(Editor’s note: The UNESCO vote was so egregious that it may have had fortunate consequences. The vote was 24-6 with 26 abstentions. In other words, it was the abstentions, largely by European countries, that allowed the lopsided vote to pass. Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi called the vote “mistaken, “inconceivable’ and “shocking” and promised that Italy would vote against such resolutions in the future. “It is not possible to continue with these resolutions at the UN and UNESCO that aim to attack Israel,” he said on an Italian radio station. “It is shocking and I have ordered that we stop taking this position [abstaining] even if it means diverging from the position taken by the rest of Europe.” Israel has congratulated Renzi and hopes that other countries in the EU may be shamed into following his example.)
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) executive board passed a resolution, entitled “Occupied Palestine,” which refers to Jerusalem’s holy sites only by their Islamic names. The resolution effectively denies the historical ties of the Jewish people to the Temple Mount, proving that this dysfunctional UN body is not grounded in any educational, scientific or cultural reality at all. UNESCO is being used by Islamists, who rammed through the admission of Palestine to UNESCO with full membership privileges in 2011, to wipe away Jewish history in Jerusalem with a stroke of the pen. The purpose is to delegitimize the Jewish state. This is no surprise, considering that Islamic states such as the holocaust-denying Islamic Republic of Iran, the ISIS-funding state of Qatar and the genocide committing state of Sudan sit on UNESCO’s Executive Board.
Even UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who has had his own issues with Israel, could not abide by UNESCO’s re-writing of history. “The Secretary-General reaffirms the importance of the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls for the three monotheistic religions and stresses the importance of the religious and historical link of the Jewish, Muslim and Christian peoples to the holy site,” said a statement read by the UN Spokesperson on behalf of the Secretary General. “The Al Aqsa Mosque/Al-Haram al-Sharif, the sacred shrine of Muslims, is also the Har HaBayit—or Temple Mount—whose Western Wall is the holiest place in Judaism, a few steps away from the Saint Sepulcher church [Church of the Holy Sepulchre] and the Mount of Olives, which is revered by Christians.”
A senior Obama administration official told the Jerusalem Post that the UNESCO resolution was “one-sided,” “unhelpful” and “highly politicized.” The U.S. did vote against the resolution, but President Obama still wants to restore American taxpayers’ funding of UNESCO, which had been cut off after UNESCO granted full membership to the so-called Palestinian “state.”
Palestinian leaders have been cynically attempting to re-write history to suit their false narrative for years. And UNESCO has aided and abetted the lies, even referring to the holiest site in Judaism, the Western Wall, as Al-Buraq Plaza “Western Wall Plaza.” UNESCO used the Arabic name rather than the Hebrew name, Hakotel Hama’arvi, “Kotel.”
Mahmoud Abbas’ advisor on Religious and Islamic Affairs, Mahmoud Al-Habbash, recently praised the UNESCO action on official Palestinian Authority TV:
“UNESCO’s resolution confirms what we think and believe in, that Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque in particular, and the Al-Buraq Wall (i.e., Western Wall) and the Al-Buraq [Wall] plaza are all purely Islamic and Palestinian assets and no one has the right to be our partner in that. No one has the right. We are the owners and we have the right to it. Only the Muslims have the right to the Al-Aqsa [Mosque] and the Al-Buraq [Wall] and the Al-Buraq [Wall] plaza which is purely Islamic waqf property… This is a message to Israel from us (i.e., the Palestinians) that we have the right and from all of the international community.”
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Dear Mrs. May,
I am pleased and relieved to find that you appear to be free of animosity towards Israel and to hold the Jewish people in high regard.
This is no small thing. With the demonisation of Israel the default position in political and cultural circles and with open anti-Jewish hatred now a common occurrence, your decency and straightforwardness have unfortunately become the exception in public life rather than the rule.
I wonder, though, if you fully realise the sources, extent and consequences of these poisonous attitudes towards Israel and the Jewish people?
They are by no means confined to the Corbynistas. They have characterised progressive circles for decades and have spread within the Tory party too.
The animus against Israel cannot be separated from hostility to Jews.
