Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Nasty Campaign to Boycott & Silence (TM)

Stung by reports of growing support for the Palestinian Boycott Divestment & Sanctions (BDS) campaign at Sydney University in their fave paper, The Australian, the usual suspects have leapt into print on today's letters page to head off this latest existential threat to their One & Only Love.

Fulminates Monash University academic, Philip Mendes:

"It's disgraceful that Sydney University's SRC is supporting the extremist BDS campaign against Israel. This nasty campaign to boycott and silence Israelis violates the basic academic principle of supporting freedom of speech for divergent views."  

Nasty campaign to boycott and silence?

Now it's worth remembering that just as Middle East-related terrorism was pioneered by Menachem Begin's Boston-style bombings in Palestinian market places in Jaffa and Haifa in the thirties,* so too the the Nasty Campaign to Boycott & Silence (TM) critics of Israel was pioneered by the Zionist movement - and that long before the advent of BDS.

Take, for example, the case of Canadian churchman and journalist, the Reverend A. C. Forrest, who dared to report, for a range of Church-based newspapers in Canada and the US, on the plight of Palestinian refugees following Israel's conquest of the West Bank in 1967:

"In the months that followed the publication of my reports on the situation in the Middle East I was subjected to a barrage of innuendo and invective. In 30 years of more or less public church life, 15 of them editing the largest - and I like to think the most respected - church paper in the British Commonwealth, I had never known anything like it. One cannot take a place as a responsible editor in the free church press without angering some people. There is usually a way in which controversy can be carried on with decency. However, I have found no way to criticize the policies of the State of Israel, or question the philosophy of political Zionism, or tell my readers what the facts of the Middle East are, and escape slander and libel from the Zionist-Israeli community. In Israel it is different. (The Unholy Land, 1971, p 38)

"I was invited by several Jewish groups to speak to them. In one case it was an on-again, off-again matter over several months until the young lad in a synagogue youth group who asked me admitted they were under a lot of pressure from their parents to withdraw the invitation. The Jewish press was keeping up the attack and I was labelled, 'that creature', a 'virulent anti-Zionist', and 'an enemy of Israel'. One Toronto rabbi said I had admitted 'I had always hated Israel'. One rabbi at a distinguished social gathering told me, 'You'll have a page in Jewish history along with Adolf Hitler'. He also said loudly, 'I'd like to know what the Arabs are paying you'.

"Finally the synagogue speaking engagement was on, on condition that after I had spoken I would be answered by the Israeli Consul-General in Toronto, Mr Aba Gefen. I concentrated on 'the new refugees', and reported what I saw.

"Mr Gefen embarked on a personal attack. Where had I been when Hitler was coming to power, and where was I when he was killing 6 million Jews? (When I got a chance, although I don't like that kind of question, I admitted I had been a boy in high school when Hitler came to power and later wore an RCAF uniform during World War II, although I had done all my service in Canada and most of my fighting with Commanding Officers.) Gefen said: '... these refugees were urged by the Arab governments to return westward and incited to destroy Israel from within. And now thousands of them could be returning under categories approved by the Israeli government, their return is wantonly prevented. Thousands of refugees have Israeli permits to return, but the Jordanian government declared none will return'.

"That was in November, 1967.

"The thoroughly documented fact then was that 170,000 refugees in Jordan filled out forms applying to return (Israel says only 150,000) and Israel issued permits for 20,000 to go back. Only 14,000 returned. The reasons why the other 6,000 permits were not used are many. The main one was that in many cases Israel approved the return of part of a family and said 'no' to others, such as boys of 17 or 18. Rather than split up and run the risk of never seeing their children again families decided to stick it out in the refugee camps.

"I thought then that the Consul was deliberately misleading his audience. I have concluded since that he actually believed what he said. After a time I was honoured by attention from the Anti-Defamation League, which commissioned a Zionist professor named Arnold Ages, who had been in on the attack, to do some real research. He made a study of [The United Church] Observer over some 20 years - a very selective one for a research professor I must add - and the ADL circulated their 13 page single-spaced document among the newspapers and radio stations of Canada. It ended with a quotation from a line-toeing fundamentalist premillenialist, Dr Douglas Young of Jerusalem, who had attacked my call for a 'peace with justice settlement now'.

"Young addressed an Open Letter to me which was apparently published in the Jerusalem Post. It began 'J'Accuse', and continued: 'If war comes to the Middle East again, historians will record that your pen, which could have been a contributory to peace... will, like a sword of war, drip with the blood of the wounded and dead on both sides'.

"That quotation now continues to turn up here and there in Zionist attacks on me; even rabbis with standing quote it, as though Young were an authority. In Jerusalem, Dr Douglas Young and his Institute are almost unknown to the intelligent Christian community." (ibid, pp 45-47)

But there was more to the Zionist Nasty Campaign to Boycott & Silence (TM) A.C. Forrest.

It even extended to his book, The Unholy Land:

"Perhaps the biggest publicity the book has received, however, was the announcement by Coles Bookstores that they were removing it from their 29 outlets across Canada as 'an absolute non-seller'. This made the headlines almost coincidentally with the announcement of its reaching the best-seller list! This action, noted the Toronto Star, 'lends color to Mr Forrest's claim that there is a pattern in Canada of 'suppressing criticism' of Israel.' Three-to-six-column headlines proclaimed, 'Book critical of Israel disappears from Coles', 'Israel book ban 'smells', and 'Book criticizing Israel still sold by most shops'. Buckley's bookstore advertised, 'We do not suppress books however truthful they may be', and offered a dollar discount on The Unholy Land 'to all who believed that book banning died with Hitler'." (The Unholy Land enters 4th printing, L. Humphrey Walz, The Link, November-December 1971)

[*See my 27/6/08 post Breathtaking Zionist Hypocrisy.]

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