Divest This! A modest proposal to the American Studies Association

A guest post by Jon from DivestThis!

Any political tactic is going to start delivering diminishing returns after ten or more years of not accomplishing a single one of its goals. And with the BDS “movement” about to turn thirteen, we seem to be reaching a point where even their alleged “triumphs” can barely earn a mention beyond the fever-swamps of the anti-Israel blogosphere.

BDS was born at the now legendary 2001 Durban South Africa in 2001 when the global network of Israel haters decided the fight against global racism had to take a back seat to their own parochial concerns.  And their main concern was kicking off a world-wide propaganda campaign to brand Israel as the new Apartheid South Africa with divestment (since rebranded BDS) their tactic of choice.

This tactic required major organizations like famous universities, venerable churches, respected municipalities and unions to divest from the Jewish state, a program that generated some headlines in its early years but no actual divestment.  And more than a decade later, with investment pouring into Israeli companies from around the world, with colleges and universities falling all over one another to form partnerships with their Israeli counterparts, with Israeli power brands like SodaStream and Ahava on the shelves of retailers large and small, the BDSers have been reduced to getting largely unknown organizations to pass toothless boycott and divestment resolutions that accomplish less than nothing.

Most recently, a vote by the American Studies Association (ASA) to boycott Israeli academic institutions was passed the same way other votes have gone the BDSers way in recent months: by stacking decision-making committees with people who are BDSers first, academics second, whose fanatic devotion to “the cause” means they are ready to pass politicized motions they had no mandate to even discuss.  And like stacked student council votes that passed on a few campuses in the Spring, the notion that these measures represent student or academic opinion is laughable.

That’s because for any political measure to have an impact it must either be seen to reflect the will of the people it is supposed to represent or have some direct consequential impact.  But BDS votes taken in forums that involve as few people as possible demonstrate that even the boycotters know they are acting in their own interest, rather than the interest of those they are supposed to represent.

And as for consequences, the ASA vote is likely to produce the same complete lack of action similar votes have led to over the years.  That means no programs linking US and Israeli universities will be severed, no Israeli scholar will be disinvited from participating in a conference or submitting to a journal, no Israeli graduate student will be denied a place at a university, even with a boycott in place that allegedly represents the policy of an entire academic discipline.

This is because those who make such decisions, including those who forced this ASA boycott vote, know that actually enacting the boycott program they just stuffed down the throat of the membership would earn them the immediate and well-deserved contempt of the entire academy.  Which is why this vote, like all “successful” BDS votes, represents nothing because it will lead to nothing.

But perhaps I’m wrong.  Perhaps this time, the people pushing an academic boycott are ready to do more than just strike a pose in someone else’s name.  In which case, they have a very simple and extremely effective path to follow.

For in 2007, as a response to a proposed academic boycott from the major academic union in the UK (which was soon rescinded – of course), over a hundred US college presidents declared that for purposes of any academic boycott that their institutions should be considered Israeli universities and also boycotted.

bollinger

Now this list includes schools like Tufts, the University of Minnesota, Rutgers, the University of Florida, Berkeley, the University of Connecticut, the University of Michigan, the University of Washington, San Francisco State, Wesleyan, Perdue, and Columbia – all colleges where members of the ASA Academic and Community Activism Caucus (the group that forced the boycott motion on the organization) are currently employed.  In other words, the very people who insist that their entire field distance itself from Israeli institutions are now drawing paychecks from colleges and universities that declared themselves (in a declaration that was never rescinded) Israeli institutions of learning.

So the “scholars” driving the boycott within the ASA are now in a position to demonstrate their commitment to the cause by resigning en mass before spending another hour continuing as scabs to the very boycott they initiated.  No doubt severing their ties to their current employers might cause some professional hardship, but such suffering is as nothing compared to the plight of the people they claim to be fighting for.

So how about it guys?  Are you ready to put up?  If not, you know what the only other alternative is.

Chloé Valdary: ‘Israel is the great cause of our time’ (Video)

As the Algemeiner wrote about the inclusion of Chloé Valdary (the founder of CCAP-supported Allies for Israel at the University of New Orleans) in their annual Jewish 100: She’s young, black, Christian and southern, and is one of the most articulate pro-Israel advocates around.

The following video was created and presented by Valdary, who recently launched a project entitled,“Once And For All,” which aims to combat antisemitism through film and other mixed media.

The Guardian is forced to correct a second false allegation by Antony Loewenstein

Last week we posted about a Guardian correction to a passage in Antony Loewenstein’s Nov. 7 ‘Comment is Free’ essay (‘To support the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement is not antisemitic) which had claimed that the Israeli-based organization Shurat HaDin attempted to sue Stephen Hawking over his support for BDS.