Antisemitism singles out Jews for treatment applied to no other people: double standards, imputation of conspiratorial powers and false claims they are committing crimes of which they are in fact the victims. This is precisely the treatment applied to Israel.
Although anti-Israelism is anti-Jew, many who oppose Israel are not anti-Semitic. There are people of goodwill but no knowledge about the Middle East who believe the Big Lies about Israel with which they are bombarded.
The problem is that no-one is telling them the truth. This is where you come in. For you can use your high office to help change this false and hateful narrative.
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I have lived through the unspeakable years of the Holocaust and then through the glorious years of Israel’s rebirth. I reveled as a young wife and mother in Israel’s lightning victory in 1967; in the assimilation and ingathering of oppressed Jews from every corner of the diaspora; in the Jewish democracy which has contributed to the cultural enhancement and the scientific, agricultural, technological and medical breakthroughs of the entire world. I was certain that unsheathed Jew hatred was a relic of the past.
My illusions have been systematically dashed by the tsunami of anti-Semitism infecting the whole world. It grows within the media, the academy and is expressed in seemingly daily new and increasingly vicious libels against Jews and Israel. Where did it start is the question that gnaws at me.
Many good people seek explanations.
The London Center for Policy Research produced a meticulously researched book The BDS War against Israel- the Orwellian Campaign to Destroy Israel Through the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement. Written by Jed Babbin and Herbert London it documented the funding, agenda and duplicity of the movement. But the question remains: “How did we get there?”
The Gatestone Institute publishes countless columns detailing the crisis proportion of the anti-Semitism sweeping through Europe. The question nags: “Why is this happening?”
David Collier in England describes the growing anti-Semitism and hate festivals in mainline churches and in universities.
Frontpage Magazine and its Freedom Center are superb in researching and exposing the campus manifestations of Israel/Jew hatred throughout the nation. Check out StoptheJihadonCampus.org. But why did the campuses become the purveyors of “civilized” anti-Semitism?
CAMERA, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, does a yeoman’s job in monitoring the media and correcting distortions and libels against Israel. But how did we get to a place where this organization is essential?
Was it the Lebanon war of 1982? In 1984 AFSI produced a documentary “NBC’s War in Lebanon- A Study in Misrepresentation” based on watching every single news report from NBC. It detailed the transgressions in reporting, the falsehoods and the overt bias of the network. The documentary was reviewed in the New York Times by John Corry who agreed that world opinion was altered by the coverage. As an example the respected commentator John Chancellor opined about a ”feeling Israel was turning into a warrior state, using far more force than is necessary to solve its problems.” He also mentioned the ”problem with Israeli credibility.” But, even the vile coverage did not elicit campus protests and calls for boycotts.
Was it Arab money fueling the Middle East departments of our universities? Robert Spencer has exposed the funding and agenda of the educational anti-Israel cartel know as MESA (Middle Eastern Studies Association) But, as bad as they are, they are not responsible for the avalanche of organizations representing academic pursuits from Anthropology to Library Science to Asian-American Studies–to name only a few– that have voted to boycott Israel.
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Editorial Board: Ruth King, Rita Kramer
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Zionism101.org Online now: Jabontinsky Part 1: An Individualist
“Jabotinsky Part 1: An Individualist” traces the early life of Revisionist leader Vladimir “Ze’ev” Jabotinsky. Born in Odessa, he demonstrates in his youth many of the characteristics and range of talents that will distinguish him as an iconoclastic leader willing to take on the Zionist establishment.There are already 41 free videos on the site, covering everything from Zionism’s early years to Christian Zionism to Israel’s War of Independence.
Register for the Next AFSI Chizuk tour of Israel November 10-16 2016
Visit the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria Meet national and local government officials
Pre-registration is starting now; email Judy at email@example.com.
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Normally election-averse Mahmoud Abbas’ sudden mid-summer call for October 8th elections in the Palestinian municipalities of Judea and Samaria was a desperate attempt to repurchase a hold on a West Bank power base slipping from his fingers. His no less sudden cancellation of those elections in early September was a testament to his fear of drowning.
