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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 6/9/15

Criminalizing Criticism: A Zionist Project

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In the West, much of the organized criticism of Israel now comes from campaigns aimed at promoting Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) of the Zionist state. So robust has the BDS movement grown that Gilad Erdan, Israel's newly appointed Minister of Public Security, Strategic Affairs, and Public Diplomacy, has described it as one of the most "urgent issues" facing Israel. Israel's president, Reuven Rivlin, has described the developing academic boycott, just one part of BDS, as a "strategic threat of the first order."

Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has taken it upon himself to set the tone of Israel's counter-attack on BDS. He has declared that there is an "international campaign to blacken Israel's name" and he alleges that it is not motivated by Israel's policies toward the Palestinians but rather seeks to "delegitimize Israel ... and deny our very right to live here." In other words, he is claiming that present criticism of Israel is really an attack on its existence, and not on its behavior. For Netanyahu this has to be a form of anti-Semitism. As Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the PLO executive committee, describes Netanyahu's argument, "If you criticize me you are anti-Semitic ... If you accept any kind of punitive measure or sanctions against Israel, you want to destroy Israel." That is how the prime minister avoids confronting the facts.

As bad as this is, it gets even worse. Declaring the goal of BDS to be the elimination of Israel allows the Zionists to use their influence with Western legislators to make cooperation with the boycott subject to penalties. In the United States, AIPAC, the most powerful of the Zionist lobbies, is working on legislation similar to that used against Iran and also the Arab boycott of Israel in the 1970s. This legislation would penalize businesses, both at home and abroad, that favorably respond to calls for boycott. If this works we can expect the Zionists to go further and try to subvert the U.S. Constitution's free speech provisions and then go after individuals as well as businesses. In this regard, efforts are also underway in Canada and France.

Part III -- Money Magic

Finally, there is the assumption that money can destroy Israel's critics. This is a special belief of Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino magnate and enthusiastic backer of Netanyahu. Adelson has taken aim at activity critical of Israel on U.S. college campuses. In the first week of June 2015, he and his supporters convened a "Campus Maccabees Summit," the purpose of which was "to develop the conceptual framework for the anti-BDS action plan [on college campuses], assign roles and responsibilities to pro-Israel organizations, and create the appropriate command-and-control system to implement it." Fifty activist Zionist organizations attended the conference, as did 20 donors, each of whom pledged one million dollars to the cause over the next two years.

Part IV -- Conclusion

Prime Minister Netanyahu personifies the problem with Zionist thinking. He is wholly self-centered and seemingly incapable of recognizing, much less taking responsibility for, Israel's racist behavior. Thus, with the Zionists having spent the last 100 years planning and then actually doing what was needed to deny as many non-Jews as possible the "very right to live in" Palestine, Netanyahu now accuses others of doing the same thing to him and his kin -- and labels it a criminal act.

The truth is that most Western critics, including supporters of BDS, are not trying to kick the Jews out of Israel. They are trying to bring maximum pressure on the Israeli government to stop kicking non-Jews out, to stop territorial expansion in violation of international law, and to start acting like the democratic state it so questionably claims to be.

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Lawrence Davidson is a history professor at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He is the author of Foreign
Policy Inc.: Privatizing America's National Interest
; America's
Palestine: Popular and Offical Perceptions from Balfour to Israeli
Statehood
; and Islamic Fundamentalism. His academic work is focused on the history of American foreign relations with the Middle East. He also teaches courses in the history of science and modern European intellectual history.

His blog To The Point Analyses now has its own Facebook page. Along with the analyses, the Facebook page will also have reviews, pictures, and other analogous material.

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