entitled to a religion-supremacist “Jewish State” in as much as possible of Palestine.

  7. lonely rico on May 24, 2016, 9:31 am

    Good news from London.

    Prominent Feminist Historian Rejects Israeli Academic Award

    Prof. Catherine Hall of University College London says she declined to accept the Dan David Prize ‘after many discussions with those who are deeply involved with the politics of Israel-Palestine.’

    The British Committee for the Universities of Palestine described Hall’s move as “a significant endorsement of the campaign to end ties with Israeli institutions.”
    Awarded annually, the Dan David Prize is one of Israel’s most prestigious academic awards. Prizes amounting to $1 million each are awarded in three fields – Past, Present and Future – though they are usually shared by two or more recipients.

    Bravo Professor Hall !

    • MHughes976 on May 24, 2016, 3:32 pm

      The famous legal advice that has stopped the Universities and Colleges Union from considering a boycott of Israel was mentioned in the article. Will Profrssor Hall (to whom congratulations) now be accused of an act of illegal,discrimination? In practice I’m sure she will not, not for a minute, but on the contrary will people begin to see that protest against Zionism and its works are absolutely not expressions of a discriminatory spirit, indeed quite the reverse?
      Froggy assures us that BDS is alive and kicking in France. But is it moving into illegality there? Are you allowed to advocate it in theory?

  8. Alvin Alexsi Currier on May 24, 2016, 12:16 pm

    I’ve known Jeff Halper for some fifty years since he came as a young man from Hibbing Minnesota to Macalester College where I was Chaplain. Fifty years I’ve watched him, followed his path, and been profoundly encouraged by his embodiment of the mighty stream of Jewish justice and righteousness, even though he denies to me that he came to college wanting to be a Rabbi. No, instead he became like Amos the shepherd of Tekoa, a prophet, striding the land with a call in word and deed to the mercy and commandments of God and the Torah. He is the very opposite of an Anti-Semite. He is instead a prophet rooted in the noblest of our Judaeo-Christian tradition.

  9. Boo on May 26, 2016, 8:22 am

    A government that falsely equates anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism on the one hand, and prosecutes someone for wearing a t-shirt bearing a pro-BDS message on the other, is a government profoundly at war with its own foundational principles.

  10. Xpat on May 26, 2016, 8:40 am

    Valls was addressing an audience during a ceremony on Sunday at Tel Aviv University in which the George Wise Medal was conferred on him.

    George Wise made his academic reputation as a scholar of Latin America’s caudillos. Caudillismo is described by Wikipedia as:

    “the Spanish colonial policy of supplementing small cadres of professional, full-time soldiers with large militia forces recruited from local populations to maintain public order.”

    Not much different from full-time IDF soldiers backed by the armed settler population controlling the Palestinians on the West Bank.

  11. silamcuz on May 26, 2016, 11:33 am

    I strongly believe that the Premier is not an unintelligent man, who is unable to comprehend dot points listing down the goal of BDS, and its brief history. The issue is that these people are genuinely corrupt and delusional from a lifetime of unearned privileges, stemming from essentially, a huge, global criminal enterprise. They are enjoying all of these, they enjoy denying justice because it shows how powerful they are…to deny justice in any shape or form is to fight God himself, and winning against God is their ultimate form of gratification.

    Manuel Valls has done unmasking himself for the world to see. He has shown himself as an unjust man, who has no right to hold the premiership over a nation.

  12. Sibiriak on May 26, 2016, 6:16 pm

    loathing of the State of Israel, the loathing of a Jewish home, and therefore of Jews as a whole. [emphasis added]


    It’s interesting–the alleged antisemitism cannot be directly observed ; it can only be deduced (fallaciously) from anti-Israel and anti-Zionist sentiment.

  13. Mooser on May 27, 2016, 10:39 am

    “It’s interesting–the alleged antisemitism cannot be directly observed ; it can only be deduced (fallaciously) from anti-Israel and anti-Zionist sentiment.”

    I’ve been out-succinted again! Very well said, Sib.

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