Drowning has been put off at least until December, when the “Ramallah High Court of Justice” says it may have another look at the matter. Abbas’ pretext for petitioning the cancellation – Israel’s voting bar on Arab residents of eastern Jerusalem — didn’t stand in the way of 2012 local contests, but the President of both the Palestinian Authority and the amorphous “State of Palestine” isn’t likely to forget how close he came this time to a soggy political end. Holding municipal elections must have seemed as good a distraction as any from the woes attending his 11-year stewardship of a Palestinian entity living off the dole, in thrall to a gaggle of European-funded NGOs intent on reining in his unlimited control of the PA’s finances, a going-nowhere economy kept partially afloat by the 70,000 jobs Israel provides and an Iranian- armed Hamas that would have him for lunch were he not under Israel’s protective shield
The last thing Mr. Abbas would have anticipated when he embarked on his flirtation with democracy was that Hamas, a member of the overarching Palestine Liberation Organization, the “sole representative of the Palestinian people,” might want to join in the festivities. Though it used its muscle in the 2004-2005 municipal elections to launch a 2007 takeover in Gaza, Hamas spurned the 2012 event as irrelevant and might have been of a mind to do the same this time around. But a funny thing happened on the way to the electoral forum that changed the whole picture. The Student Union Council of Birzeit University, a stone’s throw from the PA and its Fatah party Ramallah headquarters, decided to hold its own municipal elections with representative lists of Fatah and Hamas student supporters pitted against each other. It resulted in a 26-19 rout of the PA by Hamas and in the blink of an eye the Gazans declared themselves itself all-in for an October 8th faceoff.
The decision hit the PA like a thunderclap, with reverberations as far as Jerusalem. . “Hamas,” wrote YNetNews’ Alex Fishman, raising images of new Hamas custodians of the West Bank going eyeball to eyeball with the IDF, “lulled everyone into a false sense of security and then, all of a sudden, dropped a bombshell…setting the entire West Bank aflame . These elections,” he added, “are no longer just a vote over sanitary conditions in the Palestinian cities but rather a process with national and political significance that threatens to unseat Fatah from the centers of power in the West Bank.” Cynicism was giving shock a run for its money in Israeli circles. “All of a sudden Abbas wants democracy,” scoffed Dr. Roni Shaked of the Hebrew University’s Harry S. Truman Research Center. “All signs point to a Hamas victory,” he added, with “the Fatah leadership blaming [Abbas] for handing the West Bank over to Hamas on a silver platter.”
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Chatterjee yes, ADL no
Milan Chatterjee, a third year law student at UCLA and president of the UCLA Graduate Student Association, has left UCLA for NYU, a victim both of vicious attacks by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and the craven administration.
Chatterjee is an Indian American and a Hindu. In the crazy world of the U.S. campus (it has gotten to the point that Brit Hume on Fox News devotes a segment each night to campus craziness) he was found guilty—after a four month investigation– of discrimination by the UCLA Discrimination Prevention Office for refusing to discriminate against Jews. Specifically Chatterjee had stipulated that a so-called “diversity(!)” event asking for Graduate Student Association funds could only receive them if it did not officially associate itself with the BDS movement and SJP. Chatterjee told the Algemeiner: “Everyone knew about the stipulation from the very beginning. I even received explicit approval.”
In the course of the investigation, Chatterjee reports, BDS groups began a “deadly, malicious campaign against me,” wrote defamatory articles, circulated petitions and tried three times to remove him as GSA president. The Orwellian UCLA Discrimination Prevention Office decided Chatterjee had “violated University policy requiring viewpoint neutrality.” Question: If all “viewpoints” must be funded in the name of “viewpoint neutrality,” does that mean the General Student Association is required to support Ku Klux Klan events?
As Chatterjee rightly observed, the investigation‘s report was a “clear cover-up by the UCLA administration” and demonstrates the double standards by which it operates. He says: “If SJP files a complaint, they will bend over backwards. If it’s anyone else, they don’t care.” As a result of his ordeal, Chatterjee has switched to NYU , despite the much greater expense. He says his experience has “made me sympathize with the Jewish student body and how unsafe the campus climate is towards them, especially at UCLA.”