Here was Loewenstein’s original passage:

The law firm [Shurat HaDin] tried to sue Twitter for daring to host Hizbollah tweets, former US President Jimmy Carter for criticising Israel and Stephen Hawking for damning the Israeli occupation.

However, the claim that Shurat HaDin tried to sue Hawking was a complete fabrication, prompting the Guardian to publish the following correction:

Recently, an alert CiF Watch reader noted a second correction to the same Loewenstein essay.  Here’s the original passage:

Another front page story in the paper last week claimed that Hebrew University is a bastion of Jewish and Arab co-operation, yet ignored the litany of examples of the institution repressing Palestinian rights.

Now, that passage smearing Hebrew University has been amended, and the following additional footnote has been added to Loewenstein’s column:

second corex

It’s important to stress that these don’t appear to be simply honest errors.  As we noted in our previous post, the false claim by Loewenstein about Shurat HaDin suing Stephen Hawking was ‘supported’ by a link which took you to an article at the hate site, Mondoweiss. However, the Mondoweiss article in question never in fact made such a claim.  Likewise, this second erroneous claim by Loewenstein about Hebrew University was ‘supported’ by an article (at an Australian news) site written by Randa Abdel-Fattah, which didn’t at all cite “a litany of examples of the institution repressing Palestinian rights“.  The only relevant passage in Abdel-Fattah’s article was the following:

Jake Lynch has refused collaboration with Hebrew University because of its support of the illegal occupation of Palestine and close connections with the Israeli armament industry.

Beyond this vague smear, which includes no details or further links, there is nothing to support Loewenstein’s claim that there is a “litany of examples” of Hebrew University “repressing Palestinian rights”.

Much like his lie about “Jews-only roads” in the West Bank which we exposed previously, Loewenstein has again been caught red-handed smearing Israel based on links which don’t even minimally back up his fantastical allegations.

Yes, boycotting the goods and services of six million Jews is certainly antisemitic.

An Australian named Antony Loewenstein penned a piece at ‘Comment is Free’ on Nov. 7 which not only endorsed the unfiltered hate of Max Blumenthal, but defended the claim that the BDS movement against Israel is not antisemitic – specifically justifying the boycott of (of all places) Hebrew University, the Israeli academic institution known for its history of promoting coexistence.

Loewenstein wrote the following:

Shurat HaDin – Israel Law Center is an Israel-based organisation that claims to be a civil group “fighting for rights of hundreds of terror victims”. It is currently taking Jake Lynch, head of Sydney University’s Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPACS), to the Australian federal court. They assert that Lynch has allegedly breached the 1975 racial discrimination act by refusing to sponsor a fellowship application by Israeli academic Dan Avnon. Lynch and CPACS support BDS, and since Avnon works at Hebrew University.

Of course, as anyone who’s been to either its Givat Ram campus or its main campus at Mount Scopus can attest to, Hebrew University is where Jews and Arabs (both Christian and Muslim) can be found mingling freely in the classroom, the cafeteria, and other common areas – sometimes encountering each other for the first time. Indeed, it was no coincidence that the university was the target of a Hamas terrorist attack in 2002, where a bomb packed with shrapnel was placed in a bag in a crowded cafeteria, killing nine people – four Israelis and five foreign nationals – and injuring 85.

Loewenstein addresses the issue of BDS and antisemitism in the following sentence:

The Australian which has been driving the debate on the issue, publishing countless stories that deliberately conflates antisemitism and support for the BDS movement.

Interestingly, Lowenstein doesn’t spend any further space attempting to back up his argument. Indeed, as his own one-state advocacy demonstrates, BDS advocates who target the entire country and all of its institutions are typically not trying to undermine the legitimacy of the settlements but, rather, the legitimacy of the state’s existence within any borders.

As a comprehensive survey published recently by the EU Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) indicates, campaigns which seek the economic, cultural and academic exclusion of Israeli Jews is viewed as racist by a large majority of Europe’s Jews. This survey of Jewish people’s experiences and perceptions of antisemitism in the EU (which covers the UK, France, Belgium, Sweden, Germany, Italy Hungary, and Latvia) reported that 72 percent believed that the boycott of Israeli goods was antisemitic.

Perceptions of the moral implications of boycotting the only Jewish state should be contextualized within the overall results of the poll, which found that an increasing number of Jews in Europe fear for their safety, with nearly 30 percent of respondents having seriously considered emigrating due to antisemitism.  Additionally, 26 percent had experienced one or more incident of antisemitic harassment in the previous 12 months and, quite chillingly, nearly 70 percent “at least occasionally avoid wearing items in public that might identify them as Jewish”.

