Monday, February 24, 2014

BDS Lie Week

Lena Abayev Bakman

Dozens of events will take place worldwide this week as part of the 10th annual "Israeli Apartheid Week." These events include lectures and panel discussions on academic campuses in the West, with the stated goal being "to raise awareness about Israel's apartheid policies toward the Palestinians and to build support for the growing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign."
In short: to expand the political war against Israel.
This is not a few individuals getting together. Nongovernmental organizations that claim to stand for human rights but that actually support the demonization of Israel are active in it. Some are even funded by European governments. Groups such as the Coalition of Women for Peace (funded, in part, by the European Union and the Netherlands), the Electronic Intifada (Netherlands), and the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (Ireland) have participated in previous apartheid weeks.
Moreover, films, reports and publications put out by other organizations that do not officially take part in the week (like Israel's Breaking the Silence) provide ammunition.

Last year, South Africa was very active in promoting the week, an interesting fact given that it all began there, in Durban, in 2001. During the U.N.-sponsored World Conference on Racism, hundreds of NGOs met and outlined the "Durban strategy" for Israel's diplomatic annihilation. The Jerusalem-based research institution NGO Monitor was founded immediately afterward to investigate the groups involved in this political warfare, and today there is greater public awareness of the issue.
The week might only take place once a year, but it is not an isolated event. It is just one example of the Durban strategy-based BDS campaign against Israel, which is on 52 weeks a year, every year. We can point out a number of recent examples, such as the smear campaign against actress Scarlett Johansson and attempts to prevent musicians like Neil Young from performing in Israel.
The week is based on lies, twisted historicism, and deception. According to the declaration on the movement's website, Zionism is defined as "racism," Israel is considered Palestine, Arab Israelis are defined as Palestinians and as having fewer civil rights, and Israel is characterized as an apartheid state.
The demands of the apartheid week leaders are based on the Durban strategy and call for Israel to end its occupation of "Arab land," release what they characterize as "political prisoners" (that is, Palestinian terrorists in Israeli jails), and promote the so-called "right of return" for Palestinian refugees and their millions of descendants.
It is time to acknowledge that an international PR campaign is being waged against Israel, one that is based on words, slogans, and mainly on lies. It is time to start an opposition campaign, called "BDS Movement Lie Week."
If the issue of human rights really was important to the leaders of apartheid week, they would focus on countries in which people (Christians and Jews) are persecuted for their religious beliefs, their sexual orientation, or their gender. None of these happen in Israel. Israel is not perfect, but it is the only democracy in the Middle East in which the law protects human rights.
Lena Abayev Bakman is the deputy director of communications, Knesset liaison, and social media strategy manager at NGO Monitor.

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