October 25, 2017
American mainstream media continue to misrepresent the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights in reporting on government efforts intended to curtail the campaign.
The latest example is from Maryland.
Associated Press journalist Brian Witte on Monday covered Maryland Governor Larry Hogan’s executive action “blocking the state from awarding contracts to companies that support boycotts of Israel.”
Since 2016, activists in Maryland have twice beaten back efforts to pass such an anti-BDS measure through the state legislature.
The governor’s executive order pertains not just to Israel, but to Palestinian territories occupied and colonized by Israel in violation of international law. Hogan is signaling Maryland’s complicity in this law-breaking.
What is BDS about?
What the AP says is important because its reports typically appear in hundreds of publications around the world.
Witte described BDS as “founded in 2005 to protest Israel’s actions toward Palestinians by boycotting Israeli products and companies.” He did not provide any detail about what specific Israeli actions BDS supporters are protesting.
Consequently, readers did not hear that the nonviolent movement is calling for an end to Israeli military occupation and settlement building that is against international law, equal rights for Palestinian citizens of Israel who face systematic discrimination and implementing the internationally recognized right of return for Palestinian refugees.
Instead, Hogan, a Republican, was allowed to misrepresent the movement, saying, “Boycotts based on religion, national origin, ethnicity or place of residence are discriminatory, and contracting with businesses that practice discrimination would make the state a passive participant in private sector commercial discrimination.”
Witte’s report failed to mention that the BDS National Committee – the campaign’s Palestine-based steering group – is very explicit about rejecting all forms of racism and religious bigotry, including Islamophobia and anti-Semitism.
No voice supportive of BDS was included in the first version of Witte’s article that this writer saw on Monday afternoon.
Only after an inquiry was emailed to Witte asking why he did not include any voices from, say, Jewish Voice for Peace or the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights did an updated version appear – within the hour – with a quote from Yousef Munayyer, executive director of the US Campaign.
Whether or not Witte read The Electronic Intifada’s inquiry and decided to reach out to someone who could provide information about BDS is unclear.
However, Munayyer told The Electronic Intifada he was contacted by Witte at around 5 pm – 40 minutes after the inquiry was sent to the AP reporter.
Where are the Palestinian voices?
Fair-minded journalism requires that Palestinians, who are the ultimate targets of anti-BDS laws and the anti-Palestinian Israeli officials and lobby groups that promote these measures across the country, be given at least equal time. As it is, comments from advocates insisting on equal rights for Palestinians are too infrequent.
It is positive that Witte eventually included an opposing voice, though it would have been more informative had he provided some detail on the goals of the BDS movement, not just what its opponents say about it.
Hogan’s official press statement quotes an Israeli diplomat and several leaders of Israel lobby groups praising the governor’s action, including one who calls the BDS movement “anti-Semitic” – a frequent false charge. All that reflects the government’s line; journalists ought to be challenging and asking questions about it, not simply echoing it.
Writing in Maryland’s main newspaper, The Baltimore Sun, however, Erin Cox completely excluded BDS supporters.
Instead, she relied on the American Civil Liberties Union to make a free-speech case against the governor’s order.
The ACLU has been strongly critical of anti-BDS measures, arguing that they violate the First Amendment, but the organization is neutral on the boycott of Israel itself.
Elsewhere, however, she editorialized that BDS “has gained only modest support in the United States,” notwithstanding ample evidence Israel lobby groups are alarmed by its successes.
Widely used tactic
By not properly describing the BDS movement and its goals, journalists give readers no insight into the fact that BDS is about promoting full and equal rights for Palestinians – just as boycotts were and are still widely used in the United States and globally to defend and promote the rights of people facing systematic violations.
Here’s what Cox did say: “The BDS movement has gained support among Palestinian advocates, some mainstream Protestant groups and some left-leaning Jewish organizations that object to the policies of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.”
Yet these groups do much more than oppose the policies of Netanyahu. They object to the policies of occupation, colonization, violent expulsion, discrimination and denial of refugee rights that Israeli governments of right, left and center have been perpetrating for decades.