John-Paul Pagano, in his superb essay at The Tower on the legacy of Norman Geras, wrote the following on the moral double-standards at play which unite antisemitism and anti-Zionism:

Norm had little patience for the standard defense that anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism. “No, it isn’t,” he wrote, “unless it is.” He granted that the two are not necessarily the same, but he rejected the idea that simply announcing the difference grants immunity from charges of racism. “In the outpouring of hatred towards Israel today,” he wrote, “it scarcely matters what part of it is impelled by a pre-existing hostility towards Jews as such and what part by a groundless feeling that the Jewish state is especially vicious among the nations of the world…. Both are forms of anti-Semitism.”

Anti-Zionist activists like Loewenstein evidently wake up in the morning, glance at the news coming out of the Middle East, and react in righteous fury not at the medieval antisemitism codified in Hamas’s founding charter, or the sick spectacle of Palestinian children reciting lessons learned on the immutable evil of those “sons of monkeys and pigs”, but, perversely, at the Jewish target of this monstrous, consuming hate. 

The unsettling reality is that seventy-five years after Kristallnacht an increasing percentage of Europe’s tiny Jewish minority again feel the anxiety born of racism, exclusion and violence.  And, the fact that this beleaguered community interprets a campaign of boycotts targeting six million of their coreligionists as antisemitic should only offend those who fail to interpret the refrain “never again” as a moral imperative to safeguard the rights and safety of living Jews, not merely the memory of those who have long since perished.

 

Sounds Israeli: Tom Jones – Delilah – Tel Aviv – BDS Fail

Tom Jones shrugged off an especially anemic BDS campaign, and performed in front of a packed house at the Nokia Stadium in Tel Aviv last Saturday, fifteen years after his last show in the Jewish state.

Here’s the ‘Welsh wizard’ performing his hit, Delilah. 

Just for fun, here’s the original recording of his song in 1968:

 

Sounds Israeli: Rapper Ari Lesser speaks truth to BDS hypocrisy

The following video, which has recently gone viral, was written and produced by the Jewish reggae rapper, Ari Lesser – an artist featured previously on ‘Sounds Israeli’.

CiF Watch prompts correction to false Guardian claim about SodaStream

We sometimes notice that headlines, or strap lines, used to illustrate Israel related stories at the Guardian or ‘Comment is Free’ are not supported by the subsequent text, and often serve, intentionally or otherwise, to sensationalize or even distort news items which are already critical of the Jewish state.  

A case in point is a Sept. 29th Guardian report by , titled ‘SodaStream: the Israeli-run shop dividing Brighton‘, about a small number of Palestine Solidarity Campaign protesters outside of an environmentally friendly Ecostream refill store – a division of the Israeli company SodaStream – which opened recently in the UK.

eco

Ecostream story in Brighton

As Guardian reports on fledgling BDS efforts against Israel go, Benedictus’s article isn’t too bad. However, the strap line falsely claimed that SodaStream’s company headquarters was in “the occupied West Bank”, when in fact only one of their factories (in Mishor Adumim) is in the disputed territory.  The company’s corporate headquarters is located in Airport City, adjacent to Ben Gurion Airport and not on the “wrong side” of the green line.

After contacting Guardian editors the strap line was corrected, and the false claim about SodaStream’s company headquarters was removed. 

Additionally, whilst the Guardian report on BDS efforts did include a quote by SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum, here’s an extended response to the boycott question by Birnbaum which a colleague and I recorded when we visited the company’s offices in July and interviewed both Birnbaum and one of the Mishor Adumim plant managers. 

CiF Watch prompts correction to false BDS victory claim by Irish Times

On Aug. 7 we commented on a piece of anti-Zionist agitprop published at the Irish Times which, among other distortions, included a passage falsely suggesting that the company Veolia had, under pressure from BDS activists, divested from Jerusalem’s Light Rail system.

veolia

Here’s the passage in question:

Veolia, the French conglomerate that operates Luas in Dublin, and Alstom, came under pressure from the Palestinian Boycott Divestment and Sanctions campaign to withdraw from the Jerusalem consortium. Veolia did, but Alstom kept building 46 trams.

We demonstrated that the claim that Veolia had already withdrawn from the Jerusalem Light Rail consortium was flatly untrue. We noted that while they do eventually intend to  abandon investment in all transportation projects (including light rail projects), this is only part of a broader business strategy to focus on environmental services, energy, and water – and cited an article in the financial paper Globes detailing the company’s significant ongoing investment in the Israeli energy sector.

