“Israel’s right to exist and to self-defense is for us non-negotiable.”
That’s a quote from an anti-BDS resolution recently passed by the student government at Germany’s University of Leipzig, and it’s a sentiment we wish more American college students and their professors would take to heart.
Unfortunately, many of you reading this either don’t know what the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement is or fail to understand the goals of the movement and its leaders, if not all of its supporters.
We hope that a quick primer will bring you to the same place as those students in Leipzig.
BDS is the classic wolf in sheep’s clothing. It wears the guise of the boycott movement against apartheid South Africa in the 1980s, but instead of the morality of that movement, BDS relies on the Nazi technique of the big lie, starting with the myth of “apartheid Israel.”
“They will repeat that lie that Israel is an apartheid state; it doesn’t matter if people from South Africa say it’s not true,” Robbie Friedmann, the founding director of the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange, said during his Aug. 10 appearance at the monthly meeting of the Jewish Breakfast Club.*
Friedmann has become an expert on BDS because, since June 2009, he and his program have been targets of those who would isolate and undermine Israel on the grounds that it is a singular example of evil in the world.
GILEE should be beyond reproach. It enables police from 22 countries and 20 states to share best practices and expertise from counterterrorism to community policing.
But Georgia State students backed by pro-Palestinian activists off campus and by 15 professors on campus petitioned more than six years ago to have GILEE shut down because of the role of Israel.
Failing in that effort, they have tried to use massive freedom-of-information requests to tie up the GILEE staff and make its work impossible (publicizing every detail of travel arrangements risks making delegations of law enforcement officials targets for terrorists).
After Georgia amended its open-records law to shield those details, the BDS crowd began spreading the story that the purpose of the training is to teach American police to kill innocent blacks in the same way that Israelis kill innocent Palestinians.
That story is nothing less than a modern blood libel, Friedmann said. “Until this, I had not experienced anti-Semitism in person.”
It’s anti-Semitism because Israel is treated differently for being the world’s only Jewish nation. It’s OK for other nations to have established religions, to proclaim themselves “Islamic republics,” to deny religious freedom to minority groups. And the right of every other people, especially the Palestinians, to have a homeland is sacrosanct.
But Israel’s very existence is considered offensive, worthy of boycotts of academics and divestment from companies until “the occupation” ends. That occupation is not a reference to the West Bank; it’s all the land from the Jordan to the Mediterranean.
There’s a reason BDS leaders have taken cues from Nazi propaganda techniques: They have a similar destructive goal. But instead of wiping out the Jewish people, they want to wipe out the nation-state of the Jewish people. No other result will satisfy the BDS movement, which is why supporters of Israel must forever be prepared to answer BDS lies and distortions with facts, just like those students in Leipzig.
* If you haven’t joined us at the JBC yet, please consider being part of the growing crowd. For $15, you get a kosher bagel buffet, free parking, a phenomenal view from the 25th floor of Buckhead’s Terminus building and a great speaker. Georgia Aquarium CEO Mike Leven is the guest speaker Sept. 14; RSVP at atlantajewishtimes.com/jewish-breakfast-club.)