On Etiquette and the BDS Campaign on Campus

It’s a funny thing, some people’s sense of civility. The group Students Against Israeli Apartheid think it’s a lack of civility to challenge unsubstantiated statements about Israel. Perhaps they are touchy now that their movement Boycott Divest and Sanctions (BDS) has been condemned by the Parliament of Canada.

We noted that the Students Against Israeli Apartheid at Dalhousie did not attempt to refute our central arguments. This anti-Israel group is a local affiliate of the BDS movement that is directed from outside Canada. Their global spokesman is Omar Barghouti, who has praised the Third Intifada’s tactics of young teens going on rogue operations to stab Israeli civilians. Nor have we heard the local affiliate Students Against Israeli Apartheid at Dalhousie speak outabout the incivility of these actions.

At a public lecture held on campus, Dr. Amal Ghazal was asked to clarify her statement that European Jews considered themselves white. She made this comment in the context of a discussion about colonial projects executed by European white supremacists. We remain baffled by Dr. Ghazal’s juxtaposing her comment that Jews considered themselves white, and have surmised that Jews are being smeared in a sophisticated way.

Dr. Amal Ghazal may be a respected scholar, but we disagree with her assertion that Palestinians are the indigenous people of Israel. Jews lived in the land now called Israel thousands of years ago. If any group has a credible claim as an indigenous people, it must be Jews, who were forcibly displaced from their homeland by invaders.

The BDS Movement locally has tried to project a linkage with their cause and the struggles of Canada’s aboriginal peoples. The dispute between Palestinians and Israel has no parallel with the longstanding mistreatment of aboriginal peoples in Canada or the Western Hemisphere.

Turning to the word “bullshit,” it must be understood in the context of the entire dialogue. It began when Dr. Ghazal said European Jews considered themselves white. She was asked if credible, independent sources could be provided. Dr. Ghazal did not answer. Her reply was to “Google it.” Dr. Ghazal was then asked what she thought of the Canadian government’s condemnation of the BDS Movement. This was a perfectly valid question because a local affiliate of the BDS Movement, Students Against Israeli Apartheid at Dalhousie, was sponsoring the lecture. In reply to this question, she replied “I don’t care what the Canadian government thinks.” Astonished, Dr. Ghazal was asked: “You don’t care what the Canadian government thinks”? This was precipitated  “bullshit.”

We reiterate that the BDS Movement plies propaganda  in a carefully coordinated campaignof half-truths and a failure to acknowledge that Hamas is the direct recipient of weapons supplied by Iran, an international outlaw that has vowed to destroy Israel. Just last week Iran launched missiles bearing a message written in Hebrew that Israel will perish. Iran sends weapons to Hamas, which are then used against Israel. If Israel retaliates, it is demonized as a villain. It’s quite extraordinary that the Arab world is united against Israel, but is incapable of a unified approach in denouncing ISIS.

The denial of the Jewish peoples’ ties to the land of Israel spanning thousands of years; the ongoing global effort by the BDS Movement to eliminate the state of Israel by sanctions; the attempt to equate Israel with South Africa; the intellectually fraudulent attempt to portray Israel as a Middle Eastern violator of aboriginal rights; and the refusal to acknowledge the existential threat to Israel posed by Hamas and its renegade benefactor Iran, collectively represent anti-Semitism.

We, the authors, practice openness and transparency by signing our names; notably, Students Against Israeli Apartheid at Dalhousie hides this information.

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Mary MacDonald

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