This letter, written by IJV member Judith Deutsch, was published on July 23, 2015 in the Toronto Star.
Re: Israel’s other war, World July 18
In a timely article on Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions, initiated by Palestinian civil society against Israel, Olivia Ward does note a “growing cohort of Jewish supporters” of BDS.
Large organization such as Independent Jewish Voices (Canada) and Jewish Voice for Peace (U.S.) have adopted BDS. These organizations are clear that criticism of Israel is not to be conflated with anti-Semitism and that Israel’s racism needs to be recognized.
Olivia Ward writes that Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked is preparing to launch international lawsuits against BDS proponents, but does not mention Shaked’s shocking racism, such as her public call to kill Palestinian mothers of “snakes.”
In January 2009 Haroon Siddiqui reported in the Star about Jewish-Canadians who were appalled by Israel’s second devastating attack on Gaza and by Canada’s opposition to a ceasefire. He quoted Ursula Franklin, concert pianist Anton Kuerti, the late Michael Mandel, and myself. The list of Jewish people recognizing the colonial and racist underpinnings of the State of Israel goes way back and includes Sigmund Freud, Albert Einstein, and Hannah Arendt.
Currently, Richard Falk, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, is a strong supporter of BDS. Naomi Klein is also a strong supporter of BDS.
The accusation of anti-Semitism at this time comes on the heal of the Iran/U.S. nuclear agreement, opposed by the Netanyahu government and by the array of people opposed to BDS. Lost in the back-and-forth about accusations of anti-Semitism is the fact that Israel is the greatest nuclear threat in the Middle East, with an arsenal estimated at between 80 and 400 nuclear weapons, is a non-signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and is responsible for disrupting the latest attempt to rein in nuclear weapons at the UN Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference.
Judith Deutsch, Toronto