It seems that the pro-BDS group, British Writers in Support of Palestine, is quite angry that their efforts to influence Ian McEwan into boycotting the Jerusalem Prize weren’t successful, and wasn’t the least comforted by McEwan’s soothing anti-Israel rhetoric delivered at his acceptance speech, in which the esteemed author opined that Israeli settlements offend his sophisticated moral sense as much as Hamas’ genocidal founding charter.
Signatories of the letter include CiF contributor, Ghada Karmi, Mona Baker (best known for freely acknowledged firing two Israeli Academics from a journal she ran in 2002 due merely to the fact they were Israeli), and Shir Hever (of the radical NGO Alternative Information Center, a group whose leaders have employed Nazi rhetoric against Israel, and whose policy director was the former editor of a journal published by the terrorist group, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine), to name just a few.
Their latest missive, the second such letter dutifully published as a full-page, stand alone, letter in the Guardian, lambasted McEwan for merely characterizing Israel’s policies as nihilistic, when he should have noted the Jewish states “colonialist zeal”.
But, by far, the worst passage in the letter, the one which shows the BDS movement’s malice and dishonesty, is the following:
“As it is, McEwan has given Mayor Nir Barkat a golden platform for his outrageous views. Jerusalem is not a city where all may “express themselves in a free way” Activists are arrested and deported…” [emphasis mine]
While they fail to note which “activists” they are referring to – perhaps foreigners from groups such as International Solidarity Movement who enter the country to aid and abet known terrorist groups – a narrative which would deny that Israel is a nation which fiercely protects the rights of its citizens to freely express themselves politically and artistically can only be advanced by those whose capacity for reasoned political thought is subservient to a fierce anti-Israel ideology.
While reasonable people can of course disagree over settlements – or any other Israeli policy deemed inconsistent with the political aspirations of the Palestinians – those who would deny the progressive political nature of the Jewish state are not merely rational political actors whose views are deserving of respect.
There is a certain point where reasonable criticism of Israel devolves into hatred and vitriol; there’s a time when political and historical analyses of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict give way to distortions and rank dishonesty; and there is a space where pro-Palestinian advocacy morphs into anti-Israel demonization and just pure malice.
The BDS movement continually shows itself compromised by such illiberal political pathologies, and should be named and shamed accordingly.