A number of Jewish organizations went to bat for Chatterjee, although without success. The Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights under Law provided legal aid to Chatterjee and its president Kenneth Marcus told the Algemeiner “This is a very dark day for the University of California.” Aron Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center said “UCLA has doubled down on its wrongdoing and continues to dig the pit even deeper.” The American Jewish Committee demanded that the U.S. Department of Education “conduct a thorough investigation” of UCLA’s conduct. But contrast this with the weak-kneed response of ADL, whose specific mandate is to combat discrimination against Jews . Jonathan Greenblatt declared: “If the allegations are true, it is troubling that anti-Israel student activists are creating an environment where students do not feel safe.” If the allegations are true? Then it’s “troubling”? If ADL was a weak reed under Foxman, it is a full-blown disgrace under Greenblatt, undeserving of a penny of support from any self-respecting Jew.
More on Rule by NGOs
In the last Outpost we noted something that is not sufficiently understood: the extent to which the EU’s policies are dictated by NGOs that claim to promote human rights. (How far they depart from their professed purpose is obvious from the fact that for the vast majority of these NGOs Israel is the chief human rights violator on this earth.) So it was encouraging to see a recent article “Human Rights vs the People” by Yves Mamou, a long time journalist for the (left-wing) Le Monde, which emphasizes the importance of the human rights lobby in setting the moral compass for European elites. Here are some excerpts:
“French politicians seem to believe they are elected not to defend French people and the French nation, but to impose a ‘human rights ideology’ on society….The ideology of human rights is common to all European countries.
“The human rights movement was born in 1948 with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, launched by Eleanor Roosevelt. For 70 years, nine major ‘core’ human rights treaties were written and ratified by the vast majority of countries. Like a disease, the ‘human rights ideology’ has proliferated in all areas of life. The United Nations website shows a list of all the human rights that are now institutionalized: they range from ‘adequate housing’ to ‘youth’ and include ‘Food,’ ‘Freedom of Religion and Belief,’ ‘HIV/AIDS.’ ‘Mercenaries,’ ‘Migration,’ ‘Poverty,’ ‘Privacy,’ ‘Sexual orientation and gender identity,’ ‘Sustainable Development,’ ‘Water and sanitation.’ At least 42 categories of human rights fields are determined…
“What is disturbing is that human rights and anti-discrimination policies are dismantling nations, and placing states in a position of incapacity—or perhaps just unwillingness—to name Islamism as a problem and take measures against it.
“Human rights are what we call in France ‘fundamental rights.’ They were introduced in the 70s….Islam took advantage of it to install in France, in the name of human rights and under its protection, Islamic civilization, mosques and minarets, the Islamic way of life…Islamic laws even in violation of French law, religious marriage without civil marriage, polygamy, unilateral divorce of wife by husband, etc.
“The human rights and anti-discrimination ‘religion’ also gave Islam and Islamists a comfortable position from which to declare war on France and all other European countries….
“The question now is: have our leaders decided to cope with the real problems of the real people? In other words, are they motivated enough to throw the human rights overboard?….the fight against Islamism might first consist of a fight against the caste that governs us.”
How to End the Occupation
Ending the occupation has become an obsession in much of the so-called world community. Moshe Feiglin has come up with an anti-PC proposal to accomplish this: declare Israeli sovereignty over the entire area between the Jordan and the Mediterranean. Even the most hardened Israeli peace-through-concessions proponents will find it difficult to disagree with one point Feiglin makes: “The idea of ending the occupation by running away (Oslo/disengagement) has already exploded in our faces.”
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In one generation, Europe will be unrecognizable.
Deaths that exceed births might sound like science fiction, but they are now Europe’s reality. It just happened. During 2015, 5.1 million babies were born in the EU, while 5.2 million persons died, meaning that the EU for the first time in modern history recorded a negative natural change in its population. The numbers come from Eurostat (the statistical office of the European Union), which since 1961 has been counting Europe’s population. It is official.