We contacted editors at the Irish Times seeking a correction to the false suggestion of a BDS victory, and we recently received word that the correction had been made. The article was amended on Wednesday, August 14th, and the passage now reads:

Veolia, the French conglomerate that operates Luas in Dublin, and Alstom, came under pressure from the Palestinian Boycott Divestment and Sanctions campaign to withdraw from the Jerusalem consortium. Veolia, which denies it is acting under political pressure, has yet to sell out. 

Despite this victory, the Irish Times article in question is still an atrocious example of ideologically driven activist journalism, and we intend to continue monitoring the paper and holding them accountable when they engage in similarly false or misleading allegations.

Contrary to suggestion by Indy’s Alistair Dawber, Jon Bon Jovi does NOT support BDS

A story in The Independent written by their Jerusalem correspondent Alistair Dawber on the recent cancellation of a previously scheduled performance in Israel by Eric Burdon (frontman for the rock band The Animals) due, according to his manager, to death threats Burdon was receiving from BDS activists, included this passage:

The issue of artists giving performances in Israel is controversial. In recent years, Jon Bon Jovi and the South African band Ladysmith Black Mambazo have cancelled concerts in support of the BDS – or Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions – movement.

So, it is true that the popular American rocker Jon Bon Jovi cancelled concerts in Israel due to BDS?

Well, as Aussie Dave at the blog Israellycool reported recently, back in 2010 Bon Jovi indicated the band was going to be performing in Israel as part of their 2011 world tour, an announcement which garnered the attention of BDS activists, who had of course urged him to cancel.  Later, for reasons which were never made clear, the tentatively scheduled performance was cancelled, and the BDS crowd claimed victory.

However, Aussie Dave posted a video of Bon Jovi being interviewed on the BBC earlier this year, prior to a live performance on BBC Radio, which includes a comment that contradicts claims of the boycott proponents.  We’ve cut the longer video down to the 20 seconds relevant to the question at hand.

Listen carefully to the answer Bon Jovi gives to the BBC’s Jo Whiley:

So, unprompted, Bon Jovi clearly stated his desire to perform in the Jewish state.

What this means, other than a BDS Fail of course, is that the Indy reporter (who will soon become the paper’s foreign editor) should try fact checking instead of relying on the routinely inaccurate claims of BDS activists.  

Faithless guitarist Dave Randall: “If we got rid of Zionism people can live peacefully.”

Cross posted by London-based blogger, Richard Millett

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l to r: Ziadah, Randall, Wiles, Chairperson at SOAS.

The major obstacle to Randall’s vision is that Israelis are not going to voluntarily agree to dissolve the Jewish state. In the absence of such an agreement there would be bloodshed.

Incredibly, Randall replied that he rejected the idea that there would be war between the two sides and that he had been advised by Ronnie Kasrils that white South Africans actually felt “liberated” after apartheid ended.

Incidentally, Kasrils once claimed that “South African Jews told their children not to waste time on the blacks.”

Randall continued:

“The antagonisms are the product of Zionism. If we got rid of Zionism people can live peacefully together.”

Randall, who described himself as a “socialist”, said it was in the west’s “interests to cosy up to Israel and turn a blind eye when it breaks international law because it sees Israel as an ally near 70% of the world’s oil resources”.

Randall said Faithless joined the boycott because “to play in Israel sends the message that it is acceptable to conduct business in an apartheid state”.

Although, he said, some of the band members weren’t happy about not going to Israel to play.

However, Faithless are now defunct having been active from 1995-2013. Only in 2011 did they actually decide to join in this racist cultural boycott. Ironically, their Wikipedia profile has a photo of them performing in Haifa, Israel in 2005.

Last night Dave Randall was, instead, performing to just 30 people at a SOAS Palestine Society event sponsored by British charity War On Want. It was the book launch of Voices from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement. The so-called Palestinian “right of return”, which would lead to the destruction of the Jewish state, is the main racist plank of this Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS).

Also on the panel were the book’s editor Rich Wiles and War On Want’s campaigns officer Rafeef Ziadah. In answer to my question about how many should die Wiles said he didn’t see why anyone would die but that the Palestinians “will never give up the right of return”. As for destroying the Jewish state Wiles continued:

“The idea of having a Jewish democracy is an oxymoron. It’s a case of one group of people privileging their rights over those of others.”

Meanwhile, War On Want’s Rafeef Ziadah claimed that for me to speak in terms of “Israel being destroyed” was racist discourse because it was actually the Palestinians who were suffering an “ongoing destruction”. She said that “the BDS movement will relinquish the racism of the Zionist movement”.

