A couple of weeks ago, on Wednesday, the 16th of January, I posted a controversial video called “Israel & Palestine: a very short introduction“. At that time, a very dear, longtime friend of mine who writes under the name Aliza Bat-Ami left a detailed comment, disagreeing with the message of that video. You can read her comment here.
In the interest of respectful and open dialogue even (especially!) when people strongly disagree on important matters, I invited Aliza to write a guest post of rebuttal. I am honored to present it here. You are welcome to leave your comments here, or to email Aliza directly by clicking on her name below the title.
Thank you, Aliza, for allowing me to publish your response.
Another view of the B.D.S. campaign.
The video “Israel and Palestine – a very short introduction.” starts by stating that Jews fled Europe after “harsh persecution” and that they were encourage by “the Zionists” to came the Land “where the Jews had an age-old connection“(my emphasis).
We have indeed:
By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept
when we remembered Zion.
…. How can we sing the songs of the Lord
while in a foreign land?
These words, written over two and a half millennia ago, written at the time of the first forced dispersion from the Land of Israel to Babylon, sum up our connection to this place.
But, after many years and much pain and difficulties, in 1948 the modern State of Israel was declared. The video makes it very clear that the Arabs rejected the proposed two-state solution presented them by the British (and have consistently rejected every offer since.)
Much happened thereafter, events which were presented in the video in a biased, simplistic way, ending up with the supposed “land-grab” of the West Bank.
[Use these links for accurate information on the formation of Israel, about Israel and the West Bank , the peace process, and the Palestinian refugee problem.]
The video concludes by a call to boycott, disinvest and sanction
Israel (B.D.S) for her deeds, as this will lead to a (non-specified) just peace.
This isn’t going to happen, for the following reasons.
First and foremost it is clear that the underlying aim of much of the anti-Israel B.D.S. movement (and certainly as presented in this video), is the destruction of Israel. Even Norman Finkelstein, no friend of Israel, makes this point (see video). The threat of extinction is no inducement to change, rather it encourages protective strategies. So why expect Israel to respond to such threats by national suicide?
Secondly, the video runs together the unsettled issue of Israel and the Palestinians, and the situation of Arab citizens of Israel. These are not the same issue at all.
Yes, things could be better but the video also makes no mention of the equality afforded to Israeli Arab, nor the fact that prominent and outspoken Arab critics of Israel like Ahmed Tibi and Haneen Zoabi sit in the Knesset, nor to the presence of Arab Israelis in all parts of society, including the High Court and universities. It also ignores the issue of obligations of all citizens in a democracy (Article 29 of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.)
Yes, things could be better in the administered territories too, but B.D.S. campaigns do nothing to help the Palestinians improve their lives, begin state building, or develop democratic institutions. They do not advance peace but only make the parties more inflexible.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not black and white. Arguments supporting boycotts ignore the context of Israel’s actions in order to justify penalizing only Israel.
Those behind the boycott efforts never mention the on-going terrorism that Israelis have suffered from, and they never mention groups like the PLO, Hezbollah and Hamas.
Have you actually read these documents? In case you think I am exaggerating, here they are in plain English: The Palestinian National Charter: 1968 ; the Hamas Covenant 1988; The Hezbollah Manifesto (from the Lebanon Renaissance Foundation, an NGO dedicated to the aim of the ‘Cedar revolution’ site; or from a pro-Hezbollah site, here).
The world should really pay all the Arab leaders the courtesy of listening to what they say, believing them and taking them at their word. What is meant in effect is the dismantling of the State of Israel and the dispersion (or elimination) of the Jewish population.
The video also mentions the USA as a “terrible friend” to Israel, supporting and enabling all “crimes”. At least in that the B.D.S. supporters might be encouraged by the commencement of President Barack Hussein Obama’s second term. He might well prove to be a “friend” to Israel more to their taste. If that happens, I hope that the Jews will turn to a different Friend, the God of Israel, who has a longer track-record of commitment and involvement with events here.
What do I hope for our future? Peace and health and the possibility of happiness. And yes, righteousness and justice at all levels in my society.
I would like to live in a society without want and conflict, where all members take equal part and also give back equally.
If you want to do something for peace, then come and visit with an open mind, and take part in some constructive joint program (e.g. Abraham Fund,) to help all the different people here.
The position that Israel is the cause of the sad situation in the Middle East ( at the very least) has become the unexamined and - mostly – unchallenged dogma of current world opinion, especially in my own native land of Britain. But does that make it factual and true?
The truth of these allegations can easily be checked online by consulting source documents, or summaries such as these links (the formation of Israel, Israel and the West Bank , the peace process, and the Palestinian refugee problem.)