Cox quotes Governor Hogan saying, “They’re asking people to discriminate against Israel.” He then adds, “There’s no argument to the contrary that makes any sense.”
In fact, there is an argument.
The problem is that Cox, like too many journalists, provides no space for a thoughtful commentator to note that the BDS movement shares tactics with other nonviolent movements in the US to end Jim Crow and in South Africa to end apartheid.
The Palestinian-led BDS movement for equal rights and freedom is no more “discriminatory” than efforts in the last millennium to end institutionalized white supremacy.
An honest Israeli Jew tells the Real Truth about Israel
The argument that criticizing Israel for its ethnic cleansing is anti-semitism argument is bullshit for these reasons:
1) Palestinians, Arabs, and other people are semites as well as ethnic Jews. Being pro-Palestinian is, by definition, pro-semitic, not anti-semitic, plain and simple. Not all Jews are Israeli. Not all Jews are Zionists. Not all Israelis are dehumanizing, racist Zionists. Many are strongly opposed to Israel’s abuses exactly as the speaker above feels this way.
The Jew-ish people living in Israel are not semites. They are Kazharians. (Note the suffix -ish means similar but not exact; like but not the same as).
The Nazis dehumanized Orthodox Jews by calling them “Untermensch” (sub-human). Now Jews do it to the Palestinians. The term was coined in 1879 by the German agitator Wilhelm Marr. It is, by definition, incorrect, no matter how trendy it may be. It reminds me of how it is trendy now to say “literally” when someone means the opposite, “figuratively.” Just because it is commonly used does not make it correct. Read Edmund Black’s book “The Transfer Agreement”.
The Nazi Party merged with the Zionists. All Jews refusing to emigrate from Germany to Palestine were rounded up and put into labor camps.
2) Modern Israel is a modern country with all the human rights responsibilities that go with any other modern country. They are failing miserably to respect the human rights of the natives whose homes they have stolen and who they abuse so horribly. Criticizing a modern country that includes multiple religions and ethnicities is not anti-Jewish at all. There are Arabs (Jewish, Muslim, and Christian), Europeans, Protestants, Catholics, Orthodox, Muslims, Africans (lots of Ethiopians are Jewish), Mixed-Mediterraneans, Persians, and others.
3) Sometimes I hear the racist-Zionazis complain that Israel is being picked on while other countries get less flack. This may or may not be true (lots of human rights abuse criticisms go to China, N. Korea, Russia, and so on, not just Israel) but it doesn’t matter. This is like a serial rapist arguing that s/he should not be picked on because there are other serial rapists out there, too.
Truth is, all evil should be resisted. I can’t address each one simultaneously. Israel gets the spotlight because they deserve it and because they suck out billions of dollars of MY TAX MONEY every year. Each American household pays $30,000.00 a year to fund the Apartheid State of Israel.
That’s why the spotlight is on them – they are forcing me to pay for their evil. That relevance is what puts them at the top of the list. I am very thankful for Miko Peled. What a wonderful person, a true Mensch. Please keep up the good work, Miko. You’re a good man.
Video published on November 15, 2015 courtesy of EUROPEANS TV
Veteran Stands Up For 2nd Amendment At Chicago Anti-Gun Forum
Video Courtesy of Legal Insurrection YouTube Channel
I cannot stress how important it is to fight back at the local level. It’s happening all across America. Trump supporters are converging on town hall meetings, and literally running the liberal communist Congress(wom)men out of the meetings. These are non-violent protests, and the next step is to vote these traitors out of office, and elect Conservative Constitutional non-Zionists in their place. Every law they have put in place that is unconstitutional must be repealed. We owe it to our veterans who fought to keep our country free, and to ourselves, our children and our grandchildren.
Fight Back at the Local Level: Is Anarchy Coming To Your City? #IStandwithTrump
We know the Washington Post is run by the CIA. We have just connected another dot. Do you see who is running the CIA? The assaults on the BDS Movement are really about ending the 1st Amendment. Will Americans have the courage to stand up, or will they be using the 2nd Amendment to gain back the Republic?
Still not convinced? No, The Bible Doesn’t Command We “Stand With Israel”