As an aside Ziadah told the audience that I attend all her talks to write about them. She flatters herself but seeing as she obviously reads this blog maybe she could leave a comment letting us know whether she is still a big fan of Islamic Jihad terrorist Khader Adnan who does a nice sideline in inciting Palestinians to become suicide bombers.

Wiles also said that the three main events that have attracted people to BDS in increasing numbers are:
1. Israel killing 1200 people, “mostly civilians”, in Lebanon in 2006.
2. Israel killing 1400 people, “mostly civilians”, in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead.
3. Israel killing Turkish activists on the flotilla.

But he left out the main reason; those who deliberately single out the Jewish state because it’s, well, Jewish. Wiles [claimed] that “650,000 mainly innocent Iraqis had been murdered by American and UK led forces”, but calling for a boycott of the USA and UK did not pass his lips.

Wiles, who said he had lived in “Palestine”, claimed that although it was now “quiet times in Palestine” there was an “ongoing Nakba” including:

1. The planned removal of 70,000 Palestinian citizens of Israel from the Negev so that a forest funded by the JNF can be built instead. Wiles said that to Israelis “the lives of trees are more important than the lives of the Palestinians”.

2. The West Bank Palestinian village of Sosia whose inhabitants were displaced so an “illegal settlement” could be built there instead.

3. Seven Palestinian villages that are waiting to be demolished so Israel can build Firing Zone 918 to practice military manoeuvres.

4. 90,000 Palestinians living in east Jerusalem who are at risk of displacement so Israel can build road links to settlements.

Wiles described all this as a “silent transfer policy which can slip under media attention unlike what the Zionists did between 1947 and 1949″.

At one stage there was a surreal discussion about the size of the anti-Iraq war march through London and the size of the crowds in Tahrir Square. Wiles said that although BDS wasn’t as big they would, instead, be more “strategic”.

Just as well because with only 30 people in the audience Wiles, Ziadah, Randall and War On Want are embarrassing themselves. And now you can understand more fully why even arch-critic of Israel Norman Finkelstein felt compelled to call the BDS lot “a cult of dishonesty” with no other desire than to destroy Israel.

A modest proposal for a new ‘Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions’ campaign

A guest post by Joe Geary

There is a country in the Middle East which makes a great play of being a democracy and about espousing Western ideals regarding human rights, and is forever bragging how different this makes it to its despotic Arab neighbours. But this self-same Middle Eastern country for decades now has been occupying the lands of one of its neighbours and conducting apartheid-like discrimination against its internal minority community. Its charismatic right-wing leader has one message for its close ally the United States and for the EU, with which it seeks closer ties, but quite another for its internal allies.

Isn’t it time this so-called democracy was held to account, and was made to face up to its hypocrisy? Isn’t it time the international community as a whole, and the International Solidarity Movement in particular, launched a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Turkey?

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The crux of the argument by those engaging in BDS against Israel is that, no, they don’t single out Israel because it’s a Jewish state or because it is an ally of the West. They choose to boycott only Israel, they claim, because it’s a democracy and should therefore behave like one – and because boycott of a tyrannical regime doesn’t work, whereas boycott of a democracy can influence its citizenry to lobby for change to the offending policies.

Well, dear friends of the BDS movement, now is your chance to prove that you are not just shills for terrorists and Arab rejectionism, that you are not closet antisemites or anti-western ideologues and that you really care for oppressed peoples everywhere.

Now that the eyes of the world are focussed on Turkey, here is your chance to say no to Turkey’s occupation of Cyprus. Here is your chance to say no to Turkey’s institutional discrimination against Kurds who, unlike the Palestinians, have no autonomy, no government, no parliament, no courts, no police, no education system of their own, and whose very language is suppressed by government edict. Now is the time to send your message to Prime Minister Erdogan and his cronies that the world will no longer tolerate their brutal repression of human rights.

So, you must lobby universities to boycott all Turkish academics; even if they personally oppose Erdogan’s thuggish ways, they are still complicit. You must urge all dignitaries not to visit Ankara and all politicians not to speak to their Turkish counterparts until the country mends its ways. You must lobby to cut all cultural contacts and exchanges. You must organise marches and university demonstrations against the racist Turkish entity. Above all, each and every one of you, must refuse to consume Turkish Delight and all other products of the region, and boycott and picket vociferously the shops and candy stores that sell them, even at the risk of appearing ridiculous in the eyes of the public. The cause demands it.   

