02-05-2021 CBN News Jerusalem Julie Stahl
JERUSALEM, Israel – The U.S. Senate committee has voted to back President Biden’s nominee for ambassador to the United Nations, paving the way for full senate approval. Veteran diplomat Linda Thomas-Greenfield has pledged to combat ‘unfair targeting of Israel’ at the international body.
Thomas-Greenfield said that the BDS or Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement that is so often used to target Israel “verges on anti-Semitic” and should not be allowed to “have a voice at the UN.” Experts in Israel agree.
“BDS are in fact all about creating political pressure on the State of Israel to allow economic, academic and cultural boycotts or pressure on the State of Israel to allow millions of Palestinians to return to the State of Israel,” said Tzahi Gavrieli, director of Israel’s National Task Force Against Delegitimization.
Einat Wilf, author of “The War of Return,” explained the BDS movement gains traction by what she calls “the placard strategy.”
“The placard strategy is the equations that everyone who goes to an anti-Israel demonstration sees (on) their placards. They’re structured in this way: It says, ‘Zionism equals’ or ‘Israel equals’ or sometimes it just says, ‘The Star of David equals.’It never says, ‘Zionism equals the political movement for self-determination for the Jewish people in their homeland,’ which is the accurate definition,” Wilf told CBN News.
Wilf says, the strategy has been very effective, even though the equations are lies.
“They’re [using] words like ‘colonialism,’ ‘racism,’ ‘apartheid,’ sometimes even ‘Nazism’ and ‘genocide.’ These words are all chosen because in our collective consciousness, they connote evil — basically people are exposed to an ongoing refrain that says, ‘Zionism, Israel, Star of David, equals evil,’” Wilf said.
But it’s not about slogans on placards at demonstrations.
“It’s the United Nations, it’s on television. Give an anti-Israel speaker 30 seconds on television, they’ll manage to say Israel, Zionism, colonialism, apartheid, genocide, in the same sentence, regardless of what is the question,” Wilf said.
BDS often claims to be a ‘grass roots’ movement. But Gavriel, the Israeli government’s in-house expert on fighting the BDS movement, says there’s nothing grass roots about it.
“One could be operating in New York. The second one in Cincinnati, the third one in Virginia, and the fourth one could be in Milan in Italy. It’s a network, operated and being headquartered from Ramallah by an element or organization called the BNC, the BDS National Committee. This is a coalition of coalitions,” Gavrieli told CBN News.
And Wilf says there’s nothing new about the movement.
“The Palestinians are still committed to their old goal of no sovereign state for the Jewish people in any borders anywhere,” Wilf said.
When other tactics failed, the demand for a Right of Return for Palestinian refugees to Israel and then the BDS movement emerged.
“The BDS movement continues the same old idea that the Jewish people are uniquely evil, that the world will be a better place if there was no Jewish State in it, which again, is a very ancient anti-Semitic theme,” Wilf said.
Both Wilf and Gavrieli said it’s important to keep fighting
“Continue very vigorously and with hazak ve ematz (strength and courage in Hebrew) as the Lord said, be very strong and be not afraid,” Gavrieli said.
“We are, in fact, collaborating with more than 200 different organizations worldwide in order to mobilize them and work with them as a civil society engine in favor of the State of Israel, to tell the truth about Israel,” he added.
“The first thing is really to expose BDS for what it is – that it might be non-violent in its means, but it is very violent in its ends; about the fact that it’s not about peace,” Wilf said. “And, ultimately, they should be confronted on campuses, in the media, everywhere which they operate to expose them for their sinister purposes.”
And, she added, it’s not just about Israel.
“We saw it begin when it comes to Jews on campus and in America, but it will have a broader impact on America, on American discourse, on the ability of America to be a welcoming inclusive place for people of all faiths and beliefs and worldviews,” Wilf said.
“For me, BDS is far, far more about America and especially about Jews in America than it is ultimately about Israel,” she added.
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