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The BDS Solidarity Wave


Petra Marquardt Bigman, Brandeis Blog

October 27, 2015
 

Activists campaigning for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel recently called for an “international wave of action in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle” and promoted the planned events on social media under the hashtag #SolidarityWaveBDS. One can only speculate if the image of the wave was an entirely coincidental choice or if it was meant to mimic the use of “wave of terror” in statements by Israeli officials describing the numerous attacks by knife-wielding Palestinian terrorists targeting Israeli Jews. In any case, by the time the BDS “solidarity wave” took place, ten Israelis had been killed and more than 100 had been injured, some of them seriously, in the “wave of terror” since the beginning of October. But you wouldn’t know that from any of the material published to promote the BDS “solidarity wave.”

When the BDS events were announced, the terror attacks were whitewashed as an “ongoing, youth-led Palestinian uprising,” which was presented as “a response” to a long list of alleged Israeli atrocities, including “ethnic cleansing … theft of Palestinian land … racist attacks on the Al-Aqsa mosque compound … the siege on Gaza and … new racist measures against Palestinian citizens of Israel.” In addition, “Israel and its fundamentalist settler terror groups” were accused of “savagely attacking Palestinian protests [and] executing Palestinian children and youth in the street.”

Shortly after the planned events, an announcement entitled “Turning the tide against Israel’s criminal repression” boasted that “100 cities across 25 countries joined #SolidarityWaveBDS actions over the weekend.” The announcement claimed that

“Palestinians are continuing to confront Israel’s occupation and apartheid policies at demonstrations and with myriad creative actions that are taking place at more than 65 locations across historic Palestine and in neighbouring Arab countries. […] This uprising is led by a generation of fearless young Palestinian Davids who are no longer intimidated by the brutality of the Israeli Goliath […] It comes as a response to the escalation of Israel’s criminal attacks on and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. Israel’s response to this mass popular rebellion against its oppression has been criminal and ruthless. Since October 1st, more than 49 Palestinians have been killed, including 10 children, shot by Israeli occupation forces during protests or executed.”

Palestinian terrorists shooting and killing a young couple in front of their four children, a lethal stabbing attack targeting a couple returning with their two toddlers from prayers at the Western Wall, a terrorist crashing his car into a bus stop and emerging from the car with a meat cleaver to hack an elderly ultra-orthodox Jew to death – these and the many other terror attacks perpetrated by young Palestinians in the weeks before the “solidarity wave” are whitewashed in the BDS announcements as an “ongoing, youth-led Palestinian uprising” featuring “myriad creative actions.” Or perhaps the “myriad creative actions” were meant as a reference to the countless cartoons with which Palestinians cheered the attacks on social media? The example pictured below, which is celebrating the lethal attack on the couple returning from prayers at the Western Wall, could certainly be described as “creative” since it misleadingly suggests that the teenaged killer was targeting a soldier.


As this screenshot shows, this cartoon was quite popular: it was “liked” by more than 14,000 people and shared by more than 1,700. But there was a veritable wave of similar creativity, including many cartoons featuring anti-Semitic imagery and inciting further violence.

While Palestinians celebrated the terrorists as heroes, they also spread vicious accusations that Israel was wantonly killing Palestinian youngsters. A particularly noteworthy example was the case of the 13-year old Ahmad Manasra who was featured in a YouTube clip under the title “They are killing our children;” the boy’s alleged “execution” was also denounced by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. But the 13-year old Palestinian shown in widely shared images lying in a pool of blood had just stabbed and critically injured a 13-year old Israeli Jewish boy; a few days later, the young terrorist was released from hospital into police custody, while his victim remained hospitalized due to the serious injuries he had suffered.

This is obviously an excellent example of the 21st century version of the medieval blood libel, and the previously cited BDS announcements accusing Israel of “executing Palestinian children and youth in the street” are evidence of the movement’s willingness to promote new versions of this ancient anti-Semitic calumny in order to distract from a wave of lethal terror attacks against Israel’s Jews.

It is thus hardly surprising that a vigil for the Israeli victims of the recent terror attacks organized by Boston University Students for Israel and BU Hillel was promptly denounced as “one-sided, manipulative propaganda” in a statement issued by Boston University Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). Boston University’s SJP also argued that the “use of the word ‘terrorism’ to refer to the Palestinians is an attempt to dehumanize them.” But unfortunately, the longstanding Palestinian support for terrorism is a well-documented phenomenon.

While the current wave of terror attacks is often presented by Palestinians as motivated by a desire to “defend” the supposedly endangered Al Aqsa mosque, I have shown that there is an eerie similarity between today’s news and the news of anti-Jewish violence in British Mandate Palestine of the 1920s,  when the lethal libel of a threat to the Muslim shrines on the Temple Mount was first promoted by the Palestinian leader Amin al-Husseini, who later became notorious as “Hitler’s mufti” and who remains a figure honored in speeches by Palestinian officials.  In a widely noted essay on “The Paranoid, Supremacist Roots of the Stabbing Intifada,” Jeffrey Goldberg also highlighted the “tragic continuity between the 1920s and today.”

Moreover, Palestinian support for terrorism is extensively documented. Regular surveys by the respected Pew research center show that among Muslim populations, Palestinians have long been the strongest supporters of suicide bombings targeting civilians “in order to defend Islam from its enemies.” It is also noteworthy that support for terrorism among Palestinians is widespread even if the target is not Israel. In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, Pew monitored Muslim public opinion about Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden for a decade, and the survey results document that throughout this decade, Palestinians remained bin Laden’s most ardent admirers. When survey participants were asked if they had “confidence” in bin Laden “to do the right thing in world affairs,” the results of a 2003 survey showed that bin Laden actually inspired more “confidence” in Palestinians than their iconic strongman Yassir Arafat.

In view of these shocking survey results and the open glorification of the recent terror attacks by Palestinians, it is utterly shameful hypocrisy when pro-Israel students holding a vigil for recent Israeli terror victims are accused of “one-sided, manipulative propaganda.” Indeed, it is time to call out self-described Palestine solidarity activists for their apparent willingness to whitewash – and thus implicitly support – Palestinian terrorism.

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