Sunday, February 10, 2013

BDS and Israel At Brooklyn College: An Issue Of Hate Speech, Not Free Speech

We have to be honest, and I loathe the disingenuous. They [BDS] don’t want Israel. They think they are being very clever. They call it their three tier: We want the end of the occupation, the right of return, and we want equal rights for Arabs in Israel. And they think they are very clever because they know the result of implementing all three is what, what is the result? You know and I know what the result is: there’s no Israel!
Norman Finkelstein in recorded interview, as quoted by Yair Rosenberg, NY Times, MSNBC Whitewash BDS

But of course, when it comes to BDS and their demand to speak unimpeded on campuses, both they and the  people defending them tend to be less than honest.

Jonathan Tobin writes about the latest illustration of the failure to differentiate between hate speech and free speech as illustrated by BDS at Brooklyn College:

Using a public university to promote hate speech in which the one Jewish state in the world is hypocritically singled out for isolation and destruction is not a matter of tolerating a diversity of views. What is so frustrating about the debate about BDS is the willingness of even those who do not support it to treat as a merely one among many defensible views about the Middle East or, as the New York Times referred to it in an editorial on the subject yesterday, a question of academic freedom whose advocates do not deserve to be spoken of harshly. As I wrote last week about a related controversy at Harvard, the BDS movement is not motivated by disagreement with specific Israeli policies or the issue of West Bank settlements. It is an economic war waged to destroy the Jewish state and is morally indistinguishable from more traditional forms of anti-Semitism that do not disguise themselves in the fancy dress of academic discourse.

As Yair Rosenberg noted today in Tablet, the BDS movement has as its declared goal Israel’s destruction via implementation of the Palestinian “right of return.” This is consistent with their overall rejection of Israel’s right to exist as a separate Jewish state and their opposition to any means of self-defense against Palestinian terrorism.

It needs to be understood that those who take such a position are, in effect, denying the Jewish people the same right of self-determination that they support for every other nation on the planet. That is a textbook definition of bias and such bias when used against Jews is called anti-Semitism. That is why the various members of the City Council and New York State legislature who have spoken out on this issue are right to try to exert pressure on Brooklyn College to cancel the event and the Times and Bloomberg are wrong to defend the decision to uphold it.
At issue is the defense not of free speech but of hate speech -- of the right of a group to go around and openly speak out in favor of the destruction of the state of Israel.

Again, Rosenberg notes that BDS advocates are not the human rights activists that they claim to be and indeed have as their goal the destruction of the state of Israel
Indeed, Omar Barghouti, one of the Brooklyn BDS panelists, is on record saying that an end to occupation and settlement would not end the call for BDS, that he opposes the two-state solution, and that the right of return is the movement’s “foremost demand.” As he put it in 2001, Israel “was Palestine, and there is no reason why it should not be renamed Palestine.”
BDS advocates dishonestly hide their ultimate goal.
The media dishonestly helps them in this regard.

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