The BDS Movement Maintains Close Contact with Terrorists

Not itself a formal organization, the movement to boycott, divest, and sanction Israel (BDS) consists of a loose network of groups that support its cause. A number of these, write Jonathan Schanzer and Kate Havard, have close ties with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), officially considered a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department since 1997:

Rasmea Odeh, a now-infamous PFLP terrorist who was involved in the bombing of an Israeli supermarket in 1969 . . . is now a cause célèbre for BDS activists in the United States. Boycott advocates have rallied to her defense, raising funds for her while she faces prosecution in the U.S. for immigration fraud (for lying about her time in prison). Odeh’s boosters include BDS-supporting groups like Palestine Legal, Jewish Voice for Peace, and American Muslims for Palestine. . . .

The BDS campaign in the United States broadly identifies itself as a nonviolent social-justice movement. But, its connections to the PFLP, a decidedly violent group, are troubling. Founded in 1967 as a Marxist-Leninist revolutionary organization by George Habash, the PFLP was known for a series of plane hijackings in the late 1960s and 70s. [Its members also] gunned down civilians and hired assassins to massacre passengers at Israel’s Lod airport in 1970. . . .

In 2011, two PFLP members carried out the murder of a family in the West Bank settlement of Itamar (including a three-month-old infant). They were responsible for a 2014 shooting in west Jerusalem that killed five and wounded eight. . . .

Recently, the PFLP sent its most famous member, the first woman hijacker in history, Leila Khaled, on speaking tours worldwide. In April 2016, she visited the German organization Falestin Beytona, the offices of the Communist party of Sweden in Gothenburg, and the Austrian-Arab Cultural Center in Vienna—all organizations that support BDS. Khaled was also the guest of the BDS movement of South Africa in 2015.

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For Israelis, Anti-Zionism Kills

Dec. 14 2018

This week alone, anti-Zionists have killed multiple Israelis in a series of attacks; these follow the revelations that Hizballah succeeded in digging multiple attack tunnels from Lebanon into northern Israel. Simultaneously, some recent news stories in the U.S. have occasioned pious reminders that anti-Zionism should not be conflated with anti-Semitism. Bret Stephens notes that it is anti-Zionists, not defenders of Israel, who do the most to blur that distinction:

Israelis experience anti-Zionism in a different way from, say, readers of the New York Review of Books: not as a bold sally in the world of ideas, but as a looming menace to their earthly existence, held at bay only through force of arms. . . . Anti-Zionism might have been a respectable point of view before 1948, when the question of Israel’s existence was in the future and up for debate. Today, anti-Zionism is a call for the elimination of a state—details to follow regarding the fate befalling those who currently live in it. . . .

Anti-Zionism is ideologically unique in insisting that one state, and one state only, doesn’t just have to change. It has to go. By a coincidence that its adherents insist is entirely innocent, this happens to be the Jewish state, making anti-Zionists either the most disingenuous of ideologues or the most obtuse. When then-CNN contributor Marc Lamont Hill called last month for a “free Palestine from the river to the sea” and later claimed to be ignorant of what the slogan really meant, it was hard to tell in which category he fell.

Does this make someone with Hill’s views an anti-Semite? It’s like asking whether a person who believes in [the principle of] separate-but-equal must necessarily be a racist. In theory, no. In reality, another story. The typical aim of the anti-Semite is legal or social discrimination against some set of Jews. The explicit aim of the anti-Zionist is political or physical dispossession.

What’s worse: to be denied membership in a country club because you’re Jewish, or driven from your ancestral homeland and sovereign state for the same reason? If anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism are meaningfully distinct (I think they are not), the human consequences of the latter are direr.

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More about: Anti-Semitism, Anti-Zionism, Hizballah, Israel & Zionism, Palestinian terror