We should all be so clever when we see someone parading around demand that people Boycott, Divest, and Sanction the only liberal democracy (in the classic sense of those words) in the entire Middle East.
I’ve always liked the Pet Shop Boys, an 80s band that was part of the background soundtrack to my early 20s. I especially liked this song:
The Pet Shop Boys just went up enormously in my estimation by taking a principled stand against the fundamentally antisemitic Boycott, Divest, and Sanction (BDS) movement against Israel, whose proponents pretend Israel is the new South Africa. Although, I agree with Evelyn Gordon that Neil Tennant, the half of the duo who wrote the post, is off the mark in claiming the Israel engages in”crude and cruel” policies, I also agree with her that the core statement — that Israel is nothing like South Africa — is an important one and cannot be sufficiently emphasized:
I don’t agree with this comparison of Israel to apartheid-era South Africa. It’s a caricature. Israel has (in my opinion) some crude and cruel policies based on defence; it also has universal suffrage and equality of rights for all its citizens both Jewish and Arab. In apartheid-era South Africa, artists could only play to segregated audiences; in Israel anyone who buys a ticket can attend a concert. Neil x
I wish more entertainers had the moral courage to call out the BDS movement for what it is: a hopelessly biased cause that tries to frame the only true liberal democracy in the Middle East (and it is a true liberal democracy by any measure, not just Middle Eastern) as a tyrannical apartheid state.
(As an aside, although I like them, I had no idea that Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe are “the most successful duo in UK music history.” Maybe part of why they’ve done so well is because they’ve got their heads screwed on the right way.)
I never liked Alice Walker’s writing. The Color Purple was a poorly written pulp novel that got traction because it was marketed as a black woman’s rising up from the chains of racism. Others have written the same, only better.
Walker has now confirmed that her bad writing comes about because she’s got an evil soul. When Alicia Keyes planned a trip to Israel, this is the letter Walker penned this marginally literate screed to her (emphasis mine):
Dear Alicia Keys,
I have learned today that you are due to perform in Israel very soon. We have never met, though I believe we are mutually respectful of each other’s path and work. It would grieve me to know you are putting yourself in danger (soul danger) by performing in an apartheid country that is being boycotted by many global conscious artists. You were not born when we, your elders who love you, boycotted institutions in the US South to end an American apartheid less lethal than Israel’s against the Palestinian people. Google Montgomery Bus Boycott, if you don’t know about this civil rights history already. We changed our country fundamentally, and the various boycotts of Israeli institutions and products will do the same there. It is our only nonviolent option and, as we learned from our own struggle in America, nonviolence is the only path to a peaceful future.
If you go to my website and blog alicewalkersgarden.com you can quickly find many articles I have written over the years that explain why a cultural boycott of Israel and Israeli institutions (not individuals) is the only option left to artists who cannot bear the unconscionable harm Israel inflicts every day on the people of Palestine, whose major “crime” is that they exist in their own land, land that Israel wants to control as its own. Under a campaign named ‘Brand Israel’, Israeli officials have stated specifically their intent to downplay the Palestinian conflict by using culture and arts to showcase Israel as a modern, welcoming place.
This is actually a wonderful opportunity for you to learn about something sorrowful, and amazing: that our government (Obama in particular) supports a system that is cruel, unjust, and unbelievably evil. You can spend months, and years, as I have, pondering this situation. Layer upon layer of lies, misinformation, fear, cowardice and complicity. Greed. It is a vast eye-opener into the causes of much of the affliction in our suffering world.
I have kept you in my awareness as someone of conscience and caring, especially about the children of the world. Please, if you can manage it, go to visit the children in Gaza, and sing to them of our mutual love of all children, and of their right not to be harmed simply because they exist.
With love, younger sister, beloved daughter and friend,
Walker is incapable of opening her mind to reality, which establishes that Israel is the only representative democracy in the Middle East, allowing all races, faiths, and sexual orientations to live there in freedom, while the Palestinians are a totalitarian state that work hard to be Judenrein, as well as Christan-free; that terrorizes its own citizens; that routinely slaughters women, gays, and those deemed to be “traitors” supporting Israel; that targets Israel’s children; and that teaches its own children to seek Israel’s destruction through conquest and genocide.
Here’s the truly nasty thing about Walker. Our American public schools teach children to revere her. They’re not reading Shakespeare or Faulkner or Dickens, they’re reading Walker’s slopping, bathetic, ill-informed, badly written insult to English and American literature, and are being told that it’s worthwhile and says important things.
The only saving grace in all of this is that so many of America’s English teachers are boring, ill-informed pendants (that’s what Leftism does to academics, with the most Leftist gravitating to English and social studies). Their students routinely conceive a life-long hatred for the books imposed upon them in English class.
[UPDATE: I should clarify here that, while Fish regularly writes opinion pieces for the Times, and while his beliefs and the Times' beliefs harmonize more often than not, Fish is not a salaried employee of the Times. I've changed the title of this post to add the phrase "guest columnist" in order to reflect that fact.]
Over the past couple of weeks, there has been an appropriate uproar about the fact that Brooklyn College’s Political Science Department, along with the usual Leftist suspects in American academia, were sponsoring a much-publicized forum advocating in favor of BDS. For those who do not closely follow Leftist political attacks on Israel, BDS stands for “Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions.”