There is, however, another surprising number: the European population increased overall from 508.3 million to 510.1 million. Have you guessed why? The immigrant population increased, by about two million in one year, while the native European population was shrinking. It is the substitution of a population. Europe has lost the will to maintain or grow its population. The situation is as demographically seismic as during the Great Plague of the 14th Century.
This shift is what the British demographer David Coleman described in his study, “Immigration and Ethnic Change in Low-Fertility Countries: A Third Demographic Transition.” Europe’s suicidal birth rate, coupled with migrants who multiply faster, will transform European culture. The declining fertility rate of native Europeans coincides, in fact, with the institutionalization of Islam in Europe and the “re-Islamization” of its Muslims.
In 2015, Portugal recorded the second-lowest birth rate in the European Union (8.3 per 1,000 inhabitants) and negative natural growth of -2.2 per 1,000 inhabitants. Which EU country had the lowest birth rate? Italy. Since the “baby boom” of the 1960s, in the country famous for its large families, the birth rate has more than halved. In 2015, the number of births fell to 485,000, fewer than in any other year since modern Italy was formed in 1861.
Eastern Europe now has “the largest population loss in modern history“, while Germany overtook Japan by having the world’s lowest birth rate, when averaged over past five years. In Germany and Italy, the decreases were particularly dramatic, down -2.3% and -2.7% respectively.
Some businesses are no longer even interested in European markets. Kimberly-Clark, which makes Huggies diapers, has pulled out of most of Europe. The market is simply not cost-effective. Meanwhile, Procter & Gamble, which produces Pampers diapers, has been investing in the business of the future: diapers for old people.
Europe is becoming gray; you can feel all the sadness of a world that has consumed itself. In 2008, the countries of the European Union saw the birth of 5,469,000 children. Five years later, there were nearly half a million fewer, 5,075,000 — a decrease of 7%. Fertility rates have not only fallen in countries with aching economies, such as Greece, but also in countries such as Norway, which sailed through the financial crisis.
As Lord Sacks recently said, “falling birth rates could spell the end of the West“. Europe, as it is aging, no longer renews its generations, and instead welcomes massive numbers of migrants from the Middle East, Africa and Asia, who are going to replace the native Europeans, and who are bringing cultures with radically different values about sex, science, political power, culture, economy and the relation between God and man.
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“US Sends Iran Two More Loads of Cash.” So blared the headline on the front page of the September 7 issue of The Wall Street Journal about the latest transfer of enormous amounts of money ($1.3 billion in this latest installment) by President Barack Obama from the US Treasury to the government of Iran.
This is the very same genocidal regime whose leaders proclaim at every opportunity their intention to destroy the state of Israel, and whose (treaty-violating) nuclear-capable ballistic missiles are marked, in Farsi, with the motto “Israel must be erased from history,” as well as the phrase, in Hebrew no less, “Israel must be erased from the earth.”
President Obama’s Secretary of State John Kerry had already agreed to “return” $130 billion to the mullahs as a kind of signing bonus for their consent to the scandalous JCPOA nuclear “deal,” a vast addition to Iran’s ability to make war — which it has in fact already done, directly in Syria and Iraq, and indirectly against Israel via Hezbollah and Hamas. Earlier news had been of a mere $400 million — paid secretly, and in Mafia-style cash bundles — as ransom for some, though by no means all, Americans held hostage by Iran.
The mind reels, the heart sinks: can anyone, even his harshest critics, imagine President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, after Adolf Hitler had made clear, in the Nuremberg laws (1935), in Kristallnacht (1938), and in countless speeches, his intention to destroy European Jewry, lavishing billions of American dollars in courtship of the Nazi regime?
