Not only is the boycott movement anti-Semitic, it also hurts Palestinians.
This week we recognized Holocaust Remembrance Day. So, naturally, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon decided it would be an ideal moment to rationalize recent acts of Palestinian terrorism. Elsewhere, Europeans decided to cover up Western artwork so the prickly sensibilities of a visiting Holocaust-denying, terror-funding Islamist dignitary would not be offended. And here at home, the U.S. Customs Department began rejecting Jewish products made in the West Bank labeled “Made in Israel.”
Anti-Israel activists at J Street and elsewhere have pushed for implementation of a decades-old customs guidance (a 1993 regulation meant to spur Palestinian economic activity after the Oslo Accords — an agreement Arabs, in the end, abandoned) as a punitive measure aimed at Jewish-run companies in the West Bank. Strange, isn’t it, how so many of the same people who lecture us about insensitivity and “Islamophobia” propose laws specifically targeting Jewish businesses?
To put the administration’s new guidance into some perspective, it’s worth noting that The Simon Wiesenthal Center labeled a similar European ban as one of the most anti-Semitic acts of 2015 — a year in which it had plenty to choose from:
The European Union has chosen to label products from the Golan Heights and disputed territories on the West Bank alone, ignoring the products of other occupied and disputed territories in the world such as Western Sahara, Kashmir, Tibet and products from areas controlled by terrorist Hamas and Hezbollah. This use of double standards against Israel typifies modern anti-Israelism and has been at the core of anti-Semitism for many centuries.
There has always been a morally dubious double-standard when it comes to land under Israel’s control. Hundreds of millions of minorities live under occupation in the world, yet you’ll never see leftists marching for the rights of Coptic Christians or Kurdish statehood; trendy media outlets aren’t going to produce misleading ahistorical propaganda films about the dozens of ethnic subgroups living under occupation — most with far less of a chance at self-determination than the Palestinians.
Then again, perhaps if Tibetans start stabbing civilians and blowing up children, the U.N., E.U., The New York Times, and Vox might be more interested in championing their cause. Well, they’d have to stab the right kind of people, of course.
Though The Simon Wiesenthal Center points to some important examples, there’s really no precise contemporary analogy to the Israeli-Palestinian situation. Tibet, for instance, was a country with historic borders and institutions that was invaded by its powerful neighbor, while the disputed territories in the West Bank were lands secured during wars of Arab aggression. The inhabitants — who elected terrorist organizations to lead them whenever given any self-determination — have waged a war on Jewish civilians long before the “occupied territory” even existed.
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