BDS is a political movement aimed at isolating, demonizing, and bankrupting Israel. Please take the five or so minutes to watch this video, which explains what BDS is — and mentions its goal, which is to “wipe out Israel”:
In other words, then, the BDS crowd seeks Israel’s destruction. I am hard put to find a context in which it is appropriate to use a publicly funded college to serve as a forum for the destruction of a democratic nation that, at least for now, is an American ally? (There’s no saying what Commander-in-Chief Obama will decree in the coming years.)
In respect to Mayor Bloomberg’s formulaic “I hate what you say, but I’ll fight to the death to let you say it” stance, Jonathan Tobin explains why it is so heinous to support BDS conclaves:
But contrary to the mayor’s typically highhanded formulation, this is not a free speech issue. Using a public university to promote hate speech in which the one Jewish state in the world is hypocritically singled out for isolation and destruction is not a matter of tolerating a diversity of views. What is so frustrating about the debate about BDS is the willingness of even those who do not support it to treat as a merely one among many defensible views about the Middle East or, as the New York Times referred to it in an editorial on the subject yesterday, a question of academic freedom whose advocates do not deserve to be spoken of harshly. As I wrote last week about a related controversy at Harvard, the BDS movement is not motivated by disagreement with specific Israeli policies or the issue of West Bank settlements. It is an economic war waged to destroy the Jewish state and is morally indistinguishable from more traditional forms of anti-Semitism that do not disguise themselves in the fancy dress of academic discourse.
As Yair Rosenberg noted today in Tablet, the BDS movement has as its declared goal Israel’s destruction via implementation of the Palestinian “right of return.” This is consistent with their overall rejection of Israel’s right to exist as a separate Jewish state and their opposition to any means of self-defense against Palestinian terrorism.
It needs to be understood that those who take such a position are, in effect, denying the Jewish people the same right of self-determination that they support for every other nation on the planet. That is a textbook definition of bias and such bias when used against Jews is called anti-Semitism. That is why the various members of the City Council and New York State legislature who have spoken out on this issue are right to try to exert pressure on Brooklyn College to cancel the event and the Times and Bloomberg are wrong to defend the decision to uphold it.
I couldn’t have said it better myself (which is why I quoted Tobin at such length).
Despite these protests, the forum went ahead and Stanley Fish, at the New York Times is thrilled. To him, using American taxpayer dollars to fund a convention aimed at destroying the world’s sole Jewish nation (which also happens to be the sole democracy in the otherwise Muslim, totalitarian Middle East) is the essence of free speech (emphasis mine):
Among the cultural institutions a boycott might target are those Israeli universities that are judged to be either actively in league with the government’s policies toward the Palestinians, or complicit with those policies by virtue of remaining silent while they are being implemented. To the charge that a boycott of academic institutions is a violation of academic freedom, B.D.S. supporters reply that because the state of Israel abrogates the academic freedom of Palestinian professors and students (by denying them funding, access and mobility), it is an affirmation, not a derogation, of academic freedom to refrain from engaging in intellectual commerce with Israeli universities. You can’t invoke academic freedom, they say, when you’re denying it to others. So the lines of battle are set with both sides claiming to be academic freedom’s champion, and it is easy to see why a college might be thought to be an appropriate venue for a discussion of the matter.
Doesn’t Fish’s formulation remind you of such famous phrases as “War is Peace,” “Freedom is Slavery,” “Ignorance is Strength,” or even “Arbeit macht frei“?
Fish is either a fool or a fellow traveler. BDS has nothing to do with academic freedom and everything to do with nation killing. Do I need to mention here that, while Palestine is Judenrein, Israeli universities (see video, above), its government, its military, and even its sports associations have Arab and Palestinian members who, provided that they avoid advocating or agitating for Israel’s imminent destruction, have the same rights as Israel’s Jewish, Christian, atheist, and whatever else residents?
Only a perverse Orwellian doublespeak would pretend that BDS — which aims, as I said, to achieve Israel’s isolation, economic collapse, and her ultimate destruction — is simply a tit-for-tat about academic freedom. If academic freedom was the real issue, this would be a cat fight about speaking gigs at various universities. One doesn’t challenge economic malfeasance by targeting the only Jewish nation in the world for complete destruction.
I won’t deconstruct the rest of Fish’s endlessly long article. Suffice to say that it is as rotten as the foundation on which it’s built.
The New York Times is an increasingly foul publication. I don’t use that word — “foul” — lightly. Even during the Duranty years, it aimed for some semblance of objectivity. Those days are gone. Its slobbering fervor for Barack Obama and the Democrats; its unrelenting hostility to Israel, George Bush, Republicans, conservatives, and libertarians; and its amoral and immoral attacks on all religions but for Islam, which PC dictates be shielded behind a Teflon coating despite its institutional misogyny, homophobia, and antisemitism, all make the Times too foul for fowls. Birds, being smart, deserve something a little classier to line their cages.
I’m not a Madonna fan. Aside from the fact that her music doesn’t work for me, I think her decision to use sex as her primary sales pitch contributed to a decline in our young people’s culture (or lack thereof) over the past couple of decades.
Nevertheless, I do believe in giving credit where credit is due. Madonna has refused to bow to the BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanction) crowd that has Israel in its cross hairs, she’s taken a very brave stand in the entertainment world. Maybe she’s not just a material girl. Maybe she’s a principled girl as well.