If successful your campaign would of course hurt the people of Turkey, especially the poorest, who might well lose their jobs. But that is a small price to pay for your moral stance and your sacrifice, and surely the Turkish people, even if unemployed, would take the long view and be grateful for your selfless attention. They will surely understand that you single out Turkey for BDS, for cultural isolation and economic deprivation, because you are their friends.

Sadly the last BDS you organised – against, naturally, the Israeli people – didn’t turn out so well. Indeed, the Israeli economy is thriving like no other. But you might have better luck against, sorry, with Turkey.

England crushed by Israel’s winning goal at Jerusalem’s Teddy Kollek Stadium.

Cross posted by Richard Millett

Israel Defence Forces soldiers having fun before the Israel v England game.

Israel Defence Forces soldiers having fun before the Israel v England game.

England’s Under-21 football team, already eliminated from the UEFA Under-21 Finals in Israel after losing their first two games, were beaten 1-0 by Israel in Jerusalem’s Teddy Kolleck stadium to be left bottom of their group having achieved no points and having scored just one goal in their three group games (and that goal was from the penalty spot).

Israel also finally went out having won one, drawn one and lost one, although it all could have been so different had they not conceded a last-minute equaliser against Norway in their first game. England left the tournament in disarray which doesn’t bode well for the future of England’s senior team.

Over 22,000 fans in Israel’s capital Jerusalem watched a first half in which both teams matched each other but with neither side being able to finish. However, Israel stepped up a gear towards the end of the game and struck the bar with a dipping shot from 30 yards out and then almost chipped the England goalkeeper who found himself stranded before Israel finally crashed the ball home with just ten minutes left to the delight of the home fans.

Here are Israel’s fans celebrating the winning goal:

More scenes from inside the stadium in Jerusalem:

Israel's goalkeeper clears the ball as Israel go on the attack.

Israel’s goalkeeper clears the ball as Israel go on the attack.

football

Yours truly with Adam Levick at half time during the game.

Wearing the scarf with pride.

Wearing the scarf with pride.

Aston Villa on your.

Aston Villa on your.

Water melon being served up at the game.

Water melon being served up at the game.

The lads.

The lads.

Supporting both sides.

Supporting both sides.

The Israeli team celebrates at the end of the game.

The Israeli team celebrates at the end of the game.

Adam Levick and Richard Millett blog the UEFA Under-21 Championship in Israel: BDS Fail Live!

Update 13: Adam: Israel wins! Game over. 

Update 12: 

Adam 9

Update 11:

Adam 8

Update 10: 

Adam 7

Update 9: Adam: Israel scores! Stadium erupts.

Adam 6

Update 8: Adam: Attendance just announced – over 22,000. 

Update 7: 

Adam 5

Update 6: Adam: Still nil-nil. Israel’s Verta  shoots just wide in 60th minute.

Update 5:

Adam 3

Update 4: Adam: the second half has begun with a near miss from Wickham.

England manager Roy Hodgson and FA Chairman David Bernstein visited Yad Vashem earlier in the day. Watch them talk about their impressions here.

FA TweetHalf time

Adam 2

Update 3: Adam: Five minutes to half time. Richard: England manager Roy Hodgson is in attendance. 

Update 2: Richard reports that England are starting to apply pressure, with Wilfred Zahar playing well. 

Adam 1Update: The match has begun and Adam and Richard report that Tom Lees – from Leeds – started for England. Lots of Israeli supporters. The score is still 0-0 at this point. 

Despite efforts by a few marginal anti-Zionist groups (and their media public relations teams) to have the games cancelled, Israel on Wednesday began hosting an extremely prestigious sports tournament – the UEFA Under-21 Championships, showcasing the rising stars of European football. Tonight, Israel – who kicked off the competition on June 5th at Netanya against the Norwegians, playing to a 2-2 draw, and lost to Italy on June 8th – will be facing England – which suffered disappointing losses to Italy and Norway – at the Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem, at 7 pm Israeli time. 

London-based blogger Richard Millett is in Israel for the tournament, and will be joined by Adam Levick in a live blog of the game.  Additionally, Levick will be tweeting the game using the hashtag #U21EURO.

Avi M U21

Photo by Avi Mayer, Twitter

The action below will be periodically updated, with news on the most recent action placed at the top of this post – so remember to refresh your browser to get the most recent action.

 

CiF Watch prompts correction to Guardian story about (failed) BDS campaign against Israel

Yesterday, June 4, we commented on a report by Guardian football reporter Louise Taylor (‘England enter a politically loaded European Under-21 Championship‘, June 3) concerning boycott efforts targeting the 2013 European Under-21 Football Championship (UEFA U-21), hosted by Israel, from June 5th through the 18th.  

