Friday 7 October 2011
Boycotts, Divestments, Sanctions ... and Jew hatred
Last night, I experienced a little of what it is like to be a Jew in the UK. In central London, in front of several police, some people loudly accused me of being a Nazi and a War Criminal. One particularly articulate lady wished I would rot in hell. When I smiled and wished her God’s blessing, she became incandescent with rage. She had no desire to be blessed by my God, she yelled; she had a god of her own. The insults were, of course, liberally spiced with the ‘F’ word.
These were not the worst counter-compliments I have ever received, I must confess, but they left a particularly bad taste in my mouth because the people concerned spat their venom at me because I was standing with Jews and, for that reason, they thought I was a Jew.
I was in London yesterday for a meeting with leaders of Jewish missions and also for a prayer meeting for the salvation of the Jewish people at Westminster Central Hall. I received an email early in the morning informing me that the Palestine Solidarity Campaign was holding a demonstration outside Downing Street to call for the arrest of Tzipi Livni, the Leader of the Opposition in the Knesset. The Zionist Federation was holding a counter-demo to express support for Israel.
A number of the people who attended the prayer meeting accompanied me to Downing Street and, for the first twenty minutes or so, apart from the organisers, a counter-demonstration consisted entirely of Christians.
Livni was in the UK to discuss Israeli-British relations and building support for a two-state solution between Israelis and Palestinians. Two months ago such a visit would have been impossible. The universal jurisdiction law had prevented many high-ranking Israelis travelling to the UK because under that legislation they would have been arrested on charges of war crimes. An amendment to the law last month prevented pro-Palestinian organisations from applying for a warrant for Livni's arrest.
Despite the amended law, pro-Palestinian lawyers had issued a request to the Crown Prosecution Service to have Livni arrested when she arrived in London. The Foreign Secretary William Hague, intervened by issuing a certificate which designated Livni's visit a 'special mission.'
So there I was, just standing with an Israeli flag in my hand, when a lady I had never seen before informed me in no uncertain words that I was a Nazi.
What became clear over the next couple of hours was that the pro-Palestinians were not there to support the Palestinians so much as to denounce Israel. Their hatred was palpable.
As the Palestine Solidarity Campaign logo (pictured) eloquently demonstrates, the organisation does not wish to see a two-state solution to the present crisis in the Middle East (an issue that was being addressed by Livni and Hague).
The logo features what is currently Israel, Gaza and the Palestinian Authority as a single area. The PSC wants a single-state solution; a Jew-free Palestine. Nowhere on its website or on its printed publicity can I find any mention of ‘peace’. The PSC is committed to boycotts, divestment and sanctions. This is a call for destruction, not peace.
But of course the boycotts, divestments and sanctions are all selective. All the boycotters had mobile phones (available only because of technology developed in Israel) and you can bet your bottom shekel they all have laptops and/or PCs with ‘Intel Inside’ (perhaps that should be ‘Israel Inside’). And should these Israel haters become sick, it’s for certain they won’t boycott the numerous medicines available through breakthroughs in Israel. But then, anti-Semites were never all that hot on consistency.