Free speech and teeth-gritting

Getting to the root of the boycott, divest and sanction campaign

The author is a local artist, building contractor and antiquarian book dealer.

Members of a local group fear freedom of speech will be limited if legislation combating boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) of Israel is passed. They may be right: The question will probably be settled in court. If Nazis can march, then this group can certainly continue to wage its campaign of misinformation about Israel.

But know the beast for what it is: BDS is rooted in prejudice and hatred, masquerading as “human rights.” David Duke of the Ku Klux Klan expresses his appreciation of and support for BDS; it fits U.S. State Department and EU definitions of racism; and in Spain, no friend of the Jews since the 15th century, a court has declared a municipal BDS campaign discriminatory and unconstitutional.

BDS supporters have harassed and threatened Jewish students and pro-Israel speakers throughout the U.S., engaging in what can only be termed “macro-aggression.” The movement has roots that predate Israel’s founding by decades. “Don’t buy from the Jews” was promulgated by the fascist Mufti of Jerusalem during the 1920s, leading directly to massacres of Jews within the British Mandate for Palestine.

The founder of today’s version, Omar Barghouti, states that his goal is “to end Israel’s existence as a Jewish state.” Oddly, the Palestinian Authority, the “moderate” terror group Israel has to cooperate with, is against BDS. Perhaps this is due to its net effect: the loss of good jobs (unlike America, with benefits!) in Judea and Samaria. This is the Middle East, where reality is more complex than what can fit on a picket sign.

Israel is an island of sanity, a liberal Western democracy surrounded by tribalism and terror: Hamas, Hezbollah, ISIS, al-Qaida, with Iran about to go nuclear. OK, demonize the one Jewish state in the world, but don’t be such a hypocrite—tear out your drip irrigation, don’t use a cellphone, get rid of your Pentium chip computer, don’t build a desalination plant; these are all the fruits of Israeli technology.

Thankfully, I live in America, where our freedom of speech can lead to gritting your teeth and bearing it.