Our panellists battle it outby Alan Johnson, Jonathan Rosenhead / June 16, 2016 / Leave a comment
Published in July 2016 issue of Prospect Magazine
The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement calls for an economic, academic and cultural boycott of Israel over its policies towards the Palestinians. The UK, United States and other governments have criticised BDS as anti-Semitic and tried to prevent organisations, such as local authorities and student unions, from supporting it.
This is the most protean of racisms and it has shape-shifted again. Old-fashioned Jew hatred still exists, but anti-Semitism today is often found—as the Labour Party is discovering—in the smelly borderlands where an anti-Israeli sentiment of a particularly excessive, demented kind, commingles with and updates—often unthinkingly—older anti-Semitic tropes, images and assumptions.
I call this “anti-Semitic anti-Zionism” and I think it has a programme. It intends the destruction of one nation state in the world—the little Jewish one. And the core of the BDS movement does seek to eliminate Israel. Norman Finkelstein, a high-profile critic of Israel, has railed against the “duplicity and disingenuousness” of the BDS movement, which cla…