Just a week earlier, on August 30, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in a written response to a pro-Israel German parliamentarian named Volker Beck, declared (not for the first time) that Germany will not “normalize” relations with Iran until Tehran recognizes the state of Israel and its “right to exist.” Merkel is unusual among European heads of state in assigning importance to moral considerations, especially where Jews (dead or living) are concerned. Despite her party’s recent electoral setbacks, she still stands at the head of a country that, in the years 1933-45, destroyed European Jewish civilization. That was (to use one of President Obama’s favorite locutions) “the verdict of history” pronounced by Europe upon its Jewish minority, which it is now replacing with a rather different (and much more quarrelsome) Muslim minority. European Christendom, over the course of centuries, had, in Raul Hilberg’s famous formulation, progressed from the historical verdict, “You [Jews] have no right to live among us as Jews,” to “You have no right to live among us,” to “You have no right to live.”
Merkel now seems to recognize some similarity between the Nazi regime that denied Jews “the right to live” and contemporary regimes (like Iran’s) and “progressive” political movements that deny Israel’s “right to exist.” She sometimes, to be sure, like many European intellectuals, mistakes metaphorical Jews for real ones, and thinks that admitting a million refugees from the Syrian catastrophe into Germany will somehow atone for Germany’s sins of the past (even as, paradoxically, it endangers the actual Jews who today live in Germany). Indeed, she has undertaken to change the nature and the image of Germany from the nastiest, ugliest, most racist and violent county of Europe to its most generous, welcoming and multicultural one — in sharp contrast to those nasty Austrians, Greeks and Hungarians.
One might, to be sure, ask why Merkel didn’t recognize much sooner that the Iranian regime is the inheritor of Nazism in making destruction of Israel virtually its raison d’etre. Just a few days before the April 2, 2015 announcement in Lausanne that the framework of a nuclear “deal” with Iran had been reached (by American surrender on all points of contention with the mullahs), that country’s military leaders declared (just as former Iranian President Ahmadinejad used to do after breakfast each morning) that its goal of destroying Israel was “not negotiable.”
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(Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from William MacAdams’ biography Ben Hecht: The Man Behind the Legend. Hecht was part of that small brave band that insisted on dramatizing the plight of European Jews during the war, at a time when Jewish leadership, fearful of feeding anti-Semitism in the U.S., not only sat on their hands (Roosevelt could do no wrong) but attacked those who refused to be silent. After the war, Hecht continued to stoke the ire of Jewish leadership by openly endorsing the actions of the Irgun against the British.)
On May 15th, 1947, Hecht published a full-page piece in fifteen major American dailies which soon smeared him across newspapers all over the world.
“Letter to the Terrorists of Palestine
My brave friends,
You may not believe what I write you, for there is a lot of fertilizer in the air at the moment.
But, on my word as an old reporter, what I write is true. The Jews of America are for you. You are the feathers in their hats.
In the past fifteen hundred years every nation of Europe has taken a crack at the Jews. This time the British are at bat.
You are the first answer that makes sense to the New World.
Every time you blow up a British arsenal, or wreck a British jail, or send a British railroad train sky high, or rob a British bank, or let go with your bombs and guns at the British betrayers and invaders of your homeland, the Jews of America make a little holiday in their hearts. . . .”
For weeks Hecht was attacked by the British press. Lord Beaver-brook’s Evening Standard called him a “penthouse warrior” and accused him of “gross chauvinism, distortion of history, indoctrination of children, preference of solutions through violence, race pride, the stoking up of hatred between nations, indifference to the sanctity of human life.” Lord Rothermere’s Daily Mail labeled him a “vitriolic Zionist volcano with a touch of the carnival huckster” and reprinted an article from the Palestine Post [later the Jerusalem Post] that accused Hecht of “creating a criminal insanity that is killing Jews as well as Britons.” The Standard devoted its entire “Letters to the Editor” section one day to Hecht, one correspondent calling Hecht a “Nazi at heart” and nine others suggesting his films be banned.
Hecht was not only reviled in imperialist British newspapers and by his Haganah foes, but by many of the very people he considered himself a spokesman for: American Jews. Meyer Levin, in his autobiography In Search, wrote:
“I first knew Ben Hecht in his newspaper days, and followed him on the Chicago Daily News. It is utterly inconceivable to me that a Chicago newspaperman with a name like Ben Hecht could have been unaware that anti-Semitism existed in America….To make such a statement in a book that was supposed to be a guide for other Jews revealed, to me, more than anything else in the volume, Hecht’s capacity for attitudinizing and self-deception.”
