I was reading a review of a new movie called ‘Denial’ in the Jerusalem Post.
The movie depicts the libel suit brought by Deborah Lipstadt, portrayed in the movie by Rachel Weisz, against the infamous Holocaust denier, David Irving.
There is a scene in the movie where Irving taunts a young and inexperienced Lipstadt as she was trying to deliver a college lecture about the Holocaust and I was struck by the similarities between that incident and the anti-Israel bullies who intimidate anyone presenting an Israeli perspective.
Lipstadt explains that she felt like a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming truck, without a strategy, uncertain how to respond.
How familiar this emotion sounds to anyone confronted by BDS antagonists.
Explaining the feeling she had in compiling her case against Irving she described Irving as employing what TV comedian, Stephen Colbert, later called “truthiness.” That is compiling a list of half facts and distortions and yelling about it to make it stick you give it credibility and prove your point to a wide audience. But, deeply and profoundly Irving was a fraud and an anti-Semite.
Pro-Israel advocates are very familiar with the “truthiness” of the BDS bullies.
She was increasingly disturbed by students asking her if Anne Frank’s diaries were genuine or questioning whether gas chambers really existed. She began to realise that Holocaust denial was making inroads into students’ minds. She understood that something profoundly wrong was happening. So Lipstadt began to research Holocaust denial making Irving her test case.
By comparison, we can see the relevance to the inroads that have been made by Israel deniers. They get into people’s heads with insinuations that sound reasonable even emotionally seductive in their imagery and too many people are caught in the headlights of onrushing criticism and condemnation of the Jewish state, floundering to find the right answers.
Deborah Lipstadt did the research. Methodically she went through every statement made by Irving and began to find discrepancies. As a historian bringing a case against this noted Holocaust denier she was aware that the accuracy of her work was essential to expose the fraud. She had to prove that he distorted the truth. She studied how he constantly changed facts, lied and obscured events and avoided unpleasant truths that would have exposed his ultimate intention to besmirch the murder of six million Jews.
People like David Irving are people driven by prejudice and hate. So it is with people obsessed in bringing down Israel. Like David Irving they can be humiliated by studying their distorted arguments and exposing them.
I have made it my obligation to prove that the majority of BDS activists who profess to be passionately pro-Palestinian are, quite bluntly, using the Palestinian cause as the instrument to attack the Jewish state and that they do not really care a hoot for Palestinian human rights and are firmly against any justice or Israeli human rights, not even the right to exist. I have researched their arguments and discovered they are as flawed as David Irving’s denials. Here are just a few examples;
They spend a week on global campuses promoting the notion of an Israeli apartheid, yet have nothing to say about the apartheid practices of many Arab regimes against fellow Arabs who claim to be Palestinian including keeping them stateless and deprived of many of the rights of normal citizens in their countries.
Worse still, these activists have nothing to say about the apartheid policy of a Palestinian Authority that has a United Nations organisation house and feed thousands of Palestinians in refugee camps under their territorial and administrative control for fifty years. How obscene is that? One would expect BDS to demonstrate against this if they really cared about the abuse of Palestinian human rights. But they are totally silent.
The same applies with the slander that Israel is “ethnically cleansing” Palestinians when statistics show that numbers have dramatically increased under Israeli supervision. On the other hand, pro-Palestinian human rights groups have failed to protest the Assad-led ethnic cleansing of Palestinians living in Syrian camps.
Just as Irving lied so do anti-Israel activists in solidarity for Palestinian rights. They accuse Israel of imposing a total and “illegal” blockade on Gaza when, in fact, up to a thousand trucks a day roll into the Strip carrying materials and equipment that Israelis know will fall into the hands of Hamas and be used to reconstruct their anti-Israel terrorist infrastructure at the expense of the Palestinians these protesters profess to support. No protest against the oppressive and cruel Hamas regime. No demand to ‘Boycott Egypt’ while this Arab country maintains an almost total blockage on Gaza.
Just as David Irving was exposed for conducting a fraudulent campaign of denial against the Jewish people so BDS, SJP and other haters are conducting a fraudulent campaign of denial against the Jewish State.
At the heart of both lies an anti-Semitism that cannot be denied.
Barry Shaw is the Senior Associate for Public Diplomacy at the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies.
He is the author of ‘Fighting Hamas, BDS and Anti-Semitism’ and the Amazon 2016 best-seller ‘BDS for IDIOTS.’