When I was a wee lad, Hyde Park Corner was the place where assorted cranks gathered to blow off steam under the watchful, bored eyes of a couple of British bobbies. In my innocence, I did not realise that much of so-called ordinary politics was every bit as crazy and probably a lot more dangerous than the antics of the Hyde Park regulars. Nor did I know then that a couple of speakers were destined for future fame – which did not mean that they had acquired any sense.
But Hyde Park Corner has, in this modern age, been outsourced. Where you may ask? Well one place is the Universities. Others are the media and, of course, the Internet. I suppose the whole idea that bad, and even nutty, ideas can be confined to one corner was just too good to be true. We now know better.
These musings are occasioned by the knowledge that “Israel Apartheid Week” is acoming, masterminded by the BDS network. This is quite a sophisticated Hyde Park operation. I am regularly sent the BDS Newsletter (without even asking), possibly in the hope I may blow a fuse or something.
If you want to know what living in Stalin’s Russia or in Iran must be like, here is a paragraph from their announcement of the event:
“For us South Africans and our liberation, people of the world had mobilized in their hundreds of thousands – if not millions. During the 1980s, they held protests, music concerts, free Nelson Mandela events, lectures, film screenings, boycott actions and a host of other events to raise awareness of Apartheid South Africa’s racist policies and to build support for the successful boycott, divestment and sanctions against South Africa campaign. Today, we have the opportunity of giving-back by joining the international movement in solidarity with the indigenous Palestinian people against Israeli Apartheid – participating in Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) is one such form of solidarity!”
Straight out of “Total Propaganda 101”. Let me summarise:
- Find a good metaphor and slogan – apartheid comes in very useful indeed.
- Find ideas and words that wil resonate with your audience – “liberation”, “solidarity”, “indigeneous peoples”, “racist” and, of course, Nelson Mandela. Wait for Tutu to be deployed in due course.
- Make it an event where people can get involved.
- Finally, forget about the facts – eg. who is more “indigneous”? The Palestinians or the Jews? Or perhaps they are both indigeneous and non-indigeneous at the same time.
Anyway for those who like a good party, go along. There will be lots of placards, happenings, “impromptu” performances, a film or two and some experienced activist speakers who will (on campus anyway) try to cut down on the hate speech and chanting and put an academic gloss on proceedings.
But I come from a science background and I would like to ask a few questions of my own. Firstly, who are their clients?
Ostensibly it is the Palestinians. The same Palestinians whose programme of relentless incitement and grievance has raised a generation for whom peace with Jewish Israel is difficult to contemplate. Whose current leader, Abbas, has remained in power for a 5 years (and counting) after his initial term expired. Where Hamas (and other equally extremist groups) are waiting in the wings should he be reckless enough to subject himself to an election. Whose corrupt and incompetent government is propped up by USA, EU and Israel because the alternatives are worse. Whose predecessor, Arafat, was a byword for brutality, corruption, greed and deception.
But the Palestinians are in actual fact a decoy – especially the ordinary Palestinian at the mercy of a corrupt and tyrannical leadership and occasionally a heavy-handed Israeli bureacracy, who may actually be open to a peace settlement given respite from engineered grievance and propaganda.
No, the real beneficiary of the BDS project is a smorgasbord of Arab-Muslim tyrannies, failed states and violent, criminalised Islamist groups who are doing their best to convert the Middle East and parts of the Maghreb (Islamic North Africa) into a wasteland. Three years into the Arab Spring and we have 90 000 deaths and economic collapse, masked by endless aid poured into this potentially wealthy region to maintain a semblance of stability. We still have the oppression of women and homosexuals and the fanatical and merciless intolerance of Wahabbists and the like,whether Sunni or Shi’ite.
And who is suffering? Not Israel, which on every criterion is part of the developed world and a leader in many areas from health to agriculture, from tourism to technology. Not Israeli Arabs, who enjoy levels of health, prosperity, education and political and religious freedom only dreamt of in most of the surrounding states; or indeed by many of our own population.
And, of course, the BDS gang are not suffering either. Very well funded by undisclosed sources, given wide and favourable publicity by our supine media, they strut the world stage puffed up by celebrity status.
But the real victims of the BDS campaign are those genuine and brave Arab-Islamic reformers who see the extremists excused by a frightened West. The real victims of the BDS campaign are the Palestinians themselves who are encouraged to believe the fantasy that total victory will be assured by “world opinion” as promised by BDS propagandists. Thus, bolstered by false hopes they spurn the compromises which would bring them peace and prosperity.
And, I suppose, the other class of victims are the majority (ever decreasing) of Israelis who see the prospect of two states living side by side in peace, scuppered by the victimhood narrative being propagated on the global stage by the BDS gang and their allies.
In the longer term, we all suffer as the struggles of the Islamic-Arab world to rid themselves of corrupt tyrants and reconcile their traditions and cultures with modernity are diverted into scapegoating Israel, with the assistance of the BDS campaign and staged events like “Israel Apartheid Week”.
So, if anyone is going for the fun, just remember the costs. And, those going to counter the BDS poison, just remember who should be in the dock.