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This Canadian-Jewish Activist Wants to Boycott Israel; Here’s What She Gets Wrong

A pro-BDS demonstration. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

In an opinion piece for The Guardian, Canadian-Jewish public personality Naomi Klein advocates for the strengthening of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.

According to Klein, Israel’s current war against Hamas in Gaza is further evidence of the Jewish state’s acting with “impunity,” and it is only by widening the influence of the BDS movement that the international community can rein in what she perceives to be Israel’s wrongdoings.

However, to make her case, Klein relies on a whitewashing of the BDS movement, misrepresentations of Israel’s military activities, and false allegations of Israeli apartheid.

Naomi Klein presents BDS as a Palestinian-led movement that seeks to isolate Israel until it “complies with international law and universal principle of human rights.”

For Klein and other proponents of BDS, the movement’s damaging boycotts of the Jewish state and international corporations that do business with it will ultimately force foreign governments to sanction Israel, similar to the campaign against Apartheid South Africa in the 1980s.

However, while Klein seeks to present BDS as this virtuous movement seeking only to bring Israel into lockstep with the international community, the reality is much more sinister.

Several BDS leaders have been unabashedly quoted as stating the ultimate end goal of the movement is the destruction of Israel as a Jewish state.

Omar Barghouti, a founding member of the BDS movement, who is presented in Klein’s piece as a moral voice against injustice, has been recorded in the past saying, “We oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine” and even going so far as to claim that Palestinians have a right to “resistance by any means, including armed resistance.”

Thus, it’s clear that it’s not trumped-up charges of Israeli violations of international law that BDS opposes. It’s Israel’s existence as a Jewish state that drives BDS’s international campaigns.

Klein also makes several misleading statements that serve to glorify the boycott movement.

For example, in touting the movement’s righteousness, she claims that BDS is “very clear that it is not calling for individual Israelis to be boycotted because they are Israeli…,” creating the impression that BDS is only focused on boycotting Israeli institutions.

However, a closer look at the movement’s boycott guidelines shows that the BDS National Committee allows for “common sense” boycotts of Israeli individuals that go beyond the scope of its boycott criteria. According to these guidelines, more or less any Israeli individual who has not actively denounced the Jewish state can be rightfully boycotted.

Similarly, Klein seeks to raise the image of the BDS movement by highlighting some of its latest “wins,” pointing to the termination of Puma sportswear’s sponsorship of the Israeli national soccer team, an “exodus of artists” from an Italian comics festival that was co-sponsored by the Israeli embassy, and the impact of a boycott against McDonald’s on the fast food giant’s revenue.

However, the fly in the ointment for these “wins” is that Puma announced its decision had nothing to do with BDS; the “exodus” from the Lucca comics festival was limited to eight artists and organizations (including Amnesty International); and the McDonald’s boycott mostly affected countries which have no relations with Israel.

For Naomi Klein, the BDS movement is necessary to stop Israel’s “reign of impunity,” which allows it to act without restraint against the Palestinian people.

However, Klein’s skewed portrait of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians is only made possible by her complete revision of history, which finds Israel guilty of all sins while removing all agency from the Palestinians and absolving them of all misconduct.

Klein writes that her support for BDS began after Operation Cast Lead in late 2008, when “Israel had unleashed a shocking new stage of mass killing in the Gaza Strip … It killed 1,400 Palestinians in 22 days; the number of casualties on the Israeli side was 13.”

What’s missing from this account is the fact that the operation began when Hamas unleashed rocket salvos aimed at the Jewish state and refused to heed Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s call for a cessation of this escalation in hostilities.

As opposed to Klein’s characterization, Operation Cast Lead was not a “shocking new stage of mass killing,” but was rather a defensive war launched against a genocidal terror organization that had embedded itself within civilian areas.

Similarly, Naomi Klein describes Israel’s military strategy following 2008 as a “murderous new policy that Israeli military officials casually referred to as ‘mowing the grass’: every couple of years brought a fresh bombing campaign, killing hundreds of Palestinians or, in the case of 2014’s Operation Protective Edge, more than 2,000, including 526 children.”

Once again, this characterization can only be made by completely ignoring Hamas’ activities during that time.

“Mowing the grass” does not refer to the casual indiscriminate bombing of Palestinian civilians, but rather an Israeli strategy of periodically reducing Hamas’ potential to harm Israelis while not engaging in an extended war to uproot the terror organization entirely.

Like Operation Cast Lead, Operation Protective Edge was a defensive war in response to Hamas’ murder of three Israeli teens and an increase in rocket fire directed at Israeli civilians.