Though BDS activists have failed in their efforts – by virtue of the fact that the tournament has already begun – Taylor devoted nearly all of her story on the football championship to the efforts of anti-Israel BDS campaigners who were evidently still hoping to persuade EUFA officials to cancel the games.

However, Taylor made an error when she wrote the following:

The hurdles faced by Palestinian footballers, who have their own, Fifa-registered national side, were highlighted in November when more than 60 players from Europe’s major leagues, including Arsenal’s Abou Diaby and Newcastle’s Sylvian Marveaux, Papiss Cissé and Cheik Tioté, signed a petition demanding Uefa relocate the Under-21 tournament.

As we noted back in December, the original list of 62 included some footballers who didn’t in fact sign the petition and, as CAMERA and others reported at the time, after publicity about the ‘faux endorsers’ began generating attention the ‘official’ list shrank to 51.

Shortly after our post yesterday, we contacted Guardian editors to alert them about the error, and within the last hour we were informed that the passage has been corrected to reflect the actual number of signatories, and the following had been added:

correct

On a final note, at the time of this post Israel was tied with Norway 2-2 in the tournament’s opening match which is being held at Netanya Stadium.

football

Taleb Twatha (R) of Israel is challenged by Anders Konradssen of Norway during their UEFA European Under-21 Championship Group A match on June 5.

Guardian provides PR for failing BDS campaign against EU football championship in Israel

The 2013 European Under-21 Football Championship (UEFA U-21) – hosted by Israel from June 5th through the 18th – represents the 19th staging of the event.  National football teams from all over Europe will compete, with England, Germany, Spain, Italy, Russia, the Netherlands and Norway, alongside Israel, all vying for the title of champion.

Anti-Israel boycott campaigners (branded as “Red Card Israeli Racism”) are campaigning for the tournament not to be held in Israel as part of a sporting boycott of the Jewish state. And, though their BDS efforts will certainly fail, the Guardian has begun providing these anti-Israel campaigners with the publicity they desire. 

Indeed, the latest two Guardian reports on their site’s Israel page are a letter calling on the UEF (Union of European Football) to reverse their decision to choose Israel as a venue (Uefa insensitivity to Palestinians plight’, May 27), and a story, in the sports section, reporting on the publication of the very same letter the Guardian had just published (‘Uefa accused of ignoring anti-Palestinian bias‘, David Feeny, May 28).

uefa

Here’s the text of the May 27 Guardian letter:

On Friday, delegates from European football associations gathered in a London hotel for Uefa‘s annual congress (Report, 24 May). They agreed new, strict guidelines to deal with racism, suggesting a commendable determination to combat discrimination in the sport.

We find it shocking that this same organisation shows total insensitivity to the blatant and entrenched discrimination inflicted on Palestinian sportsmen and women by Israel.

Despite direct appeals from representatives of the sport in Palestine and from anti-racist human rights campaigners across Europe, Uefa is rewarding Israel’s cruel and lawless behaviour by granting it the honour of hosting the European Under-21 finals next month.

Uefa should not allow Israel to use a prestigious football occasion to whitewash its racist denial of Palestinian rights and its illegal occupation of Palestinian land.

We urge Uefa to follow the brave example of world-renowned scientist Stephen Hawking who, on advice from Palestinian colleagues, declined to take part in an international conference in Israel. We call on Uefa, even at this late stage, to reverse the choice of Israel as a venue.

Here are the signatories to the BDS call in the Guardian. As you’ll note by reading our brief bios, the group is dominated by ‘Patrons’ from the fringe group, Palestine Solidarity Campaign:

Archbishop Desmond Tutu:  Former civil rights leader in South Africa with an apparent blind spot when it comes to Jews.  Tutu, for instance, has evoked classic antisemitic stereotypes and tropes about Jewish “arrogance”, “power” and money.

Frédéric Kanouté: A footballer who, we revealed in early December, had falsely claimed that several other footballers had called on European football’s governing body to cancel Israel’s hosting of the Under-21 Finals.

John Austin MP: Palestine Solidarity Campaign Patron and Former Labour MP for Woolwich.

Rodney Bickerstaffe: Palestine Solidarity Campaign Patron.

Bob Crow: Palestine Solidarity Campaign Patron.

Victoria Brittain: Palestine Solidarity Campaign Patron and former Guardian associate foreign editor, who once chaired an event at the pro-Hamas group, MEMO.

