Saturday, June 12, 2010

Don't Sanction Me!

I guess another month of silence on the Muzzlewatch front was too much to hope for. Once again, they seem to be in the business of throwing accusation after accusation up against the wall in dim hope that at least one will stick.

Having dealt with their laughable attempts to make victims of themselves and Helen Thomas, one of Muzzlewatch’s most recent postings attempts to turn Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) and all their allies in the BDS “movement” into martyrs of a scale never seen since Rome threw Christians to the lions.

Once more, a quick clarification. Muzzlewatch is not an organization, but a tactic used by the organization Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), a group whose main missions are to (1) pronounce anyone accused of anti-Semitism “not guilty” (with a Jewish accent) and (2) getting everyone in the world to boycott, divest from and sanction the state of Israel as the leading BDS organization with the word “Jewish” in its name.

Let’s think a moment about what BDS stands for (literally and conceptually). By “Boycott” (the “B” of BDS), that means they would like every retail organization on the globe to stop selling Israeli products. They would also like academics and artists to boycott the Jewish state, meaning researchers and professors (in any field) should stop sharing information with Israelis, stop inviting them to conferences, stop allowing them into graduate programs. And by “Israelis,” I mean just the Jewish ones. Palestinian “academics” like Omar Barghouti are, in contrast, free to not only skip such a boycott, but to enjoy a subsidized lifestyle at an Israeli university of their choosing while they jet around the world advocating for all other academics in the world to boycott their Israeli colleagues. And any attempted boycott of people like Barghouti is denounced as a form of bigotry.

Divestment (BDS’s “D”) means all institutions that in any way invest in Israel or in companies that do business with Israel should drop those investments in protest of this or that policy of the Jewish state. And Sanctions (“S”) extends this call for punishment to governments and international organizations, all of which are called upon by BDS advocates (like Jewish Voice for Peace) to take official action denouncing and punishing (economically and otherwise) Israel, using their government power and authority to pass judgment and take action against one and only one nation: the Jewish one.

But apparently, JVP has a problem when a government follows their advice to the letter, only this time turning that advice about “sanctions” against BDS activists themselves. Yes, after a decade of BDS activity targeting Israel, some Israeli parliamentarians are trying to create consequences for that activity, calling for Israelis who take part in a boycott to pay for any damages caused to those being boycotted, and not continuing to give BDS advocates all the privileges they have enjoyed entering and leaving Israel to spread their poison at will.

Now truth be told, I’m not personally a big fan of any government taking action against political activity inside or outside of their borders. And, while I could definitely be wrong, the resolution Muzzlewatch has gotten its panties bunched up over looks a lot like “get tough” posturing that rarely becomes law (or stays law) within a democracy (unlike, say, outlawing drawings of Mohammed which Muslim nations seem to be succeeding in turning into a global blasphemy law – to the silence of “Muzzlewatch,” of course).

The problem is, any case that such laws do more harm than good is undercut by the activities of Jewish Voice for Peace which clearly stands for universal jurisdiction of every country against every other through its incessant calls that all governments everywhere (not to mention all other institutions everywhere) drop their core missions to focus instead on JVP’s top priority: punishment of the Jewish state.

It gives me no pleasure to say “sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander,” and I would prefer that all governments stop shaking their fists at one another for reasons of political posturing. But if JVP finds the notion of government sanction turned against it and its allies so repellent, perhaps they should have a talk with the folks they see in the mirror every morning regarding how their own activity has made an Israeli response inevitable.

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