The only time that Naomi Klein gives any agency to Hamas in her piece is in reference to its atrocities on October 7.

However, this is only mentioned so she can make her real point: Israel is exploiting Hamas’ attack in order to ethnically cleanse Gaza.

Despite Israel’s being forced into this war by Hamas’ unprecedented atrocities, despite the IDF’s continued attempts to lessen Palestinian civilian casualties, and despite Hamas’ cynical exploitation of Gazans’ civilian infrastructure, the only things that Naomi Klein sees are Israeli “transgressions” of international law.

It is these transgressions that must be punished by international sanctions driven by the BDS movement.

Along with Israel’s military activities, another crime that Naomi Klein accuses the Jewish state of is “apartheid.”

Klein points to studies conducted in the last few years by B’Tselem, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International, all of which accuse Israel of implementing an apartheid regime in the West Bank.

However, as pointed out by NGO Monitor, these claims are based on a re-definition of the term “apartheid,” on zero appreciation for the complexities of the Israeli security context, and on a misrepresentation of Israeli policies.

Klein even goes so far as to accuse Israel of practicing apartheid in its pre-1967 borders, basing itself on the controversial Palestinian NGO Al-Haq.

Perhaps no rebuttal of this ludicrous claim is better made than by Mansour Abbas, an Arab-Israeli politician who, in 2022, while sitting in the previous Israeli government coalition, vocally opposed the use of the “apartheid” moniker in relation to Israel.

In 2010, roughly a year after Naomi Klein first came out in support of BDS, Eran Shayshon coined the term “Kleinism” in a column for the Israel newspaper Haaretz.

According to Shayshon, “Kleinism” is:

a simplistic, artificial view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that has led many who consider themselves human-rights activists to focus their criticism nearly exclusively on Israel. It brands Israel as the new apartheid state, so it can do no right and its adversaries no wrong. It frames Israel as uninterested in peace or in ending the occupation. It ignores any structural obstacles to peace unrelated to Israel, the most obvious being the sharp divisions among the Palestinians.

Thus, “Kleinists” seem to have concluded that one-sided criticism of Israel is the best way to promote peace, and that pressurizing the state with all available means, including BDS, is both legitimate and effective.

In the almost 14 years since the term was first coined, it appears that the overly simplistic and, quite frankly, dangerous “Kleinist” point of view still has an audience in certain Western circles, including The Guardian.

The author is a contributor to HonestReporting, a Jerusalem-based media watchdog with a focus on antisemitism and anti-Israel bias — where a version of this article first appeared.

The post This Canadian-Jewish Activist Wants to Boycott Israel; Here’s What She Gets Wrong first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Israeli Official: ‘Important Operation’ in Yemen Sends Strong Message to Shiite Axis

Drones are seen at a site at an undisclosed location in Iran, in this handout image obtained on April 20, 2023. Photo: Iranian Army/WANA (West Asia News Agency)/Handout via REUTERS

i24 NewsA senior Israeli security official spoke to i24NEWS on Saturday on condition of the retaliatory strike carried out by the Israel Air Force against the Houthi jihadists in Yemen.

“This is an important operation which signals that there’s room for further escalation, and sends a very strong message to the entire Shiite axis.”

“We understood there is a high probability of counter attacks, but if we do not respond, the meaning is even worse. Israel has updated the US prior to the operation.”

The strike on Hodeida came after long-range Iranian-made drone hit a building in central Tel Aviv, killing one man and wounded several others.

The post Israeli Official: ‘Important Operation’ in Yemen Sends Strong Message to Shiite Axis first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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IDF Confirms Striking ‘Terrorist Houthi Regime’ in Yemen’s Hodeida

Houthi leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi addresses followers via a video link at the al-Shaab Mosque, formerly al-Saleh Mosque, in Sanaa, Yemen, Feb. 6, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

i24 NewsThe Israeli military on Saturday confirmed striking a port in Yemen controlled by the Houthi jihadists, a day after the Iranian proxy group perpetrated a deadly drone attack on Tel Aviv.

“A short while ago, IDF fighter jets struck military targets of the Houthi terrorist regime in the area of the Al Hudaydah Port in Yemen in response to the hundreds of attacks carried out against the State of Israel in recent months.”

After Houthi drone attack on Tel Aviv, reports and footage out of Yemen of air strikes hitting Hodeida

— Video used in accordance with clause 27A of Israeli copyright law pic.twitter.com/d2uE16ZzQ1

— i24NEWS English (@i24NEWS_EN) July 20, 2024

Yoav Gallant, the defense minister, issued a statement saying “The fire that is currently burning in Hodeidah, is seen across the Middle East and the significance is clear. The Houthis attacked us over 200 times. The first time that they harmed an Israeli citizen, we struck them. And we will do this in any place where it may be required.”

