By Richard Deaton
Mr. Mike Fegelman, executive director and chief shill for a pro-Israeli lobby group, uses the same big lie technique as did Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's minister of Propaganda. He repeats the same tiresome mantra, namely, that those who are anti- Zionist are anti-Semitic ("Disagree with Zain Esseghaier," Guardian, Jan. 16, 2019). He hopes that by repeating this illogical and historically inaccurate claim often enough people will believe it.
He ignores that Zionism is a political ideology, and Judaism is a religion, and criticizing any country's policies is exercising one's freedom of expression. Recently, 36 leading Israeli academics wrote an Open Letter stating, "Don't mix anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism " (Monoweiss, Nov. 27, 2018). Are they anti-Semites?
One of the most damning and savage condemnations of Israeli policy comes from Prof. Margaret MacMillan of Oxford in her Uses and Abuses of History (Penguin, paper, 2008, pp. 119-124), who recently spoke at the Confederation Centre of the Arts.
Fegelman presents the same incomplete and biased history as does Henry Srebrnik (Guardian, Dec. 10, 2018). Both ignore the international condemnation of Israeli policy. Many international organizations including the UN, the EU, NGOs, trade unions, and universities have condemned Israel's violation of international law, including human rights violations, collective punishment, and administrative detention (unlimited incarceration), and the imprisonment of Palestinian children.
Israeli human rights organizations such as Break the Silence and B'Tselem have also denounced Israel's repressive policies. And the Jerusalem Post (July 18, 2018) has identified at least 40 Jewish organizations, including IJV in Canada, that endorse BDS. Many Jews, including myself, vigorously condemn Israel's fascist- like policies in the Occupied Territories and endorse BDS. Are all these Jews anti-Semites?
The BDS movement is an entirely legal, non-violent, political movement in response to Israel's racist and expansionist colonial policies. The BDS movement has recently scored major victories. The EU has reaffirmed the right of its citizens to endorse BDS, and Spain and Ireland have approved BDS. The Canadian Federation of Students endorsed BDS in Dec. 2018. And the US Senate just voted to block an unconstitutional bill to punish people for boycotting Israeli products made in the Occupied Territories (Jan. 9, 2019). Senator Bernie Sanders, a progressive Jew, spoke against the bill. Is he an anti-Semite?
The Zionist lobby uses McCarthyite goon tactics by smearing, harassing, and intimidating those, especially academics and activists who speak out for the Palestinian cause. Many have been threatened with the loss of employment or honours including, amongst others, the late Prof. Edward Said and Nadia Abu El- Haj of Columbia (cited by Margaret MacMillan), recently Marc Lamont Hill of Temple University, and Angela Davis the well-known civil rights activist.
Ominously, a shadowy organization named Canary Mission, funded by far-right U.S. Jewish businessmen and charities, maintains a blacklist of people who promote BDS and defend Palestinian human rights. It has bullied thousands of students and professors, threatening their careers and reputations (Haaretz, Oct. 3 and 10, 2018).
The Israeli High Court in 2015 upheld a law which allows individuals to sue people or organizations calling for a boycott of Israeli companies operating in the Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Therefore, I am serving public notice that I endorse BDS and am calling for the boycott of those Israeli companies that operate in the Occupied Territories. I dare Fegleman or Srebrnik to sue me. I dare you. Bring it on.
Richard Deaton, Ph.D., LL.B., Stanley Bridge.