This week, Norway’s largest labor union endorsed BDS. Before the vote, Israel’s ambassador, Raphael Schutz, posted a bizarre rant on Facebook which featured a picture of a banner at a Norwegian BDS rally. The banner showed an Israeli orange dripping (presumably) Palestinian blood. The clear implication of the protest banner was that Israeli Occupation leads to the shedding of Palestinian blood. The truth of this statement cannot be in doubt. Since 1948 approximately 40,000 Palestinians have died at the hands of Israeli forces.
Despite this almost self-evidence statement, Schutz determined to turn the banner into an outrageous claim of anti-Semitism. He juxtaposed a medieval illustration of the supposed Jewish murder of a Christian child, known as a blood libel, in order to drain his blood to make matzah for Passover. In doing so, Schutz exploited one of the foulest anti-Semitic tropes. I displayed an image of the medieval illustration so readers could see exactly how repulsive it is (and how repulsive it is for anyone to exploit it for the wrong ends). At the same time, Schutz insulted the suffering of millions of Jews who died at the hands of real anti-Semites from the days of Rome up to the Holocaust.
Outrageous propaganda of this sort is meant to induce tremendous guilt in the hearts of Christian Europe (including Norway), which did indeed cause massive suffering and the deaths of millions of Jews over the centuries. No doubt, Europe has much to atone for in its historic treatment of Jews. But it has nothing to atone for in its treatment of Israel, since the matters are not directly related.
A similar charge levelled by the True Believers against BDS is that it either is a terrorist group or supported by terrorist nations or groups. Beats me, how a non-violent movement can be a terrorist group. But I suppose if you believe BDS will destroy Israel (it’s not clear how it will do that), then that act of destruction could be construed as an act of terror. You’d have to be fairly deranged to believe this. But, like Trump, we’ve seen more than enough evidence that this Israeli government is quite deranged, at least politically, if not clinically.
Here is Schutz’s diatribe:
There is absolutely no connection between BDS and any act of anti-Semitism. In fact, Schutz conflates Judaism and Israel as if they were one and the same. They aren’t. With the exception of a few true anti-Semites (and they exist on the far left and far right as recently political events have confirmed), the BDS hasn’t a shred of anti-Semitism in it. Nor does it hate Jews. It doesn’t even hate Israel, except possibly its level of injustice. It merely wants Israel to become what its own Declaration of Independence promises: a democracy in which all citizens are treated equally regardless of religion or ethnicity.
The conflation of Israel and Jews is an error of anti-Semites as well. Which puts far-right Israelis like the ambassador in the same boat with flagrant anti-Semites like Richard Spencer. When the Israeli government speaks in the same terms as the world’s worst anti-Semites you know something’s profoundly wrong.
While it may be that Schutz is a particularly inept Israeli diplomat who does his job exceedingly badly (there are many of those), it’s not all his fault. His government has decided that BDS, like Iran’s non-existent nuclear weapons, is an existential threat. It has promised to engage in “civil assassinations” of leaders of the non-violent movement. It has ratcheted up the rhetoric to white-hot temperatures.
What does this remind you of? Do I hear you say: “Iran?” Bingo. Bibi & pals were talking about Iran in precisely the same terms just a year or two ago. Iran was the devil. Iran was Hitler. The ayatollahs were insane murderers. Iran wanted to rule the world, launch nuclear missiles at New York. Then Obama signed the P5+1 agreement and Bibi had to shut up (till Trump threatened to dump the whole deal out the window). Now we don’t hear about Iran so much. Bibi understands that it’s become passe. The world isn’t worried about the ayatollahs blowing up the universe.
So Bibi needs a new chimera to threaten the world. The new monster is BDS. In some perverse way, you have to credit the hasbara machine. It’s managed to take a non-violent movement which has neither army, navy, police, nor parliament and turned it into an anti-Semitic monster. He turned Omar Barghouti into a mastermind of hate and terror.
But how many people are really fooled by this charade? How many Norwegians are inveighing against their labor union for draining the blood of Christian babies to make Passover matzah?
It’s completely unsurprising that Norway’s rightist government has decried the union’s endorsement of BDS. Echoing liberal Zionists everywhere, the foreign ministry suggested that instead of BDS, the only viable path was “cooperation and dialogue.” These are the same nostrums offered by status quo-niks the world over: be patient, be flexible. Talk. Be nice. Be civil. When has civility every lured Israel into an agreement it didn’t want to sign?? The foreign minister, of course, had no proposal to ensure Israel offered anything to the Palestinians that was worth negotiating.