Jeremy Corbyn MP: Palestine Solidarity Campaign Patron and an obsessively anti-Israel campaigner who had participated in a meeting organized by the openly pro-Hamas group MEMO, and has actually opined quite explicitly in defense of both Hamas and Hezbollah.

Caryl Churchill: Palestine Solidarity Campaign Patron and author of the antisemitic play Seven Jewish Children’.

Rev Garth Hewitt: Palestine Solidarity Campaign Patron, and singer/songwriter.

Dr Ghada Karmi: Palestine Solidarity Campaign Patron, one-state promoter and ‘Comment is Free’ contributor.

Bruce Kent: Palestine Solidarity Campaign Patron.

Ken Loach: Palestine Solidarity Campaign Patron, and a film-maker who has participated in countless anti-Israel campaigns, and has even participated in the kangaroo court known as the Russell Tribunal on Palestine where he accused the Jewish state of adopting a policy of ‘racial purity’.

Michael Mansfield QC: A British lawyer and Palestine Solidarity Campaign supporter, who has endorsed the Muslim Brotherhood-led ‘Free Gaza’ campaign – and also has participated in the Russell Tribunal on Palestine.

Kika Markham: Palestine Solidarity Campaign Patron, Actor, and supporter of Viva Palestina

Luisa Morgantini: Former vice-president, European parliament. 

Prof Hilary Rose, Prof Steven Rose: Palestine Solidarity Campaign Patrons, and among the founding members of British Committee for Universities of Palestine (BRICUP). Their obsessive criticism of Jews, and of the Jewish state, inspired Anthony Julius to observe that they seem “proud to be ashamed to be Jews”. 

Alexei Sayle: Author and comedian, Palestine Solidarity Campaign Patron and Marxist.

Jenny Tonge: Most notable for her remarks that she might have been a suicide bomber had she been born a Palestinian, as well as her claim that “the pro-Israeli lobby has got its grips on the Western World, its financial grips [and] a certain grip on [the Labor] party”. Tonge also is infamous for calling on Israel to “investigate” the IDF in light of charges they were stealing organs in Haiti. 

Dr Antoine ZahlanPalestine Solidarity Campaign Patron and Arab academic.

Geoffrey Lee: Affiliated with the group leading efforts to boycott Israeli football, ‘Red Card Israeli Racism‘ 

Tomas Perez: According to the Guardian, he’s affiliated with the group Football Beyond Borders

John McHugo: Chair of Liberal Democrat Friends of Palestine, board member of CAABU, the Council for Arab-British Understanding. He has also contributed essays for the website of the pro-Hamas group MEMO.

Roger Lloyd Pack: Actor best known for his role as ‘Trigger’ in the BBC series ‘Only Fools and Horses’

Whilst this campaign, like so many other abysmal attempts to isolate Israel by the anti-Zionist left, will certainly fail, it’s important to contextualize BDS in all of its manifestations as the political derivative of various Arab (and Soviet) led boycotts which have been used for many decades as weapons in the war against Israel.  In its modern incarnation BDS represents the main component of the “Durban strategy” – adopted by the NGO Forum of the UN’s Durban Conference (2001) – adopted by pro-Palestinian groups to completely isolate Israel by promoting economic, academic, cultural and even (as in this case) sporting boycotts of Israel.

As NGO monitor summed up the BDS movement:

  • Boycotts are the antithesis of dialogue, cooperation, and developing peaceful ties between Israelis and Palestinians.
  • Ali Abunimah, major BDS speaker and head of “Electronic Intifada,” labels Palestinian leaders who negotiate with Israel “collaborators.”
  • BDS activists promote “one-state” solutions, meaning the elimination of Israel as the historic homeland of the Jewish nation. (A political goal which is codified as antisemitic by the EU.)

Further, this particular boycott movement – targeting Israel by attempting to politicize European football – has garnered almost no traction beyond marginal figures and a few extreme anti-Israel movements.

Foreign Secretary William Hague said after Liberal Democrat MP Bob Russell asked why the government was supporting the tournament: “I do not believe that sporting fixtures should be an obstacle to political progress of any form”. Responding to the president of the Palestinian Football Association, FIFA President Platini said that UEFA did not believe in “punishing people and isolating them”.

Additionally, it is worth noting that the Israeli U21 squad comes from a range of backgrounds, and includes Jewish Israelis, Arab Israelis and foreign football players.

We’ll leave you with a video featuring two outstanding Israeli players – Captain Eyal Golasa, a Netanya native who plays for Maccabi Haifa, and Moanes Dabur, an Arab-Israeli player for Maccabi Tel Aviv – talking about the Israeli national under-21 team and showing off their skills.