The news that the Dutch have followed the Swedes in declaring BDS messaging as free speech leaves me perplexed. Let me see if I’ve got this right.
The Dutch are against BDS, oppose boycott campaigning, oppose their call for the elimination of Israel, but allows their right to do all this. This is more than double Dutch. It’s more like a Dutch pretzel.
“As long as what you say is not illegal you are free to say it,” claims the Dutch Ambassador to Israel, Gilles Beschoor Plug. So let’s see a few of the things that BDS says.
BDS activists claim that they are a non-violent protest movement supporting the Palestinian cause.
Non-violent? Here is what Omar Barghouti, the founder of BDS, has said;
“Palestinians have the right of resistance, including armed resistance.”
We Israelis, from our long history of Palestinian “armed resistance” tend to call it “terrorism.” It includes everything from stabbings, shootings, suicide bombings, rocket attacks on our civilians, the killing of our Olympic athletes and, in the past, plane and ship hijackings.
So much for “non- violence.”
Would, I wonder, the Dutch government tolerate the free speech of an organization that called for non-violent protest against some of their policies and then condoned lethal force as part of their campaign? For how long would the Dutch government protect anti-Dutch BDS rights to free speech if they recruited people to their call for the elimination of The Netherlands as part of their protected free speech rights?
As for protected BDS free speech, the Dutch appear to tolerate Barghouti saying, “Most definitely we oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine. No rational Palestinian will ever accept a Jewish state.”
Such anti-Semitic remarks have to be protected under Dutch and Swedish law, it seems.
And if there can be any doubt that BDS is intimately linked to violent Palestinian intentions against Israel, the Dutch should recall that BDS organize things like the Gaza Flotilla where they try to sail into the warm embrace of Hamas in the Gaza Strip in support of their joint anti-Israel agenda. It is timely to recall that Dutch and Swedish radicals participate in this dangerous pantomime.
Let me quote Article 7 of the Hamas Charter to the Dutch and the Swedes who are so keen to allow free speech freedoms for the BDS-Palestinian cause. In part it reads, “O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me. Come out and kill him!”
This is the serious stuff that is ignored by too many European governments. They think by blanketing out BDS and Palestinian hateful and dangerous words and actions under the cloak of “free speech” they are protecting democratic values and paving the way for peace.
How wrong can they be!
But, there is a lighter side to the BDS language, as I point out in my new book ‘BDS for IDIOTS.’
They claim that Israel has a policy of ethnic cleansing against Palestinian Arabs. In fact, the Arab population in the West Bank increased from 1.8 million in 1997 to 2.3 million in 2007. That’s a growth of 25.5%. In the Gaza Strip, the population jumped from one million in 1997 to 1.4 million in 2007, a 38.5% increase. Figures, at the end of 2015, show approximately 1.8 million.
Israel, it appears, has no idea how to conduct a policy of ethnic cleansing.
We are also hopeless in our “blockade” of Gaza. This is another lie they hurl at Israel. According to Foreign Ministry Director-General, Dore Gold, since October almost five million tons of building material has flowed into Gaza from Israel at no small risk to ourselves as we know that Hamas purloins this material to build their terror infrastructure, including the miles of sophisticated terror tunnels. Some in Israel call this underground system, the Gaza Metro.
800 trucks a day carry everything including food, medicines, equipment, furniture, and other supplies into Gaza from Israel.
And this leads me to accuse BDS of such utter hypocrisy to the point that they expose themselves as being less interested in Palestinians than using the Palestinians as a club to beat Israel.
I confronted a leading Dutch BDS activist last year. He had infiltrated my talk to the Jewish community in Amsterdam with a couple of his cronies. He spouted the usual nonsense of Israeli “crimes” including conducting a Gaza blockade which he called “criminal.” After pointing out the massive flow of goods going into Gaza from Israel, I questioned his sincerity for Gazans. I asked him why he has been so silent against the total blockade on Gaza being carried out by Egypt? No trucks go into Gaza from there and the Egyptians have destroyed 1700 Hamas smuggling tunnels ensuring that nothing gets into Gaza from Egypt.
“How many times,” I asked this BDS bonehead, “have you people protested outside the Egyptian embassy in The Hague, if you really care for Palestinians in Gaza.” The answer, of course, is they have no motivation to call out the Egyptians over their treatment of Gazans.
Then I turned to his accusations that Israel is an apartheid state. In front of the audience I showed him where real apartheid is being practiced against the Palestinians. It is in Jordan where millions of Palestinians have been kept in refugee status for almost seventy years, stateless, often deprived of the opportunity for higher education and jobs in government positions. That is where genuine anti-Palestinian apartheid exists, but this BDS idiot has had nothing to say about it. These BDS provocateurs don’t carry banners saying “Boycott Jordan!”
As I point out in ‘BDS for IDIOTS,’ when these BDS morons single out Israel, lie about the Jewish state in the most grotesque manner, while ignoring countries with infinitely worse records of abuse against Palestinians, it is not only hypocritical, it is anti-Semitic, and this should not be protected under the guise of “free speech” in any liberal democracy.
No government in its right mind can say that it opposes boycotts but permits organizations to promote boycott campaigns while they, at the same time, call for the elimination of Israel.
To allow BDS haters the freedom to disseminate their poisonous hatred can only be described as political correctness gone mad, or the practice of cynical politics.
It is also obliquely anti-Semitic as it turns a blind eye to the ultimate aim of the BDS movement, namely the elimination of the Jewish state by every means possible.
Barry Shaw is the Senior Associate for Public Diplomacy at the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies. He is also the author of ‘BDS for IDIOTS’ and ‘Fighting Hamas, BDS and Anti-Semitism