Earlier, veteran correspondent Dorothy Thompson (one of Sinclair Lewis’s wives) had written, on November 3rd, 1946, “I am greatly perturbed about the behaviour and propaganda of some Zionists, or self-appointed leaders or spokesmen for the Zionist movement, specifically the Bergson and Ben Hecht group. These people are the worst contributors to anti-Semitism in America to my mind.”
Hecht’s reaction to accusations of fostering anti-Semitism, a result of his support of “terrorists,” was another catchphrase: “There are only two Jewish parties left in the field: the terrorists and the terrified.”
In the midst of this controversy and plans to write a movie to be produced in France to raise money for the Irgun, Hecht was hospitalized in New York. In June 1947 his gall bladder was removed, incapacitating him for months. Gene Fowler wrote him, “It must have been a novelty to have had the knife in your front instead of your back for a change.” In August he was well enough to narrate a radio version of “Specter of the Rose” on the Inner Sanctum radio show, quipping that radio “is a wonderful way to make money—almost as good as train announcing.” For two nights in September, another propaganda play, The Terrorist, was presented by the American League for a Free Palestine at Carnegie Hall, starring Ruth Chatterton. The winter was spent recuperating in Nyack, where he wrote a children’s book for [his daughter] Jenny, “The Cat That Jumped out of the Story.” The end of December saw him back in Hollywood, riding high in the studios’ esteem because of rave reviews for Kiss of Death and good ones for Dishonored Lady and Ride the Pink Horse….
He also continued his Irgun fund-raising….
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What are the BDS movement’s origins? The question is, at one level, an historical curiosity. The movement exists, it is forging ever-deeper links with the far left and the ‘progressive’ movement, and is a force to be reckoned with. At another level, however, the history of the BDS movement is emblematic of Palestinian political history, and the recent development of global antisemitism, as a whole.
It is easy to dismiss the movement’s own origins story, the 2005 call from Palestinian ‘civil society’ organizations. The call for boycotting Israel was in explicit opposition to the Palestinian Authority (which, indeed, rejected it) and may well have originated with a rejectionist PLO faction. Indeed, many of the ‘grassroots’ organizations that signed the document cannot be traced. They were likely organs of political factions or just fabrications.
The message was simple: the “representatives of Palestinian civil society, call upon international civil society organizations and people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era. We appeal to you to pressure your respective states to impose embargoes and sanctions against Israel. We also invite conscientious Israelis to support this Call, for the sake of justice and genuine peace.”
The call also put forward three demands [on Israel]; “1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall 2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and 3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.” In short, the call demanded dismantling of Israel through the ‘right of return.’ This has not changed: the end of Israel is the core BDS goal.
The story from this point is well-known; the civil society call burgeoned into an international movement which has had particular success in Europe and in global academia. Among the Palestinians themselves, however, groups like the “Palestinian BDS National Committee,” which purports to be the “Palestinian coordinating body for the BDS campaign worldwide,” remain mysterious. Only a few individuals can be identified, its funding sources are completely (and characteristically) obscure, but it has had some success encouraging BDS in Arab states, in part under the old Jordanian (and now ubiquitous) slogan of “anti-normalization.”
But the 2005 ‘civil society’ call built on the academic and cultural boycott launched in 2004, allegedly by Palestinian intellectuals. In fact, the academic boycott was largely the effort of a small group centered on Omar Barghouti (born in Qatar, raised in Egypt, educated in the US), then a graduate student at Tel Aviv University. The academic boycott’s questionable success notwithstanding, the fact is that Barghouti was basically a freelancer; with no political base in Palestinian society, he and his ‘movement’ took a well-trodden rejectionist path.
But this history of outside manipulation is much deeper still. The academic boycott as such has roots far outside of the Middle East, specifically in Britain. There, as David Hirsch has pointed out, academics Steven and Hilary Rose, and Mona Baker, began to demand Israelis be boycotted in 2002, and in 2003 began agitating for Israel boycotts in British teachers’ unions.
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