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Opinion: Columnists

'The BDS War Against Israel:' Rebutting the lies

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Opinion,Columnists,Jed Babbin,Israel,Middle East,Boycotts

Editor's Note: This is the second of a three-part series of excerpts from Washington Examiner columnist Jed Babbin's new book “The BDS War Against Israel," written with Herbert London.

To justify their campaign for boycotts, divestment, and sanctions, the Palestinians and their allies lodged a host of spurious charges against Israel. The accusations were so absurd and over-the-top that they would be laughable if they hadn’t gained such traction in the global society in the intervening decade.

Here are a few examples, all drawn from the book, “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions,” by the BDS movement’s principal writer and spokesman, Palestinian activist Omar Bargouti.

• Israel is “fascist and racist”

• Israel is an “apartheid state”

• Israel will commit genocide against the Palestinians unless constrained by BDS

• Israel has committed war crimes against Palestinians in Gaza since 2007

• Fundamental Jewish religious law provides for massacres and genocide of non-Jewish civilians including children.

[In 1975] Yasser Arafat – acting on behalf of the Soviets – backed by Castro’s Cuba, the Soviet bloc nations and a coalition of Arab governments managed to get the “Zionism is racism” resolution to the floor of the General Assembly for debate and a vote with the active help of the Romanian foreign intelligence service. On the occasion of the debate on the resolution, November 10, 1975, then-U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Daniel Patrick Moynihan gave perhaps the most memorable speech of his distinguished public career.

Moynihan stated one of the basic truths of Judaism: that it accepts not only those who were born into the religion but anyone – regardless of race, creed or national origin. By that standard, he said:

“Now I should wish to be understood that I am here making one point, and one point only, which is that whatever else Zionism may be, it is not and cannot be “a form of racism.” In logic, the State of Israel could be, or could become, many things, theoretically, including many things undesirable, but it could not be and could not become racism unless it ceased to be Zionist.

“Apartheid” – which means “apartness” in the Afrikaaner language of South Africa – was the statutory policy of that nation from 1948-1989. Under apartheid, racial segregation was mandated, 70 percent of the land was reserved for white use, whites were privileged economically (in eligibility and hiring for jobs), interracial marriage was banned, and the education of blacks was controlled. Opposition to apartheid was banned and opposition leaders were imprisoned.

Israeli Arabs have the right to vote in Israel, just as the U.N. partition resolution provided. (This includes Arab women.) The right to vote was denied black South Africans under apartheid (and the right to vote for women is denied by many Islamic countries). Israeli Arabs can hold elective office, another right denied black South Africans. The Israeli parliament – called the Knesset – has 120 members. There have been Arab members since the first Knesset elections in 1949. Currently, 12 Arabs serve in the parliament.

One apartheid practice was to control and thus limit the education of blacks in South Africa; there are no such statutes in Israel and there are many Arab students at Israel’s top universities.

South African Judge Richard Goldstone led a U.N. Human Rights Commission to investigate allegations of war crimes committed by Israelis in the Gaza conflict of 2008-2009, discussed below. In a New York Times op-ed that appeared on October 31, 2011, Goldstone wrote, “In Israel, there is no apartheid. Nothing there comes close to the definition of apartheid under the 1998 Rome Statute.”

Barghouti’s incitement of hatred for Jews echoes the anti-Semitic blood libel of Czarist Russia’s “Protocols of the Elders of Zion.” He writes, “It is crucial to note that fundamentalist interpretation of the Halacha, or Jewish law, openly justify massacres, even genocide (as in mass murder of "non-Jewish" civilians, including children)…” Rabbi Binyamin Sendler is a noted Talmudic scholar and an expert on Jewish religious law. He investigated the claims made in Barghouti’s book and found them entirely false.

To say that Jewish religious law allows or even encourages mass murder of non-Jews including children) is completely false. Regardless of Mao’s statement that a lie repeated a hundred times becomes the truth, this lie remains a lie no matter how many times Barghouti and the BDS supporters repeat it.

Jed Babbin served as a deputy undersecretary of defense in the George H.W. Bush administration and is a senior fellow of the London Center for Policy Research.

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Jed Babbin

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The Washington Examiner