CAMERA Refutes ‘Jewish Voice for Peace’ BDS Advocacy

Naomi Dann’s commentary in The Hill advocating boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel (“Anti-Palestinian amendments went down with TPA,” Congress Blog, May 13, 2015) misinforms readers through omissions and outright distortions.

Dann claims that “Congressional committees in the House and Senate passed a pair of little-noticed amendments to the controversial Trade Promotion Authority ‘Fast-Track’ legislation that would legislate support for Israel’s illegal settlements.” She repeatedly restates the claim that Israel’s post-1967 West Bank Jewish communities are “illegal.” They aren’t.

The League of Nations Palestine Mandate, Article 6, calls for “close Jewish settlement on the land” west of the Jordan River. The 1920 San Remo Treaty and the 1924 Anglo-American Convention also enshrined Jewish territorial claims into international law. Three quarters of that land originally intended for the Palestine Mandate, the “East Bank,” went to the establishment of the state of Transjordan, today’s Jordan, in 1921.

Dann alleges that Israel has been engaged in a “nearly 50 year” occupation. She doesn’t mention that it was forced into this occupation after successfully defending itself from Arab aggression in the 1967 Six-Day War, and retained control of the West Bank by similarly successful self-defense in the 1973 Yom Kippur War.
So Israel currently remains the obligatory military occupational authority in disputed territory to which there has been no recognized international sovereignty since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire following World War I. As for the occupied Sinai, it was returned to Egypt as a result of the 1979 Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty; Israel unilaterally left the occupied Gaza Strip in 2005.
Omitting Palestinian rejectionism
Dann fails to mention the various Israeli and U.S.-Israeli attempts to resolve the status of the disputed territories that have been met with Palestinian intransigence. This includes Palestinian rejection of U.S.-Israeli “two-state” proposals in 2000 and 2001, of an Israeli deal in 2008, and Secretary of State John Kerry’s “framework” for a two-state peace last year. That is, an end to Israel’s “occupation” by means of a West Bank and Gaza Strip country with parts of eastern Jerusalem as its capital, in exchange for peace with Israel as a Jewish state, was unacceptable for Palestinian leadership.

The author claims that BDS is a legitimate tactic that applies “non-violent pressure on Israel to change its discriminatory polices towards Palestinians.” What are these “discriminatory policies”? Do they include more than 10,000 Palestinian Arabs treated annually in Israeli hospitals or the approximately 50,000 now working in Israel, the highest level since the second intifada of 2000-2005 —an outbreak of violence that targeted Israeli civilians and soldiers alike following rejection of the Camp David two-state offer?

Dann’s assertion that BDS is comparable to efforts against the former South African apartheid regime is a canard; Israeli Arabs not only have equal rights to other citizens, they have far greater rights than Palestinian Arabs under the control of the Islamic theocracy of Hamas in the Gaza Strip or the corrupt and thuggish Fatah in the West Bank, both of which prevent free and fair elections. As the Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights has noted, human rights conditions for Palestinian Arabs living under the rule of Hamas and Fatah are at their “worst” in recent years with violations having “increased in volume.” Despite her purported concern for Palestinian Arabs, Dann fails to advocate human rights for Arabs under either Hamas or Fatah or call for a boycott of these groups.

What she describes as “Palestinian civil society groups” behind the founding of the BDS movement include U.S. listed terrorist organizations Hamas and al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades of Fatah and non-Palestinian Syrian extremist movements. The charter of Hamas calls for the destruction of Israel and genocide against the Jews. Despite claims to the contrary, Fatah’s “covenant” calling for Israel’s elimination has not been changed. Why the author would omit reference to these groups when hiding their BDS involvement under the umbrella of “Palestinian civil society groups”—while working for an organization that bills itself as a “voice for peace”—is puzzling.

The author’s repeated omissions and misstatements mislead readers about the nature of BDS and its supporters, who do not favor Israeli-Palestinian peace but rather the destruction of Israel as a Jewish state. They do raise the question of whom she is really speaking for. It’s certainly not Palestinian Arabs seeking human rights or a “Palestine” in exchange for making peace with Israel.

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