[News] The Tide is Turning: Israel Is Losing on Two War Fronts
news at freedomarchives.org
Fri Nov 23 12:25:21 EST 2018
The Tide is Turning: Israel Is Losing on Two War Fronts
by Ramzy Baroud - November 22, 2018/*
The November 12 botched Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip is
delineating Tel Aviv’s failure to utilize its army as a tool to achieve
Palestinian political concessions.
Now that the Palestinian popular resistance has gone global through the
exponential rise and growing success of the Boycott Movement, the
Israeli government is fighting two desperate wars.
Following the Gaza attack, Palestinians responded by showering the
Israeli southern border with rockets and carried out a precise operation
targeting an Israeli army bus.
As Palestinians marched in celebration of pushing the Israeli army out
of their besieged region, the fragile political order in Israel,
long-managed by right-wing Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu,
was quickly unraveling.
Two days after the Israeli attack on Gaza, Defense Minister, Avigdor
Lieberman, quit in protest of Netanyahu’s ‘surrender’ to the Palestinian
Israeli leaders are in a precarious situation. Untamed violence comes at
a price of international condemnation and a Palestinian response that is
bolder and more strategic each time.
However, failing to teach Gaza its proverbial ‘lesson’ is viewed as an
act of surrender by opportunistic Israeli politicians.
While Israel is experiencing such limitations on the traditional
battlefield, which it once completely dominated, its war against the
global Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) is
surely a lost battle.
Israel has a poor track record in confronting civil society-based
mobilization. Despite the vulnerability of Palestinians living under
Israeli Occupation, it took the Israeli government and military seven
long years to pacify the popular Intifada, the uprising of 1987. Even
then, the jury is still out on what truly ended the popular revolt.
It should be accepted that a global Intifada is much more difficult to
suppress, or even contain.
Yet, when Israel began sensing the growing danger of BDS – which was
officially launched by Palestinian civil society in 2005 – it responded
with the same superfluous and predictable pattern: arrests, violence and
a torrent of laws that criminalize dissent at home, while unleashing an
international campaign of intimidation and smearing of boycott activists
That achieved little, aside from garnering BDS more attention and
The war on the Movement took a serious turn last year when Netanyahu’s
government dedicated a largesse of about $72 million to defeat the civil
Utilizing the ever-willing US government to boost its anti-BDS tactics,
Tel Aviv feels assured that its counter-BDS efforts in the US is off to
a promising start. However, it is only recently that Israel has begun to
formulate the wider European component of its global strategy.
In a two-day conference in Brussels earlier this month, Israeli
officials and their European supporters unleashed their broader European
Organized by the European Jewish Association (EJA) and the Europe Israel
Public Affairs group (EIPA), the November 6-7 conference was fully
supported by the Israeli government, featuring right-wing Israeli
Minister of Jerusalem Affairs, Ze’ev Elkin.
Under the usual pretext of addressing the danger of anti-Semitism in
Europe, attendees deliberately conflated racism and any criticism of
Israel, of its military Occupation and colonization of Palestinian land.
The EJA Annual Conference has raised Israel’s manipulation of the term
‘anti-Semitism’ to a whole new level, as it drafted a text that will
purportedly be presented to prospective members of the European
Parliament (MEPs), demanding their signature before running in next
Those who decline to sign – or worse, repudiate the Israeli initiative –
are likely to find themselves fending off accusations of racism and
This was certainly not the first conference of its kind.
The anti-BDS euphoria that has swept Israel in recent years, yielded
several crowded and passionate conferences in luxurious hotels, where
Israeli officials openly threatened BDS activists, such as Omar
Barghouti. Barghouti was warned by a top Israeli official in a 2016
conference in Jerusalem of “civil assassination” for his role in the
organization of the Movement.
In March 2017, the Israeli Knesset passed the Anti-BDS Travel Ban, which
requires the Interior Minister to deny entry to the country to any
foreign national who “knowingly issued a public call to boycott the
state of Israel.”
Since the ban went into effect, many BDS supporters have been detained,
deported and barred from entering the country.
While Israel has demonstrated its ability to galvanize self-serving US
and other European politicians to support its cause, there is no
evidence that the BDS Movement is being quelled or is, in any way,
On the contrary, the Israeli strategy has raised the ire of many
activists, civil society and civil rights groups, angered by Israel’s
attempt at subverting freedom of speech in western countries.
Only recently, Leeds University in the UK has joined many other campuses
around the world in divesting from Israel.
The tide is, indeed, turning.
Decades of Zionist indoctrination also failed, not only in reversing the
vastly changing public opinion on the Palestinian struggle for freedom
and rights, but even in preserving the once solid pro-Israel sentiment
among young Jews, most notably in the US.
For BDS supporters, however, every Israeli strategy presents an
opportunity to raise awareness of Palestinian rights and to mobilize
civil society around the world against Israeli occupation and racism.
BDS’ success is attributed to the very reason why Israel is failing to
counter its efforts: it is a disciplined model of a popular, civil
resistance that is based on engagement, open debate and democratic
choices, while grounded in international and humanitarian law.
Israel’s ‘war-chest’ will run dry in the end, for no amount of money
could have saved the racist, Apartheid regime in South Africa when it
came tumbling down decades ago.
Needless to say, $72 million will not turn the tide in favor of
Apartheid Israel, nor will it change the course of history that can only
belong to the people who are unrelenting on achieving their long-coveted
/*Dr. Ramzy Baroud* has been writing about the Middle East for over 20
years. He is an internationally-syndicated columnist, a media
consultant, an author of several books and the founder of
PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom
Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story (Pluto Press, London). His website is:
Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415
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