Bullyboy Beef

Another day at the Guardian; another Neve Gordon pro-boycott article; another example of the Durban I  delegitimization and demonization strategy at work.

So why now? Well, as recently mentioned on these pages, the Israeli government has finally begun to refuse to take its country’s delegitimization lying down and that includes coming to terms with people such as Neve Gordon himself. This means that the BDS supporters, who until now have enjoyed a free rein to promote their demonizing and delegitimizing strategies unhindered both at home and abroad, suddenly have to reckon with opposition to their point of view, and they appear not to like it. Apparently, Gordon believes that hiding behind the Guardian’s skirts will help his case, which he presents in this article using two main, albeit very weak, points.

His first point is that Israel is wrong, and until it changes its ways, he has no choice but to punish it. Like some Victorian patriarch from an era gone by, Gordon expounds his ‘spare the rod and spoil the child’ doctrine which lies behind the promotion of the BDS campaign, all but telling us that this is hurting him more than it is us.

“[T]he occupation will not end unless Israelis understand that it has a price.”

The trouble is, of course, that some of us wayward souls who (to his misfortune) are Gordon’s fellow citizens remember that the territories only came under Israeli control because three Arab states and their armies, with the support of six other Arab countries and the PLO, tried to annihilate our 19 year-old state. Neither do we forget the ‘Three Nays’ of the Khartoum Resolutions of September 1967 which slammed the door both on peace and the relinquishing of those territories and thus paved the way to the next terrible Arab-initiated war six years later.

Stubbornly perhaps, we also do not forget the complex status of the West Bank: the fact that it was rejected by the Arabs under the 1947 partition plan, the fact that Jordan’s 1948 occupation of it was not recognised by any other countries except Great Britain and Pakistan; the fact that Jordan relinquished all claims to it in 1988 and that it is therefore not the territory of any other country and hence cannot strictly speaking be defined as occupied. Even more capriciously, we also remember that we tried to assist and encourage Gordon’s former friend Yasser Arafat to establish a state there a decade ago, but that this solution to the suffering of the Palestinians was rejected not by Israelis, but by Arafat and his henchmen themselves, who duly scuppered their one big chance by instigating the violent second Intifada. Even Neve Gordon must be able to remember the price paid by Israel for that particular Arafat stunt: over one thousand newly grieving families and many thousands more trying to come to terms with shattered lives.

And so, according to Gordon’s simplistic world view, the Israelis, who since 1993 have been trying to come to agreements over the future of the area in question, must ‘pay a price’ but the Palestinian intransigence has no cost whatsoever. Let us imagine for a moment that Neve Gordon and his associates succeeded in their campaign and Israelis were persuaded that they must immediately evacuate Judea & Samaria without any treaties, guarantees or conditions: what would be the result of such an action? We have no need to speculate because there is already a precedent to such a scenario: another piece of land which came into Israeli hands as a result of the 1967 war and was evacuated five years ago. Is Neve Gordon prepared to take the responsibility for the potential firing of thousands of rockets and mortars on Tel Aviv, Ben Gurion Airport or Glilot?

Gordon’s second aim in this article is to plant the seeds of the idea of Israel being under the influence of a ‘proto-fascist mindset’. He compares it to Mussolini’s Italy, darkly hinting that “practically everyone who is even slightly critical of government policies” is being somehow ‘targeted’, although in what way is left to the morbid imagination of the Guardian reader. Obviously such claims, ridiculous as they will seem to anyone with even the slightest familiarity with Israel and Israelis, are part and parcel of Gordon’s strategy to paint himself and his collaborators as edgy heroic Davids fighting a repressive Goliath.

Unfortunately, Gordon seems to have accustomed himself to ignoring the fact that he lives in a democracy in which, however much he may disapprove, the majority do not share his opinions. Evidently unprepared to accept the limitations of falling within a minority group within a democracy, and apparently unwilling to employ the accepted methods of campaigning to persuade the public to change its opinions, Gordon wants instead to bully the majority into coming round to his way of thinking.

Members of the BDS movement such as Gordon like to flatter themselves by claiming that their racist campaign against Israel is part of a family tree which includes the ending of apartheid rule in South Africa. In reality, their campaign is no more than the illegitimate offspring of assorted Arab boycotts against Israel which have been going on for well over six decades in various shapes and forms and include such sinister key targets as Starbucks, Facebook, Coca Cola, the Olympic Games and sport in general. These heroes have even proven to be inspiration for yet another new anti-Jewish Iranian boycott.

Well done Neve Gordon; you have managed to position yourself (with the help of the good folks at the Guardian, of course) in the same league as a repressive, theocratic, dictatorial Holocaust-denying bully from Tehran.  That’s quite a claim to fame.

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