There is no denying that the anti-Israel activism in campuses accross the US presents a real danger for the future of US-Israel relations, and for the American Jewish support for Israel. There is, however, a big step from there to the claims made by Abunimah.
The BDS Campaign, for all its strident claims, has done very little to achieve its stated goals: over the last ten years, a large number of international corporations established offices in Israel to take advantage of the dynamism of Israeli economy and the high quality of its professionals. the lastest one is "SodaStream", about to establish a factory near the Israeli beduin town of Rahat in the Negev which will provide over 500 new jobs to the area residents. Electronic giants like Microsoft, Nokia, Cisco, IBM, and many others have Research operations in Israel; Israel is the foreign company that has the most companies listed in NASDAQ (right after the US). Doesn't look like the BDS campaign is doing Israel's economy much damage.
As for the battle of ideas, in the last couple of years European countries as well as the US have been changing their positions to a stronger support of Israel and many of their writers are beginning to denounce the use of Islam as a political tool as something that is offensive to the religion of Islam as well as to freedom and Democracy. Israel is less isolated in the world today than it was 3 years ago, and more people wake up every day to the reality of what the Palestinian leadership is up to. More and more people in the West are coming to understand that the Palestinian leadership will continue to seek Israel's destruction and will fight to the last drop of its own people's blood (just not theirs).
More and more often, journalists are denouncing the use of fake data and photographs to blame Israel of unexisting crimes. So where does Abunimah perception come from?
It comes from the incestuous conversation between Abunimah and Abunimah. When people make sure that they only interact wth those who agree with them, they can construct their own world, isolated from facts and reality. At the Penn Conference, they denied Press credentials to the designated reporter of the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent, on the basis that the reporter had published in the past "articles biased against the BDS movement, and has exhibited very unprofessional standards". In other words, the reporter disagreed with them and they didn't like what they read, so they decided to become the judges who set journalistic standards. They might as well have hung a sign saying "Dissenters not welcome".
Ironically, these same activists who denied a reporter's right to report, are adamant about defending the right of "their" students to interfere with Israeli speakers in campuses, including those who hackled the Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren at UC Irvine last year. In other words, anti-Israel activists should not only be allowed, but are entitled to interfere in pro-Israel programs, but pro-Israel Journalist do not have the right to express their opinions on an anti-Israel movement. Am I the only one seeing something wrong with this picture? Whatever hapenned with freedom of speech? can it be applied only one way?
These agitators who refuse an honest intellectual confrontation with reality and live in their own little ivory tower eventually come to believe their own statements, and come to confuse wishful thinking with reality. This is true not only regarding the Israeli Palestinian conflict but also in many other areas of life.
Ali Abunimah, Omar Barghouti, and the other Palestinian activists who spoke at the Conference were not confronted by anybody who disagree with them. They will claim that they had some Jewish speakers and they did. Jewish speakers who actually oppose Israel's right to exist or at the very least consider Israel a "criminal" regime. Much like Ahmedinajed had his own "token Jews" at the Holocaust Denial conference in Teheran a couple of years back, or how the NYT uses the demonstrations of the Satmar and other marginal anti-Zionist American Jews as "proof" that "American Jews do not support Israel"
So it is not a suprise when some International media uses fake photos to blame Israel of unexisting crimes. After all, it seems that the Media is more interested in telling their story line than in the truth. If a photo or a report fit the story - Publish; no verification required. And when (if) the fake is exposed, they just push it under the rug. It hapenned too many times to believe it is just a coincidence; it is a symptom of the decay of journalistic standards. But of course - I forgot - it is the BDS movement the one setting the standards to make sure the Jewish Exponent was not represented at the conference because, after all, it is a pro-Israel newspaper...
To my Palestinian friends, I can only say that they have two choices. They can toot their own horn and convince themselves that Israel's destruction is just around the corner. This means it is OK to get into bed with Hamas and reject Peace negotiations. Or they can open their eyes and seize the opportunity to achieve independence in their own state while there is still a chance. My advise to them? Don't toot your own horn -listen to those who disagree with you, listen to reality and not wishful thinking. Israel is not going away, and the sooner you come to terms with that reality, the sooner you will enjoy independence in your own state. Or you can keep doing what you have been doing: squander opportunities; the choice is yours.
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