[News] Fighting Israeli Occupying Forces Is “Terrorism.” Boycotting Is “Anti-Semitism.” What’s Allowed?

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Wed Apr 6 12:14:44 EDT 2016


**Fighting Israeli Occupying Forces Is “Terrorism.” Boycotting Is 
“Anti-Semitism.” What’s Allowed?*

glenn.greenwald@​theintercept.com - April 3, 2016

THAT “TERRORISM” IS a malleable term of propaganda, with no fixed 
meaning or consistent application, is now quite well-established. Still, 
its recent application to a spate of violence targeting Israel’s 
occupying soldiers in the West Bank is so manipulative and extreme that 
it’s well worth highlighting.

Israel has militarily occupied the West Bank for decades (it’s also 
still functionally occupying Gaza, as this two-minute video proves). The 
West Bank “occupation is illegal under international law and the United 
Nations has repeatedly told the country’s government to vacate 
Palestinian territory.” Even ardent defenders of Israel admit that “the 
West Bank is under a legal regime of belligerent occupation” and 
“Israel’s settlement enterprise is, and has always been, grossly illegal 
under international law.” Despite this world consensus, Israeli 
settlements continue to grow rapidly. Israel is not engaged in any 
meaningful efforts to negotiate an agreement to end the occupation, and 
leading Israeli ministers now openly oppose such efforts.

In response to this, there has been a series of attacks over the past 
year by Palestinians on Israeli occupying soldiers in the West Bank. In 
the Israeli and American press, the Palestinians attacking these 
occupying soldiers are invariably called “terrorists” and their attacks 
are denounced as “terrorism” (“The two soldiers were stabbed while at a 
guard post at the Har Bracha settlement, located in the northern West 
Bank. … Troops were searching for the terrorists”).

For those (such as myself) who have long contended that the term 
“terrorism” now has little meaning beyond “violence by Muslims against 
the West and its allies,” and no purpose other than to delegitimize 
violence by one side while legitimizing the other side’s, can there be 
any better proof than this?

There have been Palestinian attacks on Israeli civilians of course 
(while far more Palestinian civilians have died at the hands of the 
Israeli army), but in these specific cases, these Palestinians are 
attacking purely military targets, not civilians. Those military targets 
are soldiers deployed to their soil as part of an illegal occupying 
army. In what conceivable sense can that be “terrorism”? If fighting an 
occupying army is now “terrorism” simply because the army belongs to 
Israel and the attackers are Palestinian, is it not incredibly obvious 
how this term is exploited?

The U.S. has frequently done the same: invade and occupy countries such 
as Iraq and Afghanistan and then label anyone who fights their occupying 
armies as “terrorists,” even putting some in Guantánamo for that. 
Similarly, attacks against military bases of the U.S., U.K., and other 
Western countries are routinely labeled “terrorism.”

Needless to say, both Americans and Israelis (along with most others in 
the world) reserve for themselves the absolute right to fight against 
any foreign army that occupies their land. Indeed, Hollywood, in the 
1980s, produced a film called Red Dawn, which imagined an occupation of 
the U.S. by the Soviet Union and its Nicaraguan and Cuban allies. It 
told the story of the heroic U.S. citizens, led by high school students, 
who waged a guerrilla war against the occupying troops, killing dozens 
upon dozens of them. Imagine the widespread confusion, and outrage, that 
would have resulted if someone accused the filmmakers of glorifying 
“terrorism” by demonizing the fictional American resisters as “terrorists”:

The film was updated in 2012 with a sequel depicting “one group of 
unlikely [American] heroes” who waged guerrilla warfare against North 
Korean forces who had invaded and occupied the U.S. (the film originally 
depicted these American heroes attacking and killing an occupying army 
from China, but, in post-production, the producers changed the identity 
of the occupiers to North Korean in order to preserve access to Chinese 

When Americans resist military occupation by fighting against occupying 
troops on their soil, they are noble heroes. But when Palestinians do 
this, they are “terrorists.” This discourse, by design, equates 
Palestinians resisting occupation by fighting against an occupying army 
with al Qaeda and ISIS, and thus posits that any use of force by 
Palestinians to resist Israeli occupation — even when done on 
Palestinian soil, aimed exclusively at Israeli military targets there — 
is illegitimate.

So if violent resistance is illegitimate “terrorism,” what about other 
alternatives for resisting the decades-old, still-expanding illegal 
Israeli occupation? The nonviolent route embraced by Palestinian 
activists and their anti-occupation allies around the world is a 
campaign of boycott, sanctions, and divestment (BDS) aimed at Israel, 
modeled after the campaign that helped end South Africa’s apartheid 
regime in the 1980s (a regime that, just by the way, was a close ally of 
both the U.S. and Israel).

But there is a highly successful campaign by Israel and its U.S. allies 
not only to decree this nonviolent boycott campaign illegitimate, but 
literally to outlaw it. Official bodies are enacting rules to censor and 
officially suppress it by equating the campaign with “anti-Semitism” 
even though, as fervent Israel supporter Eric Alterman wrote in the New 
York Times this week, “it is filled with young Jews.”

The Intercept and other outlets have repeatedly reported on official 
governmental and university actions to ban BDS activism by equating it 
with “anti-Semitism.” In California, the regents of the nation’s largest 
university system just enacted a resolution strongly implying that BDS 
activism is anti-Semitic and thus in violation of university rules. In 
New York last week, dozens of state legislators, from both parties, have 
demanded the de-funding of a pro-Palestinian group at CUNY, a move 
denounced by the campus free speech group FIRE. Canadian Prime Minister 
Justin Trudeau, when running for office, announced that BDS “has no 
place on Canadian campuses.” In France, people are literally arrested as 
criminals under “hate speech” laws for wearing T-shirts advocating BDS. 
Measures in the U.K. have been enacted to legally bar support for such 
boycott movements. Laws and proposed bills in Israel ban advocacy of the 
movement and bar supporters from entering Israel.

So look at what has happened here. When Palestinians fight against 
occupying troops on their soil, they are denounced — and often killed — 
as “terrorists.” Meanwhile, nonviolent campaigns to end the occupation 
through a South Africa-style boycott are demonized as “anti-Semitism” 
and officially barred — censored — in all sorts of ways, in numerous 
countries around the world.

If fighting Israeli occupying forces is barred as “terrorism,” and 
nonviolent boycotts against Israel are barred as “anti-Semitism,” then 
what is considered a legitimate means for Palestinians and their allies 
to resist and end the decadeslong, illegal Israeli occupation? The 
answer is: nothing. Palestinians are obliged to submit to Israeli 
occupation in a way that none of the people demanding that would ever 
themselves submit to occupation of their land. All forms of resistance 
to Israeli occupation are deemed illegitimate. That, manifestly, is the 
whole point of all of this.

Top photo: Israeli soldiers stand near the body of a Palestinian who was 
shot and killed by a soldier while lying wounded on the ground after a 
stabbing attack in Hebron in the West Bank on March 24, 2016.

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863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
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