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.”
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.