“The blood of Israeli citizens has a price,” Gallant added. “This has been made clear in Lebanon, in Gaza, in Yemen, and in other places – if they will dare to attack us, the result will be identical.”

Gallant: ‘The fire currently burning in Hodeida is seen across the region and the significance is clear… The blood of Israeli citizens has a price, as has been made clear in Lebanon, in Gaza, in Yemen and in other places – if they dare attack us, the result will be identical.’ pic.twitter.com/DmHjwfHtPV

— i24NEWS English (@i24NEWS_EN) July 20, 2024

The post IDF Confirms Striking ‘Terrorist Houthi Regime’ in Yemen’s Hodeida first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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One Part of Cyprus Mourns, the Other Rejoices 50 Years After Split

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan leaves after attending a military parade to mark the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus in response to a short-lived Greek-inspired coup, in the Turkish-controlled northern Cyprus, in the divided city of Nicosia, Cyprus July 20, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Yiannis Kourtoglou

Greek Cypriots mourned and Turkish Cypriots rejoiced on Saturday, the 50th anniversary of Turkey’s invasion of part of the island after a brief Greek inspired coup, with the chances of reconciliation as elusive as ever.

The ethnically split island is a persistent source of tension between Greece and Turkey, which are both partners in NATO but are at odds over numerous issues.

Their differences were laid bare on Saturday, with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan attending a celebratory military parade in north Nicosia to mark the day in 1974 when Turkish forces launched an offensive that they call a “peace operation.”

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis was due later on Saturday to attend an event in the south of the Nicosia to commemorate what Greeks commonly refer to as the “barbaric Turkish invasion.” Air raid sirens sounded across the area at dawn.

Mitsotakis posted an image of a blood-stained map of Cyprus on his LinkedIn page with the words “Half a century since the national tragedy of Cyprus.”

There was jubilation in the north.

“The Cyprus Peace Operation saved Turkish Cypriots from cruelty and brought them to freedom,” Erdogan told crowds who gathered to watch the parade despite stifling midday heat, criticizing the south for having a “spoiled mentality” and seeing itself as the sole ruler of Cyprus.

Peace talks are stalled at two seemingly irreconcilable concepts – Greek Cypriots want reunification as a federation. Turkish Cypriots want a two-state settlement.

Erdogan left open a window to dialogue although he said a federal solution, advocated by Greek Cypriots and backed by most in the international community, was “not possible.”

“We are ready for negotiations, to meet, and to establish long-term peace and resolution in Cyprus,” he said.

Cyprus gained independence from Britain in 1960, but a shared administration between Greek and Turkish Cypriots quickly fell apart in violence that saw Turkish Cypriots withdraw into enclaves and led to the dispatch of a U.N. peacekeeping force.

The crisis left Greek Cypriots running the internationally recognized Republic of Cyprus, a member of the European Union since 2004 with the potential to derail Turkey’s own decades-long aspirations of joining the bloc.

It also complicates any attempts to unlock energy potential in the eastern Mediterranean because of overlapping claims. The region has seen major discoveries of hydrocarbons in recent years.

REMEMBERING THE DEAD

Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides, whose office represents the Greek Cypriot community in the reunification dialogue, said the anniversary was a somber occasion for reflection and for remembering the dead.

“Our mission is liberation, reunification and solving the Cyprus problem,” he said. “If we really want to send a message on this tragic anniversary … it is to do anything possible to reunite Cyprus.”

Turkey, he said, continued to be responsible for violating human rights and international law over Cyprus.

Across the south, church services were held to remember the more than 3,000 people who died in the Turkish invasion.

“It was a betrayal of Cyprus and so many kids were lost. It wasn’t just my son, it was many,” said Loukas Alexandrou, 90, as he tended the grave of his son at a military cemetery.

In Turkey, state television focused on violence against Turkish Cypriots prior to the invasion, particularly on bloodshed in 1963-64 and in 1967.

Turkey’s invasion took more than a third of the island and expelled more than 160,000 Greek Cypriots to the south.

Reunification talks collapsed in 2017 and have been at a stalemate since. Northern Cyprus is a breakaway state recognized only by Turkey, and its Turkish Cypriot leadership wants international recognition.

The post One Part of Cyprus Mourns, the Other Rejoices 50 Years After Split first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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